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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Recipe for a Towel Topper

Over the past 3 or 4 years I have given my mom towels for the kitchen as a Christmas gift.  Each year she loves them.  Maybe it is the practicality of them or the handmade-ness.  Whatever the reason is, I always know that they will be a hit.

One of the things that I had always wanted to make was a towel that hangs on the fridge.  I've made a knit versions before--these and these, but I had always wanted to use an actual towel because I find them to be more absorbent.  I just needed to attempt to "top a towel." 

I had read some tutorials...they all involved cutting a dish towel in half and then crocheting over the cut side to make the topper...and that is great and all, but I didn't want to have a raw edge.  So I went to the store and bought some "bar mop towels" to use instead.  These are smaller than dish towels (definitely length-wise smaller maybe width-wise too) and have a finished edge on all sides.  

Now I needed to decide what to use to pierce the fabric so I could crochet the topper.  Should I use scissors? Purchase a sharp crochet hook? Use a needle and thread?  I remembered that I had purchased a skip stitch blade for my rotary cutter a month or two ago to use on a blanket edging...and I wondered if I could use that to top the towels too!

So, I got out my self-healing cutting mat, my rotary cutter, and the skip stitch blade and gave it a try.  The blade did go through the layers of the finished edge with adequate pressure--which is totally great! I then tried different sized crochet hooks to figure out which was best for this project--I ended up settling on a G hook with worsted weight yarn.  The G hook allows the tension in that first row to begin to ripple the towel.

I found that the best placement for the holes was sort of in the middle of the finished edge--not too close to the end of the towel.  Going in more, toward the body of the towel isn't'll just need to adjust your tension on your first row of single crochets.

Now, so far I've tried 4 different towels and I get different numbers of holes in the pass with the skip stitch blade.  Sometimes it is 25, sometimes 27, sometimes 28, etc.  Because of this, I can't post an exact "pattern" for the topper--at least for the starting row, but I can give you a recipe on what to do.

-Bar mop sized towel
-worsted weight yarn
-size G crochet hook
-a smaller crochet hook and maybe a pointy one just in case.
-a yarn needle for sewing in ends
-a button
-needle and thread
-skip stitch blade and rotary cutter
-self-healing cutting mat

Place your cutting mat on a sturdy hard surface.  
Load the skip stitch blade into the rotary cutter.
Run the blade along the top finished edge of the towel, approximately in the middle of the finished edge.
Be sure to make a hole close to the beginning and close to the end of the towel (where the finished edge is the thickest).
Crochet one row of single crochets across the top of the towel--this is where you work directly into the holes you just created.

Crochet one more row of single crochets and take note of the number of stitches in the row.

Now, here comes the recipe.
Recalling the number of stitches in your it even or odd?

If it is even, figure out where the middle of your row is, you will be working a double crochet two together decrease on these two stitches.

Chain 2 (this does not count as a double crochet).  Double crochet two together, then double crochet until you reach 1 stitch before your middle two stitches (aka work right up to the middle two stitches).  Double crochet these two together, and then double crochet until there are two more stitches left to work.  Double crochet these together.

For example, if you end up with 28 stitches, the middle stitches are the 14th and 15th stitch, so you will be decreasing these two together.  So what you would do would be ch 2, dc2tog, dc 11, dc2tog, dc 11, dc2tog.  This will leave you with 25 stitches.

If you have an odd number of stitches in your row you can ignore finding the middle two stitches and work as follows:
ch 2 (doesn't count as a dc), dc2tog, dc across until there are two stitches left to work, dc2tog.

Example: 29: ch 2, dc2tog, dc 25 times, dc2tog, resulting in 27 stitches.

Did you follow that?  What you want is to end up with an odd stitch count.  If my method confuses you, decrease any way you'd like as long as you have an odd number in the first row of double crochets.

The "pattern" really starts when you have 25 stitches in your previous row.

Just as before, the chain 2 in the beginning of each row does not count as a stitch.

Once you have 25 stitches....
--Ch 2, dc2tog, dc 21 times, dc2tog, turn. (23 stitches)
--Ch 2, dc2tog, dc 19 times, dc2tog, turn (21 stitches).
--Ch 2, *dc2tog, dc* repeat from * to * across, turn (14 stitches).
--Ch 2, dc2tog across, turn (7 stitches).
--Ch 2, dc2tog, 3 dc, dc2tog, turn (5 stitches).

Now you start the band that will wrap around your refrigerator handle.
--Ch 2, 5 dc across, turn.

Repeat this until it is slightly shorter than the desired length.

Begin the button hole part:
--Ch 1, 5 sc across, turn.
--Ch 4, join with slip stitch to the 5th sc in the previous row.

Fasten off and weave in ends!
Sew on a button and enjoy.

