Monday, February 25, 2013

Iona Mittens





When I found the name "Iona" (from Greek meaning purple-colored jewel) I knew it would be perfect! I had chosen this special yarn (Berroco Cuzco) for a "skating hat" I had found the pattern for. Although it is truly a chunky weight yarn it wasn't quite the right yarn for the hat. So...I needed something to use it for. 

This pattern is found on Ravelry under "Marlene's Mittens by Alaina Privette". It is a free PDF download. I found it fairly easy to knit up, memorize and finish rather quickly. I typically like to use the Magic Loop technique for anything knitted in the round, but these called for a size 8 needle and I didn't have a circular needle that big. So out came the dreaded DPN's (double pointed needles). 

I really do not like knitting with DPN's because I always and I mean ALWAYS have "laddering"!

The Enemy - Courtesy of Knitty.com
Those darn open spaces that occur along the sides of the piece where the two needles intersect each other. Grrrrrrr! It looks as if you have a "run in your pantyhose" all the way down your knitting. I have never been able to NOT have them happen! Until...

Blessed Purl Bee! They have a wonderful tutorial on DPN's. Nestled near the bottom, in "Tips and Details" was the secret to my success with DPN's. A technique to end "laddering". To put it simply, keep the new needle under the previous needle when knitting, over the new needle when purling. Voila! I can knit with DPN's with no "laddering"! These lovely purple mittens were knitted completely on DPN's!

Such a success for me. It feels like I've jumped another hurdle in the knitting race. I do still prefer the Magic Loop, but it's nice to be able to confidently switch between the two. So I killed two birds with one stone. Learned to knit more confidently with DPN's and created a wonderful, warm mitten for our cold winter days/nights. 

One more thing: In the pattern, the tops of the mittens and thumb are 'gathered'. Like this. I don't particularly like the way this looks on my knitted things so I finished everything off with the Kitchener Stitch. It completes with smoothness instead of a gathered, rumpled look. 

Next on the list:
Gorgeous Fair Isle (gulp)
Courtesy of Land's End.com

~ S

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mansi's New Friends


I just love this pattern!  (click for link)

Sunny Girl

This "Mansi" was created for my oldest daughter for Valentine's Day. I decided to make her a sunflower. The beauty of this pattern is its complete versitility. Any flower can be made. Even ones from the land of your imagination!
Using contrasting thread for the eyelashes and mouth was a great success. The bow turned out bigger than the original pattern because I used a worsted weight yarn instead of a sport/baby weight yarn. I think I like the bigger bow. It fills up the flower's face a little more. So cute!

Spike (of course)
This "Mansi" is for my son. He's the boy version. I worked up the pattern and will post it shortly. It's nice to have them both, boy and girl, cuz what boy wants a cute, little flower with a bow in her hair? I thought of the eyepatch instead of the bow just for pure boy power. I also blocked the pointy petals to make sure they stayed pointy. A good spray with a water bottle and some T-pins did the trick. So cute...er...handsome! =)


The original "Mansi"

The original "Mansi" was given to my second daughter. She is perfect for her. The bow, the colors, the rosy cheeks! All perfect! I was nice to have her already completed and ready to go. She even wore her Valentine's Day colors! =)

Each Mansi takes maybe a day to complete, if you have a good swath of uninterrupted time. Two days at the most. One to make all the pieces and the second to sew and embroider. Be sure to stuff the faces firmly. They hold their shape so much better. 

~ S

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Nearsighted Owl's Bobble Blanket

Rachele's amazing Bobble Blanket - image from The Nearsighted Owl

Recently my cousin and I began a crochet-along (CAL) using The Nearsighted Owl's pattern for her Bobble Blanket. As we began we ran into some sticky spots where we weren't sure what to do next. Rachele, of The Nearsighted Owl, is very sweet to say that she is not a pattern writer. I think she did a great job!

Because her way of seeing things through her pattern did not always make sense to us, I re-worked the pattern so that it would make sense to me. There are two different ways to make her blanket.

One is to have all the rows line up with each other like this:


The other is to have all the rows alternate with each other like this:


Depending on the look you desire for your blanket you will have to do a few different things to get the look you want. So, first choose the look for you then follow the appropriate pattern below. I give full credit to Rachele at The Nearsighted Owl for all of this work. She was the inspiration in the first place! 

