Thursday, January 8, 2015

Year in Review- 2014's Finished Crochet Pieces

   This past year brought many changes for me and my family. I didn't get nearly as much crochet accomplished as I had planned.  I still have a notebook full of patterns that I just haven't had the time to type up and get tested. I am hoping to get to a few of these soon, and to get back into the swing of things.
   I also have not posted here very much this past year and I hope to change that too. I don't seem to have much luck with New Year's resolutions, but I do hope to get more accomplished with my crochet business in this coming year.
   Despite the busyness of 2014, I did manage to create a few things.  Here is the majority of my finished crocheted pieces (the ones I photographed) from the year.

The Amber Infinity Scarf/Cowl was my second pattern release of the year.  The first was my Lucia Legwarmers (posted about earlier, but couldn't find my photos)
I finished this pattern test for Simply D'Best, and I absolutely love it!  I actually lined it too, which I usually don't bother to do with my crocheted bags.  I admit, I'm not a huge fan of sewing, but the lining looks wonderful and the bag is fabulous!

 This cute little tiered/ruffle skirt that my daughter is wearing, I had intended to write up as a pattern, but it may not make the cut.  She loves it, and it is a one of a kind.

 This year my daughter began ballet, and she is so excited about it.  I just had to make her some leg warmers to go with her leotards and tutus. This is a pattern that will definitely be available this year.  I am in the typing stage right now.
These sweet little crocodile stitch booties from Bonita Patterns were for a custom order in the beginning of the year, and they led to a few others as well. This pair was created with Chroma yarn from Knit Picks(sorry, the color has been discontinued). I made a red pair for my daughter with leather soles, which I hand sewed on myself (next time I will punch holes in the leather first). I also had another custom order for an adult pair.  I love this pattern in all the sizes, and I will definitely be making more of these in the future.

One of my absolute FAVORITE pieces created this year was my daughter's birthday present, this Rainbow Dash hooded sweater!
I am so proud of how this turned out. I took a very basic sweater pattern, made some modifications to it, and added a hood.  I then created pockets and made the cutie mark with felt, which I then heat bonded to the pocket.  I also added the ears and mane to the hood.
My daughter was so happy, which made the two weeks of constant crocheting completely worth it. She wears is a lot, and we get tons of compliments on it when we go out.

 This was a modified version of a Mon Petit Violon pattern.  It is intended to be a dress, but I made it a shirt.  I used Patons Bamboo Silk and Knit Picks Comfy Pima Cotton.
 Finally decided to make one of the many patterns I purchased.  I have so many in my library, and I am definitely trying to make more of them.  This was the Chunky Cables Slouchy. I think it came out pretty cute.
 This was a HUGE achievement of the year! A friend's husband asked me to make him a scarf like that of the 4th Doctor from Doctor Who.  He was going to Comic Con and wanted to dress up.  This scarf took FOREVER!!!! I quite began to hate it. I like fairly quick projects usually; instant gratification.  I like results, and this damn scarf was never ending.  I believe it was about 20ft with the fringe attached.
   Well, it was all worth it. The scarf was a big hit, and even captured the attention of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) himself!  He posed for a picture with the scarf I made, wrapped around his neck!
   I am still giddy about this.  Totally worth the monotony of creating this monstrosity.

This infinity scarf was a pattern test for Grammy's Creations, and it's a really cool design.  I am really into scarves and cowls these days; they are my favorite accessory.  So I kept this one for myself. It's nice to treat yourself every now and then. 
 I made this cool convertible cowl and it is now listed in my Etsy shop.  I have another like this one in different shades, just waiting to be photographed and listed.
 Doctor Who makes another appearance. A friend requested a special Dalek hat for her son for Christmas.  Such a fun new challenge.  I must say, I never thought to make one of these, but I love how it turned out!  I see more of these in my future and in different colors too.
 This was my daughter's Easter cardigan this year.  I used some vintage buttons that belonged to my grandmother, which made it extra special.
 I have been wanting to make crocheted snowflakes for years now.  I always find working with thread a bit intimidating, but this was quite simple.  I found the pattern through Pinterest (sorry, I'm not sure where) and I used the white glue and water stiffening method.  Next time I plan to try cornstarch.
 Another new item added to my Etsy shop this year, was these wristwarmer/fingerless gloves. I combined two of my patterns to create a new one.  Debating whether or not to type this one up.

 This lovely granny slouchy made its way to my Etsy shop as well.  I love the shades of purple and grey so much in this hat, that it inspired me to create an afghan for my bed.

So, not a bad year for crochet really.  And there were definitely a few more that just didn't get photographed.
I already have 3 afghans (yes 3!!) in progress for this year.  I vow to finish all of them, as well as the afghan I started five years ago for my daughter (while I was pregnant). I guess this will be the year of the afghan.
What are your crafty hopes for the new year? Anyone else plan on starting Christmas presents super early?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

New Uses For My Old Jeans

I'm one of those people who saves those old jeans that don't fit anymore, because I am bound and determined to squeeze my (now mom sized) butt back into them. My daughter is now four and I still am not down to the size I was pre-pregnancy.  I'm still not giving up though; I'm soooo close.

