Lulu the Unicorn: Raising Funds for Lupus Foundation!

Guys, I am so excited to share this finished creation and post with you!

A friend of mine is the President of the Lupus Foundation-Heartland Chapter in St. Louis, MO. Although I live 2.5 hours away, I do what I can to donate time and resources to this not-for-profit. Lupus is still undergoing research into how it operates, which means it’s more difficult to get a diagnosis, and treatment for the disease is challenging. Because it’s so “mysterious,” it doesn’t get the same kinds of attention that other illnesses do, such as breast cancer.

The types of services Lupus Foundation provides include support groups, camp for teenagers, and countless others to those of all ages.

The Heartland Chapter serves a large corner of the Midwest. As it goes with all not-for-profits, they have various fundraisers throughout the year. Their big event is The Purple Ball.

This year’s Purple Ball is at The Four Seasons on Saturday, April 7, 2018. It is a really fun affair; my husband and I were able to attend last year. We aren’t able to go this year so instead, I was asked to create something as an auction item.

I thought the unicorn pattern from My Krissie Dolls would be the perfect thing to be creative with, particularly if I made the unicorn with shades of purple for the mane and tail.

I gave myself plenty of time to make the doll (especially because you can’t rush a good mane) and honestly, it came out exactly as I’d hoped. I think she’s a stunner! She is a very large doll, too, at 18″ tall.

Currently, there is a post on the zavvy creations Facebook page with a “Donate now” button and the event information. If you are in the St. Louis metro area and want to inquire about attending the event OR if you would simply like to give to a terrific cause (with a small but mighty team of people who work for Lupus Foundation-Heartland Chapter), hit up that post or this link for more information and/or to donate on their website instead of through Facebook.

Every little bit counts, so if you are able to give even the smallest of donations, it means the world to me and to those who will be able to benefit from the services this organization provides.

Lulu 3

Lulu 1

Lulu 2

Lulu 4

If nothing else, happy Spring and pastel season! Bunnies and eggs and chocolate, oh my!

Update as of April 18, 2018: Lulu and the rest of the auction items helped the Purple Ball raise a significant chunk of change to make it an incredibly successful event! Thrilled for my friend and the organization. 

Completed: Sepp the Seahorse Doll from Lalylala

Hi, friends.

I believe a little while ago I mentioned that I had finally completed the seahorse doll (pattern from Lalylala), which took me the better part of two years to make, but only because I put him down for long periods of time.

At last, I processed a few of the photos I managed to get before I shipped off the doll(s) to their new home. I didn’t get any really terrific shots with my nice camera because I was under deadline to finish it as a gift for a new baby back in January.

I heard that the family did love the seahorses, as their theme for their baby son’s nursery was the ocean.

Success!

A relative had given me a bunch of shiny Bernat baby yarn a few years back and when the seahorse project came up, I decided I would use it to create a shimmery look. It worked out very well for this purpose, but because the yarn is thin and crinkly, there were times I almost gave up making the doll with this yarn.

On top of the difficulty of working with the yarn is the fact that Lalylala designs her patterns with tons of details for the maker. I would think I was nearing the end and I realized I had to do the fins and details for the body. Those took me much longer than I anticipated because doing surface slip stitch with teeny thin yarn that splits easily is not exactly fun.

Regardless, I plowed through, and I am really pleased with the overall result. If you’re on Ravelry, you can see the project details here. Despite using much finer yarn, this doll was huge at 14″ tall.

I think I could do another one of these dolls but probably not as a custom order, since it’s difficult to predict how long it will take me to finish it. But I could see myself making another and listing it in the shop someday.

Here are the photos! Whee!

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Geoffrey Giraffe, Because Cutesy Alliteration

I’m skipping ahead to show one of my recently finished creations, because I haven’t yet processed all the photos from my finished Lalylala seahorse doll, first mentioned way back in this post.

(But let me just put in a parenthetical, “Whoopee!” for that thing being finished.)

It had been a while since I had an occasion to make a giraffe — I think it had been over a year when I made this one and had it delivered early (on Valentine’s Day, no less!) to an Etsy customer.

This giraffe pattern is from Little Muggles, one of the earliest designers of amigurumi I found when I first delved into this animal-making journey. I have purchased a plethora of her patterns, and she frequently has at least one new pattern in the Zoomigurumi books. Come to think of it, the next Zoomigurumi book that is coming out will be featuring a mallard pattern from Little Muggles that I have been dying to make when she debuted it on Facebook.

