Cabbage Patch Hat for Halloween!

12/5/13 UPDATE: I changed this pattern, to see that post click here: Cabbage Patch Hat Pattern Improved

 

My dear friend, and childhood playmate, asked me to make her daughter a hat for Halloween, the sweet little almost one year old is going to be a cabbage patch doll!!

I could not wait to get going on this new project, so I started at this tutorial: Travis and Jessica – Cabbage Patch Doll, it linked me to this basic beanie hat: Alli crafts – Earflap Hat, but I didn’t love it, so I altered the pattern so I could work in the round, and to make it slightly smaller for a 17 inch circumference.

I was following instructions for the loop stitch from Repeat Crafter Me – Crochet Cabbage Patch Doll Inspired Hat, but something was wrong with the loops, they were too sparse, and when I tried to make more, the hat flattened out. It was not until I came across this tutorial: Dearest Debi – Crochet Cabbage Patch Kid, that I was finally making real progress again because it linked to this much better version of the loop stitch: Crochet Loop Stitch

So to make a long story short, I ended up taking out my stitches twice, all the way back to row four, but third time is the charm! Here is the pattern that I ended up with, cobbling together the bits I liked from the above linked patterns…

Cabbage Patch Doll Hat
Hook: Size H crochet hook, my go-to size!
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice Soft, Toffee color

Size 9-12 Month
Round 1: ch 3, join to form loop, dc 10, join to first dc
Round 2: Ch 2, 2 dc each dc around. Place a “marker yarn” of a different color to keep track of rounds.
Round 3: *2 dc in next dc, dc in next dc, repeat from * around.
Round 4: *2 dc in next dc, dc in next 2 dc, repeat from * around.
Round 5-7: dc in next dc around.
Round 8: sc in next dc around.
Round 9-12: loop stitch in each stich around.

For the pigtails, cut 70 strands of yarn, 20 inches long. Tie a string in the middle of the strands, use the string ends to join between rows 4 and 5. Use a few of the other strands to secure the pigtail well. Tie a ribbon bow over the mess you made in joining. Repeat for the other side!

12/5/13 UPDATE: I changed this pattern, to see that post click here: Cabbage Patch Hat Pattern Improved

Crochet Chaining Children!


My little girls is growing up! I’ve tried to teach Meg to crochet chains every year since she turned four, with no luck, but it’s good to get a hook into her hand, and start familiarizing her with basics. Finally, at seven years old, this year is the first one that she initiated the teaching lesson, she demanded to learn to crochet! I sent her off to pick a large hook and a ball of yarn, and carved twenty minutes out of my day to show her the basics of chaining. Something clicked this time! She got it! She’s been chaining ever since! She even made the chains that I put into the hair falls for my halloween costume. She is making cat toys for our new kittens, bracelets, jump ropes, and inventions with her chains. I’m glad she is excited about chains, because that is the only step she is going to learn for months. My grandma forced me make chains for months before she’d continue my lessons. Like Meg, I begged to be taught more, but it’s not about learning chains, it’s about learning how to hold the yarn and hook properly. The chains don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be made, to learn technique and muscle memory. And my little growing up girl is proceeding with gusto!!

For more info on teaching children to crochet, I suggest this article at Crochet.Org

“We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled,
but as candles to be lit.”
-Robert H. Shaffer

My Halloween Costume – Part 2 – Peaked Pixie Hat


A day or two after I decided to do hair falls for my Fruit Fairy costume for halloween, I came across this hat pattern, to buy from etsy, and I fell in love!! I really wanted to buy it: Mittenmade Etsy Shop – Hobbit Hat Pattern

But being extra short on expendable income at the moment, I decided to see what I could do with yarn that was on hand, and whatever pattern I could find for free. I found these patterns that could work…

Stich A Yarntastic Life – Hood for tots
Just A Few Nuts – Little Pixie Hat
Ms. Crafty Galore – Pointy Ribbed Pixie Helmet Hat
Etsy Blog – Stella Pixie Hat
Fuzzy Galore – Pixie Ribbed Hat
but none of them were perfect, until I saw this hat! Womanpuli – Woodland Hat, and then realized that even though it was not a pattern, just a hat for sale, that with the beginner knitting that I just learned, I could do something very similar! That hat on the bear is my finished creation, not too shabby for my second knitting project, if I do say so myself!

