Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Getting Started...

Wow, it's July.

That means I need to make up a new Penguin Pail.

Life has been crazy and I haven't had the time to get one together!


Today's #CreativeDaily keyword is "Getting Started" - so here I go! I'll just make up an ambitious list off the top of my head!

July 2015 Penguin Pail

1. Finish both of the WIP I currently have started: DONE

I am working on a baby blanket made of Monster Granny Squares. It will take 36 squares: 18 Monsters, 9 solid color squares with off-white border, and 9 off-white squares. I have 14 of the 36 squares done. At the back left of the picture, you can see my other WIP (Work in Progress) - Baby Shark Slippers. I have one done and the other one started. Should be able to finish up with a few more hours' work.

Finished July 6th

Finished shark slipper on a wiggly 9-month-old!


2. Jake the Giraffe - DONE
I want to make another striped giraffe, one of my best sellers. I wasn't sure of what color scheme to use until my daughter was talking about a wedding she attended. She said the color scheme was coral and navy blue and that she really liked that together. So, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and used a gift card to pick up a few skeins of yarn:
I went over to the Stripe Generator at the Biscuits and Jam website and punched in my color choices, then refreshed a few times until I got a stripe pattern that caught my eye. Now I can start on Jake (the groom at the above-mentioned wedding was named Jacob).


Jake is all done!

3. Hooded Dinosaur Blanket. ( Pattern Here )
  Snappy Tots offered a free pattern last month, and I got this one free... so I bought some yarn and am eager to get going on this project!

Two evenings' work
This project has been at a standstill due to the weather. It has been so hot and sticky that I haven't been able to stand having a heavy blanket across my lap as I work on it!


4. Bucket of Fun Project - DONE
Got it filled!
My "how many projects" last month was fun... so I'm going to do it again, on a slightly larger scale. I have an empty tub from pretzels.

I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I am going to fill it with balls of yarn and mostly-used up skeins, and work on little projects through the month to finish it off. I'm eager to pop out a few more Twirly Birds and Mini Teddy Bears.
Project #1 from the bin
A few more projects from the scrap bin: a lion and a cupcake!
This finished off  a ball of yarn from the bin!

Manny the Monster is using up yarn scraps like crazy

This Patriotic Pony almost finished off the red, white & blue variegated yarn.

Manuel de Monster - done!

Made up a little striped  owl as I went along...
Two more projects finished 7/22 & 7/23 - mini turtle & yellow dishcloth

And then I did an old favorite - Calypso the Kooky Owl!
This was before I made the two owls. Now the gallon-sized bag is about half full.

July 23 - about a week left in July, and the yarn is almost gone.


Sugar-free, gluten-free, high-fiber cupcake! ;)


Started out as an owl, turned out to be an alien...

Sam the Owl finished off the red, white & blue variegated!
All that's left Friday morning, 7/24


5. Another Amish Puzzle Ball critter! Maybe a dinosaur this time...


Since this list of 5 items will probably generate about 30 finished items, I think I'll end there!

Let the July crafting begin!


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Twirly Bird

As you can see from the Giveaway post, I gathered up yarn from around my chair and challenged myself to use it all up for various projects. Last night, I found myself with one project in the works to use up a skein of blue (but with that on size 4 knitting needles, it's going to take a while) and two very small balls of green yarn.

I wanted to make an owl with the green yarn, but stripes seemed too boring. I wondered how it would work with a spiral... and that's how Twirly Bird came to be.



He weighs just under half an ounce with button eyes and stuffing, so you only need a little bit of yarn. This pattern is easy to adjust to larger sizes. For an overview: I made a circular base using the usual increases (increasing in every stitch on round 1, 1 stitch between increases on round 2, 2 stitches between increases on round 3, etc.) When the base was the desired width, I attached the second color and started my swirl pattern. I used a pattern based on 5 stitches (2 light, 3 dark). I had 24 stitches around - so since that was one less than a multiple of 5, it makes the swirl pattern.
AAABBB
BAAABB
BBAAAB
BBBAAA

Once I ran out of one color (the light green), I finished off with the dark green, chaining ten at one side and working my way back with 2 sc in each stitch. I held the top closed and did SC across the top, then did another chain 10 and worked my way back with 2 sc in each chain to make the curly tassel on the other side. Added eyes and beak, and it was done!

Okay, now I will attempt to write up the directions as a "real" pattern.

