Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crafty Lady Tuesday

Starting today, and continuing when I remember, I'm going to post on Tuesdays about my latest craft projects.  I have a craft "tumblr" and a Ravelry account, the latter of which is essential for anyone who knits or crochets.  Tumblr, Ravelry, and Pinterest all provide me with a lot of inspiration, both for needlecraft and for other little ideas.

I can't actually discuss many of the projects I'm currently working on because they are gifts for readers of this blog and I'd hate to spoil the surprise.  Therefore, to get things started, I'm going to answer this 30 Days of Crochet questionnaire from Tumblr.

1: What was your first finished project? - It was a pink hat from Stitch 'n' Bitch: The Happy Hooker, which is still my favorite crochet guide.  I messed up a little on the bottom and it ended up flaring out, probably because I didn't count correctly and wasn't using stitch markers.  I dressed it up with a little ribbon, but I don't wear it a lot.  Still, I was pretty proud.
2: What is currently on your hooks? - The advantage of having a lot of hooks (thanks Jason!) is that I can have a lot of projects going at once.  Some are almost done and in the sewing stage, while others are actually in the design and layout stage.
Day 3: Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)? - My official WIP's (the items I have started crocheting) include a blanket for my cousin's daughter (baby gift to one-year gift to Christmas...)and a blanket for Elliott for Christmas  I've finished  A LOT of long term projects lately.  I also have a lot of projects on deck for Christmas.
Day 4: How did you learn how to crochet? - I tried to learn from videos online and from a small book I bought at the craft store.  However, a little help from my friend Jenny and her copy of SnB (I have my own now) got me moving.
Day 5: How long did it take from the time your learned how to crochet, to finish your first project? - Not long at all.  That's the beauty of crochet, to me at least.  You can learn a few basic stitches that build on one another, and complete a project that's not just a scarf in a few hours.  
Day 6: What is your favorite piece that you’ve crochet? - This is really difficult to answer, since I've completed a number of really cool things in the last year.  Asher's blanket, my La Salle cowl, and the owl hats I made for Little Miss Anne and Kaius are probably my favorites off the top of my head.
Day 7: Your least favorite? - I started making a kitten stuffed animal for a friend's daughter and it looked like a convict's art therapy project.  I finished it and kept it for myself.  The face I had sewn on it was just too cute to frog it (rip it out, for non-crocheters).
Day 8: What’s your most challenging project? - In retrospect, none of my projects seem too difficult because I've mastered the stitches by now.  The "Wool Eater" blanket included a lot of new skills, but I got into that quickly.  I bought a pattern for an ear-warmer a year ago and few people on Ravelry can figure it out.  The designer has gone AWOL, and those who did complete it can't actually explain how they did it.  I'm annoyed because it should be easy, and my sister requested it as a gift, and I still haven't come through.  I get really ambitious with projects for my sister, and as a result, she gets very few finished items.  
Day 9: What fiber or yarn do you love working with? - I adore cotton and any sort of merino wool blend.  Cotton is a workhorse fiber, while merino is soooo soft.
Day 10: Do you have a favorite pattern or designer? - Hannah Kaminsky makes adorable little amigurumi creations (it's a Japanese form of crochet that is used for making stuffed animals).  I usually have trouble with the sewing parts of amigurumi, but her instructions are just so easy to follow and they are worth the time.  I love any designer who takes the time to write a clear and concise pattern that is easy to understand.  I'll go back to them again and again.
Day 11: Do you have a “Crocheting Hero” or someone that is just way too awesome for their own good? Do share! - Again, those designers like Hannah Kaminsky impress me.  I don't know how to design projects yet, or at least the inspiration hasn't struck me, so I'm super jealous of their skills.  My friend Jill is an amazing knitter, so I look up to her when it comes to needlecraft in general. 
Day 12: Where do you keep your stash? - We are blessed with ample closet space in our apartment.  Because Elliott is small, he doesn't really need his closet, so we use that for storage.  Our hall closet is used for crafts and other fun things we use a lot, like puzzles, board games, and exercise stuff.  I have my stash and supplies organized in there.  My other craft supplies are in a dresser in the hall way.  
