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Preview: Yarn Juleps on the Veranda

Yarn Juleps on the Veranda

Updated: 2018-04-10T04:55:37.296-07:00


There's got to be a way....

2017-03-30T02:06:14.900-07:00 recreate those hooked tools used with knitting looms. I am frequently lending or giving mine away and consequently am finding the need to replenish my stash, (particularly since I now have several kindergarteners interested in using my knitting looms). SO, I searched the net and did not find any simple ways to recreate these tools. I'm not saying that I invented this idea but I did not see it when I searched.  So for any like-minded folks out there here is my tutorial for hand-made knitting loom tools. Materials/suppliesUS size 0 double point aluminum knitting needles, (can use size 1)Sculpey, (polymer clay)E-6000 cementToolswirecutterround jewelry pliers (preferred for best results but can use regular pliers)ProcedureUsing round jewelry pliers and working about 1/3" from point, bend needle in slight angle as shown below. Please check the location and angle of the bend to your personal preferences before making additional tools. Aluminum needles do not hold up to a lot of bending and tweaking. Repeat bend to opposite end of needle. Each needle will yield TWO points which in turn will make two tools.Using (jewelry) pliers make slight bend in tip. Repeat for opposite side.Using wire cutters carefully cut the needle in half, (don't forget to wear eye protection here). Two points ready to become two tools.Next make the handle. Here's where you can get very creative and really customize your handle to grip, color preferences and the like. Working with room temperature clay, roll out a rough tube shape about 4-6" long. Press the point into the clay parallel with the clay tube with the point sticking about 1/2" above what will be the top end of the clay handle. If this is clear as mud please see my finished pictures as follows. Sorry but I didn't take any "in progress" clay photos.Make sure to smooth the clay by carefully rolling on flat surface with the palm of your hand. Warning: Sculpey can stain clothes and wood and other things. Protect your working surface with waxed paper. Bake your Sculpey in oven on low, as directed on the package, paying careful attention to warnings regarding ventilation and so on.After the tool cools, place a small amount of E-6000 cement glue around the edge of the tool, where the point and the clay meet to prevent it from rotating in it's handle when in use. Finally, rub handle with olive oil, wiping off excess, grab your loom and some yarn and start loom knitting.Hope this tutorial helps. I am working on a handmade spool loom and will share as soon as I have a workable prototype. Until then happy crafting!![...]

of shares and sharing....


Last fall my pal Jennifer over at Desert Garden Farms created a CSA share just for our classroom. Rather than the large whole and half shares she prepared a quarter share for us, which was just enough to share with 24 kindergarteners. When we first bought the share she sent the class a sheep cutout mounted on foam board, (a la Flat Stanley), along with a personal note from one of the sheep and some very interesting specimens including a cotton boll, silk cocoon and other things of interest for the class.  Much to the excitement of the class, we received the box of fluff several weeks ago. I purchased raw wool fiber so it had to be washed but even in it's raw state the fiber proved to be lustrous. I have my eye on the long brown strands of softness from her Shetland/Icelandic cross by the name of "Blackjack". It's very nice!! At any rate, because it was un-washed I didn't let the children handle the fiber until it was washed just to be safe. As a purchaser of CSA shares, we were given the unique and wonderful opportunity to name one of her spring 2016 lambs!! OK, so who was more excited about this; me or the children?? What an honor. We brainstormed names, allowing the children to do all of the nominations. Then time for a secret, head down/eyes closed vote. And the winner was "Jake Minnow". Jake, because it's a good boy name, (since our lamb is a ram) and "Minnow", because we ARE the minnows and now we have an honorary sheep minnow. How cool is THAT?? This is something the children may never get to  experience again. Ever since I purchased the CSA share I have been pondering what to DO with it. What kind of craft can we make out of the wool? How can I give each children his or her fair share of the share? Then it hit me....I will make each child a fiber cupcake to do with as he or she pleases, because in kindergarten we are always excited about cupcakes.DGF Fiber Cupcakes RecipeSuppliesWhite or brown wool fiber for "vanilla" or "chocolate"- each cupcake used enough fiber to fill palm of handDGF dyed roving or batts for "icing"Cupcake linersoptional cupcake box, (can be purchased from grocery store bakery, cake decoration departments  in craft storesProcedureWash/Clean and comb to fluff out fibers. Roll fiber gently in palm of hand, felting it slightly. Fill cupcake liner with the "cake" fiber. Ice the cupcake; pull about 3-4" of fiber from roving or batt. Lay across the top of the "cupcake" in a circular direction and lightly needle felt in place. Use small amount of red to roll in a ball for the "cherry on the top". Embellish with sequins small flowers, etc. Place cupcakes in cupcake container for extra realism. The children are amazed by these non-edible cupcakes. They are colorful, fluffy FUN!Frosting the cupcake :)Other things we can do with our DGF fiber...spinning, of course...and woolly bugs!! Happy Mother's Day, y'all![...]

