Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pick a Number...

It happens all the time... somebody posts a picture on my Facebook page, another crafter shows off their latest work, a designer announces a new pattern...and I print off yet another pattern that I want to make, and add it to my pile.

There are just so many cute items I want to make! Trouble is, I already have several projects in the works. One of them is an afghan... 20 large squares. I get bored with big projects. I want to make little things that pop off the needles (or hook) quickly, so I usually have a number of projects going. On Sunday, I realized I had 5 projects in the works... a bit too  much, in my opinion, so I finished up a cowl I had been working on, off and on, for a few weeks. Then, after a trip to the craft store for more Fiberfill, I finished up Mike the Monster.
Down to three projects... that gave me "permission" to start another... but which one? I pulled out the stack of patterns by my chair (probably over an inch thick) and started leafing through with pen in hand. I came up with a list of 25 patterns I wanted to make... so I put a post on Facebook asking my friends to pick a number from 1-27 (because even while I was typing up that status, I thought of two more things!)

So, I will be updating this post as I finish projects. Of the 28 items on the list (yes, added another one), I have completed three, and have two more in the works. One of my Facebook friends said that she would like to see pictures of all 29 (oh, yes, added one more due to a Facebook post yesterday) finished products. So, as I finish up projects, I will add pictures by the numbers.

1. Gift  - done... So... here's the story: A few weeks ago, my friend Joanna put up a Facebook post about a squirrel getting into their house. Her response was to run outside and climb up onto a chair on their porch. The comments on her post were pretty funny, but a few days later, the squirrel saga continued, as someone (still unidentified) "squirrel-bombed" their house by making about a dozen pictures of squirrels. Some were put on paint stirrers and "planted" around their lawn. Others were taped onto the porch railing. When I saw the pictures on Facebook, I laughed so hard, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. My response was to look for a squirrel pattern. When I finished him up, I snuck him over to Joanna's house and handed him off to her husband to put somewhere in the house where Joanna would find him.


2. Tiger Hat

3. Unicorn - started 7/28

4. I've seen all sorts of hats for little girls inspired by the movie Frozen. I decided to make one for an American Girl Doll. The crown fits over the hat, so they can be worn separately.



5. - Coming soon... Cowboy Booties.. finished 7/28


6. Fox stuffed animal

7. Chosen by fellow craft show Artisan Gail - Drowsy Owl Hat
This is already in my Storenvy Shop for $12, and will be on my craft table this fall if it doesn't sell before then.



8.Reflective Beanie

9. Chosen by my friend, co-worker and fellow craft show artisan Joanna - Loopy Love Slippers
These are Newborn size and will be on my craft table this fall for $10. 

10. Knit Sampler Hat

11. Minion Slippers

12. Oscar the Grouch Hat

13. Chosen by my niece Nicole... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hat...



14. Started 7/26 - Crocodile Stitch Owl - just finished 7/28

15. Nemo

16. Penguin

17. Also coming soon... Cthulu Scarf

18. Kitty

19. Frog

20. Pig

21. Little Turtle

22. Also chosen by Gail - One Skein Filet Shawl - started 7/24





23. Also chosen by Gail - Sock Monkey Baby Booties

24.Walker Bag

25. Woven Scarf

26. Christmas Sock Monkey

27. Mini Mikie

28. My choice - needed for an upcoming sermon at church - Bronze Serpent
We are working through a series called "Story of Hope" at church, beginning in Genesis and going through the entire Bible. In a few weeks, the sermon will be on Moses and the Bronze Serpent. It doesn't look all that big in this picture, but he's nearly 4 feet long.

29. CD Coaster

Want to chime in on a number for my next project? There's a thread on my Facebook page where you can pick a number!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

And the winner is...

I rounded up my projects this morning for a picture. This isn't 100% accurate, since three projects were already delivered, and some of my own notes were so confusing (slippers? which slippers? I put in the camo slippers at the lower right, and afterward realized the slippers I finished in June were the flip-flop slippers I made for myself!).

I got ten guesses, from 9 to 100, averaging out to 38.5. The actual count: I finished 28 projects, using six and a half pounds of yarn (which I probably replaced in one shopping trip on June 30 - picture below).
22+ skeins of yarn for $15.23 when Savers had a 50% off day

My closest guess was 30...from my daughter Connie. Now, that doesn't seem fair...she knows me well, she is my Facebook friends as well as a fan of Penguin Place, and I e-mail or text her pictures all the time... and, she's my kid... she can come over and pick out stuff from my inventory any time! (Well, she lives about 7 hours away... maybe not any time...)

So, we go to the next closest guess, which was 23. Allison Marie is a fan of the Penguin Place Facebook page, and frequently likes my posts, so she just might have something picked out already.

What's up next for Penguin Place?



