Grand Lilies Doily

As promised, I have a beautiful new piece of filet crochet to share with you today! I went at a much slower pace with this one and it was very relaxing. This is the Grand Lilies doily from Hass Design.

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It’s quite a bit smaller than the Leipzig doily and much less complicated. This design was nothing but open and filled squares with very few increases and decreases and I definitely recommend it if you’re just starting out. I used a size 7 hook and #10 thread and I think it came out well. It’ll look even better once I’ve blocked it but I need to get some blocking board and starch.

I highly recommend Hass Design for filet crochet patterns. They’re very reasonably priced, absolutely gorgeous, and supporting an independent designer is always a win. They also have crochet-alongs so you can learn filet crochet – that’s how I learned, years ago!

I’ve got something of a surprise for next week that I’m extremely excited about. It was a surprise to me as well. See you then!

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Cats in Sweaters

I’m still working on my current filet crochet project so this week I’m going to show you something else I recently finished!

A cat I know was getting a shavedown because he was so matted (he’s 19 and not grooming as well as he used to) and it’s strangely cold in Texas right now that I decided to make him a little sweater! He doesn’t like his feet touched and I couldn’t find a pattern for what I was looking for so I chose to wing it!This is my cat Strider modeling the finished sweater. My shaved buddy is significantly bigger so it’s kind of long. Strider was very patient with me as usual.

I wanted to make a more “sweatery” sweater for our paraplegic clinic cat’s birthday so I used this pattern from Ravelry and Min Pin Sweaters and some greens that would compliment her eyes.

Strider once again helped me out when my other cats fled because he’s such a handsome and helpful boy. This is before I attached the sleeves. Please excuse the mess, we’re cleaning.

The finished sweater! Strider looks so handsome in this sweater I was a little sad I had to give it away. I settled for making it my phone’s wallpaper instead. And now for the birthday girl!

She looked so cute! Unfortunately that was the same day I had to go home with the second half of my flu so I missed the party but I’d like to believe she appreciates it.

Next week I’ll have my new filet project to show off! And…today is MY birthday! Woo!

The Flu is Good for Something, I Guess

So this year I managed to get the flu. Not just any flu, the new one that’s making people super sick. Good old H3N2. I was so sick, in fact, that I was stuck at home for two weeks and spent another week attempting not to cough and terrify our clients. However, I did use my time wisely. I got addicted to Gotham, watched all of Romero’s zombie movies, and rediscovered my love of filet crochet!

If you don’t know what filet crochet is, it’s a type of crochet done with tiny steel hooks that are measured in millimeters, and thread. It’s actually easy once you get the hang of it and looks very pretty. The hard part is reading the patterns, if you have a short attention span like me. Thankfully they’re almost always symmetrical. This is an example of a filet crochet pattern:

I found this one on Pinterest and would love to try it at some point! This is the one I did, though, and it took me exactly 3 weeks to finish!

I also included one with my obnoxious but adorable teenage cat Lemondrop for scale. It was a beast! And also very educational. I learned that a) filet is like riding a bike and b) ALWAYS look at the size of a pattern before you buy the damn thing.

I’m working on a new one now with lilies that’s much smaller and plan to share some progress pictures here so if you’ve been missing my crochet updates, you’ll be pleased!

The Sweater That Ate My Life

I saw this adorable little sweater in The Crochet Crowd and decided that since I had never made a piece of clothing before and I was cocky from the firefighter outfit I was going to challenge myself to make it. So I got out my trusty iPad and headed over to Michael’s for some yarn.

I’m not a huge fan of pastels, so I bought one skein each of the Caron Simply Soft – the brand recommended by Crochet Crowd – in Dark Country Blue, Iris, and Pagoda. My little one is wearing mostly 18 month stuff so I chose the 24 month size because I usually crochet kind of tightly and play fast and loose with gauge, and I figured it would come out smaller than the measurements. Crochet Crowd made the 6 month size and said one skein was plenty but said they might need 2 skeins for bigger sizes.

We were watching a movie last Friday evening and I decided to start it then, but when I had to break out the stitch markers I knew this wasn’t going to be something I could do while watching TV. My husband started playing a video game, so I was able to concentrate much better and I got a good portion of the bodice made.

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Our work holiday outing was the next day and it took us an hour to get to Dallas in our party bus, so I crocheted while we all chatted and had our annual Frozen sing-a-long. I got almost all of the bodice finished and when I got home I got one round of the puff stitches in before bed, completely confident in the fact that I could blow through this sweater on Sunday. What I didn’t realize was that the 11-round pattern repeated multiple times. Oops.image

I worked hard on it for the next couple of days, even taking it to work so I could finish it on Tuesday to post about it. Then tragedy struck. While I was making one of the sleeves, I was distracted by the movie we were watching (nope, didn’t learn my lesson) and forgot to turn it every row to get the right pattern. I had to frog a quarter of a sleeve and was pretty bummed about it. I started the sleeve over and got halfway through before I figured out that the sleeve was REALLY wide and I had somehow managed to increase 15 stitches. I frogged that and was about ready to throw the damn thing across the room but was determined to finish it.

imageI finally finished it yesterday! I really love the way the colors came out. I ended up shortening the sleeves a little because otherwise they would completely cover the baby’s hands and she’ll have outgrown it by next winter. I think it’ll look really cute on her!

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Here’s a little detail of the neck. I had to learn a new stitch for this; the crab stitch, also known as the reverse single crochet, and it was kind of frustrating at first but I got the hang of it. I added a little purple stripe to the arms to go with it, and added a couple of rounds at the bottom so it ended with purple. It’s so cute!