Crafty Earth Day critters


....using drinkable applesauce/yogurt tops.   Gather plastic tops, (1 per  critter), chenille wire, googly eyes, wool fiber and hot glue. Not a wool fiber enthusiast ? Substitute fiber with extra large pompom.Cut chenille wire in 3 equal lengths. Fold in half to make legs, (our critters had 6 legs). Insert wires (legs) through the holes in the tops, with equal length on each side. Repeat for other wires. Set aside.Cut length of wire for antennae as well.Teach children to lightly felt the fiber, while talking to them about what "felting" is and how it is done. Begin with wool fiber that has been combed and fluffed out using a pet comb, (if you don't have fiber combs). The idea is to felt it just enough to maintain a round-ish shape.. We used a squirt bottle to wet our hands while felting.Glue fiber to top. Decorate with eyes and antennae. Adults need to do the gluing but let the children tell you how to position eyes and so forth.TGIF y'all![...]

Earth Day and Play-Doh....


....a winning combination.I have been saving tops from Play-doh containers since the school year began. Ooooo, shiny and colorful! Now what?  Something for our class Earth Day celebration, definitely. It was a toss up between a "bead curtain"- type doorway decoration or a really large geometric mobile. While the mobile would be pretty cool in a mod 60's sort of way the doorway decoration won out since I had so many tops.Project requirements include; fishing line, Play-doh tops and a push pin. That's it!1). Poke 2 holes in each top using the push pin, (one at the top edge and another directly below, at the opposite bottom edge).2). String the tops onto the fishing line in a random color scheme. Tops will stay put on the line by looping the line at each hole. To do this, insert line through the hole in the top. Loop line back around the edge and through the same hole again.  Carry line across the back, (as in following photo), to the opposite hole and repeat the looping action for that hole. String about 11 tops per strand, 3-4" apart, for a total of 5 strands to fit a standard doorway. 3). Hang up. We have metal door frames so rather than trying to tape the curtain I used strong magnet clips and a dowel rod to suspend the strands from the frame. Add Earth Day signs and other embellishments for a festive look...Done! Our doorway looks super fun now and the children love that we used something we would have thrown away.    One final each strand in a separate plastic bag until ready to use, thus preventing a LOT of frustration and wasted time trying to untangle the strands. Ask me how I know this???Happy Earth Day, y'all![...]

EVERYDAY is "Crochet Day"....


Is that such a thing?? Crochet Day?? You bet your boots it is, at least in Yarn Julep world...                     A cupcake with sprinkles,                         teddy bear sweets,                               owl bonbons,       and a daily dose of fiber for a well balanced diet.   TGIF y'all! [...]

Doll bed challenge accepted....


