accessories, crochet, Hats and other stuff

I’m back, bitches!

For a short while, anyway. Japan was absolutely amazing, I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to go there again some day. And yes, I did buy a little bit of craft stuff…but I was a good girl, so I didn’t buy too much. To be honest, I had a little bit of trouble finding these magical craft stores of many levels everyone talks about online…the only native Japanese speaker I know isn’t really into crafting, so she couldn’t help much, and it’s so hard to find stuff on the internet, because, well, it’s all in Japanese 😛 But I did find a Yuzawaya, which is a chain craft store, and I got some *very* pretty fabric, and a needle-felting kit to make kitty cell phone straps. I was also kind of limited by luggage space and budgetary concerns, but not to worry – not getting much this time gives me a reason to return (like I needed another reason!)

I’ve been easing myself back into crafting – it took a little while to get back into the swing of things, but I’m not working now until we go to the USA, so I have plenty of time on my hands! I chose a small crochet project that I knew I could finish, and that I would use, to start me off – I chose one I’d been eyeing off for a while on Ravelry, the Divine Hat. I did the body in Sean Sheep Rockbank, a wool/soy mix, in hibiscus colour. It’s a self-striping yarn, very cheap (it comes from Big W!), and I liked working with it. Others have complained that it’s splitty and the dye rubs off on your hands, but I didn’t experience either of these. I did the band in a random purple yarn I bought off Ebay – supposedly it’s hand-dyed and spun, but it came from China, so who knows! All I know is that it was cheap, it’s a beautiful purple colour, and feels really good to work with. The end result? A hat that looks cute on me, and hardly took any time to finish. Yay!

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accessories, Amigurumi amp; Plushies, craftster swap, crochet, Hats and other stuff, sewing

Back from the dead

Yes, I do realise it has been well over a month since I last updated this blog, and I sincerely apologise for that. I started full-time work at the end of July, and quickly realised that there really isn’t time for much else once you’ve been to work, come home, cooked dinner, done the housework and spent time with a sorely neglected husband. Still, I haven’t stopped crafting! In fact, before I quite realised what the impact of a job would have on my spare time, I entered into 3 craft swaps on Craftster (!!), which was probably something of a mistake, but oh well.

Despite my continued crafting, I don’t really have that much to show for the time I’ve spent. This is because I’ve been crafting solely for other people, and like the dill I am, I forget to take photos of the finished object before I give it away and never see it again. However, I did remember to take photos of some of it, so here we go:

This is Chewbacca, as you may have guessed. I made him for a guy at my new workplace, who really loves Star Wars. I made him Han Solo, too, but I forgot to photograph him. Don’t ask me how I remembered one and not the other. I bought the pattern from Ebay, and it was my first attempt at brushing a crocheted object.

Next, I made this adorable little fellow for my Dad on Father’s Day. He’s rather partial to foxes, you see. He does have a slight chunky missing under his tail, where I got a little too enthusiastic with the brushing, but other than that, he turned out fine. I also sewed my father-in-law a glasses case, but I forgot to photograph that.

Let’s see, what else. I’ve tried my hand at stencilling a few t-shirts – I did a metallic blue Transformer for my stepbrother Jordan, a white-on-black Placebo t-shirt for my brother-in-law Bill, and a black and orange hand on a white t-shirt for my brother, Duncan. Each one was significantly better than the last, so at least I’m getting better at it. I’m also currently working on a hoodie for a Craftster swap that involves a fair bit of stencilling, so fingers crossed that looks okay.

I made this tea wallet for my stepsister for her birthday – I got the pattern from this website. She loves tea, so I figured it would be perfect for her. I also made her a necklace, which I didn’t photograph.

I’ve also made 3 headbands for another swap on Craftster, but I won’t post the photos of those until they’ve received them – I don’t want them to stumble across this blog and have the surprise spoiled!

I’ve still got a heap of stuff to work on, even after getting all that done – I’m crocheting an Iron Man figure for a guy at work, I still need to finish knitting the scarf I’m making for my husband (it was meant to be a July birthday present…oops!), I’m crocheting myself a cardigan (although who knows when that will get done), plus a myriad of other things for other people that I was meant to have done ages ago. I’m also meant to be making the Christmas crackers for Christmas this year.

I don’t know how frequently I will be able to update this in the coming months – I don’t want to bore anyone with details of my life, but I’ve just taken on a second, evening job in addition to my daytime one, so my time will be extremely limited until March next year, when my husband and I are taking a two month holiday to Japan. I’ll try and keep you all updated, though, and post photos of everything I finish 🙂

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Hats and other stuff, iphone, sewing, wip, world of warcraft

I’m still alive

So, I haven’t updated this for a while. Sorry. I figure there isn’t much point unless I have something to share, and since I started WAY too many projects at once, a finished object has been a long time coming.

