Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Our Halloween turned out to be really great. When I first put Gibson in his costume a few weeks ago, he was very unhappy with it. It had a hat, which he was not having any part of wearing, and it had little footies built in, which he hated, and it had long sleeves, which he has decided are the antichrist. I didn't think I would get to dress him up at all this year. But then the crafty mama inside took over and I thought "Why let this perfectly good costume sit in my closet untouched when I could cut it up and get some use out of it?" So last night I grabbed my trusty scissors and got to work cutting off the feet and shortening the sleeves. This morning I tried it on him and he seemed to really like it!

He went right to work at his tool bench and hardly even noticed he had a tail!

My dad came over after work and took us to my grandmother's house where we ate hot dogs and the kids played tether ball in the backyard until it got dark enough to go trick or treating. Here's Gibson with his cousin Hally who dressed as a cat.

We also had Buzz Lightyear...

a cheerleader...

a witch and a pirate...

and even Kirby!

All the kids had a great time being all hopped up on sugar even though their trick or treating run returned only one house with a porch light on at all. Bunch of Halloween wussies! But that's ok, my grandmother had plenty of goody bags ready. Gibson did a lot of running...

...and ended up tripping over a curb and knocking a good sized knot on his eyebrow. But a couple of kisses and some Junior Mints cleared that right up. We came home and ate a little more candy and then he ran through the house for thirty minutes screaming "Yay yay yay yay YAAAAAAAAY!" at the top of his lungs. Then promptly passed out. Nothing turned out the way I expected but it was really a wonderful Halloween. Hope you all had a great time as well!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Skull Baby Blanket

One of my best friends from high school, JoAnn, is expecting a baby girl soon. She works in the hospital. I'm not sure what her job title is exactly but she takes x-rays. She likes skulls and skeletons and stuff like that. As do I. So when it came time for me to make baby Jocelyn a blanket, I knew I could not just make any old baby blanket. This blanket had to be special and really, really coooooool. I knew I wanted to incorporate the skull idea somehow and a quick Google search will provide you with tons of skull charts (and other awesomeness) but I ended up using a chart that I proudly bought and paid for in the Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker book. The pattern is called "Skullholders" and they are potholders with a two tone skull on each side. Making them with my smaller yarn and hook made them the perfect size for blanket blocks, besides the fact that they were a little wider than they were tall which is okay.

I whipped up four skull blocks and then decided what else to add. I didn't want it to be all skulls unless they were different colors. I decided to add some stars next. Now if you Google for "star charts" you will end up with something very different, but worthy of bookmarking anyway because that's another extremely cool hobby. However, this is not what I need at the moment. I did a search for star crochet/knit charts (I always include the word knit in my search for charts because you find more and can use them for crochet as well) and turned up crap. So I did another search for star clip art and then I just made my own chart using a nice star image I found in that search.

To make the chart, I opened my star clip art picture in Photoshop. Then I took my handy Doane paper PDF and cut out the amount of blocks I would need using MWSnap which is a screen capture program I have used for years and love love love it! I layered the two images together in Photoshop and filled in the blocks that were touched by the star. Simple! You can get the Doane paper in JPG or PDF format from their website. Just click on Free Downloads. It comes in handy for tons of stuff, too. Four hours later I had two star blocks for the blanket.

At this point I began to lay the blocks out and decide how I'd like to arrange them. With the final placement I chose, I only needed two star blocks. All that was left now was to fill in the gaps with simple single crochet blocks in a variegated yarn.

After finishing all the blocks, I joined them with single crochet and began a double crochet border of four rows. The skull and star blocks took about two hours each to make and the variegated blocks took about an hour. The border probably took me... oh... maybe three hours? So this was almost a 24 hour project. Of course, I have a two year old so this 24 hours was done an hour here and an hour there. I started this project on August 26th! I made some of the blocks while on camping trips. But I couldn't blog about it until JoAnn got it because I didn't want her to see it. Now that she's got it, I can show it to you.

I used a 4mm "G" hook (because I have three different sized "G" hooks, what is up with that? lol) and three colors of Bernat Softee Baby yarn: White, Soft Lilac, and Pink Parade. These are the same colors that I used to make a star baby blanket for my - I always want to call her a cousin but she's not actually my cousin, she's my great aunt's grand daughter so I have no idea what she is to me - Alicia who had a baby girl named Harley just a few months ago.

Rag Rug

A couple of weeks ago I asked my grandmother to keep an eye out for old sheets she didn't want anymore. I've never done any crocheting with other materials such as cloth or plastic bags, etc. and I thought a rag rug would be the perfect addition to my dad's RV. Last Saturday my grandmother delivered the goods (three sheets she no longer needed) and tonight I set about cutting one of them into one inch strips and winding it into a ball.

