FO: Wark!

Several years ago, I made some cactuar plushes as Christmas gifts for my brother-in-laws. They were a huge success so I wanted to add on to their growing plush collection this year with another set of iconic Final Fantasy creatures: chocobo!

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Aren’t they so adorable!? They were a little harder to make than I thought they would be, but I’m very satisfied with the finished product. I’m already planning on making a couple for me and T after my fingers recover. (The head feathers were so tiny, I could barely hold them when I was crocheting them. It was actually kind of painful!)

One of the reasons I’m so glad (and relieved) that they came out so well is because I had an accident while making them. I had thought that the pattern called for worsted weight yarn, but it was fingering weight! (Oops!) Since I only had worsted weight to work with, I just went ahead with the pattern. It was too late at that point to buy different yarn or find another project. (I seriously finished these little guys the day before I gifted them. It was a close call!)IMG_3262-1

When I did gift them, they were a huge hit! The recipients seemed super pleased and even took all the family Christmas photos with their chocobo. I was really excited to see how much they liked them.

If you’re interested in crocheting one these cuties, the pattern is Small Chocobo by Joey Kuan on Ravelry. I just used a bunch of yarn that I had sitting in my stash; a combination of Caron Simply Soft in Pumpkin, Sunshine, and White and Red Heart Super Saver in Cafe Latte. Even though the pattern calls for safety eyes, I couldn’t find any in time to attach them so I used bits of black yarn instead.

 

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FO: Cutest jellyfish in the world

My project page on Ravelry just hit 50 unique projects! It’s so cool to be able to look back at everything I’ve made, from practical wool scarves and hats to cute plushes and cozies. Many of these items were made as gifts, but as I browsed through some of my past projects I realized that I hadn’t made anything for my sister yet!

January is her birthday month so I finally took the opportunity to make her a little something. She loves jellyfish and the color purple so I knew this would be the perfect gift.

Behold! The cutest jellyfish in the world!

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It only took me two evenings of crocheting to complete this project. I binge watched the first season of Sherlock as I worked, and the time flew right by. I really enjoyed working up this little guy. He is so adorable, I think I need one for myself. Just look at that little face!

If you are interested in crocheting one of these cuties for yourself, the pattern is Friendly Jellyfish by ChiWei Ranck. I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton in Amethyst and Rosey II. One skein of each was enough to finish with some left over. Thinking about making some washcloths with the remains. I could always use more washcloths…

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For the features, I used a pair of 9mm safety eyes, as the pattern called for them, and a bit of left over black fingering weight yarn for the mouth.

It took quite a bit of hunting before I found the 9mm eyes, so I’ll save you some time; Michael’s doesn’t carry them at all, but you can find them at Joann or Hobby Lobby in the aisle with the dolls and doll clothing. Or you can order them online, if neither of these stores are available to you.

Broken computer + FOs

You know those days where it feels like nothing goes according to plan? I’ve had a string of days like that for the past couple months. After my last post, I got to work on some blog-related things that I had pushed to the side, and I was really excited to start blogging regularly again. However, the universe decided to give me and my enthusiasm a swift kick in the ribs in the form of my PC failing. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to stay on for longer than a few seconds; not even enough time to get to the BIOS menu!

Fortunately, I’ve since figured out what was wrong and fixed it. After waiting over a month on a warranty claim for the wrong part. And replacing another part that wasn’t broken. And then finding out it was a part that I had a replacement for all along. Computers are complicated… (Turned out the pump in my water cooler failed, by the way.)

The good news is I’m back and hoping to catch up with my blog, assuming everything plays out as planned. (Cautiously optimistic…)

With that said, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been working on these past couple months. Firstly, I’ve been writing a new pattern and prepping one for posting that I wrote ages ago. I won’t reveal what they are just yet, but I’m very excited to finally share them.

I’ve also been practicing handspinning with my DIY drop spindle. My first time spinning was a blobby mess, which disheartened me a little. I ended up shoving my spindle and roving into the back of my closet and forgetting about it for a few months. I pulled it out again a couple weeks ago, determined to make some progress. I’m now able to spin rather fine singles that I’m going to be plying into a finished yarn. Hoping to have a post out about that soon!

Last but not least, I have some FOs to share! Excuse the bad quality of these pictures. I had to use my phone to take them before gifting since I couldn’t use my PC to get the pictures off my Canon.

20170501_174308-01 Years and years ago, I bought a crochet water bottle cozy from a lady at a local craft festival. My dad has said ever since that he wished he had one, so I went ahead and made one for him!

This pattern is simply called Water Bottle Cozy, and it’s free on Ravelry. The original pattern had a pretty small strap on it, so I altered it just a bit so that it was longer to accommodate my dad’s larger build and wider so that it wouldn’t stretch out of shape like my old one did.

I just used plain ol’ Red Heart (in Light Sage) for this, as I had a ton of it just sitting in my stash. I don’t know where it came from, but I had like 3 skeins worth of it… Yup.

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And I finally worked up a crochet version of the famous Jayne Cobb hat! This one was for my dad for Father’s Day. I’ve wanted to knit myself one of these for ages and ages though! I opted for the crochet version because I started it at the last minute and needed something that would work up fast. I’m definitely going to get some yarn in the correct colors and properly knit one up for me. I need one.

