For the sake of updating and Autumn Leaves Afghan

Dear me, I’ve been doing a poor job of updating recently, mostly because I’ve been working on so many projects. And as for my poorly trafficked Etsy store, I never get seasonal stuff done to sell before the season arrives T__T.  Hopefully, I can post about one of my latest finished projects soon.

Today I’m working on the final set of motifs for my Autumn Leaves Afghan, a pattern from Caron.

Stacks, my Autumn Leaves Afghan pieces to be assembled

Stacks, my Autumn Leaves Afghan pieces to be assembled

Instead of using four colors, I used 7, including the main color. I also used a size smaller hook (H instead of J) to avoid spacey stitches and Red Heart yarn in buff (main color), redwood (new color, I like it, very autumn), dark orchid, cafe latte, gold, paddy green, and pumpkin.  I wanted it to be more red but still colorful by decided representing each color evenly was better so there are two leaves of each color. Red Heart in paddy green is very coarse and thick and I had an older skein of it that I had to split the ply and modify the square motif for; when I brought a new one skein because I ran out of the thicker, coarser one I had and worked the stitches with a tighter tension, the squares came out about the right size compared to the others.

I’m almost done, one more gold set, then I can assemble the afghan. I thought about giving it a border using every color but I’m not sure I have enough of each color yarn left to do that.

Making Peace With Knitting

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Crystal Palace (bamboo, size 11), my favorites!

I always thought knitting looked cool. But not only does it require two needles as opposed to one hook, its more tedious to me than crochet because it seems to require more tools/accessories, more counting, and more attention to detail and stitches. And changing color looks more difficult. Furthermore, I never bothered to perfect my skills because I thought knitting was only good for scarves, bumpy-looking hats, socks, and, of course, the quintessential ugly sweater. Crochet was (and is) more versatile, in my opinion.

I bought more knitting needles in college and I sometimes practiced basic stitches by making scarves (that I never finished). However, after spending so much time learning crochet and its terms and ins and outs, it was hard for me to give knitting the time it deserved because it looked infinitely more difficult.

Knitting and crochet are two different things. Don’t compare them.

Or something like that, my crafty friend said to me once.

So I am here to say now that I like knitting and have taken the time necessary to learn more about it. After MUCH trial and error, my favorite stitch is the seed stitch. In trying to figure out my knitting style, I think its safe to say I’m a continental knitter. Flicking the yarn really strains my index finger though -__-. The style I’m interested in is is Scottish knitting, that looks dangerous and convenient!

Its so great to learn/relearn and practice a new craft then obsessively try to perfect it. I literally spent hours and days making my newfound peace with knitting. I’m glad for it.

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My seeds and flowers scarf knitted in seed stitch.  The puff flowers are crochet. ^_^

My seeds and flowers scarf knitted in seed stitch. The puff flowers are crochet. ^_^

Crafty Ambitions: Macrame skills acquired

I never went to summer camp. I was never in a school program where I was taught crafty things. Nearly every skill I have I taught myself. Its even easier today to learn almost anything in the vastness of the interwebs. I’ve always wanted to learn to macrame, even before I knew that macrame is not the word for macaroni art.

Learning that macrame is a bunch of knots, I kind of got nervous. Because I am a firm believer in refraining from accidentally tying perfectly good supplies into knots that you can’t get aloose.

Trying it anyway, I taught myself the bare basics of macrame.  I spent hours at a time teaching myself macrame. Two days altogether at least. Relying on sheer stubbornness and crafty animal instinct when it all got to be too confusing :-).

This is the first macrame project I completed, with the Alternating Leaves Pattern tutorial by Beyond Bracelets. (A co-worker of my mom said she wanted a bracelet and provided the materials; I wanted to make some nice so I looked into macrame bracelets…only to discover she wanted a single crochet chain bracelet. Floored by the of challenge, I stubbornly made this one anyway.)

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Turns out, I was working with common friendship bracelet knowledge. Referring to knots as forward knots and backward knots when other people call them double half hitchs without differentiating between which way the knot is tied. When I first came across this confusion, I Googled about it incessantly but couldn’t find any clear information on the different names for macrame knots. Finding a beautiful tutorial for rosebud bracelet on YouTube I wanted to do, I emailed the designer, Christina Larsen of CLS Designs and asked her about the various names for macrame knots because she uses terms like double half hitch in her tutorial as opposed to forward or backward knot.

And yes, like you said, the double half hitch and the forward and backward knots are pretty much the same. It’s just because in the friendship bracelet world that’s what the knots are referred to as.