The cutting went much faster than I expected but I still only managed to get two-thirds of it cut before my neck and back needed a break. Now I have to get my hands on a "Q" hook, find the pattern I saw that inspired me in the first place, and finish cutting up my sheet. I'm hoping I can have it ready for our next camping trip which will be some time in November.

I've also got four spools of streamer ribbon I've been dying to try out but I have no idea what to make with something that will end up being so stiff. If you have any suggestions please leave me a comment.

Chakra Purse Started

Last Saturday, my aunt mentioned that she would like to have a crocheted purse. So of course, I set out to find a good pattern to make her one for Christmas. This was the idea behind the Fat Bottom Bag I made a couple of days ago. But it turned out to be way too small so I decided to give the Chakra Purse a try. I've had my eye on this pattern for quite some time. But I've run into a slight problem. It's lopsided. I'm pretty sure I know what I did wrong but that doesn't much help me now. If you look in the picture you will notice a distinct slant at the top right of the piece. The problem is, there is supposed to be a slant at the top left as well! But my left side is quite straight. Sigh.

The stitch pattern is... not difficult... but let's say intricate. It took me two hours to do that little piece you see there. So I do NOT want to have to rip it back out. I'm hoping I can hide the mistake as I go on, since this is the back of the purse and I will later add sides and gusset. I'm pretty sure I can hide it when I add the sides. Or if not, I'm hoping it won't be that noticable. Because I am not going to frog it and I'm not ready to give up.

I'm using Caron Simply Soft yarn in Plum Wine and a "G" hook. The pattern calls for a "D" hook but I laughed hysterically at that. Not that you shouldn't use a "D" but with the way I crochet combined with this super splitty yarn... I don't think so. I tried at first with an "F" and it was completely not working but now with the "G" it's much better. And looks like it might be a better size for my needs as well.

Bath Sets Continued

I'm making some bath sets for Christmas gifts, as you saw a few days ago, and along with the wash cloths I have made some soap savers. These were really quick to whip up and they're very pretty. You can find the free pattern here: Five Piece Bath Set. (Edit: apparently the website is gone now) I'm strongly considering making the back scrubber from that page as well but I'm deciding between two patterns. (Edit: guess I'm not anymore!) More on that in a few days.

I used an "H" hook and Bernat Handicrafters Cotton yarn in Tumbleweed. Now all I've got to do is drop in the individually wrapped bars of soap and tie it in a pretty little bow. And probably include a note to unwrap the soap before use, just in case! haha I think I'm going to make myself one of these in the Desert Cactus color. Even though I don't use bar soap, I think it would be fun to try it out. Making these made me want to get some tulle and make some sachets. Mmmm girly smell good stuff.

Fat Bottom Girls...

I made my first Fat Bottom Bag yesterday. This pattern comes from the book Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. I used an "I" hook, Bernat Handicrafters Cotton yarn in Desert Cactus, and some bamboo D-ring handles. I really liked this pattern, it was quick and easy to make. But if I make another one I'm going to make it a bit bigger. However, I do need Christmas presents for three little girls in my family so I might make a couple more this size. The only problem I have now is trying to make a lining. I can't remember if the book offers instructions on making a lining or not, for some reason I think it does. So I'll have to check that out but not tonight. Too many other projects to work on right now.

I really love the feel of a finished product made with cotton yarn. I've got to get some more in solid colors!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bathroom Sets Started

I've decided to make a few bathroom sets as Christmas gifts. I figure I'll include some washcloths, soap savers, back scrubbers, and whatever else I can find to go with. So far I have made a washcloth and a half. The washcloths are made in Tunisian with a simple single crochet border. I used a size J Tunisian hook for the main body and a size H hook for the border and I'm using Bernat Handicrafters Cotton yarn in Tumbleweed. I also have this yarn in Desert Cactus and I will probably make a set or two in that color as well.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Goodbye Apple, Hello Moon!

I've decided to give up on my Candy Apple Shrug. It was turning out very thick and I would probably never wear it. I can't find the blue yarn I need to finish it anywhere. And it was getting to be mind numbingly boring to make. So I've decided to frog it and use that beautiful grey yarn in a project all by itself and really show off the color.

