Thursday, December 30, 2010

More stitch markers and some gemstone necklaces

I have been making a lot of jewelry and stitch markers lately. Not so much crochet...I do need to finish my friend's scarf for next week, though! Yikes! Well, OK, I don't have to, I just would like to have it finished by the next time I see her. Better get crackin'.

I made a whole bunch of stitch markers last night, including a special order for a set of 6 coffee bean stitch markers and a new set of hummingbirds and flowers stitch markers. I also made some with larger Czech glass purple flower beads, but I haven't listed them yet. And I listed the little flower stitch markers I'd mentioned in my last post. The picture came out looking like it was on a blue background, which is weird since it was on white; the colors of the markers look pretty true, but I will probably try soon to get pics that are not so blue-looking.

I made some labradorite goodies recently. I love labradorite; it's one of my favorite stones. It's generally gray, with a blue or green "flash" to it. This is a necklace I made for myself:
Labradorite necklace

And with the leftover beads and some beading chain, I made this one to sell:
Labradorite and sterling silver beading chain necklaceLabradorite and sterling silver beading chain necklace

(The picture above is the same necklace as the one below, just wrapped around 3 times so you can see the beads a little better.) I wouldn't mind keeping this necklace for myself, either; but I'm going to try not to be greedy with the labradorite! The necklace is a little more than 20" long. I've been into long-ish necklaces lately (I probably would've made it even longer if I'd had more beads to use).

After finishing that one, I made a necklace with some lovely unakite beads. Here's a picture of that necklace in progress, in my "studio" (ha ha):


I had just started stringing it when I took the picture. As you can (maybe sort of) see, it's got unakite cube beads and oval beads, separated by little sterling silver spacer beads. It came out to be about 20" long. I took a chance and used a clasp that isn't silver, but that I thought went with the feeling of the piece. The only sterling silver toggle clasps I have are very small and plain, and this is not really a small and plain necklace, in my opinion.

I have the day off tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to working on that scarf some more and maybe making some more jewelry (I'd love to make a unakite bracelet to go with the necklace! And maybe some earrings?!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I've been making lately

Time for some blurry cell phone photos! Sorry about the poor quality.
scarf for j
Here's a scarf (yet another Snuggly Scarf) I'm making for a friend. Needed something easy to work on at Stitch & Bitch. This picture is terrible. The yarn is really a little darker and more of a gray-blue color.

I still really, really, really want to start making some sort of a sweater/top for myself. My husband is still working on untangling the fabulous yarn my in-laws got me, but it seems like it may be a lost cause. (I don't know...he is stubborn. He just hasn't had much time to work on it.)

Instead of starting the Sera, maybe I will start the Jewel top from "Everyday Crochet" by Doris Chan. I have some yarn I've been meaning to make that with for quite some time. Trouble is, it also needs to be wound, and I've lost much of my confidence in my winding ability. I'm hoping that if I put it around 2 chairs and try really hard not to let it get twisted, it'll work. However, I don't seem to be very good at that whole keeping it from getting twisted thing. *gulp*

On a different note, since this post is about making things, I made cookies!
GF chocolate chip cookies
They are gluten free chocolate chip cookies. I used a mix from Cherrybrook Kitchen. They are so good! I'd never used the mix before, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I made these for my office's holiday party and for my S&B ladies.

The holiday party was today, and it was great. My coworker and his wife made latkes. *drool* They made them without flour just because I'd told him I couldn't have regular flour! I appreciated that so much. I think I ate about half the latkes, and there were a lot. There was a lot of other food, too, but since I can't have wheat or soy, I have to be pretty careful. I mostly ate latkes and the cookies I'd made, and a little fruit. Tomorrow, I am going to start paying attention to my Weight Watchers online tracking tool again! Really I am!

I made some new stitch markers the other day. They are little tulips made with Czech flower beads. One of my S&B friends thought they were martini glasses! Heehee...That'd be cute, too! I'll post a picture (and list them in my Etsy store) as soon as I can.

