Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Martha Stewart's American Made Awards




I just got some amazing news! I'm a FINALIST in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards! From the website, "American Made spotlights the maker, supports the local, and celebrates the handmade." Maker? Check! Local? Check! Handmade? Check! Yes I love all three of these things and I'm so loving Martha for celebrating them. 

Here's a little confession. In order to even be up for this award, you have to nominate yourself. I felt weird doing that. I had to come to terms with describing myself in the third person, answering lots of questions about why I do what I do and how I'm celebrating the maker within. Is that weird? I guess it all boils down to that weird thing about talking about yourself and tooting your own horn! Why is it so hard for us to do that? Well, I thought it was worth it and went ahead and filled out the form and sent in my nomination. Lo and behold, a few days ago I got an email that I had been selected as a Finalist! 

Out of all the Nominees, Finalists are chosen from several categories (Crafts, Design, Food, Style) and from the Finalists, Award Winners are chosen. 


So now I'm up for voting. You can vote up to 6 times a day from now until October 13, 2014. After that it is out of our hands and into the judges.



Do you feel I'm worthy? Do you think I represent the qualities of an American Maker? I'd love your vote! Click on the images above and cast your vote 6 times a day until the deadline. Share this on Facebook! Tweet it! Email your entire address book! (OK maybe not...)
Me and Martha go way back you know, and I'd love to get back in touch...


Here's when I gave her her very own mini-Martha!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Beatles! New Amigurumi Pattern



Always wanted to do the Beatles, and I got a special request from a fan that was actually in attendance at one of their concerts in the 60s! It was a treasured memory and he wanted to immortalize the guys in cuddly yarn form. Who can blame him? So I made him these:



The Beatles crocheted amigurumi, Hard Day's Night era


And just because I have always wanted to, I also wrote patterns for them. They are 10" tall (except Ringo, 9.5"), so a little shorter than the dolls in my BOOK, and they are pretty quick to work up. My favorite thing about the pattern is that each Beatle is the same except for the length of the legs and the hair, and of course the face. The pattern gives you all the alterations you need to make each of the Fab Four unique and special with all the little details.

Buy the patterns here, on Ravelry or Etsy! Both are instant downloads!

Here's more photos!







Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Free Mother and Baby Fox Pattern




Tiny woodland foxes cuddle together in this pair of amigurumi. The special relationship of a mother and her baby is celebrated in a sweet set of crocheted foxes. Simple stitches and soft wool-blend yarn in earthy colors make the project perfect for a gift or a baby's nursery.


Mother and Baby Fox


Materials List
Lion Brand "Wool-Ease" – Pumpkin (A, 1 skein), Black (B, 1 skein), & Fisherman (C, 1 skein) Crochet Hook, Sizes 3.5mm (US E/4)
Tapestry needle
Polyester fiberfill

Embroidery Needle White felt
White thread
Black embroidery floss

Notes:
The pieces are all crocheted 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.



Mama Fox 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 1: Work 2 sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc into each st (24 sts)

Rnd 3: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (36 sts) Rnds 4-6: Sc into each st around.
Rnd 7: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 9 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (33 sts)
Rnd 8: Sc into each st around.

Rnd 9: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 8 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (30 sts)
Rnds 10-11: Sc into each st around.
Rnd 12: *(Sc into next 3 sts, sc2tog), rep from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 13: *(Sc into next 2 sts, sc2tog), rep from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Insert a stitch marker. Stuff the Head firmly. Continue to add stuffing as you work the last rows. Rnd 14: *(Sc2tog, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (12 sts)

Rnd 15: Sc2tog around (6 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long strand of yarn for sewing. Thread through last rows of stitches and pull to close. Weave in ends. Set aside.


