Bunnies and Elephants (a review)!

A while ago, someone suggested that I follow Lucy Blaire on Instagram. She pretty quickly became one of my favorites, and I was really excited when she came out with her Archer Rabbit pattern...and offered it for free on the first day! I made time in my schedule right away, and it might be my favorite pattern of the year. My first versions were made just in time for Easter, to give to a couple little ones in my life:

Let me start by saying that this pattern is pretty easy, but incredibly satisfying. There's not too many parts, it only takes a fat quarter of fabric, and you can use all those pretty scraps you've got lying around to line the ears. As with all of Lucy's patterns, the placement for the eyes and mouth is very clearly marked on the pattern pieces, so there's no guessing game when you have to place either (my least favorite part of knitting stuffed animals: not telling me what row the eyes go in!). It's also very difficult to mess up; you can see that the ears are a little different on the navy one because I placed them funny, but he still looks pretty cute! I used safety eyes on these guys, and they looked great even though the size was a little big. I liked the pattern so much, as a matter of fact, that I made a little Archer Rabbit army (some of which are still up for sale in the shop)!

I may have gone a little overboard, but they're just so fun and cute! Since I was intending that these be for babies, I changed up the eyes a bit and used little circles of felt that I then embroidered over with black thread on my sewing machine to make them super secure; I think they're still a bit large but overall I'm happy with how they came out.

I got to use some of my favorite fabrics that I only had a bit of, and had a lot of fun deciding on which prints would go with which ear accents; there's a lot of Cotton & Steel in there, as well as some extra Far Far Away and some leftover First Light. I think this guy is my favorite...but my favorite does tend to change depending on the day!

Once I got done with the bunnies, I wanted to tackle something a little more complicated, and my cousin requested some elephants to give at baby showers, so I tried out another of Lucy's patterns, the Flora Elephant.

This pattern is also, not surprisingly, great, although it is a bit more complicated than the bunnies. Flora is bigger, so she takes more fabric, and her arms and legs are made and stuffed separately from the body. Because of that feature, she takes longer to sew up at the end - you have to ladder stitch the back, and each arm and leg separately. The feet gave me some trouble when I started out; the foot bottom is the same contrast lining as the ears, so you have to sew the oval to the main leg, and mine were a mess of wrinkles at first. I'd say it's worth muddling through, though, because they're really adorable! I made two Floras, and the second one turned out much better on the first try.

And these Floras got an extra touch; the baby's name embroidered on the foot!

I highly recommend both these patterns, and there are a bunch more where they came from! Flora came bundled with three other animals; a giraffe (next on the list!), a lion, and a hippo, all of which are incredibly adorable. I also recommend following Lucy over on Instagram; you'll see lots of cute pictures, and get a heads up when the next pattern comes out!

Springtime Wall Hanging

Hello everyone, and happy (almost) spring! I finally finished a quilt! It's a mini quilt, but it still counts, right?

I've been doing a lot of quilt designing since I got EQ7, but only a couple of them have actually made it out into the world as actual quilts, so I've decided to make as many of them as I can into mini quilts, on the theory that more of them will see the light of day. I'm pretty in love with this one, which I'm calling "Spring Fling"; it's been raining for about 300 days straight in Seattle (or it feels like it, anyway!), but things are once again green and a few brave flowers are blooming, including all the cherry trees.

I used Cotton + Steel (and one triangle of Sarah Jane, because Narwhals) in a bunch of different prints, trying to stay within the same shades of pink and green, on a background of Kona Cotton in color Nautical. I know everyone and their mother is obsessed with Cotton + Steel, but there's a reason! The prints are adorable, the colors are gorgeous and steadfast, and the cotton is high quality. I can never decide which prints are my favorites, so I've bought a couple of stash boxes from Pink Castle Fabrics and been really happy with the mix that came...it probably helps that the designers love mustard green, pinks, and blues just as much as I do! Also, there's bunnies on a bunch of their lines, and who can resist bunnies??

Lately I've been really interested in how you can make thousands of patterns with just HST (half square triangles) arranged different ways, so most of my recent quilt designs are playing around with that. I've also been thinking a lot about reflections (must be all those pools of water everywhere...), so this design is sort of a play on that and where we put our negative space.

