Friday, May 28, 2010

I’m no slacker!

Yesterday I posted my game plan/to do list for the summer, craft-wise. I’ve already been busy!

Yesterday afternoon I got the covers & booties boxed up and shipped out to McKenzie. Just checked & they are already out for delivery! Huzzah! I love paying for ground & getting overnight delivery.

I do still need to check with Jessica about her interest in baby booties. I posted the yarn picture, expecting her to get back to me, but haven’t heard anything so I’ll follow up with her. It’s just a matter of actually remembering it when I’m on FB, instead of other random times when I can’t check with her.

My sewing project. Oh, my sewing project. :) Probably the most exciting thing right now. I’m now the proud owner of 12(!) pillow cases, enough for four bags. Like I said yesterday, I have a few changes in mind for the pattern, so I got two of the cases pinned up for the first bag. I’m making it have a flat bottom, which isn’t exactly hard in theory, but I haven’t gotten out the sewing machine yet, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping I can take some time this weekend from all our house stuff & get the first bag finished. I need to remember to print the instructions today so I know what I’m doing when it comes to cutting the third pillow case. I’m going to look at one more Target store this afternoon to see if they have any different patterns to choose from, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

No work yet on motifs or other new crochet patterns. In fact, I don’t think I’ve picked up a hook since I finished the last bootie Wednesday afternoon. I felt like a slacker riding in to work & after dinner the past couple days, but it is kind of nice to take a break.

I just hope this long weekend is a productive one. We do have a project at the house to finish up, but hopefully we can take some downtime to just enjoy the weather & play with Raven. I know Tuesday will come around too quickly.

Until next time…

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Sunshiny summer days are finally here!

My new summer game plan

We’ll see how long I can stick to this. :)

First of all, I need to ship out the order to McKenzie. I finished up the last bootie last night & it wasn’t as bad as the first one. I still don’t know what my problem has been with them, but I seem to have gotten past it (famous last words, I’m sure).

Secondly, I need to find out if another friend wants to order more booties. And if I really want to take on the challenge. I’ll see what she has to say.

After that, let the fun begin!

I found this awesome pattern yesterday that I can’t wait to try out. I’ll be doing the grocery shopping on my own today (dangerous!) so I’ll see what I can find. If I can’t find anything, I’ll have a couple hours to kill tomorrow, so I can stop by Target (double-danger!). I really hope I can find some similar pillowcases because those are absolutely perfect for me. Nice & bright & fun. I can’t wait! It’s the perfect simple sewing project I’ve just been itching to do! I do have a couple changes in mind (of course), so hopefully I don’t make things too difficult for myself. Pictures to come when I get around to working on it. Hopefully soon! Maybe I’ll make some time for it this weekend amid all the house stuff if I can get my hands on some suitable pillow cases.

I’m going to work my way through the crochet motifs I found last week. I’m really enjoying learning new crochet stuff lately, and have plenty of small amounts of yarn to use up. Like I said before, I plan on making a “patchwork” blanket for Raven.

Between the motifs, I want to try out new patterns/ideas of items to donate to MCK. New hats, booties, other clothing, just whatever I find that I like.

Other than Raven’s blanket, I don’t think I’ll do any big projects/blankets this summer. I know I planned on making another baby blanket, but I think I’m going to put it off. I like the instant (or at least quicker) gratification that comes with completing smaller projects.

Overall, I think it’s a pretty good plan, hopefully I can get a fair amount accomplished this summer!

Until next time…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Complete & utter frustration (and a hard lesson learned)

I can’t even begin to explain how frustrated I’ve been this week. On Monday I had to travel for work, so I had about two hours in the car to work on my crochet stuff. I planned to finish up McKenzie’s booties, then maybe get started on a new cover or hat if I had time. I don’t even know how many times I got four or five rows in and had to pull it all back out, I lost count after about five. Over, and over, and over again my seam was getting off, or I was somehow adding stitches, or the center of the toe was WAY off – not even anything I could adjust to make work. Finally I got so sick of pulling everything apart, I just switched yarn to start fresh. I decided I should take a second to double-check I was using the correct hook size, and what do you know, it was one size up. So I switched to the correct size, and right away, things started going just right. I did have one point where I had to move a stitch from one side of the bootie to the other, just because I wanted things a little more centered, but other than that, I got it done in about half an hour, of course right before we got back from our trip. All that time wasted! I was happy to finally have accomplished something, but of course it’s not even the right color for what McKenzie wanted.

