Here is the front part of the avocado cushion, before the face was added.
Here is a shot of the back of the cushion made with the darker shade of green. The original pattern by Samanta Fornino had pom poms added to the back of the pillow but I decided to leave that off.
The cushion was made with Vanna’s Choice holding two strands together to create the bulky yarn effect. I think my cushion has turned out a lot larger than the original but I still had quite of bit of the skein left over. I did not hold the yarn double to make the facial features like the cheeks, eyes or belly circle and I think they look fine.
I received Simply Crochet issue 81 earlier this week and have been waiting for it to see the pattern for the Avacado Cushion that I highlighted in a previous post. Even though I already have…four projects on the go, I didn’t see any reason not to start on the avacado! I was also excited for issue 81 because it has a special amigurumi issue with the adorable otters from Ilaria Caliri that I had seen on her Ravelry page.
Anyway, Avo Cushion is made with a super chunky yarn so I looked through my stash to see if I have anything I could use, but I was skeptical because I don’t have much green yarn lying around. I have been making cacti, pickles and frogs for too long to have any leftover green yarn! So I went to Michaels to look for a nice yarn. Was very disappointed in the selection of green right now. There was barely anything! So I ended up buying Vanna’s Choice in Kelly Green and a light green which were on clearance. Since Vanna’s Choice is a worsted weight and the pattern was using a chunky yarn, I figured I could hold two strands together. I am nearly done one side of the cushion. It is very big and the two strands together is definitely creating a chunky effect. I am excited to see how the cushion turns out – it’s going to be a cuddly cushion!
This cat face cushion was inspired by a star cushion pattern – Stella Strana/ Star Cushion by Kate Alinari from Simply Crochet Issue 71 and the fact that I ran out of yarn when I was making it. I decided to use a chunky yarn that was in my stash and I knew was not available at Michaels anymore, and thought that it would be enough to make this star. I was all going well until I started on the star points and as I was finishing the second one I realized there was not going to be enough yarn. So I had to figure out a way to turn it into something else – and now it is a cat face! Some people think the ears are a bit more rabbit-like but either way, it’s cute!
This is a guinea pig from the pattern by Nicky Fijalkowska from Let’s Knit Magazine Issue 115 (February 2017). I made two of them but apparently only took a picture of one. They were cute little guys but the feet were very small and fiddly to sew onto the body.
This is an original design that I made in 2017 for my craft fair table. I wanted to make a bird similar to the chickens and owls that I had been making for a few years but I wanted the bird to be a bit bigger and a different shape. The chickens and owls I had been making were mostly round balls that had wings, beaks and little ears added to them:
I had been making owls and chickens for a long time! I like the pattern, they are easy to make and it is amazing how different they can look each time I make them.
But back to Fancy Bird. So I decided to work on a different shape – more of an oval. I also worked on making two sides, in different yarns and sewed the sides together.
Once I had added the wings and the face, I felt that he needed something else. I ended up making the bow tie and the hat and there was Fancy Bird!
The bow tie and hat have been favourite accessories for my animal friends the past couple of years. Bow ties are extremely easy to make and can be made with a small amount of yarn and different sizes. The hats are also easy and even if they are too big or too small can still add some character.
Last year I made a number of whales and starfish from the Simply Knitting Issues 151 Under the Sea pattern supplement by Louise Walker. The pattern booklet came with a kit which I used to complete the first whale. I went on to make many more as I had a lot of leftover blue yarn in Caron Simply Soft, Red Heart Soft and Bernat Satin which were all perfect for these little designs. Apparently I didn’t take any pictures of the starfish I made, but you can have a look at the pattern pictures on Ravelry.
My sister is hard to make things for. She doesn’t wear hats, scarves or mittens. She does not wear shawls, ponchos or any other type of accessory. So for a long time, I have not knit or crochet her anything as a gift. Her kids have tons of stuffies that I have made but I haven’t made anything for her. Last year for her birthday however I found a pattern I knew she would like. She is a big fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas and on Ravelry I found a crochet Jack Skellington pattern by Nichole’s Nerdy Knots. It was perfect and I had some black and white yarn to use for the pattern and it was rather quick to make. My sister really liked it and I was pleased to have found something to make she would like. Win-Win!
