Oct 26, 2009

we spent a lazy weekend at my friend lise's house, and while i was there, i made her a scarf and a hat, and i finished this scarf i'd started last week for another friend of mine.

it's a variation on the charcoal scarf i posted about a while ago, only this time, with moda dea "tweedle dee" in i forget what colorway. some kinda purple, anyway.

is anyone interested in a pattern? i could probably work out what i did - i did write it down, sort of, somewhere.

in other news, i'm working on a "how to tie a pretty bow" tutorial, possibly for tomorrow. it seems i possess a skill that a lot of people haven't picked up, so i'd like to share it here.

Oct 21, 2009


i'm looking for a couple of crochet pattern testers. as you know, i've been working on the oz gang for the last couple weeks, and i've got dorothy and the witch just about done.
this is an unpaid position, aside from a free copy of the pattern that will eventually be sold over at my etsy shop.
comment if you're interested, and tell your crochety friends if you're not!

Oct 20, 2009

how-tue, first in a series.


*gauge is important, but this pattern is so versatile, i usually just use whatever hook and yarn i feel like, and call the first 10 rows of the pattern my "gauge swatch". it only takes a few minutes to get to 25 sc in the pattern, and by that point, you'll be able to tell (by trying on the "mitten") whether it's shaping up to fit you.
<< see, this is how i do it.
(when i first drafted this pattern, i was using bernat "chunky" and a 6.5mm hook almost exclusively. those sizes of yarn and hook are usually my jumping off point when i'm picking new yarn for this project).
as long as you use the same hook and yarn for the hand and the thumb, this pattern should work beautifully, AND be useful for a variety of sizes.

all that said, this pattern is also very easy to modify. unless it's not big enough (or too big) around. then, you'd pretty much be drafting a new pattern anyway, so when that happens, i usually just change yarn. or hook. the path of least resistance.

if you think your hand is longer (or shorter) than mine, add (or subtract) rows between R9-20. same deal for the thumb. actually, the thumb in this pattern is a little on the long side, so i'd recommend leaving out maybe 2 rows of 8sc (between R 4-9).

i'll work on some thumb and ribbing variations for this pattern, and post them later on, too.

6mm hook
sean sheep "maldon"
(this is just what i could find, and the mitten fits my hand, well, like a glove. without fingers. but the stitches are pretty tight. i think the yarn's a bit too big for the hook, but whatever. comment if you're looking for yarn substitution ideas, or if you have questions about this pattern at all. i'm here to help!)

***work in a continuous spiral until instructed otherwise - for the ribbing. also, get yourself a stitch marker. they help a LOT.

R1      5 sc in magic ring, pull tight (5)
R2      2 sc in each sc around (10)
 R3      1, 2 sc around (15)
R4      1, 1, 2 sc around (20)
R5 & 6      sc around
R7      1,1,1,2 around (25)
R8 - 20      sc around (25)
<< i decided to add a stripe of white by changing color when i started R12, and switching back to green at the beginning of R17.

R21      sc in first sc, ch 10, sk 3 sc, sc in next sc, sc around
           (total of 22 sc, plus 10 ch = 32 stitches)
<< this is immediately after R21.

R22      sc in each sc and ch around (32sc)                                               
<< immediately after R22. this is the beginning of your thumb hole.

R23      sc in first sc, sc2tog, sc next 6 sc, sc2tog, sc around (30)
R24      sc in first sc, sc2tog, sc next 4 sc, sc2tog, sc around (28)
R25      sc in first sc, sc2tog, sc next 2 sc, sc2tog, sc around (26)
R26      sc in first sc, sc2tog, sc2tog, sc around (24)
R27      sc in first sc, sc2tog, sc2tog, sc around (22)
R28      sc around (22)
R29      sc around, join with sl st in 1st sc, ch2 (22)
<< thumb shaping.

R30      dc around, join with sl st in top of ch2, ch2 (22dc)
R31      fpdc around, join with sl st in top of ch2, ch2 (22)
R32-34      fpdc around, join, ch2 (22)
R35      sl st in each dc around, fasten off, weave in ends

R1     4 sc in magic ring, pull tight (4)
R2     2 sc around (8)
R3-9     sc around (8)
R10     1,1,1,2 sc around (10)
R11     2,1,1,1,1 sc around (12)
R12     put the thumb and mitten together, and sl st each sc in thumb into the hole in the mitten, both pieces right side out.
it's awkward (both to do and to explain), but it can be done. alternatively, you could do a final thumb row like this:  [R13   sc around (12), fasten off] and just sew the thumb and mitten together the old fasioned way, but i've been getting really into NOT sewing, but actually crocheting stuff together. you'll see, when i finish the wizard of oz gang.

