Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Penguin Pail Revisited

For a while, I got away from making up a list of items I wanted to accomplish each month. I think it was during the craft show season, October - December, when I was taking custom orders and kept bumping other projects out of the way. 

I started back up last month, making up a calendar for April with a checklist for tasks I need to accomplish each month (bills that need to be paid by a certain date each month), my current WIP (works in progress), and outstanding orders. I also made up a generic list of items I would like to do each month to stock up for fall shows... a Giraffe, a pattern from One and Two Company, an item from my Ravelry queue (my "oh, that's so cute, I HAVE to make it" list). 

April went pretty well. I finished some big projects, like this farm play mat.

So, I'm back with a "Penguin Pail" bucket list for May. My goal for this month is "clear the lists and start the second half of 2016 with a clean slate!" We'll see how those plans go...I have a craft show on May 14th at the Holland (NY) Tulip Fest. If I get any custom orders from that show, this list gets bumped! 

So, the list! 
1. Finish Penguin Gloves (custom order) (plugging away at this, making sure I do a little each day) Using This Pattern  
2. Finish red & purple sock monkey ("if you make it, I will buy it order, for October show)
3. Start Hungry Caterpillar baby cocoon set (order for baby due in October)
4. Test translated pattern for mini-shark (written in German) - DONE!
5. Finish BB-8 doll (probably 50% done, but all the little medallions are tedious!) DONE!

6. Finish one Owl Obsession square - DONE

7. Try new Giraffe Pattern - DONE (well, close enough... developed my own giraffe pattern) (and had such fun that I made two more...)

8. Lose two pounds (in my yarn stash, that is!) DONE - started with 168, down to 163.6... as long as I don't do any yarn shopping this week!
9. Finish projects in basket by chair so it's not overflowing - DONE
10. Pull yarn for a new farm play mat (for my craft show table)
11. Pull cotton yarn for Fish Scrubbies (another "if you make it, I will buy it" item) - DONE !
And the fish was so cute, I tried making owls too...

12. Update blog - DONE!

There is a giveaway coming in the next few days (it's there now!) on my Facebook Page. First I need to make the item I will be giving away. I'm going to make a hedgehog and name him Waldo. Then I will have a "Where's Waldo Going?" giveaway! I'm trying to come up with the base rules. So, keep an eye on my page!

Now, back to projects!  

Can't wait for a giveaway to get a hedgehog? There are five currently listed in my shop! <<< (clickable link to my Storenvy shop!)
(Oops, down to four now... Rocky is on his way to California!)
Baby shark, #4

The basket by my chair that I would like to work down!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Yes, I'm still here!

Wow, it's been a while since I posted!

I took a break from Penguin Pails and just focused on finishing up special orders in the past two months. There were some challenging orders:

Baby Dinosaur for order

I got a picture of a dinosaur stuffed animal and was asked if I could make it. There wasn't a pattern that I could tell. Google image searches on the pattern only turned up results in a foreign language (maybe Portuguese?) So I did a lot of measuring and experimenting and came up with the dinosaur above.
I got an order for a Dr. Who scarf, with a link to the official BBC pattern. 19 feet long... 50 stripes...912 rows. That took a while! 
Also got an order for another Mike Wazowski. He was fun to make! Love those big, floppy arms and legs!
One dinosaur led to another... when I posted pictures of one dinosaur I made, I got an order for another one!
Once the orders died down, I decided to try a new project, just for fun... I pulled out some fun fur yarn and started making hedgehogs!

Once the fun fur ran out, I tried something even more fun... using up yarn scraps!

Hedgehog for fun! 

 All of the hedgehogs are listed for sale in my Storenvy Shop: Penguin Place Crafts. In fact, I have over 200 ready-to-ship items listed there!

So now I am finishing up a few WIP (works in progress) and gearing up for a couple of spring craft shows. Once I see what's selling and what I need to restock, the Penguin Pail may be back...

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The November Penguin Pail

Wow, it's November already. This is going to be a crazy month! I have craft shows three of the four Saturdays, and will have company the other weekend! Craft shows usually result in custom orders, so I need to keep my list short this month.

Finish Spider! I have the body made, just need to finish the legs. Working on such a narrow tube isn't one of my favorite things to do... so I procrastinate.

Make Minnie Mouse Hat! The lady who wanted a Minnie Mouse hat for a one-year-old promised to be at my 11/7 craft show to pick it up. DONE

Make colorful fish lapghan. It's an out-of-state custom order, which I can send back with my Thanksgiving company, if I get it done on time! (started... bottom fin and first 6" of blanket)
About 8 more stripes to go. This will be an adult size blanket.

All the pieces done as of 11/24/15. Just need to sew them on!

Ten Catnip cat toys: this is a new category I want to add to my craft table. They will work up quickly and use up scrap yarn. Done - Made up a few catnip mice, too, and sold one at my last craft show!
8 Down, 2 to go.

Three Dryer Monsters - a new design I'm working on to use up some wool yarn.

