Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baby Gift #1

Whoo hoo! I finished one of the baby gifts! Just in time too, I think the first baby is due in a week or two (it's hard to keep track when everyone is pregnant.) [Previous post on this topic.]

I'm very pleased with how it turned out. It was a little fussy pinning everything in place just right so the ricrack would poke out the way it should, but I took extra care to make sure my fabrics were measured and cut into proper rectangles which was a huge help. Usually I'm a little sloppy on the measuring/cutting front... you can imagine the frustrations that causes.

I'm very pleased with this little blankie - I love the polkadot fabric especially - it's cute without being nauseating. And, note that I actually managed to sew straight lines!! WHOO! I was so excited that I did a second round of topstitching.

Hopefully some little kid will be dragging this blanket around for a few years and the mom will have to hide it so he/she doesn't try to take it to the first day of preschool. (Also - I've found a new use for my floor loom - a blanket rack.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Design hurdles


The above image is direct from my design notebook.

I'm currently most focused on a simple openwork shrug made from Teva Durham's moss yarn. I'm using the turquoise and I am just loving it. I think that some people are turned off by the nylon content but it's not bothering me one little bit.

After that swatching that original chart a few times, I realized that I wasn't happy with the burst-/spider-like part of the motif. I left it alone for a day and then spent most of Friday in a downtown cafe re-working it. I finally settled on something and am now just finishing with ball 1 of two on the sample.

One thing I am really struggling with is the charting process. Not actually figuring out and drawing the chart, but making it look professional for the pattern. I just have no idea how to get it into the computer. There's one program I found that might work, but it doesn't look great for charting is expensive considering it has so many other features I wouldn't use. I also found a crochet symbol font, but it didn't look great in the preview.

I realize I could solve this by just writing the pattern out old-school, but you know what, I really like charted patterns for open work. I think they are much easier to follow and break apart if you're having problems. The other solution I'm considering is hand drawing and then scanning it. I anticipate this taking hours of my time, and not really ever feeling like it's "good enough to sell".

But otherwise I am feeling more and more comfortable with the design process. The shrug pattern will be done in 3 sizes and that feels like a step up from bags and scarves. I also feel like it's motivating me to take on more advanced projects for my personal crochet/knitting projects. So overall this is good. I feel like each pattern and project is something more than the last and I'm super motivated to keep in that direction.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another scarf? Why yes.

I'm starting to realize that, uh, I may have more scarves than I need. But I love scarves. And I really love making scarves - so low pressure, no worries about gauge and fit, you can just grab a yarn and go.

This scarf/shawl was done using a pattern from A Little Slice of Life who has been creating wonderful lace patterns for crochet (the spiral scarf pattern is hers also). I used some yarn in my stash left over from my first ever weaving project (another scarf, see last photo). I actually really dislike the yarn - it's a plastic-y acrylic.... but I'm trying to be good about using up my stash and it was a good weight for this project and it turned out quite nice.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Confession Time

So there's a little secret I've been keeping from Blogland. For the last two weeks, and for the next month or so, I have been, am and will be unemployed. At first I thought I was embarrassed about being unemployed, but then I realised that wasn't really the problem. I lost my job through no fault of my own, I have another job lined up, and I really hated my old job anyway and I'm glad to be moving on. I realised today that I wasn't embarrassed about being unemployed. But I WAS embarrassed about how little I was getting done. There's a lot of pressure involved when you self-identify as a crafter. Free all day with a huge stockpile of craft supplies... I should be blissfully churning out the goods. But I haven't been. I've been dabbling.
But you know what? It's been good. Yes I'm sleeping in, yes I'm leaving showering way to late, and yes, I haven't cleaned the cat box yet. But I'm starting to realize that this time has been really good for me and allowed me to jump into things that I was too afraid to before. For example:

A) I started some colourwork mittens.
Starting the Squirrel and Oak Mittens
Sure, in the beginning I was cursing because they were turning out way too small. But it turns out they fit my housemate perfectly. Yay for friends with tiny hands! And I had some issues with the thumbs, but I think I've figured that out too. (Knitting stranded mitten thumbs is much easier if you knit them inside out).

B) I started socks!
WIP Widdershins
And not just any socks but cabled socks, two at a time, toe up with heel gusset and flap socks. And they're for a specific person (husband) and I have a deadline (birthday). These have been causing me a LOT of frustration, but I think things are starting to come together.... (Pictured is my fifth attempt.)

C) I've been getting to spend lots of lovely, outside, sunshiny time with this guy:
Sand Monster
We've been doing SOME training. But mostly just stinky beach exploration.

D) I actually BAKED some stuff. Including BREAD. That uses YEAST. This is something that I was afraid of for a long time. And I won't lie, the process was stressful. But the goods have been turning out not bad at all.

