Tag Archive | Bee

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again!

Screen-Shot-2013-11-05-at-9.01.40-AMYou can see it from across the fabric store and there is a whole wall displaying it…

You’re drawn to it and it is so soft, fuzzy and warm, and some of the cutest designs ever are printed on it…

You MUST buy some and, as a general rule, its on sale…

Of course, I am talking about polar fleece and everybody just loves this fabric! Everyone it seems except me. Dare I say it out loud, I may not be in love with fleece or enjoy working with it as much as everyone else on the planet seems to be.

And here is why.

I, like everyone else, love the idea or the concept of fleece fabric. And who wouldn’t? It’s soft, warm, fuzzy fabric with no fraying, no shrinking, it looks good on both sides, it has some stretch but not too much stretch, and all the other fun features that fleece offers a sewer. What isn’t there to love? But, after sewing the last girl’s fleece jacket and starting my next sewing project with fleece, I’m not convinced that it really is all that easy and wonderful of a fabric to work with.

When I first started purchasing fleece fabrics, I planned to only make blankets with it, and who cared if the blankets were a little off grain and the print wasn’t perpendicular, or that it can’t be easily ironed or caused several headaches when sewn with the serger due to the amount of bulk.

DSCN2567For the blankets I was making, I did not give these concepts a second thought, so I was in love with fleece just like everyone else, and I bought any and all I could get to hide in the stash for future projects I had dreamt up. When I decided that I wanted to expand my skill set a little bit and make more than blankets from the fleece, I was at a point in my sewing skills where I did not worry about grain line, or matching designs, or ironing seams. So for the first couple of fleece projects that I made, I just cut it out and sewed it up, and I was still in love with fleece.

DSCN2575 (1)As my sewing skills have advanced over time, I am now far more concerned with thing like grain lines, matching the designs, and ironing the seams. So, when it was time to make the latest girl’s fleece jacket, these things were foremost on my mind. As I cut out the pattern and the froggy’s and rainbows weren’t straight, making it difficult to cut on the grain line and match the designs up, working with fleece became more than just cut and sew.

DSCN2572Looking at the piece of fleece, there were spots where I had to move over 21 inches from the edge of the fabric before I could find a good spot to cut. This was crazy! I decided that the froggy piece of fleece was just flawed until I started my next fleece project. Although not as much, I had to move 9 inches from the edge to get the footballs and helmets to line up.

Does all fleece suffer from this problem?

DSCN2563If it does, I’m going to have to watch WAY more closely when I buy fleece for pieces that I only have to move over 9 inches rather than 21 inches, or hopefully I can find some fleece that I will only lose a couple of inches on the edge. Plus, I’m going to have to buy extra fleece to accommodate for the lost fabric. I wanted to make my latest project a size large but had to switch to a size medium when I lost the 9 inches along the edge.

DSCN2566I turned to the Internet to see if I was alone in my wavering love of fleece, and from what I was reading, I was alone, everyone else seems to love fleece, but I did find several article titled, “How to sew fleece.” So, maybe you just have to learn the skill of sewing with fleece, just like learning to sew knits, furs, silks, actually any and all other types of fabrics. Maybe after learning some lessons about sewing with fleece, I will then be completely in love with fleece like so many others are.

Well I ldid learn a lot from the articles that I read on how to sew fleece, and I am excited to try out some of the things that I learned.

Luckily, I have my next sewing project involving fleece all cut out and ready to sew, so stay tuned to see how it turned out!

Until next time, sew forth and hopefully fall in love again.

Larger than life

DSCN0483Am I still crocheting? Am I still making amigurumi’s? Is my next amigurumi project all lined out and ready to start? Yes, yes, and yes. Yet, the reason you haven’t heard very much from me about crocheting amigurumi’s recently is that I have been tackling some larger amigurumi projects and in the process I have lost my ump to complete them quickly.

