Category Archives: crafty

crochet, knitting, etc

Crocheted Vest for Teddy Bears (Build a Bears, etc) – pattern

It has been a truly long time. No explanation, no excuses. Just — here’s a pattern I made!

These Build a Bears of mine needed a simple school-uniform-type vest. I’m still much better at crochet than knitting, and I couldn’t find something that was quite what I wanted, so here’s what I created.

It’s fairly easy to adjust (the black bear, Baz, is a bit bigger than the other, Simon; and I made his vest a little longer in the body), see the notes in the pattern.

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crab stitch edging (and vampire teeth)

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ready for adventure

Here’s the pattern!

Crocheted Vest for Teddy Bears (Build a Bears, etc)


  • H hook (5mm)
  • Yarn (I used Yarn Bee “Hint of Silk,” China Silk (red), (bamboo & silk yarn) – used just under one full skein, which is 3 oz/85g,130 yds/119m)
  • Yarn needle, scissors, etc.


Abbreviations/Stitches Used:

  • Ch – chain
  • Sk – skip
  • St – stitch
  • Sc – single crochet
  • Tbl – through back loop
  • LDC – linked double crochet
  • LDC 2tog – linked double crochet 2 together (decrease)
  • Crab stitch edging



  1. One loop on hook.
  2. Insert top to bottom into horizontal bar of previous stitch (or 2nd chain of ch3), yo, draw through. (2 loops on hook.)
  3. Insert hook into next stitch, draw up loop, yo, draw through 2 loops, yo, draw through remaining 2 loops.


LDC 2tog (decrease)

  1. One loop on hook.
  2. Insert top to bottom into horizontal bar of previous stitch, yo, draw through. Two loops on hook.
  3. Insert hook into next stitch, draw up loop. Insert hook into next stitch, draw up loop (4 loops on hook).
  4. YO, draw through two loops, yo, draw through remaining three loops.

(LDC 3tog is similar, but insert hook into an additional stitch in step 2, and draw through three loops at a time in step 4.)


Crab Stitch

At the end of row of sc, do not turn — CH 1, skip the stitch directly to the RIGHT and reverse single crochet (rev SC*) into each SC, ending with a sl  st in the turning chain of the previous row. Fasten off.

*rev SC (worked from left to right): Insert hook in next stitch to the right, yarn over, pull loop through, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.




Adjustments are fairly simple, adding rows in the body, or even starting with a few more rows of ribbing and body stitches.

When adjusting, keep an eye out to match the pattern of alternating right and wrong side rows of LDC.

Figuring out the front: total stitch count, subtract 9 (or 10), divide that by 2. Be sure to put the decreases (after row 2) on the v-neck side.


Bottom Ribbing

Ch 6

1 – Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across. (5 sc)

2 – Ch 1, turn. Sc tbl across.

Repeat row 2 till approx. 17” (approx 54 rows). Fasten off.



Attach to end, ch 1. Sc evenly to the end. (Approx 54 sc)

Ch 3. LDC in each sc to the end. (This is the right side (RS) of work.)

Repeat previous row till body measures approx.1.5” from top of ribbing. (Approx 4 rows.) 54 st, fasten off, leave long tail for sewing side seam later.



Turn work (match right/wrong sides of stitches)

1 – Sk first 2 sts. Join yarn in next st, ch 3 (counts as first stitch), LDC 21x (22 st)

2 – Ch 3, turn, LDC 2tog, LDC across, LDC 2tog at end (20 st)

3-4 – Ch 3, turn, LDC across



5 – ch 3, turn, LDC 4 times, fasten off (5 st)

Attach yarn with sl st and do the same in the last five st on other side.



