snowy field image

snowy field image

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Fleeb

Everyone has a plumbus in their home, but how do they make the plumbus?  Well I'll tell you: fleeb has a very instrumental role.  It's important that the fleeb is rubbed because the fleeb has all the fleeb juice.  But how do they make the fleeb in the first place?

Today on How They Do It: Fleeb

For the body of the Fleeb, cotton worsted weight yarn is used.  Make sure your 4mm hook shows up to rub the yarn.  The body consists of single crochets and bobble stitches.  (For these bobble stitches, work 4 double crochets together in the same stitch.  Make 1 body.

  1. Sc 8 into a magic ring.  Slip to first stitch. (8)
  2. Sc in first stitch, sc and bobble stitch in the next.  Repeat around. (12)
  3. Sc 2, inc around (16)
  4. Sc, sc + bobble around (24)
  5. Sc 2, inc around (32)
  6. Sc, bobble around (32)
  7. Sc around (32)
  8. Sc, bobble around (32)
  9. Sc around (32)
  10. Sc, bobble around (32)
  11. Sc around (32)
  12. Sc, bobble around (32)
  13. Sc 2, dec around (24)
  14. Dec, bobble around (16) [Stuff some polyfill in now]
  15. Sc 2, dec around (12) [Stuff to satisfaction]
  16. Dec, bobble around (8)
    Cut yarn and use tail to sew the remaining 8 stitches shut.  Weave in both ends.
Using size 3 cotton crochet thread, we'll make the arms out of chains and slip stitches.

Chain 15 (the length of the arm) + 6 (the length of the first finger).  Slip stitch into the second chain on the hook and the next 4 stitches (5 slip stitches).  I work these into the back bump of the chain.  Now chain 6 more and slip back into the second chain from the hook and then next 4 stitches.  Repeat this one more time (ch 6, slip 5).  Now slip into the 15th chain from the beginning which is where the fingers meet the arm.  Slip into all of the rest of the chains.  Make 2 arms.

Using size 3 white cotton crochet thread, we'll make eyes and sew on a red bead for the pupil.
  1. Sc 6 in a magic ring.  Slip to first stitch.
  2. Chain 1, sc 2, sc 2, hdc 2, sc 2, sc 2, hdc 2, slip to first stitch.
Using red sewing thread a 2 seed beads, sew the beads onto the center of the eyes.  Make 2 eyes.


The top of the fleeb will be row 1 and the decreases will be on the bottom where the fleeb juice comes out.  Sew on the arms using the two tails. (Thread one of the arms through the body, tie the two tails together and pull the tails through the work and cut.)  I have sewn my arms between rows 13 and 14, about 6 bobbles apart.

To attach the eyes, choose two bobbles in row 13 and push them inwards so they invert.  Place the eyes over the inverted bobbles and pin in place.  Use white sewing thread to attach.

The fleeb is now ready to aid in the construction of the plumbus.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

3 Scoops Crochet Mittens

Diamond stitch cone and strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream.

Waffle stitch cone and raspberry, lime, and blue hawaiian sorbet.

Yay mittens!

I love ice cream in the winter.  Also all the other seasons, but especially in the winter.  These ice cream mittens are zero calorie and super fun to make. 

This was a fun opportunity to combine some different textural stitches I've been figuring out.  The cuff can be worked in either diamond stitch or waffle stitch or one of your own design.  There are also tons of variations for the ruffle at the bottom of the scoops of ice cream.  I used half double crochet and 3 scoops but you can really go wild.  I also alternated between half double crochet and BLO + third bump hdc to make it look like the little lines that form when you scoop.  The idea is to make the bottom part cone-y and the top part ice cream-y, so do whatever puts the nuts on your sundae.

You can customize the size to fit any hand during the first row.  The stitch count will be slightly different depending on what style cuff you want because the stitches are worked in different multiples.  It will be within a few stitches and I can't tell the difference in the two I made.  I didn't finish my thumbs but you could if you wanted.  I was playing around with the idea of making the top of the thumb part of the first scoop but then I got lazy.

I did plan ahead enough to leave a gap for my finger to stick out for my phone.  You can really do this with any mitten pattern and it's really easy.  Just make a chain or single crochet foundation row and skip some stitches in the appropriate place and keep going.

Hole for your finger!


The ruffle might be intimidating if you've never worked those 3D stitches before, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be thinking of everything you can do with it.  I decided on mostly half double crochet stitches for this project and that's what the ruffle uses too.  I tried a bunch of different stitch types and counts for the ruffle but I think I like this best (for this project at least).


Stitches used (sort of a lot, sorry!): single crochet foundation row or double crochet foundation row, double crochet, half double crochet (plus increases and decreases), front post triple crochet two together, half double crochet 3D stitches, half double crochet worked in the back loop only + the third bump.

