My 52 Week Crochet Challenge: Week 13

Week 13 

Find a new crochet tip to try this week.  A good place to start is at Crochet Central: Tips and Tricks.
52 Week Crochet Challenge 

A new crochet tip eh?!  There are lots of them out there.  I’ve been crocheting for 7 years now and have come across a ton through out the years that I currently use, so I decided to check out the website recommended for some new ideas and there were a ton of handy tips and tricks, some, I never would have thought of.

I liked the one where people were storing their yarn in clean, empty pop bottles for neat and tidy storage (I don’t actually have any empty soda bottles at home right now to use for a demonstration).

Another great tip was placing your yarn (especially when working with multiple colours) in a colander and sticking their yarn through different holes to keep things from tangling up.  That was a great idea!

But the new crochet tip I found this week that I actually really like, is by Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches Amigurumi.  It’s what she calls the “The Sloppy Slip Knot”.  I actually prefer this method now, when working with my amigurumi projects.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll use this method all the time, when working in the round, because I do like using the magic ring, but it’s a great alternative!      

Another great tip I read was when finishing up for the day and you want to keep you work from unraveling, place a bobby pin or safety pin in your last loop to hold it securely, so it won’t pull through.

Also, you can use a bobby pin as a stitch marker.  It doesn’t shift around too much and is thin enough to stitch around.

There were some great new tips and tricks I learned this week.  Another great challenge!

Corner to Corner Afghans Are All the Rage… or so it seems!

So it seems that everyone is crocheting these awesome corner to corner (c2c) afghans lately…or maybe I’m just noticing them more since I’ve totally fallen in love with this technique!!  Since it feels as if everyone is raving about the c2c way of crocheting, I decided to try it out.  I ended up finding it to be a super quick and easy pattern, and I just love the textured look the finished project gets from this style of crochet.  I also love how fast the rows work up.

I got about 15 rows in and decided to turn it into a pillow case for a decorative pillow I have that’s in need of a new cover.  I have only finished one panel so far and will need to come up with a boarder idea.  Here’s a link to the Corner To Corner Afghan video.  Check it out, it’s super quick and easy; great for beginners who know how to double crochet and are confident enough to try something new!!!  Give it a whirl!   The c2c afghan works up so soft and cuddly and would make a great baby blanket, perfect for a baby shower gift! 

Side note, I chose the green and pink stripe so it ties in with this beautiful tapestry I own.  Purely a personal touch!

My 52 Week Crochet Challenge: Week 12

Week 12

What is the best crochet tip you learned that you use all the time?  Please share links too.
52 Week Crochet Challenge 

Week 12’s challenge is not much of a challenge, but it is a great question!  For me, the greatest tip I learned, and it’s one that I use every time I crochet, when working with different colours, is how to switch between colours without having to tie little knots; it was revolutionary!  I couldn’t believe it, no more trying to hide those pesky little knots within my projects.  No more weaving in tails through out my projects.  No more hoping I tied my knots tight enough so that it doesn’t pull out and look loose and untidy.

Unfortunately, I do not remember the site where I had found this tip the first time.  It was on YouTube, but for the life of me, I cannot find it.  Here is a link to a different tutorial video that teaches how to easily change colours while crocheting and how to hide the tails while doing so WITHOUT knots, and below you will find my photo tutorial of how to do it!  Enjoy!

My version of how to change the colour of yarn when crocheting

Start by making an sc as you would normally….

… insert hook, pull up a loop, there should be 2 hoops on your hook.

tie a slip knot on your hook with the new colour and then  use the new colour to pull through both loops on hook and voilà!

Now, when you go to make your next sc (or hdc, or dc, or tr….same rules apply, add new colour when there are 2 hoops left on the hook…or in hdc’s case, 3 hoops) leave the tails from the end of the original colour (in this case blue) and the tail from the new colour (white) on top and slide your hook under.

