Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not So Stoned Stoner Hat



I've become somewhat of a bike geek as of late and my knitting has suffered because of it. I whipped this out pretty quick in an attempt to get back into the swing of it, as well as give myself a roomie beanie that I don't mind getting sweaty on rides. The stash busting bit was a rather nice side effect, if I do say so myself.

I call it my "Not So Stoned Stoner Hat" because while it does indeed look like something a stoner would wear.. I'm far from being a stoner. You could make a comment along the lines of "I'm high on bikes" and then run with that..

This hat is pretty straight forward and would be a great introduction to knitting in the round for beginners!

Techniques You'll Need:
- Cast on
- Knit stitch
- Purl stitch
- Decrease - K2tog
- Cast off

Not So Stoned Stoner Hat
Yarn: Unknown brand, acrylic, self striping
Gauge: (need to go home and measure..)
Needles: US6

CO 88, join in round (for a smaller hat do 80 stitches)

Brim:
K1, P1 rib for 7 rounds (I’m gonna do it for 18 rounds next time)

Body:
K in round until hat measures 6.5 - 7 inches (or till you think its slouch enough)

Decrease:
*K6, k2tog, repeat from * around
K around
*K5, k2tog, repeat from * around
K around
*K4, k2tog, repeat from * around
K around
*K3, k2tog, repeat from * around
K around
*K2, k2tog, repeat from * around
K around
*k2tog, repeat from * around
From here on just k2tog, knitting the odd stitch out you get, until 3 stitches remain.

Cast & bind off.

Place on head and forget about your 30-mile ride hair ;)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bike Paaaaaaarty!

This was my first ride as an official BIRD and I can say that this was my least and most favorite Bike Party. I got cussed at, thanked, slammed into, and patted on the back, all in one evening.

For the first part of the ride I ended up hanging back helping someone fix a flat at the start and then sped up to catch up with the group turning into Japantown. Riders weren't stopping at the light and there were several cars that were blocked by the riders or confused by the state of the road. I stopped and waved cars through or past the Japantown entrance until the end of the party came through, when I took off down 1st to try and catch up with the ride.

Once I caught up to the riders, they were all over the road. People were riding with open containers, running red lights, in the left lane, and were cussing out anyone that was trying to get them to ride by the law.

About half way down 1st I came upon a little old lady in a mini van trying to make it down the right lane. Imagine the most stereotypical frightened old lady you can. That was this woman. Bikers were swerving around her, yelling at her and then cutting her off. I used my whistle to try and help clear a lane for her, but she had had enough. She started flooring her engine to come mere inches from riders before slamming on her brakes. I got her to the left lane where she just dropped the pedal, barely slowing as I raced behind her wailing on the whistle for people to get out of her way. People were STILL ignoring me, flipping her off until she was just a foot or so from her bumper. By the time I got her to Trimble where she flipped a U-turn, I had had enough. I was going to find my friends and leave the drunken morons to fend for themselves.

I ended up running into another BIRD at the 1st and Plumeria turn and took over the corner for him. I stood at the corner and waved riders to turn right and this was when my night started going good. Several riders thanked me for the directions, cheered me on and gave me the positive energy boost I needed right then. The majority of Bike Partiers ride with the ideals of Bike Party in mind and they're the people that make these events fun for volunteers like myself. When I'm trying to keep people safe from angry old ladies and getting cussed out for the effort, it really kills the mood. Thank you all you riders who thank the BIRDs at corners. I never realized how much that meant until I was a BIRD myself.

The rest of my evening was just as overwhelming, stressful, and exciting. I decided to skip the first regroup and ride on to try and catch up with my friends. A group of college kids looking to escape the chaos of the main ride ended up following behind me once they realized I had the route. They were a great group and we ended up riding together for the last 18 miles of the ride. They helped me stop other riders at lights, keep people in the right lane, and lead the group of riders we picked up along the way. By the end of the ride they were all shouting out "car back", "red light", and "right lane" just as much as I was. It was their first bike party and they loved it. We talked the whole ride and they'll definitely be coming to next month's ride. They were even wanting to know about the test rides.