Two small balls knitting worsted weight yarn (making a little owl like the green one above, the balls of yarn were about an inch in diameter, loosely wound). In the picture below, I didn't use all the yarn when I made Twirly Bird 2
Small quantities of white yarn for eyes (I used sport weight yarn) and yellow or orange for beak
Size G hook
Two small button eyes
Yarn needle

Beginning with the yarn you have more of, do 6 sc in magic ring. You will work continuously without joining rounds, so it is helpful  to mark the beginning with a stitch marker.
Round 1: 2 SC in each stitch (12)
Round 2: 2 SC in first stitch, sc in next stitch, repeat around (18)
Round 3:  2 SC in first stitch, sc in next 2 stitches repeat around (24)
Round 4 - EndAttach Color B. *2 SC with Color B. Change to Color A. 3 SC with Color A. Change to Color B. * Keep repeating until your piece measures about 3" tall, or when you get to within about a yard of running out of yarn.
Your stitch pattern should be working out like this:

AAABBB
BAAABB
BBAAAB
BBBAAA 

I like to attach the eyes and beak before I stuff the owl. 

Tassel: Chain 10. 2 SC in 2nd chain from hook and each chain. Slip stitch to the same stitch where you started the chain. Change to other color (if you have any left!). Chain 10. 2 SC in 2nd chain from hook and each chain. Slip stitch to the same stitch where you started the chain. 

Stuff owl. Hold top of owl together and SC across top. At other side, repeat tassel instructions. Finish off and tuck in loose ends. 

Note: with the green owl above, I had run out of light green, so I only made one tassel on each side in dark green. For the brown owl below, I made one tassel of each color on each side, which I liked better.
 
Eye:
With white sport-weight yarn, make 6 hdc in magic ring.
Round 1: 2 hdc in each stitch (12). Fasten off, leaving long tail to sew on.
Sew small buttons on eye, slightly lower than the center.

Sew on, using picture above for reference.

Beak: 
Cut a piece of yarn about 40" long. Fold it in half and make a loop at the fold. Using both strands of yarn, chain 5. Make a slip stitch in the second chain from hook. Make a SC in the next chain, HDC in the next chain, and DC in the last chain. Finish off. Sew to owl as shown in picture above. (I pull one strand of the tail through to the inside and use the other strand to sew the beak on, then tie a good knot on the inside to secure both strands.)

If you only sew the top of the beak, it will  curl up on its own, giving the face a nice 3D effect. If you would rather have the beak lie flat, you can sew it around all the edges. 
 





For more ideas on eyes, check out the pattern for Calypso the Kooky Owl


Twirly Bird #2 in the works

Now that you have the basics... you could make these in all sizes. You make the base as big as you want, as long as your stitch count is 1 more or less than a multiple of your pattern repeat count. You can do all sorts of pattern repeats... 3+3, 2+4, 1+3... have fun!

AAABBB
AABBBA
ABBBAA
BBBAAA

AABBBB
ABBBBA
BBBBAA
BBBAAB
BBAABB
BAABBB
AABBBB

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Giveaway!

I found out this morning that I won a free pattern from Snappy Tots, so I'm celebrating my win by doing a giveaway myself!

One lucky winner will get a $15 credit toward any item in my inventory. The winner will be the person with the most points.

There are three ways to earn points:
1) Guess how many projects I will finish from the pictured selection of yarn. I gathered up about a dozen balls of yarn and partially finished skeins from around my chair and decided I was going to use them all up. I should end up with some interesting items! Some items might be bigger - some might be pretty small. I'm just making up items as the inspiration strikes. One item that I finished yesterday and another that I started yesterday will be included in the count, since they used the yarn in this bin.

So, If you guess the number exactly, you get 5 points. If you are within 1, you get 4 points. Within 2, 3 points. Within 3, 2 points, and within 4, 1 point.

2) You can make up to 5 guesses/suggestions as to what I make with the yarn. You get 3 points every time an item I make matches one of your guesses.

3) If you share this giveaway post, you get 5 points. (Please comment or send me a message if you share directly from this blog. I will be able to see when people share my Facebook post, but I don't think I will be able to see that from this blog.)

Guesses can be submitted here or on my Facebook page until Sunday, June 21st (get your guesses in before midnight that day).

Points will be tallied once all the yarn is used up.
So, here is the collection of items I made from the bin of yarn pictures above. 
Mermaid, Minion, four owls, a puppy, a bear, a slug, three donuts (only two are pictured, because I mailed one out as a gift), unicorn, turtle, triceratops, snake, TARDIS fingerless gloves, African Tree Frog, headband. 