I also had to upgrade my machine last year (a word of warning to those making rope baskets: make sure your motor can handle it!) and I hadn't actually quilted anything on it, so I took it out for a spin and quilted some tulips as borders.

They're not perfect, but I'm coming to accept that my quilting never will be, and probably never should be. As my husband regularly points out, it's what makes handmade things different; the "mistakes" are sometimes the thing people love about it. Which doesn't mean I'm not going to try...just that I won't take it out more than once. Or twice. Three times, tops! I quilted it with Aurifil thread; a variegated green color on the pink and green triangles and a navy blue on the negative space. I've switched over to Aurifil almost exclusively; it's the only thread I've found that doesn't give me a lint headache while I'm making the rope bowls, and there's no sense in buying one set of thread for those and one set for quilting! I do use 40 weight thread though. I know a lot of quilters who swear by 50 weight, but it's too thin for the bowls, I've found, and doesn't make much of a difference to me when quilting. I think it made a pretty cool pattern on the back though, since I outline quilted the whole thing.

For the binding, I used a bit of quarter inch bias tape I had laying around, which I did by hand. I swear, I really did attempt to machine bind it, but I just never like the way it looks. I realize that I probably never will until I practice, but for now, I like the peace of hand sewing, and it's kind of nice to just take a minute to sit with your quilt, so I'll probably stick with it for the forseeable future!

Spring Fling (along with some new bowl designs) is up in the shop, so if you're looking for a bit of springtime for your wall, now would be the chance! I think I've made the decision to keep just my Amazon shop; I think it's a bit easier, both for me and for you guys, but feel free to send me feedback on that if you have an opinion one way or another - it's always nice to have your input :).

It's Giveaway Time Again!

Update: the giveaway is now closed and the winner is Megan from A Little Bit of My Life, who said

My favorite tradition is putting up our twinkle lights and singing songs!

Thanks to everyone who visited and left me comments; I think this might have been my favorite question yet - I loved reading about everyone's traditions! And don't forget, if your heart was set on a bowl, you're not out of luck! There's a bunch of new listings up in the shop - my interns are helping me get everything left over from the show listed, so head on over to check out what's new!

Calico cat in green rope basket

Hello everyone! I know it's been way, way too long since I posted here, but I'm back! I took a bit of a break to work on stock and booth design for Urban Craft Uprising: I was a first time vendor there last weekend, and we had a great time - a post about our experience and pictures of the booth will be up next week!

For today though, it's time once again for Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! My contribution this time around is a hand dyed rope bowl. It's a fun pink and green color combo that was inspired by some of Michael Miller's holiday fabric lines, particularly Festive Forest by Tamara Kate.

Hand dyed pink and green rope bowl

I like this blend of colors because you can definitely use it as Christmas decor, but you can also get away with having it out the rest of the year! It's about four and a half inches tall, measures five inches at the base, and flares out in a tulip shape to measure nine and a half across the top.

Hand Dyed Pink and green rope bowl

So, how do you win this beauty? Leave me a comment on this post telling me your favorite family holiday tradition (even if it's one you just started this year - that totally counts!). If you are a follower over on Instagram (or become one!), this year you can earn an extra entry by leaving a second comment to tell me that you follow me. A winner will be picked at random on Sunday at 6 PM PST, and you will be notified by email. This giveaway is open to international readers. If you are a no reply blogger, please make sure I have an email address for you! 

Good luck and happy Giveaway Day!



DIY Yarn Swift!

Today I've got another DIY for you - how to make your own yarn swift from things you can pick up at Goodwill! DIY Yarn Swift with green yarn on it

I've needed a swift for a long time, but it never seems to make it to the top of the supply list, so I thought for quite a while about how I could just make one with stuff I had on hand or could pick up used. My first idea was an upside down umbrella, but I couldn't quite figure out how to make the yarn stay where I wanted. My next thought was an expandable wine rack, which is actually what I went to find at Goodwill, but they didn't have one, so I ended up with the coat rack instead, and I think it actually worked better. If you'd like to make one, please read on!

