Friday, May 15, 2009

Projects Galore!

I've got a lot on my plate... There are SO many wonderful patterns that I want to make and only so much time in a day. :)

This posting is pretty much just an update on what I've been doing, since I haven't been posting lately. So without further ado, here we go...
  • I'm test knitting a pattern for a purse. Because this isn't just a "for me" thing, I'm actually committed to finishing it in a timely manner. So at the moment, the purse is the only project I'm really working on. And I'm a slow knitter... Plus I really try to limit when I spend time working on my knitting/crocheting until the night time after kids are in bed and I'm too tired to do anything else housework related (she says as she blogs instead of doing housework!)
  • I just bought a pattern! First time ever...Other than pattern books from the store, I mean. I bought this super cute baby doll and doll backpack pattern from Kristie's Kids and can hardly wait to start working on it. There are several little girls our family knows who would LOVE to receive one. Excited!! :)
  • Both of my kids tote their paperback bibles with them to church...and both of their bibles are getting pretty beat up in the process. They NEEEEEEED bible covers! But will I go to the store and simply BUY them each a cover? Heck no! I'm going to make them each one. :)
  • I'm trying to get the kinks worked out on the Blue Jay pattern, too. I'm up to version 3.0 of the pattern and I have to admit, I'm ALMOST completely content with it. I think one more version will nail it, then I have to try to crank out 12 of them in a couple of weeks' time for Little J's baseball team (a bunchof 7 year olds). :)
There's also several other really cute patterns that I've stumbled across, lately, that I really want to make, but I haven't put them on the docket because there's no reason for me to make them other than I just want to. I'm sure you understand....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ian the Rhinoceros

Little J's friend, Ian, asked me to make him a rhinoceros the other day, so I obliged! Here is the result of that endeavor and I offer to you, for the low-low price of merely $1.50(US) the pattern for Ian!

You could also modify Ian to be a hippopotamus by leaving off his horn, if the mood strikes you. :)

To purchase Ian, please click 
(A Paypal account is necessary)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blue Jay 2.0

Worked on him some more and came up with Blue Jay 2.0. :) I think there'll be a Blue Jay 2.5 before I make the pattern available. There's still something about his wings I'm not crazy about.

The differences with Blue Jay 2.0:

  • His beak is wider - I think I like the original beak better
  • His wings are shaped differently - Still not content with them
  • He has yarn knot eyes - My feeling is that the plastic/shiny eyes are a better fit
  • His tail has been reshaped - I like this tail a lot better
  • His body is crocheted all in one piece - The original was two halve, sewn together, figuring that it would make for a cleaner transition between the two colors. Sewing his tail over the transition point, though, camouflages it nicely.

Stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Evolution of the Blue Jay

Well, I must have made about six different tails for this little guy before I ended up with what you see here.

But I'm still not happy with it. I looked at some pictures online of real blue jays and realize that I've got the shape completely wrong. I think the tail I ended up with might be more suitable on a sparrow or something. So I'll be going back to the drawing board later today.

I also want to make the wings differently. The right wing turned out nice with its shaping, but in order to have the left wing show the "right" side, I had to do its shaping a little differently and it didn't turn out as nice. I'd like to come up with something that can be in it doesn't matter which side of the body you sew the wing on, it'll look good.

I think, too, that I'll change the beak a little bit... It's a bit too long and skinny.

Strangely, this is really the first of my creations that I haven't been completely happy with by the time I'm done! Does this make me a "real" designer??? :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blue Jay Progress

Progress is being made! I stayed up far too late last night working on my little blue jay. I got as far as making his body and one of his wings before I had to finally admit I needed to get some sleep. I thought about taking pictures of the WIP, but I was too tired. :) By the time I get around to taking pictures, he should be done. Stay tuned!

In other news, the kids are all still home today. It's spring break, officially, for the two older kids. But K is still sick (day 7!) and Little J seems to be a little under the weather still despite his fever being gone. T is supposed to have pre-school today, but he, too, seems to be coughing with a runny nose a little more than I'm comfortable sending him to school with, so I kept him home.

More laundry does my blue jay (that I really can't wait to get back to, but I'm being good and trying to get my housework done and tend to the kids before picking it back up!)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Keep It Simple

I spent a good portion of last night just trying to wrap my mind around how I want to do/shape the Blue Jay ami. I drew sketches....I tried to visualize the shaping...I contemplated how to achieve the shaping I want....I stayed up way too late just....thinking.

