Saturday, July 5, 2014

Variety is the Spice of Crochet!

My goal of updating my crochet blog quarterly has gone by the wayside again. So I have quite a few projects to post this time. Since it's been 6 months, I think I'm listing everything in the right chronological order, or close enough!

In fact, it's been so long that I almost forgot to start off with an item I delayed posting last time (though I created it last fall), since it was a Christmas present for my best friend Dianne (and she doesn't go online much, but just in case...). I've made myself 2 "Dotted Delight" Barbies in different colors and enjoyed making them so much that I wanted to make one for Dianne. I love the combo of the brown beads and the aqua thread!

So far this year, I have crocheted a variety of items including Barbie clothes, large doilies, baby clothes, and even another sweater for myself. I started the year by deciding to make something I had not done for a long time -- the Barbie dresses I used to sell at craft fairs. These are not the elaborate gowns I've created in recent years, but four different varieties of pretty little dresses that have snaps in the back and are removable. I felt it would be a good way to use some of my thread stash and have enjoyable, small projects to bring on my work commute. I kept a few of the dresses and sold a few on Listia, the auction site I belong to where you sell things for points instead of dollars and use those points to "buy" things you want. Here are photos of my dolls modeling eight of the dresses.

"Tiered Dress" in blue and in burgundy.

"Tea Dress" in blue and in Christmas variegated.
"Silhouette Dress" in red and in white.
"Party Dress" in peacock blue and in pale pink.
Next, I decided to continue working on my thread stash. I had most of one ball left of my discontinued Opera #10 thread in a gorgeous color, Tea Rose, and decided it would be beautiful combined with green and burgundy in a large doily. This is the result. I can't remember the name of the pattern, but it was from a old issue of "Magic Crochet" magazine.
Then I decided to make something pretty with the few balls of Opera #10 I had in Baby Pink and chose a doily designed by Josie Rabier, one of my favorite crochet designers.
Now I felt like making a baby item with yarn. I found a cute, brightly multi-colored baby sweater and cap pattern in a crochet book and felt it would be a great way to use some of my stash of Knit Picks Shine Sport, one of my favorite yarns. The colors are River, Sky, Green Apple, and Crocus.
As I've mentioned before, I'm running out of display room for the Barbies (and her friends) in gowns that I love to make. But I loved the "Garden Stroll" Edwardian era Barbie and Ken ensemble patterns from Shady Lane and knew I had to find room for them, and I did! I'll include closeups of the upper half of both dolls to show the detail on Barbie's hat and the TINY 1/8" buttons on Ken's jacket and vest. I had to order these buttons online as I could not find any this small in the store. They are by far the smallest buttons I ever worked with! I usually use small beads for Barbie buttons, but of course, that wouldn't work for Ken's tailored garb.
After that, I wanted to go back to making a baby item. I had a large amount remaining of the Knit Picks Shine Sport in River (royal blue) and I also had a pattern called "Bridget Baby Dress" that I wanted to try for eons. and this yarn seemed perfect for it. Here it is!
Now I'm finally up to date with my most recent project, which I just finished today! It's called "Uptown Chic Cardigan". As I described in a previous blog entry, I haven't often made sweaters for myself, since I tend to crochet tightly and also because I've needed to lose weight for many years with no success. But I had a stash of Patons Astra yarn in Country Lilac and in Dark Denim which seemed perfect for this sweater. And recent health issues (chronic pain in my right knee since March and a fast pulse, in addition to long-standing insomnia and another issue a bit personal to mention here) have made it imperative that I finally get serious about my weight. The sweater came out cute but is a bit tight though I made size large, so I won't be photographing myself wearing it for awhile, but the plan is to be seen in it as soon as I can make that happen.
So we'll see if I get a fall entry made -- I hope to! I plan to continue with the variety of creations, as I have patterns I want to try including more baby clothes, scarves, socks, kitchen items, and I also plan to try broomstick lace for the first time. See you in the fall!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

More 2013 Creations

Well, it's again been five months since I updated this blog. I'll try to get back to updating it quarterly in 2014.

I'm going to wait till next time to post photos of the first item I made since my last entry. I put it away for a birthday present for someone special, and I want it to be a surprise just in case they read this blog. My next project was a popcorn stitch baby layette that I am very pleased with and definitely plan to use this pattern again. I used Mary Maxim "Baby Kashmere" yarn in "Tickled Pink" and "Playground" (variegated).

