Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A puppy!

A while ago, I posted that I would write about an exciting new family member. We got a puppy!

Her name is Lucy and she's a Beagle/ Cocker Spaniel mix. She is absolutely precious and tiny!

While she's a little cutie, she is a biting/chewing puppy. She loves to chase feet and attack toes. But she's a doll and has brought quite a bit of happiness into our little corner of the world.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tough Tuesday

Lets go back a bit-- this week has been pretty hectic. 

I'll start with Tough Tuesday-- November 6. The entire day was hectic (I knew it would be), but the reason for the craziness differed from the time of day. 

The day started with voting! Like, "there-when-the-polls-open" started with voting.  

As many of you know, I'm still in University. Which means I still deal with the stress that comes from exams. My first class (Operation and Supply Chain Management) had a huge exam-- and to put it simply, I did not do great on the first one. Thus, test anxiety was in full swing. It didn't help that there was a quiz in the second class too. But I got through them. 

Next on the to-do list, after the tests, was pick up my entries from the state fair. The place was pretty cleaned out by the time I got there around 1:00 p.m. Made it easy enough to scoop up my items and learn about next year's fair. 

Turns out one reason for the chaos was that there were a lot more entries this year than they expected-- for example, to take your items home, you have to sign them out and prove that you're the owner (blahblahblah). The lady in line in front of me had more than 50 entries! And, remember, you can only enter one item per category. So the fair organizers are making a new rule: in order to enter something into the state fair, the entry must win a ribbon in the county fair. Not too big of a deal, but it means that I now have until March to make the new entries, as the county fair is in April; instead of having until September. 

Voting: Check! Tests: Check! Pick up animals: Check

And finally, as I'm sure the whole world knows, November 6 was Election Day. I couldn't listen to the counts-- I kept my television on CNN, muted. Listening to an audiobook + crocheting made it a whole lot better. I felt nauseous the entire night. 

Now, I know there is a lot of sensitivity still about the election, so my response tonight will simply be this:
I breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the night. 

Tomorrow will be a post about the good that came from this week-- including an introduction to a new member of the family! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Knitting and House Elves

There are many times during the day where I'm in the middle of doing something and think a random, craft-related thought. And I think to myself: "Self, you need a crafty friend to tell these things to." Well, as there is a lack of people to text my random craft-related thoughts to, I'll compile them here, on my little-bitty blog, and share them with you! 

First, I'll introduce an important part of me you should know:
I am ultimately obsessed with the Harry Potter series.

There. I said it. Now you know where this post is heading... A Harry Potter talk. 

First, if you've only seen the movies and have not read the books, you do not know even half of the story. I spent the month of October listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as an audiobook. The entire audiobook consisted of 20 hours of reading. The movie takes less than two hours. That's over 18 hours of stuff left out of the movies! But I did learn that audiobooks while driving > listening to the radio.

Second, Molly Weasley knits sweaters for her husband, each of her kids, and even her kids friends. At a minimum, that's nine sweaters to make. Granted, she has magic. But still. Being able to finish projects (especially sweaters!) that quickly would be a serious blessing. 

Third, there is a lot of knitting in Harry Potter. Even Dobby the House Elf knits! I think that's awesome. 

In the spirit of Hogwarts and the Gryffindor house, I leave you with a picture of a Lion Lovey I finished. :) 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Security Blankets

As a crafter, we always seem to go through "phases"-- a bag phase, blanket phase, amigurumi phase, etc. etc. Want to know what mine is right now? 

Security blankets. 

Take a peek:
(All patterns are from BowTykes-- find her on Ravelry or Etsy!)

Well, I've been in a slump the last few days-- currently on day six of being sick; no mind set to study or get school-things done for midterms, and just the overall glum that comes from being in a city that refuses to acknowledge the changing of seasons. 

It makes me wish that an adult-sized security blanket would be acceptable.

Think about it! A giant granny square with a giant owl in the center/on the top.

Crazy idea? Or a clever one? Hmm...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Random Act of Patterns

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep cannot keep it from themselves" - James Matthew Barrie

I believe in the power of kindness. It's an amazingly powerful concept. 

Have you ever had a truly terrible, awful, horrible, no-good, very-bad day? But then someone gives you a compliment or you witness an act of service-- and all of a sudden there's a bit more happiness in your heart? 

I'm sure you have, considering the current popularity of "Random Acts of Kindness" and the phrase "Well, that's my good deed of the day!

