Friday, December 15, 2017

Yes... I'm Still Here!

I haven't posted for a while, but I have been very busy with yarn and hook!  Here are some of the projects I've completed since my last post.

 Pet the cat is always a popular gift!  Paired with one of Pete's story books, he is an instant hit!  I have made several of these for gifts and for my Etsy Shop.

 This adorable Teddy Bear came about from an impulse buy of a cake of Bernat Blanket yarn.   My great-grandson loves balls, and I had hoped to make a 'pull-apart bear' constructed entirely of balls.  The idea was to sew velcro to each ball so it would stick to the main body of the bear, giving him a sort Mr. Potato Head type of toy and still lots of balls to play with.  Sadly, this type of yarn does not stick to velcro, so that didn't work.  But this bear turned out pretty good.   I may still try the pull-apart toy later just to see if I can make it work with a different type of yarn.

 These little sheep ornaments were an instant hit with many people!  They are easy to make and the pattern can be found here.  I sold out of these at my local craft shows!

 This awesome horse was made for my grand-daughter, the horse lover.  I did not design this pattern, but it is awesome in it's detail and the precise shaping of the horse.  I'm thinking of making a white horse in the future just because I think it would be a beautiful piece.  I found this pattern on Etsy.

These are my latest project.  I was asked to make a sheep for a nursery.  I made one in regular yarn and the other in fuzzy yarn just to see the difference.  I like them both, but the fuzzy one is a bit more cuddly.  This pattern can be found in my Etsy shop here.

At this point I'm just winding down a bit for the holidays and thinking on what I would like to do in 2018.   So, if you don't hear from me until next year, I want to wish you all a
Merry Christmas
and a very
Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Oops! This Crochet Amigurumi Still Needs Work!

I have looked all over the internet for a pattern to make this adorable little amigurumi, but could not find it anywhere.  .  I saw the original picture on pinterest, and I did see it on a foreign social site during pattern search, but no pattern.    So I did what any ambitious crochet artist would do.  I created my own pattern.

The picture above is my first pattern attempt.    Isn't it adorable?  But some of the pieces are just not to my liking.  I crocheted this one from acrylic, and it just doesn't hold the form like I want it to.  So back to the drawing board, or in this case, back to the hook and yarn.

I am  making the next one from mercerizes cotton yarn and tweaking the  design just a bit to hopefully get a nice form and a toy that will stand up to some rough and tumble play and still be able to stand on his own two, er four, feet.

I did get into a bit of a hurry since so many people expressed interest in the pattern, and I listed it in my Etsy shop only to deactivate it within a few hours  due to my dissatisfaction with some of it.  My apologies to anyone who has been trying to get the pattern.

Once this pattern meets with my satisfaction, I will re-activate it with the improved pattern and a new picture.    Please be patient.   I promise you it will be a better pattern.

Check back often to see what I am up to and feel free to leave me a comment.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

The 'Star Stitch' How Pretty!!!!

I've been eyeing this stitch for some time now.  It looked kind of complicated and I just wasn't ready to try it until now.  But this week I've done 2 projects using this very pretty and elegant looking stitch.

I've been in need of a new coin purse for a while now and just haven't found any I cared to purchase, so I decided this week to just make one.

This is the front with a cell phone pocket that I added later.  The star stitch isn't very prominent here.
This is the back side and you can see the star stitch easily here.   This is the first coin purse I've ever made, and it's not perfect, but since I was in a hurry I was aiming more for the functionality than aesthetics.  And it is very functional!  Soft and lightweight, it feels good in my hand.

My second project was this wash/dish cloth.  Once again, pretty and functional!

I may make several of these just because I can.  I'm thinking of a couple of variations using this stitch, so who knows what I may come up with.  Check back later to see.  But for now, I think this stitch is a winner!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Crochet Wreath MakeOver!!!! So cool.....

A few years ago I ran across a sweet website called Attic24.

This colorful wreath totally caught my attention.  I love bright colors!   I had this for a couple of years when my Dad had to go to an Alzheimer's unit nearby.  Reading about this disease I found that these patients are drawn to bright colors, and since my Dad was having trouble identifying where his room was, I placed this wreath on the door to his room in the hopes that it would help.

Alzheimers is a strange disease.  You can't really tell what is going on in the mind of the afflicted person.  Dad did many strange things, and one of them was that he would move and hide things.  So the colorful wreath would disappear at times only to resurface in a closet or a drawer.  One thing I realized is that Dad knew it was HIS wreath, and that brought me comfort.

