Crochet Ice Skate Ornaments

As mentioned in my previous post, I gave Christmas gifts to my department this year, and these handmade ornaments were the easy part. My grandmother made a few for each of her children many years ago, and I snagged one from my parents house and did my best to duplicate what she did.

Tools:
2 jumbo paper clips
2 colors of contrasting yarn
F hook

Instructions:

Row 1: Starting with whatever color you’ve chosen as the main skate color, make 10 sc in the top of the paper clip (I found that 8 sc in the bigger section and 2 sc at the end worked best for me).
Row 2: Don’t make a chain here! Skip the first sc, sc in the next st, hdc in the following st, and then dc to the end of the row (you will have a total of 1 sc, 1 hdc, and 7 dc).
Row 3: Ch 2 (counts as first dc), dc to end.
Rows 4-6: Repeat row 3.
Fasten off, then repeat for the second skate.

For the yarn with which you will hang them, I cut 2 lengths of yarn a little more than  twice as long as I wanted them to hang. Take one, fold it in half, and thread the loop through a corner of the skate (either will do, as long as you do the same corner for both skates). Then, take the length and pull it through the loop you just made to attach it. Repeat for both skates, then tie the loose ends together.

With the contrasting color, weave the laces – I cut off 10-12 inches to do this (I learned my lesson quickly; tying knots with tiny bits of yarn is super difficult). It’s difficult to explain this process in words, so hopefully the photos below will help illustrate. (It isn’t unlike lacing a regular shoe…if you didn’t have lace holes, at least.)

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I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out! It’s a pretty easy and quick project, so it’s great for group gifts, like these.

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Santa Hat Pattern

My sister-in-law asked me if I could create a Santa inspired hat (initially for New York SantaCon). She texted me a photo for inspiration, and I came up with this:

Sorry everyone, I’m not single.

I even remembered to write down the pattern!

Hat

Create a magic ring.
Round 1: Chain 3 (counts as first dc here and throughout; the first dc in each round should be a ch3!), 9 dc (10 dc)
Round 2: 2 dc in each dc (20 dc)
Round 3: *2dc in first dc, 1 dc in next dc* repeat from * to * until end (30 dc)
Round 4: *2 dc in first dc, 1 dc each in next 2 dc* repeat from * to * until end (40 dc)
Round 5: *2 dc in first dc, 1 dc each in next 3 dc* repeat from * to * until end (50 dc)
Rounds 6-12: 1 dc in each dc (50 dc)

Do not bind off after round 12!

Earflaps

Row 1: Turn, ch3 (does not count as first dc, here and throughout earflap), dc 7, turn
Row 2: ch3, dc 7, turn
Row 3: ch3, dc2tog, dc3, dc2tog, turn
Row 4: ch3, dc2tog, dc1, dc2tog, turn
Row 5: 
ch3, dc3, bind off

Count 20. join at 21st and repeat earflap pattern. (I would do row 1 of the second earflap, and then make sure it lines up to your own ears. This is what worked for me!)

Belt

**For this, I just worked the first row of sc in the 10th row of the hat. Since you’re working sc over dc (worked in the round, no less, so I had to mess around with stitch placement to get them to line up), I wouldn’t suggest this method. I mean, it looks fine, but it’ll be much easier to sc a black strip, and just whipstitch or sew it to attach. So, I will give the instructions for a black band.

Chain 51, turn
Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc to end, ch1, turn (50sc)
Row 2: sc in each sc, ch1, turn (50sc)
Repeat row 2 three more times. Attach around hat (mine wound up spanning rows 8-10 of the hat)

Buckle

All you have to do here is surface slip stitch in a vaguely squareish/rectangular shape. Just make sure the top and bottom parts of the buckle are on the red part of the hat, and that the buckle is centered in the front of your head. My buckle was 5 stitches on the top and bottom, and 6 stitches on each side.

Here is a video on how to surface slip stitch: slip stitch surface: http://youtu.be/EJ8FI5PJfvk

Edging

With a fur yarn (I don’t know of any other than Lion Brand Fun Fur), sc all round the hat.