I do apologize if any of this "recipe" is confusing--let me know if you have any issues!  I hope you all have fun making your towel toppers!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas Eve and my family and I will be celebrating later.  I have been so busy crafting projects lately!  I will have a post showing them, once I give most of them away :).  Yesterday I gave Matt his Christmas gift...the sweater I had been working on since before LAST CHRISTMAS and a few other things.  It made my heart melt when he totally fell in love with it when he opened it!  :).  I'm so happy he liked it and I'm so thankful for a best friend like him!

Whether or not you are celebrating today or tomorrow I still wish you all the best of the season!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thermal Tweed Scarf

Maybe it is just me, but I have trouble finding scarves that look "manly."  When I make something for a guy I'm always worried that he isn't going to like it or maybe he will find it too feminine.  (I'm not one for gender labeling, but you never know how a recipient of a gift will feel.)  Well, I think that I found a nice manly/gender neutral scarf.

I present to you, the knit Thermal Tweed Scarf.

3 skeins of Vanna's choice tweed yarn
Size 9 and 10.5 knitting needles
Gauge: 16 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette stitch (on size 9 needles or whatever size gives you gauge)
yarn needle for weaving in ends.

Cast on 31 stitches using the larger needles then switch to smaller needles to knit the scarf.  (If you'd like a wider or skinnier scarf just make sure that the cast on number of stitches is an odd number.)

Just as a note, the first and last stitch will make the border of the scarf.

Row 1: K1, *K1, P1*, repeat * to * until 1 stitch before end, K1.
Row 2: K1, *P1, K1* , repeat * to * until the end.
Row 3: K all stitches
Row 4: K all stitches.

Repeat this pattern until about a half inch from desired length.  A good idea of the "proper" scarf length is the height of the person wearing it or just a tiny bit shorter.  This will allow it to be wrapped around the neck or halved and then slipped through.

Once you reach this length, repeat Row 1 and Row 2 and then bind off knit wise using the larger needle.

Weave in ends and enjoy!

Here is a close up of the detail of the pattern and how it looks in the tweed yarn.  Nice and textured, but still simple and clean looking!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Teething/nursing necklace

What a busy month December has been! Between school work, crafting gifts, and preparing for the holidays I've simply not been able to find the time to blog! (But that doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about you guys :)).  I've actually been working on a few new patterns that you'll hear about today and in the next few days/weeks.  There will also be a few "ta-da" moments when I'll present my finished Christmas gifts, but that will definitely come after Christmas so I don't spoil any surprises!

So without further ado, I present you with my new pattern for a teething/nursing necklace!

Here is the back story...about a week and a half ago my friend asked me if I could make a necklace that she could wear when she is feeding her 5 month old son, because he is so alert that he is getting distracted by all the visuals in the room as he is eating.  She showed me a picture of something she found online and asked if I could make something similar.  The necklace she showed me had wooden beads of different sizes, wooden beads covered by crochet, and a crocheted cord.  A necklace like this would also be good when he starts teething.  She told me that she wanted a few beads and gave me the supplies (a ribbon and the wooden beads) to use for the necklace.  The colors she wanted were blues and greens.  Now, since I'm trying to use yarn that is in my stash, I looked to see what I had in those colors.  Turns out I had a nice amount of Vanna's choice.  Then I tried to find a pattern to crochet around a wooden bead, using aran weight yarn...but I couldn't find one.  So....I made my own!

What you'll need are some wooden beads--I used round 1 inch wooden beads--you can find these at a craft store.
Aran (or worsted) weight yarn, like Vanna's choice.
A G crochet hook.
Some ribbon or extra yarn to chain a necklace
And a yarn needle for sewing in ends/threading beads onto the necklace.

ch = chain
sc = single crochet
sc2tog = single crochet 2 together
ss = slip stitch

Gauge: Not really important, but try not to crochet TOO tightly as it will be harder to get the bead inside the crocheted outer "cup."

The beads are actually very simple to make.  They are worked in the round, so do not join the rounds with ss.

Round 1: Start by ch 3, and ss to the first stitch to make a tiny loop.
Round 2: Make 6 sc into this loop.(6 sc)
Round 3: Make 2 sc into each stitch in the previous round (12 sc).
Round 4: Make *2 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next* around (18 sc).
Round 5: sc in each stitch around (18 sc).
Round 6: *sc2tog, sc* around (12 sc).

Up until this point you have not worked with the bead.  You'll place the wooden bead into this little crocheted "cup" during the next round.

What you have should look something like this

Begin Round 7: sc2og around (6 sc)-- when you've completed maybe 2 of the 6 stitches in this round, insert the bead.
Push the bead inside.
I've found it works better to pull up the "cup" over the bead as you work the sc2tog. 

When all the stitches of Round 7 are complete, join to the next stitch (aka the first stitch of round 7) with a ss.

Tuck in ends.  I found it works well to place a crochet hook through the center of the bead/covering so that you can sew in the ends.  This also makes sure that everything lines up appropriately.

For my necklace I made 7 beads in different colors.