However, today was my brother’s birthday, and I made him a felt, World of Warcraft-themed iPhone case. He was very difficult to craft for, because he didn’t really need anything, and also tends to feel a lot of handcrafted items are “gay”. Still, I perservered and he was extremely pleased with my work, which in turn pleased me. I love making people things!

It was quite easy to make, really. I found the dimensions for the iPhone on Wikipedia (not owning one myself), and cut out my felt. The case is lined with red felt inside, and black felt on the outside. I found the Horde symbol online, printed it out, cut it out of felt and stitched it onto the front. I did blanket stitch around the outside, and sewed the velcro on the flap with my sewing machine so it wasn’t going anywhere.

The photo of the case is taken on my brand new cutting mat, which is awesome! I got a rotary cutter, too, so now cutting fabric for my projects is a lot easier. It’s not quite the mat I wanted, but Spotlight had a misleading sale and refused to give me the first one I picked out at the sale price, so I ended up with this one. Still better than nothing, anyway.

What I’m currently working on:

  1. Super secret project for my husband’s birthday on the 11th
  2. 3 secret craft projects for my Craftster swap partner (she knows my blog address, so I can’t reveal anything here :P)
  3. My Totoro cosplay for my local anime and video game convention at the end of the month!
  4. A shawl. I don’t know why, I don’t wear shawls, but I’m quickly becoming addicted to making them.
  5. Various other small projects that people have requested.

Oh, and a big welcome to everyone who found me through dailycrocheter.com, a site I never even knew existed until today. My Blueberry Dreams neckwarmer was featured as the pattern of the day, which I was very flattered to discover!

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accessories, crochet, etsy, Hats and other stuff, scarf

Scarves and a welcome

First of all, a big welcome to all those who have come to check this blog out after seeing my neckwarmer pattern at Crochet Pattern Central! I hope the pattern was to your liking 🙂

Second, I have put two new scarves up on my Etsy store! They are Maiden’s Blush and Tropical Sunset respectively, and I hope they do well 🙂 The Maiden’s Blush is a delicate, pale pink scarf that is 10% cashmere, so it’s wonderfully soft and has a beautiful drape. Tropical Sunset is 100% high quality wool, and has gorgeous vibrant hues fading into each other. If you’re in need of a scarf for winter, check them out!

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accessories, crochet, Hats and other stuff, scarf, tips

Scarf mathematics

Just finished off a scarf for a rather nerdy friend of mine’s birthday! It’s a Fibonacci Scarf! A Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical sequence of numbers that’s special for some reason. No, I don’t know why, and I don’t particularly care. The point is, my nerdy friend will appreciate it. You may have noticed that the pattern I linked to is a knitting one – I don’t know of any crochet versions out there. However, since I am fundamentally incapable of knitting, I just tweaked the pattern and crocheted it instead, entirely in single crochet. I started with a chain of 30, and then just followed the row numbers on the original pattern. I had no idea if it would work or not while I was working on it, but it ended up looking pretty good!

Another thing about my nerdy friend is, he’s a vegan. This meant I had fewer options when it came to yarn selection for this project, and was quite troublesome. I know in theory that there are probably hundreds of various acrylic, bamboo and cotton yarns out there – they’re just not in any of the Spotlights in South Australia 😛 Every time I found a nice, soft acrylic, it was only available in unsuitable, odd colours. I was looking for navy blue and red. These are not unusual colours. I would imagine they are quite popular colours. Apparently, the yarn manufacturers disagree. I saw all manner of oranges, pinks, teals, purples and multicoloured yarns, but the only brand that had both the colours I needed was a brand called Thorobred, which unfortunately is not known for its stellar quality. In fact, when I crocheted the first section of the scarf, I was about ready to throw it in the bin. It felt like a scourer! Luckily, my homies at the crochetcrochet community on Livejournal introduced me to the art of “killing” acrylic. I did try washing it with fabric softener before resorting to murdering it, but all that did was make the scarf smell of apples. Not bad, certainly, but not helpful either.

“Killing” acrylic is basically blocking it, except it’s an irreversible process. There are a couple of methods, I chose to pin it to the ironing board, cover it with a damp cloth and press it with lots of steam, and that worked just fine. It’s really, really soft now, and it grew a bit in length as well, which is always handy! I’m really pleased with how it turned out in the end, it far exceeded any of my expectations.

Now, to make a pi plushie and I’m all set for his birthday!

