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.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Adventures in Crocheting (Cardigans)...

I'm again late in updating my crochet blog -- it's been 4 months instead of the usual 3. There is a reason for that! This update will include what I am calling the first and last adult-size cardigan sweaters I will ever make. They did both eventually turn out well, but after a few false starts for both due to faulty patterns! More on that in a moment. First, here is the latest Barbie I completed, back in February. As described last time, she is "Miss January" from Annie's Attic "Turn of the Century Bridal Trousseau" collection. I used my beautiful discontinued Opera #10 thread in red with black trim, and light peach for her blouse. I think she is very elegant!

The next (quickie) project I crocheted was the bib below, for the new baby boy of a gal at my church. I'd gotten the baby a specific hat the mom requested and a cute stuffed blue bear, but wanted to add a little something I made and felt a bib would be perfect. This one is so cute and easy; I will be using this pattern again. I used Knit Picks' "Shine" yarn (one of my favorites) in River and Green Apple. I felt it needed a little applique to finish it off and when I saw the little froggy at JoAnn Fabrics, I knew he would be perfect!

After I finished the bib, I decided to use a discontinued light pink baby yarn called "Universal Bella DK" that I'd bought from Herrschners. I had enough for a post stitch baby jacket with matching bonnet, and a cute little pullover sweater with shell stitches down the sides and sleeves. (The sleeve instructions for the little pullover was poorly written -- I've been running into that a lot! But I improvised and it worked out...)

Next, I decided to implement the brilliant idea I've had for some time of crocheting myself a cardigan sweater -- a decision I soon came to regret. I'd seen a very pretty variegated yarn called "James C. Brett Marble yarn" I'd been longing to try, and lo and behold, Herrschners had a pretty (and free) cable cardigan pattern using that very yarn! I then ordered 8 skeins of the yarn from eBay in a combo called "Heathers" (gray, cream, burgundy and two shades of pink). I went a couple of sizes up on the hook size since I tend to crochet tightly (which is why I don't often make adult clothes). I was maybe 80% done making it when I realized it was going to be small on me -- and again, the sleeve instructions were poorly written. DANG!

I then looked through my many sweater patterns and picked one I loved in a popcorn and post stitch design. I not only went up on the hook size but the alleged completed size of the sweater. I was most of the way done with it when I again realized it was going to be small. I couldn't believe it! At that point, I made a decision that if I was going to have a sweater I crocheted that was going to fit, I was not going to use a pattern. I was going to revert to a stitch pattern I love and use a lot, "Mayfair", and basically make rectangles with shaping for the neck, then add the ribbing. So AGAIN, I made like a frog ('rip it, rip it") and started my sweater for the third time!

I wasn't far into my third try for my sweater when my dear sister-in-law in Arizona asked if I would please crochet her a little lightweight short-sleeved cardigan. You've got to be kidding! But I didn't let on how I was struggling with my own cardigan. I said, send me the pattern and yarn and I'll be glad to do it (feeling in need of divine intervention).....

Believe it or not, the pattern she sent me -- well, I tried to figure it out but it was absolutely screwy. It made NO sense. But thankfully, it was a simple enough design (half-double crochet in vertical rows) that I knew I could create it without a pattern, and so I did! Thankfully, she E-mailed me that she loved it (and I don't think she even realized that I didn't use a pattern...well, she will if she reads this)! The yarn she sent me was Herrschners' "Village Yarn Bahama Cotton" in a now-discontinued color' "Deep Blue Sea". It was very nice to work with, but there are only 85 yards in a skein so I was afraid I would run out. But I just made it! The detail doesn't show well in the pic, but here it is.

Yesterday, I finished MY sweater and even had enough of the yarn left to make a scarf in the same stitch. Here they are! (I'm not posting a pic of myself wearing it till I lose weight -- if I ever do...)

I think I'm starting another Barbie next. Her gown and matching jacket will be in two beautiful shades of green with matching lace, and the Barbie I chose has red hair, so she will be an Irish lass. It will be a relief to start a pretty thread project after the fiasco with the sweaters!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blankie, Barbie, and More Babies

I'm a bit later than usual in my goal to update this crochet blog with my newest creations once per quarter. But, January 2012 has been a weird month. I plan to write more about that shortly on my narrative blog, "The Evergreen Refuge Blog". But for now, back to the crochet projects!

The afghan below, "Floral Bouquet", is one of my favorite afghans I've made. But the problem is, I like it SO much that I've had it put away in a plastic bag, afraid that with our three large dogs, it would get dirty or, worse yet, scratched by their nails. I'll have to figure out what to do about this, since I do want to display it. I used Caron "Simply Soft" (so it is cuddly in addition to being pretty) in bone with accents of grape, burgundy, rose and what they are calling sage, though it's more of an apple green to me. The closeup pic gives a bit more detail of the colors and stitches.

I've gotten a skein of lilac Omega Sinfonia yarn in an eBay assortment a couple years ago and had been trying to decide what to make with it. I decided to order one more lilac and some dark magenta, and make a little girl's sweater (for a future craft fair or possible gift) I'd been wanting to try for some time. It was fun to make and afterwards, I had a lot of the yarn left, especially the dark magenta. So I then decided to make the same sweater in the next size up with the colors reversed. When it looked like I may run low on the magenta, I alternated the two colors on the sleeves, and the quantity turned out just right! Here are the two results:

My next project was another Barbie. I decided to make another of the same beaded dress pattern, "Dotted Delight", which was one of the first Barbie gowns I made a few years ago. I'd ordered some beautiful orange variegated beads from eBay and decided they would look beautiful combined with #10 Opera medium peach thread, and I was right! See page 4 of my 2000-08 crochet projects here for the first "Dotted Delight" I made -- and the new one below.

Next, I decided to make another of the pretty baby dresses I'd made previously in lavender and in red from a pattern in an 80's magazine. I just love the way these turn out and I understand the first two were a hit at my best friend's daughter-in-law craft/consignment store. I'd ordered some pink #10 "Department 71" thread from Herrschner's so I decided that would be a great color for this little dress. (The thread was nice to work with, but I think I still prefer Opera or Cebelia.)

Next, I had a small amount of the Opera #10 peach thread left. So I decided to make another of the six pineapple doily below which is one of my favorite doilies to make. They are so pretty and it's such a great way to use small amounts of thread, since you have the option of making each pineapple a different color or using 2 or 3 different pineapple colors, or all the same color. Also, I designed the star motif in the middle, since the original pattern just had a big hole in the middle and I didn't like the way that looked. (The yellow and sage thread are #10 Cebelia.)

Finally, here's the last project I finished. My coworker is having a baby boy and will be getting this at her shower at work tomorrow. I don't have many patterns for baby boys, but found this one and LOVE the way it turned out. I used "Satin Sport" yarn by Bernat -- the variegated is "Seashore" and the blue and tan trims are "Clear Sky" and "Taupe". Though this was time-consuming to make, I'm tempted to pick up some more of the "Seashore" and make another of these little sets to sell on consignment.

I've started another Barbie -- "Miss January" from the Annie's Attic "Turn of the Century Bridal Trousseau" collection, but I changed the colors. Her dress and parasol are bright red with black braid trim and her blouse is light peach. I also have definite plans for the next two Barbies after that. Hope to have pics of all three posted here on my next update!