Friday, 9 May 2014

Sick and Tired of always being Sick and Tired

I'm way behind on my blogging and way behind on my crocheting. Last couple of days I've been really poorly - not that I can remember the last time I felt well. I spent most of yesterday in an odd state between sleep and consciousness. Due to my lack of night-time sleep unplanned naps have become part of my daily routine. As soon as my painkillers kick in my body wants to sleep and then an hour later when they wear off I'm awake and in agony.

I have learnt another crochet lesson over the last few days. Although I was super proud of my elephants I couldn't help that the stitching between the main body of the elephant and its stubby legs looked different and because of that looked different to the ones in the pictures in the All About Ami blog. I went to the All About Ami Facebook page and contacted Stephanie (the author of the blog) to see if she had any idea why. She knew straight away, she said that the body of my elephant had the "wrong" side facing outwards and that the legs had the "right" side facing outwards, and directed me to a page on her blog to explain it all. Once reading it all I realised that the only thing I needed to change was that I needed to turn the body inside out before I start constructing the legs. I'll put this into practise for my next one, although the stitching might be hard to see as its in a dark coloured wool. Anyone else find it much harder to see where their stitches are meant to be with darker wool?

Yesterday I went to start on Dave's surprise Charmander when I realised that my Orange wool was tied up in one of the rows of the bobbly baby blanket I'm making for my friend. So I finished off a few rows of the blanket to free up the wool and then fell asleep. I woke up sometime later disorientated and feeling super sick. Then Dave came home so I couldn't do it.

Today I've felt slightly better, I got started on the Charmander when Dave went to work. I decided to use the hook size recommended and it seems to be coming along ok. I couldn't carry on with it this evening as Dave decided to come home (how dare he!)

In place of the Charmander I spent my evening starting yet another elephant, this time for my Dad. I decided to carry on using the 2.5 mm hook as I liked the way the yellow elephant came out. However I couldn't find my hook anywhere. I decided to use another 2.5 mm hook I have but don't tend to use as it is much more flimsy than my usual one. And lo and behold I managed to snap it!

Luckily I then found my normal hook under the sofa cushions, despite already having looked there, so I could carry on with the requested royal blue elephant. I feel like the more I make them the quicker I can get them done, which I always find feels like I've accomplished something haha!

Now as it is pretty much midnight here in the UK I am going to bed as my body clock is telling me to, however I'm sure this elephant will see some more work before dawn!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Always follow the instructions!

I know I should have blogged yesterday but I was finishing off the subject of this blog so it was postponed until he was complete:

This adorable little guy is a present for my mum and also the second elephant I have made from the pattern on the "all about ami" blog ( Anyone who has read past entries of the blog may have seen my first attempt, the little lilac guy that I made for myself:

Now as I'm sure you can see there are some definite differences, even though they came from the same pattern, and this is where the title of todays blog came from.


The pattern advises to use a 2.5/2.75mm hook. I thought that this seemed a little on the small side. So I had a look through the comments and saw that someone else, like myself, had questioned the use of a small hook. The authors reply confirmed that it wasn't a mistake/typo and that a 2.5/2.75mm hook should be used. Still in spite of this, I decided I knew best and decided to use my trusty 3.5mm hook which as you can see from the photo has been used to the point where the paint has worn off. 

Now this wasn't just me thinking I knew better, when I'm trying a pattern I hadn't used before I like to use a hook I'm comfortable with. I also decided this was best after reading the pattern and seeing the, slightly daunting but worth it in the end leg attachment. When I finished I did notice that my elephant didn't look as lovely as the ones on the blog (not that it makes me love my lilac elephant any less). Originally I thought maybe it was just that it was the first time I was following this pattern, and bad ear placement.

However when my mum asked me to make her a yellow elephant I figured I would give it a go with a 2.5 hook just to see if it made a different, and it really really did.

This guy looks a lot more like he's supposed to, and his ears are in the right place. You can also see the difference when the elephants are sat side by side. The lilac is slightly bigger but I think the yellow one ends up with a better overall shape, more spherical than the lilac one who is a bit more boxy.

Also because the stitches are smaller they can be seen less in the photos. The trouble I did have with the yellow one, which I'm not sure was down to the hook, was that there was a slight hump left from where the initial foundation chain had been made. It was easily remedied with a few stitches between the elephants back and belly, but it wasn't something I had to do with the lilac one.

So goes to show, no matter how good your crocheting is or how long you've been doing it for, there's always room for trial and error. Sometimes there has to be a practise elephant. However, one of  my next projects - Dave's surprise secret Charmander, recommends using a size F hook. Now I work in mm so I found a comparison chart which said it was 3.75mm. Now I know I said that its important to follow the instructions, but.... I'm wondering if the stitching will come out better if I stick with a 2.5mm?


Monday, 5 May 2014

Happy Bank Holiday!

