Crochet Dude’s Stitch Markers - Thumbs Up

Blogged under Crafty Products, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Tuesday 1 January 2013 at 5:52 pm



With all the amigurumi I have been making, this means counting stitches a lot, and of course, this also means using stitch markers. While for larger areas of crochet, I prefer locking stitch markers; when making small items like limbs for a stuff animal, I find the locking markers to be a bit of a pain to take on and off constantly. I pulled out these little flexible stitch markers sent to me by Simplicity Creative Group. They are part of the Crochet Dude line of products they distribute. I definitely have to give these the “thumbs up” because they are perfect for small items like this and are very easy to slip on and off but stay when you need them to stay too. It’s a little thing, but the right stitch markers can make a huge difference in the end product as well as the experience.

Stacey Trock Pattern Sale 12/31/12!

Blogged under Crafty Products, amigurumi by Tammy on Monday 31 December 2012 at 9:58 am



I’ve really been enjoying the Woodland Animals amigurumi class I’m taking from designer Stacey Trock on Craftsy.com. Though I’m not new to amigurumi, I still feel like I’m learning a lot from the class, and I find her patterns to be very easy to follow. That’s why I’m helping pass the word on about a one day pattern sale she is having in honor of her birthday, which is today 12/31/12. She’s offering 36% off her patterns, which you can purchase through Ravelery or directly through her Freshstitches web site. The discount code is STACEYS30TH, and you can find out all the details on her blog.

Her patterns are pretty reasonable any way, so with the extra 36% discount, they are priced really low. I purchased 5 patterns (Cliveton the Tiny Pig; Choose Your Own Dragon Adventure; Owen the Monkey; Jeff the Valentine Dog; and Cliff the Brontosaurus) for a total of $16. Plus, since I purchased them through Ravelry, they are automatically in my on-line library over there. Anywho, I have no affiliation but am just a fan who has enjoyed making a number of her patterns.

This Week’s Craft Links

Blogged under Around the Web, Charity Crafting, Crafty Products by Tammy on Monday 10 December 2012 at 11:51 am

ACreativeDream
June’s having another give away. This time it’s a mid-century style glitter house!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a double giveaway featuring 16 new craft and cook books, 25 days of paper crafts, and a recipe for vegan stuffed cabbage rolls.

Eileen - The Artful Crafter
Make these sweet bread dough clay candy cane ornaments with the kids.

Holiday Gift Guide for Arts and Crafts Lovers
What to buy for the crafter in your life? Here are our current favorites!

Laura Thykeson’s Uniques
A Wonderful life - well lived! Plus some arty eye candy!

Mixed Media Artist
It’s amazing what adding some color to a black and white fabric print can do…

Modern Quilt for Music Lovers
Lindsay shows off her Turntable Quilt, a modern crib-size quilt that’s unlike anything you’ve seen.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
How to make recycled cup glitter votive holders

Very Last Minute Stocking Stuffer
Cherie makes a simple ribbon bookmark with charms.

Gifted Stitch Markers

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Saturday 24 November 2012 at 1:14 pm

I keep forgetting to show off these cute stitch markers. My sister made them for me as a birthday gift recently. Like me, she also makes jewelry, so was able to use her jewelry making skills to make these. She sells her jewelry too, and recently participated in a local art show. She does not have an on-line shop yet, but she occasionally posts pieces she has for sale on her weblog.

Crochet Dude’s New Hooks

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Tuesday 20 November 2012 at 12:44 pm



I have had a chance now to try out one of the new Crochet Dude’s products I received recently, starting with this H hook. It retails for $5.99. The top part of the hook is aluminum, and the bottom part of the hook is a soft ergonomic handle. Even though I enjoy working with bamboo and wood hooks, I often reach for aluminum hooks because I crochet much faster with them. However, the coolness of the hook can bother my hands sometimes.

I was a little uncertain about using a ergonomic hook, though, because it just seemed weird to me that the hook handle was so much larger than the rest of the hook. I thought it might be awkward to work with. Of course, I was totally wrong. This hook is very comfortable to work with, and I don’t get the cold sensation in my hand while holding it.

I’m using this hook and some yummy Frog Tree sock yarn (80% washable Merino wool and 20% bamboo) to make myself a shawlette. The hook and yarn together have been a joy to work with. Each stitch has been one of those Zen moments.


New Crochet Dude Products

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Monday 19 November 2012 at 6:34 am

I received a wonderful box of crochet goodies in the mail the other day, some new products just added to The Crochet Dude’s line from the Simplicity Creative Group. Though most of these items are already in stores like JoAnn’s and Michael’s, you can see his full line on the company’s web site here.