Tuesday night I tried to start again on the brown booties, and still had no luck. The toe kept getting further and further off center, even though I was following the pattern exactly. Finally, last night, instead of following the pattern exactly, I adjusted most of the rows to make sure the toe stayed centered and was finally able to get one done. After three days of working on the same little bootie, it was good to have it finished, but daunting to know I need to make another one. I did keep notes on the pattern of the changes I made, so hopefully I’ll be able to do it again.

What I really don’t understand is that I was able to make the very first one absolutely perfectly with no troubles at all. After that one I figured I’d be able to whip these little things out in no time & didn’t bat an eye when McKenzie said she wanted a pair, and another friend said she wanted a few pairs. Now I think I might just be happy to get the one pair done for McKenzie, and forget the rest! :)

Actually, I know I’ll keep trying to tackle these until I get it all sorted out & they come easy again. Or at least that’s my plan.

Until next time…

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fun, Bright Happiness

Lo-o-ove the bright happy colors on these ones (excluding the brown, obviously)! Even the brown is such a nice, warm color. I'm really happy with how these turned out, so I hope McKenzie is just as happy. She's the photographer I mentioned before that ordered a few of the covers, so we'll see what she thinks when I get them shipped out this week. Still need to work on a pair of booties for her, but I'll be in the car for work most of the day tomorrow, so I should be able to get those done without much problem (famous last words, I know!).
And what about those toggles? I love them! Of course Nick's comment - "but, the baby will hurt himself on it." :)
Until next time...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Crochet Motifs

I just found this listing of a bunch of a different crochet motifs that I'm excited to try out when I'm back in the mood for doing blankets. I'm thinking about making a bunch of different ones to try them out when I do Raven's blanket. It'll be a good place to use up all my scraps & try out new stitches, etc. We'll see how it goes!

Until next time...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Yarn Overload

Here's a better shot of the yarn I got this week. There are a few colors pulled out since they were already spoken for, but it give me a nice choice to play with!

Until next time...

Etsy Shop

I’ve been asked by a few people now if I’m planning to open an Etsy shop, and to be honest I had been thinking about it. Today I read through a bunch of the FAQ stuff about being a seller, and it sounds like there’s more work to it than I had expected. My mom does have a shop, so she offered to help me get it set up. I’m sure once I get everything sorted out, it won’t be as hard as it sounds.

Unfortunately the “CowboysAndAngels” (has to be one word!) shop name has already been used. :( Bummer dude. They also don’t allow anything other than alpha-numeric symbols, so I can’t use &, but really, if someone else is using the other name, I wouldn’t want to risk being confused. So now I need to come up with a new name to use. I really had my heart set on using the Cowboys & Angels name for everything, so now I don’t know what I want to do. It might seem like a silly little thing to get worked up about, but it really is important. And if I’m going to try to make something lasting out of this, I don’t want to just settle on something & hate it in a year or two.

So, the short answer is yes, I am at least looking into doing an Etsy shop, but the timeframe is negotiable. For now I’ll just stick with custom orders through people I already know.

Until next time…

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TWT - Do I detect a pattern here?

This was taken in March last year, right after I got the new camera. If I remember correctly, I was showing Nick the awesome shake prevention & shaking the camera like crazy to show him how good the picture would come out. If you remember the picture from our anniversary, you might assume Nick only has one photo "pose." :)

Okay, I just went back & checked & apparentely I didn't post the picture from our anniversary!

Until next time...

Mock Crocs!

I'm pretty darn happy with how these turned out, except I don't think I'll be using veriegated yarn for them again. Solid colors from here on out because I don't like how they don't quite match. I know it doesn't really matter, but the way I am, it just kind of bugs me. I guess the only place it's overly noticeable is on the strap, so if I could do the strap separately in a solid color, it might be okay. I'll play around with them some more & see what I can come up with.

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


What a wonderful sight to come home to! Now work, work, work.

Until next time...

New Stitches

Well, for me at least.

Remember last week when I mentioned the diaper cover uses hdc, which I didn’t know I knew before, but thought I had used? Turns out, I was still wrong. On all the covers I’ve made so far, I have not used hdc, but some random stitch I seem to have made up. This weekend for some reason I decided to pull out my “Crochet Pocket Guide,” (a GREAT resource to keep handy, definitely pick one up if you’re still a beginner) and noticed that I’m still doing the hdc wrong. Now that I’ve got it sorted out, for real this time, I think the next diaper cover will go together much quicker.

