Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The April Penguin Pail

March was busy... crazy busy. I got my biggest ever special order, and it kept me busy for a couple of weeks! That pushed everything else from March's Penguin Pail to the back burner.

So, for April, I am just carrying over a lot of March's list. I need to restock some Minion items for two craft shows in April, and I just want to finish up some of the projects that have been languishing in my basket for a while!

This post looks so boring with no pictures, but I plan on knocking these projects (and more) out in rapid succession, putting up pictures of finished items!

1. The Mermaid lapghan

Making progress!

2. Rainbow  Monkey
Finished 4/21


3. Elephant
ELEPHANT  #2

Finished 11:30 PM on April 1st - I love this little guy! I want to make another one! (So I did...)


The first elephant was a special order that needed to be finished for Easter. I liked the pattern, but he was rather small, so I tried making another one with three strands of yarn together, and a larger hook. That's Elephant #2 above.


4. Shark Pants - after making a couple of pairs of monster pants, somebody suggested shark pants. I'm making these up by playing with another pattern.

Almost done. Needs yarn teeth rather than paper.

Baby shark shorts done  


5. Grady Blue Owl


6. Minion Gloves - started 4/21, finished 4/23
Not the best pic... late night, dim lighting. Will get a picture on some hands in daylight soon!


7. Minion Doll - started 4/23





Update #1 The month is more than half done, so I took accounts of what I had in progress... three projects in the works on Saturday, April 18th. Focusing on those projects, I made some very good progress on two of them! Shark shorts and the Rainbow Monkey should be finished this week!

Saturday  4/18 - 3 WIP



I took a break from my Penguin Pail to make this headband for my youngest daughter. She saw the pattern when I printed it out and said if I made one, she would wear it. She went with me on a trip to Hobby Lobby and picked out the yarn color. I lost track of my row count and made it too big. I had to adjust the button three times before it was snug enough to stay on the way she wanted. Note to self: next time, count the rows!


Since I finished up the Rainbow Monkey last night, I have hope that I might actually FINISH my Penguin Pail this month!

4/25 update:

Having  a very slow day at a craft show, so got in some design time. Made these up as I went along:


Sunday, March 1, 2015

The March of the Penguin's Pail

Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.

So, February wasn't a very good month for meeting goals. I only finished 15 projects, using about 4-1/2 pounds of yarn...about one-third that of January.

March is going to be crazy... three craft shows, including a new one for me, a Mommy Expo that promises to have THOUSANDS of customers. Yikes! (Didn't  go well, only 6 customer purchases.)

In light of that, I don't really plan on a lot of new projects. Just finishing up what I have going, working on a few custom orders, and making some best-seller items.

So, here is the basic list. Let's see how fast I can fill it up with pictures!

1. Mermaid Tail Lapghan (in progress)
Using this pattern

My color scheme
2. Finish Baby Dino - I ended up frogging this (rippit, rippit), to use the yarn for another project - since I couldn't find a matching blue yarn for the Thomas the Tank Engine I started, despite visiting Joanne's, A.C. Moore and Hobby Lobby.

3. Minion Hat (best seller)


4. Minion Gloves (best seller)

Done!

5. Minion Scarf (best seller)

Is a Ninja Turtle scarf close enough?

6. Finish Rainbow Monkey
Using this picture as a guideline


7. Monster Pants - make a new pair - or, if you're having so much fun with the crochet pattern, make two... or three.





8. Thomas the Tank Engine stuffed toy (custom order)

Sunday 3/15 - about half the pieces  done

Thomas finished 3/27
My Penguin Pail plans changed when I got a second order for Thomas the Tank Engine... for Easter. Everything else went into the "work on it later" basket!

9. Elephant (custom order)

Okay, nine items... ready, set, GO!

Oops...
10. Basketball baby hat for Coach & his wife (at left in picture), expecting their first baby in August.In his second year of coaching the girls' team, we are league champions for the first time in about ten years. My daughter is one of the captains holding up the trophy (#14 on the right).

Getting started as soon as I find the end.

