ArtistMum: The Year of the Monkey!

In my previous blog post, I shared my crocheted edge monkey blankets and promised to share some more ‘monkey business’!

I have been super busy sewing up a few sock monkeys, which I think turned out so adorable! I found the socks on Amazon and later, when I decided to make a few more, found them in a mail order catalog called Home Sew. They happened to have two other colors available besides the oatmeal color and also had a smaller size. I ordered the baby blue and am debating whether to get the pink as well. I have to make up the blue one still. They come in a package of two pairs. One pair of socks will make one monkey and the directions are on the packaging, although I’ve found directions on Pinterest and Youtube!

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ArtistMum: No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed!

It happens to be the year of the monkey! I’ve seen so many cute monkey printed fabrics at JoAnn’s that I just HAD to buy some to make a few cute blankets for my new grandson and another to come! I bought both a fleece and a flannel monkey patterned fabric and hurried home, eager to get started. I cut each blanket 31″ X 31″. The finished size after folding the edge would make it 30″ X 30″, which is a standard size for a receiving blanket.

Most fleece blankets have a blanket stitch around the edge onto which you can then add a crocheted border. I attempted to make the blanket stitch with my yarn, only to be totally frustrated. It took me a half hour to stitch only about 15″ when I decided to give up. I looked up how to make a border on these blankets and accidently found that some people were using a gadget that made stitching a whole new ballgame. 

Well……I just had to give it a try! So I ordered one of them with the indicated ‘skip stitch’ rotary blade as shown below. Here is the link to Amazon where I ordered it from, however I did notice that JoAnn’s does carry them…..they were just sold out!

http://www.amazon.com/Kays-Crochet-Fleece-Perfect-Projects/dp/B00LMGMOE6/ref=sr_1_2?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1460063745&sr=1-2&keywords=skip+a+stitch+rotary+cutter
 

 

This device made my endeavor so much easier. I changed the original round blade for cutting to the ‘skip stitch’ rotary blade, purchased separately. Then I rolled the blade along a ruler, held 1/2 inch from the edge, all around the blanket. Okay……so now I was all set to start!

I found that it was so very easy to crochet a ‘ blanket stitch’ all around the blanket ( single crochet loosely in each space followed with a chain one) I used a size H 5mm crochet hook and Lionbrand, Lionbrand.com, Vanna’s Choice yarn for all of the fleece blankets I worked on. There are also many great colors to choose from that coordinate easily with the fleece prints. For the monkey blanket, I used the colors  ‘Oatmeal’ and ‘Cranberry’.   On another, I used just ‘Barley’. 

   
 
Then I found a cute little monkey print on flannel and thought….why not try the rotary cutter skip stitch blade on that as well? It actually worked, however I had to use a thinner yarn and a smaller crochet hook. I used Bernat ‘baby’ yarn in ‘antique white’ and ‘baby blue’ and a size F 3.75mm. You could use a size G 4.00mm too. For this blanket, I did my initial single crochet all around, then a double crochet all around, and lastly, a single crochet row in the baby blue. In the corners, I crocheted four stitches in end hole to make the curve. Also, I forgot to mention that you have to curl the edges as you’re crocheting so that you get a clean edge.

  

I really got excited about this method, so I made a few more blankets! Might make some more and donate them to ‘Project Linus’! https://www.projectlinus.org.   

  

There’s one more project I’m looking forward to making for my little grand babies is a ‘ sock monkey’. It is the year of the monkey, right? Let’s celebrate! 

Hope this encourages you to try crocheting with fleece and flannel. Wouldn’t it be cute to edge a pair of flannel pajamas with a little crochet trim? Hmmmmm……….another project!

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ArtistMum: Discovering A New Yarn

I love to paint with both watercolor and oil paints but they are not easily carried around and you cannot work on a painting while waiting at the doctors office, or while recuperating from injuries or illnesses………or so I’ve found! So I discovered awhile back that I can bring along my crochet projects almost anywhere and be productive at the same time……a win, win situation!

My latest crochet related discovery was a yarn from Red Heart yarns called “Reflective”. I found it through a mail order catalog called Herrschner’s. ( Herrschner’s.com )

  
This yarn reflects light, making it ideal for headbands for runners that run in the evening or very early morning. It’s like having a reflective armband on your head so cars can see you! 

It comes in many wonderful colors……neon pink, neon orange, purple, Aran, black, neon yellow, neon green……but I ordered olive, grey, and peacock……..all great!

There’s a crochet pattern on the label for an adorable headband. It requires two skeins of yarn but I found a crochet pattern from………..     Nikki in Stitches    ……………. 

http://www.nikkiinstitches.com/crochet-flower-and-head-warmer-free-pattern/

……….that required less than one skein and by adjusting stitches and crochet hooks, I found I could make it work for a few other different yarns, including Charisma. The number of chains you start out with can be different for each yarn. I made sure it fit around my head before I started the second row. I would measure if it’s for a child or anyone else. 
Here are my reflective yarn headbands in peacock, grey, and olive……. I also started and ended with a border of another color……..in this case, some leftover black yarn.

