Crochet Mad Hatter

Blogged under Charity Crafting, Finished Projects by Tammy on Saturday 31 October 2009 at 1:28 pm

You can call me the “crochet mad hatter” lately, and I mean that in the since of being crazy (not angry). Though, I will admit crochet hats have been trying my patience lately. First, I had issues with various patterns while trying to find one that would work well for chemo hats. Finally, I had success, but then the second hat I made (using the same pattern) didn’t turn out so well, and it was my own fault, not the pattern’s, because I lost count. As a result the hat (the purple one pictured above) turned out to be a little on the large size shall we say.

My next hat dilemma came in the form of baby hats, which I’ve made plenty of before.

DH was home for awhile on vacation (had to use it or lose it) and mentioned a co-worker had just had a baby boy, so of course, I had to whip up some baby goodies and put together a present before he returned to work. I decided to go with hats and booties and then get some little undershirts at Wal-fart to put all together in a little gift bag.

The first hat I used variegated green and blue yarn, and it turned out pretty well. However, I thought I should also make one in plain blue as well, but I forgot to switch out crochet hooks. I had used G for the booties, and dang it, the hat is probably too small. I was supposed to use an H size hook. While this is not necessarily a craft-astrophy, as I can save this to donate to some charity later, I was back with the same problem of having to get another hat done before he went back to work.

As it turns out, DH finally mentioned to me that, oh, by the say, the guy isn’t going to be back to work for a few weeks if not longer since he saved up tons of vacation and sick time. This ends my dilemma of getting the other hat done on time, but now adds a different issue since this baby could be too big for the items I’ve collected already! EEkkk!

Impressed by Rio Grand Site

Blogged under Around the Web, Crafty Products by Tammy on Friday 30 October 2009 at 2:19 pm

I am in full book mode right now and have been putting together a list of supplies I need for it. I had a large mixture of items I needed from metal clay to sheet and even a few tools (to replace some of mine that look like they went through a nuclear war!), so while I do purchase supplies from a lot of different vendors, I decided to just place one order through Rio Grande since they pretty much have everything (and the kitchen sink).

Rio Grande is known for having a huge assortment of jewelry making supplies as well as wonderful customer service, but until recently this company was also known for having one of the most user unfriendly sites on the Internet. It used to force you to sign in just to browse, and for whatever reason, my username and password rarely seemed to work. Then navigating was just a nightmare.

While I knew the company had done a major overhaul on its site, I had decided to just call in my order just in case. However, I needed to find out the prices of a few items since they charge according to the metal market that day, and that meant trying the web site again.

Wow! Talk about a night and day difference! I found it so easy to use that I went ahead and ordered directly through the site. The site is now a dream to navigate, and the search feature worked flawlessly.

I know a number of other jewelry designers that were also turned off by the old Rio Grande site, so if that description relates to you, check it out again soon. You will be totally impressed!

And, now, I just wait patiently (yeah right) for my box of jewelry supply goodies to appear at my door…..

Quick Halloween Costume Tips

Blogged under Sew Simple by Tammy on Tuesday 27 October 2009 at 2:00 pm

This picture originally came from an old Halloween photo from my youth. My mom stitched the princess dress (no doubt from a pattern) and then constructed the crown and scepter for me as well. I never knew of anyone back then who bought a Halloween costume. Either “mom” made it, or you dug around in your closet and came up with something from what was on hand. I’m not necessarily against anyone buying a costume, but to me, it can take some of the fun out of Halloween. Even if you don’t sew, you can easily whip up a costume with a few simple tips:

  • Glue it! There are 10 zillion types of glue available these days. My local craft store has almost an entire isle dedicated to glue. Besides the standard stuff like paper, you can find glues for metals (like tacky glue) or fabrics (yes, fabric glue).
  • When using fabric, look for types of fabric that don’t require much if any finishing such as felt or polyester. It’s just a costume, so it’s no major deal if you don’t meticulously hem it, but some fabrics (such as cotton) can ravel like crazy.
  • Not into glue? Then fuse it! Fabric stores, craft stores, and even some of the big-box stores carry fusible webbing that allow you to use your iron to connect up pieces of material.
  • Finally, see what you have on hand. I actually won a children’s costume contest once wearing my mom’s bathrobe, slippers, curlers in my hair, and holding a spatula. I was a “harried housewife.” A simple peasant blouse, skirt, and tons of jewelry can transform you into a gypsy. Old work clothes and a pillow case tied to a stick (which can double for the trick or treat bag), and you become a carefree hobo.

