Archive | September 2014

Never too busy for hats

This last weekend was full of physical labor, so very little yarning got done. We’re so close to being done with our flagstone patio, which we’re doing all by ourselves and I can’t wait to show off, but it meant that I spent Saturday shoveling sand and Sunday laying stones. But late last week and during the evenings the last few days, I did manage to work up a few more hats for the craft fair next month. I used up the last of my purple Caron for three more Princess Anna hoods, and I got one newsboy done. I want to do a matching doll newsboy with the last of the variegated yard. That might be all I get done before the show, and that’s okay. IMG_2960 IMG_2963 IMG_2968I did these hoods plain, no flowers, because that’s what Anna’s hood actually looks like. (And because the embroidery and sewing on of flowers was too time-consuming.)

Hopefully the patio doesn’t distract me too much, because I’d still like to get a few more hats done!

Crochet for a craft fair

I’ve gotten some good feedback about the upcoming craft fair, so I’m feeling much better about it, thank you! I’ve decided to leave my prices as is: they’re more than fair, and I’d rather hang on to my projects than sell them at cost or just above cost. If I don’t value my work, how I can expect a customer to value it, right?

With that in mind, I’m trying to think of a few fast projects I can make before the show. Hats seem to be a popular suggestion, so I’m aiming for three of the Princess Anna-inspired hood. I’m going to try to make at least two sets of owl hats, matching ones for girls and 18″ dolls. I’ll sell them separately, though. If I have time after that, I’d like to make another newsboy like this one. I really liked how the yarn and pattern worked so well together.IMG_2645And then, if I have any *more* time (I’ll pause here for the laughing to subside. Okay? Okay.) I want to make some boot cuffs. I made some last winter and not only were they fast, but they were super cute and very popular. These were my faves. IMG_3051 IMG_3093 IMG_3043 IMG_3448 IMG_3436I think that’s all I can even dream to finish in the next two weeks, and I know, that’s stretching it. But a girl’s gotta dream. And if I focus on these projects only, I should be able to get a lot done. I can crochet a lot faster than I can knit. Now, I’ve got my yarn, my hook, and my wrist brace…I’m ready to get going!

Prepping for Craft Fairs (Oh no, the panic!)

I’ve gone and done something silly: I signed up for a craft fair next month. You’d think that would be a good thing, right? It is, of course: I’ve got a nice stash of lovely things I’ve made that have no home. And I’d love to make a bit of extra cash for the upcoming holiday. But as soon as I sent in the registration form, the panic set in.

What if I don’t have enough items? What if no one wants to pay my prices? Should I lower them a little bit, just to get some sales? Should I raise the prices on my very best items? What if I don’t sell anything? Maybe I need to make some new things just for the show, and if so, what would sell? The craft fair is an elementary school fundraiser, so I expect to see a lot of parents and grandparents who might be inclined to buy cute hats for their kids. That means the owl hats and Princess Anna hoods could be popular. Those don’t take too much time to make, and I’ve got the yarn, so now they’re on my list to make…in the next OH GOD TWO WEEKS.

The show is October 11. I knew that all along, but this is September. I thought, “Oh, October, that’s ages away.” Guess what I just now realized?? It’s not. And then do you know what comes after that? Christmas! That’s right! And I’m nowhere near done with my holiday knitting (although I did cast on for a gift last night). I need to knit all the things! Right now!

So yeah. Panic time in my head. I think I’m going to step back for a moment and make a cup of tea. And then I’m going to make some hats.

These owls are ready to leave the nest

It’s a cool, gray, drizzly day, and I’ve spent the morning with my fancy crochet hook, finishing up an order. That makes two that are ready to ship out tomorrow! IMG_5046 IMG_5052 IMG_2942IMG_2951Now the dog is impatient, so I’ll step away from the yarn and take him for a walk. When I return, I’ll be switching back to knitting to give my wrists a break!

