New Sensory Design – Hair Fidgets for Hair Playing Girls

purple 1With the start of a new year I’m cranking it out with some new sensory designs. Here’s a sneak peek at some of my latest… hair fidgets.  Why might someone need a hair fidget?  These collections of yarns and ribbons are designed for girls who play with and use their hair as a sensory tool.

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Hair playing is often not a problem but can become one if hair becomes a chew toy.  These hair bling clips are for girls to play with as added texture and possibly something to touch instead of just curls.  Hair fidgets…who would have thought?!

I’ve listed 4 so far in my Etsy shop but have another few to photo and list.  Hoping they make some girls smile!

 

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DIY Nativity Set #1 Crochet Along – Part 3

Assembling the body sewing on the arms…

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Hair details…each strand is individually pulled through loop first…
20131202-113645.jpgThen the strands are pulled through the loop. I attach longer hairs in front then shorter in back.

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Then I pulled her hair back…

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And tied it back!  I also clipped the hair to make it even in the back.  You could also attach loops of hair to the entire head for a different look.  Have fun!  Joseph notes will be next!

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Mary Ornament is Coming Along! Crochet Along Nativity set #1 – Part 2

mary process 1

Here’s my Mary so far! I’ve found a few more technique videos you may find helpful as well.

At the back of Mary’s neck we change from skin color to the dress color. Here is a link crochet video for switching color in the middle of a row.

mary process 2

 

Near the bottom go Mary’s dress I have you crochet a round in the back loop only. Here is a process video for how to crochet in the back loop only.

I’ve gotten better about finishing off as I’ve learned more about crochet. Did you know there is a technique for crocheting an invisible finish off where you sew the final stitch and you get an invisible join…cool huh?!

mary process 3

Drop me a note if you have any questions!  And don’t forget there is now a Ravelry group for Cuddle Bug Kids at Cuddle Bug Kids Crochet Designs!

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DIY Nativity Set #1 Christmas Crochet Along – Part 1

Mary Joseph Jesus Manger nativity figures

Welcome!  I thought I’d start out with some basics which might help any newbie crocheters who are venturing into crocheting an intermediate/advanced crochet pattern. I will always post process photos with a lefty and a computer reversed righty version so I don’t confuse you right handed folks (yep…I’m a lefty designer!  How rare is that?!).  So lets start by looking at the color of your nativity characters skin.

3 kings crochet nativity

When I first designed set #1 I was having a difficult time coming up with a medium and darker skin color as well.  I’m happy to say that I finally found light, medium, and dark skin colors in acrylic yarns.  Here’s a photo of the 3 kings nativity set with the kings displaying the 3 skin colors.  If you are interested in changing up the yarns in your set, I use Red Heart Soft “off white” for my light color, Red Heart Soft “toast” for my medium color, and Red Heart Soft “chocolate” for my dark skin color.  I think the 3 work well together!  I am choosing to use the medium color for our crochet along.

 

When I first started crocheting, I never used the magic circle/magic loop method to start my circular crochet patterns.  Here is a right handed Magic loop You Tube video to help you understood how to do it!  Here’s a lefty magic circle version as well!   Here’s a photo of the difference between working into the 2nd loop from your hook versus working a magic loop.  tutorial - magic circle photoThe tighter circle on the top is worked using a magic loop.  Remember, if you don’t want to magic loop you can always tighten that circle when you go to tuck in your ends – just use your starting end to pull the stitches tight!

That’s all for today!  If you haven’t already bought your Nativity Set #1 pattern, hop over to Ravelry, Craftsy, or Etsy to get it!  While this crochet along will share lots of tips, I won’t be going over all the details of the pattern.

mary

I plan to start with Mary this week (starting November 18th), Joseph next week (starting November 25th), then baby Jesus and the manger the next week (starting December 2nd) so we all have plenty of time to work on it!  Feel free to leave any thoughts, comments, questions below or on my new Ravelry group Cuddle Bug Kids Crochet Designs.  I look forward to hosting more crochet alongs in the future so please do check back!