After reviewing some of the above patterns, this is the pattern I concocted as I blithely stumbled along:
Cast on 90, Knit one row, Pearl one row, repeat for about 20 inches.
About 12 or 15 rows in I threw in a few messy decrease stiches, first time trying them. And then about two inches before the hat was done, I did a few increase stiches. Trying to make sure that it would peak in the back.
(Pic below shows what it will look like at this stage, just a big piece.)
Slip stich up the back on the inside with a crochet hook.
(Note on yarn, I LOVE the aqua yarn my sister sent me, and could not bear to let it all be used on dishcloths. So with the remaining Sugar N’ Cream aqua colored yarn I started the hat, and when I ran out, I switched to some white Sugar N’ Cream yarn that I’ve carried around since my teen years. I love how the soft medium thick yarn turned out with this make shift pattern! ♥ )

For the hanging ties:
Ch 50, tie off. (make 4), knot two chains together for the “ties” that hang down on each side, attach to hat.

for the little crocheted star/flower, I freehanded that, then counted stiches:
leave a long-ish tail, ch 3, join to form loop
*ch 3, slip st in 2nd chain and 3rd chain from loop, slip st in loop*
repeat from * to * 4 times
tie off in front of star, then use the hook to pull the knot through the center, to the back. Use the loose strings to tie to the hat.

Hope that all makes sense!

Just days after finishing the hat, I happened on this pattern, at A Crafter xD blog, that is perfect! I’ll definitely have to try making this hat sometime also!

Swift Last Minute Birthday Gift


My girls, with two introverted parents, rarely get to attend parties of any kind. I try to get them to school events with some regularity, but when it comes to say birthday parties in the homes of people I don’t know well… they are too stressful for me, and emotionally draining, so that happens never. Until yesterday. I actually attended a party. But to cut a very long story short, I didn’t remember that I was supposed to bring a gift, until the night before as I was falling asleep. The next morning I hastily did a quick google search for “crochet toy”, and located a great idea for a fairy wand. Two hours later, with my mini masterpiece complete and wrapped, we hurried out the door, and arrived at the party only fifteen minutes late! Whew! The six year old birthday girl seemed to love her new fairy wand, my girls had a fun time, and I survived through the social ordeal.

The idea for the fairy wand is located here: Tangled Happy – Wands

The pattern is here: Tangled Happy – Stars

See the website above for the star pattern, make two of them. Then, there were no instructions after creating the stars, so this is what I did to make the fairy wand:

For the stick part of the wand I crocheted:
Round 1: Ch 2, 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook
Round 2 – 6: *1 sc in each sc* repeat
Round 6 and up: ch about a 100 I think
Then I grabbed a pencil, stuffed the eraser into the little tight tube I’d crocheted, and did knitting “cast on” stiches to attach the crocheted chain to cover the pencil, make the cast on stiches really tight and close, so you can’t see the pencil at all.

To attach the stars to the wand, I crocheted:
– Ch 10, sc into the back of the 10 chain stiches
– slip st through both stars, slip st all the way around, connecting them together
-stuff a little yarn or stuffing into the stars before doing the last slip stiches
– after the last slip st, ch 15, sc into the back of the 15 chain stiches
– Finish off. Weave ends into the star, out of sight.
– shove the pencil point first into the star, pull the edges down over the ‘cast on’ stiches, to completely hide the fact you used a pencil instead of a dowel rod :)
– use the two ties you made at the base of the star to tie it onto the pencil, I think I tied it twice, making really tight knots.

I was working at a frantic speed, and making things up as I go along, above instructions are from my hazy memory of yesterday morning, so hopefully it all makes sense.

Happy Crocheting!

