Monday, November 30, 2020

First Doll Donation for 2021

Some where along the line Mom and I got our messages crossed. She sent me donations over the summer and I thought we were done for the year. She got busy and the day before Thanksgiving there was a rather large box at my door filled with doll clothing. Since the donation has already left for this year I have almost a complete bag of doll clothes for the Our Generation doll started for next year.

I was on the fence as to whether I was going to switch to the My Life dolls next year instead of doing both as most of the donations fit the My Life Doll but Mom's fit the Our Generation doll best so the day before Thanksgiving I found a pre Black Friday sale and got a buy one get one half off and already have my Our Generation dolls for next year's donation. Mom is promising more clothes before next year's deadline. I also find sometimes an outfit I make does fit one doll better than the other so it doesn't hurt to have both to send off.

While most items on this blog are crochet, as our most of the items donated for the toy drive from our group, Mom is the only knitter.

Mom sent me her first baby doll outfit. She is interested in making more so I picked up some patterns a Mary Maxim's $.99 sale the day before Thanksgiving for the different sized baby dolls I send. I also found her a few new 18" doll patterns as well. One of the free crochet bloggers that I get baby doll patterns from also makes knitted patterns so I downloaded and printed some of those for her as well. I'm hoping to get them off in her Christmas package.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Crochet Thanksgiving Card Decorations

I'm one of those people who still exchange paper cards with family and friends. I've saved some sentimental cards over the years, but I've never thought much about using cards to decorate for future holidays. They usually end up going out with my paper recycle. Ths year I saw an idea in Big Book of Christmas Crochetfor making gift tags and other projects using holiday cards. I decided they'd make nice hanging decorations using the same general directions.

I needed to purchase glue and colored plain index cards to back the cards. I had no issue finding those. What proved to be a challenge was the 1/8 inch hole punch. I eventually found the Fiskars Circle Hand Punch, 1/8 Inchat my local JoAnn's but it took me 2 attempst as the first time they were sold out. I couldn't get it shipped but I was able to purchase it and pick it up in the local store. It must be a hot item.

For some of you this might be familiar but it was new to me, the holes this makes are smaller than the holes you see in notebook paper. It makes sense as you'd want smaller holes for craft projects. That being said I've never given the size of hole pucnhes much thought, so it was something I discovered when I started this project. I didn't see this size at the local office supply stores when I looked. They did have the 1/4 inch size you normally think of when you see notebook paper.

I plan on continuing this tradition when I find other cards that I love and want to save. I will likely not do as many Christmas cards as I have lots of Christmas decorations, but it is a great way to enhance the other holidays which I do get cards for but often don't have many decorations.

With that in mind I will only hole punch one of these per day in the future. It is hard on the hands. The holes for the first one came out much better than the second.

An additional note for myself the pattern uses size 10 thread and a size 7 thread crochet hook. I had plenty of thread on hand but no size 7 thread hook so I used the size 5 thread hook and it worked fine. I mention this because I'm sure when I go to make this again I'll be wondering where I lost the size 7 hook when I made these. This is my reminder it was the 5 hook I used. The 7 has been MIA for some time now. Sadly I've not been able to find replacements for the Bates Bamboo thread hooks.

Another thing I did to make these decorations special is I cut the inner message and signature and glued it to the back of the decoration before punching the holes. After crocheting the border, I added the date to the back so I have some record of when the card was received and the decoration made.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it is certainly not the Thanksgiving we've come to expect but there are certainly many reasons to be thankful this year.

I've decided to start being better about documenting my holiday projects so I can go back and remember what I made when. With that in mind I'm creating holiday posts that help me go back and search out projects that might be repurposed for a new cause.

I made these on Thanksgiving but I added it because I wanted to have it here as a reference when I went to see what I made in future years.

For all of you who stop here I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Gingerbread Baby Hand Puppet

I was looking for a crochet project to go along with one of my Christmas present books Jan Brett's Gingerbread Babyand I came across an out of print book of fairy tale and nursery rhyme puppets. The booklet is Crochet Storybook Puppets by Sheila Leslie. It was printed by House of White Birches in 1991.

