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….

 

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

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.

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Latent Mermaid Tail Photos

I kept my promise to myself and took photos of the completed mermaid tail blankets with my DSLR, so I have a few more pictures to share. I was quite pleased with how these turned out and I’m told the girls they were intended for love them.

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*Note: I don’t know why some of the photos appear blurrier in WordPress except that they are larger than they appear, and so downsizing them causes the blurriness.

Celebration! zavvy creations is Two!

My little Etsy shop has been open for two whole years. Wow!

This has been quite the experience ever since I picked up a hook again in late 2013: lots of trial and error, consuming books and patterns galore, connecting with new friends, and filling the spaces of my home with lots…and lots…..of yarn and fiber. Mmm.

I have completed dozens of orders through word-of-mouth and the shop itself, on top of experimenting with countless different projects and giving things away. I’m so excited to see what I will accomplish in 2016.

In honor of the anniversary, I am holding a special where any order of $12 or more will receive free shipping** through January 16, 2016! This includes crochet and photography items. Free shipping provides a sliding scale discount–the bigger the item is, the more you’ll save!

Just use the code TWOYEARS in the shop on any qualifying purchase. Can be used on custom orders, as well! Simply click the button on the home page of the shop that looks like this:Request

I hope to hear from some of you!

😀

** I have recently been made aware that international shipping is exceedingly expensive. As in, it doesn’t make sense for me to ship my creations abroad when the shipping will cost as much or more than the item itself. Of course, if there is an item someone is dying to have that they can’t get in their own region, a custom order could be created with agreed-upon shipping.

 

Hodgepodge of Projects

Well Happy New Year, friends!

All I can say about my recent absence from the blog is, “Good grief!” (Charlie Brown style.)

I began a post in late 2015 to document what I was working on and life turned topsy-turvy when I changed jobs and then became consumed by the holiday season craziness.

December saw us going from Indian summer to having a chilly fall and then back to Floridian temperatures just in time for the holidays. Our Christmas was far from snowy.

I worked on a bevy of crochet projects between November and December. My memory may underestimate the number of things I did, which is why I try to take photos of my completed projects.

Below are some of the items I completed between November and January; I did a slideshow because there were a few too many to make readers scroll and scroll. Currently on my hook in need of completion are a houndstooth scarf and a new blanket I just started. I’m excited about both! I’ll finish the scarf pretty soon here and then the blanket will be an ongoing project…

Anybody working on anything really fun or interesting, or get anything for Christmas that rounded out your wishlist?

I received some more books on amigurumi, socks, and sweaters. I really want to kick things up a notch this year. And! My Etsy shop’s two-year anniversary is coming up! I think I’m going to do something a little special to celebrate. 😀

Until next time–keep up the delicious creativity!

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Yes, You Can Do Too Much Crochet

Although I have been steadily crocheting for about two years straight now, I go through the usual peaks and valleys in volume of projects and number of hours I’m at the craft.

As we are in the official frenzy of pre-holiday Making of Things, I have not been immune to feeling the crunch of squeezing projects in wherever I can. I have taken to bringing a project to work with me each day to be productive on my lunch breaks, even.

I didn’t understand until this week when I went to continue some rows of a scarf just how much I had overworked my crocheting muscles in my hands and arms. I type quite a bit for my day job and when my non-dominant hand began complaining as soon as I began typing, I realized I had pushed myself wayyy too much the weekend before. I had busied myself with other things but apparently the balance was still way off.

“Pain.” (This girl has experienced Too Much Crafting.)

This week, I concluded that the couple of times I have committed to the gym per week are rather critical; not only in terms of relieving stress and improving heart rate and muscle tone, but loosening up those muscles that want to stay cramped in one position after a while.

One thing I have tried (although it seems rather ADHD of me) is spending smaller amounts of time on the multiple projects I have going at once. For example, last night I finished the rows of a fingerless mitt, put it down, and moved on to finishing a dinosaur leg. Just sewing amigurumi limbs uses different muscles and gives them a break, but I still get the benefits of something monotonous and relaxing. Lastly, before bed, I worked on a Tunisian scarf until I got sleepy (which didn’t take long). Divvying up my time on projects made me feel like I was accomplishing a lot in one sitting, but also helped me balance the various different muscles I use for each individual project. +1 for multi-tasking!

I think the lesson here is less is more. I’ll be celebrating my one-year wedding anniversary this weekend and I don’t plan to spend it crocheting. It’ll be some nice down time from my usual craft corner on my couch–a way to “unplug,” as it were–good for both brain and body.

I fully expect to bounce back come Sunday evening feeling all the more raring to get back to working on simultaneous projects. In this particular moment, I’ve got going:

  • Tunisian scarf
  • Dinosaur amigurumi
  • Starburst blanket
  • Fingerless mitt to round out the first one I made

In the queue behind those are:

  • Another Tunisian scarf
  • Another blanket for some friends’ children
  • Another dinosaur amigurumi
  • Another pair of fingerless mitts
  • Christmas stocking
  • Personal project I’m working on designing

Yeeeeeah……I think some time spent gallivanting around and celebrating my anniversary is just what the doctor ordered. Next week, I hope to showcase some finished projects . Until then!

