snowy field image

snowy field image

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Crochet Frozen Dolls

One little set

Two little sets

Finally done with both sets of these!

The wonderful body pattern for these dolls comes from Beth Webber.  Here is the pattern link on ravelry.  I made my own little pattern for Olaf and the clothes, hair, and details I did myself.

Time to package them up and ship them off.

Mini Knitted Christmas Sweaters

I found a very cute pattern for a mini Christmas sweater ornament on Craftsy.  I had a little yarn left over from making some finger-less mitts so I worked up a few of these for coworkers Christmas gifts.  I decided not to work decreases in the arms to make it a little less complicated.  Very fun pattern and it made a super cute finished project.

Odin taking a look.  He get so curious when I put things in the window to take a picture.

Little kitty feet
Two of them finished with some duplicate stitch and little paper clip hangers

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to make an envelope of any size without a pattern

If you want to make an envelope out of pretty scrapbooking paper but don't have a spare plain one to make a template, you can easily make one by following some basic principles of folding.  This is great if you need a teeny tiny envelope like above, or a giant one.  The basic construction of an envelope is fairly simple: a square or rectangular paper, larger than your note or card, which is folded around it to contain and conceal it.  Sounds simple right?  However when it comes down to making your own, suddenly there are corners and flaps everywhere and things get a little muddy.

Start with a square of paper and find the center.  Either match up opposite corners and gently pinch the middle or use a straight edge and lightly mark lines with a pencil.

Fold two opposite corners to the center.  (Then unfold)  These will be the side flaps.

Now fold the other two corners past the center point and unfold.  Just how far past the center you want to go will determine how square or rectangular your envelope will be.

You now how something like this: (turned 45 degrees)

The dotted square represents a shape slightly larger than your note.  Fold all your corners in and take a look at what you have.  You can adjust your folds or add some details.  You will probably want to clip the excess paper where the folds meet and shape your corners; clip the folds at a wider angle to avoid bunching, round off the top corner and cut off the bottom corner flat where it meets the two side flaps when folded.

To fold your envelope, first fold in the two side flaps, then the bottom, and lastly the top.  You can secure the sides to the bottom with glue or tape, or leave them open.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Easy Double Crochet Rings

(Hey guys - special shout out to those visiting from crochet concupiscence!)

This method uses the double crochet foundation row method with a slight variation.  For the standard DCFR (double crochet foundation row), you pull up an extra loop (or chain 1) before completing each double crochet so you can avoid chaining at the beginning of a project.  (You can also use SC or HDC for this!)

In order to make a ring with a hole in the middle, you alternate chaining one before the double crochet and omitting the chain to create a DC2tog stitch.  This is for the smallest size you can make (24 stitches).  This is replicating row 2 of a typical circular crochet pattern (DC 12 in a ring, DC 2 in each DC from round 1).

You can use this method to make any size ring.  Figure out which row you would be on and what the total stitches would be, as well as what the pattern would be, and work that as a foundation row rather than into a row below.

So for example, to make a ring with 120 stitches (row 10 of a typical flat, circular crochet project), you would make a DCFR with the following pattern: Chain 3, DC in the first chain (your first inc is complete), DC 8, (inc, DC 8) x5.

This leaves you with a nice finished edge on the outside and inside, and you don't have to chain to start.  Variations on this pattern are endless.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

3D Christmas Tree Cookies

These didn't come out quite as well as the reindeer, but it's a good first effort.  I probably need to go back and redesign the cutter a little.  The slots are much deeper so they need to fit better than shallow ones.  Still fun to decorate and eat.

I could make this one much easier on myself and have one cutter that is a whole tree and another that is a half and just use one whole and two halves and stick them together with icing.  Then I wouldn't have to worry about the slots... hmmmm... or just use one cutter for the whole tree and cut some of them in half.  Would have to be careful though.

I could also put stars on top before baking and have them bake together in the oven.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

3D Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies (now with printable template)

Yay I'm a reindeer cookie!

I'm so excited that this actually worked!

I saw a beautiful photo a while ago of little reindeer cookies that stood up and were put together with 2 cookie cutter designs for the body and legs.  After some fiddling I was able to draw some templates and cut them on card stock to trace around on some gingerbread dough.  I ambitiously went for a third design for some antlers as well as the body and legs.