To make this project, you will need:

1 Expandable Coat Rack,

4 Large Pegs (I used these Shaker Pegs that we found at Home Depot, but any pegs that are about 3 inches or longer will work)

1 Lazy Susan (Mine is a 15 inch from Ikea. I wouldn't go any larger than that but smaller would be fine.)

6 screws (The thickness will depend on how thick your shoe rack and Lazy Susan are; you will be screwing two of them into both pieces to hold them together, so you'll want the screws to be long enough to get through both. Mine were about two inches.)

A drill (While this project could be done with just a screwdriver, it would take a lot of arm power and time. I don't recommend it!)

I found my pieces in my own hoard of junk, and Goodwill. You could certainly buy each piece new, but I'm not sure it would save you a significant amount. My swift ended up costing about $14, as I already had a Lazy Susan, the drill, and the screws. I bought a coat rack (that was originally $30 at World Market) for $8 at Goodwill, and the pegs were about $6 new at Home Depot.

So, on to making your swift! Start with your coat rack and pegs.

Expandable shoe rack and four wooden pegs (start of DIY yarn swift)

You're going to be replacing the short peg on each corner with a longer one. Take your drill and make a pilot hole in each peg, like so:

Putting a pilot hole in a wooden peg

Then, take the short pegs off of the corners and replace them with long pegs:

Shoe rack with two pegs replaced with longer ones (part of a DIY yarn swift)

You may be able to reuse the screws that you already took out, but in my case, the short pegs were held on with flat ended screws (rather than the more usual pointed end), so I had to use different ones. Now, see that lone short peg on the very end of the coat rack up there? Go ahead and just turn it around - it might catch the yarn when you're winding. There's no need to cut anything or get fancy with it (unless you want to), so just switch the peg to the back. When you're done, it should look like this on the back:

Back of shoe rack (part of DIY yarn swift)And like this on the front:

Shoe rack with 4 long wooden pegs (part of a DIY yarn swift)

You're halfway there! Now take your coat rack and center it on top of the Lazy Susan; it doesn't have to be exact, so I just eyeballed mine, but you could measure if you'd like.

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

Then clamp it down so there's no sliding around while you're trying to drill.

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

Take your drill and put two more pilot holes on the bottom middle rungs, where the pink arrows are pointing in the above picture. You want to put them as far from the very middle as you can, so that you don't drill into the base. Then drill your screw into each hole; if you find that the pointy end reaches down far enough to touch whatever surface you've got your swift on, it's too long! You want it to go through the coat rack and the Lazy Susan with only a little of the pointy end poking through on the bottom. It should look like this when you're done:

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

And you're finished! The coat rack part of your swift should still contract in and out, so it should be able to accommodate most skeins of yarn. I tried it out with some Hawthorne Fingering from Knit Picks, and it looked great!

DIY yarn swift made from an expandable shoe rack and a lazy susan

I don't have a ball winder either, so I use an old medicine bottle, and to show you how to do it, we made a video! It's my first one, and we accidentally filmed in portrait (not knowing that all editing software turns it into landscape - oops!), but I think it's got some good info and will teach you how to wind yarn, starting from the very beginning; most of you knitting veterans won't need it, but I thought it would be a good brush up, or a place to start for newbies!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti67GCh6iuU[/embed]

I hope this helps at least a few of you, and if you end up making one, I'd love to see it on Instagram or Facebook!

Baskets!

For the last few months, I've been working on what I've been calling "Operation Organized Sewing Room". At all the houses we've lived in so far, I've only had a corner of a room for all my crafting things, and now that I have a whole room, I've had a hard time trying to figure out where to put everything, with storage being an especially big issue. I like to have stuff at least partially visible, because I often don't know what I need until I see it. It basically always looks like fabric just exploded in there, especially the scraps everywhere that I refuse to throw away. I wanted to sort them by color (I've found that works better for me than say, by shape), so I needed a lot of containers, and those containers had to be pretty but functional - this is going to be my studio for the foreseeable future, so I want it to look nice! I tried a few different variations on a basket, but my absolute favorite is rope bowls. MeasuredandSlow_1