1 – sk 5 st from back (other armhole). Ch 3, LDC across, till 3 st from end (22 st)


(decreases rows 3-5 on side of v-neck)

Left front

2 – ch 3, turn, LDC 2tog, LDC 6x, LDC 2tog (9 st)

3 – ch 3, turn, LDC 2tog, LDC 6x, (8 st)

4 – ch 3, turn, LDC across, LDC 3tog (6 st)

5 – ch 3, turn, LDC 2tog, LDC across (5 st)

6 – ch 3, turn, LDC across


Right front

Attach in middle (matching RS/WS of stitches) with sl st

2 – ch 3, turn, LDC 2tog, LDC 6x, LDC 2tog (9 st)

3 – ch 3, turn, LDC 6x, LDC 2tog (8 st)

4 – ch 3, turn, LDC 3tog, LDC across (6 st)

5 –  ch3, turn, LDC across till last 2 st, LDC 2tog (5 st)

6 – ch 3, turn, LDC across


Sew shoulders, and side seam.



1 – Attach yarn at bottom of armhole, ch1, sc evenly around armhole. Sl st to first sc.

2 – Ch 1, crab stitch around.

Repeat for other armhole, and around neckline.

Weave in ends.


magic elves 2009, part 4 – Coda

Full set of photos here.


elves09 part 4

Normally, magic elves go back to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve. But we got special permission to keep ours with us a little longer, since Auntie J was coming just after Christmas for a visit and we wanted to introduce them.

So the mischief lasted a little longer. A “snowdrift” of styrofoam, reading a book about flower fairies on top of the tallest bookshelf, setting up the Star Wars and Littlest Pet Shop figures in the kids’ room…. On the last day the elves were thoughtful enough to bring a couple of giant Christmas pencils and set up the homeschool books for the day. They also left notes requesting that the kids pack up their clothes and items for their return trip.

Altogether, it was a wonderful visit. We are definitely inviting the elves back again (in fact, the kids want to invite a couple more to join in as well), though they likely won’t stay quite as long this time.

magic elves 2009, part 3 – Christmas Eve

Larger photos in the set here.

Christmas Eve

elves09 part 3

Ever since Halloween I hadn’t been able to find my little point and shoot camera. APPARENTLY the elves found it, because the next morning we found an interesting mini-tripod setup in front of the tree, and a ton of photos on the camera. Peeking into the frig, out of the microwave, eating their crackers, climbing in the tree, cuddling their kids – and even a couple on Santa’s boots. Clearly a busy evening – and what else would you expect for elves on Christmas Eve?

magic elves 2009, part 2 – Adventures

Check out these photos larger: the set is here.


elves09 part 2
The next morning when we woke up the elves were no longer in their bed. We’d been warned there would probably be mischief, hide and seek, and other unexpected adventures (some people call them elf-capades, but that sounds a little too much like an ice dancing show for me). But then – we opened the frig, and there they were! I guess they missed the cold.

Most days the elves’ main activity was hide and seek. We made them some clothes – pajamas shown here. Some of their other adventures included trying to untangle Christmas lights, stacking up all the Christmas movies (and bringing a new one – Elf), playing on the swing set and the tricycle outside, and getting out all the playdough in the house. They hid in cupboards and the silverware drawer. They started up the computer and were found playing Lego Star Wars one morning, found some tiny playing cards that I had as a child and were interrupted in the middle of a card game.

My son’s birthday is in early December, and so one day they brought a gift – toy reindeer (they also got out our claymation Rudolph dvd set – it stays in the Christmas decor box the rest of the year), and one day they brought little Christmas themed coloring books and crayons. Another morning they were waiting expectantly with a gingerbread house kit, and once they took all the cookie making supplies and stacked them on the stool in the middle of the kitchen (with themselves in the plastic bowl at the top of the tower).

The best thing was probably the night that my daughter’s friend slept over and brought HER elf Ginger with her – the next morning they were nowhere to be found. But what was that? Our car was all turned around and askew – NOT how we left it the night before. When we went out to see what was up we discovered a team effort – Ginger steering, Priscilla buckled in (no doubt navigating) and Mickey working the gas petal. (And boy, you should’ve seen the half-delighted, half-freaked look on the kids’ faces.) I told the elves that next time they took the car out they should really bring back pizza.

magic elves 2009, part 1 – Arrival


First of all, if you’d like to see these photos larger, the set is here.

