Mad Tosh and Morehouse Yarn Afghan

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Fiber Fun by Tammy on Friday 21 July 2017 at 9:21 am

Of course, it is hot as heck outside now, which means I get in the mood to make an afghan. I always seem to want to make afghans during the summer. Go figure!

At first, I did some online shopping, and I found plenty of wonderful yarn to purchase, but I also have been feeling guilty about having some much yarn in my stash too. And, it’s good yarn too, most of it at least. I’ve gotten to the point with my crochet and knitting that I feel like the process is more important or at least as important as the product, so for me, this mean using yarn that feels good to me. Acrylic, while I don’t dislike it, just doesn’t have the same feel is wool or wool blends.

With this in mind, I headed to my yarn stash and started putting together skeins by weight. Then I put those together by colorways, attempting to match up mixes. That’s where I came up with the yarn for my afghan: two DK weight Mad Tosh skeins in the Dirty Harry colorway and three 2-ply skeins from Morehouse Farm in (f I remember correctly because none had a  tag with them) Beet, Raspberry, and Chocolate colorways.

I used a stitch dictionary to come up with the basic design, which is a fan stitch, and I’m using a size H crochet hook. The finished afghan will be used to help protect some new furniture, which (fingers crossed) our cats will be kind to.


Disney Zootopia Crochet Kit

Blogged under Crafty Products,Crafty Videos,crochet and knitting by Tammy on Monday 5 June 2017 at 10:06 am

Thunderbay Books sent me the Zootopia Crochet kit to review, and in the video below, I unbox all the supplies provided to make two of the characters from the movie and also give your some information about the booklet provided in the kit. Below is also a direct link to Amazon where you can purchase the kit at a discount.

 



Yarn Decisions! Hotel of Bees Shawl

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Monday 10 April 2017 at 4:20 pm

File Apr 09, 1 12 58 PM

I have purchased the Hotel of Bees Shawl pattern by Christina Hadderingh, and of course, I would like to be able to use some yarn from my stash for this project. I have these two lovely sport-weight skeins from Expression Fiber Arts. Whichever skein I select from these two will still require that I supplement because shawl is fairly large.

I’m leaning right now towards the Silver Moon colorway (purple skein above), and then getting some light gray and maybe off white. I will need at least 800 yards, and many crocheters who are participating in the Cherry Heart crochet-along are selecting three different colors. While I love the look of this shawl, I have to admit that yellows are not my jam and don’t really look good on me.

Of course, another option is to buy yarn just for this project, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to justify that yet. I’d love to use some of my beautiful hand-dyed yarn from my stash.

Book Review: Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Good Books by Tammy on Monday 16 January 2017 at 1:23 pm


Melissa Leapman’s Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters: 200 Stitch Patterns in Words and Symbols includes 200 stitch patters in words and symbols. This is a softback book of 170+ pages published by Quarto, which released it in May 2016. In the US, it retails for $24.99; Canada $29.99; and UK L16.99.

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for stitch dictionaries, and this book did not change that at all. I love to be able to cruise through a stitching book like this and pick out stitch patterns to try, especially when I want to make a simple, no-brainer afghan. The way these stitches are organized works well with coming up with blanket patterns. Section One of the book divides the stitches into the following: Simple Sold Patterns; Shell and Fan Stitch Patterns; Openwork and Lace Patterns; Textured Patterns, Colorwork Patterns; and Edgings.

Each stitch pattern is show first with a color swatch. Under that is the pattern shown in a chart with crochet symbols. Then this is followed by the instructions in text. Between the three, I find this very easy to use. When learning a new stitch, I like to go back and forth from a chart to text. I have seen more and more books including both charts and text, so this is not anything necessarily new to crochet books. Still, it’s nice to see and would make a difference for me in whether I used a book or not. Even if you aren’t the type to design your own patterns, this book is useful for using when you’re trying to figure out a pattern and need extra help.

You don’t need to be an expert crocheter to to find Leapman’s book useful. However, anyone who crochets on a regular basis should have a stitch dictionary in his/her craft book library, and this is one I recommend.

