A Baby Skirt for Clara

I’m so in love with this patchwork baby skirt I made for Clara! (And with her too, for that matter!)

A Baby Skirt for Clara - mellieblossom.com

Our family has been doing a lot of sewing over the past couple of weeks.  It was my eldest son who was tired of not finding the toys he wanted anywhere and decided to be a little like mama and just make them himself.  I took him to the craft store with a hefty $5 budget to pick out all the felt he wanted and he came home with a nice bundle and started hand sewing. 

After several (wonderful) attempts, he asked me to teach him to use my much-neglected sewing machine.  I was half thrilled and half apprehensive, but I set it up for him anyway.  My sewing machine is so old.  I got it as a birthday gift – on my 14th birthday – and that was some time ago.  And while there was a period in my life where I was sewing every day, lately it’s been just sitting in front of me on my desk, there to remind me that I should use it, but with me always having something else to work on.

So it was inspiring to see my son catch onto using the sewing machine so quickly!  I mean, he was threading that needle within like two attempts of being shown how.  And then problem solving when the thread got stuck or when the tension was off.  His passion for his creativity makes my mama heart so proud.  The next time he took a sewing break, I decided I might try to make a little something myself.

A Baby Skirt for Clara - mellieblossom.com

I bought this fat quarter square of fabric many, many years ago.  (See, this is why I like to hang onto things – the sewing machine is being used again, a 9-year old fabric stitch is being used now… I’ll never be one of those clutter-free mavens!).  The fabric is from moda and is called Prairie Paisley II by Polly Minick and Lauri Simpson for moda (pdf).   I fell in love with the Americana feel of this fabric when I first saw it and so I bought a couple of bundles and put them aside for the perfect use… which hadn’t come until now!  I had purchased a few pre-cut 5″ charm bundles, but all I could find anymore is a link to some of the fabrics which seem to still be for sale in shops such as here and here.   

Don’t even get me started on how many cute fabric bundles are over there on moda right now, too.  I didn’t think it would be dangerous to take a peek around there, thinking that a bundle from 2008 would obviously not be there, but there are so many other cute fabrics that would make such adorable clothes for Clara that I’m trying to evaluate any wiggle room in my yarn budget to make room for more fabric!  The Charm Packs, which are the perfect size for this kind of patchwork, are here

A Baby Skirt for Clara - mellieblossom.com

So anyway, I was trying to decide what kind of project would be easy to make.  So I peeked through some of my pins on my sewing pinterest board and came across this very easy and adorable little patchwork baby skirt by Create Kids Couture (download link is at the bottom of the linked page).  And really, it was so simple to make.  The pre-cut squares made the process even easier, and within an hour or so, Clara had herself a brand new baby skirt.  The best part about it is that the elastic waist and long length of the skirt (on her right now) will last us many, many months in the future!  What more could I ask for?

A Baby Skirt for Clara - mellieblossom.com

Maybe just some more patchwork baby skirts for her.  And some more adorable baby pictures! <3

~mellie

Spring Crochet Squares

I say spring crochet squares, but I’m actually an entire year behind. 

Since last year was spent in a pregnant blur, I missed out on the bulk of the two blocks a month crochet-along  (2bamcal2016) on the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club on Ravelry.  I made a couple of squares before the pregnancy, but after that, so much crochet work came to a screeching halt.  So I may be a year behind, but I still plan on finishing up this blanket.  I love the colors, I’m having a lot of fun with the patterns and not putting too much pressure on myself to make them perfectly.  And it’s been nothing but fun.

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com

Since I’m going back almost a year, the squares that were selected had a spring theme – and that’s fitting, considering that the weather is warming up around here.  I’ve finally started hearing morning birds outside my window again.  And the Mr. isn’t paranoid about me being outside because of Zika because I’m no longer pregnant (never mind that there have been no cases of Zika here; he excels at worrying about us all!)  I was able to put Clara snug in a wrap and we gathered the kids and the pup and we all went for a long and much needed walk in nature today.  It felt wonderful to be outdoors with the wind in our hair and the muddy grass beneath our feet.  Our pup greeted each and every dog he met with happy leaps and the boys played up and down the trails.  It was really nice.  I’m glad that winter is ending.