Here is what was in the box….

A bloom loom - This little gadget is designed to help you make flowers. Along with the loom, it comes with a flyer with instructions and a plastic needle. What a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn, and you can make flowers for hats, purses, and other accessories. I think my craft club members will have fun with this because you don’t need to be super knowledgeable about yarn crafts to use this little guy successfully.

A set of purse handles - Believe it or not, it is not easy to find these (or it wasn’t until now) in most craft stores. The handles are clear plastic, so this means you can cover them with yarn. Obviously, knitters and crocheters both could use these. I’m already doing some pattern lurking to find the perfect pattern to use these in.

A size H crochet hook with an ergonomic handle. H is one of my go-to hook sizes, so I am curious to see if this fancy handle will help with my wimpy hands.

A Q size afghan crochet hook - Okay, I’m a little intimidated by this tool. I know it can be used for Tunisian crochet, and obviously it can be used to make afghans, but that is the extent of my knowledge base on this tool. I feel…errr…befuddled.

T-pins - Now I am back in my comfort zone. I can use these for all kinds of fiber work, but most of all, with all the shawls I have in my queue, I have some major blocking in my future. There are 35 in the little reusable box, which is nice to have so they can be kept safely away from my pets.

I will keep you posted as I use each product.

Hand-Spun Yarn Prize Arrives!

Blogged under CFEs/Contests, Crafty Products by Tammy on Saturday 27 October 2012 at 3:31 pm

A swishy, soft bundle arrived in the mail on Friday, this gorgeous hand-spun yarn that I won from the Knitty Natter Podcast. It is 168 yards and made of 40% Shetland, 40% Merino, and 20% silk. I love the colors (which are not really showing up that great in the photo) as well as the texture. I am not sure what I will make with it yet, but it will be something for me for a change!

Received My Namaste Order…Kind of a Saga

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Tuesday 16 October 2012 at 5:49 pm

I have been reading on the Ravelry forums for awhile now about the bags from Namaste.com. Most people rave about them, and I happen to be a kind of bag-o-holic. Thus, I have been stalking their products for awhile. My main reason for holding back (until recently) was because I felt many of the project type bags were overpriced considering they are not made of leather. For example, The Monroe bag, which is a super huge bag that looks like you could carry your life in, retails for $89. Even shopping around at discounted places, the cheapest I’ve seen it for sale is $60. I just can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money on a vinyl bag.

However…I recently caught a Facebook post from Namaste about a deal the company has going on for the month of October. With any purchase of at least $25, you can get a free set of its Oh Snap pouches. You have to put in the code OHSNAP when you check out. So here was a great deal and a way for me to test out a few of its small, less expensive but still functional products. I popped over to the web site, filled up my shopping cart with an assortment of small items that totaled $26, but before I checked out, I noticed that the cost for shipping was going to be almost $15. Ack! That is crazy!

Needless to say, I did not finish checking out. In addition, I went over and posted on the Namaste Facebook page about it. A few minutes later, I received a reply from someone there that I could email the company and ask if it is possible to get an alternative shipping option that would be less expensive. I did, and it was, less than $5!

So now, here’s what I purchased.




Two small pouches ($5.75 each) and a measuring tape ($4). These are a nice size, though they are not lined. The tape will be handy for my crafting. I may keep these or stash away for possible holiday gifts.



This is called a “Cozy,” and it is in the eggplant color. I’m not exactly sure what happened here. I thought I had ordered the smaller size used for crochet hooks, but somehow I ended up with the size used for knitting needles. Both are the same price. I’m honestly not sure if I made the mistake or if they did. This was $10.50, and one reason I purchased it, other than the fact I was thinking I could transport crochet hooks in it, was because I wanted to see what the vinyl was like that they use for the larger bags. It is okay. The item is well-made for what it is, but I’m not overly impressed with the quality of the vinyl. It is pretty much like most vinyl, not better or worse.



Then these are the “free” set of snap bags, which even comes in a plastic bag that also has a snap on it. I’m using the larger one already to store items in my book bag. I pretty much use my book bag as a purse when I go to school, but it can be a pain to find small items like a wallet inside of it. Now I have all those smaller items in one of these, and then put that in my book bag.

I still think the larger bags are overpriced, but I think the smaller accessories they carry seem to be priced well and made well, at least that’s my call from the purchase I made.