Yarn: worsted weight acrylic in multiple colors.  I used whatever colors I had in my stash - just have fun it doesn't have to be perfect.

Hook size: I used a 4mm (size 8 or F) hook but use whatever you like with your yarn.  I liked using a smaller size than the yarn called for to make the stitches tighter and less hole-y.

Gauge: Gauge is not super important, you just have to make sure you're choosing the correct number of stitches to start with.  I made one of each type of mitten so the stitch count is slightly different but they both still fit.  You can add or remove rows in several places to make it bigger or smaller.

Cone base (wrist):
  • Option 1: Diamond Stitch Cone
    Diamond shaped stitches are worked by alternating rows of double crochet and single crochet with long post stitches dipping into the rows below.  Mooglyblog has a great project using this stitch.  This pattern repeats over 4 stitches and 4 rows.
    Row 1: SCFR 28 (this needs to fit around your wrist/forearm comfortably and can be any number in multiples of 4.  28 fit me best with my yarn and hook.) Slip to first stitch and use the tail to connect the bottom of the stitches.
    Row 2: DC in each stitch (28)
    Row 3: This is the first row of the diamond stitch with single crochets and long post stitches. Ch 1, sc 3, FPTRC2tog in the 2nd and 6th stitch from the first row of scfr.  Skip the next stitch and sc 3.  You'll then repeat this around, working 3 sc and then working post stitches together in the first row, skipping 3 stitches between each when you place the posts. (This can be confusing if you've never worked the diamond stitch before.)
    Row 4: DC around (28)
    Row 5: Ch 1, sc 1, FPTRC2tog, sk1, sc 3 (repeat around)
    Row 6-9: repeat rows 2-5
    Row 10: HDC around (28)
    Don't break yarn - move down to hand section
  • Option 2: Waffle Stitch Cone
    The waffle stitch is worked in multiples of 3 stitches over two rows.
    Row 1: DCFR 27 (this needs to fit around your wrist/forearm comfortably and can be any number in multiples of 3.  27 fit me best with my yarn and hook.) Slip to first stitch and use the tail to connect the bottom of the stitches.
    Row 2: Ch2 and DC in the same space (or make a standing double crochet).  Back post DC in the next 2 stitches. Repeat 1 DC, 2 BPDC around (27)
    Row 3: Ch 2 (don't count this as a stitch) FPDC around the normal DC from the last row and DC normally into the 2 BPDC from the last row.  Repeat this around.
    Row 4-7: Repeat rows 2 and 3 twice.
    Row 8. HDC increase once, HDC around (28) (this is because you need an even number in the next section)
    Row 9. HDC around, working into the black loop and the third bump (3rd bump adds stability) (28)
    Row 10: There's not a row 10 for this stitch.  Have a drink - you've earned it!
    Don't break yarn - move down to hand section
Cone top (hand): Using whatever base you selected, you will now start increasing in one side to make room for the thumb.  I like to mark my increases with a stitch marker so I don't have to count: mark the first stitch of the first increase and the second stitch of the second increase and make your subsequent increases in the marked stitches.  Move your markers up in each row.

Row 11: Both bases should have 28 stitches in their final row.  Working into your base: HDC inc in the first two stitches and HDC around (30)
Row 12: HDC inc, HDC 2, HDC inc, HDC around (32)
Row 13: HDC inc, HDC 4, HDC inc, HDC around (34)
Row 14: HDC inc, HDC 6, HDC inc, HDC around (36)
Row 15: HDC inc, HDC 8, HDC inc, HDC around (38)
Row 16: HDC inc, HDC 10, HDC inc, HDC around (40)
Row 17: HDC inc, HDC 12, HDC inc, HDC around (42)

1st Ice Cream Scoop: In the first row, you will separate the thumb from the rest of the hand.  If it feels wrong for your hand, you can move the stitches around a little for more or less thumb room.

Row 18: Place a stitch marker into the 2nd and 15th stitch to pin them together. You will be working single crochets in the back loop and the 3rd bump of the HDCs in the row below.  With an ice creamy color, sc in the first stitch, then into the 16th stitch.  The thumb is now isolated from the rest of the hand.  (Try it on now and adjust it a little if it doesn't fit.  Make sure the hand has an even number of stitches.)  Sc around (28)
Row 19: HDC around (28)
Row 20: This row is the ruffle at the bottom of the scoop.  We will be working around the half double crochets from the previous row.  When you work into the top of the stitches, only work into the front loop.  You will use the back loop in row 21, so be careful not to use it now.  To create the ruffle, you'll be working 3D HDCs around the posts of each stitch and also into the top of the stitch and the sc from 2 rows ago.  Ch 2.  In the first stitch, work in the front loop only, HDC 2.  Then you will work 2 HDC around the post of the next HDC from the previous round.  (To do this, turn your work 90 degrees clockwise.)  Then put 2 HDC into the Sc from 2 rows ago.  Next, you'll work 2 HDC into the next post (turning counterclockwise helps here).  You've now completed one repeat of the ruffle stitch.  Keep working around until you get back to the beginning and slip into the first HDC.  You now need to 'get back' down to work into the back loops of HDCs from row 19. Slip stitch into the ch 2 at the beginning of the row and also into the back loop of the first stitch from row 19.
Row 21: HDC into the back loop only of round 19 and also the 3rd bump (adds stability) (28)
Row 22: HDC around (28) (For added texture, alternate regular HDCs and working into the back loop + third bump)
Row 23: HDC around (28) (For added texture, alternate working into the back loop + third bump and regular HDCs)

