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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pattern Review: Yellow Puffs Baby Cocoon and Beret

This is a review for a pattern found inside the Leisure Arts book called “Dreamy Cocoons.” This is not a pattern I can link to directly and I can only link to Amazon because it is a book you have to buy.

Here is a link to the pattern book on Amazon.

The pattern that I chose is called Yellow Puffs and starts on page 18. The pattern itself was meant for 0-3 month old babies and was suggested to be done in yellow. If you go to the Amazon link and look at the “back cover” image, you will see the yellow cocoon, which was the one I chose to do.

In the spirit of how well I’ve always followed patterns, I did it in pink with a dark pink trim.

I have to admit, this was a pretty quick crochet but only because about halfway through, I realized that I was only yarning over 2 times to create the puff instead of 3. DOH! I considered pulling it out and starting over, but considering my time crunch and the thought that the yarn I was using was a little thinner than what was suggested, I went with it – and I’m glad I did.

I personally think that it looks closer to the picture having not done as many yarn overs for the puff. They are smaller and more dainty, which to me is a better look.

All in all, I would say it took me 3-4 hours to finish both the cocoon and the beret. I ended up coming out close on gauge although I have to say, I don’t think this cocoon, as written in the book, is for 0-3 months. It definitely leans closer to 3-6 months. You may say “well, Cris – its because of your yarn change and hook change and even the change to how you did the puff stuff” … and to you I say… I own a measuring tape.

My cocoon was 1 inch longer than the final measurements shown on the pattern, which with length, it really isn’t an issue. What is different is that my circumference at the top is 1/2 inch smaller than what the pattern says will be the final outcome – so mine is smaller and STILL looks too big. That means had I completely hit gauge, I’d have something much larger than I do already. Even the beret looks big.

That’s a bit disappointing excluding the fact that I did make a baby cocoon for a baby born in June, so the fact its larger means she won’t start using it until September (3 months mark) and that would be perfect weather for it. So – that’s a saving grace, I suppose.

Just like I am good at taking yarn and color suggestions, I didn’t edge it the way the pattern said. Ya know – I just don’t like reverse single crochet on most things so I tend to not use it. And, of course, this pattern asked for reverse single around the edge of the cocoon and the beret. I ended up using my favorite ch1-sl edging. I do think that if I were making this for a boy, I would go with the reverse single crochet.

Something I did find is that there is a better way to join puff stitches in the round so they don’t stick out. I did not use my method on the cocoon and I can clearly see the leaning tower of pisa.. I mean – the seam. I used my method on the beret and its practically invisible. I would have expected a published pattern, one I paid for, to use a better join method to be more seamless rather than a standard join that is more obvious than.. well, the seam I got on my cocoon. I don’t think the new parents will notice, but I do and it bugs me. I really think that if the designer of the yellow puff pattern had spent a few more days looking at it, they would have found a more seamless join.

The book itself cost 9.95 from Hobby Lobby and I probably would not have bought it if I hadn’t found it on sale. I do like that all the pictures are in full color (and there are some pretty darn cute babies to look at).

Now, considering I have not made any of the patterns in the book, I can’t rate the book, but I can rate the Yellow Puff pattern inside the book as a 3 ball of yarn out of 5 kinda pattern.

I would make it again but with the modifications I mentioned above. I would not make it to pattern in the future and it makes me think that I will be modifying some of the other patterns inside it as well. I think what these patterns have going for them is they are “trendy” right now to make, they are relatively quick, and the general structure of each remains the same – so its easy to switch them up on your own if you are an intermediate to advanced crocheter.

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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in My Projects, My Reviews, Pattern Links

 

Pattern Review: Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket

Finished June 24, 2012 (c) Cris

This post is a review of the pattern Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket created by Celeste Young. Celeste has made this pattern available through Ravelry so you must be a member to view the link.

Pattern Link: Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket

I was faced with needing to make a gift for a baby shower. Now, I admit – I haven’t gone to a baby shower in quite some time and the last one I went to, I was asked to paint a picture of a giraffe. But – that has no place in today’s review.

As I fumbled around Ravelry looking for the perfect pattern, I found Celeste Young’s Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket pattern. It was free and the picture on the main pattern page was quite stunning.

Now, I’ll admit, I was limited in color because I had already made a baby cocoon and matching beret, so I was looking for a way to use up my yarn. Because of this, I did change up the colors a bit and did not complete the suggested color changes in the pattern. But, what I do think, is that the pattern is forgiving as far as that is concerned – if you have 20 colors, you can easily change them up and the pattern isn’t affected at all. I think that was another appealing aspect of the pattern listing on Ravelry – many pictures are posted and the colors are all different. People really used their imagination so I knew it would be a great pattern to use my own colors with.