Day 13: Do you have yarn that you love but can’t find a project for? - Yes.  I bought bamboo yarn (so soft) for a project that didn't work out.  I still haven't found that special project, although I do currently have some contenders.
Day 14: What’s the worst yarn/fiber that you’ve worked with and why?* - Any really cheap, stiff acrylic (Red Heart Super Saver or Caron One Pound comes to mind).  It's no fun to wear (itchy) and isn't fun to touch while I'm making stuff.
Day 15: What was your least favorite pattern and why?* - Almost any amigurumi that requires me to sew on arms, legs, ears, etc.  My sewing on things like that looks terrible.  
Day 16: Have you ever had a crocheting related injury? - Right after I had Elliott, my wrists got sore from nursing, pumping, and crocheting, so I'll say that's a crochet related injury.  
Day 17: Have you ever had a project that you loved become ruined? What’s the story behind it? - No, thank goodness.  If that happened, I'd rather not know.
Day 18: What are your preferred hooks made from (metal, steel, bamboo, wood, plastic)? - Maybe I'm odd, but I love metal hooks.  They don't get caught on the cheap yarn I buy and they slide through everything easily.
Day 19: Do you watch movies and/or listen to podcasts while crocheting? What are your favorite things to crochet to? - I usually crochet while watching TV.  I've never been able to sit and watch TV without doing something else.  As a kid, I would craft or color in coloring books.  Now I crochet.  I love to crochet to Parks and Recreation (because I've seen the episodes so many times) or one of my many favorite movies.
Day 20: Do you crochet in public? Was anyone offended/incredibly happy/curious that you were doing so? - I usually don't because the project just doesn't allow it.  I did when I was pregnant at doctor's appointments and during tests.  I also crochet while my students are taking tests so I'm not just sitting there.
Day 21: Do you crochet gifts for friends and family for the holidays or birthdays? - Goodness, yes.
Day 22: Have you ever stricken someone off your to-crochet-for list because they didn’t appreciate/take care of your last crochet gift to them? - No, but I do think about that sometimes.  When I first started crocheting, I gave a number of people things that I am now not 100% happy with, so they can stuff them in the back of their closets, and I would not be offended.
Day 23: If you had the supplies (and patience) for it, what project would you start today? - There is a really cute cardigan that I want to make.  It's blue striped, 1/2 sleeves, and really the perfect cardigan in terms of weight and style.  It's going to take a lot of not-so-cheap yarn though, so I'm hoping to get some gift cards or the like to defray the cost over Christmas.
Day 24: Have you ever made your own pattern or dyed your own yarn? How did it turn out? - I'm working on a Mario Brothers scarf for my cousin (a design anyway), but it's only partly original, so I guess my answer is sort of.  
Day 25: Do you have a crocheting book or a place where you keep patterns, ideas, size measurements? - I have an accordian file where I keep all of my patterns.  However, it's getting a little tight in there, so I might move to a 3-ring binder.
Day 26: Have you ever been a part, or wanted to be a part of a crochet-a-long? What was it? If not, why? - I've wanted to be a part of one, but I really can't crochet on someone else's time table right now.
Day 27: How do you acquire most of yarn? Online retailers, local yarn shops, swaps, or large chain craft stores? What’s your favorite? - I buy everything at chain stores.  I'd love to be cool and hip and such and buy my supplies at independent stores, but I just don't have the cash flow.
Day 28: Do you do any other crafts besides crochet? What are they, and did learning to crochet come before or after learning these other crafts? - I'm re-learning to knit; I scrapbook, decoupage, and do a lot of DIY projects.  
Day 29: Do you have any tips, or things that you’ve learned from crochet? - I've learned to be realistic about my time.  I used to think I could get more crochet done in a certain time, but now I know what my abilities are and how long things will actually take me.
Day 30: What’s your name on Ravelry? If you don’t have a Ravelry account, why? - I do have a Ravelry account, and I suggest everyone who crochets or knits signs up.  It's an invaluable resource.  Tons of free patterns, access to beautiful pay-patterns, and the other members are always happy to leave a supportive comment or answer questions about mutual projects.

Hope you enjoy!  Comment with questions or things you'd like to see in the future.

- J & M.