Tuesday, December 11, 2012

in progress - knitted santa christmas card holder

Hello, friends!  Welcome to another stressful day in the life of Jenn.

Yes, I know I'm complaining.  But my stupid migraine aura is still there - three weeks after it started - and it's really starting to get on my nerves. That said, I'm trying to ignore it and hope it goes away since nothing seems to help.  The solution is to sit back and relax, which is impossible to do right now.  Go figure.  This couldn't happen next summer or something?

While I wait for heck to apparently freeze over, I've been working on this knitted Santa card holder (click here to purchase the pattern):

And I love it!  I'm further along now than I was in the photo - the whole base is done, hat and all, so now I just need to add the beard and sew on the eyes and pom pom.

Overall, the pattern is very easy - it's essentially a long scarf made in sections and knitted together to create the card pockets.  The best part is that although it's easy, it still has enough difficulty to hold the attention of more experienced knitters.  For example, the loop stitch is fun to make and I had a ball making the nose.  I don't know why - it was just so wonky and funny to me.

I'm using Hobby Lobby "I Love This Yarn" doubled up to create the bulkier yarn needed for gauge.  It's thick enough to stand the abuse of putting cards in and taking them out at the end of each season, but softer than Red Heart Super Saver, which makes it nice for me to work with.  And using thick needles means it's a pretty quick knit (except it's been taking me forever due to all my health detours).

I can't wait to see what this looks like when all is said and done.  Shouldn't be much longer now.  Hubby and I had a bunch of "Dexter" episodes to catch up on, so I wove in a bunch of ends during our marathon this past weekend.  And when I wasn't working on this, I was trying to figure out a complicated beast of a knitted lace pattern that makes me frustrated.  It's awesome :)

That's pretty much it!  I've made a dent in my Christmas purchasing for the year, though I still have a bunch left to get or make.  I keep telling myself as I'll reward myself with a crafting weekend once my eye problem disappears - I've been waiting for that to happen since Thanksgiving.  On top of it all, the woman whose wheel tore my car apart is still evading the insurance company, which is delaying the entire process.  Call me disgruntled.  You know, the first Christmas in two years where I don't have school anymore PLUS a week off from work, I just wanted to enjoy the holiday season.  I know I'm ranting now, but jeez.  I'm beside myself.

More updates to come, so keep checking back :D

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the one in which i overshare

So, where have I been for the past couple weeks?

Well, it kind of starts with this.  Behold my new car (the one on the right):

It's a 2012 Mini Cooper Countryman in cosmic blue with white mirror caps, roof, and racing stripes.  Can you tell I'm kind of in love with it?

It was a random decision.  After taking my 2007 Jeep Compass to get inspected and walking out with yet another $800 of repairs with another $600 on the way after winter PLUS a dying transmission after just 44,000 miles, I decided I'd had enough.  So I started looking at new cars and had settled on a Hyundai Tucson right before Hurricane Sandy hit.  After dealing with that aftermath (and hoping a tree would just take out the Jeep so I'd get some kind of insurance), I decided to take a look at one more car - the Mini.

Behold my car now:

Yes, that is tire treads on the hood of my car, a broken fog light and bumper, and a whole slew of other annoying problems.  After returning home from a friend's housewarming party over Thanksgiving weekend, a wheel shot off a car on the other side of the PA turnpike, torpedoed off the median, bounced, then took out the front of the car I had owned for just nine days at that point.

At the time, we didn't know where the wheel came from, so we just pulled over, reported it to the insurance company, and then notified the police that hey - there's a terrorist tire floating around on the turnpike.  By the time we returned home, we had learned there was another driver involved and blah blah blah - I started to feel better about the whole thing.  You know, aside from the fact it could have crashed through our windshield and killed us.

My car is finally scheduled to go into the shop after a bunch of problems with the other driver's insurance, but thankfully it will get repaired on New Year's Eve.  Thank God it's drivable, but I hate driving around with a brand new dented car having people judge me as if I were the negligent party.

Next on my list?  A three week migraine.  A couple weeks ago, I developed a flash in my eye.  After getting it checked out by two eye specialists, we ruled out anything serious with my eyes and it's not a brain issue.  After then seeing my GP, we decided I'm in the middle of a prolonged migraine cycle brought on by stress.  SHOCK! HORROR! I could go on and on about all of my stressful issues, but I won't - however, the car thing and the way it's been handled is one of them.  So now I'm on all sorts of fun drugs to get this flashing to go away.  It's too early to tell if it's working, but boy am I hyper.

