Monday, September 29, 2014

A Second Year of Projects: Update 1

A Ravelry Group

Note: As the Canadian Thanksgiving approaches, so do the first round of midterms for fall semester. My frequency of blog posts will be reduced until Monday, October 13th, but I'll also be releasing some special new content that week so keep your eyes peeled.

Mischievous Mittens

This week I was dead set on finishing a pair of mittens with James Brett's Marble DK, one of my favorite yarns to date. I planned on using these mittens to create an Etsy listing for made-to-order* mittens of varying sizes which would be ready to ship within a week of purchase. This pattern took a little trial and error because the pattern by Lionbrand calls for a bulky, 12 ply yarn and my Marble double knit yarn is only 8 ply. According to Ravelry's yarn database, that's a size difference of about 64%**.

I started my mittens using a mix of the two largest pattern sizes (adult medium and large) and, as you might imagine, I ended up with a beautiful but child-sized mitten. The second mitten of the pair will be finished this week now that I've settled on how to use the pattern and yarn combined, and shortly there-after will be listed on my Etsy shop. These are the most challenging items I've made to date, but they are so beautiful and so worth it!

I don't think I can time-efficiently edit the pattern to make the mittens actual adult sizes with this 8 ply yarn, so I will list these particular mittens as ready-to-ship instead of made-to-order. My made-to-order mittens will have to wait until I pick up some bulkier yarn.

A (W)holey Useful Stitch

The pattern also made use of the single crochet two together (sc2tog) stitch which was extremely easy to pick up; it just required a quick Google. While beginner patterns may not require much shaping, the stitch is simple enough for any beginner who can create a slip knot, chain (ch) stitch, single crochet (sc), and finish off their own work.

This is a stitch used for shaping, specifically to decrease the size of your row to make the item smaller. A problem I encountered from using this stitch was that it left large holes in comparison to any of the foundation stitches. I remedied this as much as possible by weaving in the tails at these locations (wrist, tip of thumb, tip of mitten) instead of using them to sew up the side like the pattern instructed.

YoP 14 - 15 List Updates

Most recent changes are highlighted

Accessories 0/5
Fingerless Gloves 0/1
Miomi Slouch Hat 0/1
Silk & Lace Purse 0/1
Mittens (Pattern one, pattern two) 0.5/2

New Techniques 1/10
Magic Ring
Single Crochet Foundation
Clusters Lover's Knot
V Stitch
Broomstick Lace
Crochet Button
Single Crochet Two Together (Sc2Tog)

Objects Started: 1
Objects Finished: 0
Objects on Original List: 14
Objects on Current List: 14

Techniques Started: 1
Techniques Finished: 1

Techniques on Original List: 9
Techniques on Current List: 10

My entire Year of Projects list for 2014 - 2015 can be found on this page.

*Made-to-order is a term used to indicate that the product is not created until ordered by the customer, and therefore processing times include the time it requires to make the product. This is opposed to ready-to-ship items, which can be sent out immediately upon purchase because they are pre-made.

**Lionbrand Homespun gauges at 14 stitches for 4 inches. James Brett Marble DK gauges at 22 stitches for 4 inches. (14 stitches / 22 stitches) x 100% = 63.63%

Friday, September 26, 2014

Yarn Review: James C. Brett Marble DK

Yarn: James C. Brett Marble, Double Knit
Shade: MT1
Material: 100% Acrylic
Weight: 8 ply / DK
Price per gram: 6.3 cents

This is some of the prettiest yarn with which to work. It's double knit, so one strand of the yarn is completely white, but the other strand varies from white to dark grey, giving a beautiful gradient to anything you work up. Certain projects can feel tedious at times (Single crochet blankets, anyone?) but watching the yarn change from light to dark and back again helps point out all of the progress being made. As a goal-oriented individual, I will definitely be looking for similar yarn the next time I think about starting a large, simple project like an afghan.

The arguably second-best attribute of this yarn is the fact it is, wait for it, machine washable! I'm just as guilty as anyone of getting a little lazy from time to time with my "hand wash" articles, even the finer ones, but I always feel guilty knowing I'm ruining the material much faster than I should be. Whatever is made with this yarn, however, should be able to handle the stress of a normal washing machine.

The only thing dislikable about this yarn is the fact that double knit yarn is a little harder to work up. Being a very proficient crocheter means this poses little problem for me, but I would not recommend any beginners using a double knit yarn unless they are willing to take excellent care with their stitches. Making a single mistake with the double knit yarn while one strand is bright white and the other is dark grey means a single glance will show off the mistake because the white strand isn't following the same pattern.

Photographed in artificial lighting.

I purchased this yarn at a local yarn store in Ottawa.

For North Americans, find out where James Brett yarns are stocked by using this store locator and choosing "Handknitting - James Brett" in the first drop down menu, followed by selecting your state or province in the second drop down menu.