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accessories, crochet, Hats and other stuff, patterns, scarf

Blueberry Dreams Neckwarmer

I am very happy to introduce you all to my very first pattern! It’s ok, you can stop applauding now. It’s a neckwarmer, which is kind of like a mini-scarf – a scarlette, if you will. It’s super warm and comfy, and looks pretty stylin’, too! The pattern is really simple; it’s great for beginners who want something easy to make that still looks good. So without further ado, here is the pattern! The stitches you need to know are single crochet and double crochet – that’s it! I use US terms for my patterns, just fyi.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 50g skeins of worsted weight yarn. I used Araucania Rehue Multy, which is an absolutely stunning yarn, hand-dyed in Chile. I got it on sale at yarn.com, for an insanely cheap price. I needed 2 skeins of this yarn because there isn’t much yardage to a skein, but I think you could easily get away with 1 skein of a less fancy yarn.
  • A 5mm crochet hook
  • 2 buttons of your choice
  • A needle

Method:

Ch 25. If you want a wider neckwarmer, chain more. This pattern is very customisable, as you’ll see.

Row 1: Sc across (25)

Row 2: Ch 2, dc across (25)

Row 3: Ch 1, sc across (25)

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until you get to row 71, which, if you’ve been following the pattern correctly, should be a row of single crochet.

Row 71: Ch 1, sc 7. *Ch 2, skip next 2 ch, sc 7* twice. These are your button holes. If you’re using tiny buttons, you might only want to ch 1 and skip 1 ch. I recommend you use large buttons though.

Row 72: Ch 2, dc across (25).

Row 73: Ch 1, sc across (25).

Row 74: Ch 2, dc across (25).

Row 75: Ch 1, sc across (25).

Row 76: Ch 1, skip 2 stitches and dc into the next stitch 5 times. skip next stitch and sc into the next stitch. Repeat until the end of the row. Finish off and sew in ends.

Try the neckwarmer on and see where you need to sew the buttons on. This is really personal preference – I just placed the buttonholes where I thought they seemed good on the opposite end of the neckwarmer, marked the places and sewed the buttons on there. Then I tried it on to make sure it wasn’t too tight/too loose. Voila! You now have your very own neckwarmer for the upcoming winter! **NEWLY ADDED** Click here to download the pattern in pdf form!

If you have any questions about this pattern, feel free to email me at kirsty [at] whimsicalkitty [dot] com and I will reply as soon as I can!

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Amigurumi amp; Plushies, crochet, Hats and other stuff, patterns, scarf, tips

Tea Scarf 2.0

I love the tea scarf pattern on Ravelry – it’s one of the simplest, yet prettiest scarves around. However, it’s quite a small scarf when worked in worsted weight yarn (as it suggests it should be), both in length and width. I don’t know about you, but I like a scarf I can wrap around my neck a couple of times. So, without further ado, here’s how to make a long tea scarf in a dk weight yarn.

I used 2 balls of Moda Vera Wool/Cashmere Blend (which I highly recommend – it’s beautifully soft and has a bit of stretch in it) for this, with a 4mm crochet hook. First, ch 250. I know, I know, it seems like a lot. But it really doesn’t take that long! Then, simply follow the original tea scarf pattern – but double the amount of rows it says to do. At least. Really, you can keep going with the rows as long as you like, depending on how wide you like your scarves. Once you’ve finished adding rows, switch to a 5mm hook and do your edging as per the original pattern. If you want a really pronounced ruffle edging, do 3 dc in each stitch instead of 2. Ta-da! A long, elegant tea scarf is born! You may find it curls a little at the ends when you’ve finished, but that can be cured by blocking it.

Blocking is when you dampen your scarf (or other project), pin it out on a surface and wait for it to dry. That’s a very simple explanation, by the way, there are a few different types of blocking that can be used for different yarn types. For instance, when I made my first tea scarf, I made it in Noro Silk Garden yarn, which is worsted weight, and I put that in the washing machine on the wool cycle (without detergent), then pinned it out on a towel on a futon and left it overnight. For the wool/cashmere one, because it was a more delicate yarn, I pinned it out on an ironing board and steamed it with an iron – being very careful not to let the iron touch the yarn! Blocking a project just gives it a bit more of a professional look, in my opinion, so it’s something I’ll be doing from now on.

I gave the above-mentioned scarf to my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day, incidentally, and she loved it! I used a cream coloured yarn for the main body of the scarf, and black for the edging. I almost wished I could keep it for myself! For my mother, I made her a Japanese kokeshi doll trinket box that I found a pattern for on Ebay. One day I hope to have the time to come up with my own patterns for this stuff – maybe after the craft fair is over!

Kokeshi Doll

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