Mondrian-Inspired Baby Blanket

Wow, I’ve been crazy busy crafting but haven’t been posting any of my projects here. Time to start making up for that!

The first one is the Mondrian inspired baby blanket from Stacey Trock’s Modern Baby Crochet. I was immediately taken with this blanket when I saw it, and intrigued by the way it was created, so I had to give it a go.

It’s single crocheted in seven long vertical strips which are then mattress stitched together. I’ll be honest: The mattress stitching was a pain in the *b*. I actually might have preferred to mitigate the colour changes as I went than to have that much finishing to do at the end. But, it made for a really nice way to stitch an afghan during the heat of the summer without having a huge pile of blanket in my lap.

I didn’t have a plan for this afghan when I started it, but the son of a good family friend just had a baby, so my “Aunt” (who may in fact be the proudest new grandma in the world) was also quite taken with this blanket and thought it would be a great one to have on hand for when new baby Audrey comes to visit. And since it’s made from easy care acrylic it should be able to withstand all the wear and tear and washing a baby blanket will require.

Mondrian inspired crochet baby blanket

Book Review: Modern Baby Crochet by Stacey Trock

Book cover of Modern Baby Crochet

Confession time: I don’t have kids. I don’t have anyone I currently need to make a baby gift for. I just couldn’t resist buying this book based solely on the rainbow pillow on the front cover. In the end, I’m so glad I did.

Stacey Trock’s Modern Baby Crochet: Patterns for Decorating, Playing, and Snuggling is full of patterns that will appeal to anyone, not just babies. In fact of the 21 patterns in the book I’d really only classify five as true baby patterns (two mobiles, a play mat, a crinkly toy, and a rattle). The rest are simply fresh, fun designs that even a childless girl like me can enjoy.

The book is organized into three sections based on colour themes: Bold and Bright, Pretty in Pastel, and Naturally Neutral, making all of the patterns wonderfully unisex. In fact, there are only two patterns in the entire book that do the pink for girls, blue for boys thing. Within each section the patterns span a range of difficulties from beginner to expert. The vast majority of the patterns, however, fall into the beginner or easy classifications (16 of the 21 patterns) so the book is best suited to new crocheters or experienced crocheters looking for quick, easy projects.

Each project is beautifully photographed and the instructions are clear and simple to follow. For the only difficult stitch used in the book – the wiggle stitch to make the rainbow pillow on the cover – detailed step-by-step images are provided. Stacey also includes a detailed introductory section with clear drawings of all of the basic stitches to help any new crocheter get up and running.

Most of Stacey’s yarn choices are standard yarns that can be found in any craft store, with an emphasis on easy care, washable fibres (the patterns are meant for babies after all!).  Brands like Cascade, Bernat, Caron, and Lion Brand all make multiple appearances, which also means that none of these projects will break the bank, making them ideal gifts for any mom-to-be.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the types of patterns in the book:

  • Eight afghans
  • Three stuffed plushes (monster, owl, bird)
  • Two mobiles
  • Two pillows
  • Bunting
  • Play mat
  • Crinkle toy
  • Rattle
  • Pouf
  • Bear bookends

In my opinion, afghans are a little over-represented, but all in all the variety of projects is fairly good. Overall, I am quite pleased with the book and I highly recommend it to any crocheter looking for some fast, easy, modern projects.

Katamari Prince Amigurumi

NAAAAAAAA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NANA-N’NA-NA-NA-NAAAAAA

When the idea was first pitched in a meeting to create a game where the player rolls up the world to make new stars, do you think anyone actually thought it was a good idea? Crazily enough, it turns out it was. Katamari Damacy is certainly one of the oddest, and yet most enjoyable, games I’ve played. So next up in my crochet amigurumi adventures is the Katamari Prince.

katamari_prince_front_large

I’ve seen a couple of patterns for a Katamari Prince, but the finished plushies were all fairly small. I wanted mine to be bigger and hence this pattern was born. He’s around 10 1/2 inches tall when he’s sitting (not including his antenna) and 20 inches if I include both the antenna and legs.

I’ve been planning to make one of the adorable magnetic katamari balls for awhile, but now I’m worried if I do, that this little fellow will roll up my apartment.

Want your own Katamari Prince? The pattern can be found on my pattern page.

Crochet Book Haul

As a former librarian, I’m a complete sucker for books. Yes, I realize the internet can provide endless knowledge and inspiration for crafters, but for me, there is nothing quite like wandering through my bookshelf flipping through page after page of beautiful craft ideas, or pulling that one well loved, heavily used, tome to your craft from the shelf to help you through a new technique (or remind you of one you haven’t tried in awhile).

Much though I prefer the act of crocheting to the act of knitting, with my recent crochet binge I quickly discovered that my bookshelf is full of knitting books and a little lacking in the crochet department. I decided I should remedy that.

Since I’m, apparently, a little indecisive, here’s what arrived at my door.

Pile of crochet books

I just had to share the haul.

What’s in the pile?

Watch for book reviews to come as I start working my way through this pile. And if you have a favourite book you think no crafter should be without (not just limited to crochet since I enjoy a wide range of crafts), I’d love to hear about it.

Amigurumi Lolo

I’ve been on a bit of an Adventures of Lolo kick lately. For those who don’t know it, it’s a series of puzzle games for the NES from the late 80’s and early 90’s. As a kid I repeatedly rented these games from Bandito Video. (Anyone else remember these stores? Apparently there was still a location in Barrie, Ontario up until two months ago). These games seemed pretty simple on the surface but like many puzzle games, got dasterdly hard as you progressed. I’m thrilled to see that Nintendo is finally planning to jump into the mobile game market and hope some classic games will get a mobile revamp. This series in particular would be well suited to touch controls, and they still hold up as solid puzzle games.

I’m also working on developing my amigurumi design skills and delving into the world of pattern writing, so Lolo, with his simple shapes and limited colour palette seemed like an obvious choice.

Here’s the final result:

Crochet plush Lolo

Lolo crochet plush - back view

I’ve added a new Pattern section to my blog and the pattern for this crocheted cutie can be found there. Please let me know what you think. I’m always open to questions and suggestions. And if you do end up making him, I’d love to see a pic!

Cheep Cheep

Here’s my first attempt at designing my own amigurumi. It’s a Cheep Cheep (flying fish) from Super Mario Brothers. I’m super happy with how he turned out and completely in love with creating my own crocheted plushies.

I fully intend to write up and share the pattern for this guy, but didn’t keep the best of notes while I was creating him, so it may take me a bit to get it done.

Amigurumi Cheep Cheep front view

Amigurumi Cheep Cheep back viewI hope you love him too!

Making More Monsters

I’ve finished working my way through the Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster class on Craftsy. Overall the class was excellent. Even though I’m not new to amigurumi I learned a lot from this class and found it to be a lot of fun. My only complaint is that I wish it were longer. It only covered very basic shapes and shaping, I’d love a follow up class that taught some more complicated amigurumi designs.

Since I’ve made crocheted plushies before I didn’t bother to crochet along with every monster demonstrated in the course (I only have so much shelf space after all) but I had to make the final monster as he’s one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

I give you Mr. Toothy:

Amigurumi monster

This class really inspired me and gave me the confidence to start creating my own amigurumi designs. I already have a few in the works that I can’t wait to share!