Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Scarf of Procrastination

Ahhh! Where has the week gone? I wish I could blame my lack of posts on flying home and spending time with family and friends, but I know what the real culprit is. It's The Scarf of Procrastination. Do you remember me telling you about that tangled ball of horrible?

Admittedly, after spending several hours untangling followed by my parents spending an hour untangling followed by hiding my yarn from the household smokers, I was kind of feeling a buzz kill for crochet. Although the pattern I'm using for this scarf isn't helping matters either. I've never been a big fan of making finer scarfs simply because they take so much repetition for so long in order to see real progress, but this one is worse.

I like this view, it looks like I have more done than I really do.

In order to make what I believe is a type of cluster stitch (4 dc into same stitch), I have to stop, take the hook out of the yarn, reinsert it a few stitches back, then grab the dropped loop again before I can continue. This slows the process down by approximately one million years. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I've really been struggling to enjoy this project. So I've decided I'm going to finish it this week so I can have it over with and start something fun, like a cowl or some fingerless gloves. Here is my progress for now, but I promise I can feel my addiction love for crochet coming back to swallow embrace me! I just have to keep thinking of all the fun things I get to make after this scarf, and how proud I will be when I see it listed on my Etsy shop for the very first time.

Then you realize it's not even the length of my pillow case.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Theme / Layout

Wee! I started by just trying to change my navigation to include drop down menus and ended up with a whole new theme. Oops. The best part is I still don't have drop down menus, but I really am loving this new theme so it makes up for it. I like the crisp, clean look. As much as I love darker colors, I like to keep my crocheting light-hearted; I never crochet upset.

Anyways, I just wanted to let you guys know content is going back to your regularly scheduled programming. Ta ta for now, I promise to have more crochet goodies up this weekend -- and one of them may be a finished project!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blog Under Construction

I'm tweaking my blog's template & navigation. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes in the mean time!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Year of Projects: Update 2

Official List Updates:
  • Basket for Crochet Finished 7 July 2013
  • (NEW) Technique: Reading Charts
  • (NEW) Object: Diamonds in the Rough
Here's a brief summary of everything for the week, with a link to each post if you're curious about the details or just really don't want to work on Monday morning!

Tunisian Practice & Botched Basket

I made a small swatch of the Tunisian Simple Stitch before trying to make a basket, but all of the edges were curling so I clearly have some more practice to do before I can cross the Tunisian Simple Stitch off my list. I ended up tossing the basket.

Finished: Basket for Crochet

Yay! This basket turned out quite well and is my first finish for the year. It was my first time crocheting with multiple strands together and it was a little tricky, but I think it was just because my hook was a little on the small side. The handles aren't perfectly symmetrical either but that's probably because I was having a glass of wine.

WIP: City Neckwarmer
Crocheting is done, just need to buy buttons and attach the fastener.

WIP: Original Design Cape
This has a long way to go but I am crazy about this yarn, such a cool effect.

Working top-down, the cowl and tops of shoulders are done.

I flew home this weekend and I won't be back until the end of August, so it'll be a while before you see either of these WIPs finished. Not to worry, though, it gives me an excuse to start new projects!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Flying & Sirdar Knots

Yesterday I flew home to visit family for a month and a half while I'm on summer break, which is why there was no Round Up this week.

I brought a new project with me on the plane (and plenty more in my luggage). The pattern is Patons Lace Delicate Scarf and I'm using Sirdar Snuggly 3 ply in a baby blue and white.

But after I got two rows done, I found a huge knot in the middle of the skein.

The yarn was not only tangled up, but the individual threads got stuck together too, almost like the yarn got threaded through itself.

Even after hours (yes, hours plural) of untangling, then more untangling by my angelic mother and step father, my yarn was pilling from being in a knot and it hadn't even been made into anything yet.

This isn't cheap yarn so I'm a little disappointed. Once it was finally untangled, I wound it up into a ball to make sure I didn't have the same problem again. I decided I wanted to unravel the couple rows I had done and restart it, now that I had a better feel for the pattern, to make my stitches more even. But guess what? I couldn't, because the yarn snagged on itself.

Since I don't need all of the blue, I think I'll just cut it off and start over, but this yarn is horrible to work with! I have never been so disappointed with yarn, but I guess that's the trouble with working with a yarn this soft. 

I'm curious if it's all super-soft yarn that acts like this, or if it's just this Sirdar yarn I bought. Please share your thoughts!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Christmas in July 2 of 9

To normal people, the idea of planning Christmas in July is a little extreme. But to yarn junkies, we know handmade gifts take time and precious yarn resources. Here is the second of nine gift profiles to help brainstorm crochet gifts for everyone on your list.


Graphic Design
Corny Jokes
Feminine, Conservative Attire
Country Music

Gift Ideas


Coffee Cozy - Increasing for coffee house cups

Cute as a Button Slippers

Hope Bracelet

Sleepy Fox Plushie


Cut-Away Cardi for chilly office

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Adventures with Tunisian Crochet

This was my very first time working with Tunisian crochet. I followed a very wonderful tutorial by Crochet the Day Away.

