Pom pom galore child hat

 

pom pom hat flat

My friend Sheng, a fellow colleague in the department, is always very enthusiastic of my crochet creations. To repay his enthusiasm, I decided to make something for his 2 year old little girl. I am currently working on a pair of slippers for her, but the work got interrupted by a skein of awesome yarn.

On a quick trip to the craft store a couple weeks ago, I saw this Bernat dippity dots yarn. I must confess I adore variegated yarns, especially if they have texture like this one. So, in an impulse, I grabbed a skein of lavender, along with a couple other fun yarns I’ll feature in future posts. This yarn is such a wonder to work with. Unlike other textured yarns it works up really well and you can use a size H hook. However, I do recommend you crochet loosely, to make sure you don’t rip off any of the pom poms as you work.

As for the pom pom… I have tried many methods of making pom poms at home. I must confess I failed miserably. So I recently ordered a set of Clover pom pom makers, which I used for this one. On a funny note… my husband asked what the pom pom maker was. I told him it is a device to make pom poms out of yarn. He looked at me surprised and confessed he thought pom poms came premade. Silly!

Anyway… the pattern!

POM POM GALORE HAT

Using an H crochet hook (5 mm) and Bernat dippity dots yarn in lavender (I used half a skein for the toddler size)

Make a magic ring

Rnd1: make 9 dc in the magic ring, join to the first dc, not the chains. (9 st)

Rnd 2: 2 dc in each stitch around (18 st)

Rnd 3: *(2 dc in the next st, 1 dc in next) Repeat from * around (27 st)

Rnd 4: *(2dc in the next st, 1 dc in the next 2 st) Repeat from * around (36 st)

Rnd 5: *(2dc in the next st, 1 dc in the next 3 st) Repeat from * around (45 st)

Rnd 6: *(2dc in the next st, 1 dc in the next 4 st) Repeat from * around (54 st)

Rnd 7: dc in each stitch around (54 st)

For Child size

Rnd 8: *(2 dc in first st, dc in the next 8 st) Repeat from * around (60 st)

Rnd9-13: dc in each stitch around (60 st)

Cut off yarn and weave in ends

For toddler size

Rnd8-12: dc in each stitch around (54 st)

For Child size

Rnd 8: *(2 dc in first st, dc in the next 8 st) Repeat from * around (60 st)

Rnd9-13: dc in each stitch around (60 st)

Cut off yarn and weave in ends

Using your pom pom maker on any other pom pom making device, make a pom pom and attach it to the top of the hat.

You’re done!

Pencil^2 case

 

pencil standing up crochet WM

back to school banner

Needless to say, I want my nephew to go to school in style. So this summer, I’m making back to school items to mail back home. At the age of 3.5, learning activities involve lots of coloring and learning how to draw and write. So in order to keep his coloring pencils in order, I made the little one a pencil pencil case. We can call it the pencil^2 case.

The case can be finished with a button or a zipper. In this case, I am going with a button, as this will be easier for him to handle. If you already have a suitable pencil case, you can crochet the pencil in once piece and stuff it with fiberfill to make a pencil crochet toy. Don’t like the colors? change them up! too big? start with a smaller base circle. Whatever you do, make them with love and make sure you use fibers that can be easily washed in the machine!

Now for the pattern!

pencil crochet sideways case WM

Pencil^2 case

Materials: worsted weight yarn in pink, gray, yellow, oatmeal/skin, and black. I used Caron simply soft for the pink and gray portions. The yellow and black portions are made with red heart super saver. The oatmeal portion is made with vanna’s choice.

Crochet hook 5 mm.

Do not join rounds. Work in spiral and use a stitch marker if necessary.

Step 1. Make the pencil base/eraser

pencil eraser crochet

Rd1: 6 sc in magic ring (6sc)

Rd2: 2sc in each stitch around (12sc)

Rd3: (2sc in 1st st, 1 sc in next st) around  (18sc)

Rd4: (2sc in 1st st, 1 sc in next 2 st) around (24sc)

Rd5: (2sc in 1st st, 1sc in next 3 st) around (30sc)

Rd6: (2sc in 1st st, 1sc in next 4 st) around (36sc)

Rd7-12: 1 sc in each st. (36 sc)

On the last st of Rd12, change to gray

 

 

Step 2. Make the metal portion

Rd13-16: 1 sc in each st. (36 sc)

On the last st of Rd16, change to yellow

Step 3. Make the wooden/yellow portion

Rd17-33: 1 sc in each st. (36 sc)

On the last st of Rd 33, change to oatmeal

Step 4. Make the pencil tip

Rd34: sc in each of the next 6 st. chain 30 and join with a sl st to the beginning of the row. (Warning! if you want to keep it as a toy, do not chain, simply continue around with the new color and stuff at the very end)

Rd35: 1 sc in each of the 6 st of the previous round and each of the 30 chains. (36 sc)

Rd36: (sc2tog, sc in the next 4st) around (30 sc)

Rd37-38: 1 sc in each st (30 sc)

Rd39: (sc2tog, sc in the next 3 st) (24 sc)

