16 August 2007

Some Bunny Loves You

Allow me to introduce you to "Sunny"; my first attempt at Amigurumi:

My sewing needs some serious improvement. I'm hoping that will come over time. My main obstacle is patience (which is why I am crocheting more than I am knitting). Sewing is finicky and I want to get it done as fast as possible and I think, with this project anyway, that it's fairly obvious I did not spend the time on it that I should have. (And it's too bad I found this tutorial after I had already sewed the head to the body!). I had originally intended this project as a baby shower gift, but I think I can do much better, and I've got some time, so I'll keep this one for myself.

Since the first pieces I did were the head and body, I see now that they are not nearly tight enough. It's very important that your stitches are tight so you don't see the stuffing. If your fingers don't hurt, your stitches aren't tight enough.

I used this pattern (free if you sign-up with the site), but I made one ear (which was a total bitch to do!) and I hated the end result. Fortunately, I also came across this pattern, so I used those ears instead. MUCH better. I added a couple of extra rows to the ears, but I think I will add more next time so the ears are a bit longer... actually a lot longer. It'd be cute if they were the entire length of his body (like in that first pattern).

I also think I will use that fake bean/beady stuffing on the limbs instead of the poly-fil. They'd be great with some weight to them instead of the gravity-defying puffiness.

I do wanna mention that for the baby shower gifts, I will be using felt eyes and not tiny bits of plastic that baby could choke on. That would be bad!

OK -- onto the next one!....

15 August 2007

Golden Stitch

Okay, so it's been a while! What can I say - I've been busy!

I'm finally finding some time to get back into the swing, er, string of things (heh), and I came across an adorable pattern for a Golden Snitch. It looked fairly simple so I picked up some 100% cotton, 4-ply worsted Lily® Sugar n' Cream yarn in white and yellow, and some stuffing. 45 minutes later I had my Snitch!

Since I had the stuffing and this small project was such a success, this has got me going on Amigurumi. I have started on a bunny, but the one thing I'm not liking about it is the sewing. If you know me, but at all, you'll know I have a serious hate-on for sewing. I sewed the head to the body yesterday and it was a disaster. It might have something to do with the fact that, because I have avoided sewing my entire life - I pay my dry cleaner to sew buttons, fer heck sakes! - I really have no idea what I'm doing. I'm hoping I can detach the two pieces without damaging them so I can give it another go. Plus, the bunny may have been a tad too ambitious... Maybe something smaller would have been better.

At any rate, I'll let you know how it went in my next post. In the meantime, and if you're into Amigurumi, check out Roxycraft for some amazing stuff!

08 December 2006

Playne Jayne

If you're not a Firefly fan (or if you've just never seen/heard of the show - c'est moi!), you might not know what a "Jayne Hat" is. I know I didn't until very recently.

My brother-in-law is a HUGE Firefly fan and he introduced my husband to the series (on DVD) a few months ago. When it came time to make our Christmas shopping lists, DH suggested that I make BIL a Jayne Hat. "A what, now"? DH explained: Jayne Cobb is a beloved character on the show, and in one episode, he receives a gift from his mom. Yes, you guessed it - a hand-knit hat.

as Jayne Cobb

As you can see, it's cute and floppy and silly and I know BIL really wants one. He's hinted a few times (asking if I knew how to knit/crochet), but he never got around to asking me -- which is good since this will be a huge x-mas surprise for him!

First thing's first -- can I crochet this? Answer: NO. Some clever Crafty Craftersons have created their own crochet versions, but it's just not the same. And since this was to be a gift, I wanted to get it right. This hat needs to be knit. Right off the bat, I'm nervous since I've not yet attempted knitting in the round or picking up stitches (for the ear flaps), but, since it's supposed to be floppy looking and imperfect, I figure this would be a good first (forgiving) project. (If the whole thing goes to pot, I could always just say I meant to eff it up!)

I immediately Googled "Jayne Hat pattern" and to my surprise, this thing is Freaking.Everywhere. Dozens of patterns at hundreds of sites. And my biggest problem? No yarn stores within walking distance.

Then, a small miracle. I came across this website run by a crafty gal named Heather, who not only created her own pattern (which also happens to be the best one I found), but she sells complete kits (pattern, yarn, even needles and stitch holders if you need `em - which I did) AND she ships to Canada. Halle-freakin'-lujah! For about $40 CDN, in a few short days, I received "the kit". I will admit that I was a hesitant ordering (from a complete stranger) over the internet, but I was blown away with what I saw when I opened the package.

First, the pattern, in all it's glory, was printed in colour and presented in those handy-dandy plastic, hold-punched, sleeves. It was detailed enough for a beginner (again, c'est moi) and a surprisingly fun read (paraphrasing): "Ma Cobb didn't worry about precision, so neither should you!" The yarn, bamboo needles, tapestry needle and stitch holders were packaged neatly in separate bags. I honestly could not believe the care that went into this kit.

And the most important thing? The result! G'head and see for yourself:

Hat by Emily
Pattern by Heather

It ain't perfect (but, hey - it's not supposed to be! Have I mentioned that yet?), but for my first attempt at knitting in the round and picking up stitches, I think it turned out pretty damn fantastic. (Ifidosaysomyself!)

There's a bit of leftover wool so I decided that I would make a mini version (for use as a tree ornament) and wrap that up and give it to BIL first.... THEN I'll bring out the big guns!!