All that is to say, her giraffe pattern is a stellar one, and I have enjoyed making the few I that I have. Usually I stick with the bright yellow version, as pictured below, though I have made alternate colors previously.

For the most recent one, I decided to mix things up with the colors of the horns and spots being different than the color of the hooves, and I think it was a successful choice.

Without further ado, here is my version of Stanley the Giraffe, whom I’ve dubbed Geoffrey, simply because I like alliteration.

❤ ❤ ❤

Geoffrey 1Geoffrey 2Geoffrey 3

 

 

Handsome Fancy Goldfish

For one our Christmas exchanges, I made our nephew a fancy goldfish. He has an aquarium and just loves his fish but it’s a bit hard to cuddle them when you can’t take them out of the water.

I went with the standard orange color for my goldfish, and using a pattern I found on Ravelry from Kate Wood, I went to work. (By the way, have I mentioned this pattern is free?)

I used Knit Picks Brava Worsted yarn in Orange and clear eyes I happened to have in my eyes stash (that thought made me laugh). Although the tail/fins get a bit tedious, it’s worth it in the end for the overall look. I did make two tail fins, as suggested by the pattern designer, and she was right that it gives a fuller look, while also supporting the fish.

You can see a couple of the in-progress photos in my goldfish project on Ravelry — but here is the final little guy below. I was extremely careful in placing the side fins, so as to keep them symmetrical with the eyes. The clear eyes really give the fish a more authentic feel, I think.

Isn’t he so handsome? You just want to pick him up and snuggle him, which was the whole point. He was a hit and it made me really happy to be able to do that for our sweet nephew.

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You could make these in just about any color under the sun and the project page shows a few in different stripey versions, too. I think I will definitely be making more of these.

If you have made any or try this pattern based on my endorsement, I’d love to hear how it goes!

The Cuddliest Snowman

Well, folks, we’re getting down to the last week of 2017! (Hurrah!)

While I usually mourn how quickly a year has gone by, this one I am ready to bid adieu so I can say, “Hello, 2018!”

I am still working on a project here and there, and it’s possible I’ll finish up one or both before 2017 gasps its last breath, but my most recent finished project is too cute not to share and celebrate.

The pattern is from The Crafty Fox Crochet. I saw this snowman in my Instagram feed a lot in the last month; it was a really popular creation amongst crocheters this year. I decided to try my hand at it and I really liked making my inaugural cuddly snowman!

The color options are endless for the scarf, hat, and pom-pom, though I find poms are more of a yarn commitment, since it takes so much to make one. My first one fell apart and I was very squinty about the waste of yarn before I finally got the second one to work (pictured).

I ended up using this snowman as a giveaway gift in a white elephant holiday game, but I think in the future, I’ll reserve making them for those who really treasure these kinds of gifts.

I hope your holiday season is going well, friends. Happy jolly merry holi-daze!

 

Diving Further into Lalylala-land

Hello, friends.

My regular work life amped up in the past month, plus we got to Thanksgiving and the beginning of the mega holiday shopping season.

It’s the cray….craziest time….of the year!

Since finishing the Tunisian triangles pillow, I have zipped out an Etsy order here and there, but I’ve also been doubling down on personal projects, seeing things through to completion. I can say after four full years of crocheting, that my speed at making certain things has increased, which is a nice little perk. What used to take me 8-10 hours has decreased by an hour or two, at least.

I also haven’t taken on any very large projects with a deadline like Christmas looming. I’m not currently working on any blankets or any projects that are overly complex, and that helps keep my stress levels down.

But what I have been able to accomplish is a complete trio of amigurumi from one of Lalylala’s 3-in-1 pattern sets — the winter bunch.

In it are patterns for a snowman, a reindeer, and a pine cone (aptly named Woody). I have a real thing for pine cones; in fact, my wedding favors were fire starters, which were pine cones dipped in wax. We had to warn people not to just light them as candles or they’d be in for a surprise.

As you can imagine, I was very excited to try my hand at these. The snowman I whipped up pretty quickly; the time-consuming factor was the hat. For my dolls, I used KnitPicks Brava worsted yarn, with the exception of using a color of Vanna’s Choice for the hat of the snowman, because it’s stiffer. I used a smaller hook so it would properly fit Mr. Snowman’s head.

I also had to make my own carrot nose, because the one I got from the pattern was too small and/or I was unable to make it work. I used some powdered blush on a Q-tip to give him his flushed pink cheeks. Such a cute touch!