This is a little crochet cat I made from a skein of a t-shirt type yarn. I was inspired by a small crochet cat pattern from Let’s Get Crafting Knitting & Crochet #91 that came as part of a kit – Kitty Cat by Irene Strange.
I had remembered making that little cat a few years ago and I had this skein of pink t-shirt yarn and thought I would do something similar. He’s quite a bit bigger than the kitty cat, I wanted to make sure i used the whole skein and I made the base quite round so he can sit up on his own. Overall he turned out quite well and very cute!
I made another with some leftover yarn from other projects:
This guy is a bit smaller but still very cheery! He found a new home at the craft fair last November! He was made with left over yarn from Harriet the Flamingo – Patons Decor the variegated colours and Impeccable in Coral.
This is a crochet tea cup pattern called Tea Party Pincushion by Louise Smith from Simply Crochet issue 72. I didn’t really need a pin cushion but I do love tea and the tea cup looked super cute so I made one with Red Heart with Wool that I had on hand. it was a fairly easy pattern but I had a hard time embroidering the face – that is always a difficulty for me. I have named her Polly and she is hanging out around my desk at work!
Speaking of donkey’s… in yesterdays post I featured Oliver the crochet donkey with some debonair accessories. This is a donkey change purse from the pattern by Jane Burns featured in Simply Knitting Magazine issue 132. This was a cute little pattern that had quite a bit of sewing involved but the pattern was easy to follow and it was a good pattern for using up a small amount of leftover yarn.
This is Oliver. He is a donkey from the Little Pedro the donkey pattern by Ilaria Caliri from Simply Crochet issue 59. He’s adorable. I didn’t make the same accessories for Oliver as Pedro from the pattern, I made him a hat and cowl/collar instead which look cute.
One of the interesting things about Ilaria Caliri’s patterns for amigurumi is she uses different techniques so the finished item does not have as much sewing. In this pattern you make all the little legs and then create a round which is the tummy and then the legs are attached to it and then the rest of the body is crochet from there in the round. I like her designs, I think they are cute, creative and all have a wonderful splash of personality.
I have seen these braids of Caron +Pantone at Michaels for awhile now. They feel very soft but otherwise they seemed too expensive to really consider for a project. Last week I was at Michaels and saw they were on clearance so it seemed like a good time to pick up a couple of braids. Each braid has a picture of a pattern on it like a hat but no information about the pattern. I made the assumption (bad thing to do) that a single braid would make a project like a hat. I don’t think this is really an outrageous idea. I think that most skeins of yarn that one finds at Michaels could generously fit in that kind of category. About the only yarn that would be questionable for a single project would be something like Patons Grace, which come in very small skeins but generally, one skein should be able to make something. And an adult something, not necessarily for a baby.
Anyway, I had a look at the Yarnspirations website for the Caron + Pantone patterns and pretty much everything needs more than one braid. This is crazy to me and I am not even sure that I want to keep the yarn. Because I didn’t even choose two of the same braids! Part of me wants to return them, part of me wants to give it a go and see what I could make with the braid.
I finally finished a hat that looks good and fits! This should not be an amazing feat, but after at least three attempts went awry in the past couple of months, I am particularily pleased this hat turned out so well!
The hat is my own design, with K2P2 ribbing and seed stitch in the hat part. I used Caron Simply Soft Tweeds in grey. I always like Caron Simply Soft yarns and have made other hats with it before. I am really into tweeds right now, so was quite pleased when I found this at Michaels a few months ago.
This is my version of Mr Blue Monster by Mariska Vos-bolman from Simply Crochet Issue 68. I used some yarns that I had in my stash, Martha Stewart Alpaca Blend in pink and red. The pattern was fairly easy to follow but I don’t think the mouth on my monster worked out quite as well as the pattern indicated. However I am pretty sure that when I sewed the legs on and all the horns and teeth that the body was turned upside down. So the top of the head was supposed to be the bottom of the body. Anyway, he still looks good.