Bobble Stitch Pattern #1 (one row on top of another): 
Worsted weight yarn and size I crochet hook

Chain 187 (or any odd number depending on desired width)

Row 1: Single crochet in each chain across. Chain 1. Turn.  (This will create a sturdy foundation for the blanket.)

Row 2: In the second single crochet from the hook, **dc5tog (double crochet 5 together - bobble stitch), single crochet in next single crochet; repeat from ** all the way across. Chain 1. Turn.

On Row 3: when single crocheting across,
 use these loops on the backside.

Row 3: Single crochet in all loops all the way across. Fasten off. Leave a 6 inch tail to weave in later.
Using a new color, slip knot onto the hook and put the hook in the last loop of row 2 and pull through. Chain 1. Turn. 

Row 3 - Finished
Row 4:  In the second single crochet from the hook, **dc5tog (double crochet 5 together - bobble stitch), single crochet in next single crochet; repeat from ** all the way across. Chain 1. Turn.

Row 5: Single crochet in all loops all the way across. Fasten off. Leave a 6 inch tail to weave in later.

Using a new color, slip knot onto the hook and put the hook in the last loop of row 4 and pull through. Chain 1. Turn.

Row 6:  In the second single crochet from the hook, **dc5tog (double crochet 5 together - bobble stitch), single crochet in next single crochet; repeat from ** all the way across. Chain 1. Turn.

Repeat rows 2 through 6 until your blanket is big enough! 

End Row 2.

Final row: Single crochet in each single crochet across. Fasten off.

Weave in all your ends.

~~~~

Bobble Stitch Pattern #2 (alternating rows): 
Worsted weight yarn and size I hook

With beginning color, chain 187 (or any odd number depending on desired width)

Row 1: Single crochet in 2nd chain from hook, single crochet in each chain across. Chain 1. Turn.  (This will create a sturdy foundation for the blanket)

Row 2: In 1st single crochet, **dc5tog (double crochet 5 together - bobble stitch), single crochet in next single crochet; repeat from ** all the way across. Chain 1. Turn.

Change colors here, if desired. Fasten off, leaving a 6 inch tail to weave in later.

On Row 3: when single crocheting across,
 use these loops on the backside.

Row 3: (With new color) **Single crochet in 1st single crochet, single crochet in top of the next dc5tog; repeat from ** across to last single crochet, 2 single crochets in last single crochet. Chain 1, turn.

Row 3: Finished
Row 4:  In 1st single crochet, **dc5tog (double crochet 5 together - bobble stitch), single crochet in next single crochet; repeat from **  to last single crochet, single crochet in last single crochet. Chain 1. Turn.

Row 4: Two single crochets
Change colors here, if desired. Fasten off, leaving a 6 inch tail to weave in later.

Row 5: (With new color) **Single crochet in 1st 2 single crochets, single crochet in top of the next dc5tog, repeat from ** across. Chain 1, turn. 

Row 6:  In 2nd single crochet, **dc5tog (double crochet 5 together - bobble stitch), single crochet in next single crochet; repeat from ** across. Chain 1. Turn.

Change colors here, if desired. Fasten off, leaving a 6 inch tail to weave in later.

Repeat rows 3 through 6 until your blanket is big enough! End Row 3.

Final row: Single crochet in each single crochet across. Fasten off. 

Weave in all your ends.

~~~~

I have to tell you that this blanket takes a LOOOOONG time, a TON of yarn, and creates tired hands! It is also a rather stiff fabric when completed, not really my idea of a snuggly blanket. 

Stiff stuff, this!
My cousin is using hers for her baby boy to lay on. The nubby texture will make for a great tactile experience for him. 

Oooooo, nubby...
I have decided to create a different blanket with this stitch. I want to use one row of bobble then fill in the next row with large granny squares, then another row of bobble. It's still an abstract thought, but I'd like to try it. I like my blankets a little more flexible.

The bobble stitch is one of my favorites, but I find it's limited in the snuggly department.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mansi ~ a plucked flower


Good Morning! This is Mansi. Her name comes from the Hopi language meaning "plucked flower". With Winter beginning to pack his bags and Spring lazily strolling up the front walk, I decided it was time for some flowers! I was inspired by some stickers I saw recently of these super sweet, kawaii (ka-wah-ee) flowers and just had to form them into amigurumis. 

