Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Free Cross Stitch Patterns

Some good friends of ours recently found out that they are (85% sure they're) having a girl, and we are so excited for them! (Okay, actually, I was really hoping for a boy so we could pawn off all Elijah's clothes and old toys, but I'm very happy to welcome another little girl into my life as well.) I decided to get a head start on some gifts for her (or maybe him). I don't know what their theme for the nursery is (I don't even know if they know what the theme is), but after some Pinterest stalking of mutual friends, it seems there is a tribal/native American themed baby shower in the works. Working within that theme, I decided to put my cross stitch skills to good use and design a few simple patterns. My plan is to put them into small frames as nursery art.

Here they are!

Tribal Arrows
Dream Catcher


Want to make some? You can download my patterns here:
Note: There seems to have been some issue with the sharable links. I have tried linking them again. Please leave a comment for me if they aren't working. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tapestry Crochet Sea Turtle Pattern

Having recently discovered tapestry crochet, I've become a bit obsessed and been inspired to create some new patterns. First up is this little sea turtle:

This would make a cute pillow or blanket, but I used the pattern to make a zipper pouch. For someone who LOVES sea turtles as much as I do, this is awesome! This pouch measures 6.5"x8.5", the perfect size for a 7" or 8" tablet or a journal.

To make this pouch, follow these directions:
(If you need some help with tapestry crochet, check out this awesome tutorial from A Crochet Journey.)

  • 2 colors of Cascade Ultra Pima yarn. I used about 1/2 a skein each of Major Teal and Bright Olive
  • 3.25 mm hook (I used a Boye steel 0/3.25mm hook, but a D hook is the same size), but you can use a smaller hook for a smaller pouch with a denser fabric, or a larger hook for a larger pouch with a floppier fabric
  • zipper (or closure of your choice)
  • pattern chart (and organizer)
With color A, ch 50

Round 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook (place marker), sc across until the first chain (48 stitches), in the first chain work 3 sc, then sc across the back edge of the chain, in the last chain (the same one as the sc with the stitch marker) work 2 sc (100 stitches total) - do not join

Round 2-50: Hold color B and work your stitches over it until it is time to change colors, working in the back loop only (BLO), sc around following the pattern chart, changing colors when indicated. You will work each round of the pattern twice (once for the front of the pouch, and once for the back). Move your stitch marker up at the end of each round (or don't and suffer the inevitable consequences). At the end of round 50, fasten off and sew in your zipper or the closure of your choice.

Note: While an color change worked in the wrong stitch here or there won't make much of a difference in the overall pattern, you will want to be extra careful when placing your second color B stitches in round 3. If your count is off, your second turtle will end up off-center (ahem, not that I know this from personal experience or anything...) but even then, it's not the end of the world.

Tip: If you're using a zipper, I have found that it works best to use my sewing machine to sew a guide line on the zipper to help me hand-sew it into the pouch.

Hand-sewing without guideline:

Hand-sewing with the a guideline:

So much better, right?

Happy crocheting, fellow sea turtle fans!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hot off the Hook - Magenta Moroccan Tote

Here it is, my finished Moroccan tote by A Crochet Journey!

It has real leather handles and a lining that was hand sewn in with teeny tiny stitches. I machine sewed the lining (with interfacing to stiffen it up) and then used the machine sewn line to guide my hand sewing. I love it, and I'm really excited to use it!

But, whew, that was a lot of color changes...

Now, what to make next...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Crocheting with Kids - Getting Creative with Legos

It used to be easy to crochet for an extended amount of time. Before Elijah, I had TONS of time to do whatever I wanted (hurray for being a college instructor and only working 2-4 hours a day). After Elijah (and the initial sleep deprivation), there were 3 hour nap periods. Now, he's 4 1/2, rarely naps, and isn't usually in bed until 9:30. During the day, my crochet work gets interrupted to put shows on TV, make food, play games, clean up messes, etc. During the evening, it gets interrupted by my need to sleep :). I've had to get creative with how I deal with all the creative things going on in my head, and still spend quality time with my kid.