Rd40-41. 1 sc in each st (24 sc)

Rd42: (sc2tog, sc in the next 2 st) (18 sc)

Rd43-44: 1 sc in each st (18 sc)

On the last st of Rd 44, change to black

Rd 45: 1 sc in each st (18 sc)

Rd46: (sc2tog, 1 sc in next st) around (12 sc)

Rd47: 1 sc in each st (12 sc)

Rd 48: sc2tog around. Cut yarn and weave in end

Step 6. Join oatmeal yarn at the middle of the pencil, on the opposide side of the 6 sc that join the two portions. Chain 6, skip 2 st and join the chains. Now you have the loop for the button. Sew a button of the right size and weave in any left ends.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

Kitchen chemistry: how to remove tarnish from silver in 30 sec

20140514-202638.jpg

Problems with tarnished silver? I have the solution for you. A mix you can make with kitchen items and that will remove said tarnish in 30 seconds flat. 

Let’s talk silver chemistry, shall we? Don’t go running away yet. I promise it’s not as painful as it sounds. (and if you really want to, you can scroll down and skip to, how to do this at home)

First of all, we need to talk about reduction-oxidation (redox) chemistry. You’ve all heard about electrons. You probably know they are a very small part of the atom and they orbit around the nucleus, which is in turn made of neutrons and protons. Changing anything in the nucleus of the atom requires, of course, nuclear chemistry.  In other words, a lot of energy. That’s because protons and neutrons are highly compacted at the nucleus and they have several forces keeping them together.  Electrons however, really like to mingle.

When an atom gains an electron, we say it was reduced because we reduced the oxidation state. In other words, we increased the negative charge of the atom. When an atom loses an electron, we say oxidation occurred because the atom is now less negatively charged. Let’s look at a common example.

The most common example of oxidation is iron oxide or rust. Iron metal has an oxidation state of 0. This means it has the number of electrons it should have. However, when iron metal comes in contact with atmospheric oxygen, it likes to oxidize. This means iron now has an oxidation state of 2+, while oxygen is now more negatively charged. Importantly, we can’t have reduction without oxidation and viceversa. This is a game of pairs in which someone gives someone else its precious electrons.

So what about silver? Unlike iron, when silver oxidizes it is not reacting with oxygen, but with hydrogen sulfide (a compound of sulfur).

2 Ag(s) + H2S(g) → Ag2S(s) + H2(g)s 

Above is the chemical equation for the reaction. Silver reacts with hydrogen sulfide, generating hydrogen gas and silver sulfide. This has a characteristic black color and we commonly call it tarnish.

So how do we remove it? with household items! 

You’ll need:

Aluminum foil

Baking soda

Boiling water

A glass

Tarnished silver jewelry

Step 1. Grab a (beaker) regular glass or glass bowl (DO NOT USE METAL!!!)  and place aluminum foil at the bottom, covering the whole surface as shown below.

20140514-202717.jpg

Step 2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil (you can increase the volume if you are planning on treating a large piece of jewelry)

20140514-202821.jpg

 Step 3. Pour the boiling water in the glass which has the aluminum foil. Add to it about 2 tablespoons of baking soda. You should see bubbles appear as the baking soda dissolves and carbon dioxide is released.

20140514-202739.jpg

Step 4. Immediately add the piece of jewelry to clean. Make sure it touches the aluminum foil as we require contact between the two metals for a faster and more efficient reaction.

HERE’S A VIDEO TO SHOW YOU WHAT WILL HAPPEN! 

As you can see, there are tiny bubbles forming right where the earrings come in contact with the foil. Why? because this is what’s happening…

OXIDATION:   2 Al(s) + 6 OH– (aq) –––> Al2O3(s) + 3 H2O (l) + 6 e–
REDUCTION:  Ag2S(s) + 2 H2O (l) + 2 e–   –––>   2 Ag(s) + H2S (aq) + 2 OH– (aq)

OVERALL:       3 Ag2S(s) + 2 Al(s) + 3 H2O (l) –––> 6 Ag(s) + 3 H2S (aq) + Al2O3(s)

If you look at the first reaction, you can see that aluminum metal is now being converted into aluminum oxide (this will turn the foil brownish). Silver sulfide (Ag2S)  is being converted into silver metal (Ag)  and hydrogen sulfide (H2S).

Hydrogen sulfide is a gas. A pretty nasty one which can be toxic at high levels. Which is why we need the baking soda! 

3 NaHCO3(aq) + 3 H2S(aq) => 3 NaHS(aq)+3 H2O(l)+ 3 CO2(g)

Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) reacts with hydrogen sulfide (H2S), generating carbon dioxide (CO2 )and sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) . This way, the sulfur is contained in the water and you can safely dispose of it down the sink .

So here you go, you HAVE DONE KITCHEN CHEMISTRY!!!

Now for the questions…

Do I need boiling water? yes! because a lot of chemical reactions, like this one, require energy. Boiling water has lots of energy acquired through heating and it helps drive the reaction forward so it takes very little time.

Would it work with cold water? I’m afraid the process can’t happen that way because we are not providing the system the oomph it needs to react.

