Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keeping Busy

Lo and behold, something is finished.

I finished the kitty bed. Simple pattern, turned out well. So far no one's tried to nap in it, but they have played with it, which I guess is better than nothing.

Saturday, I went to a workshop held by the supporters of our Farmer's Market, and learned how to can peaches and tomatos. It was interesting and was actually a lot of fun.

Now I'm plotting what we eat on a regular basis that can go in a jar...

Monday, August 22, 2011

T-Shirts Afoot

Charlottesville Crafter for August is up and running! This month, T-shirt Transfers - they're not just puff paint anymore...

Also, to those venturing over from CW, hi! Welcome! Take a look around, find something crafty!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Trip to the Craft Store

So last evening, my errands took me to the Michael's. I had to get some ribbon, but of course, I'm not going to pass up wandering around a craft store, even if I am tired and kind of hungry. That's why they have the candy at the checkout, right?

They've redone their yarn section again, and I have to say I approve. Everything is now kind of organized by company, with the exception of the baby yarns, which are thrown on one wall together. The selection of sock yarns is low, though.

I saw a bunch of yarns that are new to me, and I'm kind of digging new additions to the Bernat line.

They've come out with Really Big which is really really big, like super bulky weight. I dig it and some of the colors, but I have no clue what I'd make out of it.

I also like their Colorama - it's big and SOFT. It's rated super bulky as well, but the Really Big is twice the diameter of the Colorama. I think I want to use that to make the white hat I want for this winter.

I did fall for the Mosaic, too. It seems to be their answer to Noro's colorways. I dig the Ninja colorway for the grays and purple and also that it's named Ninja. Because ninjas are awesome, that's why.

Enough yarn squealing, back to the store - I like the expansion and selection, but the notions were lacking. Maybe they were not entirely done moving everything around and stocking, but the needles and hooks were a row AWAY from the yarns - it took me a while to find them. And it seems like the selection is scaled back from what they used to have, too. They do have what seems to be the entire Crochet Dude line, which is cool, although pricey.

Even though the Michael's is in my least favorite shopping center in town (drivers there are AWFUL), I at least know they have more options if I'm project hunting. It's a nice change.

(Also, WTF is up with their website? You can rate products, but not buy them? What kind of mass retail store does not have a retail enabled website???)

Also, they have skully duct tape. :)

(By the way, I did not get paid by Bernat to mention them, I just dig their yarns. And if they'd want to send me some to review, I'd be all over that...)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Craft is Art

I follow the Craftzine Blog feed, and the other day they featured an interesting crochet installation.

Aunt Peggy Has Departed by Shane Waltener is a crochet "web" in tribute to a departed family member.

I think pictures 3 and 5 show it the best. I know that threadwork is INSANELY time consuming and hard, and this is amazing. Pineapples, regular doily motif, stitched up as a web and installed.

What struck me the most was this thought on the page:
Doilies are like dreamcatchers, each knot holding a thought, a memory.

I think if there were to be any #1 example of Craft as Art, this would be it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's come to this.

I've started knitting a pair of socks.

I know I wanted to do more with knitting than just make square flat things, so what did I choose? The most complicated not square flat thing.

It's on my list. I wanted a challenge. I guess I'm going to get it.

I'm using Silver's sock class tutorial. My yarn is Deborah Norville Serenity sock yarn in colorway Obsidian. That actually makes no sense because it's shades of green and the last I checked, obsidian was BLACK. I'm working with metal #2 DPNs. This may also be a mistake, but they're what I had. If I get hooked and they end up being a problem, I'll go buy bamboo ones.

How's it going? I've gone three rows and somehow I've managed to drop 6 stitches already. Not sure how it happened, but now I have to come up with 6 more stitches. Now that I'm not on the beginning row anymore, I think I'll be ok.

But as I tweeted last night, I'm either going to go blind or crazy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weekend Production

Because I'm trying to be better with posting, and because I don't want you all to think that I'm not doing anything crafty....

This weekend I have made:

a fridge magnet out of my practice IPC solder certification board. (oh yeah, I'm certified in that now, even for those tiny IC chips!)

And in the Crafting with Food portion, I made a cake (from scratch) for the husband's birthday!
Chocolate cake, peanut butter icing. :)

As for the ongoing projects, I'm still working on the crochet pet bed. It's sitting patiently on the backburner, but I've added some inches to it.

And I'm also working on the pattern for the Rachel Scarf! I'm almost done with my notations, then I need to transcribe (and proofread proofread proofread) and set up the download link. I believe that I'm going to do it through Ravelry, because I do not have the time to do it as a Paypal invoice/email attachment for every separate transaction. I am pretty sure that even if you are not signed up with a Ravelry account, you can still download, but I will double check to be sure.

Also coming up, some interesting links, and Charlottesville Crafter goes up next week as well.

Time to go make some lists...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY or Don't?

I know that prime wedding season is winding down, but fall weddings are winding up, and lots of newly engaged crafters are plotting their events for next year!