(Case in point, while writing the above paragraph, I stopped to straighten a blanket on the floor, to get Elijah a granola bar, to get him a glass of orange juice, and to change the Netflix show.)

Enter Legos.

Elijah has only recently gotten into Legos. We have a box from when I was a kid, and we got a couple more boxes of blocks for Christmas. Both James and I love playing with Legos, so we're excited that Elijah is entering this phase. The other night, I decided to do some crochet planning while playing with Legos.

How cute with this be as a granny square blanket?

And those tiny 1 square blocks? Perfect for planning tapestry crochet designs. I was imagining a little coin purse.

For me, this is the perfect solution. I get to work on my stuff and play with Elijah at the same time. He has now even started to make his own "designs", which just means he fills up a board with random blocks. I just might take a picture of one and make him a blanket of his own creation at some point. How sweet would that be?

Even if you don't have kids, using Legos to plan out crochet projects is fun, but expensive if you don't already have the blocks. Weren't these things cheaper when we were young?

How do you get creative when crocheting with kids?

June Yarnbox Luxe

As a birthday gift to myself in May, I signed up for Yarnbox Luxe and I am so excited! Yarnbox is a subscription box club that sends out curated boxes of yarn, knit and crochet patterns, and other notions. They currently have 4 different subscriptions that you can sign up for - Classic (monthly), Sock (monthly), Plus (starting in July), and Luxe (quarterly).

Even though the Luxe is really only geared towards knitters, I signed up for it anyways because I wanted the more luxurious yarns, and the other notions they include in the box. Turns out, in the December box, they will have a crochet option - yay!

So, here's the box.

And here's what's inside:

7 (!) skeins of Shibui Knits Linen yarn from Portland - this is the muted neutral colorway of ivory, ash and field. Each skein of this linen yarn has 246 yards, so I have 1722 yards to play with. The yarn feels a little rough, but I hear that linen softens as you work with it and after it gets washed.

Octave, a knit scarf/wrap pattern by Shibui - this is a cute scarf/wrap, and while I have considered making a crochet version of it, I have found a couple other patterns that I might make instead. Check out the Rococo Waistcoat which is currently in first place on my list. I could use a pretty neutral vest this summer.

Wee Lil' Pouch from splityarn - this is cute and will probably end up holding my yarn needles and stitch markers...or change in my purse.

Stitch Markers by Bling Your String - I plan to add lobster clasps to these so I can use them for crochet

All of this for about $75, which includes 2 day priority shipping. I am overall very impressed with this box and am looking forward to using my new yarn and seeing what comes in the next shipment in September!

Yesterday Afternoon

This is what I was looking yesterday afternoon:

Elijah and I were holed up in the studio with the portable AC unit on full blast. I had my feet up because they've been swelling from the heat, and I had an ice pack in my lap that Elijah has his head on. We have been dying in this heat. It was the first afternoon in forever that he hadn't been asking me every 3 minutes if we could go outside. Thank goodness for that small mercy.

Now, I know across the country upper 80's/low 90's is nothing to write home about, but here in the Puget Sound region, it's HOT. And I mean AC units and fans are sold out across the area, there are cooling stations for the homeless and the elderly, and we're under an excessive heat warning HOT. James and I are feeling a little smug about the fact that we ponied up the cash back in April for a new AC unit since it is now selling on craigslist for twice what we paid.

And there's no end in sight to the above average temperatures. Sunday is even daring to have a high temperature of 97. Really? it October, yet?

In other news, also seen in the picture is the Moroccan Tote Bag I've been working on. Only 19 more rounds to go! I've enjoyed working on it, and I am loving tapestry crochet, but I'm excited to get this bag off the hook so I can use it! On the table is a scrap yarn rug that I've been working on and off on to whittle down my yarn stash. That clothes hamper in the background is full of donations, including two bags of fabric (gasp!). That's probably sacrilege to someone, but I was running out of room and I need to pare down some things, so it's got to go!

As we head into this holiday weekend, I hope you have a fun and safe 4th of July! Hopefully, I'll be back next week with my finished bag!