Posts filed under ‘crochet’


this spiderman doll here, is exactly why i retired from commissioned work a few years ago.  my creativity needs to be paired with spontaneity, or i feel overwhelmingly stifled. just some insights into my eccentric soul for you.

from the moment that some spiderman-loving friends of ours announced that they were expecting, my brain began drafting a pattern for this guy.  i thought i’d share some of the creative process with you guys, because although i don’t take orders anymore, i still love sharing! 

my go-to for almost any of the superhero toys that i’ve made, is this base pattern here:   

step one- print it out, including the picture. especially the picture. (forgive the roughness of this photo- i abuse my tools.)  

once i have the printed photo, i VERY LIGHTLY colour over the pattern, developing the character design. feel free to reference google!  one of the many reasons that i love this pattern, is because of the stitch definition in the photo. once i have the design in place, i can transfer the drawn design into the written pattern quite easily.  if round one is coloured red in my photo, round one is made with red yarn on my hook.

once the body is complete, and i’m ready to move on to the details, i really turn into the swedish chef from the muppets. i throw together a bit of this craft, a bit of that,  and there’s no real planning involved- it’s a creative frenzy.  enjoy it!

it’s important to be mindful of the recipient of your product.  this toy was going to a baby, so i needed to make sure all design elements were secure and would survive chewing, drooling, and freqent trips into the washing mashine.  i had also put the doll through full wash & dry cycles prior to assembly, for that reason. 

so, details: the chest spider was needle felted on. the eyes were made of felt, then sewn onto the body. the face-line things (what are those called?) were a combination of sewing and needle felting.  you can see in my original sketch, the lines on spidey’s face are black, but in the finished product i went with red.  again, keeping in mind the recipient– with the black lines the doll looked “cool”, but a little fierce. the finished product also looked a little top-heavy,  so i ripped off the black lines and tried again with a more subtle approach. 

the finished product was well-received, and i’m loving watching it unexpectedly pop up in instagram photos of my current favourite baby.   

obviously this is not a “beginner” technique, but i’m hoping that an intermediate crocheter would read my words and think “i can do that!”

here are some of the other amigurumi that i’ve made from this basic pattern, using the same technique.

June 6, 2017 at 16:43 Leave a comment


proactive about forming traditions, or not; we all have them.  i’m the type of person who despises routine, but cherishes the traditions that our little family has organically formed. 

on christmas eve, we squish into the living room, and have a sleepover. there is always one gift opened, and that gift in itself is a tradition: footy pyjamas, and a toy made by me.  we sleep late the next morning, and slowly get through breakfast, and reading the christmas story from the bible. 

my kids are growing up, and so am i.  they no longer “play” with the toys that i make them, and i no longer have the time to make weekly toys.  so this year, i really struggled with what to make them for their christmas eve gifts.  i didn’t want to break with tradition, but i also didn’t want to waste time and resources. 

i brainstormed and consulted with friends and family, and came up with handmade ornaments.  and now i kind of wish that i’d had the idea many years ago.  the ornaments summarize the year that is coming to a close.  in doing this, the kids can have a chronological record of their childhoods. practically, they can start a collection for their own trees in their own homes- days which are too rapidly approaching.

elliot has been into pokemon for years, but this year he was pretty focused on the release of a new game, and counted down the days for at least ⅓ of the year.  given his history with pokemon (it was really the first “thing” he was into), i thought it fitting that his first ornament be a pokeball.

anne’s been in ballet for almost 4 years now, but this year she made the decision to focus on it more seriously.  she doubled-up her lessons, and began daily practice at home. she’s even been teaching me!

tomorrow night we’ll continue our tradition of pyjamas, handmade “toy”, and a sleepover.  i’m looking forward to seeing the reactions of my not so midgety-midgets when they see the new twist on an old tradition.

merry christmas to you all! thanks for reading!

December 23, 2016 at 23:14 Leave a comment

my blog died.

i’m never home, and when i am, there are sixteen hundred and forty two thousand things for me to do in my free time.  i write in my head, but by the time i’m sitting at the computer, i have no idea why i sat down in the first place.  so that’s my apology with an excuse for anyone who has been wondering “whatever happened to that little blog of joan’s?”

and now i’m just going to pretend that i didn’t fall off of the face of the earth, and pick up right where we left off:

i retired.  but i kept making stuff, obviously!  i love making toys and always having yarn in my hands!  so there’s a little problem there, and let’s see if anyone out there caught it.  anyone? anyone? hmmm.. i don’t see any hands in the air, so i’ll just tell you:

i have loads of stuff with nowhere for it to go!   so today i made a facebook page for all my stuffs. of course, i’ve made the facebook page mentally many times over the last few months, but today i actually had time, opportunity, motivation, and a computer– all at the same time!

