Friday, July 13, 2018

I've Been Busy

I have totally fallen off the track with posting as I had promised myself at New Year's. I went to a wonderful 4th of July/family reunion party and had a great time, but within a couple days the weather went to 112 degrees and I didn't handle it well. (Neither did several of my plants, and I am afraid I've lost at least two of them.) Then last Tuesday my husband went in for surgery (all is well!), but I had to get up at 3:30 am to get ready to leave with him, which really threw my routine in a tizzy. Silly me, I brought a shawl to work on while I was waiting, but I was so tired I ended up having to rip out all that I had done. Oh well, it kept me busy. I've since caught up on my sleep and I am back with the living now!

My husband was just recently notified that his family is going to have a new addition. The nephew and his wife had a gender reveal at the July 4th party - it's a girl! So if course that means anything I was currently working on or planning to work on has been set aside for now. There are so many wonderful things to crochet for babies - it's so hard to choose! However, I remembered a particular doll that I had seen a while ago that I fell in love with, but it was a paid pattern so I took a pass. But now I have the perfect excuse for buying it! So I did. It's called "Cuddle-baby - amigurumi doll" by Lilleliis and it cost about $4.68 in US dollars (4 Euros). The pattern is well written and easy to follow; it was me who screwed up, so of course it took forever to make.

Cuddle-Baby - Amigurumi by Lilleliis

My suggestion is to make sure you have all the same weight yarn to make this doll with. I thought I did, but it didn't take me too long to realize I didn't. You see, I'm still trying to keep with using my stash, so I worked with what I had. I started with the head and then went on to the body. The yarn I used for the head was at least a DK and the body was definitely sport weight. The head was huge! So I had to unravel half the head and figure out how to make it smaller, which was time consuming. Then I realized I hadn't worked the invisible decrease correctly on the body, which left odd little indents (they didn't show until I stuffed it). I tried to fix it with a needle and thread, but it didn't work. So I had to redo the body. Then I realized one of the hands was bigger than the other, but I was able to fix that with needle and thread. Geez, you'd think I was a novice crocheter for as much as I messed up!

I did decide to embellish a little, so I gave the hat a crab stitch edging with a pink whipstitch in between the grey stitches, and I added a triple heart applique to the body. Even though this little doll ended up taking a lot more time that it should have, I'm still happy with the outcome. I may add the stitching around the wrists and ankles, though - it does give a more finished look. That is, of course, if I can keep myself from starting the newborn booties, baby blanket, 12M sweater...well, you get the idea!

My version - not a bad runner up, hey?  

There is one thing I found out that made me sad, though. While I was looking for the pattern on Ravelry, I found another person's version of the same pattern for sale. It wasn't done nearly as well, and now I can't seem to find it. I can only hope that the original designer found it and told her to take it down. The nerve of some people! Another person was trying to crochet this doll from the picture (hadn't bought the pattern) but was having problems figuring out the arms and legs, so she was asking for the directions on the pattern's forum! The designer replied that what she was requesting was illegal and she was shocked that someone could do such a thing. Listen, I've made things from photos, too, but  I would never have the gall to go on the paid pattern's site and ask for free directions! So sad this stuff goes on. And one word to the wise - unless a pattern is VERY simple, you're going to spend A LOT of time figuring it out on your own. Trust me - I know! So you'd better think twice if it's really worth saving a few bucks, IMO.

Till next time, keep on hookin'!


Saturday, June 23, 2018

It's Fairy Day!

Every fairy needs a house, and this one doubles as a teapot cozy!
I have a definite sweet spot in my heart for all things amigurumi (or kawaii softies, if you prefer), and one of my absolute favorites are fairies. International - yes, INTERnational - Fairy Day has been designated for June 24th this year. (Just FYI, the tooth fairy has her own days on February 28th and August 22nd. I don't know why she has two days, but maybe oral health needs the extra advertising!)

I took to Pinterest to find what fairies were available, and there were quite an assortment of delightful little cuties. The ones that are on my bucket list, though, are the ones from the Russian master class crochet. Of course, I would have to work my way up to that level! Perhaps I should start with some of the simpler ones....

Sweet Little Fairy by Fun and Fang; free pattern can be found here

Adorable Tinker Bell by JanaGeek

Who can resist Lucy the Fairy Mouse by LittleAquaGirl?