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com

I digress, though.  The squares for the VCFC 2bamcal use a worsted weight (Vanna’s Choice) yarn and a larger hook (5.00/H) than I use in the monthly bamcals, where I do more intricate work.  I don’t know why I put so much pressure on myself to get things “just so”, but nevertheless, I do.  However, since these are already larger by yarn weight and hook size, it takes much less time, especially when I stop at 9″, and occasionally 12″ (always multiples of 3 for me to make my jumbled afghans!).   Not all of these patterns are free either.  They may have been at the time of the posting, but they aren’t at this point.  I’m always happy to support my fellow crocheters with their pattern writing efforts though; the end results are usually totally worth it. 

For these squares, I’m using Vanna’s Choice yarn in the following colors (a dark rainbow): brick, mustard, olive green, navy, honey, and beige.

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com
Spiralling into Spring Crochet Square by Margaret MacInnis (free)

This is such a gorgeous square, isn’t it?  I mean, I can just look at this project and think: so lovely!  This pattern incorporates tapestry crochet, where you carry one yarn color underneath the other.  I use it often in my work, but this style of using the color switch in chains rather than stitches was new to me.  Fortunately, there are detailed instructions on how to do this, and it turned out wonderfully.   The pattern is by Margaret MacInnis, whose patterns I’m a big fan of to begin with.  You can find this pattern as a free Ravelry download here

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com
Promise Me Spring Crochet Square by Margaret MacInnis ($2.99)

This next square, Promise Me Spring, is also by Margaret MacInnis.  One thing about her patterns is that you’ll never get bored making them.  This one, for example, was made by making the four centerpiece motif edges separately and then connecting them all together.  Pretty unique!  But also pretty fun to make.  This pattern is available as a Ravelry download for $2.99 here

Spring Crochet Squares - mellieblossom.com
Mirror, Mirror Crochet Square by Funny dieBarbarin ($1.99)

Finally, the Mirror, Mirror Crochet Square has really nothing to do with spring crochet, but it’s still flower-ish and pretty (and the other one I completed and took a photograph of in time for this post), so it’s being included anyway.  And who’s to say that we’re not all looking at ourselves in the mirror before the warmer weather comes anyway (and admiring the gifts of pregnancy? ha.)  Anyway, this is another lovely square to make that is very detailed in instructions.  I like that it doesn’t pull at all, which some other square tend to do.  Nice, straight edges.  And there’s a good variety of stitches involved. Follow the link here to find it on Ravely for $1.99.

It got chilly overnight, and it surely looks like rain, so today seems like it might be a good day to stay inside, cuddle up with my littles ones under some warm woolies and catch up on more crochet and netflix. 

~Mellie

 

 

Crochet Trends: 2017

There are some things that seem to go hand-in-hand with crochet: baby blankets, baby hats, comfortable afghans, amigurumi toys; but as crochet becomes more and more popular, there are a lot of crochet trends that I’ve noticed popping up.  Now, I’m not an expert in forecasting or anything like that, but I prowl Pinterest and Ravelry and other sites enough to notice there are a few crochet trends that are becoming more and more common.  I’ve included some links to patterns within each trend, just click on the photo caption to take you to the pattern.  Also, all the patterns are free except where otherwise noted.

Hygge

The word of the season – both in crochet, and on every other front it seems (try typing it into Pinterest), is hygge.  Hygge, pronounced “hoo-gah”, is a Nordic term that is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”  This is the kind of warm and fuzzy feeling that I associate with being safe and warm in my comfortable home, surrounded by family and the things that I love.  While hygge is more of a state of mind, as an emerging trend, it has come to encompass the its own style as well.  Far from the cries of minimalism, or cold, structural modernism, the hygge style embraces sorts of things like candles, family dinners, homemade teas and pies, softness, and warm blankets and woolies. 