Complete any custom orders that come in
Black headband - Done
Green Snake - Done
Purple striped snake - Done
Two Minions -Done
Two airplanes - Done
Mike W. Hat - DONE

New orders:
6 Catnip toys  DONE 

1 Infant Hat DONE 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The October Penguin Pail

Well, I didn’t do very well in September… finished 7 of 12 items on my to-do list. 

"Of Mice and Monsters"
So, it is October… Two craft shows (17th and 24th). Two outstanding orders on the hook now. Three other “if you make this, I would buy it” projects. Two pages of design ideas in my notebook. I need to make definite goals so that I don’t get overwhelmed!

(1) Finish “Of Mice and Monsters” custom order (15 small critters for birthday part treat bags) - DONE! I made some extra so the mom would have a choice.
(2)Finish spider (picked back up 10/29/15)
Making progress... just needs legs!

(3)Finish hammerhead shark - got all the pieces done on 10/24, just need to get it all sewn together and adjust the tail fin a bit.


(4) Turn one of my rough drawings into a new design - DONE
Got an order for a purple pig... so made it up as I went along.
(5) Make two more motifs for stained glass hood
(6) Make four owl motifs for blanket
(7) Cast on baby blanket with Italia yarn - DONE - I did a "Crazy Cat Lady" display for our church's Trunk or Treat for Halloween, and I took my knitting along!

 October 18 Update - Well, the bad news is that I am not making much progress at all on this list.

The good news is, the reason I'm not making good progress on the list is because I'm getting so many custom orders. 
Made up this cow for a custom order and got an order for another one with a matching pig!

I got orders for two matching monster hats to look like a monster toy I made.
And another custom order... for a Pig Monkey! 

10/22 - I'm back to working on the Hammerhead shark in the evenings, have about 3 hours of work left on it. I've started work on another custom order in my to-go bag. 

October 27 update - Now that I've finished the shark blanket, I just might get my Penguin Pail accomplished after all... I still have some custom orders to work on, but the few items remaining on the Penguin Pail shouldn't take all that long...
Another custom order... a Snowman Basket

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The September Penguin Pail

Okay, I aced August. Now, as school starts, Mom's Taxi service will be making more runs, I will be sitting in the bleachers for volleyball games, and fall craft shows start up. It's going to be busy, and  I will probably start getting orders that might keep me from finishing up items… so I want to clear my WIP. So, here is my "Penguin Pail" for September

  1. Finish horse scarf (just needs ears sewed on and mane added) DONE
  2. Finish tool kit (hammer and screwdriver done, pliers half done) -
  3. Finish Spider (just started head)
  4. Finish Dinosaur (just started head)
  5. Add price tags to the basketload of finished items DONE
  6. Add above-mentioned finished items to my inventory spreadsheet DONE
  7. Scrap Bag Challenge revisited - 2 pounds, 11 ounces of scrap yarn to burn through - DONE!
    Beginning of the scrap bag challenge
    Finished off the scrap bag with these!
    These three popped out of the scrap bag this week!
      September 10th, one third of the way through the month, and the bag is down to 1 pound, 14 ounces!
  8. Make another fish lapghan, documenting my work better so I can publish the pattern
  9. Sew button on Snowman cup cozy (last item that needed buttons sewed on sat on the table for two weeks) DONE
  10. Finalize details on commission for Owl Obsession order - colors, size, etc.
  11. Make Elegant Knit Crown for customer - DONE! 
  12. Develop new pattern for striped giraffe in a smaller size (first attempt was an epic fail, I ended up with what I am calling "Punk Pony")
September 30 update...
 Well, things got busy with a couple of custom orders. I ended up ripping out the work I'd done on the dinosaur (#4), didn't do anything with the spider (#3), and only got as far as the back fin with the new fish lapghan (#8). Customer is still debating colors for her Owl Blanket, but says she doesn't need it until next fall. So, all those projects will roll over into October, as I work on an order of fifteen mice and monsters for birthday party favors. Fall craft shows are beginning... so I'm hoping for a bunch of new custom orders! 

7 down, 8 to go in my "Of Mice and Monsters" order

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I've created a monster!

It all started Sunday morning, when I was ready for church, but my daughter wasn't. I pulled out the bag of yarn I have set aside for my August Penguin Pail Challenge, figuring while I waited, I could pull out that tangle of yarn in the bag and get at least one little ball wound.
Surprise, surprise... that whole mess of yarn was nothing but short strings, mostly between 4" and 18" long. At first, I thought I'd have to toss the whole mess, but then I thought a monster with multi-color, multi-length hair just might look cute. The wheels were churning, and later that evening I started on one.