You gotta start somewhere right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's about time!!!

Ok so I think it is about time that I finally post!! I am the long lost member of Maked, the one that is usually off somewhere and comes back just in time to take all the credit!! I know I sound like a total jerk but sometimes I am able to make a fine contribution here or there!!!

Today I am here to tell you all about the lovely and talented Rhi!! She has made me some gorgeous arm warmers and her latest feat was the cutest little outfit for my best friend's baby. The little ensemble included a little toque and jacket with lovely buttons that I had found at a flea market in japan!! I think she wore the thing the whole time we were together, which was about 4 days, so there you go Rhi, she is already getting lots of wear out of it!! Everywhere we went people were commenting on how darn cute she looked in her little ball of yarn. Ok without further ado here is Rhi's masterpiece!!!

She is always dawning an adorable toque (beanie to anyone not from Canada) so I fear that she may never grow hair but I'm ok with that!!!

And here is the full outfit she looks a little bit like a little emperor. I love it to bits!!! Thanks Rhi you're a peach!!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Improv Awesome

This post is in no way craft-related... except it is about very crafty people. But crafty as in devious... awesomely devious.

There's a group in New York City called Improv Everywhere that exists to cause chaos and joy in public places. They're most famous for the Frozen Grand Central Station stunt where 200 'agents' froze in place at the same moment in Grand Central Station and didn't move for 5 minutes (this is now a world-wide event done with flash mobs) - but there are others that are even more quirky and charming.

If you need a smile and a laugh - go poke around their website. I'm an urbanist so I absolutely love that strangers come together for the sole purpose of doing something random and awesome to make other people smile or scratch their head or have a memorable experience.

Some of my favorite "missions" - these make me smile every time I read them:
- Best Buy
- Best Game Ever
- Moebis
- Food Court Musical
- Circle Line Tours
- Look Up More

I promise, reading/watching some of these missions will make your day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New! Patterns!

First, I want to say what a wonderful job I think Lisa is doing with her posts. I enjoy the surprises of her posts whenever I think about posting. However, this also means, I really need to post more.

My productivity is continuing, but it's definitely a case of my eyes/yarn lust being bigger than my stomach/schedule. My one day a week at the yarn store has turned into full time and my entrepreneurial dreams are on the forefront.

One thing I have been trying to focus is writing up some crochet patterns. I have four in the works right now. The first is my Cupcakes for Secrets. I have half of this done in a note book that I must locate. Then I can finish the second half and get it finalized. The second two are both for spring scarves, but are very different in style. I hope to have one done by the end of the month, and the other done in March.

The fourth project is completed. It is a simple and practical market bag that's perfect for the spring farmers markets. I used 1 skein of Louet Euroflax and had quite a bit left. You could also substitute it with another linen yarn, hemp, or even cotton. The pattern is up in our etsy shop now. You can get it in .pdf format or as a paper copy.

Here's a picture of it holding 3 skeins of Cascade EcoWool:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Novel Notebooks

At our most recent Maked meet we finished of our first batch of Novel Notebooks - which we always sell out of at the end of the year, so we're starting early in the hopes of having lots of stock on hand this year.

The best part of making these notebooks is hunting down the hilarious novels at thrift stores around town. We look for cheesy romance, over-the-top sci-fi, random weirdness (see photo), and nostalgic stuff like Sweet Valley High. It's a hilarious shopping trip.

We've started listing some of the new notebooks in our etsy shop, so keep your eye on out for them!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Crochet Patterns

Thought I would share two fabulous (free) crochet patterns. Both are by Crochet Kitten, and I'm hopeful they've got more coming because everything they do is awesome!

Here's one for a cute pair of wrist warmers. Click here.

And one for a crochet version of the very popular knitted Clapotis shawl. Click Here.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Just a quickie - some cute hearts are floating around the internets:

1.) Heart-shaped paperclips - so cute and easy!! Over at How About Orange.

2) Crocheted 3D hearts (see pic) - free tutorial over at Owlishly.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Babies Galore

I have about 15 friends who are pregnant right now.

Well, that might be an exaggeration, but it's at least 4.

Normally I like to craft gifts for new babies but I'm pretty overwhelmed by the number of them this year. I'm going to take it one baby thing at a time, see how far I get.

I've got the fabric picked out for gift #1 - a baby blanket made using this tutorial at the Purl Bee. I think it'll be pretty cute and snuggly and a lot faster than crocheting a baby blanket, which is what I did for the last baby. (See pic below - this is the Tiramisu pattern by Posie Gets Cozy.)

If anyone has suggestions for other quick but awesome baby gifts, I'd love to hear them!!