Me and my little group of riders were the first to arrive at the 2nd regroup. I took the chance to sit down and eat my dinner when I was interrupted by a young man looking for directions home. He was extremely polite and extremely drunk, something he willingly admitted to. The ride was running too late for him and he had no idea how to get back downtown. I tried to give him the most direct route possible but he was so drunk he couldn't remember if I had told him to turn right or left onto Wolfe, let alone the rest of the way. Finally I asked if he had a phone and I typed out the 5 lines of directions for him. He was a really nice kid.. but still. I hope he made it home safely.

When I tucked back into my sandwich I noticed something that worried me. The stacks of chairs sitting under the awning weren't locked up.. and people were starting to pull them down. I stepped up pretty quick and made a deal with the guys that already had seats that they could stay in the chairs, so long as they didn't let anyone else grab one. With their verbal agreement I set out to try and find some other volunteers to help keep an eye on the chairs, only to find the Home Depot manager looking very angry. I talked to him and together we found a more experienced BIRD whose name I can't remember atm. The other BIRD was very helpful and between the two of us we got the manager to calm down. He ended up being a really reasonable guy, he was just worried about the unlocked products outside the store. He supported the motives of Bike Party and thought that what we were doing was really awesome, he just wished that he had had some warning and someone "in-charge" to talk with about his concerns.

As for accidents along the ride, I was only aware of the one at Fair Oaks and Evelyn. I talked with one of the cops about the rider and then spent a couple of minutes getting riders to move along. Once the ambulance and fire truck showed up I took off with my group, who had waited patiently for me. According to eye-witnesses at the scene and the officer, the kid ran a red light, along with his friends, and ended up being the unlucky one. He had neither bike lights nor a helmet and was riding with a group of similarly outfitted riders that were lost on the way to the 2nd regroup. He was stable, just scrapped up and terrified. I know that my group left the regroup early, but I wish that some more riders could have seen the aftermath of riding dangerously. Most the people that saw the accident were riders that were leaving the main party behind in an attempt to escape riders like this one, this only confirming to them that Bike Party isn't what it used to be.

What my post really comes down to is that there just aren't enough volunteers and good riders. Last night's route was confusing and cramped and there was probably 1 volunteer for every 100 riders. When you separate the "good" from the "bad", I think it's safe to say the volunteer to drunk ratio was 1:30, maybe higher. More riders need to have the route with them, not just figure they'll find a bird and follow. I came across several groups that had no idea where they were going.. they just kept riding in circles. Some of them even told me I was going the wrong way and tried to argue with me about the fact I was a volunteer.

Overall I love Bike Party and I'm definitely going to keep getting more involved. Last night was something I'm not going to forget for a long time, both because of the highs and lows of the evening. I made a new group of friends and shared Bike Party with some of my old ones. The majority of them agreed with me that last night, in the end, the pros out weighed the cons, but sadly a couple of them have told me they won't be participating again. Honestly, I can't blame them.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sewing On and On

One of the packages I received in my DIY Craft Kit Swap was for making a messenger bag. I seem to have inherited my grandfather's penchant for collecting bags and messenger bags tend to be my favorite. I have several that I rotate between, but they're all larger then I would like. I've been looking for a bag that fits just my laptop, a notebook, and the power adapter for the Mac for quite awhile now. Turns out it was just something that I had to make for myself.

Elizabeth's mom is the fantastic Craftster that sent me the fabric and tutorial on how to make my dream bag, going so far as to take pictures of important steps and pre-cut the fabric for me. Her instructions were fantastic and exactly what I needed to get through my mental block when it came to sewing.

The final product is far from the perfect demo she sent me, but I think it's pretty damn good for my first real project.

The successful completion of the bag inspired me to finally create the cushion for my impromptu window bench, a project I've been wanting to do for about 10 months or so. I guessed the measurements for what size cushions I would need and it ended up that my guess was dead on. I had bought the fabric for the cushions from IKEA almost 5 months ago now, so after some quick cuts and a bit of patience, I completed my bench.

The first cushion's cover is a bit loose, I was too generous with my seam allowances. The second cushion is an exact fit, though, and looks store bought (if you don't look too closely at the seams).

I'm pretty proud of both the cushions, and they definitely make my bench a lot more comfortable. They took longer then I originally planned, but that's just because I was a bit of a moron this weekend and smashed the pinky on my right hand in the car door. It's healing fine and is more an annoyance then anything else at the moment.

