Thursday, August 3, 2017

Umm, when did it turn into August?

Wow, I just realized it's August already, and I hadn't posted a list of goals for the month! I guess that shows how crazy life has been lately!

My list for August will be simple. I'm trying to clean up around my work area (my recliner in the living room), and I'm getting way too many half-finished projects piling up. I need to reduce my WIP (works in progress) pile!

Finish 4 of my 7 WIP:
  1. Garden Shawl
  2. Unicorn
  3. Farm Mat
  4. Giraffe CAL - DONE
  5. Horse CAL - DONE 
  6. Tool Belt
  7. Fancy Maroon Cowl
Reduce stash by 5# (Starting Point = 627 entries, 196.7#)
DONE - Best best sales record for August (2014=$30, 2015 = $0, 2016 = $28; shouldn’t be hard to beat) Thanks to a run on chicken potholders on Etsy, I have a new record for August! 

Of course, there will be fill-in projects. Pokemon Go Balls seem to sell very well at the street vendor event I do on Thursdays, so I will be making a bunch of those. At tonight's event, I will have a bucket of water for a "try before you buy" on the reusable water balloons, so I may have to make up a bunch of those to restock! I have eight doctor appointments (including cataract surgery) in August, so my crafts-to-go bag with supplies for chicken potholders will get a good workout! 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My Patchwork Pups

In my quest to use up yarn scraps, I made up a quick little pattern for a small patchwork pup. This is a great way of using up those little balls of yarn that are about the size of a golf ball. 

Both of the smaller pups were made with worsted weight yarn and a size F hook. They’re only about 5” long. The larger pup (yellow & green) was made with two strands of a light worsted held together and an H hook. Gauge doesn’t matter… heavier yarn (or two yarns held together) and a larger hook will make a bigger pup. You just want your stitches tight enough that the stuffing won’t show through.
Pieces are worked in continuous rounds. Use a stitch marker to show the beginning of your rounds.
Round 1: 6 SC in magic ring
Round 2: Increase in each stitch (12)
Round 3 & 4: work even (12) –  if you are doing two-tone legs, change color here
Round 5-7: work even (12). Finish off, leaving a long tail for sewing on later.

Round 1: 6 SC in magic ring
Round 2: Increase in each stitch (12)
Round 3: *1 sc, inc*, repeat around (18)
Round 4: *2 sc, inc*, repeat around (24)
Round 5: *3 sc, inc*, repeat around (30)
Rounds 6-8 (3 rows): work even (30). If you are doing a dog with a striped body, change color after row 8.
Rounds 9-13 (5 rows): work even (30). If  you are making the body striped, change color after row 13.
Rounds 14-16 (3 rows): work even (30)
Round 17: * 3 sc, dec*, repeat around (24)
Round 18: *2 sc, dec*, repeat around (18)
Stuff before the opening gets too small! J
Round 19: *sc, dec*, repeat around (12)
Round 20: dec around (6)
Finish off. Weave yarn tail through the 6 stitches and pull tightly to close.
This guy sold so fast, I never got daytime pictures of him! 
Round 1: 6 SC in magic ring
Round 2: Increase in each stitch (12)
Round 3: *1 sc, inc*, repeat around (18)
Round 4: *2 sc, inc*, repeat around (24)
Round 5: *3 sc, inc*, repeat around (30)
Rounds 6-7 (2 rows): work even (30).
Round 8: *3 sc, dec*, repeat around (24)
Round 9: *2 sc, dec*, repeat around (18)
Stuff before the opening gets too small! J
Round 10: *sc, dec*, repeat around (12)
Round 11: dec around (6)
Finish off, leaving long tail to sew to body.  

Round 1: 6 SC in magic ring
Round 2: Increase in each stitch (12)
Rounds 3-5 (3 rounds): work even (12).
Finish off, leaving long tail to sew to face.
Using black yarn, embroider nose / mouth.

For the larger pup, I added an increase row [Row 3 = *1 sc, inc*, repeat around (18) ] to make a larger muzzle for the bigger pup. Then I just did two rows even.

Ears (make 2):
I made mine with a nice fuzzy yarn (fun fur held together with a strand of bulky yarn for the blue ears, Bernat Pipsqueak for the yellow). Since it was bulky yarn, I think I used size I hook.
Chain 7.
Sc in 2nd chain from hook and next 4 chains. 3 sc in last chain, then, working on the other side of chain, make a sc in the backside of each chain. Finish off, leaving a long tail to sew to head.