The Crochet Crowd is having a challenge, making an afghan of 20 squares of very different textures. To qualify for prizes, the afghan needs to have at least 7 colors. I picked out these colors from my stash: 
Blues, grays, purple and a pale yellow. The squares will be joined with off-white. I finished up one square last night, with yellow and gray stripes. (Sorry, forgot to take a picture!). I have until September 1st to finish up. I will be posting pictures of my progress on Penguin Place.

So, congratulations, Allison Marie!

Once I finish up this major project, I think I may run another giveaway like this! It was fun, and it kept the creative juices flowing!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lacy Walker Bag

The subtitle for this post should be "The $75 Market Bag Revisited..."

The Crochet Crowd had a challenge for the month of June... to make a market bag in a rather complicated stitch... with thin yarn and a smaller hook. I decided to give it a try... I started out with a cotton/acrylic blend that had an interesting texture, but ended up frogging it (rippit, rippit) and starting over with regular cotton yarn.
I ran through a skein of peach yarn and had to finish it up in green. Each of the pattern rows took me half an hour to complete, so when I input the information into my crafts calculator app, typing in my estimated yarn costs ($9) and time (13 hours), it came up with a $75 price tag for this bag. It is quite pretty, though, and I'm hoping it will sell for $20 at one of my craft shows this fall.

I liked the pattern stitch and decided to try it on a smaller project. Since I do a few craft shows at senior housing, I thought a bag that could be hung on a walker would be a fun project.
Here's how it turned out! Actually, this bag is already sold...but I'm itching to get started on another one! Here's how I made it... Rather than copy and paste the pattern stitch, I will just link to the Red Heart Pattern for the challenge.

Yarn: about 7 ounces of knitting worsted. I found that two pattern rows used up about 1.3 ounces of yarn, so if you have a postal scale, you can use up some of those small balls of scrap yarn for stripes!
Size H crochet hook
Three buttons

The base of the bag is a rectangle - you start with a chain and work on both sides of it, increasing at the four corners.

Chain 27
HDC in 2nd chain from hook and each chain across. In last chain, make 3 hdc. Turn and make HDC  in the other side of the chain, ending with two HDC in starting stitch. Join.

Note: You can chain 2 to start each row, but I prefer to do a chainless starting HDC. I think it makes your starting point harder to see...it's a good skill to add to your crochet repertoire   

Round 2: HDC in first stitch, HDC, ch 1, HDC in next stitch (corner made). HDC across, until you get to the 3 HDC at the end of the row. Make a corner in the first of those stitches, hdc in next, then another corner. HDC to the end of the row, making your last corner in the next-to-last stitch before you finish the round.

Rounds 3-6: HDC around, doing (HDC, ch 1, HDC) in each of the ch-1 spaces at the corners

View of the bottom

Pattern Stitch:
Now you get into the lacy pattern stitch - Start with row 9 of the pattern linked below. The pattern is worked over 5 stitches... so if you're getting toward the end, and you don't have a multiple of 5, you can adjust by skipping 3 stitches instead of 2.

Pattern Stitch

I highly recommend that you watch the video that Mikey from The Crochet Crowd made to explain the pattern stitch. I was thoroughly lost until I watched it and saw the little diagram he made up to explain the stitch. Now I can do the pattern from memory.

I did 9 rows of the pattern stitch (row 9 of the pattern, then repeated row 10 8 times)
After that, HDC around for 3 rows.

Straps:
Measure in 3" from side of bag.
 Do 18 rows of HDC over 8 stitches.
Row 19: HDC in first 3 stitches, chain 2, skip two stitches, HDC in last 3 stitche
Row 20: HDC in each stitch (8 stitches)

Measure in 3 inches from other side and repeat for other strap.
Sew buttons on border at bottom of straps.


Back view of bag attached to a chair's handle

Sew a button on the front center.
Make a loop from the center of the back (attach yarn, chain 20, slip stitch to back center).

Tuck in yarn ends.



Monday, June 2, 2014

June Giveaway!

It has been a long time since I posted a giveaway on my blog. Too long. So, I am correcting that!

May was a big month for our family. We traveled from New York to Indiana for our middle daughter's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, and it's exciting to watch their new life begin as Ben starts a ministry as Director of Youth Ministries with a church in Holland, MI.


We're trying to stick to a "tighten our belts budget" as we recover from paying for the wedding. For the month of June, I am going to carefully track my spending and try to eliminate impulse purchases. I thought it would be interesting to track my knit and crochet projects, too. I will be keeping track of how many I make, as well as how much yarn I use (in ounces) and the dollar amount they will sell for in my online craft shop.

That's where the giveaway comes in... I will give away a $15 credit to PenguinPlace to the person who correctly guesses how many projects I finish in the month of June.