The cookie recipe is derived from this great post at

I halved the recipe and forgot to halve the spices so I ended up with some very gingery cookies.

My first attempt was a bit unimpressive but it actually worked!  The shapes fit together and stood up.

I learned a few things from these first ones:
  • My cookie recipe was good - no baking power or soda, cold dough, and short fast baking time.  The cookies did not expand and looked pretty much like they did when I cut them out.
  • Sharp corners burn!  His poor little tail!  All of my shapes needed to be rounded or thickened so they baked evenly.  
  • If your locking shapes are slightly off, you can gently cut them with a serrated knife when they are hot from the oven.  
  • If the shapes are too small, there will be weak points where they will be more likely to break.  One set of antlers didn't make it!
  • Cutting cookie shapes by hand with a knife and a template is boring and horrible.

 So... how to make your own custom cookie cutter?  I could probably order one and later I found a few very cute etsy shops that will 3D print cookie cutter designs for you.  But I wanted to make these now!  First I tried using the metal from a soda can, which proved too weak and brittle.  When you bend it at a 90 degree angle, the metal cracks.

Then I found an old cookie tin with thicker more bendable metal in the back of our pantry.  It was a beast to take apart but with some pliers and our kitchen sheers I was able to get some 3/4 inch wide strips of metal (aluminum maybe?) out of it.  With my new designs, I traced my 3 templates onto cardboard and used the pliers to bend the metal into shape.

Card stock and cardboard templates.  Looking so good!
Home made cookie cutters.  I'm freaking out, man!

It took a lot of patience and cursing to get the metal shapes right.  But finally, they came out and they actually look like the design.  I did not roll the tops of the metal down to make a hand-friendly cutter, so to actually use these, I pushed them down with a square of cardboard.  Otherwise, I would have some adorable shapes poked into my hands.  

I cut enough shapes for 5-6 cookies and "decorated" them.  Honestly they looked a lot more classy before I trashed them up but they taste great and I had so much fun digging through my decorations.  I opted not to attach all the pieces to form the deer, so they're just standing up on their own with the interlocking pieces.

Seriously my decorating is awful.  Observe these pictures at your own risk:

You can see the gingery pain in their little mini chocolate chip eyes.  Kill meeeeee!  So many possibilities for different shapes with this idea... maybe some dinosaurs next???

Here's a little template on graph paper.  Each little square is 1/4 of an inch.  If I can figure out how I might make a printable thingy but I'm not sure how to do it.

1/4 inch graph paper (each square is 1/4 inch)

Happy Thanksgiving!

EDIT: Here's a link to a googledrive document that has a printable template in two sizes.  I used the smaller size for my cookies.  This is meant to be printed on 8.5 x 11 paper and there is a scale for inches at the top.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Crochet Sugar Maple Leaves

I wanted to crochet some pretty Fall leaves but surprisingly there are few realistic leaf patterns out there.  I took a little time and made my own pattern for my favorite, the sugar maple leaf.

This pattern is worked in four rounds: 1 - a circle to start the shape, 2 - start the arms of the leaf, 3 - work around the arms to fill out the shape, and 4 - finish the shape with a stem and points.  It's not quite perfect, so it's more of a free form design with some basic guidelines.

Stitch Diagram:

And some basic instructions for the rows:  For the first stitch in each row either chain to the appropriate height or do a standing stitch.  In the second row where you are chaining and slipping into the chains, do it loosely so you can work into every stitch.  My pattern writing can be kind of confusing so follow along with the pictures and the diagram.  If you're a visual learner, I highly suggest learning how to read stitch diagrams.

