Friday, February 25, 2011

Valentine Crochet Flower Swap

Happy Friday!  If you haven't had a chance to visit me on Blogger, make sure you get over here and check out my all-new header.  It's pretty amazing and I'm a little in love with it.  It's so bright and kooky :)

I participated in another flower swap and shipped them out last weekend.  This time, the theme was Valentine's Day, and I'm really pleased with the way they came out:





I used new techniques, like crocheting with beads (I guess that's not really a new technique since I've been crocheting jewelry for awhile now).  The patterns were from  the book Nicky Epstein's Crocheted Flowers, and I think they came out super pretty and sparkly.  Look at all that bling!

I'm not sure if you've noticed by my posts yet, but I have a thing for glitter/anything that blinds you in bright sunlight.

So anyway, I'll make another post when I receive my group's flowers.  I'm excited to get them.  I love having all these flowers on display in my craft room.  Because it just wasn't colorful or craft enough :P

Have a great weekend, everyone!  I'll be tackling a tangled hank of yarn to use with my new ball winder.  I've spent about 2.5 hours trying to fix the disaster it's become and I'm about halfway through.  This should be fun stress relief between my homework...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Featured shop item: Sparkly pink knit headband with daisy loom flower and BLING!

I realized I haven't been blogging a lot of my current projects.  Some of my current projects end up in my etsy shop, and I sometimes don't think they get the attention they deserve.  I'm not sure if I'm awful at advertising or what, but I thought I'd start featuring an item here and there on my blog to give my readers and faithful customers more information about each product :D

Back in January, I visited a friend of mine in West Chester and we took some time to shop at her amazing Jo-ann Fabrics.  You have to understand that my experience with Jo-ann this far in my life has always been eh.  You know, if you want fabric, it's definitely been the place to go, but never if I wanted yarn.

This Jo-ann was fantastic, though.  So much more yarn than my local ACMoore and even Michaels.  I made it a point to pick up some Caron Simply Soft Party yarn because I just can't buy it around here, so I stocked up on some Fuschia Sparkle and Spring Sparkle:

Caron Simply Soft Party - Spring SparkleCaron Simply Soft Party - Fuschia Sparkle
Aren't they great?  Of course, I dived into the pink yarn first, and this is what I came up with:



Holy bling!  To clarify, it's one of my usual knit headbands, but with a sparkly daisy loom flower and a bunch of bling glued to the middle.  I absolutely love it and will have to make one for myself in the future.  But for now, it can be purchased in my etsy shop.

I can't wait to break into the green!  I just hope I'll be able to find this yarn at a local store again.  I'd love to try some of the royal blue color.  So pretty!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If you could only read one magazine for the rest of your life, which would it be?

This probably sounds like I'm trying too hard, but I absolutely LOVE Crochet! Today (I swear, I'd read this over Cosmo any day). I can't get enough and read each issue cover to cover every time I get one (luckily Ravelry exists so that I can easily look up patterns and which issue they're in - I've been getting the magazine since 2006!) But whenever I'm stuck in a creative rut, I can pick up any old issue and get to making something.

The patterns are on the more trendy side, so you'll never find something frumpy, and it's guaranteed to cheer me up if I've had a bad day because the writing is always lighthearted and genuine. I just subscribed to the all-new Knitting! Today magazine and can't wait to start getting that, too!

How do you feel about pattern magazines? Do you find them offering more or less what a pattern book would? Or do you like the variety in each issue?

Ask me more knit and crochet questions on Formspring!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

All around the web

Happy Sunday, all!

Before I head out of here for the day, I thought I'd let you know about some sites I just joined.

First, there's Bloglovin.  I've seen this site popping up on some blogs I read for almost a year, so I thought it was time I invested. So now you can follow my blog with bloglovin.

And finally there's my new Formspring account, where you can ask me anything.  I set it up to answer general knit and crochet questions you may have that aren't appropriate as a blog response.  So check me out on Formspring and ask away :)

Hope you all have a great rest of your weekend.  I hope to be back this week posting about some recent projects :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

Whether you're single or attached, I hope you were all able to enjoy the holiday!  So many people are vocal about their Valentine's Day dislike, and I understand the point that every day should be special.  But really, it's the one day out of the year you can use the "I'm hanging out with my hubby" excuse and not get the shifty eyes.

But for many people, there are other things to celebrate on Valentine's Day.

This is my oma (and I'm throwing in a really awful photo of me for free, as well):

Me and oma!

Valentine's Day is her birthday, so this past Saturday, the whole fam got together and went to dinner, followed by cake and coffee and her house.