There is another out of print leaflet from Leisure Arts, Story Book Puppets to Crochet Leaflet 242 by Judy Bolin that generally pops up when you start searching for story book puppets which is why I decided I'd provide as many details as I could about this one for those of you who are interested. I own both, but this one is the more interesting of the two to me. I wish I had a copy before I made my Goldilocks puppets as the bear patterns are adorable.

This booklet includes patterns for The Gingerbread Man and the Fox, Bo Peep and her Sheep, the Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Grandma and the Wolf. I mention this because I know from my experience the more information you have when looking for an out of print pattern the more likely you are to find it.

On to the Gingerbread Man or Baby in the case. I love Jan Brett's books and when I found this pattern the match seemed a good one. This is one of the most unique crochet puppet patterns I've made to date. It is almost a cross between a hand puppet and a finger puppet in that the legs are formed so you can make the puppet "run" by using your fingers.

Most of the hand puppets I've made have left the bottom of the puppet open for than hand to manipulate the puppet. This one was unique because it left the back open so you would have access the the feet to make them run. It was an interesting design and one I've not seen before.

I've been finding it challenging to buy middle shades of brown yarn lately. I can find light brown and dark brown but those middle shades where many of my ami and puppet projects live are becoming a more challenging find. I wish I'd have kept a record of the brands and shades I used before but now I'm left scrambling trying to find new options. For this project I tried Hobby Lobby's Yarn Bee Soft Secret Yarn in Cognac. I hadn't used this yarn before, but it does remind me a bit of Caron Simply Soft. It wouldn't be my first choice for a project like this but as I said color choices for brown have been hard to find.

If I do make the Gingerbread Man again I'm hopeful that more shades of brown in more tradition acrylics become available again as I think it would work better for this project.

I'm making the Fox with Hobby Lobby's Yarn Bee Breathe Deep Yarn in Clay and so far this has been a better match for puppets. This was the closest yarn I could find to a fox color when looking through traditional acrylic brands. Sadly this Yarn Bee yarn has extremely limited colors. I was lucky the clay was at least close to the fox color I needed as I hadn't found anyting in the traditional Caron Pounders, Red Heart SS, or Joan brand yarsn that would work for either the Gingerbread Man or the Fox.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Dragon in a Castle Sleeping Bag

I've been getting DH to purchase these Laura Suttcliffe patterns as gifts for me for years. I love them because they are quick to make and they always have fun themes. This one fit perfectly with my castle Christmas theme. You can purchase the pattern here. This is not a sponsored post I just believe strongly in promoting designers that you like because it keeps them in the business of creating more designs you will enjoy making. That being said if she ever wishes to send me a free pattern I will disclose that and be thrilled.

The castle itself worked up very quickly and assembled easily. The directions were clear. My biggest challenge has been finding color shades lately. I've been using this shade of blue frequently and my supply is about gone. Replacing it has proven to be more challenging since I've been shopping only online but I will find it eventaully. I chose to use buttons instead of embrodering the flowers. My embrodiery skills on yarn are not great. I find it hard to get the embrodiery to settle in the pattern I want the same way you can when working on linen types of material that you do when doing traditional embrodiery.

One of the things I liked about the design of the dragon is the tail braces the body of the dragon making it stand up more easily. I have a picture down the bottom that doesn't demonstrate this as well as it should becuase the chair is uneven. However, the dragon stands quite nicely and the tail folds to the side when you put him in the sleeping bag. The design works quite well.

I used Omega Sinfonia for the details on the castle as I found the worsted weight yarn was too heavy to work. I also ended up using size 10 thread for the dragon's eyes. As I mentioned before I really don't enjoy embordiery on yarn. I've emborderied table cloths, bookmarks and other projects over the years so I have some experience but I just find it really challenging working on a yarn surface. If I made this again I'd try to find a way to get the saftey eyes in or use googly eyes and sew those on. The embrodiered eyes were just not that fun to make.

