Thursday, August 21, 2014

Toddler Neck Pillow

Ok. I have said before that I do not sew. And this is true. Mostly. However, sometimes I get sick of crocheting. Especially when I've been racking my brain, trying to think of cute, creative things to crochet for this blog. So I needed a break. And I needed a neck pillow for my toddler for some long driving trips we're going to be taking fairly soon. Yes, I could have crocheted this, but that would necessitate using small, tight stitches like single crochets. No project made out of single crochets comes together quickly. In case you haven't noticed, I am all about quick crochet. I get bored with projects fairly easily. In all my years of crocheting, I have made one blanket. And it was a lap blanket. Made out of hexagons. I was totally going to be crafty and make blankets for all my family for Christmas. This grand scheme turned into the actuality of one lap blanket. But I'm pretty proud of it because it is the biggest crochet project I've ever completed. Now. Back to the neck pillow.

I found a pattern from Hiragana Mama on Pinterest, and I used that as my template. I had to change it a little bit to fit my son's neck. I don't know if my son just has a thick neck or what (completely possible - he's a big kid), but the neck hole on the pattern was too small for my son. I tried the paper pattern around his neck, and he complained that it was too tight. So, I adjusted it to his neck. Paper is easier to cut (and way cheaper), so make sure that your paper template fits before you cut out your fabric. I just used freezer paper, since I have a ridiculous amount of it, and it's huge and great for patterns. I used some dinosaur flannel that I've had sitting around for about two years. It was originally going to be pajama bottoms for my older son, and then my younger son was born, and it was going to be bottoms for both of them. But it never happened. So I decided to finally use it and make this pillow. It's nice and soft. As my son said this morning when he tried it on, "It's so warm and cozy!" I don't really know if I want it to be warm since part of our travels will be in the summer, but, hey. He likes it.

So, I think the reason I don't like sewing is really I don't like cutting out the pieces of fabric. I don't cut very evenly, and then everything gets misshapen when I sew it together. This time I think I did ok.

Except for a couple spots. Like this one.

Do you like the spread of the pins? I ran out towards the end, and there are fewer on the left than the right. But, it's fine. It held together perfectly well.

Lest you think this neck pillow is perfection itself, I will draw your attention to where I stuffed the pillow... and hand-stitched it together. 

Ah, well. I still have much to practice. And since practice makes perfect, you will probably see more sewing projects mingled with the crochet ones. My son's latest request: a backpack. And an airplane. So keep your eyes peeled for a crochet airplane and a sewn backpack. They will be coming soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dress-up Crown Crochet Pattern

This morning my little boy was watching Creative Galaxy on Amazon Prime while I got ready for the day. Apparently they made a paper crown on the show, and my son decided he wanted one. He asked me to make a paper crown. I am not a paper crafter. Plus, a paper crown would last about five seconds with that very active child. So, I told him I'd make him a yarn one. It only took me all day (because we had errands to run), but by 6:30 pm tonight, I had finally finished! And he loved it. I think it turned out pretty cute.
Yes, I am a paranoid parent who doesn't want pictures of her children on the internet...also, sorry for the quality of the pic.
I used some really thick acrylic yarn that I had left over some project. A project so long ago that I don't remember what brand it is (or what the project was...). It's not bulky weight, but I'm pretty sure it's a little heavier than the normal Red Heart cheap stuff. I used a J hook because it was so thick. This fits the head of a three-year-old, but it would probably fit older kids, too. And younger if they have big heads. My kid's head is in the 50th-ish percentile for his head, so...if that gives you an idea of size.... You can change hook size and yarn weight to make it bigger or smaller.

I crocheted this in rows, but I think next time I will connect it at the beginning (and as I go) so that I don't have to sew it together. It ended up looking really weird where I sewed it up.

I am not a seamstress.

Ok, all the italicized notes below probably make this pattern look kind of daunting. It's really not! It's just more than a bunch of sc and dc in a row, and I wanted to break it down.

Also, I have boys, so this is a very plain, simple crown. If you have girls, or older boys/boys who just want more embellishment, make these puppies pretty...or handsome. Flowers and jewels would definitely be fun. My son is a toddler and doesn't care that much. He just wanted a crown.

Dress-up Crown:

Row 1: Ch 55. Sc in the 2nd st from the hook. Sc across. Ch 1. Turn.
Row 2: Sc across. Ch 1. Turn.
Row 3: [(Hdc, dc) tc (dc, hdc) sc] Repeat this pattern around. Ch 1. Turn. Ok. This one is a little bit tricky to explain but really easy to do. In the first st, you will make both sts that are listed in the first parentheses (hdc, dc). In the next st, you'll make the tc. In the st after that, you'll make the two sts in the next set of parentheses (dc, hdc). Then, in the st after that, you'll make an sc. And then you'll repeat the whole thing over and over again until you reach the end. 
Row 4: [Sc. Sc. Ch 2. Tc. Ch 2. Sc. Sctog] Repeat around. Fasten off and sew two sides together. For the sctog on this one: If you look at the sts after the one you just did (the sc), you will see three more sc in a row. You are going to ignore the middle one and sctog the two on the ends. Does that make sense? Sorry, I didn't get a picture.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Crochet Pacifier Clip Pattern

A couple weeks ago, my mom sent me a pin on Pinterest for this blog post. I thought it was a fun idea, but I didn't really do anything with it until Friday night. And I was doing it off of memory of the picture in the pin. So, the only thing these clips really have in common with the clips from the other post is the way they attach to the pacifier. Looking at the pattern now, it seems fairly complicated, so I'm kind of glad I just made up my own. But it really is a good idea, so I ran with it. I didn't want to do animals, so I made a flower, a baseball, and a heart.

