Saturday, December 28, 2013

Checker Baby Blanket Pattern

I started this blanket when I was pregnant. I meant to have it done in time for her birth but that just didn’t happen. It had been on my shelf but I pulled it out again to get it done in time for her first birthday. I used Baby Aran yarn. The body is done in single crochet with the unused color hidden inside the stitches. I’ll explain more below.

I used a J hook and about 200 grams of each color.

For the foundation row chain 146. Turn, sc in the 2nd ch from the hook. Sc 5, on the 5th stitch yarn over in color B. Sc 5, but hide the yarn of color A inside the stitches. Do this by holding the yarn over the top of the unworked stitches while you sc in color B. Like so:

Always yarn over in the new color on the last stitch of the previous color to make the color change clean. Continue to switch colors back and forth every 5 stitches until the end of the row. Ch 1, turn. Do this for five rows. At the end of the fifth row, yarn over in the opposite color on the last stitch. Ch 1, turn. Do the same as the other rows but this time the color will be opposite. This the beginning of a new check square. Do this for 5 more rows. You will continue this until the end of your blanket. My blanket is 29 squares wide and 21 squares high. This made my blanket with border 32” x 25”.

Please pause and untangle the two colors often. If you don't they may knot together.

Written traditionally it would be:
Using color A, Ch 146, Turn
R1: Sc 5, (Yo in color B, Sc 5, Yo in color A, Sc 5) Repeat until end. Ch 1, Turn.
R2-4: Repeat Row 1.
R5: Sc 5, (Yo in color B, Sc 5, Yo in color A, Sc 5) Repeat until end. On last stitch Yo in opposite color. Ch 1, Turn.
R6: Sc 5, (Yo in color A, Sc 5, Yo in color B, Sc 5) Repeat until end. Ch 1, Turn.
R7-9: Repeat Row 6.
R10: Sc 5, (Yo in color B, Sc 5, Yo in color A, Sc 5) Repeat until end. On last stitch Yo in opposite color. Ch 1, Turn.
R11-105: Continually repeat R1-R10

On the last stitch Yo in the border color. Instead of turning continue around the side of the blanket. My border was done in worsted yarn that was thicker than the body yarn. Sc evenly around. If you are using thicker yarn like I did sc in every other st. When you get back around start the wave design. Repeat (Sl st, sc, 2 dc, sc) around. At the corners do 3 sc. When you get back around sl st, finish off and sew in ends.

You can stop when it is the size you feel it is complete. You may want to make a rectangle like I did or go for the gold and make it a full square.

I am so happy she likes it. Here she is carrying it around with her. I don’t know about you but I think there is something quintessentially precious about a child dragging their favorite blankey around.


Pikachu Plush Pattern

I got Pokemon Y and I love it! Giving me an original starter was definitely the way to my heart. Whoever came up with that deserves mad props.

While playing I came across some preschooler twins who wanted to battle. Look what they’re holding.

Pikachu plushies! I decided they would make excellent amigurumi so here you go:

G Hook
Yellow yarn, worsted
Brown yarn, worsted
Red yarn, sock weight (but worsted would probably work)
Black yarn, worsted
9mm safety eyes
Black crochet thread
Yarn needle for sewing

Ears – Make 2
Start with black yarn and G hook
R1: 6 sc in magic circle
R2: Sc in each st around (6)
R3: 2 s, sc 1 around (9)
Switch to yellow
R4-9: Sc around (9)
R10: Dec 1, sc around (8)
R11: Dec 1, sc around (7)
R12: Dec 1, Sc around (6)
Sl st, f/o leaving long end for sewing

Cheeks – Make 2
Red yarn - G Hook
R1: 6 sc in magic ring
R2: 2 sc in st around (12)
R3: 2 sc, sc 1 around (18)
Sl st, finish off

Yellow yarn – G hook
R1: 6 sc in magic ring
R2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
R3: 2 sc, sc 1 around (18)
R4: 2 sc, sc 2 around (24)
R5: 2 sc, sc 3 around (30)
R6: 2 sc, sc 4 around (36)
R7-10: Sc around (36)
R11: Dec 1, sc 4 around (30)
R12: Dec 1, sc 3 around (24)
R13: Dec 1, sc 2 around (18)
Put in safety eyes and sew on nose and mouth
R14: Dec 1, sc 1 around (12)
R15: Dec around