I also spent time surfing the web, looking at pictures of real blue jays, and pictures of blue jay toys. Inspired by casbahkitten's Fatberd Cat Toy, I realized I should just keep it simple! So I've got my inspiration and I think I've figured out how to make a simple, but cute, blue jay.

I can't wait to get started...In fact, I tried to get started and then the kids sought me out and made me get them breakfast. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sick Kids & Free Pattern Download Links

All three kids have been sick, now, for about 4 days. Fevers, coughing, sore throats...the works. I took them all to the doctor yesterday and was pretty much told they just have colds and we have to wait it out. I kind of knew that, but considering they'd had fevers for 3 days at the time, I didn't want to go into the weekend not knowing if they needed to be on antibiotics for strep throat or something. Better safe than sorry!

Hubby is currently out of town, somewhat, as well. He's about a 90 minute drive away at his family's cabin, doing maintenance. So it's just been the kids and me since Thursday night.

One "good" thing about them all being sick is that they just don't seem to have the motivation to fight or argue as much as they do when they're healthy! But having all three of them in a room, taking turns's chinese water torture!

I've been able to do my crocheting and such in the evenings after they go to bed. In addition to the amigurumi patterns I've created (see the download links to the left in their own little sidebar section), I've spent some time whipping up some little bunnies for the kids' Easter baskets. I've got two to go. They all know they're getting them because they're all nosey and have seen them. :) I'm making them wait 'til Easter to get them, though.

I've now set my mind to coming up with a Blue Jay amigurumi pattern. Little J's coach pitch baseball team is the Blue Jays...I thought it'd be cute for them to all have their own little blue jay to commemorate their season at the end of the season party next month. Guess what I'll be fiddling around with tonight?? :)

Ollie the Sea Otter!

I'm just tearin' it up with designs, aren't I? :) I can't help it... amigurumi is very addicting.

I present to you, Ollie the Sea Otter. He was created in response to an "Under the Sea" challenge on the Amigurumi Doll Lovers forum on Ravelry. 

The pattern is available for download on Ravelry right now, and eventually I'll have a link to download the file from here without needing to go through Ravelry. Have fun!


I decided to try a more "actual" roadrunner design than Warner Bros. version. And this is what I ended up with....

The pattern is available through Ravelry and will, eventually, made available for download via a link here on the blog, as well!

Monday, March 30, 2009

To Meep or Not to Meep....

....that is the question. :)

Little J has asked me to make him a Roadrunner. Being the indulgent mom I am, I said "Of course, honey!" and proceeded to try to find a pattern for a road runner. Can't find one. I can find lots of filet patterns, afghan patterns...anything flat. But he actually wants a stuffed know, like an amigurumi! :)

Therefore, I'm scheming to come up with a pattern for one myself, after my "success" with creating the Amigurumi Buddies. I'm trying to decide, though, whether I want to go with a more "lifelike" design:

Or the "traditional" cartoon design... 

Which do you think?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Amigurumi Buddies

I finished the good-bye present for T's friend, Yuki. I wasn't at the school when the gift was presented to him, but according to T's teacher, Yuki and his parents were very surprised and pleased with the little buddies. Luckily, T doesn't really understand that he won't be seeing Yuki at school anymore, so it hasn't been too terribly sad for him.

The pattern is available through Ravelry, and I'll add a link for it here, as well, eventually. It's a little long to post, as there are several different parts to the project.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Amigurumi Craze Continues

I can totally understand the draw of creating amigurumi. So far, in my limited experience, they seem to be quick, easy projects. Great for near-instant gratification. The projects I've done so far can usually be completed in one day. Sure makes it feel like you're getting a lot accomplished quickly!

The dragon is done and he turned out really cute (I think). I don't know how the recipient liked it, as I haven't gotten any feedback and we weren't there to watch him open his presents after his party at a local video game arcade. But Little J (who's 7) thought it was cool.

Gumball kitten is also complete, although I had some trouble with its ears and I think it looks more like a mouse than a kitten. Plus, something went wrong with the gauge or my tension or something because it seems the body is a lot fatter than it should be. Three-year-old T wanted it, so he's now the proud owner of Gumball.

Not wanting to be left out, K requested a kitten, too. And she wanted it to look like our real life kitty. So, not to be one to disappoint, I made a sitting-up (hind legless) version of Gumball. I did the ears differently, so they're a little more pointy. And I used safety eyes for this one. What a wonderful little invention! Love the safety eyes!

Little J has yet another friend's birthday party to attend this weekend and he's requested that I make his friend a dog. Therefore, I present to you, Lollypup! I had the alphabet beads left over from an old Girl Scout project that I thought made a nice personalizing touch.