Add to that extended work hours and projects, trying to get the house in shape for the holidays, finishing up my MBA (it's done - DONE!), my cat getting pink eye, and everything else you don't care to know, it doesn't surprise me that my body has given up.  I hope to have all the pieces put back together by Christmas so I can actually enjoy it for once, but if this is my life now, I can only imagine what will happen by then.

So as far as crafting goes, I've been struggling to do pretty much anything.  I'm finishing up my last order before the holidays and enjoying it because it's a Santa card holder.  It's been fun!  I even started one of my Christmas gifts last night.  But you can imagine that with an annoying flash blurring my vision in one eye, I haven't really had the motivation to do anything but nap.

There you have it.  Suffice it to say, I've been ripping my hair out.  I'm hoping to get back in the groove next week.  Hope all you fabulous readers are doing well, and thanks for listening to me vent :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

post craft show: results and lessons learned

Hello, fearless readers!  Before diving head first into my craft show recap, allow me to regale you with an obligatory "get out and vote" message.  Whoever your candidate is, make sure to get to the polls and vote for what you feel strongly about.  Stay educated and make a decision that feels right for you - and don't feel like you need to answer to anyone.

*steps off soapbox*

Anyway, onto the fun stuff: my craft show!

Overall, we did pretty well considering I tried a different strategy.  Basically, I've always been known to under-price myself.  When you're treating it like a hobby, that seems like an okay thing to do.  But recently, I've decided that this is going to be my career someday, and I've started fleshing out a 5-year plan (if nothing else comes from having an MBA, we have that).

When you start running a business, you realize that underpricing yourself hurts the industry - go ahead and ask me my opinion on Wal-Mart.  You're not helping your competitors, so you're not helping yourself.  You're just devaluing what it is you live to do - and that doesn't work for a good crafting economy.

That's why this year, I priced everything what they were worth.  And luckily for me, I still had sales.  Not as many as in previous years, but you know what - I can live with that.  My customers were super excited about their hats and know that they're getting a good quality item.  Oh, and let's not forget - I had a little extra cash to spend on the other vendors who had some fantastic items on display, too :)

But for next time, I really need to remember my audience.  People who buy from my etsy shop are a little different than people who go to these smaller, in-person browsing events.  For example, most of my customers online are adults buying hats for themselves, whereas people attending the craft shows are buying items for pre-teens or teenagers.  This matters due to sizing - if I make a hat or headband fit for a full-grown adult, it's not going to fit a pre-teen.  So that's something to keep in the back of my mind.

Things are back to normal now that Sandy is over and I've re-opened my shop - now it's just time to play catch-up with some custom orders placed last week, as well as another custom order from the craft show.  Lots of exciting things seem to be happening at the same time, and I can't wait for two weeks from now when I can officially concentrate more on the shop!

Friday, November 2, 2012

finished: headbands for custom orders

Woohoo!  Friday at last.  It's sure to be a busy one in my neck of the woods.  I've been preparing a bunch for a craft show tomorrow - so much that I had to put my shop in vacation mode so I could concentrate on building stock.  I think I did a pretty good job with making as much as I did with two weeks of work, class, and a hurricane, but we'll see how things pan out.

Innyhoo, here's a photo of two headbands I finished for custom orders - before, of course, I temporarily paused my shop:

I know I'll be making a bunch more of these in the coming weeks.  I have a few custom orders to work on this weekend at the craft show, too, so there will be lots of photos coming your way soon :)

But for now, I have a killer sinus headache thanks to post-Sandy barometric pressure, so I apologize if this post is frazzled or not written in English.  We escaped fairly unscathed, though we've lost power, cable, and Internet with barely an estimated return date (our friends' estimated return dates are either next week or have blown by with no change, so I'm not expecting them back any time soon).  But it could be worse.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

review + giveaway: the sharp crochet hook

Isn't this hand towel cute?

I bought it for about $4 on sale from Hobby Lobby (kind of pricy, I have to say), though you can also find cute holiday-themed towels at your local dollar store.  But of course, it was a little too plain for me originally:

...so I added the green trim.  How?  By using my new Sharp Crochet Hook, of course!

