Friday, March 27, 2015

Couch Tissue-Box Cover

I saw this pattern in a magazine and purchased the pattern right away.  I tucked it away and it was over a year before I finally dug it out and gave it a try.  You can find the pattern here:

I think I hid it away because it looked a bit complicated but I was happy to discover how easy this pattern really is.  On a Sunday, when I spend the entire day on the couch, watching movies while I crochet, I can get two of these completed.

The first one I made (the purple one), I used Caron soft yarn.  While it worked ok, the yarn was a bit fine for this project and took more stretching to fit it over the tissue box.

The second one I made, I used Red Heart yarn .... a bit thicker and it worked up to a good gauge, fitting over the box easily and with lots of flexibility.  I used an "H" hook.

These are very inexpensive gifts.  The entire project takes about a half skein of yarn.  Good projects for using up those leftover partial skeins.

After making the first one and posting it online for my friends to see, I started getting requests for them left and right.  Since I love to crochet,  I was thrilled to be able to make these as gifts for my friends.

Here are a few samples of the ones I have made:
My first prototype from the pattern.
It was a finer yarn that stretched more than it should have.
My second one. Experienced crocheters will be able
to see the difference in how much the couch seat
was stretched.  I think I did better on attaching the arms, too.
Made by request for my daughter's office.
She loved the contrasting colors!

My youngest daughter requested this one for her boss,
who is a big Indianapolis Colts fan!

And for a dear high school friend, who requested the colors
to match her furniture.
Ready for Christmas!  I can't wait to put this on my front
hall table next to a bowl of Christmas candy!
The Christmas Opposite ... plain color couch with
multi-colored Christmas pillows.
Made for my grand-niece in her favorite colors of pink and purple!

At some point, I am going to figure out how to make a small afghan and throw it over the back of the couch!!

A Friend for Elmo

Shortly after giving granddaughter Marci her "Elmo" ( ), I got an interesting text from my son (Marci's dad):

"Mom .... if you're looking for another crochet project, we'd be happy to have a collection of Elmo's friends.  She won't put Elmo down.  If you're looking for ideas for something to make..."

Now how do you resist a text like that?  So off I go to find patterns to add to the doll collection.  It didn't take long and I found a "Kermit" pattern to purchase (less than $5 ..... ).

Elmo was my first crocheted doll and Kermit followed the same/similar basic pattern.  I had him done is just a couple of evenings.  

Here is my finished project, shown perched on the Couch Tissue Box Cover I made for my daughter's office:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

OOPS!! Stuff Happens!

Well, it was bound to happen sometime.  How did I know?  Because it happens to everyone at some time or another.

You get this far into a project and realize you have to scrap the whole thing because you miscounted.

I'll be honest.  I noticed it a few rows ago, but there was that little part of my brain that tried to convince me "It'll work itself out eventually."  Uh ... no, it doesn't.

So what happened here?

At the very beginning, after I made the initial "ch 6 and join",  I miscounted.  Instead of starting row 2 (yes, it goes all the way back to row 2!), with 16 total dc's, I ended up with 17.  That resulted in me creating 17 of those "spokes" instead of 16.  That extra spoke gave me my little tunnel that you see in the photo. That one single extra dc in the original circle caused all of this trouble.

Why did it take me so long to notice?  Familiarity.  I make this same pattern so often (see my earlier blogs on making bowls using this pattern) that I no longer need to look at the pattern.  I just happily crochet away, almost absent-mindedly, while watching television and before I know it, I have an extra spoke that just won't fit into the design of the circle.

So as soon as I post this, I'll be spending some quiet time unraveling this so I can start over.

Lesson learned!  No matter how familiar you are with your favorite patterns, it is a good idea to to stop and then to count your stitches and make sure you are still on track!


Saturday, January 24, 2015


Another first for me!  My very first crocheted stuffed doll!

I love Elmo.  I think I'm pretty safe in saying my kids love Elmo, too. So with some extra red yarn laying around, I decided to try to make my granddaughter an Elmo doll.

I found the pattern on "Maggie Makes Stuff" blog.  CLICK HERE to get to Maggie's blog for the pattern.

It was an easy work-up.  I spent maybe two evenings making Elmo body parts, then a quick evening of sewing them together.

The funniest part of the process was seeing Elmo body parts laying on my bed and my tables!!!

Head and body with mouth attached

Making the mouth looks like it would be confusing but follow the directions and you'll be fine.  I used red yarn to sew the mouth in place.  You can see the difference in the look this makes by comparing my Elmo's mouth and Maggie's Elmo mouth.

When I got to rows 24-25, where the directions say "inc 4 times evenly", I didn't worry about counting the stitches.  I just pressed the work together to find the "4 corners".  Think of it as finding the 12-3-6-9 positions on a clock.

In the photo, my thumb would be 6 o'clock, making the needle position 12 o'clock.  The two points on each side then become 3 and 9 o'clock.  And I have the 4 points where I would do the increase.

As I crocheted the legs and arms, the tiny cylinder shapes were a slight challenge to my older fingers but I found if I stuffed them with cotton balls as I worked, that made it much easier on me. 

It sure was fun to start putting him together and watch him actually start to look like an Elmo!!

But of course the final reward to all of this work is seeing him being hugged and loved by my granddaughter, Miss Marci!!  Marci's mom posted on facebook, "She required Elmo to join us on our trip to Target today, and that was the first time she HAD to bring a stuffy.  I couldn't even trick her into leaving it in the car."