As a recent bride, I’ve spent lots of time looking at wedding related items this past year. Doing it yourself is getting more prevalent in the world of nuptuals, due to both the economy and the amount of readily available instructions. No longer do you have to rely on certain pricy vendors to do things for you if you have some spare time and crafty ability. It also allows for a greater ability for customization. Why rely on generic white satin when you can have something that truly represents you and your spouse to be and that you'll remember fondly for many years to come?


There are some things to consider before you go crazy on the wedcrafts.

Should you DIY? I'll be honest, it's not for everybody. Some people don't have the skills. Some people have the skills, but don't have the time.

Still debating? How about some practical guidelines?

You should DIY if:

*You have a vision that you are sure that only YOU can pull off.
And even if you're sure, make sure you have a backup plan, and some help lined up.

*You have the time to devote to the crafting that is required.
A good rule of thumb is to allot at least twice the time that you think you're going to need. Also, be realistic. If it takes you 20 minutes to glue one paper flower together, why would you think that you could do a whole centerpiece in one night, much less three? Do you even HAVE a spare evening to devote to wedding crafting? If you work full time and have a lot going on, you may not have the chances you think you will to get things finished.

*You have the money to devote to the crafting that is required.
Crafting is USUALLY the cheaper option, but not always. Hard to find or specialized components may cost extra money. Don't forget to consider quantities, too. Supplies for place cards or favors for 200 people will take more funds than place cards or favors for 50. Sometimes buying in bulk can help, but not always.

*You have the skills or motivation to do the craft you want.
Craft what you know, and branch out only if you're willing to take a risk. I sewed my dress, but I am not a paper crafter. Aside from some origami here and there, I find messing with paper kind of boring. So I did not attempt to make my own invitations. It would have only frustrated me and I would probably have not given them the proper effort. Keep the skill level needed to just above where you are now. If you've never done lacework, your wedding is probably not to time to attempt to knit a lace shawl. Don't add unnecessary frustration.

*You have the energy to do all the crafting.
If your decorationss are going to require you staying up late and running yourself ragged, they're not worth it. Your wedding is a celebration, and you can't celebrate if you're worn out from everything you've had to do!

*You can handle disappointment.
Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes a sash doesn't lay how you want. Sometimes certain flowers are not available. If your plan will completely fall apart if one thing goes wrong, make sure that you have a backup plan!

You are no less of a crafter if you don't hand craft all of your wedding accessories!
You can find all the great ideas, but when it comes to your time, energy and money, be practical. Don't go crazy unless you have crazy resources to back it up.

So if you've read this and weighed the options and still want to craft up your wedding, have at it and good luck!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hey Mama

I mentioned a while back that there were going to be plenty of babies this July! Not only did my friend have twins, my stepdaughter had a baby, too!

I know, you're thinking, wait, why didn't you make her a blanket??

Well, quite frankly, I was burnt out on blankets. Not to mention it's JULY and it's ROASTING, and there were a billion blankets on her registry already.

I'll have plenty of chances to make Baby B lots of things while she's growing up.

But don't worry, they're still getting handmade things! Mama had registered for some nursing covers, and didn't get any, so this weekend, I whipped up two to send down to her.

Her only requirements were that it involve pink. Not a problem. I tried to aim for classier prints, because I'm sure she's surrounded by baby prints all the time and would like some adult themes now and then.

I know, the desk chair doesn't make a very effective model, but it was late...

I used This tutorial. This was super simple and fast (especially for my first time working with boning, too!).

So I've sent them off to her (and a cute little headband for B, which I forgot to take a picture of...ooops.) and we'll see how they work!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Rachel Scarf

It's apparently gift week here at Craftykix!

My friend Rachel had a stroke a few months ago. She was traveling when it happened, and after some long stints in various facilities away, she's now in a rehab facility 20 minutes from home. She's doing very well with her rehab, and is getting stronger and better every day. I'm so proud of her!

I wanted to make her something, so I plotted. She loves Dr. Who, so I figured that I would try and make her something Whovian, but yet I still wanted to make the pattern so that it would stand on its own without the Who reference. So I made her a Tardis door scarf.

It's done with acrylic for easy care. I was a little concerned because the finishing kind of killed the stitch relief pattern, but I think the effect is still there. I got to visit her on my way home this weekend, and got to give her the scarf. She is very pleased with it, and I'm very happy that she liked it.

I am considering writing up the pattern and making it available for download for a small fee. All proceeds from the downloads would go to her and the family to help with the bills. If you would be interested in the pattern, please let me know! I would love for the love to continue well after the scarf!

Monday, August 1, 2011


When I went back home to see the family this weekend, my grandma had a surprise for me. I don't know when she did it, but she made us a new blanket/quilt for our wedding present.

I feel so incredibly lucky that I have family that's willing to spend the time and energy to make something like this for us.

Thank you, Grandma! I love you!