If you're like me, you've sometimes looked at adorable blankets, towels, or gloves, and thought, "These are cute already, but I'd love to crochet a nice edging around it."  Okay, maybe that's just me, but the truth is, I've definitely thought that before.  Special though it may be.

Crocheting a trim on fabric isn't something that couldn't be done in the past, and you've probably already seen it on cute towel toppers or baby blankets.  It's as "simple" as sewing a blanket stitch around your fabric's edges and crocheting into those stitches.  Tedious, sure, but doable.

But wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to sew around your fabric first?  I don't know about you, but I stink at sewing.  I have a machine that's still boxed up and my embroidery is fist-shakeable.  And when it's time to sit down and crochet something, that's all I want to do: crochet.  None of this "prepping" junk.

That's why I was so happy when Jessica reached out to me and asked me to try the Sharp Crochet Hook.  I had seen it in passing, but hadn't been able to fully look into it.

What is this crochet hook you speak of?

Basically, it's a crochet hook that has a slightly sharper tip (not one that will stab you - no worries!) so that it can easily puncture most fabrics.  So now you can by-pass the whole blanket stitch thing and dive right into crocheting.  I bet you never thought it could be so EZPZ.

My experience:

Overall, I had a great time working with the hook and was surprised at how quickly I finished my small project (even though I had chosen the most intricate pattern).  It was so easy to just start working into the towel and adding the trim.  These towels would make great gifts for the fact they're small, quick, and practical alone.  Pick up some snowman or Christmas towels, white thread, and call it a handmade holiday.

Perhaps my only complaint is that it's difficult for me to crochet with thread in general, so I kept splitting it.  Those of you who regularly work with thread won't have much trouble - if any at all.  I'm sure that the more I use it, the better I'll become.

Now, for the most exciting part of this post: now's your chance to try it out for yourself!

Simply leave a comment below telling me what you'll make with the Sharp Crochet Hook if you win.  Then log in to the Rafflecopter widget below and click on "Leave a Blog Comment" to let me know you commented:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: THIS IS CRUCIAL.  I will be using Rafflecopter to draw the entries, so if your comment name doesn't match what you've used in Rafflecopter, I may accidentally disqualify when you when I cross-check entries.  We all know I love Rafflecopter and use it for all my giveaways, right?  I know, I know - it's kind of a pain, but it helps me ensure that the winner is drawn fair and square.  Plus if you win, you get your name displayed on my page all Hollywood starlet style :)

Have any of you tried the Sharp Crochet Hook before?  What did you think of it?  What did you make?  Would you use it again?

Monday, October 29, 2012

hurricane sandy prep

As most of you know, I'm located near the east coast of the US.  Depending on what source you're reading, we may experience either heavy winds and rain or potentially fatal conditions.  Either way, it's almost definite that we'll be without power for a few days at best.

Here's pretty much what they're predicting (I'm not sure how you've been able to escape the news coverage, but you never know):

I was supposed to post a Sharp Crochet Hook review tomorrow, but am postponing it because I'd like to be able to answer your questions.  I also ran out of time with everything going on, including Hurricane Sandy ridiculousness.

I may or may not have access to the Internet over the next few days, but either way, I wanted to let you know that we are prepared - though my responses may be slow.

Stay safe, everyone, and don't go outside unless you have to (which I do).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

finished: front- and back-post crochet beanie

Hello, hello, hello!

We have started another week, and it's back to work, class, and custom orders for me.  I'm not sure how I managed to do it, but I was somehow able to accomplish a lot this past weekend - including a bunch of custom orders (and even starting one for my upcoming craft show [so I'll at least have one item to show now]).

Here's one of my faves:

It's a cream-colored front- and back-post crochet beanie with matching flower.  I love making these and don't think people order them enough.  That said, it's been gaining in popularity lately, so I'm happy about that.

The pattern is my own, inspired by a picture I saw online years ago.  The yarn is Loops & Threads Impeccable, and I enjoyed working with it.  I couldn't get out to Hobby Lobby to grab any "I Love This Yarn", which is my new go-to acrylic, but I thought this was a good substitute.

If you support my opinion that not enough people are wearing this hat, then check it out in my etsy shop.  They make great holiday gifts (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) or they'll protect you from an early snow storm.  Shout outs to a few of my Canadian customers ;)

I hope everyone is having a great start to your weeks!  I'm sad that my favorite month is coming to an end - even if it means it's almost time to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal soon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

fun halloween knit & crochet patterns 2012

My new "thing" (if you haven't noticed) is compiling adorable knit & crochet projects that cater to upcoming holidays.  I'm not sure how or why this started, but I've really been enjoying my new found interest in Etsy treasuries and the joy they bring when preparing for crafty and festive events.