Dad left this world this past February.   I don't think I'll ever stop missing him.  But I did keep the wreath.  Sadly, in his adventures, Dad had broken the inner wreath form which was made of styrofoam.  The wreath was still usable, but looking a little shabby.

This week, after having the wreath on my door for a few months, I decided it needed a facelift.  But I didn't want to lose the memories of my Dad that went with it.

The new base is made of a pool noodle duck-taped into a circle. (Where was that idea when I needed it?)   I crocheted a new cover for the noodle and decided to just add a few of the flowers from the original.

The idea came to me to use velcro to attach the flowers in case I wanted to use the same wreath for a different occasion sometime.  (Think Christmas or Easter with appropriate holiday decorations.)  I added a ribbon with which to hang it.

I really love the look of this wreath, and I still think of Dad each time I look at it!  I think it's a win-win!

Maybe this will give you some ideas as well.  I hope it inspires you to re-work some of those precious items that may just need a little facelift to proudly take a prominent place in your decor again!


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Who Doesn't Love an Adorable Doxie Puppy?.....

I just finished this pattern for my Great-grandson's first birthday.   I wasn't sure if I would get him finished in time to mail, but found that this pattern worked up fairly quickly.  Within two days of intermittent crocheting,  I was done!

Just look at that cute little tail!
This pattern was designed by Jenna Wingate.  I happened across it on Pinterest and just fell in love with it.  Jenna has many awesome doggie designs, and I love them all!  If you are a pet lover you may want to visit her website and see if your favorite breed is featured in a crochet format.  You can find her site here

I often tweak patterns to suit my taste as I crochet them, but I changed only one thing on this pattern.  I made the nose a bit bigger and rounder.  All in all, this is a great, fun pattern!  I will try her patterns again when I need another lovey blankie for a toddler or baby gift.  Thank you, Jenna Wingate for your awesome designs!


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dusty the Donkey Crochet Pattern Review

Last week I crocheted this pattern by IlDikko.  You can find this paid pattern here.   This is such a cute little animal!  He was also quite a challenge.  He is the first crochet animal that I have made that has a wire armature.  The armature gives him a better form and more stability.  A delightful benefit is that it also makes him pose-able.

The pattern comes as a download and is 19 pages long with a load of good pictures if you decide to print it out.  While there are no fancy crochet stitches in this pattern, it does help to follow the pattern step-by-step.  First, I crocheted the nose  and lower lip and stitched them together.  Then I attached the grey yarn to the nose and crocheted the head.  Before stuffing and closing the head, I had to cut and form the first part of the wire armature and insert part of it into the head.  Then I stuffed and closed the head, but with part of the armature sticking out for future use.

I then continued to work the pattern in the steps  as written.  I must say that working around the wire armature was a bit awkward at first, but I soon learned to bend the wires out of the way and up close to completed portions of the donkey until I was ready to use them.

Actually, the pattern was pretty simple to follow.  The most difficulty I had was crocheting the donkey's behind, which started in an oval and progressed to rounds of the body.  The tail was incorporated into this portion of the donkey so it seemed a little tricky for me.  Also the holes for the leg wires seemed to be a bit off, so I tried to compensate for that by moving them over a few stitches to what I thought might be a better position.  Upon completion, I realized that I should have stuck with the pattern, as I ended up with the back legs slightly off center.  However, It was not noticeable enough to unravel and redo the entire body.  Lesson learned.  The patterns are usually right on.

The hooves were also a bit tricky with multiple stitch changes.  I like to watch TV while I crochet, but I finally had to turn everything off so I could give my whole attention to  the hooves.  As I put the final touches on this project, I mused that it would have been nice to have had some measurements for the leg lengths.  I felt like the back legs were a bit longer than they maybe should have been.  But with a little posing, I made it work.  If I do this project again, I will likely make the back legs a round or two shorter.

The pattern includes some extras which I chose not to do at this time.  There are baskets for the donkey to wear across his back and also a sweet little carrot for him to eat.  They do add to the donkey's cuteness, but I wanted this guy to just be a barnyard donkey.

I never fail to learn new things when I work up someone else's pattern!  And this donkey taught me to be patient, follow the directions as written and how to use an armature in a crochet project.

All in all, this was a great pattern, and I would not hesitate to purchase another pattern from this talented designer!

Hope you enjoyed this pattern review.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Crochet Bunny Rag Doll Lovey, Soft and Cuddly

I just love this Crochet Bunny Rag Doll Lovey.  It is so soft and cuddly!  I think I may have to make several of these in the future.  What baby or toddler would not love this adorable softie?!

I found this pattern on Pinterest and followed the link to Ravelry.