The heart was made using this pattern. Oh my gosh, friends. So easy. And it's different from every other heart pattern I've seen. I like it. The pattern for the baseball and flower are below.

Guys, these clips come together so quickly. They're so easy. You'll be really surprised how long it does NOT take to make these.


Row 1: Ch 36. Sc in 2nd st from the hook and across. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 1. Hdc across. Turn. 
Row 3: Ch 1. Sc across. When you finish the last st, instead of turning or fastening off, ch 10 and connect to the other side of the end (see picture). Fasten off.
Note: Make sure you leave a nice long tail. Patterns always say that, but this time I actually mean it. That way, if you can't get the shape at the top to fit through the hole, you can add more to it. Plus, if you make it too short, that string WILL come out. If you look closely at the flowered strap, you can see the stitching at the bottom coming out. I don't know what I was thinking when I cut that. I was watching a I was a little distracted. 


Round 1: Ch 3. 10 dc in first ch (3rd ch from the hook). Connect with a sl st to the first dc. 
Round 2: Ch 1. In same st, sc. In next st, make 3 dc. [Sc in next st, 3 dc in st after that] around. Connect. 
Round 3: Ch 1. In same st, sc. In the next st, sc. In the st after that, make 4 dc. [Sc, sc, 4 dc, sc] around. Connect. Fasten off. 
Sew flower to strap. 


Round 1: Ch 4. Connect. 8 sc in center. Connect. 
Round 2: Ch 1. 2 sc in each st around. Connect.
Round 3: Ch 1. [Sc, dc] around. Connect.
Round 4: Ch 1. [Sc, sc, dc] around. Connect
Round 5: Repeat round 4. Fasten off.
Then, with red yarn and a yarn needle, stitch the red lines.

Now, for all of the strap toppers, I made matching shapes to go on the back. There was a lot of ugly stitching from where I connected the shape to the strap. Also, I haven't figured out what kind of clip I want to attach to these. So, right now, the backs look like this:

Here's what they look like attached to a pacifier. It's kind of a pain to shift it through the little loop, so, if you're having a hard time with getting it through, just make the loop a little longer.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Granny Bag

Doesn't that sound so desirable? "Granny bag." Yeah. That's exactly what everyone wants: the bag a grandmother carries around. However, I call it a granny bag because it is composed primarily of granny squares, not because it has been out of style for thirty years.

So. My little sister requested this bag for her birthday. I had made myself one, and she liked it so much that she wanted her own. Here is the finished project:

Granted, she asked for it in plain gray and cream. Because she's boring and doesn't like color. I tell her often. But, I cannot use only plain colors. I cannot bring myself to leave off at least one bright and happy color. So, I threw in some purple - her favorite color. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and so is she.

Alas, I did not create this pattern. This person did. I just changed the colors and made it a little bit smaller. But it has such a fun outcome that I wanted to share the pattern. This bag is ridiculously simple and fairly quick to make. It only took me a few hours. As I said before, it is made of granny squares. If you don't know how to make such a square, this is the best tutorial I've yet seen for them. I thought about making my own, but if it's not broken, why fix it? This is actually the tutorial that refreshed my memory after many years respite from the square of granny. Granny squares are probably one of the easiest things to crochet after a straight line.

You can line this bag with fabric - and you probably should, but I do not sew. That is one skill I have not yet mastered. If you have, then, by all means, line this bag and make it stronger. Just keep in mind the very hole-y nature of granny squares when you choose your yarn and fabric. Don't choose a white yarn and a super brightly colored or patterned fabric unless you really want to see the fabric through the bag.

Now, I did the straps a little differently than the original poster did. Here's my "pattern:"

1 - 2. Sc in each st around twice, with sctog in each of the corners. By "corners," I mean these parts. Connect with a sl st after each round.

3. Sc in each st until you reach the top peak of the granny square where you'll make the strap. (Does that make sense? If not, I can add a picture.) Ch. 40 (for the strap). Do this again for the other side. Finish the round with however many sc it takes to get to where you started. You will still sctog in the corners. Connect with a sl st to first sc.

4 - 5. Sc around in each st and ch, sctog in the corners. (Twice - once for round 4, and once for round 5.) Connect with a sl st after each round. Fasten off.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Read Crochet Diagram Patterns

I'm not 100% that's what they're called, but if you crochet and search Pinterest for patterns, you probably know what I'm talking about. If not, check out this site. They have tons of fun project ideas,  but most of them offer a diagram rather than a written pattern. I've heard some people say that they don't understand what everything on the chart means, so I thought I'd dedicate a post to showing the basics.