A good friend went to IKEA recently and picked up a lamp for me that I can use to light up the top of my light box (so far, I've only been working with 2 desk lamps, one on either side of the box). I needed one that was tall enough to curve above the top of the box and light it up without burning the tissue paper! Mission accomplished--hooray! With any luck, I will soon have brighter pictures. (Except for my cell phone pics, which will still be kind of bad. Sorry.) ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chanukah/Grams' 95th birthday gifts!

Oh, there are soooo many pics I want to post right now. We had our family Chanukah party/Grams' 95th birthday party on Saturday night, and it was a blast. Now I can finally post photos of my nephew's surprise gift, and of the gifts with their recipients! Hooray!

First, a picture of my gift to my nephew:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hat for my nephew
A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle beanie! I had kind of an awful time making it, but isn't it awesome?! I am so proud of it. Here's my nephew wearing it and rocking out:
Billy rockin' out in his hat
Now I must gripe about the hat. (Skip ahead for more pictures if you don't want to read my complaints!) ;) It should've been simple to make, but the pattern didn't give a gauge (and when I contacted the author, she wouldn't give me one), so I started it out with one size bigger than the recommended hook (G hook was recommended; I was using an H) and it still came out way too small. I frogged it and re-made it with a J hook, and it turned out OK. Also, the hat length measurements from the pattern were all out of whack; the length given for the child's hat was longer than that of my own hat, which just didn't make any sense. So I made it the same length as mine, and that worked out fine.

When it came to the band, I started with the number of chain stitches recommended for the child version (still with the J hook), and it came out barely long enough to go around the hat, much less tie in the back. I wound up using the number of chain stitches for the adult version, which made it long enough to tie and untie in the back. I did the width of the child's version, though, and that looked about right.

Other issues: instructions that just said to sew the band to the hat, without saying how or whether to sew it with thread or yarn or if it mattered; instructions to sew or glue the eyes on, without saying how far apart to make the eyes (mine wound up being too far apart when the hat's being worn) or how/with what to sew them; and instructions to crochet all the way around the band, without instructions on how to do that (I'd never crocheted all the way around anything that wasn't, well, round--I did my best, but I still don't know if I did it right).

This pattern was a pain in the you-know-what. My nephew is so worth it, though!

And now, my beautiful nieces in their ponchos, from oldest to youngest:
Kori in her poncho

Kristy in her poncho

Katie in her poncho

And here's my niece wearing her poncho with Grams, who is wearing her Seraphina's Shawl:
Kristy and Grams

We gave Grams the shawl pin, too. It was purchased from a fellow Etsy seller, South4th, and it is really lovely.

The gifts all went over really well! My whole family gave me compliments. My oldest (little) niece (the "real" oldest is the 19-year-old, who wasn't with us that night) wore her poncho to school yesterday. Awww!

So, what am I crocheting now that I'm done with all the gifts? Ummm...nothing. I want to make a Sera Lace Top (pattern by Doris Chan, of course) with the yarn that my in-laws gave me for Chanukah, but I tried to wind some of it the other night, and wound up with a tangled mess after only winding about half a hank into a cake. I need a swift, but we don't have the space for it. My hubby is being very sweet and working on untangling the rest of the hank...We'll see how that goes.

Still trying to figure out what to bring with me to S&B tomorrow!

Now for what I've been up to with beads lately...I made these coffee bean stitch markers the other day:
12-4 016a

(This picture makes them look scratched--those aren't scratches on the beads, it's just reflected light.) I haven't listed them yet only because I haven't decided on a price. The beads were expensive, but I don't want to charge more than a customer would be willing to pay for them. Dilemmas, dilemmas. I'll figure it out eventually. (I will list them soon, I promise!)

I sold more Autumn Leaves stitch markers, and finally made more last night and re-listed them. They're popular enough that I decided to make--and list--2 sets.

A close friend of mine gave me a gift certificate to Fire Mountain Gems & Beads for the holidays! I'm so excited about it. I'm going to take my time in deciding what to get, since there are many tempting things on the site. Nothing fair trade that I know of, though I think Karen Hill Tribe silver is a safe bet (I don't think it's technically fair trade unless sold by a certified company, but I am pretty sure all their workers are treated fairly and paid pretty well...I really should look into it more, though). Also, plenty of Swarovski, which is definitely a safe bet, as are Czech beads. And lots of books! And tools and things! Woohoooo!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Secret-ish projects, dieting, and more gifts

Sorry I haven't been around much lately. I am still working on a secret crochet project for my nephew, so I can't post much about that...other than the fact that I am now going to have to frog it for the second time! At least I won't have to frog the whole thing this time.