In case there is a tie, the tiebreaker will be who comes the closest in guessing the total weight of the projects for the month.


Here are some hints/tips:

First project finished in June - Doll blanket weighs 5.3 ounces

These are some of the projects I finished in May. Clockwise from lower left - Shawl, toddler hat, cup cozy, child hat, Minion cuddly, market bag, Ninja mask... baby hat and hat/bag set in center. There were several other items that were special orders or gifts that are already out the door.
 

Here's what I'm working on now... purple shawl, market bag for the Crochet Lounge challenge, and another Minion lovey. I have pulled patterns for baby slippers, a colorful knit sampler hat, and two kinds of slippers. I'm also kicking around the idea of designing a new shawl pattern...
 
 

So...you might want to follow me on PenguinPlace to see how much work I'm getting done. In fact, if you like my Penguin Place Shop on Facebook, you can take a second bonus guess.

Rules: Limited to ages 13 and up, in U.S. and Canada.
Limit of one guess per person - (second bonus guess for those who like me on Facebook)
Giveaway ends at Midnight on July 1st.

You can enter by E-mail or Facebook message
E-mail: FreeCellPenguin@gmail.com or leave a FB Message at PenguinPlace

Information needed for entry:
Your name and e-mail address that I can use to contact you if you are the winner
Guess for number of items I will complete
Guess for total weight (pounds and ounces) of all items I will complete by midnight on June 30th, 2014

Prize:
$15 credit toward any item in my PenguinPlace shop, or special order. Shipping included.





Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Knit Minion Cuddly Toy (Lovey)



Minion Lovey

Size 6 Double-pointed knitting needles
Size 8 Double-pointed needles
Size 8 circular needle (I used 16” length)
Yarn needle
About 1 ounce bright yellow yarn
About 3 ounces denim blue yarn
Small amounts of white and black yarn
Small black button or sew-on gemstone
Polyfill

The needle size / gauge aren’t all that important. I wanted a tight knit for the head, so the stuffing wouldn’t show, and a looser knit for the body, to make it more cuddly.  I think the body could have been done with size 9 or 10 needles too.

Start with eye (or eyes… you can make your minion either way): (It’s easier to sew the eye on while you’re still working on the head, but your needles will be busy later...so make the eye first.)
With white yarn and size 6 double-pointed needles, cast on 5 stitches, leaving about 6” of yarn at your starting  point.
Round 1: Being careful not to twist your cast-on stitches, join and knit each stitch (5 stitches)
Round 2:  Increase in each stitch (10 stitches)
Round 3: Change to gray yarn. Increase in first stitch, knit next stitch. Continue around, increasing every other stitch. (15 stitches).
Bind off in purl, leaving 9” or so to sew on. Use starting yarn to tighten up hole in center. Sew a small black button or sew-on gemstone to center of eye.

Head:
With yellow yarn and size 6 double-pointed needles, cast on 8 stitches.
Round 1: Being careful not to twist your cast-on stitches, join and knit each stitch (8 stitches)
Round 2:  Increase in each stitch (16 stitches)
Round 3:  Increase in first stitch, knit next stitch. Continue around, increasing every other stitch. (24 stitches).
Round 4: *Increase in first stitch, knit 2 stitches* repeat around (32 stitches)
Round 5: *Increase in first stitch, knit 3 stitches* repeat around (40 stitches)
(It’s easier to take your beginning thread and tighten up the hole in the middle before your tube gets too long… you might want to tighten it up around this point.)
Round 6: *Increase in first stitch, knit 4 stitches* repeat around (48 stitches)
Round 7: *Increase in first stitch, knit 5 stitches* repeat around (56 stitches)
Round 6: *Increase in first stitch, knit 6 stitches* repeat around (64 stitches)
Work 6 rows even in yellow
Work 2 rows in black
Work 10 rows even in yellow.
(After you do 4 or 5 of those rows, sew on the eye on the black band, so that the eye covers where you changed color. When you get to the end of the 10 rows, you can embroider on the mouth.).
Decrease row: *Knit 6, K2 together* repeat around
Knit one row even
Repeat decrease row


Using  the size 8 circular needle, attach blue yarn and pick up 48 stitches (you’re leaving your yellow stitches on the size 6 needles, but pulling up a blue stitch from each of the yellow stitches).  Put point guards on the ends of the needle so you don’t drop any blue stitches. You’ll finish up the yellow before you work on the blue “skirt”.
Continue to work decreases on the head – by knitting 3 stitches, then knitting two together, until you have about 20 stitches left. Fill head with polyfill. Keep on decreasing until you have 8 stitches. Cut yarn, leaving about 5”. Thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight. Tie off and weave in.
Transfer blue stitches to double-pointed needles if your circular needle is too long to work with them.  Figure out the center front of your work (centered under the eye). Count off six stitches to one side of that and place a marker. Place 3 more markers, each after 12 stitches.
Cuddly “skirt”
Each round: Knit around, increasing after each marker.
 I did my increases by picking up a stitch. I think it might look nicer if the increases were done by a yarn-over. I’ll try that on my next lovey.
Just keep on knitting until the lovey is the desired length. I had a 3.5 ounce skein of yarn and I kept going until I was close to running out of yarn. The “skirt” on my lovey is about 8” long.
GRU logo:
With black yarn and size 6 needles, cast on 8 stitches. Work in stockingnet stitch until you have a square. Cast off, leaving enough yarn to sew on.
Using the chart below and white yarn, embroider the GRU G. Sew logo onto front of lovey.

