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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crochet Video and Patterns to Come

I just completed a new video tutorial expanding on one of the techniques used in my infant summer hat pattern (you can purchase the complete hat here if you would rather have me make it for you). This blog is mainly to provide a link to that video.

I also wanted to show off this photo of another version of the baby hat, this one is more appropriate for baby boys, though as you can see my daughter pulls it off quite well. 

Anyway, here is my video. Please take the time to check it out and give me any suggestions (I'm really new to video making). 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Infant Sun Hat Crochet Pattern

Here is my little fashion model in her sun hat. I made this for her to keep her little head sheltered and thought I'd share the pattern with anyone who actually reads my blog.

I normally don't make suggestions for what sort of yarn to use, but since this is a sun hat, warmer yarns aren't advised. I made mine in cotton yarn. Color is your choice.

One skein of yarn should be enough to complete the pattern. I used a size H hook. The hat is worked in a single round, increasing evenly by six every row so to make it larger, just continue increasing until the hat reaches the desired size. If you are interested in purchasing my creations check out my Etsy shop!

Let's get started

SC=Single Crochet
2SC=Single Crochet Increase (two single crochets in the same space)
HDC=Half Double Crochet
SL=Slip Stitch

R1 Ch 2, 6sc in the second ch from the hook
R2 2SC in each stitch around (12)
R3 2SC 1SC, repeat five times (18)
R4 2SC, SC twice, repeat five times (24)
R5 2SC, SC three, repeat five times (30)
R6 2SC, SC x four, repeat five times (36)
R7 2SC, SC x five, repeat five times (42)
R8 2SC, SC x six, repeat five times (48)
R9 2SC, SC x seven, repeat five times (54)
R10 2SC, SC x eight, repeat five times (60)
R11 2SC, SC x nine, repeat five times (66)

Here it should look like a big, flat hexagon.

For the next step you need to work in the back loop only.

This is what back loop stitches look like. This causes a natural corner in the piece and adds more distinction between the crown and the sides of the hat. 

Work no increases into these rows. After a few rows following this technique your hat should start to develop a ribbed look.

The hat should be very breathable and perfect for summer weather. . .Now let's continue the pattern.

R12-21, SC in back loops only, 66 stitches each row

 At the end of row 21 you should have something that looks like this.
See the texture?

At the end of row 21, sl into the sc at the start of the round. Ch 2. 

Next step, shell edging,
In the first sc space (same as the sl), 3hdc

SC in the next sc space

In the next sc space, 4hdc
sc in the next sc space, repeat around the piece.

See where I'm going with this?

The brim should take shape quickly and have a slightly ruffled look. 

at the end of the row (if you counted your stitches right, it should end on a sc), sl again into the ch2 that started the row. Fasten off and weave the ends under securely. 

 Get that slip stitch in there, nice and tight.

And there you have it! The next part is optional, but I highly recommend attaching a floral accent of your choice. This is the pattern I like to use for my flowers, free on www.lionbrand.com. I describe how to complete this pattern in my first (poor quality) youtube video

Here is the hat without the flower.

Here is the hat with the flower. 

This is sized for a young baby, it fits my four-month-old perfectly. As I mentioned, to make a larger size, simply continue the crown, increasing by six per row, until you've reached the desired size then also add a few extra rows to the end. As always you can follow me on pinterest or Facebook

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crochet Pattern: Mermaid

For me crocheting is very intuitive. I don't often work from patterns any more. I generally just look over things or imagine something my head and start to work on it until it feels right. Consequentially, a lot of my work is original, to the extent that I didn't copy it from another crafter. I have found, however, that if you can imagine it made, someone else has probably already made it. A quick google search will find it out there somewhere. As always, please check out my Etsy shop "Critters for Coryn" and Facebook page.

So I'm sure someone else has made a mermaid doll, but I swear I didn't copy this. It just sort of came to me when I was goofing around with my yarn supply and wanted to try something new. This is my first attempt at writing out one of my original patterns so if something confuses you or you think you see an error, let me know. I'm using American terms so if you learned on British patterns, the names of stitches are different. I believe an American single is a British double. . .or something like that. 

sc-single crochet
scd-single crochet decrease
2sc-two single crochets in the same stitch

You'll need three colors to work this
Color A, some sort of skin tone. Since a mermaid is a fantasy creature, this can really be whatever you want
Color B, fin and "bra" color, again, whatever you want.
Color C, hair color (could be the same as B if you want).