Pom Pom

I used the wrap method, and used width of DVD case and wrapped ~60-70 times. This turned out WAY TOO BIG and lead to 45 minutes of trimming and 15 minutes of vacuuming all the bits. I attached it  just by tying a knot on inside of hat.

This project on Ravelry

Glazed Coconut Bread

When we got engaged I registered for (and received at my bridal shower last March) a bread machine. I thought this would be the best idea ever because they’re kind of like crock pots; you can just throw everything in there and let the machine do the work. I picked a recipe out of the booklet that came with the machine for coconut bread, because I had nearly a full bag from a failed Easter bunny carrot cake that didn’t go quite as planned.

Well, true to form with everything I touch, that bread machine is broken or something. I’ve only used it once and one of the two mixers doesn’t move, so at the last minute (which, naturally, is when I realized it wasn’t working) I tried sort-of-mixing it with a rubber spatula. The whole bread wound up being a disaster and we threw it out (this could possibly be because I killed the yeast, but I’m blaming the machine until I get a working one).

Fast forward to about a month ago, we had 2 events to go to where I volunteered to bring dessert. Around this time I also came across glazed coconut bread recipe on Pinterest and thought it would be a great opportunity to use up more of the shredded coconut.

Note: this recipe makes TWO loaves; if you only want one don’t forget to halve everything!

Glazed Coconut Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract – I thought this would be difficult to find, but Shop Rite actually had it
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup buttermilk – I substituted the buttermilk with milk and white vinegar

Coconut Glaze

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease or spray 2 bread loaf pans.
  2. In mixing bowl beat eggs until fluffy.  Add the sugar, oil, and coconut extract and beat 3 more minutes.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder,  and salt and add to mixing bowl.  Mix until combined.  Add coconut and buttermilk.  Pour batter into loaf pans and bake for approximately 45 minutes.
  4. Remove pans from oven and set on wire rack.
  5. Immediately mix the glaze by combining sugar, water and butter in small sauce pan.  Allow mixture to boil for 1 minute and then add in coconut extract.  Slowly pour the glaze over the hot bread (in the pan).  Allow the glaze to seep in the bread and down the sides of the pan.Be careful with this part – it’s still so hot at this point it bubbles everywhere, so do it slowly so it doesn’t overflow!
  6. When cool enough to handle, remove the bread from the pan (yes, it’s a little sticky) and allow to finish cooling on the wire rack.  Slice, serve, and savor each bite!

This time, the coconut bread was great! It was like eating Malibu. It’s a little on the sweet side, so I only ate small pieces because I don’t usually like overly sweet things, but this was perfect in small doses.


Now I’m inspired to do something about that bread machine!

New Year New Knit Update #1

As I had previously stated, I took my own advice and started knitting a scarf last month. I picked a yarn that I knew I had a lot of and decided on a simple knit 3, purl 2 pattern for a ribbed look.

I actually stuck with it! I made it a point to do a little each day, and I have knit and purl stitches down pat. The tension issues I’ve had in the past wasn’t something I had to consider after a while, especially with tips from a knitter at my workplace’s yarn club (I highly suggest finding other yarncrafters at work…it’s awesome).

However, after knitting about a foot of this scarf, I have becoming disenchanted with it. It’s boring, and I’ll never wear a pink and purple scarf, and I have much grander plans for this yarn. The point of this project was to understand the basic stitches (knit and purl), and I absolutely do, so I’m going to think of this project more as a giant swatch of learning than a frogged scarf. I have much bigger, and far too ambitious plans for knitting that will be (hopefully) coming soon!

RIP Ribbed Scarf, 2012-2012

Christmas Gifts 2011

In Order:
Cat Toys
Amigurumi Snowman
Baby Picture Bookmarks
Cross Stitch Votive Holder
Sweater Sleeve Bottle Cover
Infused Olive Oil
Gift Card Holders

Not Pictured
Baby Sherlock Hat
Baby Booties
Ritz Carlton Brown Sugar Scrub

I don’t have enough photos or time to properly describe each project, but if you have any questions leave a comment and I’d be happy to explain anything!