Book Review: Crochetterie

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Good Books by Tammy on Monday 16 January 2017 at 1:03 pm

Crochetterie: Cool Contemporary Crochet for the Creatively-minded is written by Molla Mills and published by Quarto. It’s a hardcover book that retails in the US for $29.99; Canada $38.99; and UK L20.00. Thirty projects are included in the book. There are crochet patterns along with lots of extra how-to information and wonderful photography.

Mills is a Finnish designer and has a very unique approach in this book, and in the introduction she explains that one goal of hers was to create projects that would appeal to men. This means not just making projects men might want to use but also want to make, and she points out that in her country it is a common hobby pursued by boys.

The projects are broken up into categories: home, clothes, travels, and equipment. There are basic instructions in the back, in chapter 5, that provide clear photographs for mastering stitches.

One small brain teaser for using these instructions and the patterns is that both American and English versions of stitches are presented, which is good and bad. It’s good, obviously, because no matter which you’ve learned, you can still complete the instructions without having to make any of your own alterations to the patterns. Of course, the bad is that you have to pay attention and remember that differences, such as a US single crochet is a UK double crochet stitch. US terms are included after the English term in parenthesis. For example, a pattern will say something like this: “crochet 10 dc (sc).” If you use English terms, then you ignore the information in parenthesis. If you use American terms, then you need to remember to use the parenthetical information and not the other.

One big plus for this book is that the projects are so different than any I have seen in a book for a long time. And, yes, they tend to be a little more masculine, no doilies for sure! There’s even a how-to in the back of the book for carving your own crochet hook out of wood. As far as crochet projects go, the “Yarn Chain” is a chunky crocheted chain that looks like a thick metal chain, only made with yarn. A similar idea is used in making a “Utility Strap,” which is shown connected to a skateboard. There’s a “Bow Tie” project and various rug projects. The author also has some projects that use other materials like using old t-shirts cut and sewn together (no crochet needed) to make a hip looking scarf.

So, my final thoughts are this is for the adventurous crocheter who wants modern and unique unisex accessories and decor items. Be prepared to learn new skills and work with other materials besides yarn such as leather and canvas. Put your need for immediate gratification on hold, but the finished projects look well worth it.

Yarn and Dollies Video

Blogged under Crafty Videos,crochet and knitting,dolls art/collecting by Tammy on Friday 23 December 2016 at 12:35 pm

Since I have some yarn finished objects (including some crochet and knitting) as well as some Blythe doll crafting and other related updates, I put them together in this video.


Crafty Podcast

Blogged under Crafty Videos,crochet and knitting,Jewelry Designing,Sew Simple by Tammy on Thursday 11 August 2016 at 2:01 pm

My sister, the Tappingflamingo, was down visiting me in Florida, so of course, that means we had to sneak off and record a podcast. We chat about my so far failed attempt at sewing Blythe doll clothes, her very cool gator jewelry, and show off some knitting and crochet.



50 Shades Blue Shawl Done!

Blogged under crochet and knitting,learning2knit by Tammy on Thursday 21 July 2016 at 8:58 am



My sister, the Tappingflamingo, bought a gorgeous skein of 50 Shades of Gradient yarn when we were on one of our trips to downtown Cocoa Village, Florida. We chatted about it in one of our podcast episodes. She bought the yarn and then asked me to turn it into a garter stitch knit shawl for her. So it was a win-win. She got the finished product, and I got to knit with yummy and pretty yarn.

This is a very simple design where you start with three cast-ons, and then you knit and increase on each end so that it grows. I just keep going until I use up almost all of the yarn. Unfortunately, I’m paranoid about not having enough to cast off at the end, so I usually end up with an extra bit more than anticipated.

I think this is about the fourth one of these I have made, and I keep telling myself that I need to make something more difficult and stretch my knitting muscles. However, at the same time, I just want to knit and enjoy the process. Oh, and enjoy the yarn. I did like working with this yarn. It feels soft but isn’t so soft that’s slippery and hard to work with. When I made a mistake and had to rip back or tink, it didn’t tangle. I think I only had one knot issue (of my own making), but otherwise, I never had to break the yarn and weave it in the middle of a row. I was hoping the gradient would look less subtle, but I think my sister will like this. Plus, it’s a good color on her.