Little J wants his own Lollypup that I've started.

Finally, T's best friend in preschool, Yuki, is returning to his home country of Japan this Friday. T was sick for Yuki's birthday party a couple of weeks ago, so I'm making little amigurumi pals (one that represents T and one that represents Yuki) for T to give Yuki. I'm making the pattern up myself as I go along! So far I've got most of one of the little pals done. I'll take pictures tomorrow of my progress thus far and, once the pattern is complete, I'll post the pattern, too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Critters & Stash Depleters

I've been in a crochet mood lately. More specifically, critter crochet. I've been hearing/reading a lot about amigurumis and thought I'd give them a try. So far, they seem to be fun, quick projects that are great for using up my stash yarn! Plus, with the economy the way it is, and having three kids who go to various birthday parties, it seems like a good way to make hand-made presents for the kids.

I have two toy projects in the works. First is a dragon for one of Little J's friends, whose birthday party is this Sunday (3/22). I'm making pretty good progress. I just started it yesterday and so far have the body and two hind legs complete. Still need to make the front legs, wings, spines and ears...then assemble it, of course. I'm also going to embroider eyes and claws on it. Thanks go to Angry Angel for her pattern.

I've also got a Gumball Kitten started. Just the head (stuffed) and the body (unstuffed) done on that one, so far. Thanks go to falwyn for this pattern. I'm looking forward to completing both and making more! 

In fact, I went to Michael's today to get some safety eyes for future critter creations. The Michael's I went to is in a shopping center that also has a JoAnn's. All I can say is, I'm really glad I chose to go to the Michael's I did because this particular Michael's didn't have any safety eyes. All they had were tons of wiggle eyes (which I have plenty of already). So I took a quick walk over to JoAnn's and was relieved to find all sizes of safety eyes. Yay! So I picked up a bunch, and also bought a new size E crochet hook made by Clover. It has a nice little handle. The Susan Bates one I'd been using was really thin and making my hand hurt.

All in all, it was a successful craft-shopping trip!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

K's Shrug is Done!

Okay, it isn't my own design. But it worked up really fast. Less than a week from start to finish. And I successfully reduced my stash by completing this project. In fact, I ran out of the off-white yarn I was using. Luckily, I had a little hat that I'd goofed up on big time that didn't fit anyone and was able to frog to get the rest of the yarn I needed. Yippee!

The bad news is that I also ran out of the tan/mustardy yarn that I used for the ruffles. Unfortunately, I didn't have any goofed up projects I could frog to reclaim more yarn to finish it. So I ended up going to Michael's and getting another skein of the Vanna's Choice I'd originally used.

I found the pattern on the Moda Dea website here. This is the crocheted version.

K is really happy with it. She plans on wearing it at her piano recital this weekend.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

That Didn't Last Long

I did a few more rows on the latch hook rug for T, but then was repossessed by thoughts of the shrug for K. She wants it to wear for her piano recital in a week and a half, so I decided to just crochet it instead of trying to come up with my own design....for the time being. I may still try to come up with my own pattern when I've caught up on projects.

In the meantime, I've started work on K's crocheted shrug. I'll post pictures soon!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Speaking of Spring Cleaning...

In my little corner of the family room is a pile of yarn, pattern books, patterns that I've printed from the Internet and various other crafty supplies. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I'm trying to get that little corner cleaned up. So, in the process of sorting through everything that's been piled up, I also rediscovered two projects that I'd started for my youngest. One is a birth announcement cross-stitch, intended for his wall.

I used to love to cross-stitch. I taught myself how to do it (let's face it, it's not a hard craft to learn!) when I was in high school and subsequently taught my mom how. As I got older, my interested became more wide-spread and by the time I started having kids, cross-stitch wasn't really on my radar anymore. My mom, however, found a new passion in cross-stitch and kept up with it long after I'd stopped. All while growing up, I remember my mom crocheting. She, evidently, had traded her hooks in for  needles and hoops.

After the birth of my first child, she made a beautiful birth announcement for her which I had framed and hangs on K's wall to this day, 10 years later. By the time my second child was born, my mom had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the trachea. However, she made it her job to complete a cross-stitch for Little J's room, too. My mom passed away when Little J was 2 years old. He's now 7 and just about a month ago, we finally hung his cross-stitch on his wall. I sat in his newly rearranged room and stared at the cross-stitch for a long time. I cried a little. You see, Little J's cross-stitch is the last one my mom ever made.

