Tag Archive | stripes

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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Marty The Zebra

DSCN3937It was his cute cartoonish style that made me pick this zebra pattern as my next amigurumi project. I liked his big head and his fat stubby hind legs that lets him sit. What I didn’t like was that the pattern only called for the zebra stripes on his body, not on his head or legs but that was ok. I could fix that!

DSCN3940Anxious to get crocheting, I grabbed the black and white Red Heart Love yarn I had purchased at Walmart’s Black Friday sale last year and I got started! I noticed right away that the Love yarn was much softer and the fibers liked to separate more while crocheting than the Red Heart Super Saver yarn, so I had to be careful where I inserted my hook and I needed to watch my tensions more closely as I crocheted.

I crocheted the body first. The body was not crocheted in continuous rounds. A slip stitch and chain were done at the end and start of each round to help keep the stripes even. Each stripe consisted of two rounds, so rather than than cutting and tying the yarn every other round, I carried the yarn. The tension of the carried yarn was not a problem because it was being carried over a very small space. It was cumbersome to have two skeins of yarn, twisting, as I crocheted though.

DSCN3936I crocheted the front and hind legs next. As mentioned, the pattern called for no stripes on these pieces. I wanted stripes so I started with solid black for the hooves and then made stripes, two rounds thick and then I alternated the colors. I crocheted in continuous rounds rather than slip stitching and chaining since it was only a couple of stripes and the color changes would be hidden under the legs. I also carried the yarn as I did with the body.

DSCN3942The head was the next piece to be crocheted and once again the pattern called for it to be unstriped, but I was going to stripe it. I crocheted the mouth in black then started the stripes. I crocheted the stripes exactly like the legs, in continuous rounds, two rounds thick, carrying the yarn as I crocheted. Like the legs, I could hide the color changes of the stripes on the bottom of the head.

The tail was the only piece that I did not stripe. I crocheted it white and then attached a few black pieces of yarn to the end.

DSCN3917The challenge for this amigurumi came when I stitched the head and body together. When I attached the head to the body, the zebra was staring at the ceiling, so I needed to move the head down. After a lot of pinning, stitching and unstitching, I got the head attached to the body without the zebra looking up. The legs and tail were much easier to stitch on.

DSCN3926The mane for this zebra was fun to attach. I did not quite follow the patterns instructions of making the mane. I knew how I wanted it to look, so I started by cutting 5 inch pieces of black and white yarn. Starting at the center of the head, I attached 2 rows of 3 white yarns. I then attached 2 rows of 3 black yarns and alternated this pattern down the back of the head. When I was done, the husband helped me trim the mane by hand and it was done. I was concerned about making the mane from the Love yarn because of how much it likes to separate. It will not take much play before the mane’s yarns will be untwisted and fuzzing, but that might be a fun look for the mane.

DSCN3921I picked some fun cartoon eyes for this zebra that I attached while crocheting the head. I wanted this zebra to have a big smile but I was having trouble getting the curves that I wanted for the smile while stitching on the mouth. To get the smile I wanted, I decided to glue on the mouth instead. I placed the yarn where I wanted it to be, then rolled the yarn down, applied a line of glue and then rolled the yarn back into place on top of the glue. This worked well and gave me the smile I wanted.

After some brainstorming with the husband, we picked the name Marty for this zebra. Marty is very cute. He makes me smile when I look at him. I like his extra stripes. Soon, Marty will have a new home and I hope he will be loved and played with often.

Until then, crochet forth and stripe on!

A Monstrous Amount of Scrambled Eggs – Part 2

DSCN0150When it came time to add the eyes to my Egg Monsters, my creative mind was totally overwhelmed. The pattern called for a three layered felt eye. I tried this on the first monsters I made, the purple ones. The layered eyes were fun to design but they took a lot of work and time to complete. I am certainly not skilled at cutting circles in felt. As I started to cut out the eyes for the next set of monsters, I thought of the many wiggle eyes that I had stashed away in the closet.

They would work Perfectly!

DSCN0130Over the years I have purchased a larger and larger variety of these googly wiggle eyes. I have many sizes, shapes and colors to choose from. So I grabbed the tape from my desk and started placing different sized and colored eyes on the egg monsters. What fun! I wanted a three eyed monster so I put three small eyes on the pink monster and they looked great. I wanted green eyes on the green monster but even though I had yellow eyes, the blue eyes looked the best on the yellow monsters. I had to have a girl monster, so the eyelashes wiggle eye was perfect for the other pink monster. Of course, the Bronco monster had to have an orange and a blue eye. Cutting felt circles for eyes fell by the wayside as I placed various wiggle eyes on all the rest of the monsters, even though the husband said the felt eyes of the purple monsters looked the best out of all of them.

