Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Not Dead and Free Pattern

The tendency to disappear off the internet for months at a time is something I'm working on, as in not doing as often. I have lots of neat patterns and projects in the works, and even some recipes, and I do plan to post them here, as well as some very late Dragon*Con pictures. Between everyone that went we made over a dozen costumes and they are absolutely worthy of showing off.

In the mean time though I've written up a pattern, that's really more of a tutorial, for my favorite scrubbie. It's a fast and easy pattern and a great way to use up little scraps of yarn. I hope you enjoy it.

Round Dishwashing Scrubbie with Raised Stitches (for extra scrubbiness)

Small amount of worsted weight acrylic yarn (or the yarn of your choice)
I hook (or hook size appropriate to your yarn choice)
Gauge is not important to this pattern

Special Stitches:
fpdc - front post double crochet. Yarn over, insert hook around post of stitch, yarn over and pull through, complete dc.

This is a fpdc in action, this is also one of the few time you'll see me with pretty fingernails. Enjoy.
1. dc 12 in magic circle (if you're unfamiliar with the magic circle technique you can ch 4, join the ch and dc 12 into the circle). Join with sl st and pull tight.

2. ch 3 (ch 3 does not count as first st throughout), (fpdc around dc, dc into same dc) all the way around, join. (24 stitches with a fpdc every other stitch).

3. ch 3, (fpdc around dc, 2dc into next dc) around, join with sl st. (36 stitches)

4. ch 3, (fpdc around dc, dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc) around, fasten off. (48 stitches)

Make two of these circles. If you want the scrubbie to be larger or smaller you can stop at row three or you can continue working rounds, making sure to continue the increase pattern as you go.

When you come to last row of the second circle do not fasten off. Hold first circle to second circle, right sides out, and sc around going through both circles to join them. Fasten off with a sl st and weave ends into center of circle.

This little scrubbie works up in no time. I usually use an I hook with a worsted weight acrylic yarn, but you could use any yarn you like, just adjust the hook size and number of rows until it's the size you want. These are durable and washer and dryer safe, and the fpdcs make great little scrubbing ridges.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Curly Yarn Doll Hair Tutorial

When I decided to crochet a River Song I knew that I had to get her hair right. You can't have River Song without a crazy mass of curly hair. I had seen a couple of different ways of making curly "hair," including crocheting it and unraveling it the next day, but it wasn't quiet the ringlets that I wanted. 

After a little Googling some and thinking about the general properties of acrylic yarn some I went with dowels. Like these: 

These are twelve inch crafting dowels that I picked up at JoAnn's for I want to say about a dollar for ten of them. I bought two packs because I'd always rather have a few extra than not enough. I can't remember for certain but I think I went with the 3/4" diameter dowels, but of course you can use whatever size you need. The curls will be as big as the dowel is so pick something suited to your project.

You wrap the yarn in a tight single layer from one end of the dowel to the other. There's not any real method to this. I started some of them with a slip knot but some of them I just wrapped over the end until it held itself in place. Every few wraps I would push the yarn down to get it as tightly packed on to each dowel as possible. I tucked the ends under one of the previous rows and pulled tight, but they always came a little undone. 

Next you take your pile of yarn wrapped dowels and stick them in your sink, or a big bowl or somewhere they can be completely submerged and soak them in water overnight. I had to put a plate on top of mine because the air trapped in the yarn and wood kept making them float. 

After the yarn wrapped dowels have had their soak squeeze most of the water off of them and layer them on a baking sheet. You don't have to get them dry, we're getting to that, but getting some of the extra water off speeds up the next step. You're going to bake the yarn. Yes really. No it's not scary. There was never any smoke or even really weird smells. I baked mine at around 200 F for close to an hour. You need to use a low temperature and check them every ten or fifteen minutes. Acrylic will melt, but it has to get completely dry and then get hot before it does that and that takes a while. Trust me, it was really easy and I didn't hover anxiously over the oven at all. (*shifty eyes*)

After the dowels have cooled enough to handle you get to the fun part. Grab one end of the yarn, probably the loose end that never secured right, and start pulling.

Ta-da! You have wonderful little ringlets of yarn. The curl stays. I played with it like a cat would, pulling it and letting the curl bounce back. It's more fun than it has any reason to be. 