DSCN0443Several months ago I blogged about Kevin, the chubby moose. He took a lot of time and lots of stuffing to make. After Kevin, I made a pig that I named Porcine. When I had finished with her, she was much larger than I expected. I did not blog about her before now because she was finished before my big amigurumi art show and she now has a great new home with someone who loves her.

DSCN0454Porcine was a lot of fun to make, especially her tail. To make her curly tail, the pattern called for a long tail of yarn to be left at the start of the magic ring. After completing a very straight crocheted tail, the tail of yarn from the starting point was pulled through the center of the straight tail and then pulled tight to form the curls. It was a much simpler way to make the curly tail than increasing and DSCN0458decreasing stitches while crocheting the rounds. I did have to purchase a special skein of yarn while making her to get the right dark pink color I used for her snout and hooves. I could not believe I did not have that color in the stash. Her belly button was a fun feature that added to Porcine’s personality.

DSCN0891The next large amigurumi I have made is a bee. I did not expect the bee to be large, but he finished up larger than I expected due to the hook size used. To get the colors I wanted for this bee, I choose two skeins of Caron yarn. I find Caron yarn heavier than Red Heart yarn so I decided to use my 4.5mm hook instead of the 4.0mm hook that I usually use to make my amigurumi’s. When I reached in to my hook box to get out the 4.5mm hook, I accidentally grabbed the 5.0mm hook instead. I did not notice that I was using the 5.0mm hook until I was well into the crocheting process. Not wanting to undo all my crocheting and start again, I decided to just complete the bee with the larger hook.

There are two comments I would like to make about this bee’s pattern.

First, after crocheting the wings, I decided to crochet around the wings edges for a nicer finished look. The wings look smoother with the edge on them.

DSCN0894Second, I found the way that the pattern instructed to make the antennas quite odd. The first antenna was crocheted from the bottom to the top then back down to the bottom of the antenna. The yarn tails were at the bottom ready to be stitched to the head. The second antenna is crocheted from the top to the bottom then back the top. The tail is then threaded through the crocheting to the bottom. I know that the antennas were crocheted this way to keep the same sides of the crocheting facing the same direction, but to me the antennas looked different from each other when made this way.

DSCN0895I stitched the antenna to the bee’s head to see if that helped the antenna look more even. It helped the look a little, but not much. I debated about crocheting another antenna the same as the first one and stitching it on what would be backwards, with the crocheting facing different directions, to see if I liked it better. It was late when I was working with the antenna so I decided to sleep on it. The next morning the antennas looked better to me, and so I decided to leave them completed as the pattern called for. I still pause sometimes when I see the bee and wonder if I should redo the antennas. Even though the bee is larger than the pattern said he would be, and has funny looking antennas, he is still very cute.

I have not given him a name yet, so he is just called The Bee.

DSCN0900I have started yet another large amigurumi too. I knew this one was going to be large when I read the pattern and I briefly debated about starting another large amigurumi but I have been wanting to make this pattern for a long time, so I got started on it. I am about 3/4 of the way through the crocheting process but I have lost any compulsion to finish it up.

When I think I will sit down to do a little crocheting, I don’t! Why? For some reason I am just not interested in working on this big amigurumi. So until I do get excited about finishing it up, I am going to set this amigurumi to the side for now and start a smaller amigurumi instead. I am not giving up on the large amigurumi and it will not becoming a UFO (Un-Finished Object). I just need a little break from it.

With that, stay tuned for some fun but smaller amigurumi’s.

Until then, crochet forth and super size on!

Buzzing for Spring

happyspring2014-2Hurray for spring! Hurray for the return of warmer weather! Hurray for the return of the bunnies, the birds and the bees! Hurray for the green plants and flowers blooming! As spring emerges, I have watched the lavender plants in my yard bloom their beautiful purple flowers and watched the bees dance around as they do their job of pollinating them. All of these hard working bees got me thinking about all the fun free bee crochet patterns I had ran across over the winter and in that thought, my next crocheting project was chosen, a spring display of bees.

