Thursday, April 5, 2018

Crochet Toy Sugar Bowl

I've been continuing on my donation tea set project. I finished up the sugar bowl from Amigurumi Two!: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Too but I made some adjustments. I find hollow toys tend to collapse which is why I stuffed and closed the tea pot.

However, I didn't want to close off the sugar bowl. Instead I crocheted a white circle and sewed it into the sugar bowl to hold in the stuffing and to create the illusion of sugar in the bowl. I've done this when making play toy drink cups for younger family members when they went through their toy food phases. It is an effective strategy for giving some strength to the item and providing a little extra imaginative fun with an inserted color for milk or juice. I like the way this worked out. I have the tea cups, saucers, cookie plates, and cookies still to make.

This set will be a fun addition to my annual toy donation.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Crochet Toy Tea Pot

I got inspired to add food and food related items to my toy donation and it sent me back into books, leaflets, and patterns I own to try to see what fun stuff I could add to my donation. This teapot comes from Amigurumi Two!: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Toowhich I was sad to find had gone out of print. I rather love her books and they are my favorite ami books on my shelf. I guess this means I will just have to take better care of them as it will be harder to replace them.

This was a great stash busting project as I finished off the last of a pink Caron Pounder that had been hanging on for some time. One challenge I have with making containers in crochet is I find without putting some kind of container or reinforcement inside it doesn't hold it shape unless it is stuffed. This pattern didn't call for either. I made the decision to stuff my tea pot and sew the cover on as I was concerned it would likely not stay on even if I crocheted a cover for the top of the pot to keep the stuffing inside.

I've started work on the sugar bowl and am thinking about experimenting with a plan that might allow me to stuff the container and still allow the cover to come on and off to allow maximum pretend play with the play spoons and the sugar bowl. I'll have to see what happens as I move forward.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Easter Bunny Brought Crochet

The Easter Bunny hopped on by and left me a basket of new patterns and a new e-book of food patterns. Who knew the Bunny knew about gifting Amazon books.

I've got some great new items to work on for my toy donation project and some patterns I'm going to be using for a family member's birthday that will be coming up this summer.

Food Patterns

Big Book of Amigurumi. Over 85 patterns!

Cookie Baking

Grocery Shopping

Lemonade Play Set

Gift patterns


Stacking Bunny

18 Inch Doll clothes


Dolly Halter Dress

Monday, April 2, 2018

Baby Doll Diaper Bags

Crochetville's Wishlist came through again to help me with my doll donation project. These doll diaper bags arrived from a Polish Fairy Godmother last Tuesday. Now I just have to make the items to fill them up before the deadline which usually arrives around Thanksgiving. This is such a relief as I really don't like making bags. These are so adorable and will make some little girls quite happy.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Itty Bitty Easter Dolls

As I mentioned in my St. Patrick's Day Itty Bitty Doll post I love decorating with the holiday Itty Bitty dolls. Sadly, I'm not much good at making the clothes. Thankfully, Mom is a knitter and she has been making me the holiday kits for my birthday and Christmas presents. It was fun this year to open up the Easter decoration boxes and find these waiting.

For those of you who are interested, you can purchase the Mary Maxim kit here. There is a new Easter set out with bunny and chick costumes I'm hoping to talk Mom into making here.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Crochet Easter Basket

I looked at a number of free patterns and even made one that I hope to post later that turned out to be a very small basket before finding this free pattern here. I chose this pattern for several reasons, but the most important I will say was the size. I wanted something that would hold the half dozen crochet Easter Eggs I made for my Easter box. While there were several cute options, many of them were small and I wanted the eggs to be able to hang out for the holidays in a container so they wouldn't get in the way.

While the pattern called for DK weight, I used acrylic worsted weight for this project and I liked the heavier weight for the basket, I thought it made it sturdier and able to handle the work of an Easter basket. The challenge I had was the handle. I think the double yarn for the worsted weight was too bulky. If I make this again, I might find a lighter sport or DK weight in a complimentary color to make the handle. That being said it is a tough little handle and since I sewed it on pretty tight it should last a while.

Another thing that drew me to this pattern was the basket weave stitch. While crocheting with 2 strands doing the front post and back post stitches was hard on my already worn hands, I loved the texture and look of the basket when it was completed. It had a nice classic look to it.

