Archive for toys

Blog Contest (not mine)

Go see Jane at  Grammieknits for a nice New Year’s contest

that will have you thinking in a good way.

get it, thinking/brain?

Ok, just go.

(ends Jan 15)

via Dandy @ purpleisafruit

image courtesy of Monster Crochet *


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[…] Mcdonalds the…

[…] Mcdonalds the kids had off from school today, I’m still working on Matthew Snake, I don’t If I will finish it tonight.

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If you’re thinking “that’s the nuttiest post title yet”, wait. I just blogged, from my phone, WITHOUT TYPING! I usually write these with a lot of editing, but there I was, at said restaurant, trying to get my phone to glom onto the wifi connection there and not having much success. I always have a portable project handy, and was just putting a few rounds on the neverending snake toy –

“..what are you making there, a sweater?..”

“um, no , it’s a toy. a snake. for my son.”


“see, look at it’s eyes”

So, you know that feeling you get when you suddenly realize you’re the biggest dork in the place? Yeah, that was me. Need more? OK, try and picture someone speaking a blog post into a cell phone, but trying to play it off like they were actually talking to another human. Now you’re with me.

workflow diagramI love the idea of JOTT. Sign up free on their service and you can call their 800 number and leave yourself a message, which gets translated to text by magical elves. Or something. They have a whole system of lists and folders so you can use it as a GTD style planning system, which originally drew me in. Not great for remembering dentist’s appointments, but it gelled for me when I found out it could link to things like blogger, wordpress, yahoo groups and livejournal. Holy crap! No more typing. (the above message was “low confidence”, meaning I allowed garbled messages to post as-is, without okaying them first.)

multiple increasesSo that I’m excited about, definitely. I’ve been playing with yoke construction making dresses and accessories for my neices’ dolls, teddies, (and pigs!); made a hat for my son out of lion brand suede using a rag bowl pattern from “Cozy Crochet”; frogged my whole ripple and started over; and gotten really into self-striping yarns and hyperbolic crochet.

Oh did I mention I have 15 teabags brewing to extract tannic acid to use as a mordant to fix the color on the oneskein scarf I made with some cruddy purple cotton chenille (cough -eBay- cough) after I overdyed it with red cabbage water because it was horribly faded, and it actually smelled like grape juice when it first got wet? Night-mare. Swatching and washing are not my strong suits, obviously. I am very good, however, at blogging at 2 am. Go figure.

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Bunny Links Multiplied

On the heels of my “Stripes the Long-Earred Bunny” post, I’ve noticed that I have been lucky enough to be the landing strip for a lot of searches for a crocheted bunny pattern. Unluckily, however, for anyone else, I didn’t have any patterns posted. So, seeing dozens across the net of late, I now present a compilation of “hare” raising pattern links for you floppy, loppy bun lovers.

bunnynaidasmolly.jpg Naida’s Crochet has a PDF for “Molly” on Etsy


Several versions of the Lavender Bunny on craftster are based on this one, available for free from Sara Binns

bunlionbrand.jpg Lion Brand has a free Best Bunny on their website

bunfluffywibit.jpg Craftster’s Wibit posted a free super-cute fluffy bunny

bunny_smallaikokats.gif Katcrochet has a free PDF for a bunny named Aiko

bunflopsyepatterns.jpg “Flopsy” and friends for sale on E-Patterns Central

bundarncatetsy.jpg Darncat also has an Etsy pattern (amigurumi style)

Thank you for flying Bunway Airlines.


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Growing the Snake

New toy made at the request of my 3 year old; he’s very happy with it so far. I’ve sewn in the eyes and tongue, and have been stuffing it as I go.

The whole thing is crocheted in the round, pattern from Yarncat. I originally saw it at Dot’s Crochet a few months ago.


I’m trying to keep it a little soft and mushy so he can bend it. I could probably still manage to get some armature wire or pipe cleaners in there to shape it. That’s a stitch marker behind the head, it’s supposed to go on for 100 rounds. We’ll see. I’ll work on 5 or 6 rows before I get bored and put it down for a (too) long while. On the upside though, I did just find out that I can single crochet -in the dark- at the movies!

I love the way the variegated is making a spiral camoflauge pattern. The yarn is Red Heart super saver in “Sage Mary”. I may change the face, possibly move the eyes down and add a goofy smile.

He wants me to make him a dragon after this.



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Stripes The Long Eared Bunny

Is he or isn’t he?
Is He or Isn’t He?

So I picked up my first Rachael Ray magazine last night. My husband and I used to enjoy her old $40 a Day show way back when. (Yeah, we’re cool, we were into her before she sold out and went mainstream, man.) I’ve always thought she was a bit too “chummy”, like your goofy friend that the boys make fun of but secretly like. But hey, that happens to everyone, right? No? Well, nevermind then…I know she’s quite in vogue these days with all the tv and the Oprah and I’ve read the amusing net backlash as well. (“Raytard”. Enough said.) I only bought the issue because cooking is not my forté and I’ve been hearing that a lot of her recipes are simple, and, for lack of a better term, man-pleasing. Superbowl steak sandwiches. Chili. She wrote a book called Guy Food, for goodnes sake, And since my beloved will barely eat what I do prepare, I thought she deserved a chance.

