Just For Fun is my way of sharing all the little things I like to do... from crafty things to thoughtful things!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hockey, hockey, hockey all the time!

Even though Steve's ice hockey league ended Monday, there's still plenty of hockey to be had.  The inline league is just beginning out at Pioneer Park, and the Sundogs are in the playoff hunt for the President's Cup.
Hockey fans know the importance of the 'playoff beard'.  For those not in the know, players are quite superstitious and will not shave during playoffs in case it affects their skill and luck.  The longer the beard, the longer they've been able to survive playoffs and the closer they are to the championship.

This year, I made hockey helmet beanies with playoff beards attached for us to wear to the first playoff game, coming up in a few days. Steve and I opted for gray since that's the color our beards would be if we actually grew them. But...

Harley likes red! It's also a Sundogs color.

Hopefully I'll get a photo of him wearing it at the game.

This also seems like a good place to share one of the baby gifts I mentioned earlier. 
Martha and Matt are expecting their first child this year - congratulations! 
Of course, we all know this baby will be a hockey player too, so why not start right off the bat?  This blanket is made using a wheel stitch that reminds me of hockey pucks.  A helmet style beanie and skate style booties are icing on the cake, I mean baby.

Steve says I used the hockey theme because I hope they'll bring the baby suited up for the Sundogs games next year and I might be able to get some cuddle time.
I must confess, he's probably right!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh baby!

Just in case you thought I haven't been posting because there was nothing in the works... This is a big year for babies, and for baby crochet projects.  First, there was the daughter of our client for whom I made the sea creatures.  Then, there is my niece, my friends in the UK and my hockey friends.  Four baby projects one right after the other!  Whew!

Update: Here is a 'tree of life' afghan made for Amanda and Tim's baby. They really love trees, both esthetically and symbolically. It made me think of the 'family tree', as well as a great meadow of flowers surrounded by trees.

I made a basic cap or three as well but I forgot to photograph them before they went into the shipping box.  Hopefully, we'll get a photo with baby as well in the fullness of time!

Here are some close ups of the tree detail as well as the flower detail... the trees are made using front post stitches to give them dimension.

Update:  Here is the hockey themed set for Martha and Matt's baby.  They not only have Sundogs season tickets a couple rows from us, but also play inline hockey with Steve.  We're working on Matt for the ice hockey league next year.

The bottom line is that this baby WILL play hockey.  :oP  Why not get him or her started right away?

I like the wheel pattern in the blanket (done in Sundogs team colors) because it reminds me of hockey pucks.

Update:  Here are the groovy robots I made for Angie and KC's baby.  They make me think of tv shows in the 60's, like a weird cross between "Lost in Space" and "The Brady Bunch".

I sent a 'worry blanket' to them a while back made of cotton (Arizona summers, 'nuf said) so I thought I would change it up a bit here and make a simple cotton quilt.  I also couldn't resist the fleece print and just cleaned up the edge with some crochet.

A robot bib, some robot toys, and the traditional cap and sneakers complete the set!


Now back to your regularly scheduled post...

I can however share photos of the super hero items I made for my oldest grandson.  He will be 5 in a couple of weeks. 

Christy brought the boys up for a quick visit last weekend and it was so nice to see them.  Topher asked me to tie a blanket around his shoulders like a cape... and you can just call me Gru because in my head I said "light-bulb".

We all did that when we were that age, right?  Pretend to be superheroes with blankets tied around our shoulders? 

I had seen this Spidey blanket pattern and had it rolling around in the back of my mind as a project for 'someday' but this 'light-bulb' moment brought it to the forefront.  Yeah, I know and you know that Spiderman does not have a cape... but I went right to the ultimate 5 year old boy source = Steve for an expert opinion.  He agreed that its a small detail because the first thing anyone wants to do with this spider web is to tie it on and run around the kitchen.  Oh yes he did!  :oP

If you look closely at the right side of the picture, you can see the wrist bands I made to complete the ensemble, including buttons to release your webs.  I did not let my 'expert' try those on because of the size, but I'm pretty sure they will be well received.
While not as colorful, no super hero cape collection would be complete without the basic red Superman model. 

I made the bottom edge extra wide for better control while flying.

I am seriously considering making an extra large version of this cape for my nephew to use as a blanket.  At age 5 he wore his Superman cape every single day, including to school.  He turns 21 later this year.

Enjoy every moment.  Time flies... just like Superman.

Silly hats

I am a fan of instant gratification when it comes to crochet projects.  I love the feeling of getting something done easily when the rest of my life can be so complicated.  I also like the feeling of not having to commit to a huge project and having it loom over my head like a chore.

I've had several rounds of silly hat making since making Pie-rets including using leftovers for donating, droids, pirates, house elves, beards, a viking hat I neglected to photograph, and even run of the mill beanies because my ears were cold.

So, when I came across this Minion from Despicable Me I just had to make one.  When I am feeling really silly, I may wear it to a Sundogs game for when they play the dance montage that includes us and our "We love our Sundogs" sign.  The montage starts with Minions so I would fit right in.

I also had fun making these Yoda and Darth Maul beanies for Cathie and Harley.

The yoda beanie is quite simple, but the details are important.  Yoda's ears are not symetrical so I tried to capture that in the hat as well.  the only problem is that when worn, the ears tend to fall flat.  I am hopeful that will be remedied with a little florist wire.

The Darth Maul beanie was more of a challenge because of the color changes.  Crochet stitches are square or rectangular so I couldn't get the smooth lines, but I think it's recognizable anyway.