–Christina Larsen

I’m still not sure if she was being quaint and friendly or condescending/patronizing/uppity. I definitely got the sensation of This is what we call these knots in the adult world, sweetie. She’s a professional, I’m a beginner, and I try to keep in mind that I feel that way before I go off thinking she was intentionally being a jerk. For me, the bracelet was better worked using images from the photo tutorial at her website though.  Using the thickest string/cording I own (hemp), I finally finished the rosebud bracelet, leaving the mistakes in the final work since I didn’t feel like taking them apart and also as a testament to my perseverance and determination; I’m still not sure if it was my knotting or the hemp material that made the rosebuds imperfect.

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Macrame doesn’t seem easy to learn online or super accessible but possible. In any event, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished! I’m working on new knots, macrame lettering (a knowledge of cross stitch embroidery is surprising helpful in this), and a new set of bracelets too.

Guess What I Got For My Birthday!

YARN!! I bought expensive YARN!!!

My birthday was on the sixteenth and I got money. I’ve wanted to make myself something nice so, after some indecision, today I went and ordered yarn from Nordic Mart (will post again when it gets here). I fell in love with their DROPS Muskat coral red and decided to use it make the Avalon Top pattern my friend and fellow crafty showed me a while back.

I’ve never had DK weight yarn before, especially not any this expensive. This top will be the most expensive thing I’ve ever made and I’ll have to buy the remaining skeins I need to finish it in installments 0__0. The most expensive yarn I’ve ever bought is from DROPS/Nordic Mart, my favorite DROPS Big Delight in chocolate banana and autumn forest. If only I could have all the yarns…*sigh*

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! ^__^

Wanting to Go International on Etsy

Most crafts for my store are done for customers offline. My online store is kind of sitting there and I want more customers but I’m not confident enough to seek them out. Its ironic that I have a store because I don’t like hawking my wares in people’s faces for money. I just want to offer people cute, unique things in the hopes that they might want to buy it so I can add the money to my savings and walk away feeling like they got something nice and handmade because they really like it or know someone who will love and cherish it. Not very business savvy. To me, crafting is not a hobby, its an art. Having a store to sell people stuff is the hobby.

Still…

One plan is to go international by offering international shipping on Etsy. This appears to be an option only people who have an established customer base or people who have the money to attract customers by covering the costs of shipping outside of their country.

My plan is to get an average shipping price from every place Etsy can ship to and list my items between the U.S. shipping price and the highest shipping price. Which I haven’t done because IT WILL TAKE FOREVER.

So I thought Plan B:

For the time being, start small. One or two places like China and Canada or the U.K. That will require way less tedium.

 

Pattern of the Week: Cross-Over Long DC Fingerless Gloves by Rhelena

IMG_20160323_2323541_rewindI finished these for my mom. She asked for them because her hands get cold at work but she needs her fingers unencumbered. I was actually looking for a crochet pattern that has just the fingertips missing but that comes up at the base of the fingers. But this pattern taught me a new stitch and worked out just fine for my mom!

I used Red Heart: Warm Brown yarn and my Boyle G 4.25mm hook. The pattern says its for petite hands and my mom’s hands are medium/large-ish so I increased by a few chains at the beginning. I think I chained 30 or more instead of 24. It seems like the project worked up thicker to me. That’s actually my hands in the pictures, which are smaller than my mom’s. (I’m not exactly the ideal hand model! It took an ounce of bravery to post the picture since I’m very self-conscious about my hands.)

Shout out to Rhelena over at Crochet N’ Crafts for this stylish pattern. If you like the Cross Over Long Double Crochet Fingerless Gloves, please visit Rhelena’s blog for the pattern and have a look around.

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Pattern of the Week: The Flower Power Valance

I cleared off my desk and finally decided to sit there with my laptop for activities such as writing this post. My mom creepily informed me that she was looking through the space on the side of my blinds and could see my laptop from outside one day. Why she was looking through my window, I can’t say. Whatever, I decided I wanted some protection before I sit over there again.

So I googled for crochet curtain patterns, free patterns of course. I wasn’t looking for flowers because I think my room looks like a kid’s playpen already but I really liked the one I found–the Flower Power Valance by Robin Sanchez.

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My valance is worked in taupe and white by Bernat Baby Sport using a Boye H 5mm hook. I extended it two rows (three motifs on each side) by repeating the last two rows and I think it adds a too fancy touch to my small room. There’s a tutorial that I didn’t watch, which is probably why I had to spend time figuring out the half flower motif and wrongly assembled it the motifs at first? My bad? I used push pins to get the valance up there since I don’t have curtain rods. I love the colors displayed on Robin’s blog in her valance and I have a lot of bright yarns but I decided to use softer colors so I didn’t hurt my eyes or wonder whose house I was in every time I come in my room or wake up and look at the window everyday. I might add this curtain/valance by Dearest Debi underneath underneath it for extra protection that still allows light through.

This free pattern for the Flower Power Valance can be found on Robin Sanchez’s blog, Once Upon a Pink Moon. A little fancy for my little room but I feel peepers (I’m lookin’ at you, mom) being repelled by the power of my flowery valance already. Thanks, Robin!