I next tackled Woody the pine cone, and I am glad I wasn’t on a deadline for him, because the “leaves” added an extra complicated step that I hadn’t anticipated. Working on him upside down to create all the stitches for a singular “leaf” took far more time than working with a flat piece that hasn’t been stuffed yet. Nevertheless, despite the couple of extra nights I spent on it, I am really pleased with the overall look in the end. Someday, I’m going to do the silver-colored one. It’s just so wintery and festive!

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Lastly, I plowed ahead to do the reindeer. I have trouble finding safety eyes in sizes between 6mm and 10mm — so either my eyes are too small or too big. I ended up going for too small for the reindeer, and so my doll looks a tad squinty. Nevertheless, he came out a handsome little guy, and I’m just proud of myself for doing all three from the collection.

This isn’t my very first foray into Lalylala dolls. I started a Sepp the Seahorse doll (which I have probably mentioned somewhere on here) about two years ago, and I finally have a reason to finish him, since he’ll be a gift to someone who has a “sea” theme for their nursery. I’m happy to have a motivating reason to finish him, since he’s been sitting on top of my storage cubbies for far too long. Of course, there was the sailboat that I made over the summer.

If I can keep up my mojo, I might be able to tackle one or two of the Christmas patterns yet, where she has a tree, a candle, and an angel. As of this moment, I have three Etsy orders to fulfill for made-to-order items, so my personal plans may go to the back burner for a bit.

Below are some photos of the finished bunch. They would really brighten up a mantel or other holiday display quite nicely, don’t you think?

What are you working on this holiday season?

Finished! Colorful Tunisian Triangles Pillow Cover

It took me a little while to do both halves of the aforementioned triangles pillow cover, but I did it! Part of the “finishing” is knotting all of the ends, weaving in others, and making sure the ends aren’t going to get loose. I had some time on my hands the other night while waiting for a family member to arrive, and after a couple of hours, the whole thing was done!

I did not do the crab stitch as suggested by the pattern; I merely crocheted the two sides together with one round of single crochet in the bright blue color and left it at that. My measurements for achieving gauge turned out to be pretty accurate, as the pillow cover wasn’t too big nor too short, but just short enough to allow the pillow to look plump within the cover.

It’s a 16″ x 16″ pillow and I used a 4mm hook.

Here’s the final photo:

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Although my fingers got a little numb after tying a ton of knots with the yarn ends, I really loved the texture and feel of working with Paintbox Yarns DK. I definitely recommend.

To read the original post in its entirety, the full text is below.

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I have wanted to dip my toe into the graphghan game for a while now. If you don’t know what that is, check out this image search for Tunisian graphghans. Some of them are completely mind-blowing.

Essentially, each Tunisian simple stitch creates a square-like stitch that is denser than a standard crochet stitch, which makes it easy to plot “graphs” of more complicated images into a blanket. Some people do opt to make these projects with single crochet stitches, which works fine and I have seen some stellar work with single crochet, but in my opinion, color changes are much easier in Tunisian crochet. It has to do with being able to simply “loop on” your new color and move on. Other designers have also used the box stitch to create graphghans in the C2C (corner-to-corner) method — see Repeat Crafter Me, who has really perfected this technique.

What stopped me from attempting a graphghan was using 50-100 bobbins for a project right off, so I thought I’d get my start with a smaller project that still involved enough color changes to make it interesting and challenging. (Also, learning to use bobbins.)

Enter Poppy and Bliss! This designer is similar to Felted Button with her use of color. She definitely knows her way around Tunisian crochet and has created some beautiful designs. I purchased the Tunisian triangles pillow cover pattern ten months ago and promptly bought the yarn I would need, and that yarn has sat in my yarn cart for the better part of a year. Here’s how far I got: I wound four bobbins of the eight colors.

(By the way, in case anybody is wondering, I opted to use Paintbox yarn (acrylic) in the DK weight, which can be purchased from Love Crochet. This acrylic yarn is made in Turkey and despite it being DK with a yarn weight of 3, it is very fluffy and soft with a gorgeous array of colors. I was very pleased with being able to match up the colors quite nicely for the bright pastel version of the pillow. I would say my only gripe is that instead of the name of the color, they print the number of the color on the label.)

In addition to being a smaller and more manageable project, the pillow cover also means I don’t have to weave in the ends from the color changes. I took the designer’s advice and have knotted them together along the way so the color changes don’t create any loose or holey stitches, but otherwise, I have found this pattern to be relatively easy. She gives instructions on the color changes and how to read the chart.

