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

08 September 2006

Flower Power

Okay, so I'm really digging this hat thing. I can't believe how fun and easy (and quick!) it is to make a good lookin' toque. (And I cannot wait `til the walking casts go on so I can peruse The Naked Sheep for some funky green and yellow yarn! It's about time I made something for my damn self!)

Knowing pregnant lady #1 is having a girl, I figured I could safely whip up a pink baby hat, but to make it that much more special, I wanted to attach a flower. I Googled "easy crochet flower" and a free pattern for a Two-Layer Irish Rose was one of the first I found. And it was so much easier than I thought it would be.

The best thing about crochet is that you don't need to follow the instructions to a T to get the look you want. If you know what you want the finished product to look like, you can easily improvise and no one will be the wiser. I'm not sure I did "exactly" what the directions asked of me, but it turned out great anyway. I knew the theory behind what I was doing, and there was certainly more than one way to acheive it.

That used to scare me because I used to think I needed to be hand-held every step of the way, but I don't think I was giving myself enough credit. As soon as you start taking some chances and it pays off, you get more and more confident that you can figure things out on your own.

I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be many, many more crocheted flowers in my future...


07 September 2006

Baby Steps: My First "real" Crochet Projects

Fortunately (and coincidentally), right before I found out I needed to have surgery on both my feet, my good friend T-Ra taught me the basics of crochet. Her 45 minute lesson was enough to get me started on a "Dish Soap Apron" - a really great beginner project, that although can't be classified as "useful", was still fun to do, and hey - it's better than looking at a plain, plastic bottle.

Seeing as how I know a total of 5, yes FIVE pregnant ladies (2 of whom are due mid-October), and I can't use my feet, I figured it'd be a good time to use my hands and try some baby crochet projects. My first project was the Bernat© Baby #296 Beautiful Baby Blanket. (This pattern is free - just register with the site.)

It only took about 3 (8-hour) days to complete (I can't walk anywhere, so what else was I gonna do!). I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. The knitted blanket I am/was working on is a much tighter stitch - less "baby" feeling and just not as soft or elegant. I much prefer the delicate look of crochet for baby stuff. (Plus, I'm an "instant gratification" kinda gal, and crocheting is MUCH faster than knitting, so this has been working out pretty well for me!)

After searching and searching (and searching), I finally found a great beginner Baby Bootie pattern. I read about ten bootie patterns before this one (maybe more), but this was the only one that made sense. And the best part? Beginners, like me, can crochet a pair in less than an hour.

Next, I tackled this Baby Hat by Susan L. Kraus. Much to my surprise, this was, by far, the easiest project. It took about an hour (give or take), but the results are pretty impressive (especially considering nearly the entire thing is double crochet). Susan aslo has a matching bootie pattern which I am anxious to try out. Thanks, Susan!

I really like the look of classic white or ivory baby items, but I am looking forward to crocheting in colour. Since none of the ladies (except one, and her shower is next Saturday) knows the sex of their baby, I see a lot of green and yellow in my future!

Anyway, I hope other hookers find this blog. If you want to share any tips, tricks or patterns, please do so -- that's what it's all about!

~ Em