Feeling that need to make things

I had a particularly hard week last week, made worse by a particularly terrible first session with a new counselor, who instead of helping me with my anxiety increased it by tenfold. I was relieved when the weekend came (but you know, also anxious because of how quickly time is passing by). Instead of falling into a stress-induced rut, I decided to get crafty.

So I made a big KnitPicks order (because that’s what I do when I’m feeling down- I eat and spend money), which includes two skeins of bare yarn for hand-dyeing! I was really inspired to attempt dyeing yarn after watching an episode of the podcast Knitting with Dolls. I did some more research and found these tutorials quite useful (KnitPicks, Chalklegs, Instructables).

Naturally, I decided I couldn’t wait for my order to arrive, so I went to Michaels and bought a skein of Patons worsted wool yarn and 4 bottles of food coloring (blue, pink, yellow, and red). I literally had no plan when I decided to attempt dyeing the yarn. Here is the result:

I was just like, ALRIGHT LET’S DO THIS. (/insert World of Warcraft reference here).

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I dyed a skein that reminds me of when I tie-dyed shirts as a kid. XD This wasn’t quite what I was going for, but I at least divided the skein into two hanks, so I can practice dyeing again before attempting it on the nicer skeins I purchased from KnitPicks. I need to figure out how to mix the four colors I have to make more colors, that are less neon. I’m not sure what to make with this…

I also made some more shrinky dinks (my sister asked for Neko Atsume ones) and some dish clothes (for my mom).

I really enjoyed making the dish cloths, and followed this pattern in order to achieve that waffle look. They’re a bit sloppy, but I made them with scrap yarn, and they’re not meant to last forever.

One more thing I want to mention – :3 I received the swap package I mentioned from my dolly friend. I was anticipating its arrival because I like to stalk my packages on the USPS website. I was ecstatic when I saw the contents of the package.

My friend and I did a swap – crocheted and knitted things for sewn things. I’m blown away by how well-made the shirts and the dress are, with all the tiny details (tinnnyyy buttons), and the adorable fabrics. She also made the kanzashi style hair clip. I don’t have enough shirts in my doll wardrobe, nor long dresses, so these are welcome additions. The package really brightened up my day. ^^ I put the two shirts on my girls, and haven’t decided who to put in the red dress (I’m torn between Finley and Rory).

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Reese is wearing the pink shirt and hairclip from the swap, a tutu from MINIJIJO, white tights, and pink shoes from QMagicDoll.

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Elowyn is wearing a beret I knitted, the green shirt from the swap, jeans, and stock shoes.

I hope everyone has an awesome (rest of) Sunday, and Monday flies by painlessly.

Balls of yarn

I did a not so good thing – I bought a skein of yarn from Michaels last weekend, even though I’m on a yarn no-buy and I’m trying to decrease my yarn stash. I’ve been in a bit of a knitting frenzy (knitting is so hard!), and the skeins I had weren’t inspiring me! I’ve been using the same balls of yarn for crocheting or knitting little doll items, and particularly for knitting, using the same colors just made me sad. 

The new yarn I purchased is the white skein on the far right (not sure the name of this brand). Look at how much I’ve used my other skeins! That blue one is close to being used up even! I noticed that with knitting, if I make a mistake, I completely rage quit the project. I immediately frog the entire thing, because I find fixing mistakes strangely difficult (maybe it’s because the yarn is so fine?). I’m definitely better at knitting this time around, compared to when I knitted as a child and again in college, so there’s that.

I also really dig this yarn. This one is Lion Brand Vanna’s Glamour yarn.

I also have a few rolls of crochet thread, some skeins of Cotton Fair yarn, and Patons Kroy sock yarn. I’ve made a huge dent in my stash in the past year, and I think I’ll continue at it before I purchase anything new.

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I tried a new pattern by Kimberly Kwon, sans the sleeves (sleeves are discouraging… I don’t even like crocheting in a round that small, so I doubt I’ll enjoy knitting it). I think the shape is quite cute! And I don’t have to sew snaps in the back. I’m taking Reese out with me this weekend, and I’m thinking I’ll put her in the blue top, with a dark grey tutu.

I’m definitely really slow at knitting, and when something is less than perfect, I’m apt to frogging the whole thing. But when I successfully complete a piece, I feel kind of proud that I made it to the end of the pattern and have added to my girls’ wardrobe.