Crocet Trends - Hygge - mellieblossom.com
Hygge Crochet Along 2017

Besides the fact that crochet and blankets go together like peas and carrots, there are crochet patterns that are dedicated solely to hygge.  My favorite thus far, and one that I’m most excited about, is the Hygge Crochet-Along hosted by Scheepjes. This beautiful wrap is made by cross-stitching on top of rows of single crochet.  Some of the projects in progress are just wonderful – I can’t wait to get started on mine!

Messy Bun Hats

Bun hat patterns seem to have exploded this past winter.  These hats, which have a hole at the top of the head for a ponytail or bun to stick out, are so fun.  I wear my hair up out of my face a lot of the time, and having one of these (yes, it’s in my queue) would help alleviate the big bulge where my clip is under my hat or my avoiding wearing one all together.  Anyway, there are a lot of really cute patterns for these crochet bun hats – they’re not too complicated and I think they’d make great gifts for the holidays next year (yep, I’m always planning ahead for Christmas gifts!)  Here are a few that I like:

Crochet Trends - Bun Hats
Ribbed Bun Hat by Naztazia
Crochet Trends - Bun Hats
It’s All About the Messy Bun by June Nemeth
Crochet Trends - Bun Hats
Linen Stitch Ponytail / Messy Bun Hat by Jennifer Pionk

 

Octopuses (Octopodes? Octopi?)

Owls have always been a common trend in crochet.  I’ve made an owl bookbag, there are owl baby cocoons, owl hats, and page after page of other owl patterns.  But lately, octopuses have been taking over.  Amigurumi octopuses are popular, from the realistic to the cute miniatures.  Perhaps bolstered by the news that crocheted octpuses seemed to help some babies born prematurely, “octopuses for preemies” has also become a common pattern with a lot of fun variations.  I’d love to crochet some octopuses for little babies!  I may have to call hospitals around in my area and see if they’ll accept donations. 

Here are some of my favorite octopus crochet patterns so far:

Crochet Trends - octopuses
Octopus for a Preemie pattern by Gosia / My Nomad Home
Crochet Trends - octopuses
Claud the Octopus by Kate E. Hancock £4.00 GBP
Crochet Trends - octopuses
Octopus for Preemie – Octo Project by Anastasia Popova
Crochet Trends - octopuses
Mini Amigurumi Octopus by Sarah Hearn

 

Mermaid Tail Blankets

Some months back, I started being tagged by a lot of my friends on Facebook, where they would all lead me to a Mermaid Tail Blanket, usually with a hinting question like “can you make one of these?”  Since then, many variations have popped up, and they are definitely a hot crochet trend right now.  I have yet to make one for my daughter, but the Mr has mentioned that he wouldn’t mind the shark version.  Perhaps another Christmas gift?  Here are three such patterns:

Crochet Trends - Mermaid Tail Blanket
Mermaid Tail Afghan by Nadia Fuad
Crochet Trends - Mermaid Tail Blanket
Jillybeenies Mermaid Tail Blanket by Jill Harrison $5.00
Crochet Trends - Mermaid Tail Blanket
Bulky & Quick Shark Blanket by MJ’s Off The Hook Designs $5.99

 

Mandalas

Okay, so mandalas have been making the crochet rounds for a few years now, but they are becoming more and more popular as crochet patterns.  The circular symmetry of crochet motifs is a perfect medium for mandalas, and so they’ve been showing up in blankets, squares, wall hangings and all sorts of other unique ideas.   

Crochet Trends - Mandalas
Spanish Mandala Pillow Overlay Crochet by Tatsiana Kupryianchyk $5.50
Crochet Trends - Mandalas
Rainbow Mandala Waistcoat by Sara Huntington £3.50 GBP
Crochet Trends - Mandalas
Amazing Grace Mounted Mandala by Dawn McIntyre
Crochet Trends - Mandalas
Mandala Madness by Helen Shrimpton

Have you noticed any crochet trends that I forgot?  If so, let me know in the comments! I love watching these kinds of trends emerge, and how they play out through all different parts of life, including what we crochet. 