So as I mentioned before, I first saw these elf shenanigans on Marci Lambert’s Make Art Every Day blog. And it looked awesome. I checked out Elf Magic and ordered a couple of tickets for two elves to come visit us last year.


elves09 part 1
Our elves arrived just after Thanksgiving as we were putting up Christmas decorations – they appeared on the doorstep in a basket with helium balloons. They brought magic snowflakes and elf sacks, as promised when I got their tickets. They also brought a little suitcase with some extra clothing, passports, and files on each of the kids, complete with a tiny elf-drawn sketch, likes and dislikes, and naughty/nice status. Also – blank paper to add notes as the month wore on. Which they did, weekly or so.

Their names were Priscilla Snowflake and Mickey McFrost. Judging by her loopy handwriting and abundant use of exclamation points, Priscilla was very excited about her visit. It turned out that Mickey was more cautious, having had a bad experience the year before while visiting a boy who was on the Naughty List.

Anyway, we tucked them into bed (used a shallow Amazon box with some of the airfilled packing material as a mattress; we had a candy-cane striped fleece blanket as well which I later sewed into two sleeping bags), sprinkled them with the magic snowflakes as instructed, and set out some crackers and water (their favorite snack – the crackers are crunchy like North Pole snow and the cold water is like melted snowflakes). As you can see, when we awoke the next morning they had also gotten into a leftover muffin…

Pikachu hat

Remember this Pokemon?

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We found the Pikachu suit at Goodwill. Both my kids being Pokemon fans, there was some discussion over who would get to wear it, but my daughter conceded in favor of her former idea, a blue fairy, courtesy of her dance recital costume and some wings and a wand from Walmart. (Exactly the right color too!)

Meanwhile we needed to finish out the Pikachu costume, so I bought some fleece in the appropriate colors and started googling.

Shockingly, I didn’t find an actual pattern specifically for a Pikachu hat (seriously, I was actually a little surprised). But there are plenty of tutorials out there for fleece hats, and even hats with ears added. I mostly used this one and a couple of reference pictures.

Here’s the finished product:

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When I do it again (my daughter is begging for a fox hat), I will probably alter the height of the triangles a little – my kids and I have freakishly large heads, I fear. Also, be sure to cut the band the right way – I cut mine along the non-stretch and had to pick it out and replace it. Whoops.

sharing an elf

I first heard about magic elves a couple years ago on Marci’s blog here. I love how she blogs about their adventures. She has elves from Elf Magic. We did that last year too, and it was awesome – I will put together a couple of posts about it this week, since I didn’t last year.

However, I also felt moved last year to make an elf and share it with A’s best friend (and her mom), so here’s some pictures of that.

christmas elf

I used this pattern here, on Make Baby Stuff. (Elf Magic elves are about 10 inches high, very little, can wear Barbie doll-ish sized clothes. This pattern came out 16? 18? 20? inches high and much bigger around. Later I made some clothes – crochet shawl, used a knifty knitter loom to make a dress – for her.)

I think it came out awesome. Best face I’ve ever embroidered, that’s for sure. And I’m frankly in love with my pointy ears there.

elf hairelf ear detailchristmas elf

The trickiest part about the pattern (besides doing the hair, which is not actually tricky, I just dislike doing it) is sewing it with the legs and arms inside. Beware stuffing your appendages too firmly! At least if you widen them like I did – I feared they would be too skinny as-was, but it was a bear sewing the thing together. Next time I may leave the bottom open instead of the head – it was that skinny neck causing the issues. Also I sewed the arms too far down – they should be right below the neck really. Elves are apparently not proportioned like us. I used all remnant fabric, yay! But the peach colored one particularly is a bit on the thin side. Don’t know exactly how to fix that, short of using different fabric… double the layer? Light interfacing? Both? We’ll see. I plan to make a few more of these (ragdolls, not elves), so I’ll have to try different solutions.

christmas elf