Yarn Store Splurge

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Monday 8 October 2012 at 5:54 am

This past weekend, I made a trip up to Brevard County to visit with my sister who is down from Kentucky visiting before she heads off on a cruise to the Bahamas. Since I have known for a while that she would be in town this weekend, I have purposely been saving up for a major yarn splurge at Knit and Stitch Boutique in Cocoa Village.

When I am in town, I occasionally drop by there for a skein or two (or three) and had just one more stamp to go on my 10% off card. (Once you have $100 on your card, the store gives you 10% off your total purchase.) I also had a list of yarns for future projects I hope to make, and luckily, my sister is also a crafter, so she was happy to tag along and check out what I now refer to as basically “yarn heaven.” In fact, though she was not ready to treat herself to the good stuff (yet), she found a lot of inspiration in some of the finished pieces displayed throughout the store.

Normally, this store is jam packed with yarn and people, but we found what would be considered a lull time. There were only maybe a dozen people in the store instead of two or three times that amount, which is normally the case when I go there. As usual, the staff was super helpful and friendly. Here is the yarn I walked away with.


This is some of the baby alpaca yarn that is so amazing. I’ve purchased baby alpaca at a few places on-line since discovering it at this store, and none of them are even half as soft as this stuff. The colorwayis called Summer Sky Heather. This probably a cross between DK and worsted and has 220 yards/100 grams. I have no specific plans for it yet, but I just loved the color. You can’t tell from the photo, but is kind of has a hint of blue-ish-purples in it.




Of course, that was not enough baby alpaca for me. This is a splurge, right? One skein of this stuff was not going to do it, so I also got two skeins in black. I plan to make a shawlette, specifically the Milk Thistle Shawlette if I can figure out the pattern.

I’ve been looking for gray yarn to make probably another shawlette, and I was curious about using a bamboo blend. I wear a lot of black and gray pants at work, and then I just switch out tops. It’s kind of my teacher uniform. I selected this super soft skein of Frog Tree sock yarn. It is 80% washable Merino wool and 20% bamboo. The skein is 100 grams/255 yards.


Now for a pop of color - This is Cascade 220 Quatro 100% Peruvian wool. I think it’s DK weight. It has 220 yards/100 grams. I have a green long sleeved t-shirt type shirt that I wear a lot to work, so again, I’m thinking scarf or shawlette with this. I had them go ahead and ball it up for me.


Now I know this next skein looks really similar, but I could not pick between the two. And why should I have to pick when I’m splurging? So my final purchase was this skein of Heritage sock hand painted yarn. It is 75% Merino superwash and 25% nylon and has 437 yards/100 grams. Even though I have a few projects in the works now that I really need to finish, I couldn’t help myself and yes….


I started another project! This is the beginnings of a shawl that will probably turn into a shawlette (notice a trend?) The pattern is from Totally Simple Crochet: Over 30 Easy Projects for the Home and to Wear. The pattern is called the Crochet Shawl with Chain Stitch Loops, and what I like about it is that it starts at the point of the shawl (which is a triangle shape), so you can stop at any point later to make it smaller or even larger than the pattern calls for. I did find a typo in the pattern and that meant it took me a while to figure it out, but luckily, I did, and it is pretty easy to do, mainly single, double, and triple crochet stitches.

After the splurge, that means I have yet another 10% off card of there with lots of stamp on it…yikes! But, I’m going to be strong and not make another trip there until probably the holidays.

Crochet Hooks: Wood vs. Bamboo vs. Aluminum

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Monday 3 September 2012 at 7:25 am

Crafters are always thinking about the tools they use, and there tends to be endless choices to make when selecting them. When I first discovered bamboo crochet hooks and knitting needles, I shunned my previous use of aluminum hooks and needles. I thought I had found “the” perfect material for these tools. However, after awhile, I realized that sometimes aluminum works better than bamboo. I tend to work faster with an aluminum crochet hook because it has more glide to it (if that makes sense), and for some types of yarns, like cotton, I also prefer aluminum.

Now I’ve added wood into the mix in the form of my first Harmony crochet hook that I got from KnitPicks recently. It is made of laminated birch, and it is so pretty! But is it practical? I have been using it on a shawl I’ve had in the works for awhile, and I’m giving it the thumbs up! It feels light in my hands (it’s a size G) and it has a fair amount of glide to it. Plus, the hook end is nice and deep, so it grabs the yarn really well.

I’ve tried all three types now - wood, bamboo, and aluminum - and I don’t really have a favorite any more. I like them all, and I really use them all based on what I’m making.

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