I'm pleased with the outcome of this project. Even more pleased to have another Christmas present finished with the mailing deadline looming.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Dragon Hand Puppet

I'm still thinking about making one more Thanksgiving hot pad if I have time but for the most part I'm moving on to getting my Christmas projects done. I've got a castle theme started and I found free hand puppet patterns for a dragon, knights, and a princess that I plan on working on to see what I can finish for Christmas. What I don't finish we fit nicely into later holiday boxes. You can find the free dragon pattern here.

This pattern works from the head down so there is no need to sew the sides together. I used worsted weight acrylic yarn and I liked the outcome. The eyes were made using a slightly different technique and I was pleased with the outcome.

The various castle themed items will be going out with the following books: The Knight and the Dragon

How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head

Bizzy Bear: Knights' Castle

Friday, November 20, 2020

Aztec Wishes Donation 2020

I just want to send out a THANK YOU to all my friends at Crochetville for their amazing generosity that makes this such a great donation drive every year. It is always so much fun to be the person that gets to deliver the stuff but honestly all of you do so much to make it happen.

It was a bit of a different situation this year with COVID. The tech school that normally takes our donations and works with the agency that distributes the toys had to cancel the drive due to COVID restrictions.

Schools have been switching from hybrid models to vitual models in this area. Therefore, drive was just not going to be practical this year. I sensed this was going to be the case in the fall and contaced the teacher that runs the program in October. She was able to put me in contact with the woman that runs the agency and last Friday we were able to drop off 9 boxes of dolls, doll clothing, and accessories as well as a bag of dolls that wouldn't fit in any of the boxes I had in my house.

The need is perhaps greater this year than in any of the over decade of years I've been donating to this drive. I was happy we will be able to make Christmas morning a bit brighter with some well dressed dolls.

Once my own Christmas boxes set off on their journey, it will be time to start up the Aztec donations for next year when hopefully we will return to the high school.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Gobbler Hot Pad

While we aren't having a traditional Thanksgiving family gathering this year I wanted to add to my kitchen items to make the celebration we will have feel fresh and festive. We often need hot pads during our holiday dinners so having a some new ones seemed like a good choice. I chose this applique as inspiration for the turkey. I'm giving credit to the designer and it is an option for those of you who might wish to create your own.

This is the mug rug pattern found in Spooktacular Crochetthat I've written about previously. I make a second mug rug and crochet them together to get the thickness I need for a hot pad.

I used Omega Sinfonia yarn for this project.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Apple Pie

This is the last item headed into the Thanksgiving box for 2020. I have a couple of items for my house to finish for the holiday but then it is on to Christmas.

Of all the pie patterns I've worked with this is one of my favorite sets because it adds a bit of fun to the play because kids can put the pies together. The pattern includes a pattern for the apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and a berry pie. You can purchase the pattern here.

I made this pie many years ago for another family member and some things stuck with me about what I'd do differently if I tried it again. First the pie is large and storing all this food can be a challenge, so bringing down the size to a more manageable pie plate was a goal. The second thing I remembered from my previous experience is that the acrylic yarn didn't hold the shape of this pie very well because it isn't stuffed. The idea is that the child can "make" the pie by putting the pieces together. I found the acrylic yarn was a bit floppy when I made this the first time and I wasn't completely pleased with the experience.

I've been experimenting more with cotton sport yarn and thought it would be interesting to try that yarn for this project to see if it would provide more stability for the pieces. I used a Omega Sinfonia cotton sport yarn for this project with a C hook. I am pleased with the substitution and will stick with it if I come back to this pie pattern again.

I've preordered a book due out in December with more food patterns and kitchen accessories that I'm hoping to try out to add to future boxes. We will see what happens. For now I need to finish my Thanksgiving projects because I really need to get the Christmas box ready to ship.

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