I am not an artist, and I drew this diagram...without a ruler, so don't judge. This is for educational purposes only. This isn't a real pattern. It would probably look really weird if you tried it out. But, hey, if you want to try it, be my guest. Now, let us begin.

We'll go row by row, starting at the bottom. Those little ovals lining the bottom represent chains. Anytime you see an oval, it means chain. When there is an oval on the side of a row, like you can see on either end of each of the rows I drew, it means the chain that starts the row. These are usually after you turn when crocheting rows, or after you connect when crocheting rounds.

The row right above the oval-chains might look like little, lowercase Ts. These are single crochets. Sometimes they're drawn more like an X, but most of the patterns I've seen uses little Ts, so I drew those. You can also see them on the top row.

Above the single crochets, you have what look like mixes between Ts and Fs. These represent double crochets. If you look at the symbols towards the right end of that row, you will see that the lower line is kind of tilted. That's how you will normally see them. I realized that a little late, and I didn't want to erase and start over. Just remember that the double crochet symbol will resemble the ones on the right. Note: when there are more lines than two, that means a longer stitch. For example, if there are three lines, it will be a triple crochet. Four lines would be quadruple crochet, etc.

The next row up shows a little bit of a pattern. I'll explain each little bit. To start, there are three vertical ovals - the starting chains. Then you have a cluster of three double crochets. They join together at the bottom because they all are made in the same stitch. If you look at the bottom of that row, you can see that two double crochets from the row before are skipped, and the cluster is drawn just above the third double crochet in. That is where you make your cluster. Directly to the left of that cluster is a chain. Then, another two skipped double crochets and a double crochet cluster. This pattern goes until the end.

The top row starts with a chain, and then you would make a single crochet. Then three chains, single crochet, chain 3, single crochet, etc. until the end.

I hope this helps someone. There are some fun patterns that are made in diagrams. Now that you know how to read them, get out and make something. :)

If you have any questions, please let me know, and I will clarify.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hello World - a.k.a. The Simple Yellow Trivet

My first post! And it's a boring trivet.
At least it's pretty, right?

But, hey, I needed a trivet, and I had a small amount of cotton yarn that I wanted to use. So. My favorite part is the fun lines that are made by only crocheting in the back loops.
Here's a close-up.

I am an American, so I use American terms. Just to clarify. Also, this pattern is probably in the more intermediate-advanced beginner range, but I think it still counts as beginner. If you disagree, feel free to let me know. Note: I like to crochet in the same stitch as each round's starting chains, and I don't count the starting chains as a stitch. It's the best way I've found of making a solid round without the weird holes at the end of each round.

The Simple Yellow Trivet Crochet Pattern

ch - chain
st - stitch
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
bl - back loop
sl st - slip stitch
sk - skip
ch4-sp - chain 4 space (This is that gaping area where, in the last row, you had made four chains then single crocheted.)
[...] - The brackets indicate a pattern. For example, if you see "[1 sc, 2 sc] in bl around," you will make 1 sc in the first st, 2 sc in the next, 1 sc in the following st, 2 sc in the stitch after that, etc. etc. until you get back to where you started. And because it indicates "in bl," these stitches will all be made in the back loops.

Round 1: Ch 3. 12 dc in 3rd chain from the hook. Connect to 1st dc with a sl st (NOT the ch 2. Ignore those. They do NOT count as a stitch anywhere in this pattern.)

Round 2: Ch 2. 2 dc in the bl of the same st. 2 dc in the bl of each st around. Connect to 1st dc with a sl st.

Round 3: Ch 1. [1 sc, 2 sc] in bl around, starting in the same st where you ch 1. Connect to 1st sc with a sl st.

Round 4: Ch 2. [dc, dc, 2 dc] in bl around, starting in the same st where you ch 2. Connect to 1st dc.

Round 5: Ch 1. [dc, dc, dc, 2 dc] in bl around. Connect to 1st dc.

Round 6: Ch 1. [1 sc in each of the next 4 st, 2 sc in the next st] in bl around. Connect to 1st sc.

Round 7: Ch 1. [sc, sc, 2 dc, sc, sc, 2 dc, sc, sc, 2 dc, sc, sc, 2 dc, etc.] in bl around. Connect to 1st sc.

Round 8: Sl st in each st until you reach the 2 dc. Sl st in between the 2 dc. (See the picture below.) [Ch 4. Sk to the next 2 dc "cluster" and sc in between the 2 dc] around. You are no longer worrying about bl. End with 1 sc in between the 2 dc cluster you started at. Don't worry about connecting.

I tried to show where I either sl st or sc in between the 2 dc. You can also kind of see the ending sc above that middle circle. 

Round 9: 4 sc in first ch4-sp. No starting ch for this round. [5 sc in next ch4-sp, 4 sc in the ch4-sp after that] around. Connect to the 1st sc.

Round 10: Ch 1. [sc, sc, ch 1, sc, sc, sc, sc, 2 dc, sc, sc] around. Don't count the ch 1 as a st or sk any stitches because of it. End by connecting to the 1st sc with a sl st.