I found this Jayne Cobb Hat crochet pattern for free on Ravelry. The lady who wrote it also has a knitted pattern available. I made this one using Red Heart again (Light Sage and Cafe, I think?) and decided to use the green and brown because my dad told me he prefers earthy colors.

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This last one, I’ve made once before for someone else. I finally got around to making one for me, just in time for me to read Harry Potter again.

I actually made two in an effort to use up the last of that awful cro-sheen yarn I bought just for this project. I gifted the second one, but haven’t yet heard how the recipient liked it.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry for free. I used one ball each of J&P Coats Metallic Knit-Cro-Sheen in white/silver and gold/gold. It’s difficult to spot in the pictures, but there’s a strand of metallic stuff twisted with the yarn. It gives it a really cool look, but that stuff was a nightmare to crochet with. I kept splitting the metallic part from the yarn by accident or unwinding it somehow. Ugh.

I have a couple WIPs I’m working on right now, but I’m going to wait until next time to share those~

I love duplicate stitch!

I’ve dabbled in colorwork a little bit in the past, knitting up little swatches of fair isle or striping, but I’ve never attempted to incorporate colorwork into a project. Colorwork kind of terrifies me, to be honest. I’m afraid to ruin a perfectly good project and hours of labor because I’ve made it halfway through a project only to realize that I miscounted my rows or stitches, my design is off, or some other knitting mishap like that. I know it’s silly to think that way because I’ll never make progress if I don’t try. Which is why I’ve decided stick my toes in the water and see how it feels.

In my last post, I showed off my first attempts at colorwork with my striped beanie and my Overwatch hat. And now I regret being afraid of colorwork all this time! It was much simpler than I first thought it would be, and there weren’t any major hiccups. Of course, I wasn’t doing anything super advanced, but still, through this experience, I think I’ve overcome my aversion.

Also, I’ve completely fallen in love with duplicate stitch! For those of you that aren’t familiar with the technique, it’s when you take a tapestry needle and make copies of (or duplicate) your knit stitches on top of your work using different colored yarn to make a design. It’s much simpler than intarsia or fair isle because you knit the item using just one color all the way through, then you come in later and add the design.

I’ve had a ton of fun coming up with ideas for designs, and the Overwatch hat was so popular that I got a request for a custom piece! I probably won’t do any more pieces like this because it’s just too time consuming, especially considering some of the other things going on in my life right now. But it came out great so I wanted to post it!

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The recipient chose the colors and told me the designs they wanted so I did the best I could. They seemed super pleased with the work.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this post is this: if you’ve never tried duplicate stitch before, you really ought to give it a shot. It’s amazing and the amount of things you can do with it is literally endless.

For anyone who wants to try it, you can find a great video tutorial by Knit Purl Hunter here.

Christmas 2016

Even though I told myself that I wouldn’t make handmade Christmas gifts this year, I ended up making some anyway. As before, I wanted to share them here since I’m really happy with how they came out.

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First, I made several bath poufs for my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. I packaged them with some facial masks, bubble bath, and bath salts. Unfortunately, the bath pouf in the picture isn’t one of the ones I gifted. I didn’t have time to take pictures of them. It’s the same pattern though!

I kind of hate those plastic bath poufs that you buy at the store. It’s almost impossible to clean and rinse them out completely. Once they mold and start to smell, there’s nothing you can do except throw them away. (And they don’t even clean that well!)

These cotton poufs are awesome though! The texture of the yarn scrubs really well and leaves you feeling super clean. Once you’ve used it, you can just throw it into the wash and they’re clean and ready to go next time.

I guess the argument could be made that you could just make regular washcloths, but bath poufs are so fun! I had to make at least one. (But I really made four.)

The pattern is just called “Bath Pouf“, and I used one skein of cotton yarn for each pouf.

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I’ve been really keen to write a few hat patterns lately, so I decided to make some hats to become more familiar with their construction. This particular hat has been in my library on Ravelry for a while now. I can’t believe I’m just now getting around to it!

One of the coolest things about this pattern is the neat little pin-striping effect you get. I love finding new techniques for unique designs so I think I’ll be trying this on other projects!

The pattern is All Grown Up Striped Slouch hat.

I crocheted it with Caron Simply Soft and Lion Brand Heartland. The colors matched so well, and I feel like the difference in the fiber really added some interest!

Last but not least, my colorwork debut!

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My brother-in-law loves the game Overwatch so I knew exactly what to make for him for Christmas! And he loved it, yay! I know he loved it because he wore it out in public… I know, right!?

Clearly, this is my most successful gift to date!

The body of the hat was made using the pattern Siksak, but I made the design myself and stitched it on using duplicate stitch. It was my first time ever trying duplicate stitch, but I’m in love with it. I never want to knit anything plain ever again!

I used Caron Simply Soft for the whole thing. It came out so fluffy and warm!

All in all, everyone seemed pleased with their Christmas gifts. I was so relieved to see how well they were received.

So, friends, do you make gifts for Christmas? What do you think was the best and/or worst gift you ever gave? Looking forward to seeing your stories in the comments!