Using 2 or 3 strands of black yarn, pull a loop through at the center of the top of the head. Pull the other end of the yarn through and pull to tighten to make a top-knot of hair.  If you like a minion with spikey hair, you could tie a single strand of yarn at a few locations at the top of the head.












Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another fun hat... a Cabbage Patch Doll with curly ponytails



About six weeks ago, I learned a new trick... I made a hat where the ties were a long curl. They were made by making a long chain, and then doing 3 sc in each chain. I've been having fun with that ever since.



I made up a few scrap yarn hats in knit, and then put the curls at the top of the hat. That got me thinking... what if I made a one of my Cabbage Patch doll hats, and did these curls for the ponytails? Once the idea came to me, I just couldn't wait to try! I have a few special orders I should be working on, but I just had to try...






I didn't really use a "pattern". I have the Hat Sizing Chart below saved to my tablet... so I just start crocheting a basic circle where you add one more stitch between increases on each round. When my circle matched the measurement in the chart, I stopped increasing. When the length matched the measurement in the chart, I was done. This hat was made with worsted weight yarn and a size I hook, so it worked up quickly and is more stretchy than something with a smaller hook. Once you know the basics, you can make these in any size and color!




Round 1 was 8 hdc in a magic circle.
Round 2 - 2 hdc in each stitch
Round 3 - **2 hdc in first stitch, hdc in next stitch** repeat around
Round 4 **2 hdc in first stich, hdc in next 2 stitches** repeat around
Keep going, adding 1 more stitch between increases, until you reach the right circle size, according to the chart below. Then you switch to working even on the rows.

Hat Sizing Chart

When you are within one inch of finishing the hat, switch to SC and work the front half of the hat in loop stitch.

For the curls, join the yarn at the side of the hat around the fourth row from the top. Chain 20, and work back toward the hat, doing 2 sc in each chain. When you get to the hat, slip stitch to secure the curl, then repeat the process twice (chain 20, work 2 sc in each chain, slip stitch to hat). Repeat on other side of the hat. Tie curls together bit a bit of ribbon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Penguin Cup Cozy

Since my craft business is named "Penguin Place" (my Facebook shop is actually 1PenguinPlace because Penguin Place is a real penguin conservatory), I figured I really should have a penguin cup cozy to put on my coffee cup when I'm doing craft shows.

I worked up this pattern at my last show. Enjoy!

Penguin Cup Cozy
Size H crochet hook
Black worsted weight yarn (less than 1 oz)
Small amounts of white and orange yarn

With black yarn, make a foundation HDC of 32 stitches (You could also chain 34 and then do a HDC in the third stitch from hook and each chain, but I think that a foundation HDC gives more elasticity to your beginning row. If you don't know how to do foundation HDC, you can google it and find tutorials). Slip stitch in top of beginning stitch to join. Use the tail from the beginning of your chain to join at bottom of stitch also.

Row 1-11:
*HDC in first stitch, HDC around front post of next stitch* repeat around.

Alternating HDC with a front post HDC gives you a ribbed look.

Face:
With white, make a magic ring.
Chain 4, 12 Treble Crochet in ring. Pull tight, but don't join.
Work 5 DC around the post of the last Treble Crochet worked. Slip stitch in center. 5 DC in the chain 4 you began with. Slip stitch at top of chain 4. This makes two semi-circles at the top of your large semi-circle. Now you have a heart-shaped face.

With black yarn, embroider small dots for eyes.

With orange yarn, embroider a triangle for the beak.

Flippers:
Attach orange yarn about 2 stitches off-center. SC in 4 stitches. Chain 1, turn.
SC in 4 stitches. Chain 3, turn.
Slip stitch in second stitch.* Chain 3, slip stitch in next stitch.* Repeat to end of row. End off.

Repeat on other side, starting 6 stitches off center (that way, when you do your 4 SC, you end up with two blank stitches in the center between the flippers).

Weave in yarn ends and enjoy. The Penguin Cozy will protect your hand from too-hot coffee... but he prefers to protect you from chilly hands when you enjoy an Iced Coffee!