Had fun at Stitch & Bitch today. It was just me and D. Good thing we enjoy each other's company! ;) It's always nice to have someone (or a group of people) to hang out with during my lunch break, and it's especially nice to have someone (or a group of people) to crochet with!

I'm also working on a beaded bracelet for my cousin's daughter. She's either a tween or a teen, I'm not completely sure of her age but I think she's around 12ish. I tried to make it like another bracelet that I'd just sold, only shorter with an extendable chain closure; but I didn't quite have the right beads, so I'm making it a little different. It's pretty. Rose quartz, amethyst, lepidolite and silver beads. I will take a pic when I'm done and post it here once I'm sure it's been given to her (she won't be there for our Chanukah party/my grandma's 95th birthday party, so I'm sending it back to her with my cousin). I hope she will like it!

As I mentioned, I recently sold a bracelet from The Smiling Turtle Etsy store. It was the only bracelet I'd listed. Amethyst, rose quartz, and silver. I am very happy that someone bought it, and I am also very aware that I need to post more bracelets! (Including the one from my last post!) I've decided to include a little insert with it about who made it and where it was made, the metaphysical properties of the gemstones, etc. I will probably start doing that with all of my handmade jewelry, or at least the gemstone jewelry. It's work, but it's fun work, and it's something I think people will appreciate because I know that I appreciate something like that when I buy a handmade item or receive one as a gift.

Meanwhile, I have put myself on a "bead diet" (I bought waaay too many beads last month). We'll see how long I can keep this up. I am determined not to drive us into debt with my addiction...but...the shinies...they are so tempting!

I'll still be getting little presents in the mail for a bit, because the beads I ordered from Israel haven't arrived yet, and neither have some Swarovski crystal cubes and assorted other ebay purchases.

Ohhh, also, we had a little Chanukah celebration at my in-laws' house last weekend. Guess what they gave me? YARN! And sterling silver beading chain! And they stuffed us full of pot roast and latkes and gluten-free brownies! How awesome are they?!

I am having such a crafty Birthukkah season. I love it.

That's pretty much it for now. And I thought I wouldn't have much to write! HA!!! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jewelry preview - not yet listed

Here are a few things that haven't made it into The Smiling Turtle Etsy store yet, that I just wanted to show off.

Pink and purple Czech bead and Bali silver choker
This is a choker made from pink Czech glass coin beads and purple Czech glass fire polish teardrop beads, with some fair trade Bali silver beads. It has a teardrop and Bali bead dangle on silver chain, as well as a silver chain extender on the end of the choker.

Jade and Bali silver earringsJade and Bali silver necklace with Thai silver rose
Jade and fair trade Bali sterling silver necklace and earrings. The necklace has a fair trade Thai silver rose pendant in the middle.

Light jade and Chinese crystal earringsLight jade and Chinese crystal bracelet
Light jade and Chinese crystal earrings and bracelet. (There was a necklace, too, but it was sold before I got a picture of it!)

Click on any of these pictures to see larger versions.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Poncho=done, and a birthday full of yarn and beads (and food)!

Well, my last poncho is done. OK, not really, I still have to weave in the ends. But it's 99.9% done. ;) I am worried that my littlest niece will be totally swimming in it, since it seems to be almost as long as she is tall! *gulp* I'll find out on December 11. Here's a picture of it without the collar, since I hadn't done the collar yet when I took this pic:

poncho for katie WIP 11-28-2010

My birthday was on Saturday. I had a wonderful day, thanks to amazing friends and family and my incredible hubby. I got lots of phone calls, e-mails, and Facebook wall wishes.

