Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oops. Crochet mistakes.

I saw an adorable baby dress pattern in a crochet book that I have and decided I would use it as the inspiration for Easter dresses that I would make for my three girls. The dress had a crocheted bodice and the skirt of the dress was a pretty, matching fabric. So I measured the girls and with a little trepidation started with L1's dress first.

Here is how the bodice turned out...

Now, I actually think that the above picture is adorable and the crochet doesn't look too bad in it. However, this picture is very deceiving. I made three fatal mistakes that has me tossing this garment into the "We'll-just-wear-it-as-a-shirt-around-the-house" pile.

Problem #1: WRONG yarn. Oh the colors worked well. But this worsted-weight, synthetic yarn (not to mention discounted yarn) made a very stiff fabric that did not hang well at all. You really can't tell from the pictures, but this top looked more like a suit of armor than the bodice of a dress.

Problem #2: IGNORING the obvious. See the ridged rows in the light pink above? When making a garment, the pattern often calls for the stitches to be worked in the front loops of the right side only, which apparently gives the fabric more stretch. This isn't an issue...except when you are crocheting mindlessly while watching tv and forget to switch to the back loops when you turn the fabric to the back side and THEN don't realize it until several rows later.

Yeah, the right side of my fabric should have been nice and smooth. Instead I had three rows of ridges where I had forgotten to work in the front rows. Instead of ripping it out and starting again, I decided it wasn't a big deal. However, that was late at night in a dim living room. When I tried it on L1 the next day, the mistake was so obvious.

Problem #3: Poor Planning. Originally, there were no sleeves on the top. But I decided to attempt to soften up the stiffness of the vest by adding some ruffle sleeves. It actually did help with the stiff look, but I planned it very poorly. . . Well, to be honest, I didn't plan it. I just quickly inserted my hook and crocheted some shells, decreasing on each row. The problem was on one sleeve, I started in the front of the bodice and on the other, I started in the back. The result was two very disproportionate sleeves.

Ah, well. . .You live, you learn.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Granny Square Baby Blanket

I have yet another friend who is expecting a baby boy and yet another reason to work up a baby blanket. I loved the novelty of the Noah's Ark Blanket that I posted a couple of weeks ago, but I love the colors and simplicity of this one just as much.

This pattern is so's actually just one really big granny square. If you're not familiar it goes like this:

Chain 5. Slip Stitch in 1st chain to create a circle.
Round 1: Chain 3 (counts as first double crochet). Double Crochet 2 times in the circle. Chain 3. *3 Double Crochet, 3 chains* in circle. Repeat from * to * two more times. Join to top of first Chain-3 stitch with a slip stitch to complete the round.
Round 2: Chain 3 (Counts as double crochet). Chain 1. 3 double crochets, 3 chains, 3 double crochets in each corner Chain-3. End Round with 3 double crochet, 3 chains, 2 double crochet, and slip stitch into top of first chain-3 in the last corner.

For the rest of the rounds simply, do *3 double crochet, chain 1* in each chain-1 space and *3 double crochet, chain 3, 3 double crochet* in each corner.

I will say that this pattern is so simple that it gets a little boring after awhile, which is why I looked forward to the striking color changes. I followed a pattern with my color changes as well: 2 rows of light blue, 3 rows of medium blue, 4 rows of brown. I repeated the pattern three times to get my desired size.

Since the colors weren't typical "baby colors" I finished with one more row of the same granny pattern in light blue and then crocheted shells all around as a border. I think the ruffle edge gave it more of a "baby blanket" look.

The shell pattern was simply *5 double crochet in same space, skip two spaces" around.

Noah's Ark Blanket

I fell in love with this blanket the first time I saw the pattern. And since a good friend of mine is expecting her first baby, I had the perfect reason to make it!

The 3-D elements worked up fast and were fun to crochet.

E3 was my biggest encourager. I usually crochet after the kids go to bed, so each morning E3 excitedly looked at and touched the blanket. His favorite was the turtle.

This isn't a free pattern, but you can buy the pattern at Annie's Attic.

Girl's Fingerless Gloves

A7 has been asking me to make her a pair of fingerless gloves since I made mine back before Christmas. I finished hers up right after Christmas and they really turned out cute. Each glove worked up in about an hour.

You'll need two skeins of yarn, a size H crochet hook, and a yarn needle.

Color A = purple
Color B = pink

ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
fpdc = front post double crochet
bpdc = back post double crochet

Special Stitches:
picot = *sc, ch 1, sc* in same stitch

Starting with Color A ch 22.

(I would stop here and measure accordingly. Everyone's hands are going to be slightly different. Basically, what you have chained should wrap around the width of your child's 4 fingers. This glove will be worked from the top down to the wrist, leaving a hole open for the thumb.)

Join with sl st into 1st ch.

Row 1: ch 1. sc in each ch around. Join.

Row 2-11: ch 1. sc in each sc around. Join.

Row 12-19: ch 1. TURN. sc in each sc around. DO NOT join.

