Tag Archive | pin

A Snake In The Grass

IMG_4459I have been eyeing this snake pattern for a long time. It looked like a quick, but fun project. So, when it was time to pick another amigurumi project, this snake popped to the top of my to do list.

IMG_4463As I dug through the yarn stash looking for just the right colors for the snake’s body and stripes, I found four colors that I really liked together that would work great for the snake’s body, but I only needed three colors to make the pattern. But which three colors should I pick? Undecided, I asked the husband which three colors he thought would look best for the snake’s body and stripes. He said I should use all four colors. After a long pause to see it in my minds eye, I decided that yes I could use all four colors. I would subtract one round for the color that was used the most in the snake’s stripe and replace that round with the fourth color. With the colors planned out, it was time to start crocheting.

IMG_4466The crocheting of the snake’s body started with the tail. I crocheted the tip of the tail and then the first 3 color stripe. It looked great. Since it was not too many rounds until the next stripe, I decided to carry the 3 yarns of the stripe as I crocheted. After the third stripe, though, I noticed that the 4 yarns that I was carrying instead of cutting and tying off with each color change, were getting very twisted and hard to manage.

Maybe I should be cutting and tying each color change to prevent this twisting mess?

IMG_4338But, I knew it would not be easy to cut and tie each color change in a 10 single crochet round, especially with the number of color changes this snake’s body had. So, I had to decide which I wanted to do, take the time to untwist the 4 carried yarns as I crocheted or cut and tie off each color change. I decided to carry and untwist the yarn as I crocheted.

IMG_4336It wasn’t difficult to untwist the yarn as I crocheted, but it was time consuming. I still think it was less time consuming and trouble to carry and untwist the yarns than to cut and tie each of the color changes. Once I had completed the ninth stripe of the snakes body, I really liked the results and I was very pleased that I took the time and effort to use the extra color. I crocheted the snake’s head next, and soon I had the two pieces of the snake crocheted up and ready to stitch together.

IMG_4461The pattern said to stuff only the snake’s upper body and his head which I did. I then stitched the head and body together. The next step was the tricky step. I had to twist the snake’s body tightly enough so that it supported the snake’s head and made the snake stand upright like a cobra. After several twisting attempts and some fiddling and fussing, I got the snakes body twisted and his head positioned just right. I grabbed my pins and pinned everything in place. Then, with some small unseen stitches, I tacked the twists and head in place.

IMG_4465After some thought, this snake was named Snape.

Snape is very cute and definitely would not scary anyone as he slithers through the grass. He was a fun project but not quite as quick of a project as I thought it would be. I do hope to make more snakes some day as they were a lot of fun!

Until then, crochet forth and slither and twist on!

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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!

Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail on a Beautiful Easter Dress

IMG_0133Spring is finally here! And, with spring comes Easter.

And, what would be more fun to sew than a beautiful new Easter dress?

Since I would not be wearing an Easter dress anywhere this year, I decided that for my next sewing project I would make a little girl’s Easter dress. I still had the pattern from the last little girl’s dress that I had made laying on my cutting table, and I had wanted to make another version of this dress pattern, but while incorporation some of the things that I had learned from making the first dress, it was a very easy decision to use this as the pattern for the little girls Easter dress.

Easter dresses are usually very fancy with lots of ruffles and lace, but by picking this pattern, this Easter dress would be very basic. I could have added all of the ruffles and lace to this pattern but I decided not to. Rather than this dress being an Easter dress that would only be wore for a couple of hours one time on Easter morning, I thought it should be a fun dress with Easter bunnies on it that could be worn the week before Easter and then all day on Easter and after Easter was over too. Hopefully, it would be a fun dress that any little girl would enjoy wearing in the springtime!