These are the three colors I chose to work with today. 

This mermaid is done in cotton yarn but since gauge is not important for this project, any workable yarn will suffice. 

You also need:
  1.  a crochet hook, I used a small one I bought in Japan so it doesn't have American sizing. Use a hook you are comfortable wielding.
  2. An embroidery needle for sewing on features.
  3. Scrap yarn for the embroidering the eyes and mouth
  4. Some form of stuffing material; I used yarn scraps. Use what you have around.
This is worked in a single continuous round, one piece except for the arms and hair. 

Start in Color A, Ch 2.
Round 1-six sc in second ch from hook.
R2-2sc in each stitch around, 12 total
R3-2sc, 1 sc around, 18 total
R4-6-1 sc around, 18 total

This is a good point to stop and embroider the face and attach the hair. The hair is pretty simple. 

Begin looping yarn around your fingers

Continue until you have a significant amount, enough to cover the doll's head.
Cut through the loops to form many individual threads.

Here's where you need the embroidery needle.

Mold the "hair" over the doll's head. 

Sew along the top of the doll's head as if you were making a "part" in her hair. Make sure every thread is held down by at least one stitch. Your stitches need to be tight or the hair will slip out from the stitches and fall off. 

This is about how it looks. You can choose to braid the hair, tie it back in a pony tail, or leave it loose.

Embroider the face. Isn't she pretty?

Continuing on:
R7-scd sc around-12 total
R8 scd around-6 total

This is a good point to stop and stuff the head. Continue stuffing the piece as you go.

R9-sc around-6 total
R10- 2sc around-12 total
R11-2sc sc around, 18.
If you are at all mathematically inclined, I'm hoping you've noticed that I'm increasing in multiples of six. Theoretically if you wanted to make a larger version of this project you would just have to keep increasing by six until you get to the desired size. As it is we are stopping at 18 around for the bust as we did with the head.
R12-sc around, 18 total.
Switch here to color B (Tail color) 
R13 and 14-sc around, 18 total in each round
Switch back to color A (Skin tone)
R15-scd sc around, 12
R16-sc around, 12
Switch back to color B which brings you to the point of my next photo. 

She's starting to take shape.

Now we are going to work the tail
R17-2sc sc around, 18 total
R18-2sc, sc, sc around, 24 total (this is the widest point of the project)

The body was worked in increments of six, either decreasing or increasing six per round to get the desired curves. The tail, however, I want to have slower decrease so that it is more conical than spherical. Therefore the decrease per round is going to be by three rather than six. So let's start decreasing!

R19 -scd, sc six times, repeat until the end of the round (twice), 21 total
R20-scd, sc five times, repeat twice, 18 total 
R21-scd, sc four times, repeat twice, 15 total
R22-scd, sc three times, repeat twice, 12 total
R23-scd, sc two times, repeat twice, 9 total
R24-scd, sc, repeat twice, 6 total
R25-scd three times, 3 total
Here is what your tail should look like after R25.

Now it is time to start on the fins.
Make three sc in the bottom stitch of the tail as seen below. Ch1 and turn

sc, 2sc, sc, 4 across the three sc from the first tail row, Ch 1 and turn
2sc, sc three times across, 5 total, ch 1 and turn
2 sc, sc four times across, 6 total, ch 1 and turn
sc across, 6 total, ch1 and turn
scd, sc four times across, 5 total, ch1 and turn
scd, sc three times across, 4 total, ch1 and turn
scd, sc twice across, 3 total, ch1 and turn
scd, sc once, 2 total, ch1 and turn
scd, ch1, 
That gets you to this point, see picture:

Now you need to slip stitch down the side of the fin as seen below to the first stitch and slip into the base of the tail. 

Work three stitches into the base of the tail next to the foundation for the first fin as shown below and repeat the instructions for fin one.

When the second fin is complete, slip down the side and fasten off, weaving in the tail of your yarn to hide it.

So now our little lady is almost complete. She's just missing her arms.

Work the arms in color A. Make two.
Ch 2
R1-sc 5 times in second chain from hook
R2-10-sc around, 5 stitches each round
Fasten off leaving a long tail.

