Where would the world be without the Triceratops?

•April 3, 2014 • 4 Comments

Someone commented on an earlier pattern that my original dinosaur blanket also had Triceratops on it. That was true, but the reason that I never posted that pattern was because… well, it was terrible. However, now that I have several more years of crocheting experience under my belt, I decided to give it another go!

rawr

Turned out pretty good, I think

Pattern:

Body: Ch 4, join to form a loop.  Ch 2 (counts as 1st dc), 15 dc in loop, join to first ch 2 with a sl st.

Head/Neck/Ruff Thingy: Ch 8, sl st in 2nd and 3rd ch from hook, sc in next stitch.

be careful it doesn't spike you!

This is the first horn for your triceratops

Ch 3, sl st in 2nd chain from hook, ch 2.

This is the 2nd horn

This is the 2nd horn

Hdc into the chain between the two horns, dc into sc at the bottom of the first horn and next 2 ch on neck.

Should look like this

Should look like this

Now for the ruff (it’s the trickiest part, and the pictures I took don’t really show much, so hopefully everyone will magically read my mind here.) Ch 1, sc and hdc in bottom half of previous dc. (first arrow in pic) Dc and 2 htc in top half of same dc (2nd arrow in pic) 3 htc in the top of dc, 2 htc and 1 dc in top half of the back of same dc, hdc and sc in bottom half of back of dc, sl st to the ch 1 from the beginning of this step.

Basically you're just going up and around, getting taller and then shorter again.

Basically you’re just going up and around, getting taller and then shorter again.

Then dc in the final two ch left on the neck.

whew, hard part's over!

whew, hard part’s over!

Skip 1 dc on main circle, and attach to next dc.

like so.

like so.

Legs: *Sl st into next dc, ch 4, hdc in 3rd and 4th chs from hook, sl st into next dc on body. Rep from * for second leg.

more green arrows!

more green arrows!

Tail: Sl st into next dc on body. Ch 9, sl st in 2nd and 3rd ch from hook, sc in next 2 ch, hdc in next 2 ch, dc in next 2 ch, sl st into 2nd dc on body.

At this point, I was kind of just having a good time drawing green arrows...

At this point, I was kind of just having a good time drawing green arrows…

And then I slip stitched around the body so that the join was behind the ruff, just for aesthetic value.

makes a nice little braid-ey thing along the back as well

makes a nice little braid-ey thing along the back as well

Don’t forget to leave a good long tail when you fasten off so you can sew it down without having to weave in extra ends!

Finished!

Finished!

Beading: my first foray into the world of jewelry-making

•April 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

For a while now, I’ve looked with curiosity on the world of jewelry-making. I think it’s really awesome that you can take a few beads, a bit of wire and some tools and out comes this gorgeous creation. So when one of the people I volunteer with asked me if I’d ever tried pearl knotting, and whether I’d like to try it and repair her necklace, I was more than willing to give it a go.

Especially after I watched a youtube video showing just how easy it is.

Well, of course it’s never as easy as it looks in video, but after a bit of practice, I’d say my first attempt at making jewelry went over pretty well!

First I had to gather all the materials, including something to substitute for the tweezers the person in the video used.

First I had to gather all the materials, including something to substitute for the tweezers the person in the video used.

My pliers worked just fine... there sure were a lot of beads though! (I didn't count them all, but I'm pretty sure there were over 150)

My pliers worked just fine… there sure were a lot of beads though!
(I didn’t count them all, but I’m pretty sure there were over 150)

I put a bit of glue over the ends so they wouldn't come unraveled.

I put a bit of glue over the ends so they wouldn’t come unraveled.

After I had finished everything, as I was cutting off the ends, one of the beads split in half, so I had to do it all over again.

After I had finished everything, as I was cutting off the ends, one of the beads split in half, so I had to do it all over again.

But I finally succeeded! It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

But I finally succeeded! It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

I enjoyed fixing this necklace, but I don’t think I’m going to run out and get a bunch of jewelry supplies for myself. For one thing, it wouldn’t fit in my apartment because the yarn’s taking up too much space. And for another, I’m still thinking about what I want my next creative thing to be.