My husband got me yarn for my b-day, and lots of it! It's all cotton bamboo from Yarntopia Treasures. Here is a picture of the various colorways:

yarntopia treasures - all 3

The one on the left is called Electric Blue, the middle one is Posiedon (their spelling mistake, not mine--sorry, part of my job is editing, I can't help it!), and the one on the right is Dreamcatcher. He got me 5 skeins of Electric Blue, and 1 each of the others. The yardage is pretty good. About 420 yards per skein, fingering weight. Not sure what to do with them yet, but I will figure that out when I'm not so tied up with Chanukah projects. :) Love, love, love the yarn!

My in-laws got me a subscription to Stringing magazine, which I like to use for beading inspiration. One of my friends got me a rice cooker, which we desperately needed (and are, in fact, using right now!), and a book called "Crafting Jewish." My sister made me 2 gorgeous pairs of earrings. Lots of loot for me.

And then there are the presents I bought for myself! My husband and I went bead shopping on my birthday. First, we went to Beads of Westchester. I hadn't been there for a while. I bought some nice things--a bunch of Swarovski bicones in cool colors I hadn't seen before, a strand of green magnesite nugget beads, some pretty blue fossilized something-or-other beads (I had them write down the name of it and then I lost the card they wrote it on, of course!), some faceted onyx rounds. The ladies there were very nice, and it was an enjoyable shopping experience.

Then we went to Michaels. Not such an enjoyable shopping experience. I bought some more Swarovski bicones (at slightly better prices) and some Swarovski flower beads that were on clearance...or so I thought. They were with the clearance beads. There were many of them with the clearance beads, carefully organized. There were many other beads on clearance as well, and almost none of them were marked. My Swarovski flowers were also unmarked. When we checked out, the saleswoman insisted on charging us full price, without so much as sending another employee over to look at the clearance section. Grrrr. I bought them anyway, because I am a sucker for little Swarovski crystal flowers, and because I am not so good at being frugal.

After that, we went out for dinner to a local Argentinian/Italian restaurant. The food was amazing. My husband had fettuccine bolognese, and I had paella. The paella had lots of lobster in it. I was so happy! Then came dessert: a big cappuccino, and tartufo. Ohmygoodness it was heavenly.

The holiday sales are over in my Etsy store, unless I decide to come up with another one sometime soon. Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale was relatively successful. Not bad, really, for a shop that doesn't have a heck of a lot of items in it yet. The stitch markers have definitely been the biggest sellers. I made some new ones yesterday, but I don't have pictures of them yet, so I'll just have to keep you in suspense.

I ordered some beads from an organization in Israel, and they shipped out today! They are ceramic beads made by needy elderly people in Jerusalem. I am happy to support this wonderful charity, and I hope to make some really nice things.

I have so much jewelry that I've made, and so little time to get it all listed! It won't happen before the holidays, for the most part. D'oh. I will do what I can, though.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Poncho (almost done!), Black Friday/Cyber Monday Etsy sale, my birthday, and more

Happy Black Friday, everyone! How was your Thanksgiving? We had a good time at my sister's. I ate too much, of course (that's the whole point of the holiday, right?). And yes, I did go shopping today, but only for about 45 minutes during my lunch break because I had to work. It was absolute mayhem (the shopping, not the work!), but I survived. :)

I'm almost finished with the poncho for my littlest niece! Here's a picture of how it looked a few days ago:
poncho for katie WIP

I'm now on the last row of the edging, and I still have to do the collar. Easy stuff. I should be done with it very soon. Then I get to start on my nephew's Chanukah gift, which is a surprise, so I won't be able to post it here! How sad. But hopefully, the payoff will be worth it!

I am really starting to worry that the ponchos will be extremely huge on my nieces. I'd forgotten just how small the girls are, until I saw them yesterday...I know they'll grow into them, but I want them to be able to wear their ponchos right away! I'm an impatient auntie. Well, I'll try to get a picture of them all poncho-ed up at our family Chanukah party on December 11, even if the ponchos are huge.

I have to make more stitch markers! I'm having a big sale over at The Smiling Turtle Etsy store for Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, and I've already sold a few. I'm selling the stitch markers at such low prices right now that I'm not sure I'm making a profit at all, but...My loss, my customers' gain, right?! I'll figure it out eventually! ;)

Right now, I'm offering free shipping on everything, plus a 10% discount if you enter the code CYBERMON at checkout. (Please note: that's CYBERMON, short for Cyber Monday. Already had a little confusion over that today.)

