Crochet Thread Everywhere

Crochet FlowersIn college I used to wear crocheted flowers in my hair. It was my little bit of uniqueness. Flowers also only take a few minutes to bust out if you’ve got a rhythm going. I still have most of the flowers I made and a lot of them still have bobby pins attached, even though I don’t wear them anymore. Now, if I wear them it’s probably because I’m doing some sort of Halloween event and I’m dressed up as a fairy.

At one time, when people used to complement me on the flowers and say how they’d love to have some, I started making them to sell. As a result I ended up with a pretty decent stash of cotton thread. I also started experimenting with different flowers and even made a few leaves. However, despite all things, I only actually ended up selling a few of the flowers.

And like all other things, my mother ended up passing a long of bunch of her own thread since she had stopped crocheting doilies, so she didn’t need the smaller balls that she had left.Crochet Thread She also had a collection of tatting thread, but she never ended up actually doing any tatting. Tatting is also something I haven’t done, but it is on my list of things I liked to learn (along with Tunisian crochet and needle felting). I have some plans to make some crocheted lace bowls with the thread. And hopefully I will start tatting. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the thread I used to make flowers, so it might sit around for a while and be used to embroider any amigurumi I make.  But before I really do anything with the thread I’m going to have to invest in a set of steel hooks and a tatting shuttle since I have neither.

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Work in Progress Wednesday – Amian Bag

I made a huge amount of progress on the bag this last week. I started taking it to work with me and doing a few rows on my lunch break. It was also Knit and Crochet night at Yarnivore this last Friday, so I got a decent amount of work done then as well.

One of the things that helped a lot was my new crochet hook. I have a lot of hooks.  One thing I didn’t have a lot of was E hooks. In fact I had one, a bamboo hook. Crochet HooksI’ve never been too fond of my bamboo hooks that I received as a present one year. They are incredibly difficult to use for long periods of time because they are so thin and don’t have a wider flat section on the hook like most aluminum ones do. So, I end up with a cramped hand if I crochet for more than 15 or 20 minutes. I decided to spend my birthday money buying myself a new set of hooks since it meant that I could and probably would spend more time crocheting. The results speak for themselves.

Amian BagLast week I had just started my third repeat of the pattern. This week I’ve finished the bulk of the bag and I’m now crocheting the handles. I finished the first handle tonight and should be done with next one tomorrow. What’s left is to sew them on and then pick out and sew in my fabric liner.

If I can’t find something in my stash that works, I’ll probably use the bag for a while without a liner. But eventually I’ll go visit some of the local shops and see if I can’t find something that will work without having to spend too much extra money.

Amian BagYou might also notice that the handle in the picture above doesn’t quite match the pattern. Since I had so much extra of the Silver Grey yarn left, I decided to do the center three rows in that color. As it is, I’m going to end up with three extra skeins and only one a half extra of the Azalea.

If you are interested in making this bag for yourself you can find the pattern here. And you can read my post last week that described some of the changes I made.

And if you are interested the crochet hooks I bought are the Clover Soft Touch which have a more ergonomic design than the Clover Takumi Bamboo hooks and most other aluminum hooks.

Amigurumi – Cat!

Orange CatThe first thing I actually made and finished this year was a small cat that I made as a gift for my friends that were having a baby.  Being cat lovers and having lots of family members that loved making baby blankets, I decided that this would be the best option.

I browsed pinterest for a while looking for some cat patterns, but I eventually pulled out my copy of Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet and thumbed through the patterns.  I used the baby lion pattern as the base and then embroidered the face as I felt like and just did a simple tail.  I also gave him a little chain ribbon that I tied in a bow around his neck.

cat2One of the main reasons I ended up embroidering the face instead of using buttons or even safety eyes, is that it was a present for a newborn and I wanted to make sure that nothing used would be able to be pulled off or get broken.  I also didn’t have any safety eyes at the time, and in an effort to spend a little less on crafty things, I used part of the plethora of cotton thread that I own (a picture of which I will share at some point in the near future as I think I have located all the bits and pieces I have.)