P1040268Because of the pattern that I chose, it was easy to select the Easter bunny cotton fabric I had on hand as the dress fabric. This was a remanent I had picked up at Joann’s last sale that had not even made it to the stash yet. And for the lining fabric, I grabbed the yellow lining that I had used for the first dress. I thought that it worked well enough for the lining of the last dress and it matched the purple color of the dress fabric. Plus using it would save me a trip to the stash to look for some white lining fabric.

Cutting out this dress went smoothly but I did make some changes to it as I cut. I cut the bodice lining 1/2 inch longer, making it longer than the dress fabric. My hope was that the extra 1/2 inch of length would help with the “stitch in the ditch” seam when finishing the waist. Having a little more fabric to fold up should help if this slippery lining fabric started to unfold as it did on the first dress while it was being sewn. Hopefully this would help keep the raw edges from being exposed. I also decided while I was cutting out this dress to not stitch the lining and dress fabric together at the hem as I did before. I would hem the lining and the dress fabric separately. With this in mind, I cut the lining 2 inches shorter than the dress fabric so that there was no chance it would hang below the dress fabric after being hemmed.

P1040272Once it was all cut out I followed along with the pattern guide to make this dress the same way I had on the first dress. This time though I used the serger which I did not use on the first dress. I serged the bottom of the lining of the bodice. In doing so, I hoped that it would give me something to feel through the dress fabric as I “stitched in the ditch” at the waist as well as give a finished edge so that if the lining slipped while “stitching in the ditch” and was just barely caught, it would be catching on more than just a raw edge. Because I was not hemming the lining and the dress fabric together this time, I needed to finish the seams of the skirt and lining. I finished these with the serger as well as serging the hems before hemming. It had all worked well up to this point and as I had said, it was crazy not to use my available sewing tools to make a project better and easier. I used the floss method of gathering again because it had worked so well on the first dress.

P1040181The skill I needed to work on from the last dress was the finishing of the lining at the waist after the gathered skirt was attached to the dress fabric bodice or what I keep referring to as the “stitch in the ditch” seam. As mentioned, I had already taken measures to help assure the success of this seam by cutting the bodice lining longer and serging the edge. After pinning the lining to the bodice and getting ready to sew this seam, I could tell I was in for another disaster. The slippery lining was already falling out of place in between the pins. So I decided that I needed to rethink this. What could I do to hold the lining in place as I stitched on the dress fabric? The answer was to use some Seam to Seam adhesive paper. I cut 1/4 inch strips of Seam to Seam paper, stuck one adhesive side to the seam allowance of the skirt and bodice and then stuck the folded bodice lining to the other side. I then pinned the seam together again and headed for the sewing machine. At this point with all of my preparations, the sewing of this seam went smoothly. After completing it, I only had one spot where the lining had slipped and was missed by the seam and that was in a spot where I had skimped on using the Seam to Seam. One might say that using the Seam to Seam adhesive is a cheat and is not learning this sewing skill properly, but I say, hey, use the tools that are available to you. Plus, it still wasn’t a perfect seam. More practice is needed.

P1040271With the dress completed, it needed a little something to make it an Easter dress, so I decided to add a belt and tie to the waist. This would have been much easier if I had decided to add the belt and tie earlier in the sewing process, but I didn’t so I improvised it as best I could. To make the belt and tie, I measured the front bodice and cut a piece of white scrap to that length and made it 3 inches wide. Then, with the remainder of the white scrap, I cut two pieces as long as I had fabric by 3 inches wide. I then seamed these together to make one long piece of fabric. Folding the fabric lengthwise, I stitched the piece, turned the tube, and finished the ends. I lined the horizontal seam up with the side seams and then stitched it. I was going to stitch up one side seam, across the top of the tie on the bodice and then down the other side seam, then across the bottom, but when it came to stitching across the bottom, across the gathers of the skirt, I stopped. This was not going to work. If I had been stitching the belt and tie on while sewing the dress I would have put the bottom of the tie at the bottom of the bodice instead of over the skirt, but that did not happen. So instead I decided to leave the bottom unstitched. This does not look good on the hanger but I believe when the dress is being worn that the tie will be pulled tight and it will look fine. I wish the ties were longer but that was how big my scrap pieces were so that is length they are.

