Festive Fall Wreath

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Autumn! The season of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Turkey Time. (Okay, I made that last one up…) It always feels like the beginning of fun and family time.

We celebrate Canadian and U.S. Thanksgiving in our house, so there’s plenty to feel festive about. And the season also marked a year since we bought the house — another thing to celebrate!

I made this wreath by wrapping Lion Brand Homespun yarn around a foam ring (from Michaels, or any craft store) and securing the end with a pin. That’s important, because it will let me undo the wreath and reuse the foam and yarn next year, if I want something different.

(Call me cheap, but I think those rings are ridiculously expensive, given that they’re basically packing foam!)

I had fun scouring Ravelry for leaf and flower patterns for my wreath. I made them with scrap yarn, and also secured them with a straight pins. I actually found a pack of pins with pearly coloured ends at the dollar store, which was great because they add a bit of shine.

So, what did you make this week?

xo Jacquie

The Adrienne Blanket

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I bought a grab bag of yarn from a woman through Craigslist — her stash-bust, my stash benefit.

There was a lot of nasty acrylic, but buried at the bottom were these iridescent balls of blue and green baby yarn. I knew they were meant to be a blanket.

It took me a while to work out that I needed to double up strands to equal the thickness of the Snuggly Wuggly yarn I had leftover from my last blanket. So I used one of each, and the result was this sort of shiny, fish scale effect. Perfection.

This simple granny square pattern (just keep going around — no pattern needed here) with picot edging was a little tedious to make, but I was thrilled with the simplicity and elegance of it.  The resulting seafoam-y colour would have been suitable for either a baby boy or girl, which made it the perfect gift for a coworker who decided not to find out what she was having.

Surprise — it was a girl! It’s simply my lot in life to be surrounded by beautiful baby girls. 🙂 And so I named this blanket after its new owner.

So, what did you make this week?

xo Jacquie

Ready, Set, Pokémon Go!

IMG_1591A wave of young people washed up on the shore of Lake Ontario this week – and they’re all looking for Pokémon.

Since last weekend, the trails down by the water in my neighbourhood have been peppered by youngsters (and the not-so-young folk who just love the franchise).  That is, of course, because of the Pokémon Go game that recently came out.  I hear the kids are looking for Squirtles and other water-oriented Pokémon, which are thought to be most prevalent near water.

In Canada–where summers are fleeting–it’s nice to see people enjoying being outside, even if they are glued to the game. I haven’t minded sidestepping them on the sidewalk, and it’s been funny to watch them run through the nearby college campus.

All this brings back memories of my little brother, who had about five Pokémon Gameboy games as a kid, and would always watch the show when it was his turn with the remote. Weirdly, he has not been keen on the resurgence of Pokémon now… But never mind, I have enough nostalgia for the both of us.

The trend has also repolarized Pokémon crochet patterns, which I have seen popping up on Reddit and other forums.  A few years ago, there was a big Pokémon amigurumi trend, so there’s plenty of pattern options for people who want to create a baby Charmander – or my recent obsession, a Bulbasaur that you can grow a plant in. How cute is that?! I saw the pattern and now I can’t find it… Ugh.

I was inspired to join in the craze by my friends at the podcast Geek Top Five. Check them out! This week there’s a great list of sought after Pokemon, and some details about the new game.

So, I’m tossing my own creations on the pile. I did an adult size Poké Ball hat, and a toddler size Pikachu. I figure parents are always trying to catch their wee ones in the park anyway, so it’s a pretty adorable fit. 🙂

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I had a go at writing down the patterns, too!  So, if you want to take a crack at them, or just get inspired to make your own, go nuts!

(I bet Pokémon stuff would be really popular to sell at fairs and markets, but since we don’t own the rights to the characters, that’s probably a bad idea, right?)

So, what did you make this week?

XO

Jax

P.s. Last month I got married! It was a fabulous year of planning and prepping, but I’m looking forward to much more stitching now that I have more free time! I’ve already got two other projects on the go… Can’t wait to share them with you!

Click for more pictures and to see the patterns…

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A Pillow (in Sophie’s Universe)

If you crochet and have an internet connection, you’ve probably seen the Sophie’s Universe pattern that has been making the rounds over the last couple of years. If you’ve somehow missed the craze, you can find the pattern and pics on the blog “Look What I Made.”

People go crazy for this pattern and I watched www.reddit.com/r/crochet make these blankets all through last year.

Well… this is something the same, but different.

Sophie's Universe Pillow #1

I wanted to try The Sophie, but I found myself in the camp of people who felt all of those colour changes were a bit much.

Hmm. After some deliberation, I thought a few balls of Elann Meander Yarn with slow and gentle colour variations should keep things interesting! I also used a size 5.5 hook, which wound up making the pattern looser, so you can see the pillow through it.

This pattern was so much more awesome than expected because of all the different stitches. It’s no good for in front of the TV, but it’s great for keeping you interested and motivated to keep hooking!

Sophie Pillow #2

The other thing I wanted to mention is that sometimes, you can love a project and not feel the need to press ahead with it at a certain point. This Sophie was meant to be a pillow. I got the actual cushion on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond… and voila! A Christmas present for my Mom was born. (Yes I am only posting it now, shh.)

This was a good chance for me to work on my freehand crochet. I did the last few rows of squaring the Sophie and making stretched out corners that fit the pillow by just eyeballing it. I am pretty proud of finding a way to make this Sophie my own!

So, what did you make this week?

xo Jax.

Lucky Elephant Baby Blanket

An elephant with its trunk up represents prosperity, good luck and victory. All good intentions to pass on to a new baby and her mama — and that’s the inspiration behind my latest creation.