That Weekend I spent 3 Days Crocheting

Just a whole ton of crocheting. Cue Crocheting Montage:

I made a cowl for myself, and I decided to stitch up some of the granny squares I made for a small mat my kitty can sit on. I also tried making helmet style hats for my girls! I’m really digging the floppy bunny ear look.IMG_6082 (1).jpgI added the above hats to my etsy store, and I also made an extra white beret to keep (currently being worn by Finley).

I was a very busy bee this weekend, and I kind of feel drained from all that crocheting. For the most part, I do crochet almost every day. But, it usually takes me longer to finish one project on a weekday because of the interruptions and limited amount of free time before I need to go to sleep. I kind of felt like I hit my stride this weekend, and got in this determined, productive mood to crochet.

And now I want to talk about something I’m super excited about – the February Blythe release, Cherie Babette!20160118_cheriebabette_02

She’s going to be released on February 12, which is my birthday month! She’s the first girl I have ever pre-ordered, and I was thrilled to see her photos come out this long weekend. She is an FBL mold, with translucent fair skin. She will be my first translucent girl, and I’m really excited to bring her into the fold. I’m a little bummed that she doesn’t come with shoes or stock that fits minus the bear kigurumi, and I do wish her hair was shorter (a la Bloomy Bloomsbury). Other than that, she is really cute! I’m really loving her coloring – in actual photos of this doll, her cheeks and lips are a vibrant light pink, and I don’t have a brunette in my collection at the moment (I have three fantasy haired girls and one platinum blonde).

Cherie Babette is kind of my birthday gift to myself (or consolation gift for growing yet another year older). Also, since I purchased her last year in December, I don’t count this as a 2016 purchase :D.

Anddd let the dolly no-buy commence.

 

Stash busting

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Behold! My WIP – a ripple blanket! Here is the pattern I’m using.

I’m quite happy with my progress with this blanket. It’s wide enough to cover a full sized bed, and when I’ve finished it, it should be big enough to cover the top of my bed. I’ve already worked through 2 partially used skeins, and I’m now working with a third skein. I’m pretty sure that the dark blue and the bright aqua blue I’m currently working with are Red Heart Super Saver yarns. I like using Red Heart Super Saver yarns for amigurumi because the yarn doesn’t stretch too much, and also they don’t get too fuzzy from being overhandled or overworked. I generally don’t like this yarn line for scarves or blankets though because I find the material itchy. I have seen some tutorials on how to soften this type of yarn with the use of a vinegar soak.

I’m really trying to work through my bin of yarn. It’s not so much that I’m trying to finish what I have to make way for new yarn, but that I’ve really accumulated a ton of yarn since I started crocheting. I find it kind of wild that it’s been about 2 years since I started crocheting, and I still find it very fun and rewarding to do. I feel a sense of pride being able to make clothes, accessories, or household items. This is a skill/hobby in which I can produce tangible goods that a majority of people in my life find value in, and the items often have utility.

😀 I think in my next post, I’ll share some photos of my yarn stash.

 

Crochet – day and night

I’ve been crocheting a ton this weekend while rewatching episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I usually crochet while I have something familiar playing in the background, because I don’t necessarily have to pay close attention to the show to know exactly what’s going on, and I find background noise comforting.  I think after doll hats, my second favorite thing to crochet is baby gear. Baby things are also quite small, so the project can be completed fairly quickly (the hat was finished in one to two hours). This was my first time crocheting a diaper cover – the tricky thing about the diaper cover is that I have ZERO concept of a normal baby’s dimensions… I’m not entirely sure that the diaper cover will fit over a baby’s diapered butt. Baby things are so darn cute! 
I’ve also crocheted a number of Blythe hat/scarf sets. I’m attempting to plan my first Blythe meet, and since it’s so close to the gift giving season, I’ve decided to crochet a few things to give to my Blythe-loving friends who can make it to the gathering (as a sort of thank you for coming, and as prizes for a mini-game I’m planning, which I’m hoping won’t be entirely cheesy). I’m actually slightly terrified that I will be the only person to show up to the meet.whynoonecomes

I think the hardest part about planning something like this is finding a scheduled time that works for most people.

Feeling a little crocheted-out.