Now, if only I could get my roommate to clean up his crap so my window bench didn't look so out of place.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tutorial Time!

I'm going to keep this quick.. as quick as I can ever keep these posts.. But! I recently (and currently still am) organizing a DIY Craft Kit Swap on Craftster. The whole point of the swap is to learn a new craft and teach someone else a craft you know. So, I made three tutorials, which are posted as Pages, which you can access over there on the left hand side of the blog.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pattern: A Knitted Pocket

This pocket is a great sample of basic knitting techniques that whips together surprisingly fast. Your final product is satisfying no matter your skill level, but especially so for beginners.

Techniques You'll Need:
- Cast on
- Knit stitch
- Purl stitch
- Decrease - K2tog
- Decrease - ssk
- Increase - m1
- Cast off

KnittingHelp.com has fantastic videos to help you learn any stitches you don't already know, as well as for brushing up your skills. Hooks and Needles also has some great tutorial videos, and everything you need is all together.

Knitted Pocket
Yarn: Vanna's Choice Slate
Gauge: doesn't matter
Needles: US7

The pocket is knit flat and then seamed together. See the picture to the side for an example of what your piece will look like before you fold it.

CO 40
Row 1 & all odd rows: Purl
R2-14: sl first st purlwise, k across
R16: Cast off 20st, k remaining 20st
R18-20: K
R22: ssk, k 16, k2tog
R24: ssk, k 14, k2tog
R26: ssk, k 6, k2tog, m1, k 4, k2tog
R28: Cast off

Fold the pocket in half. Using yarn of the same color, sew the pocket along the bottom, then up the side, then back down the side to hide the end of the yarn in the corner.

Find a button to put on the front of the pouch, using the m1 as a button hole. Sew it on tight and ta-da, you have yourself a knitted pocket.

Marvel in your genius and stuff it full of goodies.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nested Birds Nests

These nested bowls are prefect for storing all your various knick-knacks and crocheted birds. A great project for beginners, I developed these bowls for a swapper that was looking to pick up crochet.

I've made the pattern available for download at Ravelry, under Nested Birds Nests.



Perfect Slouch

I've always wanted a slouchy knit hat for myself, but I can never seem to manage it. Typically it's because my gauge is too tight with knitting, and too loose with crochet, to follow a pattern. Even after trying to adjust a pattern to my gauge, I run into issues.

With that in mind, I finally decided to do my own thing, using my favorite size hook and needles, and some amazing yarn I've had hiding in my stash.

Perfect Slouch
Yarn: 1 skein Universal Yarn Cotton Supreme - Brown
Gauge: K (17.5st/10cm by 23st/10cm), C (12.5st/10cm by 8st/4cm)
Hook: F
Needles: US7

This hat is made with a crocheted brim and a knit body. I like the crocheted edge because I feel it's less stretchy, whereas a knit body gives it more flop and a more appealing texture. If you can't do a crocheted brim, just do your favorite knit brim with 70 stitches.

Note:
m1 - Make 1. I use kfb, but you can use whatever method you want.

Start with crochet.
Ch 71, leaving a 7" tail.
sc into 2nd ch from hook, sc across
turn, sc across (repeat 6 times, or until brim is desired thickness)

This is where it can get tricky for some people. Switch to knitting.
Round 1: Pick up 70 stitches from the crocheted brim. Your first stitch should be the loop from the crochet hook. The second stitch should be picked up from the other end of the crocheted sectioned, joining in the round.
R2: *K4, m1, repeat from * around (84 stitches)
R3: K around
R4: *K5, m1, repeat from * around (98 stitches)
R5: K around
R4: *K6, m1, repeat from * around (112 stitches)
Work in stockinette until hat measures 7" from brim, or until desired length.
Decrease:
R1: *K6, k2tog, repeat from * around (98 stitches)
R2: K around
R3: *K5, k2tog, repeat from * around (84 stitches)
R4: K around
R5: *K4, k2tog, repeat from * around (70 stitches)
R6: K around
R7: *K3, k2tog, repeat from * around (56 stitches)
R8: K around
R9: *K2, k2tog, repeat from * around (42 stitches)
R10: *K1, k2tog, repeat from * around (28 stitches)
R11: *k2tog, repeat from * around (14 stitches)
R12: *k2tog, repeat from * around (7 stitches)

Cut yarn with 7" tail and pull tail through last stitches several times. Tighten and weave in. Sew crocheted sections together with the starting tail.