  
And I made a few others from leftover yarns…….a great way to make your yarn stash shrink! The turquoise one has a grey border. The bottom one is all grey.

  
Have fun experimenting with Red Heart’s new yarn for a useful and good looking gift for your favorite runner or maybe even for yourself!

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Crocheting Through Asthma!

Yes, I have been through a rough round of ‘acute asthma exacerbation’ and it has been a long and rather rough road back. I’m still not there 100% but I know it’s a slow haul. 

The only thing that has helped me through this recovery, besides the drugs to treat this, has been my crocheting! I found a wonderful pattern for crocheted fedoras from www.kariodesigns.com through Pinterest! 

Previously, I had tried another pattern, only to get frustrated. It was in three pieces and I finally gave up. Then I found this pattern (Kariodesigns) and  I cannot tell you how much easier it was. It was well worth the investment and it came in multiple sizes, preemie to adult! You can’t go wrong with that!
Love how they came out! I tried the preemie one out first to get the hang of it. Then I made one for my little granddaughter and another for the new grand baby on the way. I was so thrilled at how cute they came out! 

  

  

  

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Snowstorm of the Year! Jonas passes through!

The weather reports were all over the board with some reports of only 6″ and others up to 12-24″.  We are very good about preparing for storms in our area, especially since hurricane ‘Sandy’ struck a few years back.  Extra batteries, firewood, food staples, blankets……we know how to get through thus! I remember being so cold after being without heat for a week that even my teeth were cold……brrrrrrrr. 

So the amount of snow that this snowstorm generated was more than we expected but we haven’t had precipitation for quite awhile and quite honestly, we needed it! And it came on a weekend, so most people were home. People made the best of it…….we usually do!

Stay warm wherever you are!

   
 

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What’s In Your Bag?- Portable Projects that Travel Well!

If you’re a creator/ crafty gal like myself, you want to make use of every minute to make something. I’ve been doing some small portable gift projects that I’m looking forward to giving this holiday season. I also am on a limited budget since I’m a ‘senior citizen’ and have to be careful with spending!

My portable bags go with me almost everywhere……babysitting, car rides, doctors office…….you name it, I’ve brought a portable project along!

I have a scissors, needle and thread, crochet hook, yarn, small amount of poly stuffing, embroidery thread………basically anything I can think of that I might need to work on a project. And usually they are small projects. 

  
I finally finished the checkbook holder for my mom. It feels good to get it done!

  
And I found these adorable leather coin purses at an Alternative  Gift boutique at a church. Proceeds go to various organizations to buy food, books, building supplies, etc., for underdeveloped countries. Many of the gifts, these coin purses included, are hand made by someone from those countries. They are well made and sturdy too. I couldn’t resist since my grandchildren love cats and owls! And since they (grandkids) are too small for real coins, I decided to make a small felt owl and kitty to put inside. I want to make a few felt coins as well but the owl came out so cute and I’m working on a kitty next!

  
And I also am using up my extra cotton yarn to make soap saver bags. They are so useful and pretty at the same time. All I need to get is some soap bars suitable for gift giving and I have a nice homemade gift. They make wonderful hostess gifts too. I found the pattern on Pinterest of course. It’s from ‘The Painted Hinge’ and here’s the link: http://www.thepaintedhinge.com/2013/11/20/washcloth-and-soap-saver-set-free-crochet-patterns/

It’s nice that it’s an easy enough crochet pattern for anyone to do and it’s wonderful to use up that stash of unused yarn! Before I forget……..I used Lily Sugar’n Cream cotton yarn that you can buy at most craft stores but here’s a link:

http://www.joann.com/lily-sugar-n-cream-super-size-solids-yarn/8230674.html?mkwid=hJp1i1FH%7Cdt&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_campaign=Shopping+-+Needle+Arts&CS_003=12310904&CS_010=%5BProductId%5D&gclid=CJvMrMnz2ckCFYIfHwodaAAE8Q

  
And here’s little owl again! Couldn’t resist just one more picture!

  
So……….what’s in your bag???

Happy crafting!

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Days Until Christmas???

Yes! Thanksgiving is finished and after a whirlwind of cooking a delicious meal for my family, I am exhausted……..no………..still in a food coma, on what’s known as ‘black Friday’. I have no desire to shop, which is typically what people do on this day supposedly to get bargains on gifts for the holidays. 

Well, I have started with some homemade gifts……I like to keep,things simple but heartfelt. 

My mom needed a new checkbook holder so I started this one for her. It’s almost finished!

  I still have to sew around the outside and attach a snap closure. I found the pattern in this craft book.
  
but made it slightly larger. I think she will love it!

I have plans to make a few ornaments out of homemade clay. There’s a homemade clay recipe made from cornstarch, baking soda, and water that is really nice. I’ve used it before and it comes out very  porcelain looking. I’ve made fairy dolls with it with pleasing results.

So……..enough for today. I will get back with more gifts that I made soon!

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