Blythe Doll Beret Pattern – Recipe

Blogged under crochet and knitting,dolls art/collecting by Tammy on Wednesday 29 June 2016 at 4:41 pm

This has not been test crocheted for accuracy or gauge. Therefore, I recommend you use this as a recipe and adapt as necessary, especially if you use thinner or thicker yarn than suggested, and check the fit on your doll’s head as you go (as hair thickness can also affect fit). I made this to fit a Blythe doll’s head. However, I have heard that American Girl (AG) dolls have about the same size head, so AG collectors may also find this helpful.

I used Morehouse Farm’s sport weight 2-ply in the “raspberry” colorway. Hook sizes and stitches terms are in US (not UK).

You will need the following tools and supplies:

Scissors

Stitch marker

Tapestry needle

G hook

F hook.

Your choice of sport weight yarn.

Use the G hook first and later switch to the F hook as indicated in the instructions below.

Start by using a sloppy slip knot to attach yarn to your hook See this link for instructions on the sloppy slip knot:


http://www.freshstitches.com/the-sloppy-slip-knot-how-to-work-in-the-round-with-no-hole/

Note: I suggest working through the back loop of single crochet stitches. This will make noticeable lines around and allow you to count your rows as you work more easily. Use the stitch marker to mark the end of the row and move it as you go onto the next row.

ch 2.

Round 1: Sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook. (6)

Round 2: Sc twice in each st. (12)

Round 3: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next st. Repeat from * 5 times. (18)

Round 4: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 2 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (24)

Round 5: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 3 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (30)

Round 6: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 4 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (36)

Round 7: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 5 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (42)

Round 8: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 6 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (48)

Round 9: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 7 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (54)

Round 10:  * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 8 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (60)

Round 11: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 9 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (66)

Round 12: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 10 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (72)

Round 13: * Sc twice in next st, sc in next 11 sts. Repeat from * 5 times. (78)

Round 14: Switch to F hook and Sc in each st (78)

Round 15: * Sc2tog, sc in next 10 sts. Repeat from * 6 times, Sc in next 6 sts (71)

Round 16: * Sc2tog, sc in next 5 sts. Repeat from * 10 times. Sc in next 2 sts (60)

Round 17:  * Sc2tog, sc in next 8 sts. Repeat from * 8 times. Sc in next 6 sts (55)

Round 18: * Sc2tog, sc in next 8 sts. Repeat from * 7 times. Sc in next 5 sts (47)

Round 19 – 20: Sc in each st (47)

Round 21: 2 sl sts

Cut yarn leaving at least a 6 inch tail, and use tapestry needle to weave in and trim off excess yarn.




If anyone finds time to test this out, I am open to reasonable suggestions, especially if there are any errors with my numbers. I ended up having to re-engineer this hat after I just did my usual creative experimenting with yarn. I ended up making 2 more berets before I could develop the pattern, and then I made one more following the pattern. Of course, it is easy to follow your own instructions, though.

Crochet Baby Dresses – Super Duper Simple!

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Wednesday 15 June 2016 at 8:50 am

I have two family members expecting babies soon, so out came my crochet hook. Of course, I made the usual afghans, but I have wanted to make some little dresses too. One of those expecting is not going to know the gender until he or she is born, but she has a 1 year old little girl. The other expecting mommy knows she is having a girl. I searched around on Ravelry and found a very easy pattern called Angel Wing Newborn Pinafore. It is a free pattern designed by Maxine Gonser. I talk about and shows these as works in progressing during a podcast I filmed with my sister, Tappingflamingo, so you can find out more about the pattern and my approach if you watch that video.

But, below are the three dresses I ended up making. The pink one is the smallest and sticks pretty much with the pattern, except after making it I stitched up the back (which you don’t see in this photo which shows the front only). I used a size H hook and pink wool yarn from Morehouse Farms.


I had some Ice Cream yarn from Lion Brand in my stash, so I used an I hook and make two more that are a little larger. The first is made using the Cotton Candy colorway, and I’m showing the back in this photo because I ended up just connecting the rows after the fourth row and using single crochet to make a tie. The next has a few extra rows at the bottom and I also connected after the fourth row. I used the Spumoni colorway.



If you know single, double, and chain stitch, you can make these super easy crochet baby dresses. Obviously, they are made so that the baby has a onsie or little t-shirt and maybe leggings under them, but I could see how these could work as a dress and later as a little top. Hopefully, both baby girls will get a lot of use out of these.

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