Friday, May 22, 2009

Now on Etsy: The Potbelly Farm Animals Pattern!

At long last--and after way-too-many trials and errors--I'm pleased to announce that I've finally launched my Amigurumi Potbelly Farm Animals Pattern set. You'll find it at my Etsy site.
There's a piggy:
A rooster:
A duckie:
. . . and a bunny:
They all build off of one potbellied body structure. Oh, they bring such plushie goodness to the world!
Next up: potbelly zoo animals!
Hook on!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yes, We Have No Swine Flu Here!

Sometimes a coincidence can be so serendipitous that the event becomes just downright eerie. How is it that I've been finalizing a pig pattern right at the exact same time that the swine flu blows across the globe?

Recently, I've been struggling to rediscover a potbelly amigurumi shape that I used last spring to create some Easter duckies. After discussing this struggle (and my lament for not jotting down the pattern at the time) in a previous post, I went forward and created two more morbidly obese plushies before, finally, I got the "stitch mix" just right!

First, the last of the fatty failures (that are--c'mon, admit it--exceptionally cute).

There's Eddie:

And Mucho:

But then it happened. Things went right. Now I have a four-animal pattern set, all based on the "potbelly" body shape:

While I've already taught a class using this pattern, I'm doing one final proofread before I post the pattern up on Etsy.

Someone in my knitting group asked me how I proofread a pattern. Great question! For me, I proof each pattern by suspending my intuition and using my pattern as if I were reviewing the instructions for the first time.

So far, so good.

Here are the original images of the duck I created while writing the pattern:

. . . and here's the test plushie (using a much thinner yarn and one hook size smaller):
Here are the original images of the rooster I created while writing the pattern:

. . . and here's the test plushie:
Here's the original piggy:

. . . and here's the test plushie (named HiNi, after the H1N1 virus. Sorry, I couldn't resist!):

Now, all that remains are a few edits to the current pattern and a test plushie of the bunny pattern.

Once the pattern's ready, I'll be sure to make the announcement!
. . . ah, now, hopefully, those amigurumi piggies I just created can serve as talismen that will ward off the flu virus! :)

Happy Hooking!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hooks Down, Pencils Ready (Or, why-oh-why don't I ever learn?!?)

Hi. My name is Christina, and I'm a yarn addict.

("Hi, Christina.")

They say that one of the sure signs that a hobby or interest crosses over to an addiction is when the action begins to impact daily life. Well, what I'm about to admit here isn't necessarily life-ruining--it's merely a public confession about how my hooking and needling vices recently created some unnecessary teeth gnashing.

Alas, I have only myself to blame.

About two months ago, while creating a couple freeform plush gifties, I decided it was time for me to write another pattern. After first making this cute (yet potentially-pregger-looking) bunny. . .

. . . I kept hooking away. Soon, I was really digging the potbelly appearance of this monkey and bunny:

I swore to myself--SWORE!--that I'd take some notes that I might then flesh out and into a full-length pattern (for sale and for my own personal use--I'm nearing 40, so the brain's not quite retaining as well these days;).

But then I got a wee bit cocky with myself.
You see, looking at a few pictures of some baby duckling plushies I crocheted last year . . .

I was able to replicate my pattern's basic body shape and make the bunny and monkey above.

After finishing the bunny and monkey this year, I was filled with so much crochet hubris that I figured I would remember my creative process.

Wrong! It was just Hooker's Luck.

I went to Germany. I crocheted and then knit pairs of fingerless gloves. And I knit a pair of socks. Other people's patterns--patterns that the authors, indeed, committed to page--swam through my mind, and, when I returned to the states I realized I didn't fully remember how the hell to make my monkey.

In a panic, I tried to jot down what I thought was my pattern, and I then tried out the pattern in the shape of a duckling:

Um, no (but bonus points for the German/Bavarian/Leiderhosen costume). Thanks for playing, Christina!

While this little squat duckling is really cute, it's not what I'd been hoping to render. Um, yeah: there's a bit of a difference between a potbelly and a beer belly (and I'm not making a dig at Germans. . . just a dig at my design).

Take two:

(Insert annoying buzzer sound here.) Strike Two!
Again, so cute, but not exactly the outcome I wanted.

I'm admitting all of this to you for a reason: likely, if you're reading this blog 1.) you share in my yarny madness; or 2.) you're a family, friend or loved one that I've shamed into subscribing to my site.

If you're part of the latter group--and you make freeform items and one-of-a-kind yarn items that, gosh darn, you wish you could make again,--then you must listen to me: set down the yarn. Set it down and do NOT start another project until you take the 40 minutes needed to make some personal, short-hand, chicken-scratch notes about all the neat little tricks you used to make that kick ass finished object.

Don't be like me. Don't get cocky. Don't trust your memory. Don't be so obsessed with the way the yarn moves across your hands that you complete one project and then immediately jump to the next--especially when you're pretty certain you might want to make something again (or for someone else).

The yarn stash will still be sitting there, and your skeins won't roll away because they're offended you're not paying them attention for a few minutes.

Please, for the sake of your sanity, heed my words: write it down. And write it down while it remains fresh. Not after you "just" finish the head of the next plushie pictured in your mind. Not after you create the cuff of your latest top-down sock. And, most certainly, not after you go on a nine-day trip across the ocean.

Do it now. Right now. Do not pass your notions nook. Do not leaf through the newest Interweave Crochet magazine. Most certainly, don't just "take a look" at

Right now: step away from your hook, and no potential patterns will get hurt.