Next, string them on to your desired length of ribbon.  Rather not use a ribbon? Chain a desired amount with a yarn of your choice and string the beads on that.  Want to mix in some wooden non-crocheted beads too? Go ahead! :).  To clean it, you can soak it in cool water and let it dry.

Happy crocheting!  Feel free to use this pattern as you please, just do not reproduce the text or pictures without my permission.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tis the season!

Somehow this yearn has FLOWN by!  It seems as if it was just the beginning of September...and now here we are approaching December!  I do have to say that I had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving :), the best I've had in a long time!  I have such a wonderful family and it meant the world to me that Sean could spend the day with me and my family :).

When I was little we never put the Christmas tree up RIGHT after Thanksgiving...we sort of waited a week or two (?) or maybe even more depending on schedules!  However, since I started grad school I've learned that if I don't get the tree up on Black Friday it might not even get up! Sooo...that's exactly what Sean and I did on Friday :).  We put the tree up! It really was a lovely time....Christmas music playing as we fluffed up the branches of the tree that was in the attic for a year.  I was highly amused every time Sean said "wow you have more ornaments to go up?" :).  What can I say...I like my tree with lots of ornaments on it!  The bow I made back I think, still looks pretty good atop my tree!

What do you think?

We also have an "Our 1st Christmas" ornament this year :).  Sean bought it for me at a Holiday Boutique we went to two weeks ago....he's so thoughtful.

I have a crocheted nativity under the tree.  I bought this a few years back before I ever tried to make an amigurumi.  I'd love to make myself a nativity one day.  For now, I adore this set!

This year, I also decided to make myself a holiday bunting.  Last year I had participated in an Attic24 themed swap on Ravelry and I had received 4 little granny trees as part of my package.  I had them hanging in my office last year, but I knew that they needed a better way to be displayed! (Especially since I have only been in my school office 1 time a week lately.)  So....I made 3 others (the yellow, orange, and dark purple ones) using the same pattern--Grandma Tree by the Royal Sisters.  I attached them all together using a glitter eyelash yarn from Martha Stewart. Then I hung glittery snowflake ornaments that I found at Target (2 for $1! can't beat that!).  I'm in love with my sweet garland bunting!!

Decorating for the holidays just makes me so happy :).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Crochet Couch Caddy

Last year I had gotten a request to create a crocheted couch caddy to hold remotes and other TV items.  I did a quick look online and  didn't find any existing patterns, so I decided to make up one on my own.  It really is a simple pattern and quite easy to customize.  I hope you enjoy making couch caddies!  And as always, let me know if you need something clarified!

**To make a wider caddy, just add chains.  This stitch pattern is worked in multiples of 1.**

Couch Caddy

Dimensions: 10-12 inches wide by a few feet.  Height depends on size of couch arm.
Gauge not important for this project as it is quite customizable.

-About 550 yards of Aran or Worsted weight yarn.  You’ll be using two strands held together.
-M/N (9.0 mm) or size to give a fabric you like.
-Stitch markers or something to secure the pocket portion in place while you edge the caddy.
-Needle to sew in ends.

**American crochet terms are used in this pattern**
Skills needed:
-Double crochet
-Reverse single crochet (aka crab stitch)

-CH - chain
-DC – double crochet
-TC – turning chain
-RSC – reverse single crochet


How to determine your caddy’s length:
This pattern allows for about a 1 foot deep pocket.  Measure over the arm of your couch or chair where you wish to use the caddy.  Determine the length that you’d like to dangle off the arm and measure down under the couch cushion.  The end of the caddy will be tucked under the cushion so that it does not slip off.  Add 1 ft to this measurement for the pocket.

Holding two strands of yarn together throughout the pattern…

Row 1: CH 22 (or desired width of caddy).
Row 2: DC in 3rd chain from hook.  DC across.  CH2, turn (20 DC).
Row 3: DC in space between the two DCs in the row below.  You’ll be just about next to the TC.  (See picture).

As you start the row, it will look like this:

You want to go between these first two stitches.

DC in each space across until you reach the space between the previous row’s DC before the TC.  DO NOT DC in this space.  DC in the top of the turning chain. CH2, turn. (20 DC and 1 TC).

Here is a diagram of what you're doing.  Start at the bottom left hand and work back and forth as you go up.  See how the first DC is made between the first two DC and the last is made in the TC, not next to it.

Row 4: Repeat row 3 until the caddy is the desired length, explained above.

-Fold the top of the caddy (where the working yarn is) down about a foot and align the edges.
-Secure on each side using stitch markers or safety pins or binder clips…or the like.
-Begin to RSC all around the caddy.  When you get to the double thickness of the pocket and back of the caddy, be sure to crochet through both layers.
-Once you RSC all around, slip stitch to the beginning RSC.
-Cut yarn and tuck in ends.

If you’d like, you can also sew a line between the pocket and the back to create a divider in the caddy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today! I have so very much to be thankful for this year, as always.  My wonderful Mom, my family, my friends, my amazing boyfriend Sean, my health, my success thus far in school, my angels in Heaven, and so much more.  Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving today, take a moment or two to remember all that you are thankful for!