This week, I put together some paid-for knit and crochet patterns that struck my fancy.  Nothing like some eye candy to brighten a dreary day (and it's been a bit rainy in my neck of the woods).  I love fall and Halloween colors, so they made me happy.

These adorable knit and crochet patterns are sure to get you in the Halloween spirit - and may even make great costumes! Enjoy one of my favorite holidays with two of my favorite crafts:

PDF Pattern Five Li...

SALE Frankenstein H...

Witch Hat and Ruffl...


Halloween Set - Cro...

PATTERN Crochet BUN...

Crochet Garland PDF...

Pattern Frankenstei...

Halloween Witches A...


Crochet Pattern: Ha...

Crocheted Mini Hall...

X361 Filet Crochet ...

Knitting Pattern fo...

Owl Knitting Patter...

Knit your own Creep...

Friday, October 5, 2012

finished: custom crochet mother/daughter slouch beanies

Hello, Friday.  I've missed you a lot this week.  Please come again soon.

As we move on toward the weekend, I want to show you some photos of a mother/daughter(s) hat set I made this week:

The children's hats
The hats come in three sizes: adult, 10-year-old, and 3-year-old, and were created with Red Heart Shimmer.  If you haven't had a chance to work with Shimmer yet, I really encourage you to do so.  It's so soft and pretty, plus it drapes beautifully.  It's been perfect for making my slouchy hats, so I jumped at the opportunity to make more for a custom order.

In making these hats, I found this great hat sizing guide.  Instead of telling you how many inches around someone's head is (thus leaving you to figure it out for yourself), this chart tells you how big to make the crown.

I may whip up a few more of these this weekend in preparation for an upcoming craft show.  I now have less than a month to refill all my stock.  I'm not sure how this will be possible, but at least I'll have more items to show you :)  And possibly some new patterns to share, as well.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

my new "sharp crochet hook"

What a beautiful day.  It's raining and disgusting outside, I have a busy many hours ahead of me, and I woke up to my cat puking, at which point I realized I had the most massive sinus headache ever.  EVER!

The past week or two have not been the best for me, and it seems like my streak of bad luck is going to continue; however, there are a couple things that have made me smile during this hideously awful time.

Like this Sharp Crochet Hook I received to review in the next couple weeks:

And the fact I was able to take this photo on my new iPhone 5 (don't worry - there's a ridiculous story behind how I almost didn't get that, too, thanks to UPS not doing their jobs).

I'm excited to play around with my new toy this weekend.  Sounds like a trip to the Dollar Store for some Halloween-themed towels is in order :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

finished: crochet ribbed headband with flower

The week is almost over, which means I'm thisclose to enjoying a weekend of craftiness.  As long as I get my homework done timely, anyway, but that's my goal.

But before that happened, I wanted to show you pictures of a new headband I listed in my etsy shop:

It's a very simple crochet ribbed headband made from Mary Maxim Starlette in Light Willow, which I had left over from all the Christmas stockings I knit as gifts last year.  It was sitting in the craft bag I took with me while visiting friends last weekend, and I wanted something quick and easy to whip up while we chatted.  This was a great, mindless project that I can't wait to try in other colors.

It's topped off with one of the Leona flowers I've been making a ton of lately.  They're really fun, fast, and versatile; I want to put them on everything!

I'm going to add this to my list of patterns to write down and publish (and it will probably be free because it's so darn easy)!  So keep checking back.  It won't take long for me to write it down - really, it's that simple and quick!

Hope you're all having a great week and can look forward to a fun weekend of yarn :D

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

i "pumpkin" fall - hanging crochet sign and painting

If you thought I gushed about fall too much in my previous posts, then you're probably not going to like this one, either.  Because I made a sign that says, "I Pumpkin/Heart Fall".  And it's now hanging in our hallway.

I found the free pattern online here and made it my first seasonal challenge in my new group "Yarn Challenge".  If you haven't seen the description on my Facebook page, I'm inviting all fiber artists to take part in monthly and seasonal challenges.  I provide the pattern and ideas; you provide the time and supplies.  It's a great way to not only bust your stash, but to make some items you may not have made before and challenge yourself with new projects.  You can join Yarn Challenge by clicking here.