DSCN0133Now that the crocheting, stitching and designing were done, it was time to party! Well a glue party that is. The husband was nice enough to attend the party and help me glue these monsters together. Hot glueing is another crafting skill I am not so good at. I learned a lot as I glued the crocheted covers on to the plastic eggs. Some of the first monsters glued have some glue spots visible, and I ended up with a few burns on my fingers. By the end though, with the husband’s help, I felt I had a technique developed and I was getting good results with the glueing process, and less glue where it was not supposed to be and fewer burned fingers.

DSCN0127My creative mind was still buzzing as I glued the last monster together. Oh, on the next one I will give it an antenna, or maybe horns, or how about extra arms or teeth? Wow, the designs I could make seemed to be endless! I reached for more yarn and then I stopped myself. I have so many amigurumi’s that I still want to make, and what was I going to do with all of the monsters that I already had made? Could I find them all homes? So, I put the yarn back in the stash, tucked the wiggle eyes back in the closet, and filed the pattern with my others. I will not part with my remaining eggs though. I see more egg monsters in my future. But not until I try out a few other new designs first!

DSCN0118Until next time, crochet forth and egg on!

A Monstrous Amount of Scrambled Eggs -Part 1

DSCN0141I have another pattern that I need to hide today. Like the pocket pal pattern, I have had a blast crocheting these egg monsters, and just like the pocket pal pattern, I am going to have to hide their pattern so I can get something else done.

I found this pattern around Easter time and I thought it would be a great idea to use up those extra plastic Easter eggs leftover from Easter egg hunts each year. So, after Easter when Joann’s ran all their left over Easter decorations for 90% off, I picked up a couple of packages of these eggs in two different sizes.

DSCN0007Because I had two different sized eggs, I had to tweak the pattern a little so that the crocheted pieces fit the eggs I had purchased. It was not difficult to decide how many stitches and rounds I needed to fit each egg size. It just took some time to figure it out at first. Because I have made so many monsters with so many different yarns, in the end, I got pretty good at adjusting the stitches and rounds not only based on the egg size but on the yarn size and stretch. By the end, I could whip out an eggs cover, or a monster’s body in no time at all and have it fit the egg. And with an added bonus to making these monsters is the time and energy saved but not having to stuff them. Plus, won’t the recipient of one of these monsters be surprised when it opens up and there is candy or a little something fun inside.

DSCN0134When it came to crocheting the arms and feet for these monsters, the feet on the small eggs looked too big, so I made extra arms for the small egg’s feet. Each small egg needed 4 arms to complete it. I learned early on that using less stuffing in the arms and feet was better. Some of the first monsters I made have very overstuffed appendages. When I made the yellow monsters, I did not stuff the arms and feet at all. I stitched them on flat. The husband did not like the flat arms and feet, so I went back to stuffing them again but with much less stuffing. Stitching the arms and feet on became easier with each monster that I stitched. By the end of making so many monsters, I knew right where I wanted the arms and feet stitched on at, making the stitching process much easier and quicker.

DSCN0117As I crocheted the pink monsters, I ran out of yarn. Darn, now what do I do? I know. I’ll give this monster a white stripe. And with that my creative mind went nuts. What other color combination can I crochet into an egg monster? I put white and orange together for a dreamsicle monster. I was planning to make blue monsters, so why not add another color to the blue. Ooo, orange would be good with the blue. Oops, I made a Denver Bronco’s monster. Since I was loving the color combos and the stripes, I finally sat down with black and orange yarn for Halloween, and tried a variety of styles of stripes. I made one large egg and one small egg of the stripe variations, black with orange in the middle, orange with black in the middle, and striped evenly with the black and orange. They all turned out great but if I had to pick a favorite, it is the evenly striped ones.

With the crocheting done, it was time  for eyes.

Until next time, crochet forth and egg on!

B5503 – Sewing

Following the instructions from the pattern, I sewed the shoulder seams, attached the facings and sewed the front on. The shirt was starting to take shape, but I could see there was going to be some fitting issues. Instead of sewing the sleeves in next, I stitched the side seams up so I could try the shirt on before I sewed any more of it. I am glad that I did this. Upon trying the shirt on, I confirmed that the shoulder seams were way too long for me. The shoulders hung down my arms almost as long as most of my sleeves do, but it fit well underneath my arm. I could have just skipped the sleeves altogether and hemmed the existing shoulder and it would have been long and full enough to cover my arms. But I wanted the sleeves on this shirt. I only needed to adjust the armscye at the top, so I tapered the cut to just the top of the armscye.  Not wanting to cut off too much, I cut 1 & 1/2 inch off first. After trying in on again, I cut another 1/2 inch off. This was still longer than I would have liked but it was much better than before. Luckily, I was working with a knit and knew I could work the sleeve into the new armscye without cutting the sleeve differently. I believe I would have had to make adjustments to the sleeve if I had been working with a cotton fabric.