Yellow yarn – G Hook
R1: Ch 4, Turn, sc across. Now sc on the other side of the starting chain. This should make an oval of 6 sts.
R2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
R3: 2 sc, sc 1 around (18)
R4: 2 sc, 2 sc, 2 sc, sc 6, 2 sc, 2 sc, 2 sc, sc 6 (24)
R5-8: Sc around (24)
R9: Dec 1, sc 10, dec 1, sc 10 (22)
R10: Dec 1, sc 9, dec 1, sc 9 (20)
R11: Dec 1, sc 8, dec 1, sc 8 (18)
R12: Dec 1, sc 7, Dec 1, sc 7 around (16)
R13: Sc around (16)
R14: Dec around (8)

Arms – Make 2
Yellow yarn – G hook
R1: 6 sc in magic ring
R2: 2 sc, sc 1 around (9)
R3: Sc around (9)
R4: Dec 1, sc around (8)
R5: Dec 1, sc around (7)
R6: Dec 1, sc around (6)
R7: Sc around (6)
R8: Dec 1, sc around (5)

Legs – Make 2
Yellow yarn – G hook
R1: 6 sc in magic ring
R2: 2 sc, sc 1 around (9)
R3-7: Sc around (9)
R8: Dec 1, sc around (8)
R9: Dec 1, sc around (7)

Start with yellow – G hook
R1: Ch 6, turn.
R2: Sc 5, ch 1, turn
R3: Sc 5, ch 4, turn
R4: Sc 5, ch 1, turn
R5: Sc 5
Change to Brown
R6: Ch 3, turn
R7: Sc 3
F/o leaving long end for sewing

Sew the ears and cheeks onto the head, then sew the arms and legs onto the body. Sew the head to the body. Tack the tail on the back, and the two stripes above it.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Bowl Incident - Sora's Hat Pattern

When I was in 5th grade I was in love with a show called Digimon. I watched every episode religiously, I had the official digivice, I bought notebooks, I wrote my own guidebooks, I was out of control.

My classmates at school were not fans and after a few weeks of teasing I began to keep my fandom a secret. I still brought my digimon notebook to school but I’d keep it hidden in my backpack. I would still write stories about it for my assignments but I would change the names so no one knew.

Halloween came around and I decided to dress up as Sora (one of the main characters). I think I secretly thought that since the show was SO amazing that many of my classmates were probably closet fans as well and just pretended to hate it. I believed if I came to school in the most  perfect Digimon costume everyone would be like, “Is that Sora?? That’s incredible! You’re cool now and we are going to have Digimon parties everyday!”

For weeks I worked to make the best Digimon costume the world has ever seen. Sora might as well have stepped out of the TV and into the elementary school. I was sure people wouldn't even recognize me!

For reference this is the character I so wanted to emulate. Note the yellow vest, red gloves and specifically the blue hat.

Most of the costume was easy to acquire and I even got my hair cut to flip out at the sides. 

The helmet however, gave me issues. No one sells bike helmets in that shape… in fact no one sold helmets of any kind in that shape. I knew I couldn't be Sora without the helmet so I set out to make it myself. My first attempt was paper mache but I had never done it before and I didn't know how. I also had a problem as a child of ignoring tutorials/instructions because I considered them “cheating.” (No joke, I wouldn't even use recipes. I made spaghetti once by letting noodles sit in warm water for a few hours and then pouring V8 juice over them. I made my family eat it.) When I finished it was the lumpiest, ugliest DIY you could imagine. I still remained hopeful that it would smooth out once it dried.

It didn’t.

I waited patiently until October 30th before I realized it had failed. I had to have the hat to be Sora! I started grasping at anything and I found my last resort in Tupperware. I pulled out one of mom’s plastic bowls, sprayed it with blue spray paint and wrapped the bottom in a sky blue ribbon. I did it!

I went to school the next day dressed as some obscure character no one had ever heard of wearing a blue bowl on my head. Instead of my expected reaction of awe and secret fandoms revealed, EVERYONE asked me, “Uh… why do you have a bowl on your head?” At which point I realized I was too embarrassed to admit I was from Digimon and told everyone “I don’t know, I just do.” I made no friends that year.