<< i'm not really a fan of how this looks. i'll work on fixing it.

so. get crocheting! the cold weather is coming! and don't forget to post pics of YOUR mittens! and remember - if you use this pattern, please give credit where it's due, and mention me!


who wants a free crochet mitten pattern? i'm working out the details and making it legible, and it should be up later today.

Oct 19, 2009

paper journal transcription 1

oct 18/09

i just had this great idea that i had to write down, for a project i might start.

i've been drafting a lot of crochet patterns lately, and i'm constantly trying to figure out new techniques and stuff. normally, i just experiment and frog until i'm happy with whatever i'm working on, but i came up with a new approach i want to play with...

i think i'm going to start a freeform fiber scrapbook sculpture, and instead of frogging all my attempts, start keeping, sewing together, and taggin all my gauge swatches and experiments.. i think, if i do it right, it could be a really valuable time-saving resource, since i'd already know how to do whatever stitch pattern, or know how not to attach legs to torsos, or whatever..

also, i think it would probably end up looking pretty bad-ass, too.


wow, boy, did i let this blog slide last week! but i have a decent excuse: i got busy!!
last monday was thanksgiving here in the great white north, and q's mom came over for supper. my husband is really good at making turkey, though i think we learned a valuable lesson this year - stovetop stuffing is not so good when made inside the bird. i didn't take pictures of the turkey (it looked awesome!), but here's my contribution:

the candleholder itself was a dumpster rescue that q brought me. and you may recognize the fake leaves and berries that i wrapped around it as the same ones i used in the original pumpkin poster. i love re-usable craft supplies!

tuesday, my friend peter allen came over to make paper mache messes with me. i wish i could link you to him, and the project he's working on right now (it's called "the burning project", and it's AWESOME.), which is slotted for an exhibition here in red deer next year sometime. peter has been making all kinds of art for more than 30 years, and HOLY COW did he have tips for me! and i had coffee for him! we didn't really make much of anything on tuesday, but i got all inspired-up to try a bunch of stuff. later. with pics.

wednesday was kind of a messy blur, still with the paper mache. a lot of stuff got started, nothing got finished (yet), and some of my experiments hit the dumpster this morning.

thursday was a big day of painting - fixing up and finishing a BUNCH of toddler tees and listing them over at etsy. i started painting baby clothes last summer, but when the leaves started changing, i packed them all up and forgot about them. until now.
in that box was a size 7/8 girls tee with "olivia's favorite toy" outlined on it. (i just spent about 20 minutes trying to find an image from the book to link to, but you'll have to be satisfied with the pic i drew. i couldn't find anything except the cover art, which doesn't feature the toy - just olivia, lifting up the couch). it's been an 18-month long project for my friend olivia, who is (i think) 6. and kids grow. fast. i thought i remembered buying it a couple of sizes too big when i got the shirt last spring, but who knows how much she's shot up over the summer?! well, here's hoping it still fits.

and on friday, i started making polyclay christmas ornaments. so far, there's wonder bread, holly, and mistletoe. don't ask me about the wonderbread thing - i guess i was just having fun with circles. i'm a BIG fan of the mistletoe, myself. sets of 6, over at etsy. here's a sneak peek.

also on friday, i discovered "coraline". i think i'm on my third time through it, as i'm typing this. (please pardon any typos).. and i'm making a set of coraline magnets. i also have a hankering to make a paper mache black cat from the movie.

saturday, we got a wii. also, wii resort, super smash bros, mario kart, and star wars: the clone wars. that's what q did all day, and we played mario party 7 in the evening, when i took a break from crocheting dorothy from the wizard of oz.
i finished her on saturday night (i lie: sunday morning, 2am, and also, she's not actually sewn together yet.), and i wrote down the pattern as i went! i'm testing it by using parts of it in the construction of the rest of the oz gang, and i'll be listing the patterns over at etsy, too, when they're done.. the dolls themselves will be about 12" tall, and are a custom order for my friend dawn. when i'm done, there will be dorothy, toto, scarecrow, tin man, cowardly lion, and the wicked witch. no pics yet - but this week, i promise.

i'm having a LOT of fun with this pattern-making business, so who knows? i just might get carried away and do some more sets.. any ideas? in fact, is there anything that you can't find a pattern for, that you'd like to see here? i'll definitely be offering free patterns here from time to time, and i might as well take requests too.

ok. it's been so gray and gloomy around here, weatherwise, for the last couple of weeks. we had snow for a while, but it got rained away over the weekend. i'm going to go make stuff. that'll brighten things up!