The pattern is pretty simple to follow and only took a few hours to complete.  I love that the body, arms and legs are not stuffed.  Little hands will be able to grab this lovey and go.  There is nothing awkward or clumsy about it at all.  The safety eyes and nose made designing the face easy.  The hardest part of the whole pattern for me was embroidering on the whiskers and getting them rightly proportioned.

The pattern is written for a simple grey bunny with a white belly, but I wanted to add more color to mine, so I had to tweak that a bit.

I love the way this bunny turned out!

If you are looking for  a cute bunny to give to your baby or toddler for Easter, this one would most likely be loved to tatters!  I think this would also be an excellent baby or shower gift!

So pull out your crochet hook and yarn and get to work!  You'll be glad you did!  And if you don't crochet, or just don't have the time right now, this bunny can be purchased in the Varmint Market.  Or request a custom one to match any nursery decor!


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Poseable Crochet Baby Snakes make the Easter Basket Even More Fun!

These poseable crochet baby snakes are just too cute!   They are truly a crocheted snake with a twist.  They can be made in a variety of colors, stripes or patterns.  Let your imagination run wild!

Imagine the squeals of laughter when your child finds one or more of these in the Easter basket this year.  In our household, we have noticed that even the adults can't resist bending and twisting these adorable little snakes.

The secret of the poseability of these varmints is a twister curler inside.  These little critters are easy and quick to make, and you can have a den of them in almost no time at all.

Look for the free pattern in the Varmint Market and get ready for some sssilly, sssnakey fun!


Friday, February 17, 2017

Crochet Bassett Hound, Boris. Arrives on the Scene

As I surf Pintrest I often see an adorable pattern that I just can't resist.  Boris was one of those.  This crochet bassett hound is so cute!

This crochet Bassett Hound won my heart!

How could anyone resist those mournful eyes and adorable long ears!?  This is not my own design but you can find this crochet bassett hound pattern here.  I have no problem paying someone else for an excellent and adorable pattern, which this one certainly is!

After designing my own simple patterns, I realize the work that goes into a pattern like Boris (my own name for him).  I love the details of the eyebrows and foot pads.  You can't see it in the picture, but he has a red collar on with the dog tag suspended from it.  I did improvise a bit on the tag, making it a double thickness with a circle of plastic canvas inside to give it a little more rigidity.  And I embroidered a B.  for his initial.

If you are intimidated by patterns with such details, let me encourage you to give it a try.  Just follow the instructions, step by step, and you should be able to recreate almost any project.  If the pattern involves complex stitches, then go find a nice tutorial on the internet and let it teach you what you need to know.  But most of all, have patience, and don't be discouraged if you have to unravel and redo until you get it right.  It is so worth it!

So if you love dogs, or know a dog lover that would appreciate their own Boris, this crochet bassett hound may be just what you're looking for.  If you would like to buy Boris already stitched up, you can find him here.

Happy Stitching!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Miniature Crochet Bear....Adorable!

This is my miniature bear next to a teacup.

I have been captivated by miniature crochet for some time, but finally tried it myself.  I was afraid that it would be too much a strain on my eyes to do such tiny stitches and I couldn't imagine the patience it must take to crochet something so small.  However, with the help of my magnifier lamp I had very little trouble at all!  And I didn't even use the magnification.  But the direct light was a life saver for this project.

Miniature crochet doesn't take nearly as long to complete the project since there are fewer stitches due to the small size.  And it goes without saying that it doesn't take as many supplies to create a miniature.

The pattern I used can be found here.  The pattern is well written and easy to follow.   She also gives some very helpful tips on how to adjust the size of your project either larger or smaller.   I highly recommend it if you want to start doing miniature crochet.

Working with cotton thread was not new to me as I have used crochet cotton for doilies for years, but crocheting cotton thread into tiny shapes was a bit of a challenge.  And then stuffing those tiny shapes with fiber-fil proved to be even more of a challenge.  The instructions suggested using a pair of tweezers to push the fluff into the shapes, but of course, I couldn't find my tweezers right off hand.  (They have appeared now though, thank goodness.)  So the stuffing part was a little frustrating.

Here is my little bear sitting on my wall shelf. Doesn't he look adorable!?

I believe that the next miniature crochet I attempt will be much easier and work up faster.  I do have several ideas in mind to attempt.  So I encourage you to give this a try if you have ever thought you might like to do some miniatures.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Crochet Duck is too Cute for Words!!!

Sterling, the crochet duck, is ready for spring!  After creating Smookie, the bunny, I felt like maybe Smookie needed a friend.  Enter Sterling, with his big webbed feet and oh so cute smoochy lips bill!