As always I'd like to thank those who donate their patterns as these patterns do make my gifting dollars go farther.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Easter Lovey

I finished this up last week. The free pattern can be found here.

The pattern calls for DK yarn. For best results I would suggest DK or sport yarn. I only had worsted on hand and while fine for the chicken it was a little heavy for the blanket. I used Knit Picks cotton sport yarn for the chicken's details. Worsted yarn would have been a little heavy based on the directions given for the beak, feet, and coxcomb. I did use the white worsted for his wings. This is a fun cute project and would be a great Easter gift to keep a little one comforted and entertained during Easter celebrations.

I only need one more lovey and my year long project will be complete. I'm thinking of adapting one of the projects from Snuggle and Play Crochet: 40 Amigurumi Patterns for Lovey Security Blankets and Matching Toys that my DH bought me for Valentine's Day. The last one will be a Patriotic themed one for the July 4th holiday. I've already located some great board books for the set. I haven't decided on the rest of the set. When I start up again in for Halloween I'll be making mostly ami's and eventually perhaps doll clothes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Crochet Easter Eggs

Crochet Easter Eggs are a quick fun holiday project and a great way to use up both acrylic and cotton kitchen scraps. There are plenty of free patterns out there if you search. There are simple eggs like these and beautiful decorative eggs.

It had been a few years since I'd made the eggs and I experimented with a few patterns and finally pulled up the last blog entry I made talking about making Easter Eggs to find out what pattern I had used. Sure enough it sent me back to Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochetbecause I like the larger sized simple eggs for kids. Made with vareigated kitchen cotton or acrylic scraps they make fun decorations or Easter toys. I know several of the ones I've made over the years have ended up in some rousing Easter games. They can be used in Egg hunts and toss games and unlike the plastic or other decorative eggs they don't break apart or hurt when they get tossed at someone.

I know some people like to crochet covers for the plastic eggs, but I prefer not to worry about the plastic cracking inside when the eggs get a little rough treatment. When I stuff them the worst that happens is they get squished. Occasionally the dogs chew through one when they get left on the floor and I have to replace it, but I don't have to worry about plastic shards coming out and hurting anyone.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Crochet Eggster Bunny

It is wonderful to be part of a supportive online crochet group. When I started posting about my Easter projects a good friend posted a link to the free Crochet Eggster Bunny pattern which you too can find here. I already had another pattern in mind to make for the last ami for the Easter box. However, once I saw the Eggster Bunny there was no going back. It was definitely the choice for the last ami project.

You will clearly notice differences between my bunny and the pattern authors. First I am determined to finish off my stash yarn, so when I discovered I didn't have appropriate off white yarn, I went with white. I also wasn't crazy about the yolk colored accents, so I went with traditional pink. I had this ball of purple yarn I've been dying to finish off so it seemed like an ideal project to use it on and while it isn't finished I made a good dent. I chose not to stuff the feet. I found the balance was better with flat feet. It's always a choice you make when you create amis. Lastly, for the nose and the buttons I used size 10 crochet thread.

My egg just came out wider than I'd expected, but I loved it. The designer has a more rounded egg look, but I fell in love with my egg bunny. At some point I really want one for myself.

A thank you to the designer for her pattern. I was so impressed with the level of detail and the pictures included. I learned some new tricks, especially about embroidering the nose. I also appreciated the pictures about where to join and the up close pictures that let me count holes to make sure I knew where her pieces were located. It made putting the bunny together much easier.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Raccoon Potholder

I took a break from my holiday boxes to put together a potholder from Annie's Crochet Showcase of Needlecraft Potholder Potpourri. I love this old collection of Potholders and it has provided a great deal of inspiration for Crochetville's wishlist this year. The original was made in browns, but I wanted to find grey kitchen cotton for my project. It was a bit challenging finding shades of grey, but but I was pleased to find light and darker grey available if I was willing to order online. I did find some lighter grey available locally.

