A Trans Pride Cupcake

I love getting custom orders. Someone asked me if I could make a trans version of my Pride cupcakes, which I had been meaning to do anyway because I’m all for trans pride. This is what became of it!

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I am tickled with the result. The trans pride flag has my favorite colors in it, pink and blue, and I like how symmetrical it is. Of course I like all the pride flags because of what they stand for, but I appreciate them on a purely aesthetic level as well.

This little fellow goes off to its new home today!

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I have, like, mega news that I get to tell you guys on Friday. Stay tuned. I’m probably going to explode.

Etsy Adventures, Again

WordPress, can we please stop changing the editor? I barely had gotten used to the last one. Oh well, it’s a free service and it’s wonderful in many ways, so I suppose I’ll get used to this one, too.

I’m blown away by the amount of love and support you all delivered on my last post, announcing my new design. Thank you so much, it means the world and I’m so glad to have you with me on this crochet adventure!

This is a short post just to share that my Etsy shop, BaleineCrochet, is now up and running again. finally put some of that quarantine spare time to good use and listed a bunch of stuff. Here are some photos of what’s available. I have 17 things listed right now and it’s quite exciting, I feel like a real business. And somebody already bought a crochet cupcake!

I have a bunch of stuff listed for Pride month, which is just around the corner. Here are some mini flags…

pansexual flag
rainbow flag
transgender flag (I really love the colors of this one)

And here are some bigger items…

I have always loved Twinkie Chan’s designs, so when I had some spare time I finally made this bread scarf that I’ve been wanting to make for years. But there are only so many food scarves one person can wear, so I’m putting it on Etsy to spread the crochet food love.

And these gloves are designed by Morale Fiber and were so much fun to make. I’m going to make another pair for myself, I love the crocodile stitch.

As always, I also take custom orders, so if you want me to make you something just drop me a line. It would be my absolute pleasure! And thank you again for your support.

So, I’m a Published Designer Now

So this happened, and I didn’t blog about it because I was drowning in school, but now I’m here to tell you about it.

I got to partner with KnitCrate to be a crochet designer for their February box. They sent me this absolutely gorgeous, custom-dyed Malabrigo yarn that I could never have afforded on their own, and this is what I made for them. (All images are copyright KnitCrate, and they are the most gorgeous photographs I’ve seen in a good long while.)

Presenting the Butterfly Shell Infinity Scarf!

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My design is actually on a MODEL? Like, a real-life model is wearing something I crocheted, and it’s published in a book? WHAT IS THIS LIFE.

To make things even more exciting, take a look at the cover of the ebook:

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Yep, that’s my design…on the cover…?!?!?! I was sitting in the college cafeteria when I saw the cover, and it was so hard not to squeal. I can’t even believe how beautiful these photos and this ebook turned out, and it is such an honor to have been involved. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a wee young teenager and first learned to crochet, so to actually be a published designer? It’s unreal.

Click here to view all three designs from this issue. We all got the same yarn to work with, and I absolutely love what the other two designers did with it. You can purchase my pattern here. I’ve seen a copy of the pattern PDF, and it’s so beautifully formatted. I got to work with an actual tech editor, who caught a couple silly mistakes I made, and the whole experience was just so cool.

Man, it’s a good life, you guys.

What feels like eons ago, I corresponded with the brilliant Sue Perez of Mrs Micawber’s Recipe for Happiness when she had just begun her professional crochet design career. She gave me advice as a young teenager and helped me see that my dream was achievable. I owe a lot to that conversation, and I’m truly grateful. Thank you. ❤

No Buttons Required Ear Savers: Free Crochet Pattern

Hi friends! A few weeks ago I became aware of the need for “ear savers” for front-line medical workers on the coronavirus pandemic. Workers develop wounds behind their ears from wearing masks so much. Crafters developed “ear savers” or “mask mates” that sit on the back of the head and have buttons to secure the straps around, thus saving workers’ ears.

