Cat Amigurumi

Monday, October 09, 2017
Ravelry Project Page - Kitty

I have always admired the Japanese amigurumi patterns because they have wonderful character and detail. I also love that the patterns are written with stitch charts and lots of photos so you don't need to know Japanese in order to work the pattern. When my daughter Sarah and her husband visited Japan I requested a Japanese amigurumi book and she came back this delight - Cat Amigurumi by Eriko Teranishi

I made the sitting cat and used Knit Picks Palette yarn which is a fingering weight yarn so the cat is small and fits in the palm of my hand. It's the same yarn I used to crochet the wedding amigurumi and wedding hearts

The book has wonderful pictures on the making and assembling of the cats and it is also organized with a very clear and concise layout. I scanned and printed a copy of the charts and downloaded the Google Translate app which helped by verifying what I had already guessed.

She's so cute. I need to find just the right name for her! I'll be making other cats from this book soon.

Tawashi - My Favorite Dish Scrubber

Sunday, July 09, 2017
Ravelry Project Page - Acrylic Tawashi

I discovered that kitchen scrubbers have acquired a new name—tawashi. Tawashi is a Japanese word meaning bundle and is used generically for any scrubbing item. Tawashi are made from a variety of materials but I was intrigued after reading this Make article: How-To: Magically Clean Eco Tawashi, that 100% acrylic yarn was preferred. Supposedly the synthetic fibers in acrylic yarn are similar to a microfiber and therefore will not scratch. I just had to try this.

The article provided a tawashi pattern but I like this Double Sided Scrubbie pattern so I made that and substituted acrylic yarn instead of cotton.

WOW, it's true! I love, love, LOVE this acrylic tawashi. It wipes like a cotton cloth and with only a little elbow grease it scrubs like a steel wool pad but without the harshness. There's a claim that acrylic tawashi will clean without soap but I haven't gone that far (although I use much less dish soap than I would with a cotton dishcloth).

I highly recommend working your favorite kitchen scrubby pattern with an acrylic yarn. You won't go back to cotton! Also, don't forget to start calling it a tawashi, it's a much more refined word than scrubby.

Soap Covers - My Favorite Washcloth

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Ever since I made the felted heart soaps, I've been fascinated with covering bars of soap. I now use them exclusively in the bath or shower and have completely ditched using wash clothes and loofahs. In addition to replacing bath paraphernalia, there are other benefits as well: They are very quick to make, use scrap amounts of yarn and are great gifts.

Two kinds of soap covers can be made. One type is reusable multiple times and the other felts (or like the felted heart soaps, continues to felt) around the soap as it is used.

Ravelry Project Page - Soap Cover

My personal favorite reusable soap cover is this Soap Sack pattern by Susan Lawrence at I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can. I like this pattern because it expands and contracts to fit most regular size bars of soap and is easily adjustable for different yarn weights. Most importantly, it functions well as a washcloth.

Ravelry Project Page - Soap Sweater

But what's even more fun is a soap "sweater". A soap sweater is not meant to be reused because while it's being used the yarn felts around the soap. All you need to make one is wool yarn (make sure it's not superwash), knit a rectangle (if you prefer, you can work in the round), wrap it around the soap and stitch it closed. Soap sweaters around smaller bars of soap are great for use when traveling.

There are hundreds of patterns for soap covers or sweaters. If you search using the keywords: soap, sack, cozy, saver, sweater, coat, sock, or bag, you will find plenty to choose from. Try it—You'll like it!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017
This is an easy peasy project with endless variations.

  • Approximately 250 #8 beads
  • Size 10 thread
  • Size 10 crochet hook

    Note: I am using a hook that is smaller than the one normally used for size 10 thread in order to get a tight stitch.

    1. String beads onto thread.
    2. *Chain 2, bring up bead and chain, repeat from * until all beads have been crocheted.
    3. Join into a circle.

  • Revamping my Mood bag

    Friday, May 26, 2017

    Many years ago when I made my first pilgrimage to Mood in New York City they gave me a cloth/vinyl bag with my purchase. The original bag measured 20"w x 14"h and the depth was created by a 6" side panel on each side of the bag. The bag was a perfect size for my fabric and notion purchase but too large and cumbersome for any other use.

    It was time to make this bag usable by making it smaller.

    1. Step 1: I started with removing the side panels and reducing the width by cutting off 3.5" from each side (no photo).
    2. Step 2: Stitched and serged the two sides.

    3. Step 3: I added depth to the bag by flattening, stitching and trimming the corners to 3". Here's a nice video tutorial on How to Box Bag Corners.

    From this:

    I didn't take a photo of my original bag but this one is just like it. Thanks to Jeanne Marie's Sewing Studio for permission to use your photo.

    To this:

    The final bag size is 13w" x 14"h x 3"d and it is now perfect for my on-the-go knitting projects. Even more importantly, it's being used.

    Magic Yarn Project

    Monday, January 16, 2017

    The Magic Yarn Project is a wonderful program that creates comfortable and whimsical head coverings for children battling cancer. These tiara's are for their Disney princess wigs. The tiaras need to be about 8" in length and can't wrap around the head so I adapted and tweaked this Princess in Disguise pattern.

