Friday, August 28, 2009


I wrote a pattern! This cephalopod is my own little rebellion against amigurumi patterns that require tons of finishing - especially octopus patterns, which often require you to assemble and sew on the legs individually. There's only one seam on Douglas (to sew on his underbelly); all of the legs are crocheted onto the body. An abundance of legs are a delight to little hands that love to grab, twist, and pull.

Douglas is quite friendly and settles in quite naturally, even when he's far from the sea.

I used a size F hook and random worsted-weight scraps of yarn. Any sturdy, washable yarn would work just fine.

Gauge? Don't sweat it. It's a toy.
Row 1 ch 2, 8 sc in second ch from hook. place marker to indicate beg of round. do not join.
Row 2 *2 sc in next st. Repeat from * around. (16 sts)
Row 3 *1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st. Repeat from * around. (24 sts)
Row 4 *sc in each of next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st. Repeat from * around. (32 sts)
Row 5 *sc in each of next 3 sts, 2 sc in next st. Repeat from * around. (40 sts)
Row 6 *sc in each of next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st. Repeat from * around. (48 sts)
Row 7 *sc in each of next 5 sts, 2 sc in next st. Repeat from * around. (56 sts)
Rows 8-12 1 sc in each stitch around. (56 sts)
Row 13 sc 10. work a 5 trc cluster (*3 yo, insert hook in stitch, pull up a loop, [yo, pull loop through two sts] 3 times, repeat from * 5 times. Yo and pull through all 5 loops on hook). sc in remaining sts. (56 sts)
Row 14 sc 10. skip next sc. sc in remaining sts. (55 sts)
Rows 15-17 work 1 sc in each st around.
Row 18 (create legs) *ch 20. work 5 hdc in 2nd chain from hook and in each remaining ch. skip 3 sts on body and sc in next 2 sts. repeat from * 11 times.
Row 19 holding legs to the front and working behind them, *work 3 sc in the space left by skipping sts on the previous row. then work a sc around the back of each of the next two sc on the previous row. Repeat from * around. Join with sl st and finish off. (56 sts.)

Work same as for Body through row 6. Join with a sl st and cut yarn, leaving an 18" tail for seaming.

Attach safety eyes (or embroider eyes) as desired. Take a long stitch between the eyes with a loop of yarn and pull as tightly as desired to create a "pinched" look; tie a knot and reinforce with a second stitch for stability.

To make Douglas rattle for small children or babies, put a few dried beans or pennies in a plastic easter egg and tape or glue shut. Wrap in stuffing.

Stuff Douglas firmly. Sew on underbelly with a blunt needle, taking stitches through the front loop of underbelly stitches and the back loop of body stitches. This creates an inconspicuous seam. Pull all loose ends deep into stuffing. Voila! Smile, show him off, and introduce Douglas to his new home.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009


I've never had a contest on my blog, but I've participated in many, and it seems like it'd be such fun to host one! Plus, I'm desperate for a few ideas. Please lend me your ear for a moment.

First, the prizes: A special pincushion of your choice from my shop. This is just one of them.

Also, a set of eight hand-made custom stitch markers for knitting, and two hand-knit (or possibly crocheted) dishcloths made especially for you (I'll ask your color and style preferences when you win, for the markers and the dishcloths).

Now, what I need help with. I've just opened an Etsy shop. I have a theme that I love, but I'm not sure where to go with it, and I'd be greatly indebted to you if you'd share your thoughts. My theme is the American South. I've developed a passion for the area, and as I learn more about the history of the South, I have a new respect for the people and traditions that have grown roots here. I'm proud to be a small part of those traditions.

My shop's name is Southern Song Designs. I want to know what you like about it. I want to know what you would change. And I also want to know what items I could make to sell in my shop that would fit with the theme. Think dogwoods and magnolias and Gone With the Wind and romance. I want to capture that in my designs. And I definitely want to expand from the little line of pincushions that I'm currently carrying! So tell me what I can knit, crochet, or sell that captures the essence of the South - in your mind. Leave your thoughts as a comment on this post. Make sure you include a Ravelry or Etsy username, email, or some way to contact you in case you win. I'll draw a winner at random.

Oh, and if you post about my contest on your blog, I'll put your name in the hat twice. I need all the advice I can get! Thanks in advance! Winner will be drawn on September 9th.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I just got home after a very long absence in Texas and then in North Carolina. It's good to be home. I'm feeling all productive. I broke out the needle and thread yesterday, partly just to see if I remembered how to use them. It's been a long time since I directed my craftiness in a fabric-y direction - well, since the heartbreaking demise of my sewing machine, so I decided to experiment with pincushions I could sew entirely by hand. There's just something charming about pincushions.
Here also are some thread crocheted pincushions. They take a little longer, but I love the feel (and look) of them. And here's the whole, happy bunch. I think they're kind of cute.
I designed a pattern! They would be octopusses (octopi?), but they have eleven legs. I'm going to test the pattern some more and then I'll post it. It will be my first pattern on Ravelry!And... finally... a little progress on Scrunch, my lace ribbon scarf. Please don't mind the terrible picture, taken on a hotel room bed with my dog in the background. It really is going to be beautiful, if I may say so myself. The pattern is lovely.
Just for the sake of documentation, I'll note that I also completed five washcloths during the past week, but I won't bore you with pictures of those.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I want to goooooo.

My school is hosting a tour of western Europe next Spring. It's a twenty-day trip exploring various locations in France, Italy, Germany, and England with sites significant to the Protestant Reformation. This is the abbreviated itinerary:

1. Depart from Greenville, SC (May 24)
2. Rome
Colosseum, Forum,Mamertine Prison
3. Rome
St. Peter’s, Sistine Chapel, Catacombs
4. Rome, Assisi, Siena, Florence
Basilica of St. Francis, Siena Square
5. Florence
Sites in Florence
6. Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Venice
Leaning Tower
7. Venice
St. Mark’s Basilica, Bridge of Sighs
8. Venice, Verona, Milan
Romeo & Juliet’s balcony
9. Milan, Geneva
Milan Cathedral, The Last Supper
10. Geneva, Zurich
Reformation Monument, Reformation Museum
11. Zurich, Rhine Falls, Constance
Grossmunster Cathedral, Rhine Falls, Site of the Burning of Huss
12. Constance, Meersburg, Rothenburg
Meersburg Castle, Rothenburg
13. Heidelberg, Worms
Heidelberg Castle, Luther Monument
14. Heidelberg, Strasburg,Reims
Boat Tour, Reims Cathedral
15. Reims, Paris
Notre Dame, Louvre
16. Paris
Versailles, Eiffel Tower, Sein Boat Ride
17. Canterbury, London
Canterbury Cathedral, Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle
18. London
Westminster Abbey, Tower of London
19. London
Wesley’s Chapel, Bunhill Fields Cemetery
20. London, depart for Greenville, SC (June 12)

Rome. Venice. Paris. Milan. Worms. Well, Worms doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but still... What is it about these place names that conjures up romantic, history-steeped snapshots? Gondola rides and the Eiffel Tower and the Sistine Chapel - art and culture and history and, again, romance. I want so badly to go. I really must get my finances in order and see if such a trip would even be possible.