It looks like I’m coming back each April to make a post or two.  Maybe it’s because the weather is finally starting to feel nice that I am happy enough to do one.  I don’t know.  There’s been a lot of excitement here lately.  Today’s project is one that I had to wait to post.  It was a gift for a baby shower, and I didn’t want the recipients to get to see pictures before they received it.

My little cousin is having her first baby soon!  She decided to name him Calvin.  I didn’t even have a choice what to make, did I?  Every Calvin needs a Hobbes.  I just happened to have already pinned a pattern for a Hobbes to my craft board and was so excited to have a reason to make it.  The pattern I used is found here.  I instantly fell in love not only with the pattern but with the writer of the blog.  She shares her pattern for free and asks that no one sell her pattern or completed work from it in keeping with the wishes of Bill Watterson (the creator of Calvin and Hobbes) to not commercialize the comic.

I did make a few adjustments to the pattern for my Hobbes.  In her pattern the eyes, nose, and stripes on top of his head are pieces of felt sewn to the crocheted head.  My sewing skills are nonexistent, so I didn’t want to risk sewing parts on a baby gift that would probably fall off of it.  I just used yarn to embroider the shapes onto the head.  It’s not perfect, but it probably looks a lot better than if I had tried sewing.

In her pattern each part is crocheted from the end and then sewn together.  Again, I didn’t want to show off my lack of talent, so I improvised.  Instead of finishing off at the end of the head, I started the torso part from the end of its pattern and worked backward.  Anywhere it said to increase, I decreased.  Anywhere it said to decrease, I increased.  For the arms, legs, (okay, all legs, since he’s a tiger) and tail I chained half of the end number of stitches and skipped the other half so I had perfect sized holes to start from for making those.

His tail is so long.  I love it!

Here’s my finished Hobbes.  He’s the perfect size for cuddling!

I know he looks different than he would if I had followed the pattern completely.  This worked for me, and I feel better knowing little Calvin won’t be endangered by my gift.

For the final gift presentation I made a wagon.  I put red felt around a box.  I used diapers, snack cups, and ribbon for the wheels.  Of course, I had to get him a Calvin and Hobbes book to go with it!

Now I just can’t wait to meet Calvin!



Afghan 5 of 2 – Christmas Cover-Up

This is going to be the most annoying to write post I’ve done.  For some reason I keep losing the cursor on my laptop.  The good thing is that usually I can still work it by using the touchscreen.  It’s just hard to do some things that way with my fat fingers.  This is one of those times where I wish I understood computers better.

So I have finished this year’s teacher afghans.  Each of Willow and Jarrett’s regular teachers will be getting one for Christmas.  I’ll go back and get the three I had planned on getting this year another year.  Of course, after I thought I was finished Willow told me she has another teacher everyday.  She says it’s okay, because this teacher is only her teacher for this nine weeks.  It’s for RTI (which I still don’t know what that is), which changing each nine weeks.  I felt sick when she told me about her, but next year she will be one of Willow’s regular teachers.  School gets so confusing in middle school!

On top of all the teacher confusion, I have another new problem with my crocheting.  We are bottle feeding a baby goat.  Due to needing to feed him so often he is living INSIDE our house.  He has apparently decided that I am his mom.  He’s worse than a kitten about playing with my yarn!


He really wants to eat my yarn.  Since he enjoys watching car shows with my husband, he has been named for George Barris.  He drives me absolutely crazy, but he can be sort of cute sometimes.  The one way I’ve found to get him to leave my yarn alone is to let him cuddle on my lap.  It makes it a little more difficult to crochet with his head resting on my arm, but it’s easier than constantly pushing him off my stuff.

cuddly George

Christmas Cover-Up is a pretty simple pattern.  I found that it was not what I was expecting.  Before when I’ve done afghans with long double crochet stitches there has been an open stitch from placing a chain skip stitch where I was supposed to place the long double crochet.  Also, this is the first time I’ve done extended long double crochet.  I do not like those.  I have a feeling they’ll get snagged on things very easily.

no chain

Willow says this is her favorite afghan this year.