Ode to the puff stitch

I’m kind of obsessed with making puff stitches. Puff stitch, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

  • Puffs eat up a lot of yarn, which is awesome because I’m currently trying to work through my yarn stash. I’ve accumulated a ton of yarn since I picked up crocheting, and I’m on a low buy (was going to write “no-buy”… but who am I kidding?) for yarn skeins.
  • They’re so darn cute! – I tried to explain why I thought they were cute, but I can’t seem to convey my feelings without reading as a huge weirdo.
  • They add an interesting texture to the piece.
  • I find these types of stitches less monotonous than simpler stitches. Also, I fall back on the puff stitch so often, that I’ve developed a rhythm to crocheting it.
  • I also think they make anything look cozier or more luxe.

I think I’ll be adding some more puff stitch hats to my etsy shop.

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XD The green one looks like a Christmas tree! I got really excited when I thought of making the green hat at work. I’m not completely happy with how I’ve attached the star to the top of the pixie hat, so that one is joining my blythe hat collection. The yellow one is listed in my store.

My girls are becoming quite festive this holiday season with their winter themed hats.

Also, VERY EXCITING NEWS. Finley has been shipped, and she’s coming home after her makeover by Chantilly Lace. I can’t wait to share photos of her and re-bond with her (because to be completely honest, she looks like an entirely new blythe now).

Late night crocheting

So I’ve been in a bit of a crocheting slump lately. It’s been some weeks since I’ve purchased a new skein of yarn, which might attribute to some of my lack of excitement for crocheting. A lot of the time, I’ll see a skein of yarn at Michaels and think of how gorgeous the yarn would look when made into a hat or scarf for me or my one of my dolls. Since I haven’t added any new skeins to my stash, I’ve been working with and looking at the same balls of yarn day after day. I guess my brain is desensitized to the colors and textures I own.

At some point during this winter, I do want to take on a rather big project – I want to make myself a sweater! I have 12 skeins of this rich, mid-tone blue satin sport yarn just sitting in my stash untouched. However, I need to mentally prepare myself for this kind of thing. I imagine making a sweater will take a while, and long projects are sort of a marathon for me. They test my endurance, and patience to look at the same thing hour after hour. I’m also the type of person who doesn’t like to have multiple crochet projects in the works at once, so that doesn’t help at all.

And since I had this sweater project in mind, of course, my brain tells me to procrastinate in crocheting a sweater by crocheting other things!

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Animal-eared headbands! The deer headband was pretty annoying to make. The yarn for the antlers and the ears were kind of a pain to work with because of how thin they were. It was totally worth it though! I really like the deer motif for my dolls, and it’s perfect for Christmas ^^. I think I’ll be adding these mobius-style headbands to my shop, because I’m pretty pleased with how they came out.

I’ve actually made a considerable dent in my yarn stash this past month, making gifts for my friends and family, and also crocheting little things for blythe dolls. I hope to keep busting through my yarn skeins, and then I shall reward myself with something kind of luxurious – like a skein of nice alpaca yarn.

Relatively Instant Gratification

The blythe carry bag feels like it’s taking forever for me to finish, so I set it aside today and worked on some quick crochet projects for fun.

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I just realized …I procrastinated crocheting by crocheting…

I also wanted to share my crochet binder!

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I kind of miss writing in notebooks and on pages in binders. I miss that new book smell. I miss writing in script.

NOSTALGIA. 

I say these things, but I also am way faster at typing than I am at hand-writing, I’m more apt to keeping things neater on digital files, I love my kindle, and I suck at writing in script.

But since I was feeling nostalgic, I decided to make myself a binder of crochet patterns I like, refer to often, or want to try. I like having a physical pattern book, because it’s convenient for this particular hobby. I’m not chained to my phone or my laptop when I’m trying out a new pattern, or constantly having to unlock my phone when I need to see the next step in the pattern. It’s also easier for me to keep track of where I am on the physical pages than on a screen. And, I’m more likely apt to trying new patterns if they’re printed and kept in this binder, rather than look through all of my bookmarks for inspiration.

The binder isn’t the most pretty thing, but I did feel pretty accomplished when I put it together! I have a color wheel and a color scheme chart on the outside, and the inside is divided into sections: For dolls, Amigurumi. For Humans, For Home.

