Friday, August 29, 2014

Nicholas's Darth Maul hat

My incredibly handsome nephew, Nicholas, turned 5 this week!  We are so lucky that we live near him because Sonia loves to play with her cool cousin.  For his birthday, I knew I wanted to crochet him something Star Wars-themed, but I was flummoxed as to what.  As I've mentioned before, there's a shocking lack of fun Star Wars crochet patterns on the internet (for free or otherwise).  For some reason, Star Wars doesn't seem to lend itself well to crochet?  

Anyway, I decided that once again, I would go with a hat.  One of Nicholas's favorite Star Wars characters is the evil Sith lord Darth Maul, so I looked around for a Darth Maul hat pattern.  Some of them were not good (seriously, have the designers even seen the movie?  he doesn't have goat-length horns....), and some looked so basic that I knew I could come up with something on my own just as easily as following someone else's pattern.

I did use one pattern, though....  My favorite graph beanie pattern by Liz McQueen! It makes such a nice, stretchy, well-shaped hat!  Then, I free-handed some horns, stitched them on, added a bit more detailing, and voila: Darth Maul!


Sonia would like you to pretend that she's not wearing a pajama top with a cute little bow on the neckline.  Instead, imagine that she is wearing a scary black outfit fit for a Sith lord.

Here's a good picture of ole' Darth Maul himself:


Yikes.  Not someone you want to meet in a dark alley.


Even Sith lords gotta smile once in a while.


I studied pictures of Darth Maul very closely while I made this hat.  You can kind of see how the black ovals under the horns on the front of the hat aren't stitched down perfectly around the edge, because if I did that, the hat wouldn't stretch properly.


I think I might have placed the horns a bit too high.  If I ever make this hat again, I'll try to place the horns lower.  They also might be just a touch too big.  Oh well.  At least I didn't make them goat-length.


Sonia posed with the Darth Maul action figure that I bought for Andrew during way back during law school finals (I believe it was when he was a 1L).  Too bad she broke his double-sided lightsaber.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Outfitting Barb & Larry's boat

I got all of the pillows and three of the nine bags done for Barb & Larry's boat!  They are headed there this weekend with their friends, so I sent them off with the finished products.

Here are all of the pillows:



The upholstery and carpeting on the boat are very neutral, so these should give some nice color and cheer to it.  They look pretty nice on my couch, actually!  The larger pillows are 16" square, and the smaller ones are, as I recall, 12" x 16".  They all have zippers on them and are made of outdoor fabric.  They promised to take some photos of the pillows in place on the boat, so I hope to update this post sometime soon.

Here are the bags, which are for fitting into the nooks and crannies on the boat (rather than bringing large bags of their supplies which will then take up lots of the precious room).



I altered the lunch bag tutorial from Pink Penguin to make these bags to the dimensions Barb requested.  They are all made of quilting cotton and interfaced with fusible fleece.  I used cotton webbing for the handles rather than sewing my own handles (1) because I like that look better, and (2) because I think they look more polished that way.  I also altered the pattern to include double drawstrings that pull against each other as closure rather than using drawstring stoppers.  The drawstrings are nylon cording.

I still need to make a four long, skinny bags in the style of the ones above, a large tote bag to carry all the pillows in, and a small tote bag to carry some sand toys for the grandkids.  When I'm back from our upcoming trip to Indiana and a last night of camping, I can hopefully knock all of those out in a couple of days.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Birthday Amigurumis

My favorite people to crochet for are little kids.... especially little kids having birthdays!  Here are some cool amigurumis that I crocheted during August for some of my favorite chitlins:

Cinderella!!  Sahrit has done it once again and designed the coolest Disney princess pattern.  Love, love, love this Cinderella!


The hair and the hands are what sells this!


My only complaint is that Sahrit's princesses have empty skirts, and I don't think that would stand up well to play by little kids (the recipient was turning 4).  So, I crocheted a circle for the bottom and stuffed the skirt with poly-fil.


Sahrit also designed the Rapunzel I made for Aanya and the Sleeping Beauty I made for Renee.

For the same little girl, I whipped up a cute Little Mermaid (I've made it twice before, for Mariana and Stella), designed by JanaGeek.


I am still so in love with the methodology used to create this beautiful head of hair!


I also crocheted a funny little hedgehog from a book (Seriously Cute Crochet) that my friend, Pauline, sent me.  How hilarious is this handsome dude?!


Thanks for the book, Pauline!


During August, I also made my third Wonder Woman.  That skirt is just so adorable and perfect for a Wonder Woman who is interested in being a bit more modest.


I didn't like the hair that the Wonder Woman in the pattern has (too many loose pieces of yarn to get yanked on and unravel), so, just as I had done for Charlotte & Amelia's Wonder Women, I copied JanaGeek's Little Mermaid hair.


Whew!  That's a lot of amigurumi.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Feathered Friend Amigurumis

I first crocheted this peacock pattern and this baby flamingo pattern last spring when I made all of the party favors for Sonia's 4th birthday party.  These patterns are so great!!! When we were getting ready to go on vacation in Arkansas with some friends who have two little girls (age 7 and 5), I busted out these patterns and made each girl an amigurumi of her own.