Finished . ...about an hour before the banquet

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bad Case of PHS

PHS has hit again...

What is PHS?

Project Hopping Syndrome!

Here's how it happens: I was making pretty good progress on my Penguin Pail for the month, and then a picture shows up in my news feed. "Saw this and thought of you" or "If you made this, I would buy it." Then somebody else shares the same picture and tags me. Sometimes the same project will show up three times in a week... then I feel like dropping everything to start that!

So, this week, I've been plugging away at finishing up the Monster Pants I started last week. I'm getting there. Maybe 6 more inches of blue, then the bottom ribbing. I polish off an inch in about 15 minutes, so these could be done in a couple of hours...



But then I'm checking Facebook and I see that somebody tagged me in a comment that says "Elaine could do that." I click through to see.



 Oh, Mermaid Tail Lapghan. I've seen something like that, but it was a rather expensive paid pattern with some bad reviews. I clicked through the link... free pattern. Oh, I like. Now I want to drop everything, run to the yarn store and get just the right colors to get started on one!

 Then I see that somebody has posted to my page... "You could make this, couldn't you? It's so cute. I think it would be a best-seller!" Oh, yeah, that's cute. Yes, I could make it by just looking at the picture. Yes, I have yarn pulled out and put together in a project bag to get started on one. I figure I can get a leg or two done during time-outs and half-time at today's basketball game.




And then there's my Ravelry queue... when I'm browsing through the wonderful world of free patterns on Ravelry, I'll find something and put it in my queue so I can find it later... I'm up to 38 items in my queue now...


And then I get a Facebook message asking if I could make a Thomas the Tank Engine toy by Easter. Check - free pattern on Ravelry... Okay, add that to the list! And what do you have in terms of gray elephants? Another Ravelry check... oh, dear, so much cuteness!


Another trigger for PHS is going through my yarn stash. I'll probably need to do a little more searching for nice bright colors to finish up the patchwork monkey. The problem is, when I start going through my yarn stash, I see a skein (or two) of yarn and think "That would make a great ___." (could be an owl, teddy bear, giraffe, scarf...) Of course, I can't resist adding that yarn to my pile to take back to my work corner... and another project is started!

That's why I usually have 5 or 6 projects going at once. Right now, I have two. Well, it depends on how you count "projects". If you only count something that is started, I have two. If purchasing the yarn for a specific project and putting that yarn in my corner counts... bump the number up by two more. If putting yarn in a bag with a crochet hook and a pattern counts, bump it up again. If printing a pattern off counts, I'm in trouble...




Sunday, February 1, 2015

February's Penguin Pail

I finished up my January Penguin Pail at 10:15 last night, so today I get to start on some new projects! Here are some stats for January:
39 projects finished
12 pounds, 2.5 ounces yarn used
(which is almost exactly the same amount of yarn that I purchased or was gifted)
2 personal sales
3 online sales
1 craft show
1,289 blog views
719 visits to my Storenvy Shop
Got up to 104 followers on Facebook

Here is the basic list - I went up to 11 due to an order at yesterday's craft show. I will update with pictures as I complete items.

1. Gray Bulky Mittens (request from my daughter)


2. Amish Puzzle Ball - Dinosaur
    Pattern Link for DInosaur Puzzle Ball

3. Monster Pants - Started Friday, 2/20, Finished Wednesday 2/25
   Monster Pants Pattern

Just need to tuck in yarn ends, add the drawstring, and some teeth!


4. Striped Giraffe
    pattern for giraffe
Finished 2/4/15

5. Baby Dragon - Started 2/15 & stalled
  Baby Dragon Pattern

6. Baby Cupcake Hands
    Pattern link for baby cupcake hands

7. Fancy Owl
Fancy Owl Pattern

8. Tiger Cowl - design project

9. Olaf doll
    Pattern for Olaf

10. Mouse Cowl - design project
Finished 2/15


11. Minion gloves (order from yesterday's craft Show)

February 22 Update: 
Wow, February has been busy. I got a few special orders that bumped work on my Penguin Pail, so here I am with only 6 days left in the month, and less than half the items on my list finished. Oh, well, I guess I have a head start on my March list!