I’m planning on making another one with some leftover baby yarn in the 6 month size to see how it comes out with thinner yarn, and because I had a good time with it. For now I need to start planning my friend’s baby gift. I found some cute, cute patterns and my secret Santa gave me a gift card to Michaels so I can’t wait to make it!

If you’d like to try this one for yourself, you can find it at Yarnspirations and there’s a tutorial video at The Crochet Crowd!

The Littlest Firefighter Outfit

A week or so ago, my coworker sent me a text message asking if I could make her a cute pink and gray firefighter outfit for her sister’s baby. She’d seen it on Etsy and said that she’d rather pay me to make one for her and wanted to know what I would charge. I kindly told her that I would need a pattern to make it and she said okay. Then, on Saturday, she sent me a photo of a similar one in red and black and I finally caved and searched Ravelry and Craftsy for a pattern.

I found one on Craftsy that looked close to what she was looking for and sent her a picture for approval, along with an estimated cost and hoped she got back to me before I left work and got into my comfy pants. She was thrilled and I headed for the craft store with my work clothes on. I picked up some pretty pink and heather gray super-soft yarn and bought the pattern, wondering how long it would take me to make it.

Firefighter Set

Turns out, it takes about a day and a half.

diaper coverThis thing is just too adorable for words. I started off with the diaper cover and suspenders for a 3-6 month old because I had no idea how old this baby was. It occurred to me as I was making it that I should have asked, but it was a little late so I just went with the size I was making. The pattern recommended using little buttons on the inside to make the suspenders adjustable, so even if the baby is smaller they’ll fit for a photo shoot.

Booties 1The booties reminded me of why I love the idea of booties and want to tear my hair out while I’m making the first one. I work out my frustrations by the second bootie but the first one never fails to make me frog at least half a round.

Booties 2The pattern called for a little strap at the top but I omitted it. These look just like the ones she wanted!

FD HatThe hat posed some problems. Once I started working on it I decided I didn’t like the hat from the pattern, so I frogged about a third of it. Started on a simple pattern from another site and somehow managed to increase a ridiculous amount – it looked more like a coaster than a hat! Third try was the charm, and I added a cute scalloped edge to it along with the badge I cross-stitched “FD” on, and it was complete!

My coworker absolutely adored it, so staying up until midnight-thirty working on it was totally worth it. She was surprised at how fast I made it – her sister hasn’t even had the baby yet! Oh well, it’ll be a cute baby shower gift for her.

Speaking of baby shower gifts, one of my other coworkers is pregnant and in the course of searching for simple hat patterns I came across some seriously adorable and easy things that would be perfect for me to stick in with a pack of diapers and a Target gift card.

I am the QUEEN of baby shower gifts.

If you want to try this one for yourself, you can find it here : http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/crocheting/accessory/fireman-hat-diaper-cover-boots-4-piece/25036

Granny Square Christmas Stocking

I fully planned to do some work on my Christmas exchange blanket last week so I’d have some cute squares to post here but something else got in the way!

You see, my day job has a Christmas tradition where everyone decorates a stocking and we hang them on the wall. All month long coworkers and management are encouraged to put small gifts and items into the stockings, and we take them home the day before Christmas Eve (we are closed the 24th through the 27th this year). A couple of my friends asked if they could use their stockings from last year. I asked if I could make my own.Christmas Yarn

It turned out that small skeins of yarn were 2/$5 at Michaels so I bought some bright holiday colors and went to work. I made sure that the green I bought was much greener than the one I used for the exchange squares because while they were pretty, they were a lot darker than I planned.

Stocking Square

I used this pattern from Ravelry to make the stocking, and chose to follow another user’s color scheme. The pattern called for 8 squares and I wanted it to be a healthy size, so I used an I hook and it came out kind of chunky.

Stocking Squares

Rather than single-crocheting around the edge like the pattern stated, I sewed it together with red yarn for more of a patchwork look. I also decided to enhance the Christmas stocking effect by adding a white cuff at the top and a small red loop to hang it on the wall. I kind of wanted to make the cuff larger but my hands were tired and I wanted to take it to work Thursday, since I had a three day weekend.

Christmas Stocking

Here’s the finished product! To be honest I’m not totally in love with the way the toe looks. It’s kind of blocky, and if I had it to do over I might just make 7 squares, fold the bottom one in half, and make a shorter toe. It looks good on the wall, though, and everyone really likes it. And of course, it holds goodies quite well.

Summer Sunshine Afghan

As promised, here are some pictures of the first friendship swap I did! It was called the Summer Sunshine swap and the theme was all colors of yellow, no set pattern. Unlike the last two swaps I’ve done, I actually made the correct number of squares, which led to a square blanket.

Summer Sunshine 1

This one was a little different! We had 18 participants, so everyone got 2 squares from each other. Nowadays the group is a little smaller so we each get 4-5 squares from each other and usually still end up with about 36 squares each. Then you can overmake squares like I do, ha ha ha.

Summer Sunshine Border

Originally my border was going to be a sage green (that doesn’t photograph well), the same color as the joining. When I was a couple of rows around it, though, it was kind of boring so I added a butter yellow stripe that I think really made a difference.

Summer Sunshine 2

The finished blanket! Please ignore the clutter and my husband standing over at the edge, we still had kind of a mess from moving. Crocheting is a great way to de-stress when there is a living room full of boxes and bags in your living room, though! I highly recommend it.

So that’s the first friendship afghan I ever made! I’m very proud of it and you can bet I carried it around in a shopping bag with me for a while and showed it to everyone. Now it’s folded up in a project crate in my closet but if I come across a family member or friend who really likes yellow I might consider giving it to them. Maybe not, though. I’m kind of a project hoarder.