While we were in Arkansas, I taught the older girl how to crochet (just chain and single crochet stitches), which was so much fun!  Sonia has renewed her requests for me to teach her, so I will try once again.  Our previous attempts have been fruitless, but perhaps now that she's 5, her manual dexterity might have caught up with her desire to crochet.  Anyway-- back to the amigurumi-- here are the birds I crocheted for Sonia's little buddies:


 I love the hilarious little feathers on the top of the peacock's head!







Friday, August 22, 2014

Ryder from Paw Patrol

When Nipiti, a fantastic crochet pattern designer, put out a call for testers to make her newest pattern, I jumped at the chance.  She had designed a Ryder doll!!!  Ryder is the human who works with the puppies on the animated TV show, Paw Patrol, on the Nick Jr. channel.  Knowing that my Petey and Charbunkle love Paw Patrol, I knew I had to give Ryder a try!


Isn't his hair hilariously awesome?!?  So funny and so perfect.  Here's what Ryder looks like in the TV show:


Nipiti did a fantastic job!  You can buy the pattern on Ravelry (and Etsy, too, I believe), and as one of the testers, I can vouch for the perfection of the pattern.


For some reason, my Ryder's head turned out a bit triangular, but that was definitely user error on my part.  Nipiti and the other two testers had no problem giving Ryder an adorable little jaw line.  It might have been my yarn and it might have been the fact that I ran out of my normal poly-fil and was using some of my friend's which was slightly different, I think.  When you run out of craft supplies while on vacation at a lake in Arkansas, you make do....  Thanks for saving me, Rhetta!!


Because I was testing the pattern for the wonderful Nipiti, I took a few in-progress pictures, which I don't do very often (other than sending blurry cell phone pictures to my mom and sister).  Here's a peek behind the curtain for you!

I weighed my yarn before and after crocheting Ryder so that we could estimate how much I used.


Progress!  Isn't that adorable how if you lift up Ryder's pants cuff, you can see a little flash of ankle?


Slightly blurry progress picture I took in Arkansas while on vacation....  Our iPad is having camera focusing issues.


Hahahahahaha, Ryder's hair in the early stages looked a bit like Edward Scissorhands' hair (according to Niki)!


I took this picture to show how huge my Ryder turned out.  Nipiti typically designs her amigurumis using thinner yarn, but I am addicted to using Red Heart worsted weight, so when I test patterns for her, my finished objects are much bigger!  Sonia wanted to keep Ryder for herself, but I made him with her cousin, Petey, in mind.  Ryder needs to go to Michigan to join Charlotte's Skye Paw Patrol puppy!


If you have a little buddy who is a Paw Patrol fan, I highly recommend this pattern!  You will have a great time making it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Blue Bear of Happiness

Almost 13 years ago, I was very new to crocheting.  All I had crocheted so far were a few afghans, doilies, and one disastrous sweater.  But when I heard that my beloved Aunt Kim was pregnant and I would soon have a new baby cousin, I got to work.  The best part about this story is that almost 13 years later, my adorable cousin still loves the bear!  Check this out:


The power of yarn, a crochet hook, some poly-fil, and a whole lot of love.

Project notes: I chose THE MOST OBNOXIOUS YARN EVER, Red Heart Baby Clouds, and got to work on a pattern that I found in a small Baby Clouds pattern book at Michael's.  This yarn is SO hard to crochet with....


.... but it is so beautiful.  I couldn't see my stitches very well, and this was my second amigurumi ever, so I don't think I was even using stitch markers or obsessively counting my stitches yet.  It's a miracle I ever finished the darn thing.  The pattern is now available for free on Red Heart's website, so you, too, can give it a try and see if you can get it done.  Beware, though: this is the most "splitty" yarn I have ever used.  I also made a baby afghan out of it for my friend, Sue, and by the end of that afghan, I swore I'd never buy this yarn again.  I still have a few partial skeins in my stash, just taunting me.  I need to give it to Sonia to make some art projects, or something.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Birthday Bag for Brody

Charlotte's buddy, Brody, is having his 7th birthday party tomorrow and we bought him some Legos.  I am assured that all seven-year-olds love Legos, so I hope he likes them.  I also wanted to add in a little something handmade, but I didn't think a seven-year-old boy would think a t-shirt with a "7" appliqu├ęd on it was very cool.

Since Charlotte and Brody have declared themselves to be engaged to be married a few times, I wanted to make my potential son-in-law something awesome.  (The engagement might, however, have been called off, but Charlotte is still holding out hope that she will marry him someday.  She is SUCH my daughter -- I had always picked out my future husband in each of my classes starting out way back in preschool as well.  The only difference here is that Brody appears to be on board with the whole engagement, which is pretty darn hilarious.)

Anyway, I decided to make him a bag to hold stuff.  Kids always need something to hold their stuff in, right?  It just so happened to fit the box of Legos inside if it, so it's going to double as the gift bag as well.



I have made this bag three times before (the Batman bag and the Transformers Rescue Bots Bags).  It's from that awesome Fabric-By-Fabric One Yard Wonders book that Erin got me a while back.  I used some cotton webbing for handles instead of sewing my own because I kind of like that look better sometimes.  I just used a few different blue fabrics that I had on hand rather than wandering around the fabric store and worrying about what kind of fabric a boy would like.  I think this Morrocan tile-like print works okay.  Inside there is a combo of chevron, Star Wars, and Cars fabrics just for fun.