Last summer I decided to make some American Girl doll-sized items to be auctioned off at a local fund raiser. After checking the internet for diy AG crafts I decided to make a doll bed. Since I don't possess any power tools, other than an electric drill, it was off to the thrift shop for some sort of bed frame. It needed to be at least 20" long and about 12-14" wide. Hmmmm....So after cruising several stores I found a bed tray. A quick check with my tape measure, (always take one of these when thrift shopping), confirmed that the tray would be perfect at 21 1/2" long x 13 1/2" wide x 7" tall.This particular tray had folding legs and a wicker top, which I removed since it was a bit worn. Here you see the frame with the legs folded, the wicker removed from top and a nice coat of white spray paint. Easy!Next a mattress was needed. The mattress was cut to measure out of  3" thick foam, which can be found at any fabric store. For a more finished appearance, the foam mattress was covered with white fabric, which I happened to have in my remnant collection. To make the cover, I simply wrapped and cut to size, pinning and hand sewing as I went, (like wrapping a present).What next? Sheets. Again, I "shopped" in my fabric remnant bin. Don't have your own remnants? Take the mattress with you to the fabric store where the helpful staff will gladly help you come up with yardage for this part of the project. Don't forget to purchase enough for fitted sheet, top sheet and pillow. To make the fitted sheet, drape the fabric over the mattress and cut a rectangle about 1-2" wider than the mattress as measured to include the sides of the mattress. Drape this cut piece over the mattress and pin the corners by pulling the fabric outward by the corner points and pinning close to the mattress, parallel to the mattress corner, for a tight fit. Repeat for 3 remaining corners . Hem the sheet with top stitching on the machine. (Shortcut: Cover mattress in "sheet" fabric and skip the fitted sheet steps).Make top sheet in similar fashion, allowing a 5-6" allowance so sheet can be tucked under when bed is made up. Machine hem the flat sheet on all sides.                                                        Fitted sheet in place on bed.   Top sheet and pillow in place. I added lace trim to mine. From here I simply used the bed to come up with appropriate sizes for the spread, pillow, throw and teddy bear, rather than actually measuring using a measuring tape.  The bolster is comprised of a rectangle the width of the mattress, seamed across the long side, turned, and stuffed firmly, with ends gathered closed using hand-sewing, with a decorative button glued to the end to cover the stitches.     Next a crocheted throw. Make enough chains for throw to drape across bed, to desired width. Using stitch of choice, work in rows until desired length is obtained. Edge around using sc. The final touch....a teddy bear. I winged this one but there are so many patterns on the net for small teddies. Make up your own or check Ravelry. And while you are at it, Ravelry has a wealth of knit and crochet patterns for AG-sized dolls. Everything you need to make your favorite AG fan super HAPPY!! [...]

Like a hoarder, but in a "good" way....

2016-04-02T10:16:44.157-07:00 that possible? You bet it is. Repurposing is always a fun activity and never fails to fascinate young children.   Children go through a LOT of squeezeable yogurt/smoothie type snacks. So what can we make with all of this shiny, colorful bounty? So many possibilities. How about a game? How about Tic Tac Toe?  Here's what you need;5 tops in two different colors, (total of 10 tops) - make certain to wash tops before using2 pages of 12" x 9" construction paper (in 2 different colors)scissors, ruler, tape or glue stickoptional laminator Using 1 of the pieces of paper and ruler, cut 3 rectangles measuring 3" x 9" and set aside. Using 2nd piece of paper and ruler, mark off 3 cutting lines measuring 9" x 3" as shown in above photo. Cut the marked off slits leaving the paper in tact at the top.    Weave the 3 rectangles in as shown for a total of nine 3" squares. Tape or glue woven strips in place and laminate for long-lasting durability, as desired. Trim the excess, unwoven portion at the top so that the board measures roughly 9"x 9". Grab your [washed]"playing pieces" and let the fun begin.   [...]

Flower Power...


Size DOES matter in the world of door decorations and classroom displays. The bigger the better in my mind. I love for the children to feel like little sprites in a magical garden so I made these larger than life paper flowers.

The flowers were made with colored butcher paper, hot glue, chenille wires with pompoms glued to the ends, (for stamens), and green swim noodles for stems. A repurposed floor lamp was used to make a stand for the flowers.

To make the stand get a cheap, used floor lamp from the thrift shop, (one that is in sections like a torchiere). Remove the top shade. Unscrew the top segment and pull apart exposing the wire. Cut and remove all wire and plug.  Done! You now have a weighted stand that can be used for numerous applications. To use, simply slip the swim noodle over the remaining portion of the stand. The weighted bottom of the lamp will allow the gigantic flowers to stand securely on their own.

To make flowers, fold several layers of colored butcher paper and round off the edges on one side. Gather the layers around at the opposite end and twist to hold in place. Add more layers for super fluffiness. Finally, glue the chenille wire and pompom stamens in the center using hot glue. Attach the flowers to the swim noodle by inserting the twisted end inside the top of the noodle. Secure with hot glue; lots and lots of hot glue.

TGIF y'all!!


Puff the Friendly Chinese New Year Dragon...