I'd seen some pictures around Pinterest and they looked fun, so I grabbed a couple of packages of clothesline and started experimenting...and now I'm hooked! If you've ever made coil bowls out of pottery, it's a very similar build process; you slowly coil the rope, zigzaging with your sewing machine as you go, and then when you feel the base is big enough, you just tip the whole thing up to be parallel with your machine and keep sewing. It's like magic! This is the shape you get with no manipulation at all, just letting the bowl shape how it wants to:

Rope Baskets 9

But you can also vary the tension of the rope as you sew to make more deliberate shapes:

MeasuredandSlow_5

Rope Baskets 3

And, to make cool patterns, you can cover the rope in scraps of fabric:

White Bowl Pink and White Basket

I finish my bowls with embroidery thread to close the ends, but lots of people just go back and forth with the thread to secure it, which looks cute too.

Rope Baskets 8

I use variegated thread on most of mine, because I really like the way it looks, but really any thread works (I'd recommend 40 weight or thicker; anything thinner than that kind of disappears into the rope). I'm having a lot of fun working out how to different shapes, adding handles, and (maybe my favorite thing), making yarn bowls!

tumblr_ntrpsi44e01t6ct2xo1_1280Basket 29

Some of these are already listed in the Etsy shop, and there will be a lot more in my future, so keep checking back for new listings. Happy Friday and have a good weekend, everyone!

241 Tote

A few months ago, my friend Kelly asked me to make her wife Aivanett something for her birthday. She wanted an accessory of some kind, and after looking at some patterns, we settled on the 241 Tote from one of my favorite designers, Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I was really excited to make it; I'd had the pattern for a few months but had been too busy to make one, so this was a perfect excuse - and this pattern did not disappoint! Here's how my version turned out:Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead Kelly picked the main fabric with the cute kitchen stuff (Mix Things Up from Robert Kaufman), and then I matched coordinating colors for the pockets. I took a chance on the red with white polka dots, as I was ordering online (from Hawthorne Threads, my very, very, very favorite online retailer), and I got really lucky that it looked great with the aqua. I had the gray (RJR Cotton Supreme in Gray Stone) in my stash already - it's my preferred neutral, and I thought the bag needed a calmer color/pattern to balance out the two brighter fabrics. I lined the inside with some Letterpress by Michael Miller - yes, I still have this in my stash and yes, I will continue to use it on everything!

Inside of 241 Tote with letterpress by Michael Miller fabric

I opted to do just one front pocket on each side, as I didn't want the zippers to overwhelm the pattern, and I lined each of those pockets with more polka dots:

Showing red and white polka dot fabric lining the pocket of a 241 Tote

I love those pockets - they're just the right size for a phone or some keys, or even a small wallet, and having them on the outside saves you from having to dig around for small stuff. The only significant change I made was to extend the strap to make it crosswise rather than a shoulder strap, which I did by cutting two strap pieces rather than one; one in the gray fabric, which I then cut in half, and one in the aqua fabric. I then sewed a gray piece onto each end of the aqua and continued with the instructions as written, just with a strap twice as long.

Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead

The external pieces are lined with fusible fleece, which I really liked - the bag came out fairly sturdy without being too bulky, and it made the shoulder strap pretty padded and (hopefully) more comfortable.

The pattern itself is, like all of Anna's patterns, very clear and easy to follow, and the size was great for an every day bag. Each piece fit together perfectly, which can sometimes be a problem with patterns that have a lining, and I think it would be fairly easy for a beginner to follow. It took about a day and a half altogether from start to finish, which isn't bad in my experience. I liked it enough that I'm still planning on making one for me, but I think I might enlarge it just a little, as I'm most often carrying a project to work on and might need a little more space.

Aqua and red and white polka dots 241 Tote by Noodlehead

And now, a little shop news! If you haven't visited in a while, I've got some pretty cute yarn bowls in there, along with a few other baskets:

Pink yarn bowl, rope basket

And, both the Kaleidoscope wall hanging

Kaleidescope rainbow quilted wall hanging using apple core EPP

and the Kisses wall hanging

Wall hanging quilt with lips on it, andy warhol inspired

are up for sale! There's a bunch of other new stuff too, so head over to Etsy to check it out, and have a great Thursday!