I had a wonderful creative time putting together her pattern. It has taken more than a month to do it!
I have included the pattern in this post, along with a small photo tutorial around the more complicated parts. I originally created her in Valentine's Day colors because I'm making her for my kids for Valentine's Day. She'd make a great gift for someone you love too!

I hope you enjoy making Mansi and that she adds a little spring to your step. I will be posting Mansi on Ravelry as a free pattern and will be sure to post the completed set of Mansi's my children get for Valentine's Day. 

Now go make a garden! To see her new friends click here.

Mansi ~ a plucked flower

Notions:
A: any worsted weight yarn - I used Vanna's Choice from Lion Brand Yarns
B: any worsted weight yarn
C: any sport weight / baby weight yarn
Size F or G hook
Poly-fiberfill stuffing
Pink felt
Size 10 crochet thread - Black
Yarn needle
Size 12mm craft eyes

Flower petals and back with loop

Flower Petals and Back:
With A, ch 2. 
Rnd 1: Work 6 sc in first ch. 
Place marker in first st for beg of rnd; move marker up as each rnd is completed. 
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around – 12 sts. 
Rnd 3: *2 sc in next st, sc in next st; rep from * around – 18 sts. 
Rnd 4: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts; rep from * around – 24 sts. 
Rnd 5: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 sts; rep from * around – 30 sts. 
Rnd 6: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 sts; rep from * around – 36 sts. 
Rnd 7: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 5 sts; rep from * around – 42 sts. 
Rnd 8: Sc in next st, *ch 3, skip next 2 sc, sc in next sc; rep from * around, sl st in first sc - 14 ch-3 spaces.
Rnd 9: Chain 1, in first ch-3 sp make : *sc, 1dc, 1tr, 1dc, 1sc; rep from * in next ch-3 sp and around. Sl st          in 1st sc – 14 petals.
Do NOT fasten off if hanging loop is desired. Otherwise, fasten off.

Hanging loop (if desired):
From sl st at end of rnd 9, ch 20. Sl st in same sc from previous rnd.
Fasten off. 

Flower face with long tail

Flower Face:
With B, ch 2. 
Rnd 1: Work 6 sc in first ch. 
Place marker in first st for beg of rnd; move marker up as each rnd is completed. 
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around – 12 sts. 
Rnd 3: *2 sc in next st, sc in next st; rep from * around – 18 sts. 
Rnd 4: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts; rep from * around – 24 sts. 
Rnd 5: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 sts; rep from * around – 30 sts. 
Rnd 6: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 sts; rep from * around – 36 sts. 
Rnd 7: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 5 sts; rep from * around – 42 sts. 
Rnds 8-9: sc in each st around.
Fasten off leaving a 12” tail.

Completed bow 

Bow:
With C: chain 24.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch to the end. Ch 2, turn. (23 sts)
Row 2: Skip first sc, dc in each sc to the end. Ch 2, turn. (23 sts)
Row 3: Skip first dc, hdc in each dc to the end. (23 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long tail.



Whip stitch the two ends together using the long tail.



    

    
 Weave in ends.

Bow ~ middle section:
With C: chain 10.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch to the end. Ch 1, turn. (9 stitches)
Row 2: Skip first sc, sc to the end. (9 sts)
Repeat Row 2 to desired width, sc in top of each turning ch.
Fasten off, leaving a long tail. Whip stitch the two ends together using the long tail. (see pictures above)
Weave in ends.

Flatten sewn pieces so you have two loops, one large and one small. 



Slide the smaller middle piece over the larger bow tie piece. 

  

  

   Set aside.


Finishing:


Place eyes on flower face. Embroider mouth with black size 10 crochet thread or desired color. 
Embroider eyelashes if desired.



Sew bow to flower face between rows 5 & 6, slightly off center. 
Add cheeks by gluing pink felt on with craft glue or use blush.



Sew face to flower petals. Stuff firmly as you sew. 




Weave in ends.
Finished! 




Happy Valentine's Day! XOXO
Love, Mansi
&
~ S