I hope everyone is enjoying the extra day off work. I've been signed off work for what feels like forever so I'm just appreciating getting to spend an extra day with Dave. We've spent a lot of time with my parents this week with my sister being ill so its been nice today to just have the day with the two of us. (This was written at 13:00, by 16:00 it had somehow been decided that my parents were coming to ours for dinner and I ended up cooking for four?!?)

I thought today I would post the first pattern I came up with...kind of. I don't really class it as a proper pattern because its very basic but it's one of the first things I started making when I picked up Amigurumi.

Its a pattern for a little octopus with springy dangly legs. The picture below is the octopus I made for Dave a while ago  he's called Steve and sits on his phone at work. After he took it in I then had requests off 2 of his work friends for their own octopi (octopuses?)

I use a 3.5mm (E) hook for most of my amigurumi unless is states otherwise

Round 1    6sc in a magic circle (6)
Round 2    increase around (12)
Round 3    (increase, sc) x6 (18)
Round 4    (increase, 2sc) x6 (24)
Round 5    (increase, 3sc) x6 (30)
Round 6-9 sc around (30)
Round 10  (decrease, 3sc) x6 (24)
Round 11  (decrease, 2sc) x6 (18)
Round 12  (decrease, sc) x6 (12)
Round 13  decrease to close

Before finishing I added safety eyes and a crescent of felt for a mouth before stuffing. I usually add the stuffing after finishing round 10

Legs - Make 8 (I know 8 is a lot and by number 5 you will hate them but they look so good in the end!
Chain 21
Then starting in second chain from hook sc 3 times in each chain until the end. This will make the chain spiral like in the picture. You might have to re-curl it once finished if you get a kink but once you do it, it will stay in place. Then just sew them on to the bottom of the body and find a place to pop your new octopus. I find they look especially good if you can find somewhere where their legs can dangle.

This octopus is only very little but its very easy to make bigger. It's a lovely project for someone who is new to amigurumi and wants to make something that looks good without to many confusing instructions.

Hope you all enjoy this pattern and I would love to see some photos if anyone makes their own.

Please do not sell this pattern or any octopus made from it. Please also do  not copy this pattern onto your own site. Thanks

Sunday, 4 May 2014

As it is May the fourth....

There are posts about it being May the Fourth popping up all over social media and it's actually given me yet another thing to add to my list of crochet. This one however is a bit more tricky as I need to sit down and develop a pattern.

Me and Dave are both star wars fans and when we moved into our house I said I was going to make an R2D2 toilet roll cover and never got round to doing it.

So there we go yet another thing to add to my list. Definitely never ending!

This is becoming a habit!

So skipping days of blogging is becoming my new habit. Maybe my aim should just be to blog as much as my life allows haha. I got absolutely no crocheting done yesterday but my house is lovely and clean. As much as I hate cleaning I love how nice my house looks when everything's done!

I have so many projects listed in the back of my head that I need to write down the patterns for. Of the back of the lovely little elephant that I made I have now had requests for 2 more from my mum and dad. My dad wants his to sit in his work van and my mum wants one for her desk.

The pattern is listed on the All about Ami blog, Stephanie translated the pattern and posted it for free on her blog - lucky

The pattern can be found here: The legs are crocheted in a fairly unusual way. Rather than making them separately and then sewing them all you make foundation chains and the crochet them straight onto the body. It makes for some quite awkward crocheting at times  but I love the way it comes out!

I also need need need to finish my sisters peas. Over a year ago I started making my sister a pea pod with peas in.... and its still missing 2 peas. When I started this I hadn't been amigurumi-ing for very long and made a rooky mistake of using different weights of 
yarn for the pod and the peas so the peas take forever to do because the yarn is so fine!

I am also working on a secret project for Dave (boyfriend). He loves Pokemon and I found the most adorable baby Pokemon! They're on devaintart by a user called "aphid777". Definitely worth checking out for Pokemon pattens as they're some of the best I've seen. I'm itching to get started on the Charmander because I think he's adorable. Check them out here:

I also need to make some dinosaurs. My friend and her boyfriend recently bought their first house and I wanted to make them as a housewarming pattern.
This is the basis for the design, its a free online pattern that I've made before:
The picture on the website

My attempt

The dinosaur comes up very small as a lot of amigurumi is meant to be. I want a bigger one so I am in the process of enlarging it. If it comes out well I'll post it on here, if not I'll bury it somewhere so no one knows haha!

All this thinking about all the crocheting I need to do has made me sleepy.....think I need another coffee haha.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Twice in one day!

As promised to make up for missing yesterday here is my second blog of the day. The challenge suggests sharing my favourite blog posts for todays blog. However since I have not been blogging for very long and don't have that many to choose from I thought I would instead share my 5 favourite things I have crocheted.

Number 5:

This is the only one of my Top 5 that is not amigurumi. I made this gorgeous little cardigan for a friend of my mum who had just become a grandmother. It took me ages to make because the whole of the bottom of the yoke is entirely shell stitches and although it looks lovely its very time consuming. I also love the colour, it was nice to make something for a baby girl that wasn't in the expected pink. The pattern for this came from a Nikki Trench book that I brought which is full of baby clothes and accessories. I'd definitely recommend it for any crocheters who are expecting or know someone who is. Even if you're a beginner there are some nice basic patterns to help build your confidence.