Sunken Sewing Table DIY!

We've officially been in our new house for seven months now, which means I've had a lot of time to evaluate my sewing space and take notes about how I can improve it. One of the big things I wanted to change was to sink my sewing machine into the desk it sits on, making a big flat surface to work on. I mainly make flat objects on my sewing machine (quilts, rugs, baskets, etc...), and having the machine level with the table really decreases drag, especially when free motioning. So, I did some research and enlisted the help of my very handy husband Kyle, who pretty quickly determined that the desk I had wouldn't work for this project. It was a cheap one from Ikea that was filled with paper, which would then lose it's structural integrity if you put a hole in it. So, we looked around for a solid wood table and finally found one, ironically, in the as-is section at Ikea. It's an Ingo solid pine dining room table that looks like this (I forgot to get a picture of ours before we cut into it - I was too excited!): Ikea Ingo Table

If you decide to do this, don't get one of the extendable tables - you will be cutting a hole in there and putting a shelf in, and extendable tables have hardware under them that make that really difficult - solid wood is where it's at!

We followed this tutorial pretty closely for ours; as I have little to no experience with power tools and a rep for being kind of a klutz, Kyle did most of the work and all the heavy lifting, but if you're handy, this is easily a project you could do on your own. The first step was to trace my machine and cut a hole with a jigsaw.

Table with hole cut into it for sewing machine

Since it was pretty rough after that, the sides of the hole needed to be sanded, which we just did by hand; I'm told that this step would have been significantly easier with a power sander, but our way worked just fine, and it meant I got to help with at least one part!

Girl sanding table with hole in it

Then came time to make the attachment that the shelf would be suspended from, so Kyle cut down a furring strip into two lengths.

Man cutting furring strips with electric saw

He drilled four pockets and inserted bolts into them, then attached them to the bottom of the table (the bolts are what the shelf will hang off of). He used a lot of screws to fasten it, since it'll be holding up a pretty heavy machine and it would be very, very bad if fell off.

Bottom of sunken sewing table

Then it was time for the shelf, which he cut out of a piece of plywood, drilled a hole in each corner, and slid onto the bolts. The shelf is held on with hex nuts, which is great because the shelf can be adjusted (I have two machines, one for straight stitch and one for everything else, so this way I can switch them out if I need to). Kyle tightened them up with a wrench to make the machine flush with the table (you may need a buddy to help you judge this).

Bottom of sunken sewing desk being tightened with wrench

The very last step was to put cap nuts on the ends of the bolt so I don't hurt myself when I put my legs under it, and then we were done! This project, including the table, cost about $60 to make, and is so amazing! It's so much easier to sew things, and the wood looks really nice in my studio (ignore that ugly floor - that's the next problem to solve!).

Sunken sewing table

To give you an idea of exactly how flat a surface it makes, here's a current work in progress...there's no bump in the middle!

Sunken sewing table with gray and teal project on it

If you've been thinking of updating your sewing space, I would highly recommend giving this a try (especially if you like free motioning); it's seriously making my life so much easier and now that it's done, I can turn to my attention to my next studio improvements, so stay tuned!

Kaleidoscope Wall Hanging - Apple-a-Day Blog Hop and Giveaway!

I'm sure a lot of you know that Diane of CraftyPod has written a new book (in fact, you may have found me through Diane, so hi!); it's called All Points Patchwork and it's an amazing resource for those of us that love, or want to love, paper piecing. Seriously, there are so many tips and tricks in this book - I wish I'd had it when I first started paper piecing, because I think it would have saved me a lot of heartache. She goes over a bunch of different methods, the tools that you need (or want) and there's a how-to for each shape that's in the book (she goes over all the big ones, and some ones I hadn't come across before). There's a bunch of really cute smallish projects, too! It's great for beginners, and for more advanced paper piecers who want to refine or pick up new techniques. All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

A little while ago Diane asked if anyone would be willing to join a blog hop to show some of the techniques covered in the book, and of course I signed on right away! She's organized the hop into several different categories (you can find all the others over at her website), and I picked the Apple-a-Day week to join; we're all using some design featuring paper pieced apple cores. So, since today is my day...meet my Kaleidoscope wall hanging!

