Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Red Pocket Scarf

It is time to get some Christmas gifts completed. I ordered a bunch of Caron Simply Soft Yarn during a Joann's sale to make scarves for gifts this year. My favorite pattern this year has been a Pocket Scarf pattern I picked up during one of Annie's pattern sales. You can find the pattern here.

I love the texture this pattern creates. I've made two of these scarves so far, one with and one without the pockets and both are very nice. The softness of the Caron Simply Soft Yarn makes for a very soft scarf. While a lighter yarn I still think it will provide some warmth. It won't just be decorative.

I've been alternating between the Simply Soft Paint and Ombres colors to meet the color requirements I have for scarves and have found both seem to work. If you choose to do the pockets, you will need an alternating color.

I like the idea of the pockets for cold days when you either don't have mittens or gloves or you just want a little extra warmth. I purchased Pocket Shawls recently and am looking at making some of those, too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dachshund Santa

We've been having beautiful summer like weather as I prep these posts and I couldn't resist going outside to get the Valentine and Santa pictures. After all why shouldn't Santa enjoy some good weather a bit before the winter chores of Christmas kick in and require all his attention.

As with the Pilgrim Dachshund, I combined a few patterns to create Santa. I started out using a free Lion Brand Pattern found here. I didn't like the way the head looked, so I decided to end the pattern at the neck and use the head, leg, and tail pattern from the Teri Crews' pattern I purchased here. The Santa hat was adapted from an old Barbie pattern found here.

I finished a pocket scarf I hoped to get photographed and posted soon. I've started another one for another family member. I'm trying to get a couple of Halloween projects squeezed in, and I have a front and back post prayer shawl, I'm working on, too. As I finish them I'll get them posted, too.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dachshund Valentine

I got delayed in posting the last two holiday Dachshund's I made, but I'm finally back on track, posting the Valentine's entry. This one required no adaptions. I found the free pattern for Puppy Love here. The pattern was easy to follow and it makes a for a cute Valentine's decoration. The heart ear muffs could easily adapt to other small ami characters if you were looking to create a Valentine's themed ami.

It isn't often I find the ami I want with the holiday theme I want. I was thrilled to find a pattern requiring no adaptations.

I will be posting Santa shortly and after finishing him I had to close the door on this project to move on to other items demanding my time. I'm hoping these dogs will be off help their family settle into their new home soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dachshund Pilgrim

As I mentioned yesterday I've been working on a house warming project for a fellow dog blogger. This is the second ami I've completed for the project. This dog was made using a combination of patterns. I started out using a free Lion Brand Pattern found here. I didn't like the way the head looked, so I decided to end the pattern at the neck and use the head and tail pattern from the Teri Crews' pattern I wrote about yesterday.

For this dachshund I chose some yarn I had been given a while back as it was close to the color of one of her dogs. It was a wool blend and a bit rougher than the acrylic yarn I usually use for my ami's.

The hat was adapted from a free Ken doll pattern found here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dachshund Witch

I recently discovered a fellow dog blogger is relocating and I wanted to send her a fun house warming gift. Every Christmas she writes about the Dachshunds revolting against the Snowmen invasion, so I thought it was time to even the field. It was time to have some of their own holiday decorations.

I decided to start with a Halloween themed Dachshund. During a recent Annie's sale I purchased Terri Crews' Dachshund's pattern found here. I reworked a free Barbie witch hat pattern found here to give the Dachshund his holiday costume.

I didn't get quite the expression and shape I wanted out of this pattern, so I am continuing to explore different ami Dachshund patterns, even combining some to get the best effect possible.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lacework Prayer Shawl

I received a Homespun donation from a very kind woman in AL last week and I decided to start another prayer shawl while I continued to look for the tulip I need to finish another shawl I'm working on.

This pattern comes from The Prayer Shawl Ministry, Volume 2 (Leisure Arts #4622) and I've enjoyed making it before. Despite the weight of the Homespun the pattern makes for a lighter shawl and it is also a relaxing pattern to work on while in distracting circumstances.

It's been hot here and it's only with the AC that I've been able to tolerate the heavier Homespun yarn. It gets warm quickly. I have been neglectful of donating the shawls so I feel compelled to get back to making them along with my doll donations and toys.

I'm working on a holiday ami project at the moment. It is a slightly different style than I'm used to working on, but I'm hopeful of a good outcome and I hope to make a few to cover the holidays. We will have to see how it all works out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Green Prayer Shawl

I started this prayer shawl a year ago and then sort of hit a crochet funk and it took me a while to get crocheting again. When I started again my focus was on getting the dolls ready for the donation, but I kept looking at the sad shawl waiting for me to finish it. A couple of weeks ago when had the chance to go back to my library yarn group, I decided it would be the perfect project to take and finish up.

I adapted the Baptismal shawl from The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion: 37 Patterns to Embrace, Inspire, and Celebrate Life that I purchased a while back. I liked the pattern and realized Homespun would create a warmer, heavier shawl than the one pictured, but I was OK with that knowing it was going to a Prayer Shawl ministry.

I've almost finished a pink shawl using tulip Homespun yarn, but I'm one skein short. The place I normally get my Homespun was out, so I'll have to pursue other alternatives. While I'm waiting, I started another shawl using some yarn sent to me from a wonderful person in AL who no longer works with Homespun.

I found some wonderful patterns during the Labor Day sales and am looking forward to some different kinds of projects after I finish off these Prayer shawls.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Orange Scarf

One of my nephews loves orange, so I was looking for a pattern that would work with some cool variegated Caron Super Soft I discovered. I had recently purchased a pocket scarf pattern, which has a neat texture and without pockets I thought would work for him. You can purchase the pattern here.

