Thursday, January 12, 2017

Build that Yarn Wall!


I've been collecting yarn for years and years and years. I have a hard time throwing away a color and usually, in my line of work (amigurumi) I will use just a little of this and a little of that. I'm really choosy about what color I want to use, so if I need a specific color I tend to buy a new ball of yarn instead of just using something close that I might already have. I've also been sent yarn from companies to try out, and I never want to get rid of free yarn! This has led to a giant stash!

I have kept my yarn in big bins in my 16-unit Ikea Expedit shelves forever. The bins are cardboard and just do not hold up to my constant digging around in them, which leads me to another problem. The yarn was pretty much in giant tangles inside each bin. Here's an example. Scary.


A couple of years ago I bought a yarn ball winder like this. I mainly used it for winding hanks of fancy yarn I got from the local yarn store but now I took it out and worked overtime winding up every ball of yarn I had into beautiful yarn "cakes"! Look at the difference!


I was totally inspired by Knits for Life. Their yarn storage wall is art. After I did all the winding, I went to Home Depot and purchased six pegboard panels 2ftx4ft each to cover one wall in my office. These were $7.99 each. Honestly I could have used more space but I wanted it on this particular wall. I don't know if it is the same at every Home
Depot, but these boards had two bar codes on them. One of them rang up at $19.97 each! I was in shock when I checked out but figured I'd made a mistake. I had to go back and get two more to go along the top and at that point took the photo below. This time the cashier scanned both barcodes and we discovered the discrepancy and I was refunded. Just a warning if you decided to buy the same boards! I also bought "pegboard kits". They include long screws and spacers, which hold the pegboard away from the wall, as well as a small assortment of hooks (most of which you won't be using). These kits were $6.98 each and are located in the shelving/closet storage area of the store, not by the pegboards. I bought two and didn't have enough spacers for the whole project so I ended up using hex bolts behind the screws and they worked just fine.



Here's how the pegboards looked after hanging just four of them.


For hooks, I found out through trying out the hooks that came with the kits that I'd prefer to use 2" long straight hooks. Other hooks worked ok but they either stuck out too long or weren't long enough. I ended up finding the best deal at Harbor Freight Tools. They sell five-packs of 2" long hooks for just $1.49, which is cheaper than I found on Amazon. I bought all they had. If you have a Harbor Freight Tools store nearby, you should check there. They were WAY cheaper than Lowes or HomeDepot on hooks, but their website doesn't tell you in store stock, which is a MAJOR drawback! They also sell seven-packs of 1.5" hooks that work ok too, for the same price.

Look at my teenage son helping!



Once I had the boards up and the yarn rolled, I started hanging. I had my yarn sorted so I started with red and worked from there. I knew I had tons of white and brown yarns so I pretty much filled up the top two panels with those. I did not use a hook for each ball of yarn. I think that would have been impossible. All of the larger balls have hooks and the smaller balls I wedged in between. They are secure, and won't fall out, but when I take out a ball of yarn I will have to be careful not to knock out other ones around it!

TL/DR version:

Pegboard (comes in 2ftx4ft units)
Screws and "spacers" or two stacked hex nuts (holds away from wall)
Pegboard hooks (2" long preferred)
Yarn and yarn ball winder
PATIENCE

Look at my pretty yarn wall! I have had people ask what about dust? Well I figure only the top yarn would be affected or the outside front face of each ball, and I can dust it off before I use it. We don't have moth problems around here, knock on wood, and I don't foresee that as a problem. I just love the look of it, and it really opened up my room. Its definitely beautiful to look at, if you like rainbows, and I'm inspired! I see what yarn I have without having to dig through a box. It will be easy to see what I'm running low on, and its easy to rearrange if I need to. I may need a stepstool to reach the yarn on top. I don't have cats, but I can imagine that might be an issue. One funny thing is that it has really changed the acoustics in my office! I was turned towards the wall talking to my husband last night and it was absorbed right into the wall and he could barely hear me!




Do you have any other questions? I would love to help answer anything you want to know. I haven't had a lot of experience "using" my wall yet, since I just finished it, but I will update from time to time here and on my social media. Thanks for reading!



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Family Portraits

Black Friday Special!



At Christmas time lots of people get a portrait done for Christmas cards or just to have for the year so it got me thinking. Of course I love making unique gifts and what better way to celebrate my little family than with crocheted versions of them? Most kids like anything with their names on them so these fit that bill.

I'm excited to be offering custom crocheted "Family Portrait Ornaments" in my Etsy shop this year! They start at $25, so they are affordable, and each one is made to order in the likeness of whomever you want! I'm working on some families with pets too, so I can't wait to show you!

If you'd like to order, head over to my Etsy shop. You can pick out how many family members, what color you want the backing heart to be, and then just wait on me. I'll write you to get the information I need to complete your order.


As of the writing of this post, I have about 12 spots left before Christmas. Of course if you want them and you're past the deadline, I will still be making them. The sooner you get your order in, the longer they can hang on your tree this year.

