Meet Huggy

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Meet Huggy.

He is the new friend of my boss’s son. I know this because my boss texted me a picture of her son holding Huggy (as the monkey was named as soon as the son saw it).  Apparently since getting the monkey the night before he hadn’t let the stuffy go and was planning to bring it to school later that week for sharing circle.

The picture of Huggy at his new home warmed my heart.  This little boy, who is in Grade 1, and his whole family have been having a long spring.  Without sharing details that aren’t mine to share, the family has been having a tough time and there was really nothing I could do to help them, (other than be an awesome employee).  But I wanted to do something more and this is what I came up with.

I love when the things I make are loved.  Whether it is a dishcloth for my Grannie or socks for my mom, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to see the things I make in tatters because they have been used and appreciated. I think that is part of what appeals to me about knitting/crocheting/weaving/spinning is that the art I make is usable and is ultimately consumed by use.  I can’t imagine what amateur painters, sculptors, and others do with all the things they make.

Well Huggy, welcome to the world; I’m so glad you are so well loved.  And if you want I will make you more bowties in other colors.

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Project: Huggy the Monkey and Huggy’s Bowtie

Pattern: Owen by the Monkey by Stacy Trock of FreshStitches

Yarn: KnitPicks Brava Worsted in Umber Heather, Camel Heather and Red

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FO: Trio of Amigurumi

As you may recall my sister’s puppy, Tosh, got a very special Christmas present, her very first handmade toys. However, due to her breed being part-terrier nature she quickly developed a nasty habit of chewing holes in these toys.  Although I was initially concerned about beaks, legs and arms being pulled off, she prefers to simply chew off the safety eyes, pull out the yarn tails and chew through the bodies.

So what you see above are two of the last amigurumi for Toshie (the Racoon and the Bird).

The slug however has never felt the teeth of Toshie, as when I showed up at my parent’s place with it, my mother immediately scooped it up and put it on a ledge in her kitchen, where it is still sitting, safely.

I had great fun making these toys and I will keep making them (with the safety eyes) and stash them away, my friends are starting to have babies and toys are always an adorable handmade treat for a new baby. Note: I know safety eyes are not safe for infants and small children, but parents deserve fun toys too.

These toys, like my previous one are all made with patterns from Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches.  I really like Stacey’s patterns and approach to crochet and design, so I’m really happy to support her by purchasing her patterns.  Also, she is really fun and approachable on Twitter and Ravelry, which just really makes me like her more.

I’ve already started my next toy, William the Whale, I like having a toy on the go, it’s nice to have choices in the WIP basket.

Don’t worry about Toshie, she will not want for toys, and while I won’t be providing them any more (watching her dog destroy the toys within 5 minutes of getting them was to much for Carla to handle) I may use my immense Brava stash to make some doggie blankets.  I get the chance to try out new techniques on a smaller scale and I know that the items will be used regardless of how well it turned out.

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Ravelry Project Pages: Raccoon for Toshie, Hannah the Slug and Toshie Birthday Bird

FO: Toys for Toshie

Toys for Toshie

For a knitter (or any sort of fiber artist) there is nothing quite like an appreciative recipient, and I think Tosh might have been the most appreciative recipient yet.

On Christmas morning she opened up her three little stuffed animals and she has been playing with them ever since.  The inspiration to make toys came from a Craftsy class with the amigurumi designer Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches.  I don’t have any small children in my life, and Toshie really needed some cute toys.

Merry Christmas Toshie

I’m really enjoying make the toys, I prefer the look of knitted toys, but honestly I am having tons and tons of fun crocheting these little critters and I’m developing a whole stash of Brava worsted to make a variety of creatures and monsters.  This is a change for me, I’m really not a fan of acrylic yarn, but it was the right thing for this project and at such an affordable price and great hand it is a great change of pace from super-pricey, but worth it, fancy blended hand-dyed yarns.