Since then, I've made three... all different, but the same concepts, so I'll try to explain what I did.
For reference purposes, let's call them (L-R) Baby, Mom, & Dad

The first one I made was the one on the left, Baby. I grabbed a small ball of green yarn (maybe about 1 ounce worsted weight) and a G hook. I started with one leg. I did 6 sc in a magic ring, then increased in each stitch for the next round. Then I worked even for a couple of rounds. Finish off that leg, make another to match. Then I did a chain two, crocheted around the top of the first leg, back along the chain two, and around the second leg, then back across the chain, to make one big circle for the body. I did a few rows even, then did a decrease at the outside center of each leg to start tapering the body. When I was almost out of yarn, I ended off, leaving a long tail to sew up the top.

For Mom's body, I made her legs longer and did a longer chain between the legs.  I had a bigger ball of yarn to play with. With Dad, I was working with sport weight yarn and a size E hook, and wasn't sure how far it would go... so I made his arms and legs stubby... but then the yarn kept on going and going, so he ended up pretty tall. Hey, they're monsters... anything goes... monsters come in all shapes and sizes!

For Baby's arms, I did 6 or 7 sc in a magic ring and worked even for about 3". I didn't stuff the arms.
For Mom's arms, I did 6 sc in a magic ring, increased to 12 in the next round, worked a round or two even, and then decreased back to 7 or 8 and made about an inch more of arm (although I put them too high and they look more like horns than arms!)
For Dad's arms, I did 6 sc in magic ring, then increased to 12, and only did 1 or two rows. He has short, stubby arms.

One thing I learned after Baby - making the arms first works best... then I can just keep going with the body until I run out of yarn, rather than guessing how much I should leave for making the arms.

For the eye,
Black yarn: 6 sc in magic ring
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch. Finish off.
Round 3: Attach green yarn. 2 sc in first stitch, sc in next stitch. Repeat around.
With white yarn, embroider a highlight on the border between black & green. Baby & Dad have a simple V. Mom has a square.

Once eye and arms are attached, stuff and sew up the top seam on the head. Then have fun with the hair! 

For the hair, just grab a couple of strands of yarn, pull through a stitch to make a loop. pull your yarn ends through the loop and pull to tighten. Repeat across top of the head. If you want a fuller head of hair, repeat with another row on the back of the head, one row down from the top.
The Messy Monster family continues to grow, with Cardinal O'Harry
 Updated 8/5
I made a taller guy, Cardinal O'Harry. You can see he has different legs. I started out with 6 SC in a magic ring, then went to 12 stitches in the next round. I worked one or two rounds even, and then decreased back to six (stuffing the foot a little before I did all the decreased) for the rest of the leg. Arms are similar... but I increased to 9 and decreased on the next round, to make the arm ends a little smaller than the feet.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The August Penguin Pail

Oh, I came soooo close to finishing in July! Just one more day, and I might have aced my Penguin Pail! But, I didn't finish the Amish Puzzle Ball Turtle, so he carries over to August.

1. Finish Amish Puzzle Ball Turtle - DONE

I'm starting out the month with about 18 of 25 pieces done, so it's only a few more hours work... I hope...
Finished Sunday night, 8/2

2. Make another dinosaur blanket, with some pink! (Started Monday night, 8/3) DONE - finished 8/15

3. Design a fish blanket - DONE - Finished 8/22

4. Finish my yarn inventory (I've inventoried 6 bins with 135 yarns...some multiple skeins, and have 9 bins to go. I am estimating 18 hours work to finish it.)
8/4 - 7 down, 8 to go.
8/11 - DONE! (I figure that 138 pounds of yarn would last me, oh, about two years...)

5. Another Scrap Bag challenge DONE
It started with this $2 bargain bag from Goodwill, but as I inventoried yarn bins, when I found little balls of yarn that I didn't want to weigh, photograph and enter into inventory, I crammed them into the bag also, so I have about three pounds of scrap yarn to turn into cute little items!

Sunday 8/2 update: I went through the scrap bag this morning and discovered that what I thought was a tangle of yarn that could be untangled into some usable balls of yarn was actually a wad of short strands of yarn, 4" - 18" in length. I was about to toss it all when I pictured a shaggy-haired monster!
Nothing longer than 18" in this mess...

Scrap Yarn = Messy Monsters!

And off we go!!!
August 7
One week into the Use It Up challenge, and I've made 5 Messy Monsters, a dragon scarf, a headband, and a happy face scrubbing mitt. The bag that was stuffed so full I could barely zip it now has about 3" of empty space at the top.

Almost two weeks into the Use It Up challenge and the bag is only about half full...
Another week's worth of projects...
 This week, I made two stuffed animals (puppy and giraffe), three Messy Monsters and two dishcloths from my scrap bag (well, I had to add some off-white for the puppy, and some more variegated yarn for the giraffe). Bag is about half empty now, but I'm setting it aside for a few weeks to focus on the other projects. I figure the smaller projects from that bag will be easier to work on in the car during a long trip at the end of the month.

Another week, another batch of critters:
The bag only has about 6 ounces of yarn left in it.

Riding "shotgun" for a 7-hour trip to Michigan helped me to churn out a bunch of projects that polished off a lot of scrap yarn. I still need to finish some details on a number of the projects, but I got a lot done!