Yesterday I found a few bootie patterns I wanted to try out & settled on “Mock Crocs” to try first. I got the sole done & was working on the top on the way home from work, when I came across sc dec. I knew it was a single crochet decrease, but had no idea how to do it. I hadn’t ever done it before, and hadn’t even seen instructions for it, so I didn’t even bother trying to attempt anything. As soon as we got home I got on the computer (we were waiting for a contractor, so I didn’t really have anything better to do) & figured out how to do the stitch, as well as the dc dec. Annie’s Attic is a fantastic resource for stitches & hasn’t let me down. Unfortunately the decrease stitches aren’t included in my pocket guide (of course!), so I was a little disappointed about that (I would have been able to finish in the car!), but it’s got a lot of other good stuff, so I still recommend picking it up.

The first bootie turned out absolutely adorable & I couldn’t wait to get the second one done. Nick kept saying we should try them on Raven. He’s always scoffed whenever we see the dog booties, so he was just being obnoxious. My favorite comment though was when I was working on the second one & he looked at me in surprise, “You’re making two?!” Umm…duh honey, babies have two feet! And then he went on about how they won’t stay on the baby’s feet because the back is open, so I told him it’s not like they’ll be running a 5k in these things. And then it was “their toes will get cold.” Good grief, Charlie Brown! It’s summer (or at least supposed to be), and they can wear socks if it’s chilly. The man cracks me up.

Pictures to come when I figure out a good way to photograph them. I need a real baby to model stuff! ;)

Until next time…

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Size Matters.

Or something like that.

These two covers were made using the same hook. The pink one is 100% acrylic, the purple 100% cotton. I'm surprised how much of a difference it makes.

I picked up a couple more skeins of cotton at Jo-Ann when I got the buttons yesterday, and my big order of cotton should be here sometime this week. I can't wait to work with it some more, but right now I have mixed feelings about it. It's not quite as soft & cuddly as the acrylic, but it's still a nice soft feeling yarn. Definitely not scratchy like some others I've used! There are some (Titan's & Nick's blankets) that made my fingers hurt after working with it too much. I'm guessing the more I work with the cotton the more I'll like it, it'll just take some getting used to.
I like the different color border and the fun button on this one, but am not crazy about the white ruffles. I think I'll stick with keeping the ruffles the same color as the rest of the cover.

Until next time...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Button, button, who's got the button?

I've got buttons! I ran to Jo-Ann Fabric quick this morning & picked up some buttons to use for the diaper covers. Love the little dinosaurs & airplanes especially, but they're all good. Now I just need my order of cotton yarn to get here (although, I've bought a couple to use while I wait...eek...) so I can use them!

Until next time...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Diaper Covers

Last week when I posted some of my hats to my Facebook page, a woman I went to high school with made the comment that if I made diaper covers we’d be in business. She’s a photographer as a side job & does some great pictures. She wanted them to use when she photographs babies, so I decided it sounded like a good challenge.

I looked around online to try to find a good pattern I thought I could handle (I still consider myself a beginner!), and wasn’t too excited about what I was finding. They were cute patterns, don’t get me wrong, but they all worked “in the round,” making a pull up diaper cover. I prefer to work on flat projects & am only just starting to get the hang of simple hats. Plus I didn’t want to have to mess around with elastic or ribbon for the waist. Then I found this pattern. I loved the button, and it looked MUCH simpler than the other patterns I saw. From the picture, I was able to figure out the basic shape of the pattern, but had no idea what size to make it, so I went ahead and bought the pattern. I’m so glad I did! She uses a different stitch I didn’t know before (but had inadvertently used, remember my first post about crochet when I thought I’d made up some random stitch? Turns out it was hdc. Who knew?!), which makes a nice tight pattern without being as small as a single crochet.

I got the pattern Tuesday & started working on it over my lunch break. I was amazed at how quick I was able to work it once I got the hdc stitch figured out. I got about half way through it over lunch & finished it up waiting for Nick to get out of work. I had to raid my sewing box at home to find a button for it, and it probably wouldn’t be my first choice, but it turned out pretty cute.

I’m not crazy about this yarn (90% acrylic, 10% nylon), it’s not quite as soft as I’d like, but it’s okay. I ordered a bunch of cotton yarn yesterday, so I’m excited for that to get in so I can get working with it.