 Then yarn over and pull up a loop and finish like a regular sc (y/o and pull through both loops)

 This way, the tails are hidden under the new sc. 

 Continue this a few more time to secure the tails and make sure they can’t come undone.

 I usually do it anywhere from 4 to 8 stitches, and ta-da, no tails to weave in!!

This has been the best and most used tip I’ve come across so far.  I wish I could remember the link to the lady who posted the video I stumbled upon to give her credit for teaching me this method because it has become my go-to method for changing colours!! 

Plants vs. Zombies inspired Cherry Bomb

My kids are huge Plants vs. Zombies fans (Plants vs. Zombies is a registered trademark of PopCap Games).  They loved the computer game so much we had to get it for the Xbox and my son’s Nintendo 3DS.  When they are not playing the game, they are acting it out.  One kid will pretend to be a plant and the other will be a zombie and then they have at it.  They read Plants vs. Zombies books and collect PvZ stickers.  Santa brought them PvZ figurines to play with because that’s all they wanted for Christmas.  They are totally obsessed with the game.  I have searched high and low for PvZ Crochet Patterns and have come across a few really nice ones, but I have yet to find a pattern for the Cherry Bomb which is my youngest son’s favourite plant in the game, so I thought I’d have a go at it and try and write up a pattern for him; this is what I came up with.
I hope the pattern makes sense.  Please let me know if there are any mistakes and I’ll address them right away.


Cherry Bomb inspired by Plants vs. Zombies
©Nyela’s Nook 2014
Materials needed
Worsted weight (4) yarn in Red, Brown and Green H/8-5.00mm hook G/7-4.25mm hook polyester stuffing Black, white and green felt (for eyes and teeth) Black yarn (for mouth) tapestry needle chain marker Fabric glue
No gauge required
Abbreviations
Rnd = round
Ch = chain
sc = single crochet
hdc = half double crochet
dc = double crochet
tr = triple crochet
st = stitch
sts = stitches
sl st(s) = slip stitch(s)
dec = decrease
F/O = fasten off
The Cherries
 
Make 2
Using your H/8-5.00mm hook and work in rounds. Place a stitch marker in last st of every rnd and move the marker up at the end of each rnd.
*Note* I crocheted one cherry with normal tension and the other cherry with tighter tension making one cherry ever so slightly smaller than the other.
Rnd 1 – Ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook (6)
Working in back loops only (not necessary but I liked the effect it had on these bombs)
Rnd 2 – 2 sc in each sc (12) Place stitch marker here and move up at the end of each rnd.
Rnd 3 – *2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st* repeat from * to * (18)
Rnd 4 – *2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 2 sts* repeat from * to * (24)
Rnd 5 – *2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 3 sts* repeat from * to * (30)
Rnd 6 to 10 – 1 sc in each sc (30)
Rnd 11 – *1 sc dec with next 2 sts, 1 sc in next 3 sts* repeat from * to * (24)
Rnd 12 – *1 sc dec with next 2 sts, 1 sc in next 2 sts* repeat from * to * (18)
Using the black white and green felt, cut out and glue on the eyes.  Sew on the mouth with black yarn and cut out 2 small square teeth with white felt and glue into place. Stuff the ball using polyester stuffing.
Rnd 13 – *1 sc dec with next 2 sts, 1 sc in next st* repeat from * to * (12)
Rnd 14 – *1 sc dec with next 2 sts* repeat from * to * (6)
Rnd 15 – 1 sc dec with next st, 1 sc dec with 4th st.  F/O leaving a long tail and secure.
With a tapestry needle, pull excess yarn through to the bottom. Insert the needle in the next gap and pull back up to the top pulling taught, repeat this step once more. You should end up with a little indent to place the stem. Hide excess tail inside the Cherry.
The Stems
Crochet with the G/7-4.25mm hook and brown yarn
First stem, for larger cherry
Ch 17, 1 sl st in second ch from hook and continue slip stitching across (16)
 F/O and leave a long tail for attaching to cherries. Attach this stem to the larger, looser crocheted cherry.
Second stem, for smaller cherry
Ch 21, 1 sl st in second ch from hook and continue sl sts across (20)
F/O leaving a long tail for attaching. Attach this stem to the smaller, tighter cherry
Attach the 2 stems together by slip stitching through both stems at the very top twice.  F/O and weave in ends.
The Leaves
Make 3
Crochet with the G/7-4.25mm hook and green yarn
Ch 10, 1 sl st in second ch from hook, 1 sl st in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 1 tr in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 3 sc in next ch.  Do not turn, instead work on bottom loops of the chain and 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 1 tr in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, 1 sl st in next ch, 1 sl st in next ch and 1 sl st into first sl st.  F/O leaving a tail long enough to fasten the stem. 
Attach by sewing all 3 leaves to the top of the stem (where they are connected) and weave the extra tails into the leaves.
 