And it’s not only me who has been inspired by these little toys, my mom has even picked back up a crochet hook.  She wants to start crocheting again to help strengthen her hands, she is an extremely talented gardener (check out her Tower Hill Heritage Garden page to see just a small portion of the work she does in our little town) but she wants to make sure her hands stay as nimble as can be as she works them very hard.  Crochet is her preferred craft (over knitting) and by switching her over to a knife hold (from a pencil) hold she has been able to get restarted.  She crocheted a bit before I was born (which is longer ago that either of us is willing to admit) but it’s not something she had kept up with.  However, there is nothing like a cute toy and a cute puppy to inspire a crocheter to get back to her hooks.

Worn out Christmas Puppy

– Details –

Project Names: Toshie Birdie, Toshie Bear, and Reindeer for Toshie

Pattern: Amigurumi Blue Bird, Amigurumi Teddy Bear and Amigurumi Deer all by Stacey Trock for the Amigurumi: Woodland Animals Craftsy Class

Recipient: Toshie, the cute white puppy

Yarn: KnitPicks Brava in a variety of colors

Modifications:

  • No major mods, just color changes based on the yarns I had
  • Embroidered eyes – I figured with a puppy chewing on them, I was better off embroidering on eyes with black yarn, than installing non-child-safe eyes.

New Skills:

  • Making amigurumi
  • Crocheting spirals
  • Attaching pieces
  • Embroidering eyes

Feedback:

  • Yarn: I was surprised and delighted by the KnitPicks Brava.  While I had heard good things about it, it has been perfect for this type of project, and has already stood up to much wear and tear without any sign.
  • Pattern: Craftsy is an interesting platform, and the patterns are well written, so it is a great way to learn more about the technique and get patterns I’m likely to use again.

Re-Crochet?: Very likely, I’ve already had requests for more birds, as they are perfect for little dogs, they are like soft balls that don’t roll away under couches.

FO: Apricot Scrubber

Apricot Scrubbers

I wanted to learn something new, and thankfully for someone like me who lives in the middle of nowhere who can’t take classes at an LYS, Craftsy exists. I enrolled in the Tunisian Crochet class with Jennifer Hanson (Stitch Diva) and while I can’t see it as my primary craft, I enjoyed Tunisian Crochet and Jennifer is an excellent teacher.

This is my swatch/washcloth, and I’m already planning my next project, because I want to make sure I keep knowing how to do it.

– Details –

Project Name: Apricot Scrubber

Pattern: Tunisian Crochet Spa Cloth by Jennifer Hanson for Craftsy

Recipient: The Box/not sure yet

Yarn: Paton Grace in Apricot

Modifications:

  • None, I figured I should follow the rules when learning a new technique

New Skills:

  • Tunisian Simple Stitch
  • Tunisian Knit Stitch
  • Tunisian Purl Stitch
  • Tunisian Crochet

Feedback:

  • Yarn – Thank goodness I’m finally done with this yarn, it has been hanging over me since I started knitting in 2007.
  • Pattern – Jennifer is an excellent teacher and the Craftsy platform is an interesting way to distance learn techniques

Re-Crochet?: Nope, but I will keep going with these techniques to learn more about it

FO: Scrappy Scarf

So at the end of my two Sister Scarves I still had some scraps left that I didn’t have the heart to get rid of.  I decided to make a magic ball of yarn and crochet up a child-sized scarf.

Again, this one was quite a while ago so the details are foggy, but it felt pretty darn good to get those scraps all used up.  Also, If no one wants the scarf I think the cat loved it.

– Details –

Project Name: Scrappy Scarf

Pattern: My Brain

Recipient: The Box (where I store gifts and donations to be)

Yarn: KnitPicks City Tweed DK

Modifications:

  • It was a double crochet into the spaces kind of scarf

New Skills:

  • Making up a pattern as I go

Feedback:

  • Yarn: I love City Tweed, I need to find more uses for it.

Re-Crochet?: Only if I need to use up scraps

FO: Flower Cowl

Sometimes a yarn bounces from queue item to to queue item so often, sometimes you just have to turn it into something before it goes back into the deep stash not to be seen for years.  So after never finding the right pattern for the Tosh I decided to just use it and make the Calm Cowl, which has been on and off my queue for months.

I really need to crochet more, I do enjoy the activity and the fabric it makes is really different from knit fabric, which means it has different applications.  Maybe some crocheted toys like those made by Stacey at Fresh Stitches.


