Saturday, May 9, 2015

Still Here, Just Not All There!

Can it be May already? I definitely didn't plan for it to take 5-1/2 months till my next blog update. I also have less projects to show off than I normally would, especially after all this time. There is a reason for this. 2015 has been an unusual year so far: good in some ways, definitely NOT good in others. (I may explain more about that later in my narrative blog.) And during pretty much the whole winter, I worked on two large projects for my own collection using my discontinued Opera #20 thread, both of which were fairly time-consuming. I had delayed photographing those two projects for my blog since I still don't have a way to block them properly. I plan to do something about that as soon as I can. I decided to try to post a halfway decent photo of both for now rather than wait even longer to update my blog. I'll re-photograph both projects once they are blocked properly.

First was the "Geometrics" table runner I referred to last time, a pretty spiderweb and shell design using #20 Opera thread in Summer Straw. I am NOT happy with this photo. I was reluctant to post this since it looks so misshapen till I can get it blocked properly, but at least this will give an idea of what it will look like once it's a perfect rectangle, which it will be. At the moment it measures maybe about 42" by 22", but I'll know its true size once it's blocked properly.

Next came a table topper made of 127 small snowflake motifs. The photo below shows most of it. It currently measures about 31" at the widest point, but will be a bit larger once it's blocked properly. (I tried to block half at one time but that didn't work too well.) I used #20 Opera thread in Aqua.

I also have a stash of #20 Opera that I want to make a special project with in a beautiful color called Tea Rose. In fact, I have twice as much of the Tea Rose as the other two colors. So that will likely be a larger tablecloth, and I have an idea which pattern to use. But that is definitely not going to happen this year, as I need to get more inventory ready for a craft fair I hope to be in this fall with my friend Dianne (inventory = mainly baby layettes, as well as kitchen items). I may not even get to that tablecloth next year. Maybe not till after I retire??

So by the time I finished the above two projects, I was definitely in the mood to get back to baby layettes. I'd been waiting to try the Granny Hexagon baby jacket pattern I'd found online for a long time. Both the boy's and girl's version turned out really cute. The jacket didn't come with a matching hat and booties, but I found a hat pattern I can adapt to go with both versions, and I have a new favorite bootie pattern that you will see in all three layettes pictured here (and probably most of my future layettes)>

As you can see, the boy's version has a wide collar, while the girl's version has ruffles on the jacket and hat bottom and the cuffs, and a smaller stand-up collar. I love making both, and they work up faster than most layettes, but now we'll see if they sell at the craft fair! I used Caron Simply Soft for both - Navy and Country Blue for the boy's; Grape and Soft White for the girl's.

I had also made two more pairs of the same booties with some extra Grape and Soft White yarn that I used for the girl's granny set, for gifts or charity. The photo didn't come out right, but they look pretty much the same as the booties in the grape and white set above. So my last photo for now is a layette I made with Red Heart Gumdrop Yarn in Cherry. I had used and liked this jacket pattern before, so I found a hat pattern to go with it and added my new favorite booties.

For awhile now, I've been working on a girl's version of a sweater and cap set I've made successfully before for baby boys. I'm using Herrschner's Baby Cloudsoft yarn in pink/lavender/white variegated, with solid pink and solid lavender trim. It's taking me longer than I planned, since I've been battling bronchitis for over 5 weeks now as I write this. Though it's getting 1 or 2% better each day, it's still not gone and it's really sapped what little energy I tend to have. Hope my next update to this blog will be much sooner and with many more projects to display!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

More Variety!

As promised, I'm updating my blog in the fall, though it's later in the fall than I planned!

I decided to make a few smaller projects after the larger ones I'd made in the spring and summer, while at the same time trying a few patterns for both baby booties and scrubbies to determine which I liked best. First, I tried 6 different baby bootie patterns.

The pink bootie on the right is going to be my go-to bootie pattern. It works up in one piece, is fun to make and they turned out very nice (these were made with Bernat Cottontots). The blue ones on the left are also cute and fun to make, so it's a pattern I plan to use occasionally.

The white booties, a puff-stitch style, is another pattern I'll use on occasion. I did find that the puff stitches were tricky to complete using a fuzzy yarn, but work fine with smooth yarn like the Patons Astra I ended up using. The blue booties are a bit bulky, but would be good for cooler weather.

I didn't like the two patterns used for these (or the look of the booties) nearly as well as the first four and don't plan to use these patterns again (Astra on the left, Cottontots on the right).

Next, the scrubbies. These are called a Carnation Scrubbie and they do look a bit like a carnation. The one on the left is made with Bernat Handcrafter Scrubbie yarn which has a rough texture designed for scrubbies. The one on the right is Sugar & Cream cotton in "Over The Rainbow".

These are called a Peony Scrubbie. I really like these and they would be ideal to use for a bath scrubbie. I used Sugar & Cream for both.

Here's a third kind of scrubbie, which you can vary the size depending on how many rounds of stitches you make. They are easy to make but I don't like the look as much as the first two (Handcrafter Scrubbie on the left; Sugar & Cream on the right).

Next, I decided to make a summer Spiderweb and filet top for myself, though I've had a problem with the gauge being right for adult garments, since I liked it and the yarn so much (Premier Cotton Fair yarn in Turquoise). It turned out great, and guess what -- it actually fits me (though I am still too self-conscious about my weight to have myself photographed in it).

Next, I felt like making a couple of baby layettes. I used Patons Astra for this one. It looks pink and gray in the photo, but the colors are actually called Country Lilac and Faded Denim.

This layette pattern is called Lemon Drops, but I used green instead of the yellow it was tured in. The yarn is one of my favorite brands, "Knit Picks Shine Sport" in Green Apple. I do plan to use this layette pattern again in the future.

As I have been posting here, I've been just about out of display space at home for any more fancy Barbies (and with this latest group, I AM out of room, waaahh...). I'd been planning to use this particular pattern for a long time. The pattern booklet is a representation of the wedding gown of Princess Diana and her bridesmaids. But I had decided to instead make Diana's gown in a very pale pink and eliminate the very long train (which I have no display room for). I knew she would still be beautiful. Here she is, along with her little sis (a 7-1/2" Stacie doll). I used Nazli Gelin "Garden Space" #10 thread from Herrschners. Though this thread works up very nicely, it tends to catch and separate more than my usual brands of premium crochet thread.

I was going to use the same pattern booklet to make a fancy pale pink gown for my Skipper doll. But since this gown was literally the same as Stacie's dress except for being a bit larger, I decided to do something different for her. This gown is from the "Easter Parade" pattern booklet by Annie's (but the flower basket is from the Princess Diana booklet). I used Opera #10 thread in Tapestry Rose and Parasol Pink.

This almost brings me to the present day! I'd bought a kit from Herrschners for a toddler's pullover sweater with a cable stitch front. The yarn is Red Heart's "Gumdrop" in Cherry. A few rows in, I decided the cables were a major hassle and that they didn't show up all that well anyway since the yarn is so colorful. So I made the entire top in double crochet. It's supposed to be a child's size 4 (and I crochet tightly), but it turned out big enough to fit a teen or small adult! Still cute though. (Because I didn't make the cables, I had some yarn left over. I bought one more skein so that I'd have enough for a baby jacket, which will be pictured here next time as it's not done yet.)

For the past few weeks, I've been working on a "Geometrics" table runner, using my discontinued Opera thread in "Summer Straw" (light gold). It's about 60% done now and will be about 48 x 18". More on that next time!

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!