Pointed Tail (on small pup with striped body)
With worsted weight yarn and size F hook:
Leaving a long tail for sewing, chain 8
Join with a slip stitch. Chain 1 and work a sc in each chain. Mark the beginning of your round with a marker. Continue to work in rounds, decreasing at the beginning of each row, until you have three stitches left. Pull up a loop in each stitch and pull through all three stitches. Finish off, tucking yarn end inside tail.

Floppy tail:

With bulky yarn and Size I hook, chain 8. SC in 2nd chain from hook and each remaining chain. You can make it a little curlier by doing 2 sc in each chain. 

I played with different eyes... depending on the size of the head. I used sport weight yarn and a smaller hook and did 6 sc in a magic ring, then embroidered  a small black knot. I also did more of an elongated eye by making a chain (4 or 5) and doing sc down one side, 3 sc in final chain, and sc back the other side. For the bigger puppy, I did a chain 2, and sc in 2nd chain from hook in black to make a larger pupil. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Star-Spangled Project List for July

Fancy title, eh? Well, working this up over the 4th of July weekend, I felt it needed a bit of a patriotic flair! 

July is going to be crazy... I'll admit that right now. Vacation Bible School at church, a week-long trip to Michigan to watch my granddaughter, and some canning of those great summer fruits and veggies... so, my lists are a bit more vague this month.

I started out the month with some organizing, getting a recent yarn gift (a tall kitchen garbage bag full) sorted into inventory, so I can easily find it when I need it for a project. That also helps me to plan out projects, knowing just what I have on hand! 

Then I dumped out the basket next to my chair. It was overflowing with yarn left over from projects. I sorted it by yardage, and made myself three bags: tiny scraps, medium size ball and large ball/slightly used skeins. I found eight balls/skeins of cotton yarn that will be great for more chicken potholders! 
Looking a little neater now.

So, here is my list for July: 
Use up 5 pounds of yarn from stash (starting point 202.7 pounds, 642 entries) DONE - ended with 627 entries, 196.7#
Participate in One and Two Company CAL - DONE

Start work on a princess dress blanket
(changed course and made a superhero dress blanket, DONE)

Make 10 projects from the scrap basket next to my chair - DONE
Finished... #9 Squirtle, #10 Blue Pokeball

#1 - Scrap Yarn Puppy

#2, Puppy has a big brother.

3. Red Pokeball 4. Gold Pokeball 5, 6, 7: Master Ball 8. Pink (not pictured)

Make 10 chicken potholders - DONE

3 added (last 3 in bottom row)

#4... made while waiting at doctor's appointment!
7 chickens   made during s day of air travel!
Finished Monday, 7/17 during 8 hours in airports and on flights, when I made 7 chicken potholders!

Make a striped giraffe
Finished 7/16

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Yarn Hoarder Quiz...

When I saw this quiz on Facebook, I knew I had to take it... answer a few questions and see if you're an "Expert Stashbuster," "Amateur Yarn Hoarder" or "Professional Yarn Hoarder." Hmm.... I know what my family would say... but I took the quiz anyway...

Question 1 dealt with how much I've spent on a single skein of yarn. I would score low on this one... since I'm not one to pick up fancy yarns that run $20 a skein. A simple skein of Red Heart Super Saver or Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn will meet most of my needs. My answer for this one was between 1 point ($5 - $7) and 2 points (Around $20). I try to always use a coupon when I'm picking up yarn, but I may have picked up a Caron Pounder or a big ball of Bernat Blanket without a coupon, and they're $9.99.

Question 2 dealt with how many skeins of yarn I have in my stash...
Now, realize that I have been knitting and crocheting for over 40 years. People give me yarn all the time. I have gotten bags and boxes of yarn when people cleaned out grandma's house, or when they were moving and couldn't take it with them.
Yarn left for me in my office.
Three boxes when a coworker moved from NY to MI
A woman from church was helping her sister clean house...and I got yarn...

The points went from 1 for Just a few/less than 5 (yeah, right) to 2 points for "20 or so" and 3 points for "I can't even begin to count them all". Well, I can count them all, because they're all nicely organized in a spreadsheet on Ravelry, so I know I have over 600 skeins... does that mean I should get 30 points for this one?