The original pattern used plastic safety eyes, I decided to crochet mine as I didn't want them to be a hazard in the kitchen. I also had to rework the nose section as the designer and I clearly weren't communicating and after 2 attempts of following the pattern I decided it was time to work on something that would work for me. I'm not sure when this will be heading off to its new home as I am not quite sure if it needs something else and I am focused on getting my Easter project out the door.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Claudia Cottontail

Claudia Cottontail is an adaptation of a Caolyn Christmas pattern found in an out of print Needlecraft Shop Book, Crochet Private Collection. The book was originally published in 1999 for those of you who might be interested in finding it.

My Claudia is slightly different from the author's. For one thing I don't have experience with soft sculpture needles and decided to forge ahead and make a more traditional ami. This is a skill I'd like to learn more about, but this is a time sensitive challenge and I needed to move forward.

I started with the suggestion of worsted weight yarn for this bunny, but it was huge. I ended up using some lighter sport weight yarn I'd bought previously. This caused a challenge when it came to cloth the bunny. I started with lighter weight cotton sport yarn I had on hand. However, Miss Cottontail was larger in the chest area and that required a medium white sport weight yarn to get the dress to fit in the bodice as it was too tight with the lighter weight sport yarn.

This one of those patterns I'd have loved to see the back side for both the dress and the hat. I think it would have helped with my on the fly adaptations. However, you work with what you get. The details were cute with this pattern. This bunny is quite modest as she has panties that remind me of the old fashioned pantaloons. I used a draw string to help make mine fit a bit better at the waist, but I thought they made a cute addition to the pattern.

I started this pattern well before the St. Patrick's Day box left but I ran into problems when I realized I needed more Knit Picks sports yarn as I'd fully intended to use worsted weight for the bunny and some heavier weight sport yarn I had on hand for the dress. Since I had to order yarn the project to a back seat until my order arrived. However, it will be ready to mail before my deadline and that is what really matters.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Baby Hat

I've been branching out this year and trying some new projects. I've made doll hats, but never a baby hat. The Bibs & Bonnets leaflet that I got the pattern for the Shamrock bib also had a hat. Since I'd not made one before it seemed worth a try. One of the challenges of working with out of print patterns is the yarn used in the original pattern is often been discontinued. Even when you have a gauge there is no guarantee you have have the right yarn. You kind of have to play with it a bit to make it work. My first attempt will end up being donated as a doll's hat once I make a dress to go with it. As I said making gauge does not ensure a good match for the project.

Once I understood the directions for the brim, the second hat worked up easier.

Pattern notes:

I used Knit Picks Brava Dublin and Peapod yarn for the hat. The hat pattern had a shamrock decoration for the hat, but it was kind of thick and heavy so I decided to use the shamrock pattern from the bookmark I made previously. You can find the pattern here.

I am no fan of sewing so instead of crocheting the light green insert and sewing it in, I used the open row of stitches from row 11 and did a row of dc and then a row of sc to provide the hat band. It didn't provide the texture of the original pattern, but it was much easier than the prescribed pattern directions.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Shamrock Bib

I was looking for something cute to add to my St. Patrick's Day Holiday box and I came across an out of print House of White Birches leaflet Bibs & Bonnets leaflet. The leaflet includes hats and bibs for Halloween, Thanksgiving, First Birthday, Santa, July Fourth, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and Sunday Best.

Charts are always a challenge for me, but I have been working on improving my skills this year and challenging myself to take baby steps outside my comfort zone. This was a good project for that as the chart was small and thus not too challenging to work. The tough part was finding coordinating colors because my search for soft cotton didn't find two greens, so I ended up with using knit picks cotton and acrylic and the transitions weren't all I'd hoped for, but I still think I came out with a cute product.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Nobby Scrubby

I've been looking for different kinds of kitchen items to crochet for a friend who is putting together items for a basket to donate. Another friend sent me a link for this free pattern which you can find here. These work up quickly and are good for targeted scrubbing jobs in the kitchen. Even with my big hands I was able to get three fingers into the hand section. This allows you to apply a little more pressure as you are cleaning.

Just a few notes for myself. The pattern requires you to work two pieces of cotton kitchen yarn together, so you need to make sure you have two available to use. You can use two separate skeins or roll two balls, but it isn't easy to work from both ends. Second, check your guage for this project. Gauge can be off when you work with multiple skeins. I had to go from the required J hook to a K to make gauge. If I hadn't the pocket for my hand would have been too small and the cleaning area would have been almost useless.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Piggy Scrubber

I posted a few days ago about finding pink scrubbies so I could make the pig in the 25 Fun Dishcloths To Crochetleaflet. I had an appointment that required waiting yesterday, so getting the dishcloth part of this pattern done was a great choice for a project that I could do with minimum attention while still feeling I was getting something finished.