It seemed fairly simple to do one good deed a day: Hold open a door, pick something up off the floor, let that other car have the parking space. But I always wondered how to apply kindness into the crafting world.

Then, a wonderful thing happened. 

I read a post on Twitter. The post had been re-tweeted a few times before it landed on my feed, but I'm so grateful that it did. 

The original post was written by Knit Purl Girl, and I have since been on a roll with the idea. 

Here's the basic concept:

"I’ve declared that Tuesdays are for Random Acts of Patterns (or RAP). It’s the fibery equivalent to Random Acts of Kindness! Most of us have either randomly given or received patterns, so this is not my invention. However, I’d like to make it a movement and get more people involved! So on any random Tuesday that you feel inclined to and/or can afford to, consider randomly selecting a fellow Raveler and gifting him/her a pattern off of his/her queue."

For more, check out the Ravelry forum about it:

So there you go! Random Acts of Patterns. It doesn't have to be on Tuesdays... whenever you feel like being in the giving spirit! :) Spread a little happiness; spread a little crafting-sunshine! 

In the meantime, while you decide who to spread happiness to and with what pattern, here's a picture of an Owl Lovey I made for a baby shower:

Have a fantastic, craft-filled few days!  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

State Fair Results

Last month sometime I dropped off five projects at the state fair as part of the Entry Competition. Judging was to be completed by the time the fair opens. 

So I dropped off my items. 

4/5 entries on drop-off day!

And I waited for the fair to open. I was supposed to go with family, but in a spur of the moment decision, I ended up going on Opening Day and saved $9 on admission. 

So I went! And after much searching, I found all my entries. Here is the quick round-up:
  • Singh the Lion (Crochet: Toy, Open Age) = 3rd place
  • Milton the Snail (Stuffed Animal: Less than 15") = 3rd place
  • Cocoa the Monkey (Stuffed Animal: Greater than 15") = 3rd place
  • Scrappy, the Scrap Animal (Crochet: Scrap) = 4th place
  • Granny Square Bag (Crochet: Bag) = 4th place
 For this being my first year entering projects, getting a ribbon is a great accomplishment! However, I have a few qualms about the experience. First, I doubt I will enter pieces that are important to me ever again. Singh and Milton were especially important to me, and the hosts are lucky I didn't break through the displays to get them back.

All of my amigurumi entries look like they had been manhandled; they were disfigured and horribly displayed.

Singh the Lion
Singh was squished into the case. If I were to look at it eye-level, all I could see was the body. The picture was taken with me practically kneeling in order to get his face into the picture. 

Scrappy looked fine!

Cocoa's ears and mouth made me really sad-- they didn't make him look properly displayed at all!

And poor Milton's shell looked like the unicorn next to him sat on it. 

Basically, I wish I could have set up the display myself. 

My biggest issue with the experience was that I have no idea what won 1st or 2nd in a majority of the categories. I'm fine with 3rd place-- really, I am! But I wanted to see the awesome work that won 1st and 2nd!

Couldn't find them. 

None of the displays were organized by category. They were scattered around everywhere in the huge place. I read the tags for every toy, every stuffed animal, everything that would qualify as the categories... and found nothing! 

I did find 1st place in the Scrap category, though! It was a beautifully done blanket. 

Will I make items for next year? Yeah, most likely. Will I make stuffed animals? Nope, probably not. 

Have you entered any items into a fair? What was your experience like? I want to hear! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Completing a Granny Square Project

Yesterday I posted about how to make a solid coloured granny square. That post was inspired by the FreshStitches' Ravelry group Cowl Swap that I am hosting.

However, making a big granny square project requires more than just the squares... you've gotta attach them together and add a border, right?! Especially if you're making a cowl like we are!

There are infinite ways to attach granny squares together, but I'm going to show you the two ways wonderfully outlined by some of my favourite crochet blogs, Attic24 and BunnyMummy [Full credits for the pictures go to them!] Clicking on the pictures will link directly to their blogs! :) 

Here we go!

Attaching squares together can be a bit complicated when you want to make all the squares first, and THEN attach them. Here are two great ways to do it, though!

One way is the ever-popular whipstitching them together. This tutorial takes you through how to stitch them together so no seam shows up on the front side. Awesome, right? :) 

However, for people who don't want to use a needle, there is a great tutorial about how to slip-stitch granny squares together. Since the cowls we'll be one row of granny squares, you won't have to worry about overlapping the stitches-- it's work out pretty this way, too! 


