Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OMG, she's Married!!

So the Super Secret Project I've been teasing you about for months is finally here!

Tah dah! It's an afghan!

The reason I didn't give any details before is that it was a wedding gift for a close friend of mine, and it needed to be a surprise. It would have been obvious. Purple and orange are the couples respective favorite colors, and what other occasion would I make an afghan like this for?

My original plan was to make a more traditional "crochet afghan" out of grannys stitched together and a border, but ever design I found or came up with on my own just seemed too old fashioned, both for me (I'm a big fan of all things modern) and for the newlyweds. I mean, the bride is 3 days older than me. I'm not her Granny (haha). 
Also, the idea of hiding all those ends.....well, it was overwhelming to say the least. I'll do an afghan like that eventually, just not quite yet. 

While designing the original afghan, I made a few test squares, and fell in love with one granny in particular called the Chocolate Box, which is where the inspiration for the final afghan design came from. 

The border is my own creation. Intricate and "fancy" while keeping with the simple lines and modern vibe of the whole piece. I also did an adaptation of the Tunisian stitch all the way around for the final finish.

A few more angles:

Look how small it folds up! Crazy right? When I spread it all out to take pictures after I finally finished it, even I couldn't believe how much work I put into it. I was like...."are you sure I did all that?"
Just another reminder why I only crochet for people I care about, and not for money. You can't put a price on something made with love!!

~Yes, I know I suck at posting on a regular basis. But I like to post when I have something to show off, so let's not talk about it anymore. (Also, I procrastinate, and since there are no deadlines here, well, life happens.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

omg it's Spring!!

It's Officially Spring!! Though it's been unseasonably warm 'round her the last couple weeks, and today it feels like June or July.

But as much as I love this warm weather, it means sitting inside crocheting scarves and hats and things just isn't practical. Who wants to think about snow when it's so beautiful outside?

Add to that fact that I work in an air conditioned office, so while sundresses and sleeveless tops are the most comfortable outside and at home, it get's chilly. The solution? I'm crocheting myself a cute little shrug! I found this pattern at FaveCrafts that I like, but true to form I'm only a few rows in and I've already altered it. :P

It's just that the yarn I'm using is finer than the yarn they suggested, so I'm also using a smaller hook and had to start out with a lot more stitches. (I'm using Serenity Garden from the Deborah Norville Collection in Crocus. aka a really pretty variegated purple yarn) So mine will look similar, but with smaller holes, and who knows what else i'll tweak. 
You'll have to wait and see!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Idle Hours Bring Gray Flowers

Weekends are going to be much easier to update now that I'm working again. But I took some time off (*gasp* I know) because my wrist started to bug me. And I've been working a bit on the secret project again too. Which should be finished in a few weeks (yay!) and then will just go off the radar until the big reveal. 

For tonight, I'm just posting a little something I whipped up. Gray is one of my more recent favorite colors, so I made a flower to put in my hair. It's an upgrade on a flower I made last summer, and super easy. Maybe I'll write up a pattern for it? 

I love how flat it is. Not an obnoxious lump on the side of my head.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Excuses excuses

I know, I know, I missed a week. But I've been busy. Well kinda. Mostly I've been logging major hours into my biggest project, which is also a secret. It's almost (ish done) but a very time consuming project. As you will see.....someday. I can't tell you when. *so mysterious!*

But I've also been working on a few other little things which are here.

To begin, I made a couple little domestic goodies for my mom.
I've been playing around with some new things, so I used patterns for these. 

First, it's a removable / washable Swiffer cover! It can also be reversed for a more flat / scrubby side if you so choose. The tie and bow to keep it on tight was my contribution, but you can find the pattern here. Also, I used one kind of yarn, (variegated) instead of two.

Second, a pot holder. My mom is a big fan of red and black. Can you tell? The pattern calls for 4 colors, but I tweaked it for just the 2. You can find the pattern I started with here.

Last but not least, a little kitschy decorative pillow, for a special guy I know. He's a big fan of Halo, and was rather psyched. No pattern, just a very pixelized picture and some graph paper. 

In other news, I started a new job today. Woo! So far, I really like it, but it's definitely going to cut into my hooking time. So we'll have to see what happens. Have a good week!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Creepy Cute

I'm going to level with you. Creative as I may be, I can't draw.
Okay....if I really try I can come up with something better than a stick figure, but I've been surrounded by artists for most of my life, and I know it isn't a strength of mine.

