Visit + Revisit Craft-Along

Blogged under Crafts from the Past, Design Ideas, Fiber Fun, Jewelry Designing, My Crafty News, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Friday 16 January 2015 at 12:35 pm

I am very excited to announce our first craft-along for the Crafty Princess Diaries Blog/Podcast group on Ravelry. It starton on 1/15/15 and end on 2/28/15.

Ravelry group members are invited to “revisit” a previous craft they have tried before and stopped doing for whatever reason and/or “visit” a new craft or project they have never tried before. For example, if you used to spin but haven’t for years, “revisit” it by picking up the roving again and give it a go. If you have been thinking of trying a new craft, like cross stitch, “visit” it by trying it for the first time.

The official thread for the craft-along is linked here, and we have a chatter thread as well.  Participants will start their own post in the official thread and share what they are planning, working on, and how their “revisit” or “visit” is generally going.

Post pictures! Tell us what inspired you. Journal your experiences with us. Keep adding to your own post in the thread as we craft-along together throughout the rest of this month and February 2015 as well.
Finished objects are not required. In this craft-along it’s the process, not the product, that we will be sharing!

I will randomly pick someone at the end of the craft-along who will win a $5 Ravelry giftable pattern.

Book Review: Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats (and Booties Too!)

Blogged under Fiber Fun, Good Books by Tammy on Sunday 11 January 2015 at 6:31 am

Gramma Nancy’s Animal Hats (and Booties, Too!): Knitted Gifts for Babies and Children is published by Potter Crafts and written by Nancy Nielsen. It retails for $18.99 in the US and $21.99 in Canada. Though you will find a few booties and some little mitten sprinkled throughout this book, its main focus is animal hats for babies and children. And, yes, this has a major “cute” factor going for it!

The designs are based on a rolled-brim hat and an ear flap hat, which are the first two projects in the book. From there, all the various type of animals hats included additions two either of these two patterns. So for example, if you are making the bunny hat, you will add ears and a snout. In the techniques area before the projects, it covers the different additions you would make to add the animal face to the different hats. There are a total of 19 different animals created with the hat designs, such as birds, frog, turtle, monkey, and so on.

Though there are technique instructions, you need to either have some experience or are ready to learn how to knit in the round with both circular needles as well as double pointed needles. Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn is used for all the projects, so that means you will be using worsted weight yarn. The variety of animals are both girl and boy friendly, and they range in size from new born to child size (prob around 6 years old).

I can’t wait to attempt one of these adorable hats!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Follow My Knitting Snit!

Blogged under Crafty Videos, Fiber Fun, learning2knit by Tammy on Wednesday 24 December 2014 at 2:14 pm

Merry Christmas to everyone! I’m home for the next few days, enjoying time with family and, of course, crafting. More specifically, I’m working on my first knit in the round hat while I take a Craftsy class. It has been a little of a “knit snit” for me, but I’m determined!

I’m posting short videos on both my YouTube Channel and Instagram, so come follow me if you haven’t already and check out my progress! They have to be super short because I’m taping the videos on my phone and uploading them from there. Here is one of them below (but come follow and see the rest…I need support from my fellow crafters!)

Crochet Medium Size Bird Nest

Blogged under Fiber Fun, Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Friday 23 May 2014 at 2:22 pm

This uses Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn and a size H hook. The finished size should be 4 inches high and 6 inches wide. This should be stitched with a tight gauge so that there are no holes that the bird’s legs might get stuck in.

You can start with magic ring, or I prefer to do what some people call a “sloppy slip knot.” I got this technique from Fresh Stitches, and it works well for making sure you don’t have a hole in the center when you crochet in the round.
ch 2
Round 1: sc 6 times in 2nd ch from hook (6)
Round 2: sc twice in each st (12)
Round 3: * sc twice in next st, sc in next st. Repeat from * 5 times (18)
Round 4: * sc twice in next st, sc in next 2 sts. Repeat from * 5 times (24)
Round 5: * sc twice in next st, sc in next 3 sts. Repeat from * 5 times (30)
Round 6: * sc twice in next st, sc in next 4 sts. Repeat from * 5 times (36)
Round 7: * sc twice in next st, sc in next 5 sts. Repeat from * 5 times (42)
Round 8: * sc twice in next st, sc in next 6 sts. Repeat from * 5 times (48)
Round 9: * sc twice in next st, sc in next 7 sts. Repeat from * 5 times (54)
Round 10 through 16: sc in each stitch around (54)
End with 1 slip stitch in the next stitch and pull yarn through top of next stitch.
Weave in all tails.