And if you feel like baking...why not make some turkey cupcakes?

I spent some time yesterday searching online for easy and cute Turkey cupcakes.  I got a few ideas and headed to the store.  I first thought maybe I'd use candy corn for feathers (like I saw online), but I couldn't find candy corn...then I thought maybe use Nutter Butter cookies for the face...but I couldn't find those either! So, I came up with my own idea.

Here's what you need:
-Your favorite cupcakes (made from scratch or from a box or even store bought!)
-Icing (if your cupcakes aren't iced)
-Vanilla wafers (I used the WhoNu vanilla wafers)
-Pretzel sticks
-M&Ms of some sort (I used pretzel ones)
-Two colors of gel to write on the vanilla wafers (I used red for the beak and purple for the eyes)

What you need to do is:
1) Make two eyes and a beak on the vanilla wafer.  Put these aside to dry (or in the fridge) so that the features harden a little and don't run....(yeah...I wound up with a "crying" turkey at first ha!)

2) Prepare your pretzels.  For each cupcake you'll need 5 sticks.  Break 2 in half.  Starting in the back middle of a cupcake, place in 1 whole pretzel.  Then put two whole pretzels on either side of that one, but push them in a little further so that they are shorter.  Then place a half pretzel on each side of the growing pretzel-feathers.  And finally place the last half on the side, pushing it in a little more.  You want the "feathers" in the middle to be tallest and the ones on the side to be shortest.

3) I separated out the fall colored M&Ms (red, orange, yellow, brown).

4) Place a vanilla wafer at the front of the cupcake--sort of in the cupcake a bit and sort of resting on the icing a little.

5) Place the M&Ms you sorted between the face and the tail to ad some color to the body.

And you're done! :)


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tada! Pumpkin Pi!

Halloween didn't go as expected in NJ this year, due to Hurricane Sandy.  At work we were all going to dress up in Halloween costumes, which really sounded like such fun!  Remember I had that great idea to be a Pumpkin Pi?  I made little pumpkins and sewed them onto a black shirt in the shape of Pi!  I was THRILLED!  I even made one for Matt. 

Unfortunately I still haven't really gotten a chance to wear it.  I put it on for a very short amount of time on Halloween, but didn't wear it all day.  I really only put it on to take a picture or two and feel a bit "Halloween-y."

I had even made myself "whipped cream" to wear on my head :).

So...what I've decided to do is wear it for Thanksgiving!! I eat pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, so why not wear some Pumpkin Pi?!! :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I absolutely love making baby hats lately--especially ones for my friends' 4 month old son.  So far I've made him a football hat and a theta hat.  I learned the other day how much his mom loves owls.  So of course I immediately thought I should make him one of the cute owl hats I've seen everywhere.

I decided to make Sarah Zimmerman's crochet owl hat because it looked so cute and had excellent directions! (Oh and as a side note, I adore her blog, Repeat Crafter Me.)  I really cannot wait to make more of these hats!!  I decided to make the 3-6 month size and was very careful about my gauge (I'm usually a tight crocheter).  For the eyes I used vintage buttons that my Baba (grandma) had.  I love the way the hat came out.  It seriously is one of the cutest things I've made!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Long distance hug

It has been a little over 2 weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and the surrounding area.  The after effects are still quite apparent.  I was very fortunate during the storm.  I lost power in my apartment  for 3 and a half days, but thankfully I was able to go stay with my mom who didn't lose power at all.  A lot of my area was without power for over 10 days.  Transit is still a mess, which makes getting to work and school a bit tricky.  However all of these things seem so insignificant when I think about the people who are homeless now because their houses got destroyed in the storm.  There have been drives for supplies, toiletries, food, clothing, blankets, and other items all over my area.  One was even started at my yoga studio.  My heart just breaks for anyone hurting because of the storm.  Right after Sandy hit, the weather became so so very cold here and people were freezing.  I wish that I could just help everyone one out and make it all better, but I know that I can't do all of that.  So, I tried to do what I could.  I donated 3 bags of gently worn clothes and a whole bunch of brand new socks and underwear in all different sizes.

I still wanted to do more.  I looked around my yarn stash and I realized that I had a bunch of yarn that I could use to make a blanket.  I knew that it would be a challenge to do, but I was determined to make a blanket for donation, as quick as I could.  I gathered up all different kinds of purple-ish yarns that I had.

I had a lot of Lion Brand Homespun, some other Lion Brand color waves yarn (or something like that) and a few other random fuzzy yarns.  I also had a bunch of Red Heart Super Saver in various purples and some white yarn.   I got out one of my largest hooks, held a fuzzy strand and a RHSS strand together, and got crocheting.  I don't remember how many I chained, but the blanket ended up being large enough to cover the top of my full-sized bed.   The blanket is just all double crochets.  I changed yarns as the other ran out and I edged it with a round of single crochets.  I was able to get the entire blanket done within 25 hours of starting it---and no, I did not crochet every single minute of that time :).