Here she is again, waiting for her arms to be attached.

Using the long tail and your embroidery needle, sew the arms onto her body. 

And there you have it: your own home made mermaid!

Ready for undersea adventures!!!

Clothing Woes

I know I'm hard on stuff, ridiculously hard on stuff. I've never had a kid gloves mentality in dealing with anything, except maybe my kids, and this has cost me a lot of material goods over the years. My parents used to wince at the way I put away dishes (Clank, clink, clunk) which hasn't really changed (except now it is my husband doing the wincing. . . he also takes issue with my dishwasher loading) and a lot of my plates and cups are slightly chipped around the edges.

I don't wear white. I just don't. It's pointless. The longest (in hours) I've ever successfully worn a white shirt can be counted on one hand, probably with fingers to spare. I have one shirt (gray, not white) that I call my cursed shirt. The last three or four times I've tried to wear it (I love this shirt; it has these feathery looking flower embellishments all around the collar), I've ended up putting it back in the laundry within an hour of putting it on because of yogurt or baby spit up or something. . .

I also don't like to use bleach. If I use bleach I regret it the next day. I managed to fix my bleach issues by saving one of the t-shirts I got bleach drops on which I now wear whenever I use bleach. It's a World of Warcraft shirt that I absolutely adored up until I destroyed it, and it now sits, faithfully waiting, next to the bleach bottle.

Here is me in my mage class shirt before the bleaching.

This is a pre-Claire picture (I can't believe I thought I needed to lose weight then. . .I'd pay a couple hundred dollars to slip back into that body now).

Today I found a hole in my brand new tank top. I got it from Old Navy about a week ago (online order).  I've worn it once. It has a lower v neck than I expected but I think it looks good layered, so I liked it anyway. Thankfully, I like things I can repair so I'm looking into fixing it. Here is a tutorial I found, pretty simple, probably could've figured it out myself, but googling something always makes me more confident that I'm not missing something in my methods. 

I like adding my own spin on things, even my clothes. I get exited when Coryn has a hole in an otherwise pristine piece of clothing, if the hole is small enough for me to fit an iron on over. I'm not sure that would work in this case so I'm just going to try and sew it up. Hopefully I can fix it. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Crochet Video Part Two, Plus My Super-Villain Baby

Is anyone else excited about the new "Fact or Faked" up on Hulu right now? Anybody? Anybody at all. . .okay, just me then

I just put Claire down for a nap and Coryn's out digging up the front yard which should keep her busy for maybe twenty minutes, so I have some time to blog. . .speaking of naps, I wish I could find a term for giving a baby a nap that doesn't sound like I'm letting go of a beloved family pet.

"I just put Claire down."
"I just put Claire to sleep." Ooooh, bad. . . How about, "It's lights out time. . .mu ha ha ha!"

I'm pretty sure I'm raising a little super-villain though. This morning I was bouncing her up and down on my knee and she laughed, and I swear it was an evil laugh, not a crazy evil laugh, more of a sardonic chuckle, "Heh, heh, heh." But, as I mentioned in a previous blog, her father is a Sith lord so evil genius might run in the family. Not on my side. My side is the side of light and fluffy. I'm Catwoman's good twin, Kittengirl.

Coryn takes after me for the most part. Maybe Claire and her daddy will run some sort of "United Evil Alliance" later, though.

Oh, and the real reason I started this blog post: I've made some new crochet instruction videos, these on extreme beginner techniques: chain stitch and single crochet.
Here is Chain Stitch

And here is Single Crochet

I still need to work on my video skills. There are a lot of similar videos out there and nothing really sets mine apart which is why they are made with my friends in mind rather than random strangers. My only real advantage would be that I have baby hands which might appeal to some people.

I also crocheted another toy  monkey for sale on Etsy. 
Isn't he cute? I named him Marty for no particular reason.

So that's my recent creative endeavor.

I'd love to hear ideas for future crochet videos or blog posts. Currently my plans for a blog involve updates on my front porch, container garden (for better or worse, hopefully it doesn't share the same fate as my avocado pit experiment), my new chore list/cleaning plan, and updates on sarcastic things my husband says throughout the day (because he loves it when I talk about him online.).