Monday, May 25, 2015

The June Penguin Pail

Here are most of the projects I made from the bin of yarn for my Giveaway challenge, filling the "Color Bag" category.
For April and May, I finished up my Penguin Pail before I ran out of month... so I guess I'll have to be a little more ambitious than ten projects. I came up with the idea to make up a looser list - a grid of twelve projects that should keep me busy for a month:

Here's an explanation of the squares: 
(Done - Zeke) Critter corner = one of my best seller stuffed animals, like giraffe or monkey
(Done - Mermaid) Fantasy land = mermaid, dinosaur or unicorn
(Done - Striped Owl) Scrap = anything that uses the small balls of yarn left after bigger projects

(Done - Bear, Turtle) African Flower = something using the new pattern I learned doing May's Fancy Owl
(Done - Sid the Squid) Variegated = anything using up variegated yarn
(Done - made a fancy owl) Rock the Croc = something using crocodile stitch
(Done - Pretty Pink Tractor) Vehicle = plane train, automobile, tractor
(Done) - Four Square = finish four squares of a specialty granny square for a blanket
(Done, with my "use it up" challenge) Color bag = 4 or 5 coordinating colors in a project bag, make stuff till yarn is used up
(Done - Twirly Bird) - Design = Work on a design idea
(Done) Minion - Anything Minion
(Done - Cupcake Purse) Purse - cute little kid's purse


It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Some items will cover more than one square... for instance, I'm working on a new Minion design today, so that would cover both the Minion square and the Design square. When my daughter (who is far better with colors than I) makes up the color bag for me, it may be used for Critter Country and African Flower).

Even though there are twelve squares, I will end up with more than 12 projects, due to the "Color Bag" and "Variegated" options. For those, I want to use up the yarn, so I'll end up making whatever it takes to use up the skeins.

Okay, here goes...



First project finished - a pair of Mermaids. Technically  they  fit three categories: Fantasy Land, variegated, and scrap yarn. I will count them as Fantasy  Land.

Now, designing a vehicle. If you have ever seen Tim Hawkins sing Little Pink Tractor, you should love this one!













Tuesday 6/2 was a busy day, with time waiting during medical appointments and a lot of time in the car. Finished off two little projects that will qualify for the "Scrap" category.


Finished up my "pretty pink tractor" - but I want to tweak the pattern a bit. I got the texture I wanted on the tires, but my double crochet stitch lets the white stuffing show through. And the top of the tractor is supposed to be pink, too. This one fits the categories Vehicle, Scrap and Design... but I will count it towards Vehicle.


Zeke the Giraffe finishes off Critter Country
Owl made with the Crocodile Stitch

African Flower category - Turtle


Since I was having such fun with African flower projects, I made another one!

For the Purse category, I made a cupcake purse.
Cross Minion off the list!
Four Monester squares done

Here is Sid the Short-Changed Squid. He only has 7 legs, since I ran out of yarn...





Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top-Down Colorful Monkey





I like making projects with as little sewing as possible… sometimes when I sew the head onto the body of a critter, it doesn’t turn out quite the way I want it to. So, for this pattern, I wanted to make the head and body one piece. I start at the top of this cute little monkey with  the curl, and work down to the bottom. I crocheted the arms on while making the body, but wasn’t 100% happy with the way they sit. I think with my next colorful monkey, I will sew the arms like as I did with the legs.
I used worsted weight yarn and a size G hook.  I had partial skeins of green, blue, pink, lavender and tan from another project that I used on this (and I still have an ounce or more left from most skeins). I’d say you need 2-3 ounces of each color.
This was  my starting sketch for color choices: 


I made the mouth and eyes first, so I could sew them on before stuffing the head. 

Mouth: 
The mouth is worked in continuous rounds without joining
Chain 12
SC in 2nd chain from hook and next 9. 3 SC in last. Working on opposite side, work one sc in the next 9 starting chains. Work two more sc in original stitch. Place a marker (my scrap of tan yarn in the picture below) to remind yourself which end is your starting end.

Round 2: 2 sc in next stitch (corner), sc in next 9 stitches, 2 sc in next (corner), sc in next two stitches, 2 sc in next stitch (corner), sc in next 9 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch (corner)
Rounds 3-4, sc around with 2 sc in each corner
(I found it easier to embroider the smile and nostrils at this point, before I started working the even rounds that make the mouth cup up.)
Rounds 5-7 sc around, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Eyes: 
Large colored part (make 2):
Chain 5
SC in 2nd chain from hook and next two stitches, 3 sc in next, sc in the back side of the chain for 3 stitches.
Ch 1, turn. sc in three stitches, 2 sc in each of the next three stitches, sc in next three stitches. Finish off, leaving long tail to sew on. 
Black part:  (make 2)
Make 5 sc in MR. Tighten ring, but do not join.