The yarn that I had was Lion Brand Pound of Love in three different colors: white, pastel pink, and bubble gum.

I decided to start white and create a sunburst type pattern outward, hugging the gradually increasing thickness of dark pink with one row of light pink.

I think the outside picture above captures the colors more accurately but I wanted to show the entire star burst shape with the picture to the right.

I would like to say that I did this pattern and did not block it – the shape came out that good. This is due to Celeste’s shells creating the points. now, I won’t tell you what her pattern says, because that is why the pattern is at Ravelry – if you are curious… go look!

I did choose to modify the finishing row and only use a row of single crochet simply because I did not want a thick row. I felt that having a thick row at the end would make it look unfinished. Obviously, I didn’t do a second blanket to test that theory, so I cannot hold my personal opinion against the review of the pattern.

I will say I was hoping it would be a faster crochet. The notes on the pattern state that its a “go to” pattern and works up quickly. I would say that I slightly disagree with this. It isn’t slow, by no means, but I think the cocoon I made worked up much faster so while this pattern works up good and only takes a few days, it isn’t something you would knock out in a couple of hours…. well, I couldn’t – I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there that crochet MUCH faster than me.

With that said, I will say that this is a pattern I will do again. I’m already planning some colors for another to give as a Christmas present (oh family and friends that read this – could it be for you…. OHHH you don’t know! could be! won’t know till Christmas!). I really like that it laid flat ‘out of the box’ so to speak so I didn’t have to hassle with blocking.

Because of all of this, I would have to give this pattern 4.5 balls of yarn on a scale of 5 balls of yarn.

I really like it and think it is going to make a wonderful present for my co-worker and his wife. Thank you for the wonderful pattern, Celeste!

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in My Projects, My Reviews, Pattern Links

 

Crocheting for Baby – part 2

Baby cocoon with matching beret

Well, dear readers, I finished off the baby gifts for my co-workers shower (which is the 26th, and I’m not posting this until after the 26th because I don’t know if the Mrs. co-worker reads my blog… I believe she is aware of it though). But, I am typing this on the 24th. With 2 days to go, I finished all three pieces.

I tell ya – I was getting a little worried.

I started out small in finishing the baby cocoon and beret. I used a pattern from the book Dreamy Cocoons, which I will do a review on in the next day or so. For the set, I used Lion Brand Pound of Love in Pastel Pink and Bubble Gum. While you cannot see it in the picture, the beret is trimmed on the bottom with the darker pink in the same trim the cocoon has. I’ll admit, the cocoon and hat look a bit big and while the pattern says 0-3 months, I think it is closer to 3 months than 0… and yes, I measured, I am approximately 1 inch longer in the cocoon (which is a non-issue) and 1/2 inch SHORTER in circumference at the top – so really, mine is smaller than gauge but still seems pretty big.

Oh well – 3 months is September and September = weather appropriate for the cocoon and beret.

Outside

Once I finished that, I started on the 12 point baby afghan. I chose the pattern Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket by Celeste Young. Like the cocoon, I’ll be doing a review of this pattern. Granted, I didn’t follow her color suggestions, color change suggestions, or finishing – but I did use the pattern in general.

I chose to put the picture I took outside here so you could see the colors better along with the pattern of how I used the color. I used the same two pinks from the cocoon along with white in the same brand.

I finished the afghan on Sunday, June 24th – so with a little time to spare, I have completed three pieces for the baby shower…. and now I get to return to working on my State Fair project.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in My Projects

 

Christmas in… June?

I’m going to go a bit away from crochet today – although, I will say I was at Hobby Lobby looking for yarn and picking up a gift for a friend (something I needed to work on).

As I said, I was at Hobby Lobby. A friend and I were meeting to do a bit of a pass off (which I will discuss at a later date) of a project. The man and the kids went looking around and soon, I caught up with them.

And yes, those are really Christmas decorations.

In June.

We caught the stockers mid-stock with the bows and wreaths, but just to prove that it seems our Hobby Lobby has gone completely insane, there were about 8 aisles of Christmas decorations followed by Thanksgiving/fall decorations.

The man – checking out the holiday decorations

Have they gone mad?

There was truly about a 5×5 foot space of July 4th decorations – the remainder of the aisles on that side of the store started with fall and quickly progressed into Christmas.

The wall of ornaments is up – as you can see behind the Man. I caught him mid “looking around in disbelief.”

The funny thing was – several of the customers were talking about it too. They were just as shocked as we were. One of the women that openly talked with us said they actually had started putting up the holiday items around two weeks ago. Two things here: 1) holiday decorations in the first/second week of June and 2) why the heck haven’t I been to Hobby Lobby in the last 2 weeks?

I will say though… from the progression from the tiny display for Independence Day through the fall decorations, I was a bit miffed that there was nothing to celebrate Halloween.