 

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DIY Christmas Crochet Nativity Set

nativity all characters

I’m super excited to announce the completion of my Christmas Nativity Set!  After 18 months of work and countless hours of designing and testing my nativity patterns are now ready to be enjoyed by others!

I started designing this set because I wanted a detailed kid-friendly nativity set which was large enough for little hands to play with as puppets but could also sit on a table as a display or hang on a Christmas tree as kid-friendly ornaments.  It’s my first experience of designing a larger “set” of crochet patterns and I couldn’t be more pleased!  Each character is 5.5-6″ tall and designed with careful details.

Mary Joseph Jesus Manger nativity figures

I made baby Jesus removable from the manger.

camels and donkeys nativity figures

I’m especially fond of the animals in the set.  I’d never designed miniature animals so I spent hours goggling photos of animals to make sure I got the proportions correct.

3 kings crochet nativity

I also visited many, many yarn stores trying to find good “skin” colors for my characters.  I finally found the skin tones used in the 3 kings set which I think do a good job of representing the nations.

shepherds and sheep crochet nativity

I love the idea of shepherds carrying little sheep in need of help.  This was one of the first characters I worked on and he took months to get to a point I liked.  I was super excited to have a baby sheep which could be carried or removed and played with!

My patterns are written crochet patterns in American crochet terms with photos included for joining the different pieces together to finish your awesome new nativity figures!

Jesus in manger nativity ornament

If you’re wondering if you can take your beginning crochet skills and apply them to this set then be sure to download my free Craftsy crochet pattern for baby Jesus in the manger.  It’s a great one to work up as a toy or as an ornament.  Craftsy also has great crochet classes to help you grow your skills.  (If you haven’t thought of it already craft classes make great gifts for your Christmas gift list as well!)

If you’re worried you’ll have lots of questions then why not join me starting November 18th for a Crochet along of Nativity set #1 – the family!

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I’ll be working through the set with lots of process photos and I’m happy to answer questions along the way.  I’ll also link up to YouTube videos for every new stitch used in case you need a refresher – should be fun!  Please check back on November 18th to start the adventure with me!

 

Visit Maria Stout’s Craftsy Pattern Store »

 

 

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Working up some Christmas lights for local sales this holiday. Loving how these rainbow ones turned out!

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Free Crochet Rose Hair Clip Crochet Pattern

Hair clips!

Whew…summer was a lot longer and harder than I expected!  So alas…you my dear blog readers haven’t heard from me in a long time!  So without boring you too much, I’ll just say it’s been rough and fill you in on the details as we continue on here on the blog!I decided this week to make a few rose hair clips for both myself and my sweet princess. After playing for a while and searching around, I decided the idea was worthy of a free rose crochet pattern tutorial. Not big on crochet? This is a super project to get you started since it’s so easy and so fun to play with the outcome! No, I don’t have any videos posted on YouTube yet, but if you have questions about any of these stitches, do a search. I taught myself to crochet using YouTube since I’m a lefty and couldn’t find another lefty to learn from :)

Crochet Rose Pattern (in American Crochet terms):
Using 4.0mm hook and worsted weight yarn
Rnd 1. Magic circle, crochet 6 sc in the circle or chain 2, work 6 single crochet in the 2nd chain from your hook (6)
Rnd 2. Working in a continuous spiral, work a sc-inc in the back loop only of each stitch from Rnd. 1 (12)
Rnd 3. *sc, sc-inc*; repeat from * to * around working in the back loop only (18), slip stitch attach, bind off
You now have a sweet little circle of crochet with a spiral of front loops on the top sitting in your hand
Slip stitch attach to the first front loop in the center of your work, chain 1, sc-inc in this same stitch and each front loop around until you reach the end of your rose, slip stitch attach, bind off, weave in all your ends.

