Monthly Archives: March 2012

Blogiversary week of giveaways, Day 2: Projects everywhere!

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I had a very productive crocheting and knitting weekend.

First, I picked up my sister’s blanket for the first time in weeks.  I finished all of the borders and the edging.  All told, the blanket has 375 granny squares (3 rounds each), four rounds of gold granny borders, one round of black granny borders, and seven rows of granny stripes on both the right and left side in black.  I finished the entire blanket with a plain black single crochet edging.

This picture is a few weeks old, but you can see the sides are a bit narrow, which is why I added the extra black borders on the right and left.

I estimate that it took me 56 hours to crochet the granny squares (based on timing myself and averaging 9 minutes per square) and about seven hours to finish the borders and edging. But here’s the scary part.  I timed myself weaving in the ends one row at a time.  Any guesses on how long it takes per row?  (Insert dramatic pause while you guess.)


FORTY FIVE MINUTES.  Yep.  One full episode of The X-Files on Netflix.  And this blanket has 15 rows.  So all told, I think it is safe to say that I will have spent about 75 hours on this blanket – the equivalent of two full-time weeks at work.  I will definitely be including a priceless parody gift card when I present this blanket to my sister!

My little broomstick lace project from last week now has the ends woven in but I haven’t made a decision about which buttons to add yet.  I have such a large button collection (inherited from my grandma) that I sometimes get overwhelmed by choice!

I am almost finished with the knit beanie I started during Knit and Crochet Design Week.

I’ve started decreasing.  I’ve been trying it on and I may have to keep this one for me.

This has been a fun project because I’m working on it along with the students in my Saturday knitting classes.  I will probably wait until Saturday to pick it up again.

As for reading, I’ve only finished one more chapter in The Girl Who Played with Fire.  I’ve been at work late a lot this week so I haven’t had as much reading time as I would like.  I definitely need to finish it soon because my loan from the library ends on Sunday, and it will magically disappear from my Kindle Fire whether or not I’ve read it!

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami’s Amis.  For more Yarn Along posts, visit Small Things.


And now, on to today’s giveaway…

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I live in a New York City sized apartment and have pretty substantial collections of yarn and needlecraft books.  Every time I find a super awesome book, I have to get rid of another slightly less awesome book to create space on my bookshelf.  Since one of my WIPs today is the beanie I designed, I thought this would be a good time to give away my gently used copy of Design Your Own Knits in 5 Easy Steps by Debbie Abrahams.  It got bumped off the bookshelf once Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments that Really Fit rocked my world (review here).

Blogiversary week of giveaways, Day 1: Happy Cute by Annie Obaachan

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Today, I’m reviewing Happy Cute: 25 Amigurumi Celebration Gifts to Make by Annie Obaachan and hosting a giveaway of my review copy, courtesy of Barron’s Educational Books.  This seemed like a great book to kick off my week of giveaways, because it is very celebratory!

I’m a big fan of Obaachan’s Amigurumi Animals (reviewed here), which is a great design primer.  I’ll admit that I was worried this book would just include a bunch of patterns with limited design information.  I was pleasantly surprised by the contents.


25 celebratory amigurumi patterns along with tips and tricks for creating amigurumi projects.


  • Cute, Cute, Cute: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Amigurumi (Introduction)
  • Tools and Materials
  • Reading Patterns
  • Crochet Techniques (illustrated)
  • Finishing Off
  • Creating Happy Gifts
  • Chapter 1: Happy Holidays
  • Chapter 2: Love and Romance
  • Chapter 3: Springtime is Here!
  • Chapter 4: Party Time!
  • Chapter 5: Congratulations
  • Index and Resources

What I like about this book:

  • The introduction, which explains the Japanese cultural/historical context that led to the emergence of amigurumi as an art form.
  • The “Making Shapes” section, which provides instructions on how to create various 2D and 3D shapes in crochet, including discs, teardrops, balls, rectangles and squares, rectangles with curved corners, and rhombii.
  • The pattern instructions, which include both written directions and international stitch symbols.
  • The directions for “making up” each project (assembly), which are very detailed and also include structure diagrams.
  • The tips in the crochet techniques section, which include illustrated instructions for the “magic ring.”

What I didn’t like about this book, or what’s missing:

  • There is no yardage listed for the patterns.  (A typical instruction would be “Red (yarn) for the nose.”)  This makes it hard to assess whether you have enough scrap yarn for a particular pattern.
  • The book is a paperback and doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to read and crochet at the same time.
  • Some of the gift ideas seem to be a real stretch.  For example, a pattern for corn on the cob with a vegetable kebab, while cute, doesn’t seem to me like a “gift to celebrate (a) special occasion.”  (I should say that I don’t have an outdoor grill.  Perhaps if I did, the start of the grilling season would be significant enough to warrant amigurumi kebab gifts.)  This doesn’t impact my interest in the patterns, but it does mean that some of the projects don’t seem to fit with the theme of the book.

Favorite patterns:

  • New Year Dragon (for Chinese New Year)
  • Big Heart Bear and Red, Red Rose (for Valentine’s Day or anniversary)
  • Dancing Daffodils (for spring)
  • Great Job (for promotion)


Happy Cute is more than just an amigurumi pattern book.  It shares some of the context for amigurumi in Japan, along with design tips and crochet techniques.  The ideal reader is interested in learning more about crochet design, loves amigurumi, and/or likes to make cute, crochet gifts.  The book is clearly written, so it would be appropriate for a beginner with some basic crochet skills. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.
The Giveaway!

This giveaway is open to all readers who enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, April 1.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Intermeshing detour

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This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.

Last week, I talked about exploring other crochet techniques which were not included in  Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters, and the general consensus in the comments section was that I should go for it!

So I started a little intermeshing project.

Sadly, the two reverses in my zig zags weren’t design elements but oopsies that happened while I was watching t.v.

I’m using two skeins of Donegal Tweed that I bought on sale at The Yarn Company.  If you’ve never tried intermeshing (also known as interlocking crochet or double filet crochet), here are the resources I recommend to get you started:

This will end up as a felted cozy of some sort.  One option is to turn it into the camera case I’ve been talking about for ages.  It somewhat matches my freeform crochet flower that is supposed to be the “focal point” of this case whenever I actually make it.

On the other hand, I’m contemplating buying a new camera, and there is no way MC will use a case with a giant flower on it.  I could make it into a case for my Kindle Fire instead.  I already have an awesome hand sewn case by Gothic Creations, so I don’t actually need a cover for it, but I thought it would be cool to have a crocheted one anyway.