I really am happy with the way that it came out.  I love the color changes and it is SO snuggly soft!  I was so happy to donate it at my yoga studio.  I attached a little note to it saying that I was thinking about the person who got it and I hope it kept him/her warm.  I only wish I could make more of these.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baby Theta Hat

As you might know, I am a PhD student.  My field of study is measurement, evaluation, and statistics which are all parts of educational measurement and psychometrics.  Now I'm about to get a little bit technical, but hang in there :).  Psychometrics is the study of test development and psychological measurement.  We study how to measure things like knowledge, abilities, and personality traits--which are all things that you can't see or observed and are also called latent traits or variables.  In one type of analysis called item response theory (IRT) ability is estimated by responses on a test.  This ability is represented by the variable theta.  When you estimate a theta, this estimated variable is called "theta hat."

Ok, here is where the knitting part comes in! Are you still with me :).  Well, a few weeks ago I got this funny idea to make my friends' son a theta hat!  This is the little boy that I made the football hat for :).  His dad, Brian, is also in my PhD program and he works at the company where I intern.  I just knew that Brian would get such a kick out of his son wearing a "theta hat!"  Sooooo I decided to make my own theta hat pattern! Annnnnd...without further ado, I present to you my pattern for a Baby Theta Hat.

Feel free to sell any items made from this pattern, just please do not sell this pattern itself.  Also, if you find any corrections, please let me know! :)

Baby Theta Hat

Size: 0 – 12 months (approximately)
Finished dimensions: Height = 5.5 inches (not including pompom).  Relaxed circumference of about 15.5 inches, but stretches to over 20 inches.  
Gauge: 18 stitches by 24 rows = 4in on size 8 needles.

Aran or Worsted weight yarn in a main color and a contrasting color.
Size 8 circular needles—either 1 long circular for magic loops, 2 circulars, or dpns—or sized needed to achieve gauge.
Size H crochet hook
stitch marker
needle to sew in ends

Skills needed: 
Knit stitch
purl stitch
knit two together (k2tog)
knitting in the round
Surface slip stitch crochet. (You can find some good tutorials online).

CO – Cast on
K – knit
P – Purl
K2tog – knit two together

Using larger needles and main color yarn CO 60 stitches, place marker, and join in the round.  

Round 1: K1, P1 around.
Round 2: P1, K1 around.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 for 1 inch.

Next round: K all stitches around (60 stitches).

Repeat this round (aka K all stitches around) until piece measures about 3.75 inches from the beginning.

Crown shaping:
Round 1: (K8, k2tog) repeat this around (54 stitches).
Round 2: K all stitches (54 stitches).
Round 3: (K7, k2tog) repeat this around (48 stitches).
Round 4: K all stitches (48 stitches).
Round 5: (K6, k2tog) repeat this around (42 stitches).
Round 6: K all stitches (42 stitches).
Round 7: (K5, k2tog) repeat this around (36 stitches).
Round 8: K all stitches (36 stitches).
Round 9: (K4, k2tog) repeat this around (30 stitches).
Round 10: K all stitches (30 stitches).
Round 11: (K3, k2tog) repeat this around (24 stitches).
Round 12: K all stitches (24 stitches).
Round 13: (K2, k2tog) repeat this around (18 stitches).
Round 14: K all stitches (18 stitches).

Cut yarn and leave a long tail.  Thread the tail through all of the stitches on the needle, pull tightly, tie securely, and tuck ends in on the reverse side.

Theta detail on hat:
Using contrasting color yarn yarn, tie a slipknot in the yarn and place yarn inside the hat (right side of hat is facing you).  Decide on placement of theta on the hat and begin surface slip stitch crocheting the theta.

Secure ends when you’re done by weaving them into the reverse side of the contrasting color stitches only.  I’ve found that they tend to show if worked into the main color.

Make pompom:
Using both the main color and contrasting color yarn.  Wrap both strands around 3-4 fingers on your hand a bunch of times (maybe 15).  Cut a long piece of the main color yarn and wrap around the bundle of yarn that is on your fingers.  Slip the bundle off your fingers.  Tie a knot in the middle of this bundle with the main color yarn.  Make sure this knot is very tight.  Begin cutting all of the loops of yarn.  Once all of the loops are cut, give the pompom a trim into a nice round shape.  Align the pompom to the top of the hat and thread the long tails of the main color into the inside of the hat at the top.  Tie a knot inside the hat and secure the ends. 


Friday, October 26, 2012

FO Friday...(sorta)...Pumpkin Pi!

So as you know, I've been working on some little pumpkins as part of my Halloween costume.  Well last night I finished making all 13 of them, in 3 different sizes.  I still need to sew them on my shirt...but I'm just too excited about them and need to reveal my costume before I actually finish it completely.