Next you’ll need a (begging to be used) alligator hair clip, and a small piece of craft felt or leftover fabric. Cut a circle of your felt just slightly larger than the circle of stitches you can see on the back of your rose (1.25 inches roughly). You can then either sew the clip to the circle or carefully hot glue gun this part. (I found the hand sewing difficult and the glue super fast!) Then sew your clip to the back of the rose and you’re ready to rock! Here are a few more photos of me and my little Roo modeling our new hair candy. Have fun and please share your creations with me over on the Cuddle Bug Kids Facebook page.

Hair clips!

Hair clips!

On another note, I’ve been working hard the last week to get the last of my nativity set patterns tested and released.  I actually finished these prototypes last November, but was so tired/busy/exhausted that I didn’t pattern and test them at the time…BAD decision!  These are by far my hardest pattern to date and it’s taken a LONG time to duplicate and then pattern and test them.  But the great news is I’m 2/3 of the way done.  More soon! You can see some sneak peaks over at Cuddlebugkids on Instagram if you’re dying to see what I’ve go so far :) !

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hair doll process

I’ve been musing ideas for how to help kids work on fine motor skills in a way they find fun and don’t even realize they are learning skills.  My daughter loves playing with my hair and putting bows, clips, and pretty much anything she can find in it!  So I was struck the other day by the idea of making a hair styling doll which would be for fine motor skills.  My little Roo decided her name is “Pinky” after her favorite book series right now Pinkalicious.

I’m thinking of different accessories which could come with the doll for fine motor work – hair clips for pinching, beads and a needle for hand/eye coordination, directions on braiding for bilateral work…  I’m wondering if I should add some button and snap items.  I’d of course have some pretties just for style as well.  I’m also wondering what kind of yarn is best.  This was a leftover bulky yarn wool/acrylic blend.  I’m thinking that would probably be best but am curious what others think?  He head is also a bit floppy on the “body” and I still haven’t figured out how to correct that so if you have any thoughts/ideas…please do share!

Sharing my work in progress with the awesomely crafty artistic folks over at Tami’s Ami’s and Frontier Dreams!

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The Language of Crochet Patterns

blog image of nativity pattern in process

I often get asked by friends who don’t crochet, “What does a crochet pattern look like?”  The closest equivalent I can think of is that it looks a lot like computer code (to the non-programmer) or a foreign language.  In a similar way to those 2 examples, patterns rely on details in order to work.  For example, what is supposed to work up as a flat circle becomes a cup if you have too few decreases and a cone if you have too many!  As a pattern designer, I must check, double check, and triple check my patterns.  In the future, I hope to be able to hire an editor as another set of eyes.  In the meantime, my fibromyalgia memory is probably a benefit because I can’t remember what I did the first time – I must use the pattern and in so doing, I find any little errors or usually the case is that find small tweaks which can clarify the pattern.  Unless a pattern is super easy, I usually make it 2 times and often 3.  Also, my mind is wired to see things in 3D as I create.  So, reading a pattern, I can “build” the item in my mind to check the pattern as well.

The above photo is the in process writing for my Nativity Set #4 pattern: 2 camels and a donkey.  For those of you familiar with my work, no I haven’t finished the pattern for nativity set #3 (the 3 kings).  The prototypes are finished and much of the detailed writing is done as well but I was in the mood to make some cute animals so I skipped to #4 first :)   aaahhh…the fun of being your own boss!  Hoping to finish and publish this animal set in the next week now that it’s completely drafted and has been double checked.  Woo hoo!  Yeah for rising early and getting creative work done!  (More on that adventure soon…)

Sharing my work in progress with the crafty folk link parties over at Tami’s Amis and Frontier Dreams.

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A Reminder To Myself

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“Different is not broken”

Listening to an amazing interview on Autism Empowerment Radio with Karla Fisher. She is an amazing woman of many talents who is an autistic savant as well. I was inspired after the interviews to sew this for myself as a reminder to me and to my kids and in sharing it here – with my little slice of the world.

Embroidery lesson: don’t use a medium tone color on a medium tone background…

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