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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Fancy Pen and a Pencil Grip

I like fancy pens.  I like pens that don't look like you bought them 10 for $2 at Target.  Don't get me wrong, I like buying pens for 10 for $2, I just don't like them to look like that's what I did.  Fancy pens don't get accidentally stolen when you lend them out.  They might get purposefully stolen, but it's never an accident, and it's not very often.

I have made a lot of fancy pens in my day.  I have made dozens of polymer clay covered pens for myself and my family.  I have made my fair share of floral-tape-covered-flower-topped pens for shower gifts. I was passing a Dollar Tree the other day and the big bunches of fake flowers made me think about fancy pens, and then my brain got going on the idea of a fancy crochet pen...

I grabbed my hook and started experimenting.  What I discovered is that making pen covers is really, really fun!

They are a little bit tricky, and I found that I had to count the stitches in each row to keep them from narrowing on me.  There's not much leeway with the diameter of the small hollow tube, too big and it slides off, too small and you can't wedge the pen inside. There's also a lot of flexibility in the pattern, since there isn't a set number of rows to cover a pen. Some colors look good stretched along the length of the pen, some you have to smoosh the rows together to keep the pen barrel from showing and so they require more rows to get to the end.  I found that I needed 35-40 rows to cover each pen.
I also discovered that the same hollow tube pattern worked as an awesome pencil grip, if you stopped after 10 rows.  Mims has been having trouble gripping her pencils properly, and I'm hoping that putting a fancy new grip, in her favorite color, will inspire her to want to hold her pencil in a way that the school system will find appropriate.

If you want to start crocheting your own Fancy Pens, I would highly recommend leaving a long tail when you make your magic loop to start, and a long tail when you fasten off at the end.  I ended up using the long strands to help snug the case around the pen at the  tip, and to finish stitching the top together, and then tighten it into place at the top.  It was really helpful to have long pieces of yarn to work with, since it's such a small area to try to connect a new piece of yarn.

The Fancy Pen
I used size 3 super-fine crochet cotton and a size D hook and covered a Bic Stic pen. I also used a sharp tapestry needle with a large eye to weave the ends in, and a large eyed yarn needle for weaving ribbons.

R1: 7 sc in a magic loop, sl st to first st to join round. Do not pull loop closed. (7 st)
R2: ch 1, sc in each st, sl st to first st to join round. (7 st)
R3- 40+ : Repeat row 2 as necessary to cover pen (between 35 and 40 rows, check by sliding work onto pen occasionally as you work) (7 st)
Final Row: Put pen inside cover before your start the last row.  (Sc 2 st tog) 3 times, finish off.  That seventh stitch is tiny and there's no need to connect it to the last row.  Leave a long tail and stitch across the last row together, covering the top end of the pen.

The Fancy Pencil Grip
Make it just the same as the Fancy Pen, but finish at Row 10, without using the final row.  Finish off and weave in ends.  Your hollow tube is now perfect for making boring pencils fancy and keeping your fingers from cramping.

If a plain cover isn't fancy enough for you, you could add stripes.  I started my stripes at the 27th row, but you could make stunning pens if you started your stripes from the beginning.  I think that candy cane stripes would be fun, and black and white stripes are classic.  I used Mim's favorite colors on the red and turquoise striped pen, and I made the Captain America Pen for Jake.  I can imagine doing the stripes in school colors, or for your favorite sports teams.  I'm planning to make some Angels and Lakers pens for Christmas gifts...

 These last pens are Extra Fancy.  The off-white pen I wanted to weave a ribbon into. At Row 30, I chained 2 and did a row of dc, followed by 5 more regular rows.  Once the pen was covered and the ends were woven in, I used a large eyed yarn needle and wove my grosgrain ribbon through the dc row.  I used ribbon that I had, but I think it would look amazing with a white organza ribbon, which would make a big, fluffy bow.  I can imagine that it would be perfect for a wedding guest book pen, or if you used your wedding colors, it would make a great bridesmaid gift, or a special pen for the bride...
The crochet flower is just tied on to the green pen, but I think it's so fun and girly and just cute, cute, cute.  I have a cousin who is in 6th grade, and I think it would be right up her alley.  I also think it would make a cute May Day gift.  In fact, I think all of them would make cool Mother's Day gifts.  I know I would be thrilled to get one, but then again, I really love Fancy Pens...
xoxo

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Marie! I really appreciate that you came by!

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  2. Hi found you on the linky party...these are super cute and fun..They make me smile and what a great way to use up bits and pieces. Thank you for sharing. I got to try and pin this :-)
    DeAnna

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    1. Hi DeAnna! Pin all you want! I am so glad you found me. The pens are a fantastic way to use up the ends of skeins. I should do a scrappy pen... :D Thanks!!

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  3. I love this! I love giving pens with various gifts, mostly journals - that I have covered with paper or material! Even a few screws and washers for the Men that need to take notes!
    You have given me a new life on the pens! This should be interesting! (and pencils!)

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    1. Hi Di! They are really fun to make, and fast! I'd love to see pictures if you make some!
      xo Jaime

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  4. I'm going to try these. I have a daughter in college and these would be great to send to her and I have a kinder gardener that loves to personalize her things. Thanks for the great pattern!!! :)

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    1. Hi Jolene! My Mims is going to be a kindergartner in the fall and she loves drawing with the covered pens. Maybe because they're thicker and easier to hold? All I know is that she digs through my purse looking for them, passing up the non-covered pens! Thanks for checking them out!
      xo Jaime

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  5. I'm going to try this to make "cozies" for my crochet hooks. thanks for the idea...

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  6. I too am going to try the 10 row pattern for my crochet hooks, so I can keep the size visible. Thank you so much for the idea and pattern.

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    Replies
    1. That's what I need to do for all my crochet hooks.

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  7. Great ideal. Love. Going to try it out later.

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