Here's how we celebrated Chinese New Year in February.....I had seen the wonderful Chinese New Year dragons made from red Solo cups all over the internet, fell in love with them and had to make one. However, I wanted my dragon head to be more dramatic and reusable. So back to the wooly fibers for inspiration. This time I used needle felting and hot glue to make the happy dragon of my dreams, (not wanting to frighten the children I chose a happy faced, toothless version). I wasn't intending to blog this idea at the time that I made it so I do not have any "in progress" photos. Hopefully I can describe what I did in a clear and concise way.  Here's what to do.... Gather the following materials;COLORFUL wool fiber, especially redlarge styrofoam ballknee high stockingfiber stuffing, (Poly-fil or other)needle felting needleshot glue and glue gunpompoms for embellishmentsSolo cups, (1 for each student)small Dixie cups to be used as spacers, (the size used for bathroom cups)heavy stringpeel and stick foam designs for cup embellishment'Sharpie markers and pompomsgold mylar wrapping paper or tinsel  Using fiber filling, stuff the toe of the knee-high until it measures about 8" wide and 8" long. Insert the foam ball next, stuffing and shaping as desired. Tie off hose securely leaving the end of the knee high to be used to attach the head to the string of cups, (body).    Cover the head with red fiber using the needle felting needle to attach the red fiber to the head. Wet felt two balls to be used as eyes. Use black faceted cabochon for pupils. Make eyelids and other embellishments with the fiber, (glue or needle felt these features to head). Pull tufts of fiber from batts to make the mane. Glue these on with hot glue. Add further embellishments, such as pom poms, as desired.  Using the hot  tip of a hot glue gun, poke holes into the bottom middle of each Solo cup, so that it can be strung. Likewise, poke holes in the spacer cups. (Note: spacer cups are used to prevent the Solo cups from stacking into one another when strung).  Allow children to decorate a cup using foam stickers and Sharpie markers, (making certain that the decorations are at the large end of the cup, otherwise they won't show when dragon is strung together).  Using heavy string, tie the end of the hose to the string end. thread Solo cup onto string with the wide part of the cup facing away from the head, then string the small spacer cup, (which sits inside of the Solo cup and is visible from the outside). Repeat until all cups are strung together. Glue mylar paper, cut into fringe, around the inside lip of each Solo cup, (or use tinsel garland). Hang from ceiling and enjoy. [...]

Simple and traditional


Chevrons have been so popular for the last few years but ripple blankets have been around for decades, right? Before I even thought of picking up a crochet hook I was well aware of ripple blankets and when I thought of crochet this style of blanket came to mind. So I chose this for the latest in a long string of baby gifts.

The blanket has 7 stripes consisting of 10 rows each using an H hook and worsted yarn. It turned out to be larger than your average blanket, (no, I didn't measure it), and should be a nice security blanket for the years to come.

  And because no baby gift is complete without a toy....I improvised a bear rattle using a cat toy insert for the rattle mechanism. The bear was worked from the bottom upwards using an F hook and was nearly seamless, (had to sew the ears to the head). The arms were crocheted separately but were crocheted on as I made the neck round. Will have to write out a pattern as this was fast and easy.

What's been cookin'....


Crocheting, knitting, felting, paper crafts, garden art, sewing, repurposing....      And so on.....[...]

In the works and finished objects....


While the Royal Hare Apparent is being finalized folks are beginning to test Princess Ursa Minor. She's similar to the other bigfooted critters but a little different too. The pattern will include the usual stuffing tutorial as well as a detailed embroidery & tutu tutorial, ( that's kind of fun to say out loud). The Blackberry Salad throw is progressing nicely. The bobble stitch is a LOT of fun. I keep seeing an all white version of this throw, it would bring to mind the old fashioned hobnail milk glass of old, like the vase from  pictured here....Hmmmm, good baby blanket idea perhaps and a hobnail vase full of flowers for Mom.I have 2 berets out on the site. Both used Red Heart Detroit, which is an acrylic DK yarn. I really enjoyed using these yarns.Best Friend Knit BeretBest Friend Crochet Beret So that's it for now.TGIF y'all!![...]