Tunisian Basic Stitch Swatch

I started with making a small swatch to get a feel for the basic stitch before I made any real projects. I loved the pattern (both right and wrong sides) and the stiffness in the created fabric, but even with crocheting in a fashion that would normally be quite loose, my stitches felt very tight.

Tunisian Basic Stitch Swatch

As you can see in this picture, the fabric was curling a lot. This was after I tried to tame it with a little tugging and flattering camera angles. I also think I skipped a stitch at the beginning. Oops. I figured it was time to try making something with this stitch, and since the pattern reminds me of baskets, I figured it's a perfect stitch to make a little basket for the powder room to hold extra rolls of toilet paper.

I am admittedly quite embarrassed to show this, erm, piece of work. It didn't turn out at all how I wanted. This was my first ever basket and I just improvised a pattern instead of following one. Despite the stiffness of the Tunisian basic stitch compared to normal crochet stitches, it was still quite flimsy and I had major curl-age on the sides! I didn't even bother weaving in the ends because I know this piece is probably just going to get tossed.

I wasn't paying close enough attention at the end and accidentally made my contrast side panels go in two different directions since one was attached directly onto the side and the other was attached onto the base. I'm also not a big fan of the yarn colors. I'm not really a camo girl, and while the only then-current colors in the powder room were white and black (I know, how brave), this just did not look nice. Since then we bought a gorgeous, deep red hand towel so if it wasn't out before, it is now!

I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong to make the pieces curl up, but I think I will have to revisit this project later once I get yarn that looks nice with the new hand towel. Next time I'm going to try using a bigger, non-Tunisian hook to get a looser tension. I think I'll go back to flat things like dish towels for mastering the basic Tunisian stitch and then make my powder room basket with a multiple-strands-together technique.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Finished: Basket for Crochet

Ravelry Project
I made this basket following the Ombre Basket pattern from Crochet in Color. The base of the basket was made of half double crochets and the body was all single crochets, making this basket a very simple pattern. Ideal for beginners who have mastered squares and the basic stitches because you get to practice working in the round, and the only "weird" step is switching from the base to the body when you crochet into the side of the hdcs instead of the normal loops. The picture tutorial explains this step very clearly, however, so it's still something anyone could figure out. Using more than one strand at a time was new for me, but after a couple rounds I was up to speed. I think the biggest hook I own (6.5mm / K) was still a little too small as I kept losing one strand and having to pick it back up again.

The only trouble that could have been attributed to the pattern is that the handles weren't perfectly symmetrical in placement, but I can't say that it's the pattern's fault because I was enjoying a glass of wine while finishing this up! It's not noticeable unless you're looking for it, so I'm not going to waste yarn to fix it.

I can't be the only one, so tell me about a project you messed up while relaxing!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Year of Projects Update 1: The List

I've finished my list for the year! After hearing everyone else talk about pigeon-holing themselves into specific patterns, I was a little worried since many of the items on my list are, indeed, specific patterns. This said, I've decided I'm going to leave it as-is but note that my list is going to be flexible! I will guilt-freely change patterns while keeping the object type the same, and I will likely add on (or maybe even remove) items as I go. This is going to be a comprehensive list of everything I crochet for the year.

If my list looks a little lengthy, that's because I have an Etsy shop to open! I'm planning on finishing several of these before September so I can open shop while all the fall/winter clothing shopping is happening. I should also note that items that are already started will have an asterisk (*) next to it.

Tops 0/2
*Original Design: 50s Inspired Cape 0/1
Tokyo Jacket 0/1

Dresses 0/1
Romantic Girl 0/1

Bottoms 0/1
Triple Play Skirt 0/1

Feet 0/3
DROPS Cozy Slippers 0/1
Tracks in the Snow Socks 0/1
Lace & Mod Podge Heels 0/1

Accessories 0/9
Fingerless Gloves 0/1
Miomi Slouch Hat 0/1
Nordstrom Hobo Bag 0/1
Silk & Lace Purse 0/1
*Ruffle Scarf 0/3
Ripple Cowl 0/1
City Neckwarmer 0/1

Other 0/1
Swim Suit 0/1

Home Decor 0/5
Mustache Mug Cozy 0/1
Tablecloth 0/1
Set of Placemats 0/1
Plarn Patio Rug 0/1
*Crocodile Dishcloth 0/1
*Basket for Powder Room 0/1
*Basket for Crochet 0/1

Plushies 0/1
Dirk the Dragon 0/1

New Techniques 0/8
Tunisian Basic Stitch
Magic Ring
Single Crochet Foundation
Surface Slip Stitch
Clusters Lover's Knot
V Stitch

Objects Started: 5
Objects Finished: 0
Objects on Original List: 33
Objects on Current List: 33

Techniques Started: 0
Techniques Finished: 0
Techniques on Original List: 8
Techniques on Current List: 8

Et Cetera - Currently Lacking Tools To Accomplish
Broomstick Lace

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Christmas in July 1 of 9

To normal people, the idea of planning Christmas in July is a little extreme. But to yarn junkies, we know handmade gifts take time and precious yarn resources. This eight nine part series is going to have a profile for each of the major members of the family with their interests and then line it up with crochet goodies to give them for the holidays! Here is the first profile.