Monsters seem to be very popular for both knit and crochet projects. I have made a few in the past:
This past summer for my craft fair I worked on making a number of different animals and stuffies. I made up some of my own patterns and worked on others that had been in my pattern stash for awhile. I have been selling at a holiday craft fair for a number of years now, and I still have a hard time figuring out what people will like. I tend now to make a couple of the same item but not too many. I made a few teddy bears this time, but different styles because lots of people love to give teddy bears as gifts or collect them.
Humphrey is a bear from the book Crochet Spirit Animals by Jessica Boyer. I bought the book through Mary Maxim last year because I liked that there were patterns for an eagle and a panther in the book, which are more unusual animals. I started on the bear and I liked the more natural shape of the bear but I found the pattern hard to follow to sewing all the pieces together and I actually ended up leaving a fairly large piece off. He turned out ok in the end and I gave him a funny hat because he needed one. There was a lady at the craft fair who just loved him so Humphrey found a good home.
Leopold is a pattern I found on Ravelry by Carla Mitrani. The pattern was easy to follow and I liked that Leopold already had a scarf as an accessory.
I have made other teddy bears in the past – including polar bears and teddy bears from Laura Long’s books Knitted Toy Tales and Knitted Toy Travels.
Since my Country Loom Blanket project and a few hats that have not worked out properly was not enough, I decided to start two more projects. I am in the process of working on two different shawls, both crochet, using Bernat Premium Tweeds, one in black and one in brown. The first shawl is inspired by Vermillion Shawl by Rowan found in Rowan Magazine issue 64. This is a beautiful looking shawl but it is a strange pattern in a couple of ways – it is crochet along the whole length so the cast on in the pattern is over 300 ch. The other weird thing is it uses a number of different yarns, some held double and you don’t turn the work. You cut the yarn and go back to your beginning edge and crochet along. Like I said, very strange.
I am not very good at following patterns exactly, especially for items like shawls. There is always some reason why something doesn’t work. Sometimes I take them to be a suggestion. So that is why I say my shawl is inspired by this one. I started out kind of following the pattern but I am using only one kind of yarn, I am turning the work and I only cast on 279 ch so it is definitely not as long. But still long enough! I will post a photo once I get some substance going. Right now it just looks like a long black snake.
Shawl number two is also inspired by another pattern but this one is not exact because the pattern isn’t working for me. I have started the Ruffle Shawl by Ilaria Caliri from Simply Crochet issue 68 a couple of times and I keep running into the same issue. The pattern asks for a ch 2 between each tr st (or dc in US terms) this creates a gap or space between each tr stitch. The picture for the shawl does not indicate there is such a space. Then, the shawl is supposed to increase on one side to create the triangle effect. The instructions to me, do not indicate where an increase is happening. So I am looking at the picture and have started crocheting it to match what I am seeing. I am not leaving any ch sp between the tr stitches, and I am increasing on one side. I will follow the instructions from the pattern when I get to the ruffle stage and see how I do.
The croheted arrows beanie has not turned out at all. The hat ended up fitting very small and barely covering my ears and it was really difficult to cinch the top of the hat and it created a lot of bunching at the top which was very unflattering. So I took it apart. I have tried working on a couple of other hat patterns but they just aren’t working. Hats are usually so easy to make so I guess it is just time for me to take a break and work on something else.
So here is the progress so far on the Country Loom Blanket:
It is all garter stitch but the colours are so lovely that it really looks quite nice!
I have started working on another blanket for my niece, H. Her birthday is in April so I have plenty of time to finish it. I have had 6 skeins of Loops & Threads Country Loom in Rich Blues for a couple of years now. They were on sale once when I was at Michaels and I was interested in making a cape pattern from the label. I never made the cape but it is going to turn into a cozy blanket.
I have made a couple of blankets from Country Loom yarn before. They have such wonderful colour combinations that I haven’t made up a pattern or stitch just work the blanket in a garter stitch. The first one I made in the Solarium colourway for myself and I use it all the time as my go to blanket on the sofa. I made a similar type blanket for my sister and now making a third.