It was much faster to make than it looks.  I think I completed the whole sign in about 2 hours - maybe a little more.  And I even got to practice my embroidery which, as you can see, I haven't done in awhile.  I love my sloppy chain stitch, I guess.

This past weekend was crafting day with the girls, which is where I started working on the sign.  Our boys decided to go golfing, but we wanted to do something that was actually fun.  So we packed up our crafts, picked up some pumpkin coffee and munchkins from Dunkin Donuts, and headed down to the action.

For the most part, we painted wooded pieces all day - and it was awesome :)  Here's what I made:

Ghost "BOO" door hanger, purchased from ACMoore in 2007.
Painted pumpkin and witch hat magnets.
I started the ghost door hanger back when Hubby and I started dating - in 2007.  Five years later, I finally painted the rest of it and hung it on our front door.  The little pumpkin and witch hat, I turned into magnets.

It was such a gorgeous weekend and we had a great time sitting outside painting our fall crafts.  So much fun that it put me in a mood to keep painting; I had to hit up ACMoore yesterday to buy yarn for a custom order and I walked out with $20 of wooden items and paint.  I smell divorce papers in my near future.

Today is once again a beautiful fall day.  I wish I could sit on our porch and keep painting fun Halloween tchotchkes, but that will have to wait until next weekend.  In the meantime, I have plenty of custom order to enjoy and keep busy with.

Hope everyone else is enjoying the season as much as I am!

PS: My iPhone 5 left China yesterday and is due to arrive on Friday.  Color me happy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

finished: custom knit black headband with maroon flower

Hi-ho, hi-ho, to another week we go!

After a few days of gorgeous fall weather, we're sadly experiencing some rain and chilliness in my neck of the woods.  When I woke up this morning and saw a wall of grey, I decided it was going to be a pumpkin coffee day from Dunkin Donuts.  Life has been grand ever since.

So as I sit here sipping my autumnal treat, I thought I'd show you some photos of my latest completed custom order:

My customer wanted a black headband with detachable maroon flower.  I had a fun time making this because I don't usually get to mix up the colors and I thought they looked great together.

I also used the cable cast-on this time around instead of the usual long tail cast-on.  I had been having issues with the cast-on side being too tight, especially now that I use the super-stretchy bind-off.  Now, both edges lay flat and even, and it's even a little stretchier.  Woohoo!  It just stinks that it takes a little bit longer to do.

In other news, I got another custom order yesterday and have now surpassed 100 orders in my etsy shop.  The start date says 2007, but I didn't really start selling until sometime in 2009.  I consider 100 orders a huge milestone and want to push myself further once classes are over.  I swear, I'm diving in head first in the new year.  Lots of new products and ready-to-ship items will be coming your way :)

Aaaand, if you'd like to order something custom, now's the time.  I just redid my order form.  This year, I may close down custom holiday orders early just so I can get everything done for my personal gifts.  We'll see what happens!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

finished: knit headbands for custom orders

Hi, everyone!  As the week winds down to a close, I wanted to show you these cream-colored knit headbands I made for two custom orders:

The base pattern was my Whitney Headband (that you can grab by clicking here) and the flower is once again the Leona Flower - my new favorite.  These headbands are already becoming more popular in my shop as we head into fall, so I'm looking forward to making a bunch more.  Next up is a black headband with maroon flower.  It should be gorgeous!

So once class is over in November, I'm going to convert my patterns to PDF.  You'll still be able to print them directly from my blog, but I've decided to also make them downloadable from Craftsy.  I think this will help make it not only convenient for you (my wonderful readers), but it'll also help me organize which patterns are free and which ones are for sale.

Someone remind me to do that because I know I'll forget to do it (thanks to upcoming holiday preparation).  I've already started on some gifts, but keep getting distracted by random things that pop up.

Anyway, I'm excited for this weekend.  Somehow, all my evenings have had something going on, and now all my weekends (that I purposely left open) have filled up, as well, all the way into November.  I know I say this in almost every entry, but I think I need a break.  Or another vacation.  It's hard to believe our beach vacation was already four months ago.  Seems like just last week!  I hope everyone is a little less stressed out than I am at the moment :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

and now for something different: box stitch afghan in progress

I know what you're thinking... "When was the last time Jenn made something that wasn't a hat?"