Below are some examples of ornaments sets I've already made!


Family Portrait Ornaments

Family Portrait Ornaments

Family Portrait Ornaments -- these are a secret! shhh

Family Portrait Ornaments

I'm going to have to find a way to keep these on display all year long. Maybe a shadow box?


Friday, October 7, 2016

Free Halloween Amigurumi Pattern: Little Franky Pattern

All treats, no tricks! Here's a little Frankenstein's monster (for you lit nerds) named Little Franky for you to crochet! He's easy and fun, so enjoy! Happy Fall (my favorite season, of course)! OK bye--going get something pumpkin flavored to eat and drink...

Little Franky

FREE Little Franky Frankenstein Monster Amigurumi Crochet Pattern!



Yarn:
Red Heart Super Saver worsted weight yarn (7 oz/364 yds/198g per skein):  1 skein #0672 Spring Green (A)
Caron Simply Soft worsted weight yarn (6 oz/315 yds/170g per skein): 1 skein #9727 Black (B)

Materials:
US Size E (3.5mm) crochet hook,
9 mm black safety eyes
Polyester fiberfill stuffing
Red, black embroidery floss
Yarn needle
Embroidery needle
Scissors
2 small black shanked buttons for neck bolts

Difficulty:
Easy

Size(s):
One size, doll measures 6.5” tall

Gauge:
Not critical for this project

Stitch Guide:
ch(s) - chain(s)
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
st(s) - stitch(es)
rnd - round
rep - repeat
BLO - back loop only
FLO - front loop only
sc2tog - single crochet two stitches together

Special Stitches:
Adjustable-ring method—Wrap yarn into a ring, ensuring that the tail falls behind the working yarn. Grip ring and tail firmly between middle finger and thumb. Insert hook through center of ring, yarn over (with working yarn) and draw up a loop. Work stitches of first round in the ring. After the first round of stitches is worked, pull gently, but firmly, on tail to tighten ring.

Notes:
Doll is worked in the round in unjoined spirals. Use a locking stitch marker if necessary to mark the beginning of each round. When you complete a round, move the marker to the loop on your hook and continue crocheting.

Instructions:
Head and Body
Rnd 1: Starting at the top of the Head, with yarn A and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 6 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 3: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 3 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (15 sts)
Rnd 4: 2 Sc into each st (30 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc into BLO of each st.
Rnds 6-11: Sc into each st.
Rnd 12: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 8 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (27 sts)
Rnd 13: Sc into each st.
Rnd 14: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 7 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 15: Sc into each st.
Rnd 16: Sc2tog around (12 sts)
Change to yarn B at end of Rnd 16.
Insert a stitch marker to hold your place. Insert safety eyes as shown, 6 sts apart and between Rnds 9 and 10. Stuff Head firmly.
Work an uncounted round of slip stitches all the way around. This helps transition the Head and Body colors.
Rnd 17: Sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 18: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 2 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 19: Sc into each st.
Rnd 20: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 8 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (20 sts)
Rnds 21-26: Sc into each st.
Insert a stitch marker. Flatten Body you've crocheted so far. Find the middle point of the body. Move the stitch marker to the corresponding stitch and crochet sc until you are at that st. Begin Rnd 27 at this point.
Rnd 27: Sc into next 10 sts, skip next 10.
Rnd 28: Sc into first st of Rnd 27 and next 9.
Rnds 29-31: Sc into each st.
Rnd 32: Sc into next 6 sts, skip next 4 (6 sts)
Row 33-34: Ch 1, turn, sc into next 3 (3 sts)
Row 35: Ch 1, turn, sc2tog, sc into next st (2 sts)
Row 36: Ch 1, turn, sc into next st, 2 sc next st (3)
Rows 37-40: Ch 1, turn, sc into each st.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing.
Join yarn at back of doll, at 11th st of Rnd 26.
Repeat Rnds 27-31.
Rnd 32: Sc into each st (10 sts)
Rows 33-34: Ch 1, turn, sc into next 3 sts (3 sts)
Row 35: Ch 1, turn, sc into next st, sc2tog (2 sts)
Row 36: Ch 1, turn, 2 sc into next st, sc into next st (3 sts)
Rows 37-40: Ch 1, turn, sc into each st.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing.
Stuff Body and Legs firmly. Fold flaps back at the bottom of legs, lining up Row 40 with the back of the leg at Rnd 32 to form feet. Sew along edges of feet all the way around.

FREE Little Franky Frankenstein Monster Amigurumi Crochet Pattern!


Jacket
With yarn B and an E hook, ch 18.
Row 1: 2 hdc into 3rd ch from the hook, hdc into next 14 chs, 2 hdc into last ch (18 sts)
Row 2: Ch 2, turn, 2 hdc into first st, hdc into next 16 sts, 2 hdc into last st (20 sts)
Rows 3-6: Ch 2, turn, hdc into each st.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing.
Wrap Jacket around Body and stitch into place with the yarn tail and a yarn needle.