Save your time and money for what counts, getting lots of Halloween goodies!

Craft Bloggers Unite 10/25/09

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Sunday 25 October 2009 at 10:17 am

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
At Craftside there is a free cross stitch pattern, a downoadable label and idea for a spooky Halloween decoration and some wild pumpkins, a sneak peek into the new book What is Illustration?, how to sew gathers and ruffles and finally a fun question to be answered to be entered to win a free craft book.

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Linda revisits a quilt she made a while back.

Mixed Media Artist
Do you have a signature style? Cyndi wants to know what it is and wants to help you show it off!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Polymer Clay Candy Corn Beads Hot out of the Oven made using a “recipe” from the book The Polymer Clay Cookbook.

The Artful Crafter
Make a pretty fall triple wreath wall hanging for your own wall or as a housewarming gift. With a little imagination, you can adapt the design for Christmas or just about any other occasion/season.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge scares up another fiendishly fabulous mixed media design for Halloween!

About Family Crafts
Sherri offers several free pumpkin carving patterns for you to download and use!

Aileen’s Musings
This week Aileen offers a free pumpkin label for you to download and print. Also, a very cool photo manipulation site, so gather your favorite pictures and have some fun!

Cathie Filian
Make a warm mug of Chai Tea at home with this traditional recipe from Cathie.

Last Minute Halloween Crafting

Blogged under Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Saturday 24 October 2009 at 8:43 am

Can you believe that Halloween is less than a week away? In fact, one week from today I’ll be listening intently to see if we have any trick or treaters at the door and trying to keep my hands out of the candy bowl! If you are short on time but still want to get into the Halloween spirit, there is plenty of time to craft some very cool Halloween jewelry. This is one of my favorite holidays, so over the years I have designed a pretty long list of Halloween jewelry projects. You can find them all free and listed on the Halloween page of my About.com site. Most of them, like the Witch Hat pin pictured above, can be whipped up in literally minutes. Enjoy!

Chemo Crochet Hat Success!

Blogged under Charity Crafting, Finished Projects by Tammy on Tuesday 20 October 2009 at 11:14 am

The Yahoo Crochet-List is making chemo crafts for this month’s charity challenge. I thought for awhile there I wasn’t going to be able to participate. My hat luck wasn’t going that well!

The first hat I started to make, a very cool beret designed by the Crochet Dude, was turning out well, but then I read some place that chemo hats should be tight to the scalp since those wearing it may have little to no hair and need to keep their scalps warm.

Then I started making another hat that fit into this criteria, but that one wasn’t turning out well at all. The instructions didn’t say what size crochet hook to use, so I used an H hook only to find that it was turning into a teen tiny hat! Bummer! I pulled that out to start hat number 3!

Finally, I found success with a free pattern at the Fresh Stitches web site. It’s tight to the head and uses all single crochet (much like amigurumi which makes sense as there are patterns for those too on the site). Since it uses single crochet stitch, that means no holes, another issue I read about when it comes to chemo hats. Obviously, if you don’t have any hair you don’t want holes in your hat!

The instructions for the hat pictured include a different color brim, but as you can see, I made it all in one color. I used a K crochet hook and Vanna’s Choice acrylic (surprisingly soft) in cranberry, and I still have a fair amount of yarn left over from the skein. The width includes 66 stitches around and I ended up making a total of 26 rows for the entire hat, which is about 6 1/2 inches high and 20+ inches wide.

Now it’s onto hat number 2! I’m so glad I found this super easy pattern. Cheers to Fresh Stitches!