I was needing a new skull for my autumnal centerpiece.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Rambles and Reflections

 

Losing a Charitable Cause

I received an email notification just the other day from the Special Olympic Scarf project. For those of you who know me, you know I make scarves and send them off for this charity – I have done it a couple times and enjoy it. Scarves are one of my more favorite things to make and couple that with a good cause – and it is always an enjoyable crochet project.

I have to admit, I was excited when I saw the post because I thought I was going to find out the new colors… but that wasn’t the case.

Sadly, this notification contained bad news for me (and apparently thousands of others) – there would be no 2013 scarf project. Apparently, the response was so great from the previous year that there is an abundance of scarves that will be reused for the 2013 Special Olympics.

I suppose the news isn’t all bad though – there are that many people crafting for the cause. That many people care… so many in fact that in one year they gathered enough scarves to last two years.

But I still feel this place in my heart – a place that is now empty. This project was a guarantee for me, so I guess I need to replace it with another.

Do you have any favorite charities that specifically request scarves? Let me know in the comments!

To read the entire post, visit http://scarvesforspecialolympics.org/

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Announcements

 

Crocheting for Your (my) Man

A not so clear photo of the man and our son

We are all (mostly) crocheters here, right? I think its time we had a serious conversation… especially with Father’s Day looming.

So let’s be frank – it is harder than heck to crochet for a man.

I can honestly say that I don’t remember making anything for my dad as far as crochet goes. I know he appreciated the love and time it took to craft a gift, but crocheting – I don’t think I did for him. Now that he’s gone, I wish I had…. but no regrets, right?

As for the man…. It is hard to craft for him too. I have made him a scarf. I have made him a lapghan. But… while he uses both and genuinely appreciates that I made these things for him, he proclaims he only needs one. Why can’t he have more than one scarf like me? I have yet to adventure into knitting socks for him simply because I know he’ll want standard grey, no design… and probably, considering his history of statements – one pair only.



The Man and the Kiddos circa 2009

 So with Father’s Day around the corner – have you given thought to what you are going to make, are making, or have made for that special dad in your life?

I got to looking around the internet (as many of you have already done) and put together a list of 10 ideas (some with patterns!) that can be crocheted for the dad in your life. I admit, most of these are things that would be interesting for the man…. since I am pretty much on a hunt for something I can finish this week (read as: no aprons, blankets, sweaters, or socks will be made) And since we all know the man doesn’t want another scarf/hat set and he has already got “a great lapghan” – those items won’t be on the list – but I did link to the lapghan pattern I created for him above…. in case you wanted to give it a whirl.

(Some may not have links – simply because I either already have a pattern that I wrote that I have not published on this site OR I didn’t find a pattern I liked and will make my own)

Love my iPad Cover
http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/love-my-ipad-case
Ok – this one looks good… it has good potential – but I must admit, he was looking for something more reinforced to protect his tablet. I may have to come up with something unique, but I doubt I can compete with newegg.com and their awesome tablet covers.

Gopher Golf Club Cover
http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/gopher-golf-club-cover


The Man and Squirt ~2011

 Alright – this one is funny. While I know I won’t finish this one in a week, I do have Christmas to think about. I know he’d use it and I know it would make him smile – two qualities I like to have in any gift I give.

Golf Club Covers
I know there is no way that I’d be able to finish the gopher club cover in the short time frame that I have, especially with a baby shower on the horizon AND being at the end of my state fair project (picture coming soon!). I know Lion Brand has an interesting pattern on their site (read as: I will not make it in those colors…. nor will I put the numbers on them). Since they require you to login, I can’t directly link to them. Just know – they are there.

A Bookmark
Honestly, up until the last 3 weeks I would not have considered making the man a bookmark simply because he was not a reader. He would read newspapers and magazine articles – but mostly online… on his tablet or iPod. What changed is the man has gone back to school (and I’m very proud of him for that). Now he has text books and other reference manuals he needs to keep his place in. I hate to put a link to one specific bookmark simply because they work up quick and I could make a lot of them between now and Father’s Day. What I will link to is a huge list of bookmarks listed on Crochet Pattern Central. I personally enjoy making a plain book thong with beads at the top and bottom for weight – having wooden beads makes it more masculine too! Another cute idea was a tie shaped bookmark, found here.

A Travel Bag
So, I have seen a lot of make-up bags and I was thinking that I could do something in a tight stitch and put a zipper in it… and then fill it with disposable razors, some travel sized deoderant, a manicure kit (don’t tell him I called it that), and perhaps some other man-gadgets used for male hygiene. I looked for some patterns but didn’t see anything but I did see several frilly makeup bags I think have a good shape – so I will take inspiration from the shape but change the stitches and the color for something more masculine. If I do this one, it will be a pattern that will be posted here.

