Sunday, May 28, 2017

Those "Go-To" Patterns

Do you ever find yourself going to the same patterns over and over again? I know I do. Recently I've been making a box of toys for a friend, and even though I scour Ravelry for something new and different to make, I always end up coming back to the same toys. Why do I do that? 

Well, I'm going to talk about a couple of patterns today that are my "go-to" patterns for quick and easy gifts. I'm going to tell you why patterns become my "go-to" projects, and you may find that we look for the exact same things. Who knows?

First up is a knit owl pattern that I simply adore. It's name is "Seamus the Owl Knitting Pattern" by Linda Dawkins. I have shared this little owl pattern in the past on here, and even had a whole IG road trip story making owls from WI to Florida. (picture below) One of the reasons I like this pattern so much is because it is relatively seamless. It is knit in the round on double-pointed needles, and only the butt and top need to be sewn up. There are two little wings that you have to knit individually and sew on, but if that is the worst thing that happens to finish off a toy...then I can deal with it. Another reason I like this pattern is that I can use any combination of needle and yarn sizes and create a variety of owls. The green and blue owls in this picture were made with size 4 dpn's and baby yarn. The olive green owl was made with size 6 dpn's and worsted weight yarn. I'm a bit of an overstuffer, so from the angle of my picture the blue and olive owls look close to the same size. They aren't. The two green owls show the true difference in sizes. Now, what if I used a size 10 to 13 needle and a yarn like Lion Brand Homespun?? What a fun and chunky owl that would be!! 

These are some of the owls from my IG road trip. 
Meet Pudge, Annabelle, and Squirt.

I tend to name the toys I make if they don't have a designated home to go to. Making these guys really helped make a long road trip shorter. 

Speaking of road trip toys...the second of my "go-to" patterns is "Beans the Cat Knitting Pattern" also by Linda Dawkins. The Beans kitties were the original road trip toy all made while going from Florida to WI. It was so fun to do on Instagram with all my friends there. Part of the gang is pictured below.

This little gang of rogue kitties is (from L-R) Calico, Blue Raspberry, Pistachio, and Sunset. In total I made 7 kitties in the car on a 16 hour trip. Their construction is much like Seamus in that only the butt and top get sewn up. There is an i-cord tail that you attach and voila! you have a kitty. These work up even faster than Seamus does, and they are so. darn. cute! 

I did come up with a crochet Beans pattern that I share for free on the blog. Here's the link if you would rather crochet some kitties

My last little guys that are part of my "go-to" pattern list are "Hedgehogs" by Purl Soho. This one uses two different size yarns and two different size dpn's for construction. But, beyond that, it's pretty straightforward. It's essentially one-piece construction in that once you reach the end you simply stuff it, sew up the butt, and knit some little ears on it. There are no separate pieces that have to be sewn on later. When you're done're done. Well, of course, other than embroidering on a quick face.  This is a joyful little pattern to use. One more favorite feature of this pattern, really of all the patterns, is that I use up my scraps to make them. Each toy only takes a little bit of yarn. They are perfect for those balls of yarn that just take up space in your stash. They aren't big enough for a blanket, unless you make squares, and sometimes I'm just not in the mood to make squares. These toys are a great alternative for your scraps. 

Now, I know that I focused primarily on knit toys in this post. The reason I shared them is because I'm rubbish at creating knit toy patterns, so I wanted to share my favorites from that world first. I struggle to achieve the same simple values from crocheted toys. Maybe it's because I can do so much more in crochet, so I feel like my toys have to be really detailed? When I crochet a toy for someone, I either pull from my cache of personal patterns, or I make up a new one. However, there is one small grouping of crochet toys that are simplistic and can be used for quick and easy gifts. The Lion Brand amigurumi toys are very simple construction with basic shapes. GREAT for beginners or for people that just need a quick toy. That collection is where the little frog from my last two posts came from. 

BUT! If you are looking for some fun, free crochet patterns that make great gifts for anyone, I want you to tap into my patterns! I'm sharing pictures of some of my favorites to make again and again. Some are more detailed than others, but I love making them. 

For little girls (or they could be adapted for little boys) the Pocket BFF's

And the Barnyard Gang, which can be for boys and girls alike...There is a CAL on FB for the Barnyard Gang from May 27th to June 12th with bonus instructions for a "Mrs Farmer" character, so join us if you can!

Well, other than the last two patterns I posted, could you tell what the overwhelming theme was in the patterns I picked out? Yep...easy assembly and few parts. I'm sort of a lazy crafter. I am a process knitter and crocheter (I just figured this out about myself), so I knit and crochet for the experience of knitting and crocheting. I'm not driven by the finished product...I'm driven by the doing. Yet, I don't like complicated. I only like complicated when I go into something knowing that it's going to be a challenge. If my brain deems something is too difficult, then I quit. Give me simple. Give me quick. Once in a while I will run into a pattern that just oozes difficulty and potential hair loss and I feel compelled to make it. Those moments are rare. LOL!!

As a matter of fact, I'm on the hunt for a shawl on which to use my new Scheepjes Whirl yarn. My three picks are Lost In Time Shawl by mijocrochet, Secret Paths Shawl by mijocrochet, and Edlothia by Jasmin Rasanen. My chart skills are not strong, so I'm not sure I would come out of the Edlothia pattern with any hair left. I'm leaning heavily toward the Lost in Time....I'll let you know what I decide. 

Tah for now!

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