if you want to check it out, here is the link.  and just an FYI- it says “happiness made from YARN!”.  i’ll be fixing that cover photo up lickity-splickity.

my little page

November 29, 2014 at 17:13 Leave a comment

twenty fourteen

i’m actually in shock that we are on this end of the holiday season already!  it’s been an amazing blur of parties and gift wrapping and visiting with friends.  for two months leading up to christmas, my fingers were busy with knitting, crochet, and sewing, as is common for this time of year.  each year gets a bit busier, and this year i unfortunately had to turn down work because there just wasn’t enough time for it all (shown here are most of the items, i didn’t have time to photograph some of them before they were packaged and gone!)

our family worked really hard to keep christmas about Jesus this year, and shifting the focus back onto Him.  we did more acts of kindness, and gave more gifts that didn’t require wrapping.  it was the very best christmas season that i’ve ever experienced, and i’m hoping to duplicate it for many more years to come.

2013 was a big year of changes for me.  i got older, i cut my hair (multiple times), i pierced my nose, i dropped 20lbs, and i had my braces removed.  i learned to control my illness with diet, and am so so thankful for that victory.  i also got cats; two of them.   i learned (through trial & error) to be a better mom, and to be a confident homeschooler.  i quit yelling at my kids, then fell off the wagon, then humbly scrambled back onto it again.

looking ahead, there are things in 2014 that i want to do differently, and things that i want to stay the same.  always, always, always– cherish the time i have with my kids and other loved ones.

my “new years resolution”, is to get back into my 30 day schedule of self-improvement.  i have a few lined up, and i love it when you guys join me in them!

  • january: clean house every night before bed.  the handmade gifts and christmas schedule left me running and dropping a lot, and i’m just ready to snap at the state of my home!  i came across this today, and it totally seems achievable.  so i’ll try for a month and even if i fail half of the days, i’ll still be ahead.
  • daily in february/march/etc, (in no particular order):  practice french, spend 30 minutes with God, delete & clean up my photos.  i dunno, i’m kind of dry on ideas.  i usually have several “healthy eating month” or “30 day shred month” ideas, but my kids are at the gym 4 times a week with programs, so i’m working out during those times too.  and my “special needs belly” forces me to eat healthily every single day, so they’re kind of unnecessary regulars that i can’t fall back on anymore.  any suggestions?

most of all, i want 2014 to be awesome!  in what will feel like 3 months, we’ll be back here again wondering where another year disappeared to, and i want to be able to have nothing but great things to reflect upon.  i’m so ready to work towards that!

thanks for sticking around and reading my musings.  i hope that each one of you have a great 2014, full of God’s blessings and your recognition of them.  happy new year!


January 1, 2014 at 22:15 Leave a comment


i’ve developed a bad habit.  or maybe i’ve broken a good habit.  once upon a time there was a girl who took photos of all the items that she crafted, and then she’d post them on the internet for all to see.

this same girl no longer knits/crochets/sews for herself,  and is always racing a deadline for a commissioned project.  there’s no time for setting up shots when you’re literally finishing the project in the van on the way to delivering it.

i DO have one thing to show though.  well two.  one i feel obligated to give you closure on: it’s the minion, and i really truly finished him on the drive down to niagara to deliver him to a friend and her little boy.

he’s life-sized, and i had a lot of fun making him wave at the cars as they slowly drove past us in congested traffic.  i also had the privilege of seeing him presented to the 2 year old birthday boy, and my heart almost melted into goo when i saw them wrestling together!  it was kind of hard to see the minion go, but seeing him get received was so worth it.

second on the “i made this” list:

once upon a time, that girl also used her good camera instead of the lame-o cell phone cam.

the kids have been doing a very small amount of school this summer to keep their brains sharp and to make sure i’ve covered all of the canadian curriculum bases.  elliot would disagree on the “very small amount” description, but it’s only half an hour out of his otherwise empty day.  to help the kids stay on track, they’re offered small rewards for each month of “extra school” that they finish.  elliot wanted this.

he calls it the “sea-pea”, and it belongs with all of the other plants in plants vs zombies, but the game developers didn’t think of it.  all i had to go on was the picture that he drew for me, and i’m really hoping that it meets his expectations!

there have been other projects that i haven’t photographed, and i’m currently working on a few different projects.

elliot’s birthday is in 5 days, and there’s an angry bird that he’s hoping to receive.  i’ve also been in touch with a photography company in niagara and they’ve asked me to make 4-6 infant hats for photo props, so my hands are going to be busy over the next few weeks.

hopefully i’ll remember to take pictures of that stuff with the nice camera.  speaking of nice camera….  here’s what the photographers in niagara (absolute image) did with the other photo props (here and here) that i made for my friend’s new baby.

definitely motivation to break out the nice camera and be intentional! anyone have a baby i can borrow?)




