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Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #2

This is a continuation from my previous blog post regarding the first time I have sold any of Amigurumi creations.

P1010766Three sales stood out for me that evening. The first started when a lady took an interest in T-Bone, my skeleton. My heart jumped with anxiety. When the lady asked how much, little beads of sweat, popped out on my forehead. Could I actually sell T-Bone? The voices in my mind erupted. NO! Tell her “Sorry, he is not for sell, just for show.” or I could give her an outrageous price and just scare her off, or just grab T-Bone and run away were some of the things that went through my mind. But, after calming those voices, like Snoopy, I asked the lady for a reasonable cost for my time and materials and she agreed. I was still not certain that I wanted to part with T-Bone at this point though so I began to talk with the lady. I learned that she was a fellow knitter and crocheter and owned a yarn shop where T-Bone would live on display. Phew! What a relief it was to know that T-Bone would be in a good home. She would take care of him and I now had some money to buy enough yarn and stuffing to make myself another skeleton.

P1040460The next memorable sale that night was to a young girl about 7 years old. She looked at all my amigurumi’s carefully and then asked what she could get for a dollar. I explained to her that I really did not have anything that I could sell her for just a dollar, but she continued to study the amigurumi’s and I started to look around for her parents. I did not see them anywhere, but after a few more minutes, she left.

She came back a few minutes later with $7 in ones and some change, and the question was asked again, “What can I get for this?” So, I asked her what she wanted. And as she was studying the display some more, I started asking about her parents, and I came to learn that her parents owned a restaurant down the block. After some thought, she decided that she wanted one of my one-eyed pocket pal monsters. How much? I looked at her $7 and said “How about $2?” I had sold the other pocket pals that evening for $5, but this was unique sell so I lowered the price for her a bit. She quickly grabbed the monster and holding up the remaining $5, she repeated the question, “What can I get for this much money?” After getting her a bag, we started to pick though the table. She decided to purchase a couple of other small amigurumi’s at a discounted price.

P1020517Now with only $1 left, the question was asked again. What could I sell her for just a buck? I then spied the two little bean monsters that I had made a long time ago and were not my best work. “How about a little monster?” I asked. She agreed and was trying to decide which one of the monsters she wanted for her $1 when I picked them both up and tossed them in her bag for her. A huge smile crossed her face as she was peeking into her bag at her purchases. As she started to leave, I called her back and told her that for being one of my best customers of the evening, I had something for her, and I gave her one of the small ghosts I had made for Halloween decorations. As I dropped the ghost into her bag, she grabbed me around the waist and gave me a big hug. My heart melted. At that point she could have had the whole table. It did my heart good to have someone want my amigurumi’s as much as she did.

IMG_1659 - Version 2The last sale that I want to mention from that night was my made by my sister, bless her heart. She and my two nieces came to my show to support me and purchased several of my amigurumi’s. Although I did give her a good price on them, I still felt guilty charging her money. They are family and I should have just given the amigurumi’s to her and my nieces, but they wanted to pay for them to support me at my first show.

DSCN0483At the end of the night I had sold about 1/4 of my amigurumi’s that I had brought to show. I was surprised by which amigurumi’s sold and which ones did not sell. No one wanted Porcine the pig or Paulie the Penguin? As surprised as I was I put my remaining amigurumi into three bags and packed them away in the trunk. The next day, we stopped by some friend’s to visit them. The conversation turned to the show and the sales of my amigurumi’s.

These friends had not seen all the amigurumi’s that I had made recently, so I retrieved the three bags from the car to show them off to them. When my friend fell in love with Porcine and her husband liked Corny, the candy corn guy I made last year for Halloween, my friend asked if she could buy these two amigurumi’s from me. Sure I said, but would you like any of the others? Her response was yes and she proceeded to go through the bags and wanted to purchase all the amigurumi that I wanted to sell. She said she is always looking img_0248-1for gifts for nieces and nephews and neighbor kids. So after this final sale, I came home with just one bag of amigurumi’s left. And I now have just enough fingers to count the number of amigurumi’s that I still own.

I have very mixed emotions about the selling of my amigurumi’s. I am sad that I have parted with them and I won’t be able to look at them daily, but also so happy that they are being enjoyed by others too. Plus, I have still great memories of making them, and now will not feel guilty when I purchase more yarn and stuffing to make more in the future.

So all in all I would call my Art Show Sale a sweet, but somewhat sad success!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on.

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Thanks for the Memories

My niece recently posted some pictures on her blog of her kids in clothes I made for them many years ago. It is always great thrill for me to see new pictures of the kids. But to see them in the clothes I made is extra special, and it sent me on a trip down memory lane.