Question 3: "Have you ever lied about buying yarn, or hid your most recent purchase from your significant other?
1 point for no, 2 for not yet/thought about it, 3 for yes.
Gave myself a three... as I have been known to keep yarn in the trunk until I have a chance to escort it to its chosen storage bin without others seeing!

Question 4:
When there's a yarn sale, you normally...
-Don't know about it (1 point)
-Check it out if you remember (2 points)
-Mark it on your calendar...and maybe take the day off work (3 points)
I really don't fit into this one... I would say my answer would be "lament the fact that I have to pass up such great bargains because I really don't NEED the yarn at this time"!  I really have been good about limiting my yarn purchases in recent years! For the most part, I have only been buying yarn when I specifically need it for a project. But...I never refuse free yarn...and I have received hundreds of skeins in just the last six months!

Question 5 (here's where I really racked up points!)
Give yourself 1 point if you have yarn in the following places:
-At home, in the designated yarn storage boxes/bags, shelves - check
-At work / at your desk - Check (I bring a craft bag with me to work for when I walk laps around the gym before work!)
-In the kitchen and/or dining room - Check (when I took the quiz, I had a skein of yarn on the dining room table that needed to go into a project bag)
-In the bathroom - not guilty on this count!
- in the basement - Check - that's where I have twelve storage totes!
- in your car - yes, I have a "crafts to go" bag for when I'm stuck waiting, like in a doctor's office
- next to your bed - yes...and under the bed
-in the living room - yes... that's where I work on projects!

You only needed 15 points to qualify as a "Professional Yarn Hoarder", so that's where they put me... I think I would prefer to be called an "Organized Yarn User" - as I regularly pull yarn from my stash and use it up.

All of my yarn is nicely organized in bins and entered into a wonderful organization system called the Stash feature on the Ravelry website. I can browse through pictures, sort by color, weight of the yarn, yardage, or by the date I stored it. So, if I come across an adorable pattern that used bulky yarn, I can browse through what I have, and pull something from my stash. Looking for cotton yarn for a dishcloth? Search for "Cotton".  Or if I'm looking for a skein of blue yarn, I can easily find where that particular shade is stored (a vital feature, since yarn is stored in 19 totes/bags in four different rooms of the house!
The basement storage...but now there are twelve totes.

For instance, when One and Two Pattern company announced their crochet contest this month was Joe the Puppy, and the recommended yarn was a bulky chenille, I searched through my Ravelry stash for "Chenille" and knew just which bin to go to. I pulled out two skeins of Khaki and a skein of white, and got to work. The finished product:
Love how Joe the Puppy turned out!
Yes, my stash is pretty big... if I didn't buy any more yarn, and nobody gave me any, it would be over two years before I would run out of yarn at my current rate of using up stash yarn. I'll just keep plugging away at what I have on hand. So, I guess some would call me a hoarder. Others would call me well-prepared! 
A sample of the Ravelry Stash feature, if I was looking for worsted weight yarn.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Happy Honeybee Pattern

Mini Honeybee Amigurumi
Size F hook
Worsted Weight yarn in Black, Yellow & White
Stuffing material

I made up this honeybee pattern when a friend wanted some cute little bees to give as gifts to her class of preschoolers. They work up quickly, because there is minimal sewing! You make up the parts (legs and wings) first, so when you reach the row where they should be placed, you just tie them on (legs) or sew them on (wings). I like to be able to work from both sides when I'm sewing things on, so that's the way I worked it up. 

Legs (make 6) – Use black yarn
Leaving a 2” or so tail, chain 5. Slip stitch back to the beginning. Finish off, leaving 2” or so tail.

Wings (make 2)  – use white yarn
Chain 6. Slip stitch in 2nd chain from hook. Sc in next stitch, hdc in next, dc in next. 3 DC in last chain. Working in back side of chain, work DC, HDC, SC, then slip stitch. Finish off, leaving 6” or so tail for sewing to body.