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P1040174The first bee pattern I wanted to make was found on the blog, http://kristenscrochet.blogspot.com. He is a fat little bee with stuffed wings. I started by picking out which colors to use which does not sound like a difficult task since the only colors that I needed for the bee where yellow, black and white. Of course, black and white were easy enough to pick out but I went through my entire yarn stash trying to find a bee colored yellow, not a bright yellow but then again not quite gold either. I could not find the color of yellow that I wanted in my entire stash. I had either bright yellows or golds. After debating for quite some time, I finally picked the bright yellow that I had.

The pieces of this bee P1040173crocheted up easily and the sewing went quickly with only the wings left to stitch on. When this bee was finished, the husband said he needed some antenna’s. So, looking at the next bee pattern that I was getting ready to start on, I copied the antenna from that pattern and attached them to this bee. The husband was right. The antenna’s were the finishing touch for this bee. The husband promptly named this bee Air Bee One after the big fat Boeing 747 that the president flies around in called Air Force One.

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P1040164The next bee pattern was found on a skein of Red Heart yarn. It can also be found on ravelry.com. Since the three colors of yarns were out and all ready to go, the crocheting started right away. The pieces of this bee were fun to crochet. The stitching together of this bee was a little more complicated than the last bee because of the six legs. Each leg had two yarns to attach it to the body with. At first I tried to stitch each yarn into the body, tie a knot in the single strand and then hide the knot. This was a lot of work and it had poor results. The arms were just not secure enough on the body. I tried a couple of things to secure the arms but I finally found that if I stitched the two yarns ends into the body, knotted them behind the arm and then hid the ends that I got a secure arm and the knot at the base of the arm was not even noticeable. This worked so well that I went back and reattached Air Bee One’s antenna this way too. This bee turned out very cute and was named Red after his pattern.

IMG_0004Bee number three’s pattern was found on ravelry.com. The pattern is called Bumble Bee Buddy by Ham and Eggs. After making the first two bees, the pieces for this bee crocheted up just as quickly. As I was crocheting the head, it was easy to see that this guy’s head was huge compare to his body. At first I thought it was just too big and it needed to be made smaller, but then I decided that no, it was fine, and that was what made this bee different from the last bees. The pattern only called for two legs and no antennas. This made this bee look incomplete to me, so I made him four more legs and some antenna’s and attached them like I did Red’s arms and antenna. Because the pattern called for the legs to be stitched making a picot at the end, I did the same for the antenna so they would match. And with this bee finished, he was named Hammy.

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P1040154I had planned to make a couple of more bee patterns that I had found online but when I found the pattern for the queen and worker bees at http://kimlapsley.blogspot.com, the other patterns got pushed to the side. Unfortunately, unlike the other bee patterns so far, the pattern for these bees was not as simple or easy. These bees were very detailed and had several pieces to be crocheted. The crocheting of the pieces took time and thought, especially for the queen bee. Luckily, I only needed one queen bee. Because of the detail in these bees, they took more time and thought to stitch together as well. To complete their eyes, I spent a couple of hours cutting tiny black felt dots and then had to have a glue party with the husband to get the tiny felt dots attached to the white crocheted bases. But, in the end, all this extra work and thought paid off. The queen and her worker bees turned out fantastic. And I think they are just so funny.

Bees4Bees3Thanks to the husbands wonderful ideas and photography skills, I have a great spring diorama of my bees to be sent out with my Spring Fling cards. We bought a vase, some silk flowers and a few wooden dowels, and photographed the bees on a green back ground. We had a fun time together arranging the bees in various poses and taking their pictures. Then the husband went to work and photoshopped the dowels out of the pictures and created me a fun springtime photo of my bees.

My spring fling with the bees was now over and I had had a great time making each bee. And I now have a fun spring display of flowers and bees and some great photos of my work.

Until next time, Crochet forth and crochet on!