Row 20: ch 1. TURN. sc in each sc around. JOIN.

Row 21: ch 2. dc in each sc around. Join.

Row 22: Switch to color B. ch 2. *fpdc, bpdc* around. Join.

Row 23-25: Alternating between Color A and B each row, repeat Row 22. Tie off on last round.

Top Edging:
Join with Color B. Ch 1. "sc, picot* around. Join. Tie off.

Embroider hearts around the gloves using Color B as shown in picture.

Crochet on the Go! Pattern

I created this case to carry my crochet hooks and other essentials (scissors, yarn needles, markers, etc.) a few weeks ago and I'm totally loving it. I've gotten in the habit of taking my crochet with me so that I can work when I'm riding in the car or sitting in a waiting room. Before, I would do mad search for anything I might need right as I left the house. Now all I need is this case, a pattern, and my yarn and I'm ready to crochet anywhere.

A couple of fun features I added were the long crocheted tie that wraps around the case and then circles the multi-colored button to fasten closed. The handle makes it easy to tote around. I finished it with a simple embroidered butterfly.

Inside are 4 compartments. Three skinny compartments hold needles and scissors and one large compartment for other items. Needles and markers can be attached directly to the case.

It's really a simple pattern and quite a handy little tote. Let me know if you have any problems with the pattern directions.

I used a size H hook.

ch = chain
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet

Ch 30
Row 1 - sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across. Ch 1, turn.
Row 2 - sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn.
Rows 3-46 - Repeat Row 2, 44 times.
Row 47 - Working in front loops only, sc in each sc across. (This makes the flap fold nicely.) Ch 1, turn.
Rows 48-64 - Repeat Row 2, 17 times.
Row 65 - sc in 1st sc from hook. *sc, ch 3, sc in next sc (pivot stitch)*. Repeat from * to * all the way across. At the end of the row slip stitch and tie off.
Weave in ends.

Your crocheted piece will measure approximately 17" by 9".
Fold the case to create a pouch that is approximately 4 1/2" deep. Sew sides with same color yarn.
Again using the same color yarn, backstitch to create a total of 4 compartments in your pouch. 3 of the compartments are about 1 1/2" wide and the fourth compartment is about 4 1/2" wide.

To create button:
Ch 2.
Round 1 - dc in 2nd ch from hook. 5 dc in same stitch. Slip stitch in 1st dc. Tie off.
Round 2 - Change color. 2 sc in each dc around. Slip Stitch to 1st sc. Tie off.
Sew button to front of flap.

To create tie:
Slip stitch same color yarn on the underside of flap to attach. Crochet a chain that is long enough to go all the way around case and circle button.

To create handle:
Ch 45.
Row 1 - sc in each ch across. Ch 1, turn.
Row 2 - sc in each sc across. Ch 1, turn.
Row 3 - sc in each sc across. Tie off.
Sew ends of handle to underside of flap.

I just added the embroidered butterfly free-hand. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the way it turned out, but I guess it prettied the case up a bit.

I Heart Crochet!

I was about 9 years old when I first learned to crochet. My mom worked and my aunt would watch me during the summer months. She showed me how to crochet and helped me to make a pair of slippers for my mom for Christmas. For years I would often pick up my crochet hooks and work up a small project here and there, but here recently I just haven't been able to put them down.

It all started a few months ago while I was still pregnant with Baby L. I started working on this ripples baby afghan. Instead of starting the project and never finishing it, like SO many others I had started before, I actually finished this one. I found that I really enjoyed working on it late at night after the kids went to bed. It actually relaxed my mind and was productive at the same time.

Then I picked up one of those free patterns in the yarn aisle for a tote bag. I used the pattern, lengthened the straps a bit, and sewed a cloth liner inside. I'm loving my new purse!

Then, a friend in our bible study asked us to pray for her sister who had a baby in the NICU. I found a free preemie afghan pattern online and worked this up.

One day while my husband was home I decided to take a day trip all by myself to a local fine yarn shop that I driven past. It was quite a sight to see...soft, luxurious yarns lining the walls. I bought 3 skeins of semi-expensive yarn (about $5 a skein, but super-soft) and a pattern magazine with this adorable dress on the cover. I quickly made it for L1.

I even had enough yarn left over to make a similar dress (size 6 months) and headband for my best friend whose baby was born 3 days before Baby L.

I started working on baby beanies for Baby L while we were in the NICU. I got the pattern here but had to tweak it a bit by adding a couple of rows to make it big enough. I've also changed the pattern up a bit to make the hat to fit a toddler and one in a men's size.

I just finished a small purse to hold my crochet hooks in last week and I'm currently working on a sweater for me. I'm having fun with my new hobby....I certainly didn't need one more thing to occupy my time, but crocheting is a hobby that can easily be done during downtime (while watching tv, riding in the car, sitting in a waiting room). Plus it fills my obsessive-compulsive need to constantly be doing something. It's a win-win!