Mama Fox Body
Starting at the head end of the Body, with yarn A and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 6 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnd 1: Work 2 sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 2: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (18 sts)

Rnd 3: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 5 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (21 sts) Rnds 4-6: Sc into each st.
Rnds 7-14: Hdc into next 11 sts, sc into next 10 sts (21 sts)
Rnds 15-17: Sc into each st.
Rnd 18: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 5 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 19: *(Sc2tog, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (12 sts)
Insert a stitch marker. Stuff the Body firmly.
Rnd 20: Sc2tog around.
Fasten off, leaving a long tail. Thread a yarn needle with the yarn tail. Weave through the last round of stitches and pull to close the hole. Weave end into the inside.


Mama Fox Ears (Make 2)
Starting at tip of Ear with yarn B and E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 3 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnd 1: Work 2 sc into each st (6 sts)
Rnd 2: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (9 sts)

Change to yarn A at end of Rnd 2.
Rnd 3: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 2 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (12 sts) Rnds 4-6: Sc into each st.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. Set aside.


Mama Fox Legs (Make 4)
With yarn B and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 5 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnds 1-11: Sc into each st (5 sts)
Fasten off and set aside.


Mama Fox Tail
Starting at the tip of the Tail, with yarn C and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 3 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnd 1: Work 2 sc into each st (6 sts)
Rnd 2: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (9 sts)

Rnd 3: Sc into each st.
Rnd 4: 2 Sc into next st, sc into next 8 sts (10 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc into next 5 sts, 2 sc into next st, sc into next 4 sts (11 sts)
Change to yarn A at the end of Rnd 5.
Rnds 6-9: Sc into each st around, increasing one stitch each round. 15 sts at the end of Rnd 9. Rnds 10-13: Sc into each st (15 sts)
Rnd 14: Sc2tog, sc into each st (14 sts)
Rnd 15: *(Sc into next 5 sts, sc2tog), rep from * to end of rnd (12 sts)
Insert a stitch marker and stuff Tail firmly.
Rnd 16: Sc2tog around (6 sts)
Rnd 17: Sc into each st.
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing. Set Tail aside.



Sew on Ears



Position Head and sew on

Sew on Head

Assembly
Sew Head to Body at an angle, as shown. Use matching yarn and weave in ends.
With yarn tails, sew Ears, Legs, and Tail to Mama Fox. Legs should be positioned to all lay to the side so she can lay down.
Embroider nose and mouth

Sew Muzzle to Fox's Head

Cut a wide teardrop shape from white felt for the muzzle. With straight stitches and an embroidery floss and embroidery needle, stitch a nose and mouth onto the felt. Stitch muzzle to Mama Fox Head with white thread.
Sleepy Mother Fox

Baby Fox 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 1: Work 2 sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 2: Work 2 sc into each st (24 sts)

Rnds 3-5: Sc into each st around.
Rnd 6: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 6 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (21 sts)
Rnd 7: Sc into each st around.
Rnd 8: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 5 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 9: Sc into each st around.
Rnd 10: *(Sc2tog, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (12 sts)
Insert a stitch marker and stuff Head firmly.
Rnd 11: Sc2tog around (6 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long strand of yarn for sewing. Thread through last rows of stitches and pull to close. Weave in ends. Set aside.


Baby Fox Body
Starting at the head end of the Body, with yarn A and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 6 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnd 1: Work 2 sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 2: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (18 sts)

Rnds 3-4: Sc into each st.
Rnds 5-10: Hdc into next 9 sts, sc into next 9 sts (18 sts)
Rnds 11-13: Sc into each st.
Rnd 14: *(Sc2tog, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (12 sts)
Insert a stitch marker. Stuff the Body firmly.
Rnd 15: Sc2tog around (6 sts)
Fasten off, leaving a long tail. Thread a yarn needle with the yarn tail. Weave through the last round of stitches and pull to close the hole. Weave end into the inside. Set aside.


Baby Fox Ears (Make 2)
Starting at tip of Ear with yarn B and E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 3 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnd 1: Work 2 sc into each st (6 sts)
Change to yarn A at end of Rnd 1.

Rnd 2: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (9 sts) Rnds 3-4: Sc into each st.
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. Set aside.


Baby Fox Legs (Make 4)
With yarn B and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 5 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnds 1-5: Sc into each st (5 sts)
Fasten off and set aside.


