Button-spiration

crochet buttons

Here’s a fun combination of two things I love. Buttons & crochet. Actually, crochet buttons. Nifty, eh? I could see spending an evening making up a bunch of these… for something. Maybe put some on a few cuff bracelets, or make some new button hair clips. Not sure I would actually use them as functional buttons, but more just for embellishment.

There are quite a few tutorials out there for making these. This one from Salt for the Spirit, incorporates a plastic ring to form thicker, more rounded buttons. There is also a super simple crochet button tutorial on Mr. Micawber’s Reciper for Happiness blog. Quick Tip has some simple patterned buttons. Jenny Doh has examples of some crochet buttons she made from hemp yarn & used to decorate a pair of ballet flats. There’s also instructions on Mademoiselle Chaos for crocheting around buttons, giving them a bit of a facelift. I think you’re starting to get the picture. Lots of options to choose from.

Happy crocheting!

crochet covered buttons

One Moment

(One moment in a busy week, captured in a photograph. Time to slow down, reflect, give thanks, and enjoy.)

Baby crochetCrochet
Leisure
Crafting
Granny square
Relaxation
Books
Crochet hook
Yarn
Hobbies
Projects
One person
Baby boy
Lower half
Bare feet
Summer
*Finally a bit of craft time to save my sanity*

Making new friends

Someone has been busy making new friends, from the comfort of his crib. Sam was given this amazing crochet mobile by my friend Kalen of Minibytes. She’s been mentioned on this blog lots, seeing as she has been my oh-so-wonderful boothmate at some monumental craft shows (aka Make It). I was delighted to see this special mobile get hung in the nursery (my apologies on the dark photos these days… every time I get a chance to drag the camera out, it’s overcast & gloomy).

Sam and his mobile
Sam talking to his new friends

The mobile is all done in crochet. Kalen used her Minibytes critters (owl, bunny, mouse, and fox) and added some clouds & stars. The critters just Velcro onto the strands, so we can remove them for some supervised play time or even change them out with different animals. Sam has really been enjoying it! He can entertain himself in his crib for little stretches of time while mama does things around the house. The giggles and talking he does in there is just adorable. I’m so glad he likes his new friends! And who wouldn’t love those cute critters?! Thanks again, Kalen! If you’re interested in your own crochet mobile, she has a couple versions for sale in her Etsy shop.

Crochet mobile
Crochet mobile made by Kalen of Minibytes

Crochet mobile detail

So he grows

When we discovered that we would be having a January baby, I knew that I would need to make some super cozy things to keep baby warm in our Canadian winter. Here was one item that I made. A toque. Some call it a knit hat, but here in Canada, it’s a toque.

I made this toque from a pattern purchased on Etsy, from a shop which also sells one of my fav crochet baby sweater patterns. The toque pattern is called Thinking of Autumn by Vita of Mon Petit Violon. It is made with 100% alpaca yarn from SandnesGarn. There are hundreds of crochet hat patterns for babies out there, but this one really appealed to me because of the ear flaps. If it was going to be -35 Celcius outside than protecting those precious baby ears and cheeks seemed very important. I made a slight addition to the toque (don’t I always do this sort of thing?) by lining it with Polartec 200 weight fleece. Even lined the ear flaps. The result was a super warm toque for baby boy. The downside, the lining took away a lot of the stretch of the hat, so it only fit Sam for the first month. It did, however, serve its purpose… the day we brought Sam home from the hospital, was one of the coldest days of this winter.

I started working an another one of these toques in a larger size. In fact, it was the first craft project I started once I got out of the hospital. All the pieces are made, it just needs to be assembled. It should last Sam into the spring (when we frequently see big dumps of wet snow).

