Saturday, December 10, 2011

Etsy Shop is Open!

I am very excited to announce that I have officially opened an Etsy Shop! Right now I only have one item listed, but it is still very exciting. Since I am in a full time MS OT program, I haven't had a lot of time to crochet (or update here), but with winter break coming up I plan to remedy that shortly.

After watching a nail biting mid season finale of The Walking Dead a few weeks ago, I had been itching to crochet a zombie sophia. So one day after class last week, I whipped out my hooks and set out to do just that! Here is the first item in my Etsy shop: Zombie Sophia

Monday, October 3, 2011

A song of Ice and Fire - Game of Thrones

      Those who know me are used to the fact that when I get into something, I become completely absorbed. My current obsession is the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. In this series, Martin yarns a tale about those who would sit upon the iron throne of Westeros; a large kingdom reminiscent of Medieval Eurasia.

     Though the books are technically in the fantasy genre, the stories are not about magic. They are more about the character's struggles and the politics of love, war and power. There are mythical creatures in these books, but they are not the center of the story. They are there to add to something that is already intriguing and enthralling on its own. 

             Those who have not read the books may already be familiar with some of the characters. The HBO series Game of Thrones is based on the series and the first season is the first book, also entitled Game of Thrones. As Martin is  one of the co-executive producers, the series holds true to the stories. The actors in this series are fantastic, and the cinematography is phenomenal. As they have in the past with shows like Deadwood, HBO is able to deliver a show that is both fantastical an grounded by realism. Each character is fully developed with both endearments and flaws. 

     After watching the series and reading the books, there are a few characters who really stand out for me. One of them is Daenerys Targaryen. Daenerys is the exiled princess of Westeros. After being smuggled out of Westeros with her brother Viserys during the uprising that left her an orphan, she has been living in the Free Cities beyond the narrow sea. Daenerys is a character who we see grow from a shy and scared child at the beginning of the first book to a powerful queen who is determined to take back what she sees as rightfully her's.
     Here is my amigurumi of Daenerys Targaryen. I don't have a pattern for this one yet, because I made it up as I went along. I didn't notice any patterns on Ravelry either, but I'm sure there will be as more people discover the show and the books. 


Thursday, August 18, 2011

1 Up Pillow Pattern

I am finally done with the 1 Up Pillow! After seeing this blanket on a different blog, I decided that I wanted to try my own Nintendo project. Now my pillow is not nearly as epic as the blanket, but I am still very proud of it.

Making this pillow is a lot easier than it looks. The entire pillow is done using a single crochet stitch and following a graph of the picture. Older Nintendo games translate really well to graph paper, because the graphics were made with very few pixels. Single crochet stitches are very square and sit right on top of each other so each pixel is a stitch. 

Here is the graph that I made for this pillow: It is 33 rows tall with 31 stitches in each row.

Using a 5.5mm hook with worsted weight acrylic yarn, my pillow came out to be 22X15 inches. 

Gauge isn't really important to this project, as long as you use a hook size that goes well with the yarn you are using. If you would like to make a pillow that is a different size or more square than rectangular, then you can figure out the number of rows and stitches you need by figuring out the gauge of a test swatch. 

Since the pillow can have more rows or stitches than the graph, there is an easy way to figure out where in your project you should start following the graph. 

Once you know how many rows high you would like your pillow (mine is 63), take that number and subtract the number of rows in the graph. Then take that number and divide by two. This number will tell you how many rows are before and after the graph. 

63 pillow rows - 33 graph rows = 30 rows/2 = 15 rows above and below the graph 

The same is done for the stitches:

81 pillow stitches - 31 graph stitches = 50 stitches/2 = 25 stitches before and after the graph

Now that you have your numbers written down, the rest is easy.

To change the colors, you will work the last single crochet of the first color until 2 loops remain on the hook. Then you will yarn over with the second color and draw it through the loop. Carry the unused color behind your design so that you can pick it up when you are switching back to it. Don't worry that the back of the project looks a little messy.

Once your pillow is finished, this will be hidden inside the pillow. Here is a video that I found helpful in explaining how to do this. 

The following pattern is written using my numbers, but you can customize it to your own needs. Just remember that when making your foundation chain, it needs to be your desired number of stitches (81 for me) plus 1 stitch. 


With blue, chain 82. 

