Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Best Laid Plans

At the beginning of this year I promised myself that I would post every week and become much more involved in social media to try to promote my store's patterns and products. For a while I wasn't doing too bad. But for those who have been paying attention, you know I totally fell off the wagon mid-April. Well, there was a very good reason for that.

On April 11th my mom fell and dislocated her hip replacement. This is the second time she's done that, and the third time she's fallen. Of course she went to the hospital and they put her hip back in place, along with three weeks of rehab. She came home May 1st and I have been living with/taking care of her since (I flew out from CA to Chicago the last week in April). But I guess when you're as old as my mom (92 yrs - and yes, she still lives in her own home), the medical oversight can't stop there. The past four weeks have been a whirlwind of physical therapy, occupational therapy, home nurse visits, personal care visits, and doctor appointments. Tomorrow we go to her orthopedist, where she's wants to get the ok to take off the massive hip brace she's wearing. Let's hope!

Of course, all this has meant that I have had to put any crochet on hold. After the last baby blanket I made, my hands (particularly my thumbs) were complaining loudly, so I decided to take a little break and try my hand at a beautiful counted cross stitch butterfly. I now realize how important it is to be AWAKE when you attempt counted cross stitch. I do believe that I've messed up part of the butterfly. I decided to put it aside and practice with other simpler counted cross stitch projects, hoping that these will get my brain in gear for the butterfly.

The Wire Whimsy kits are copyrighted 1995. Could it be possible I bought them THAT long ago?!! Anyway, I think I was in Joanne's after Christmas one year and these were on sale for 75 cents each (normally $4.49), so I picked up eleven of them. They have been very patiently waiting in a box for me - with a couple of other projects (that I haven't touched either) to keep them company. So far I've managed to finish the one Santa. I didn't like the stars on his goodie bag so I didn't include them, but I do want to put something on the bag because it looks a bit plain. I'll figure something out, but suggestions are welcome.
                                                         My version of Santa

When I was packing for the trip, I wanted to bring some yarn with me but just got the hooks in the suitcase. The plan was for me to stay until Mom got the brace off (6 to 8 weeks), and packing for such a long stay is daunting! Anyway, I packed the yarn and the suitcase ended up two inches too large. If the airline wanted to get picky they could've charged me an extra $200. I chose not to risk it.  The yarn had to be left behind, but I brought all the cross stitch ornaments.

I broke down, though. I am going through a severe crocheting withdrawal (yes, really!!!) and I couldn't help myself - a company offered $1.99 shipping and I ordered five skeins of #1 lace yarn. It's Lion Brand Amazing Lace, and I'm so hoping I won't be disappointed. The reviews were good - keeping my fingers crossed. I already have at least two patterns I want to make with the yarn, so I'm ready!

At this point things are up in the air as to whether I'm going to stay here with my mom or go back to CA. Much depends on how well she can do for herself on a daily basis. My SIL has been a Godsend - taking care of the shopping and driving her back and forth to appointments - but that's the limit for her, considering she's still running her own family. I still have another month to go, so we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I'll post when I can - and as always, Happy Crocheting!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Grandpa Easter Bunny

Since it is spring and Easter is around the corner, I thought I'd toot my own horn and let you know of a pattern that's available in my store - my Grandpa Easter Bunny!

He's all decked out in his Easter finery, and there's even a free carrot pattern that can be ordered with him. He's crocheted from about 100 yards of white sport-weight acrylic yarn (3.5mm hook), small amounts of size 10 cotton crochet thread (2.00 mm hook) for the clothes, pompoms for the muzzle/nose/tail, and 15 - 20mm wiggle eyes. He ends up about 8" tall, depending on how you pose the ears. The pattern is written in English using U.S. terms. I would recommend this pattern for an intermediate crocheter, or one that is well-versed in making amigurumi. Please note that pattern delivery isn't immediate. I have to email it to you, and I check my store every morning for purchases.

