Tag Archive | 4-ply

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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DSCN0801I just love to do Christmas crafting. The idea of making that something special for that special someone really gets me in the Christmas mood and gets my creativity flowing. I love baking holiday cookies, crafting that new ornament for the tree, or sewing that perfect gift. Unfortunately, my hopes, dreams, and ideas are usually bigger than the holiday season, and I never get everything done that I want to, but over the years I have learned to not let that ruin my holiday fun. This year was no exception. I was able to do some holiday crafting, not as much as I would have like to, but some and I am thankful for that.

Each Christmas season, my work has an auction for the Relay for Life cancer event and asks for donations. This year I decided that my Christmas crafting would be to make something to donate. I wanted to make something small that people would not mind spending a dollar or two on. So, when I found some fun snowflake patterns on ravelry, I knew that was what I wanted to make and donate.

DSCN0776The problem with that was that I don’t crochet with thread so don’t have any in my stash, or have any good small sized hooks to crochet with. So I wondered what the snowflakes would look like made out of 4-ply acrylic Red Heart yarn and my favorite size G hook instead? Let’s find out! And the answer is they turn out just great! I had a great time crocheting the snowflakes and changing up the pattern each time so that each flake was just a little different just like real snowflakes. When they were finished though, they were kind of boring. I needed to spice them up.

DSCN0780To do that I found a pattern for a star shape in a scarf pattern I had. That would work to spice up the snowflakes, but what color should I make them in? I started out with a light blue. What about dark blue? Oh, maybe black? No, silver! How about this blue variegated? It is Christmas, so why not some red and green too? I started making stars from all of the colors to see what I liked best and found that I liked them all. Some colors I liked a little more than others, and some colors the husband liked better than others, but all the star looked great with the snowflakes. I had to modify the star pattern a little and use a size H hook to get the larger sized star that I needed to match the snowflakes size.

DSCN0792I thought about stiffening the snowflakes, but I decided not to. Because of the yarn I used, they were already stiff enough. I did block the snowflakes and stars with water to help them lay even and flat. When I started to glue the snowflakes to the stars, the husband said they needed to be spiced up even more, so he helped me use spray adhesive to glue blue and silver glitter to the snowflakes before I used some tacky glue to attach the flakes to the stars.

DSCN0809And now my Christmas snowflakes were complete! With the changes to the snowflake pattern and the different colors of the stars, and the glitter, no two snowflakes are the same just like real snowflakes. These snowflakes were fun to make and turned out great. I hope they will make someone’s Christmas I little bit merrier and make a little money for the Relay for Life event.

In the meanwhile, while watching Christmas movies, I crocheted this little reindeer. I call him Rudy. He has the tiniest body for his big head but he is so cute! He was a fun and quick crochet and will accompany the snowflakes to the auction. Hopefully someone will get a kick out of a tiny crocheted reindeer with a big red nose!

Until next time, crochet forth and Christmas craft on!

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Brusha Brusha Brusha

IMG_0355It was time for me to tackle another amigurumi project. After the completion of the dragonfly and conquering the challenges that pattern brought, I wanted to just make a simple project this time around. But, as I looked through my patterns for a simple project, I was not inspired by anything. I didn’t want to make just a simple amigurumi, I wanted to make an simple amigurumi with some flare. So, I turned to my to do list and decided it was time to try the brush technique I had read about in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi book. Instead of using fuzzy yarn to make a furry or fuzzy amigurumi, you make an amigurumi from regular yarn and then brush the yarn to get a fuzzy, furry effect. This is a great idea! I had been wanting to try this brushing technique for awhile now, but I did not want to try it on a complicated pattern in case I did not like the effect or destroyed the project. Since I wanted to make a simple amigurumi next, this would be a good opportunity to try the brushing technique out and if it I did not like the end results, it would not be very much of a loss.

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P1030479With all these thoughts of fuzzy fur and brushing, I picked the pattern I wanted to make, and yes, it is a very simple pattern. The design is called pocket pals. These various animals are made up of two feet, a body and two ears. I picked the dog for my first project and crocheted his pieces from Red Heart super saver 4 ply yarn in white and black. Next I picked the bear design and crocheted his parts from some heavy brown yarn that I don’t have any details on because I picked it up a thrift store unlabeled. I picked this heavy brown yarn instead of just another skein of Red Heart yarn to see how the different yarns would look once brushed. The pieces of these little pocket pals crocheted up quickly and easily and it was soon time to start brushing the pieces.