I have started a new scarf from a Caron Cake that I have had for a while. It is called Zucchini Loaf (strangely). I have been wanting some new hats and scarves this year so I have taken a step away from my plan to work on the Cosmic Crochet rug and blanket that I highlighted a few weeks ago. I have read lots of articles that talked about yarn cakes and how amazing they are and I looked at buying some but I thought they were kind of expensive and wasn’t sure about how the colours were going to turn out. It is hard to get an idea just from looking a the ball. I bought two of these Caron Cakes almost two years ago when they were on sale for buy one get one free and they have sat for a long time in my stash.
I started two different patterns for the scarf but did not like either one. I am now working in double seed stitch/moss stitch on 6.5mm needles but it feels like slow going. I work on it a few rows and then I work on the crocheted beanie hat. I also started a blanket last night so I’ve got a lot of WIP at the moment.
I am currently working on a new hat – this is the Crocheted Arrows Beanie from Knit Simple Magazine Fall 2013 issue. I am not making it with different coloured stripes so the arrow part of the title is not very evident. It is a crocheted hat, and has an interesting pattern, made up of slip stitches at the top and bottom of the chain, with single crochet stitches in the centre 15 stitches. All stitches are done through the back loop so the fabric is quite textured.
I have been trying to make a hat with this skein of Loops & Threads Impeccable Tweed yarn in black that I have had for a while. My first hat turned out ridiculously small so I ripped it out and started over. This one seems to be turning out fine so far as I can tell.
I signed up for a Rowan subscription in 2018 because I have admired Rowan patterns for a long time, but mostly I wanted the 30th Anniversary book which was part of the subscription. As the yarn gift for subscribing they sent 3 skeins of Rowan Alpaca Merino DK yarn in a lovely red colour and the pattern for the Prospero Cowl. It is a garter stitch cowl so is fairly straightforward to make but it will look lovely in the red.
The alpaca merino DK yarn is a much finer yarn than I am used to working with so I feel like it is taking a long time to knit, but I think it actually is going quite well.
I quickly made myself a new hat the last couple of days. It is the Tobaggan Hat pattern from Cosy Chunky Knits supplement from Let’s Knit Issue 75 from January 2014. It is basically two panels knit on straight needles that are sewn together at the sides and top for a square hat. The pattern called for a pompom on each corner of the hat but I didn’t like that so left it off. The hat is very quick to make because it uses a chunky yarn and a 10mm needle. There is a twist cable and a C4F cable in the centre. I don’t do a lot of cable work but this one was quite easy once I figure out the twist cable stitch.
I used Loops & Threads Cozy Wool and it didn’t even use the whole skein of yarn. Lovely and warm!
They are both using similar colour schemes, with purples and blues and involve some new techniques. I ran into a wonderful bit of luck when I went to buy the Caron Simply Soft Yarn (I really like this yarn, which is an added reason to work on these projects) – they were on sale! I had a harder time finding the Caron Simply Soft in Purple, I went to two Michaels locations and they don’t seem to carry that colour. I have bought the Loops and Threads Soft and Shiny in Purple which is very similar to Caron Simply Soft and Red Heart Soft and seems to be the right shade or at least close to it.
This weekend I will be sewing Smudge the Cat together so I will be able to start on one of these projects this weekend as well. Probably the rug first!
This is what my cat Hugo, of the blog name hugolovesbags looks like nowadays. He was lounging in the sun recently and actually let me take a good picture of him. He’s a good looking cat – and he knows it!
I have written before about the Kawaii Cuddler patterns by 3amgracedesigns. This is the most recent pattern from them that I have made – The roast turkey! I made this for my sister’s birthday because I am sure she will think it is funny.
I had some issues with the pattern and you may notice that the wings are pointing up instead of down (I actually had to work really hard to do that, but I didn’t realize it at the time, not until I had sewn both pieces together.) But mistakes like these are how I put my own little touch on things and makes handmade items so special. None of them are ever exactly the same! Anyway, he now looks like an exceptionally happy turkey wanting a hug.
Turkey is made from Bernat Super Value in Topaz – great yarn, I’ve used it for so many projects this year.