Please note that I am not the most skilled at drawing and cutting out shapes.  My eyes and teeth are a little off!

 

My 52 Week Crochet Challenge: Week 11

Week 11

What kind of crocheter are you? Do you like to follow a pattern exactly as written? Do you like to “wing it” and make things up as you go? Are you a little of both?
52 Week Crochet Challenge 

For me, as my crocheting year have progressed, I’d have to say I’m a little of both (and I say that very loosely) but it depends on what I’m making.  I usually (95% of the time) follow a pattern letter for letter but sometimes I feel an extra step, my personal touch (eg, a cute scalloped edge or extra increases or rounds for sizing or embellishments for decor) may enhance an already awesome pattern.  I don’t really “wing it” since I only started making my own patterns recently (and that too, a lot of time and effort goes into creating one…even a simple one.  I’m still learning!!) unless it was a quick scarf for my son when he was a baby or some wash cloths with my left over cotton yarn.  As I said in Week 10, I use to have a difficult time reading patterns and ended up having to rewrite them in order to understand all the abbreviations, so I never, ever, EVER would have tried adding or subtracting from a pattern, and forget “winging it”, I wouldn’t have even entertain such a crazy idea.  But over the years, I’ve gotten much more comfortable with my skills and now I do what feels and looks right for a pattern, to me.         

The Pokémon Inspiration Part 2

IMG_6837I have been working on a pattern for some Plants Vs. Zombies inspired toys for my kids because they are obsessed with PvZ and I ended up being really inspired to use features from my PvZ pattern to make a few Pokémon inspired Pokéballs and this is what I came up with.  My kids are also super Pokémon fans, so this worked out well.  Please let me know if there are any errors and I’ll fix it up right away.  Enjoy!

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My 52 Week Crochet Challenge: Week 10

So week 9 was a success.  I organized all my patterns on ibooks and now everything is a lot easier to find.  I should have done it from the start, but didn’t know my pattern list would grow so fast.  It is now much easier to have my patterns on my ipad instead of desktop, that way I don’t have to print anything up!!

Week 10

What was your first completed project?
 52 Week Crochet Challenge

My first completed project was a Shell Baby Blanket I made for my son when I was pregnant with him.  I had just started teaching myself how to crochet a few months prior and this was also the first project that I worked on with real pattern abbreviations.  Before this, I use to print out a pattern and go back and retype it all into a word document with the full words (example, *ch 2, 3 dc in next st, skip 2 sts and 3 dc in next st* rep from * to * till end.  I would have typed this all out as Chain 2, 3 double crochets in the next stitch and then skip 2 stitches and 3 more double crochets in the next stitch and repeat all the way across) so it would be easier for me to read.  It may have taken a lot longer to retype some of my previous patterns out then just winging it, but I needed to do that to get the hang of reading a pattern.  Plus my other patterns were just simple granny squares, this was my first real project.  Unfortunately, the blanket has been put away and stored up for now.  Once my son got older, I packed it away for him to hopefully one day give to one of his kids.