End of the month report: 
Only finished 5 of 11, due to a busy month and special orders.
1 personal sale (down 1 from last month)
4 online sales (up 1 from last month)
1 craft show (25% more in sales than the January show)
719 Blog views (down from last month)
390 Visits to my Storenvy Shop (about half of January)
109 Followers on Facebook (up 5)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Filling the "Penguin Pail"

In 2014, I did a pattern bucket list. I think I started in July, with 25 items, and it took me a few months to finish.

For 2015, I want to do a monthly bucket list of ten items. I'm calling it "The Penguin Pail." I am nearly done with my January list, so it's time to start thinking about my February list. With five days left to go in January, I have completed 36 projects, using over 11 pounds of yarn. I have only have three projects going at the time (a bit low for me), because I'm focusing on getting stuff done!

So, back to the Penguin Pail.

A few of the spots are already spoken for... my youngest daughter asked me to make her a pair of bulky knit mittens. Since she is (almost) always a willing model for my wearables, when she makes a request, I try to honor it ASAP.

I also have had two "if you make it, I will buy it" comments on Monster Pants, so they're definitely on the list.

And, I got a book of Amish Puzzle Animals for Christmas, so a Dinosaur Puzzle Ball is on there.

Oh, and I have been challenging myself to do a "giraffe of the month club", so I will make another Striped Giraffe. I'm thinking a tan/blue "beach colors" combination, so I can call the giraffe "Sandy".

So, four spots are taken... six are open. Here is a list of some of the projects I'm considering. I will have a vote going on my Facebook Page if you'd like to chime in. You can vote on an item from this list, or suggest a new project!

Snowman Doll (Olaf)
Snowman Fingerless Gloves
Two-Strand Boot Cuffs
Tiger Hooded Cowl (design idea)
Mini Monster
Baby Dragon
Baby Cupcake Mittens
Penguin Scarf (made from a picture shared with me)
Horse Scarf (made from a picture shared with me)
Penguin stuffed animal
Elephant stuffed animal
Unicorn stuffed animal
Puppy Hat
Fancy Owl stuffed animal

Is there a project listed you would love to see finished? Or one you'd like to suggest? Head on over to Penguin Place on Facebook and vote! 



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Octo-Minion

Well, if you saw my last post, you'd know that I've been on an Octopus kick lately, making scrap yarn octopus dolls with different eyes, different sizes, different personalities.

Yesterday morning, an idea popped into my head... what if I made a cross between a Minion and an octopus? If Dr. Nefario and Gru decided that the Minions weren't being productive enough, and tried to give them more arms?

And so the idea for Octo-Minion came about.
Octo-Minion...taking over the world!
This is a loosely-scripted pattern, since I didn't take any notes, and didn't weigh my yarn before I started. Since I used a bunch of scrap balls of blue yarn for the tentacles, it was hard to keep track. The whole thing, with stuffing, weighs 9.8 ounces, so I'd guess about 3 ounces of yellow yarn and 4 ounces of blue. You also need small amounts of white, black and gray for features.

I made this one with a size K hook and three strands of knitting worsted held together. I used the Navaho technique to get three strands of yarn from one skein. That was one of the new skills I learned in 2014. (Hairpin lace is on my list for 2015).

I digress...

Octo-Minion
At the end of each round, join with a slip stitch. I use a chainless HDC (tutorial here) at the beginning of my rows, but you could also start with a ch 2 before making your first HDC. Usually I would make a scrappy Octopus in continuous rounds, without joining, but I wanted a straight line for the color changes.