The little horns were also a bit of a challenge, and I could not get the angle I wanted because yarn is basically soft... but again, I think it's recognizable and come on... who else do you know with any sort of Darth Maul beanie at all?!  Definitely one of a kind.

Keep the silly hat ideas coming!  I love to see how I can make them work (or not).

Update: here's that darn minion waving my sign at the Sundogs game!  Sadly, they did not play the montage on the big screen for us, but you can't blame me for trying.

Monday, March 7, 2011

By the Sea

I made this set for a client's baby shower. They love sailing in San Diego. When we found out they were using this bedding theme, including painting similar waves on the walls of the nursery, I decided to semi-coordinate with it.  I used a basic wave pattern. 

Here's a close up so you can see the stitches... I like that you can see the ripples in the waves even when the color does not change.  For those who crochet, you alternate tall and short stitches in order to create the wave.  You can see that the varying widths of the single crochet (small squares) rows is what makes them each different.

I also thought it would be fun to make a baby sized sailor hat and amigurumi versions of the sea creatures shown on the bedding. 
The starfish is a classic of course, and worked up quickly.

I thought the sea horse was going to be the most challenging but Mausica's pattern turned out to be quite easy to follow. 

I also used her pattern for the octopus which I think may be my favorite of the bunch.  This little guy even has suckers on the underside of the tentacles!

I am still trying to get a sea turtle that looks right to me... if I get it figured out I will add him to the bunch.  For now though, I think this group will get the job done!

Just to keep with the theme and in case you you missed it... here is the coral reef I did for the University of Florida.

Update 3/9/11... here's the sea turtle, such as it is.  Still not completely happy with the turtle part, but not too bad considering I couldn't find a free pattern I liked!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hippity hoppity, Easter's on it's way!

Ok... maybe it's not quite Easter (4/24 this year).  But crafters have to think and work ahead in order to enjoy the fruits of their labor on time.

I saw this simply but cute bunny basket and decided it would make a perfect centerpiece for our table.  I found a pattern for eggs and it was time to choose colors.

My friend Kimberly liked the idea too, and she chose my favorite colors, browns, greens and yellows.  In fact, this bunny basket is on it's way to her right now!

I decided on a rich brown yarn for the basket so he could be a chocolate bunny.  What's Easter without chocolate bunnies right?  And because of the allergy situation, it looks like this is the only chocolate bunny I'm going to have this year.

The eggs were fun to think about as well as crochet, because of the variety of colors and patterns to make.

I love living in a small town, except for the shopping.  Many times I have to base my project on what yarn is available and this was one of those times.  Sometimes the tone of a color is off, or it's not the right weight or fiber for the project I have in mind.  This time, there was no yellow in the weight I needed.  No yellow!  Can you imagine?!

So I substituted a self patterning yarn with yellow and green stripes as well as a 'flower' section.  It's really a section of yarn that has tiny spots of color at regular intervals.  When worked up, the dots come together and are supposed to look like a tiny cluster of flowers, in this case blue and yellow.  I think they came pretty close!

May your Easter be blessed, whether it's with chocolate bunnies, friends and family, or whatever makes you happy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spinning wheel... got to go round

This week was all about wheels... Catherine's Wheel to be precise.

This wheel stitch is supposed to look like interlocking rows of circles in the end.  However, if your tension isn't quite right, it looks a bit more like wonky squares. 

You can see I have a bit of both in my practice work... but since I was using leftover yarn from the Cutie Pie and making knockabout tote/shopping bags it doesn't really matter.  After a while the pattern is almost hypnotizing isn't it?

It also makes a nice close fabric, suitable for just about any project.  I think I'll use the black and alternating team colors for a baby blanket for some friends who are hockey fans.  The black circles could be hockey pucks, right?  I think it would also make a great sweater, but perhaps in different colors.  :oP

All in all I ended up with nine bags using a skein each of white and black as well as the colorful odds and ends left in the stash.

I love the idea of using my own bags when shopping, even though we recycle paper and plastic bags we occasionally get.  Not only are these bags stronger with more capacity, they are just more fun to carry!

I took a break from Catherine's Wheel long enough to try some Queen Anne's Lace.  The shell shaped patterns are quite similar, but what a different result!

With the wheel, the shells are lined up straight.  With the lace, the shells alternate direction and are left unattached to anything but edge of the next shell.

 It turned into a very pretty piece!

I also made a great 'scoodie' (scarf with a hood) out of this pale green homespun yarn.

It is sooooo soft! It's regular double crochet with an extra large hook to keep the fabric light and airy. I added a shell edging around the face as well.

Lastly,  with some leftover wool I tried the first chart I've done in a long time.  I have a hard time getting the tension just right with all the color changes and it ends up pulling toward the center.

I decided to try Deathflake partly because it reminded me a little of Voldemort's Dark Mark and a little of Pirates of the Caribbean - two of my favorites.  It did indeed pull toward the center again (dammit!) but I compensated by making the back side slightly larger than the front by stitch count.  I also used wool for felting by design, thinking that once felted, the pulling might not be so noticeable.

So if I hadn't just told you, would you have noticed?  Come on, be honest!

Oh yeah... one more thing.  Guess what arrived in the mail today?  The yarn for the body of my Molly Weasley 'Coat of Many Colors' Sweater!

Update 3/10/11 to add the Sundogs baby blanket I made using the same wheel stitch: