Tag Archive | large

Watch It, Football Head!

DSCN1664I have finally completed the large amigurumi that I started months ago.

There have been moments of both joy and tears with this amigurumi and it has lived part of it’s life in the closet, hidden, so I did not have to look at it on a daily basis letting me know of my failures and that it was still uncompleted. It also spent a lot of it’s life sitting next to my cutting table, reminding me daily that it was still somehow not yet completed. DSCN1656

But all of a sudden, a couple of weeks ago, as I contemplated starting yet another amigurumi rather than finishing this one, the decision was made to finish this amigurumi instead.

Let me tell you the whole story.

Instead of making yet another New Year’s resolution this year. One that would be doomed to be broken along with all the rest, I decided to make this the year of “Just Do DSCN1659It” for my amigurumi projects.

I have so many wonderful amigurumi patterns that I just can’t wait to crochet but I just never seem to start any of them. So in January, I said to myself that I would no longer say someday and instead I would just start to make these wonderful patterns one by one until I had them all stitched up.

Closing my eyes, I randomly picked out this turtle pattern to start this journey. I fell in love with this pattern at first sight. I love the turtles droopy eyes and his detailed tennis shoes. I was very excited to get started on it. DSCN1665

As I started by reading the pattern though a red flag went up right away as I read the large stitch count of his body. At this point I knew he was going to be big, so I chose to use my F hook instead of my favorite G hook. Even when using the F hook, as I crocheted the pieces, they were finishing much larger than expected.

As I continued to crochet, I became concerned about running out of yarn. Luckily, I was using stocks colors of Red Heart yarn and so I was able to make a trip to the store to pick up another skein easily if needed. I stuffed the turtle as I crocheted, but soon I had used up all the stuffing that I had on hand and once again I had to make a trip to the store for more stuffing.

DSCN1662I grew tired quickly of crocheting the large parts of this turtle and I had to set them aside often during the crocheting process.

Then the guilt of having a UFO (Un-Finished Object) would set in, and I would pull the pieces back out and crochet on it some more. Finally, the day came that I had all of the pieces crocheted and stuffed and ready to stitch together. I was so relieved to finally have this part done, that I just could not muster up the energy or excitement to stitch this turtles pieces together, so they where once again pushed to the side to work on something else. DSCN0900 (1)

Then a fateful day finally came when I said, “It is time to finish this turtle.” and the stitching together process started. I knew the stitching process was going to be long and tedious, so I turned on the Hey, Arnold cartoons the husband had just gotten for me and over the course of several more weeks and with Arnold’s help in the background, I completed the stitching together process. DSCN1191

With the turtle pieces all stitched together, it still needed a name.

This part came easily though and I named him Arnold even though he does not have a football head like the Arnold in the cartoon does. Somehow it just seemed fitting.

Much more time was consumed in creating the turtles details work. It took a lot of thought and time to stitch the lines and details of the shell and the shoes. The pattern called for the arms to be stitched to the body and the legs to be button jointed. I debated about making the arms button jointed too, but then I decided to follow the pattern due to the shell being in the way of his arms moving much. DSCN1193When it came time to pick out eyes, I did not have large enough round black ones to make his droopy eyes with.

As I was about to make another trip to the store, I found these speciality eyes hiding in my crafting supplies. They looked great and I was excited to use these eyes on him. Since these eyes already had an eyebrow look to them I did not add the crocheted eyebrows above the eyes that the pattern called for.

With Arnold, the turtle, completed, I am both happy and sad. DSCN1667I am happy because Arnold is very cute and I am pleased with the end results. His feet are so BIG and yet I still love his tennis shoes.

He is not perfect, but I think he will make someone a great friend, just like Hey, Arnold. I am sad though because I no longer want to continue with the “Just Do It” plan and I am having a hard time picking out my next amigurumi project.

I am trying to talk myself into continuing the plan of crocheting one of those “always wanted to” projects, but to just be a little more picky about which one I choose, i.e. a smaller one.

Only time will tell!

Until then, crochet forth and turtle on!

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!

I won, but I lost, but I won

Well after organizing and re-packing all of my fabric into fifty two separate boxes, the fabric in my stash is finally organized, pictured, labeled and put back in the closet, or at least mostly put back in the closet. Some of it just would not fit, so it is sitting in boxes next to the closet instead.

And with that my New Year 2013 resolution is finally complete! Yay!