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It’s been amazing to see the world come together in support. Knitters, crocheters, and seamstresses have been working tirelessly to produce these. People are 3d printing them, too. I’ve been making lots of them, and I ordered some buttons, but they won’t get here for another couple weeks (for obvious shipping delay reasons because, you know, pandemic). I didn’t want to wait that long to start donating them, though. So I started searching for alternatives to buttons.

This is one fantastic pattern I found that uses pop tabs from soda cans instead of buttons. I quickly ran out of pop tabs, though, but I still had lots of yarn and time. So this is what I came up with. Nothing revolutionary, just my take on the ear savers pattern. Do what you will with them and let me know if I can be of any help.

Pattern Details

Finished Size: about 4.5″ long, 1.25″ tall

Buttons measure just over 1″ in diameter.

Materials

  • Worsted-weight yarn. I’ve heard that cotton is best, but acrylic washes just fine. I ran out of cotton, and I have tons (and tons and tons) of spare acrylic, so that’s what I’m using now.
  • H (5.00 MM) crochet hook
  • Yarn needle
  • That’s it!

Ear Saver Band

Round 1: Leave a long (12″) starting tail. Make a magic ring to count as your first chain. Ch 16. This will result in 17 chains total.

If you don’t feel comfortable making a magic ring, just ch 17 instead.

Hdc in 3rd ch from hook and each chain until you reach the last one. 5 hdc in this chain. Turn to work across opposite end of starting chain. Do not crochet over the tail because you’ll need it to sew on the “button” later. Hdc in each ch until you reach the last one. 3 hdc into this chain. Sl st to top of ch-2 to join.

Round 2: Ch 2, hdc in same stitch. 2 hdc in next st. Hdc 13. 2 hdc in each of next 5 hdc. Hdc 13. Hdc 2 in each of last 3 hdc.

Invisible join to first hdc, leaving long (12″) tail for sewing.

Button (make 2)

Make a magic ring, ch 1. (If you don’t feel comfortable making a magic ring, just ch 2 instead and work into the second chain from the hook.) 6 sc in magic ring.

Round 2: 2 sc in each sc around: 12 sc

Round 3: sc in each sc around

Round 4: sc2tog 6 times.

Fasten off. Tie ends of button together in a tight double knot, then trim. The ends will hide inside the button.

Assembly

Use the long starting and ending tails from the ear saver band to sew the buttons onto either end. I created an X with the yarn and went over it twice. Weave in ends firmly.

Easter in Isolation

Happy Easter, my fellow quarantinees. It’s a strange one, that’s for sure, but maybe that makes the meaning of Easter even clearer. It’s going to be amazing when we all come out of this quarantine period. It really will be like a resurrection.

Anyway, at the risk of getting too sentimental, let’s get to the crochet:

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Turns out when you have nothing to do but stay inside and crochet, you can make an afghan pretty darn quickly. (Admittedly, that’s pretty much all I did anyway, but the stress of COVID-19 has meant I’ve been turning to crochet even more than usual.) Here is the Isolation Blossom Blanket CAL nearing completion. This was the week when we made granny squares. We weren’t going to be joining them together for a while, but I was really excited to do so.

My boyfriend helped arrange the squares using a combination of six-sided and four-sided dice to determine random color order, which worked astonishingly well. Then I joined them all using a sc, ch 3 in the side chain spaces. It’s halfway joined right now, which is when he captured the above picture. I won’t pretend that’s my best angle, but the happiness is real. Because even though we’re stuck inside for 28 days now, I can’t remember ever being this happy. I have everything I need. And I realize just how lucky I am.

I hope you’re happy too, whoever and wherever you are.

How to Crochet a Quick and Easy Face Mask

I never thought I would hit crochet popularity because of a literal GLOBAL PANDEMIC, but here we are. The COVID-19 amigurumi has been so popular and resonated with a lot of people, which I am forever grateful for. You guys are the best. Today, I’m sharing my experiments in crochet mask making…along with this truly unfortunate picture.