Enough of the backstory. I’m surveying the mag after a late night grocery trip and finding nothing simple nor manpleasing. Since it’s a bit of a lifestyle magazine as well, there are cute tablesettings and household tips and such. I reach the “Everyday Faves” section, which showcases the current must-haves in fashion and home items. And what to my wandering eyes should appear? A forlorn little bunny with floppy striped ears! As surprised as I was to see crocheted toys advertised in a hip mainstream magazine, I was immediately saddened by a mental picture of the poor sweatshop workers having to mass produce them. It looks like all single crochet with color changes every three rows…I get a blister just thinking about it.

I halfheartedly closed my new useless recipe book and dragged the kids to bed alongside my sickly (and possibly malnourished) husband and fell asleep without further thought about cooking or sweatshops. So, imagine my surprise this afternoon while surfing some blogs when I saw this post pointing to a “cute, snuggly knitted bunny”. I know there is enough polarization in the fiber community, and may the great Skein in the Sky forgive me if I am wrong, but I do not believe in my heart of hearts that this animal is knit.

Rachael’s got it listed for sale at, a site which gives no indication of the thing’s construction. A quick google reveals he’s (and let’s call him he for the sake of argument, shall we? I’m sure no one is questioning the gender of a stuffed toy) made by Schylling and sold by dozens of progressive Ikea type boutiques online. Some sites, including Amazon, say he’s knitted, while others have been saved by the don’t ask, don’t tell policy popularized by today’s military. Notice also that he can be “long eared” or “long earred”, which only serves to add more fire to the stew. Though what really caught my attention was the total lack of copywriting originality. Each site seemed to be remixing each others’ descriptions like I did when I copied my term paper out of an encyclopedia in the 7th grade.

Down and Dirty in the trenches

Listen, I know it’s tough enough to crochet in a world that caters to knitters, so let’s set the record straight if we can.

By passing over all the rhetoric, maybe we can out this bunny and bring a peace unto a nation of crafters.

Perhaps it’s true, by Stripes we can all be healed.

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Baby needs a new pair of…pants?

Another rainy morning after my oldest has gone to school. And just to let you know how it started off, we decide to walk to the bus stop since the rain’s not so bad, and put up our hoods because we can’t find our umbrellas. And, as it usually goes with boys and puddles (not a sexist comment, but the girls were yelling “guys, stop you’re gonna slip and fall!”), my sweet child fell. Into the dirt. Which had a LAKE of water on it. So now he is crying while I assess the damage. No way is sitting by the heater next to the bus driver gonna iron this one out. This is underwear and sock wet. I let him wipe his hands on my two for five dollar craft store t-shirt – the new one with no stains or droopy hem (that one I’ll save for tomorrow) – and of course now is a good time for the bus to pull up, which I try to wave on, while my youngest, who insists on bringing a backpack every day even though he won’t start school for another 3 years, is nowhere in sight among the crowd filing obediently up the steps. Other bus stop mothers (and dads!), I praise thee! Thank god for extra sets of eyes, because as we walk to the sidewalk, oldest reconsiders going home to change clothes and has a meltdown while trying to chase the bus. I am physically restraining him amid the sobs, and I spy youngest casually leading the way back to the house.

Now, I know what your thinking – it can’t get any worse from here, right?
(What, are you waiting for my head to explode?)
Thankfully, no. Get home, change, drive to the school, no harm, no foul. So why do I sit on the couch with my hands twitching?


And I love the way it matches his eyes.

Youngest wants to play baby doll (see non-sexist disclaimer above) and I blurt out “Oh, baby’s cold, he needs a new shirt! Mommy can make one!” Happy agreeance ensues and we’re off. After a few minutes of pondering (once I thought I could make a shirt for myself this way *giggle*) I finally figure out how to construct it in one piece – you would think I’d be better at it, given the fact that following patterns is not my strong suit. We find a giant blue wad of Red Heart, which I made from a pounder skein when I was trying to make center-pull balls.

I make an easy rectangle, then crochet past the edge on both sides to start the sleeves. Two or three more rows and I chain 9 or 10 and skip that many sc’s for the neckline. Baby’s got a huge head (it hurt just seeing that thing squeeze through such a narrow hole – ladies, you know what I mean) so I have to frog the neck once or twice. I repeat the process in reverse, folding to check that everything matches up. Then it’s an easy slip stitch up the sides to seam it. So what if the shoulders look a little funky, in less time than it took to finish writing this, everyone is warm, clothed and sheltered, and mommy doesn’t need that shot of bourbon after all. Ommmm.

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Mystery Vegetable

Mystery Vegetable

Originally uploaded by jchinique.

Crocheted in the round, I was trying out how to use increases and decreases for shaping; I adapted the leaves and stem from a flower pattern.
I was so excited to finish it, I neglected to think to stuff it to keep it’s shape.
My kids love to play with their floppy “white corn” – while I’ll always like to think of it as a chile pepper with carotene issues.

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