Now that my stash is finally fully organized and under control again, I am very satisfied with the results and very pleased with myself for a job finally completed and done well. It has been a long time coming.

And I felt that it was time for some relaxation and what better way to relax than to check out Fabric Mart’s latest sale? And what better way to reward myself for a job well done than to make a fabric purchase?

Now, a small fabric purchase of a piece or two of shiny new fabric should do just fine I thought to myself. And the fact that it was on sale for an unbelievably awesome deal and that it would not ever enter the stash at all, but would instead be used right away should be a fine reward for anyone who had just completed a total reorganization of their stash, but oh no, not for me. Instead I ended up purchasing 45 yards of fabric on sale at Fabric Mart, for a grand total of 37 pounds of new fabric. Cheese Louise!

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But, but, but the flannel was only two dollars a yard and the wool was imported from Italy, and the pique is just right for the husband’s shirts and at just one dollar per yard how could I not buy at least 10 yards of it? That’s 4 shirts for just $10! Really?!? How could I not buy it ALL? REALLY?!? How could I actually go and BUY more fabric?

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After just spending almost 2 months of my free time reorganizing all of my fabric stash how could I possibly add more to it? Hadn’t I handled enough fabric lately to have grown sick of it? Hadn’t I just found so many pieces that I had long forgot I purchased so it was like a new fabric purchase to me anyway? Hadn’t I been inspired by all of the cool pieces in the stash to do something with them? Why oh why did I feel the need to purchase still more fabric? Now I will have to get more boxes. Now I will have to take more pictures. Now I will have to add more categories to my new stash organization system. When will I ever have the time to sew again?

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Although I can not answer all these questions right now, I can answer the last one. It is time to start sewing again after a two month hiatus. While organizing the stash I found two pair of pants for me already cut out and just waiting to be sewn up. So that is next on my list to do. And I set out 4 pieces of fabric from the stash for baby sleepers. So that will be the second thing I put on my to do list. And I know exactly what piece of fabric I want to use for the husband’s next shirt too.

So let the sewing begin!

And perhaps I can stay busy enough sewing fun new things that my fabric addiction will subside, at least for a short time…  Or until the next great fabric sale that is just too good to pass up, so maybe I am safe for a week or two! I hope!

Stash Busting

P1020833Since it is too early in the year to break my New Year’s Resolutions just yet, I decided to get started on my great stash cleanup of 2013. I knew that my goal was to get control over the stash and I had outlined a few broad steps to achieve this goal, but actually getting started and getting it done had started to become an issue for me.

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Where should I start?
What should I do first?

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I tried to come up with a plan of action to get the task completed, but in the end I was failing to get a working plan outlined. And I noticed that all my time was being spent trying to come up with a plan instead of actually doing something, so I finally just started opening up boxes to see what I had. As my husband always tells me: “Stop over thinking it! Just do it!”

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P1020839Seeing what surprises were discovered in each box worked great for about half a dozen boxes, until I noticed that I had fabric laying out everywhere in no particular order.

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I was becoming discouraged quickly. I needed some order.
Isn’t that was this goal was all about in the first place?

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So I gave some thought about how I had organized the stash in the past. Previously, I had boxed my fabric according to what I planned to sew with it. There was a box of fabric to make myself shirts, a box of fabric to make the husband shirts, a box of baby prints for sleepers and such, a box of scraps, and so on. This worked out for me for many years, but I noticed that this type of organization system failed when there became more than one box with the same label. Now that there are 5 boxes of fabric all labeled as shirts for the husband, I could no longer remember what was in each box. Plus as the stash grew a number of boxes P1020836were labeled mixed fabric. This was really of no help and I had no clue at all as to what was in these boxes. I also had knits in with rayons in with cottons which was fine when there were only two to three pieces of each, but now that there is, well, let’s just say much more of everything, this had become problem too. Another problem was the yardage or size of each piece of fabric. The stash is just an accumulation of yardage I have bought, fabric Mom has given me, pieces of odd sizes purchased from discount bins and at thrift stores, and scraps, some that are more usable than others. So, in the box marked ‘Husband Shirts’ there might be a 3 yard piece of knit I purchased, a 1.5 yard piece of cotton that Mom gave me (not enough for a shirt for the husbands size, but it could be pieced together with something else for say a bowling shirt), and a 5 yard piece of rayon Hawaiian print purchased on sale for that fantastic vacation shirt I am going to make him some day, plus smaller scraps to piece together with the smaller pieces. Previous to this reorganization, when I wanted to make the husband a new shirt and I would open one of his boxes, and then I would end up spending way too much time sorting through the fabric to find what I wanted. It use to be I just saw two or three options, could pick one and get the sewing process started.