Crochet Hooks On The Go!

I’ve been using a random assortment of mismatched hooks all these years, but they’ve served me well, I’ve been wanting to take all of them with me on the train in case I need a different size hook, which has happened to me several times, and I didn’t want to use a plastic case, so I made the below travel pouch. I know there are tons of patterns out there for a hook holder, but I just freehanded my own on the way home, since I had yarn and hooks but no computer to look up a pattern. It turned out nice, so I counted my stiches to put together this quick pattern for you!

Hook Holder
Round 1: ch 46
Round 2: sc in 2nd ch from hook, and every ch til end
Round 3: ch 1, turn, 1 sc in every sc across til end
Round 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11: Repeat round 3
Round 12: fold lengthwise, not quite in half, slip st edges together all the way around including the bottom to strengthen it.
Compartments: if you want the pouch in have two sections for stability, use a smaller hook to weave a string through the middle of the pouch to separate it into the two sections.
Weave in ends, done!
Note: If you need a larger pouch, either don’t put in sections and/or continue repeating round three til you get a width you like.

Hope that makes sense! Happy crocheting!

Crocheted Fall Leaves

These tiny fall leaves are adorable! I Love this idea! And had to make some for autumn decoration this year! The idea and free pattern is found here, I highly encourage you to check it out and look at the step by step photos: Art Threads Blog

I got the instructions to fit on two pages so I could print it two sided and take it on the train with me. Download and print it here: Art Threads – Leaf Pattern

Based on a printed color copy of the instructions, I located the closest fall colors that I could:
DMC Embroidery Floss Colors
DMC# 349 Dark Coral
DMC# 580 Dark Moss Green
DMC# 730 Very Dark Olive Green
DMC# 817 Very Dark Coral Red
DMC# 900 Burnt Orange
DMC# 946 Medium Burnt Orange
DMC# 976 Medium Golden Brown
DMC# 3852 Very Dark Straw

They turned out great, and look awesome scattered on my kitchen table, just like a friendly breeze blew them in for me :)

THE PATTERN

Crocheted Fall Leaves

Materials:

*embroidery floss – one skein will make one leaf with a little left over

*size 4 crochet hook

  1. Chain 16. In the second chain from the hook, single crochet.  Single crochet all the way down to the end.  Do not turn around – you’ll be going up the opposite side of the chain.  Chain 2 and single crochet in the same chain you made your last single crochet in.  So now, the last chain should have 1 sc, 2 ch, 1 sc.  Continue working single crochet up the opposite side of the chain until you are three chains from the top.  Stop here.  The remaining chains will form the top point of your leaf.
  2. Chain 2. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and in each single crochet back down in the direction the arrow is pointing, until you get to the chain 2 space.  Single crochet in the chain 2 space.  Chain 2.  Continue single crochet until you are 3 spaces from the top.
  3. Your leaf should look like this. Chain 2.  Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and in each single crochet back down in the direction the arrow is pointing, until you reach the chain 2 space.  Single crochet in the chain 2 space.  Continue single crochet until you are 4 spaces from your last leaf point.
  4. Now your leaf will look like this. Chain 2.  Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and continue single crochets in the direction the arrow is pointing, again stopping at the chain 2 space.  Single crochet in the chain 2 space.  Continue single crocheting until you are 4 spaces from your last leaf point.
  5. This will give you a top leaf point and two lower leaf points on each side. Continue working in the same way until you have 4 lower leaf points on each side.  After making your last leaf point, continue single crochet to the chain 2 space.  Single crochet in this space.
  6. To make the stem, chain 6. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and in the rest of the chains in the direction of the arrow.  Single crochet onto the body of the leaf.
  7. Slip stitch in the next space. This is the one I’ve put a black dot on.  Fasten thread off.
  8. Here is a completed leaf. They roll up a bit – you can steam iron or block them if you’d rather have them be flat.
  9. With leftover thread from one of the other leaves you make, sew a running stitch up the center of the leaf for a vein.

Happy Birthday to Me.