But being a band geek/creative type has its perks, and I know my fair share of artists. One such artist is someone I went to high school with whom I've been a fan of for years. Her name is Anna Lisa, and she's got her own artsy blog here. (Most recently Anna Lisa started writing a webcomic called Minus the Laugh Track. It's pretty sweet if I do say so myself.)

Anna Lisa has this character she's been drawing forever called Emilin, and she's got purple hair, and is overall just super creepy cute. (She even has an older version of Emilin as a wicked tattoo)
So sometime after I started crocheting, I decided I wanted to crochet her. So I did. It's a project I've been working on here and there for a while, but she's finally done. Ta da!! I absolutely love how it turned out. How bout you?

(I know the colors are a bit  off, but I was trying to make her hair show up on camera the same color as it really is and the pics weren't really behaving.) 

I worked mainly from these two pictures of Anna Lisa's (the second picture is a doll she made. An illustration printed onto fabric I believe).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Have I Gone Mad?

"Have I gone mad?" -The Mad Hatter
 "You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are." - Alice

If you've been paying any attention, this is the first post that is more than a week after the last. Technically only 8 days, but lets face it, I thrive on technicalities. Since my goal was one or more posts per week, and Thursday is still part of this week (technically), I don't really have to fret. 

What I really need to do is nail down what day of the week I will always post by, but I really like flexibility, so I'm not sure that's ever going to happen. My last few were on Wednesdays, so I'm going to say that that's my goal, but not 100% all the time (I'll probably shoot for Tuesday next week to make up for this week being "late").

ANYway. The reason I didn't post anything yesterday is because I spent a lot of time this past week finishing up the plans, and actually starting my secret project -which of course is secret so I cant give you any details :( -and don't have anything finished to show you.

So instead, I'm going to tell you a little story. About how I went crochet crazy. 

I learned how to crochet my first semester in college when my roommate found an easy pattern for a hat made from 5 granny squares stitched together like an open box. I didn't like all the fuss of 5 pieces, so I tweaked the pattern for my own purposes, and proceeded to make (at least 6 more). 

To the left is just one example. (yes, my hair is in about a zillion little braids under the hat. but hey, it's college. also, i'm a natural blonde. who woulda thunk?)

So after I went mad from hatting, I went looking for something a bit more challenging. I was rushing Kappa Kappa Psi (National Honorary Band Fraternity) and thought it would be the coolest thing ever to give my Big Brother a plush Psyduck (the pokemon) with greek letters on his chest.
Kappa Kappa Psi-duck. Get it? 

Anyway, a quick Google search brought me to the fabulous blog by Wolfdreamer who had written a pattern for Psyduck!! So that definitely happened. 

I also used Wolfdreamer's pattern for a Raichu, and a Mario Mushroom, though I don't have pictures for those. But the point is I was hooked. I started to make up my own patterns (toys and clothing alike) and I haven't looked back. I absolutely love giving people gifts, and it's just so much more fun when they're handmade. Don't you think?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Flower Pillow = Flowers Squared

Normally, i'm against using other people's patterns, but browsing the crochet section of a book store recently, I found a book of patterns intriguing enough to actually purchase. 

200 Crochet Blocks is just that. 200 patterns for squares that are mix & matchable. I've been toying with making an afghan or three, so it's a great book for inspiration and ideas.  
Designing an afghan however, is a much bigger project that one might imagine. So to get a little bit of use out of the book right away, I decided to cover a pillow I already had.

The back is 4 plain granny squares, and I used a flower I found in the book for the squares on front. But true to form, I had to tweak the pattern before i was satisfied, so not even this is anything  you could find in the book. I just refuse to make anything that isn't just the way I want it. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

1 Scarf, 2 Scarf...

That's right. More scarves!! But it's winter people, don't judge. And these two are special deliveries for my favorite gals in Colorado. So they really need these. 

Red Scarf:
First is up is a super fluffy, super warm red swirly scarf for my kooky Aunt Rachel. It's a bit like a feather boa made out of yarn. It took more yarn than I originally anticipated but in the end, it turned out just the way I imagined. 
I also swayed from my usual yarn for a more earthy red mix. "Country Loom" by Loops & Threads in Hollyhock. 