Your yarn (and, maybe, all those safety eyes sitting in your eye bin;) will thank you later!

So, what am I going to do now? Well, I just finished making the little slender bunny (a.k.a., Banana the Bunny) about two hours ago, so she's still fresh in my mind. The moment I publish this post, I'm picking up my notepad (and ignoring the half-finished sock sitting on dpns), finding a pencil (and walking past the Noro wool I want to use to make myself some spring fingerless gloves) and sitting down (without taking a second glance at the lash yarns for a dog I'm making for a commissioned order) and scribbling out stitch counts.

After all, I can quit fondling my stash at any time.


(Hmmmm: is that mohair yarn inviting me to do a little casting on those new size 17 dpns? Must. Look. Away. Grab pencil. Take notes!)

(I'm Christina Court, and I approve this message, even if it means that I must spend one hour not caressing a ball of yarn.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Souvenirs from Germany

I went to Germany; I got my mother a mug, and my father received a t shirt. However, the way I wished to remember my time in Munich was through fiber.

On my third day in Munich, I decided to be brave, take the U-bahn alone, and venture over to Ludwig Beck's yarn and notions shop in the Marienplatz district. Communicating only in German--yay for me--I bought three gorgeous purple-gray-ivory skeins of Lang Yarns' Jawoll superwash Jacquard. I began working on Cookie A.'s "Monkey" sock pattern the night before my Schatzi and me began our journey back to The States, and I spent much of the overseas flight cranking through the first sock (nearly to the heel).

I just finished the pair this past weekend. (Okay, I still need to weave in all my loose ends, but I can still count them as FOs, right? Right????) While this is the second pair of socks I've made, this is the first pair I've made for myself.
Man, I always noticed how sock knitters in my knitting circles had a special look in their eyes. . . now I understand the depth of their fiber madness. What do I mean? Well, I'm already at work on another pair of socks. I cannot help myself. And I keep finding more and more delicious looking sock yarns. And cute sock patterns. They're everywhere. . . and they're just so dang portable.

Oh, I think I'm just falling deeper and deeper down the yarny rabbit hole . . . (and loving every minute of it!;)
BTW, I L-O-V-E this yarn. I also bought some cotton Lang Jawoll sock yarn while in Munich, and, because this first batch of yarn was so much fun, I cannot wait to give the cotton version a test drive!

I Do! I Do!

They vowed, "'Til death do us part." I guess these hopeless romantics meant it. . . and then some!

. . . yes, these little skullyweds are the product of Creepy Cute Crochet patterns by Christen Hayden. You can find more of my Hayden creations here.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Forgive Me Stash, For I Have Sinned.

Until this past weekend, it had been since early December since I purchased any new yarn. After taking photographs of my entire yarn stash, I'd vowed to myself that I wouldn't-couldn't-shouldn't indulge in any new yarn. I've vowed to decrease my stash before the end of the year!

But then a pretty little minx of a pattern strolled my way. Behold! Here is Hanna Jason's "Bettie's Lace Stockings", as photographed in the Spring 2009 Interweave Knits magazine:

Super sexy, right? Well, because I've fallen prey to the pleasures of sock knitting, I couldn't get these little Betties out of my mind. I want them. . . actually, I want to make them.

Before I knew it, I was at my LYS on a sunny Saturday afternoon and purchasing two skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn in Charcoal.

It's a toe-up sock, so it'll also be a new challenge . . . so long as my stash doesn't crush me out of spite. :)

Ah, dear stash: I love every bit, scrap, ball, WIP and skein of you! There's always room for, um, two more, right? ;)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Brother is a Corporate Zombie!

If you are a fellow crocheter and haven't yet checked out Christen Hayden's Creepy Cute Crochet book of patterns, you are doing yourself one hell of a disservice. I've already made a handful of these little ones for friends and family. . . and get laughs and thanks every time.

Tomorrow, I'll give my brother Kevin my most recent creation. . . HIM as a corporate zombie:

(Sorry, Kevin: I HAD to overdo the red hair. That's what sisters are for, right?;)

Granted, the pattern calls for a pool of brain blood to drip from his mouth; however, I tend to think that I'm often surrounded by slews of subtle zombies--it's more likely that I'd sit next to a zombie on the train if he's not chewing hunks of someone's bloody brain like bubblegum.

I've been a "Needle Noodles" pattern fan for quite some time. My first attempt was one of her Etsy patterns:

This Samurai was for my dear friend Thomas Spanos. We dated very briefly while in college. During that time, he gave me two pictures of himself: one with a special message written in runes on the back and another of him dressed in self-designed and created Samurai armor made exclusively out of cardboard.

(NOTE: The photo on the left was taken by Thomas Spanos and can be found with all of Thomas' other incredible costume creations on his website.)

I've also made a grim reaper for my sister-in-law Sarah, in honor of her 30th birthday:

I made my ex-now-friend Bob a fez-festooned monkey for Christmas/winter holidays:

. . . and I also made my Uncle Dean (a classics and humanities college instructor with a passion for Greek and Roman history/mythology) a Trojan:

Next week, I need to make a Nosferatu for my hair designer (she asked for the little baldie!), so I'll try to share that one with you, too.

Overall, these are super-easy to make, and I've made nearly all of them in under five hours.

Happy birthday, Kev! Glad you haven't sold out all the way! :)