Last year I started learning to play colonial snare drum. (I’m still learning).

Up next in my things to learn in my life are:

– a second language (fluently)

– how to spin my own yarn

– jog a mile in under 10 minutes

and there’s still so many things I haven’t done yet even in the knitting and crocheting scene. (Like socks…) And there’s getting better at all the things I’ve already started… it never ends! (And I’m glad! If there weren’t anything more to do in life that’d be super boring)

So while this project was a fun interlude, I’ll be putting off a more comprehensive look into the whole jewelry thing for a while… at least until we’ve got a bigger place! 🙂

Snowflake Garland

•March 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I originally planned this post for mid-December, so that I could put my snowflake garland on my tree and make it look so elegant and winter-ly. That didn’t happen, but I do find it appropriate that I finally finished it as another good sized snowstorm hits Massachusetts. Now I can have snow inside and out!

I didn't know where to hang it, so I just put it on my yarn cupboard.

I didn’t know where to hang it, so I just put it on my yarn cupboard.

Materials:

– Aunt Lydia’s Fine Crochet Thread size 20 (or any size 20 crochet thread)

– Crochet hook size 7 (1.65 mm)

– yarn needle

– stitch holder, if desired

– starch

– pins

– something to pin the garland to (a large flattened cardboard box works just fine)

Directions:

Ch 20 and put yarn needle or stitch holder into 20th ch to keep it from unraveling.

Ch 20 and put yarn needle or stitch holder into 20th ch to keep it from unraveling.

Leave the desired amount of length from the main chain (I left .5-1" for the short snowflake, 1-2" for the medium, and 1.5-3" for the longest dangling snowflake) yarn over.

Leave the desired amount of length from the main chain (I left .5-1″ for the short snowflake, 1-2″ for the medium, and 1.5-3″ for the longest dangling snowflake) Yarn over.

bring the yarn under the lower thread.

bring the yarn under the lower thread.

bring the crochet hook to the right so you can see the twist in the yarn.

bring the crochet hook to the right so you can see the twist in the yarn.

yarn over again, and pull through the loop you've formed.

yarn over again, and pull through the loop you’ve formed.

This should make a knot with a loop at the end of it so you can keep crocheting from here.

This should make a knot with a loop at the end of it so you can keep crocheting from here.

Chain 4

Chain 4

Join with a slip stitch to form a ring

Join with a slip stitch to form a ring

Ch 1, sc in ring, (ch 3, sc in ring)5 times, ch 3 attach to first ch 3 with a slip stitch.

Ch 1, sc in ring, (ch 3, sc in ring)5 times, ch 3 attach to first ch 3 with a slip stitch.

*sc into ch 3 space twice, ch 2, sc into side of previous sc, sc into ch 3 space. Rep from *5 times, join to beginning sc with a slip stitch. (If you want a more detailed picture, check out my star garland)slip stitch to the right of the hanging thread.

*sc into ch 3 space twice, ch 2, sc into side of previous sc, sc into ch 3 space. Rep from *5 times, join to beginning sc with a slip stitch. (If you want a more detailed picture, check out my star garland)
chain to the right of the hanging thread.

chain to the left of the hanging thread. Alternate right and left chains so that the hanging thread is in the middle of the chain.connect to main thread with a slip stitch.

chain to the left of the hanging thread. Alternate right and left chains so that the hanging thread is in the middle of the chain.

Connect to the main thread with a slip stitch. Chain 20 between each snowflake, for as long as desired (I made 70 snowflakes and that was about 9 feet long)

Connect to the main thread with a slip stitch. Chain 20 between each snowflake, for as long as desired (I made 70 snowflakes and that was about 9 feet long)

You can make your garland as long as you want, but remember, you have to pin them! I blocked the snowflakes while I was watching a movie, and my 70 snowflakes took about an hour and a quarter.

You can make your garland as long as you want, but remember, you have to pin them! I blocked the snowflakes while I was watching a movie, and my 70 snowflakes took about an hour and a quarter.