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P1030444The book said to use a wire pet brush to brush the yarn. I did not have one of these brushes, so I tried a variety of brushes from around the house. From toothbrushes to hair brushes to cleaning brushes, I brushed and brushed but was not getting the desired fuzzy effect that I expected. Just as I was about ready to give up and head to the store for a pet brush, the husband happened by to see what I was doing. Seeing the variety of brushes lying on my table and observing what I was trying to do, the husband left without a word but returned with 3 brushes from his tool box, a nylon brush, a stainless steel brush, and a copper brush. Now, it was time to get brushing.

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P1030445I started with the nylon brush since it was the softest of the three brushes the husband had brought me, on the feet of the bear. The results were good, but not great. So, I tried the copper brush next. Now, there was the fuzzy look I was looking for. I tried the stainless steel brush last since it was seemed to be the heaviest brush of the three brushes. The results from the stainless brush were not much different than from the copper brush on the heavy brown yarn of the bear. Repeating the process, I brushed the feet of the dog with first with the nylon brush, then the copper brush and last the stainless steel brush. The result was very fuzzy. Because the yarn of the dog’s feet was not as heavy, the nylon brush gave the same fuzzy results as the other two brushes but I noticed that it did take more strokes to get that result than it did with the copper brush or the stainless steel brush. Liking my results, I brushed the bodies and ears for both the bear and the dog. The book said I should brush the parts of the amigurumi before stitching them together, which is what I did. After I stitched the parts together, I picked up the brushes again and fuzzed up the joining stitches for a more even look.

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Because the bear and the dog were so much fun to make, I picked up some green yarn and quickly crocheted the parts for a frog. I picked up the brushes to start brushing when it dawned on me that frogs are not fuzzy. Darn! I could have made the bunny or the cat or even the chick and they would have been fuzzy and I could have brushed some more. Oh well, the frog was fun to make too. He just didn’t end up being fuzzy.

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P1030474This pattern was so much fun to make that I am keeping it in my crocheting bag permanently. Now, when I am stuck somewhere and don’t want to work on my current project or I am at a point where I can’t work on my current project, or I can’t focus on my current project, I can pull this pattern out and without much focus or thought, make a cute little pocket pal for someone. Also, the husband is going to have to buy himself some more brushes because I am claiming ownership of his current brushes and they now live in my crafting supplies. I see more brushed yarn amigurumi’s in my future.

Our Brother, He’s Special

P1030454Do you have a list of projects that you would just love to do? I most definitely do. Do you ever look at the list and pick something off that list as your next project? I rarely do that, but I did it this time. Hopefully you will remember back to the post about the fun monkey pattern I purchased on Amazon and I made a girl and a boy monkey from it and I had a great time making them. And also at the end of that post I stated that I wanted to make more monkeys in different colors? When I made that statement, I doubted that I would ever make another monkey from that pattern in any color but when it came time to chose my next project, I peeked at my ‘want to do list’ and a purple monkey from that pattern was decided on.

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P1030452The first step was to pick the colors to use. I was going to use all shades of purple but then I dug out this variegated purple and blue out of my yarn stash. It matched the purples I had already picked very well and it would work great for the sweater look of the monkey too. The crocheting of this monkey’s parts was a lot of fun. I followed the same crocheting process for the purple monkey’s arms and legs as I did when crocheting the first monkey. I also did the purple monkey’s pupils the same as the first monkey’s were, but using 4-ply yarn and a smaller hook and just leaving off the second row. When I was picking the yarn color for the eyes and ears, my first choice was of aran, the same color of the other monkey’s muzzle, rather than the white yarn, but I switched back to the white color in the end. I can’t decide if that was the right change in color or not. The white in the eyes and ears really stands out but then it is a purple monkey and should stand out. The white in the eyes and ears really catches your attention when you see the monkey. The aran color would have been softer. P1030450The white color made this monkey look a little more mischievous looking which made naming this purple monkey easy.

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As I completed the purple monkey, he took on male characteristics. As he sat next to the other two monkeys, he became younger too. So, this purple’s monkey’s name is Jimmy and he is the younger brother of the other two monkeys. You know, that younger brother that is always getting in your way and touching your things and you yell and scream at him, but he doesn’t care cause he is the younger brother. Yep, that’s the one!

Thank You Turtles

IMG_7095“Do you ever use yarn?” asks a coworker the other day as she hands me a bag of yarn. She knows full well that I crochet amigurumi’s and that I *LOVE* yarn. She said that she was cleaning out her closet and that she was tired of storing this yarn and it was mine if I wanted it. Why yes I would take it, but why on earth would she be parting with her yarn stash? I didn’t ask and she didn’t say why she was parting with all her yarn but I grabbed the bag of treasure from her and thanked her. Later when I was looking through it I found it full with a large variety of yarn, full skeins, partial skeins, solid colors, variegated colors, 4-ply, fingerling and even some fuzzy novelty yarn she had decided to part with. I was so excited! I could see so many fun amigurumi’s made from each piece. Sitting in the very bottom of the bag was a small ball of variegated yarn that in a color that just said ‘turtle shell’ and I figured what better way to thank this coworker for this lovely bag of treasure than with an amigurumi turtle. Of course, this meant I got to make another one of my favorite patterns again too.