New Year, New Knit

For someone who doesn’t knit, I sure do have a lot of knitting needles (at least seven pairs). Problem is, I’m an awful knitter and have grown to resent it, as I may have mentioned before. But I see so many neat knitting patterns, I’ve decided to push myself and give it another try. It’s a new year, and I’ll be a new knitter.

My biggest problem in the past with knitting has been tension. I make stitches so tight that I can’t get the needle through to pick up the next stitch…I broke an acrylic needle from all the pressure I was putting on it. This is something I’m going to have to consciously think about for my first few projects (I’m going to hope it won’t have to be a conscious thought forever). I’m also hoping this will improve my patience level, because my other big problem with knitting is that I can’t knit as fast as I can crochet. Which, you know, makes sense, since I learned to crochet when I was about 12 from my grandmother, and tried to teach myself knitting three years ago using a book and YouTube (and have only attempted 2 projects total…if you needed insight as to how low my patience level really is).

I took my own advice for beginning crocheters and settled on knitting a scarf as my first project. I’ll post an update when I’ve completed it (or if I run into a massive problem). Here’s to hoping that’s not the case!

December CAL Square & The Finished Afghan!

Ah, the culmination of a year of work. I’ve been excited to finally get to this point, because the last afghan I put together was three or four years ago, so this was almost a challenge to myself as to if I could actually finish it. AND FINISH IT I DID!

First, the December square:

I want to say this was my favorite square, but I have a terrible memory so that’s not something I can be held to. I think I just really like the bullion stitch. I also like that on (what looks like) round 8, I used three different shade of blue. This project was a stashbuster for me where I was just trying to use up as many blue shades as I could find in the seemingly infinite amount of yarn I have, so I didn’t have enough of any of those colors to make an entire round. Although I may have mis-estimated, as I still have a bit of each color left.

As for deciding how to arrange the blocks, I just winged it. I was eyeballing how much of any certain shade of blue I used on some of the squares because I didn’t want one shade monopolizing the entire afghan (I have an absurd amount of light blue, so that could have happened pretty easily). By October I started trying to decide which squares should go next to eachother, so by December I was prepared to have a diversely blue afghan.

When I finalized the layout, I had to figure out how to put them together…this was actually a difficult decision for me. I used white as my anchor color, and decided in January to use that color to attach the squares to one another and to use white as the border. Since it was also the only color in each square, I wanted the stitch to be visible. I toyed with the idea of single crochet with the wrong sides together (so there’d be a visible ridge), but it’s not symmetrical and I knew that would bother me. In the end, I went with a stitch I rediscovered by accident (as in, I originally discovered by accident) – backwards single crochet. It’s just single crochet working from left to right, but it creates a cool spiral-ish rope effect that had all the qualities of the joining stitch I was looking for.

I had a difficult time with the border, because I don’t like fluffy frilly things and I felt like everything I tried looked fluffy or frilly. Or terrible. In the end I went with a regular shell stitch – I thought it would look too grandmother-ish but it turns out it just looks like a subtle wave.

The finished product. It looks small because it’s laid out on a queen size bed, but it was meant to be a lap blanket anyway. I’m pretty happy with it considering I went about making it with no direction or plan. I would totally do it again in 2012, but if I do I’ll be starting a bit late because there is just too much going on my life right now, but we shall see!

Wonder Woman Earwarmers

My sister, for some inexplicable reason, loves Wonder Woman. I think she even tried to defend that awful television show for a few days. So during my Crafty Christmas 2011 Brainstorming Session, I thought earwarmers that resembled Wonder Woman’s headpiece.

This project required quite a bit of brainstorming on it’s own – I approached the design from every angle. Work it lengthwise or widthwise? Should I try to put that point thing at the top? What about the star? In the end, I worked back and forth for the width of headband (it made decreasing the width behind the head much easier). I didn’t include the pointed part of Wonder Woman’s headpiece, because the earwarmers are so wide on their own it just would have looked silly. I used alternating double crochets and single crochets; it’s a different texture, and I think it’s a bit denser than one stitch or the other on its own, and the whole point of this thing is to keep ones ears warm!

