Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crafter's Attention Span....shorter than the average chihuahua's

Let's see....where was I? Oh, yes, that's right. I was planning on making some slippers from a vintage pattern I found amongst my great-grandmother's things. I fully intend to do so, it is just that.....well, I've gotten distracted!
You see, most of the crochet hooks that I own belonged to my great-grandmother and she was using this old, tube thing that if I were to hazard a guess, used to house a small embroidery kit. It just has not been working for me, as I continually knock the silly thing over and spill the hooks and tapestry needles onto the carpet....which by the way is a thick awful mess that seems to swallow anything small. The only way to find things is to step on them and do the "hopping-on-one-foot-curse-real-loud-boogie". But I digress. Back to the dilemma of what to do with my crochet hook collection. 

After finally feeling strong enough to clean my closet(I herniated a disk in my lower back...but that is another story altogether), I came across a long lost travel wipes case, empty of course. I honestly don't think I've seen that thing since early February when I began watching my nephew regularly and how it ended up buried under a pile of stuff in my closet I will never know. Next to the case, I unearthed a storage tote, another item I had forgotten about, that was filled with some old tablecloths and random fabrics that I had purchased at a thrift store some time during the summer. I must have stared at the stuff in that tote for an hour, and I STILL don't have a clue as to why I needed those things, or what the sam-hill-of-beans I had intended to make with any of it. 

That is when the little light sparked, flared and burnt out in my head. I decided to make myself a little "clutch" to put my hooks and such in! I suppose I didn't do to bad of a job, and in my defense I couldn't sleep and had just taken my pain medication. Did I mention it was 1 A.M.? I get these crafty urges at the strangest times....I'm just lucky my husband sleeps like a rock and I have a room dedicated to my hobbies! So I grabbed some fabric, the spray adhesive, some felt, some yarn and that little case and set to work!

Now, as I said, it was 1 AM and I had just taken my pain medication, so it didn't occur to me that I might want to take a photo of the "before". The original plan was to hot glue the crochet inserts into the case, but they stay pretty well without having done so, and I like that I will be able to change them if I really want to! It is a little rough around the edges, but it is working out beautifully! :0)

But, wait! That's not all! I also got distracted by the small crochet hooks that belonged to my great-grandmother....and I mean small. I had no idea that there was such a small hook, size 14! I also found some handkerchiefs with hand-tatted and crocheted edges in great-grandmother's things. I got to wondering what I might be able to make with such small hooks and I had no idea what to use for "yarn". Then I remembered that along with all the yarn my mother-in-law gave me, she also gave me a small tub of embroidery floss, so I gave it a whirl, and this is what I came up with!!

The pattern for the flower can be found here:

The tiny butterfly was made using the same pattern as the flower, except I made the second and third "petal" by using a DC in place of the Half-Treble and then stopping with the fourth "petal". I used only 2 strands of embroidery floss for the smaller items, and 4 or more for the bigger ones and then put them together for a 3D effect. Just a quick note....the button in the photo is just an extra large one, I'm not that talented to make such small things and I don't think I have the eyesight for it either!! 

So, hopefully I will be able to get to those slippers....if I can keep from getting distracted anymore!! :0)

Friday, December 9, 2011

As Promised...

Ok, I have to give a big thanks to my friend Pam G., who has been working on her Giraffe Hat amidst all of her other duties. I know how hard it must be for her to test a pattern written by a newbie, run a daycare, go to school, keep track of her own kids AND complete her own craft projects! So thank you Pam! :0)

That being said, I hope I will be forgiven, not only by her, but also by what few(if any)readers I have, because I am posting the pattern today before it has been fully tested. Why, you ask?!? Well, because...the more the merrier!! The more people testing out this pattern, the sooner I can learn from my mistakes and start coming up with more patterns! 

Before I post The Giraffe Hat Pattern, let's get the formalities out of the way:

Copyright: Please respect my copyright for this pattern. DO NOT rewrite, post, sell, or otherwise take credit for this pattern. It took me 2 days of pure hell to figure out and that kind of misery deserves well as an expensive bottle of wine and a steak dinner. As per copyright, what you make is yours...sell it, gift it, eat it, set it on doesn't matter to me, I can only claim ownership of the pattern not the finished product. Do credit the pattern back to me if you sell the item, as that is just good manners.  Please do not use my the event that you just can't help yourself, again be respectful and give me the credit for my work.

Now then, I hope my pattern writing abilities are not so atrocious as to cause the crocheters of the world to see fit to skewer me on my hook. :0) 

The Giraffe Hat

I used and F hook for both the ears and the "horns". I used a J hook for the hat and held 2 pieces of yarn together so that the hat would be bulky enough to hold the ears/horns.

sc-single crochet
dc-double crochet
sl st-slip stitch
dc2tog-double crochet 2 together
( )-repeat

HAT: make "magic ring", ch 2 and DC 7 into magic ring, join with sl st

Round 1- (ch 2, dc into same stitch), 2 dc in each stitch around, join with sl st
Round 2- ( ), *dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 3-( ), *dc in next 2 stitches, 2 dc in next*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 4-8-( ), dc in each stitch around, change color at the end of round 7 if desired, complete round 8, finish and fasten off.

Don't forget to weave in those ends!!

