Patterns: March 2011 Archives
Amigurumi- a Japanese word that means crocheted or knitted stuffed toy
If you follow me on twitter you know that after years of nay-saying and fierce resistance I have been bitten by the crochet bug. One lowly factor that could certainly be responsible for this new found addiction is my 2 yr old. This wee, dear person coupled with the abundance of Amigurumi crochet patterns out there (this is a vague term for the internet) has surely driven me to this end. But I am willing to stand up and say "My name is Tara and I love to crochet!"
Now I am a beginner but I can pull off a mean single crochet and so I can whip out some really cool Amigurumi! It seems that these stuffed toys are more prevalent in crochet than knitting and after having constructed a few myself I can see the advantages of crochet over knitting in terms of toys. It is easier to crochet small diameter than it is to knit. It seems that crocheting in the round is easier as well. I have also had an easier time with the stuffing. While closing up a stuffed crocheted item can be tricky, I love that I can stuff the piece and then close it with the same stitch as opposed to knitting where you cast off, stuff and then sew it up. Perhaps it is the novelty of the difference that has me enraptured but I am digging it!
Since I am on this kick, I have been doing a lot of internet surfing to log all my favorite Amigurumi patterns to crochet as my skill grows and I just have to share.
Fabric.com carries 2 books of Crochet Critters that I put at the top of my list mostly because my little one is jungle animal crazy right now. I love the Lion on the cover of "Easy Crochet Critters" which also includes a monkey and a hippo which are tops in our house.
Lion Brand has a TON of Amigurumi crochet patterns, each one as cute as the last. I literally want to make all of them but I would settle for a few of each. I am especially smitten with the Halloween characters because it is my favorite holiday. And you know Fabric.com carries all the best Lion Brand Yarn.
I found an adorable octopus on Ravelry by Michele Tway
I love the attitude of this monkey with a banana by Betsi Brunson
Lastly, and I have to included this because in my heart I am still a knitter and I cannot resist a great knitted toy and anything by Mochimochi Land is Awesome, hands down, but this free pattern, Woodins, featured in Knitty is the cat's meow.
Enjoy and share your favorite Amigurumi patterns here or on our Facebook wall
You can follow my crochet projects on twitter.
Duvets are the perfect way to change up your room for spring, to disguise your winter linens and brighten up your room if you are running on a tight budget which doesn't allow for a new comforter. Plus, you can Mix n' Match your favorite designer fabrics to work with your bedroom that no other store can offer. If you have a duvet that you are coveting but it's out of your range, challenge yourself to recreate it with your own fabric. Making a duvet is easy but a time invest is involved. The payout is worth it.
I choose to make my duvet from contrasting fabrics so I can totally change the look of my room with just a flip of my covers. I have been a big fan of Amy Butler's and Anna Maria Horner's fabric for a long time but could not find the right project to use my favorite prints. I said to myself "why match- take a chance!" and it really worked out. The assembly was almost as much fun as the fabric shopping. Here's how I made my king-sized duvet.
6 yds of Fabric A (Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit) 60in. wide Home Dec
6.5 yds of Fabric B (Amy Butler for Rowan) 60 in. wide Home Dec
Duvet-Measure out 2 lengths of 3yds each from Fabric A and B. You will have 4 sections of 3yds each. With right sides together stitch the 2 sections of Fabric A together along the selvedges. Repeat with Fabric B. Press seams open. Double turn a 1 in. hem along the top of Fabric A and stitch. Set aside.
Button band- Measure and cut 2 pieces of Fabric B 8 in. by 60 in. Stitch these 2 pieces together along the selvedges and press seams open. With right side facing out, fold this piece in half and press. Pin this to the right side top of Fabric B duvet and stitch in place. Press seam to the wrong side of the duvet. With Right sides facing stitch duvet A to duvet B at the sides and along the bottom. Clip corners and turn right side out.