Am I losing silver? No! this method is great because you get rid of the tarnish without losing a single silver atom!

Can I repeat the process with other pieces of jewelry? you can, but you’ll need more foil, water and bicarbonate. Doing the reaction once consumes the reactants and thus more reactant is needed to repeat it.

I hope you enjoyed the short kitchen chemistry experiment. Because we can, all, achieve better living through chemistry.

Whale-y Lovey blanket

whale lovey

Let start by saying: My labmate Chris is gonna be an uncle again! Congratulations to the Deutsch family!

Of course, any baby born around me, will undoubtedly receive crocheted gifts. Chris and his brother always wear beanies in the winter. In fact, they wear extremely similar beanies. So he requested I make one for the newborn. But, I felt like I should send him home with something more than just a beanie, so I decided to make this lovey blanket.

The blanket is about 12 inches square and the lovely whale up top is about 5 inches long. The pattern for the blanket was easy to choose, as granny squares are quite textured, something babies seem to enjoy. As for the toy, I spent a great deal of time deciding what animal I wanted it to be, until I found this lovely whale.

DSC_1222

WARNINGS! Since this toy is to be given to a kid under 3 years old, it’s best to avoid any parts that could be removed, such as plastic (safety) eyes. I sewed the eyes using black embroidery floss. I also decided to skip the mouth, as I was not convinced on the looks of it. I recommend you stitch the fins tightly, because it is likely that any small child will repeatedly try to pull them off.  Finally, a soft yarn is a must for any baby. I personally always avoid wool, since many of us are allergic to it (myself included).

And now the pattern!

 

WHALE-Y LOVEY BLANKET

Crochet hook size 5 mm for the blanket. 4 mm for the whale.

Yarn: About half a skein of Red Heart soft in navy and gray. A small amount of berry blue Caron Simply Soft for the whale.

The pattern for the whale can be found HERE. 

For the blanket:

Many others have explained quite well how to crochet a granny square. Here’s a list of links that you can use as a reference along with a granny chart.

http://www.purlbee.com/crochet-tutorials/granny-squares.html

http://crafts.tutsplus.com/tutorials/crochet-fundamentals-how-to-make-a-basic-granny-square–craft-11074

Source: http://notyouraveragecrochet.com/tutorials/how-tos/basic-shapes/granny-squares/

The color sequence is the following:

Row 1-3: blue

Row 4-6: gray

Row 7-11: blue

Row 12: gray

Row 13-14: blue

Row 15: hdc around with blue to finish off

Weave in all ends and stitch the whale to the center or the corner of the blanket. I chose to sew it in the middle.

 

Mr. Johnny Fox (free pattern)

Image

There is a huge trend going on with Foxes. Fox everything is everywhere. My friend Jackie, who is going through hard times, needed a pick me up. So I made her a fox hat and this fox toy.  The hat pattern can be found here

Image

The name of the toy was suggested to me by a lovely lady at the Crochet Addict facebook page. I have to admit I’m in love with all of these crochet pages. Everyone has great insight and there’s lots of great projects to look at. The lady said my fox looks like he’s about to start dancing and thus it should have the same name as the main character in Dirty Dancing. Yes yes, that’s Patrick Swayze.

 

side of fox toy

Speaking of looking at things… now that you’ve looked at Johnny Fox a bit, get your FREE PATTERN!  Mr Johnny Fox pattern

mr fox toy back

 

Sant Jordi! and a rose for you

Image

Today is without a doubt my favorite holiday of the year. Sant Jordi. It’s not only the day in which we celebrate that Saint George slayed the dragon, but also the international day of the book. Did you know that? the reason is that Cervantes and Shakespeare died on April 23rd. So we celebrate their life by buying lots of books!

Let me take a step back and explain to you how big of a deal this holiday is. Today, the streets of my hometown, Barcelona, are flooded with couples, families and friends, walking around browsing book and rose stands. Most schools let kids leave early and most colleges don’t even bother to stop the youngsters from enjoying the day. Girls buy guys books and guys buy girls roses. Fathers buy white or pink roses for their daughters and red roses for their wives. The wild ones buy blue, purple, orange or even black roses. The city smells of roses and it sounds like great written stories.

To read more about the Sant Jordi celebrations, go here! 

Let’s not forget the legend! Sant Jordi (Saint George) rescued the princess in the castle by slaying the dragon. From the blood of the dragon a rose was born. Because love can kill any dragons!

This is my knight in shinning armor! My lovely Aaron. And the pattern for the hat can be purchased here

knight hat square marked

The picture up top is what my cardigan looks like today. A thread crocheted rose hangs from it, to honor the celebration. The rose pattern is free and was adapted from here. I did 3 petals of 3 hdc, 4 petals of 4 hdc, 5 petals of 5 hdc, 6 petals of 6 hdc and 3 petals of 7 hdc. I used a 1.5 mm hook and crochet thread 3 ply. Then I sewed a pin to the back of the rose so I could attach it to my cardigan.

Have yourself a rose and a great Sant Jordi!