Saturday, August 25, 2012

MY Crochet History

Ok, my plan with this post is to put the creations that I've made out there. I love to crochet, although the entire family forgets - the kids more so than the BF - that they need to wait until the hook has stopped moving before they speak to me!

I learned how to crochet from my mom a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but all she had me doing was potholders and that was boring, so I gave it up until the last few years. I made a blanket for my BF's mom for Christmas about 3 years ago - she loved it and I found the whole process soothing, except being on a deadline!

From there I just tinkered around with it until I had surgery in 2011. During my stay in the hospital (apparently I was a special case and had to stay for 4 days) I asked my mom if I could use her book (from the 70's) and her tools to pass the time; and when I say "pass the time" it was those special times of being awake just before fading into another medicated sleeping phase. She did bring things for me and I started playing around with the different shapes and stitches in the book and with her advice. I do remember passing out with hook in hand and waking up who knows how many hours later on the same stitch, but the movie over!

Then the internet investigation began! Mom gave me her crochet stuff because she wasn't doing anything with it any more so I was ready to go. Now for the inspiration... here area few pictures of my earlier works:

This is a Brain Slug hat inspired by Futurama. I found brain slug patterns on wonderful interwebs, however I didn't want to attach them to a headband, the BF wanted an actual hat. So one night I sat down and began with trial and error, double stitches, triple stitches, increases - I have no idea how it really came together, but he loves it! My son R even requested one on the spot. The only thing i can say is stick to 2 rows of double crochet stitches on the ruffle... 3 makes it look like ma's kerchief from the Night Before Christmas!

A granny square scarf for a co-worker, she bought the yarn and I made it work. I didn't really understand how granny squares were supposed to work or look so they ended up more like rectangles, but she loves it and still wears it.

 My first purse! This was all single stitches, and man I thought I messed up a nerve in my right-hand ring finger, it tingled for days! Eventually, it went away and I remember to let the hook down once in a while. the pattern was completely imaginary, I probably couldn't tell you how I made it except - start stitching and stop when you think it's enough.

My second purse! Well, it ended up being a really long cross-body bag. I liked it a lot however the open work in the granny square didn't bode well for all the little things I end up carrying around in my purse. So I sold both purses to my scarfed co-worker and her daughters love them! (note to self: learn sewing to figure out how to line things!)

My Neighbor Totoro... I think. This was my first attempt at amigurumi and it was a freakin' doozie! I found the pattern by Heaven's Hellcat on LiveJournal, but she's posted all the Totoro patterns on Crafster here. I showed the pattern to another co-worker and she completely squeed herself, asked me to make it for her. At the time we didn't realize that it was the pattern for the blue totoro and not the gray one, but I made it work. When it was finished ... her daughter stole it from her!

When I started this project, I had no idea how small stitches could be! The tips of the ears were a nightmare and I ended up buying stitch markers so I could keep track of which row I was on. Yeesh! I may end up trying this pattern again now that all 3 totoro patterns are posted. It would probably make a pretty nice present for her.

At one point, I told my amazing BF that I wanted to go on a date, we've know each other forever and never really dated - had a long distance relationship for about a year and it just worked itself into a relationship from there. However, he decided that we'd take the train from Olympia to Portland for a day trip. He had only 2 things planned out: we were going to visit the downtown Portland location of Voodoo Donuts and Powell's Books. Unfortunately, Voodoo Donuts was under renovation and not open, so we went to Powell's Books and had an amazing time. We found some books that we wanted and just before we left (hours and hours after arriving (seriously, it's one of the best places to get lost among the stacks) I found a section about crochet! I bought some books about amigurumi, including a signed copy of a Twinkie Chan book! We left before we spent waaay too much money. However, those books lead me in the direction of how to crochet a ball and gave me more familiarity with increasing and decreasing stitches. So when another co-worker asked me to make these next creations, I winged it well enough! I also firmly believe that if you can't have a sense of humor with your passion, then what's the use?

Yes, those are crocheted testicles - with veining! I don't know who she gave them to, well, yeah, I know a male co-worker received the first (they were purple) pair after I added a strap on the top to hang from the rear-view mirror in his truck. These were a trip to make and were definitely all free-hand.

Those amazing books also lead me to make a few other items; this was a request from yet another co-worker. Pretty cute even if I do say so myself.

Now that I had books for inspiration not all of it was working for me. There was a lot of fiddly follow-up work after you'd finish the actual project, like adding felt and other small details. That's when I turned to the internet again.


I found inspiration for a Death Star for my son R: (pattern can be found here). This was a really quick and easy pattern. I took it to work to show it off and all the guys wanted either to steal it, or one for them selves; one even asked for me to make it as a hacky-sack!