Place on head and admire self. I did.

Enjoy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crafty Overflow

I've been sick the last week, and completely unable to do anything I wanted to do. I settled for sleep and video games, when really I wanted to be baking, drawing, knitting, crocheting, running, ANYTHING but lying in bed. Today is the first day that I've actually felt about normal and I seized it. Quiet vigorously.

It all started with my shower, which has been in need of a cleaning for awhile. The constant cycle of vacuuming dog hair and cleaning cat boxes has left me little patience to do the required abnormal chores, and this one was low energy so I figured it was safe. Boy was I wrong. There I am in grimy clothes, scrubbing the floor of my shower, considering how to best tackle the mess on the bathroom sink, when BAM! I'm struck with creative genius.

There's been a miniature binder clip on my bathroom counter for at least a month now. Why? I have no freaking clue. But as I was cursing downtown water I remembered my love of clipping things with binder clips (why I have it in the first place) and that you can attach the clips to things. One mental flash of the array of random junk my roommates and I leave around for each other.. and I was off to the sketch book. Hour and a half later I've got a finished project on my dining room table. Oh ADD.. I'm so glad you survived the flu.

I give you, the message board. Look, Ma!

I used a broken IKEA frame, minus the glass, as the base for the board. The top is painted with chalkboard paint and the bottom is covered in some scrap fabric with scrap fleece under it for some padding. I used thumb tacks to attach the binder clips to the board and frame body, as well as just to attach the fabric to the back of the board. Aside from the thumb tacks, all the materials and supplies for this project were found in my stash. Yay for finally having a solid stash!

Oh. And my shower's still half cleaned.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pi Day Pies

It's Pi Day. That deems worthy of a sacrifice. A pie sacrifice.
I haven't yet acquired a pie pan since moving to San Jose and the last pie I made was in one of those disposable tin pans that comes with pre-made dough. A Pi Day pie requires something better then store bought, mass produced dough. It requires dedication and love that only a homemade pie can deliver. Due to the inability to actually decide on a single pie filling, I came to the conclusion that several pies would needed. Just miniature versions. And, of course, one large one as well.

A trip to William-Sonama failed to produce the miniature pie pans I was hoping for, but I did manage to find mini deep dish pizza pans. Not only do I think they'll produce some fine pies, but I think I'll enjoy using them for their original purpose as well. Nothing like personal deep dish for dinner. Mm Mmmm.

Crust's first, as it takes some time to prep. Shaun had mentioned a vodka crust that did amazing things once baked. A quick search and I came across the recipe from Serious Eats for Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough. 30 minutes later, I had four mini crusts and 1 big crust all ready and in my fridge to chill. After they'd chilled for about an hour, I took one out and spread it into one of the mini pans. The dough was extremely sticky, and nearly impossible to work with. After much stretching and pulling, I managed to get all the pans somewhat covered with the dough. It wasn't perfect, far from it, but it would do the trick.

I originally planned to make each pie a different flavor, but I couldn't find a recipe I was happy with for each fruit. I eventually settled on the standards: Apple, Peach, and Strawberry. Two mini Apple pies, two mini Peach, and one large and oh so delicious Strawberry. Have I mentioned I live above a grocery store and that I love it? Because one sprint down the stairs and I soon had all the fruit I needed to make my pies: 4 apples, 4 peaches, and 3 baskets of giant strawberries. Each pie is based off of a recipe I found online. Mini Mansions Tea Room Glazed Strawberry Pie recipe from CDKitchen, minus the glaze, was the inspiration for the Strawberry Pie. Novel Eat's Mini Apple Pie and Pete Bakes!'s Peach Pie provided the fillings for the other pies.

