Posted in Uncategorized

Sock Monkey Hat and Stuffed Monkey

A lot of people have asked me to post the pattern for the Sock Monkey Hat and Stuffed Animal I made a while back.  I WISH I could claim credit for this cute project, but I found it on the Red Heart Yarn website.

The hat is a simple project that is worked in the round.  The monkey is a bit more intricate, but most people should be able to figure it out as it is worked in a spiral.  Use your stitch markers to keep track of your rows!!

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Here’s the original post for the pattern.

I used Red Heart Saver Yarn for the brown.  For the white and maroon I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn to provide a softer yarn on the baby’s face.  

Also, my gauge tends to be a bit looser so the hat turned out to be a bit too big for a newborn’s head.  Check your gauge prior to starting the hat if you tend to have a looser or tighter stitch.  Thankfully, the hat will be able to be grown into so I wasn’t too worried about it 🙂

I hope you enjoy the pattern!  Feel free to comment if you have any questions!!

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Posted in Uncategorized

Q&A Saturday!!

The Hook Up Fan Jen Rodgers asked, “If you had never read/used a pattern and wanted to start, what kind of project would you recommend?”

This is a great question, because we have a lot of people reading who are beginners on our Crafty Resolution Challenge!! I would suggest starting with Video Tutorials on YouTube, or finding someone who is willing to take some time to sit down and teach you.

If you already know the basics, then you can start simple back and forth projects.

Simple projects include dishcloths, scarves, lap blankets, etc.  Anything that is a basic square or rectangle.  I would NOT suggest you start with hats or other projects that have you working in the round.

Starting with a basic square will allow you to learn what the stitches look and feel like.  This will also allow you to learn how to turn by stitching in to the previous row’s turn stitch.  This trick is vital to keeping your rows even.  Here’s how:

Most beginners get to the end of a row and think they have run out of room.  This is why counting stitches is so important.  Don’t worry, once you get the hang of crocheting, you won’t have to count as much…you’ll start seeing patterns and your inner mathematician will get excited…lol.

To keep the row straight you need to be sure and stitch into the hole that is easy to see, but you also need to stitch into the top of the turning chain.  In this picture, you will see what the end of a row looks like:

Tutorial

Once you stitch there, you do your turning chain to go to the next row and you turn.

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At the start of the row, it is important to be sure you place your first stitch correctly.  Instead of crocheting into the first hole, you’re going to stitch into the 2nd hole.

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This makes sure your stitches line up and you don’t increase the number of stitches.  The first turning stitch is often counted as a stitch in most patterns.  If it isn’t, the writer of the pattern will usually say so.

Follow this method for every row and you are sure to get nice straight edges all the way up the project.  No more blankets that are skinnier at the top!

Tutorial5

Just because you are a beginner, doesn’t mean your projects can’t look great!  Pay close attention to detail at the start and you’ll be a natural in no time.  I’ve been crocheting since I was 9…I won’t say how long that’s been, because then I feel really old, BUT…I can say, that I still enjoy doing very simple patterns, mainly because they look so clean and precise.  You can even up the WOW factor by using some extra fun yarn, super soft yarn, or even organic cotton yarn for those dishcloths.  Sometimes the pattern is the backdrop to some great yarn!

Here are some easy patterns, that you’re sure to love!!

http://www.craftyrie.com/2012/11/free-pattern-crochet-easy-peasy.html

http://stitch11.com/simple-and-practical-dish-cloth/

http://brookeanndove.blogspot.com/2010/11/infinity-scarf-pattern.html

http://www.examiner.com/article/easy-one-skein-scarf-to-crochet

http://crochet.about.com/od/babypatterns/a/fast-easy-crochet-baby-blanket-for-beginners.htm

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/easy-cat-cage-nubby-blanket

Posted in Uncategorized

Crafty Resolutions

Every year we make resolutions.  There’s a good chance you’ve made some and have already broken them. Am I right?

Normally its because we don’t have people walking beside us, encouraging us, holding us accountable…

So, why not do some resolutions that you can enjoy?  That you don’t lose sight of, because they are stretching your creativity?

The Hook Up Facebook page is a fun place where you can find that encouragement and camaraderie.  We are doing a 2012 Crafty Resolution Challenge.  The rules are simple…you do a new project or try a new stitch every week.  Some are finishing projects they’ve been working on for years.  Others are just learning new stitches.  Others don’t crochet at all, but are finding ways to stretch their creativity.

What’s your crafty resolution?  What are you starting/finishing this weekend??

Maybe you’re looking for a new stitch to try…my first week was spent learning the tunisian crochet method and creating a tie for my cousin…

To find out more about tunisian crochet stitch, Amazon has an eBook that is free today only!!

Posted in Faith Findings, Rantings

Forge On or Shake the Dust?

I had my feelings hurt this week…don’t be worried about me though…I’m a big girl. I can take it.