Then, later in 2004 after my mom's passing, I found out I was pregnant with T. Since my mom was no longer available to make him a cross-stitch, and my mother-in-law doesn't cross-stitch (or knit or crochet, for that matter!), I decided to make one for him, instead. I started it when he was about a year old. T's 3.5 now, and it's still not done! :) So that's one project I'm putting at the top of my craft-priority list (poor K....her shrug just keeps getting bumped!).

The other project I was reminded about is a latch hook rug that, again, I'd started about 2.5 years ago. It, too, is for T's room. So that project, also, is being pushed to the top of the list.

Therefore, I'll be taking a little hiatus from knitting. At least until I get one of T's projects done! Or until my resolve wanes.... :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pre-Spring Cleaning

I sort of cleaned out my knitting basket over the past couple of days, trying to organize and just take stock of what I've got smashed down in the bottom of the basket! I found two projects that I'd started at least two years ago and never finished.

First, is a tunic/sweater for K's American Girl Doll:
On the right, is the "back" piece of the tunic. And I just cast on the front piece on the needle to the left.

I haven't taken another picture yet, but I finished the new piece that is shown as just cast on here. However, the piece I cast on is now the back piece since there appears to be an error in the pattern that results in the piece being made "inside out"...if that makes sense. In this picture, you're supposed to be seeing the right side of the piece...meaning, the stockinette stitching is all nice and purty. But you're seeing the wrong side of the ruffled hem. 
The ruffle has this nice detail to it: 

So I decided to redo the back piece and then frog the piece I'd already made all the way down to the ruffle.
I'm almost done, now, with the front piece. Then I have the sleeves to knit, stitch it all together, and add the neckline. I'm using a pattern from Knits for Girls and Dolls (seen through my Ravelry projects).

The other project I rediscovered is The Queen's Shrug. I have a bunch of JoAnn's Sensations Rainbow Boucle that I wanted to find a use for....and I guess the shrug was my solution. I never finished it....heck, I didn't even finish one sleeve of it, yet. :) 
But I do like the softness of the fabric and the texture. I plan on working on it again when I get the AGD sweater finished. 

In the meantime, K's shrug of my own design has taken a back seat. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

PDF for the American Girl Doll Shrug

I decided to make a downloadable PDF for the shrug pattern, since I know I like it a lot better when I can simply download a one-page file vs. copying and pasting or...heaven forbid...printing out a whole website page! :)


Monday, February 23, 2009

American Girl Doll Shrug

I've finished the mini-shrug (without embellishments) and am going to post the pattern with pictures so far. I plan on adding some fuzzy embellishments along the cuffs and such. Once I do that, I'll post pictures with the fancy-ness added. But in the meantime, enjoy!

Vanna's Choice Acrylic Yarn (I believe the color I used is mustard)
Size 9 dpns

Gauge: 5 sts and 7 rows = 1"



CO 24 sts
Work SS for 18 rows (2 1/2")
Row 19: (right side) CO 4 sts; K rem sts (20 sts)
Row 20: (wrong side) CO 4 sts; P rem sts (16 sts)
Row 21: Repeat row 19 (12 sts)
Row 22: Repeat row 20 (8 sts)
Row 23: CO rem sts


CO 14 sts the pick up 10 sts along side of back piece; distribute evenly among 3 needles and join (24 sts)
Rnds 1-27: Knit around
Rnd 28: *K2, K2tog* repeat between * 6 times (18 sts)
Rnds 29-35: Work in K1, P1 ribbing; cast off loosely.

Repeat for 2nd sleeve; Weave in ends.
              Back view                                       Front view

Friday, February 20, 2009

Trial Mini-Shrug Almost Done!

I was able to spend time last night and tonight working on the American Girl doll-sized shrug and am happy to report that it's almost done. I have a few more rounds of ribbing to do on one of the sleeves before it's technically finished. I'm thinking about jazzing it up a little with some of the surplus of fun fur I've got. I still haven't taken pictures, but plan to tomorrow!

The mini-shrug is exceedingly simple in design and pattern. As soon as I've got it all done and photos taken, I'll post the pattern along with the pictures.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No Time to Knit

Or, maybe, a more accurate statement would be "no desire to knit" -- as blasphemous as that is!

I've thought a lot about picking up my needles and knitting in the evenings after the kids are in bed and hubby and I are sitting on the sofa, getting ready to watch DVR'd shows. But the past couple of days, I just haven't felt like it.