Here’s a look at the inside of the medium bowl and the other smaller nests I’ve made so far:

I used left over yarn, so that’s why some nests use different colored yarns. If you switch colors, just make sure to weave the ends in really well. I don’t usually knot, but I did with the tails on these and then wove in the ends since I wanted to make sure they were extra secure.

Cupcake Fingerless Gloves Done!

Blogged under Fiber Fun, Finished Projects, crochet jewelry by Tammy on Saturday 17 May 2014 at 10:45 am

The Cupcake Fingerless Gloves I started recently are done! And I love how they turned out. The yarn (Desert Vista Dyeworks Viso in the Happy Birthday, Cupcake colorway) was wonderful to work with. Heck, even the striping almost matches, and while I did start the second glove around the same color as the first one on purpose, I honestly did not do much else to get this to happen. This yarn is sock weight made of 75% Superwash Merino wool and 25% nylon. It is not necessarily super soft like the previous pair of gloves I made for my hubby, but that yarn had some cashmere in it.

The pattern is a free one from Lion Brand called “All Season Wristers,” and I did modify this a tad. I made the larger size (that starts with 34 chains) and used a size G hook instead of an F. I also just attached yarn to the hole area for the thumb and did around 6 rows of single crochet. For me, that made the thumb part much easier than the instructions provided. Also, because I like to be able to turn down these gloves so that you can have the option of wearing them on the long side, I added about an inch of single crochet at the top of each one.

These are ready to be soaked and blocked, and then I have plans to mail them off to a friend of mine who is yarn worthy. I have a lot of left over yarn from this skein, so I’m toying with the idea of seeing if I can squeeze out another pair. I may even rewind the ball of yarn to see if I can get two even balls and try making them two at a time and see how that goes.

Lovin’ the Handspun

Blogged under Fiber Fun, spinning by Tammy on Thursday 30 May 2013 at 9:16 am

See, this is why I am learning how to spin! Is this stuff not gorgeous or what? And in person it is so much nicer. It has a little bit of sparkle, just a little, and it is textured but still soft. I would love to claim that I spun this, but no, I bought it at my LYS. A local woman spun it and sells at at the shop. I lost the band, so I can’t tell you what is in it or the yardage, dang it, but no matter. I’m knitting it into a scarf, making my self get back to practicing my knitting, and I’ll have a scarf that will look great with these crocheted fingerless gloves.

And they will all go with this hat I made awhile back too, not matchy - matchy - but enough in the same color family I think I can wear them all together.

Frog Alert, Frog Alert

Blogged under Fiber Fun by Tammy on Wednesday 13 June 2012 at 5:39 am

Normally, I only rip out crochet or knitted work when I’ve messed something up, but lately, I have been going frog crazy on stuff that I just did not like, such as the purple wool shawl. Another example, pictured above, was the beginnings of a small afghan I was going to make as a possible present. I thought the yellow and purple yarn held together would look good, and I had some in my stash (so it would help bust some stash). I gave it a good try, but I just don’t like how they look together, so rip it goes!

I also recently took a look at a hat I had started probably two years ago and was really close to finishing. But there were issues. I had decided to use cotton yarn instead of acrylic, which is what the pattern called for, and I was concerned about the yarn over stretching as I wore the hat. There were also some bobble stitches that I thought were just not looking right. I love the yarn (RS eco-cotton) and know I can use it for something nice like a light shawl. So I knew I had to reclaim it! rip, rip, rip again!

It actually hasn’t been as painful as I had suspected. Granted, I guess I lost the time I put into making some of the stuff, but I have to think about like some of that was just learning what works and what doesn’t.

Drool Warning! Baby Alpaca Yarn!

