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.

Fancy Goldfish_zvc

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!

IMG_1981_zvc

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.

***

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!

😀

 

 

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

Who Doesn’t Love a Big Pink Bunny?

When I first started working with this custom order request, I honestly didn’t know how big the bunny would turn out in the end, just that it would be “twice the size” of the Big-Bottomed Bunny* I already have in my shop.

I worked with the pattern to double the number of rounds and stitches, carefully monitoring the shape as I went along. She ended up twice the height at a full 12″ tall, but I think she ended up more like 3X the width around — look at that big old bottom!

Although it took more yarn than I expected, I’m really happy with this beauty, and hope her new owner is, too. She’s soft and squishy, and just cute to look at. Her soft pink color gives any room a nice little pop.

*Pattern is not mine–it is from the book Crochet One-Skein Wonders, which is a fabulous book!

Up ‘Do

Recent Cutie Patooties

I have been on a bit of a tear lately finishing (and starting) various projects. I even started a knit dishcloth the other day, but it’s TBD on whether it’ll be a useful item or be wound back up into a yarn cake.

But here are a couple of recently finished (crocheted) items, both of which turned out SO well and are so freaking cute!

The first is a paper boat amigurumi from the talented designer Lalylala. The other is a standing bunny rabbit from the designer StufftheBody. Both can be found on Ravelry and Etsy.

The bunny I decided to list in the shop. I have plans for the paper boat, but likely I’ll make that a custom listing down the line.

Happy Fourth of July weekend, everybody!

❤ ❤

Blocked: Sunrise Knit-Alike Tunisian Scarf

This scarf took me three months to completely finish, including blocking. Scarves are one of those things that seem easy, and for the most part, they are. But when you get over halfway through and you just want to be finished already, getting to the end can seem like an eternity. Also, I’ve noticed this is more the case with Tunisian crochet scarfs than traditional crochet where you merely turn and keep going.

In any case, I was working a lot of hours between January and April, so it didn’t really take me three months as much as I had to put it down and motivate to pick it back up again on numerous occasions.

All that aside, I absolutely love the look of this scarf! The pattern is from bhooked. It may look intimidating, but it’s just two Tunisian stitches: the knit stitch and the cross stitch. I also followed her lead and did the same colorway as the designer did. I’m not usually a super bright colorway person, but there’s just something about those colors. I didn’t have a specific person in mind when I set out to make it, either — I just knew it needed to get made.

When I first began trying my hand at Tunisian crochet, I was unsure if I would get the hang of it. But I caught on pretty quickly, and like many others who have become addicted to it, it fulfills that yearning to create something denser and less loopy. I have dipped a toe — A TOE — in the learning-to-knit pool, and so far, it hasn’t taken. I’m going to keep at it but my hands just don’t want to cooperate with where I’m supposed to put my fingers to keep tension, the movements, etc. (I am working on learning Continental knitting, as it’s an easier transition from crochet and it is more efficient, which is right up my alley.) When I get frustrated at my clumsiness with knitting needles, I toss them aside and pick up my hooks again, feeling right at home.

I digress.

This scarf is super long, warm, cozy, and bright. It would make a wonderful autumn-into-winter scarf. Mine turned out pretty wide at 6-7″. I also used bhooked’s method for wet blocking. Blocking is a pain but it does work! My ends didn’t uncurl completely but it’s not terrible. It just gives the scarf that little extra handmade look.

For blocking, I used some rubber/foam interlocking mats, T-pins, and sprayed down the scarf with water from a spray bottle I had. I let it dry for a couple of days before unpinning, which was the most tedious part of the whole process.

I haven’t decided whether to list it in the shop or just keep it in my gifts pile. But I’m excited for the day to come when it goes to an ecstatic new owner!

Edit: added to the shop!

Back in the Saddle

That loud whooshing noise you hear is the dust being blown off the blog.

I know I only have a handful of people who read this wee craft blog, but regardless of time lapsed between posts, it still means a lot to me to be able to post projects and other goings-on related to this love of crochet.