Here are some of the newer stitch markers that I've made:

I also have some other new flower beads to play with, so there may be more flower stitch markers in the near future. There may be some flower earrings, too. Hmmm.

My birthday is tomorrow! I'm so excited! I get like a little kid about my birthday. I don't get very upset about that whole being a year older thing. I just go, "Ooooh! Presents! Cake! Yippeeeeee!!!"

When I went to Stitch & Bitch on Wednesday, my friend D had baked me a flourless chocolate cake for my birthday! (I can't eat wheat, so flourless chocolate cake is my favorite treat!) What a sweetheart. She also gave me a card from the whole gang. 2 of them weren't there, probably because of the holiday.

My mom and grandmother gave me presents yesterday: a renewal of my subscription to Interweave Crochet, and a big blocking board! I have been in need of a blocking board for some time. I know you can make your own, but that would've been a big project to undertake in our not-so-big apartment. Also, I really needed a folding one. Maybe now, I will actually block things like my Queen Anne's Lace Scarf? We'll see! I'm still feeling a little intimidated at the thought of all those pins...

I've recently had items featured in 3 great treasuries on Etsy. Here are the links if you'd like to see them:
Goth-a love it! Black Friday Sale Items in Black!
Red ripe berry colors found on Black Friday
Gifts for everyone on your list

And I guess that's it for now! Please stay tuned.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My new light box, leaf earrings, stitch markers, and poncho progress (or lack thereof)

I did, in fact, start the poncho that I mentioned in my last blog post. I'm still not finished, though. I haven't had so much time to crochet...I've been really busy with the Etsy store. I'm still trying to master the art of taking good photographs of small stuff like earrings and stitch markers.

I made a light box a few days ago:
light box

It ain't pretty, but it does the trick. I bought 2 desk lamps--1 for each side--and my pictures are coming out a lot better. I used this tutorial to make it. I can now take photos during non-daylight hours, which is nice.

I bought a whole bunch of props yesterday, so we'll see what I come up with. ;) I've already taken photos of earrings on gift bows, which was fun. I can really only do that with the smaller earrings, though. I also took a lot of photos of earrings hanging on a wine glass (but you can't really tell it's a wine glass from the photo), like this one:
silvery multicolor leaf earrings

And yes, these earrings will be for sale very soon (I just need to take some more pics, calculate a price, write a description, and all that jazz).

Here's a photo of the inside of the light box:
light box inside

Like I said, not pretty, but it works.

I also made new stitch markers this weekend. You can check them out in the stitch markers section of my store. I've got new butterflies and some flowers. I also re-made some that sold. I'm running out of certain beads, so some of the markers may have to be "discontinued" soon, unless I can find more somewhere.

I'm hoping to finish the poncho this week. I need to start my nephew's gift, and make something for my sister and bro-in-law. I'm lucky our family's Chanukah celebration isn't until 12/10...Chanukah actually starts this year on December 1! I'd really be scrambling if we could get everyone together during the holiday.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Finished Seraphina, my studio, and a piggy friend

Henceforth, I have decided to combine my crochet blog and my handmade jewelry blog into this blog. It's time to consolidate. Hopefully, those who enjoy reading about my crochet won't mind also reading about my beading endeavors!

First, some crochet goodness: I finished the Seraphina's Shawl for my grandmother!

Seraphina's Shawl - FINISHED

I am so, so, sooo happy with the way it turned out. What an awesome pattern. I hope she will love it. It's my present for her for both Chanukah and her 95th (!) birthday.

Meanwhile, I've also been hard at work on my beading. I made some new stitch markers - some new Heart Bumpies, and a cute flower design using clear glass "tulip" beads, green seed beads and purple seed beads. The latter aren't listed in the store yet. I'm running out of the beads for the Heart Bumpies and the Butterfly Bumpies; can't seem to find inexpensive, small bumpy beads anywhere. How depressing. So the next 3 or so batches may be the last.