Bonus! This scarf matches the headband I gave to her for Christmas!

Blue Scarf:
The pattern for the next scarf is a bit simpler, because the yarn is so pretty it shows off itself. It's for my cousin Trina who snowboards, so my goal was sporty but feminine, and this pattern/yarn combo hit the nail right on the head, don't you think? This yarn is "It's a Wrap" by Sensations in turquoise. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Which came first? The cats or the yarn?

(my princess)

Can someone please explain to me the correlation between cats and yarn? 

I understand that to be a cat means you must be unequivocally fascinated by yarn. It's in their blood.
That's not what I'm talking about.

What I would like to know is why are people who knit and crochet, (aka "yarn people") more likely to have a cat than a dog?

They don't even have to actually own a pet. From my experience, if someone knits or crochet's they are more cat friendly than dog friendly. 
Maybe it's a demeanor thing? But I don't believe that, because cats, dogs, and people alike come with a wide spectrum of personalities.

Is this even true? It could just be me, but it just seems that "cat people" and "yarn people" seem to, quite often, be the same people.

So am I getting this idea from the dozen or so people that I can think of? Or is this a universal thing?
Am I just assuming incorrectly there are masses of people like me? 

~No new projects to put up at the moment. I've got a handful of things "in progress" so I thought I'd try my hand at a more narrative blog.~ 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baby it's Cold Outside

Even though Christmas this year was more green than white, this winter is still supposed to be really bad. I'm honestly a bit afraid of what February is going to be like.
So whether we get the snow storm of the century, or just the "usual" bitter Michigan winter, my friends and family cannot blame me if their necks are cold. I crocheted 10 scarves this season as gifts, and one more for myself this past week. 

The scarf to the left is the one I made for myself. This one, the two shown below, and the one scarf not shown are all basically the same shell pattern. Using the right size hook creates a very pretty lacy effect, without loosing too much warmth. I always make sure my scarves are long enough to wrap all the way around the neck at least once with decent "tails." I did however, make my purple one a bit longer because I like a lot of scarf (and I had more time after the holidays).

I made two scarves for my mom this year (below). The scarf to the left is made from very chunky yarn that she picked out, and I had to go out and buy a special hook. I used the same shell pattern but with fewer across. Even with the bigger hook, it still ended up a very warm and chunky scarf. Great for blizzard conditions. 

The scarf on the right is made with fuzzy angel hair yarn that isn't the easiest to deal with, so I used the giant hook for funsies. It's entirely single crochets, but the giant hook gives it that lacy-ness. It is also very long and can be wrapped around multiple times for warmth.

The next 3 scarves were made similarly as well. Instead of starting at the short end, and crocheting until the scarf is long enough, with these I started with the long end. This technique makes vertical stripes very easy, and the shorter ends tend to be more uniform. The blue and black scarf is very long and warm (for my brother), and has a tighter gauge to help make it more masculine. 

Arianna & Haleigh modeling their new scarves.

The final scarf of the Christmas season was more simple. Brown to match a hat I previously made for my friend Josh, it's entirely front loop only half-double crochets. The front loop only creates a bit of a striped look within the stitches, and half-doubles are a bit warmer than other stitches. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Curious Christmas Present

My cousin's son Brennen  asked for books for Christmas, and when my mom decided that we were going to give him Curious George books, volunteering to make him a Curious George plushie only seemed natural. 
I wrote a monkey pattern this summer for fun, so just adapted it a bit to look specifically like the iconic George. It was definitely the most involved project this season, but I love projects that make me  think and get creative. Fun fact: his arms & tail are poseable. :)

A couple close ups:

Brennen was trying to take a silly picture. He loves his George.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!! Welcome to 2012.

At the moment it feels exactly like 2011, except it has 365 more days of potential. 365 because it's leap year and there are a total of 366 days this year. Fun fact. 

Along with the new year comes my (hopefully) regular updates to this blog. My goal is to put something new up at least one a week, but I'll be posting a bit more often until I get all my Christmas crafting up here.

First up is  a crocheted penguin hat I made for my brother. Simplicity at its best, it's my own design (as are the majority of my crafty creations) and made 100% of my favorite brand of yarn, Caron Simply Soft.