I am not as pleased with the belt and tie as I thought I would be but since it was an after thought on this dress, I think it is fine. Actually, the more I look at the tie the more I like it. I think the Easter dress turned out to be very cute. I have some bad news though. The little neighbor girl has moved away and I have lost my model for my kids clothes. So, I can’t tell you if leaving tie unstitched at the bottoms is ok when the dress is being worn. I am also unable to find out if it is preferred to have the dress fabric and lining hemmed to together or if having them hemmed separately is the way to go. I am going to have to find another 5 year old girl to wear my creations.

Until next time, sew forth and sew on!

“Blocking” Out Those Big Feet

P1020735When I decided to make Sebastian the bear a blanket, my reason for doing so was not really to hide his big feet but to try out another pattern I had found. This new pattern that I had found was a giant crocheted granny square that could be used to make a baby blanket. I decided that I wanted to make Sebastian a blanket from this pattern because I could add stripes in the blanket from the same yarn that I used to give him his sweater looking torso.

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The pattern was very easy to follow and soon I had quite a few rows of the granny square crocheted. The pattern only gave the basic instructions for making the granny square and the creativity of colors and sizes was all up to the crocheter. So, I decided to do 2 rows of the variegated yarn after every 5 rows of purple yarn. This design seem to be working up great and I really liked the look of it.

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P1020707The only problem I was having while crocheting the blanket was that it would not lay flat. I did not feel that my tensions had varied much while I crocheted it and I did not believe that the problem was in the different yarns I used. Because of this I decided that the blanket was going to have to be blocked when it was completed. Since I have really only crocheted amigurumi’s previously, I have never blocked a piece of crocheting but I had seen my mother and grandmother do it many times during my childhood, so I had an idea of what to do and I knew that this should fix my problem.

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Luckily, I was smart enough not to just rely on my childhood memories and I did a quick internet search on how to properly block a crocheted item. After reading several how-to sites, I decided to use steam to block this blanket. I started with a towel and pinned the blanket to the towel, trying to get it to lay as flat as possible. Next, with the iron on high, I steamed the blanket being very careful not to touch the blanket or the pins with the iron. The last step was to let the blanket dry and see what I got.

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P1020731After removing the blanket from the towel I was happy with the results. The blanket seemed to lay flat. After a day of being handled, I noticed that the blanket was not laying as flat as it had when it was first blocked. I debated about steaming it again or trying a different method of blocking, but then I decided that it is just a blanket for a teddy bear and it did not have to lie perfectly flat. This was probably not the correct answer. I should have tried to block the blanket again just for the learning experience, but I wanted to be done with this project and I wanted to move on to something else. I justified this decision by telling myself that this blanket was not the only thing that I would ever crochet that needed to be blocked, and that I would have other opportunities to block more crocheting projects in the future. I will try the wet method of blocking the next time I have to block a crochet item.

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With that, I called the blanket finished and wrapped Sebastian up in it. He looks so cute in his blanket. I just know he will soon have a great new home and someone to hold him and love him in his new blanket.

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.

Pin Obsession

As you already know, I am a pinner and I use lots of pins when I sew. I believe that it is worth the time to add a pin and get  good results, than to not pin and get sloppy results and then have to unpick and start again. So, why did it take me so long to start using pins with my crocheting?

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I can’t take credit for the idea to pin together the body parts of an amigurumi as you sew it together. I saw that someone else had done this while browsing some websites. So, I decided to give it a try. The first amigurumi that I used pins on was Frankenstein’s hair. It worked out great. The pins held the hair in place and made it a lot easier to stitch it in place. But, why did I not use pins while sewing on the arms and legs? I’m not sure. Since I know the value of pinning, why was I not using my pins to my full advantage?