Sadly my phone camera didn't do justice to the colors. I hadn't used Caron's Paint or Ombre colors before. Having worked with both recently, I really like the colors have already started a second scarf with a red paint selection for his Mom that will have pockets.

This gives me my first Christmas gift completed. I'm hoping to make a practical and a silly scarf for each.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Choosing Your Crochet Hook

I've read lots of posts over the years on various websites and Blogs as people struggled to find the "best" crochet hook and I've always pushed people to realize that the best hook is the hook that works for you.

Early on when I was first starting I took what ever hooks I could find or were given to me. I didn't know enough about my style to understand how hooks were different or how my style of crocheting would influence the type of hook that would work best for me. After some time I also came to realize the type of projects I worked on also had some impact on the type of hook I wanted to use.

For instance while I love bamboo hooks for afghans, they aren't nearly as effective for ami projects where my stitches are tight and I need a hook that can penetrate those tighter stitches. For that a metal tip is important. However, I learned as time went on a metal tip didn't mean a metal hook. I discovered there are blends. For me, my favorite hook blends metal tips with Bamboo handles. I use the Susan Bates Bamboo handled hooks. I get the style of hook I like with the rounded bamboo handles I love.

Knowing what type of projects you enjoy doing can influence the type of hooks you want. While some hooks will work through any project, some are less versatile. The plastic and wooden hooks I've acquired over the years don't work on all my projects. I've broken a plastic hook and a wooden hook working on ami's when I didn't have a metal tipped hook available. However, they worked fine on scarfs, afghans, and prayer shawls when I've borrowed hooks and that was all that was available to use.

As for the tips there is an ongoing debate you can spend hours engaging in or you can find a Bates and a Boye hook and experiment with the tips yourself. I used them interchangeably when I first started. After a while I found Boye was harder for me to work with and Bates hooks became my standard. Other brands have hooks that tend to fall along the spectrum of hook shapes. Eventually you will find what works for you if you keep your head down and avoid the controversy. I've never seen any proof that using one or the other improves the quality of your work. Each person seems to have a personal connection to way the hook works and thus it is reflected in the work created. Thus, if you are less likely to snag your work, you feel it runs more smoothly with one, etc. you are likely to produce a better piece. It doesn't scientifically prove X hook shape produces a better product.

Handle shapes are another huge issue with crochet hooks. Some of it has to do with how you hold your hook. There are two basic standards for the hook hold, the pencil and the knife. However there are people like me who don't quite fit the mold. My style is closest to the knife. I call it a modified knife hold. As a result the most comfortable style of handle is a round one. The flat styles tend to cause problems for my hands. I originally started with the basic metal Bates hooks, but found I couldn't work with the tiny thread hooks at all. Then I also found my hands cramping just working with yarn and realized a switch was needed. I purchased some different styles of hooks, won some in giveaways, and others were kindly sent to me by online friends.

As I mentioned before I loved the wooden hooks, but they weren't practical for much of the work I did. So comfortable in my hand, I loved the way they fit. While friends had raved about the ergonomics of various flat handled hooks I found my hand and wrist wouldn't adjust to working with my modified knife hold and sent them on to new homes of people who clearly raved about how well they worked for them.

After trying various brands I did find a brand that finally allowed me to do thread work. I was thrilled. I worked on acquiring not just a complete set, but extras since it is always so easy to lose hooks, I wanted some for a travel kit, and I end up loaning them when people visit.

From this experience what I learned is try one of a brand you are interested in before buying a set. It is tempting to buy the set, especially when they are offering a really "good" sale. However, a sale is useless if you are never going to use the hooks. It is easy to get excited when everyone is talking about the latest hook and how much they enjoy using it. Trying one gives you the opportunity to evaluate and determine how it works for you. If it is indeed the dream hook set you've been waiting for another sale will emerge.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

American Girl Lacy Nightgown

This was another of Tara Cousin's patterns that I purchased as a set with my birthday money. You can purchase the pattern here.

I used an elastic again to expand the neck as I found it too tight prior to adding the elastic. This is a cute pattern, but I have other patterns I think I'll be working on next time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

American Girl Tunic and Shorts

A funny thing happened on my way to trying my second set of capris, I ran out of yarn and had to settle for shorts. Since I was making this for a donation I wanted to have different colors for the dolls. I had some Bernat Satin that I wanted to use up and it made gauge for the project. However, it wasn't quite enough to complete the project. So capris became shorts.

For those of you who didn't catch yesterday's post. The pattern is from Shady Lane, Crochet Play Clothes and can be purchased here.

All joking aside this pattern is quite versatile for making a variety of lengths and styles of pants and I plan on using it in the future. I've found a cheap supply of hair bands at the local pharmacy and they are working out well with these patterns. It will make it easier for little hands to get the clothes on and off as well. While you could use regular elastic, the rubber bands don't roll or twist and it does make it easier. I've used the elastic in the past and it works, but I've often had to deal with the twisting.

Barbie and American Girl Doll Free Patterns are listed on my blog at these locations:

Barbie Crochet and Sewing Page

Barbie Knitting Page

Ken Page

Kelly/Skipper Page

American Girl Doll Crochet and Sewing

American Girl Doll Knitting

Doll Blankets and Pillow Patterns

Baby Doll Patterns:

Baby Doll and Cabbage Patch

Additional Doll Patterns also Available on the Holiday Blogs:






Halloween Page


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