Sam's toque
Almost outgrown his toque here

Not quite socks

About a year ago, I discovered the joy of making crochet baby sweaters from sock yarn. Sock yarn, in general, is easy to wash, comes in such lovely variegated colours and seems like the perfect weight for little ones (while still being cozy for Canadian winters). Now, I of course, break all sorts of “rules” for crochet patterns. Most of the baby sweater patterns I use call for a thicker weight of yarn, but by using sock yarn (super fine, #1) I’m able to make the sweaters small enough for newborns (0-3 months). Or so I hope. I’ll let you know how they fit soon enough. I can’t help but experiment! I’ve done some slightly larger ones as well. All in all, I’ve probably completed at least six using different patterns. Here are two I made especially for our own little babe, using a pattern from the book Natural Crochet for Babies & Toddlers by Tina Barrett. It’s the “Matinee Jacket” with my own personal twist… I change up the top part of sweater so that it buttons on the side instead of straight down the middle. A slightly more modern look, I think. Anyway, there are sure to be a dozen more sweaters made over the coming years as our little one grows and I’ll continue to experiment with different yarns and patterns, breaking some of the “rules” as I go.

Crochet baby sweater
Crochet rainbow baby sweater

P.S – Turns out these little sweaters work great for Sam. The sleeves are a bit long, but they help to keep his little adorable hands warm during our quick ventures out into -30C. He wore the blue one home from the hospital:

Sam in his sweater

Colourful, cozy necks

Orange Pineapple ScarfletteBubblegum Pink ScarfletteKiwi ScarfletteGrape Jelly Scarflette

Ta-da! Introducing the newest scarflette gals! Or rather the newest cowl scarves. Yes, indeed, I have changed the name a bit on these in the hopes of improving searchability and such. Scarflettes just isn’t as common as “cowl” or “scarves” and so I have relinquished my oh-so-loved cute product name for something slightly more descriptive.

These newest additions are made from a yarn combo that I started using in August and now currently have a rainbow of them completed. I’m a big fan of double stranded cowls and these ones are made from two different yarn types (in the past I just doubled up on a single type of yarn). One strand is made from a wool mohair blend called Alfa by SandnesGarn, while the second strand of yarn is made from Colinette Isis. Both of which comes from the oh-so-handy stock of yarns from my mother-in-law’s shop (which now lives in our basement). I really love the weight of the Alfa wool. It’s perfect for my cowls, but by itself, it can be a bit itchy. So I experimented with ways to soften it up and discovered that pairing it with the Isis yarn made it buttery soft. And the colours! Oh, the colour combos come out so beautiful! Seriously, who can resist variegated yarns? Each cowl can be worn with so many different colours!

These gals will be for sale at all my upcoming craft shows. There is literally a rainbow of them, although, some are one-of-a-kind colour combos, so if you see one you like, don’t wait to long to buy it. I’ve started listing them in the shop too, a new one each day. If you live locally (in Calgary), you can avoid the shipping cost listed on Etsy, just contact me and I will drop your purchase off directly to you. Pretty sweet deal!

Sometimes you just have to watch roller derby

rural Alberta winterThat’s what this weekend was all about. Roller derby. Last year between trips abroad and surgery, I managed to miss most of the Calgary roller derby bouts, so when my sister-in-law (which sounds like such a formal title for my crazy tattooed sis) told us that her team would be playing in Medicine Hat, we jumped on the idea of driving out there. And since it’s about a three and half hour drive, hubby and I decided we’d turn the outing into a little vacation and spend the night at a hotel.

So we headed out Saturday afternoon, leaving the wonderfully warm and sunny city of Calgary behind. As soon as we left the city limits, like literally crossed over into rural Alberta, we were caught in a blizzard. Weather on the prairies can be so bizarre, with pockets of such distinct and dramatic weather changes. The blizzard itself didn’t last too long, but the entire drive was nerve wracking, and passing the many flipped vehicles in the ditch surrounded by emergency vehicles didn’t help the nerves. We took our time, drove sensibly, and eventually made it with enough time to grab dinner before the derby bout. Yay for ABC Country Restaurant! They had a super sticky, warm hot chocolate with my name on it!

It only took us about 40 minutes of driving around Medicine Hat to locate the derby. Google maps led us to fire hall in an industrial park. Thanks for trying Google. Not exactly the place we’re looking for. Stopped twice to ask locals, and then finally found it. Got seats right behind the bench of the opposing team, the Gas City Rollers. The bout was super fun! The score got pretty close, but in the end our Cut Throat Car Hops won! Nice job ladies! Well worth the drive for a little derby action! Plus I managed to get a bunch of crochet completed during the drive back home.