For the second one, I switched yarn (100% acrylic) to do a pink one & decided I’d like to try to put ruffles on the back of it. I just got a hat pattern that had a ruffle around the rim, so I used that part of the pattern to add ruffles to the back of the diaper cover. The ruffles took just about as long to make as the rest of the cover, but I think it’s totally worth it – they’re so adorable! I had been thinking about using a different color for the ruffles, and I still can’t decide if it would look good or not. They would be easy to take off if it looks bad, but I don’t want to lose all the time it takes to make them! It’s probably worth it thought just to see how it looks, so I’ll try it out with some of the yarn I’ve got sitting around at home before I try it with the good cotton.

When I told Nick last night about selling the covers he couldn’t believe how much I was asking for them (not that much, I swear! Much less than I've seen them on Etsy) and said I should quit my job and “knit for a living.” I didn’t point out to him (for the 100th time, I swear) that I crochet, not knit, but did agree that I would love to be able to do that. For now, I’m happy being able to donate the majority of what I make to charity, and make a few bucks on the side to pay for my yarn obsession. :)

Hopefully McKenzie, the photographer, will share some of her pictures with me so I can post them here.

Until next time…

TWT - MoBay Sunset

This is my desktop photo at work right now & it makes me feel so warm & sunny when I see it.  Of course, considering all the rain & crappy weather we’ve had the past few days, I would MUCH rather be there right now than where I am, so it’s kind of sad too. 

From our sunset cruise in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Until next time…



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ribbed Hat

I was all ready to post how this was a "non-hat" because it took forever for the sides to finally pull down. But once they did, I think it turned out really cute! I'm thinking about using the pattern up to the point just before they do pull down to make some sort of a blanket, but that will have to wait a while at this point.

I'm all about learning new stitches lately & am not passing up patterns just because they use anything more than the basic sc & dc I was sticking to before. This mindset has opened all kinds of doors for me! This hat uses a frontpost double crochet & I love the ribbed effect. I also realized this is probably the stitch my Grdma used to make one of my favorite blankets, so I'm anxious to see if I can figure out the rest of the pattern now because unfortunately she won't be able to tell me how she made it.

This hat will go along with the rest to Marine Corps Kids, and I think I've got my box just about full enough to ship out. I think I'm going to try to figure out how to size this hat up so I can make one for a friend's daughter, assuming of course I don't find another I like better in the meantime. :)

Until next time...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Addison's Blanket

I’m doing this one a little out of order, but since I just finished it up, it makes sense to go ahead & post it while it’s still fresh in my mind.

This is my second blanket using the 90° angle, the first was Emma’s Blanket, which I’m sure I’ll get around to posting one of these days. ;) They are both based off this Fiesta pattern from Red Heart.

For Addie’s blanket I played around with the color pattern to make sure the lines matched up when I rotated the squares. I love the way the lines flow through the blanket & am pretty happy with how the seams came out. They still show up a little more than I would like, but it’s not too bad. I made sure to leave decent tails on the rows as I was going, then just used those to sew the blanket together. For this blanket I didn’t do any edging, just a simple single crochet border to finish the edges. Partly because the blanket is sort of busy & I thought a nice simple edge went well, and partly just because I got sort of lazy. :)

I’ve got a lot more ideas now that I can do this 90° angle & am really excited to try out some new stuff. Unfortunately I’m kind of “blanketed out” right now, and don’t think I’m going to do the other one I wanted to do before June. I just don’t have the time like I do in the winter, and it’s just too darn warm most nights (Or at least it should be! This week has been an exception, and I’m not happy about it) to have a blanket on my lap while I’m sewing the squares together or edging. I suppose that’s probably another reason I chose not to do more of an edge on Addie’s blanket.

I’m still sorting out how to get each angle to be a perfect square. My stitches seem to be taller than they are wide (or the other way around, I can’t remember for sure right now), so it’s not quite perfectly square. When they are sewn together, it’s not too bad, but you can tell the corners are a little stretched looking, even though they really aren’t. I should have taken a picture of one of the individual squares to show what it’s doing, but of course I didn’t think of that until just now. The first blanket I did like this, I used a J hook & it was even more off square. For this one I switched to a K hook & it’s definitely better, so I think for the next one I’ll try to move up one more size. I don’t want to get too big, but I’d really like to get things better lined up. I don’t know if going smaller would help or not, I’m definitely no expert when it comes to all this! I did forget to measure Emma’s blanket before I gave it away, but Addie’s blanket is about 31x48 inches, so I’ll have to measure the next one & see if it’s much different with the bigger hook. The original pattern says the finished blanket will be approx. 39x58 inches. I never bother gauging, but I suppose I should.

