make a young kraken!

 

Happy birthday to Mike! :D

The young kraken was one of Mike’s birthday presents this year. I thought I would share the pattern, spread the joy! :D

 

I used:

a bit of grey worsted weight yarn

3.5mm and 3 mm hooks

stuffing

beads for eyes

needle and thread to sew on eyes

 

Note: Young kraken is crocheted in continuous rounds, not joining in the beginning of rounds. You can place a marker in the beginning of the rounds. I just eyeball it. I figure young kraken can’t tell that I’m not exact. And even if he can, he won’t mind, because he has bigger things to think about. Anyway. The instructions are listed in steps, not in rounds. It’s kind of free-formed, checking its shape and size as we go. The measurements in the pattern are suggestions, certainly make modifications as you see fit. If you need any clarification please feel free to send me a message :D

inc. (increase) = crochet 2 sc in 1 st

dec. (decrease) = crochet 1 sc over 2 st

 

1. Using 3.5 mm hook, 6 sc in magic ring

2. 1 sc in each sc for 2 continuous rounds

3. inc. in every 3rd st until piece measures approx. 0.75 inch

4. 1 sc in each sc in continuous rounds until piece measures approx. 1.25 inches

5. inc. in every 5th st until piece measures approx. 1.75 inches

6. 1 sc in each sc in continuous rounds until piece measures approx. 2.25 inches

7. *dec., 1 sc*, repeat from * to * for 1 round

8.  dec. in each sc until there are 8 st left in the opening

9. sc in each sc 8 times

10. stuff, but don’t fasten off 

11. Now we make the tentacles. Continuing from step 9, ch 20, sc in 2nd st from hook, sc in each ch, sc in next st in the opening.

Repeat step 11 seven more times. I varied the length of the tentacles from 20–25 ch. 

After the last tentacle is made, sl st into the opening, fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Using tail, weave in stitches to close the opening. Pull so the stuffing won’t come out, but not too tight. Fasten off, weave in ends.

12. Now we make the fins. The first fin is crocheted vertically down the rounds (see photo below).

Using 3mm hook, attach yarn at the 2nd round from the top. ch 1, sc in each of the next 3 st, hdc in each of next 2 st, dc in next st, dc and hdc in next st, sl st in next st, fasten off.

Now, the other fin. Attach yarn at the opposite side of the bottom of the first fin, and crocheting up the rounds, like so…

ch 1, hdc and dc in next st, dc in next st, hdc in each of the next 2 st, sc in each of the next 3 st, sl st in next st, fasten off. Weave in ends.

And we’re done the crocheting part :D

For the eyes I found 2 saucer-shaped ruby red faceted beads that I thought would be perfect for a young but fierce kraken. To make it extra special (because it’s Mike’s birthday), I made two rings with wire to kind of set the eyes (jump rings would work perfectly, I just didn’t have the right size at the moment) I sewed both on with thread.

 

Young kraken, lurking in the deep sea…

 

I’m quite proud of it, I must say :D

 

He now sits regally on Mike’s desk, staring at me as I type this…

 Cheers! :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

celebrating summer solstice

… with summer flower photos! :D

(summer solstice was technically yesterday, I’m a little late, but it’s never too late for a bit of haiku-writing :D)

 

Ode to Summer Blooms

 

Flowers of summer

 

Roses, their petals falling

 

over my sandals.

 

Rainstorms, sun showers

 

here today, gone tomorrow

 

new blooms, a new day.

 

 

 Turn a street corner

 

outside doorsteps and small shops

blossoms line sidewalks.

 

 

Not great haikus, but it’s fun counting syllables and finding words that fit :D Although I’m actually rather pleased with the middle one about rainstorms and sun showers.

(Some people don’t write them this way, but I understand haiku’s as three-line poems with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third. So there are actually three haiku’s above weaving between the photos.)

 

For our corner of the world, the first days of summer came with a heatwave. So if it’s hot where you are, enjoy the sun and summer blooms, but stay cool!

 

p.s. On a slightly related note, if you like poetry, check out my sister-in-law’s blog! :D She writes on many different topics, from reflective and insightful to hilarious — great reads!

 

 

 

 

 

weekend quick sew

 

Hello, friends! :D

Made this quickly one afternoon out of the back piece of an old, oversized sleep shirt.

 

The material is very light and soft and comfortable. I avoided using the front of the shirt, which has a sparkly sheep printed on it, but the back piece was not quite long enough so I had to salvage the bottom part of the front piece. And I sewed the pieces together with the seam allowance facing out, makes it more interesting. It’s so great that knit material doesn’t fray.

 

Have a happy Sunday!

 

 

 

this week’s awesome finds

 

Beautiful crochet edging. Works for t-shirt necklines too, you think? From the Purl Bee.

 

Simply brilliant. Have to dig into my seashell collection! From I Still Love You.

 

Very well-written, easy to understand tutorial from It’s Always Autumn. A trip to thrift store is in order!

 

Washi tape flowers. Makes a nice pin! From Just Something I made

 

Very sophisticated men shirt refashion, with pleats! From Leafy Treetop Spot.

 

Also spotted on Leafy Treetop Spot was a tutorial for adding Peter Pan collar on a t-shirt. Not sure how I would look in it, but I think it’s a nice way to use pretty fabric scraps.

 

 

Enlightening! Why didn’t I think of this before? From 13 Life Changing Ways to Eat Food. The toaster grilled cheese is pretty awesome too.

 

Fun, bold, simple, and oooh — what if the baubles were crocheted? :D Lovely inspiration from The Beautiful Mess.

 

Look! It’s Reepicheep! Paddling to Aslan’s Country, fearless and valiant… *sniff*
Not a pattern, but we can simply appreciate its awesomeness. By crochet master June Gilbank

 

Have an awesome day, everyone!

 

 

 

 

graduation dress

 

I was browsing on Pinterest the other day and saw someone pinned a “graduation dress”. I thought it was such a great idea, to make a special dress for one’s graduation. I had a graduation coming up and a nice piece of fabric lying around, enough to make a dress. So I started searching for “easy dressing sewing pattern” and came upon this pattern from Burda Style.

 

Hey, that looks like something I could make without a pattern. Because it looks just like an extended square blouse. 

So, it’s not as neat, but here’s my version of it :D

 

Look! I was even wearing black tights and a red glass bead necklace. That photo from Burda Style really inspired this outfit.

I did tweak my usual square blouse pattern a bit. The shoulders are tilted a bit downward toward the arms, the waist is taken in to give it more shape.

And I did wear it to my graduation :D

The director was very thoughtful and had corsages for all the graduates. And you can see the faint floral pattern on my dress a bit better in this photo.

 

Mike was wearing a matching tie! :D In fact, I made him that skinny tie following this tutorial.

The graduation was for the art therapy diploma that I technically completed two years ago. But because it’s such a small school and small program, it takes a while to get a large enough group of graduates to have a graduation ceremony.

But it’s still a really exciting time! :D

So happy that my sister is back from her studies in Hong Kong so she could come to the graduation :D

 

It was in a building covered in vines (not our school building. The school rented a space in this building for the ceremony).

 

Works as a casual dress on a different day. Found this awesome tree in a nearby park with a nice strong branch that makes a natural seat.

 

And this whole graduation experience just made me think about how important it is to know that other people believe in me, to hear people say to me that “I know you can do it”, even though I don’t believe that I can at times. More importantly, it makes me think about how important it is for me to say to others that I believe in them. To have faith that they are able to do the things that they want to do, overcome the challenges they face, reach new heights in their life journeys. And to interact with people in a way that express this faith. 

I forget sometimes, but something I’m trying to be more conscious of.

 

Have an awesome Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

bucket of sun

 

Or, the traveling hat of Raticus, part 2.

I’ve been wanting to make myself a sun hat. And so, after it was made I was really proud of it and was wearing it in the apartment all afternoon. Mike was busy sorting his own closet or whatever and he suddenly turned and looked at me and laughed,

HA! You know who you remind me of?”

I was hoping for a character in a Miyazaki movie.

Raticus!” He said.

It’s true. Take a look.

 

I made a hat for a plastic rat that lives in Mike’s office almost two years ago. Completely forgot about the colours of yarn I used of course. And then two years later I’ve made a similar hat with the same green stripe for myself. I must really like green stripes. And I must visit Raticus at his office one day and take a picture with our hats. Hat twins! XD

I decided to also write down the pattern, since it’s been a while since I’ve shared a pattern. I opted for a hdc-ch 1 pattern repeat because it kind of looks woven.

And the band of contrasting colour is made with a lighter yarn to create a bit of variation in texture.

 

To crochet this bucket hat, you’ll need:

2 skeins of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (or the like), 50g/80 yd per skein

Small amount of light worsted cotton yarn in contrasting colour (about 1/2 of a 50g skein)

4mm hook

 

Measurement: 21″ in diameter, 3.5″ tall from top edge to brim, with guidelines to make different sizes in pattern. (Though these guidelines are not tested, it’s best to try it on as you go)

 

Hat is crocheted in the round. Each round starts with a beginning ch and ends with joining at the beg ch.

The beginning ch 3 of each round counts as [hdc, ch 1]

inc. (increase) = [hdc, ch 1, hdc] in ch 1 sp.

Crown

Rd 1: in magic ring, ch 2, 11 hdc, sl st in top of beg ch to join.

Rd 2: ch 3, *inc. in next st, ch 1, hdc in next st, ch 1* repeat from * to * around, end with inc. in the last st, ch 1, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join.

Rd 3: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, hdc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1, inc. in next ch 1 sp, ch 1, *[hdc, ch 1] in next 2 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join.

Rd 4: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in next 2 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1, *[hdc, ch1] in next 3 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join.

Rd 5: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in next 3 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1, *[hdc, ch1] in next 4 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join.

Rd 6: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in next 4 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1, *[hdc, ch1] in next 5 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join.

Rd 7: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in each ch 1 sp around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join.

Rd 8: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in next 5 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1, *[hdc, ch1] in next 6 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join.

*For a smaller hat, omit Rd 8. For a larger hat, crochet an additional round after Rd 8 as follows:
sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in next 6 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1, *[hdc, ch1] in next 7 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join. 

*Omitting or adding a round should subtract or add 1″ to hat diameter.

Sides shaping

For Rd 9 only, crochet into the ch 1 itself, instead of in the ch 1 space. This will create a sharp downward folding edge at the crown of the hat and give the hat its bucket shape.

Rd 9: sl st into first ch 1, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] into each ch 1 around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join. 

Rd 10 -12: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in each ch 1 sp around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join. 

Rd 13: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in next 10 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1, *[hdc, ch1] in next 11 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join.

*If rounds were omitted or added at the crown, just evenly place 4 increases around. You can count the total number of ch 1 spaces (including the beg ch) and divide it by 4, or just eyeball it.

Rd 14–17: sl st into first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in each ch 1 sp around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch to join. 

*If you want to make the hat taller and wider, add another round with 4 evenly placed increases around somewhere between Rds 14 and 17.

Band

Join contrasting colour yarn, but don’t fasten off main colour yarn. Carry main colour yarn up at the beginning of each round with the contrasting colour.

sc into each of the ch 1 sp and hdc.

Beginning ch 1 does not count as sc in this section.

Rd 18: ch 1, sc in same st, sc in next 11 st, 2 sc in next st, *sc in next 12 st, 2 sc in next st* around, sl st in first sc.

*if you’ve subtracted or added rounds previously, your stitch count may not match with mine. But that’s okay, the idea of Rd 18 is just to make an increase every 12 stitches or so to compensate for the thinner contrasting colour yarn.

Rd 19–21: ch 1, sc in same st, sc in each st around, sl st in first sc.

Fasten off contrasting colour, place main colour back on hook.

Rd 22: ch 1, sc in same st, ch 1, [skip next st, sc in next st, ch 1] 11 times, skip 2 sts, sc in next st, ch 1, *[skip next st, sc in next st, ch 1] 12 times, skip 2 st, sc in next st, ch 1* repeat from * to * around until there are 12 stitches left, [skip next st, sc in next st, ch 1] in remaining sts, sl st in first sc. 

*if you’ve subtracted or added rounds previously your stitch count in Rd 22 may not match mine. But that should be okay. The decreases in Rd 22 is just to make a decrease every 12 sc’s or so to compensate for the differences in yarn weight when switching back to the thicker main colour yarn.

Rd 23: ch 1, sc in same st, ch 1, [skip next st, sc in next st, ch 1] around, sl st in first sc.

Brim

For Rd 24 only, hdc into the ch 1 around the front loop of the chain only. This will make the fabric fold outward.

Rd 24: sl st into first ch 1 around the front loop only, ch 3, hdc into next ch 1 around the front loop only, ch 1, inc. in next ch 1 around the front loop only, ch 1, *[hdc, ch 1] in next ch 1 around the front loop only, inc., ch 1* around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch.

Rd 25: sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in each ch 1 sp around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch.

Rd 26: sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 3, [hdc, ch 1] in next 16 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1, *[hdc, ch 1] in next 17 ch 1 sp, inc., ch 1* around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch.

*Again, if you’ve added or subtracted rows/stitches previously your stitch count will not match mine. But just make an increase every 17 hdc’s or so.

Rd 27: sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 3, *[hdc, ch 1] in each ch 1 sp until inc. st in previous round, inc. in inc. st in previous round, ch 1* repeat from * to * around, sl st in 2nd ch of beg ch.

Rd 28: ch 1, sc in same st, sc in each of the hdc and ch 1 sp around, sl st in beg sc, fasten off. Weave in ends.

 

And we’re finished! :D

 

First time writing pattern for a hat, hope it all makes sense! As usual, if you spot any mistake please let me know!

 

Enjoy the sun!

 

 

 

 

polo refashion

 

Look what I did with my old Starbucks work clothes! :D

I was just about to toss these black polo shirts out, because I don’t really like polo shirts. They were already in the donation bag. But then I saw this refashion tutorial from C&C.

Wear the shirt backwards and swap out the plain black buttons for colourful ones! It’s brilliant.

Mine wasn’t a men’s shirt like the one used in the tutorial, so I didn’t have to take the sides in. Just cut off the collar and hemmed the neckline, and added red buttons. There was another one I that refashioned in the same way; I didn’t even swap out the buttons because I liked the white iridescent ones that came with the shirt.

Very simple. And I’ve got two new shirts to wear! :D

 

May your week be filled with simple joys.

 

 

 

lessons from air-bending

 

 

I started going to a tai chi class once a week during my month off in April.

It came out of a recommendation from a supervisor at the agency where I intern. We were talking about the fear and anxiety that I encounter in work and interpersonal contexts. She strongly suggested finding a body-based practice that can translate into some helpful practice philosophy for work situations. 

Then she gave me a gift certificate that she had won for 4 tai chi lessons. “I take way more classes than that, so I don’t need it,” she told me.

So I went. Just to see what it’s like. And I know that I’m badly out of shape sitting in front of the computer or crocheting all the time.

After the first class, I decided to call it “air-bending”, because of the slow, subtle movements that the body makes, as if flowing with air. Also, because it reminds me of my sister, who’s a big fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I wasn’t really “getting it” for the first three classes. I was thinking that maybe it’s not for me. I’m just too uncoordinated. I wanted my body to move in the way that was demonstrated by the instructor, but I don’t know how to get it to move in that precise way.

The instructor was very nice. She came over to give me individual help every class. And in my third class, while doing this “ward off” movement, where the body kind of leans forward and the arms cross to press against an invisible intruder made of air, like so…

… the instructor observed how I was doing it and said,

You’re leaning too much forward. Don’t lean too much, know where your centre is.”

What she said touched something that was really important for me. I knew it was important because my mind blanked out for a moment and was only able to repeat those words.

Don’t lean too much, know where your centre is.

Isn’t that what I do every time I feel afraid? I lean into it. Completely into it. And I work myself up to become even more anxious, and I tell myself that I can’t finish the task. I can’t handle the situation. I can’t do it. I’m too anxious.

But what if I don’t lean into that fear, and I try to find this core place where I can believe that I can face challenges and other scary things with steadiness, knowing that I have some skills, some knowledge that will help me.

The fear makes me forget that I have skills.

I realize that I’m sick of telling myself that I can’t. I can’t because I get too anxious. I can’t because I don’t handle stress very well. I can’t because it’s too much work and it’s going to stress me out and increase my anxiety level and compromise my mental health. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

But I can. Because I’ve done it. Every time a goal is reached, every time a deadline is met, every time a dream is fulfilled. And, having been in school for quite a few years, I’ve had many goals and deadlines. And because of school, some of my biggest dreams have also been fulfilled.

My supervisor spoke with me about not letting negativities live rent-free in my head. 

You have to evict them, and you have to grow that place that cannot be wounded. Can you find that place inside you that cannot be wounded?”

The place that cannot be wounded, for me, is the spirit that God has created in me, and that, I think, is my centre, the core place that has the strength to pull me back from leaning too much into fear and self-doubt.

 

Ah, heavy topic on a Friday. But something that I felt I needed to sort out by writing it down.

Have a good weekend!

 

 

 

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