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As I finished crocheting the body parts for my latest amigurumi, I began to dread the sewing together of the parts as I always do. As you are well aware, sewing the amigurumi together is my least favorite part of the process. Over time, the sewing together of the body parts has become easier as I have learned to take my time with the stitching, and have just gotten better at it with pure practice. This time, though, I have decided to pin each part together and then stitch. So far, as with Frank’s hair, it has made the sewing together of the parts easier and with better results. I would like to kick myself for one, not thinking of pinning in the first place, and two, not pinning parts together sooner. It really does help you keep the body parts where you want them as you stitch them together.

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If you are going to give this a try, I will give you this advice, have nice sharp long pins and pin straight down. Unlike pinning fabric, where you pin parallel, amigurumi parts are pinned together perpendicular to each other. So, make sure your pin extends into both body parts you are stitching together.

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With the sewing of the body parts almost done, I will soon be able to finish the details of this amigurumi and then the really hard part starts, what to make next.

Towel Baby Bibs – Neck Binding Tutorial

Due to the popularity of my previous Towel Baby Bibs posts, I have received several questions regarding the baby bibs that I make for my friends and family.

Because of this I am going to do a couple of new posts answering those questions and give a little more detail into the construction of the bibs so that people new to sewing will have less trouble figuring out how to make them.

Then in the next few posts I will get creative and show you all the fun things you can do with the bibs once you have made them.

This first post is a tutorial of how to apply the ribbing to the neck of the bibs. I am going to be using black ribbing with white thread. Hopefully, this will make it easier to see how to sew them together properly in the pictures. Just in case you didn’t know already you can click on any of the photos below to make them larger if you are having trouble seeing them.

So here it is in just 10 easy steps:

1. Cut the ribbing 10 1/2 inches by 3 inches. If the ribbing has a lot of stretch, cut it a little shorter. If the ribbing is not that stretchy, cut it a little longer.

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2. Place the circle pattern on the towel and cut the circle from the towel. I like to center the circle from side to side and place it about 1 inch from the top. You can place the circle anywhere you want but be careful not to place it too close to the top. Make sure  to leave enough room for your seam. I cut the circle out with my rotary blade so I don’t trace the circle first. If you are going to cut the circle out with scissors, it might make it easier to trace the circle onto the towel and then cut it out so you can pick the towel up. Plus, even though I have given the dimensions of my circle, you can be a little off from that, so don’t worry about the exact size too much. (I kept the circle I cut from the first bib that I made and serged around the edge, so I could use it as my pattern for bib making.)

3. Fold the ribbing, right sides together, matching the width, and then sew the ribbing together.

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4. Fold the ribbing lengthwise, wrong sides together,  to form a ring.

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5. Pin the ribbing into fourths. Start by pinning the ribbing in half. To do this, I hold the seam in one hand, fold the ring flat and pin at the end of the piece. Then I place the seam and the first pin together and pin at each end.

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6. Pin the circle in the towel into fourths. I do this by folding the circle in half and pinning the sides of the circle. Then I fold the towel side to side, matching the pins, and pin the top and bottom of the circle.

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7. Matching pins, pin the ribbing to the towel. Make sure to put the seam to the top of the towel which is also the back of the circle.

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8. Stretch the ribbing and sew between the pins. Make sure to have the ribbing on top, this will make it easier to sew.

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9. Finish the edge. I use an overcast stitch in my sewing machine to finish the seam. I could use my serger, but I like the cleaner look of the overcast stitch.

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10. Trim the edge next to the overcast stitches. Of course, if you serged the edge, the serger already did this part for you.

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And now you have finished applying the ribbing to the neck of the bib and now it is complete!

Congratulations on a job well done! This is what it should look like once completed.

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Stay tuned for my next posts on the fun part of embellishing towel baby bibs..

If you would like to see the ORIGINAL Baby Bib post you can find it HERE.

.Burda Design Baby Bibs