Sew black part onto colored part. Sew onto face over rows 8-12. Sew mouth centered below eyes, stuffing as you sew.


Head: 
Starting at the top with the color you have chosen for the head. Head and body are made in continuous rounds without joining at the end of each round.

Curl + Round 1
You start with the little curl on the top of the monkey's head: 
Chain 12
3 sc in 2nd chain from and and next 9 chains. In last chain, do 6 sc. 

Round 1: Work 2 sc in each of the 6 sc you made in the last stitch, being careful to keep the curl on top of your work. (12 stitches)
Round 2: sc 1, inc in next stitch, repeat around (18)
Round 3: sc in 2 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (24)
Round 4: sc in 3 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (30)
Round 5: sc in 4 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (36)
Round 6: sc in 5 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (42)
Round 7: sc in 6 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (48)
Round 8: sc in 7 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (54)
Round 9: sc in 8 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (60)
Rounds 10-13: sc around (60 stitches)
Round 14: sc in 8 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (54)
Round 15: sc in 7 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (48)
Round 16: sc in 6 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (42)

Round 17: sc in 5 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (36)
Round 18: sc in 4 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (30)
Round 19: sc in 3 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (24)
Round 20: sc in 2 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (18)
Stuff while the hole is still big enough to get the stuffing in! 
Rounds 21-22: sc around (18)
 Change to the top color you will be using for the body

Body
Round 1: sc in 2 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (24)
Round 2: sc in 3 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (30)
Round 3: sc in 4 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (36)
Round 4: sc in 5 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (42)
Round 5: sc in 6 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (48)
Round 6: sc in 7 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (54) 
Round 7:  sc in 8 stitches, inc in next stitch, repeat around (60)
Rounds 8: sc around (60)
Change to middle color you will be using for body
Rounds 9-16: sc around
Change to bottom color you will be using for body:
Round 17: sc in 8 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (54)
Round 18: sc in 7 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (48)
Round 19: sc in 6 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (42)
Round 20: sc in 5 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (36)
Round 21 sc in 4 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (30)
Round 22: sc in 3 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (24)
Round 23: sc in 2 stitches, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (18)
 Stuff while the hole is still big enough to get the stuffing in! 
Round 24: sc in 1 stitch, dec over next two stitches, repeat around (12)
Round 25: dec around (6)
Finish off, leaving tail to sew the opening closed. 

Arms: Make 2
Round 1: 5 sc in Magic Ring. Pull tight
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch around (10)
Round 3: 1 sc in next stitch, inc in next, repeat around (15)
Rounds 4-5: work even 
Change color
Continue to work even until the arm measures 8" long, stuffing as you go.

I attached the arms around Round 3 of the body, crocheting through both layers of the arm while doing Round 3, but I think they might look better sewed on.

Legs:Make 2
Round 1: 6 sc in Magic Ring. Pull tight
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch around (12)
Round 3: 1 sc in next stitch, inc in next, repeat around (18)
Rounds 4-6: work even 
Change color
Continue to work even until the leg measures 10" long, stuffing as you go.

Tail: 
 Round 1:
4 sc in magic ring. Pull tight
Round 2: inc in first stitch, sc in each stitch around (5) (use a stitch marker to show start of row)
Round 3:  inc in first stitch, sc in each stitch around (6)
Round 4:  inc in first stitch, sc in each stitch around (7)
Round 5:  inc in first stitch, sc in each stitch around (8)
Round 6:  inc in first stitch, sc in each stitch around (9)
Round 7:  inc in first stitch, sc in each stitch around (10)
Round 8:  inc in first stitch, sc in next four stitches, decrease over next two stitches, sc in next two stitches (10)
Continue to repeat row 8 until the tail is desired length (8 - 12"), stuffing as you go. Every few inches you can skip the decrease to make the tail a little wider. I think overall I ended up with fourteen stitches by the end of the tail.
(increasing on one side and doing a decrease opposite it will give the tail a curve)

Ears:
Start at the center of the ear with your accent color: 
Round 1: 6 sc in magic ring. Pull tight
Round 2: increase in each stitch around (12 stitches). Change color to the one you used for the head.
Round 3: Sc in first stitch, increase in next. repeat around (18)
Round 4: Sc in first stitch, decrease over next two stitches, repeat around (12)
Round 5: Dec around (6)
Round 6: Dec around (3)
Finish off, leaving a long tail to sew onto side of head.