Friday, November 28, 2014

Tunisian Holiday Stripes Potholder

When I decided I wanted to learn Tunisian Crochet, I went a little crazy and picked up just about every book I could find because I just couldn't master the stitches. After hitting a wall I put them aside knowing I needed a little human interaction to get through my block. After returning from my class I picked up Learn Tunisian Crochet (Tiger Road Crafts) (Volume 2) and decided to work through the first potholder pattern in the book because it seemed like something I could handle. The front of the potholder was made in Tunisian Simple Stitch and the back in Tunisian Knit Stitch.

The simple stitch is a favorite of mine. I still struggle with tightness, but the stitch is as advertised, simple. The knit stitch is finally starting to come along for me, but again, tension is an issue and I have to work on keeping it from getting too tight.

I did find at least with working with the cotton, switching from the bamboo to the metal made sliding the yarn a bit easier. I have been experimenting with different kinds of long handles for the moment and while I thought I'd like the bamboo, I have been having trouble with the cotton not sliding as well as it does on the Bates metal ones.

I was not familiar with Tiger Crafts or the author, but the price was reasonable. I was very impressed with the quality of the pictures. For those looking for formal Tunisian directions, this will likely disappoint. The directions are very simple but the pictures are some of the best I've seen for figuring out hook placement, looking at what the stitches are supposed to look like when finished, and basic explanations for how to complete your tasks. This was my ultimate beginners guide.

I will say I did use cotton instead of the Red Heart Super Saver yarn as suggested as I plan on using them as hot pads. They do come out a bit smaller than I am used to for hot pads. However, for practice the stitch count is a good size.

I have started on the Basket Weave pattern and am trying to decide if it will be a dishcloth or a potholder when I'm finished.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Peter and Patty Pilgrim

I received this pattern from Crochet Spot as a gift some time ago. I adapted it to make holiday ami's for a swap, but never got back to making the original Peter and Patty Pilgrim as found in the pattern you can purchase here.

This was my final Thanksgiving project for the year. I had a couple of others I dug out that will have to wait until next year for me to get to them. It is time to get on those Christmas projects.

This is a fun project. The boy and girl work up differently. That being said, I made the boy even more different by choosing to alter the way the legs were made so I didn't have to sew them on. That wasn't possible with the way the girl was constructed. That is why she is considerably shorter than he. I was Ok with that. It was fun to work on the different styles of construction.

While I had adapted the boy's pattern previously to make animal Pilgrim decorations, this was my first attempt at making the girl and I was pleased with it. My house is looking considerably more festive for our Thanksgiving celebration with some new decorations. Perhaps next year I can add a few more.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tunisian Crochet Dishcloth Sampler

I went to Fiber Fest New England on November 1 and had a wonderful experience. One of the best things about the trip was taking a beginners Tunisian Crochet class with Heather McQueen. I knew going in I was likely never going to finish the assigned project. My goal was to work through the hurdles that had blocked me from learning the basic stitches. Heather was great and stayed and helped those of us who were struggling until we could figure out where the hook was supposed to go so our stitches looked like the sampler she had made of the pattern she'd given us to practice.

I avoided the pattern and decided to just stick with the stitches so I'd gain the maximum value of her time. It would do me no good to finish the first section of the pattern and still not know how to complete most of the major stitches. Even after the class I recognized one of my major faults was I stitched too tight. It likely comes from years of working ami projects where tight is a goal not a problem.

When I came home I started searching for a dishcloth pattern that would help me practice my Tunisian stitches and I came across not just a pattern, but an amazing free tutorial from Maxine Pike that took me even farther than my class did. You can find the pattern here.

This time the stitches are both tight and sometimes too loose. I'm working on finding a balance between really tight and too loose as I learn the basics of the stitches. There was a battle going on, but I didn't give up and I did manage to learn the mechanics of the stitches. That is a huge break through for me because I just couldn't figure some of them out before taking the class.

This first dishcloth isn't a work of art, but I proudly display it here because after over a year of trying to learn the basic Tunisian stitches, I have gotten through a sampler in which I made quite a few of the basic stitches. I had tried videos and DVD's but I needed a human who could explain not what they wanted to tell me, but what I couldn't understand. I hope this encourages others to keep trying. You can eventually find someone who can help you find the way.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rainbow Block Afghan

One of the dogs' groomers was expecting a baby boy and I wanted a fun and quick blanket to work up. I started one, but it just didn't work for me. Then I came across an e-pattern at Leisure Arts for the Rainbow Block Crochet Afghan. I liked the pattern and it worked up quickly. It appears to have been a hit with the gift recipient when DH dropped it off when the dogs got groomed in October. Yes, I admit this time of year I get incredibly behind in posting projects. This year has been particularly crazy.

However, at least I am still finishing projects, even if I'm slow to get them posted.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crochet Pilgrim Bears

Back in November of 2010, I made a set of these Pilgrim Bears using an adapted out of print Annie's Attic pattern, 8B040. It was hard to send them off to their new homes, but I did, always believing I'd get back to making myself another pair. Well this year I got to thinking about how fast Thanksgiving disappears with the long Halloween season and the rush to Christmas. So, I decided I'd try to make something special that I would have to remember not just this holiday, but hopefully many more Thanksgivings to come.

Most of the adaptations I made to the pattern are in the face. The Annie's pattern has a cute almost cartoon face, but I like the simpler face I chose for my bears. After having made the ears for the first set that stick out, I opted against that for this pair. I just didn't like the look as much as I do the way they look in my revised set. I also stuck with one color for the face this time and that seemed to be a better choice too, looking back at the older pictures.

The pumpkins are from a Mary Maxim kit I made in 2012. I put them out when the Halloween stuff comes out and keep them out through Thanksgiving. I love the colors.

I'm working on a Pilgrim Boy at the moment. I just need to make his arms and sew them on. As time is running out, I'm not sure if I will attempt his sister this year. However, when the season started I had no hope of starting the bears so I feel pretty good about the additions I've made to our Thanksgiving decorations.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shivers D Snowman Ornament

I posted the ornament I sent for Crochetville's Ornament Swap, yesterday. Today I'm posting the beautiful ornament I received. I love snowmen. In fact, I've been known to keep out the non-Christmas snowmen through the winter just to keep the house festive through the dark snowy days. I was delighted when my very thoughtful partner sent me pictures of three ornaments to choose from that she had created. However, then it became very hard to choose.

DH helped me settle the matter, by putting in the deciding vote based on my love for the snowguys.

I want to send out a very public Thank You to my partner who made this swap so much fun. This was truly a delightful bit of fun in a crazy season.

For those of you interested in Shivers, he is an e-pattern available for purchase through Mary Maxim here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Turtle Ornament

I participated in Crochetville's Ornament swap this year. I decided on a turtle theme for my partner, but to my surprise, I couldn't find a turtle Christmas ornament pattern. I've been down this road making holiday themed ami's using Barbie clothing, so I set out to see if I could find a small turtle that would be suitable for an ornament.

The pattern for the turtle is the free Tiny Striped Turtle found here. I tried a couple of striping options before settling on Hobby Lobby's Christmas variegated. I liked the way it patched. I made the hat using an out of print Barbie pattern.

I've found over the years, doll patterns can adapt to ami's and in this case ornaments to create some fun holiday outfits. Once you get an idea of how to certain accessories like hats, they become easier to adapt to different sized heads.

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