Research

Usually before starting a project I do tons of research. I read patterns, sort through my yarn stash and find all my hooks or needles. The research is so that I know what hook or needle size I need, what weight of yarn I need and what exactly it is I will be doing. Some things, like say, a pair of baby booties, I have made so many times I don’t need to research. Starting a  granny square is something I may NEVER forget. Not every project needs the same kind of research. A lot of the time I just have to look at a pattern then it all rushes back to me, I did this a few years ago! Or it was something I just kinda forgot how to do. The most research I do is when it’s something new. A new stitch, a new pattern, an item I have never made before. New stitches are getting complicated for me. I have learned all the easy ones, most of the slightly advanced and very few of the really advanced ones. For crochet. I still don’t understand a lot about knitting. I barely understand color switching in knitting. Knit projects take a lot more research than the crochet ones.

This project that I am working on now needed a little refresher research. Baby hats. I have a 7 year old. He didn’t like hats when he was a baby. I made all of two head coverings for him, they were bonnets not hats. He didn’t wear them. I did make a few hats over the years for other babies, but not many. I had to look through a few patterns. I use a lot of free online patterns. I have a few pattern books on my book shelf, but they are expensive. $10-$30 a book. Cheapest one I ever found was $1 at a “Factory Direct” Beverly’s next town over. Carebears knitted Sweaters for Kids. I used it to make my son a non-carebears sweater. He loves that sweater. I think he even slept with it in his arms one night. The joys of handmade!

I spent a few hours finding patterns and reading them. YES! I read a whole pattern before I grab the yarn and hook. What if I don’t understand one part and have to look something up? It’s hard to balance a laptop, yarn, crochet hook and type. Not impossible, just hard to do. It is really important to completely understand what a pattern is telling you to do before getting started. I have watched someone struggle with patterns and get frustrated. That can lead to quitting. Throwing the hook across the room, dumping the yarn in the floor and drinking half a bottle of wine quitting. To help avoid that I would like to include my baby hat pattern research here. If I can help out just one person, I would post something every few hours. No one has the time for that, but I like putting effort into helping people understand what comes natural to me.

Links to baby hat patterns:

http://allicrafts.blogspot.com/2011/11/free-pattern-baby-earflap-hat-6-months.html

http://mannerscrochetandcraft.blogspot.com/2010/01/basic-baby-hat.html

http://dishclothdiaries.blogspot.com/2009/10/basic-infant-hat-4-sizes.html

http://www.favecrafts.com/Crochet-for-Baby/Baby-Crochet-Monkey-Hat

http://allicrafts.blogspot.com/2011/04/free-pattern-fuzzy-bear-hat-with-ears-3.html

http://allicrafts.blogspot.com/2011/02/free-pattern-petals-newborn-hat.html

 

Lastly, sorry I haven’t been posting on the same day every week. Stuff comes up. Throwing up, teeth breaking apart, kid’s school projects, grocery shopping-You know, LIFE. At least I posted this week. Enjoy the free patterns. Make somethign to keep a baby head warm!

 

-Bobby

Throwing up and Campus Beautification Day

Last Tuesday when I was trying to start my day I ended up throwing up when I brushed my teeth, getting dizzy and eventually almost crying-all because I couldn’t get my son to school. I’m not normally that emotional. I was running a fever, throwing up and sleeping for almost 2 days. If not for my husband I would have cried and called my son’s school to tell them he wouldn’t be there for the 2 days I was down. Takes a lot in a flu to take me down. High fever and throwing up everything I eat, that’s what it takes. Since last week I have sat down twice to write a blog, but with how busy I have been at my son’s school I got easily distracted and forgot what I sat down and grabbed my laptop to do. Facebook, right? Or was it Yahoo News? I think it was Pinterest. So, I get distracted. Very distracted when recovering from my stomach rejecting food for 2 days and a fever covered in cold shivering sweat. As soon as I felt better some of the PTA moms asked me to help with Campus Beautification day and Teacher Apprecation Week. I have helped make 4 door posters to surprise some teachers. Three days of cutting construction paper, gluing, and making flowers. I wanted to post a blog before now, but you can imagine how hard it was for me to sit here, with my laptop in my lap, and actually do it. Soon I should have more Monkey hats done, and I might even post the pattern, if I have the time before Tuesday.

Disco pants!