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P1020834With these thoughts in mind and seeing an vast array of fabric pieces before me, the plan to organize my fabric started to fall into place in my mind. I have come up with 30 categories to sort and box my fabric into. For example, 2 yards or more knit solid colors, 2 yards or less knit solid colors, 2 yards or more cotton prints, 2 yards or less cotton prints and so on. This way when I want to make something like the little neighbor girl a dress, I will know to look in the box labeled 2 yards or less cotton prints. I think this will work and since I will not be adding anymore fabric to the stash in the near future, nod nod wink wink, there should not be anymore mixed fabric boxes or boxes I have no idea what is in to slow me down. And say on the off chance that I do add a new piece to the stash (over the husband’s dead body), I can then put it in the appropriate box to find it easily later.

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Now that I had a workable organization plan in place, I began to sort the fabric from the boxes I had already opened. And I am now ready to open more of my boxes to see all the gorgeous fabric that I have, and then get it all sorted into its appropriate piles for later placement into the appropriate boxes.

The Tale of Two Diets and the Weight of a Wait

So several months ago my husband told me I was getting fat!

Well, ok that isn’t exactly true.

His exact words were more along the lines of: “You know dear we are getting older and we probably need to loose some of this extra weight we are carrying around so that we feel better and have less medical problems as we continue to age.”

But of course being a woman, I wanted to hear none of that! All I heard was “You are fat!” Now don’t get me wrong, I KNOW I am fat, since I have been considered “FAT” according to the Medical Definition of the term since I was about 3 days old.

We both lead very active lives and since my being overweight had not stopped me from doing anything that I had wanted to before, I just hadn’t really paid much attention to the issue. I’m very lucky to have had a very loving husband for 25 years now who doesn’t really see my weight as an issue and since we were pretty much both overweight when we met, when we were dating, and when we were married, it just wasn’t a high priority item on either of our lists to get the weight off.

At least it wasn’t until we reached our 40’s. Once you reach a certain age and things start to become more difficult for you,  like getting in and out of a car, or a chair, or those leather hot pants you bought back in the 80’s and thought were just “The Bomb” back then, you start to think about your future in different ways. Thoughts that when you are younger and in your 20’s and 30’s, you would never even have considered having.

So starting on January 1st, 2012 we both went on that most despised of despise’s, dreadful of dreadful’s, evil of evil’s. Yep thats right. The D word that we dare not speak it’s name or it will come and haunt us in our dreams while we sleep forevermore!


DUTCH CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Oh wait! That’s not it! I wish that were it! I’d actually “LIKE” to hear that D word!

No it was the other one that sounds a lot like DYE IT!

Now don’t get me wrong. Over the years like most modern women I have been on and off of several “weight reduction plans”. But for me anyway, mostly off.

I had done the New Years Resolution Fad Diets, along with every other woman on the planet for the last 30 years trying to get rid of a few of those extra “Holiday Pounds” we all seem to gain every year during the holidays.

But this year was different. This year about 6 months before January 1st rolled around my husband had started to compile data and do some research like he always does when he is getting ready to make a change to something in our life. And by January 1st, 2012 he had created a “Lifestyle Modification” for us.

When he first told me what it entailed I told him he was “Crazy in the head” and that there was no way we could do what he was asking. But three months later and 52 pounds lighter and several pants and shirt sizes smaller, I have to say he wasn’t so crazy after all. Well maybe crazy like a fox. He has lost more weight than I have in the same amount of time, but since he is more than a foot taller than me and male, that was to be expected.

He insists that since this isn’t really a diet, and instead is something we change in our daily behavior so it’s really more a psychological thing than a physical thing, that we should be able to stick with it over the long term rather than the two week’s and I’ve had enough holiday diets of yore. And I must say, it is nice to be back to my 10 year ago weight, and to not have had to give up too much to get here. My next goal of course is to get back to my 20 year ago weight and I think given some time and effort I can get to that point too. All in all I am excited for what the future brings.

Now some of you may be saying at this point “Super! You lost a few pounds! Now what does this have to do with sewing?”

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Well, I’ll tell you what it has to do with sewing!

Since I have lost the weight,  I now need to make several new articles of clothing to fit my reduced size and you should see the fruits of those labors showing up on here very soon! At least that is the plan.