Baby Fox Tail
Starting at the tip of the Tail, with yarn C and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 3 into ring. Pull tail gently to close ring.
Rnd 1: Work 2 sc into each st (6 sts)
Rnd 2: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (9 sts)

Rnd 3: Sc into each st.
Change to yarn A at the end of Rnd 3.
Rnd 4: 2 Sc into next st, sc into next 8 sts (10 sts)
Rnds 5-7: Sc into each st around, increasing one stitch each round. 13 sts at the end of Rnd 7. Rnds 8-9: Sc into each st (13 sts)
Rnd 10: Sc2tog, sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 11: *(Sc into next 4 sts, sc2tog), rep from * to end of rnd (10 sts)
Insert a stitch marker and stuff Tail firmly.
Rnd 12: Sc2tog around (5 sts)
Rnd 13: Sc into each st.
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing. Set Tail aside.


Assembly
Sew Head to Body at an angle, as shown. Use matching yarn and weave in ends.
With yarn tails, sew Ears, Legs, and Tail to Baby Fox. Legs should be positioned to all lay to the side so he can lay down.
Cut a wide teardrop shape from white felt for the muzzle. With straight stitches and an embroidery floss and embroidery needle, stitch a nose and mouth onto the felt. Stitch muzzle to Baby Fox Head with white thread.

Embroider closed eyes as shown on face of Head with black embroidery floss and embroidery needle.

Abbreviations
Ch: Chain
Sc: Single Crochet
Hdc: Half Double Crochet
Dc: Double Crochet
St: Stitch
Rnd: Round
Rep: Repeat
Sc2tog: Single Crochet 2 stitches Together


Techniques
Adjustable ring: Make a ring with yarn. Insert hook into ring, yarn over and draw up a loop. Ch 1, as directed in pattern. Work the stitches required in pattern into the ring. When complete gently, but firmly, pull tail to close up the ring. 


Cuddle time! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Free Pattern: To Russia with Love Bear



A couple of weeks ago I saw this video, linked through Twitter.


I was touched. I read more about the charity behind the video, To Russia with Love. Debbie Deegan founded the organization and has a special heart for orphaned and abandoned children. You can read more about Debbie here.

I wondered how I could help. The sweet little bear in the video looked like something I could make. I contacted Damien O'Connor, writer/director for the film with Brown Bag Films. (They make Doc McStuffins, Octonauts, Olivia, and lots more!) He and Debbie loved my idea. The plan is to make as many bears, named Pascha, as possible and send them to the orphanage Debbie works with.

Can you help? 

With Debbie's and Damien's blessings, I've made a Pascha. I've written a crochet pattern that is easy and quick to do. I'm asking for volunteers to make Pascha and send them to me, here in Austin, Texas. When I get a good number of them, I'll be sending them to Ireland straight to Debbie Deegan and she will be hand delivering them to the happy faces at the orphanage. 
Pascha has come to life! Crochet a Pascha for "To Russia with Love" with me!

My favorite seller of animal eyes and noses, Clara at 6060eyes.com, has graciously donated 60 sets of the mismatched eyes needed for Pascha. I've also purchased 60 noses. If you would like to commit to making a Pascha and would like a set of eyes and a nose, please send me your address at info@craftyiscool.com. I'll send them to you for free. When all of my supply is depleted I will update this post. One per person please. All free supplies have been spoken for. Please contact Clara if you'd like to purchase additional sets.

If you'd like to make substitutions, please keep it as close to the original as possible. These bears will be played with and loved on so make them sewn together strongly and attach those eyes securely. They will be for children that are mostly at least 5 years old so the plastic eyes should not present a safety hazard.

Please try your best to make Pascha look like the original, which I've pictured below. The children are all very familiar with the film and the characters and would love to each have their own special Pascha to keep forever.

I get goosebumps when I think about our handmade bears finding their way all the way to Russia with the precious children there. 

Thank you all so much for your help in this. Any questions? Please don't hesitate to ask.