What I can’t seem to get over though is where the issue lies. Is it with me? Is it with the other person? Is it insecurities of my past or in who I am? Is it insecurities on the other side? I’ve often felt as though it’s my duty to give an account or an excuse for my actions and decisions. I ALWAYS try to base my decisions upon what God wants for me and for my family. I know that the decision I made was right, justified and exactly the decision that needed to be made. I can be strong in that decision BECAUSE I know that I sought God’s direction in it.
Does that mean it will be easy to live that decision out? No. Does that mean it will always be clean and neat and handsomely packaged? No. Does that mean everyone else will understand the decision I made? Unfortunately no.
Do I forge ahead and try to maintain what is left of a friendship hanging by the threads or is this where I’m supposed to shake the dust and move on? Is it supposed to be this much work? I know relationships are hard, but do I keep setting myself up for continual punishment? I don’t want to walk away, but is that what I’m SUPPOSED to do?
What happens when both people are doing their best to walk in the Truth and yet still can’t see eye to eye? Do you agree to disagree? I was ready to do so…but is that the right thing to do?
Cutting ties is hard when you love someone. I guess all I can say is that I love you and I hope one day you can learn to forgive me for the decision I made, but I will not apologize for that decision.
Posted in Controlling the Body

Making Changes Left and Right

Down 12 pounds in three months!! It’s hard to believe it’s only been three months though with all of the changes I’ve been making, but I’ve been taking it slow so that’s really helping me stick with it!!

Change #1: Started “dieting” with the help of the ladies in my office and their experience with Weight Watchers. I didn’t sign up for any classes or anything, but I was keeping track of points, eating carefully, etc. This lasted for about a month before I got lazy with the point tracking. Not so much the CONSUMPTION of points, but I would never write down and document where I stood as far as points go. It just wasn’t working for me.
Change #2: Went vegetarian. Yup. I did. And you wanna hear something surprising? It wasn’t hard. I’m serious! It wasn’t hard at all and I haven’t missed meat at all!! My sister (who is vegan) encouraged me to try some different meat substitutes to help any cravings, but I never really got any. I’m still eating fish/seafood as there is no way this Florida girl is giving that up…plus it’s a good source of protein for me as I’m not a huge bean eater.
Change #3: This week I implimented change #3 as I’ve been trying to take this whole thing slowly. What is that change you ask? Well, I joined a gym!! Shocker…I know. But this girl who will not wake up for anything in the morning is getting up at 5:45 in the morning and at the gym by 6:45 at the latest. I work out until 8am and then shower and head to work. I’m LOVING it!!!
Change #4: Well, this change hasn’t happened yet…I guess you could call this more of a GOAL, but I’m contemplating running a 5K in September. I say running only because I’m well on the way of being able to run MOST of it as long as I stick with the plan I’m on. My goal at this point is to get registered and hold myself accountable to DOING it. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
I’m actually very proud of myself and the fact that I’ve actually been sticking with this and have actually changed my whole lifestyle. I don’t crave the crap anymore. I seriously WANT to eat healthier. I feel better and have more energy…well, I did until I started at the gym this week, but I’m told as I continue there the energy will come back.
The biggest thing has been to take it slow…make changes one at a time. A good friend gave me some great advice in that I should only change one thing every 30 days. This has been a great way for me to not feel overwhelmed and to focus on getting used to that change and turning into a habit or a way of life for me.
Whatever it is, I’m feeling like I’m able to handle the day to day so much better and I’m able to be a better wife and mommy to my family and that’s the most important thing to me.
Posted in Controlling the Body, Life in Overdrive

The New and Improving ME!!

No, I’m not here to promise to blog more…we all know how that will turn out. I’m here to tell you (my endearing throng of reader…yes, singular) that I am making changes (yes, plural!)!!!

The ladies at work and I have been doing Weight Watchers together and really documenting what we’re eating and holding each other accountable…and let me tell you, accountability is awesome!! Who knew!?!?!? 🙂

So far I have only lost 5 pounds, but I’m not down about it! I’ve lost FIVE POUNDS IN THREE WEEKS!!!! I think that’s pretty awesome if you ask me 🙂

But the bigger changes I’ve seen this week is that I’m not only opting for the healthier choices, but I’m WANTING the healthier choices!! I’m working out every day and I really, REALLY want this!! About time right?

Right now I’m at my heaviest (non-pregnancy) weight. I’m so not happy about that. I mean, I could seriously care less what other people thing about me, but I DO care about how *I* feel about me. I care about being desirable for my husband (NOT that he’s ever complained mind you) and I care about being healthy for my kids.

I’m proud to say that I am actually grasping this whole change and running with it. Change has never been easy, but it’s always seemed to be a part of my life whether I’ve liked it or not. This time I’m grasping it and embracing it and never, ever going to let this go!!