I'll check back in soon.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Geek Love

Matt and I are both Geeks but we approach Geekdom very differently. We both love our Sci-Fi but I'm into campy, cheesy stuff (I am into Star Trek; him not so much). He's into stuff with explosions. Our tastes collide frequently, however, and we watch a lot of TV together. I have recently given up World of Warcraft, but I stay on top of gaming terms and new content and generally watch him at least out of the corner of my eye when he's raiding.

One thing we enjoy together is the new TV show Grimm. Grimm is a combination of fantasy/horror and crime procedural. The concept is that fairy tale creatures are alive and well (and a lot of them living in Portland, Oregon, which as a former eastern Oregonian doesn't surprise me that much. Portland is sort of the weird hippy cousin to the more down to earth locales of the eastern side of the state, and I'm willing to believe that the big bad wolf lives there fixing clocks and drinking Merlot) but only special people, descendants of the original Grimms who wrote the fairy tales, can see them for what they really are. They use this power to keep the fairy tale creatures (called Wessen, said Vessen) in line and are generally kicking butt and taking names.

Into this mix we throw Nick, a Portland city police detective, who suddenly starts seeing things he can't explain. Before Nick can have himself committed, a death bed confession from the aunt who raised him informs him that he is a Grimm and now people will be coming after him because of it and he should leave his girl friend and prepare for a long, lonely, monster hunting life. He befriends a big bad wolf who isn't quite so bad after all but hides who/what he is from everyone else and uses his powers for good, solving crimes that other cops can't solve because they can't see the Wessen for the trees (that doesn't even make sense, but I like how it sounds, so I'm keeping it).

A few things about this show:
A. He doesn't leave his girlfriend, but she's really bland and I often wonder exactly what she brings to the table. Matt and I are actively routing for her to leave the show, hopefully through death (the character, obviously, not the actress, the actress can live a long, happy, productive life, just not on Grimm) so that she doesn't get to come back ever.
B. It seriously takes Nick forever to develop any type of viable staying alive skill. He mostly survives with the element of surprise as his only weapon.  . . and dumb luck and the before mentioned wolf friend. . .for over half of the first season. Recently he's learned some kung fu or whatever and that's making him a little less wimpy, but he still seems to be surprised every time some Wessen shows up.
C. Normal people in Portland don't commit crimes. Only Wessen commit crimes. Normal people are just clueless victims.
D. The big bad wolf (named Monroe) is the best character on the show and he deserves more screen time than Nick.

Anyway, Matt and I were watching the season finale last night. Evil witch had come after Juliet (bland girlfriend) and we were hoping we would finally get rid of her. Usually competent and tough as nails police captain guy (who is one of the few characters who knows about Nick even though Nick does not know that he knows) somehow manages to get cornered and captured by a Wessen assassin (who killed Nick's parents, prepare to die!) and is tied to the chair in his condo when comic relief and fall guy Sgt Wu comes to the door to check on him. I expected Wu to get his butt kicked at this point and said,

"Oh, poor Wu," because he's one of those characters that is always getting knocked out or poisoned or whatever. Then Wu moves aside a little and you realize he's not alone: there is an unnamed officer next to him. Wu says something about getting a key and walks away and Matt and I said, simultaneously, "Oh, no, poor redshirt!"

It's moments like that that I really realize I married the right guy. I mean, finishing each other's sentences is one thing. Finishing each other's sentences using a Star Trek term while discussing a show about crime fighting big bad wolves . . . that is just completely awesome. I kind of got carried away with it and babbled on for at least a half hour about my predictions for where the show is going, or how I would write it if I were the writer (Juliet is in the hospital because the witch came after her and I think whatever the witch did will turn Juliet evil and she will come after Nick and Nick's mom, who, spoiler alert, turned up alive at the end of the episode, gasp!, will have to kill her to protect Nick which will make Nick a much darker, more determined evil-fighter for at least half a season before they predictably find him a Wessen love interest. . .though they haven't introduced a creature that I really can see the producers letting the lead make out with. . .Matt says Nick isn't a strong enough dude to be dark for more than half an episode, though, but Matt is like a Sith Lord and his idea of dark and my idea of dark are night and day. . .which means I guess my idea of dark is light. . .huh. . .)

So anyway, that's how my marriage works. Talk nerdy to me, Matt.