The orange leaf was made with Paton's Grace and a size 2.75mm hook and the red was made with size 3 crochet thread.  You could use any yarn and hook size and color you want.  Have fun!
  1. 12 DC in a magic ring, slip to top of first DC
  2. 2 DC in the first 3 stitches of prv row.
    Arm 1: Chain 11 and slip into chains (leave the first and last chain unworked), then 2 DC in the next 3 stitches.
    Top arm: DC in the next stitch, chain 10, 9 slips back, DC in the same stitch.  2 DC in the next 3 stitches.
    Arm 2: Chain 10, slip back 9, then chain 1.   In the next 2 stitches, work 2 DC.  Slip into the top of the first DC
  3. DC in the first 5 stitches (2DC, DC, 2 DC, DC, 2DC), (here there will appear to be too many spaces, you can crochet a few stitches together to close the space) then DC up the first arm 10 DC.
    In the top of the arm, DC 5 in the same space, back down the other side, DC 4, then DC 7 together (5 from the arm and 2 from the wheel).  DC in the next 2 stitches (you can put in a few extra stitches here if the finished pattern won't lay flat).
    Then DC 4 together (2 from the wheel, 2 from the top arm).  DC up the top arm (7), 5 DC in the top, DC down the side 7 DC, DC 4 together (2 from arm, 2 from wheel).  DC in next 2, DC 7 tog (2 from wheel, 5 from arm).
    4 DC up the 2nd arm, 5 together in the top, 10 DC down the arm.
    In the wheel: DC, 2DC, DC, slip to first DC.
  4. 2 HDC tog in next 2 stitches,
    To make the stem, chain 9, slip back 8 (you can make this stem as long of short as you like)
    2 HDC tog in the next 2 stitches, DC, TC, in the next stitch, TC, picot, TC, then 3HCD, 2DC, TC, DC, picot, HDC
    Arm 1: 3sc, sc & DC together, picot, sc & DC together, in the next stitch TC, Picot, TC, DC & sc tog, in the next stitch DC, picot, HDC, then 3 HDC in the next 3 stitches.
    In between the arms: work 7 DC together.  If you put more stitches in this part in the row below, just work the middle 7 together and work extra stitches on either side.
    For the top arm: DC up the arm (5DC), then in the top 5 stitches work the following clusters: 1. DC, TC, picot 2. 2DC, 3. TC, picot, TC, 4. 2DC, 5. TC, picot, TC.
    DC back down the other side of the arm (5 DC), then work 7 DC together between the top and 2nd arm.
    For the last arm: 3 HDC up the side, then in the top 5 stitches: 1.) HDC, DC, picot, 2.) sc, DC, 3.) TC, picot, TC 4.) DC, sc, 5.) DC, picot, sc.  Then 3 sc in a row, HDC, picot, DC, TC, 2 DC.  3 HDC, in the next stitch TC, picot, TC.  TC, DC, and slip to the top of the first stitch.  (I like to finish my last stitch and then pull it through and weave it into the first stitch with a needle for a perfect edge.
Finishing the leaf: I wet blocked my examples and pulled the picots out gently to get a fine point.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Super Boring Hobby

I have a lot of 'boring' hobbies that involve staying inside and slapping around pieces of things until they make something else.  I have to restrain my excitement when I talk to people about what I do with my free time, because to most people, this is the equivalent of watching paint dry.  I love it though!  This is one of those hobbies.

Whenever I find a cool free crochet pattern online, I like to make a diagram of it for fun.  I like making little pictures and understanding construction through graphics.

Here's an example from Moogly's Fortune's Wrap.

Row 1 says to chain 6, dc in the 4th chain, chain 1 & skip a chain, then dc in the last chain.  So I draw my little yarn tail, 6 chains, dc, chain, and dc.  Sometimes I like to fade the colors of each step so you can tell what order you're doing things and what direction you're going.

Row 1
Then for this pattern, you turn your work, so I turn the graphic around and turn it 90 degrees to the right so I'm ready for the next row.

Row 2 says to chain 6, dc in the 4th chain from the hook, chain 1 & skip the next stitch, then dc in the last ch so first I make that part in blue.  Then you put a slip stitch, chain, double crochet, chain 1, double crochet in the chain 3 space from the first row, so I put that in a different color.

Woo so fun!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How to Crochet a Faux Bullion Stitch Two Ways

I recently discovered the bullion stitch.  I love that I'm always finding new stitches and techniques to try but some of them are a real mess.  It looks amazing, but it's such a huge pain to make that I doubt I will be using them for anything extensive in the near future.  Mine were coming out looking like demented little tornadoes with all the loops popping off.

So here are two ways I've come up with to make a bullion-looking stitch without so much hassle:

1. The yarn over/horizontal puff stitch method

One row complete

Three rows complete

This looks pretty similar to the bullion stitch and you can adjust the height and how many loops you want wrapped around it.  You may have to poke the yarn on top a bit to get the loops into perfect position.  You can see on my little swatch that you have some half-looking loops, but that is fully correctable.  I didn't do anything fancy here, just worked three rows and worked each stitch in between the two below it, but you could work them right on top of each other and also include a single crochet or half double crochet row between the bullion stitches depending on how you want it to look.  I think it looks like a lot of little blue captain crunches.