I am currently working on Smudge the Cat from Jem Weston’s book Cute Comfort Knits. I had seen a preview of the book last year in one of the Let’s Knit magazine issues and loved the patterns so I found the book online to order. Smudge has been one of the patterns I wanted to make first, because it’s a cat and I love a good stuffed animal pattern. I am making it with a brown yarn which is a bit different for a cat but it’s going to look great!
An interesting aspect about this pattern is the cat is made with a front and a back piece, with the head, arms, body and leg all worked in one piece. I like that fact that there is less sewing of body parts but it will be interesting to see how sewing the two pieces together will work out!
After completing the Urban Bobble blanket I wanted a smaller project to complete so I selected Leonard and Josie, two small bird patterns from designer Nicky Fijalkowska from Let’s Knit Magazine, issue 134. They are a cute pair and were easy to make.
I purchase a lot of craft magazines and knit and crochet pattern books to try to keep up with the trends and learn new skills. Cacti seem to be a very long lasting trend, I have seen patterns for them in various forms for years now. They are still super cute.
The first cactus pattern I made was a very realistic looking pattern in a pot -this was back in 2014. The pattern was from Simply Knitting. Since then I have seen many designs for cacti that are more of a stuffy and have cute faces. I have made two versions of Donald the Cactus designed by Val Pierce from Let’s Knit Issue 115. He’s a big stuff cactus with arms and big feet and an excellent mustache. I named by cactus Juan and the second one was Diego.
This past summer I made some of my own cactus patterns, I called them Cactus Friends. Mostly because they were so happy looking and with their arms up they look ready for a hug. I made them in a few different colours just for interest (see green and purple cacti above).
I seems like the trend for cacti patterns will continue – I am looking forward to seeing more fun designs!
I think this is amazing – as a crochet project, the overall design and the detail on the stripes and the head. Vanessa Mooncie is a very talented designer who has had some patterns in the past with animal heads – the beaded elephant head from a previous issue of Simply Crochet sticks out in my mind. I feel a bit unsure as to why I like this so much – I would never want a real animal rug – so isn’t a fake one just as bad? While I sort out my mixed feelings about that, I can still say that I think this pattern is incredible.
This bumblebee had been on my list for a long time to make – she is super cute! It always struck me as a good baby shower gift. The pattern was from the Let’s Knit Magazine, Woodland Creatures to Knit and Crochet supplement from March 2014. The design and pattern is by Amy Gaines and the pattern was originally titled Buzz Hover.
The body and head are knit in one piece and then folded and the sides are sewn together and the body stuffed. This made for some interesting shaping but the instructions are very clear. I used Loops & Threads Impeccable for this project.
I am working on a blanket now for my neice, A. It is her birthday in March. I have a goal of making a blanket for each of my nieces & nephews. So far both nephews have received their blankets. I had made the blanket above in 2014, using the Bobble Stripe pattern from the Knit & Crochet Afghans pamphlet from Red Heart – which is now free, but I bought it back in the day. The patterns in this booklet are quite varied but all quite nice. I made the blanket with the exact yarn and colours as described in the pattern – there are not many times that happens. It was one of the first blankets I had crocheted. I decided to revisit the pattern again, but this time I am using Loops & Threads Urban in Purple and Bernat Super Value in Cream. It has a much more defined stripe look in this colour combination, but I like the look so far.
I have seen on Ravelry that some people have used the same colour throughout and it actually looks very good that way as well.
This is another pattern from 3amgracedesigns, I wrote a few posts (Peebo) ago about their Kawaii Cuddlers. I have made two bunny patterns so far and liked this snowman as a gift for my nephew O.
I used a finer yarn than I tend to – I have an abundance of Patons Astra in cream (I guess I keep buying it even though I still have some!) I like Astra for the dolls I have made in the past, John A. MacDonald and Ned Hanlan
Anyway, Astra worked well for this project, the other accessories are made with Loops and Threads Urban and the arms are made from Bernat Super Value.
Another pattern by Ilaria Caliri published in Simply Crochet magazine. I talked about her in an earlier post about the Crochet Santa pattern. I have made a number of her patterns from Simply Crochet this year. I named this guy Gilbert – his hat makes him look like a wizard.
I just got my issue of Simply Crochet – I started subscribing to it last year and it is so much more fun knowing that I am getting it in the mail than trying to figure out which bookstore will stock it and when!