^^ Happy Friday Folks

My Protips for Crocheting Blythe Hats

I exaggerate when I say “protips.” I hope I haven’t raised any expectations too high >_<.
I’ve said many times before that I really enjoy crocheting for my dolls, particularly hats! They make for quick projects, and unless I am trying out a new pattern, I can make the doll hat by memory. There are many resources for crochet patterns for dolls, but even so, sometimes it’s hard to find a pattern for exactly what you are looking for in a hat. Although there are tons of hat styles for people (newsboy, baseball cap, bucket hat, beanie, tam, beret, skull cap, etc), not all of these have been translated to pattern or scaled down to fit Blythe dolls. I’m not an expert at crocheting, or pattern adjusting, but I do have a few tips that I think might be helpful for fellow blythe-loving crocheters. Most of my tips will have to do with playing around with gauge.

Technical definition for Gauge as provided by Lion Brand website

Gauge is usually defined in the pattern by a ratio of stitches and rows to a given measurement such as 16 stitches and 14 rows in single crochet = 4″. You should always work a swatch of fabric (approximately 4″ x 4″) in the stitch pattern of the piece you are making.

A pattern will instruct you to use a certain weight of yarn and a specific hook size to achieve a set size for the finished product. Sometimes, the pattern may recommend the user to create a swatch to make sure the correct gauge is achieved, and if not, the user should adjust their hook or yarn until the recommended gauge can be recreated.

Who has time for this???

My approach to achieving the gauge I want is more trial and error and may even cost me more time. Lol. Mostly, if the pattern I am using is for a hat that would be slightly too big for a blythe, I will use a smaller hook, or a smaller hook and slightly thinner yarn, as opposed to adjusting the number of stitches in the pattern. I find this to be more simple than dissecting the pattern and making changes to the stitches and rows. I want to reiterate that this type of adjusting works best on hat patterns that are slightly too big for blythe dolls. I wouldn’t try this on a hat pattern for an adult human, and expect it to fit my blythe doll (at least not without struggling first).

American Girl hat patterns will fit Blythe

I say this with relative certainty, though I believe that the circumference of American Girl doll heads are a bit bigger than Blythe heads. I’ve made several Blythe sized hats for a coworker’s daughter’s American Girl doll, and they fit well. The beauty of crocheted hats is that they have a good deal of stretch to them. When testing an American Girl doll hat pattern to create a Blythe sized hat, I might suggest a slightly smaller hook to achieve a snugger fit.

American Girl dolls are more prolific than Blythe dolls in America, and they have a stronger presence in the media, being very popular with kids and adult collectors. There are many hat patterns out there specifically for AG dolls.

Take advantage of baby hat patterns  
The two hats on the right were both made from baby hat patterns. The number of baby hat patterns dwarfs the number of Blythe hat patterns, no contest. Of course, a baby’s head will most likely be considerably bigger than a Blythe’s head, so this is where I suggest being experimental with gauge. To be quite honest, using smaller hooks or thinner yarn isn’t a guarantee that the baby hat pattern will translate well as a Blythe hat. I’ve run into quite a few problems with proportions, because let’s face it, I can’t think of any baby whose head is shaped remotely like a Blythe’s head (wide face, yet very flat head…). However, when the hat comes out to be a success, you have a pattern you can add to your repertoire! And, you’re able to add variety to your Blythe doll wardrobe.
Note that you may have to do some technical adjusting by shortening the hat (maybe cutting out some repeat rows in the middle of the hat). A Blythe’s head is not as long as a baby’s.


Subtopic protip – Preemie hats! 

Sometimes baby hat patterns will also offer instructions for several sizes. For preemie baby hat patterns, the pattern will often segregate the sizes by baby weight or by head circumference. Blythe dolls would fall into the 3-4lb baby sizing. This takes a lot of the guess work out of making adjustments.

Make sure to have a volunteer(s)

By this I mean, have one of your girls handy for intermittent fittings while crocheting. I usually place the would-be hat on my doll’s head after every row past the 4th or 5th row. I can generally tell if a hat is going to be too big, and sometimes I try salvaging my efforts by strategically placing some decreases. Also, the frequent modeling can help with determining hat length. 

   I hope this helps anyone looking to crochet hats for their Blythes. In my opinion, Blythe dolls’ heads are practically made for hats with how oversized they are compared to their bodies. Crocheting for my dolls is a big part of how I enjoy this hobby, and I know how frustrating it is to have limited pattern resources.
Happy crocheting ^^.