And that, my friends, is the sole reason we all do this!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Crocheted Bowls

No matter how many years I have under my belt in the crochet world, it is always fun to try something new.  Here's a first for me: Shaped crocheted bowls.

Start with a basic doily pattern. I like the one used in this blog article (,  The reason I like it is that is works up pretty quick, it has nice open spaces but is solid enough to function as a bowl without most things falling through the traditional doily loops.

Here is the flat doily I made using the pattern in the above link.  I used standard size 10 crochet thread and size 7 crochet hook.  The width is about the size of my hand from palm to fingertips.

Using a product called "Stiffy", I coated the doily and placed it on a saran-covered overturn bowl.  Smooth the doily out flat and smooth over the bowl and let it dry.  It takes about 45 minutes (but I just do mine and then go to bed).

The finished bowl is a great candy dish.  I took this one to school and keep it on my desk with paper clips in it.

This Victorian Pink bowl is made with size 3 crochet thread and a size "1" crochet hook.  It turned out a bit bigger.  I think with this one, I would stop at the white stripe at the top or make a different border ... and by "different" I mean "smaller".

I can whip one of these doilies out in about three to four hours, a nice evening project while watching TV.  These make great gifts for teachers, casual friends, gift exchanges at work.  


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day at the Beach

If you believe in divine guidance, then you will have no trouble understanding why I believe I had that kind of help in making this afghan.  It was requested by a cousin for her 83 year old mother, our Aunt Libby, who is starting to feel chilly pretty often.  As I type this, we are in the middle of a severe cold front with wind chill temps in the 35-below-zero range.  Schools have been closed for a couple of days.  So the fact that Aunt Libby is feeling a bit chilly these days should not be a surprise to any of us!

I call it “A Day at the Beach” because the colors blend so well and replicate beach colors.  Starting in the deep waters of the ocean, the bottom border is navy blue.  The colors then flow thru the ocean colors of teals, greens and blues, fading into the creams and final border of white, like the sands of the beach.

The photos do not really do it justice.  As I hold it up, the angle of the light makes it look different each time, the colors melting into each other so the individual stripe disappears and all I see if a beautiful flow of color.

I used standard yarn (meaning not baby yarn or anything special) and a size “L” yarn crochet hook.   To start, I chained 100, which makes the end result about the width of a single bed.  Two strands of yarn were used, making the afghan extra thick, extra warm, and extra soft.  The softness is enhanced by the stitch I just discovered a couple of days ago (again, claiming divine guidance!).  One row is dc-sc-dc-sc, etc., and the next row is sc-dc-sc-dc, etc.  This stitch pattern gives it a nice stretchy texture and adds an overall softness to the finished afghan.  Each stripe is 9 rows of color.

When I make this again, I'll probably do a chain-80 to start and make each stripe only six, maybe seven rows to make it more "lap" size.  My husband tried this out for me and sitting on the couch, he had significant afghan overlapping on the floor at his feet.  But .... as I tried it out, I found the size to be perfect when curled up on the loveseat, my feet tucked in under me, nice and cozy warm as I enjoy my favorite TV show or a good book.

I’m a pretty fast crocheter, but this was a record setter for me.  I started and finished this one inside of three days.  Or I should say, inside of three evenings. 

I set my yarns up in this box for easy access.  I’m fortunate that I had a box in the house that was the perfect size for these yarns, enabling me to carry it from living room to bedroom, depending on where I chose to work on it.

It is being shipped to Aunt Libby this week.  May she spend many, many happy hours snuggling on the couch underneath it, staying warm as toast as she enjoys her day!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mickey Mouse

Another afghan from "Aunt Debi" and wow did I have a blast making this one!

The mom-to-be (due in January 2015) is a big Disney fan.  Anyone who is a fan of Disney like my niece Laura just has to have a Mickey Mouse blanket in their nursery.

I found the pattern through a diligent search of Pinterest.  Here is the link that was generously shared by a fellow crocheter:

While there were not many colors in this one, because of the spacing, I had multi-attachments of the same color.  The area of the hands and buttons was the worst as far as having multiple lines of yarn attached.

HEre's a photo of what I was working with.  Notice I had nine (NINE!) attachments of black yarn, three attachments of white yarn and two attachments of gray yarn .... all at the same time!

It got to the point that I could only work on this while stretched out on the single bed in our second bedroom because I needed the space to spread out the multiple balls of yarn.

If you've never worked with multiple colors, here is a video clip that walks you through how to do it.

As I flipped the afghan over to start a new row, the yarns, of course, became pretty tangled up.  Thanks to a fellow crocheter on Facebook, here's the trick I learned.  As the afghan develops, fold up the bottom and place all of the attached balls of yarn inside this "pocket".  At the end of a row, flip the folded afghan over with all of the yarns tucked neatly inside the pocket and they won't get all flipped around and tangled up.  Over 40 years of crocheting and I'm still learning fun tricks!!

The afghan size, as you can see from the first photo, is the size of a single bed. This photo is my nephew holding it up (you can see his toes at the bottom!). 

I started by crocheting a chain of 103 stitches, using a size "H" hook.  My yarns were all Lion Brand Yarns, Wool-Ease.   I'd guess I have about 25-30 hours in this one.  Unlike "Miss Vivian's" afghan (in an earlier post), this one is easy enough that I'll probably make this one again!

I worried about it being too small, but as someone pointed out, if a bigger afghan is needed, then a border or edging can be added to make it as large as needed!  Smart idea!