At first I pinned each of the 6 arms of the snowflake, but I ran out of pins.

At first I pinned each of the 6 arms of the snowflake, but I ran out of pins.

So then instead I just pinned the centers, sometimes with 2 pins so they wouldn't get too oval.

So then instead I just pinned the centers, sometimes with 2 pins so they wouldn’t get too oval.

Everything all nice and dry

Everything all nice and dry

And a close-up of the nicer looking snowflakes where I pinned all 6 rays. You can also see that I wasn't overly careful to make the lengths that the snowflakes hang down even...

And a close-up of the nicer looking snowflakes where I pinned all 6 rays. You can also see that I wasn’t overly careful to make the lengths that the snowflakes hang down even…

Fluffy ‘Woven’ Scarf

•February 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Here he is wearing it out to shovel!

Here he is wearing it out to shovel!

A few weeks ago I showcased some of the projects I’m working on,and now I’ve completed one: the basketweave scarf. The wool I made it out of is warm and fluffy and it’s different from any of my other scarves. The other bonus is that it’s fairly unisex so my husband can wear it too. The only problem was that it curls a bit, but it’s wide enough that even when it does, it still covers your whole neck. It’s been nice to have because here in the Northeast, things have taken a chilly (and snowy!) turn over the past few weeks. I feel like I need to make a whole bunch of warm things to keep myself safe from the cold, snow and wind!

Materials:

– 5 skeins (50 g each) of this yarn (pictured below), which is a 3-stranded wool blend, a bit heavier than your typical worsted weight.

My Chinese is a bit rusty, and I got this yarn as a gift, so I'm not sure what it is or where it comes from.

My Chinese is a bit rusty, and I got this yarn as a gift, so I’m not sure what it is or where it comes from

– Size 15 knitting needles

– Size J crochet hook

– yarn needle

Pattern:

Cast on 29 stitches onto knitting needles.

Row 1: Knit 2, *insert needle between the next 2 stitches from back to front, knit the second stitch, leaving it on the left-hand needle, then knit the first stitch, sliding both off the needle. Repeat from * across, ending knit 1.

Row 2: Purl 2, *skip the next stitch on the needle and purl the second stitch, leaving it on the left-hand needle, then purl the first stitch and slide both off the needle. Repeat from * across, ending purl 1.

Repeat these rows for pattern.

Continue on with the basketweave until you knit about 1/3 of the way through the last skein of yarn, then bound off the knitting in the basketweave stitch, but didn’t fasten off.

Switch to crochet hook and crochet down the side of the scarf, making 3 sc per 4 rows of knitting.

When you get back to the beginning, turn, and sc 4 more rows at the short end of the scarf.

The single crochets at the end were to keep the end from curling.

The single crochets at the end were to keep the end from curling.

Fasten off with a long tail so it blends into your fringe. On the other end of the scarf, sc four more rows on short end so that it matches this end. Cut one piece of fringe per sc of whatever length desired (mine are about 7 inches total, so 3.5 when tied on), and tie them on with an overhand knot.

Weave in ends in the center of the scarf where you joined the skeins together.

Valentine’s Roses

•February 14, 2013 • 1 Comment

Roses go with Valentine’s Day like peanut butter goes with jelly. So when I saw this really adorable pattern for roses, and I couldn’t resist trying it for a Valentine’s blog post.

It mostly was pretty easy to follow, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to make the leaves, so I just kind of did my own thing… I just ch 11, sc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc, 2 dc, 2 tc, 2 dc, hdc, sc, ch 11 more, sc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc, 2 dc, 2 tc, 2 dc, hdc, sc, extra sc in the side of first leaf’s sc.

After you finish the first leaf, you ch 11 and do another.

After you finish the first leaf, you ch 11 and do another.

You can kind of see the extra sc at the center of the two leaves.

You can kind of see the extra sc at the center of the two leaves.

Of course, after I made one rose, I had to try it in a few other colors and weights of yarn…

And now I've got six...