My sister feels that grandpa is lonely and is in need of a companion, and she has been patiently waiting for me to create a grandma version. I believe she's right, but it always seems that I'm knee deep in other projects when it's this time of year. I am lucky, though - Grandpa Easter Bunny hasn't complained so far, and he's always happy when spring comes around. Perhaps you can make one of your own to join your family this Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

My Only Sunshine

 Apparently I have entered the stage of my life where the "children" are now having children. I'm not a grandmother yet, but I know plenty of women who are. That being said, one of my sister-in-law's girls is currently expecting her third - the gender has not been revealed - and so I thought it would be nice to make something for the newbie.

So, what to make? In trying to keep with my use-up-the-stash resolution, I wandered through the yarn I had and found some light yellow and golden yellow, perfect for something gender neutral. And then, Voila! - the Sunshine Baby Blanket was born.

I recently discovered the Crystal Wave stitch and I wanted to try my hand at it (pattern by Crochet for Baby) so that became the bulk of the blanket. Then I decided to use the golden yellow to create a small bobble border. Just because I think bobbles are fun, and babies should have fun things!

Then lastly, I needed to find a little sun for the corner of the blanket. There are many adorable suns in Crochetland, but the sweet little Sol Amigurumi from Vanessa Doncatto of the Yarn Handmade's Ravelry Store stole my heart - and it's a free pattern, too! Definitely a win-win.

So as I try to get "You are my Sunshine" out of my head, I wish you happy crocheting!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Hello Yellow Yarn

Another post in my "spotlight on designers" series, I'd like to introduce you to MJ Carlos, a self-taught crochet designer of adorable amigurumi and curator of the Hello Yellow Yarn shop. She lives with her husband and two children in Australia, and if you are not familiar with her work, you should give yourself a little cuteness fix and visit her website or store.

Two of Hello Yellow Yarn's free patterns available here
Her designs have a irresistible innocent simplicity to them, and I'm sure they would be very appropriate for the budding amigurumi crocheter. Obviously I'm not the only one who appreciates MJ's work - her designs have been published in several books including two of the Zoomigurumi series. She offers free patterns on her website as well as very attractively priced patterns in her store (most under $3!).

I am only allowed to publish one of MJ's photos on my blog (according to her copyright rules), so in keeping with upcoming holidays, I chose her Easter buddies. But really, if you're interested in creating amigurumi at all, do yourself a favor and take a peek at the rest of her creations. And, as always, happy crocheting!

PS - Just so you're aware, I do not get paid for any of my posts, nor is there any bartering or "quid pro quo" arrangement for my posts. These are all my opinions, and I publish them to spread a little crocheting delight into the world. Because - CROCHET!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mini-Waves Stitch

I found this particular stitch on Pinterest. Originally it seems to have come from a Russian site, ellej.org, although I couldn't find it currently on her page. I also couldn't find a name associated with the stitch, so because of how my version looks, I decided to name it the Mini-Waves stitch. I used Caron SS and a size H hook to make the sample.

My version - Ta Da!

 The original photo looks a bit more like a honeycomb, but there are crochet stitches with that name already, so I took a pass.

After I made a swatch, I was really surprised at how it turned out. I had expected a thick, squishy textured stitch, possibly good for a scarf or even an afghan. It's not. It's very stretchy, which might be all right for a hat. It's also a much more open stitch than what the original photo conveys (see second photo of my version below). The "wave" part is made from the ch 3 and it isn't attached to the main fabric, so it would be very easy to get something stuck in it and pull it out of shape. This stitch might work better in a smaller but sturdy yarn (cotton blend perhaps) and you need to work it fairly tight.

My version stretched and pinned to show open weave of the stitch

I still really like the look of the Mini-Waves stitch, but I don't feel it's very practical. It might work for a hat as long as you're careful not to catch anything in those ch 3's, but it would be way to stretchy for an afghan/blanket and too delicate for a scarf. JMO!

Of course, you don't have to take my opinion for it - why not give the Mini-Waves stitch a try for yourself? I'd love to hear what all of you have to say. And, as always - happy crocheting!