Round 1: With yellow, 8 HDC in magic ring
Round 2: 2 HDC in each stitch (16 stitches)
Round 3:  HDC in first stitch, 2 HDC in next, repeat around (24 stitches)
Round 4: HDC in first 2 stitches, 2 HDC in next, repeat around (30 stitches)
Rounds 5-7: HDC around (30 stitches)
Round 8: Switch to black, HDC around (30 stitches)
Round 9-13: Switch back to yellow, HDC around (30 stitches)
At this point, sew on the eye on the black band. 
Round 14: Switch to blue. HDC in first 4 stitches, HDC decrease, repeat around (25 stitches)
 Embroider mouth
Round 15: HDC in first 3 stitches, HDC decrease, repeat around (20 stitches)

Round 16: HDC in first 2 stitches, HDC decrease,  repeat around (15 stitches)
Add stuffing 
 Round 17: HDC in first stitch, HDC decrease, repeat around, (10 stitches)
Make a slip stitch in the stitch directly across the opening from your last stitch. This tightens up the hole at the bottom.
Tentacle:
Chain 40.
Two sc in second chain from hook, then one sc in next chain. Repeat (2 sc in stitch, 1 sc in next stitch) until you get back to the base of the octopus. Slip stitch in next available stitch of your final 8 stitches, and repeat tentacle instructions. Keep repeating until you have 8 tentacles.

Eye: with a single strand of white yarn and size H hook
Round 1: 6 sc in magic ring
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch (12)
Round 3: 2 sc in first stitch, sc in next, repeat around (18)
Round 4: change to gray yarn. 2 sc in first stitch, sc in next two stitches, repeat around (24 stitches).
End off, leaving a long tail to sew on. Sew a small button or sew-on gemstone to the center of the white. Sew eye on, centered on black band.

Top hair tuft: I took four strands of yarn, about 4" long, folded them over, and pulled the loop partway through the top center stitch. Then I pulled the ends of the yarn through the loop and tightened. That made a single top-knot. You could also do single strands in a few places on the top of the head.... there are lots of different Minion hairstyles.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Scrappy Octopus

I saw a cute little octopus stuffed animal on Facebook the other day, and it got me thinking. I have been making a lot of Kooky Owls (pattern here) lately, so I wondered how it would turn out if I used some of those basics (three strands of knitting worsted held together, size K hook) to make a quick and easy octopus.

I'm still playing with eyes and size, but here's what I have so far:

Scrappy Octopus

Takes 3 balls of scrap yarn, about 1-1/2 ounces each for the smaller octopus, 2 ounces each for the larger one.
Sizes K & G crochet hooks
Yarn needle
For button eyes (pink octopus): two white buttons 5/8" and two black buttons 3/8"

Smaller (Pink) Version


Do not  join rounds - work in a continuous 
With three strands of yarn and size K hook, make a magic ring.
Round 1: 8 HDC in ring
Round 2: 2 HDC in each stitch (16 stitches)
Round 3:  HDC in first stitch, 2 HDC in next, repeat around (24 stitches)
Rounds 4-6: HDC around (24 stitches)
At this point, sew on the eyes on row 5. Center the black button the white button, and sew both on together. 
Round 7: HDC decrease, HDC, repeat around (16 stitches)
Add stuffing
Round 8: HDC decrease around (8 stitches).
Make a slip stitch in the stitch directly across the opening from your last stitch.
Tentacle:
Chain 20.
Two sc in second chain from hook, then one sc in next chain. Repeat (2 sc in stitch, 1 sc in next stitch) until you get back to the base of the octopus. Slip stitch in next available stitch of your final 8 stitches, and repeat tentacle instructions. Keep repeating until you have 8 tentacles.
Body is smaller version, but tentacles are longer, as in gray version.


Larger Gray Version:
Short version: same as pink, only I added two more rows in the body, and made tentacles with a chani of 30.
 Eyes:
With size G hook and white, make magic ring
6 SC in ring
Round 2: 2 SC in each stitch (12 sc)
Round 3: SC in first stitch, 2 SC in next stitch, repeat around (18 stitches)
End off, leaving long tail for sewing on.

Embroider black pupil at center of eye (option - sew on small black button).

Eyelid:
With gray, make magic ring. 10 DC in ring. Pull tight, but do not join. Finish off, leaving long tail for sewing on. Sew on top of eye.

