Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January Round-Up

January was an exciting month for me.  I revisited an old hobby and discovered that I like it even more than I thought I had, I discovered a couple of amazing websites that help feed that hobby, and I began this blog.  February will be just as wonderful, I think...more news on that tomorrow!

I'll close January with a photo mosaic, something I've seen on a few crocheting blogs and a wonderful idea that I'm stealing for this blog as well.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Monday Morning Mish-Mash

Hope you all had a fantabulous weekend.  I sure did--I got lots of crocheting done, made a special trip to the post office to get B's baby blanket and Melissa's bag in the post, and went to Michael's to pick up some yarn and drool over all the (expensive) natural fibres and gorgeous colours.  I have quite a few works in progress, but at least two of them will be done within the next two or three days, provided I can find the time to get them out of the way.

Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I decided to make gifts for the kids in my life.  As you might recall, Girl Child and her cousin Wally are receiving these fabulous little containers in which they can put their hair doo-dads, jewelry, Barbie doll shoes, whatever.  Well, I couldn't leave Boy Child, Wally's brother, Badger, or the newest cousin, Cecil, out, now could I?

So, I decided that I would make Boy Child and Badger amigurimi aliens.  I finished Badger's yesterday evening but haven't started on Boy Child's yet.  I discovered in piecing the alien together that my stitching (non-crochet stitching, that is...you know, with a needle and thread?) is really sub-par.  I suppose it's a good thing that I enjoy crocheting and not needlepoint or cross-stich.  I'm afraid I'd be horrible at it!
Badger's Alien, made with Sugar n' Cream 100% cotton yarn.

Cecil's Valentine's Day gift from her Auntie Fi is a teddy bear.  I have developed an addiction to making amigurumi.  They're so much easier than I ever thought they could be and at some point in the future, I'll be making myself a sea otter and a fox.

Cecil's bear's nose

And finally, I used up a bunch of left-over yarn bits to make some granny squares.  I have no idea what to do with them, since I only had enough yarn to make four of them.  Perhaps I'll get a big square of fabric to back a pillow and then use these as the front?

Maggie's Square
Blushing Grannie
Circle of Friends
Standard Fare Granny Square

In case any of you Eagle Eyes spotted the copious amounts of cat hair on my backdrop, this is the reason:
My studio is often invaded by one of the furry kids, in this case it's Fat Cat, our flame-point Siamese.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Universal Craft Blog Directory

And now for something completely different...

I just discovered what will hopefully be the single largest collection of Crafting Blogs on the planet.  It's located over at CraftyRie's and has a huge selection of user-added blogs.  Just taking a look at random links, there's crocheting and knitting, needlepoint and cross-stich, paper crafting, scrapbooking...a veritable plethora of craftiness.  (Gosh, I love that word--plethora.  Makes me think of that film, The Three Amigos.)

I added Hook and Yarn to it and now, if you follow this convenient little button, you can add yours to the bunch, too.  If you haven't already, that is.  You probably have.  I'm usually the last to post cool stuff like this.


One Skein Crochet

My sister-in-law, A, who is responsible for my crocheting addiction, is having her second baby in August.  Since I'm obsessing over crocheting right now, and since I took such a long break from it the first time I started up, I thought I'd better get her shower gift out of the way now.

I think I've mentioned before that I have a bunch of mouths to feed, so I have to find cheap ways of indulging in my addiction.  After searching through Ravelry's extensive pattern data base, I found a cute hat and blanket that is made from one skein of yarn.  YAY!  Cheap and cute--my watch words!

This is a work in progress.  I've finished the hat and am half way through the blanket.  It's a neat pattern, pretty simple and easy--which is important to me, since I sometimes have a hard time following written patterns.  And since I love the colour combination, I'm using Red Heart's Super Saver yarn in Watercolour again. 
This is supposed to fit a 3 month old.  Hmmm...

Detail of blanket pattern

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Valentine's Day

I blame Pinterest for the renewal of my obsession with crochet.  There's so many pins with gorgeous, colourful pieces on that site and I've bookmarked at least half a dozen different crochet blogs as a result.  One of my favourite is Attic 24.  The colours on that site are so bright and cheerful and Lucy's instructions and patterns are easy to follow and really, really cute.

Recently, she published a simple, but so clever idea--tuna tin covers.  You can use them to hold loose change, paper clips, barrettes, jewelery, or like she does, to set flower pots in.  Since Valentine's Day is coming up soon, I decided to make two of these covers for Girl Child and my eldest niece, Wally.  After seeing how darling they are, I think I'm going to be making some in different sizes for myself.  I foresee a lot of canned food in my family's future!