Thanks SO much to Heather for her terrific pattern and kit. I couldn't have done it without you!

Update: The mini me version of the Jayne Hat turned out better than I expected. I decided to crochet it (since I have yet to attempt knitting small objects in the round) so I was able to whip it up, from start to finish (including the tiny pom-pom), in about 45 minutes. I'm sure I would have been done faster had I not been just "winging it".
(I dc'd the yellow portion and sc'd the orange and red earflaps.) It looked so cute that I decided to do a SUPER mini version (with the leftover wool) for our tree. Now all I have to do is watch the damn show!

Update #2: It's April 2nd, 2008 and I *finally* got around to watching the show... it was fantastic! Really, really enjoyed it (especially the episode where Jayne receives the hat.)

21 November 2006

Drop the Needle

T-Ra provided our craft group with a plethora of card making supplies during Sunday's monthly get-together, so I decided to put down my crochet hook and make a card for a friend of mine who's been dealing with some really crappy... crap lately. (Thanks, T-Ra!)

I like homemade gifts to look like homemade gifts (thankfully, I suck, so this is not a difficult effect to achieve), so instead of using a paper-cutter for a precise, sharp edge, I decided to just fold and tear the edges of the paper.

As you can see, I also used a decorative edge punch. I really like the antiqued effect.

The card looked a little naked from behind (don't we all), so I threw on a "made for you by" line and a little flower design. (Which also happens to be tattooed to my lower back.)

My next project? To figure out how to make an envelope out of regular paper. I'm sure there are instructions out there somewhere!


I've been wearing these around town for a while now so I figured it was about damn time I posted a picture!

The ear-flap hat was a surprisingly easy pattern from the Funky Chunky book. It's a basic hat pattern crocheted in rounds, but you don't turn at the end of each round. I think this makes for a less noticeable seam at the back. It took approximately 3 hours total, but keep in mind that I did one ear flap, the tassels and the pompom in the car. (Don't worry - I wasn't driving!)

I finally made the One-Skein Squiggle Scarf (as I like to call it). The pattern, as linked, is free, or you can find it in Stitch `N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. It was easy and it's a pretty pattern but a word of advice should you choose to attempt it yourself; when it says chain loosely - chain REALLY loosely. Because you're squeezing two clusters in there (that's a total of 10 dcs), you really need the room. If your chain is too tight, the scarf will twist and bunch and the pretty squiggle effect will be lost. These scarves are great (last minute) gifts as they don't take much yarn and only 2 hours of your time. So throw on a DVD and get hooking!

* Yarn used: Caron's (no dyelot) Simply Soft® in Raspberry

30 October 2006

Happy (almost) Hallowe'en!!

One of the coolest Hallowe'en crochet patterns I found was for a Hallowe'en Bookmark. The result is a pattern that resembles Jack-O-Lanterns.

Be sure to check out T-Ra's site for the spiderweb table-topper pattern -- it's pretty damn impressive.

My favourite Hallowe'en craftivity™ (that is a brand new word I just made up!) is carving pumpkins. There are plenty of free Jack-O-Lantern templates available on the web. I got my Pirate Skull pattern free from Pumpkin Masters.

On a completely unrelated note, I bought a pair of (cute) new craft scissors for my crochet hook case, and I found it ironic that I required scissors to remove them from their constrictive packaging. Talk about bad product packaging.

Whatever your plans, have a spooktacular Hallowe'en!

~ Em

16 September 2006

These Booties Were Made for Walkin'

The baby shower was today and I was up until after midnight last night and before nine this morning, but I finally finished these damn booties! They really are quite sweet, but my pictures don't really do them justice. Here's the image from the pattern:

The pattern indicates these are "easy", but I might go as far as to say they are a good intermediate project. There's nothing too funky about them - your basic stitches and decreases - but they are a tad tricky. Since they're crocheted with the teeny-tiny D-hook and skinny-mini baby yarn, they're a bit difficult to get a handle on.

Plus, as you can see, they're a combination of 3 separate pieces, and there's a tiny bit of sewing involved. I can't for the life of me remember where I found the pattern, but if you want it, just let me know and I can send it to you. It's from the June 2005 issue of Crochet World magazine, and it's a welcome change from all the basic (boring!) bootie patterns. Although, these are quite feminine... not sure if you'd want to make them for a boy. But hey -- to each their own!

I also did up another quick baby hat avec fleur (pattern links on the right ----->).

~ Em

09 September 2006

Hats are *Tops*!

Finally -- something good to come of insomnia!

I forgot that I had a ball of Patons Shetland Chunky in Charcoal grey left over from a cable scarf I knit for my husband, and I've got enough baby yarn to clothe an orphange, so, while I was busy not sleeping, I figured -- why not try an adult size hat?

It features the same Two-Layer Irish Rose as discussed in my last post, only this time I decided to try it with two colours.

And -- instead of ending with a round of sc like the Double Crochet Head Hugger pattern suggests, I opted to do a row of ch3, sk next st, hdc to give it a slightly more decorative edging.

This is one of those classic looking hats that looks good on everyone, and never goes out of style. (Which is fortunate for every woman I know with a birthday between now and March!)

I'm looking forward to trying this out with a less chunky yarn, but I'm still pretty happy with it as is.

I crocheted a couple of these flower appliques thinking I would use them on this hat, but it would definitely have been overkill, so I will either save them for my next chapeau, or they'll get attached to one of the baby projects.

~ Em