Instead of chaining 15 and then making 14sc, I used the “no foundation chain” tutorial (found here). I love using this method because it eliminates the tension on the foundation row, and it can easily be adapted for any stitch for the first row of any project. Of course, you can always ch15 and make 14sc if you prefer that.

Row 1: 14sc (or any even amount)
Rows 2-45: ch2, *dc in next st, sc in next st* repeat from * to * until the end of the row (7dc, 7sc)
Row 46: dc2tog, *sc in next st, dc in next st* repeat from * to * until the last 2 stitches, sc2tog
Row 47: work even, like in rows 2-45
Row 48: work row 46 – 10st
Row 49: work even
Row 50: work row 46 – 8st
Rows 51-61: work even
Row 62: dc and sc in first st, *dc in next st, sc in next st* repeat * to * until last stitch, dc and sc in last st (10 st)
Row 63: work even
Row 64: dc and sc in first st, *dc in next st, sc in next st* repeat * to * until last stitch, dc and sc in last st (12 st)
Row 65: work even
Row 66: dc and sc in first st, *dc in next st, sc in next st* repeat * to * until last stitch, dc and sc in last st (14 st)
Row 67: work even
Fasten off, leaving a long tail. Use this tail to sew your last row to the first row.

Star:
Round 1: Make a ring, ch 3 (acts as first dc), 14 dc in ring, join.
Round 2: *Ch6, sc in 2nd ch from hook, hdc in next 2 ch, dc in next 2 ch. Sl st in next 3 dc of round 1* repeat from * to * until the end, join.
Round 3: *hdc in st before chain from round 2, sl st in 3rd ch from round 2, ch4, sl st in middle sl st from round 2* work from * to * until the end, join. Fasten off, leaving a long tail with which to attach to the earwarmers.

I know full well this might be one of the most ridiculous patterns for a star ever, but it worked for me and the yarn I was using (which was rather bulky, if that helps).

This project on Ravelry
Ravel it!

What I’ve Been Up To

It seems I’ve been getting a bit lazy with blogging. This is something I’m going to try to remedy, because I actually do enjoy it. (I have a plan that will force me to blog more regularly in 2012, WATCH OUT NOW.) So, what have I been up to in the past few weeks? I have definitely been crocheting…

me with beard hat, and then actual-beardMy friend turned 30 at the beginning of November, and I knew he would appreciate a beard hat. I was totally right, he really liked it! At least, he faked liking it well enough to fool me. (This project on Ravelry).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I PROMISE I’ve been working on my crochet-a-long afghan squares! Admittedly, I did October’s square in November, but hey, I did it. I started putting the squares together as well – it’s exciting to see something you’ve been working on for a year come together into something that is actually useful. (October square on Ravelry) (November square on Ravelry)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
In other news, my father announced we would not be putting up Christmas decorations this year, as we’re mourning the death of a family member who passed away at the beginning of the month. It feels wrong to be so celebratory. But, that person was also the person who first taught me to crochet, so I decided it was entirely appropriate to crochet a Christmas three instead. I made one for my then-brand-new cubicle in 2007, and found the same pattern and just made another one. This project on Ravelry
 

 

 
And lastly, I’ve been making Christmas gifts for people LIKE A MACHINE. This includes crochet, general paper crafts, and what is about to be my first adventure in Mod Podge-ing. Since they’re gifts, I don’t want to post anything yet, but that just means there will be an INSANE post-Christmas post after the holidays.

Ravelry CAL Afghan – September

September’s CAL square was Sunshine Jewel Granny Square, found on the Internet archives.

What I really love about this square is how different each square looks, depending on the colors and on which rounds you change the colors. I have to admit, the way I decide which colors I’m going to use for my square each month is hugely dependent on other group members’ photos of their own squares. Doing an entire square in a single color vs. using four colors can make all the difference in the world. In the case of the Sunshine Jewel (sounds like it should be a Cam Jansen book title), I don’t think I’ve seen a bad combination or order of colors yet – even any solid color blocks look impressive.

This project on Ravelry