Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 2015

   So this month I turned 25...and proceeded to get minimal crafting done. We had a week or so of ice and days off work, which should have been a productive time. Unfortunately, it actually meant that my schedule got all out of sorts and I reverted back to my college life of staying up ridiculously late while binge watching TV shows and playing copious amounts of video games. I am slowly adjusting back to the life of adulthood. It only took me 2 years the first time, so this should be a cinch! *wink*

   I did make a cute little hat this month. I woke up one day and decided I wanted to crochet a flower. And of course, it needed a hat to give it purpose. After knitting a lot last month, I was starting to miss my crochet hooks. Also I've gotten a bit frustrated with the red scarf I'm knitting, so I needed a short break. I haven't attached the flower yet, because I'm a slacker, but I will do so this weekend.

Crocheted Baby Hat with Flower
   I had a rough week at the beginning of the month, so I grabbed some yarn and a circular needle from Walmart to cheer myself up while grocery shopping. The Red Heart Boutique yarn that I used last month turned out really well, so I bought a couple more skeins to play with.

Walmart Haul

   Other than that, I visited a couple of different local yarn stores (LYS) this month to spend some of my birthday money. The lovely husband drove me to the Knaughty Knitter one day to pick out my birthday yarn...but I forgot that they are closed on Wednesdays until we were already in town. So I just went the next day after work and went over the stated budget. (When I got home the husband told me that he expected me to go over...and that I actually spent less than he had expected. lol) I bought some beautiful lace weight yarn, a set of double pointed bamboo needles, a circular needle, and some blue sock weight yarn. I'm not sure what I will make with the purple yarn, but the blue yarn is for a pair of gloves for my secret sister. I have until May 11th to make them, so I should probably get started on that soon.

Knaughty Knitter Haul
   This month I visited some family in Huntsville, AL and was given some spending money by my grandmother. I spent most of it on clothing, but I had some left over to buy more yarn! My dad was gracious enough to drive me to a LYS nearby. I think he was curious; he has been trying to understand the different kinds of yarn I like so that he can buy gifts. (And it's easier to talk to someone when you understand their interests.) It was beautiful in there! I touched every yarn in the store before I decided on anything and showed Dad around the different . I picked out some of Berroco's Bonsai yarn, and found several balls of Schulana Sojobama yarn in the discount boxes near the register. 
   I was very excited about my new yarn until I got to talking to the associate at check-out. We had noticed that the hours of operation were a bit bizarre and there was nothing on their online calendar after the end of February. The lady explained that they were closing the store and that there would no longer be a LYS in South Huntsville. She was very upset and wasn't sure what she and the regular customers would do after they closed. I realized the extent of a LYS; it is not just a place to buy nice yarn, it is a community where people who love yarn can meet together for help with projects, learn new skills, and visit with friends who share similar interests. So needless to say, I've been deleting all of my newsletters from the chain craft stores and have decided to buy my yarn primarily from local businesses. Buy Local, friends!

Huntsville Haul

   Yesterday, I visited my parents and Mom gave me my birthday gift. I got the addi Click Starter set and a TP reserve holder! Now I can test out the addi Clicks and figure out which set I want. Hooray! Hopefully this next month I will get more made and I will finally finish the red scarf I am knitting. See you at the end of March!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

January FO

As promised, I have taken pictures of my FO (finished objects) this month for you guys. Some of the photographs are less polished because I took them in a hurry before giving the items to their new owners...I will attempt to be better about taking nice photographs of everything before it leaves my home. That will be the goal for February!

Baby Alpaca Yarn and P-size hook
   Early this month I dropped by the local yarn store (LYS) for materials for a specific project. A friend wanted to commission me to make her a newborn baby cocoon for a photo-shoot after her baby is born this summer. I told her that I would give it to her as a baby shower gift; I wanted to be able to choose whatever yarn I liked from the store without worrying about adding the additional price to my commission. I'm so glad I did! This yarn is by far to softest I have ever had the pleasure of working with! Here is the webpage for the yarn on the manufacturer's website if you wish to take a closer look. It was pricey, about 6x the price of the yarn I use most often, but it is definitely worth the extra cost. Plus, it only took half a hank to make the baby cocoon, so I had a lot of extra yarn to play with.

