Friday, December 31, 2010

Crocheted Jewelry - The Perfect Christmas Gifts

Well hello again!  If you've been following my blog, you'll know that my handcrafted gifts this year were crocheted jewelry.  Jewelry is completely beyond me and something I had never really attempted before (with the exception of those kits you get as a kid).  But the fact these necklaces could be crocheted intrigued me, so I was happy to get started.

Before I show you the pictures, the pattern I followed (for supplies and techniques) can be located here.  The pattern calls for metallic thread, but I decided to try it with wire.  It produced a similar but different result, and I really love how they turned out.  If you're interested in working with wire, I recommend a 28 gauge.  I say this because I accidentally picked up a 26 gauge wire in the gold and it was like trying to crochet a paper clip - not recommended!  The 28 gauge worked for me, so there you have it :)

Okay, this will be a super long entry due to the pictures, fo brace yourselves!

First, the necklace I made for Nannie, who wanted a brown necklace with a gold chain:

Crochet "Browns" Necklace w/Gold Chain & Clasp

Crochet "Browns" Necklace w/Gold Chain & Clasp

Crochet "Browns" Necklace w/Gold Chain & Clasp

Then there was Oma, who wanted a red necklace with a gold chain:

Crochet "Reds" Necklace w/Gold Wire & Clasp

Crochet "Reds" Necklace w/Gold Chain & Clasp

Crochet "Reds" Necklace w/Gold Wire & Clasp

Cassy wanted a black and white necklace - I had ordered those huge white beads online, not knowing how big they would be, and hadn't planned on using them.  Then at the last minute, I decided to see what they'd look like, and I loved it!

Crochet "Black & White" Necklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

Crochet "Black & White" Necklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

Crochet "Black & White" Necklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

Then we have Patti who wanted a purple necklace with a silver chain:

Crochet "Purples" Necklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

Crochet "Purples" Necklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

Crochet "Purples" Necklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

And Aunt Cathy wanted blue and silver:

Crochet "Blues" Necklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

Crochet "Blues" Necklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

Crochet "Blues" Becklace w/Silver Wire & Clasp

Next, there was my mother-in-law's necklace (which came as a surprise, so I totally guessed at some color combinations):

Crochet Necklace w/SIlver Wire & Gold Clasp

Crochet Necklace w/Silver Wire & Gold Clasp

Crochet Necklace w/Silver Wire & Gold Clasp

And last but not least, my mom's!  Who never told me what colors she wanted, so I also just guessed at something.  She wore it to church on Christmas Eve, so I guess she liked it :)

Crochet "Multicolor Pearls" Necklace w/Gold Wire & Clasp

Crochet "Multicolor Pearls" Necklace w/Gold Chain & Clasp

Crochet "Multicolor Pearls" Necklace w/Gold Wire & Clasp

That's it!  I'll eventually be selling this style of necklace in my shop, but I want to make sure I know what I'm doing first.  I'm still inexperienced.  But that was that - hope you like them!

Have a Happy New Year, everyone! Enjoy some champagne and wonderful night with friends or family (or both).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

All I want for Christmas is a crap ton of patterns

Behold, my knit and crochet pattern Christmas haul:

The Crochet/Knitting Stuff I Got for Christmas!

Some of these I received as gifts, and some I bought for myself with some Christmas money on Amazon.  Looks like I'll be keeping myself busy this year.  Or just look at the patterns a bunch, contemplate making them, decide I have no time, and put them on my bookshelf, haha.  We'll see!

Here are the pattern books shown, starting with the front row and working L-R:

Row 1: (wow, this is reading like a knitting pattern already!)
  1. 2011 Knitting Pattern A Day Desk Calendar
  2. 2011 Crochet Pattern A Day Desk Calendar (from mom and dad!)
Row 2:
  1. Cowl Girls: The Neck's Big Thing to Knit
  2. Hattitude: Knits for Every Mood
  3. 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More (from mom and dad!)
  4. Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Patterns That Go Way Beyond Socks!
Row 3:
  1. The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs: 500 Classic & Original Patterns
  2. 400 Knitting Stitches: A Complete Dictionary of Essential Stitch Patterns
  3. Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics (from hubby!)
  4. Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn
My goal is to go through each of these, try a pattern, and write a review.  We'll see how far I get since classes are starting again next week.  But I did start skimming through them last night and there's not a one I think is a dud pattern book (don't you hate when you buy or get a pattern book and there isn't at least one fun thing to make?).  I love almost all of these projects, so I just need to finish up some other commissions before I get started.

Something tells me that any free space I had on my pattern bookshelf won't exist anymore when I go to put these away :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Have Yourself a Merry Knitted Christmas

How was everyone's Christmas?  We had a great one on our end :)  Except that yesterday with my family was cut short due to a supposed snow storm that never arrived.  I think we got about 2" total and the roads are just slush today.  My parents had planned a big breakfast of homemade waffles for us and some time to play all our new Wii games, but we unfortunately left at 6AM to avoid the "snow storm".  Silly weathermen!