Row 1: sc in the second ch from the hook working into the back bump of the chain, sc in each ch across. Turn (81 st)

Rows 2 - 15: Ch 1, sc in each st across (81 st)

Row 16: Ch 1, sc in the first 25 stitches, put a stitch marker into the 25th st. sc in the next 32 stitches place a stitch marker in the 32nd stitch. (the 31 stitches in between the stitch markers are the first row of the graph). Continue to sc in the rest of the  st until you reach the end of the row (81 st)

Rows 17 - 48: Ch1, sc in each ch across following the graph for color changes (remember that the graph starts and ends in between the stitch markers that you left in the previous row)

Rows 49 - 63:  Ch 1, sc in each st across (81 st), fasten off

Back: Using brown ch 82

Row 1: sc in the second ch from the hook working into the back bump of the chain, sc in each ch across. Turn (81 st)

Rows 2 - 63: Ch 1, sc in each st across (81 st) do not fasten off 

Now place the brown side against the back of the blue side so that the picture is facing out. 

Single crochet through both the blue and brown halves in order to attach (side 1). When you get to the end of the row, chain 1 and crochet down the side of the pillow passing through both the brown and the blue halves (side 2). When you get to the end, chain 1 and sc again across the row passing through both the brown and blue halves (side 3). 

Now that three of the sides are attached, begin to stuff your pillow. Chain 1 and single crochet along the last side to close the pillow. finish stuffing while you work (side 4).

When you reach the end, your pillow should be completely closed. To ensure that your pillow will not come apart, sl st into the first 5 st of side 1. 

Fasten off, leaving a tail. 

Weave the tail into the brown side of your work and hide the end inside the pillow. 


As this is the first pattern I have ever written, I would love any feedback that you might offer. If you find any errors, please let me know and I will make corrections. 

Also, it is fine to use this pattern to make projects for both sale and personal use. 

Please do not sell this pattern as your own. If you would like to share this pattern with a friend, feel free to send them a link to this blog post. 

Hand Dyed Wool Yarn

I recently went to a yarn dyeing class at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City. If you have never been there before, I strongly suggest you check it out. They have all sorts of events (many of which are free) as well as computers to print out patterns, and a beautiful yarn selection.
Before the class we all had to pick out several skeins of yarn of an animal fiber. Though you can dye any kind of fabric, the class was geared towards wool. I chose two skeins of pure wool, and one of their organic wool.
To dye the yarn, we soaked the yarn first in a solution of warm water and citric acid for 20 to 30 minutes.
After using Jacquard Acid Dyes in squirt bottles to dye the yarn, we sealed each skein in a plastic bag and cooked it in a slow cooker.
Out of my three skeins of yarn, I think the purple one is my favorite.

The middle skein is the organic wool, and the other two are pure wool.

Necrochet by Nicrochet

The Zombie Duo is complete!
What other characters would you like to see turned into Zombies? I think next might have to be a Bride Zombie.

Cop Zombie

UPDATE (Nov, 2011): I am still trying to work out the details in the cop zombie pattern. Here is cop zombie 2.0. It looks less like Chief Wiggum, but still not perfect. Once It's perfected, I'll be sure to post the pattern online. This will probably be during January or summer, as school is pretty demanding of all of my time right now. 

Business Casual Zombie

Cop Zombie 2.0

Summer = WIP to the max

When the semester finished I decided to get started on several projects that I had been thinking about all through finals.
The first WIP is a pillow inspired by a Mario blanket that I found on the blog Gege Crochet.  I love this blanket! My pillow isn’t nearly as epic as this blanket, but it’s a start. First of all, The blanket uses Tunisian crochet, and I am using tapestry crochet. Tapestry crochet is much simpler. It uses a single crochet stitch and you carry the colors that you are not using along the back. I am about halfway done with it, however I underestimated the amount of blue yarn I would need. As a result, this project is on hold. Once I pick up some more blue yarn, I will finish it and post some completed pictures. Also, I plan on learning Tunisian crochet so that I can attempt something as amazing as the Mario blanket.
Here is a preview of the pillow:
The other Project that I am working on is a  Zombie Duo for a friend from my undergrad. I am completely done with one of them, and about 75% done with zombie number two.
For this zombie I decided to do something different with the legs and created a monstrously disproportional creature that would be an embarrassment to all things zombie.
As much as I love destroying zombies in video games, disemboweling something that took several days to make is not nearly as fun.
After salvaging what I could, I needed to take a break from the zombie in order to problem solve how I would reattempt the legs.
While doing this I made some things that I will be selling in my soon-to-be Etsy shop.
This bed bug cat toy is filled with fiber fill and organic cat nip.
This eyeball was made with craft cord rather than yarn. It also has a clip, making it the perfect addition to any key chain or book bag.
The brown eye was made with acrylic yarn rather than craft cord, making it a little bit larger. It also has a clip.
Now that I have taken a few days to think on it, I have resumed zombie number two and I am very happy with it. I will post pictures of both zombies when they are finished. What projects do you have laying around the house that need to be finished?