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The next thing was, it was far too long on me, almost as long as I wear my shirts, and I still had the contrasting bottom band to add to it. With the band attached, that would have brought the bottom length to just above my knees. You would have thought I was making view C instead of B of the pattern. I ended up cutting two inches off the bodice length. I would have cut more, but because of the way the bottom band was attached, the slits of the bottom band where reaching my wait line already, so I decided to take the rest of the extra length off the band instead. I cut one inch off the band. I wanted to cut more but I did not want to lose the contrasting look totally. After removing the 3 inches, the length was better but I still would have preferred it shorter. I took a very generous hem in both the sleeves and the band to help with the length issues.

Since the shirt only has one button, I made a trip to the store to look for a nice, unique button. I found one I liked but when I saw the price at $6.25, I decided to pick again. That was more money than I had in the fabric of the shirt. The button I picked was only $1.50 and I think it looks good. Thank you, mom, for giving me so many buttons from your stash. I did not realize just how much buttons cost. I’d bet that I start watching sales on buttons more closely from now on.

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Although I have a completed and very wearable garment, that I very much like the design of, I am not truly happy with the fit. What I am happy with though is the fit of my basic sloper, so it finally dawns on me: “Why am I not using my slopers as a guide to fit this shirt?” I could match shoulder seams, sleeves and length to my sloper and then sew from there. Now I am excited to get another shirt under way. I can apply all I have learned for this first construction and use my new ideas to make and fit just what I want.

BURDA STYLE

Almost Again

After completing the last sleeper from the larger pattern I had, I have been anxious to try the pattern again, but this time sew the sleeper together and  insert the zipper the way I do on the smaller size sleeper I make.  I reached into the stash and pulled out this striped fabric and called it a great piece of fabric to try making another sleeper with.

Sewing the sleeper together by using the steps from the smaller size sleeper pattern worked out fine. I did not do the zipper exactly as I do on the smaller size sleepers. Instead I did a mixture of the two patterns. The zipper went in a lot easier than when I followed the instructions from the larger size pattern but it was not as smooth as in the smaller size pattern, so the next time I am going to follow the smaller size pattern exactly. I am just worried about added bulk in the foot, but I am going to give it a try.

After completing the zipper, I got so excited about finishing the sleepers that I forgot to sew the elastic around the ankles before I sewed and serged on the bottom of the feet. Thank heavens for a free arm. I inserted the sleeper leg on to the free arm and stitched some elastic around the ankle. It was not easy to keep the elastic straight but I think it turned out fine.

This striped fabric just screamed for baseball Snoopy, so of course, that is what I embroidered on the sleeper. I was pleased with the end results.

Over the 4th of July, I was able to visit the niece and nephews. I took the sleepers with me, but it will be years before the nephew will be the right size for this sleeper. The larger size pattern is so long. I am afraid that he will actually outgrow the waist before he grows into the length and will never get to wear this sleeper. So, while we were visiting, we played a little game called “How big are you?” and I got some measurements to help me make better fitting sleepers. The niece, who is older, tried on her sleeper but she and I were not happy with the length either. She will not have to wait too long before she can wear hers though.

Now, having seen the sleepers on the kids and having some measurements, I am excited to try the pattern yet again with the proper measurements. It’s nice to have a size x pattern but as everyone knows kids come in all shapes and sizes and will seldom fit a pre-sized piece of clothing correctly. Most often you know that even though your child is 3 years old he or she often wears a 2 or 4-year-old sized shirt/pants/dress.

Camouflaged Lizards

Can you find the lizards on this shirt? This is the second shirt I made my husband from the fabric I pulled from the stash this month. It has waited so patiently for its turn to be sewn up. It is a single knit so will be cool for summer and fun with all the bright colors. It did not sew up as nicely as the last shirt, single knit usually doesn’t, but it did not give me too much hassle.

Unlike the last shirt though, I had to really look for a design to embroider on this shirt. Everything I thought about putting on the shirt was lost in the bright colors. I decided not to embroider anything on the shirt, but then when I found this lizard design after some color changes it would work out fine. I think it turned out very nice and my husband really likes the vibrant colors.