If reading a chart intimidates you, trust me, I have been there. This is also an easy enough “advanced beginner” pattern that allows you to get comfortable with reading a chart without being overly confusing. It is not the same as reading a fair isle chart, which is something I’m working on learning.

I will caution anyone who wants to try this pattern that you will need to know a few basics about Tunisian crochet and having practiced those techniques on easier patterns will benefit you. For example, creating a selvedge, the return pass, tension, etc.

The most tedious and/or difficult aspects to the entire project thus far have been swatching and finding the right gauge to fit my 16″x16″ pillow, winding the bobbins, and getting started with all the color changes from the chain/foundation row. Once you get all of the colors onto your hook, off you go! (More details on this project can be found on my Ravelry projects page, but I am having to use a 4mm hook to get the right gauge vs. the 6mm hook the pattern calls for.)

One other difference for me with this project is that I am making two sides of the pillow with the pattern; I am not creating just one side and sewing it to fabric on the other side. It may seem daunting to do two, but I’m already 1/3 of the way through after only spending two nights on it in my free time.

I will post again when I’ve finished the project and will continue to put up photos as I go along — places to find me on social are below!

😀

 

 

All I Want for Christmas is to Make a Wreath

All I want for Christmas is to make a wreath
to make a wreath
see to make a wreath
Gee, if I could only make a Christmas wreath
Then I could show you my amazingly crafty crochet skills on my front door for Christmas!

Or something like that. It’s a simple request, really.

I went down a pretty wild rabbit hole over the weekend, trying to find the “perfect” crochet Christmas wreath pattern.

I did find two that I really liked for the base of the wreath, since I want to do twisted colors instead of just simple color blocks.

Example:

Crochet Wreath 1

Courtesy of Craftsy

I have a creative brain but I don’t have an engineering brain, so reverse engineering this just makes my brain go to mush. I’m sure there is a very simple way to make the stripes twist, but I just can’t figure out how to get there. (If anyone has any tips for this, please share!) This was a pattern kit from Craftsy, and is no longer available and is available once again.

I sent a message to the designer of the pattern, hoping to find out if she has the pattern for sale somewhere, but haven’t heard anything back yet it seems the pattern only comes with the kit and not as a standalone. I love this concept and think it would be super pretty with red, green, and possibly white. Or red, green, and a hint of gold.

Another example of the twistedness that I liked was this one:

Courtesy of ilikecrochet.com

Unfortunately, THIS pattern is only available through a crochet magazine and you have to pay for a subscription, so there is no direct access to it otherwise.

AHHHH! I just want to get cracking on a wreath already!

If you are on Ravelry and want to take a gander at the vast number of wreaths available to make (and this is just crochet), check out the search results here.

I’ll keep you few readers posted if I succeed at this project. I have had a styrofoam base sitting in my craft room, just waiting to be used for decorative purposes….

To be continued….

Update as of November 28: I don’t think the wreath is happening this year.

Hexagonal Crochet Trivet

I’ve highlighted the book Crochet One-Skein Wonders in previous posts, this being one of them, and when I got the urge to make a new kitchen accessory the other day, the book didn’t fail me.

I have wanted to make this hexagonal trivet (called “Golden Ray of Sunshine Trivet,” which you can find on Ravelry) since I first saw the pattern, but I was too new to crochet at the time, and wasn’t at all experienced at working with crochet thread.

If I hadn’t tried my hand at cupcakes, which require thread and smaller steel hooks to make the “wrappers,” I don’t know if I would have had any of the supplies on hand.

But I did — so I went for it! I was extremely pleasantly surprised at how much easier this was to do than I thought it would be. As long as you have a decent 1.5mm hook, it’ll work just fine with the number 10 crochet thread, which is super itty bitty thin.

Whale Buddy & Cupcake Amigurumi

Crochet Cupcake with Thread “Wrapper”

I worked up both halves of the trivet in one afternoon/evening, and then finished the project the next night.

I’m really happy with it and hope it will work out as well as the much plainer and thicker cotton trivet I made years ago but is still going strong. Plus, it’s so pretty! I think it could be just as stunning in one color, perhaps even better looking without the colors to distract from the stitches, but I was happy with how this turned out.

I didn’t have to spend any money and it’ll provide some usefulness and a pop of color. Win win!

Crochet Hexagonal Trivet