For anyone living in the UK, you can contact James C Brett yarns directly and inquire about your local stores.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ballet Crochet Round Up

Last week I attended my first official ballet lesson and tonight will be my second. As a little girl, my best friend used to teach me little details from her ballet lessons, and I've always loved the elegance of this particular style of dance. So in honor of all of the inspirational ballerinas and the eight year old best friends, the crochet round up for this week is ballet themed.

Ballet Slippers

Yagmurshop on Etsy

You may find these slippers to be a little slippery for dancing, but they look beautiful regardless of your experience in ballet.

Baby Ballet Slippers

LilKahunaCrochet on Etsy

These mini-ballet slippers are too adorable! The soft pink is perfect to use as a prop for a gender reveal, whether in person or by photo announcement.

Bun Cover

Beanbugcreations on Etsy
Okay, I admit it, I have an insatiable love of ribbons. Paired with a pristine white yarn, this bun cover speaks for itself. Do adult ballerinas wear bun covers? If so, I'm recommending these for my ballet class's recital costume.

Pattern: Practice Socks

CozyThingsPatterns on Etsy
These socks are perfect for dance practice to keep your feet warm while still allowing feet to grip the floor. This pattern is simple enough for anyone with basic crochet knowledge, and you get an excuse to show off both your new dance and crocheting skills.

Pattern: Luxury Leg Warmers

Monpetitviolon on Etsy
These fashion friendly leg warmers are calling out for all off-duty and would-be ballerinas to keep warm during the winter months. Boots may keep legs warm outside but once they come off at a friend's house, these leg warmers are the only thing fighting against that economical heating bill.

Custom Order: Ballerina Doll

JensNeedleKnows on Etsy

Last but far from least is this cute ballerina doll with customizable colors. I adore her outfit but I'd love to change her hair colour to match the friend or little girl receiving this sweetheart as a gift.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A (Second) Year of Projects: The List

I've finished my list for the year. I decided to go a little smaller and achievable than last year, really forcing myself to only pick the best designs to work with. The official A Year of Projects runs from July 1st 2014 to June 30th 2015, so I have nine months to complete these projects and learn the new techniques I've listed. Of course, once I master the techniques, tutorials will be posted on Youtube so all of you can join me.

All of my posts throughout the year will once again be featuring the cute little banner pictured above that I created for the Ravelry group last year.

Tops 0/1
Romantic Girl Dress 0/1

Bottoms 0/1
Triple Play Skirt 0/1

Feet 0/2
Drops Pocahontas Slippers 0/1
Mary Jane Slippers 0/1

Accessories 0/5
Fingerless Gloves 0/1
Miomi Slouch Hat 0/1
Silk & Lace Purse 0/1
Mittens 0/2

Home Decor 0/3
Mustache Mug Cozy 0/1
Set of Placemats 0/1
Wine Bottle Wrap 0/1

Plushies 0/2
Toothless 0/1
Bear in a Jif 0/1

New Techniques 0/9
Magic Ring
Single Crochet Foundation
Clusters Lover's Knot
V Stitch
Broomstick Lace
Crochet Button

Objects Started: 0
Objects Finished: 0
Objects on Original List: 14
Objects on Current List: 14

Techniques Started: 0
Techniques Finished: 0
Techniques on Original List: 9
Techniques on Current List: 9

Monday, September 22, 2014

Feature Listing: Turquoise Crochet Scarf with Ruffles

Meet my first listing of all time: a beautiful turquoise scarf with ruffles, designed to fit adults. It's a piece I particularly loved due to the uniqueness of the design that still is in style with modern fashion.

This scarf is made from Patons Classic Wool which is 100% pure new wool. In these cold Canadian winters, fashion meets function as the snug fit keeps out the chill. For best results, hand wash and lay flat to dry. Do not bleach or iron this scarf. 

This scarf has previously appeared on my blog as a Blog-a-Long project.

It's being sold on my Etsy shop for $30.00 CAD.

Opening Day

Good morning, friends!

It's a beautiful day, rain or shine. I've been blogging and tweeting and learning and crocheting like crazy for a year and a half, but today is a special day because I finally took the plunge and spent twenty cents to list an item for sale online.

Yes, a big investment, I know. There's a lot more coming, but today I'd like to set aside time to mark that I achieved a dream I've had for years.

Feel free to take a peek at my Etsy shop and first listing at Connect with me across the web; I'm on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Much love,

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcoming Autumn and New Crocheters

Hello, hello, hello!

Autumn is just days away, and all you yarnies know that means it's time to get those Christmas presents underway and maybe make yourself a new scarf or pair of mittens in between projects. Never crocheted? No problem! I'll be posting new crochet tutorials on Youtube every week, starting with the very basics and moving through various stitches and techniques, as well as giving recommendations for patterns to try as you master these skills. Looking for something specific? Leave a comment on this post or on any of my videos.

See you over at Youtube tomorrow morning.
- Kate