Please send completed bears to me here:

Allison Hoffman
PO Box 1390
Manchaca, TX 78652
USA

If you would prefer, completed bears may also be sent directly to the charity in Ireland:

"To Russia with Love"
2 Vernon Avenue
Dublin 3
Ireland

Pascha as he appears in the "Anya" short film by Brown Bag Films

Pascha the Bear

Size: As written, Pascha measures approximately 9 in / 23 cm from head to foot

Supplies:
(NOTE--Yarns I used in sample are in italics)
Light Gray Worsted weight yarn (A)
  Hobby Lobby "I Love This Yarn" -- Light Gray
Tan Worsted weight yarn (B)
  Hobby Lobby "I Love This Wool" -- Biscuit
Black Worsted weight yarn (C)
  Lion Brand "Vanna's Choice" -- Black
Dark Gray Worsted weight yarn (D)
  Caron "Simply Soft" -- Grey Heather
Fiberfill
Black embroidery floss
1 15mm white/black animal eye (contact 6060.etsy.com for eyes)
1 7.5mm black animal eye 
1 13mm oval black nose

*If you are having trouble locating the correct eyes for the project, you may also use a 15mm circle of white felt and black safety eyes that you have. Make sure to fasten eyes securely and stitch or glue felt down to Head.

Tools:
Size E (3.5mm) crochet hook
Yarn needle
Embroidery needle

Key:
ch: chain
sc: single crochet
BLO: crochet into the back loops only of each stitch

Head:
Rnd 1: Starting at the top of the Head, with yarn A and an E hook, ch 5. Sc into 2nd ch from hook and next 2 chs, 3 sc into last ch, and turning to work into other side of ch, sc into next 3 chs, 3 sc into last ch (12 sts)
Rnd 2: Sc into next 3, 2 sc into next 3 sts, sc into next 3 sts 2 sc into next 3 sts (18 sts)
Rnd 3: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 2 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 4: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 3 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (30 sts)
Rnd 5: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 4 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (36 sts)
Rnd 6: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 5 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (42 sts)
Rnd 7: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 6 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (48 sts)
Rnds 8-10: Sc into each st around.
Rnd 11: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 6 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (42 sts)
Rnd 12: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 5 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (36 sts)
Rnd 13: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 4 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (30 sts)
Rnd 14: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 3 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 15: Sc into next 6, sc2tog three times, sc into next 6, sc2tog three times (18 sts)
Hold place with a stitch marker. Insert safety eyes as shown. White/black 15mm eye and 7.5mm eye should be inserted between Rnds 8 and 9, 7 sts apart. Insert nose one row below, between Rnds 9 and 10. 
Stuff Head. Continue stuffing as you crochet the last couple of rounds.
Rnd 16: Sc into next 4, sc2tog three times, sc into next 3 sts, sc2tog three times (12 sts)
*Note: If you are keeping track, Rnd 16 goes one stitch past the end of the rnd. 
Rnd 17: Sc2tog around (6 sts)
Fasten off and leave a long tail. Use a yarn tail to stitch last round closed. Weave in ends.

Body:
Rnd 1: Starting at the bottom of the Body, with yarn A and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 6 into ring. Pull tail to close hole (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 Sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 3: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next st), repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 4: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 2 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 5: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 3 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (30 sts)
Rnd 6: *(2 Sc into next st, sc into next 4 sts), repeat from * to end of rnd (36 sts)
Rnds 7-13: Sc into each st.
Rnd 14: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 10), repeat from * to end of rnd (33 sts)
Rnd 15: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 9), repeat from * to end of rnd (30 sts)
Rnd 16: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 8), repeat from * to end of rnd (27 sts)
Rnd 17: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 7), repeat from * to end of rnd (24 sts)
Rnd 18: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 6), repeat from * to end of rnd (21 sts)
Rnd 19: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 5), repeat from * to end of rnd (18 sts)
Rnd 20: *(Sc2tog, sc into next 4), repeat from * to end of rnd (15 sts)
Rnds 21-22: Sc into each st.
Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing to Head. Stuff Body firmly. Sew to bottom of Head. Weave in ends.