A new hook, and still more hats

I’m all about the hats, can you tell? I’m working on filling orders, which means more owl hats emerging from my hook. I’ve been crocheting so much lately that I splurged a wee bit on my last trip to Joann. I had my coupon but there was nothing I really *needed*. Still, you can’t let a 50% off coupon go to waste, right? So I decided to try out a new hook. Almost all of my hooks are the metal Boye books that I bought when I started crocheting. They’re fine, but I found that when I added a finger grip, they were even better. Well, I went all out: I bought a Clover hook with the cushioned handle. I use the H size the most so that’s what I bought.

IMG_3853.JPG I LOVE it. It feels lighter in my hand, it’s warm, and my fingers don’t have to grip so tightly. I’m definitely adding these to my wish list.
This is what I’m doing with my new hook. One more pink owl hat. She looks creepy because she has no eyeballs yet. I need more 3/4″ black buttons. I’ve got two boxes of buttons but not two black that match. So a trip to Joann is on my agenda today.

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Until I get the buttons, I’m working on a brown baby owl hat. It’ll get a matching mom hat too.

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After this set, I have two hats and two scarves to make, and then I’m caught up with orders. After that, I’ll probably get back to my Christmas knitting…and a wee bit of selfish knitting!

Princess Anna crochet hats, and some mittens

Finally some FOs to show off! I worked hard last week on a proofreading job, but I had some yarn time too, and over the weekend I finished a few things. A friend posted a picture and link to a Princess Anna-inspired hat for girls from a blog called Over the Apple Tree, and my MIL asked for four of them for grandkids. How could I say no? These hats are too cute! IMG_2924 IMG_2921 IMG_2931The hat pattern originally came from Vallieskids and is flexible enough that it will fit a wide range of head sizes. The girls are similar ages, so I just sat back and cranked out four hats all the same. Then I had to learn how to crochet embroidery for the green stems, and it was a lot easier than I expected. The hard part is making them all look the same. The flowers came from my favorite flower pattern, called the Fabulous Flower. I could have done the smaller one to make it more like the original blog post, but I rather like bigger flowers.

I also had a request for a hat and mitten set, so I got to do my first pair of mittens! I’ve done fingerless gloves before, but never a whole mitten and a full thumb. Well, it was a piece of cake. And since they were for a young girl, they knitted up so fast. I did a whole mitten and most of the second yesterday, and this morning I finished up the thumb. I loved making these. I think mittens might be making an appearance this holiday season. IMG_2914 IMG_2916Both the mittens and the hats were made with Caron Simply Soft. I love how it feels, and that it’s machine washable.

Swiftly Winding Yarn

Sadly, I don’t have any FOs to show off. No new WIPs, not really even much progress on current WIPs. It’s true: I have not had much time to play with yarn the last several days. But I do have some yarny things to show off! See, my birthday was last week, and thank goodness my family knows how much I love yarn stuff. So yay, I got the set of interchangeable 16″ circulars, whee!! As much as I love knitting hats, I think I’ll be using this set a lot. And I got several new books, which already have patterns marked with post-its, and notions like small mesh pouches that are great for organization.

Those are all awesome, but not the highlight. I also got the best thing you can give a knitter or crocheter. No, not time, that’s difficult to wrap. I got a ball-winder!! I already had a swift, a cool Amish-style swift that my husband made for me for Mother’s day, and it helped my yarn-winding a lot. But I didn’t realize how well the swift and winder would work *together*. It was amazing. All I had to do was sit and wind. So much fun. I must have wound eight skeins of yarn that first day, plus another three or four the next day. I love to watch the swift spin, I love to see the ball grow on the winder, and I love love love the final product! IMG_4983 IMG_4984It’s fabulous. I think it will live on my dining room table for the next several…forevers. And another cool thing about it: the yarn stacks neatly when it’s wound, so maybe my stash will condense a bit and I can fit more on the shelves!

Progress Made (and a new WIP)

Yesterday was quiet and cool, so I spent much of the day on the couch with my yarns. I managed to frog the striped hat from yesterday’s post, so it’s all ready for a redo. I’m waiting until after I open my birthday presents, though, just in case there’s a set of interchangeable 16″ needles in one of them. (*fingers crossed*) I also worked for a while on my Quadratic shawl, and I cannot wait until it’s done and I can wear it. IMG_4975After lunch, I pondered the many WIPs I have, and the projects I need to complete soon, and I decided I could cast on for just one more. It’s for someone I like (okay, all my knitting is for someone I like) plus it’s an unusual project for me. It’s called the Spring Lace Infinity Scarf and with any luck, it will end up looking like this.