This is me on October 31, 2000 dressed as Sora Takenouchi from Digimon Adventure 01. 

Since then I refer to that as the "bowl incident" and have felt all sorts of shame. (I didn’t learn my lesson though, I went as obscure characters almost every year…. When I was Sheena from Tales of Symphonia people asked if I was a power ranger).

There have been many, many times I’ve thought to myself, “I wish I knew how to crochet back then.” This is one of those times. If I had to go as Sora I could have at least been a decent one. I would never have been known as bowl girl... never heard things like, "Hey remember the time you wore a bowl on your head? That was so weird!"

So here it is - this pattern atones for the horrible debacle of Halloween 2000. This is Sora’s hat! I can live on in peace now.

Sora's Hat
H hook
Blue worsted yarn
R1: 6 sc in magic circle
R2: 2 sc around (12)
R3: 2 sc, sc 1 around (18)
R4: 2 sc, sc 2 around (24)
R5: 2 sc, sc 3 around (30)
R6: 2 sc, sc 4 around (36)
R7: 2 sc, sc 5 around (42)
R8: 2 sc, sc 6 around (48)
R9: 2 sc, sc 7 around (54)
R10: Sc around (54)
R11: 2 sc, sc 8 around (60)
R12: 2 sc, sc 9 around (66)
R13: Sc around (66)
R14: 2 sc, sc 10 around (72)
R15: 2 sc, sc 11 around (78)
R16: 2 sc, sc 12 around (84)
R17-27: Sc around (84)
Change to light blue yarn
R28: Ch 1, Turn, Sc around (84) (The light blue part will be flipped up around the brim. The turn ensures that the right side faces out once it's flipped.)
R29: Sc around Back loops only(84)
R30-32: In both loops, sc around (84)
Sl st, finish off, leave long end for sewing.

H hook
Light blue worsted yarn

R1: Ch 5 - Don't ch 1, turn
R2: Sc 4 - Don't ch, turn
R3: Sc 3 - Don't ch, turn
R4: Sc 2 - Don't ch, turn
R5: Sc 1
Now sl st around the triangle, finish off, leave long end for sewing

Side Straps
H hook
Lt blue yarn
R1: 8 sc in magic circle
R2-35: Sc around
Sl st, finish off, leave long end for sewing.


Flip the light blue part up so it is around the brim. Sew the triangle on the front. Now using a whip stitch to secure the light blue edge onto the
hat. Now sew the side straps onto the bottom sides. Weave in ends

Monday, July 1, 2013

Easiest Crocheted Ipad Mini Cozy

This pattern is so simple that this post is less about the pattern and more about me wanting to show off my beautiful yarn. Matches took me to the fancy yarn store in town because I got a coupon in the mail and let me pick out three new yarns. I never get to do that. I fell in love with this yarn for the feel and color. It’s Mochi Plus in Autumn Rainbow, I get giddy just looking at it. Not only that it’s crazy soft – 80% wool and 20% nylon. I barely got the yarn home before I had my hook out. I rarely crochet items for myself so this was a special treat. We recently purchased an Ipad Mini and it was just begging to get covered. The best part is that the yarn is so soft it cleans the screen as you slide it in and out.


Here are three reasons you need to make this right now: 
1. It’s an excuse to go pick out a fancy yarn! There are obviously exceptions but in my opinion gorgeous yarns are best shown off with a simple stitch. Vice versa, complicated stitches are best shown off with simpler yarns. Get something luxurious, with lots of colors.
2. You get to pick out a fancy button! Am I the only one that loves the button section of craft stores? There are so many and they are so pretty! You don’t always know how a yarn is going to work up, so make the cozy first and bring it with you to the button store.
3. It’s so easy but looks so good! No really, this pattern is super easy. I finished it in like 3 hours.

This can easily be adjusted to fit a regular Ipad but my instructions are for the mini since that is what I have.

Fancy yarn - somewhere in the worsted weight range. You have a bit of wiggle room but it won’t work as well if you pick something super bulky or light. I used about 95 yards.
H Hook (5 mm)
A fancy button

This project makes the yarn the star. It turns out elegant and interesting while still being easy-peasy. It is worked in rounds and you are going to be working around your starting chain. Meaning you are going to work in one side of chain’s loops like normal, then continue around and work in the other side of the starting chain loops. Makes like a closed oval. This is the bottom of the sleeve.