To be honest, I couldn't tell you.  I've been whipping up all sorts of hats and headbands for the past couple weeks.  Don't get me wrong - I love making them.  There's that whole "instant gratification" thing that I love, which is mostly why I've chosen to make and sell hats to begin with.

But sometimes it's nice to switch gears  and work on something mindless and long-term.  Take this simple box stitch afghan I've started making with some Red Heart Super Saver scraps:

I originally purchased the yarn to make a different afghan, but never got around to it.  Shock!  It feels good to put it to some use.  The colors still look great together, and to be honest, I think this pattern looks so much nicer with these colors than the afghan I had planned for it before.

I was inspired by this pattern in the Sep/Oct issue of Crochet Today magazine.  If you have access to a copy, definitely take a look.  It's a simple pattern that I've used before, just never for a full blanket.  For example, I once made a box stitch afghan in strips then sewed them together, which created a zig-zag effect.  This is quite pretty, though, too.

Not entirely sure what I'll do with it when it's done.  Maybe it can be a blanket for my craft room.  Cool fall nights and winter are coming up, and it can get chilly in there!

On that note, I'm really happy that it's starting to feel like fall.  It's my favorite season with two of my favorite holidays, not to mention the three year anniversary with Hubby.  I'm excited for everything this season brings each year, and for some reason, I'm really amped up this year.  I'm looking forward to crafty weekends with my lady friends, Celtic Classic, leaves changing, yarn shopping in Philadelphia, concerts, and most importantly, finishing my Capstone and being done with school.  YIPPEE!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

finished: knit double moss stitch hat with flower

Happy Thursday after Labor Day!  Short weeks are my favorite, and this one has been blowing by.  I can't believe we're more than halfway through already.  It's both good and bad - I'm looking forward to the weekend, but I'm worried about never having enough hours in the day.

The good news is that I finished a bunch of custom orders last weekend, so I had some time to work on patterns I've discovered over the months.  One of them was this cute knitted hat:

I can't find a link to the pattern right now, but I'll add it as soon as I do [ETA: FOUND IT!].  It's just a simple 1x1 rib followed by rounds of double moss stitch.  I'm always amazed at how the simplest patterns create the most beautiful textures.

I added the crochet flower later using the Leona Flower pattern - my new favorite!  I made it detachable by placing it on a safety pin.  Then, I glued on a pretty gem.  Originally, I had wanted a clear gem, but I think the yellow-green one sets off the yarn's teal color.

Speaking of the yarn, I used Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe - another one of my favorites.  This particular ball sat in my stash for about a year, so I'm glad I finally used it for something - even though I have a ton left over.  Not that I'm complaining (it's always a good thing when you can stretch out the life of your yarn!)

I may take better photos and list it in the shop this weekend.  We'll see if I can part with it; I'm tempted to just keep it for myself.  Then again, if I did that with everything I made, we wouldn't have room to move around in our house.

Hope you're all having a great week and that you have wonderful weekends to look forward to :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

finished: black slouchy crochet hat

Good morning, fiber friends!  How is your week treating you?  Mine is just blowing by thanks to not having enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I need to accomplish.  But that's just something I've gotten used to - what fun is life if it's not spiraling out of control?

I'm here to show off this black slouchy I made over the weekend for the Playin Hooky Giveaway winner (click here for the pattern):

The winner liked a previous hat I had made in this style using Caron Simply Soft.

So let me complain a little bit about Caron and their prices (and yarn prices, in general).  I remember a time not four years ago when Simply Soft surpassed the $3 mark.  It had always been one of my favorite, better-quality, mass-produced acrylic yarns, so I used it for everything and winced every time the register rang up more and more.

Do you know how much a skein was when I purchased more this past Friday?  $4.29.  What is going on?  For the same price (or maybe $2 more), I can get something similar from my LYS, which I want to support more than these chain stores, anyway.  Good grief.  And because the hat is slouchy, you can only get one hat per skein.  I might be able to squeeze out a skullcap or headband, but who knows?

And so ends my rant for the day.

If you didn't hear about the giveaway, basically a bunch of talented online vendors came together to promote each other's shops and help Playin Hooky reach 5,000 Facebook fans.  The response was amazing and I am pleased to welcome over 400 new fans to my own Facebook page.  I'm grateful for everyone who appreciates what I do as a current hobby and (hopefully) future full-time business.  I hope you enjoy these posts!