And now I’ve got six…

After I finished making them, I was like “Oh wait, I’m too practical for this. I don’t need all these roses! What am I supposed to do with them all now that I have them?”

The first one I put on a safety pin, and stuck onto a sweater.

The first one I put on a safety pin, and stuck onto a sweater.

The second one I also stuck on a safety pin and put on my coat.

The second one I also stuck on a safety pin and put on my coat.

The third one I decided could be a Christmas ornament next year... everyone needs a rose on their tree, right?

The third one I decided could be a Christmas ornament next year… everyone needs a rose on their tree, right?

Then I ran out of creativity. You only need so many roses to pin onto things, and I’m not really sure what else to do with them. Maybe a hat or something? If you have an ideas, let me know!

Sad roses waiting for a purpose in life.

Sad roses waiting for a purpose in life.

How Many is Too Many?

•February 7, 2013 • 1 Comment
These are my ongoing projects at the moment.

A sneak preview of my ongoing projects.

Is there a limit to how many projects you can have going on at once? Some people are in the one-at-a-time school: if you don’t finish the one you’re working on before you go on to the next project, it’ll never get done. Other people like to work on multiple projects at a time. I have my own theory: one of a kind at a time.

I’m not talking about just one hat or scarf or afghan or whatever. Instead I group projects based on two sliding scales. There’s the scale from easy to difficult, and there’s the scale from mindless to involved. I like to have one project in each category so that I have choices based on how much energy I want to put into what I’m working on that day.

Easy/Mindless:

This is the project I work on while I sit in front of the television, letting my fingers do their thing while my brain takes a break as well. My gigantic stripey afghan fell into this category, and that was one of the things that made it so enjoyable to work on. I just started a new project in this category because sometimes, I just like to veg.

One of my friends had a really awesome basketweave scarf, so I wanted one too. It's warm and woolly - and I can do it while I watch television.

One of my friends had a really awesome basketweave scarf, so I wanted one too. It’s warm and woolly – and I can do it while I watch television.

Easy/Involved:

Projects like this are good if you need something for your fingers to do while your brain’s busy elsewhere, but you don’t need to watch anything. This category can include following an easy pattern/chart that hasn’t been memorized, or in my latest afghan, choosing colors of circles from the bag: I have to make sure none are too close to another of the same color, but that’s the only real difficulty.

I have over 1500 circles to choose from!

I have over 1500 circles to choose from!

Difficult/Mindless:

If you’ve got some difficult stitches, or you’re working with yarn that is small or hard to work with, but the actual pattern isn’t particularly hard, that falls into this category. For me, I have to have the most energy to work on projects that fall into this category, because the pattern is hard and needs a lot of concentration, but it’s not intellectually stimulating. I get frustrated easily. This is the project I’ve been trying to finish since mid-December and still isn’t done:

The yarn is so small it takes forever just to get a few inches done.

The yarn is so small it takes forever just to get a few inches done.

Difficult/Involved:

You can argue for having multiple projects in other categories, but this is one that you really shouldn’t have more than one going on at a time. This is the category that my lion afghan and fall leaves afghan fell into… and I’ve got another idea just waiting to happen. It’s been floating around my brain for about a year now, growing, changing, and I don’t want to start it until I know for sure what I’m doing, because I know it’s going to take a long time and involve lots of looking at pattern,  and difficult stitches, and trying to figure out how to fit everything together.

I plan for a maze made of a green vine on an orange fluffy background.

I plan for a maze made of a green vine on an orange fluffy background.

Now that I’ve explained my basic thoughts, I’ll let you know: I break my own rules. Because there are other factors as well, the biggest one being whether it travels. Having a large project is fun, and if people don’t mind your working on it when you go places, that’s a plus too. But sometimes you need a small, unobtrusive project to work on, and so you can add a small project into a category where you’ve already got a big one.

Like this wool hat: it goes into the easy/involved category with the circle afghan.

Like this wool hat: it goes into the easy/involved category with the circle afghan.