Try it on your tablet often and make sure it fits. You may need to add or take away rows. For me a 2" by 2" section is 8 sts and 4 rows.

Ch 23
R1: Dc in the 3rd ch from hook. Dc across.
When you get to the end of the row instead of turning, continue around. This time working into the other loop of the starting chain. You are creating a pocket and this is the bottom. Make sure that you are inserting your hook into the outside of the piece.
R1 - cont: Dc in the other loop of the starting chain until you get all the way around to the first dc. (42)
This is worked in the round and the rounds are not joined. The next stitch will be a dc placed in the first dc you made in the chain. Get a stitch marker and mark this stitch. You will have finished a row each time you make it back to the marker. Don’t forget to move the stitch marker up each row as you work.
Ok the hardest part is done. It’s smooth sailing from here on out.
R2-19: Dc in each st around (42)
On your last row, make your third to last stitch an hdc, then an sc and finally a sl st. This will keep you from having a jagged stop from the dc stitch. Snip the yarn, sew in ends.
R22: Attach the yarn to the top middle of one side. The strap is 5 stitches wide so find the middle five stitches on that side. Ch 2, dc 4. Ch 2, turn.
R23-25: Dc 4, Ch 2, Turn. The ch 2 counts as the first dc.
R26: Dc 1, ch 2, sk 1, dc 2. Ch 2, turn. (this makes the button hole)
R27: Dc across. F/o, weave in ends.

Now just attach the button and you are done. I’d love to see what yarns you all pick out so please send me a picture of the finished product!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Two-Hour Tauntaun: Free Amigurumi Pattern


Remember Star Wars? When Luke gets shoved inside a dead animal? That animal is a tauntaun!

My brother and my dad love star wars so when my brother started having kids he told them to call my dad tauntaun. Now it's his grandpa name.

This year I needed a fast fathers day gift. Thus, the two hour tauntaun was born! He works up so quickly because you use a G hook and two yarns held together.

My friend Dwight told me that limitations give rise to creativity. That kept ringing in my head as I made this.  

White worsted yarn
Grey worsted yarn
Tan worsted yarn
Brown Worsted yarn
F Hook – 3.75 mm
G Hook – 4.25 mm
Small amount of stuffing
2 6mm Safety Eyes

G hook, white and grey held together
R1: 3 sc in magic circle
R2: 2 sc in ea st around (6)
Sl st, f/o leaving long end for sewing

G Hook, white and grey yarn held together
Stuff as you go!
R1: 4 sc in magic ring
R2: 2 sc in each st around (8)
R3-6: Sc in ea st around (8)
Place a piece of yarn in the 2nd st from the hook at this point. This marks the top of the tauntaun
This will also be the best time to sew on the snout and attach the safety eyes
R7: 2sc, 2sc, 2sc, sc 1, 2sc, 2sc, 2sc, sc 1 (14)
R8: sc 2, 2sc, 2sc, 2sc, sc to the end of round (17)
R9: Sc around
R10: Sc 5, 2sc, 2sc, sc 5, dec 2 (17)
R11: Sc 6, 2sc, 2sc, sc 6, dec 2 (17)
R12: Sc 14, dec 1 (16)
R13: (Dec 1, sc 2) around (11)
R14: (Dec 1, sc 1) around (7)
R15-16: Sc around (7)
R17: Dec 1, sc 1, dec 1, sc 2 (5)
R18: Sc around (5)
R19: Dec 2
Sl st, f/o and sew up hole

G hook, white and grey held together
R1: 3 sc in magic circle
R2-3: Sc around (3)
Sl st, f/o, leave long end to sew onto body

Legs – Make 2
G Hook, white and grey held together
R1: 4 sc in magic circle
R2: 2sc in ea st around (8)
R3-5: Sc in ea st around (8)
R6: Dec 3, sc 2 (5)
R7-9: Sc around (5)
Sl st, f/o, sew up hole

Horns – Make 2
F Hook, Tan yarn
R1: 3 sc in magic circle
R2: sc around
R3: 2sc, 2sc, sc
R4: Sc around
R5: 2sc, 2sc, sc 3
Sl st, f/o leaving long end for sewing

F hook, white yarn
R1: Ch 3, fold in half
Sl st into first ch

G hook, brown yarn
R1: 6 sc in magic ring
R2: 2sc in ea st around (12)
R3: (2sc, sc 1) around (18)
R4: (2sc, sc 2) around (24)
R5: Sc 3, ch 1, turn
R6-when it wraps around the tauntaun: Sc 3, ch 1, turn
Join with slip stitches to the other side of the saddle while it’s wrapped around the tauntaun.