Body:
Round 1: 8 HDC in ring
Round 2: 2 HDC in each stitch (16 stitches)
Round 3:  HDC in first stitch, 2 HDC in next, repeat around (24 stitches)
Rounds 4-8: HDC around (24 stitches)
Around row 6 or 7, sew on the eyes on row 5. 
Round 9: HDC decrease, HDC, repeat around (16 stitches)
Add stuffing 
Round 10: HDC decrease around (8 stitches).
Make a slip stitch in the stitch directly across the opening from your last stitch.
Tentacle:
Chain 30.
Two sc in second chain from hook, then one sc in next chain. Repeat (2 sc in stitch, 1 sc in next stitch) until you get back to the base of the octopus. Slip stitch in next available stitch of your final 8 stitches, and repeat tentacle instructions. Keep repeating until you have 8 tentacles.

Here is the same octopus worked up with a triple strand of Red Heart Shimmer yarn, using safety eyes.


You can have fun with these by varying the yarn and hook size. I just got a size S crochet hook... I could make a really big octopus with about six strands of yarn held together...that would really put a dent in my scrap yarn collection!


XL Version - Sleepy Green Octopus

About 20" tall without stretching, but tentacles will stretch from 12" to about 24"

I used three strands of yarn - one strand of "thick and thin" off-white, and two strands of green knitting worsted. I used a little over 2 ounces from each skein of green yarn, and about half of the skein of thick & thin.

Body:
Round 1: 6 HDC in ring
Round 2: 2 HDC in each stitch (12 stitches)
Round 3:  HDC in first stitch, 2 HDC in next, repeat around (18 stitches)
Round 4: HDC in first two stitches, 2 HDC in next, repeat around (24 stitches)
Round 5:  HDC in first three stitches, 2 HDC in next, repeat around (30 stitches)
Round 6:  HDC in first four stitches, 2 HDC in next, repeat around (36 stitches)
Rounds 7-11: HDC around (36 stitches)
Around row 10 or 11, sew on the eyes. 
Round 12: HDC in first four stitches, HDC decrease, repeat around (30 stitches)
Round 13:  HDC in first three stitches, HDC decrease, repeat around (24 stitches)
Round 14: HDC in first two stitches, HDC decrease, repeat around (18 stitches)
Round 15: HDC in first stitch, HDC decrease, repeat around (12 stitches)
Add stuffing 
Round 10: HDC decrease around (8 stitches).
Make a slip stitch in the stitch directly across the opening from your last stitch.
Tentacle:
Chain 50.
Two sc in second chain from hook, then one sc in next chain. Repeat (2 sc in stitch, 1 sc in next stitch) until you get back to the base of the octopus. Slip stitch in next available stitch of your final 8 stitches, and repeat tentacle instructions. Keep repeating until you have 8 tentacles.

Eyes: 
With single strand of white knitting worsted and size G hook, make 6 sc in magic ring.
Round 1: 2 sc in each stitch (12 stitches)
Round 2: 2 sc in first stitch, sc in next, repeat around. (18 stitches). Finish off, leaving long tail to sew on eye.
Using a little black thread, embroider on eyelashes as shown.

Hair Tuft:
Cut 4 strands of yarn about 4" long. Double over and pull a loop hrough a stitch at the top center of the head. Pull the yarn ends through the loop and pull to tighten. Unravel yarn for a fuller look. Trim to desired length.

CEO Redding
(Crazy Eyes Octopus)
For this guy, I did the same body as the gray version, but did mis-matched eyes.

The eyes are made with one strand of knitting worsted and a size H hook.
Smaller Eye
Round 1: 6 SC in magic ring
Round 2: 2 SC in each stitch (12)
Round 3: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next, repeat around (18)
Finish off, leaving long tail to sew on. Sew on small button.

Larger Eye
Round 1: 6 SC in magic ring
Round 2: 2 SC in each stitch (12)
Round 3: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next, repeat around (18)
Round 4: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next two stitches, repeat around (24)
 Finish off, leaving long tail to sew on. Sew on button.