Shades of autumn

Photo courtesy of University of Illinois Springfield

 

 

Love is: Diamonds in the Rough Tunisian Scarf for Men

Diamonds in the Rough - Diamond CU
I think me and everyone else in the crochet world are having a love affair with Tunisian crochet. Everywhere I look, it’s Tunisian this and Tunisian that. Tunisian crochet adds just enough of a twist to standard crochet to make it interesting on its own, but with different possibilities, and of course limitless creations!

I remain blown away by what people come up with for patterns using stitches, negative space (read: holes), and their imaginations. For example, has anyone seen the explosion of graphghans that people are making with Tunisian crochet? I cross-stitch and it overwhelms me to see what people are doing with this technique.

Since I am still relatively new to the art of Tunisian crochet, I wanted to try my hand at a smaller worn accessory, such as a scarf. My husband was in need of a new one for the coming chilly months, and when I saw this pattern online, I immediately knew I had to try it out.

The designer, Michael Snow, has created a lovely and simple design that looks a lot harder than it is. It uses Tunisian Simple Stitch and Tunisian Purl Stitch.

If you’re like me, you might have groaned when you realized that you have to use TPS in this pattern. But once you master it, and of course that comes only through lots of repetitive practice, it becomes second nature, and the scarf will work up so fast you’ll wonder how you blinked and missed it. The most helpful tutorials I’ve found are from Kim Guzman and Stitch Diva Studios–give them a look-up if you’re stumped on mastering the purl stitch.

The diamond pattern is subtle but stands out nicely against the Simple Stitches. A relative had sent me some gorgeous Capra DK yarn from KnitPicks in shades of dark brown, light brown, and cream in order to get me out of my usual vibrant or pastel-colored wheelhouse. I decided I would use it for the scarf, even though the original pattern calls for fingering weight yarn. In doing so, I got a deliciously warm, wide, and long scarf, perfect for a guy on the go who wants something professional looking, but also cozy.

For those not in the know, Capra DK is merino wool and cashmere. Can you say YUM?

Folded Diamonds in the Rough Scarf

I did not intend to make this scarf a listing in the shop (at least not right away) but when I showed it to someone while it was being made, excited at how it was going to turn out, she immediately asked if I could make one for her son-in-law. Then someone else heard about the scarf and asked me if I could make him one, too! It’s hard not to want one when you see the pattern and feel the luxe softness of the yarn. You just want to cocoon yourself in it all winter long. (It also reminds me why participating in craft shows is so fun–once people can see and touch the stuff, you want to take it home!)

While my original scarf for my husband–who loves it, by the way–was done in color blocks, the IMG_1161 zvcothers I am making will be all one color, and I think it will show off the diamonds a bit better, because you don’t get distracted by the color changes. That said, it’s still a real showpiece. Hats off to Michael Snow for his ingenuity with two easy stitches!

My husband wanted a longer scarf, so this used five balls of the Capra, but if you want to go shorter, you certainly can. There’s no question he’ll stay warm in the frigid winter temps that Illinois brings. Furthermore, even though this is “men’s” fashion, it is a unisex pattern that would look great on men or women. I think it would be fabulous in a deep red, green, purple, or even pink; I guess I’m thinking jewel tones here. But no matter who you make it for, that person is sure to fall in love with it as soon as they lay eyes on it. I know I did!

Diamonds in the Rough Scarf - Color Blocks

Farewell to Summer and a Few Amigurumi

Happy post Labor Day weekend! I hope it was relaxing and a bit cooler than ours was in the middle states. Summer is still going strong but thankfully, cooler weather is on the way, so it won’t feel quite so ridiculous to be focusing on hats and blankets and scarves and other cozy items.

The weekend saw me  whipping out amigurumi orders, one after another–pictures below in a bit. On a whim, I listed this gorgeous blanket on Sunday and it ended up selling right away, which was a terrific feeling. It really is a beautiful blanket and I hope the new owner falls in love with it like I did when it was finished.

Corner to Corner Jewel Toned Blanket - Folded
Just before Labor Day when All the Toy-Making was happening, we had friends in town and the only thing I had out was some Chroma Worsted yarn from Knit Picks and a Tunisian crochet hook. By the end of the weekend, I had whipped up this ribbed hat :

zv hat
For what it’s worth, I do like the pattern, and the variance of knit and purl stitches keeps the hat from curling, which is really nice, since Tunisian loves to curl up on itself. My only gripe with it is that the top is a little bit holey when it’s all said and done. I think that’s why it’s pretty critical to put a pom on top–something I have yet to try. If you’ve made this hat and have comments, I’d love to hear!

Now on to the amigurumi. I’m currently coasting into the final toy of the final order I’ve received since late August, which is a cow. But over the weekend, I ended up producing:

  • One whale
  • One baby bunny (and a practice bunny)
  • One cornflower blue hippo
  • One chocolate brown elephant

It may not seem like a lot but trust me when I say making four (technically five) animals  is quite a bit from Friday to Monday, not including eating, sleeping, going to Zumba, Netflix, etc. Here are a few photos, some of which are not the best, admittedly. I’ll have more when I’ve finished the cow and I can take some ultra cute pictures of the finished trio.

Hoping to be able to work on some more wearables and holiday items now that we’re in the last few months of 2015 (where has it gone?!). More to come!

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