Step Dad

Bonfires, Nature
Casual Attire
Classic Rock Music
A Cappella
Dr. Pepper

Gift Ideas

Harley Afghan
Can Cozy
Classic Ribbed Hat
100% Cotton Harley and/or Grease Themed Cloths
(for Automotive Cleaning)

Have any other ideas? Lemme know!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Finished: Workout Beanie

Here it is! My first (soon to be) sale. A casual beanie for one of the boyfriend's workout buddies. Granted, he has no idea I'm about to make a business out of this.

I used a ball of black mystery yarn for this that I've had since I was thirteen years old. It's definitely a cheaper acrylic, probably Red Heart Super Saver, knowing my mother. It should be good for working out since it won't soak up all the sweat and get gross very fast, and it was a bit of a stash-buster project. There's probably enough for one more hat left in the ball now.

I was originally going to follow this pattern using double crochets and ending with a round of half double crochets, as listed on my Ravelry for the project, but I found it to be absurdly large. There was no gauge listed. My boyfriend is 6'4 and it was extremely loose even on him, so I had to unravel it and start over.

I ended up cutting out two rounds, round four and round six, but then added in a new round with four double crochets in a row followed by the two in one stitch method. Basically I made it increase slower and chopped off the vast majority of rounds 8-12 as listed in the original pattern. I don't feel like I really followed the pattern in the end, but I'll leave it up on my Ravelry project to be gracious since I probably would have struggled even more without it. I then finished it off using the invisible fasten off as is ideal for working in the round.

I'm really happy with how it turned out! The picture is a little poor since it's not on a person, it's just sitting on a yoga mat. I promise it's not lumpy. I also hand washed it in cold water with a little detergent because he was worried about the colors bleeding, so I'm adding in a little tag with care instructions just to be safe.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Sorry for the lack of post this morning! I just moved cities & provinces and this is the beautiful mess I woke up to Saturday morning. I've been so busy I haven't any new WIP updates to share, everything is the same as last week. See you soon and Happy Canada Day to any Canadians out there!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lit-Savvy Sunday: June 30

I'm cheating this week! I didn't technically read this, I listened to it thanks to Audible while I did laundry and packed. I even listened to it the night before the move instead of getting fully rested. This was my first ever audio book, and I'm going to review Audible/audio books in general from the point of view of a heavily visual and/or kinesthetic learner as soon as I get a free moment!

I love, love, love this series. It's one of those young adult books you just can't put down! Even though the audio narration was 11 hours long, I finished it in only three or four days. Pretties is the second book, following Uglies.

As predictable from the ending of the first book in this series, Pretties's plot line follows Tally from shortly after her operation as she rediscovers the person and life she lived as a rebellious Ugly. By chance, or maybe by fate, she meets a boy named Zayne who helps open her eyes to the problems that Pretties are all but mentally incapable of noticing or caring. All of her relationships with other characters become more mature and more complicated as they simultaneously learn more about each other yet misunderstand each other.

Beyond just a great plot, the morals and thoughts behind the plot thicken as well, as Tally realizes humans naturally have faults and even the way the city has handled humanity isn't cut black and white. As I like to say, every coin has two sides.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot just in case you couldn't resist reading my reviews, but seriously, go read it. This series is insanely entertaining and very thought-provoking about society, humanity, and free will. Once I finish the rest of the series I'll do a more comprehensive look at the themes and the way they tie back into the real world.

If you've read Pretties I want to know... Are Shay's feelings & actions justified? What about the Specials not getting consent but hypothetically using their power for the good of the planet and of the human race?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

4th of July & Canada Day Crochet Round Up

It's almost North America's birth week. As I'm currently staying in Canada but still very much American, I figured this week's round up should celebrate both country's holidays. The best part is that any of the patterns can be tailored to suit either country, just switch up the blue for red or star for maple leaf. The last two don't have patterns but they were too awesome to pass up.

What have you been working on to celebrate these holidays? Share a link to your project in the comments below.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Designer Rodarte

I am in fashion love. Rodarte is a clothing brand created by Kate and Laura Mulleavy. Many of their designs use crochet, knit, or other hand-crafted means to create a feminine but edgy look. They also helped create the famous Black Swan costumes! Here are some of my crochet-inspired favorites from Rodarte.

Are you crushing on Rodarte's crafty looks as much as me, or is it not your taste? Let me know in the comments!