Cat Snuggles = Destash!

Blogged under Finished Projects, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Saturday 5 July 2014 at 3:20 pm

I always like to have at least one no-brainer crochet/knitting project going on that I can do while watching TV or sitting in a work meeting. While I have made lots of snuggle blankets for local animal shelters, it has been awhile since I have made any for my own cat crew. So as a way to help with my summer destash goals, I’m making snuggles for my furry girls and boy. This is a great way to use up some of those orphan skeins that are left over from projects.

The first one I made from a yummy and now discontinued yarn, Caron’s Spa yarn. Chanel had to test it out about 5 seconds after I put it in one of her favorite hang out boxes.




My second cat crew snuggle is made from some other discontinued yarn. This is Bernat Baby Softee in Tangerine and Aqua that I held together.



I’m participating in The Knit Girllls’ 2014 Destash, and I just have 996 yards to go to make the 5k challenge!

Knitting Reimagined - Book Review

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Thursday 3 July 2014 at 1:15 pm


Knitting Reimagined: An Innovative Approach to Structure and Shape with 25 Breathtaking Projects by well-known yarn crafter Nicky Epstein has a copyright date of 2014 and is published by Potter Craft. It’s a 176 page hard copy book that retails for $29.99 in the US and $35 in Canada (though, of course, it is deeply discounted on Amazon.com).

The author explains in the introduction of the book that her focus while creating the knitting designs was to come up with “chic, wearable, but uniquely atypical garments.” She wanted to show how you can use traditional stitches and techniques but play around with structure. If I’m understanding her goals as explained in the introduction, then I think she did this. However, I have to admit that when I first flipped through the book, I was not sure about the “wearable” part of this concept. I would not necessarily call the designs couture, but they are edgy.

I took a closer look at the designs, and my opinion changed a little. There were a few pieces that were not as wild as I had first thought. “Royal Lace Coat with Hood” is a beautiful coat type sweater with an arrow lace design positioned diagonally on the front, back, and sleeves. The hood is detachable. Another project that had a lot of versatility is “On the Block Topper.” It is a type of poncho that you can wear with the pointed parts in front or on the side, and there is a two page spread showing the same design just altered by using different yarn or different stitch patterns.

So, yes, there are a handful of projects that most anyone could wear, but then there are a number that I felt were over the top for the average taste (and figure too). The sweater on the cover is an example of this. Even some of the models, who I could tell were super tiny, didn’t look that great in some of the heavy sweaters in this book that are full of cables and similar details. That said, I think anyone with some knitting chops could probably take any of these projects and use them as a starting point but tone them down to make them more practical. For example, the “Buttons and Bows Manteau” is a sweater dress that has a lot of wavy texture going on from the waist down. However, from the waist up, it’s a nice and classic design, so you could stop before all the wavy part and create a cute cropped sweater.

Each project is given a skill level (beginner friendly; intermediate; advanced) and time rating (quick; weeks; months). There are also extensive graphs provided to show how to assemble each garment. The color photographs are a big bonus in this book because you get to see the entirety of each project with different views like straight on front views but also side views and detail shots

As a knitting beginner, even the beginning level patterns seem daunting to me, but I really feel like this is for more experienced knitters who have pretty much knitted everything twice and want a challenge and method for creating usual pieces that verge on couture.

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


Free Wire Wrap Tutorial from My Book

Blogged under Free Craft Projects, My Crafty News, writing by Tammy on Thursday 3 July 2014 at 1:03 pm



The second edition of my book The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making is hitting the shelves (virtual and otherwise) this month. To get a look at some of the new additions to this book as well as a free wire wrapping tutorial, head over the the Craftside blog.

Get 25% Off Hobby Holster!

Blogged under Crafty Products by Tammy on Wednesday 2 July 2014 at 12:54 pm



The folks at Holster Brands sent me a new product of theirs to test drive. It is called the Hobby Holster, and I have to say it is pretty clever. Pictured above is the holster stuck to my desk, and it has not budged, even though I’ve knocked it around accidentally a little. The idea is that you can use this for hot tools like a glue gun, so it is made of silicone. I have a few silicone utensils and tools for our kitchen. This is using the same concept, but instead, you can slip your glue gun in it while it is still hot and not worry about the glue going everywhere or burning your fingers. Once the glue cools and dries, you can just peel it off.