I have to confess to some help on Sterling in the way of advice and criticism.  That duck bill was quite a challenge.  I re-designed it at least 3 times before ending up with the most adorable kissy-lipped  version that I think I have ever seen.  Many thanks to my husband and my daughter for their very constructive criticism and persistence until he turned out just right.  Yep.  We finally got that 'cuteness factor' down for Sterling.

If you're looking for a cute Easter project, both Sterling and Smookie would make a great addition to your Easter baskets.  Just imagine the smiles and giggles when your little ones see what you have made to help them find all those Easter goodies hidden for them!

Don't have time to make them yourself?  No problem!  Just place your order and we can make them for you.    And don't forget, Varmint Greetings can make a custom card to match them.  Get your orders in early to be sure they get to you on time.  In the meantime, happy creating!


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Crochet Bunny just in time for Easter...

This crochet bunny is just in time for Easter!  He is about 8 inches tall including his ears.  That's a great size to carry around or hug tight at nap time.

In keeping with mu usual varmint designs, I wanted a bunny that had a different and unique look.  Big feet struck me as a necessity for this guy and he had to have a grin and bright eyes.  And I especially love those two bunny teeth!

This crochet bunny pattern is a bit more involved than most of my patterns.  Shaping the feet required special attention to details and the toes were a bit of a challenge.  The arm design is a bit different than arms I've made before.

All in all, I'm satisfied with him.  Oftentimes I will ask a family member to give a name to a finished design.  My 5 year old grandson, Paul, named this one Smookie.  I think that's cute!  Smookie the Bunny!

So here he is.  Get the pattern and make a dozen!  Those little people around you will love you for it!


Monday, January 23, 2017

Varmint Greetings, handmade, customized

This week I am adding a whole new category to the Varmint Market!  Varmint Greetings are handmade and customized.  The front of the cards feature a fussy-cut handmade replica of whichever varmint you choose and the inside contains matted blank sheets for your own personal message or short story.

I came up with this idea because of my love for making greeting cards.   There is just something about taking something as simple as paper and turning it into a one-of-a-kind piece of art or heirloom.

My grand-daughter, Des, is the one who got me to thinking about paper crafts. She could do amazing things with paper!  She is very crafty and talented and she learned early how to make the most of the things she had readily available to her.

Add to that my quest to organize my photos in an attractive and inviting form for occasional viewing through scrapbooking and , voila!  I became a paper crafter as well as a crochet addict!

So it had to be just a matter of time before these two crafts merged into my website.  Varmint Greetings will make a great addition to any yarn varmint you create and give to that little someone special in your life.  And I love the idea of a Varmint short story written on the inside by the giver!  It adds a special personal touch that really touches hearts, young and old.

I used the story approach at Christmas on my grandson's Christmas card, where I included a true story from his Momma's childhood.  He loved it!  And what a sweet way to give him a peek into his mother's past.

Here is a Varmint Greeting of 'Robbie the Robot'.  The Greeting 'Hi!' can be changed and customized.


The inside, as you can see, is nicely matted with blank pages for your own message or story.

Of course, this approach can be used with any greeting, especially a handmade one.  So I hope you will dig into your paper stash and make some card!  And if you prefer someone else to do the work, please feel free to order a Varmint Greeting or contact me for a custom card!



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Robbie the Rolling Crochet Robot says 'Hi'

This rolling crochet robot is a new adventure in toy making for me!  As my grandchildren grow, their interest changes.  Softies are great for babies and toddlers but practically 'grown-up' boys of 5 and 8 years old want more from their toys.

I've made an entire fleet of stuffed crocheted vehicles, but I never made one that would actually roll.  But since I created Robbie, I think I can make an actual mobile car!  And my grandson, Sam, has commissioned me to do just that.  After seeing a short video of the rolling robot he said to his mom, "If she can make that, she can make me a car that rolls!"  So guess what my next project will be?  Look for it sometime later this month.

The inspiration for Robbie came from this shirt worn by a sweet visitor we had over the holidays.

[caption id="attachment_1117" align="aligncenter" width="164"] My inspiration for Robbie the Rolling Robot.[/caption]

I just thought this was the cutest thing!  My robot really only slightly resembles the one on the shirt, but I still think my guy is pretty fantastic!

In order for this robot to keep his shape, I had to find a way to prop him up underneath the crochet fabric.  Enter plastic canvas!  I have never liked this stuff before, but I think I may be falling in love with it now.  This opens a whole new world of ideas in my mind!

Yes, it is more work.  But it is so worth it!  So I'm excited!  Make a comment with your suggestions on what I might attempt to make with these new ideas.  I'd love to hear from you.