Arms (Make 2):
Rnd 1: Starting at the "paw end" of the Arm, with yarn B and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 6 into ring. Pull tail to close hole (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 Sc into each st (12 sts)
Change to yarn A at the last st of Rnd 2.
Rnd 3: Working into BLO (back loops only) of each st, *(2 sc into next st, sc into next 3 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (15 sts)
Rnd 4: Working to both loops of each st, *(sc2tog, sc into next 3 sts), rep from * to end of rnd (12 sts)
Rnds 5-6: Sc into each st.
Rnd 7: Sc2tog, sc into each st (11 sts)
Rnd 8: Sc into each st.
Rnd 9: Sc2tog, sc into each st (10 sts)
Rnd 10: Sc into each st.
Rnd 11: Sc2tog, sc into each st (9 sts)
Rnds 12-13: Sc into each st.
Rnd 14: Sc2tog, sc into each st (8 sts)
Rnd 15: Sc into each st.
Rnd 16: Sc2tog, sc into each st (7 sts)
Fasten off and stuff only the paw end. Arm should not be stuffed fully so that it will be soft and floppy.
Use a yarn needle to sew Arms to Body a couple of rows down from the Head at each side.


Legs (Make 2):
Rnd 1: Starting at the "paw end" of the Leg, with yarn B and an E hook, ch 4, sc into 2nd ch from hook and next ch, 3 sc into last ch, and turning to work into other side of ch, sc into next 2 chs, 3 sc into last ch (10 sts)
Rnd 2: *(2 sc into next st, sc into next st), rep from * to end of rnd (15 sts)
Change to yarn A at the last st of Rnd 2.
Rnd 3: Working into BLO of each st, sc into each st around (15 sts)
Rnd 4: Working into both loops of each st, sc2tog, sc into each st (14 sts)
Rnd 5: Sc2tog, sc into each st (13 sts)
Rnd 6: Sc2tog, sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnd 7: Sc2tog, sc into each st (11 sts)
Rnd 8: Sc2tog, sc into each st (10 sts)
Rnd 9: Sc2tog, sc into each st (9 sts)
Rnds 10-12: Sc into each st.
Fasten off and stuff only the paw end. Leg should not be stuffed fully so that it will be soft and floppy.
Use a yarn needle to sew Legs to bottom of Body as shown.


Ear (Make 2):
Rnd 1: With yarn C and an E hook, make an adjustable ring, ch 1, sc 6 into ring. Pull closed (6 sts)
Rnd 2: 2 Sc into each st (12 sts)
Rnds 3-4: Sc into each st.
Rnd 5: Sc2tog, sc into next 10 sts (11 sts)
Rnd 6: Sc2tog, sc into next 9 sts (10 sts)
Rnd 7: Sc2tog, sc into next 8 sts (9 sts)
Fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. Flatten Ear and sew opening closed. 
Sew each Ear to the Head, one row above the eyes. Refer to photo.




Finishing:
With yarn D and a yarn needle, make short straight horizontal stitches down the center of the Body and along the center of the Head (see photo). Knot a short piece of yarn at the very top of the Head and cut short to create a tuft of hair.

Use yarn D and a yarn needle to stitch two claws onto each foot and three claws onto each hand. 

Use black embroidery floss and an embroidery needle to stitch straight stitches into a long gently curving smile on the face. Refer to photo.
Pascha the Bear


*************************************************************************
Again, completed bears may be sent to me here:

Allison Hoffman
PO Box 1390
Manchaca, TX 78652

OR directly to the charity in Ireland here:

"To Russia with Love"
2 Vernon Avenue
Dublin 3
Ireland

Sign in below to let everyone know you're making a bear. Post your progress on Facebook. Share this with your friends. Lets send as many bears as we can to Russia!

I've had some people ask if they can help even if they can't crochet. Yes! These finished bears will be shipped from Texas to Ireland. Please help by donating anything you can to help pay for shipping. Any remaining funds will be directly donated to To Russia with Love!