Sometimes I start projects, put them down to start another one I get interested in, and when I come back however many months later, I think “Why did I ever want to make this?” That can be a good thing too, like survival of the fittest: yarn edition.

What do you think? How many projects is too many?

Crochet Lion Bookmark

•January 31, 2013 • Leave a Comment

open bookSince the project that I’ve been trying to finish since mid-December is still stalled, this week I thought I’d do something quick and fun. Since I never have enough bookmarks and I often end up using whatever’s handy to keep my place (which doesn’t work so great when it’s a sock, or a piece of tupperware…) I thought I’d make a bookmark. My idea was to make a lion to go with the theme of my blog, but when  I did a quick Google search to find a crocheted lion bookmark, and I couldn’t find any that I liked, so I decided to make my own.

Materials:

– Caron Simply Soft yarn, Cedar and Autumn Maize, small amount of black.

– Size G crochet hook

– Yarn Needle

Pattern:

Starting ovalBody: With Autumn Maize yarn, ch 5, hdc in 3rd ch from hook, and next ch, 5 hdc in last ch.

completed ovalContinuing around the bottom of the oval, hdc in the bottom of the next ch, 4 hdc in the bottom of the next ch, join with a slip stitch to first ch 2.

lion headHead: Sl st into next 5 hdc across oval. Ch 3, sl st into 2nd ch from hook (1st ear), ch 4 sl st into 2nd ch from hook (2nd ear), ch 2, dc in first ear, tc in 2 center ch spaces, sl st into side of tc, hdc into last ch  before body, sl st into next hdc. I connected all my stitches by pulling up a loop from the side of the previous stitches instead of yarning over, and that makes the face hold together a bit better, but it’s not necessary.

legsLegs: ch 4, sl st into second chain from hook, sc in next 2 ch, join with a sl st to next next hdc of body (1st leg). Ch 3, sc in second ch from hook and next ch, join to next hdc with a sl st (2nd leg). Sl st into next hdc of body. *Ch 3, sc in second ch from hook and next ch, join to next hdc with a sl st,  rep from * once more (3rd and 4th legs).

TailTail: ch 42, sl st into second ch from hook and each ch space. Join with a sl st to next hdc of body.  Fasten off.

FaceFace: With black yarn and yarn needle, make two eyes, a triangle for a nose, and a mouth outline.

Face backI tied the ends together in the back of the face so that they wouldn’t come undone, then trimmed them to about half an inch.

ManeMane: With cedar yarn and crochet hook, ch 3, join with a sl st, ch 1, 6 sc in loop, 2 sc in back loops of 1st sc, 2 sc in back loops of each of the following sc.

attaching maneInsert hook into back loop of next sc, and into a loop behind right ear of lion. Always in back loops of head back, sc in next two stitches between lion ears.Head sideSkip left ear and sc in side of lion’s head.

Mane frontSc around lion’s face: I had nine sc to get back around the face to the right ear (now the left in this picture). The two sc at the next aren’t connected to the back of the head, but the rest are, in back loops.

mane backWhen you get back to the beginning, connect behind ear with a sl st. This gives the lion an attractive mane on the back of its head. You don’t have to do back loops, but I thought it made a fun texture.

Tail 1Tail End: You don’t have to make a little brown thing at the end of your tail, but it’s fun, and keeps the bookmark a little more firmly in your book. Start by connecting cedar yarn into the end of the tail, ch 1, sc.

tail end 2Slip stitch into the side of the sc.tail end 3Sl st into the end of the tail where the sc is started.

Tail end 4Sl st across the middle and over the other side, making sure the yarn is under the tail, not over it.

Tail end 5Sl st back up the other side of the sc, fasten off.

Lion with ends sticking outAll that’s left now is to weave in the ends!

Two lionsI made two lions, one as a prototype, and then one to show all the steps. The second one has a happier smile.

head backsThe second one also has a back mane, because otherwise there’s an unsightly back lump in the back. The first lion also has a shorter first paw.

bookmarkNow my books are guarded by a happy lion!

lion facesAnd one more picture because I just can’t resist.

 
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