I showed the blanket to a woman here at work & she said she’d like to have the pattern to make one of her own, so I guess I should get busy writing it out. Since it’s based on the Fiesta pattern it won’t be too hard, but I did change a few things so I’ll have to find the pattern I made for myself & see what I can come up with. I’m not expert at writing patterns by any means, but I’m willing to give it a go. I did write out the pattern for hat #3 yesterday, and it seems to be okay, so maybe it won’t be as bad as I think. Hopefully. :)

Until next time…

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hooked on Hats!

Here are hats 3 & 4. I tried to make these ones a little more “open” so they’ll be cooler for the summer babies.

The first one actually came out pretty nice considering I was just playing around & adjusting as I went. I’m pretty proud of it.

The second it a little different story. I tried to make this one completely “open” without any solid rounds. As you can see, I wasn’t able to, and the shape is kind of off. I guess it’ll just have to be for a conehead baby. ;)

I picked up a couple more skeins of baby weight yarn at Wal-Mart last night & made sure I got good patterns on each. I’m looking forward to trying out the little ruffled hat pattern that came on one of them. Hopefully I can finish up the hat I’m on & try that out next.

I was looking online for some other hat patterns & found just a ton, but it was almost so much that it was overwhelming. I need to get a few more of these simple pattern ones done & sent to Delia so I can have her tell me if I’m okay on my sizing. Then I’ll try out some different patterns. Delia posts pictures of most of the stuff she gets & mine are going to be so plain & boring compared to the others she’s getting! I’ve got to get my skill level up so I can make some more fun stuff.

Until next time…

Thursday, May 6, 2010

TWT - Termites

Oh the joys of home ownership.

This is what Nick found when he pulled down more drywall in the basement last night. Not a pretty sight.

Until next time…

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My first hats!

I decided last week when I was home on Friday that I would take a little time in the morning to crochet before I got started on the entryway. I found some crochet patterns my Nana had given me a while back & tucked in was a hat pattern from my friend Delia. I looked it over & it sounded fairly easy so I decided to give it a try.

The pattern called for “baby weight” yarn, something I knew I didn’t have around. I figured I’d just start out with some of my Caron Super Soft, knowing it might be a little more difficult to work with & would end up a little heavier than I needed. But, at least it was a start!

The first one took me a little under two hours, which I didn’t think was too bad. I had a little issue with my seam showing, but I think I’ve got that figured out now. I was also confused on working back vs. front loops, since it didn’t come out looking like the photo I had. I think it would depend on whether you’re working from the inside or the outside of the hat. I was switching back & forth, and decided it didn’t matter too much because it could just be turned inside out to whichever side looked better. :)

When I did what was supposed to be a border, the bottom row didn’t want to stay flat, so I decided to just fold it up & sew it in place (hence the x’s), and I really like how it turned out. Unfortunately, I should have done the x’s on the other side, because the border (now the very bottom of the hat) shows up better from the inside, but the x’s don’t look so great from that side. Oh well, I didn’t think it was too shabby for my first try!
You can't really see the lavender stripe
on the bottom of the hat in this picture,
but I promise it's there!

See, there it is!

Second try, I still didn’t have baby weight yarn, so I decided to make one in the opposite colors of the first. I was careful to pay close attention to which side of the first hat I liked better when it came to my back vs. front loops, and made sure I sewed the edge up so the border looks right. I didn’t feel like doing the x’s on this one, so I just stuck with the one row of stitching. The seam on this one is worse than the first because I didn’t figure out how to fix it until the third hat, and somehow I must have kept adding a stitch every row because it doesn’t even go straight. To help offset the horrible seam, I decided to do a little flower on the opposite side. Stupid flower was harder to figure out than it should have been, but once I got smart, it was super easy to make & attach. I (of course) was trying to make it WAY more difficult than it needed to be!

I finished up hat 3 on my way in to work this morning (while Nick drove, of course!), and it’s definitely much better than the first two in the seam department. I played with the pattern a little bit, and really like how it turned out. I also picked up some baby weight yarn this weekend, and it’s MUCH easier to work with, and I really like the weight of the finished hat a lot better. With the more open pattern, it will be a much better hat for those summer babies. (Photos to come of this one, since I finished it up on the way in this morning)

All these hats will be donated to Marine Corps Kids, but I’ve already got a request from a friend to make one for her daughter. I love making them since they are quick & rewarding, and don’t leave me sitting with a huge blanket on my lap when the days are getting warmer! I do need to finish up a border for a blanket, but after that, I think I’m going to take a break from blankets for the summer. I know I said I wanted to get another done before June, and maybe I still will, but for now, it’s hats!

Until next time…