This is the first time I've tried to sew a scrubby to a dishcloth. The sewing was easier than I expected as the stitches blended well into the mesh. Embroidering the nose proved to be a little more challenging as the location for the nose and the mesh didn't align perfectly, but I still believe it came out rather cute.

Now for my project notes. I added a back to this dishcloth which makes it about the weight of a potholder, especially with the scrubby. I did this for two reasons. First, I am not the neatest sewer in the world, so with sewing all the pieces on and embroidering the nose, the back is not as pretty as I'd like it to be, especially for a project that is going for a donation basket. My second reason for creating a back for this was to protect the scrubby. Once you sew the nose to the dishcloth the scrubby weighs down on the dishcloth just a bit. With the additional support from the back it is a stronger piece and I hope likely to rip.

In order to make the back I followed the first 7 rows of the pattern. I didn't end off the yarn and I crocheted the two pieces together crocheting behind the ears picking up the stitches to close the opening. The ears actually look cuter this way. There is no second set of ears, only the round circle.

Last note, this pattern called for a size 7 hook. I do have one, but it wasn't in my travel kit. I used my h hook and I was happy with the results.

As I mentioned before this dishcloth is headed off to a friend's kitchen donation. I'm having a great deal of fun exploring different kitchen patterns in between my other projects.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Crochet Turkey Dinner

My Valentine's post mentioned I received this pattern from my wonderful DH for Valentine's and I've been trying to find a some free time in my crochet schedule to get it made. These are fairly small patterns that work up quickly and give you a fun little crochet meal for your little ones to play with anytime, but especially at a holiday meal when you need distractions. While this one is headed into my toy donation box, I do plan on making one to send with the Thanksgiving holiday box. As I said, play food is a great way to distract the children while the adults are busy actually making the edible stuff.

I'm pleased to say I'm adding veggies and full meals along with the fun desserts and junk food I plan on making for the donation project. There really are an increasing variety of toy food patterns out there.

You can purchase this pattern here. The pattern set includes the turkey, asparagus, sweet potato, cranberry sauce, and the salt and pepper shakers I didn't make for this set. I plan on making them when I make a set of condiments.

Now for my notes, the pattern called for an e-hook and since this was my first time trying this I decided I'd go with the suggestion. Next time I'd go with the more traditional g-hook for amigurumi. I think it would have made the overall assembly a bit easier. Don't overstuff, I think this will be less of an issue if I'd had used a larger hook. The pattern calls for red yarn, but the cranberry shade looks better. Maybe it is s a New England thing, but when I pulled the red out to use it I just couldn't do it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Itty Bitty Dolls

I love the holiday 5" dolls but I've never had much luck making the crochet clothes and I'm not a knitter. A friend at Crochetville has sent me some Thanksgiving and Christmas ones and when Mary Maxim started making the knit kits, I talked my Mom into knitting the kits if I bought them and sent them to her. The dolls have added some simple holiday cheer and with help from friends and family I've greatly expanded the holidays I now have dolls to line my mantel during the year.

For those of you interested in purchasing the knitted kit you can find it at Mary Maxim here.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Pink Scrubby

Have you ever decided to make a project and then found yourself stuck on the simplest of materials?

A friend is collecting kitchen items to donate for a raffle and I have been having fun putting together some projects I don't normally make. I've been pulling out old and new books and even picked up some new patterns along the way. One book I picked out of my collection was 25 Fun Dishcloths To Crochet. I had hoped to make the pig pictured on the cover.

I thought the pig was cute and I'd never seen a dishcloth made with a scrubby. Seemed like a straight forward plan to me. After all they sell scrubbies everywhere.

True enough until you decide you care about color. Sure I can get scrubbies, but pink??? That become a scavenger hunt. DH and I hit all the Dollar stores in the area and the local Walmart and they all had scrubbies, but no pink. I searched online and again lots of scrubbies. However, the only pink were hand made and not cost effective for this project. One of the sweet Fairy Godmothers came through at Crochetville with an offer to send me one from her multi-package. Then during a return trip to Walmart the elusive pink seems to have been restocked and I stocked up because if I this works out, I'd like to make more than one.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Bookmark

I wish I had located this pattern before my St. Patrick's Day cards went out, but there is always next year. You can find the free pattern here.