Number 4 

I think the reason I like this little guy so much is probably partly just because I love penguins so much! I don't think anyone can deny their cuteness. When I started crocheting Christmas bits and bobs I asked my mother in law if there was anything in particular that she would like me to make her and she requested a penguin. I found a pattern in an amigurumi book and then made some slight alterations and made him a cheery scarf to finish him off. My mother in law loved him and he is actually on display in her living room all year round!

Number 3

These guys have a special place in my heart because they were the first thing that I wrote my own pattern for. These snowmen were the first lot I made the first Christmas after I started crocheting. Since then my pattern has evolved and the ones I made this year had arms with mitten, scarves and their hats had pom poms. Although the pattern itself is fairly simple they still make lovely Christmas gifts (and people who don't know how to crochet won't know how simple they were!)

Number 2

This was another of my original patterns. I put a lot of thought into the overall effect I wanted him to have. It would have been much easier to make him like the snowmen rather than crocheting all the sides as separate rectangles and sewing them all together but I wanted him to look as if he was made from sheets of metal. I added a heart to him as I made him around valentines day, but I think I'll probably make more at some point with a different motif.

Number 1

This is my overall favourite not only because of how well she turned out but also because of the sentimentality of it. She is the very first Yaya Doll I made. She is my own pattern and named after my yaya, who was my mum's mum and the person who taught me to crochet. This doll was a gift to my mum from me for mothers day, and it actually made her cry - not my intention!

That finishes off my Top 5 and my second blog of the day - and posted with 20 minutes to spare!

Already off to a bad start!

So I'm already off to a bad start with my Blog every day in May challenge by not posting yesterday! In my defense I did have to go see a consultant at the hospital and talk about how they're running out of tests but still don't know whats wrong with me. Just what every ill person wants to hear when they're in constant pain! So to make up for this I am going to put up 2 posts today

So the challenge for yesterdays blog was "What is you blog about?". My blog in essence is about my crocheting so I guess its just me rambling on about my hobby. Although to be honest if you're going to write about something it makes sense for it to be something you enjoy!

I have been able to crochet since I was about 10. I asked my Yaya (my greek nan) to teach me to knit and she said no because she didn't like knitting and taught me to crochet instead. This is something I'm super grateful for now. I watch my mother-in-law and sister-in-law crochet and it blows my mind. Having to have a needle in each hand and still be able to keep track of your yarn seems like far too much work, especially for something that in my opinion, isn't anywhere near as versatile as crocheting. It amazes me that by using the same techniques you can make pretty much anything you could possibly imagine; from chunky jumpers to delicate table cloths. Then there's also amigurumi which I must admit is my favourite type of crochet! The things you can make are adorable and so easy to do.

The older I get the more I realise that most of my memories of my Yaya involve her with a crochet hook in her hand. I sometimes wonder if she herself realised how versatile crochet was. She only used to crochet using Egyptian cotton (rather than the brightly coloured yarn that fills my house) and she used to make the most spectacular bed spreads and table cloths. This is what she taught me to do when I was 10 and unfortunately table cloths don't hold the attention of 10 year olds and despite being able to crochet I never really did anything with it.

My Yaya passed away when I was 20. It was one of the hardest things I've ever dealt with. Trying to grieve and also write your Uni dissertation is not something I would recommend. About a year later I was looking for a new hobby. After finishing Uni I suddenly had a void in my evenings that would have usually been spent sat in the library waiting for inspiration to hit. This is when I stumbled across amigurumi. I thought it looked amazing and I watched a few YouTube videos on it and thought to myself "I wonder if I can still do it". So I took myself down to HobbyCraft and bought myself a hook and some yarn (My understanding of hook size vs yarn thickness has improved significantly since). I sat at home and was thrilled when the crochet skills came back straight away.My first attempts at amigurumi were not great! I think they're actually quite disastrous but I was so proud at the time.

That was 18 months ago and I've not really stopped since. I think the progress I've made is incredible and I know that this sounds very big headed but I truly believe that anyone would be able to make this progress.
This is a picture of the first thing I crocheted 18 months ago...

I clearly had no concept of colour changes haha. This was meant to be a chick and the orange was meant to be an upside down triangle to look like a beak!

This is a picture of the most recent thing I've made and incidentally is the only thing I've ever made for myself

I think its safe to say that there has been some definite progress made, and yet I'm probably less proud of this than I was of the awful chick! I think the better I get at crocheting the more critical I get of the things I make. Everyone else though is very complimentary!

This little elephant now has pride of place in my house just in front of the last photo that was taken of me and my Yaya. I think part of the reason why I love crocheting is because it makes me feel closer to my Yaya, its nice to know that we shared a passion despite being so far 40+ years apart in age. I wish she could have seen my crocheting, I like to think she'd be proud - although she would probably ask me why I'm making elephants and not bedspreads haha!