Remote Control Holder
http://www.crochetmemories.com/archive/corner6.html
Now, the only reason I’m putting this in here isn’t that I’m going to make it. In fact, i doubt I would ever make this item in crochet… or at all for that matter. I’m putting it on here because I know HE would enjoy it – I don’t want it hanging on my furniture. I could see it just dangling there, the dog sniffing on it, the kids putting candy wrappers in it…. I like the idea of it – so perhaps I could modify it to work in his car – but I also know I would want to line it to prevent pencils from poking through. Still an interesting idea for someone else. I know they broke the pattern down into weeks (it must have been a CAL), but I think that what they have is doable in 6 days.

A Man’s Man Oven Mitt
I do most of the cooking during the week (which half ends up being ordered out) but a couple nights out of the week the man will cook – and even better… he’ll GRILL! (he makes the most mouth-watering food on the grill… too bad I don’t have the ability to share taste on the blog… granted, that means there’d have to be left overs and that just doesn’t happen when he grills). I am thinking that a nice oven mitt would be good but it would have to be masculine in colors and thick enough to handle hot plates and stuff. I think of all the ideas, this may be the least functional for him since grilling doesn’t usually involve pans… and I would like to keep him grilling (although his baked pork chops are fantastic too) *laughs*

Slippers
Anyone who knows the man knows he’s not really a slippers kinda guy, but for some reason, I have wanted to make him slippers. I think now that we have a finished basement, he would appreciate them because it still gets a little cold down there. Perhaps if he wanted to relax downstairs and watch some TV, he could use some slippers. I don’t know but I figured this might be the time to whip out this type of gift.

Magnetic Pocket Watch
http://www.crochetmemories.com/archive/june7.html
I seriously found this one on a fluke and really think its cute. Granted, because I think it is cute may be the very reason NOT to make it for the man. But its a functional “pocket watch” where the watch parts (excluding the time piece) is crocheted. You attach magents to the back and put it on the fridge. NOW – why I think the man would like this is that I could possibly do a larger version and not make it magnetic. He could use it down in the activity room with his weight bench. I believe as long as it has a second hand, he is good to go with it – and if its large enough, then he can having a nice hanging time piece to reference while he is getting his workout in.

Breakfast in Bed

me ‘n the man circa 2010

This one isn’t crocheted or knitted… in fact, it has NOTHING to do with yarn (I know, right!) – but as always, I will be making the man breakfast in bed – usually scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes… and a glass of chocolate milk.
I hope you all have planned to do something special for the dad in your life. Being a dad is way more than just fathering a child – and I know the man is definitely a great dad and I can’t wait to celebrate his special day with him.

 

What a baby can do…

A VERY old picture

My husband and I are done having children. We have raised three: two still in progress and one still showing up occassionally to eat and relax. My crafting usually revolves around charitable giving and gifts. I don’t usually craft for myself outside of standard household items like washcloths, towel toppers, and apparently – clocks.

However, there is still something magical that happens to my crochet hooks when a baby is announced….

and boy do my hooks fly!

One of my co-workers took off in a hurry last week saying he had urgent business. And the next day, we had an announcement they had adopted a baby girl. How exciting! Amidst the chatter and smiles and giggles of a new member of our work family, of course – a baby shower is being planned. I have 2 weeks from today to get my baby crafting done.

Thankfully, I did recently purchase a book on baby cacoons. I actually looked for the book on Ravelry to share a link, and couldn’t find it. Same for Amazon…. odd. I picked it up just a few weeks ago thinking they would be good gift ideas for a new baby. And it sure has!

In addition to the cacoon, I made a matching beret with pom-pom on top (per the pattern – I didn’t make any of it up myself… other than doing the puff stitch wrong and finding a new way to start a puff stitch so it is more invisible).

Now, in order to use up the remainder of the baby yarn and some white baby yarn I had laying around, I’m going to make an afghan.

Once I have it all finished AND the gift has been given, I will post some photos.

In the meantime, I am going to do better about updating my blog. I have so many patterns to get done and posted too – dear oh dear :(

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Note about today’s image of the kids: This is a very old photo. Heck, even the dog’s face is still brown (look at other pictures of Andrew… he is now all grey!). I couldn’t find a non-personal photo of all three of the kids together so I chose this one… which is probably… hmmmm 6 years old but it was too cute to pass up. And yes, it was a photo shoot.

In fact, I think we had only had Andrew (the dog) a couple of weeks, month tops, when a friend had a photo-shoot party. So we headed out to her place. I thought it would be cute to do a farmer/country theme because our dog is probably the only real hound dog in the city.

Boy – they sure were happy to have a dog!

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in My Projects, Rambles and Reflections