Then I found a pattern for a donut pillow here, but since this was for my son, frilly pink frosting with sprinkles wasn't going to work. I found a sage green yarn and using popcorn stitches I gave the frosting "boils" of all kinds of sizes. Original rows were single crochet, so by using half-double, double and triple crochet stitches, I achieved the appearance of different sized boils. For the eye, I found inspiration/pattern on the internet ... somewhere.

Darling little cthulhu - how I do love thee! I found this pattern here and it was so much fun to make. The totoro co-worker asked me to make him so she could give it to a friend for Christmas, and I did. Everyone at work loved it too. I enjoyed making it so much that I plan on getting back around to making another - I've even thought of making them in different shades, but we'll see what happens.

I also found inspiration for hats on Etsy; I purchased the pattern for this unicorn ear-flap hat here, this is not an exact replica of the pattern. I for the life of me could not figure out how the ears or the horn worked, so I made them work for me. I also purchased the pattern for the mohawk ear-flap hats which I mostly made without the mohawks and with a super soft bulky yarn for the rest of my family and co-workers.

This hat was a birthday present for my daughter, A. She'd just started kindergarten earlier that season and she probably wore it every, single day after that. there were so many compliments on it which resulted in a lot of amazed looks and "you made that?!?!"s. Soak it up people, if you get that kind of a response you have every right to take the opportunity and bask in the glow of your awesome talent. I have to do some repair on it this year as she figits and has pulled the braid out about half way; and as the "arteest" that made it, any repair other than mine would be unacceptable. One note of advice - if you do braids on a hat, before you wrap the ends of yarn to tie them off, put a rubber band around the end. It will end up holding better and if the yarn comes undone, it will stay tied off.

This was inspired by a pattern I found here. I couldn't get the ear flaps to the same point so I ended up squaring them off and adding pom-poms instead. I made three of these in with the same colors, different rows. Apparently, one girl that received one of these hats even wanted to sleep in it and wouldn't let any of her friends even think about touching it!

One of my favorite attempts were coffee sleeves, I love my coffee from a major distributor every morning if I can afford it, however, their sleeves don't add much creativity. So I started with a super simple pattern and just a simple circle of double crochet stitches - I eventually I hope to get that pattern on paper and post it here for free & you can sell it all you want! Anyway, (tangent there) I decided that if i were to learn new stitches I could probably do them on a small scale, like a coffee sleeve/cozy. I found this one here on Ravelry - and it is one of my absolute favorites! I love this pattern so much I've had the thought of turning it into arm warmers or a sleeve for my tablet! Super easy and super fun once you get the hang of it.

I've also purchased patterns from Mamachee on Etsy (shop found here) from which I created the following Viking hats! I took liberties with the colors - personalizing each one for each child. J requested black horns, R likes red and black, and of course A loves her pink! I also added fun fur yarn around the base of the horns for a little added touch, light brown for J's, red and black eyelash yarn for R, and bright pink sparkly fun fur for A.

A and J have already been wearing their hats everywhere - especially to the car races in Grand Mound! If it weren't so freaking hot all the time lately I'm sure they'd be wearing them every time they leave the house.

R is entering 7th grade this year so he's not exactly wearing his all the time yet - it sits on the shelf with his brain slug hat - however, once he gets comfortable with his new school and friends I'm hoping that he'll start wearing it this winter.
I also purchased a couple other hat patterns, one of which was Mamachee's Top Hat pattern. I'm using that as a base and her pattern on the horns to make a top-hat with horns for BF, I added a row of the rivets and it may look a little steam-punky but I know he'll wear the hell out of it this winter.
 Now for the 2 largest and most freaking time consuming creations to date: Hello Kitty Blankets. I was inspired by this pattern, and since they were granny squares then they could dang near make anything, right? Little did I know that I'd end up with 2 requests for these blankets that would halt my ability to do my own creating for almost 9 months. I don't know if I'd be willing to make another one or not. However, they were loved by the ones that received them!

At the time I started these projects, I had never made a granny square blanket. I had no idea how to lay them out, how to piece them together, ... but I'll tell ya, I love what I did to make it work. They did turn out quite amazing.

The first picture was for a little girl and she love it - it turned out too narrow, so her mom - my totoro co-worker - keeps suggesting that I add something on the sides to make it wider and fit her bed better, but I taught her to crochet... I make walk her through that process!

The second picture was for a newborn baby (although it wasn't done until about 2 months after the birth). I was told that the mom cried when she saw it. Now that's appreciation!

I love being able to create with my hands - especially crochet. I get weighed down a lot lately because it's all about knitting out there - or it at least feels that way. I haven't learned enough about crochet vs knit to convert patterns, and if there's a program out there that converts or translates PLEASE let me know!

This history - MY history - entry should end here. I'm in the process of building up stock for a craft show on December 1st and attempting to figure out a Hello Kitty Rag Rug (I know I said I probably wouldn't do that pattern again, but since I know it and finally worked it out, we'll see what happens).

Wish me luck!

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