I then went back to creating a Barbie gown, this time for a doll I had waiting for an outfit for a long time. I finally found just the right outfit for her. This is the 1903 Promenade Dress from Paradise Publications. I used #10 Opera thread in Wood Violet and Sage (instead of the violet and pink the pattern was shown in). I included a close-up photo since the detail in her hat and bodice were not showing up in the full-length photo.

I wanted to have a little something hand-crocheted to give my sister-in-law and my boss' mother for Christmas, but something that could be used all year, not just Christmas. I love this "Lavender and Lace" pineapple doily pattern, and it's also a great way to use up small amounts of thread and get creative with the colors. I ended up making 4 of them. The first went to my boss' mother, the second to my SIL, the third I will keep, and I don't know who will get the fourth one. I used various colors of #10 Opera and Cebelia thread.

I then made what was going to be my last Barbie gown for my own collection for awhile, due to lack of space, though I am trying to find a way around that since I love creating them so much. This is "Victorian Stripe" from the Annie's Attic "Victorian Elegance" booklet. It was pictured in burgundy and rose, which is a lovely combo, but I felt burgundy and seafoam would be really striking.

I love making the Barbie angels and have made a few for gifts in addition to having five in my collection. They are fun to make and are fancy without being as fussy as most of the other gowns. I wanted to make a 6th angel for my collection and again tried the one pattern in the angel booklet that I had not liked doing the stitch pattern of -- and I still didn't like it! So I decided to reuse the "Angel of Peace" pattern I used for my first angel in cream. The color, trim and doll are a lot different, so it's hard to tell it's the same pattern. I used Aunt Lydia's #10 thread in Peacock. The color is more of a deep teal than it appears in the photos.

I plan to continue making more baby items and Barbie outfits in 2014. (Hopefully one day, I will find a good source for my large stash of baby items!) I bought some more Barbie gowns to use as models for some more simple dresses I plan to make and hopefully sell in the future, so I look forward to getting started on those. Happy New Year!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Better Late Than Never!

I didn't realize it's been over 5 months since I updated my crochet blog! So without further adieu, let's start with the Barbie I completed in May. This is Miss July 1993 from the Annie's Attic Victorian series.
My next project was the elegant 1876 Debutante Ball Gown from Paradise Publications. I decided to make her gown in two shades of sage with a cream underskirt rather than the lavender and white called for in the pattern. As usual, I used my beloved discontinued Opera #10 thread for this gown and the one above.
Then I felt like going back to making a few baby items. I had a large amount on hand of Herrschner's 2-ply Afghan Yarn in pale sage, so I decided to make a baby ghan. This pattern had a 7-inch border of large hearts done in popcorn stitches, which was beautiful, but I decided it would be too tedious and take too long. So I just did the last few rounds of the border, and still ended up with a pretty blankie suitable for a small baby.
I was working on the above afghan at my friend Dianne's house when I realized I had not brought the pattern with me and had gotten to a point where I needed it. So I looked through her many crochet magazines for something I could work on that evening with the same yarn and found a cute little shell stitch baby jacket. It was cute and easy to make. I borrowed the magazine from her so that I could copy the pattern and use it again.
I still had some of the pale sage yarn left after completing the above two projects, so I made a post stitch baby bonnet and booties.
Though I am winding down on making the fancy Barbie gowns due to lack of display space (and a desire to concentrate more on baby items for charity or possible sale), I still had a few dolls I plan to create outfits for, including two Stacies (Barbie's little sister). I knew the "Teatime Party Dress" would work up quickly compared to the more elaborate gowns, so I made it for one of my Stacies.
In my Sept. 2011 entry on this blog, I posted a picture of a "Sweet Pea" ripple dress I made with the #5 pearl cotton the pattern called for, and mentioned that though the dress was fun to make and pretty, I wanted to try making it in yarn in the future. I decided to do just that using the "Cloudsoft" yarn from Herrschners that I'd used for the bonnet and booties pictured at the end of my last entry in March. I love the way this little dress turned out with the "Cloudsoft" yarn. I love this yarn and plan to stock up next time I order from Herrschners, and will also make more of the "Sweet Pea" dresses in the future.
My latest project was the shell and ripple stitch baby jacket and bonnet pictured below. The DK weight yarn is from an eBay seller in China and is an interesting hand washable blend of 40% cashmere, 30% milk fiber and 30% cotton. Though the yarn is soft and nice to work with, and I like this pattern, I feel the shell and ripple stitches don't show up as well as I'd like with the bright variegated yarn. So I'll try this pattern in a solid pastel next time.
The projects I'm working on now will be possible Christmas presents, so that's all I'll say about those for now. I'll post pictures and descriptions of those in December. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Projects