So a couple of days ago I started a new project: the Half Moon Shawl using Bernat Satin Solids in Grey Mist Heather. I'm using an "I" hook instead of the "N" called for because I just can't see using an "N" hook on a yarn this small. I like my crochet to be neat and tight and not full of gappy holes, although this may cause some thickening as far as my drape is concerned. I still think once it wears a little it will be better than being all loose looking in the begining. I don't know, blame it on OCD.

In any event, here is what I've done so far. I'm sure because of the smaller hook I will end up having to do some extra repeats of the pattern to get the length I need but I think it's looking nice so far. Can't decide if I should keep this for myself or give it as a Christmas gift.

Halloween Pumpkin

One year ago today my world changed forever when my mother passed away. Halloween was always her (and my) favorite holiday so I decided to make this cute little pumpkin for her. I ran a floral stem up through the bottom of it and I'm going to place it at her headstone with the rest of the flowers. The pattern is from Planet June and it's really quick and easy. I used the same yarn that I used to make Jason's hat in the previous post: Caron Simply Soft in Mango and Vanna's Choice in Olive.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jason's Hat

After seeing the hat I made for our son, my boyfriend requested that I make him one in "the most hideous orange" yarn I could find, which turned out to be Caron Simply Soft in Mango. I used the same little boy's pattern and just started out a bit longer and added some repeats of the pattern sections. Well, several repeats actually because his head is huge, lol. It still turned out a little short so I added a brim in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Olive. Stitching the hat up at the top left a little hole which I covered with a dot of green. He picked both the colors and I think they look great together.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bucket Hat

Today I whipped up a little hat for myself. I have had my eye on this pattern for about a week now - John's Favorite Bucket Hat from The Purl Bee. Aside from being adorable it was also a great excuse to use my N hook which I've never used before! I didn't have any yarn big enough for the N so I held together two strands of Lion Brand Wool-Ease that I've had lying around forever, just waiting for the perfect project. The color is called Wheat. I've got enough left over to make a matching purse!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Boo Benefit This Weekend!

This weekend is the Boo Benefit in Jefferson, Texas. It's an annual biker rally to raise money for burn victims and it is the event that my mother was on the way to when she had the accident and subsequently passed away last year. They are going to honor her with a moment of silence and there will be plenty of fun activities including a concert by The Marshall Tucker Band. Donations will be made to several places including Camp I'm Still Me, a place where burn survivors as young as five years old can just be themselves for a week and not have to worry about looking a little different.

If you're wondering what to do this weekend, hop on your bike (don't forget your helmet!) and go check out this event. It really is a wonderful cause and a great time. You could even win a bike and a trailer! These kids need your support to lead normal lives and get much needed medical supplies.

Also in Jefferson is the haunted Jefferson Hotel, a place where my mother loved to stay. I went there with her twice and really had a great time. They have this picture of her and my dad displayed in their lobby. This was taken in front of the hotel a few years ago.

(pic is clickable)

Jefferson is a beautiful town with great places to eat and it's very close to Caddo Lake and a little place called Uncertain, Texas which I hope to procure a souvenir t-shirt from this weekend.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gibson's Hat

Over the last couple of days my son has been taking toys from the toy box, placing them on his head and saying "hat". I smile and say "no, that's not a hat" as he reaches for another toy. He puts it to his head and says "hat". So okay, I guess it's time to make this boy a hat!

I looked through my collection of crochet pdf files and found the perfect little winter hat for him - the Boy's Crocheted Hat by Marty Miller, from Coats & Clark. This pattern is adorable and works up quickly. I made it this afternoon using some Red Heart Blue Camouflage yarn and an "I" hook. In fact, the very "I" hook I was taught to crochet on so many years ago when I was just eight years old.

I think I'd like to try making this one for myself in a solid color that will really show off the ridges. It's a beautiful pattern and one I'm glad to have in my inventory for I will surely be using it again. In fact, this could be a great Christmas gift for some of the boys on my list!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Armies Progress and Some WIP Ideas

I added a few more rows to my Armies today. I am really loving this color.

I'm almost finished with my super secret baby blanket. I can't show you pictures because the person I'm giving it to may look at this blog. But as soon as she gets it, I will post some pictures. I'm so glad it's almost complete!

My boyfriend said he would like to have a pullover type vest so I finally get to crochet something for him! I'm excited but I'm having trouble finding a pattern for a man's vest. I've only found two and he didn't really like those much. I think I can modify one of them to work for him. As soon as I have the money to get to the craft store, I will let him pick out his yarn. This should be fun.

And of course, I need to get to work on some more Christmas gifts. I have some kitchen items to make and also some purses and alphabet pillows. I will probably start a pillow some time in the next week. And I will probably be making a fat bottom bag for the first time. Looking forward to that.