Yarn Swatch to the Rescue

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Thursday 11 August 2011 at 8:21 am

I was recently commissioned to make a unique baby afghan. The recipient has opted not to know the sex of the baby before he/she is born. You don’t hear that too much these days. To top it off, the parents-to-be have shunned traditional unisex baby colors like green, yellow, or even purple and decided to use a palette of various shades of beige in the nursery. Thus my assignment was to make a beige baby afghan.

Beige is not a real popular yarn color as it is, but boy, try to find it in baby yarn. There is plenty of white or even off white, but beige, nada! Now if you want wool, then that’s easy to find in beige, but some babies are allergic to wool, so that was not an option. Finally, I narrowed it down to two yarns, Lion Brand’s Organic Cotton in macadamia or Cotton-Ease in either sand, almond, or taupe. The client opted for the organic cotton, which color-wise I tended to agree that it was more on the beige side.

So I ordered the yarn and went to work. It was really coming out well, and though I have to use an aluminum hooks instead of my beloved bamboo, I really like working with this yarn. It has a textured look to it, and it is so, so soft! I was nearing the end when stupid me decided to read the yarn label only to discover…yikes..it says “hand wash and lay flat to dry!” Oh, the horror! I mean…who is going to want to hand wash a baby afghan?

As my freak-out session continued, I urgently post on the Ravelry boards for help. My hope was that someone had washed this yarn in the washing machine before. While I never found anyone who had done that, a few replies suggested I make some swatches and run them through various machine cycles to see how they did. And that is exactly what I did.

I washed both in the hand-wash cycle of my washer. Then one swatch I partially dried in the dryer with other clothes, and the other swatch I lay flat to dry. To my relief, both turned out fine. In fact, I expected to see some noticeable shrinkage, but that didn’t happen either. Once I finish the afghan, I plan to use the hand-wash cycle, run it very briefly on a low setting in the dryer, and then lay it flat to finish drying. Since I live in such a humid climate, this thing will never dry if I don’t get it at least started. Hopefully, the entire piece will survive just as well as the swatches did.

Loom Knitting DVD

Blogged under Loom Knitting by Tammy on Wednesday 10 August 2011 at 3:49 pm

When I first started working with round knitting looms, for the most part I found it fairly easy, but I kept getting holes in my stitches. This means I was probably dropping stitches, but boy, it is really, really hard to fix a boo boo on a loom. It is just better to frog the whole thing and start over, or you have to live with your boo boos.

The looms do come with instructions and I found loads on the Internet as well, but they still didn’t really make things crystal clear to me. In fact, the instructions that came with the Knifty Knitter looms were some of the worst I’ve ever seen in my life! So I decided to purchase the DVD called Round Loom Knitting. It is available at the American Knitter web site as well as Amazon.

The DVD includes 4 projects, a hat, scarf, slippers, and socks. The hat is obviously the easiest, and after watching that portion of the DVD, I finally got rid of my holes. I’m not exactly sure why, but whatever they told me to do seemed to do the trick.

The scarf project I thought was kind of weird because they have you make basically a super long tube, and then you stitch the ends closed…weird…

The slippers look very promising, except those stupid pom poms will have to go. I’m just not a pom pom gal, I guess. But these look like a doable project and something that would make good gifts as well as donations to places like nursing homes and shelters.

Finally the last project they call a “sock,” but to me it looked more like a stocking, something you’d use for Christmas. It was just so thick looking I can’t imagine trying to wear these inside a pair of shoes. This project is also the most advanced of the three.

For someone who already has the basics down, this loom video probably isn’t worth the money, but for me, I was pretty lost and this really helped. Plus, I could see using this for my craft club, so that’s an additional bonus for me.

Jewelry Book Give-Away Reminder

Blogged under Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Tuesday 9 August 2011 at 3:37 pm

Don’t forget about the jewelry book give-away I’m running this month!

Margot Potter, famed jewelry designer, weblogger, TV personality, etc., has another new book out. This one takes a unique and contemporary approach to making bead and wire jewelry. It’s called New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry: Unexpected Combinations and Unique Designs, and you can read the full book review that I wrote about it over at my About.com Jewelry Making site.

After you read the review, head over to this weblog post and read the instructions for leaving a comment and entering.

Weekend Crafting Links & Pasta Love

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 7 August 2011 at 5:04 pm

Before going back to school full-time, I’ve decided to give the old weight thing one more college try and see if I can get a few pounds off. This means counting calories (boo, hiss) and exercising more than usual (which I’m pretty okay with). I have actually increased my exercise over the summer, so I know I can handle cranking it up a little more. As far as the food goes, I’m not much of a cook, so I have to rely on easy peasy, unless I get my hubby to help (which he does sometimes, bless him!) Here’s one pasta dish that I can handle and love to eat. It’s got bow tie pasta (210 calories for 1 1/4 cups), feta (1/4 cup is 90 calories), about 1/4 cup of grape tomatoes (16 calories), fresh basil, seasoned pepper, and rice vinegar.