Now that your squares are attached (after you get the five back from me... don't send me attached squares, please!), you have to choose if you want a border or not! 

Also from Attic24 and BunnyMummy are these two border methods that would be great for all the projects, regardless if you choose to keep yours as a scarf or connect it to be a cowl/infinity scarf!

BunnyMummy presents a Granny Square Border that produces a nice, straight edge... all with one little tip! You could do just the first row, or add multiple rows, like she does for this blanket:

Attic24, however, shows us a way to create a beautiful border for a granny square that is a bit more lace-y. 


And there you have it! Two ways to attach squares, two possible borders, and both from two wonderful sources.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Solid Granny Square Tutorial

Granny squares are one of my most favourite things to crochet! They look great with a variety of colours, but they're also great solid-coloured... and all it takes is a little tip to not have to start-and-finish the yarn (what feels like) a zillion times in order to get a solid square. 

This is based off of FreshStitches' Granny Square pattern. The yellow yarn did not like the posterboard I usually use for backgrounds, so it's on a blue blanket/fabric that I have. :)

First: Chain 6

Slip stitch into first chain to form a ring. Chain 3. 

All in ring: dc 2, ch 3, *[dc 3, ch 3], repeat from * two more times
(Check the picture below to see if you have it!)
Now, to join: Slip stitch into top of chain 3 chain, next two dc, and ch 3 space. (Four slip stitches total)

Joining stitch

Slip Stitching across
Now that we are in the new corner, chain 3 to start a new round:

For all the following rounds (Round 2 - 6, in this example): 
chain 3 between each corner cluster,
chain 1 between each side cluster
each cluster = 3 double crochet

Keep following these tips around and around, until you have all the rounds you need!

Now you're a pro at making solid-coloured granny squares!

Happy Crocheting! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Crochet Handles- Granny Bag

Hey look! Do you see what I see? 
It's yet another Granny Square Bag!

This one is smaller (only 15 rounds) and has a more central colour palette, but it's pretty great, don't ya think?

This one is being entered into a Fair Entry Competition, under the category "Crochet: Bag". So I didn't exactly feel like attaching handles, and instead crocheted them! 

However, one thing I've learned from crocheting-bag-handle experience, is that making handles, then whipstitching them on does not work. 

Here is a brief tutorial, in case you want to crochet handles too!

First, I followed the same procedure as my other granny bag tutorial, all the way up to making the mouth of the bag, as seen below:

Next, I started the sides basically the same way, choosing a corner of a mouth, single crocheting down the rows we just made, and then single crocheting in each middle shell and ch-1 space. 
However, when I got all the way up the rows of the mouth on the other side, I started chaining my handles. I chained 80, to get the height I wanted. 

You can kind of see what I mean in the picture below:

You can see the blue rows that are the mouth of my bag. The green in one side, while the chains on the far left are the beginning of my handles. 

Then, start crocheting immediately down the other side.

 So you have something like this. You'll be working on both sides and the handles at the same time!

And then keep going around and around!
Because my bag was super small, I did a lot more sc2tog-ing. 
 On the second round of the sides only, not the handles, I did (sc2tog, sc in next 3).
On the third round: (sc2tog, sc in next 2). 

And voila! Crocheted handles that won't come unraveled!


Happy Crocheting!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hello September

Pretty much the same as the title. 

I attempted to think of "non-craft related" blog post ideas... but then things kind of went KA-BOOM!, so there's nothing of non-craft related thing to show pictures of. 

Thus, here are some pictures of craft items that may interest you: 

 Woodland animal fabric! They will make very cute (and hopefully inspiring project bags!) 

A whale with baby safe eyes! This one is a free download that can be found here.

 To the right is a yarn cake that was made with a yarn winder! Yup, I took the plunge and bought a Knit Picks Yarn Winder-- for $20, it's a great value! I've been having a yarn-winding obsession lately! The only complaint I have is that there are no "directions" in the sense of how many yards/grams are recommended for one cake. I accidentally let one skein get so big the machine made a loud click. But it still works, so all is well!
A slug that has been named Violet! The name was obviously inspired by her colour, but has thus turned into a demand for two more slugs named Klaus and Sunny. 

Sunny should obviously be yellow-- any colour suggestions for Klaus? 

(Yay for book references!)

And last, but definitely my favourite, is my self-designed lion! :) 

Isn't he adorable?! 

His name is Singh the Lion. For a first animal design, not too shabby, right?! 