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The first picture was of her two youngest boys. She has 4 now, by the way. The older of the two boys in the picture is wearing a jacket I made for her oldest boy’s 3rd birthday, 7 years ago. Both boys looked so cute wearing the jacket. With a little reminiscing, I remembered the construction of this jacket. It was the first time I had made welt pockets. I did not want just patch pockets on this jacket and I remember reading about welt pockets in one of my sewing reference books.

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I remember sitting at the sewing machine hurrying to complete the pockets because they were coming to see us, and we were going to a local craft show at the high school. I remember hoping that the little guy would like the airplanes on the fabric and that he would be able to zip up the jacket by himself. I remember being concerned about the zipper because it was a smaller tooth zipper than I wanted to use but the color was right.

The second picture that my niece posted was of her youngest boy in a shirt I made for the oldest boy back when he was just one year old. All 4 of her boys have wore this shirt now. I am amazed it lasted this long. I made this shirt just after I got my very first embroidery machine. I used the scraps from a shirt I had just made for my husband.

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In fact, there ended up being enough scraps for two shirts in size 1. One shirt was embroidered with Mickey Mouse and the other shirt with Donald Duck. Donald Duck is my niece’s favorite Disney character so you can see which one the little guy is wearing in the picture. On these shirts, I put ribbing around the sleeves. Each time I see I picture of one of the boys in these shirts, I regret adding the ribbing. To me, the ribbing gives the shirt a feminine look and I have not added ribbing to the sleeve of a boy’s shirt since.

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I would like to thank my niece for posting the pictures and for taking care of the clothes, I made so that each boy could enjoy them and I could see them wearing them.  Now that she has 4 boys and the oldest is a tween and is becoming very particular about what he wears, I have not done any sewing for them recently. But, with as much as I love sewing for kids, it might be time to get back to the sewing machine and get some new clothes made.

Sarah B

This is Sarah B. The B, of course, is for brachiosaurus. She is my latest completed amigurumi project.

Sarah’s pattern is from an old book my sister gave me called Crochet Dinosaur Park Nursery. It was an American School of Needlework Book #1177 and it was published back before the term amigurumi became popular. This book contains the pattern for 4 dinosaurs, with each pattern having a larger adult version and an smaller baby version of all 4 of the designs. I decided to make the adult brachiosaurus first.

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When I first read the pattern, I thought to myself “No, way. This pattern is too weird.” But I decided to make some changes to the pattern and gave it a try. The pattern called for two hooks to make it, with the main hook being a size K. I don’t know if I even own a size K hook, no less used one to make any amigurumi. Wouldn’t a larger hook make larger holes in the crocheting for the stuffing to come out of? To fix this, the pattern called for two strands of yarn to be used at a time. I have never done this before either. If I followed the pattern, it said that my brachiosaurus would be 27 inches long. What?!? That is over 2 foot long. I want a brachiosaurus, not a monsterasaurus. Plus I only had one skein of yarn in the color I wanted to use. About ready to fold up the pattern and say forget it, I decided to use a size H hook with 1 strand of yarn and see what I got. If I did not like the results, I would just abort the project.

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So I got started with one of the feet, my H hook, and a single strand of yarn. I followed the pattern and got the cutest little foot, so I crocheted on. I followed the pattern and made all four feet, the tail and the body. I continued to follow the pattern through the head to the neck. At the crook of the neck, the pattern calls for the rows to be half hdc and half slip stitches. I had a really hard time crocheting this part. Although I followed the pattern, if I make another brachiosaurus, I will modify this part of the pattern to make it easier to crochet. At first I was not sure how to crochet the head bumps and thought about just leaving them off, but I gave the pattern a try and they turned out to be very simple to crochet.

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The eye lids were not that easy. The second hook the pattern called for was to make the eye lids. Since I had used a size H hook for the pattern, I got out my F hook for the eye lids. I followed the pattern and got an eye lid that was too short to curve around both eyes but too long for one eye. I undid this eye lid and made a shorter one to fit around just one eye. I did not like the height of this eye lid so, I started again, and just slip stitched across instead of sc. I liked the results in the height but length was still wrong. The next try was the charm. I got the length and the height I liked, so I made a second one the same way.

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Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges in making this brachiosaurus was the yarn. Well, to be fair, not the yarn but its dark blue color. I had difficulty seeing the stitches well and I had to turn on extra lights while crocheting and sewing it up. It was certainly not the pattern or yarns fault, but it wasdisappointing to me none the less.

As I mentioned on another post, the sewing together of this brachiosaurus was made much easier with pins, so the sewing together was not the dreaded chore it has been previously. I did spend some extra time on the details. I tried several different looks, head bumps no eye lids, eye lids no head bumps. I finally decided on both head bumps and eye lids. I embroidered her mouth and nose with black yarn as the pattern called for with the dark blue yarn but you could not even see what I had stitched. So I dug through the yarn stash and found this nice gold yarn to match the eyes and the end result is much better.