Spring Lace Infinity Scarf by Linda Thach. copyright Purl Avenue

This is fingering weight yarn (i.e. very skinny, i.e. not bulky at all, which is what I normally use) and it’s a lace pattern. It will end up being open and delicate and lovely (I hope) but it will knit slowly and will take much time and attention to detail. I managed to get through the casting on of 360(!!!) stitches and knitting of five rows. This is what it looks like so far. IMG_4977So yeah, it will be slow going on this one, but I think it will be delightful. I’ll probably spend some time on this today … or maybe I’ll spend the morning reading my new book! IMG_4978

NOT my favorite WIP

Dagnabbit. Another knitting failure. I refuse to blame it on not checking gauge, but it *is* my fault. So I got an order for these hats for Christmas presents, and I wanted to get an early start. Plus I love making hats so this is a fun project to have in my rotation. Unfortunately, when I went to cast on, I realized I didn’t have size 7 16″ circulars. I have 6 and 8, but no 7. I have size 7 in my interchangeables, but those tips with the 16″ cord are still a bit longer than 16″ and it’s more awkward than a true 16″. You can guess what I did. Yep. I thought, oh, I’ll just use the 8. They’re for slightly older boys so it’ll be okay if they’re bigger than the kid in the pattern’s picture. So I used the 8. Here’s where I am. IMG_4973It’s cute, I like the pattern, it’s knitting up quickly, blah blah blah. Whatever. Last night I tried it on my 11yo son. It’s too big. Not terrible, but loose. And it’s for a younger boy. And it’ll stretch a bit with use. So yeah. Too big. Sing along with me (to the tune of “Crying Time”. I hear Barbra in my head, but there are a lot of versions): “It’s frogging time again, you’re gonna leave me. I can see it by the way you lose your shape.”

My Favorite WIP

There’s a lot going on in my life lately and I’ve been feeling a bit scattered, unable to focus too long on anything. Maybe that’s obvious, given that I keep starting new yarn projects without finishing the others. (Current WIP count = 9) Partly I’m feeling a lot of creative inspiration where I actually know what a yarn is supposed to be. That doesn’t happen often for me so I want to start them before I lose the inspiration. And partly I just need different kinds of projects for different moods and needs. I need waiting room knitting, TV knitting, football game knitting, and quiet time knitting. I’ve got them all covered now! Plus I’ve got three orders in my queue; one is started and the other two are next in line. Clearly, I’ve got enough knitting to keep me busy for a good long while.

But I’ve got a favorite right now. I know you’re not supposed to admit it, but I do. A few days ago I came across a post by yarnandpointysticks titled “The moment when something screams knit me” and the second project really did scream that to me. Look at this gorgeous shawl!

dokatron’s Quadratic on Ravelry. (Photo by Victoria Magnus)

This is the Quadratic published by David O’Kelly and Eden Cottage Yarns. It’s simple but striking. It’s also a lot of delightful squishy garter stitch, which I love, and just a tiny bit of stockinette to make the little stripes stand out. As soon as I saw it, my mind went to the two skeins of icy gray Quince & Co. yarn that I bought in DC this summer. A quick check in Ravelry told me it was a fingering weight, which is what the shawl requires. Plus, I only had *TWO* other fingering weight yarns in my entire stash, and they just happened to be colors that look gorgeous with the gray.IMG_4929Oh my, I just love those together. The only problem is that the shawl calls for 567 yards of the gray, and I only have 442. That didn’t stop me. I have a plan. I’m going to modify the pattern just a little bit. Instead of having all the larger sections be gray, I’m going to have one small one in the blue, and a larger one in the purple. I have no idea how much yardage those two sections will make up, so I’m really just crossing my fingers that this will work out favorably. If not, well, I’ll be begging for more of the gray yarn, I guess. I cast on the next day, and even though I’ve been working on projects for customers, I keep coming back to this one just a little at a time. IMG_4958I like it so much that I don’t think it will take me too long to finish. Check back for photos of the final product!