Today is my birthday, I’m still in my late 20’s, and the birthday gifts I’m receiving this year are the only ones I want; to spend time with people I love. I already had my official ‘party’ when my brother came for a visit last week, and of course the only reason to have an official party is eat birthday cake, YUM!

The gift I’m giving myself is one that I’ve been working on for a while. To let me be myself. To stop trying to fit in to the society around me, and just be me. There are many things I’m changing about myself, or my lifestyle, or my family, and over the last year, through reading books and blogs of other urban homesteaders, it’s nice to realize there are many people who, like me, are trying to simplify their life and reconnect with nature. I’ve gained many insights and ideas, one of which is going barefoot. When I first read about ‘going barefoot’, I of course loved the idea, having gone barefoot around the house all my life, but this was different, this was going barefoot Everywhere. I was shy about it at first, but now, as weather allows, I am almost constantly barefoot… at home, on the way to work, on the train, at work, on the way home, on the bus, on the way to stores, on our family evening walks. It took a while to build up the endurance of my soft feet, but it was worth it. Barefeet is only one way that I’m breaking out of the mold of this culture of consumers, but it’s the most visible one. I continue to learn and grow, challenging the ideas that we were raised with, something I hope that we can all do, turning away from the culture of big business and turning toward the values of a humbler and greener society.

While on this note of barefoot, I made these barefoot ‘sandals’ from a free pattern I saw here: Bohemian Barefoot Sandals . For the girls’ I didn’t crochet the last row, shortened the ties for their shorter legs, and free handed a crocheted flower to attach to the toe loop. We love our fun and fancy free non-shoes!

From the Expression Fiber Arts website:
Bohemian Barefoot Sandals – Free Crochet Pattern
Yarn: Basic cream worsted weight cotton (didn’t have the brand name, it was just a cone of yarn and it only takes a wee bit. Not very many yards at all.)
Hook: H/8 – 5.00mm
-Ch 11, join with a sl st in the first ch to form a ring.
-Ch 4, 2 dc in 3rd chain from hook. Turn.
-Ch 2. Dc in same st as the ch 2 is coming from and in each dc across. Dc in ch 2 from previous round. So you’ve just increased 1 st. Turn.
-Repeat that last row 3 x more for a small woman’s foot. Repeat as many times as needed for a larger foot, until it nearly reaches the ankle.
-Ch 100. Tie off.
-Attach yarn to other point of triangle and chain 100.
-Weave in all ends. Wrap around foot and enjoy looking earthy and chic!
Make a second one. Or you can run around with only one foot adorned. HE HE! It’s up to you. Matters not to me!

My Favorite, And My Best

I enjoy crafting and know the basics of many crafts, however my skills surround these three abilities:

Embroidery
Embroidering with my sisters is own of my earliest, and happiest, memories. I most enjoying making quilt blocks, kitchen towels, etc with outline and satin embroidery, I enjoy this type of embroidery the most because it gives me more creative freedom with scrapbooking my own patterns.

Custom Crib Set

Custom Crib Set

Crocheted Hat

Crocheted Toddler Hat

Crochet
I started crocheting when I was eleven, my grandma taught me how to chain, how to single and double crochet, then she taught me how to follow a pattern and let me loose from there! I’ve been avidly crocheting ever since! ♥

Sewing
My mother taught me to sew when I was nine, I joined in her humanitarian aid efforts by sewing together quilt tops, which were put together with the backing by more accomplished seamstresses for the homeless. I really enjoyed sewing, which was surprising because for the most part I was terrible at it. I gave up in my teens to purse hand sewing, so imagine my surprise when I bought a sewing machine last year to try again and was actually really good at sewing! All those early lessons came rushing back and were joined with the patience I’ve learned over the years through motherhood. Now I’ve been trying to find anything and everything to sew!

Cheap Solution with Crochet

Our new bathroom door has no lock. I considered buying and decorating one of those wooden door hangers from the craft store, but why buy what you can make? ;)

I free handed this door hanger yesterday, it fits nicely over the handle, and works perfect! So I counted my stiches to put together this quick pattern for you!