So,...I love math...and I intern at a company where I do Educational/Psychological/Statistical research.  Apparently everyone is dressing up this year, so I wanted to make something that would go with my math background and statistical themed internship :).  So...I decided to be....PUMPKIN PI! :)

I'm also planning on making some sort of headband with a dollop of "whipped cream" on it, to give my costume that "pie" look.  I'm thinking of using the topping portion of this cupcake by Lion Brand and then attaching it to a plastic headband or hair clip of some sort (maybe like a whipped cream fascinator!).  What do you think?  It's quite punny isn't it?

Oh! And Matt loved my Pumpkin Pi so much, he asked me for one for himself!  So I'm working on that as well.  I unfortunately ran out of the orange yarn 9 pumpkins in to his Pi.  I was using Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Sweet Potato and that color is discontinued and wouldn't get here in time for Halloween even if I was able to order it.  So I need to see what other kinds of orange yarn I have.  It will work out just fine :).

I'm so excited!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

WIP...Thursday (?): Little Pumpkins!

I have SO many things going on lately--craft related and school related.  It feels as if my head is spinning.  I'm doing my best not to neglect my blog :), but I feel like I have a bunch of posts that I want to write and not adequate time to write them!  I do plan on having 2 more patterns for items I designed a while back published sometime very soon.  In case you're curious, they would be for my crocheted couch caddy and my Snuggly Owl (which I apparently never posted about before...).

But...I'm digressing.  The real reason for this post is to share an ADORABLE pattern that I found for a little pumpkin applique.  I found the pattern on Ravelry and you can find it here.  They are cute and simple and quick--which is EXACTLY what I need for my last minute Halloween costume for work.  I'm not going to reveal my actual costume idea, but I did want to show you these cute little pumpkins!  I've made 3 so far and will be making maybe 10 more, I'll see ;).

Friday, October 19, 2012

FO Friday: Care Bear

Two Sundays ago one of my friends asked me if I would be able to make a Care Bear that was purple and that had a purple ribbon on the tummy.  He told me that the husband of one of his friends recently lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and that he wanted to give her a bear like this, but couldn't find anything online.  I got really excited at this request for a few reasons.  For one, I felt like I would be making this bear for a really good cause.  Secondly, I had a pattern for a Care Bear already that I had really been wanting to make.  Finally, it would be purple...and you know how much I love purple.  AND I love to help out my friends.

I made very few modifications to the pattern that I had.  The only things I did differently were the eyes (I just used buttons rather than fiddling with the felt) and I did not add the head tuff because it looked odd on this bear.  I also used a different heart pattern for the nose and the heart on the bottom.  I got some ideas for the ribbon on the tummy from other online patterns and then sort of made my own up as I went along--basically you just chain a large amount, figure out where the middle of the chain is, work double crochets up until like 1 or 2 chains from the middle, then make 2 or 3 double crochets in the next chain, more in the middle chain, and then the same number on the other side of the middle...and double crochet your way to the end of the chain.  Really simple.  I whip-stitched all the appliques to the bear and that was it!  I'm really happy and proud of the way it came out.  I hope that it brings some comfort and love to the woman receiving it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Owl Cup Cozy

Lately I've been on a mission to try and use up as much of my yarn stash as possible.  I'm really liking the way that this task forces my creativity to flow since I can't just go out and buy the "correct" yarn.  I've been wanting to make myself a reusable coffee cup cozy for some time now, but just never got around to doing it.  If you don't know by now, I'm sort of obsessed with owls....(and purple! especially purple owls...ok, I digress..) what better to make as a coffee cozy, but something with an owl on it! To get REALLY creative, I decided to design my own owl, rather than use an existing pattern.  So on Sunday I got my bag of Vanna's choice out and got to work.  The main part of the cozy is a very simple pattern (just single crochets and some crab stitch) and then I made a little owl and sewed him on!

Here's the pattern for what I hasn't been tested, so if there are any errors in it let me know and I'll fix it :).  Also, as always, feel free to use my pattern as you like, but please DO NOT copy my pattern, call it your own, or plagiarize me in any will make me very sad :( link to my pattern rather than copying it somewhere.

Happy crocheting!

Owl Cup Cozy
Finished size: Fits around a paper coffee cup.  I used a Starbucks cup as a measure of the cup it fits.

Aran or worsted weight yarn.  I used leftovers, so I’m not sure of the exact yardage requirements.  Use up scraps and make it colorful!
Size I and F crochet hooks
Buttons for eyes.
Needle to sew in ends.

Skills needed:
Single crochet
Double crochet
Slip stitch
Crochet in the round and by rows.
Magic ring.