Unique Bella Fairy by Madelenon - she's waiting to make your wishes come true!
Sublime Fairy Elf by Alyona Dudakova; inspiration only, but you can visit here and here
Chrysanna the Albino Fairy by Epic Kawaii - make sure to check out this designer's other fairies! 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Product Photography 101 (!%$#!?!)

In keeping with having products in my store to sell, I have just added another (and very colorful) item for sale - the Boucle Delight Cowl. I had originally made this as a scarf, but it ended up a little short, so i decided to convert it to a cowl. I know that I should have more summery items in the shop. I promise I will, but I'm still in the throws of reorganizing my bed/craft room, so when something pops up to add, I'm just going with it. In my world the months seem to fly by, so it'll be fall before I know it!

The biggest problem I've had with this cowl is the photography. I didn't use bright or neon yarn colors to make this, but in the photos the cowl really looks much brighter than it actually is. I tried taking a pic inside the house (thinking the sun was the culprit), but that didn't work either. The next photo is much closer to the real colors.

In articles about taking product pics, they tell you to use natural light (or "reveal" type light bulbs) as much as possible because this will show off the true color of the item. Obviously, direct sun doesn't always work. Since I don't have a room to set up for product photography or the money for a pro photographer, I just have to rely on photo editing programs to try to achieve the proper effect. Easier said than done!

Until next time, happy crocheting!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Arthur is Getting a Girlfriend!

I went online to find Arthur a girlfriend.

At first, the best I could find was Re-Ment posable skeletons. They are numbered so you can tell which one you're getting - #1 man I believe is the smallest at 3 1/4" tall, #2 is supposed to be a child, #3 is a man at 3 3/4", and #4 is a woman. A dog (1 1/2" tall & 2 1/4" long including tail) and a cat are also available.  (Note: the sizes listed on Amazon are wrong.) The thing that is so cool about them is that they are posable! Their jaws work too, and the humans come with an extra set of gripping hands. They said the #1 man can grip Lego swords, etc., but I haven't tried that out yet. The company has even made playsets for these skeletons! I did buy the #1, #3, a dog, and a Lego dragon sword. As long as the sword works out, my oldest is going to get the #1 man and a sword. The problem is that the humans are way too small for Arthur (he's about 12 inches).

 


 But - wait for it - this is the exciting news! When I went back online, I actually found the same skeleton as Arthur! I can't believe that after 20 years that he's still in production. My oldest accused me of being deceptive - he claims that I gave him Arthur a long time ago; I say I didn't. Now I can give him his own glow-in-the-dark friend! And what's really funny is after all this time the reviewers' complaint is the same I had - he falls apart too easily. Still haven't figured out how to fix that yet.

 Arthur is so happy. I gave him a red cushioned chair to sit on, which is much better than the cardboard box. He loves his new puppy and is accepting name suggestions. He is really enjoying his two new friends, even if they're quite a bit shorter than he is. I haven't told him about his new girlfriend yet, because I want that to be a surprise. The only thing left is to make an "upholstered" chair, or maybe loveseat, for the new couple. Clothes, too. Must get busy on that, pronto!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Slight Change of Plans

As much as I love designing crochet items, I just have to give myself one long cold hard look in the mirror and be honest with myself. I love crocheting much more than I like having to write the patterns out. There, I said it. So I have decided to start using OP's patterns and crochet! This doesn't mean I won't ever design anything anymore; it just means that I'll have a "products" section in my store.


Autumn Red Cowl

 First up on this new(er) venture is my version of the Rose Lace Cowl by Alyssa Titus of Undeniable Glitter (free pattern can be found here). This was perfect for me because of all the Caron Simply Soft yarn I have in my stash, and it did take a little over one skein for the cowl (one skein for the body of the cowl and the "little more" for the edging). What a perfect and economical present! The pattern is written well - I didn't have any issues following it at all - and the cowl works up in no time. My only disagreement with her description is that I think this cowl could be very warm and just fine for winter, as well as spring and fall. IMO!


 I did run into one problem, though. My little picot points on the edging all swerved to one side, and I wanted them to point straight. Silly me thought that this would straighten itself out in the blocking, but it didn't. Now don't get me wrong - I'm not blaming the designer. It's very possible that the way I crocheted the points made them swerve - I don't know. Anyway, I took some thread and sewed the top loop of the picots down on the opposite side of the swerve, and this straightened them out. It was a pain, though. So if I ever make this cowl again, I'm going to find  way to crochet those points straight or consider the swerved points part of the design!

Till next time, happy crocheting!