Etsy Social Networking Lab

Blogged under Social Networking by Tammy on Monday 19 October 2009 at 6:15 am

Twitter and Facebook are the two main social networks that I am active with. I also dabble in Ravelry and LinkedIn. Some of my time on these sites is related to my writing work, either by promoting it or learning from others in my network. Has it made a difference for me? I think so. Can it suck up your time like crazy? I know so! But I still think using social networks is a good thing as long as you do it wisely and don’t let it take over your life.

I saw that Etsy Virtual Labs has a social networking lab hosted by the LabRats this Wednesday (10/21) night. It will discuss using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and other social networks to promote your craft business. If you have been thinking about diving into the SN scene to promote your crafting or are already part of a few social networks but haven’t figured out how to make them work for you, this might be worth checking into. You (of course) have to be a member of Etsy.com, which is free.

Craft Bloggers Unite 10/18/09

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 18 October 2009 at 9:51 am

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Linda visited a few quilt shops in Toronto and shares her finds.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi is starting a new quilt…this time featuring pears!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Vintage Hankie Scarf made using the tutorial from the Indygo Junction book Hankie Style.

The Artful Crafter
Eileen shows you how to create a simple but festive Halloween cupcake stand from terracotta pots.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge is one degree from Martha! Check out her upcoming appearance at the Grand Opening of Michael’s in Manhattan!

Vickie Howell-Craft.Rock.Love
This week Vickie launched her new PBS Parents’ column, Craft Apparent. Check out her first article, a how-to on making utterly adorable baby costumes, starting with just a plain onsie!

About Family Crafts
Follow these directions and discover how easy it is to sew a felt tote bag that is perfect for trick-or-treating!

Aileen’s Musings
Come meet Aileen’s friends Herm & Ethel (they’re baccck!). Download a couple of freebie e-postcards and send Halloween greetings to your friends!

Cathie Filian
Check out Cathie’s quick video on how to spook up China ball lanterns.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside went a little artsy this week with inside peeks into the books; Hope: A Collection of Obama Posters and Prints, The Daily Book of Art, Really Good Packaging Design Explained and 1001 Ideas for Stonework, but there are also tons of great Sizzix die cut applique designs made by the designers at Halloween Swap-o-Rama-Rama.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Connie has another inspirational pattern, this time with an abstract flair. The chart is easy - whole cross stitch and a wee bit of back stitch.

Sewing Sales Soar

Blogged under Sew Simple by Tammy on Thursday 15 October 2009 at 8:24 am

According to MailOnline, a UK-based daily newspaper, sewing machine sales are up 500% for the Argos brand, and Singer and Brother have seen a 50% increase in sales: “In this new make-do-and-mend world, the rise of SIY (sew-ityourself) is a sign of the times, with people clamouring to join courses in sewing and garment design around the country.”

I have to admit that I’m not really surprised by this news that sewing machines are hitting an all time high in sales lately. Thinking of attempting a sewing-related book this past summer, I did some research on it and realized that sewing was seeing a rebirth in many ways and that this is a huge area for crafters like myself to step in and grab some great writing and stitching opportunities. For various reasons, my sewing book is on hold right now, but once the timing is right for me, I plan to shop the proposal around again.

If you are a stitcher looking for a professional crafting niche, mark my words: sew it!

Dig the Dog Blanket!

Blogged under Fiber Fun, Finished Projects by Tammy on Wednesday 14 October 2009 at 6:10 am

Voila, the dog blanket is finally finished! As you can see, I basically just made a really large granny square. I used three different colors of yarn. First a lilac, then I think it’s called “water color” for the variegated yarn, then sage (which looks more of a green in the picture…I guess due to the flash on my camera), and then I trimmed it with more lilac. The boys love it and are working hard at breaking it in so it is as comfortable as their other blanket.

Since finishing this the other day, I’ve been cooling it on the crochet because my hands have been acting up more than usual. Once I give them a break, though, I have my eyes on making the adorable hat on the cover of Drew’s new book, In All Caps. It is not cool down here in the least yet, but when it is, I want to make sure I have a cool little hat ready to wear.

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