August 2, 2012 at 23:41 1 comment

one more checkmark, and a confession

i’m going to just get the confession out of the way now:  i went to bed with a messy house last night.  i’ve been so good all month, but last night i was exhausted to the point of hallucinating and wasn’t willing to take the risk of waking up other people in the house with my noisy cleaning.  i also slept with socks on.  yick.

my schedule is starting to open up a bit as we get closer to christmas and things are getting checked off of my to-do list.  this weekend is christmas with my awesometastic family in niagara, so after that i get to reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelax.  i’ve been staying up really late lately to get done the commissioned projects and to sew the beach robes that i wanted to make for every niece and nephew in my giganticly-enourmous family.  i have 2.5 left to do between now and thursday.  it’s not a lot of time, but it’s pretty much all that i have to focus on now.

i finished these and delivered them yesterday:

another happy client: check!  i love that kids (and adults) are getting stuff that i made this christmas morning!

besides the beach robes, i’m also in the process of knitting a baby sweater for a niece’s doll, and one final commissioned project, and a top-secret gift for my mama that i built today.  it felt so good to head out to the workshop and play with the manly tools.  seriously, the only reason i could learn how to sew was by thinking of the fabric as wood and the sewing machine as a power tool.

while the paint was drying i made sure to invest in the kids for a while.  i’ve been trying to make sure that they don’t feel neglected by their zombie mom who’s always busy.  yesterday we decorated cookies together and then spread christmas cheer as we delivered them to our neighbours.  today i came across a nativity scene printable, which i printed out on cardstock and then we spent some quality time colouring and assembling it together.

click on this link to find your own.  (also, i couldn’t get the download link to work, but clicking on the pictures worked just fine!)

that’s all the update i’ve got for now.  i’ll hopefully be posting pictures of beach robes soon, but the super-secret gift for my mommy won’t be revealed until after christmas because she’s been known to read this here blog.  how’s everyone else doing?  anyone completely ready for christmas yet?

December 14, 2011 at 17:56 2 comments

one order done!

finally finished some hats that i was working on for a friend to give for christmas!

the owl pattern is from here, and the monkey pattern is sort of as well.  the original hat was only ears, but derek suggested the tuft of hair on top of the head, and the monkey really needed to have a face.  it took a bit of experimentation to get the face right, but i’m glad that i invested that time.  the minnie mouse hat base is the same as the others, but the ears were also an experiment.  i made two of these minnie mouse hats, but the first one was acrylic yarn and i’m too much of a yarn snob to let that go, so i picked up some quality fibre and made it again.    i really hope that the kids who open these gifts on christmas morning love their new hats!

December 9, 2011 at 15:42 1 comment

i think you and my friends should hang out on the weekend

do you know what i love to do?  sleep on the train.  the soporific waving and lurching knocks me right out despite the fact that i may drool in public.   there’s a perfect seat just beside the stairwell on the upper level that calls my name.  the end of “aisle” seat is walled off by the staircase railing, and for some unknown reason, there’s no armrest separating the two side-by-side seats.  it’s the perfect place to use my backpack as a pillow, curl up and succumb to the pull of gravity on my eyelids.

you know what i can’t do when my kids take the train anywhere with me?  yep.

not only can i not sleep, but i have to battle the temptation that grows stronger with each and every station stop.  it’s not really a complaint, because i love my kids.  but sleep and i have been friends for a really long time, and when we cooperate with each other it’s so much better than when we fight.

so this past weekend i took the train down to niagara for one of the legendary knitting parties, and the kids stayed home with derek.   and even though i hated saying goodbye to my family, i LOVED being able to close my eyes on the train without even an ounce of resistance.


could there really be anyone out there who loves sleep as much as i do?   didn’t think so.

anyway…. train.  sleep. knitting party.  result:

pattern link

November 8, 2011 at 15:05 5 comments

graduated… i think.

crochet school.  remember when i was so pumped to do it?  well i fell behind in the video lessons rather rapidly, and was near the point of giving up on crochet again when i smacked myself in the head with the reminder that i’ve given up on crochet too many times already.  it’s like the sewing thing; if i want to learn i have to just do it.

so i sat down one night with my laptop, yarn & hooks and worked through the videos until 2am hit and i was all caught up.  my style of learning is more “pick a project and learn as i go through it”, so once i’d reached a point in the videos where i knew the basic stitches, i pulled up the pattern that initiated the whole “learn to crochet” phase:

and then i made him:

so much fun, and i couldn’t believe how easy it was to do!  of course the whole time i was reading the crochet pattern i was converting it into a knitting pattern in my head, but i love the way amigurumi look all crochet-ified.

i guess with a successful crochet project tucked under my belt (or clutched in my son’s hands), i’ve moved into the “beginner crochet” category and have left that girl who merely wanted to crochet behind.  so… should i crochet myself a diploma?


October 26, 2011 at 19:03 2 comments

my life in pics