My son is an odd size. Tall and thin. His waist is 22 inches around, but he is as tall as my shoulder. The pants that he has are like 4 inches too short. I can see the top of his socks when we walk to school. He never seems bothered by his pants being too short, but when I buy him pants that ARE long enough he has to pull them up every few seconds, or they fall off. We have tried belts, suspenders, and hand stitching the waist band at the sides. After two years of trying to find a soultion to his pants problem I gave up. NO! I don’t let my kid wear his underware to school! He isn’t interested in skirts and I don’t allow him to wear shorts to school. Too many times he has tripped and fell on the playground. Once it was pretty bad and he scraped up his face and bruised his knees. Pants prevent the knees getting all tore up. First grade is like that, boys play rough. Boys need rough pants. I had made a pair of pajama pants for him around Christmas time. When I was growing up my mom always bought us pajamas for Christmas and we got to open them on Christmas eve. My son’s favorite pajama pants are the ones I made. He loves the color, the fit and he never has to pull them up.

I use Pinterest every day. I find new patterns, recipes and articles to read every day. Recently I separated my “Crafting” board into four different sections, “Sewing,” “Knitting,” and “Crochet.” I left the “Crafting” section for Pins that I couldn’t put in the other three boards. One of the first things I repinned was a site with many sewing tutorials for kid’s pants. There it was, the solution to my kid’s pants problem! I have two 20 gallon purple tubs full of fabric. It was exciting, having this solution and being able to make custom pants, like the pajama pants, but for every day. The first fabric I chose was a little thin but it was mostly just for a test run. To see how it would turn out. My son loved them. They were long enough, and he didn’t need a belt. Red pockets on his gray pants. The waist is a little big, I added too much allowence for sewing the elastic. He only had to pull them up when he’s wearing a back-pack, but not on the playground. The pants were such a hit that he asked for another pair. This last weekend I found a slightly stretchy black denim fabric in my collection of fabrics in my purple tubs. Perfect for kid pants.

To start with I had my kid grab a clean pair of pants. You need a starting point. The pants he already has fit in the waist, we just want to add length. Lay the fabric out and lay neatly folded in half pants on top. Add 2 inches to the top and I added about 5-6 inches to the legs. The 2 inches at the top is for elastic tunnels. You know, it’s like a hem but you leave the beginning/end open about a inch to feed the elastic through. I know some time ago I knew the term, but today I don’t. That happens. Saturday I finished these black denim pants. Quite a bit thicker than the last pair of pants I made. I use a straight cut on the legs. Skinny jeans are for grown-ups. Ones with skinny legs. My 7-year-old is just fine with pants a little wide in the ankles. He’s just going to grow out of them soon anyway.

Monday morning my little monster was excited to get to wear new pants to school. I have no idea where this idea came from but on the walk home from school he told me his pants were Disco pants. For Disco dancing. And that he loved them! He was in love with the Disco pants I made for him! Of course I was pleased with hearing that. The next part is pretty awesome too. He went on to say that he needed me to make him a white pair of Disco pants, with sparkles. So he could dance. If only I had a Bedazzler! I do have the white fabric, now I just need the sparkles! At least my son isn’t embarrassed about the pants I make for him. I get requests for hand made clothes every few days. I’m excited and waiting for the next kid to come along (hopefully a girl!) so I can make even more fun stuff for them to wear.

 

The tutorial I was raving about:

http://www.danamadeit.com/2008/07/tutorial-and-pattern-kid-pants-the-basic-pants.html

Other helpful tutorials for boy’s pants:

http://www.danamadeit.com/2008/07/tutorial-kid-pants-with-pockets.html

http://prudentbaby.com/2010/06/baby-kid/how-to-sew-pants-2/

What kind of slippers do you want?

 

I posed this question to my son. I asked him what kind of slippers he wanted me to make. I was hoping for bunny slippers. I was hoping for white. He told me he wanted gray bunny slippers, like our pet bunny, Godzilla. Yes, we have a dwarf mini rex rabbit. He is named Godzilla and he likes cilantro. My son loves our bunny. Godzilla is a cage bunny. Because of our living situation (apartment) the bunny has to stay in his cage. Where we lived before we could let the bunny out sometimes, but after moving just down the street we can no longer let our friend Godzilla run about. Happy gray bunny slippers do, however, get to enjoy the floor. No hopping or jumping though, the downstairs neighbors would not be happy about that.

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Finished slippers on the couch. I finish a lot of items while my son is at school, so this is before he had a chance to try them on.

 

After a year of knitting I accepted the challenge of crocheting a special request- A monkey hat and diaper cover. I’m not going to lie, I understand crochet a lot better than knitting. There are some knitting concepts I struggle with still. As a way to ease back into crocheting I was thinking kid slippers would be fast and simple. Well, moving happened. Got all my stuff put away then I was finally able to get yarn in my hands. Of course I skipped past the quick easy way to slide back into crochet. I finished the monkey hat and diaper cover in just 4 days. Even managed a tail. (Saving pictures for another post!) A week or two later I sat down to do the bunny slippers. About 4 hours later I had slippers on my couch. Not bunnies yet, but slippers worth of trying on.