Another thing I’m working on before the school books hit the fan is crafting like a crazy woman. Here are some crafty links for you to enjoy before school starts…oh..too..soon!

About Family Crafts
Learn how you can make back to school fun with all of these crafts and activities.

Aileen’s Musings
Stop by and read Aileen’s book review on Margot’s new book New Dimensions in Bead and Wire Jewelry: Unexpected Combinations, Unique Designs and enter to win a book of your own!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi showcases the cards she made with a free Crafters Companion download.

Craft Buds
Enter the giveaway this week at Craft Buds to win a Slice Fabrique cordless fabric cutter from Making Memories! Great for sewing applique and also paper crafts! (Ends 8/9)

Craftside- A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a fun idea on customize black and white fabric with colored markers, cutting an orange to look like a chrysanthemum with a recipe, a tutorial on how to sew sequins on “Road Warrior” style, and a fun video of Carla Sonheim’s illustrations.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
How to make a tubular wine bottle tote from a cardboard mailing tube.

Lindsay Sews
The cathedral windows quilt is unique in that it requires no batting or backing. It’s an all-in-one quilt block! Check out Lindsay’s cathedral windows mini quilt in bright solid fabrics.

Mixed Media Artist
Remember when altering Altoid tins was all the rage? Cyndi shares an accordion book that she made using a tin as the cover! It’s still a lot of fun!

Making a Loom Cat Tube

Blogged under Loom Knitting by Tammy on Saturday 6 August 2011 at 5:39 pm

Coco loves to burrow in things. She’s always in my purse digging around for something to steal, and lately she’s decided the bags I use for grocery shopping are extra fun to hide in and then strewn all over the kitchen floor. This has inspired my next loom knitting project – a cat tube.

Originally when I started this, I was thinking of using the largest round loom to make a cat tubbie, similar to a few I made for my last crew of old kitties. After making a few of these in the past, I learned that I needed to have thicker yarn or the sides eventually slumped.

So this time I used double strands of Red Heart Super Saver and started looming away.

After I started getting further into this, I realized that probably Coco would prefer a real tube versus a tubbie, so I’m continuing to make it longer and longer. This is much thicker than my previous tubbies, but I’m still not totally thrilled with the thickness.

So now my thoughts are that I’m going to make this super long, and then fold it in half and stitch it up so that it is quadruple thickness. Hopefully, Coco will appreciate the effort.

Thick and Quick Yarn on the Loom

Blogged under Loom Knitting by Tammy on Friday 5 August 2011 at 4:50 pm

One of the issues with the Knifty Knitter looms is that you have to use chunk yarn, #5. Or you can also double your yarn, which works well too. However, I really like Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick and Quick. As the name suggests, it works up quickly, and when you add in the loom, you are cranking out the stitches.

Here is some pumpkin colored yarn on the adult-size loom, and it took just a few hours to finish the hat.

Easy Baby Boy Afghan

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Tuesday 2 August 2011 at 7:10 am

Despite getting a lot of help from Coco, who swears she just wants to learn how to crochet and is not trying to drive me insane, I finished what turned out to be a really simple baby afghan that is perfect for a little boy.

I used 3 skeins of yarn for this, two of Bernat’s “I’m a Boy” and one of Bernat’s “Pale Blue.” The hook size I used was a G, so this ends up making the gauge a little on the small side. The finished afghan is 36 inches. Basically, to make this, just use the “I’m a Boy” and make the granny square, using up the entire skein. Then attach the blue skein and use that up, and finish with another skein of “I’m a Boy.”

Very no brainer – but it turned out great and is so soft! Of course, as my luck would have it, I have to make two baby afghans right now, one for a girl and another for someone who won’t know if it’s a boy or girl until have she has it. So this baby gan is going in the donation collection. However, considering that it was fast and only used 3 skeins of yarn, this little baby blanket is a perfect donation type of project.

Hello Etsy in September

Blogged under etsy by Tammy on Monday 1 August 2011 at 7:00 am

Admittedly, I have not done much with my Crafty Princess Etsy Shop in some time. With summer school here and fall semester looming and everything else I’ve got going on, the store will have to continue to limp along for awhile. However, I still get email from Etsy, and one recently jumped out at me, not because I could actually participate in this event but because if I could I totally would!

In September 17 and 18, 2011, Hello Etsy will hit the Internet via streaming video and, of course, be conducted in the real world at the same time. In fact, “world” is a good location to give it because while the main event will be in Berlin, Germany, there will be similar ones all over the world. The website describes Hello Etsy as “A Summit on Small Business and Sustainability is a hands-on gathering for small business owners who want to connect with their peers, learn the skills to find success and independence, and be part of the movement to build human-scale economies.”

I am always amazed at the cool events and ideas that continue to come from Etsy. This is just another one to add to the list. I’d love to hear from anyone who plans to attending one of these events.

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