Though its original intention is for hot crafting tools, I like that you can put other tools in here and have them handy but not cluttering your work area. The top flap sticks to any surface, and then the two pockets provide space to store tools. Plus, the flap has centimeter and inch markings on it, so you can use it as a quick ruler.




The Hobby Holster is available in turquoise, pink, gray, and green. Normally, it retails for $19.99, but starting now through the end of the month (July 2014), you can go to the Hobby Holster web site and purchase at a 25% discount by using the discount code Princess25. If you know of a few craters you plan to buy holiday gifts for, this is a perfect time to shop and get this product at a good price and tuck away for a present later.

Stamping, Jewelry, and Painting

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 29 June 2014 at 9:36 am

Art Bead Scene
Take a peek inside the studio of Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry as she prepares for her exhibition at Gallery Q - and be in with the chance of winning one of her beautiful and unique Q Marks the Spot necklaces.

Old Timey 4th of July Card
The old time feel of this card evokes Eileen’s childhood memories of 4th of July festivities, hot summer days and cool lemonade. Directions for this stamped card included.

Resin Crafts Blog
Who knew that fabulous paint could be swirled to create stunning designs under resin.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
My Pastel Statement Necklace is featured in the summer issue of Perles et Cetera magazine. What is unique is the addition of an applique for the pendant.

Mixed Media Artist
Are you interested in making art quilts? Cyndi has collected all of her tutorials into one post!

Beading Arts
Cyndi has finished a second bead embroidery cuff featuring pleated shibori silk ribbon, and she’s provided a tutorial too!

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!
Jean reviews the book Punk Chic Jewelry by Erin Siegal.. You are going to love this wonderful book by the amazing Erin!

Bright Star Baby Afghan Done!

Blogged under Finished Projects, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Saturday 28 June 2014 at 8:14 am



The second baby afghan for my niece is done! Loving the ripple pattern still. Plus I had enough leftover yarn to make a matching hat. I lighting is making the turquoise look green, but it is definitely turquoise. This hat uses Mari’s Baby Hat pattern. I will probably attempt a few more hats. This is a very fast one, so that’s why I used it since I was on a time crunch, but it has a seam, which I’m not overly thrilled about.



I added the total yardage to Stash Dash 2014. I have completed a total of 3482 yards towards the 5k required (5468 yards). That means I have 1986 yards to go!

Craftsy Knit Lab - MHO

Blogged under learning2knit by Tammy on Tuesday 24 June 2014 at 10:14 am



Today summer school starts for me, so the vacation is over. While I was not completely out of the school loop since I had to prep for my classes and deal with various emails over my summer break, I did not have to grade papers, which meant lots of time to craft. As one of my summer crafting goals, I wanted to get through another Craftsy.com class that is in my queue. It was hard to pick because I want to do them all…now! But I finally decided to give knitting another shot. I have made plenty of garter stitch scarves and was ready to get past the super beginner stage, so I opted to tackle Knit Lab taught by Stefanie Japel.

At first, I was a little unsure when I started the class because it looked like we were not going to do any specific projects, just lots of swatching and technique stuff. And I hate to swatch! I know. I’m a bad yarn crafter! I learn best when I’m making something other than a yarn square, so I was relieved that she does eventually get to the point where we made a project. Alas, it was yet another scarf, but this one included work with purl stitch, which I really needed, as well as a little lace work. Yes, lace for beginners, yeah!

For this project, Stefanie takes you from the very beginning to the end, so I really felt I learned a lot during the process. After this project, however, it was swatch-ville :( with a little dabble into the second scarf pattern that comes with the class, and it included basket weave (see the top photo). I love the basket weave, but I was not thrilled with the fact that the pattern has you repeat stitch sections over and over again and then just says to keep going until you run out of yarn. To me, I think you might end up with a scarf that is patchwork-y, so I frogged it and start over with seed stitch at the bottom (also covered in the class) and then the 4×4 basket stitch for the rest of the scarf. I plan to finish the end with more seed stitch to make it symmetrical.

