Crocheting 101: New Stitches, New Patterns

For me, one of the rewards of a lifetime of crocheting is discovering new stitches and building new patterns. It’s always a lot of work, learning to perfect a new stitch and then incorporating in to a new pattern, but the results are usually well worth the effort.

Creating a pattern is always an invigorating journey. There’s detail work, to be sure, but at the end of the process, there’s a tangible creation to claim as one’s own. I’m sure different creators have different methods, but I find I have a standard three step process:

  1. Brainstorming the pattern – this is a physical brainstorm session, as well as a mental one. With a general idea of what I want the end product to look like – maybe even drawn out on paper – I’ll commit the idea to yarn. As I create, I’ll discover little roadblocks or challenges along the way, things I hadn’t anticipated. Or maybe I’ll discover that something looks better done this way instead of that.

If it’s a simple pattern, I might make one, but a complicated pattern will require a lot more time and effort at this brainstorming stage.

2. Work the pattern, documenting every step along the way. I have a working template where I can plug in instructions, links, videos, tips, and pictures. I want to engage as many sources of information and methods of description as possible. For some, the best instructions might be the word on the page, but for others a video describing the stitch might be what gets the job done. This stage might also take several run-throughs of the pattern before it’s complete.

3.  And finally, the third step. I make the item using the step by step instuctions, often more than once, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. At this point, I’ll often ask fellow crafters to take a run at my pattern. There’s nothing like a fresh set of eyes and hands to find any omissions and ambiguity in a pattern.

 

It’s Official: Disney Dream, Here We Come

December, this year. A four night sail aboard the Disney Dream with our two darling granddaughters. And their parents. 🙂

I love to plan vacations and Disney vacations have to be best to plan. It’s quite a trek for us – we hail from Western Canada – but it’s one of our favorite vacation spots. We’ve never cruised Disney before, so this will call for a whole new Disney-themed wardrobe for the Littles.

Stay tuned for posts about Disney-themed amigurumi, kid’s clothing, fish extenders, and jewelry.

Color me the happiest grandma on Earth!

Cardigan and Headband for 18″ American Doll

I love, love, love this pattern.

Purchased from PrincessOfCrochet on Etsy, this is probably the pattern that turned me into an instant fan of designer Holly Fields (Princess of Crochet).

I played around with the pattern a bit, changing up the size of the cardigan and using a slightly different pattern for the ribbing. Holly’s directions are simple and easy-to-follow and I loved the outcome.

Projects for dolls work up fast and that really warms my instant-gratification heart. I loved this pattern so much, I finished three in as many days. I chose Patons Grace Yarn for two and  Patons Silk Bamboo for the third. Like most crocheters, I often select my yarn on the feel of it and I love both these yarns. The Silk Bamboo has a lovely soft feel (as its name implies) and the Patons Grace finished product gives such a gorgeously clear look to the pattern. I was very pleased with the performance of both yarns for this project.

Some of these will go up on my Etsy shop, and a few were earmarked for the Easter baskets of my granddaughter and niece.

Item Detail: My projects are made to fit American Girl, Our Generation, Journey, and Maplelea dolls.

Poodle Collection

This loop stitch was a favorite of mine years ago and has recently come back into favor for my granddaughter’s American Girl doll. The loops give it such an amazing texture and look.

It’s a yarn-eater, though. 🙂

For people new to crochet, the loop stitch can be a bit of a challenge, but once you get the hang of it, your project will move along nicely.

Here is a picture of the sweater and boots I made for my granddaughter, also available on Etsy:

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And if you would like to give the project a try yourself, here’s the pattern, also up on Etsy.

Vampire Birthday Party

Blah, Blah, Blah.

Hotel Transylvania is the current favorite movie of our oldest granddaughter. She comes over every Saturday night for a pajama party and, for the last two months, we’ve been watching either Hotel Transylvania or Hotel Transylvania 2 for our party. You’d think we’d be tired of it.

Apparently not.

This is my Birthday Weekend and, although I’m an Old, birthdays haven’t lost their appeal for me. My last few birthdays have all had a princess theme (Elsa, Ariel, etc.), so it’s fun to change tracks and plan a vampire party.

Eileen desperately wanted to be Mavis for the party and we were fortunate to be able to throw together a sort-of Mavis outfit for her. The leggings were an unusual color and hard to find. Amazingly, my husband found them at Old Navy for 47 cents. Yep, you read that right. We bought an oversize black t-shirt at Walmart and red Converse high top runners at Brown’s Shoes for $35.

Shopping for scary stuff outside of Hallowe’en can be a bit of a challenge. Black tablecloths, plates, streamers, etc. were readily available at Walmart and Party City, but skulls and skeletons were more difficult. Luckily we have an ample supply of Hallowe’en supplies.

You can check out my Hotel Transylvania Pinterest board here.

Here are some of the things you’ll find there:

Games

Pin the Teeth on Dracula

Hotel Transylvania (Mis)Fortune Teller (we always called them cootie catchers and they’re as popular with kids as they always have been)

Food

Vampire Floats

Scream Cheese

Coffin Spinach Dip

Coffin Spinach Dip

Skeleton Ribs and Intestines

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Hot Dog Spiders and Mummies

And I ran across this, which looks kinda fun:

Hotel Transylvania Ring Tone

Patterns

Because this was a last minute party planning, I didn’t have time to put together a craft for it, but here are some links to patterns I’m looking at making for our next vampire party:

Vlad the Vampire Bat – this is really cute and comes with a cool little bit of backstory from the creator of the pattern.

A Minion Vampire

Vampire Bat

 

Happy Birthday, Dr Seuss!

There’s no finer thing than spending time with my grandchildren, unless maybe it’s spending time with them having a tea party. This month we celebrated the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel – aka Dr Seuss – born March 2, 1904.

Cruise 2015 400
Suess breakfast aboard the Carnival Sunshine

Dr Seuss holds a special place in our hearts. Our own children grew up listening to us read his books and now our grandchildren do the same. Two years ago we took our oldest granddaughter on a Carnival cruise that featured Seuss at Sea. What a blast! We wore Thing 1 and 2 wigs and t-shirts, ate Seuss themed foods, and participated in a Seussapalooza parade.

So this year, for the good doctor’s birthday, we had a Seuss tea party. I did up a crocheted hat and sweater for our dolls (Emily is pictured above) with vivid Seussian style colors, made colorful foods, and we read Cat in the Hat as part of our celebration.

 

 

Here are some of the links I used to prepare for the tea party:

Emily’s Outfit (available on Etsy) – this is my original pattern. The outfit is available and, once I’ve sent it to some testers to try, I’ll post the pattern as well.

Dr Seuss Cootie Catchers

Cat in the Hat Banana & Strawberry Skewers

Green Eggs & Ham Pretzel Bites

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Dipped Strawberries

55 Seuss Activities

 

 

A Disney Crochet List for Grandmothers

Okay, I say Grandmothers because I am one. But seriously, if you know a Little (or a Big) who loves Disney, take a look at this list I put together.

Making a Treasury list has proven to be a pricey proposition for me. While compiling the list, I couldn’t help but put a bunch of these into my shopping cart. Ah well, they are incredibly cute and there are always birthdays and holidays just around the corner.

Also. Crossing my fingers that a family trip to Disney is in the works for this September.

Check my list here. These are all patterns, but some of the shops include finished products.

Below are some of my favorites: