The traveling hat of Raticus

Mike asked me to make a hat as a gift for Raticus the rat, who lives in his workplace and is moving office. Before the hat was given to Raticus different animals tried on the hat, because they had never worn a hat before and were wondering how they would look with one.

1st stop, Kennedy the explorer rat in a yucca jungle.
2nd stop, Serta the British bird-watcher sheep #99.
3rd stop, Abima the sun-bathing monster.
4th stop, Moxy found her inner cowgirl.
5th stop, Robin the robin ready to go out for some field work.
Final stop! Raticus looking spiffy in his hat and scarf.

Happy travelling, Raticus!

The making of a cuff / sleeve

When I used to work at a coffee shop I was always very appreciative of people who brought their own reusable mugs or cup sleeves. We went through a mind-boggling amount of those every day and it was so nice to see people care about reducing waste.

And Mike likes to wear wrist cuffs — he claims that it keeps him warm in his freezing office. But it probably didn’t keep him warm enough because he needed to periodically head downstairs for cups of hot tea at the coffee shop.

The problem of over air-conditioning aside, I thought it would be fun to combine wrist cuff and cup sleeves! I also conveniently made this up for a beginner’s crochet workshop, so I tried to be as simple and straightforward as possible. There’s no buttonhole or anything complicated. But if you’re up for more challenge, I saw this reeeeeally nice beer bracelet pattern on Crochet by Faye — I’d like to try that out myself one day!

I find this website helpful when learning with videos of crochet stitches.

Here’s what I did:

Materials / tools:
Small amount of worsted weight yarn
2 large buttons (mine were about 1″ in diameter)
Needle and thread
5mm hook
A coffee cup for size-testing

Row 1: I made 9 chains (ch). You can make more or fewer ch if you want your cuff to be wider or narrower.

Row 2: ch 2, single crochet stitch (sc) in the 3rd stitch from hook, sc in each ch across.

Row 3: ch 3, turn (see instruction for turning chain). Skip first sc, double crochet stitch (dc) in each sc across. Place last dc in ch 2 from row below (the ch 2 counts as an sc stitch).

Row 4 and on: Continue to make rows of sc or dc or both until cuff is long enough to wrap around wrist.

When cuff is long enough to wrap around wrist: ch 4, turn. Skip first stitch, triple crochet stitches (tr) across. This row serves as button holes for wrist cuff.

Continue to make a couple more rows of sc and dc until the cuff is long enough to wrap around the cup.

When cuff is long enough to wrap around cup: ch 4, turn. Skip first stitch, tr across. This row serves as button holes for cup sleeve.

Next row: ch 1, turn. Skip first tr, sc in each tr across. Fasten off.

Note: it’s better to make it a bit too short than a bit too long, it will stretch over time.

The diagram below may give you an idea of the construction…

Finally, sew buttons on the first sc row. When sewing button on thick fabric (such as something crocheted), I find this instruction from Wiki How useful:

For buttons that get heavy use, try wrapping the long thread of the needle tail around the threads that hold the button, at least 4 or 5 times, tightly, then force the needle and thread through the tight bunch of threads that you have created. Try pushing the needle parallel to the the button’s holes, to avoid resistance. Use a thimble for pushing the needle. (The reason for this is simple: thread wear will cause the button to fall off sooner, unless you wrap the exposed threads with a protective wrap.) Once you have forced the needle through, push it back into the cloth, and tie it off with the long tail that you left at the starting knot. 

This is how the sewn buttons would look:

Depending on who you’re making this cuff for, the tr row for the wrist may not be necessary. You see, apparently Mike’s wrist is the same size as the coffee cup…

I happen to have ridiculously small wrists due to Asian genes, so I needed the cuff to be adjustable. Anyway. I hope this is not too confusing. If you have any question, feedback or comment please feel free to drop me a note! And I hope you enjoy the cooler evening and hot drinks as our hemisphere welcomes the arrival of fall!

Tourist for a couple of hours

Needed to buy crochet hooks for workshop tomorrow. Was ridiculously happy after I found crochet hooks for $1 each, and the weather was just blissful, so I decided to wander about on the streets for a bit.

Saw racks of bikes for rent, by the happily blooming planters!

Large painted ice cream sign :D

HUGE flowers in the park!

And checking out the sweet souvenirs when I got home — freestone Ontario peaches! :D

I also visited Outerlayer and Grassroots. Really friendly stores with really interesting things to look at.

When I go away to other towns or city for vacation I always find everything interesting and I take pictures of everything. But there are probably similarly interesting or even more interesting things in the city I call home. I just don’t really look at them because I see them everyday.

So, anyway. Being a tourist in the city for a couple of hours was a refreshing experience. I’m looking forward to a weekend of crafting, and maybe even a festival or two!

Have a fabulous weekend!

The seaweed cardigan

Remember this?

Filigree cardigan from Stitch Nation! Yep, I got around to making it! :D It actually didn’t take very long. The pattern was more straightforward than I thought.

Since I used an aqua colour yarn (it was donated! And there happened to be 9 almost-full skeins of it! :D), I figure I would pose for a similar-looking picture, with a similarly severe look on my face…

… and failing. After a day of working at the computer, I looked more dull than severe… so I stopped trying…

So, anyway. It was a good project. I also tried blocking for the first time. One would think that having been crocheting for so many years, I would’ve blocked something at least once? Nope. I never thought that it would work because I always used acrylic yarn. And usually things are at least wearable. But this cardigan turned out too short. Everything matched the gauge except the length (even though I didn’t check gauge :P), and I couldn’t button it up, so I had to find a way to lengthen it. I don’t know what this yarn is made of, so I thought, why not, it was an excellent opportunity to try blocking :D

I soaked it and then pinned it to the chair… the towel you see on the floor was catching the water dripping from the sleeves. The sleeves were stretched too long after the blocking, but they looked better because the shell patterns were all bunched up before. Overall I think it worked out. A bit big on me; the looseness and the lace pattern remind me of seaweed. I like to name my projects :D

Have a very happy Friday, friends!

Before and after

Forgot about these pictures from our trip to the beach 2 weeks ago!

We grilled pineapple slices! I think pineapples taste better when they’re grilled.

And then we made s’mores, also on the portable grill. It melted the marshmallow and chocolate pieces wonderfully. Aside from the fact that the marshmallows weren’t toasted on the outside, I think the grill made the perfect s’mores.

Taken from the same spot. I can almost hear the lake.


Favourite things of the week!

Paperclip puppets from Made by Joel! Made with corrugated boards and bent paperclips. Absolutely brilliant and definitely an idea I’m keeping in my tool box! :D

Another paper treat! This, my friend, is a piece of bacon. Not just a piece of bacon, but a magnetic bacon bookmark, with a cute smile! :D Free download from Wild Olive! I’m so grateful~ The PDF download includes pencil, pickle, bandage, and ruler too! (magnetic power not included :P)

Since it’s been raining for the past couple of days I’ve been looking for mushrooms whenever I’m out, but haven’t seen any. And then one day I came across these mushroom lights by The Great Mushrooming on Tokyobling’s blog! They’re made of glass, LED lights and found wood. Simply magical. This enoki-like one is my favourite.

More detailed realism! Came across this exhibition of crocheted vegetables by Japanese artist Jungjung via the Craftzine blog. I especially love the carrot — look at the lace-like leaves!

Speaking of carrots, a couple of visitors have asked if I could post a picture of the cookie cutter I used for the crazed rabbits and their carrots — certainly! Here it is!

Wishing you a great start to the week!

Crazed rabbits and their carrots

After making the ornaments with the teapot cookie mold I left the leftover dough in the fridge too long and they were too sticky to use with the mold… I tried and tried and tried and it was just sticking to the mold and stretching out of shape when I tried to peel it off. But I didn’t want to waste the dough (it had cinnamon in it!), so I thought I’d try using these cookie cutter that my friend Kitty gave me last year (I think for Easter). And look! I’m so happy with these! :D

They’re supposed to be ornaments of some sort. I put a hole in each for ribbons or twine. Planning on giving some of these away, but I’m keeping this one because he’s my favourite.

And their carrots! :D

I painted blue eyes and brown eyes — though I thought the blue-eyed ones looked more crazed :P

Have a lovely weekend! :D

Favourite things of the week!

The new Ikea catalogue is out! And I was overjoyed to discover in it these PLUSH vegetables!! :D a 14-piece set for $9.99! A trip to Ikea is in order! There is a mushroom, and a LEEK! Comes with a basket, even! Yes, I’m going to go and buy it and then put shiny eyes and cute smiles on them :D

I found these small sgraffito drawings on Made by Joel so very charming. I’ve done drawings like these but I covered the whole page. I’ve never thought of just making small rectangles of it. Look like small woodcuts.

A kind lady passed on this link — pattern for crochet covered sea stones from the Purl Bee! I’ve seen them on Etsy before and have always wondered how to make them. They’d be lovely on a coffee table or windowsill or corner of a bookshelf.

Spotted this Old Rose Wrap from Loop Knit Lounge a few weeks ago, fell in love with its lightness and intricacy and mottled watercolour tones. And check out the many ways one can wear it, with a row of buttons sewn on one side! A very clever design indeed! I usually make very clunky things, mainly because I can only afford to buy very cheap, worsted weight acrylic yarn. And I enjoy making clunky things, but when I see patterns like this it does make me want to try my hands on more delicate things. It appears that this wrap only uses maybe 300g of sock yarn, so perhaps it’s doable :D

And finally, look at this lovely hairpin on Instructables! It’s made out of a straw! Resourceful or what? It is also a really cute straw in the picture, apparently from McDonald’s! So, note to self, from now on, keep a look out for pretty straws.

In the meanwhile, the project reminds me of the drinking straw stars I learned how to make when I was a teenager. I even bought these special straws that were made for making straw roses and stars from Hong Kong — they were made out of thinner, more flexible materials and much longer than regular straws. Anyway, I found a straw and tried to see if I remembered how to make one…

… took a few tries, and it’s harder to do with regular straws, but look! I can’t believe I still remember how to make this! Made me very happy last night :D

Hope your day is filled with small things that make you smile :)

Crochet gathering rescheduled!

Crochet / knitting workshops are rescheduled to Saturday August 28th 10–11:30am! We’ll be making this wrist-cuff-turns-cup-sleeve at the Walmer Centre. Come join us if you want to learn basic crochet stitches while making something useful! Yarn and buttons will be provided, and drop me a note if you need a hook! Come also to the knitting workshop after the crochet one and you’ll be all set for many of the fabulous crocheting and knitting patterns out there!