I read somewhere that blog readers might like to see pictures of a crafter's studio. Well, mine consists mostly of our ottoman (and the floor around it)! My bead stash is usually kept in my husband's office, which you don't want to see. Just trust me on this one. Anyway, here is my "studio," complete with our friend Abbey the pig:

my beading studio - ha ha

Abbey is shown above modeling some earrings that I made the other night. She's such a good model! See below for more proof of her modeling potential:

Abbey the pig wearing a piggy pendant

Here she is wearing one of my polymer clay pig pendants. We just couldn't resist. America's Next Top Piggy, here she comes.

Abbey is one of a bunch of stuffed animals who usually sit next to me on the couch while I'm beading or crocheting. She is a Lubie.

I need to get started on my next poncho! This one will be for my 3-year-old niece, using Lion Homespun (what else?!) in colorway "Antique." It's sort of a dark purplish pink. I hope I will find some time to start it tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seraphina's Shawl - WIP

Seraphina's Shawl - WIP
Originally uploaded by saintlex
I re-started the Seraphina's Shawl I'm making for my grandma. It was coming out all weird! This time around, I'm following the pictures in the original pattern, and it's making a lot more sense. I am getting close to the row where the pattern "ends" and you're just sort of on your own to continue it...I think I'm close to mastering it, though. At least, I hope I am. :)

This is working up a lot more quickly than I'd thought it would, seeing as how I don't get that much time to crochet per day. I would love to take it with me to S&B on Wednesday, but I think it might be too big for me to work on there. I don't know. I'm not used to working on big stuff at all--shawls, blankets, etc. Well, I did make a baby blanket at one point, but I don't think I brought it with me anywhere while I was working on it.

I think I will probably start my third (and last) poncho at the S&B. This one will be for the 3-year-old. It'll also be in Lion Homespun, in colorway "Antique." It's sort of a dark pinky-purple. I hope the girls won't be unhappy that 2 of them are getting blue and one's getting pinkish purple...Knowing them, they'll all want the pinkish purple color, since it says "princess" much more than blue does. Although, Cinderella wears blue, right? So there. :P

We're going to see my sister, brother-in-law, and nieces and nephew for Halloween. My mom and I are going trick-or-treating with them. (They'll collect the candy, we'll take it when they're done. Just kidding!!) Anyway, it should be really fun and really cute.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finished poncho, Surreybelle Scarf, Seraphina's Shawl, and Noro Taiyo

Time for more photos! :) I finished the poncho for my 4-y/o niece. It looks really nice. I took it to Stitch & Bitch on Wednesday, and everyone seemed to like it. Not the best picture of the poncho, but this'll give you some idea of what it looks like:
kristy's poncho FO
It's made from Lion Homespun in colorway "Delft." I really, really like this colorway for my li'l niece; I hope she'll like it, too. I've been told that blue is her favorite color.

For a slight change of pace, I decided to pick up a project that had been hibernating for a while--the Surreybelle Scarf (pattern available as a free download on Ravelry). I brought it to S & B with me. I started working on it again, and quickly realized why it had been in hibernation for so long! First of all, the yarn is a real pain to work with. It's Cherry Tree Hill Zebra Caribe, which is made of a few strands plied together, and it's very, very splitty. Second, I'd been crocheting really tightly when I was working on it before. Like, serious hand-cramp tightness. When I started working on it again, I found that I no longer crochet that tightly--but in order to match my old gauge, I had to. OUCH. It sure is pretty, though:
surreybelle scarf WIP
I just hope I can get myself to finish it!

And finally, I'm trying to make Seraphina's Shawl for my grandmother for her birthday/Chanukah present. It was really, really difficult for me starting out. I printed out the directions from the link above, this version here, and the errata. Good grief. I got very confused. Now I seem to be doing OK, but it's still pretty hard to tell what I'm doing, since I'm using Lion Homespun again (I have so much of that stuff!) and it can be hard to tell if I'm crocheting in the right place (especially when it says to crochet into a ch-1 sp, since it's not always clear where those are!). I've made it through the 4th row:
seraphina's shawl - beginning (1)

