Starry Stitch Diaper Cover

Mandy over at April and August Photography asked me to make her a couple of diaper covers as newborn photography props.  Having never made one before I hunted down a pattern.  The best I could find was this simple one from Crochet A Flower.  The dark grey cover pictured below is using that pattern.  However I wanted something with a little more texture to it so I set upon designing my own.  Mandy originally wanted these to photograph boys but I added a removable flower from Mimi Alelis’s Crochet and Other Stuff blog to make them more versatile.

Materials:
Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted Weight Yarn in Natural Heather
G/6-4.25mm hook (Disclaimer – I crochet loosely so a normal person would use an H or I hook)
Stitch Marker
Tapestry Needle
1″ Button
Abbreviations (Using US Terms):
ch – Chain
st/sts – Stitch/Stitches
SC – Single Crochet
HDC – Half Double Crochet
DC – Double Crochet
TC – Triple Crochet
SC2TOG – Single Crochet 2 Together
Diaper Cover (to fit 0-9 months)
Note: The first (1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) set in each row is worked into the same stitch as the chain.
Ch 61.
Row 1:  SC in second stitch then across, ch 2, turn (60 SC).
Row 2:  TC in same stitch as ch then across, ch 1, turn (60 TC).
Row 3:  SC across, finish off (60 SC).
Row 4:  Join with slip stitch in 17th stitch, ch 2.  *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 9 times. SC in last st, ch 1, turn (9 stars).  There should be 16 open stitches on the other side.
Rows 5-13:  *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 9 times. SC in last st, ch 1, turn (9 stars).
Row 14:  (SC2TOG, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in same stitch as ch, skip next 2 sts, *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 7 times, SC2TOG in last st, ch 1, turn (8 stars).
Row 15:  (SC2TOG, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in same stitch as ch, skip next 2 sts, *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 6 times, SC2TOG in last st, ch 1, turn (7 stars).
Row 16:  (SC2TOG, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in same stitch as ch, skip next 2 sts, *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 5 times, SC2TOG in last st, ch 1, turn (6 stars).
Row 17:  (SC2TOG, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in same stitch as ch, skip next 2 sts, *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 4 times, SC2TOG in last st, ch 1, turn (5 stars).
Rows 18-22:   *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 5 times. SC in last st, ch 1, turn (5 stars).
Row 23:  (2 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in same st as ch, skip next 2 sts, *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 5 times, 3 SC in last st, ch 1, turn (5 stars).
Row 24:  (2 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in same st as ch, skip next 2 sts, *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 6 times, 3 SC in last st, ch 1, turn (6 stars).
Rows 25-36:  *(1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC) in next stitch, skip next 2 sts* 7 times. SC in last st, ch 1, turn (7 stars).
Ch 1, SC around entire diaper cover, placing 2 SC in each corner.  Finish off and sew on button.
Buttonhole Flower Accent:
Using an F/5-3.75mm hook and Lion Brand Worsted Weight Wool-Ease yarn in Dark Rose Heather and Rose Heather crochet the flower from  Mimi Alelis’s Crochet and Other Stuff blog.
Dark Grey Simple Diaper Cover:
This came out smaller, probably for a preemie or newborn.  I followed Amber’s pattern at Crochet A Flower using an F/5-3.75mm hook and Lion Brand Worsted Weight Wool-Ease yarn in Oxford Grey.  I added the same removable flower accent. 

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Throwback Post: My First Cake

As part of this blog, I plan to document some of my earlier projects.  This was my first attempt at cake making. . . well the first I have photos of.  There was an interesting birthday cake I made for Kevin the year before this that had so many complicated layers to it (thank you Martha Stewart).  I believe one of them didn’t work quite right so there was some scrambled egg involved.

For reasons that now escape me, I refused to entertain the idea of buying fondant even though I’d never worked with it before.  So I spent several hours making the fondant for this cake from scratch. . . Never again.  I now make marshmallow fondant. . . much quicker and 1000 times tastier.

This was Amelia’s Baptism Cake in March 2009.  I believe it was lemon cake inside (the same cake I made as the center of my Baked Alaska – it’s been a favourite for a while).

As a side note. . . oh for the days when I could see the wood of our dining room table.  It now has a protective pad plus a pink plastic table cloth on it as the girls have taken over the dining room as a craft room.  I can imagine what damage little Zoe could do to the finish in 30 seconds flat.