HORNS (make 2): ch 2, 6 sc in first ch, pull tight join with sl st
Round 1-(ch 1, sc in same st), sc in each st around, join with sl st
Round 2-( ), *sc in next st, 2 sc in next*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 3-( ), sc in each st around, join with sl st
Round 4-( ), *sc in next st, sc2tog*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 5- Repeat round 4, change color at end of this round
Lightly stuff the top of the horn and continue to lightly stuff as you finish the last 4 rounds
Round 6-9-( ), sc in each st around, join each round with sl st. Fasten off leaving a tail about 6 inches or more in length to attach to the hat
Leave the ends of the horns open(do not sew them closed)so they will keep their round shape when attached to the hat.

EARS (make 2): make "magic ring", 4 sc into magic ring, pull tight join with sl st

Round 1-(ch 1, sc in same st), sc in each st around, join with sl st
Round 2-( ), sc in each st around, join with sl st
Round 3-( ), *sc in next st, 2 sc in next*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 4-6-( ), sc in each st around, remember to join at the end of each round
Round 7-8- Repeat Round 3
Round 9-11- Repeat Round 4-6
Round 12-( ), *sc in next st, sc2tog*, repeat from * around, join with sl st
Round 13-( ), sc in each st around, join
Round 14- Repeat Round 12
Round 15- Repeat Round 13
Round 16- Repeat Round 12
Round 17- Repeat Round 13, finish and fasten off leaving a tail about 6 inches or more for attaching to hat

You will need to flatten the ears to get the shape that they are supposed to be, just watch to make sure the seam is at the back of the ear.

For the "spots" I just made a "magic ring", single crocheted a random number of stitches into the ring, leave enough for a long tail for sewing, then pulled tight and joined w/sl st. Then I did one round of 2 sc in each st before joining and fastening off(weave in the end from where you fasten off and use the tail from the magic loop to sew the "spots" on the hat)

To find the right places to attach the ears and horns, I just flattened the hat out, with the "seam" in the center of the back of the hat. It will not lay completely flat, but will make nice edges on the sides to figure out ear placement. To attach the horns, reshape the hat so it sits open and pin them to the top in the place you want them.

It occurs to me, after comparing the yellow hat and the pink one, that I may have used an E hook for the ears the first time around(yellow hat)....but because I didn't write it down the first time, I have no idea!! Also, I may be having problems because I didn't count the stitches either....I just kind of put the ears together based on the shape I wanted. I will try to answer questions if you have any trouble with the pattern, but even though I wrote it....I might not be much help because I'm still figuring it out too!! LOL

As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, and comments. Please let me know what issues or problems there are with the pattern so that I can make necessary corrections. As with any pattern, use whatever hook and yarn that you like to achieve the look you prefer. 

I'm off to continue making some Christmas items for my son's teachers and classmates, as well as some fun things for making some hair clips with my friend's daughter when she and her brother visit next week. :0)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crocheting Like Mad....

Since rekindling my romance with crochet a few months ago, I decided to take the plunge....and try writing my very own pattern! Why write my own pattern so early in the relationship? Well, because two of my photographer friends needed photo props for their newborn/infant/toddler photo-shoots, and they asked me to make them. Of all the little hats that were requested, only one remained just beyond my reach....The Giraffe Hat.

Now, the patterns that I found for all the other hats are free and as I do not have the finances to purchase even the cheapest pattern, I had given up hope of being able to provide said friends with the little hat they seemed to want the most. I thought about giving up, but decided that they would have The Giraffe Hat come hell or high water! What did I do, you ask? Well, I did what any creative person and self admitted craft addict in dire straits would do...I experimented!!

After viewing many photographs of the mythical Giraffe Hat, I came to the conclusion that to achieve the desired outcome, I would have to play with the few stitches and knowledge of increase/decrease that I possess and hope like hell it worked out. The results took two days to come in, and I rather think that I did a swell job of it at that!

Why two days? Simply because I didn't write anything down when I started constructing the first ear and then could not for the life of me figure out what I had done to get it in the first place! I know, many of you are asking in your most incredulous voice, "Why didn't you just go back and count the rows/stitches?". And I answer, "Because, I worked the silly thing in the round and kept losing my place! Also, I have a five year old who is so excited about his ability to count to 100 that he likes to count with me...except he starts with one when I'm already on twelve!"

I have a photo of the first Giraffe Hat, fashioned in the rather predictable colors of yellow and brown, as well as a photo of one made after I learned how to count properly and wrote the pattern down. The second was fashioned in the highly improbable colors of pink/purple. Currently, I am working on yet another Giraffe Hat, as my son has requested I make him and my 1 year old nephew matching hats in the very comical color of frog green! A good friend and fellow craft addict offered to test the pattern for me and the results from that test should be in soon...please remain patient as the lab can get backed up this time of year!

When all tests have been performed and the pattern is given a clean bill of health, I will be posting it for all to enjoy...for now, I leave you with only the images of my little experiment. Please let me know what you think of it...but be nice.

My sewing skills are still a bit wonky, but as with many things in life, it will improve with time. The little yellow/brown beanie seen under the original Giraffe Hat was made first, but after completing the ears/horns, I felt that it would not be sturdy enough to hold up, so I went back and made a second beanie using 2 pieces of yarn held together...I like it much better!

I do appreciate any constructive criticisms that anyone has to offer. Please note: I will delete any comment that I deem to be inappropriate, vulgar, or simply rude and uncalled for.

Next project: crochet slippers from an old pattern I found in my Great-Grandmother's things!!