I used to be a dedicated knitter but I would say now I am pretty evenly split between knit and crochet. There are certain projects that I can see how to make something either knit or crochet. Simply Crochet magazine is great because it is from the UK – they make fantastic magazines there (see Simply Knitting and Let’s Knit, other favourites) and they are so devoted to promoting their own wool/yarn industry which I think is fantastic. Their patterns are also always interesting and they teach new techniques in each issue which is a reason to keep buying new issues. I do have to remind myself to be careful about the differences between UK and US crochet terms!
This issue I like the rainbow themed patterns, the cushions and the slipper patterns. I also enjoyed the calendar that was provided as the gift with this issue. I like the idea of making a wreath, not sure if I will try that this coming year or not. I did notice on the calendar that they have a Christmas countdown in December – so fun!
For my niece’s birthday in April, I wanted to make her something different, something funny. She was turning 16 so her interest in my knit or crochet was not as strong as it used to be. I found this pattern for Senor Taco on Ravelry. It is from DMC and is a nice pattern, easy to follow. You make the taco shell and the fillings separately and then sort of sew it all together. She loves him, so it was a great choice!
Mr Taco was made with Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn in various colours.
Last December I made this Santa from Simply Crochet Issue 64. I was most fascinated by the amazing beard and mustache when I first saw the pattern. It was the first amigurumi pattern that I completed by Ilaria Caliri, she publishes regularly in Simply Crochet and has also published a few books. Her designs are so lovely and her creations have such personality. I have since completed a number of her patterns, but I really felt this Santa pattern taught me techniques that I didn’t really know before. I liked that the legs and arms and head were all attached to the body so there was not as much sewing. It was challenging for me to figure some of it out but in the end it has made my crochet work better.
Now that the holiday season is here, Santa can be out on display again!
Ilaria has published a new holiday pattern in Simply Crochet Issue 77 for the Snowman, based on the children’s book by Raymond Briggs. I think he’ll make a great companion for Santa!
Have you seen the Yarn bookazine from Scheepjes? They are fantastic pattern and craft magazines with really wonderful themed projects. I have been collecting all of them since I saw an ad in one of my knitting magazines – the ad I saw was for Yarn Issue no 4 – Dutch Masters. The most recent issue theme is Folk and they have some fantastic patterns. I made the Sleeping Reindeer from the book as a gift for my niece, A.
It was fairly easy to make, my only question was not cutting the yarn after each colour change, since bringing the yarn up the side would be visible. I did end up cutting the yarn and sewing in the ends but other than this, the instructions were clear. I still need to add the ribbon and the little embroidery on the head.
I used Bernat Super Saver and some Loops & Threads Impeccable because that is what I had, so my Reindeer is definitely bigger than the pattern but still cute and cuddly.
I found the book Amigurumi On the Go by Ana Paula Rimoli about a year ago. Ana is a really wonderful crochet designer who has taken the design of stuffed animals and turned them into bags. One of the things I love about this book is that the patterns are quite simple and some of them are very large! As someone who always ends up making things bigger – especially toys, this is a feature I love.
I made the Teddy Bear Backpack for my niece, A, earlier this year. It has an especially large teddy bear head that I did first and it floated around the house for a while until I had the body part finished and could attach it. It was so cute I wanted one for myself but I know that I probably do not need more bags.
This summer I needed a project to take with me on holiday – I wanted something that would be easy to work on but did not have too many small parts, so I made a couple of Owl Bags. Super easy to make and very cute! These bags are on the small side, perfect for little kids and their toys or snacks. It would not be hard to make them larger, if one wanted to.
The Teddy Bear backpack was made with Eaton’s Sayelle Knitting worsted, which is an old yarn but perfect for a project like this. The Owls are made with Bernat Super Saver.
I taught myself to knit in my late teens after I got tired of jewelry making. It is by far my favourite craft and I knit accessories and decor items but I especially enjoy making toys. I have also taught myself to crochet. I have made some blankets as well as crochet toys. I would love to venture into sewing, embroidery and cross stitch. I also love tea, books, detective shows and Mr. Darcy.