Putting it together:
The most time consuming part is the sewing because there are a lot of pieces.

Sew the right and left legs on. You want to make a tripod with the feet and tail so that he can stand. Sew the arms on in front. The ears go on top and the horns on the side of the head. The saddle should go on last.

Congratulations! It’s guaranteed to smell better than Hans tauntaun or your money back.



I think he's kinda cute :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Totoro Lovey and Lamb Lovey!

Announcing two new patterns in my Ravelry and Etsy stores! Totoro Lovey and Lamb  Lovey! They are available for $2.25 each! Or you could get a bundle of all four of my lovey patterns for $7.50. (Pikachu, Nyan Cat, Totoro and Lamb)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

10 Crochet Tips I Wish I Had Known From The Start

This list is essentially everything I wish I knew when I started out. It is largely inspired by an email I received asking for tips and advice for beginners.

1.  Right and wrong sides
For an item worked flat in regular stitches it does not really matter. There is technically and right and wrong side but they look exactly the same and it has never made a difference in any patterns I’ve done. If I’m missing something here let me know. If you are doing many complicated stitches or lace work it does matter, but the pattern should clearly state which side is "right."

When crocheting in the round there is a right and wrong side, and it makes a difference. Look at the stitches, if they all go vertical and make little V’s that is the right side. If there is a horizontal bar at the bottom of the stitch, that is the wrong side. Some people prefer the wrong side.

If you are still confused, watch this video

2.  Use a stitch marker when working in the round
You are going around in a spiral. You will lose count of which row you are on if you don’t insert a stitch marker into the last stitch of each row. Once you get back around to it, take it out, do the stitch and place it in the new stitch. Continue to move it up each row so you can easily keep count.

3.  Color changes when working flat
Color change when working flat: On the stich before the color change, yarn over in the new color. Now continue crocheting in the new color.

If you are switching two colors back and forth frequently, then you don’t have to cut the yarn every time. Just crochet over the color not in use. Hold the yarn not in use against the top of the stitches that are unworked and crochet as normal - with the unused color hidden inside the stiches.

When you are ready to switch to the other color just drop that yarn back and pick up the other one. Continue to crochet over the color not in use.

4. Color changes in the round
To fix the strong jagged line when color changing in the round: On the stitch before the color change, yarn over the new color. Now sl st into the next st. Continue to crochet around as normal. Awesome.

5. When you do have “tails” crochet over them.
Again hold the tails against the top of the unworked stitches. Crochet normally and the tail will become hidden inside the stitches. Now you don’t have to sew them in and they won’t come undone! Awesome.

*EDIT* - This technique doesn't work for all projects, so use your judgement here. See the following comment:

Anonymous: "I agree with all except #5. If you are doing, for example, an afghan and you are cutting and attaching a new color ever 2 rows or so. You DO NOT want to crochet over the ends because it effects the gauge and you will have one side of your afghan with thin edges and the other will eventually be taller and thicker making a lopsided rectangle. Weaving ends in is an unfortunate/not so fun part but sometimes necessary part of a project. It is a part of finishing. I promise - after 40 years of crocheting I know. Do you want homemade and uneven looking or neatly finished looking as possible."

6. Hook size Basics.
Amigurumi dolls are usually done with worsted weight yarn and between a 3.5 and 4.5 mm hook. This creates a sturdy fabric that won’t show the stuffing. If you choose thinner yarn use a smaller hook. If you use thicker yarn use a larger hook. For a regular (ie non-amigurumi) project, the yarn should have a hook size on the label. You can always go down a hook size if you want your fabric stiffer/tighter or up a hook size if you want it looser with more flow and drape.