CH – chain
SC – single crochet
HDC – half double crochet
DC – double crochet
TR – treble crochet
DTR – double treble crochet
SS – slip stitch
SC2tog – single crochet two together
RSC – reverse single crochet


For the cozy—CH 31 or amount to fit around cup, preferably at the thinner part of the cup.
Round 1: Join as a round and SC in each stitch around join with a SS to the first SC in the round (30 stitches or 1 less than your chain amount).
Round 2: Ch 1, SC in same stitch as SS of last row.  SC around (30 sc).
Repeat for 11 rounds.   For round 12, RSC (aka crab stitch) around.  Break yarn.  Now move to the bottom of the cozy, on the parts of the beginning CH that are visible, RSC around.  Break yarn and sew in ends.

Owl body:
Round 1: Using magic ring, CH2 (does not count as a stitch), 12 DC in ring.  Join with a slip stitch to the top of the first DC, NOT the beginning chain. Pull ring closed.
Round 2:  2 DC in each DC around (24 DC), join with a slip stitch to the first DC in round.
Now begin to work in rows.
Row 1: CH 2, (1 DC in next stitch, 2 DC in next stitch) repeat until the end, 1 DC in last stitch. (10 stitches)
Row 2: Turn, CH1, 2SC in first DC, 1 SC in the next 8 stitches, 2 SC in the last DC.

SS around the entire owl body.  Leave a long tail for sewing to the cozy later.

Owl tummy:
CH 3.
Round 1: SC in 2nd chain from hook and in next chain.  Then 3 more SC in last chain.  Working on the back side of the foundation chain, SC in each chain.  Then 3 SC in other end of the chain. (You’re making an oval.)
Round 2: [You’ll be flowing the same idea as the first round—SC in the “side” stitches and make more stitches at the end.] So, SC in next 3 SCs.  You should be at the 3 SC made at the end of the row in the previous round.  2SC in first stitch, 3SC in end stitch, 2 SC in third stitch.  Then 1 SC in each of the next 4 SCs.  Repeat the end 2-3-2 process at the other end—2 SC in 1st of the 3 stitch group, 3 SC in the next, and 2 SC in the last.  Then SC in remaining stitch.  Join together with a SS and fasten off.

CH 8
SC in 2nd chain from hook, HDC in next stitch, DC in next two stitches, TR in next 2 stitches, in last stitch [2 DTR, 1DC, 1SC] fasten off.

Eyes (make 2):
Using magic ring, CHs 2, 7 DC in ring, join to top of the chain. Pull ring closed.  Fasten off.

Using smaller hook CH 4.
SC in 2nd chain from hook (3 stitches).
SC2tog then SC in last stitch (2 stitches).
SC2tog (1 stitch).
Fasten off.

Assemble owl before attaching to cup cozy.  Tuck ends in.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Craftini Marini

Feeling bored?  Poking around the internet? Facebook?  Why not come and check out my Facebook page and see some of the things I've made over the years!  And...if you like what you see, why not like the page too!

Have some more time on your hands? or want more frequent updates?  Find me on Twitter! @CraftiniMarini

Happy Crafting!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Baby Football Hat

One of my friends at school/work asked me to make his 3 month old son a football hat.  He told me that his wife really liked the other two I made and is a big football fan.  I didn't see a pattern online that I liked, so I decided to make my own.  I think this will fit a baby up to 12 months because it is quite stretchy.

Baby Football Hat

Size: 0 – 12 months 
Finished dimensions: Height = 6 inches.  Relaxed circumference of about 13 inches, but stretches to over 16 inches.  
Gauge: 18 stitches by 24 rows = 4in on size 8 needles.

Aran or Worsted weight yarn in brown and white.
Size 7 and 8 circular needles—either 1 long circular for magic loop, 2 circulars, or dpns—or sized needed to achieve gauge.
Size F crochet hook
stitch marker
needle to sew in ends

Skills needed: 
Knit stitch
purl stitch
knit two together (k2tog)
color changing
knitting in the round
Surface slip stitch crochet. (You can find some good tutorials online).

CO – Cast on
K – knit
P – Purl
K2tog – knit two together

Using larger needles and white yarn CO 60 stitches, place marker, and join in the round.  

Switch to smaller needles.

Rounds 1-6: K2, P2 around (60 stitches).

At end of 6th round cut white and leave a tail.  Join brown yarn.  Switch to larger needles.

Round 7:  K all stitches around (60 stitches).

Repeat row 7 until piece measures about 3.5 inches from the beginning.

Switch back to white yarn.

Next 2 rounds: K all stitches around (60 stitches).

Crown shaping:
Round 1: (K8, k2tog) repeat this around (54 stitches).
Round 2: K all stitches (54 stitches).
Round 3: (K7, k2tog) repeat this around (48 stitches).
Round 4: K all stitches (48 stitches).

Switch to brown yarn.

Round 5: (K6, k2tog) repeat this around (42 stitches).
Round 6: K all stitches (42 stitches).
Round 7: (K5, k2tog) repeat this around (36 stitches).
Round 8: K all stitches (36 stitches).
Round 9: (K4, k2tog) repeat this around (30 stitches).
Round 10: K all stitches (30 stitches).
Round 11: (K3, k2tog) repeat this around (24 stitches).
Round 12: K all stitches (24 stitches).
Round 13: (K2, k2tog) repeat this around (18 stitches).
Round 14: K all stitches (18 stitches).