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The CDC recently started advocating for the use of face masks when out in public. These are mostly to keep people from spreading the disease rather than contracting it, but there’s some research that says it might help keep you from getting it, too. Now, the most important thing is, if you’re crocheting or knitting these masks you need to line them with fabric. The holes are just too big in crochet fabric.

I messed around the Internet for a while researching different patterns, and I ended up going with this one. However, there is no author listed for the pattern, and all that exists is a crochet chart – absolutely no information on yarn, hook size, gauge, etc. So I experimented for a bit and ended up with my own variation on the pattern. I was hesitant about posting it because I don’t want to claim credit for a pattern that isn’t my own. So if you’re the owner of the original pattern and want me to take this post down, please let me know and I will do so. In the end though, I thought this information might be useful to a bunch of people out there, so I’m posting my modifications to the pattern. Because I did end up changing a lot of things.

So here is a quick and easy way to crochet a face mask.

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Materials

  • About 50 yards of worsted-weight cotton yarn – the examples use Lily Sugar and Cream Cotton
  • G (4.00 MM) crochet hook
  • Cotton fabric to line mask
  • 2 ponytail holders (there is a run on elastic around here – I cannot get my hands on ANY. so this is the alternative I devised.)
  • Yarn needle

Notes

  • I use US crochet terms for all of my patterns.
  • Gauge: 10 dc = 2 inches
  • work last stitch of each row through both loops to prevent edges from having gaps
  • Sizing: This mask fits me, an adult woman with a large head. It fits an adult man as well. To downsize the pattern, I suggest making less chains and reducing the amount of dc. For instance, ch 37, sc 6, hdc 3, dc 18, hdc 3, sc 6. Then do 8 or 9 rows. I have not actually made one with this pattern, so I do not know how big it will turn out. Just hold it up to your face while you make it and remember that this pattern is forgiving.

Pattern

Ch 45.

Row 1:  Starting in second chain from hook, sc in next 8 ch, hdc in next 3 ch, dc in next 23 ch, hdc in next 3 ch, sc in last 8 ch.

Row 2-11: Ch 1, turn. Working in back loops only, sc in next 8 sc, hdc in next 3 hdc, dc in next 23 dc, hdc in next 3 hdc, sc in next 8 sc.

Adding elastics

Ch 1. Sc 11 along row ends, working over ponytail holder. Ch 1, sc along opposite end of starting chain. Ch 1, sc 11 along next row ends, working over second ponytail holder. Ch 1, sc in both loops of each stitch from Row 11. Fasten off and weave in ends.

LINE MASK. There are plenty of tutorials for this online. I am no seamstress, haha. I’m just going to do the best that I can.

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Don’t forget to wash masks after every use. Stay safe out there, you guys.

Isolation Blossom Blanket CAL, Week 1

Just last post I was musing about how to feel connected to a community in the midst of this crisis. And who should come along but my wonderful friend Astri, hosting a crochet-a-long on her blog Apple Blossom Dreams. I have been following Astri since I was 14 years old, and she has been nothing but kind and gracious to a young beginning crocheter. Me and my mom did Astri’s first ever CAL, and I participated in the Rockman CAL a few years ago. So as soon as I saw this one I jumped on board.

This CAL is called the Isolation Blossom Blanket, very aptly, haha. You just make a donation to a COVID-19 relief charity and Astri sends you the pattern. The goal is to use yarn we already have on hand, because getting out to the store should not be happening. In fact, Oregon, where I live, has issued a “stay home, stay safe” order. This means that you may not leave your house except for necessities like groceries or medications. As it happens, I am currently away from home and I only have a small bucket of yarn with me. So here is what we’re working with:

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I ordered a few skeins of white and green yarn online. The white will be for the background of the flower squares, and the green will be for the leaves – I want them to all match. But the rest will just be made out of these yarn scraps. There are a few skeins not in the picture, but for the most part, this is it.