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As I crochet an amigurumi, it takes on a personally all its own, sometimes quickly during the crocheting and sometimes not until the very end. From the first foot to the final eye lid, this dinosaur turned out so cute and took on a feminine quality almost immediately. I struggled with this a little. Dinosaurs are usually boys, not girls, but Sarah is all girl and I have just fallen in love with her. I do not have a place to put her so I must find her a home, but I will have a more difficult time parting with her than some of the other amigurumi’s I have made.

Flannel Pieces

While digging through the stash for flannel pieces to make blankets, I discovered that I have quite a large supply of flannel pieces that are not big enough for a blanket by themselves, most around 1/2 to 3/4 of a yard. The majority of them are baby/kid prints. Some have been living in the stash for a long time and others for only a short time, but I would like to figure out something to do with them.

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My first thought is just to piece the pieces together and make more blankets, but I hesitate for one reason. Previously, I pieced together some fleece and flannel pieces to make a blanket for a pet. I patch worked the top of the blanket and used a solid piece for the bottom. I was disappointed with the results. Because of the seams, the blanket was lumpy. To me, it seemed like it would be uncomfortable to lie on. I did not add a batting to that blanket. I have often wondered if I had added a batting if that would have solved the problem, but I was trying to keep the blanket as thin as possible. So, I would hate to use these pieces to piece a blanket together only to have it be lumpy and uncomfortable. Perhaps since I will only be using flannel and no fleece, it would not turn out as lumpy. I have also wondered if doing a french seam would make the blanket smoother. I guess I just need to try it and see what I get.

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I have also thought about making a rag blanket with the pieces, but  I have never tried to make one of those before. I don’t know if the rag blankets suffer from the same lumpy problem. My mom has made several rag blankets with denim and flannel and lumpiness does not seem to be an issue with those. I also don’t know if I want to put my washer and dryer through the fraying process. I am probably just over thinking the whole lumpy problem. What do you think?

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Because I am not convinced that I should use the pieces for blankets, I have been trying to think of other ideas. My sister makes sleepers from flannel. I have thought about doing this, but I would sure miss the stretch of the knits while making the sleepers. I also believe that the knit sleepers wear better and the babies do not out grow the knit sleepers as quickly. Since I have an abundance of knits that I can use to make sleepers with I would hate to spend the time to use the flannel. I have also thought about making slippers with the flannel. I have a simple pattern for cloth slippers for infants/toddlers. I have also bought a pattern to make slippers from fleece which I have not tried yet, but I have wondered how flannel would work out, but I guess I had better try the pattern with fleece first.

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Ok, all of you readers out there, what do you think? What should I make with these flannel pieces?

Tis’ the season

This was not a big sewing Christmas season for me. With friends coming to visit at Halloween and a trip to see the parents for Thanksgiving, not to mention several Christmas concerts, parades, and trips to visit friends, I have just not had the time or been motivated towards Christmas projects this year. Although I did do a couple of things that I will share.

Last fall, Mom called and asked if I would embroidery the Denver Bronco’s emblem on a fleece jacket for my Dad for Christmas. Mom sent me the jacket and I was happy stitch it up for her (and for Dad). I have stitched this design before on a couple of baby sleepers for other relatives, but I had to reduce the size to fit the small sleepers. It was nice to actually stitch the original design at it’s original size and it stitched very well. Unfortunately with the dark blue color of the jacket, I had to pick colors that would stand out on it, so I did not get to use the colors I would have liked to, but the colors I used worked well enough and I am happy with the end results. Hopefully, both Mom and Dad will like it too.

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My sister sent me a pattern for a crocheted snowman ornament because she knows how much I like to crochet amigurumi’s. Since I have her name for Christmas this year, I decided to make her one to go with her Christmas gift. Although the snowman was very fun to crochet and worked up really fast, I was not totally happy with the pattern. Next time I will try to make his head more round instead of so pointed. I stitched his scarf a little longer than the pattern said so I could easily tie it around his neck and it would lie against his body instead of stand out. The hard part for me as always is stitching the crocheted parts together and the face. Even though there was very little to be stitched together on this snowman, it was still a fight for me. I am not totally happy with his smile either, but it was the best one out of several tries. For his eyes I used some glue on wiggle eyes instead of the black ones the pattern used. At first, I was wishing I had used the black eyes. His wiggle eyes make him look like he has had too much Christmas nog. After having him sit on my desk and smile at me for a while, I have become fond of his face. It has given him some personality. I hope my sister likes him.