Very glad we aren’t on the highway today though. High winds and blowing snow, it looks like a decent winter storm is brewing out there this morning. Take care and safe travels where ever you find yourself today.

A Look Back

All this talk of making things for babelettes reminds me of a project which I have yet to share with you here. It was started well before the birth of this blog, although I did mention its completion in an early post here. And so the details on that project which were to follow are coming to you now, only slightly behind schedule. You’re so very patient.

Along the road of improving my crochet skills, I decided that what I really needed to do was to learn how to make granny squares. They seemed like some fundamental crochet technique that was imperative to acquire. As it turns out, making granny squares is really not all that difficult, or perhaps I’ve just only made the easy ones. While I had all of this brewing in my brain, longing for some purpose for which to focus this granny square making (I really do need an end-goal or things tend to lay unfinished), we were simultaneously starting to struggle with motivation at work. It hadn’t been the easiest of years and as yet another massive, monotonous project was laid out before us to tackle, let’s just say that the team was feeling less than enthusiastic.

At the start of this massive work project, we had already decided that what we really needed was a visual progress bar or else we might go completely crazy (or crazier). As all my keyword co-workers are crafters, it seemed natural that our progress bar be something crafty that we could all appreciate. This is where the granny square project was born. Combining work and crochet?! Well, sort of. I did refrain from actually crocheting at work, but it gave me some purpose and something soothing to do in the evenings after work. Cheap therapy, that’s what crafting is all about!

Granny squares in office
Thanks to Ellen from Craft Interrupted for the pic
With hook and yarn in hand, I settled into the couch and started making square after square. I swear I used a granny square tutorial on Attic 24, but do you think I can find it now?! No matter, the granny squares I made were very basic. I do remember that the pattern called for three colours per square, but I quite liked just the two.

At the end of each week, as we totaled all our work, more granny squares would get hung up around our desks. I believe each square represented 4,000 entries that we had to go through. Now you understand the need for a visual progress bar. The more work we completed, the more colourful our entire space became and the more people stopped by to see what we were up to. It was lovely!

Granny square baby blanketThankfully, that massive work project did come to an end to the great satisfaction of everyone. The granny squares which were no longer needed, came back home with me where they sat for a time without much purpose. That is, until my friend from work told me she was expecting her first baby in October. Wouldn’t you know, I had the perfect number of granny squares made up for a baby quilt! Just one extra square. With the realization that I would also have to be off work for two months to recover from my surgery, it seemed that things were coming together just perfectly for me to make an entire granny square blanket. I used a basic scalloped edge to create a bit of a border along the blanket and voila! Soft coziness to keep a babelette warm! There are some more pics here of the completed blanket.

The moral of the story, is that obviously, granny squares are incredibly versatile! They go from work to play in no time flat. So the next time things are getting a touch repetitive at work, consider bringing crochet onto the scene. You’ll be glad you did.

The imperfect socks

crochet socksSo my biggest gift making challenge this Christmas was a pair of crochet socks. When I first got the idea to try my hand at sock making back in September, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Of course, one thing scheduled after another, and all of a sudden it was mid-December and the balls of sock yarn sat untouched. I still thought I would be fine, I mean how hard can socks be, really?

Well, now I know. They are tricky. Not impossible, but definitely tricky. Part of the problem was the pattern I was using. The book simply didn’t explain the process well enough for me to visualize what the heck I was supposed to do. I spent a great deal of time staring at the crochet instructions, reading the words, and having no clue what to do. I like the designs in the book, but I finally had to search online among crochet blogs to get some clearer instructions on the technique. Having figured it out now, I think the next pair might be less brain-stumping. However, this first pair of socks are quaintly imperfect. I’m eager to have some spare hours to give another pair a try. Goodness knows I could use a warm pair of colourful socks to see me through the rest of this Alberta winter.