Body (worked in continuous round – use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of your rounds).
Start with Yellow
Round 1: 6 SC in MR (6)
Round 2: increase in each stitch (12)
Round 3: *sc, inc*, repeat around (18) (eyes & mouth will be embroidered on this round)
Round 4: *2 sc, inc*, repeat around (24) (first set of legs go here)
Rounds 5-6: work even in yellow (24) (wings go here)
Rounds 7-8: work even in black (24) (second set of legs go here)
Rounds 9-10: work even in yellow (24)
Rounds 11-12: work even in black (24) (last set of legs go here)
Round 13: Work even in yellow (24)
Round 14: *2 sc, dec*, repeat around (18) (stuff before the whole gets too small!)
Round 15: *1 sc, dec*, repeat around (12)
Round 16: decrease around (6)

Finish off, leaving a 6” or so tail. Weave tail through the 6 remaining stitches and pull closed.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The June Penguin Pail - A Baker's Dozen this month!

There is my list for June... Preparing for a show, working down my stash, trying to finally make something for myself, while keeping up with the healthy habits I'm trying to establish. Let's see if I can do this! 
  1. prepare price tags for 6/10 craft show - DONE! 
  2. finish/print “catalog” for craft show - DONE!
  3. make a dozen wool dryer balls for show - DONE! 
  4. make a Pikachu basket for displaying Pokemon Go balls - DONE! 
  5. Reduce stash by 5 pounds / Starting point = 624 entries, 204 pounds - DONE
  6. participate in the One and Two Company CAL - DONE with Joe the Puppy! 
    I also participated in the Happily Hooked Magazine CAL for a Scrappy Snake. It was supposed to be 41" long... I used two strands of yarn and a larger hook, and ended up with a 5-foot snake that makes a nice body pillow! 
  7. exercise 4x per week, get 10K steps at least twice a week (Week 1... 2x exercise, didn't hit 10K, closest was 6,998)
  8. Make myself a fancy shawl to wear over black sundress (never got around to it!)
  9. Make Snappy Tots Ribbed Towel using multiple strands of crochet thread - this got bumped by an order for 2 chicken potholders that turned into three orders and an Etsy listing for them! So I am done with doing a project that uses up some of the crochet cotton I received... just not the project I had planned! 
  10. Keep grocery shopping purchases to a minimum, to work down pantry stash - doing pretty well with this. Had one week where I was shopping hungry and bought too much! 
  11. Make crocheted water balloons from Bernat Blanket yarn in stash - 14 down, 6 or so to go (until yarn runs out!) - DONE (but then I got more Bernat Blanket yarn for my birthday...)
  12. Publish Honeybee pattern - DONE 
  13. Finish winding hank of yarn that is half-tangled on the dining room table - DONE 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Day! May Day!

It seems like April flew right by! I didn't quite make it through my Penguin Pail for April, but that's okay, because I got a custom order that has been keeping me busy.

My focus for May will be Finish, Fotos and Fine-Tune. (It pains me to ignore the red squiggly line under Fotos... I know it should be Photos, but I wanted a three-point alliterative outline!)

My custom order of a Texas Horned Toad stuffed animal. It has been a challenge, with all the bumps!
Finishing up the body

A Fireman doll, to be donated as a raffle prize for my June 10th craft show (doll is done, need to make his clothes)

My Farm Play Mat (1 square of 4 is done)
The One and Two Company Crochet-Along project  ( Ollie the Owl Pillow ) - DONE

I would like to have a full-color catalog of my 330+ finished items for my craft show on June 10th. In order to do that, I need to sort through box after box of inventory, arranging items by category, and, on a nice sunny day, get pictures of them on a nice clean white background. Getting all the factors together (time, camera with charged batteries, sunny day) is the biggest challenge! I managed to get my collection of baby dolls photographed over the weekend.
Medium Baby dolls, in the $8 - $15 range
Large Baby Dolls - $25 each
So, of the 330 lines in my inventory spreadsheet, I have about 40 photographed and ready to catalog. (Photography done, inventory organized!)

  • I would like to get 125 items listed in my Etsy shop this month. (37 done) My latest listing - Happy Honeybee

  • I have recently purchased two boxes of yarn from garage sales. Right now much of it is sitting next to my chair. I need to tidy up the area! DONE!
  • My daughter is coming home from college at the end of May. Craft show inventory currently stored in her room needs to find a new home. DONE! 
  • I've been working on building healthy habits, like getting 10,000 steps and sticking to my daily calorie allotment, taking my vitamins and getting enough sleep. I made a chart in my bullet journal, hoping to see lots of check marks at the end of the month!