Overall the pies didn't turn out half bad. There are definitely things I would change with the crust, as well as making sure I had enough for a proper lattice for each pie.. but overall, t'was a good Pie day. Even though I woke up sick the next morning and began my week of suffering...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

MOVE Forward

I doubt that I've mentioned publicly, anywhere online, the current situation my family finds itself in. It's something extremely personal to me, the hardships we're facing, and I hate to bring it up in the off chance we'll be pitied or given special treatment beyond reason. My opinion on horrid life events is that it's all just apart of Life. Everything that we experience is what makes us who we are and simply comes with the territory of living. Really and truly living. With a great life comes great challenges. You can decide to skip or avoid some of those challenges, if you want, but just remember your final score is affected.

The biggest issue that my family currently faces is my grandmother's Alzheimer's disease. She was diagnosed about 3-4 years ago when we started to notice her memory slipping. She was also diagnosed with dementia at the same time, which seemed to just make her memory loss a lot more interesting. In the beginning, we all treated her with kid gloves about her disease. Let her believe that she would get better. We believed she would get better. She's not going to get better.

Alzheimer's and dementia are both terminal diseases, the combination of which is even more harsh on the mind and people affected. Imagine that you are slowly and steadily losing your memory and sense of being in the real world. Time no longer has meaning to you, people are no longer recognizable. Now imagine that you're also losing the ability to see the real world. You see things that your brain imagines, dropped into the typical and calm state of your being. People disappear in front of your eyes and your worst fears are realized at a moment's notice. Or, at least what your brain is telling you you're seeing.

Nanny is terrified of being alone. You have to constantly remind her of your presence, otherwise she loses you in the chaos of her memory. There are multiple people flowing in and out of her world, constantly leaving and coming when you are there. And when you're gone, there is no one there to talk to her or take care of her. I am Tiffany, Debbie, the girls, and her granddaughter, all in one. I am one of the lucky family members in that each incarnation of me is loved. I'm also one of the most unlucky, as when one of my incarnations is not with her, she is constantly asking for me. We are each lucky and unlucky when it comes to our interactions with Nanny, and we each try to support each other, to reaffirm that we know that her perspective is not always accurate.

The little things that we do to help ourselves and her are all varied. I want to be there for her, and my grandfather, in every way I can. Physical presence is obviously preferred. I also want to use my various talents to help us all cope a little. I got the hair-brained idea a few weeks ago to craft various items, all incorporating the Alzheimer's Association's logo into their design, and sell them and their patterns on Etsy, or Ravelry. I would like all the proceeds to go to helping purchase me plane tickets, from California to Florida, every month, to help my grandparents transition their lifestyle to something more supportive of their situation. Currently, I can only afford trips every two or three months, which is no where near enough to make an impact. Ideally, I would be able to be there every week, every day, and every hour, but my grandfather refuses to let me put my career on hold like that. I don't want people to just give me this money. I want to earn it. Anything extra that I make I intend to donate to the Alzheimer's Association.

I've already filled several pages of my sketch book with ideas for patterns and projects that I can sell. To kinda ensure myself that this isn't just something I'm going to toss out there, I made a shawl for Nan, kinda just to prove to myself that I can turn out items quickly when I put my mind to it. Overall, the shawl took me about an evening to complete. I managed to bust through two of my stash skeins, so that's also another victory. Hopefully soon I'll be able to post a pic of a completed original design/pattern.

I don't want to turn this blog into an Alzheimer's support forum, that's not it's purpose. I'm also pretty sure I'd go crazy constantly writing up all the depressing things that are happening. I am, however, going to continue to post on the issues we, and all those people effected by this disease, face, as well as information about how I, and others cope in crafty ways.

Monday, March 1, 2010

This is Genius!

Okay, so I'm a bit of an online comic geek. I don't normally blast this out to the general public, but this one is just too good to pass up.

Imagined by five year old Malachai Nicolle and given life by his older brother Ethan Nicolle, Axe Cop brings the insanity of the child's mind to the internet. The saga is based on an adventure that the brothers embarked on during Ethan's recent trip back home, and has grown into an online sensation. After an almost instant-success story, Malachai and Ethan are continuing to produce as many comics as the attention span of a five year old can produce over any extended period of time.

I honestly can't stop cracking up at Axe Cop, Flute Dinosaur and all their other super-heroes' adventures. The thing that I love best about this whole story is that Ethan was just making a fun comic for him and his brother, and now he's a hit. It's been only a month and he's already getting shout-outs from a famous comic artist. Just Google "Axe Cop" and you'll see what I mean.