Kaleidoscope wall hanging using paper pieced apple cores

I've been wanting to sew with apple cores since the beginning of my quilting obsession - in fact, I tried to use an apple cores in my very first quilt top. I quickly realized that I was in over my head (I couldn't even sew a straight line, let alone curves!), so I abandoned it in favor of a more beginner friendly pattern, but I've always had it in the back of my mind as a "someday" project. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it again, and of course paper piecing is one of my favorites!

Kaleidoscope wall hanging using paper pieced apple cores

Once I knew what my shape would be, I just started playing around in EQ7, and this is what slowly grew (I'm often asked about my design process, and there it is..."I just started playing around" is basically how all my designs start!). Having learned from the Hexie quilt that paper piecing takes a lot more time than you think it will, I tried to keep my project on the small size at about 30" X 30", though true to form, once I got started, I was pretty tempted to make it bigger for a lap quilt! I used 3 inch cores, and that size worked really well to use up some of my ever-growing pile of scraps, including some fussy cuts.

Close up of kaleidoscope wall hanging using paper pieced apple cores

I tried several different designs for the actual quilting of the piece, and finally decided to practice my free motion skills by trying out some feathers. The results are by no means perfect, but I've finally gotten to the point where my stitches are even and I don't have eyelashes all over the place, so I'm pretty happy with it! The backing is just a piece of navy Kona cotton that shows the stitches beautifully.

Free motion feather quilting in variegated thread on navy fabric

It's a little difficult to tell, but I used a variegated thread from Sulky in pinks, blues, greens, and yellows. I love the colors and it was relatively easy to quilt with, but this thread does have a tendency to fray, so that can be frustrating when you have a bunch of ends to weave in. And to finish, I used up leftover scraps from some of my favorite prints for a scrappy, colorful binding.

Close up of scrappy quilt binding

Once I finished and put it up in the living room, it was pointed out to me that it perfectly matched the cranes from our wedding that hang in our living room, so I clearly have a pattern here, but they look really good together and I think it'll stay in our house for a while!

Kaleidoscope wall hanging using paper pieced apple cores, hanging with colorful paper cranes

And now, here's the best part...Clover had generously agreed to offer a pretty cool giveaway to go along with the blog hop! This week, you can win a pair of patchwork scissors by entering at the Rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, because I know you want to see all the other amazing posts in our hop, check back below every day this week to see each project!

Thanks for hopping along with me and I hope you all have a great week!

The Cloud Blankie

Hello hello lovelies! I hope everyone is enjoying your summer weather (or winter weather, for my friends in the southern hemisphere!); it's been very warm here in Seattle, but we're finally have a little break today, and it reminded me that I hadn't posted about my latest blanket. I'm calling it "The Cloud Blanket" because I think the stitch looks kind of like a cloud, and its made with a super soft and cushy yarn in sky colors...or at least the skies here in the Pacific Northwest! Tunisian shell stitch crochet baby blanket, made with Cascade Yarns Cherub Chunky in blue, gray, cream

This blanket started out as an experiment; I saw the Tunisian Shell Stitch Shawl and was intrigued by how complicated and pretty it looked, so I looked it up (this post is an excellent tutorial) and started practicing. I really hadn't been intending to make a project, just play around with the stitch and see how it worked, but...well, I think we all know how that goes! I absolutely loved how it started looking, and a design slowly started taking shape in my head, so I went with it. Once I got going, I decided it would be a baby blanket for a special little guy who was due in a couple of months - I still hadn't decided on a baby shower present, and it seemed perfect.