Blogged under Fiber Fun, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Monday 11 June 2012 at 6:22 am

While visiting family in Rockledge, Florida, I took another trip to Knit and Stitch in Cocoa Village. It was a Friday versus a Saturday, so I had hoped the place wasn’t as busy and I’d be able to shop without so much chaos, but the store was still jamming. There was a knitting class going on and lots of other yarn shoppers like myself. At least now I have a new strategy when it comes to trying out yarns. I have at least a few projects in mind and then try to find yarn that I can use for those. This time I had picked out a hat pattern by Linda Permann in the July/Aug 2012 issue of Crochet Today.  And I also had planned to make another shawl.

For the hat, I picked out this gorgeous baby Alpaca yarn. It is so, so, so, so soft! The color is blue but with a mix of shades and even flecks of purples here and there. And did I say it is soft? My mom just about passed out when she saw it cost $17 for 100 grams (220 yards), but I pointed out to her that I was going to use it to make something for me (for a change), and I’m worth $17. I guess my previous concerns about yarn costs are mellowing.

I also purchased more Big Trend yarn, which is not new to me any more, but I did pick a different palette. This one has bright colors for a more rainbow affect. I plan to use it to make another ripple shawl, which may be gifted to someone.

Spinning Fiber Is Everywhere

Blogged under Around the Web, Crafty Videos, Fiber Fun by Tammy on Tuesday 29 May 2012 at 11:19 am

As I have been spending a chunk of my summer vacation catching up on craft podcasts and finding new podcasts, I have noticed that spinning fiber is super popular right now. Of course, this may be because knitting, which tends to dominate the world of crafting podcasts, relates to spinning since knitters can make their own yarn from fiber that they buy, which I have learned is referred to “roving.” I sure as heck do not need another craft to spend my time and money on, but I have to admit that I am very curious and spinning looks pretty dang cool.

As I watch video podcasts and listen to audio podcasts that talk about knitting and spinning, I have realized that there is all kinds of terminology involved that I am not familiar with. Many of the folks doing these shows seem to assume I know too, so I went over to YouTube to find some spinning basics. Below is one video that shows how to use a basic drop spindle.

Here are some links to a few other spinning videos that I found helpful:

Hand Spindles - This video shows the different types of hand spindles available and also briefly shows how to use some of them.

Drafting Wool - In this video, Megan LaCore shows how to prepare fiber for spinning.

Finishing Yarn - Again, Megan is back showing how to take the yarn you spun and prepare it so you can knit or crochet with it.

Alpaca Direct - This is really an ad, but there is some good basic info in this about the fiber that I found helpful.

Felting Failure

Blogged under CFEs/Contests, Crafty Products, Fiber Fun by Tammy on Monday 28 May 2012 at 4:16 pm

I posted recently that after frogging a shawl that I was making using purple wool yarn I was playing around with the idea of using the reclaimed yarn for making bags and then felting them. I even did a fair amount of research, though admittedly I did briefly and unsuccessfully try felting a few years ago. This time would be different (I told myself). I watched a few YouTube videos and found instructions on line as well. I even combed through some archived forum posts. I was set!

First I knitted a swatch. Yes, me swatching! Who would believe it? But I figured I needed to know how much shrinkage to expect. I knitted up a 2 1/4 inch by 6 1/2 inch swatch to experiment on.

Then I found an old pair of jeans, set my washer to the hot setting, and threw in the jeans, swatch, a little baking soda, and some soap. Voila! errr…well…not exactly voila…

Not only is the swatch not felted, though yes a little on the fuzzy side, it actually grew to almost 8 inches long! So I figured I’d give it another go in the washer. I noticed my hot cycle ends with a cold cycle. This time I opted for the warm/warm cycle instead, and to help with the shrinking issue, I dried it as well. And voillllaaaa???

It was a tad fuzzier but still not felted. It was maybe a tiny bit smaller than the expanded version but not much smaller. So I had to attempt one more time. I threw the swatch in with a load of clothes (since the dye did not run at all in previous washings) and also dried it with the same load. And….

It is smaller (2 inches by 6 inches), the fuzz shortened up somewhat, but still no felting is going on! I went back to the web and read more about felting and watched a few more videos, and finally, I found the answer! According to a video, you can’t felt super wash wool. I then checked the label and am now banging my head on my desk! I did not see this handy little factoid any place else on-line! Back to square 1 of what to do with a heck of a lot of purple wool yarn!

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