Also, I tried to crochet some fingerless mitts with the gorgeous Noro Taiyo I have, and was incredibly disappointed in the yarn. I encountered some problems and had to frog, and this yarn is VERY difficult for frogging. It tangled, and it even broke in some places. It was awful. I've checked the projects others have made with it on Ravelry, and they seem to have done OK making all sorts of things...But I may wind up having to do something really simple with it, since I can't do anything with it that I might have to frog, since frogging it might just not work at all! *sigh*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Drool-worthy sheep-free yarn, poncho update, and other thoughts

I created a treasury on Etsy of really nice, non-wool yarn from various sellers, for those who have wool sensitivities or anyone else who's interested. Bamboo, silk, cotton, and more. It's all variegated, and the colors are beautiful. Click here to see.

I finished the poncho for my 4-year-old niece last night! I am so excited. It turned out really nicely. It's almost perfect, except for maybe one mistake which only I know about...Oops, guess the secret's out now. ;) There were a lot of mistakes in the first poncho, but I think it still turned out well, I just hope it'll be OK with wear. (I also hope they'll wear these a lot! But who knows?)

Now, on to the poncho for the 3-year-old. I had planned to make it in a turquoise yarn that I bought that isn't Lion Homespun or bulky weight, but now I'm reconsidering. I'm not very good at modifying patterns (ha, that's an understatement--I've really only done it once, and that wasn't on purpose!). But if I don't modify the pattern with that yarn, it'll come out really weird and possibly won't fit. Meanwhile, I've got some nice dark fuchsia Homespun I could use...I think I'll probably just do that.

I've been thinking about the shawl I'm going to make for my grandmother. I don't know if I should make it in the olive green Homespun that I already have, or buy another color. My goal was originally to use up what I already have, since I have a heck of a lot of Homespun; but that's not working out so well! Anyway, I don't know if she would wear green. But I can figure that out later.

S & B tomorrow! Woohoooo!!! I am going to bring along the poncho I just finished, and maybe I'll bring some of the stitch markers I make just to show off.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Update, with lots of pics!

Time for a big photo-heavy update. First, here's my finished poncho for my 6-year-old niece:
poncho for kori
And a close-up of the scalloped edge detail (also, you can see the color of the yarn better here):
poncho for kori (2)
And a picture of the poncho-in-progress for my 4-year-old niece:
kristy's poncho WIP 2
And, last but not least, I've been making stitch markers again (these and others for sale at The Smiling Turtle):
stitch markers - Heart Bumpies
I am very happy with the way the first poncho came out. I'd started the second one with a smaller hook, but then had to frog it and re-start with the same hook size as I'd used for the first one, since it was coming out too small.

I got to go to a Stitch and Bitch last Wednesday! I just found out recently that it meets down the street from where I work. Sweet! I had so much fun meeting people and crocheting. I plan to go back as often as I can (probably almost every week).

I have become somewhat obsessed with Noro Taiyo yarn. Here's a pic of the 1 skein I own:
noro taiyo
It is so beautiful! It is telling me that it wants to become fingerless gloves. Unfortunately, it's also telling me that it wants to be a scarf and a hat. NEED MORE!!! Heehee. Luckily, my birthday is coming up... ;)

I bought it (and some Lorna's Laces Honor and Queensland Sugar Rush) at Fresh Purls in Providence, RI when I was there visiting some friends for Columbus Day weekend. It's a really nice store, with very helpful and friendly saleswomen.

Guess that's it for now! I'm glad I got some good sunlight for picture-taking today.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shawls, other gift ideas, and a Renaissance Tunic (?)

I am pretty close to being done with my first poncho. I just need to do the edging and the collar. I was hoping to finish it over the weekend, but I was too busy doing other fun stuff. Oops. ;) It looks like it might not be too large for my 4-yr-old niece, after all. Or at least, not too long. My gauge is weird. I thought it was right on, but it's not. 4 rows in the "block" stitch of the pattern is supposed to be 4"; in mine, it's more like a little over 3 1/4". Whoa. Guess I should switch to a P hook for the next ones? I'll see how this one ends up first.