I’m planning on doing some more amigurumi in the future.  Do you have any amigurumi patterns you like or things you want to see made?

Work in Progress Wednesday – Amian Bag

In an effort to make sure that I work on my projects more than just twice a month during Knit & Crochet night at Yarnivore, I’m going to share my progress weekly with all of you!

I started the current project back on July 25th (before I even finished my potholders).  I haven’t worked on it a whole lot for a variety of reasons and hopefully I’ll be fixing one of those reasons within the next week or two.

Breeze by Brunswick in Azalea and Silver GreyThe yarn I’m using is a discontinued yarn called Breeze by Brunswick in Azalea and Silver Grey.  It’s a very knobbly yarn that I was given by my mother.  I think her original intention was to make a sweater out of it, but I’m making a bag with it.  Because of the knobbly nature of the yarn, I almost put it in my donation pile, but the colors really drew me in, so I decided to use them up before they languished too long and I decided to get rid of them after all.

So, without further ado….  This is where I’m at:Work in Progress Amian Bag - Top ViewWork in Progress Amian Bag - Side View

So far I’ve repeated the main pattern of the bag twice.  Each repeat of the pattern is 4 rows and I’m just starting on my third repeat in the picture. I have no idea how big the bag will end up being, but I do have the number of skeins suggested (in fact I have an extra of each), however the length is not listed on the skeins so I’m just hoping that because the skeins are the same weight it’ll end up working out without being too big or too small.

I’m using a modified version of the Amian Bag.  The pattern calls for a leather bottom, which I don’t have so I crocheted it instead.  And the pattern is also meant to be done from the top down, however I decided to try it from the bottom up as I didn’t really want to sew the bottom and top together.  I’d much rather work it in the round all the way.

I’m planning on putting a fabric lining in the bag when I’m done and using it to hold my current projects.  I’ve got a couple different bits of fabric and I’m hoping that one of them will be big enough to fit the bag when it’s done.

Potholders

After moving into my new apartment I realized I didn’t have any potholders (something as a lover of baking I couldn’t live without).  I knew that I had some at one point that my mother had made, but I couldn’t find them in any of the boxes I had initially brought with me.  So I decided that I would make myself some.  I figured it would be a quick weekend job.  I mentally went over my stash of cotton yarn, eyed the Michael’s ad, and then did something I really shouldn’t have.  I went and bought some new yarn even though I had decided that I was going to work through the yarn I had before buying anything new.

The only justifications I can give are that the yarn was under a dollar a skein and that I was going to use it right away.  All of which meant I spent less than $4 on the four Lily Sugar’n Cream skeins of cotton yarn and that I would be making that initial chain right way.

And to be honest, I also wanted to use colors that I would enjoy for years to come.  So I ended up with Warm Brown and Red.  If the store had had more than two skeins of the Warm Brown in the same dye lot, I probably would have bought enough to make a couple dishcloths, placemats, coasters and so on.  Although the only things I’d probably end up actually using would be the dishcloths and potholders.

So, the day after acquiring the new yarn I set to work. My quick weekend project ended up turning into a three month ordeal. Having only recently gotten back into crocheting, my hands weren’t quite up to the task.  I finished two within a week, but the last two took quite a bit longer.  I also visited my mother, found a box I had missed which contained the four potholders she had given me in college, and then I found out one of my friends and his wife were moving into a new place.  So, being as I actually wanted to use up my stash, I brought over all the other Lily Sugar’n Cream yarn I had and let them pick their colors.

Lily Sugar'n Cream Hot Blue and Mod Green potholders
Lily Sugar’n Cream Hot Blue and Mod Green potholders

It took me about a three weeks to finish off their potholders.  But I had a nice deadline to push for, so I didn’t dally as much as I had been with mine after finding my old potholders.  I was also happy to find that this new set of potholders was a much more consistent size then the two I had made for myself so far.  And it meant that I now had 4 less skeins of yarn in my stash. They are also the second gift I’ve made from my yarn stash since the beginning of the year.