Here's to hoping they fair well in the limelight.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What an Eye Sore

So I have an eye infection. No, it's not pink eye, it's just an eye infection. It's not a full blown infection, but it's still swollen and unpleasant to look at.  So, I decided to make myself an eye patch. I have some small skeins of Yarn Gang form Loops & Threads, which is a super soft blend of cotton and acrylic, so I thought that'd be perfect on my face. Also, seeing as I have a thing for writing up patterns, here's the pattern.

Eye Sore
Yarn: 1 skein gray Yarn Gang
Gauge: I never really know
Hook: G
Needles: US7

Start out with using the crochet hook and chain until you get a length long enough to be the base for the patch. This will be the tie to the patch, so make sure it fits around your head with enough extra to tie it (I like to tie mine into a bow). Fold this length in half and count 11 stitches to the right.

Switch to knitting.
Pick up 22 stitches from the back of the chain stitches, and work in stocking stitch.
On your knit rows, decrease on both ends.
Work until you're down to 14 stitches, then cast off all the stitches until you have the last one on the needle.
Change back to the crochet hook and chain 15sts, then ss into a parallel stitch on the original chain. Slip stitch into this chain a couple more times for security's sake. Then cut the yarn and attach on the other side of the patch and repeat this on that side.

Hide all your loose ends and there you are! Something to help cover up why you're so miserable.



Ta-da!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shout Out for Another


cancer
Originally uploaded by EmilyLounsbury
My friend Emily is an artist that's just discovered the joys of posting and selling her work online. She's got a real talent for painting and drawing and her focus is something that most people can really get behind. Emily's favorite subject to paint is of course breasts, but not in the way that'd get her in next month's Playboy. Her work looks at painting the woman's body in the way it's meant to be seen, natural and gorgeous just the way it is. She doesn't just stop there, though. She also has several pieces that really speak to both women and men, such as "cancer", that got me impressed enough to write this post.

She's still in the process of setting up her Etsy account (ArtbyEmilycom), but I'd bookmark that link if I were you. If you want to take a look at some of her other work, check out her Flickr account.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Babushka!

My latest swap partner had an adorable Babushka Doll set in her wish list. It didn't look too difficult to recreate, and I've been making a point to try and reproduce items best I can without a pattern. I figure this'll make it easier for me to make my own patterns based on anything in the future. The first one is a little special.. but I think I figured out a general pattern.. and here it is!

They're worked in the standard ami spiral, started with the Magic Ring technique.
Babushka Dolls
Yarn: Vanna's Choice Worsted in different colors for the bonnet and pants, white for the body.
Hook: 3.75 (F)
Gauge: Not really important for this one

Big One:
Start with bonnet color.
Round 1: 6sc into Magic Ring, place round marker in last stitch
R2: 2sc in each
R3: *sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R4: *sc, sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R5-R12: sc around in each stitch.
R13: hdc in back loop of each stitch.
Cut yarn and change to white.
R14 - R15: sc in each stitch
R16: *sc, sc, sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R17-R26: Cut yarn & tie off.

With bottom color,
R1: 6sc into Magic Ring, place round marker in last stitch
R2: 2sc in each
R3: *sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R4: *sc, sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R5: *sc, sc, sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R6-R7: sc in each stitch
Sew bottom two pieces together, stuffing the dolls before finishing them. For extra weight, put poly beads in the bottom.

Attach bonnet color again to bonnet edge with a sc.
ch4, sc into 2nd stitch, sc, ss, sc, ch4, sc into 2nd stitch, sc, ss.
Tie off and admire!

Medium One
Start with bonnet color.
Round 1: 6sc into Magic Ring, place round marker in last stitch
R2: 2sc in each
R3: *sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R4-R9: sc around in each stitch.
R10: hdc in back loop of each stitch.
Cut yarn and change to white.
R11: sc in each stitch
R12: *sc, sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R13-R19: Cut yarn & tie off.

With bottom color,
R1: 6sc into Magic Ring, place round marker in last stitch
R2: 2sc in each
R3: *sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R4: *sc, sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R5: sc in each stitch
Sew bottom two pieces together, stuffing the dolls before finishing them. For extra weight, put poly beads in the bottom.