Buttons- Measure 2 in. in from each edge and then at 10 in. increments for your buttons and button holes. Double check to determine that your buttons and button holes match up. Place your button holes on the button band and your buttons on the inside of your top hem on duvet A. Your buttons will be tucked inside your duvet cover, not seen and will not poke you in your sleep.
Place your quilt or comforter inside your new, styling duvet and enjoy your new room! You can see how well both sides blend with my pillow covers (for instructions click here)
As much as I look forward to spring, in my neck of the woods it comes with stiff breezes and biting mornings. You need a lovely scarf to take the edge off the changing of the seasons in a lightweight fiber that works in warmer weather or can fit in your bag when temperatures climb in the middle of the day. This simple but elegant Ruffle Scarf knit in a cotton/linen blend creates the perfect spring scarf. The neutral, subtle colors blend well with dark, jewel tones of winter and the brighter shades of spring. I recommend doubling the yarn to make this a quick knit as well as blending the variegated color in the yarn. I started the 2 strands at different ends of the ball, mismatching the colors (One ball started with pink and the other with green). I wanted to swirl the colors together so there would be an even distribution of the variegation.
The finished scarf is about 6 ft long and a gorgeous length of ruffle goodness and deliciously soft. The weight is just right to swag around your neck and add a bit of warmth or you can double or triple the scarf and couple with a jacket for blustery days and nights. This scarf works well with a weekend, casual outfit or can be paired with a suit or dress for a weekday or a swing coat and heels for evening. It is very functional and stylish.
I loved making it despite the upwards of 600 sts at the end. It was a nice relaxing garter stitch that worked well while sitting outside with the little one. Here's what you will need to make your own:
2 skeins of Berroco Linsey (64% cotton, 36% Linen) in Vineyard color way.
With the yarn doubled, cast on 150 Sts (I used backwards cast on). Do not join for knitting in the round.
Knit 2 rows,
R3: *kf&b, k1; repeat from * to end of round (300 sts)
R4 & 5: Knit
R6: Repeat R3 (600 sts)
R8: Bind off
Weave in your ends and enjoy your luxurious scarf! I love to pair mine with my Favorite Things Cute Skirt and Denim jacket.
I have long been in love with Heather Bailey's Marlo Bloom Bag pattern and have been itching to make it for some time. However, I really had no excuse to make it for the blog since my 'thing' is to review patterns but also to make them in a slightly different way so as to give new ideas and inspiration. The Marlo Bag did not look like it could be modified at all so that left it out of contention. However, I soon discovered these awesome Turquoise Bag Handles and the light bulb went off. Not every bag shape can accommodate this pair of U shaped handles but the Marlo's wide body and delicate gathers look great with the rigid shape of the handles. The color is slightly variegated, like real turquoise and is a very soft color. The Turquoise Handles worked really well with my dark blue canvas and turquoise/aqua quilting cotton print. Let me get off my chest now before I continue my love tirade for this bag: This project was not the piece of cake I had envisioned.
I followed Heather's instructions and read the pattern before commencing. It looked pretty easy. I had a game plan. I would alter the pattern assembly just a little by leaving a turning gap in the bottom of the lining and then assemble the top as instructed but with wrong sides out. Then I would turn the bag right side out and hand sew up the lining. Next, I would simply rip 4 small holes in the top for the handle straps. Topstitching around the top would seal these holes closed and DONE!
I don't recommend this assembly. The gathers make it difficult to press seams open, turn and press again, and topstitch over these gathers, phew! Ripping into the gathers also is not a good idea but I tried it anyway because at that point I was committed. I was able to save the gathers and keep them in place but it was all shooting from the hip and I don't think I could adequately put it into words. It just goes to show that you can read ahead, plan ahead but seeing all the contingencies ahead is another story. However, once finished the bag looked so good with the handles that I was determined to come up with a new idea. From where I sat the problems were 2: turning the gathers (it was just easier to leave the instructions as is, as though you were going to use the pattern handles) and ripping into the gathers. Bias tape is the solution. You can make it to match the exterior of your bag. Follow the pattern instructions as written but instead of sewing the pattern handles in place, sew bias tape on instead. Then you can slip the handle straps under the bias tape and DONE (but much easier).