Zoe the Zebra

A Zoe the Zebra hat has been on my to do list for a few months ever since Sarah at Repeat Crafter Me posted her design for her newborn Zoe.  As I was making the beanie, and realizing just how many ends I would have to weave in (my least favourite part of crocheting), I thought about her recent candy cane hat pattern and wondered if it would work using different stitches.  So I gave it a try and it did!
Who would want to weave in all those ends?
As I’ve merged the two patterns, I’ve written my directions in full as it’s just too confusing to only post the changes this time.  But please refer to Sarah’s posts (linked above) for great pictures and tutorials, especially for starting the candy cane pattern and building the Zebra pieces.  As my 16 month old Zoe often wears her hats unsupervised I didn’t want to use buttons or felt so crocheted all the additions.
Materials:
Vanna’s Choice yarn in white and pink
Red Super Saver yarn in black
F/5-3.75mm hook and E/4-3.50mm hook (Disclaimer – I crochet loosely so a normal person would use H and G hooks)
2 Stitch Markers
Tapestry Needle
Abbreviations (Using US Terms):
ch – Chain
SC – Single Crochet
DC – Double Crochet
HDC – Half Double Crochet
W – White Yarn
B – Black Yarn
Magic Circle – A great way to start working in the round – I love this tutorial from Ambassador Crochet.
Beanie (Toddler Size):
Round 1: With F hook and white yarn, make a magic ring, ch 1, 2 SC, 2 HDC, DC in ring.  Don’t fasten off or pull tight.  Join black yarn and ch 1 onto magic ring next to the white DC, 5 SC with black yarn, pull tight (5 W DC, 5 B SC).
Round 2: With white, 2 DC in next 5 stitches.  With black, 2 SC in next 5 stitches. (10 W DC, 10 B SC)
Round 3: With white, *2 DC in first stitch, DC in next stitch* five times.  With black, *2 SC in first stitch, SC in next stitch* five times. (15 W DC, 15 B SC).  Place a marker in the last stitch of each colour.  It helped me see the beginning of each round.

Round 4: With white, *2 DC in first stitch, DC in next 2 stitches* five times. With black, *2 SC in first stitch, DC in next 2 stitches* five times. (20 W DC, 20 B SC)
Round 5: With white, *2 DC in first stitch, DC in next 4 stitches* four times.  With black, *2 SC in first stitch, DC in next 4 stitches* four times. (24 W DC, 24 B SC)
Round 6: With white, *2 DC in first stitch, DC in next 11 stitches* twice.  With black, *2 SC in first stitch, SC in next 11 stitches* twice.  (26 W DC, 26 B SC)
Round 7: With white, *2 DC in first stitch, DC in next 12 stitches* twice.  With black, *2 SC in first stitch, SC in next 12 stitches* twice.  (28 W DC, 28 B SC)
Round 8: With white, *2 DC in first stitch, DC in next 13 stitches* twice.  With black, *2 SC in first stitch, SC in next 13 stitches* twice.  (30 W DC, 30 B SC)
Rounds 9-16: 30 white DC, 30 black SC.  Use stitch markers to define rounds.
Finish off: With white, HDC, SC, slip stitch.  With black, SC in next 2 stitches, slip stitch.

Here’s the two beanies side by side.  Candy Cane on the right and Sarah’s Zebra hat pattern on the right. Note the lack of seem with the Candy cane version.

 