This method is worked very similarly to how you would make a puff stitch, a lot of yarn overs and pulling loops up into the same space.  The difference here is that instead of working directly into a stitch from the row below, you'll make a chain and work around the chain as if you're doing a post stitch.  I have a lot of notes in the 'pattern' below because you can make a ton of variations for this depending on how you want to do it.

Directions: I started by chaining an odd number so that I would have a chain to skip between each stitch as these are bulky. (You could also make a single crochet foundation row that might be a little easier to work into.)  After the last chain, chain 3 more (or chain a lot more if you want a super tall stitch - it's totally up to you!) that will act as your first post.  Then yarn over, and reach the hook around the back of the chain as if you're working a post stitch and pull up a loop (3 loops on the hook).  Then you want to repeat this yarning over and pulling up a loop around the back of your chain a few more times (I did a total of three yarn over/loop pull ups around my 3 chains which will give you 7 loops on your hook, as 2 new loops are added for every repetition of yarn over/pull up loop.)  Then I yarned over one more time and pulled up a loop into the same beginning chain that I made my initial chain 3 into.  This is to secure the base of your stitch to the starting chain.  Then using the loop you just pulled up, continue pulling it through all of the loops you've created on your hook with the yarn over/pull ups.  (It may be easier to yarn over one more time and use that loop to pull through all the loops but I think it looks a little cleaner to do it the other way.)

To work more stitches, I chose to skip the next chain and insert my hook into the second chain away and chain 3 with the working yarn.  This way, you have nothing connecting your stitches in between them. You could make a really convenient crochet hook holder with these stitches because you can weave something big back and forth between the bullions very easily.  One additional variable you can throw in is that instead of chaining 3 for a post at the beginning of each stitch, you can work a double or triple crochet if you prefer that to chaining.  If you still want all your stitches to have spaces between, then be sure to wrap your hook fully around your double crochet including the yarn over bar.  This can be a little tricky because you're putting a lot of bulk into a small area and it's hard to see the bar.  The big difference is that the chain 3 will make the stitch a little flatter and the double crochet will make it a little fatter, so you decide if you want it flat or round.  One very last cool thing about this: if you weave your hook back and forth between these stitches after completing a row, it almost acts like a ribbing where half the stitches are pushed forward and half are pushed back and your hook will disappear in the middle.  Cool possibilities!

2. The double bullion/hairpin lace method

One row complete (into single crochet foundation row)

Two rows complete, you can see the right and wrong side

This method is similar to the other one, but you work your steps in a bit of a reverse order.  You start the same way by chaining/foundation chaining to set up, then either chain a few stitches or work a double crochet and work around it like a post.  The difference here is that instead of starting with a yarn over, you'll start by pulling up a loop around the back of your post, then yarning over and pulling through that loop and repeating, so you'll be working one half of the double bullion as you work around the post, and then at the end, you'll complete the second half by drawing through all the loops on your hook.  These have a 'double' look, or when scrunched together, look like double the amount of thinner stitches.  I say this is a hairpin lace method because the front and back do not look exactly alike, and there is a definite right side/wrong side when you use this one.  The back looks like a little hairpin lace or skeleton ribs to me.

Directions: Set up some chains or single crochet foundation row.  I worked into an odd number (but you can see in the photos that my side stitches bulge out a little, so maybe add a few?) and left one chain between each stitch.  To begin each stitch, either chain however many you want tall (I used 3) or double/triple crochet.  Now reach your hook around the back of the chain like a post stitch and pull up a loop.  Yarn over and pull through that one loop.  Then repeat pulling up a loop around the back and pulling a loop through it, each time adding one more loop to your hook.  When you have reached the bottom of your chain or double crochet, pull up a loop in the chain or stitch below your work to secure the stitch in place, then either pull that loop up and through all the loops or pull another loop through that one and then through all the others.

To work more stitches, skip one chain or stitch and work into every other stitch across your row.

You can see in the photo above that there is a right side/wrong side here, where you can see little bumps in the middle of your stitch in the wrong side.  You might want to work alternating rows of this stitch and single crochet or half double or something in order to keep your right sides facing out.

As far as I know, you can do everything with these two stitches that you could with a regular bullion stitch without the hassle.  Yay!