What's cookin'


Blackberry Salad. What a fun pattern. I can't get enough of crochet form, I mean. This project is a commission for someone whose friend is undergoing breast cancer treatment. The instructions were to make something colorful. I think this fits the requirement. And what a fun project it is. I am loving the bumpy bobble stitches and the garish color scheme. It's been a while since I've worked on a color scheme like this and doing so always makes me happy. I am making it extra large for extra warmth and coziness and am about a third of the way done.Next we have Antarktis. Very nice pattern.... it's lace for the inexperienced lace knitter...that would be me. I am a closet lace-knitter-wannabe but every time I give it a try I get frustrated and give up. The yarn is so tiny and hard to manipulate. Still, I'd like to be able to complete just ONE lacy knitted project before I hang up my knitting needles.This is being  knitted in some gorgeous medium blue lace weight cashmere that I have been hoarding. It's coming along slowly but that is partially because I am not working on it regularly. Maybe once the weather cools there may be a new incentive to "git 'er done".Finally my Royal Hare pattern is being tested by the WONDERFUL testers from the Ravelry Testing Pool group and should be ready for release very soon. They have a different head shaping than my other big footed critters, more of a pear shape. I like to add something different to each of my big footed critter patterns so that it is an entirely different pattern, (well almost entirely....the legs & feet are always the same).[...]

This just IN...Co-purr-nicus is ALIVE...


Testing is completed & Co-purr-nicus is raring to go.Co-purr-nicus is the 2nd critter from my big-footed critter collection and a best buddy of Ptolemy the 'eddy.You can find this 11 page pattern  in my Ravelry pattern store & soon on Craftsy. It is FULL of tutorials, photos & extras including a free customized stuffing tutorial & optional glasses customization.As always, I couldn't have completed this pattern without the invaluable help of some very talented testers & editors from the Testing Pool on Ravelry!! They are the BEST![...]

Ptolemy the 'eddy has some inner secrets he wants to share...


My Ptolemy pattern went live yesterday. I'm very excited about him and some of his friends, such as Copurrnicus, who will be joining him in the very near future.


Ptolemy is a huggable sized, floppy rag-doll type creature with skinny legs & over-sized feet. He is knit in the round with minimal seaming required as his head, torso, legs & feet are ALL worked as one.

He also has a VERY easy face, just eyes. In this case the eyes are comprised of a set of stacked buttons; an extra large white button on the bottom & a smaller blue button on the top for the iris. The good thing about this simple facial feature is that he is easily customized to your own tastes. My original prototype lay around the house for several months without a face at all & frankly I kind of liked him that way as well.

 I had help from some wonderful test knitters from the Testing Pool on Ravelry & each one of them did something different for their Ptolemy's eyes. It's funny how something as simple as the buttons one chooses can make all the difference. I love ALL of the test knit versions which can be viewed on the Ptolemy link at the beginning of this post.
The pattern has written instructions and photo tutorials where needed. It also includes a free customized stuffing tutorial designed to allow for firm stuffing while maintaining all of that shaping you so meticulously knit, (only to have it stretch out once you stuff the critter when stuffed the "regular way"). I will never again stuff my toys the "old way".



Super Sized Super Saver® Christmas is LIVE...


OK so I didn't quite make it for "Christmas in July" but here they are. I know, "don't show me ANYTHING about Christmas this early in the year, we're still wearing bathing suits & using the air conditioner". But if you are so inclined to do all of your holiday crafting early, here you go.  And then there may be some of you who participate as vendors in fall craft sales to whom summer always means Christmas crafting. Not to worry, this collection is so fast to make that you can complete the entire set in a week's worth of evening crocheting,My Super Sized Super Saver® Christmas pattern collection can be found in my Ravelry store & soon to be on Craftsy. The price includes all four of the projects.So what about Ptolemy & Copurrnicus? Well Ptolemy is on the very verge of his coming out party & he is really excited. Here are some project photos taken by the very talented knitting tester & tech editor, ChoiSOSS, from the Ravelry testing pool, of her version of Ptolemy. He's a bit shy at first...."Hey! somebody get that critter a Mint Julep, would ya'?" It looks as though some one else enjoy relaxing on the veranda, huh? He looks like he owns the place.There will be more details about Ptolemy & Copurrnicus in later posts. They have some inner secrets that I would just love to share, (and in fact DO share, in the pattern).Until then, have a great week everybody![...]

Meanwhile, up at the north pole...