This is not actually a bookmark pattern, but if you leave a long tail before you begin the starting chain you can extend the stem into a bookmark tail. My suggestion is to leave a much longer tail than you think you'll need. I found I needed to add thread as I ran out before I'd finished the length I wanted.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Baby Doll Carrier

After taking a break to let my hands heal up I tackled and finished the second doll carrier for the donation last week. Thanks to a thoughtful Fairy Godmother from Crochetville, I don't need to crochet a blanket for this set as she sent me one as part of our wishlist there. I am grateful as this has let me move on to other projects.

The doll carrier is a free pattern and you can find it here.

Now for my project notes. I fell in love with the color of the Big Twist yarn while at JoAnn's and thought it would be a nice break from working with the Caron Pounders or Red Heart. The yarn is softer and I liked the pale pink color. The softer should have been a sign I'd made the wrong choice. Softer is wonderful for MANY projects, but not the doll carriers, which are trying to create an almost basket to carry the dolls in by using 3 strands of yarn crocheted together. The yarn broke more than once and I've never had this happen with any other brand of acrylic I've used making the doll carriers. That to put it mildly was frustrating. So while I will continue to by Big Twist for other projects, I'm making a note to remind myself that no matter how tempting the colors are I must never buy it again to make the doll carriers.

I am thrilled that the doll carriers are finished for the year. I love the way these come out and next year am planning on sending an additional one to a family member so that will be three in a year, but I never ever find myself sad when I'm done making them as they are extremely tough on the hands and wrists. Three strands is just nasty.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Flower Power Scrubby

As I mentioned in a previous post a friend is collecting kitchen items for her donation project and I thought it would be fun to experiment with projects.

This was another free scrubby pattern I found here. If you haven't worked with plastic scrubby's before and like video tutorials Lily has a great one here. I found both patterns worked better for me when I understood the basics of setting up the foundation row. If this isn't a problem for you than by all means proceed on with your project.

Two notes with this pattern. First is a simple typing mistake that lists (2) round 3's. This is simply fixed by completing all the rounds. Second was pointed out by the author of the pattern. My scrubbies didn't quite fit the pattern she created. I tried increasing the size of my hook but at a certain point gaps appeared making the appearance look bad. I didn't want to change to dc as I felt hdc would likely last longer for the type of job being handled. So I simply followed the pattern adding an additional row with additional stitches in the row. It made it a bit more challenging when it came to joining it in that 36 stitches tends to be the standard joining to a scrubby, but I made it work and the additional leaves didn't seem to be an issue either. I liked the way it turned out for my project.

I don't use plastic scrubbies much these days as I found the free Spiral Scrubbie pattern here. This has been my go to pot scrubber and all around general cleaner for some time now. However, what I liked about the Flower Power Scrubby was I suppose a plus and a negative. On the plus size I liked that it gave me a place where you can hold it and scrub without the abrasive portion of the scrubby attacking your hand. On the down side you only can use one side of the scrubby. Once sewn in you only get to use the outward side. Once it is worn down, it is done. Then again I use my crochet goods. I'm not some of these aren't just for decorative purposes.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Scrubby Posey

A friend has asked for kitchen items for her donation project and so I've been having fun experimenting with projects I don't normally try for myself. I was looking for projects I could make while watching the Olympics so it had to be something that I could do that didn't require maximum focus and I came across patterns made with plastic scrubbies. While I was out picking up kitchen cotton for another project, I also made sure I picked up a package of scrubbies to see if I could even work with them successfully.

This is a free pattern available from Lily here. If you've never crocheted with the plastic scrubbies before, the Lily site has a video tutorial on the same page as the pattern that I found rather helpful in explaining how to get your hook through the mesh and how to get the first row established evenly. I had concerns about ripping the mesh, but the video gave some good tips not just for the foundation row, but works through the whole pattern with you.

This is a great scrap project to finish off cotton left over from other projects. These work up quickly and are great for little gifts or for craft fundraisers.

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