But you'll notice she is wearing a hand-crocheted scarf - made by moi!  I've tried to make her presents for her birthday the past few years because (and you may have guessed this already), my oma is the person who taught me to knit.  Granted the scarf is crocheted, but I'm not sure I'd have picked that up without having known how to knit first.  And I think she appreciates what I make.  In any event, the scarf came out pretty nicely.

The pattern is from Debbie Stoller's Happy Hooker, which I re-purchased over the weekend since losing it somehow in our move last year.  I used larger hooks than called for because I know my gauge is always tight, and I loved how loose it came out this time.  The yarn was new for me: Caron Simply Soft Paints in different shades of red - it was really beautiful and I'd definitely buy it again.  Caron never disappoints me.

Here are some close-ups of the scarf so you can get a better look at the colors:

Oma's birthday scarf

Oma's birthday scarf (detail)

And here's a photo (taken using Instagram for the iPhone) of me wearing the scarf to redeem my appearance in that first one.   Ouch.

Oma and her crocheted birthday scarf

Thanks, Oma, for helping me develop my love for the fiber arts!

Happy day after Valentine's Day!  For what it's worth, I do have the best hubby ever.  He got me Swedish Fish with a candy jar to keep on my desk at work so I don't think about killing people as often, a bottle of Clover Hill Catawba wine (who doesn't love a good Catawba), and a yarn ball winder!  He knows me so well.

Maybe next year I'll get a photo of him smiling :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Free Crochet Pattern: Easy and Pretty Headband with Button

Yet another snowy, annoying, ice-falling-from-the-sky day brings us a fun winter pattern!  Check it out:





This pattern was created to make a headband for a friend of mine, so I thought I'd share.  If you run into any errors or need anything explained, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer them as best I can in the comments.  I wrote it down pretty quickly, so I may have missed a step or two.  Just let me know :)

Yarn used:
The light green example is Bernat Satin
The brown example is TLC Essentials

Size G

Pattern: (Follow the instructions below or download the PDF version from Craftsy!)

Ch 74

Row 1:  Hdc in 3rd ch from hook; hdc until end of row.  3 hdc in last st; hdc across opposite side; 3 hdc in last st.  join in first hdc (NOT ch).

Row 2:  Ch 2.  In back loop only (BLO), hdc in same st as join and in each st across; 2 hdc in each of 3 corner sts; hdc across other side; 2 hdc in last 3 corner sts; join to first hdc.

Row 3:  Ch 2.  In BLO, hdc in same st as join and in each st across;  (hdc, 2 hdc)3x over the three 2hdcs in previous row; hdc across opposite side; (hdc, 2hdc)3x over the three 2hdcs in previous row; join in first hdc.

Row 4:  Ch 2.  In BLO, hdc in same st as join and in each st across; over 6 corner sts work (hdc, 2 hdc)3x;  hdc across opposite side;  over last 6 corner sts work (hdc, 2 hdc)3x; join in first hdc.

Row 5:  Ch 2.  In BLO, hdc in same st as join and in each st across; in 7 corner sts work (2hdc, hdc)3x, 2hdc in 7th st; hdc across; in last 7 corner sts work (2hdc, hdc)3x, 2 hdc in 7th st; join to first hdc.

Row 6:  Ch 2.  In BLO, hdc in same st as join and in each st across;  in 8 corner sts work (2hdc, hdc, 2hdc, ch 2, sk 2 sts, 2hdc, hdc, 2hdc); hdc across opposite side;  in last 8 corner sts work (2hdc, hdc)4x; hdc until end of round; join to first hdc.

Row 7:  Ch 2.  In BLO, hdc in same st as join and in each st across;  in 8 corner sts work (2hdc, hdc, 2hdc, 3hdc in ch, 2hdc, hdc, 2hdc); hdc across opposite side;  in next 8 corner sts work (hdc, 2hdc)4x; join in first hdc.

Row 8:  Ch 2.  In BLO, hdc around.

Row 9:  Border of your choice!  The green example is (ch1, sl st) in each st around.  The brown example is reverse sc!

Wrap around head to find where button placement should be.  Sew on button of your choice, weave in ends, and you're good to go!

I like this headband because you can use the button area to display a really cool button you've found and wear it on the side of your head as more of a decoration - OR you can wear the button in back like a regular headband for a simpler look, but decorative enough from all the hdc ridges that you look a bit fancier :)

Hope you're all staying safe in this crazy barrage of awful weather we keep getting (it's been at least twice a week for the past month that we get hit).  Tonight's supposed to bring 2" of ice, so that's fun!
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