I could ramble for awhile about this class, but I thought it might be more helpful if I listed pros and cons for anyone who is thinking of taking it. I’ll start with the cons.

Cons:

  • As I said already, swatches…ick! I prefer more project oriented learning.
  • The last section on using alternative materials was okay, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. This included another project, but it wasn’t something I could ever see myself making - a tulle scrubber thing. I felt this section to be weak and tacked on.
  • There is no information on how to add extra yarn. I know it’s not that hard to do, but if I were a total beginner, this would have been an issue for me.
  • Some areas could be more detailed. For example, she shows how to do a long tail cast on, but she says use “enough” yarn. How much is enough?

Pros:

  • I learned so much, and my knitting confidence level grew tremendously. I’m no longer afraid of knitting!
  • Stefanie has a fun approach and personality that helps you relax and enjoy the class.
  • The class covered tons of stitches and techniques, and while I may not have mastered every single one of them, I feel I could in time and can go back to access the class whenever I need to review any of the material.
  • Generally, the class is very thorough as far as covering most of what you need to know to get beyond just garter stitch. There are 16 lessons, and I did not count the time for each lesson, but they were lengthy. I feel like I really took a robust beginner’s course.
  • Finally, the cost of this class was awesome. I got it on sale for 50% off. Normally, it’s $19.99, which is still well-priced.

Craftsy had another summer sale, and since I enjoyed this class so much, I signed up for two more of Stefanie’s classes, Circular Knit Lab and Knit Lab in the Round. I also purchased Improve Your Knitting and Mastering Lace Shawls. I know…I’ve gone a little knitting crazy, but I now feel like I knitter, not just a crocheter, and these classes were 50% off. How could I resist?

Bright Star Baby Ghan

Blogged under Projects in Progress, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Monday 23 June 2014 at 5:17 pm

Afghan number 2 for my niece is in the works. I’m using Knit Picks Brava worsted in cornflower, orange, and canary, three colors she likes. Again, I’m turning to one of my favorite baby afghan patterns, Rainbow Ripple. Hopefully, I’ll get this done in time to also make a matching stuffed toy by the time I see her.

Bunny and Baby Ghan Combo

Blogged under amigurumi, crochet jewelry by Tammy on Saturday 21 June 2014 at 2:22 pm

Squeee! Serious cuteness ahead……

I will get a chance to briefly see my niece and her hubby soon and wanted to give at least the first installment of baby goodies to them, so I managed to crank out this baby afghan (started at the beginning of this month) and a matching bunny stuffie.

I used leftovers to make the bunny. This bunny is a favorite of mine, and I have probably made a half dozen of them already for charity. The pattern (Blair the Bunny) comes from Freshstitches.com. It’s a paid for pattern and definitely worth $5. In fact, she has sales occasionally and I usually stock up on patterns from her her when she has them, so I probably paid less than $5 for this pattern.

The afghan is 32 x 36 inches, and I basically just used 2 different types of yarn and the fan stitch. I may take some time to write up the pattern for this because I really like how it turned out and could see making it again. The finished size is a good baby or even small lapghan size, and it works up very fast.




Here’s the bunny and baby afghan together. Love!

Circular Knitting Needle Solution!

Blogged under 31 Gifts Indep. Consultant, learning2knit by Tammy on Tuesday 17 June 2014 at 5:33 pm


For the past year or so that I’ve been doing very basic knitting, I have been using straight needles. Many I got from my mother who no longer knits, and a few I purchased. A few others were given to me by people who also no longer knit. They have been easy to store since they are straight. I have been keeping a lot of them in plastic yarn holder tube.

Now, however, that I’m collecting a few circular needles, I needed something else to keep them in. There are products made specifically to store circular needles, but with all the Thirty-One bags and storage products I have, I went through my stash and found a perfect solution - the Timeless Beauty Bag! I have used this for traveling too, but I don’t travel that much.




See…it works perfectly for the few circular needles I’ve collected so far plus some double pointed needles and a few notions too! The clear pockets are also large enough that I can keep the packaging the needles came with too, which I might find handy at a later date.

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