Arm (Make 2)
With yarn A and E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 5 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnds 1-2: Sc into each st (5 sts)
Rnd 3: Sc into FLO of next st, ch 2, sl st into FLO of same st, sc into next 4 sts (5 sts)
Rnd 4: Sc into BLO of next st, sc into next 4 sts (5 sts)
Change to yarn B at the end of Rnd 4.
Rnds 5-12: Sc into each st.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. It is not necessary to stuff the arms.
Sew each Arm to the Body at the neckline. Weave in ends.

Hair
Rnd 1: Starting at the top of the Hair, with yarn B and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 6 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 3: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 3 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (15 sts)
Rnd 4: 2 Sc into each st (30 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc into BLO of each st.
Rnds 6-7: Sc into each st.
Row 8: Ch 1, turn, sc into 18 sts (18 sts)
Rows 9-10: Ch 1, turn, sc into each st (18 sts)
Row 11: Ch 1, turn, sc2tog, sc into 14 sts, sc2tog (16 sts)
Row 12: Ch 1, turn, sc2tog, sc into 12 sts, sc2tog (14 sts)
Row 13: Ch 1, turn, sc into each st across (14 sts)
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. With a yarn needle, sew the Hair to the Head with Rows 8-13 at the back of the Head. As you sew the front of the Hair, make longer stitches down the front to mimic short bangs down over Franky’s forehead.

Ears (Make two)
Rnd 1: With yarn A and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 4 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. Use a yarn needle to sew Ears to the sides of the Head. Weave in ends.

Finishing
For the nose, thread a yarn needle with a long strand of yarn A. Come up between Rnds 10 and 11 of the Head and make several horizontal loose stitches about 2 sc stitches wide. Refer to photo. Keeping these stitches loose will give the nose dimension. Knot the yarn and weave back inside the Head.

Use an embroidery needle and black embroidery floss to make a mouth. Come up at one side, make a loose straight stitch across, back down on the other side, then come up at the middle of the smile, tacking down the loose straight stitch in a smile shape. Add a small stitch of red embroidery floss just underneath the black. Refer to photo.

Use a yarn needle and a short length of black yarn to make eyebrows. One vertical stitch and one longer horizontal stitch should be connected for each eyebrow.

With an embroidery needle and black embroidery floss, sew each black shanked button to the each side of the neck as shown.

Apply a small amount of pink blush to each cheek with your fingertip.

BOO!
FREE Little Franky Frankenstein Monster Amigurumi Crochet Pattern!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Texas Independence Day, y'all!

Free Amigurumi Texas flag pattern

Born and raised in Texas, and proud to be, I had to make something Texas related! Today is Texas Independence Day, so it seemed fitting to write up this free pattern for the iconic Texas flag, with a CraftyisCool twist. He's smiling!

Hope you enjoy!


 Texas Flag
  by Allison Hoffman



Materials:
Worsted weight yarn
  White (A)
  Blue (B)
  Red (C)
Black embroidery floss
Polyester stuffing
Black 9mm safety eyes
White felt

Tools/Notions:
E Hook
Yarn needle
Embroidery needle

Key:
ch: Chain
sc: single crochet
st: stitch

Flag:
Row 1: With white yarn A, and starting with a long beginning yarn tail, ch 11. Sc into 2nd ch from hook and next 9 chs (10 sts)
Rows 2-13: Ch 1, turn. Sc into each st.
Change to red yarn B at end of Rnd 13.
Rnds 14-26: Ch 1, turn. Sc into each st.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing.

Blue Side of Flag:
Row 1: With blue yarn C, ch 7. Sc into 2nd ch from hook and next 5 chs (6 sts)
Rows 2-26: Ch 1, turn. Sc into each st.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing.

Assembly:
Align edges of Flag and Blue Side of Flag. Stitch together with blue yarn tail.

Fold panel and stitch long edge of blue/white and blue/red edges with yarn tail. This will be the back center seam.

Flatten the Flag so red is at the bottom and white is at the top. Stitch the blue short edge closed with matching yarn.

Insert safety eyes as shown and stuff Flag.


Stitch remaining edge closed and weave in ends.

With black embroidery floss, stitch a loose “v” shape for a smile.

On a small piece of white felt, lightly draw a star with a disappearing ink pen or pencil. Cut the star from the felt, flip over, and glue or stitch to the blue portion of the Flag as shown.


Attach a short piece of ribbon to top of Flag for hanging.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this pattern, or if you need any help.  The items you make from this pattern may be resold as long as credit is given as “Pattern by Allison Hoffman, craftyiscool.com”.  Thanks!


Yarns Used in this Project:
A: Hobby Lobby “I Love This Yarn” — White
B: Hobby Lobby “I Love This Yarn” — Red
C: Hobby Lobby “I Love This Yarn” — Royal

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