These are all 10 stitches of single crochet for five rows, using the exact same worsted weight yarn. All I changed was the hook size. The 6.0mm hook is the recommended size on the yarn label. The top fabric is very stiff and sturdy, almost cardboard like. The bottom one is soft and flexible, with lots of “holes.” Each one could be useful depending on the project.

7.  When sewing Pieces Together.
 Pin first. No seriously, go invest in some sewing pins. Pinning makes sure things get sewn where you want them to be and eliminates problems like crooked ears. Dedicate some serious time to sewing pieces together. Once you have all the parts made it's tempting to feel close to the end and rush the sewing. Do not do this. Great parts sewed together sloppily will immediately negate the quality. 

Make sure your sewing is sturdy and you have gone all the way around the object to be sewed on.  Below you see that you stick the needle through the front of a stitch on the head, then down through a stitch on the ear. You repeat that process all the way around. Don't change needle directions (ie going up then down then up then down.) 

See how the needle is always facing the same way whether the stitch is going into the head or the ear?

8. Steady Gauge
 Meaning all your stitches are the same size and tension. This takes time and practice. Eventually your gauge will even out. Everyone is all over the place at the beginning. In the meantime bust out some practice projects. After one or two of those your skills will improve and your gauge will even out. I wish I had known this originally because when my first project looked awful I about gave up.

 It is also directly affected by your mood and stress levels. Even seasoned crotcheters notice a difference when they are very stressed.

9. Organize your yarn
It’s a very good idea to invest in a yarn winder. It makes clean, stackable yarn "cakes" very quickly. You will use it all the time. You'll spend a week winding all your yarn just for the fun of it. You can find good deals for them on Amazon.

10.  Gauge swatches.
       For some things, where size is not a huge issue you don’t have to make them. Example: most amigurumi, dish rags etc. For items where size DOES matter you can usually make a gauge swatch. Patterns will generally have information for the gauge. For example, 2" x 2" = 8 sts and 2 rows. At this point you would grab the recommended hook and yarn, make a swatch based on that information and measure it. If it's bigger than the size stated (in this case 2" x 2") then you need to go down a hook size. If it's smaller try moving up a hook size. Keep making swatches until your gauge swatch matches the guage measurements. Now you can be sure that your project will come out the right size.

Sometimes patterns won’t provide you with gauge information. In that case watch your project closely and if possible, try it on the desired recipient often. That way you don’t get all the way to end and realize it’s way too small or large. Also keep in mind that crochet does have a stretch to it and some yarns are stretchier than others. That means some things will initially looks too small but due to the stretch actually be perfect. I personally prefer patterns based on measurements rather than gauge or # of rows. (ie crochet until it is x inches).

11. Bonus tip! Yarn types

Cotton yarn holds its shape and does not stretch. It works well for items like amigurumi and dish rags.

Specialty fibers like alpaca and mohair  are mostly for garments and have very specific care instructions on the label. I've never used them mostly because im poor haha.

Wool is soft and stretches, is a natural fiber and warm. It is good for garments and things to wear. I also think it has the best drape. However, if you use pure wool it will felt in the washing machine. That means it’s going to shrink and turn into felt. When done purposeful it can create some very neat items. On accident it’s heart breaking. Certain wools are washable due to certain treatments but it will say so on the label. The biggest downside of wool and other natural animal fibers is that they are not as forgiving. If you have to pull stitches out at any point it's a bit of a wrestling match. It likes to stick, knot and split.

Acrylic has stretch, is washable and can be found at affordable prices. It was the widest variety of colors and will last forever. The cheaper versions can be scratchy and stiff but we’ve already solved that problem.

Here is a table for quick reference.
Type of Yarn
Best Used For
Holds its shape and does not stretch, natural. Fewer colors.
Amigurumi, scrubbing Rags, some garments
Soft and stretchy, natural, warm. Will felt in the wash!
Felted items, projects that do not need to be washed, things you don't mind hand washing
Superwash Wool
Same as above but will not felt. Not as forgiving if you mess up.
Garments, blankets
Lots of colors, lasts forever, stretchy, washable, and affordable. Cheaper ones can be scratchy, but we’ve already solved that problem.
Anything. Good for someone with a wool or cotton allergy.

Happy Crocheting!
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