Cats Vs Zombies

I recently crocheted two zombies for two different kitties.
The first was a mouse zombie.
The head is just a cone shape that I did by alternating rows of single crochet with increasing rows. I then decreased for a few rounds and increased again to give the appearance of a neck. Towards the bottom, I changed to red to make the zombie mouse look like it had been torn in half. It’s ears and right eye are just small circles and the left eye is actually the horn from the giraffe pattern. Inside the mouse is fiberfill and a coffee filter filled with organic catnip.
The next zombie I made was a for my brother’s cat, and this was inspired by a short story I had read about zuvembies (female zombies).
The head and torso are one continuous piece and the limbs are attached. While making the torso, I switched to red and alternated between red and yellow to make it seem like it was bleeding from the missing arm. For the most part, the  red yarn is carried on the inside of the torso so that it can’t be seen. In some places it is carried underneath some stitches to give it more of a bloody effect. To do the hair, I made a cap of the same color. I then attached the pieces of yarn to the cap and the cap to the head. This one is also stuffed with fiberfill and organic cat nip.

In the battle of cats vs. zombies, I think the cats are winning :)

Crochet Giraffe

My friend Tomie saw the mouse that I had made from this youtube videoand immediately requested a giraffe. I decided it was time to attempt something more complicated and tried this giraffe pattern. The horns are a bit tricky. Other than that, this project really easy and a lot of fun to do!

Recycled Plastic Bag Crochet

You know those plastic bag’s that literally beg to be recycled?

"Won't you please recycle me?"
I had heard someplace that you can crochet with them, so I decided to give it a try. I googled it, and found these instructions on how to crochet an air pot with “plarn”. Air pots allow the roots to grow through the holes rather than clumping and wrapping around the bottom of the pot. They are then pruned by the air, which encourages new growth to come from the base of the plant. They also allow for drainage and air circulation.
All that you need for this project is scissors, a crochet hook and a bunch of plastic bags.
Step 1: Fold the plastic bag and cut one inch thick plastic strips that you will use as yarn.
Step 2: Take the loops and attach them to each other. You slip one loop through another, and then slip it through its self.
Step 3: Crochet as you normally would.
I found the plarn to be a little difficult to use with the magic circle, so I made two chain stitches and crocheted my first round into the second chain from the hook.
To make the basket shape you just crochet in a spiral (continious round), in the amigurumifashion.
Round one should have 6 or 9 stitches, depending on how flexible you find the material.
Make your stitches loose, because the plastic doesn’t slide as easily as yarn.
In each subsequent round the amount of increases should equal the same amount of stitches as your first round until you get to the width of the pot that you want.
This is a pretty simple pattern: Round 2: 2sc in each st. Round 3: *2sc in the first st and 1sc in the next* Repeat till the end of the round. Round 4: 2sc, 1sc twice. Round 5: 2sc, 1sc tree times. If you keep increasing your stitches in this way, your circle will grown until you get to the desired size. If you started with 6 stitches in the first round, it will increase by 6 stitches in each round. If you would like to follow more precise directions to this pattern, you can find them here.
When you have reached your desired width, begin putting a single crochet in each stitch. This will give your pot height.
When your pot is done, add dirt and some plants. The pot I made now has basil and cilantro. What would you make with plarn?

Recycled Yogurt Planters: Every Day Should Be Earth Day!

When I saw the yarn box project on the lion brand website, I couldn’t wait to try it. What a great way to recycle old boxes and containers!
To make this project, I started with some variegated yarn, crazy glue, and a washed yogurt container.
First I carefully poked holes in the yogurt container bottom, because I wanted to use it for some of my basil sprouts.
I then glued the yarn around the container while being careful to make sure it stayed in a neat little row. Once I got to the top, I secured the yarn end with glue under the lip of the container.
VoilĂ ! A cute little planter.
I enjoyed this project because it was quick and easy. Plus my herbs will fit perfectly on my window sills.
Though this project is wonderful, there are two things I will do differently for the rest of the seedlings. I am not going to use crazy glue for the rest because, #1 it smells downright foul, and #2 it is not fun to get off your fingers. The second thing I am going to do is experiment with a different type of material. I found that the yarn is not the best for a project that involves dirt and water. For the rest of the planters, I think I will try a type of twine. This hot pink one seems like it would make a very nice flower pot!