Earflaps (make 2):
Use the joins between black and white to mark the centers of each side of the hat.  Join white 5 stitches before the center point.
Row1: Ch 1, SC in next 10, ch 1, turn (10 SC)
Row 2: SC decrease, SC in next 6 stitches, SC decrease, ch 1, turn (8 SC)
Row 3: SC across, ch 1, turn (8 SC)
Row 4: SC decrease, SC in next 4 stitches, SC decrease, ch 1, turn (6 SC)
Row 5: SC across, ch 1, turn (6 SC)
Row 6: SC decrease, SC in next 2 stitches, SC decreases, ch 1, turn (4 SC)
Row 7: SC across, ch 1, turn (4 SC)
Row 8: 2 SC decreases, ch 1, turn (2 SC)
Row 9: SC decrease, fasten off and weave in ends)
With pink accent colour, join at any point of hat, ch 1 and SC around, join with a slip stitch to first stitch, fasten off, and weave in ends.
Ears (make 2):
Make outer ear in black, using F hook.  Make inner ear in white using E hook so it comes out a bit smaller.
Row 1: Ch 5, SC in 2nd ch from hook and in remaining chs, ch 1, turn (4 SC)
Row 2: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next 2 stitches, 2 SC in last stitch, ch 1, turn (6 SC)
Row 3-5: SC in each stitch across, ch 1, turn (6 SC)
Row 6: SC decrease, SC in next 2 stitches, SC decrease, ch 1, turn (4 SC)
Row 7: SC in each stitch across, ch 1, turn (4 SC)
Row 8: SC decrease twice, SC around whole ear.  Fasten off, leaving a long tail in black to sew onto hat.
Join the inner and outer ears together by SC around the white piece into the front loop of the black piece with pink yarn. 
Sew ears onto hat by pinching the bottom of the ear and stitching it together with a tapestry needle.  Then attach to hat at the crease through two black SCs in the third and fourth round.  Weave through the same SCs and ear until secure. 
Snout: 
Row 1: With black, ch 7, SC in 2nd ch from hook and in remaining chs, ch 1, turn (6 SC)
Row 2: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next 2 stitches, 2 SC in last stitch, ch 1, turn (8 SC)
Row 3: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next 6 stitches, 2 SC in last stitch, ch 1, turn (10 SC)
Row 4: 2 SC in first stitch, SC in next 8 stitches, 2 SC in last stitch, ch 1, turn (12 SC)
Row 5: SC across, ch 1, turn (12 SC)
Row 6: SC decrease, SC in next 8 stitches, SC decrease, ch 1, turn (10 SC)
Row 7: SC decrease, SC in next 6 stitches, SC decrease, ch 1, turn (8 SC)
Row 8: SC decrease, SC in next 4 stitches, SC decrease, finish off, leaving a long tail to attach to hat (6 SC)
Nostrils (Make 2):
With pink, magic circle, ch 1, SC 5, join with slip stitch to first stitch, finish off.
Eyes (Make 2):
With black, magic circle, ch 2, HDC 5, join with slip stitch to first stitch, finish off.
Attach nostrils to snout, and snout and eyes to face. Weave in ends.
Mohawk:
Wrap a strand of pink and a strand of black yarn around four fingers 3 times.  Pull through center stitch of the back of the hat in the bottom row to make a loop then pull yarn through the loop to attache.  Repeat in every white round all the way up the hat.  Cut loops and trim ends.

Kate’s "Devine" Hat

I needed a new hat.  The one I made for myself last year is a little big and has a brim which may occasionally impede my line of sight when I’m driving. . . not a good combo. 
So I made the Devine hat from Rheatheylia.com.  It may have taken three attempts to get it right but it fits well now.  And just in time for our brutal temperatures arriving on Monday (high of -5°F)
My littlest helper ran away with the wrapper from my yarn so I’m not sure which brand or colour I used, but it was worsted weight. To account for my loose technique, I used a g hook for the body of the hat and e hook for the ribbing. I ran out of yarn so the ribbing ending up being as follows:
Round 1: SC around
Round 2: DC around
Round 3: Front Post DC in one stitch, Back Post DC in next stitch, around
Round 4: SC around

Baked Alaska – Happy New Year

Somehow, attempting to make Baked Alaska has become a New Years Eve tradition in our house over the past few years.  I think I finally cracked it.  The ice cream melted a little too much (so there was no way I was going to transfer it from baking sheet to serving plate) but other than that it turned out pretty well.
Vegetable Shortening
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind (about 1 lemon)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare one 8″ cake pan by rubbing shortening on bottom and sides, lining the bottom with parchment paper and rubbing the top of the parchment with shortening.  Then coat the bottom and sides with the 2 tbsp of flour.  I made cupcakes out of the extra mixture so prepare about 8 cupcake cases too.
Sift 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and set aside.  Beat sugar and butter together in a mixer at medium speed for about 5 minutes until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.  Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in the lemon rind and lemon juice.
Bake for 32 minutes (a little less for cupcakes), rotating pan half way through until a pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.  Peel off parchment paper.
Assembly
French vanilla ice cream
4 egg whites
6oz granulated sugar
Let the ice cream melt for a few minutes. Line two 8″ cake pans with plastic wrap (or cling film as it’s known in this house).  Spread a layer of about 1/2″ of ice cream in each pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about an hour.  Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for about an hour (for easier cutting).
Divide the cake into two 8″ layers using a bread knife.  Remove plastic wrap. Assemble the cake and ice cream layers on a plate, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for another hour or so.  
Preheat oven to 450°F. At this point I took the cake and ice cream layers out of the freezer before I mixed the meringue as in the past my ice cream has been too hard. . . . I don’t recommend it as things melted a little too much.
Whisk the egg whites on high speed until stiff (Mum told me you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without them falling out) then add the sugar and whisk until combined.  
Place cake on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Spoon the meringue on top of the cake and ice cream and spread out to cover the sides.  There should be at least 1″ of meringue on top.

 

Bake for 8 minutes until the meringue starts to turn golden brown.  Cut and serve immediately.  

 

At Mum’s suggestion, I may add some raspberries to the layers next year. . . or earlier if I can find an excuse to make it again.