Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amigurumi ~ another Yarn fix!

Amigurumi is this new fun thingy in crochet that I've been up to ~ I checked out Ana Paula Rimoli's Seriously Cute Crochet from the library  & had total fun!!!  The turtle I made doesn't look much like the turtle in the book, but that's the beauty of the book, she encourages you to ~ Explore & Expound ~.   For me, this is perfect, because you all know how I have a hard time sticking to the pattern.  I also made a little ugly duckling & an egg, and I am working on a few eggshells. 

In the meantime, I also found these two wonderful Japanese Diagram Amigurumi books ~ ( & you know how I adore the diagrams!)  Get a load of the titles, I think they are so funny, yet so cute! Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful  See?  Isn't that sorta cute?  It really is the name!!  I think it must be a literal translation or something.  Also, if you aren't so hot with the diagrams, it explains in English the rounds & what to do.  Yah, there are psychadelic eyes & a man-purse and such, but the information is good.  You can put the purse on whichever animal you want, & the eyes don't have to be albino pink ~ you can make them black, or brown or blue or green or .........    Anyway, it's a fun book.  In fact, it's a Super Crochet Wonderful book ~ even a little Funky ~ ;-D

The other book I bought is called Super Cute: 25 Amigurumi Animals ( the Japanese like adjectives, and super, cute, & wonderful are some of the best ~ I would use them too! ;-D )

This little book is great, it has some really fun animals in it, and again, it's in both English language, with written directions, & in Japanese diagrams with English explanations.  I haven't done anything out of it yet, but I intend to.  I will post pics when I do. 

Other WIPS ~ do I dare admit?  Ok, it's true, I have also been working on some older-people crochet.  And I don't mean granny squares.  I made a girl's top ( fits about an adult small or maybe a youth lg) anyway ~ see what you think.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tim Hawkins - A Homeschool Family

I found this little gem & just couldn't resist posting it for all of the homeschoolers I know~
;-D You'll get your grins, guaranteed!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Japanese Diagram Crochet Explained!

Ok, since writing my first post about Japanese Crochet Diagrams, I have had tons of requests on how to read them, try to explain them, etc. The first thing you should know is that I don't read Japanese. I have given some really awesome links on where you can find help with translation HERE.  There is also a chart with hook sizes comparing US, UK, Japanese, & steel hooks within the pages of this same link, so that you can easily use the correct size hooks for your projects.

But what seems to be a continuing issue, is the question of what all those diagram symbols mean, and what stitches do they symbolize? I have several fantastic books that go into great detail regarding stitch symbols, however, I will only cover the very most basic of them for now.

First, I reccomend the "Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches" as it explains in detail in ENGLISH the diagrams & their symbols, and you should know ~ they do match up with the Japanese symbols. This is an older book, published in 1988, and so it may be a bit diffiucult to get ahold of. I reccomend both Amazon.com & eBay.com.

Second I reccomend this excellent Japanese book called "Basics of Crochet for Beginners".  It very clearly covers almost every single stitch you will run into with these Japanese Diagram Crochet books. 

Just a small sampling so that you can see that even though you may not be able to read Japanese,  there are so many pictures that it explains itself.  This book also covers basic alteration, pattern manipulation & construction.  If you are a visual learner, these two books alone will enable you to easily use the Japanese Diagram crochet books. 

Here is another great tip when looking for more Japanese diagram books on crochet ~ the Japanese also call crochet "knitting".  I don't know why, but they do.  So, if you look up books either on Amazon or eBay, be aware that it really doesn't matter if it says "how to knitting"... it's probably still going to be crochet.  Click on one of the pictures above to enlarge it, and see an excellent example of such ~ you can see in the top right-hand corner that it clearly says "how to knitting", and yet the instructions are just as clearly crochet. 

Also, several of the better sellers on eBay will include many pictures of the contents of the Japanese craft books, so you can tell whether or not it is a "knitting-but really crochet" book or a "knitting AND crochet" book, or even a real knitting book.  Because yes, these awesome diagram books are also for knitters!  There are symbols & stitch examples with a ton of pictures for knitting as well.  And, the Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches is also available from both Amazon.com & ebay.com.

I hope that this helps all of you with your Japanese Diagram Crochet Quest!  I've said it before, but I think it bears saying again ~ when you have the diagram before you ( I use a printed copy so the book stays nice), and a color pencil in hand, you can sail through these projects!!  Case in point is the three (3!!, three!, THREE!) layette items that I started AND FINISHED last week, shown in my previous post.  These were done, for the most part, while watching my kids do their schoolwork ( I homeschool, for those of you that didn't know that).  The patterns are extremely easy to follow, and I can easily mark where I am at, put it down, pick it up, & regain my place in just seconds.   Kid has a question, needs a bit of "motivation" ;-D, or even just lunch break, & it's that easy! 
Good luck on your Japanese Diagram Crochet Quest, let me know if this has helped you, and above all, HAVE FUN!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Japanese Diagram Crochet......Again

This last week I finished these two little layette items.  But once again, as you can see from the lovely glossy photos of the book, and the more altruistic pics of the finished product ~ I have once again meandered from the actual pattern into some other territory.  Why do I change up the pattern?  I don't know ~ maybe it's some inherent desire to be as orginal as possible despite the fact that I am following someone else's bit of creativity.  Perhaps it's a nod to the idea that each creation is an original, simply because it is new, though created from string & sticks.  But I think maybe the real reason might be that I just get bored.  By the end of the pattern, I am starting to think that I might never finish it if I don't change up SOMETHING. 
It's strange, really ~ because at the beginning I am so drawn to the adorable little item in the pretty book ~ my eyes glaze over as I try to imagine what yarn, what size hook, what colors ....In fact, sometimes I am so enchanted with the tempting photo that I even use the same color scheme, hook size & yarn as the pattern suggests! 
But then, invariably, half-way through, I become disallusioned, disoriented, and disinterested.  So much Dissing.

Oh how cute the picture is ~ look, they even have examples in TWO colors.... funny thing is ~ that hoody was the main attractant of this particular pattern in the beginning.   But then... well, I got almost half-way through the hood ( yes, yes, yes, it WAS the last part of the project......) & I folded down that hood, and Lo & Behold ~ check it out ~ it made a pretty cute collar.  SOOOO.... in the interest of just ending it right there, I did.  Unfortunately, the second cutest thing about that little hoody sweater was the pom pom buttons, which no longer looked right with just a collar.  And so, once again, I hold up my finished piece and sigh ~ yah, not quite what I had in mind.  On the other hand, it's not like the arm is sewn onto the collar, so there's that.

And here is a little layette set, again, in the colors shown in the lovely tempting glossy... unfortunately, not just like it, though.  I did booties instead of a hat ( which is silly, cuz I KNOW how to do hats... I just didn't have the fortitude to muggle through another hat, i guess), I did buttons instead of ties....

And quite honestly, at the end, I wasn't all that happy with the turn-out.  Again.  Big surprise.  I know ~ heart-stopping really.  On the other hand, it's one more item done. 

What I really need around here is an actual baby to try stuff on.  ( Ang, that hint was special for you ~;-D )
Isn't it the babies that just grab your heart & make you want to make those adorable things?  And since I can't read Japanese, I never know who the photographer is, but they choose the CUTEST little people! 

I think I'm done working in yellow & white for quite a long time ~ besides which, I ran out of most of the cheapo acrylic baby weight yarn.  I still have some pink & blue, though.  So, in an effort to use it up, I am now working on a little pink pineapple kimono.  Probably with a white bodice.  And I want to do a little dress in pink with a rusty orange cape & a red hat & gloves.  My kids are a bit shocked at the color combo's, but I like to remind them that I was a 70's child & have a right to certain ~hippy-ish~ moments.

On a more fun note ~ my two daughters & I are going to Women's Conference this weekend!  We are going to be spending 3 or 4 days in Provo.  I am looking forward to lots of crochet time.  They usually have projects that they hand out & then you return them finished, & they get sent off to the Humanitarian Center.  
They get thousands of finished projects this way, & it's so much fun to participate in!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Japanese Diagram Crochet Mania

Can you say OCD?  But I LOOOVVEEE them!!

Ok, so I've been on a bit of a crochet mania jag. But I have to hand it all to those fantastic Japanese diagram crochet craft books. If you've ever thought that there MUST be an easier way to follow a pattern than all those horrible little rows of abbreviated hch dc yo ch sch's ~ in fact if you've ever PRAYED that there is some alternative ~ well sister, I know the answer to that prayer! It is crochet ( and knitting too!!) diagrams. And you don't even have to read Japanese!
This is a little 0 to 3 months sweater / jacket, done in Caron rhapsody, with a 6mm hook. The entire thing is done in single crochet, so it is super easy to adjust for sizing, and the single crochet makes for a nice firm-ish fabric. Plus, I finished it in 5 hours!!!
This is a little kimono from another one of those Japanese diagrams, done up in fingering /DK weight yarn ( actually, yarn for my knitting machine ~ works perfectly for baby stuff!), with a size 3 ( or 1.8mm) steel hook.
And this little ( hah!) vest is actually supposed to be for a baby, but since I did it in worsted weight cotton with a 3.75mm hook, it will actually fit up to 8 yrs comfortably. Remember the lessons on gauge? Yah, me neither, hence the larger size! I know, I know, I am a lazy crocheter ~ a non-swatch maker. (Yah, I wing it ~ don't be takin' away my wingin'-it priveleges!) Some 7 yr old will like this! Just maybe none that I know of... right now...
HOWEVER< if you need help figuring out the Japanese Crochet or Knitting books, here is the most AWESOME LINK ever!!!  It will help you with:

How to interpret a Japanese book
Needle sizes
Name of body parts
Name of items
How to knit

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Knitting Machine Woes & Triumphs

Ok ~ so I bet you can't guess what I did? huh ~ huh ~ huh ~ bet yah can't .... well, all right, maybe the title DID give it away! Yes, it's true, I DID buy a knitting machine. ok, ok, I'll be honest. I bought three. No, wait, I only bought two, the nice lady at the garage sale threw the other one in ~for Good Measure~.

punch card knitting machine,knit king auto KK98

Yes, it's true ~ I can now knit at LIGHTNING SPEED!!! MWWAHAHAHAHA And guess how much $$?? ( Cuz you know it's not really a deal until you can brag to all your friends & acquaintances about what a DEAL it was...;-D) $25 bucks each!!! Yup, $50 bucks for the two, and third one thrown in for free!

AND....wait, there's more! If you ask now, I'll ALSO include the model #'s AND let you know how much they are worth on the current eBay market!!

:-D (that's a cheeser, in case you were wondering)

Well, twist my arm! Ok, so the OLDEST FREE-BEE is a KnitKing Auto KK98 punchcard. And there is a Brother ( Brother & Knit King are one & the same) on eBay right now just like it going for $1499.00!!!

punch card knitting machine,knit king auto KK98

WOO-double HOOOOO! And I tried that baby out, and it makes lace, and does these funky tuck stitches and slip stitches and stuff BEAUTIFULLY! Plus, it wasn't that hard to figure out. ( it took me all of 2 days....but I admit it, I was a bit obsessive about it...nevertheless... hah! 2 days!)

knit king auto KK98

punch card knitting machine,knit king auto KK98

The next one is a KnitKing Compuknit IV (essentially a Brother KH940). It is basically like this one on eBay. Please note the $2500.00 price tag. (Mine was $25 too, hehehehe, minus about 4 zero's!!!) Mine came with all of those gadgets too, even two G-carriage's, an intarsia carriage, and all sorts of pattern disks & this garter bar thingy ( haven't used that yet), and a color changer doo-hickey, and even a funky old square disk reader.

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

garter bar,knitking knitting machine

The instructions from that were SO funny:

"An introduction to the floppy disk ~ .....there is also another quite separate memory in your machine called "RAM", which allows you to program your own stitch pattern designs.....the disk will accept information from the knitting machine quite happily."

We all know what a quite sad disk will do ~ or what we will do to it, ( didn't they used to sell sledge hammers with Win95 ??)

Yes, this one took me three or four days to figure out... it was a doozy,

I have played around on it and produced some REALLY pretty tuck stitch patterns, a funky lot of slip stitch examples and some cool thread yarn knitting that looks so fine I am gonna use it for baby clothes!!

AHAHAHA ~ all of that size 10, 20 & 30 bedspread crochet thread that I have been hoarding will actually get USED.
So eat THAT, Wood Genius! HAH! ( I may now have to get more... wouldn't want to run out... colors, this could go beyond Christening layettes....hmmmmm)

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

knit king compuknit IV,brother KH940

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, I ALSO got ( for a measley $25, might I remind you all ... hehehe my bargain diva prowess is PROCLAIMED!!) a KnitKing CompuKnit Bulky (again, the same as a Brother Electronic KH270).

knit king compuknit Bulky,brother KH270

Which, there is also one of THOSE on Ebay as well, going for... guess it.. guess it...


WOO HOOO!! doing the happy dance~ arm pump, butt wiggle, neck jive HAPPY DANCE!

So yah. And so it goes. In fact, I am going to have to haiku this. Sorry, you know me, those haiku just sorta roll on out ~

Three knitting machines
five days of intense study
a lifetime of yarn.

Oh that's so appropo. I just hope Wood Genius doesn't see it. He might regret handing me that $45 cash out of his pocket last Saturday at the garage sale. ( I only had $5 on me) Of course, if he hadn't, I might have had a heart attack right then & there. And then he'd be stuck doing his own laundry and making light conversation with total strangers..... sympathetic to the sad ordeal of cleaning out my ~Stash~...es. ( I have multiple stashes... but let's not discuss this right here & now, eh?)