    Here's the pattern for how I made them:

    • Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver (Turqua, Gold, Real Teal, Light Periwinkle, Medium Purple)
    • Hook: Size F
    • ch - chain
    • sl st - slip stitch
    • sc - single crochet
    • dc - double crochet
    • tr - treble crochet
    • st(s) - stitch(es)
    Stitch explanations:
    5dc cluster (worked in each of the 5 dc of row 1): Yo, insert hook in next st, yo, pull through st, yo, pull through 2 lps on hook, (yo, insert hook in next st, yo, pull through st, yo, pull through 2 lps on hook) 4 times, yo, pull through all 6 lps on hook, ch 1.

    Picot: Ch 3, insert hook back into the center of the base st, yo, pull through st and loop on hook.

    Large picot: Ch 5, insert hook back into the center of the base st, yo, pull through st and loop on hook.

    Ch 40,
    Row 1: 5 dc in 5th ch from hook (counts as ch2 + skip 2 sts), *skip 3 sts, 5 dc in next st,* repeat from *to* 8 times (for a total of 9 shells), skip 2 sts, dc in next st, turn.

    Row 2: Ch 2, 5dc cluster (makes 1 diamond), *ch 5, 5dc cluster*, repeat from *to* 8 times (for a total of 9 diamonds), dc in top of ch 2 of previous row, turn.

    Row 3:  Ch 1, (3 sc in next ch 5 space, picot, 3 sc in same ch 5 space) twice, 7 sc in next ch 5 space, (in next ch 5 space work 2 sc, 2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc, 2 sc) twice, 3 sc in next ch 5 space, turn.

    Row 4: Ch 6, sc in tr of previous row, ch 7, sc in next tr of previous row, ch 6, sl st in 3rd sc of 7 sc from previous row, turn.

    Row 5: 4 sc in ch 6 space, picot, 4 sc in same ch 6, 4 sc in ch 7 space, large picot, 4 sc in same ch 7, 4 sc in next ch 6, picot, 4 sc in same ch 6, 4 sc in partial ch 5 from row 3, (3 sc in next ch 5, picot, 3 sc in same ch 5) twice, sl st in top of dc from row 2.

    Fasten off. Weave in ends. Add bling!**

    **You don't have to bling the tiara's. If you'd rather just crochet and send them, the Magic Yarn Project will add the bling.

    Pussyhat Project

    Monday, January 09, 2017

    For the past few weeks I've been knitting hats with the Pussyhat Project for women who will be walking in the Women's March On Washington (or Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago .....)

    The Pussyhat Project aims to:
    1. Provide the people of the Women's March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard.
    2. Provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and support women's rights.

    The Pussyhat Project provides a free pattern but, of course, I had to find and tweak a pattern to fit my personality. I found this delightful free pattern for a child's cat ear hat. I was immediately drawn to the shaping done in the crown of the hat and the stitching which define the ears. I changed the center cable pattern and that necessitated adjusting the crown shaping but otherwise the pattern is essential the same.

    Here are the notes and pattern for my hat. I think I've knit this hat enough times now that the pattern is accurate. It is not pattern tested, tech edited or have a chart. I also have not yet taken the time to explain stitches but if you're an experienced knitter (especially with cables) you should have no problem.

    Gauge: Resizing the hat to fit an adult head was an easy fix by substituting a larger weight yarn. I used aran weight yarn (Red Heart Super Saver & Lion Brand Vanna's Choice both worked well) with size 8 needles but you can use any yarn and needles that will give you a gauge of 16 stitches for every 4".

    The pattern is written for an adult small. Follow the numbers in (parenthesis) for a medium/large hat which fit most of the adult women who have tried it on.

    Pattern (4 rows):
    Row 1: (K16(20), p2, C2B, C2F, p2, C4B, C4F, p2, C2B, C2F, p2) twice
    Row 2: (K16(20), p2, k4, p2, k8, p2, k4, p2) twice
    Row 3: (K16(20), p2, C2F, C2B, p2, k8, p2, C2F, C2B, p2) twice
    Row 4: Repeat row 2.

    Hat Body:
    Cast on 72(80) stitches, join to knit in a circle.
    Work 1 x 1 ribbing for 5 rows.
    Next row: M1 after every 9(10) stitches. 80(88) stitches.

    Repeat pattern rows 1-4 8(9) times and then work Row 1 once more before beginning crown decreases.

    Crown decreases:
    Row 1: [K16(20), *p2, k4, p2*, ssk, k4, k2tog, repeat from * to *] twice. 76(84) stitches.
    Row 2: [K16(20), *p2, C2F, C2B, p2*, ssk k2, k2tog, repeat from * to *] twice. 72(80) stitches.
    Row 3: [K16(20), *p2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, p2tog*, ssk, k2tog, repeat from * to *] twice 56(64)stitches.
    Row 4: [K16(20), *p1, k3tog, p1,* k2tog, repeat from * to *] twice 48(56) stitches.

    Knit 8(10) Flip hat wrong side out & 3 needle bind-off.
    Sew ears.