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Here are the flowers I’ve made so far. I got the pattern at about 5 pm yesterday. Not bad for a day’s work? I love making these flowers so much. I really needed some peaceful crochet.

Because my green yarn isn’t here yet, I decided to start making some regular granny squares as well. So then I can make the leaves while everyone else is making squares and catch up that way.

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Granny squares are so soothing, you guys. I missed repetitive patterns like this. I’m still on spring break from college for the rest of this week and weekend, so I have nothing but time. And when classes start (online), I sure will need the distraction.

You can come join in the Crochet-A-Long if you wish. Just check out Apple Blossom Dreams and hop on board. I can’t wait to see what everyone else is doing!

Amigurumi Coronavirus

Yes, I really will crochet anything. Before the Internet starts yelling at me for being insensitive, let me give a bit of background.

I’ve had a phobia of germs since I was a kid. Remember the swine flu epidemic about 10 years ago? Yeah, I was a nervous wreck. With everything going on lately, it has not been a great couple months for someone with severe anxiety. The scary thing about COVID-19 is that it’s invisible, so it isn’t something you can fight. It just lurks until it gets you. I thought it could be a good exposure therapy exercise to make a crochet version of it.

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Nothing is scary when you put a silly face on it, and that was my goal here. I had feedback on my Solar Eclipse amigurumi pattern that someone used the toy to explain the solar eclipse to their kid, who was afraid of it. But when the kid saw how it worked and understood the science behind it, he wasn’t so scared. I thought this pattern might be useful to some of my fellow germaphobes because it makes the scary thing visible, so you can mentally confront it.

Or maybe you just want to make it so you can chuck it at your friends and tell them they “caught” the coronavirus. Up to you.

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This is the image I based my design on. I chose gray for the base and red for the spiky bits, which are the “corona” that the virus is named after. Did you know that the common cold is a coronavirus? So technically, it’s inaccurate to say that this is a coronavirus pandemic, because that’s been the case for years. The virus is called SARS-COVID-19, and the disease it causes is COVID-19.

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Materials

  • Worsted-weight yarn in two colors: base and the spiky bits
  • 2 plastic safety eyes (mine were about 12 mm)
  • G (4.00 MM) crochet hook
  • Yarn needle
  • Small bit of polyfill stuffing. Or fill it with beans so you can chuck it at people.
  • Small bit of black yarn to embroider face

Notes

  • I use US crochet terms in all of my patterns
  • This pattern is worked in one piece for the base, leaving spare loops to attach the red spiky bits. When the base is complete, you go back and crochet onto the loops.
  • This pattern is worked in a spiral without joining, amigurumi-style. So use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch of each round.
  • 2-double-crochet cluster: *Yarn over, insert hook into stitch, yarn over pull up a loop. Yarn over, pull through 2 loops.* Repeat from * to * one more time, which should leave you with 3 loops on your hook. Yarn over, pull through all 3 loops.

Pattern

Base

Round 1: Make a magic ring, ch 1, 6 sc in ring

Round 2: in back loops only, 2 sc in each sc around

Round 3: in both loops, (sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc) around

Round 4: in back loops only, (sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around

Round 5: in both loops, (sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around

Round 6: in back loops only, (sc in next 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around: 36 sc

Round 7: in both loops, sc 10, in back loops, sc 26

Round 8: in both loops, sc 36

Round 9-12: Repeat Rounds 7 and 8 two more times.

Round 13: in both loops, (sc in next 4 sc, sc2tog) around

Round 14: in back loops, (sc in next 3 sc, sc2tog) around

Round 15: in both loops, (sc in next 2 sc, sc2tog) around

Work on face: attach safety eyes and embroider eyebrows and mouth.

Round 16: in back loops, (sc in next sc, sc2tog) around

Stuff.

Round 17: in both loops, sc2tog around.

Fasten off. Through back loops, sew the small circle together. That leaves you with 6 loops to work into.