I actually managed to get an older pair of my stretch jeans on this week! Victory!  The only problem was the two small tears near the butt pockets.  Well I really like the jeans, and I was too happy about them fitting to get rid of them, so I decided to patch them up.

Once that task was completed, I had the leftovers of another pair of ripped jeans and an idea.

I was finally going to make a denim rug.  I have been wanting to make one for years, and I finally got the ambition to start cutting up the pants and make some "yarn" from them.

I found a few other pairs that had been so ripped/damaged that they had made it to my craft pile a while back.  I began cutting strips from the pant legs, saving the tops of the pants for other future projects, and connecting the strips to roll into "yarn" balls.

Once I had two pairs of pants rolled up, I began.  Using my jumbo Q hook, I got to it.

I will say that I can only work on this for a short time, as it hurts my hands, but it is coming along quite nicely.

I also probably should not cut jeans atop my white down comforter, which I learned the hard way.  My bed is covered in fuzzy denim lint.  Jeans shed like crazy and get quite messy.

So I am now about 6-7 pairs of jeans in, measuring at about 26", and I have two more long denim skirts to add.  I am now hunting for some more jeans, because I swear those 3 pairs of size 6 jeans sitting on my shelf WILL fit again someday soon.  A few friends are sending their old ones my way and then it looks like I will be thrift shopping in the coming weeks.

I haven't decided how big I want to make it, or whether I will keep it, sell it, or gift it, but I'm going to keep going for a while.

I'm also thinking up different ways to use up all of the jean pieces.  Why waste them?

So, I think I will use the thick seams that I didn't incorporate into the rug to make some denim trivets.  They look kind of cute.  Could make some fun holiday gifts.

The next few pictures are just some inspiration from Pinterest.

With all of the back pockets I have left over, I should be able to put one of these bad boys together.  Of course, I am not a huge fan of sewing, and I have to really be in the mood for it to take on a project like this, but I would love to have one of these.  Wouldn't you?

I like how they're all slightly askew in the top photo.  They are far more uniform in the bottom picture, and I don't know which I like more.  I'm thinking the above version might be a bit more forgiving of my sewing skills.

And how cute is this little bib?!

I absolutely love this idea (also found on Pinterest) and think I might need to make one for friends who are expecting a baby boy in the spring.

Hoping I can acquire enough denim to finish my rug soon, and I'm thinking a tutorial may be in order.

What are your favorite ways to reuse your jeans?  I know there are so many options and I'd love some more ideas!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

To Knit or Knot To Knit?

I have been a crocheter for several years now, and I love it!  I love that the possibilities are endless, you're never done learning, there's always a new stitch or technique to play with, and there are more patterns than I could ever possibly have the time to make.  That's not even counting all of the pattern ideas in my head just waiting to be written down.

That being said, I find myself just wishing that I could knit.

I look online on places like Pinterest, Facebook, and Ravelry, and I wish that I could make these gorgeous knits.

I've created an entire Pinterest board devoted to all of the things I wish I could knit.  These are just a few of them.

....And these adorable stuffies!  How cute is this bunny and doll?  Yes, I crochet stuffies (amigurumi), but theres's just something so sweet about these knit versions.

There are beautiful children's sweaters, that I think my daughter would look oh so sweet in......

I just love this one above, by The Velvet Acorn!  I still need to try a few of her crochet patterns that have
been on my ravelry favorites list for ages (see earlier comment on not enough time for all the patterns I want to make).

So after picking up, and quickly putting down the needles several times before, I decided to really give it my all this week.  I was determined to get past the cast on and actually finish a swatch, binding off and everything.

And you know what?  I did it!

I made a couple of small swatches, practicing both knit and purl stitches and binding off.  So far that's all I know how to do, but it's a start, and it's a lot better than my previous attempts.

Want to know what made the difference this time?  You Tube video tutorials by Chandi of Expression Fiber Arts.  I used You Tube in the past, but just couldn't find someone who explained it well enough.  Not only were her instructions clear and easy to follow, but Chandi's bubbly personality makes learning to knit fun.

So today I practiced knitting washcloths, because if I'm going to be practicing making swatches, I might as well make something useful.  Right?

My daughter claimed this one for her own.  She's convinced that everything I make should be hers, and usually it is.

So I'm going to make several more of these and keep trying different stitches.  I like the look and feel of a knit washcloth (perhaps even more than the crocheted ones I've made in the past), so it will be good practice and provide me with a new set of washcloths.  Maybe even some Christmas pressies!

After that will be learning to knit on circulars, which I find quite terrifying.

And one day, maybe I will be able to make this beauty........