Oct 12, 2009

introducing PIGLET!

here's what i did this weekend!

his skin is a paton's mohair blend, and his jumper is acrylic and cotton.

head and body are all one piece, stuffed as i went. the arms are as simple as they look. the ears are a variation on some bamboo leaves that i came up with a few weeks ago. the bamboo leaves do NOT look like pigs' ears, for the record. it helps that they're green.

his nose and face were made separately, and when i'd just about finished attaching them to his head, i stuffed some stuffing in so it would have some definition.

his little feet, i gave up on figuring out this morning at about 1:00, and went to bed to dream up possible solutions. literally. i got up at 9 this morning to finish him, and THAT'S when inspiration struck.

the feet, i have a pattern for. i couldn't risk getting one done, and then forgetting how i'd done it.

so. piglet is up in my etsy shop, in case you feel like he needs to come live with you.

and heads up: the wizard of oz characters in crochet are coming down the pipe. i just got the yarn for the ruby slippers. and if i'm thinking, i'll write down what i do so that maybe i can provide patterns for them.

Oct 8, 2009


i thought i'd share the happy news here:

i just had my very first etsy sale!

thanks, kristin!

Oct 4, 2009

as promised...

so, over at craftster, i mentioned that nintendo heroscape pieces are not the only game pieces i've made, and diane from glassattic (SUCH a great polymer clay resource - she's got the answers for everything!) asked me to link to them.

so here's a pic of my version of "settlers of catan".

as usual, there are a bunch more pics over at my flickr, in the "catan" set.

and hey, don't be afraid to comment - i LOVE those!

ps. i also made "carcassonne", which we play on the xbox, but i sort of half-assed it, so i don't want to post pics yet. fixing it up is definitely on my to-do list, complete with the river expansion.

Oct 2, 2009

pumpkin carving - with tutorial!

here's what i did yesterday:
it's (obviously?) a poster for a show that friends of friends of mine have coming up. i was asked to come up with "something", so i did. and here's how i did it.

step 1 (we can have lots of fun):
i printed out the names i needed to carve in cool fonts and whatnot. there is no pic of how i had all the names taped on the pumpkin at the same time, but i did, to make sure everything would fit and look good.
i googled "pumpkin carving" and found this site, where i picked up a great tip*: using a pin (or an awl, or - carefully, as i did - the tip of your craft knife), poke little holes around your design, through the paper, into your pumpkin. then, when you take the stencil off, there's a really faint outline in the pumpkin skin that you can follow for carving.
that's what i did for "laurelle" and "low flying planes", and then i went back over the words with a grease pencil, because i thought it would help me see the swirls in the L and R better, but it kind of made the lines even more unclear. maybe save the grease pencil for freehand designs, as the website suggests.
here's step 1 in progress (i've already started carving "laurelle", and you can see the grease pencil outline (sort of) on "low flying planes".):

step 2 (there's so much... never mind - i think one new kids on the block reference is enough for one day):
start carving. and don't go all the way through. my letters are only about 1/8" - 1/4" deep. i carved "laurelle" with my little x-acto knife. then, i made an emergency trip to alberta art and drafting to buy a (speedball) lino cutter. WAY easier. and faster. and more fool-proof for shallow lines. and looks better too.
"laurelle" was done pretty much by trial and error. "low flying planes" looked a bit better (i had the lino cutter by then), and for "mandy mckee", i used a whole different approach.
i didn't poke holes around "mandy mckee". i just used my x-acto knife again and cut out all the letters right through my stencil (and the pumpkin), so that when i took the paper away, all i had to do was sort of scoop out the inside bits of the letters with my lino cutter. that seemed to work the best. also, this was in a really skinny font, so i used the smallest blade that my cutter came with.
in this pic, you can see about how deep my carving was:
step 3:
i scooped the guts out of the pumpkin once i was done carving (big fat lie. i got bored mid-carving and decided i felt like scooping instead).
and then i stuck big bright lights inside, set it up (with fall leaves and berries surrounding it) it and took some pics. i found that the candlelight setting on my camera worked the best for capturing the glow, and the candlelight pics are the ones i used for the poster itself.
is anyone really interested in how i got from pumpkin to poster? i can expand on that part if you want to hear about it, but right now, i'll just say that i used paint.net, which is AWESOME. and FREE.

so. did i miss anything? i don't think so. but let me know if you think there's more detail needed or anything.

and if you're in edmonton on the 23rd of october, be sure to [dress up and] stop by the haven to check out this awesome show.

*this tip would probably work better for less intricate designs - the holes all but disappear in the pumpkin skin, making it tricky to determine (for the swirly bits in "laurelle", at least) where the positive/negative borders are..