I think this one should go to a math teacher.  The way the long double crochet stitches and extended long double crochet stitches are laid out looks like the marks on a ruler. I was so afraid I was going to miss a stitch somewhere and have those lines all squiggly.

close up

I went to get gift bags for these.  I like to use the reusable shopping bags for that, since they’re much sturdier and cheaper than actual gift bags.  Cracker Barrel usually carries great Christmas bags for this.  Unfortunately when we went there for the bags they were already sold out of Christmas themed bags.  They had some really pretty peacock bags.  We got some of those, but we’re still looking for a couple more.  Since Willow has three male teachers this year we are guessing they don’t want the girly bags.

Afghan 4 of 2 – Evergreen

Evergreen is an interesting looking afghan.  The pictures make it look a lot more difficult than it really is.  It’s basically a bunch of V stitches.  Now I’ve decided I need an afghan photographer.  Mine pictures just aren’t as impressive as those professionals.  Unfortunately I’d probably have to pay in afghans, so I’ll be doing my own pictures for the foreseeable future.

The picture from the book had this looking so thick and intricate, I was sure it would be a major headache to do.


When you look at it from the side it’s easy to see the V stitches.


This afghan is a bit smaller than most of the afghans I have made lately.  It doesn’t quite cover my bed.  It has a nice length.  I imagine most of these school color afghans will be used for football games, and no one wants a huge blanket for that anyway.


It is a pretty neat looking afghan.  It could easily be made wider.  Since each row worked runs top to bottom it felt like I was working on it forever with very little progress.  I did finally get it finished after working through most of Thanksgiving and my church’s craft night.  Now I guess I have one more to finish for teachers this year!

Granny’s book – Buffalo Plaid

A while back my dad sent me a box full of his mom’s patterns and a couple of afghans.  My daughter instantly claimed the afghans.  I get to see them once in a while to wash them.  Her bedroom tends to be a black hole for afghans, though.  She asks if she can have just about every afghan that I don’t already have a plan to give to someone else.  Sometimes she’ll still ask if I’ll make another one like that for her.  I would gladly make as many for her as she wants, but she would not have room for anything else if I did.

One of the pattern books that he sent to me was this one.  It’s another book titled “A Year of Afghans.”  The other ones I’ve seen are Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3.  This one is simply “1997.”  Also it’s a hard back book instead of soft back like the others.  It is a Leisure Arts book like the others.


One of the best parts of this book is there are some pages where she used paper to save her place.  She wrote her shopping list for those afghans, so I know what color she was using for them!

I decided to do the Buffalo Plaid pattern from this book for a teacher gift.  It is one that uses two strands of yarn at a time, so it’s very heavy and warm.  With that in mind it takes a surprisingly small amount of yarn to make.  The book did it in black and red.  That looked great, but I went with the school’s red and grey.

One of the reasons I chose this pattern is that it looked so easy.  The pattern was simple to do, but each of the squares looked deformed while I was working on it.


The pattern is almost like a simplified granny square.  As easy as those are, you can imagine how easy this was.  The hardest part was doing the two strands and using a Q hook.  It’s hard for me to keep the tension the same doing that.

close up

Although it feels like this thing is HUGE, it does just fit my queen size bed.

full afghan

The only thing that looks really bad about this afghan is the back.  Since I refuse to do whipstitch when I feel like I can get away with slip stitching blocks together, that’s what I did.  It would probably work better in a smaller gauge.  It’s very visible in this.  It is hard enough to see it due to the colors matching that I was fine with doing this.


This is one of those afghans that Willow has asked that I make another one for her.

Afghan 3 of 2 – Toasty Earth Tones

My Toasty Earth Tones  does not suit the title at all.  When I asked Josh what he thought of this pattern he said, “Yay, another ripple,” with a complete lack of enthusiasm.  Yes, I’ve been doing too many ripples lately.  They just work so well for school colors!

I like that this one is made so the edges of each color are interlocking with the next.

close up

There was an error in this pattern.  It said to continue repeating these rows so many times.  The last row of each color is double crochets and chains leaving openings for the next color to drop down into it.  This means that the last row of the afghan would have these spaces all across it.  It is clear from the pictures that this is not how it is intended to be done.  The should have finished with repeating the center rows a third time for the last color.  This is what I did.