Here's my first crochet blog update of 2013! First is a portion of my completed "Amaryllis Tablecloth", which I had posted a photo of one of the squares last time. I have it stored away for future use (one day when I have smaller and less inquisitive dogs -- and when, hopefully, my husband will have cut back on his immense amount of clutter...). I completed it last December.
After completing such a large project, and with it being the holiday season, I made 5 angel doilies for 5 friends and/or coworkers in various colors (though I only got around to photographing this one before giving them away). They worked up fairly quickly and can double as a window or wall hanging or a large tree ornament.
Next, I returned to adding to my collection of fancy Barbies. This one is "Miss July 1992" from Annie's Cotillion Collection. I used Cebelia #745 yellow for the main color of the dress instead of the white she was pictured in. The ruffles were quite a ordeal to individually make and attach -- but worth it.
Next, I created "Miss August" from Annie's Edwardian Lady Collection. I fell in love with this Barbie when I found her on eBay and had been looking forward to creating a special gown for her. I added some brightness with the jade green and purple, as opposed to the neutral colors this gown was pictured in.
Having just completed two Barbie gowns, and having just sorted through my many crochet patterns and finding several small items I want to try, I am taking a short break from the Barbies and currently trying several baby bootie and hat patterns to see which I like best. I finished the set below yesterday (the yarn is "Cloudsoft" from Herrschner's, a soft fingering weight yarn). Though they came out nice, they will likely be one of a kind, since the pattern (from an old "Workbasket" magazine) was poorly written and I had to improvise. So the search continues for great bootie and hat patterns that can actually be created the way they are written!
Thanks for looking! I'll have more baby items to post next time -- and maybe one or two more Barbies.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Summer/Fall 2012 Projects

I didn't realize it had been quite this long since I updated my crochet blog! My intention was to update it once a quarter. But better late than never! Following are a few major projects I created since last time. First is the "Irish lass" I referred to last time, in a Paradise Publications gown, 1896 Motoring Outfit. Instead of the two shades of aqua she was pictured in, I used two shades of vivid green #10 Opera thread, complete with matching lace.

Next came another addition to my personal Barbie/Ken collection which is quite a bit different than the others I have made in fancy gowns. I saw the Barbie, Ken and Skipper western outfits (complete with Skipper's pony) on eBay and decided it would be fun to make this family. It was a different experience from the other doll outfits I've crocheted in recent years, since these consisted mostly of basic single crochet rather than the more advanced shell and lace stitches, etc. I'm pleased with how they turned out (including the pony, which -- believe it or not -- was the first stuffed animal I have crocheted and may be the last!) The first pic is Skipper and her pony, then Barbie and Ken, followed by the whole family. (To achieve the specific color combo I wanted, I used #10 Opera, Cebelia and Aunt Lydia's threads.) For the horsie, I used Vanna's Choice yarn in gray marble and chocolate brown.

Then I decided to take a little break from the dolls. I found a pretty layette pattern, Cloud Soft Layette, which I was anxious to try. I used Sensations Little Treat yarn, a pretty self-striping worsted weight yarn, in yellow, green and white. I love both this yarn and the pattern. Here is the matching jacket, bonnet and booties.

And here is the matching Cloud Soft blankie, which is about 36 inches square. It worked up rather slowly but I really enjoyed making it. I have this same yarn on hand in pink, lavender and white stripes, and may use it for this same layette in the near future.

As I've mentioned before, one of my favorite brands of crochet threads is Coats & Clark's Opera, which was discontinued a few years ago. So I have an ongoing saved search for it on eBay. Earlier this year, I was excited to find a lot of ten balls of #10 baby pink in the same dye lot at a good price and snapped them up. I wanted to use them for a special project. I looked through my files of thread projects and decided on "Amaryllis Tablecloth" by the Japanese designer Mayumi Sato. I will have just the right amount of thread to complete it and it should be about 55" square when completed. It consists of nine 18" squares which need to be blocked so that they retain their shape and size, whipstitched together, then the edging is added. I'm presently working on the fourth square and will post a completed pic next time. For now, here is one of the squares in the process of being blocked.

Thanks for looking! I'll try to update this blog again by the end of the year.