To attach the handles I cut a 12 in. long by 3 in. wide piece from my dark blue Canvas. I then folded it in half and pressed. I opened the strap and then pressed the long sides over to meet at the center press line (this is a common Amy Butler technique). Then I folded the strap in half again and pressed a final time and stitched up the strap with 2 lines of stitching. I cut this piece into 4 pieces 3 in. long. I would recommend altering these instructions to cut a strap 16 in. long to give an extra 1 in. for each of the 4 pieces for tucking under the bias tape.
This is a great and fun modification for taking chic hand bag pattern to a stylish shoulder bag. The size of the bag lends it well to carrying knitting, crochet, embroidery, as well as a transitional diaper bag (when you don't need to haul the entire nursery just a diaper or 2).
I remember few years ago I was watching a quilting show in which they demonstrated a Fons and Porter pressing sheet. I had never beheld a tool such as that before and my eyes lighted up! When I discovered that Fabric.com carried them...well, needless to say there was much jumping and clapping. I am not much of a quilter. I have aspirations but very little opportunity. But I do love to appliqué and any tool that can help me to be more creative and at the same time keep my iron gunk free is for me! I decided to start with something simple to start with and get comfortable with the pressing sheet.
I am making another kid tent for some boys who are big hunting fans. Since every hunter needs a few deer head trophies, deer head appliqués were on the cutting table. I found a free coloring sheet with a shape that I liked and printed it out to use as a pattern. I started by tracing the pattern pieces onto the back of my fusible and basically cutting it out. Then I fused the pieces onto the wrong side of my quilting cotton and cut out the appliqués. Then using my pressing sheet (and removing the fusible backing) I was able to perfectly line up and combine my appliqué. Once my appliqué was complete, I could fuse it to my background and stitch around it. It was so easy and there were no mistakes. I felt a rush of excitement and a surge of ideas flooded into my brain.
*Edited- You use the pressing sheet as a base to build your appliqués. After you have cut out all your appliqués pieces and added fusible (Like Steam a Seam) then you peel the backing off all your appliqué pieces (I have 2 pieces: antlers and the head but I could have added more like the round nose you see below and the ears could have been separate as well). Then using your pressing sheet as a base you place your appliqués pattern underneath the pressing sheet. The sheet is transparent so you can see where to place your appliqué pieces and make sure you are assembling correctly. You can place your appliqué pieces on the pressing sheet and fuse them in layers. Once the appliqués is cool, carefully peel it off the pressing sheet and you can then place your completed appliqué in its finished location whether that be a hoody or a quilt. The pressing sheet allows you to assemble and reassemble your appliqué while checking placement. Then you can assemble without attaching it your finished article. Using the pressing sheet lets you see your finished appliqué before placing it so you can determine where it will fit and look best.You can see right through the pressing sheet (it's a tan color) to the pattern sheet below)
The pressing sheet can be used to solve another of my dilemmas. Whenever a pattern calls for you to cut pieces from fusible interfacing as well as fabric pieces to match, inevitably my fusible pieces and fabric pieces never match as much as I would like. Sometime the discrepancy is as much as ½ in. So usually I cut the fabric piece first and then fuse it and then cut the whole deal out of the fusible interfacing. However, this leads to gunk on my ironing board or iron. With my pressing sheet, I can pull off this feat without the mess. I am super pumped about this. The pressing sheet also comes with a color coded, tulip quilt block appliqué pattern for free! It would also be really great on the front of a messenger bag or backpack.
Let us know what you do with your pressing sheet on our Facebook page or twitter. You can follow Fabric.com to find out the latest deals and you can follow me(@tdangermiller) and get the inside dish on my projects.