Singh will be making an appearance at the State Fair as my "Crocheted: Toy" entry. Fingers crossed!

Check out this blog for more Finished Objects!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Amigurumi, again!

Before the Amigurumi Break, there had to be some amigurumi completion, right? :) 

Hence, here are two recently Finished Objects!

 Remember the monster from the WIP Wednesday a few weeks ago? Here he is! His official name is Friday Monster. He was given to my grandfather after he managed to spend a whole Friday out of the hospital! (The two Fridays before, he had been admitted). 

And another finished item is a Monkey! He got some not-so-positive reviews, so he may stay tucked away in my personal collection. While he was supposed to be an entry in the Entry Competition, he's not nearly as big as I was hoping for; thus, another monkey shall be made (if time allows!) 

Now, I have some exciting craft-y news coming up! I'm hoping to share that within the week. And I'll have more finished items to show you next Friday! :)

Want to see more Finished Objects? Visit Tami Ami's Blog! Have a great, craft-filled weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Amigurumi Break

Last week off before University courses begin again! I thought I'd spend the whole break crocheting my heart out, especially focusing on amigurumi.

But for one reason or another, I kept getting disappointed with the final amigurumi results-- all  I could do was focus on the little things that could be better. Instead of feeling like I was going to keep failing, I took an Amigurumi Break! 

With that said, I went on a hunt for another pattern. A bag? A blanket? A scarf? Yes to all the above!

 This is the one project I'm probably most excited for. The yarn is NaturallyCaron.Com's "Spa" yarn-- 70% acrylic and 30% bamboo. The pattern is Bellflower Infinity Scarf (Ravelry link). 
 Another scarf I have in the works is a Sampler Cowl. These motifs come from the book Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs. (Is it irony if the motifs I was most drawn to were squares? Oh well!) 

I'll be making another square like the bottom-left one in different colours. Then when I get my hands on the book Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia, there will be 4 rectangles in between each square. It'll be bright, fun, and perfect for winter! :) 
Finally, more motifs! These will make a bag for my grandmother. I need one more motif before I start weaving in ends and sewing them together. The motifs are much bigger than they're supposed to be, so instead of 12 motifs, I'll only use 6. The pattern can be found here: African Flower Bag.

But what about a blanket? Well, I'm holding off until the new Crochet Today is released. Their last winter issue had beautiful blanket patterns, so I want to see if there are any in there that really call out to me. 

And that is my Work in Progress Wednesday! Check out Tami's blog to see more WIP Wednesday posts!

Friday, August 17, 2012

(not-so) Finished Objects

Oh, goodness. 

Well, I missed Saturday's post... and Wednesday's post... Can I give the excuse "It's been crazy"? 'Cause it really has been! There are no finished objects to report, but I thought I'd give a sample of ALL my "Work in Progress"s today. 

We'll start with this one! I'm using a pattern from the Craftsy course Design Your Own Monster

He uses elements from a few different patterns. All parts are crocheted (including the eyes and nose). However, I had to special order the Safety Eyes in order to complete him... hopefully he'll be completed soon!

Next up is the one I'm really excited for! Another FreshStitches' pattern, this Monkey will be entered into the State Fair as a Creative Competition entry. I am hoping he finishes to be at least 15" tall, as his category is Handmade Stuffed Animal, larger than 15". I'm really liking the shades of brown in this one, though! 

Next up is yet another FreshStitches pattern (it's a healthy obsession, I promise!) This one is free on Ravelry, Mr. Scrappy, the Scrap Animal. I'm not a fan of scrap projects at all, but as it's a category in the Fair, I thought "Hmm, may as well use the scraps I have laying around!" 

There are many, many more Work-in-Progress projects laying around, but they are calling out to me more than a very long blog post. :) Have a crafty-weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Yup. I missed Wednesday's post, mainly because I had no major WIPs to report. 

But yesterday, I had the opportune time to start and finish an item-- waiting for the UPS truck to arrive with my portable air conditioning unit! 

Want to see what I accomplished?

It's an Ice Cream Cutie! My very first self-designed amigurumi project!  He has all the sweetness of regular ice cream, with no sugar added! 

 My original design looked absolutely nothing like this, except for the colours and wavy arms. 

If I were to remake it, I'd find a way to make the scoops more scoop-like.

But it's good for a first amigurumi design, right?! :) 
The Ice Cream Cutie crossed the Ravellenics finish line yesterday afternoon. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! 
Find more Finished Objects on Tami's blog!