Attach bonnet color again to bonnet edge with a sc.
ch4, sc into 2nd stitch, sc, ss, sc, ch4, sc into 2nd stitch, sc, ss.
Tie off and enjoy!

Little One
Start with bonnet color.
Round 1: 6sc into Magic Ring, place round marker in last stitch
R2: 2sc in each
R3-R6: sc around in each stitch.
R7: hdc in back loop of each stitch.
Cut yarn and change to white. You'll work the next round on the front loop of the R6.
R8: *sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
R9-R14: Cut yarn & tie off.

With bottom color,
R1: 6sc into Magic Ring, place round marker in last stitch
R2: 2sc in each
R3: *sc, 2sc in each, repeat around from *
Sew bottom two pieces together, stuffing the dolls before finishing them. For extra weight, put poly beads in the bottom.

Attach bonnet color again to bonnet edge with a sc.
ch4, sc into 2nd stitch, sc, ss, sc, ch4, sc into 2nd stitch, sc, ss.
Tie off and grin like a bandit!

Finishing Off
For the faces, cut felt circles to a size you feel best for each and stitch on in the center of the bonnet. Draw whatever expression you'd like on with a fine tip marker. To create the hair, cut a piece of yarn about 10 inches and sew with darning needle on in the style you like. I left one end of the hair poking out to create a tuft effect that I think makes them even more adorable.

For their clothes, I just messed around with different ideas for each. The large one I created a "flower" with a simple ring and some increasing, embroidering the leafs on. The star and fan is also just something I randomly thought of. Feel free to play around with different techniques for this part, this is the part of the pattern that will make these dolls distinctly yours.

When all's said and done, sit back and admire your work.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An Intro, of Sorts

I had to make an "intro" video at work that best presents me. I'm not huge about being on camera.. but Ichi is! So my intro video was clips of her. Here's to hoping it's a hit...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Year, New Swap!

At the end of last year I decided that I wanted to participate in a Magic Yarn Ball swap over on my ever trusty Craftster.org. For those of you not in the know, here's a description of what a MYB is from a swap over on Swap Bot.
"A magic yarn ball is a gift-filled treasure, made for another person. This sweet, simple project comes from the book The Children's Year (Hawthorn Press).

Basically, you wrap cool little treasures up in a ball of yarn, with a few beautiful gifties peeking out at the edges, and give it as a gift. As the recipient crafts with the yarn the treasures fall out one by one, and they discover the fun as they knit or crochet."
After weeks of finding no Magically Amazing Yarn Ball swaps on the listings pages, I decided that I would step up and organize my own. It was to be my first time organizing a swap and I was bound and determined to do it right. I read through all the documentation, checked all my qualifications, surfed the other swap pages and made sure that my idea was going to float. Little did I know that I would be creating the largest and most successful MYB swap Craftster had ever seen...

Just imagine, little ol' me, taking on my first swap as organizer, sitting here figuring out dates and details, thinking that I would have to struggle to get enough swappers. I settled on a 4 week sign up period and a 4 week crafting timeline, opening the flood gates on December 1st, 2009. At first I was practically begging for people to sign up, posting pictures of Ichi left and right to try and coax them in. I'm not sure if that's what really did it or if Magic Yarn Balls are really just that tempting, but I didn't have to worry about getting swappers within a couple of days.

In just a week we had 22 swappers sign up to participate, blowing my original limit of 20 out the window. I had to enlist co-organizer, as per Craftster swap rules, when we reached 24 swappers (a day later). I set a joking limit of 40 swappers after the first week and amazingly enough, I had to impose it with a 10 days remaining in the sign up period. We reached and passed the 40-cap while I was driving from California to Colorado for Christmas. 42 swappers applied, were accepted and placed into my spreadsheet to be sorted and paired. My spreadsheet was a living tome to the swap that I made in Google Docs to help me list everyone and their interests out all in one place. When it came time to assign partners I printed out the sheets and spent an afternoon on the floor in my brother's living room, making matches and petting puppies.

The send out date for the packages was yesterday and in true fashion of this swap, we've already had a handful of people ship and receive early. I actually got my package from my partner Sarah yesterday and spent most the evening unwinding and squealing like a two year old. I've already posted all the gleeful news about my package over in the Swap Gallery, but here are some pictures of all the loot for your general enjoyment.