Cut yarn and leave a long tail.  Thread the tail through all of the stitches on the needle, pull tightly, tie securely, and tuck ends in on the reverse side.

Lace detail on hat:
Using white yarn, tie a slipknot in the yarn and place yarn inside the hat (right side of hat is facing you).  
Two brown rows up from the ribbing begin surface slip stitch crochet and slip stitch until you’re two rows of brown away from the white stripe. 
Cut a white leaving a VERY long tail, and pull the last loop of white out towards you.  
Thread needle and bring the tail back inside the hat so that the working yarn is now on the wrong side. 
Working about 2 stitches away from the slip stitched line bring yarn up to outside of the hat, under the slip stitch in that row, and down inside the hat two stitches away from the slip stitched line.  This makes one of the laces.  Repeat this as many times as you’d like, equally spacing the laces.
Secure end when you’re done.
Tuck in all ends on inside of the hat.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bottle Boobies

This weekend I crocheted something that I think might just be the silliest thing I have EVER made.  However, it is fitting that I made it during October, since this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Well, this past week, as I was pouring over the patterns in Ravelry I somehow stumbled on a pattern for a can cozy that was the torso of a woman (sort of) complete with boobs and a bikini top.  Of course I immediately started giggling and sent a photo of it to my boyfriend.  I knew this was right up his ally.  Of course I got a reply about how funny that was.  So I told him I'd make him one if he'd like--his reply was "yes! and make one for Myles (his friend) too!"  

So being the good girlfriend that I am, Sunday I went to Michaels to find some Caucasian flesh colored yarn.  I was torn between a Loops and Threads Incredible color and a Red Heart Super Saver one.  After much deliberation and some in-aisle opinion asking I settled on the RHSS in "buff."  I went home...and got hooky!  About an hour later out popped a bottle cozy with boobs!  Later that evening I made the second :).

Seriously this is the funniest thing I've ever made!  If you want to see, you can click on THIS LINK to view them in my Ravelry project page. :).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blocking makes all the difference...

Remember my Summer Vest? After I wrote my FO post about the vest I decided to see if I could block the vest to make it stop rolling and give it more flow.  I used wet blocking and stretched it out on a big beach towel using my blocking wires.  It surprisingly dried over night :).

And the result?  PERFECT!!

Crafting for preemies

This past weekend was the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival held in Ridgewood, NJ.  This is a yearly event that is now in its fourth year and it brings together crafters of all different fiber arts.  There are knitters and crocheters, hand and wheel spinners, lace makers, sewers, quilters, etc. and it keeps growing every year!  I've visited the festival each year since it began and I must say that it is always a nice time.  

I think my favorite thing about the festival is that each year they have a different charity project that they ask festival goers to donate to, if they have the time.  I actually had not decided if I was going to have the time to make it to this years festival until maybe a week and a half ago.  I decided that I would definitely make the time to get to the festival because I really wanted to donate something to the charity.  

This year the charity they were collecting donations for was Care Wear.  Care Wear is an organization that collects items for preemies and newborns (and I think maybe even older children) and donates them to local hospitals.  They look for hats and blankets as well as kimonos, toys, burial gowns, and other handmade items.  So, to benefit Care Wear, the festival asked for donations of preemie hats and blankets.

Prior to a week and a half ago I had never made an item for a preemie.  Once I started making a few hats I was amazed at how TINY they were.  It totally touched my heart that a baby could be born so small and still be alive--and not just living, but fighting for his or her life!  I knew that I had to make as many items as I could in the weeks time before the festival.  I was able to knit and crochet 7 hats and 3 blankets by the deadline that I set for myself (Saturday morning).  I also had found something in my closet I had made a few years back that was going to be a blanket for myself...but that I fell out of love with...and it seemed the perfect size for a preemie blanket!  I donated that one too.

So in total I gave 11 items! 7 hats and 4 blankets.  I used up yarns from my stash that were really soft and of course washable.  I tried to make the items as pretty as I could.  Starting clockwise below you see a knit square blanket that is striped and made up of left over baby yarns, next is a pink flower blanket (that's what I made years ago and fell out of love with), then a pastel granny stitch blanket with a purple ruffle, and finally a knit square blanket with multicolors, green, and a heart.

I made two different sized pumpkin hats (itty bitty preemie and larger preemie), a teddy bear hat (the ears were just too cute), a pastel colored knit umbilical cord hat, two crocheted hats with little loops on top, and a simply blue and white beanie.  These hat patterns (minus my little embellishment of ears and top loops) are available on the Care Wear website in this lovely 70+ page book of guidelines, patterns, and stories.

I plan on making more items to donate to hospitals.  I really enjoyed doing this.  Each little hat or blanket I made, I stitched with love hoping that it would help a little baby get stronger, healthier, and be able to come home to their families.