Addy my Adipose plushie is modeling the finished cocoon in the photograph I took. I checked out average newborn size on the internet and measured items until I found one that was close in size; Addy was the winner! Plus she makes for a ridiculously adorable model. :P

Finished baby cocoon.
   As I mentioned, the cocoon did not take very much yarn. I originally bought two hanks of the alpaca yarn; it is good to have extra in the same dye lot before you start any project. I ended up with a hank and a half left over...and I did not want to stop playing with the yarn. So, using the same stitch and hook as the baby cocoon, I made a hat for myself. The plan was to thread some ribbon through the holes, or attach a bow to the side depending on the day but I have to do so when I wear it. I did notice, however, that the inside and outside give very different looks. I've been wearing it inside out because I like the striping effect. 

Outside of alpaca hat.
Inside of alpaca hat.


   My brother had a few extra days of vacation after Christmas and spent a day hanging out with us before heading back to Michigan. He told me that he had planned on buying me some yarn for Christmas but was unsure what kind. We ended up going to Walmart for a few items so he told me I could pick out a skein of yarn and he would pay for it. I ended up with a skein of "Boutique Unforgettable" by Red Heart. Normally I cringe a little bit at the mention of Red Heart, but every yarn has its use and this yarn is much nicer than the "Super Saver" line. The Boutique line from Red Heart has a variety of novelty yarns and this one has a slight bit of slub in it that worked up nicely.

   When I picked out the yarn, I wanted a knitting project to carry with me and I was excited about trying out a new yarn. I was also a little worried about only having one skein and I've been told that knitting takes less yarn than crocheting for similar items. I grabbed some needles and started a stockinette scarf. Last year I was working on an Enterlac knitted blanket and taught myself how to knit stockinette without having to turn my project around every row. (The blanket started getting heavy and my arms were tired of the constant turning.) Also, this technique allows me to knit by feel and I don't have to look down at my work all the time. It's great for basic projects and I can now multitask while knitting. :P

Stockinette scarf. It needs some serious blocking before I sell it.
  When I was done knitting the scarf, I had some leftover yarn and wanted to try knitting a hat. I found a basic hat pattern on Ravelry and started working. Unfortunately, I do not have the appropriately sized circular knitting needles...so my gauge was too big for the hat and after a few hours of knitting I ended up keeping what I had started and turned it into a cowl/neckwarmer. I probably should have given it more volume, but I like the way it turned out. It should probably be blocked as well, but I probably won't. I like the personality of the yarn and I'm not sure how blocking this project will affect that. (AKA I am lazy and will only block things when I absolutely must.)

Cowl/Neckwarmer
Hanging view of cowl/neckwarmer

   Last week, a coworker saw me wearing one of my crocheted headbands and asked if I would make one for her daughter. She requested a flower, which I am normally not fond of doing but I agreed. I brought some yarn with me to work Tuesday so that she could pick out the colors she wanted. She was shocked when I brought in the finished headband Thursday. They really don't take any time to make, plus I had family dinner night Wednesday and my mother-in-law sewed the flower on for me. (I don't normally add flowers because I am not as comfortable with my sewing skills and I'm always afraid that the project will come apart down the road.)

Top view of headband.

Side view of headband.
  So, that's what I finished this month. I've also woven some bookmarks on the table loom, but I am leaving them on the loom until I use up the warp to prevent additional waste of the warping thread. I should have pictures of them by next month's post. :)


Monday, January 26, 2015

2015

    I don't know if I told most of you guys or not, but my husband changed my Facebook password for me near the start of the new year. I made him an admin on my artist page so I can update there when needed, but I am attempting to break my addiction to Facebook. You'd be amazed how much you can get done when you aren't checking your newsfeed every 15 minutes. I am getting a lot more done around the house and I have been knitting more often, but I haven't been posting pictures of my new work on Facebook because I'm not on my personal page.

    I mention this to tell you that I'm going to start posting a photo album at the end of each month to show my recent finished projects. Now that my house is mostly organized (and I am not wasting time on Facebook) I don't feel so overwhelmed and I am starting to get into a true working rhythm. There have been several times when I have made promises about such things in the past, but I should be more successful this time. ;) I have made 5 pieces since we started this little experiment, I have started a new project on the large loom, and I am halfway through knitting another scarf. So there should be a lot more pieces to show you this year.

    As far as the business side of this goes, I was not successful at craft shows in 2014; our theory is that I was going to the wrong kind of shows, but I learned a lot about setting up my work. My plan for now is to just make items until I run out of space to store them and then take everything to the Flea Market at the TN State Fairgrounds. I don't plan on updating the online store or pursuing online sales. I thought about deleting it, but I might do something with it in the future. It's still there, but I'm not focusing on it for the time being.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lighting a Weaving Studio

Well, I've done a fair amount of shopping for supplies in the past week. Last week I mentioned the new table loom and warping board. I've been hard at work dressing the loom for MTSU scarves and will soon have some new woven projects to share with you. Until then, I've got a couple of in-progress photographs for you. This new table loom is a much less daunting task to prepare for weaving, so I'm able to work on it even when I'm at home alone.