Door Hanger
Round 1: with first color, ch 24, join to form a ring
Round 2: *ch 5, count two ch, join on second ch* repeat around from *, then slip st in first ch
Round 3: with second color, ch 1 in loop to join, *8 sc in loop* repeat around from *, then slip st in first ch
Weave in ends, done!

Hope that makes sense! This is not the first time I’ve made my own pattern, but it is the first time that I’ve shared a pattern with someone else, let me know if doesn’t work and I’ll try to adjust my wording! Happy crocheting!

The Fairy Princess Explorer

I saw a free crochet pattern for a crown (found here: Kid’s Crown Pattern), so I took some purple and pink yarn with me on the train, and followed the toddler size pattern, with a slightly larger hook, to make crowns for my girls.

The Pink Crown I Made for Meg

My 7-year-old liked it, but doesn’t play with it nearly as much as Kay. The newly crowned five year old, wearing her purple cat shirt, donned her purple crown, shrugged into her purple wings, draped on her purple necklace, then grabbed goggles AND a magnifying glass to do some exploring. My hubby almost got a candid pic of her closely examining every toy in the playroom, but she looked up at the last moment…

Kay, My Little Fairy Princess Explorer

Preserving Nearly Extinct Knowledge

I met a lovely women on the train this morning and we were taking about teaching children how to sew and crochet, or do crafts, as an agreeable way to get through summer boredom. I approve, I wish more people had the same outlook. Sewing and crafting has become almost a lost art, and it makes me want to cry, it’s making a comeback with all the back-to-the-landers who are trying to learn every bit of lost knowledge, and with people who are nostalgic about their grandparents, but for the most part people are moving forward with technology at an alarming rate. Don’t get me wrong, I love crafting and I love technology too, but I still think the two can and should coexist. For example, I find a lot of my patterns online, and scrapbook them into perfect size and look. It’s hard finding people who are interested in learning these vanishing arts, however, think of all the eager young minds who will be bored to death this summer, and how excited they would be to learn something new! If you know any kids, take a moment to teach them a craft, or learn one with them! And on that note, I thought today I’d post just a few tips that are often not mentioned in how-to books.

I’d like to first say that I started learning how to embroidery when I was five years old. I remember that I had to have someone thread my needle and make the knots, but I was sewing! And proud of it! I wanted to create the same feeling of knowledge and accomplishment in my own daughters, so I started teaching Meg to embroidery when she was six, I did all the thread and knots, and let her focus on learning to stitch. Also, just the other day started her learning to make crochet chains, the first step into learning that wonderful craft. Kaylee, not to be left behind, demanded to be taught how to sew as soon as she turned five. Here is a pic of her a couple weeks ago finally getting to embroidery!

Kay working on her first embroidery project


A few quick overlooked tips for teaching youngsters, or anyone, how to craft:
♥ Stay excited about the project, excitement is catching.
♥ Baby steps – don’t try too much at once, and take breaks.
♥ Make sure you have all the tools first, no sense it ratcheting up excitement over a new project, only to discover that you don’t have tapestry needles and JoAnn’s is closed for the night, oh the whining and lamentations….
♥ For Crochet: start by having your student learn to chain, the chains don’t have to be perfect, because it’s not about learning chains, it’s about learning how to hold the yarn and hook properly. My grandma forced me make chains for months before she’d continue my lessons.
♥ For Embroidery: start with short stiches, a small pattern such as this is perfect: Kitten

Because I taught Meg how to digitally scrapbook long before I taught her how to sew, she not only embroidered every stitch of her first project, but with only a little help she designed it using Photoshop. Her first creation:

Meg’s first pattern


As a quiet dark evening falls over our tiny corner of Hillsboro, I pull out my sewing and the girls ecstatically gallop off to get their own projects to ‘sew with mom’, like mother like daughter, my seven year old meg has three different projects that she is working on at the moment. And I hope she continues to carry on the knowledge of sewing and passes it on to the next generation.