Here's the pattern for the covers.  I used Red Heart Super Saver in white, frosty green, pale yellow, and country blue, plus some more of Vanna's Choice in Rose Mist, plus a maroony-bricky red that was hanging out in the bottom of the yarn basket.  The little flowers and leaves are also from Lucy's blog.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Baby Afghan - no, it's not a puppy

After making an afghan the normal way, I decided to give granny squares a chance.  I soon discovered that I much prefer them.  You can work on a little piece at a time and not have to cover your entire lap with your work, and there's no fighting with the entire piece when it's time to turn and start a new row.  The only downside is joining them.  There's a few different ways to do this, of course--rows of single crochets, which ends up making your afghan look like a mullioned glass window; and ladder stitching between squares and joining as you make the squares, which hides the joins between pieces and is good for squares that have different colour schemes.  I didn't like any of these three ways, so I spent some time looking on Teh Intarwebs to see if there was yet another way to join 'em up.

Much to my delight, I found this tutorial on how to do flat braids to join granny squares.  It looks complicated at first, but after joining up just three squares, I quickly caught on and the work went fast.  I love the finished product and especially the unique touch.  I've never seen another afghan joined this way.

Here is an afghan I made for my friend B's new baby.  She--the baby, obviously--was born the morning after I finished the piece, so I'd like to thank B for waiting to give birth.  That was awfully thoughtful of you!  ;)  There's no pattern here; the granny squares are just your average granny square.  It's the joining technique that's really the star of the show.  I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn in white and Watercolour.  I think the afghan looks like a spring-time flower garden with a white picket fence around it.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Mel's Girlie Pink Bag of Holding

I'm a nerd.  I'll willingly admit it to anyone who cares to ask.  I enjoy science fiction and fantasy--both in novels, tv shows, and films.  My favourite thing to do on the weekend is to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, or Firefly with my love, while curled up on the couch with two out of four cats sitting on us.  I have a paid subscription to the Smithsonian magazine.  I read Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell.  I listen to Rush and Queensryche, both very cerebral, very nerdly bands.  And I role play, both table top and free form, text based.

Two years ago, I discovered the Red Dragon Inn, which is a free-form, text-based forum for role players.  I've met some pretty awesome people through this website, including my friend Mel.  Like me, she's a nerd, although her nerd score ranks much higher than mine, I think.  She's a Star Wars freak, plays WoW and SWtOR, and has an unhealthy addiction to Alisdair from Dragon Age.  She also loves pink and My Little Ponies.  In spite of this, I adore her.  She's funny and generous and sweet.

Her mum died just recently and after losing my father a few years back, I know how awful she must feel, how sad and lonely.  I did.  I still do a little.  I wanted to do something special for Mel, since she lives in Florida and virtual hugs just don't quite do what's needed.  So, I looked through my yarn stash and found the perfect colour for Mel, aka Pretty Pink Princess Sparkle, and whipped up a Girlie Pink Bag of Holding.  She can use it to store all kinds of things in--makeup, hair stuff, nail polish, whatever.  Plus, you know...it's pink.
Here's the pattern for the bag.  I used Vanna's Choice yarn once more, this time in Rose Mist.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Lellie, aka the Eight and A Half Hour Elephant

I first started to crochet back in late 2009/early 2010.  My youngest sister-in-law, A, got me hooked...literally.  She was pregnant at the time with her first child and was making a bunch of really darling afghans and sweaters and hats for her baby and I thought, "I want to do that, too!"  So I did.  In the first three or four months of my adventures in crochet, I made an afghan for A's daughter (it was made out of chunky wool in orange sherbet and cotton candy colours), a stocking cap and a scarf for Girl Child, and three trivets.

Then I quit crocheting.  I can't remember why now, but I didn't touch my yarn stash or my hooks for nearly 18 months.  Then, A got pregnant again, and three of my other friends had babies within a few months of each other.  Since I'm poor and couldn't afford shower gifts, I decided to whip out the crochet needles and yarn again and do 'em up some afghans, hats, and other stuff.

I got bit big time by the crocheting bug this time.  It's like an obsession now; I can't quit.  So far, in the three weeks since I've started hooking again, I've made a baby blanket, a hat, a bag, an amigurumi elephant, a darling little container cover, and have two more blankets and another container cover on the hooks waiting to be finished.
Here's the pattern for the amigurumi elephant.  I worked him with Vanna's Choice Denim Mist, which is a nice yarn to work with and gave Lellie a cool pattern.  His trunk is a little long, mostly because I didn't quite understand the instructions, and the stitching that holds his ears onto his head is a little...um...ugly, but Girl Child--for whom he was made--loves him, and really that's all I can ask for, right?

Lellie behind and teeny-tiny tail!

Button eyes.  (Ignore the ugly stitching.)

Super-long trunk.  (Continue ignoring the ugly stitching.)