Corona

Special Stitch: I’m going to call this “Corona Stem.” Ch 4, make a 2-double-crochet cluster in 2nd ch from hook. Sl st in same ch, sl st in next 2 ch.

Start in the leftover loops of Round 17. *Make a Corona Stem, then sl st into the next 2 free loops.* Repeat this twice more.

For the rest of the spare loops, you’re going to *make a Corona Stem, then sl st into the next 3 stitches*, all the way around and around. When you get to the middle section, which leaves a non-adorned part for the face, you’ll be working back and forth in rows. Then when you get back to the top, just start working around and around again.

When you get to the very top, with the 6 loops left over from Round 1, *Make a Corona Stem, then sl st into the next 2 free loops.* Repeat this twice more.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

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Stay healthy, you guys. There’s nothing cute about the real coronavirus, and I don’t mean to make light of it. When things scare me, I crochet. Wash your hands, don’t go to the store unless you can help it, and try not to worry too much. Easier said than done, trust me, I know. But we’re going to make it through this together.

Beach Time For Barbie

It’s February. That means it’s winter here in the Pacific Northwest. Which means it’s probably the worst time of the year to go to the beach. That doesn’t stop me from dreaming, though, which is what led to this particular crochet pattern.

Presenting the Barbie Ocean Waves Ball Gown! (I am good at some things, but naming is not one of those things.) This is my newest free pattern on Crochet Spot, and I am particularly pleased with this one.

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The bodice was tricky, but I’m happy with how it turned out. For once, it’s exactly how I pictured it in my head. Don’t you love when that happens? I pictured flowy sleeves, lacing up the front, and a closely fitted torso that didn’t distract from the Extra™ skirt. And it was a great way to use up all those yarn scraps. Come on, we all have them.

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Anyway, why don’t you head over and check it out if you want to make a new Barbie dress? I don’t make them so much these days, and I miss it. You’re never too old. I actually was given a new Barbie for my 22nd birthday, at my request, and have some dresses in the works for her. So keep an eye out for those. 🙂

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It’s been a while since I’ve been around here, but college is standing on top of me and refusing to get off. How have you guys been?

An Artfully Simple Tidal Wave

Goodness, it’s been a while. Since I last talked to you guys I have gained a new writing job and a new crochet design job. I can tell you about the second one in a couple of months, but suffice it to say I’m a little bit excited. I tend to favor the “squeal and jump” variety of expressing my excitement, so you’ll just have to imagine me doing that now…

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Today I’m sharing some photos of a scarf I made two years ago, and for whatever reason, never got around to posting. At the end of my French 200 series, I wanted to make a gift for my professor, after spending three classes with her. (In the term system, there are three classes in a series, so French 201, 202, and 203.) She was a really classy lady, always dressed nicely even at 9 AM on a Monday morning, so I tried to make something that would live up to her style.

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This is made with the Artfully Simple Infinity Scarf pattern from Moogly, which  have loved for years. As the name implies, it’s really simple but gorgeous. I love the diagonal lines and how it highlights the long color changes in this yarn. It was an absolute delight to make.

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And I love the button detail in the pattern, because who doesn’t want to incorporate a cool button into something? My mom lets me swipe stuff from her button stash, which is probably where I dug up this one.

The great thing about making a scarf for somebody else is that you can use yarn that you wouldn’t wear yourself. I got a nicer skein of yarn than I usually use. I think it was Red Heart Unforgettable in Tidal. This yarn is just a little bit too itchy for me to wear myself, but I’m super sensitive. It’s always good to check if your recipient has fiber allergies, but I didn’t have that opportunity with my teacher, so I just hoped for the best. This yarn is still 100% acrylic, though, so it’s a pretty safe bet.

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I just love how this fabric looks! My professor loved it and said it would be great for traveling. I hope she’s had a good couple years. It’s so weird that I’m in fourth-year French now. And I’m actually the French tutor at my college. Weird, I tell you, just weird.

Tell me how your November has been going! Thanks for reading, and hope you have a lovely weekend.