As Ptolemy & Copurrnicus ponder the mysteries of the universe; dark matter, do pulsars really pulse & why the "P" in Ptolemy is silent, something is afoot at the North Pole...Eh hmmm, errr, make that the "SOUTH" pole. My new pattern booklet entitled "Super Sized Super Saver®Christmas" is all tested and ready to go, almost. First we have to do a little photo shoot for the cover, hopefully to get people in mind of the holidays and not swimming pools.The booklet includes 4 super sized projects that are SUPER fast, SUPER simple & SUPER affordable using Red Heart Super Saver®worsted weight yarn. The booklet wouldn't have been possible if it hadn't been for the wonderful support & skills of a very large group of test crocheter's from the Testing Pool group on Ravelry. I've said it before...this group is fantastic!I'm hoping to release the booklet this weekend, if all goes as planned.Until then TGIF & have a great weekend!![...]

Ptolemy & Co-purr-nicus are almost ready....


But first a little housekeeping....

Ptolemy testing is mostly complete & I can't wait for you to see what the testers have come up with in terms of color combinations,eyes,construction tips and more....

Copurrnicus is being tested now and is proving to be a fast knit. Hurray for that!

Contemplating the silent "P"....


Some wonderful knitters from the Testing Pool on Ravelry have been busily helping me test a few new toy patterns. One such critter is "Ptolemy the "eddy". He is scheduled to be published by (hopefully) August 5th. The pattern includes a free copy of my stuffing tutorial as well as a LOT of photographs for all of you visual learners, (of which I am certainly ONE).This time, the testing group & I are testing right in the open, since the pattern will be self-published anyway. It's so much easier this way as we can openly chat without sending group emails & such. True there won't be the drama of a big reveal but "what the hey".This current design is one that I had been thinking about for a long time. I tried to design a toy that had less seaming thus reducing the "fiddliness factor" and I also wanted to improve my stuffing techniques. Firm stuffing is so much better for a stuffed toy & yet it can really stretch all of that wonderful shaping to where it is almost non-existent, in some cases. Ptolemy is a creature of unknown origins, (is he a bear? a dog? who knows?), When I look at him I see the basis on which to build many different kinds of critters, with the addition of differently shaped ears, a tail or what-have-you. Or leave them off, add some hair, eyes & a mouth and you have a dolly. We are also testing Ptolemy's sidekick & co-conspirator, "Copurrnicus", a similarly shaped cat with a big I.Q.  Rounding out the trio of big-footed, "science nerds" is a bunny who is not even at the testing phase yet.In addition, I have a HUGE group testing a booklet of (4) Christmas designs that is also planned for publication some time in August. These are all crocheted & are super easy & super fast. More about them later.[...]

Just like London but with grits...


Here's  a new attraction that recently opened up at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Isn't it pretty? I just hope the pods are air conditioned.

The following is a secret WIP. It's a floor mat for my husbands' Bama inspired powder room. I'm using the crochet hounds tooth pattern from the scarf design found here by Kathy Lashley.

(Incidentally, the scarf from which I borrowed the hounds tooth pattern is ADORABLE, might just have to make myself one after I finish this mat).

At any rate it's working up very quickly. After achieving just the right size, (whatever that will be), I will add a crimson border & the Alabama script "A", hopefully. The final step will be to work out some slip resistance. Don't want anyone hurt, especially on game days, as they'd have to wait until the game was over before anyone would deign to tear themselves away from the TV in order drive them to the emergency room.  Roll Tide.

Speaking of WIP's, I've got some critters being tested by the wonderful folks from the Testing Pool on Ravelry. One set of designs is actually a collection of fast & whimsical crocheted Christmas patterns. The other is a critter named "Ptolemy the 'eddy". Both patterns are scheduled for an early August release date.

Many thanks to all of you who participated in my July 23rd pattern promotion on Ravelry. It was a great success, I think.


Happy Birthday to Y.O.U.!


Let's celebrate July birthdays with a free offer. Choose any one of my patterns in my Ravelry pattern store for FREE, no purchase necessary ALL day on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. Woohoooo!

Happy Happy!


No Excuses...