Friday, August 24, 2012

finished: custom knit headband with flower

Happy Friday!  I hope you've all had an enjoyable week with lots of crafting.  I feel like I've been able to accomplish so much without having class (even if it was just once a week).  No homework to worry about has been an awesome thing.

I'm popping in to show you a headband I finished up for another custom order.  I'm loving how it turned out:

The pattern is my very own Whitney Headband, and the flower is the Leona Flower.  This crochet accessory is exactly what I've been looking for all these years: a layered rose that stays flat against your head instead of sticking out and looking like something is growing out of your ear.

I hope my customer loves it as much as I do.  These headbands are so fun and quick to make up and they're definitely a best seller for me.

And, believe it or not, cream is the most popular color.  I would love to find out of it's just because cream is a nice color, or if it's because neutrals match anything.  This time, I chose a cream color from Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Yarn" brand.  I started shopping at Hobby Lobby about two months ago and really do love their yarn.  The selection, as well as the quality, is amazing.

Have a fabulous weekend!  I'll be taking some projects on the road with me while Hubby and I travel to a wedding.  I'm looking forward to seeing some friends and enjoying one last fun weekend before my capstone class begins on Monday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

finished project: red slouchy beanie for custom order

'Ello, 'ello!

Is everyone back to normal after the Olympics?  Or the Ravellenic Games?  I meant to participate this year, but it just didn't happen with my summer class.  I guess it was worth it since I got an A - can't complain!  My inner chant sounds something like, "Three more months... three more months..."  November can't come soon enough.

I wanted to pop in and show you a photo of my most recent custom order: a red slouchy beanie using my own pattern (available here):

Red is the most popular color for this beanie, but I can make it in any color(s) you'd like.  I'm thinking about making up a few in some more sample colors - I need to stock for an as-of-yet-unscheduled craft show in the fall anyway, so might as well!

I'm not sure what happened, but I've been getting regular orders again recently.  Must be close to Autumn :)  My favorite time of year!  Time to whip up a bunch of hat and scarf projects, which is exactly what I'm about to do for some upcoming commissions.

Hope you're all having a great week!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

knitted bunny set (baby photo prop)

Two posts in as many days - wow!  Something must have kicked my bum in gear.

Or not.  I've had some photos sitting around that I never posted about, so since I've been taking a short crafting hiatus, I figured I'd fill in the gaps with some old photos.

So for this entry, I'm going to show you a cute bunny set I improvised for a custom order:

The hat is just a standard baby hat with some easrs I free-formed using a similar technique to the puffs in a Beekeeper's Quilt.  I'm thinking of writing up a pattern and/or doing a tutorial because they can be altered for any hat.  Halloween is coming up, so you can never be short of home-made costume ideas.

The diaper cover is fairly basic, as well.  I found a free diaper cover pattern I liked and altered it by using  plain old stockinette.  This helped the hat and cover match in style.

For the finishing touches, I created a pom-pom bunny tail by using just my fingers, then sewed on some clear buttons to hold the cover in place.  I think it came out pretty cute, if I don't say so myself.

Since taking this photo, I also imrovised a little carrot for the baby to hold in the photos.

All in all, a quick and easy set that will look great on any newborn!

I'm working on getting photos of my 8,000 current projects, so expect some more posts next week.  I'd like to work on some knitting this weekend, but I'm headed to the Poconos for a fun trip with the ladies because all our husbands will be baseball groupies out in Pittsburgh.  My guess is I'll be a little distracted - I've already started packing wine.

See you all next week!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

fireworks surprise - fun and different granny squares

Hi, everyone!  Today, I wanted to show you some photos of granny squares I completed for a group giveaway.

The contest's winners were able to choose what colors squares they wanted, so each group member had to crochet one black+white square and one purple+pink square.

Now, it's nothing against granny squares, but I didn't want to make a standard one.  I've made a crap ton of those in my lifetime, so I was looking for something a little more challenging.  That's how I wound up coming across this Fireworks Surprise square over on Ravelry.  And I just went to town on it.

Here's what I came up with:

The yarn is Red Heart Super Saver in Black, White, Medium Purple, and Petal Pink.  I'm not the world's biggest fan of Super Saver, but the color variety is fantastic and it works up really well for nice, thick, comfortable afghans.

Do you have any non-traditional granny square patterns that you've fallen in love with?  What attracts you to something a little different?
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