I am totally waffling about which shawl to make for my grandmother. It's going to be a combination (95th!!!) birthday and Chanukah present, so it's got to be good! I wanted to make a Seraphina's Shawl for her, but it calls for a very large amount of yarn, which makes me worry about a few things. First of all, I only have 2 colors of Homespun in that quantity, and I don't think either of them would look great on her. Second, the shawl is huge, and she is tiny! She is under 5 feet tall and very petite. Third, it looks difficult!

I am also considering Doris Chan's All Shawl. This calls for less yarn and looks easier to make. However, I know my grandmother...She'd take one look and go "It has holes in it!" LOL. This is what she did when I gave her a Snuggly Scarf a few years ago, and the scarf is not particularly hole-y. But the shawl would be warm and cuddly anyway, so...probably a good option. I'd also like to make one of these for my mom for Chanukah, but I kind of doubt I'll have the time, what with all 3 girls' ponchos and a shawl for my grandma. I have been crocheting maybe an hour or so per day when I have time, and I'm not the world's fastest crocheter in the first place.

I am also considering this shawl, but it looks ridiculously easy and ridiculously boring. I have no problem with the pattern actually being easy, I just don't want it to look like it was!

Decisions, decisions. If anyone has any suggestions or opinions on this, please let me know.

I'd like to make something small-ish for my sister for Chanukah, too. I'm thinking about these Dorothea Dishtowels; then I could make it a gift for her and my brother-in-law, since I never know what to get for him. But again, I'll have to see if I have the time.

We went to a Renaissance Fair yesterday. Now I've decided that I really want to make one of these so I'll have a costume to wear to these things. It's for experienced-level crocheters, though. Ummm...Maybe I'd have it finished by Ren Fair 2012 if I started today? ;P Yeah, I think I'm being overly ambitious.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm back!

I've finally picked up my crochet habit again. Had to stop for a while (about a year!) due to chronic pain in my neck and shoulders. The pain is still there, but I finally got really sick of not having a creative outlet, and one day last week I found myself on Ravelry again and realized that I wanted to make Martha Stewart "Coming Home" ponchos for my little nieces out of all the Lion Homespun I still have... :)

I'm taking it easy this time around, only crocheting for an hour or less at a time. The first poncho is still coming along quickly, though. My little nieces are ages 3, 4, and 6; the ponchos are sized 2-4, 4-6, and 6-8. I started with a poncho for my 4-year-old niece, and I thought the size 4-6 one would work since, duh, kids grow. However, it seems to be turning out too big for her (and my gauge seems to be right on). I don't know if I should give it to her anyway (she'll grow into it), or give it to her 6-year-old sister instead...My little nieces (I keep calling them "little" because I also have another niece who's quite a bit older than they are) are, well, little. Not so big for their age groups.

If anyone's reading this, what would you do? Give it to the 4-year-old, or the 6-year-old? I'm going to see how the finished product turns out before I make a final decision on this, but any input would be much appreciated!

I've just spent a lot of time updating my queue on Ravelry. I've had to move all the clothing to the back of the line for now, because I've been doing Weight Watchers Online and losing weight! Hooray! I plan to lose about 13 more pounds, and I don't know exactly what size I'll be at that point, so I've got to hold off on making garments for myself.

I have to keep reminding myself to focus on GIFTS. Like, things that aren't for me! I'm such a selfish crocheter most of the time.

On top of the kids' ponchos, I'm hoping to make a shawl for my grandma, a poncho or shawl for my mom, and a bag for my sister. Whether I can get all of this done by Chanukah remains to be seen. I'd like to make some things for my friends, too, but I can get away with giving most of them belated gifts, and they'll still love me (I hope).

Old crochet project news: I am wearing my Abydos vest today for the first time in a while. It fits me again! I'd gained quite a bit of weight since making it, but now I've lost it and then some. It looks good, but the rayon chenille is shedding all over my black outfit. D'oh.

The Java Jammie gets A LOT of use. Here it is in its final form (sorry for the crappy cell phone photo):jammie

Aaaand I still haven't blocked my Queen Anne's Lace scarf. It's difficult to find time and space to block things. I'm hoping to do it this Saturday morning before we go out, because that way it'll have all day to dry.

And that's it for now. If you've read this far, please leave a comment and let me know that you're reading! It means a lot to me.