This little taste of Christmas crafting has made me want for more. So, maybe next year I will be more organized and start my Christmas sewing and crocheting in July or even better yet January.

Picking Out Fabric

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I got a good laugh out of this. While visiting my parents, Mom had a few boxes of fabric from her stash she had decided to part with. My sister arrived before I did and had looked through some of the boxes. She picked out a piece of blue fabric. When I saw which piece img_0832she had chosen, I started to laugh. I pulled from my bag a piece of blue fabric I had gotten from Mom’s stash on my last visit. I had brought the piece back to make a shirt out of after Mom helped my adjust my arm’s eye. I had to smile at our similar tastes. Sisters will be sisters. Yet, I had to smile even more when my sister pointed out that both pieces were originally from Mom’s stash and she had picked these pieces of fabric out first. Like mother like daughter.

New Jackets for Christmas

img_3590What do you get the person who has everything they want for Christmas?

That is the question my mother faces each year as she hunts for Christmas presents for her kids.

Every year we tell her not to get us anything and we will still love her, but she insists on giving something.

So, in trying to help my mom think of gift ideas for my sister and her husband, my sister suggested that Mom make them new fleece jackets. Mom thought this was a great idea and I volunteered to add some finishing touches to them once they were done.

On my Mom’s last visit to see my sister, they picked out the fleece, then Mom got busy sewing and then mailed me the jackets. That is when the fun began for me!

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I wish I had been with Mom and my sister when they picked the color for sister’s husband’s jacket. It was decided long ago that Mickey Mouse would go on his jacket.

My plan was to put just a plain Mickey Mouse on the back of the jacket, but when I saw the color of the jacket and knowing that 60% of Mickey is black, I figured when I got done with the embroidering all you were going to see was a pink face, red pants and gold shoes.

I searched my designs for a Mickey with more color, but did not find one I liked. I have several designs of Mickey with Donald Duck or Pluto, but they would not work either. Finally, after explaining the problem to my husband, he came up with the idea of framing Mickey.

You would definatly be able to see a big yellow dot on the dark gray jacket.

So, I chose a classic Mickey instead of a current Mickey design so he would have a white face. I also really dig the front and back designs of Mickey especially with the surprised look on Mickey’s face. With the aid of my husband’s digitizing skills, the designs for the Mickey jacket were ready to stitch.

The Snoopy designs were far easier to pick. I knew I wanted the whole gang on the back. With the new Dakota designs, it was easy to pick just the right one. I also knew that I wanted just a plan basic Snoopy on the front so that was an easy pick too.img_3610
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Next the stitching started. I had to hoop the jackets with a top stabilizer due to the fleece being so fuzzy, but my regular water soluble stabilizer is cut the for a 4 inch hoop, so I had to use a package of Ultra Solvy (extremely stable, as the package said) that I had picked up.

I have never worked with this heavy of a stabilizer, top or bottom before and this made hooping interesting.

By the time I had a bottom stabilizer, fleece jacket, and heavy top stabilizer, I could hardly get the hoop to snap together.

Once again though, with my husband’s help,  I got the jackets hooped and moved on. The stitching went pretty smoothly. I took my time because I wanted the jackets to turn out well. It was a lot of fun stitching the jackets, but they took a long, long time to stitch.

It was about 5 hours for the hooping and stitching front and back for both jackets. After the 3rd bobbin on the back Mickey design, I knew a lot of stitches had been sewn. I thought the heavy top stabilizer would give me grief while stitching, but it did a good job at stabilizing and I am glad that I used it. It held in there with all those needle punches.

The problem with the heavy top stabilizer came after the sewing at removal time. When I use my light web top stabilizer, I can pull most of it off  and then use a small amount of water of dissolve the edges. Using this Ultra Solvy I cut as much of it away as I could, then soaked the jackets in cold water, rinsed them and sent them to the washing machine. I really did not want to wash my sister’s Christmas present just in case anything happened in the washing and drying cycle, but I had little choice with the Ultra Solvy.

Luckily though they make it through just fine and polar fleece really does not shrink.img_3611img_3612

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I am happy with the end result on both jackets. Mom did a great job with sewing them and I like the designs that I put on the jackets.

I shipped the jackets to my sister in a box marked “Don’t open until Christmas”. I am excited for my sister to see the end results, but I refrained from posting this until I was sure she had opened the package since I did not want to spoil any Christmas surprises.

She gets to open it early because they are going out of town to see the their latest grandson.

Yay! One more little nephew for me to sew for!

I am jealous though that my sister is getting the Snoopy jacket. I wanted it after it was finished and turned out so well! Oh well, maybe next year I will have Mom make a new fleece jacket for me!