Lily Sugar'n Cream Warm Brown and Red Potholders
Lily Sugar’n Cream Warm Brown and Red Potholders

I eventually did end up returning to my own potholders after I found out about the knitting and crochet group meeting twice a month at the yarn shop near my new apartment.  I’m happy to say that I finished them, love the colors and was able to show them off at my birthday party over the weekend.  And now I really wish that I could have bought more of those two colors so that I could deck out my kitchen in these beautiful colors.

If you are interested in making your own potholders, I mainly followed Miss Abigail’s pattern, but I used the starting chain of 31 since I wanted a slightly larger potholder.  These potholders are extra thick as you are crocheting through a loop from the current row and the previous row.

Afghans!

The first thing I every crocheted, outside of just making chains for miles, was an afghan.  Unfortunately that afghan has since passed on and was much loved and cherished.  Since I moved to Texas I didn’t think I’d ever make another one again, at least not till I moved back to a cooler climate.  But then I wanted to do something special for my dad when he got remarried.

BlanketThus we have my first ever knitted afghan.  This also happened to be the first project I’ve actually done since moving to Texas almost three years ago and it was done last year, before I had decided that I needed to start knitting and crocheting more often.  All the yarn for the project was bought specifically for it as I wasn’t working on emptying out my hoard yet.  I also don’t have a whole lot of blue in my stash, but it’s my dad’s favorite color, so I had to buy something just for him.

Considering that knitting is not really my strong suit and it had been 2 years since I had actually handled yarn in any fashion other than to move it out of the way, I’m pretty proud of the results.  I also don’t anticipate that I’ll be making any more afghans soon, not to mention I don’t have very many skeins that would work well together, so I was a little sad to leave this behind when I visited my dad in Colorado.

But it does give me something to look forward to when I get my stash down to zero.  It means I can go buy yarn and I can make myself a new afghan since the only ones I have are ones that were made by my mother.  There’s just something about having something that was made by me, for me.

Yarn, all the yarn…

20150803_212514I have a lot of yarn, maybe not as much as some people. But for someone who, on average, has only been completing about one project a year, I have way too much. I have already improved on this figure having finished two new projects and completing an old one. I mostly crochet these days, but I’ve also done a few knitting projects in the past. I didn’t actually learn to knit until my 20’s. I had tried as a kid when my mother first taught me how to crochet, but it was beyond my ability. It was probably in large part due to the fact that I have a tendency to knit pretty tightly so it was difficult to squeeze a needle in.

20150803_212435At the beginning of this year I knew that at some point in the coming months I would be moving into a much smaller space. I would no longer have room for what probably accounted for 3 large tubs of yarn. I have since whittled it down to two tubs with a few baskets with projects in them. At the moment I have two projects I’m actively working on and about 3 old projects I need to assess and decide if I want to finish them or do something different with the yarn.

20150803_212332All this yarn is of course still too much.  I don’t have room for it.  The yarn all hides under my bed which is sitting on risers so that the tubs will actually fit underneath. The yarn is also only one portion of my craft hoard. I have several containers full of beads and beading materials. I have a few boxes of scrapbooking supplies. I have a smaller tub with fabric inside. And I also have a hat box full of crochet and tatting thread (not that I actually know how to tat at this point in time). All of these things are also scattered, unorganized and haven’t been seriously looked at in years. At some point in the future I will share pictures of these after I’ve sorted, organized and gathered all related materials together. But for now I’ve shared a few different angles of my yarn hoard sitting on my extra large chair, which happens to be the first piece of furniture I ever bought for myself.

Tune in next week for a look at one of the projects I finished this year. Also, feel free to share pictures of your own yarn hoard in the comments!