.......But I do have a new pattern and several that have been published in recent months. First up, my newest self published pattern called "Pork Belly". He is a 13" tall knitted pig who just happens to also be a candy-stealing pirate. He is worked in the round and the pattern includes a free 3 page stuffing tutorial, full of photos as well as written directions. The eye patch is removable but he thinks that it makes him look "tough". When not stealing candy he likes to read about pirates at the library....You can find the pattern on Ravelry & Craftsy.Pork Belly was a fun knit and the special shaping helped him retain his rounded shape but I couldn't have done it without the assistance of some very clever & patient test knitters from the Testing Pool on Ravelry. The group is comprised of 8749 eager, positive, helpful knitters (and crocheters) who provide this wonderful service basically free of charge, for the most part. Certainly there are some testers who charge or who would love to get paid to knit/crochet. But this particular group of five testers worked with me & my pattern for the mere payment of a free pattern and I suppose, the eagerness to get to knit it first, before it is released, which can be exciting. Still, what would this kind of technical support be worth? I'm certain that I would not be able to afford it. So thank you again test knitters, for your generous time & effort!More we await the birth of the newest royal are some new baby items...crocheted using a new yarn by Red Heart called Anne Geddes Baby Yarn. It is a soft, washable sport weight that comes in a huge array of beautiful colors.The patterns are all free and can be found on the website.  While you're visiting the be sure to search all of the royal baby designs for just the right baby gift for the royal heir in your life.TGIF!                [...]

I'm on a digital trip to merry old England....


Won't you come along? We are discussing weighted stuffing and gusset inserts...fascinating, right? OK, maybe not so fascinating but necessary to the success of crocheted amigurumi & toys, (or knitted ones for that matter).

Please join us at CrochetAddictUK , you might even get a prize just for reading....


Where did THAT come from.....


Last night I got a message from someone on Ravelry who was confused by an instruction on my Crochet Puppet Scarf, whereby it told the user to turn the work to the wrong side. This came right after you have completed the wrist portion (or neck of the puppet) and are starting on the head.Original crochet puppet scarf prototypeMy old brain puzzled on this and because I no longer have my handwritten notes and the pattern was published a couple of years ago. I had frankly FORGOTTEN...yikes! So I set out to do a crochet-along with the Ravelry poster. I was able to complete the puppet quickly and without any problem....IF I ignored the direction to  turn to the "wrong side". Still, this wouldn't be in the pattern if it didn't have any significance.Then at around 3 am it hit are supposed to work the stitches from the inside outwards or rather the would-be INSIDE of the puppet is now the OUTSIDE of the puppet. But why? Well, several years ago, when I first became interested in amigurumi I either read, saw or erroneously stitched all of my toys and amigurumi this way. I liked the smoother texture of the inside-out stitching.So this morning, instead of working on some tasks that are fast becoming due I started another puppet, working from the inside. In the photo below the green puppet is worked in the usual way with the correct side of the stitches facing and the pink/brown/navy puppet is worked with the wrong side showing. I haven't used this method in quite some time but have to admit that I still like it.Here are some other examples of crochet projects that I have done through the years using the inside-out method of stitching....Ear bug puppet for my friends at Desert Garden FarmsBrunswickBrunswick and Stewie at the pool hall.Frog rattle is done in this method.I am interested to know if any one else works their toys from inside-outwards and if so when & why did you first begin doing it this way.So now I have a couple of toys to add to my growing pile of charity toys but first I'm going to play with them for a while. After all puppets are people too and they deserve to be heard...POWER TO THE PUPPETS!! And finally, as my daughter, (the original Maggie Bean) says regarding my puppet gang..."when you're a puppet you're a puppet ALL THE WAY!"[...]

Have you seen this pattern....


This pattern, entitled "Elf Clobber" is my new favorite go-to pattern for gift knitting. What a FUN, FAST & EASY pattern!! I just love it, as does my very fashionable twenty-something daughter. I decided a few days before my daughter's birthday to finally give the pattern a try and was rewarded with fast, easy results that pleased her and ME to no end. In fact I am now on tap for additional pairs in various colors.1st pair in the worksOriginal birthday gift pair of mitts Second pair of mitts in the works...will line these with dark brown mohairThe pattern consists of 2 x 2  ribbed wrists with crocheted lace for the main body of the mitts and an insert of filmy, fluffy mohair for added beauty and warmth. As I've stated in the past I am a HUGE fan of multi-crafting or mixing various crafting mediums in one project and this design was just the version of Elf Clobber to go on the needles is a black on black pair, a black on red pair and then we'll see.....Oh and a finished shawl, (also for my daughter, the Original Maggie Bean). Not too much to brag about as it is a very simple design but very effective for hugging the shoulders and a wonderful TV watching or waiting room knit. This version is knit with the same Cascade Kid Seta that I used as a liner for the 1st pair of Elf Clobber mitts and Jojoland Melody held doubled, making it lightweight, warm & fluffy. I hope she likes it.[...]