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IMG_7096While crocheting the parts for this turtle, I thought of one more coworker that needed a big thanks, and that was the coworker who volunteers her time as the leader for our relay for life team at work. As long as I was making one turtle, it was just as easy to make two or ten. I have donated a some of my amigurumi’s to our relay for life team before, even the momma and baby turtle I made a while back. They were sold at a silent auction several months ago. The team leader coworker had told me how much she wanted the turtles, but she was out bid and lost them so it just seemed right to make her a thank you turtle. After I had crocheted the first turtle’s shell from the variegated yarn from the treasure bag, I was not sure if I had enough to make a second shell. So, I picked another variegated yarn from my stash for the second turtle’s shell. The yellow for both turtles did come from the treasure bag though.

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IMG_7097The crocheting of the turtles was a pleasure. This time though when it came time to stitch them together, I tried something different. I stuffed and stitched the legs of the turtles to the bottom of the shell before I attached the bottom of the shell to the top shell. This seemed to make the stitching and spacing of the legs easier, and it was not long before the turtles were done. I just love this pattern and these turtles, and this time was no different.

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I gave each of the coworkers their turtles and a big thanks, one for the yarn and one for her hard work. They both seemed to like the turtles. Little do they know that I need to also thank them for giving me a good reason to make more turtles.

Monkey See! Monkey Do!

IMG_7123So, I did! I fell in love with this monkey pattern the minute I saw the e-book on Amazon. I could not press the purchase button fast enough. It took forever for the e-book to load. I could not wait to start crocheting this adorable monkey with the big eyes.

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This is a great pattern. It is well written and easy to follow. Most of the parts of the monkey were fun to crochet. The feet were a little tricky but easy enough to figure out but the pupils of the eyes were the real challenge. The pattern called for the black pupils to be made from embroidery floss or crochet thread and crocheted with a small hook. I tried this but didn’t like the results. So, I went back to regular 4 ply yarn and an F hook, a step down from the G hook I crocheted the other parts of the eyes with. Because of the heavy yarn and the larger hook, after I crocheted the 1st round of the pupil, it looked to be the right size so I did not crochet the 2nd round.

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P1030136The arms and legs had to be stuffed as I crocheted them up. The more amigurumi’s I make the more I like to stuff things as I crochet. I dislike the stuffing part of the process so stuffing as I go helps break the task up for me. Sometimes you have to stuff as you crochet the rounds because of the size of the parts, but even when I don’t have to stuff as I crochet, I am finding that I am going ahead and stuffing as I crochet any way. As you know, the stitching together of the parts in my next least favorite part of the process and I always learn something from the stitching parts together as I did with this monkey.

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IMG_7132After learning what I did from the stitching together of the parts of this monkey, I wanted to make a second monkey from this pattern, but I wanted to change it up a little, so I decided to try something I read in the Complete Idiots Guide to Amigurumi book and give this second monkey a skirt and make it a girl. So, on the first round of the shirt, I crocheted in the back loop only, leaving the front loop for the skirt. The book really did not give instructions for making a skirt so I followed the pattern from the Bride of Frankenstein I made several years ago. I did two single crochets in each front loop for the first round of the skirt. Then just single crocheting in each crochet, I did 5 rounds which looked IMG_7131like a good length for the skirt. At this point the skirt was kind of boring, so I crocheted a scalloped edge around the skirt like I do on the fleece blankets that I make for some variety. This added just the right touch to complete the skirt and I am pleased with the way it looks. Another option I found for crocheting the skirt was to add single crochets to each round as I crocheted. This would make the skirt wavy. I could also add the single crochets at the end of the skirt to make a ruffle on the bottom of the skirt. I may try these ideas on another amigurumi project, perhaps another monkey.

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IMG_7135I crocheted each of the monkey’s tail exactly the same but they turned out so differently. I am not really sure why. At first, I was upset and started to make another tail to see if I could get it to match one of the other two that I had made. Then I decided that every monkey is different and that differing tails were actually ok. Differing tails gave each monkey a unique personality.  

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I just love these monkeys and I just love this pattern. And I do want to make more monkeys. Maybe the next time I will use different colors and make a blue or a pink or a yellow monkey. That would be fun. The ideas for more monkeys are abounding so it’s time to start crocheting again!