 

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Slipper in the raw. (before ears, tails and eyes)

 

About an hour before I had to go pick my son up from school I was ready to make some ears and eyes. Even with the year or so of not crocheting I remembered how to start the ears and everything! I don’t think I will ever forget how to crochet. I could have dementia, Alzheimer and be in a hospital bed/wheel chair in some assisted living place and still be able to pick up a hook and some yarn and make a hat. For now my kiddo gets the coolest stuff made for him. His every imagined request (as long as it’s politely requested) will have yarny life breathed into it. This super easy 4 hours or less project can be altered to be any animal your favorite kid asks you to make.

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Materials:

-crochet hook (I start with a J then go from there)

-Worsted weight yarn

-yarn needle

 

Size:

This was made for a 7 year old with a foot that fits in a Junior 13 shoe.

Pattern for simple slipper:

1. Crochet a chain of 4 then join with a slip stitch.

2. Chain one then crochet 6 in center of ring. Slip stitch to join to first stitch.

3. Chain one then 2 stitches in all stitches around. Slip stitch to join round.

4. Chain one, 2 stitches in next stitch, one stitch in next stitch, repeat all around. Join with slip stitch.

5. Repeat round 4

6. Chain one, one stitch in each stitch, join round with slip stitch.

7, 8, 9 same as 6.

10. Chain one, one stitch in each stitch until the last 10, turn.

11-19. Chain one then one in each stitch across, turn.

To finish sew heel (the last row worked should be folded in half)

 

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Thanks for reading. Bye.

-Bobby

In the beginning

In the beginning

How do you start yourself? Like when you get up everyday. Do you amble out of bed grunting and gurgling like a scene from The Walking Dead? Are you a zombie before your coffee? Do you even drink coffee? Is there a shower involved to perk up your early morning face? How do you start something?

I wake up as soon as my alarm goes off. As soon as my eyes are open I am just awake. My day starts with checking my social media, seeing what happened while I slept. Then either a shower or getting dressed. I only shower every other day. Then I make a quick breakfast for me and my son and we both walk to school where I do volunteer work while he is in class. My day starts like that 5 days a week. On Saturday and Sunday I get to sleep until I wake up then lounge around in bed until my husband wakes up. Pretty normal. I’m just a normal average lady. I have a normal average family, mostly. I don’t drink coffee, I do not like sweet things for breakfast, I am a vegetarian, I use to cook and wash dishes for a small convelescent hospital and I love the color purple. So, why tell you all this? I’m not looking to connect with other human beings. I don’t ask for your attention. I’m just starting.

After I get home, while my kid is still at school I do amazing things. I don’t think it’s all that amazing, but my husband does. My son thinks so too. I take yarn and turn it into monkey hats, pink sockies, fingerless gloves, baby sweaters, child sweaters, hats… A whole universe of things. I even make little critters. Fish, starfish, bunnies, even people. Not everyone has this talent. Half the time I don’t even use a pattern. Sometimes I look up patterns on Ravelry, Knitpicks, Lion Brand, Red Heart or just some random blog I found through Pinterest. Yes, I use the internet like crazy, but I DO have a collection of books devoted to yarn crafting. I call it yarn crafting. That’s right! I don’t JUST knit. I don’t JUST crochet. Sometimes it’s just knots, they tell me it’s called macramé. Sometimes I even add a bead or two… or forty. It’s fun. I do it for hours. I knit on the bus. Crochet at the park. I hate just sitting idle without something in my hands. I end up with a box full of baby hats and booties and I’m not even pregnant (yet). At one point I was sewing a lot. Little things mostly. Checkbook covers, crochet hook rolls, crayon rolls, pouches, purses and mini top hats. I started buying enough fabric at one time to make around 8 of one item then I opened up an Etsy store. A lot of the time I kept putting it off. I thought, “I’ll get to it later!” But “later” didn’t come often. I was working 8-13 hours days sometimes. Then some stuff happened. I moved, got married, my son started school. The LIFE kind of stuff. Now I want to start putting more energy, time, effort and more of myself into selling this pile of hand made stuff I have laying around. I will be having my husband help my re-do my Etsy store (he does computer stuff, like graphics and stuff). One of the times I was considering what to sell online I made a pixilated Mario baby blanket. A bright classic video game character. In granny squares. Crocheted granny square Mario.

Hopefully I can share the wonderous world of free patterns, patterns from my head and skills, tips, tricks and short-cuts I know all about with whoever is willing to read my blog. I’m going to aim for once-a-week but you know, life happens. Here’s to new beginnings and a warm wonderful life full of crafting.

-Bobby