– Details –

Project Name: Flower Cowl

Pattern: Calm Cowl by Suzana Davidovic

Recipient: Me

Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh DK in Smokey Orchid

Modifications:

  • None

New Skills:

  • Crochet in the Round: although I don’t think I succeeded at it (there are some weird spots where the rounds join)

Feedback:

  • Yarn:  Tosh DK is always awesome, although the skeins were different and I should shave be alternating rounds but didn’t, whoops, that is the joy/danger of working with hand dyed yarns.
  • Pattern: Clear and fine and the FO matched the pattern, although it could have been written in fewer steps, even for a crochet newb like me

Re-Crochet?:  Probably not, I prefer knit cowls, but I do enjoy crochet and should do more of it.

On 2011 and Looking Back

Well, after yesterday’s look at how I did on my 2011 goals, I thought it would be good to run my numbers for 2011, and see how it stacked up to 2010.

2011 was a very different year than 2011.  I worked for one non-profit, spent 3 months unemployed (my contract ended), found another job with another non-profit (on a one year contract), started up a local fiber guild, helped my grandparents fix-up and sell their house.

The one thing that was like 2010, is that at the start of 2011 I had no idea where I would be at the end of the year.

So like last year I collated my numbers, the stats from 2010 are given in parentheses.

2011 by the Numbers:

  • 14 (23) miles of yarn acquired during the year
  • 22 (18) miles of yarn currently in my stash
  • 6.2 (4.5) miles of yarn knit/crocheted into projects
  •  2,771 (426) yards of handspun yarn
  •  6 (5.7) pounds of spinning fiber acquired
  • 12 (5) pounds of spinning fiber in stash
  • 6 (7) pairs of mittens
  • 5 (14) hats
  • 3 (6) shawls or stoles
  • 0 (3) scarves
  • 2 (2) bags
  • 2 (0) blankets
  • 6 (1) cowls
  • 3 (1) pairs of socks
  • 10 (0) dishclothes
  • 0 (1) baby sweaters
  • 100 (28) blog posts

Wow, the numbers are quite different from last year, but 2011 was quite different from 2010. It appears my stashing was less out of control than I thought it was and will be possible to get things really under control in 2012.

Also, biggest difference between 2010 and 2011 is the fact that I went through a serious knitting slump this summer and early fall, but I still managed to get more yarn used than the year before.  Doing some larger projects (including two crocheted blankets and two felted purses) made a big different in the “volume” of yarn used.

I enjoyed most of my projects this year, and I learned so much from each of them. I can’t wait to get started on my 2012 projects!

Get a closer look at all my projects from the year from checking out my Finished Objects tab  above or as a slideshow below.

FO: Baby Ripples Blanket

It is going to be a bit a race to the finish to blog all the things I need to blog before the end of 2011.  This blanket is the biggest project I have done to date.

At this point I don’t have any recipients lined up for the blanket yet, but I know that a well made cotton/acrylic baby blanket is a good gift on had as I (and my friends) get closer to 30 than 25.

Yet again, I am pleased with the fantastic instruction that is an Attic24 pattern, when I grow up I want to be as cool as Lucy.

– Details –

Project Name: Baby Ripples Blanket

Pattern: Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy of Attic 24.

Recipient: Unknown as of this time.

Yarn: KnitPicks Comfy Sport in Fedora, Ivory, Cashew, Sea Foam, Marlin, Creme Brulee, Silver Sage, Peony and Honey Dew.

Modifications:

  • Chained 171 to make an 40in edge
  • Patterned the ripples to use up the maximum amount of yarn

New Skills:

  • Crocheted Ripple Pattern

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Such a good workhorse yarn, and after washing (Warm/Cold) and drying (medium) it blooms and is just so soft. Also because of the acrylic it doesn’t seem to to shrink up and it kept its drape.
  • Pattern: As always Lucy’s pattern is clear, concise and with lots of photos.

Re-Crochet?: Probably not, however I might do more of Lucy’s patterns. I don’t have much use for crocheted blankets as I have some beautiful quilts.