 

My best friend has always loved elephants and I knew that would be the basis of the blanket I’d make for her, now that’s she’s expecting her first child. I am so excited and the time is flying by. I can’t wait to meet the little one!

Will it be a little boy or girl?! Either one will be full of sweetness, but when you’re not sure, keeping colours neutral is important! I went with a turquoise, sea-foam, grey and white palette. I loved it! I had it ready JUST in time for the baby shower last weekend. I was also in charge of planning some games, so it was a busy one!

The pattern was inspired by this Repeat Crafter Me blanket, except the squares are single, half-double and double crochet. Just subtract one stitch of length for each larger stitch. (ex. 25 across for SC, 24 for HDC and 23 for DC).

I also made some multi-coloured squares. There are tones of patterns online for creative granny squares, but here’s how to do a solid one and then you can just change colours as you go!

The elephant applique was also inspired by Repeat Crafter Me’s pattern. I just added another round of stitches to make him a bit bigger! I think his little flapping ear really makes it.

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Elephant Detail

I used Loops and Threads Snuggly Wuggly yarn and a size 4.5 hook. Machine washable!

I was thrilled she loved the gift when she opened it at the beautiful shower (in a bicycle-themed restaurant!) , but my heart will be even more warmed to see her baby wrapped up in it!

For now, here’s a pile of wrapped gifts! Lucky baby! You can see the diaper cake I made peeking out the top of the pile in the back there! 😀

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What did you make this week?

xo

Jax

 

Summer Ocean Views blanket for an East Coast baby

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I met Holly when I was a baby.

Our moms, no doubt looking for camaraderie in the challenging and often solitary world of first-time parenting, had signed up for a local baby group. I was born in June, and then she came into the world in August.

In many ways, we’ve long been opposites. I was a precocious child, while she was painfully shy. I wore dresses – she hated them. As teens, I became the bookish and calculating one, while she got a part-time job and a boyfriend… and then eventually moved across the country after university, because why not?

She loved it out by the water, and never looked back.

Now, my longest-time friend has just delivered a baby of her very own. A sweet little nugget named Jack.

Since Holly was the one who inspired me to learn crochet (she also knits and sews – you can find her stuff here), I knew I wanted to bring some of my own yarn love to the little man who I’m excited to meet next month. I also wanted to represent the province where this family is making their home – on the coast of Newfoundland.

Inspired by a trip out East for her wedding last year (if you haven’t been, it’s a whole other world out there!), I went with a beach-and-boats theme for my gift. I took inspiration from a number of different patterns around the internet (linked below) to put it all together. So nice to sit after work, stitching and thinking about a new life set to begin.

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Bonus adorable anchor ribbon from Michaels!

I loved making this blanket and I can’t help but think this could have been sweet and fun as an “Under the Sea” theme with more detailed aquatic appliques.

I was really happy with my sewing too. From the back view you can hardly tell there’s so much detail on the other side – I actually just like the simple wave pattern.

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The Summer Ocean Views blanket:

The blanket itself takes its waves from a wavy chevron pattern. I drew inspiration from this simple ripple pattern.

I used an “I” hook and three kinds of yarn. The sandy effect came from (I think – there was no label) Patons Smoothie DK yarn. The blue was Red Heart Soft from Michaels. I alternated the two blue colours to make it look more like caps on a wave – not sure if you can tell the difference from the photos. I might use more varied colour if I were to do it again.

Then I did the appliqués!

Boats!

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Here’s a link to the sailboat pattern/video I was inspired by.

Fishies!

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Here’s a link to the simple fish pattern I was inspired by. It’s the goldfish one, but there some bonus guppy patterns too, if you prefer!

Crab friend!

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Here’s a link to the crab pattern that I used for the CLAWS ONLY. The body was just an oval that I did freehand. You can do her body, if you want yours to be round. Or make your own oval! I’ve included a picture of me blocking it because it really needed it…

Starfish!

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Here’s a link to the starfish pattern I was inspired by. I added a white border to mine…

So, what did you make this week?

xo Jax

Rare sheeps, learning to knit and inspiration from abroad: How some special wool brightened my week

2015-04-13 New Zealand Woolshed Flyer 2Rolling hills, glistening sea and even the smell of the air – there’s nowhere quite like New Zealand. And I am so lucky to have just received some very special yarn from that country.

Two skeins of wool in the colour “misty grey” are now mine, sheered from the rare breed of Gotland sheep.

But these strands didn’t come by the post. Some history: My father grew up in New Zealand and I still have family there. That includes my Nana, who first taught me how to knit and purl. When I was a girl — deeply committed to my ballet classes — I was always the envy of other girls with the coziest, snuggliest leg warmers at the barre, made for me by Nana.

While crochet has become my first love since then, my Nana’s house in South Island of New Zealand was ground zero for my introduction to the fibre arts.

So, when my Dad announced he was making a trip home to see the family this March, I was hoping he might bring me back some yarn. And he did – from a farm and craft shop called The Woolshed on Takaka Hill. It’s pretty cute place by the looks of things, with a lunch menu, ice creams and farm animals you can pet!

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But this delivery was extra special to me because my dad also brought back my Nana’s knitting needles and the bag she used to put her yarn in. I am so lucky to have received it, and it’s found a home next to my glitzier yarn box. And that about sums me up – a taste for the modern and the vintage.

Naturally I can’t wait to see what I can do with this yarn… but I’m also inclined so save it and just enjoy the possibilities for a little while.

What should I make?!

XO

Jax

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