Hubby has also hurt his back, so he's been home the past few days, having to lie prone on his back in bed. He has an appointment with a specialist on Monday, but until then...he's kind of underfoot and putting a crimp in my stay-at-home style! Although I have to admit, I tend to get a lot more housework done knowing he's home "watching" me. I get to feeling guilty about taking time out to surf the web or play a silly game. For once, though, the laundry is almost completely done. One more load to do tomorrow before it starts all over again. :)

Maybe tonight will be a turning point... For now, though, I have to finish cleaning up from dinner and then get the kids ready for bed on my own since hubby can't help....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yay! I fixed it

Thank goodness...I fixed my blog and the whole Digg It and (or whatever it's called) is gone. Now I can rest easy and get back to knitting!

Probably won't do much this weekend. It's a busy one with softball games, Girl Scout events, soccer practice, etc. Plus with Valentine's Day, the hubby and I will be spending some alone time together.

Anyway, have a good weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Should Stick to Knitting!

I got it in my head today to play around with my you can see it looks a little different. I had this really cool (I thought) template that I'd downloaded from the 'net and installed it...but it wouldn't let me add more gadgets or rearrange my stuff. So I tried to go back to the templates Blogger I've got all this weird "Digg It" and "Del.i.cious" stuff on older posts. I should have just stuck to knitting!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Start Small

I decided to start small on the shrug project by making a miniature shrug for K's American Girl doll. I figured it's a good way to try out my ideas on a small scale and see if they work before committing the time and yarn to a full-size garment. 

And it seems it was a good plan! I've already discovered that one of the ideas I had concerning the sleeves isn't a great one. At least not in the sense of making a garment with little or no seaming, anyway. This is how I was going to make the sleeves, originally:      

But to achieve the look that I want (i.e., the back piece having vertical rows instead of horizontal, if that makes sense to you. :) See the completed work here for clarity), I realized that this sleeve shaping wouldn't work well for a shrug. A sweater...sure! Though making the sleeves first is probably a bass-ackwards way of doing it. :)

Who knows? Maybe the mini-shrug will turn out cute enough for me to share the pattern for other American Girl dolls! :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Wheels are Turning

I knitted up a test swatch last night to see what needle size I'm going to use and which yarn. My choices on yarn are limited to what I've got on hand...I really can't justify going to buy a nicer yarn right now. Not with how many skeins and skeins of yarn I've already got!

I'm planning on making K's shrug with Caron acrylic worsted weight...From a One Pound skein. Apparently I'd started another project using the same skein of yarn, which I realize was going to be an afghan for Little T, but I decided I'll make Little T's afghan another time and frogged it. 

The color will be Off-White and I plan on using size 10 needles, because I'd like it to be a "softer" fabric, vs. a tight-weave. I think I'm also going to knit it in stockinette. I considered garter, but I just really like the clean look of SS better, plus you can see the stitches.

I also think I'm going to knit it in three pieces: the front and back as all one piece, then the sleeves. I hate seaming, so my plan is just pick up stitches and knit the sleeves on in the round.

I have it in my head that I'd like to trim the wrists with  something fun. My original thought was to use this feathery marabou stuff that I'd bought for an older project (but ended up not using it), but realize that this will make washing the shrug a little difficult, if not impossible. Unless I make the cuffs detachable...

Plus, I have this box full of eyelash yarn...which would add little splashes of color to the shrug. And, if I go with the detachable cuff idea, she could mix and match her cuffs to go with whatever outfit she chose to pair the shrug with!

Anyway, I need to take some more measurements of K and then figure out my plan of attack on the front/back piece. The sleeves will be cake... But the front/back... that'll be a little different....

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm a...designer?!

We've been having a cold front in Southern California...lots of needed rain (thank goodness) and quite chilly for this part of the country.

This morning, my family dressed to go to church and my 10 year old daughter emerged from her room wearing....a sun dress. Perplexed, I asked her if she wasn't going to be cold and she replied "Well, I don't have any little sweaters that fit me anymore."

Which got me to thinking "Shrug!" A little white or off-white shrug would have been perfect with her outfit.

After church, I spent some time browsing through several shrug patterns (I'm cheap...I go for the freebie patterns), but none of them are exactly what I'm envisioning in my head for her.

So, now I've got it in my head to make a custom shrug for her! I've started by taking several measurements of her arms, her back, her wrists, etc. And tonight, when things have settled down (i.e., normal housework and chores) and I have time to relax, I'm going to knit up a swatch using some yarn from my stash (I seriously need to use up a LOT of the yarn I've been collecting over the years...sadly, none of it is "good" yarn...such as wool, or the 'expensive''s all pretty much acrylic and acrylic blends) to determine my gauge and then set to work!

This'll be my first foray into designing...or at least making up my own pattern. :) Stay tuned!