Warping board full of threads for MTSU warp.
My new table loom. I think I'm going to name it Webstuhl (German for weaving loom).
Yarn for the MTSU scarves.
New lighting materials.
I have been struggling with lighting when I photograph my work, both in-progress and when I complete it. I used to really enjoy photography, but I would often take photographs outside of wildlife and nature. I was never comfortable with setting up lighting and posing items/people. However, I'm finding that a lot of those skills are extremely important for introducing others to my artwork through the internet so I am re-learning that skill set. Today we went to the store and bought some lamps and a few light bulbs to try to improve the lighting in my studio. I should be able to set them up this afternoon and be more open to sharing my WIPs (works in progress) with you.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Headband Photo Tutorial and Store News

Okay. I promised that I would make a photo tutorial of the shell headband pattern. This is happening today. Before I work on that though, I need to update you on a special offer on our Online Store. In an attempt to keep a larger stock of items, I invited my close friend Kelly to post items she has made. I bring this up to inform you that she is raising money for the American Cancer Society through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and is offering her handmade items for donations to this cause. She has several items in the online store with "Made by Kelly" in the description and I have marked them with an "On Sale" tag to make them easier to find. The proceeds from the sale of these items between now and the walk this October will be donated. If you live nearby and can pick up the item, then you can also choose to donate the shipping price, or we can refund that back to you. Whichever you prefer. Storenvy does not allow us to list free shipping on our items.

I have kept this post in draft form and updated it throughout the day as I worked. Instructions for the pattern are in the captions for each photograph.

Easy Shell Headband

Photo Tutorial


First you will need some worsted weight yarn and a size H crochet hook.

Chain 5

Yarn over twice (this starts the treble crochet stitch)

Insert hook in the 5th chain from your hook

Treble crochet (End of Row 1)
This is where you will work the stitch when the pattern says to tc in same st.
Ch 4, turn, tc in same st, tc (End of Row 2)

Ch 4, turn, tc in same st, tc in next stitch and top of ch from previous row (End of Row 3)

Ch 4, turn, tc in same st, 2tc, tc in next stitch and top of ch from previous row (End of Row 4)

Close up of the end of Row 4

Ch 4, turn, tc in same st, tc in next 5 sts (End of Row 5)

Close up of the end of Row 5

Stitch where you will work your first shell

Ch 4, turn, sk 3 tc, shell (3 tc, ch 2, 3 tc) in 4th tc tc in ch 4 (End of Row 6)

Close up of the end of Row 6

Ch 4, turn, tc in same st, shell in top of shell (the ch 2 space), 2 tc in ch 4 (End of Row 7)

Close up of the end of Row 7

Ch 4, turn, tc in same st, tc, shell in top of shell, tc, 2 tc inch 4 (Close up of the end of Row 8)

Ch 4, turn, tc in next 2 sts, shell in top of shell, (tc)3. Repeat. (End of Rows 9 & 10)

Close up of the end of Row 10

 How to make a treble decrease (tc dec):

Yarn over (YO) twice, insert hook in st and pull up a loop. (4 loops on hook)

YO and pull through 2 loops (3 loops on hook)

YO and pull through 2 loops (2 loops on hook)

YO twice, insert hook in next stitch and pull up a loop (5 loops on hook)

YO and pull through 2 loops (4 loops on hook)

YO and pull through 2 loops (3 loops on hook)

YO and pull through all 3 loops (End of tc dec)

Continuation of Pattern:

Ch 4, turn, tc dec, shell in top of shell, tc dec, tc (End of Row 11)

Ch 4, turn, shell in top of shell, tc in top of ch 4 (End of Row 12)

 Placement for stitches of Row 13

1st Stitch

2nd Stitch

3rd Stitch (top of shell)

4th Stitch

5th Stitch

6th (Last) Stitch in top of ch 4

Continuation of Pattern:

Ch 4, turn, tc in next 5 sts and in top of ch 4 (End of Row 13)

Ch 4, turn, tc, tc dec, tc in next 3 sts and top of ch 4 (End of Row 14)

Ch 4, turn, (tc dec) 2, tc in top of ch 4 (End of Row 15)

Ch 4, turn, tc dec, tc in top of ch 4 (End of Row 16)


Ch 4, tc in top of ch 4 (End of Row 17)


Ch 14

Bring both ends together

Here is where you will slip stitch

Insert hook

Slip stitch (End of Row 18)


Enjoy your new headband!