2nd Ice Cream Scoop: Start a new color, join in any stitch. (I like to keep my seam on the thumb side of the mitten.)

Row 24: Sc in the back loop and third bump of the HDC below (28)
Row 25: HDC around (28)
Row 26: Repeat row 20
Row 27: Repeat row 21
Row 28: Repeat row 22
Row 29: In this row you will work 2 HDC decreases and HDC around the rest of the stitches.  The decreases should be placed on either side when the mitten is laid flat.  Your stitch count may be different than mine.  (26)

3rd Ice Cream Scoop: With a new color, join in any stitch.

Row 30: Sc in the back loop and third bump (26).  If you want to leave a small hole for your finger to stick out so you can swipe your smart phone, sc around until you reach the place your finger will stick out.  Either chain 4-5 or scfr 4-5 and then skip 4-5 stitches and keep sc'ing around.
Row 31: HDC around, making 2 decreases, one in each side of the mitten (24)
Row 32: Work row 20 again
Row 33: HDC in the first two stitches, dec and repeat around (18)
Row 34: HDC, dec around (12) 
Row 35: Dec around and close with tail.  You're all done!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Paper Piecing Rick Sanchez

Although I've never done any quilting before, I'm fascinated by paper piecing.  Regular quilting seems a little too intimidating, but the paper thing I think I could do.  Rather than starting simple, I decided to try to figure out how to do it on a very complex design - what could go wrong?  This is probably another thing that I'll make and then never think about again, but it was fun.  I had a few false starts.  Designing paper piecing is harder than it looks.  I think I've finally got something that could be used to actually make something though.

The green lines are separate sections and the red are different pieces within sections.

Photo reference behind all the lines.

Lines and photo overlayed with section guide.

Just the section guide so you can kind of see how you would put it together.
I don't quilt so that could end up being worth nothing, but it was good experience I think.  I did quite a bit of looking at other people's block designs to figure out how to section off a big, complicated piece.  It makes sense to start by slicing through the whole picture so I broke it up into 4 larger vertical pieces and then went from there.  I feel like I was losing my eye for figuring it out after a while.  I have some issues with the P and Q sections... can you make a smaller section and then use it as one of your number in another, larger section?... I think it could work, you'd end up cutting out your pattern multiple times though so maybe that's why people don't do it.  

I do want to try some of this soon but my own design would probably be an awful place to start.  It would be fun to do a lot of different characters and make a quilt of them.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Knitted Octopus (pattern from Hansi Singh)

This pattern comes from Hansi Singh's wonderful book: Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits, which I highly recommend.  I received a copy from my lovely boyfriend when I first started knitting and I've really been too intimidated to try anything until now.  I was wondering if I would have a "can't believe I waited so long to do this" moment, but as complicated as these are, I'm glad I did wait.

Lurking background tomato
This is my first knitted amigurumi item.  (I also did the tomato from the same book but it's not nearly as exciting.)  It's strange how in crochet, I would consider amigurumi accessible to the beginner, but in knitting... not a chance.  This is probably the most complicated knitted item I've made so far.  Keeping all the different types of increases and decreases straight was a challenge.

Eye bulge extraordinaire
I did have some trouble with leaving gaps from incorrectly done increases (thanks for nothing, M1R & L, you tricky bastards!) and from picking up stitches to join the shapes together.  I like the way the construction is done, though.  It really eases you into the design and use of short rows which was new to me.  I like that the jacket of the book can be used as bookmarks for the tutorial section.  I had to make some sticky note pointers to locate each stitch guide on the pages though because they're a bit thrown together to save space.

Octopus and tomato
Inside the legs are pipe cleaners to give him some gripping and posing power.  I was worried about running out of the purple yarn so I added those green head stripes.  It was a near thing.  I decided to add the eyes, which are done separately with crochet (6sc in a ring, 12 sc, 8 sc), stuffed and embroidered with black and white in a little square.  Apparently that's how octopuses like to do their eyes.  In a square.

All done, ready for world domination
I may add some sequin or beaded suckers on later when I'm not feeling quite so glad to be done with the whole thing.  I did this over a series of evenings between different things so it was a lot of picking up and putting back down again.  Feeling happy to have this completed and a new skill learned.  My little project on ravelry.