Anyway, I know you all are wondering (I'm sure it's been keeping you up at night) how my bolero turned out!  I posted a teaser photo on Christmas Eve just to celebrate the fact it was done, but here are some details:



And here's me and hubby at my parents' on Christmas Eve:

I finished it on the 23rd at our friends' house, where we had a Secret Santa gift exchange and some nummy holiday food.  I think I've gained about 25lbs! I was also attacked by all the babies at one point, which I loved and I'm pretty sure it set my biological clock into a ragingly fast tick.  Oops!

More to come this week since I've finished a couple other orders, plus I received my traveling scarf in the mail!  Just need to put it together.  And I can finally post all the jewelry I made for everyone - I had to keep it all a secret before :)  WOOHOO!  Only 4 days left until 2011... and so much to do.

I'm enjoying my last day off of my 4-day Christmas weekend by crocheting and playing Donkey Kong, courtesy of hubby.  Hopefully all of you were able to take some time and relax over the holiday, as well.  I know how hard it is to be working full-time, trying to start a business part-time, trying to do well in school, and still keep everyone happy - so it's been nice to sort of kick back and reintroduce myself to my husband and family for the first time in awhile, haha.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A quick little FO before signing off for Christmas!


Looky looky what I finished last night :)

I'll have better photos after this weekend, but I just wanted to let you all know I'm finally done with the bolero.  WOOHOO!  Bring on the celebrating.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and have a safe and fun weekend.  Hopefully Santa brings everyone the knitting or crocheting notions you've all been asking for in your stockings!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Crazy Christmas Crafting Weekend - Only 4 More Days Left!

So how are everyone's last-minute holiday projects coming along?  We're in the home stretch now :)  Luckily, my remaining projects are more fun than stressful, even though there's only a whopping four more days to finish them all (not including the wrapping I'll have to do later in the week).

There's only one more gift left to buy, one more left to make, one more commission, then maybe some other gifts if I have the time... but those can even wait until next week.  Still, when I'm not coming home and doing a massive amount of reading for my job these days, it's nice to curl up on the couch in front of our tree, watch Christmas movies, and roll around in my yarn.

Speaking of movies, we got Disney's A Christmas Carol OnDemand last night and it's probably one of my favorite versions now (my absolutely favorite being A Muppet Christmas Carol).  If you haven't seen it, you should!  And the soundtrack is amazing, as well.

Back to crafting... here are a couple things I finished over last week and this weekend:








100_2183 copy






I'm not sure why these photos make those flowers look so huge, but I promise they don't protrude that obnoxiously and are pretty adorable, if I do say so myself!

The basic pattern for the headbands can be found on etsy from Boppy Beanies.  I had drafted my own pattern awhile back using crocheted short rows and was never 100% happy with the design, so I came across this seller who's gracious enough to allow others to sell items made from her pattern.  I made a few changes, like not changing to double-stranded yarn on the last row, and I put a border around them and chose a different flower.

I still have a ton of projects I completed yesterday, but since they are gifts for my family (and they read this thing :P), I won't be posting pictures until after Christmas.  We'll just say that the gifts I made are fantabulous and I'm so excited to give them out!

Enjoy these last few days before Christmas, and don't stress out too much :D

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow Woes and Crochet Santa & Poinsettia Magnets

Those of you who know me will know that I really hate winter.  This would probably be different if I was even mildly athletic and could ski or snowboard, or even if I kind of enjoyed the cold.  But I like being a couch potato in the winter time and I enjoy being warm.  Plus my car enjoys being in one piece.

I'd like to state that not only did my ABS kick in this morning, but I also spun out once.  Then I nearly crashed into another car who was fishtailing through a stop sign, so that was awesome.  I also just heard someone crashed into a building down the street.  This was all not much more than an hour ago and it's already melting.  Gotta love seasonal transitions in PA.

At least it's starting to look a little more like Christmas now that the ground is covered in white.  I hate snow, but it hasn't felt like the holidays without it, either.  So in honor of our first snowfall, here are the finished crochet poinsettia and Santa magnets I finished for Paula (shipping out this week):



The Santa faces are based off a pattern from Mary Maxim that is no longer in print.  I end up making at least a few of these every year because they're just so darn cute that my friends and family fall in love with them.


This time around, I made the poinsettias out of crochet thread.  It wasn't as awful as I had imagined, and I think I completed them quicker than I did when I made them out of worsted yarn.  Go figure!  I thought it would be tedious, but it was painless - and the results were well worth the work.


There's a picture of the poinsettia with a water bottle cap to give you an idea of its size :)

Also, my blog has been listed in the Top 40 Knitting & Crochet Blogs!  Check out the site to find out why.  I'm thrilled to have been chosen as #16.  Thanks so much, Tara!

That's it for today!  Have a great Hump Day :D
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