~Mellie

Crochet Squares – March

Finally, between teething fussiness and the inability to do things that require two hands, I’ve been able to catch up with my February and March crochet squares for the 2017 Block-a-Month Crochet-Along on Ravelry. I’ve actually finished these, like the previous ones, over a period of a few weeks, but actually weaving in the ends and getting the photographs were a whole different story.  Regardless, I feel like I’m catching up on so many things that I’ve been meaning to create.  Having a baby around again is an amazing feeling, and things are so different than they were when I first became a mother ten years ago!  And I’ve been so fortunate and lucky that Clara is a great sleeper and a generally all-around happy baby.  My elder boys were much more high-needs, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this wonderful time with my little love. 

Clara just loved playing with all the yarn while I made these crochet squares.  I leave the skein next to her while I’m using it, and she delights in the colors and texture.  She’s always supervised because – well, it’s yarn – but I hope she may one day love to work with fiber the way that I do. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Marigold Mandala Crochet Square

Moving on to the actual crochet squares though.  These are the February and March squares (minus one that still hasn’t made it to the photograph phase).  I’m pretty sure I mentioned the colors before, but I still love them as much now as I did when I first assembled them, and that’s a good sign (not like last year, which saw me changing the whole scheme halfway through the year, and leaving me with a huge amount of work that still needs to be done).   The Marigold Mandala Crochet Square by Dorianna Rivelli was the filler (as voted on by Ravellers), and I can understand why – it’s simply a gorgeous square.  I love everything about this square, and there is a detailed tutorial of the free pattern that can be found on The Lavender Chair by following this link here

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Window Box Granny Crochet Square

The Window Box Granny Crochet Square pattern by Lisa Mauser was the 6″ option for February.  I made four of them in each of the colors I’m using and used the off-white as the focal point.  I usually get a little lazy with the 6″ squares, because repeating four of the same squares over and over can be kind of tedious, but I ended up really enjoying this square and ended up whipping it up in no time flat.  This is available as a free Ravelry download here. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Picture Frame Crochet Square

Picture Frame Crochet Square by Lisa Naskrent is a square that I made once before in the Sprouting Hues swap, but I enjoyed making it again. I had purchased the pattern back then, but now it’s available as one of the several published crochet squares in the Chain Reaction Afghan Project, and the entire ebook is available for free here, with the Ravelry link here.  This really is a gorgeous square, with all the leafy corners and the textured, center motif.  And I like this version even better than the other one I made. 

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
That One Sister Crochet Square

That One Sister Crochet Square by Melinda Miller has a touching story about its creation which you can read about on the download link page.  I’m a big fan of Melinda Miller’s patterns, because they are very lovely squares that look complicated but are simple to make, especially with her very clear instructions.  This one was so much fun, even if I ended up sewing my flowers on instead of leaving holes (you have to actually read the directions to follow them, oops!)  I had briefly looked over the pattern before taking my kids to a play place, and by the time I got home, so much of the square was already finished that I decided to just use it as it was.  My crochet time is sparse these days.  I do what I can.  The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here

Crochet Squares - March - mellieblossom.com
Popcorn Puff Square

Last but not least, the Popcorn Puff Square by Ruth C. Roy was the 6″ crochet square selected for March.  Like the Window Box Granny above, I usually make four versions of the 6″ square, but by the time I had finished the center motifs of the squares, I decided that these would look really nice stitched together without any further rounds added on.  I like the way the block turned out with the four motifs, and since I used a G hook, it turned out to be a 9″ square (like my other squares have been this year).  Using a sport weight yarn (Caron Simply Soft) and the smaller hook lets me top these patterns out at a smaller size, which, as a multiple of 12 for the final blanket, works out perfectly. The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here, and can also be accessed on 365 Grannies here

I’m so excited to have actually accomplished something from start to finish that I have three projects sitting right in front of me that I want to just dive right into.  Happy crocheting to you and happy Monday!

~Mellie