Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pick a Number...

Updated with more pictures 8/31 - Done!

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. (Finished that in mid-August)

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 - started 8/12, Finished 8/14

3. Unicorn - started 7/28, finished 8/10

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.  Cowboy Booties.. finished 7/28

6. Fox stuffed animal - started 8/21

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
This is made with a reflective yarn. The first picture is in a dark room with a flash. Picture on the right is in daylight.

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 - started and finished 8/19. I had fun with this one, just making it up as I went along. Each color is a different knit pattern: ribbing, cable, diagonal rib, reverse stockingnet, stockingnet. If this one sells this fall, I will definitely make more.

11. Minion Slippers - finished on a road trip to Michigan. Had to buy knitting needles because I only put one in my craft bag!

12. Oscar the Grouch Hat - Chosen by The Crochet Lounge - I had fun with this one! I made it in an adult size. I figure it will be something that makes people stop in their tracks at my craft shows... just need to find an adult who loves Oscar enough to wear it out in public!

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

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

15. Nemo - This one was fun!

16. Penguin
Introducing... Pudgy Penguin

17.  Cthulu Scarf

18. Kitty - Started 8/16. I gave my husband my list and said "Pick one that isn't highlighted yet."

19. Frog - Started and finished 8/23. This didn't end up looking anything like the pattern I had printed out. I just kept making changes!

20. Pig - started 8/17, since I had pink yarn out for Miss Kitty

21. Little Turtle - started and finished 8/11. I think I need to make more of these little guys. It was fun to make, and worked up quickly.

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

23. Also chosen by Gail - Sock Monkey Baby Booties

24.  Walker Bag - started and finished 8/25 - but since I spent 6 hours in a waiting room, I had plenty of time to spend working on it!

25. Woven Scarf - started 8/17. I was working on Miss Kitty, but needed fiberfill to keep going, but my husband was sleeping in his chair between me and the closet where the fiberfill was... thought that stepping over his feet to get to the closet might wake him up.

26. Christmas Sock Monkey
About a month ago, I found a bag of Christmas yarn on my desk. No note, nobody asked if I found it. I thought it might make a cute sock monkey.

27. Mini Mikie - since I made the big Mike Wazowski (pictured above on the globe), I wanted to try my hand at making a smaller version that I could sell at my craft table for $5, since $5 crafts tend to sell more quickly. I made this little guy up as I went along.

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 - A Facebook friend told me about these. I had to alter a pattern a bit to make it fit on the CD. I'll make up a few more and see if they sell at craft shows this fall.

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'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.

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... 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: 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

$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

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 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.

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.