Tunisian shell stitch crochet baby blanket, made with Cascade Yarns Cherub Chunky in blue, gray, cream

I used Cascade Yarns Cherub Chunky because it's what I had on hand, and I ended up sticking with it, because it's just so darn cushy. It's a newer yarn from them, a chunkier version of their cherub line (also check out the Cherub Aran, Cherub Baby, and Cherub DK...I love them all), which I appreciate because I've been doubling Cherub Aran to make thicker stuff, like the Transenna Blanket. As I've said before, this is my favorite acrylic yarn - it's incredibly soft, washes well, and is very affordable. I've made everything from sweaters to blankets to slippers from this yarn (in all different weights) and have been pleased every time. This blanket is made in Ecru, Grey, and Baby Blue.

Tunisian shell stitch crochet baby blanket, made with Cascade Yarns Cherub Chunky in blue, gray, cream

I didn't really swatch, so I just cast on however many stitches I thought looked right, and of course it ended up much larger than I had been intending, at 45" X 50". By the time I realized that it was going to be way too big, I was too far along and decided to just soldier on, figuring that it would make a good floor blankie for tummy time, and that eventually he'd grow into it! I'm writing up the pattern for this one, but making it smaller will be a major tweak in the final write up...unless there's demand out there for a huge baby blanket pattern?? Let me know in the comments! I'd like to start a list of possible pattern testers as well, so please also let me know if you'd like to be included!

When it was all done, I thought it needed a finishing touch, so I added some edging in the cream color (and had just the right amount of yarn left to do it!). I'm not exactly sure what this edging stitch is called, or where I learned it, but I think it was the right choice here.

Edging on tunisian shell stitch crochet baby blanket, made with Cascade Yarns Cherub Chunky in blue, gray, cream

I really love how this one turned out, but more importantly, I got the best reaction from new mama-to-be Aliya when she opened it! This is the face you hope everyone makes when you give them a handmade gift :).

Woman opening tunisian shell stitch crochet baby blanket, made with Cascade Yarns Cherub Chunky in blue, gray, cream

Happy friday and have a fantastic weekend everyone!

A Lavender Mermaid!

Okay, I know it may seem like I make only Lalylala dolls now - I am working on other things, but a lot of them are top secret projects that I can't talk about yet. All will be revealed in time, but for today...yes, I made another one! This time I decided to try Mici the Mermaid, and she's probably my favorite so far.Purple Lalylala Mici the Mermaid holding buttercups We have about a million buttercups in our yard right now (which I love), so I thought I'd use some as props, and I love how these pictures turned out. Purple Lalylala Mici the Mermaid holding buttercups

Mici is made of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in colors Cloud and Haze Heather (with a little scrap ball of dark purple for her girdle), and size 2.75mm hook. I also used a gold metallic thread mixed in for the tail and hair; it was really difficult to get a good picture of it, but you can see it a bit in the photo above. A tip on the thread if you decide to do this: make sure you buy a bunch of spools! The yardage did not last as long as I thought it would, and I kept having to go buy more. I think I ended up using about 6 spools of this DMC thread.Purple Lalylala Mici the Mermaid in bunch of white peoniesI like using wool to make these toys, because it's kind of sticky and sets up well when you stuff them, but the downside is that you can't just throw it in the washing machine. I usually recommend that toys be hand washed anyway, to keep the stuffing where it should be, but it's nice to have the option if you're in a hurry. Still, the colors that Wool of the Andes is available in are hard to pass up, and it's nice to work with.

The body and tail were pretty easy on this one, but the hair was incredibly time consuming! Each little swirl is individually crocheted and then hand sewn onto the head...not quick process. This is her after the first row, about the time I realized this was going to take me a lot longer than I thought!Purple Lalylala Mici the Mermaid in process of getting hair

Yeah. It was a lot of work. But when she was all done...man was I in love!Purple Lalylala Mici the Mermaid sitting in a tree

I've seen from some other people that they made their Micis a little bikini top to wear, and I also toyed with sewing or knitting one, but nothing I designed looked quite right, and in the end I just left her the way she was. I think it works! If you like my Mici (or want one in another color!, she's available to purchase in the Etsy Shop, or you can get the pattern to make your own over at the Lalylala website!

Purple Lalylala Mici the Mermaid laying on bricks

Have a great weekend everyone!