I hold down a full-time job at an accounting firm, which means that the first four months of the year become increasingly stressful as each month passes, until there’s just work and sleep between April 1 and Tax Day (U.S.). With tax season now behind me for the remainder of 2017, I can resume my crafty passions on the side.

Rested and refreshed now, I have all of these ideas percolating for projects. I know I’m not alone in Potential Project Land, where your mind goes here and there and everywhere coming up with All the Things you could be making.

Things on my To Make list include:

  • A Tunisian crochet pillow cover; I’ve had the supplies sitting in my cart for a few months now. Yeesh.
  • Amigurumi patterns I haven’t tried yet; I just purchased a new bunny pattern and a new pig pattern. I also need to FINISH the one I started almost a year ago now (a seahorse from Lalylala) — it needs details on the head and body, the arms sewn on, and the baby seahorse made. I also have loads of patterns in books, both digital and paper copies, to choose from.
  • Amigurumi orders and gifts to friends that are currently being worked on or are in the queue
  • Challenging stitches, such as broomstick lace. I have a Craftsy class on working in broomstick lace. It also means I have to go out and buy a giant knitting needle (or two, since they come in pairs).
  • A new blanket pattern; there are way too many to choose from, but I have a new pattern for one I’d love to try (with little owl motifs), and another one I want to do is a Tunisian entrelac blanket. Where I get hung up is trying to create a cool plaid pattern and then I just sit and swirl about colors.

Despite being incredibly busy from January to April, I still completed some crochet orders or worked on things to help me relax (even since the Big Red Fox). In no particular order, below are a handful of photos of those items. It’s more or less a photo dump of anything from my camera roll since the last time I updated, which is admittedly a long time ago.  Take a gander!

What have you been up to? I’d love to see anything you’ve been creating!

 

Dragonfly Blanket Over Chair

Babies: Pig, Lamb, Whale

Quad of Gifts

Bear_Etsy Order

Pink Whale

Sunset Tunisian Crochet Knit-alike Scarf

Big Red Fox

img_9645I’ve been making efforts to make projects that I like and would get enjoyment out of, even if there is no intended buyer (or person to give the item to just yet). Working a full-time job means I crochet in my spare time. I’ve discovered that if I start something and put it down, even for a little while, it will easily turn into months before I pick it up again or find the motivation to finish it.

(Case in point: Sepp the Seahorse, my first Lalylala doll, has been a work-in-progress since June of 2016 — yeesh!)

I bought this red fox pattern a couple of months ago and finally got around to making it. I tracked my progress on Ravelry and was surprised I finished it in five days. That is pretty quick for me, but I also realized afterwards that I prioritized it over other projects. I’m glad I did, though, because it kept the momentum going, and this handsome fella came out of it!

This pattern from Kristi Tullus calls for using joints, which I did not use. I labeled it as easy or medium-easy on Ravelry, but I would say that this pattern is definitely meant for an experienced crocheter and/or amigurumi-maker. I had to do some very careful sewing since I wasn’t using joints, and I made some mental notes about what to do for future foxes.

I do love the long limbs, and using Vanna’s Choice yarn was a great “choice,” since it yielded a bigger doll, even using a 4mm hook. Plus I just love that rich orange color, don’t you? The colorway is called Terracotta, for anyone who wants to use that. The pattern calls for using a dark brown but instead I used a Lion Brand yarn, colorway Smoky Mountains, which is dark gray and wisps of silver. I thought it gave the paws and accents a bit more depth.

All told, Big Red is 15″ from the top of his head to his tippy toes.

As much as I love the fox, I decided to list him in the Etsy shop because I feel like he could make a kid (or collector, whoever) very happy. So he is officially for sale! And I threw in free shipping, just ’cause. **Edited to say he sold!**

Here are some photos for your enjoyment! And if you have any questions about the making of the fox, please do comment below or send me a note at zavvycreations {at} gmail dot com.

img_9641

img_9643

img_9640