This is the pile of yarn curls that I got off of two dowels that were leftover from River Song's hair. It took me close to all twenty dowels to make her hair. I usually latch hook longer hair than I'll need on to a doll first and then trim it to be the right length and shape. I found with the curly hair I was able to do fewer rows that I normally would. It takes up a nice amount of space. I also really liked the way she turned out with using two colors of yarn for her hair. 

I hope some of you will try this next time you need curly yarn for a project. The dowels are reusable and I'm looking for an excuse to make something with curly hair again. It does take a little time, mostly wrapping the yarn (I did it while watching tv) and waiting for it to soak and bake dry, but I think the results are definitely worth it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the winner is...

I'm sorry that I'm a day late posting the results from the River Song give-away. The words busy weekend don't come close to covering it. The good thing is that the Spar Oom that's been piled with books and junk for literally years is now empty and just a good sweeping and mopping away from clean.

I really can't tell you all how much all the comments and tweets have meant to me. Every time I've seen a new one I felt just like I was opening a present, even if it was just an RT for a chance to win. I was nervous about putting myself out here, and now I feel much more confident about it. But enough of my babbling, you want to know who the winner is.

I never would have been able to pick someone on my own, so I turned to for what I hope is a truly fair pick. And the winner of her very own crocheted River Song is.... Cloister_Belle! Please email me and I will get her shipped out to you as soon as possible!

There's been a little bit of interest in comments and on twitter about how I made River's crazy curly mass of hair. I'm planning on writing up a tutorial on it this week, even though it's so easy it hardly needs one. Unraveling curly yarn is ridiculously fun. I'm just looking for an excuse to make something else with hair like that.

Thank you all again for reading and commenting and spreading the linkage. I have great plans to have this site up and running with recipes and patterns and pictures of me yelling at my pile of work-in-progress crochet projects sometime soon!

Friday, May 13, 2011

First Post and a Geeky Give Away

The first post is always the hardest right? I have been meaning to start a blog as an outlet to share my baking and crafting endeavours for ages. So here I am. My name is Teresa. I'm a giant geek in many ways, and a bit of dork too, but I don't mind. I spend my free time throwing myself headlong into baking or crocheting, and this blog is here for me to share it with the rest of the world.

I bake because I love it, even when I'm covered in flour and cussing at midnight, sometimes especially then. I love to try to meet baking challenges, whether it's baking something for a friend with food allergies or attempting a recipe that is way out of my league and uses every mixing bowl in my kitchen.

I crochet, and do other crafts, because I can't draw. Okay, that's only partially true. I first learned the basics of crochet almost seventeen years ago. I did a lot of long and wobbly chains that summer. I picked it back up around seven years ago, bought a book, and taught myself everything else I know through a mixture of determination and helpful websites and videos. I really can't draw, at all, so instead of drawing I crochet the characters and things that I love. A lot of my crochet is geekily inspired by television shows, books, movies, video games, you name it. I couldn't imagine my life without it.

Eventually I hope to share recipes and patterns here, and hopefully some helpful tips. I do other crafting besides crocheting, although not as often, or as well. In reward for sticking around through my nervous rambling introduction I'm going to start this blog off with a give away. One of my very favorite tv shows is Doctor Who. I adore the Eleventh Doctor (as I did the Tenth and Ninth...). To celebrate the fantastic season opener I made a companion all of my own.

River Song, who may or may not be about to shoot a ridiculous hat.
River Song is a surprise new favorite for me. I really didn't like her at all when she first appeared in Silence in the Library with the Tenth Doctor. Somewhere along the way with Eleven she won me over. They have wonderful chemistry. She's cheeky and causes trouble, and jumps right into the middle of things (or occasionally off of buildings) and I can't wait to learn more about her.

From behind, to show off her crazy, curly hair.
I made River in her outfit from The Impossible Astronaut, the first episode of S6. She's got boot cut jeans, a white shirt with a collar, and a lighter 'denim' jacket that's removable. Of course she wouldn't be complete without her hip holster and the gun to go in it. She can even hold the gun herself, thanks to a tiny bit of velcro sewn on its side.

Gun and Journal. What's in the journal? Why, that would be spoilers!
The way the give away will work is fairly simple and straight forward. Share a link to this post (on Twitter, Facebook, wherever!) by next Sunday, May 22nd at 5pm CST, comment here to let me know, and you'll be entered into a random drawing. I'll pick a winner and mail you your very own time hopping, trouble causing, hat shooting companion. Wear a fez or Stetson at your own risk.