I love that this pattern leaves an opening at each point for attaching the fringe!  It looks nicer and doesn’t make me feel like I need to add thick fringe all across like I did for Spring Ripple.

photo (1)

The finished product is nice.  I just wish I could figure out a way to wash afghans with fringe without them coming out as frayed messes.

Full afghan

Afghan 36 – Tantalizingly Teal

I’ve made a lot of progress on this year’s teacher Christmas gifts.  I’m now trying to figure out which teachers will be getting one.  Since Willow started middle school this year I don’t know if I want to give each of both of the kids’ teachers an afghan.  Jarrett still has the three regular teachers.  He also has the music, PE, and computer teachers who are with the kids for all of elementary school.  The PE and computer teachers will teach them again in middle school, but the music teacher may not teach them again.  Willow has five teachers this year.  She and Jarrett will both have those same teachers next year.  If I give one to the six elementary teachers this year and wait until next year to give the sixth and seventh grade teachers afghans, I’ll give the eighth grade teachers theirs when Willow is in eighth grade.  I am thinking that would be the easiest way to do it, but Willow seems like she might be getting her feelings hurt if she doesn’t get to give any this year.  If that’s true, then I’ll be giving all of their teachers afghans this year.  I’ll try to do all of the regular teachers plus the three “once a week” teachers, but that would be eleven afghans to finish.  Currently I have six done.  (I need to get a few posted.)  If I skip the extra three I’ll only need to make two more.  Maybe I can get those teachers later?  Maybe I should think about this much earlier in the year.


Tantalizingly Teal is a very simple pattern.  I thought about doing the afghan all grey with red fringe or all red with grey fringe.  When I asked the kids which they thought would be better they said they wanted me to mix the two.  It’s an afghan that you have to hold to strands of yarn together while making it, so it’s one of each.  The similar pattern along with using the same colors makes this look very much like Rich Heather.


I don’t know if you can see the difference in stitches between the two, but I promise it’s there!

Tantalizingly Teal

Tantalizingly Teal

Rich Heather

Rich Heather

I do like the size of this one better than Rich Heather.  The length on Rich Heather was my fault.  I kept going until I ran out of yarn required in the pattern.  The width is from the pattern, though.

Tantalizingly Teal is sized perfectly to fit my queen size bed.

full afghan

I did only use red yarn in the Rich Heather afghan while I mixed red and grey in the fringe as well as the whole body of Tantalizingly Teal.  I think I like the solid red better.  Too much mixing kind of overdoes it.  I think these patterns are favorites around here.  They’re both big and heavy.  Perfect for cuddling up on the couch on these cold nights!

Afghan 2 of 2 – Sunrise Ripple

Once again I have used a pattern from Book 2.  I’m at the point where there are very few afghans left in Book 1 using two or three colors that I feel are easy enough to make Christmas gifts for the kids’ teachers.  When it gets to November and I’m still working on Christmas gifts I need to do easy ones so I don’t stress about getting them finished in time.

I got the chance to spend a lot of time in the truck with my husband on a road trip, so I spent that time working on this afghan.  I realized that I don’t know whether the furbabies or my yarn is worse for shedding on my clothes.

leg yarn

I’ve noticed that several of the patterns in Book 2 are named for the colors in them.  Since I don’t use the same colors as the book, the titles don’t make sense.  The book used two shades of blue and yellow to look like the sun in the sky.  It has a nice effect, but I needed to do school colors.  I know the names don’t matter at all for the afghans, it’s just different seeing so many in this book named this way when it wasn’t like that in Book 1.


I like the overall look of this.  I’m not used to doing a ripple pattern quite like this one, so I feel that close up I could have done a better job with my tension.  It seems like it’s more open than I had expected.

close up

This is one of the afghans that makes me appreciate that the recipients tend to be much less critical of my work than I am.


The reason my husband and I went on a road trip was to get a “new” car.  Josh found a 1949 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe.  When we were dating there was a 1950 model near where we live for sale.  I wanted that car so bad, but at the time we didn’t have enough money to buy it.  I could hardly believe it when he told me about this car!  It does need a lot of work, but it’s ours!

1949 Chevy

I’m so looking forward to getting work done on this project.