Scalloped scarf

I bought some yarn, oh I don’t know, a year ago? to make a cute little crocheted scarf. I had a little free time tonight so I pulled it out and looked up the pattern in my Happy Hooker book. I knew it was a simple one, but I had no idea it would go so fast! I finished it in just a couple of hours watching TV.

I won’t give away the pattern, but it’s basically just three rows of double crochet, with a shell pattern running over the outside.

I think if I were to make it again I might make it a little fatter. I chose cream colored yarn, but it would be great in black or purple, too.

Why I will never be a seamstress

This is part of the Halloween costume I sewed, in which I made every possible mistake one could make whilst sewing. I know I need to do it more often to be better at it, but my impatience always seems to get the best of my perfectionism when I’m trying to sew and I end up very angry. Any other crafty ladies have this problem?

All in a day’s work

Today I attended my first estate sale. Thanks to super crafty Erin Randolph for tipping me off to one of the best ways to find old candles and jars (whether or not it’s warm outside). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the first part of the sale (on a Friday night??) so I missed out on what I really wanted, but I did take home this sweet load.

And I love the little basket, which I had just picked up to carry everything in, but they threw it in for free. I love even more that it’s missing a handle.

While I was back in this dungeon of a room looking at canning jars, this other woman goes, “Wow, I’ve never seen so much holiday stuff. Her grandkids must have loved coming over for Christmas.” It felt sort of weird to be rifling through someone’s stuff without knowing the stories behind it, but I hope that south side granny would be happy to see her candles living on in a new form.

On having my doubts

It’s been a whirlwind lately as I try to figure out my process for buying supplies and making my recycled candles. I also wanted to make fabric-covered button thumbtacks, using the scraps of my grandmother’s vintage fabric I have laying around.

But every once in a while, as excited as I am about the whole process, I look at something and go, yeah, that totally didn’t turn out how I thought it would. Which is only natural — I’ve never done a lot of this stuff before. But it kind of puts a wrench in my plans, and sometimes I’m really not sure what to do. There’s no manual for deciding what your personal aesthetic is or what will absolutely sell when it comes to handmade stuff. Believe me, I’m sucking every bit of wisdom I can out of my Craft, Inc. book but it’s still limited.

Take my thumbtacks, for example. I thought they were so cute (and I still do). But when I looked at what others were selling on Etsy they just didn’t quite compare. I wanted to order 10 sets from other people, and that’s not a good sign. So I went back to the drawing board a little bit.

A random tack had picked up a clock pattern from my fabric. I thought it was cute, so I made 10 more.

But I think the most surprising thing was when I glued on some buttons. I might like these best of all. (Hear that mom? I need more buttons!)

Anyway, when that doubt creeps in I think you have to listen to it. Because going with my gut is what got me here in the first place. But then you just have to quickly move on. Give it the hand, before you start questioning the whole operation. Keep your mind open, and that’s when you get the next great idea. Like yesterday, when I realized the perfect material for my tags was the Grape Nuts box sitting in the recycling bin.

Do the wave!

If I saw something and can’t remember where it came from, there’s at least a 90 percent chance it was the Craft blog. Best blog EVER. To me.

Anyway, this pattern for a wavy knit blanket stuck with me. But since I don’t have time to make random extra blankets I thought I might turn the idea into one of my knit yoga bags. I think it was a success – the pattern is similar to cabling where just one row every few rows is different, making it a lot easier to follow. I just used the cotton yarn I had already bought to create the color blocking.

And on the subject of waviness, the latest round of candles I’ve been making has all come from one gigundo white candle that I colored (first some green, then some orange). It has this characteristic that makes it ripple when it cools. I haven’t done anything different in the process so I guess it’s just the wax. Weird!

Anyway, I figure I better get out and hit the garage sales before it gets too cold and my supply chain runs out. Otherwise I will have to resort to holding up grandmas, and that’s no fun.

The monster candle

I just had to show you this. It’s the whopper candle I found at a garage sale the other day. It was so heavy I could barely hold it up with one hand.

The cranberry scent is divine. I felt a little bad about smashing it up with a hammer, but now that it’s become four cute jar candles (with more to come) I’m feeling better about it.

Bad blogger, good crafter

I admit, I have been a pretty poor blogger lately. But I’ve been busy.

My yoga studio expressed interest in selling my recycled candles and knit yoga bags, so I got to work coming up with a sellable selection, a much more time-consuming process than I realized. I went through many a crooked wick and sunken well of wax before mastering my candlemaking skills. But I’m pretty happy with what I ended up toting to the studio last night. Here’s a peek.

I think the biggest hit has been the little juice glasses with etched patterns going around – popular with grandmas across the nation from what I hear.

This morning I went garage saleing, as that’s where all of my supplies for these re-melted candles come from, and I think I finally know that thrill of the hunt that avid garage salers like my mom experience on a regular basis. I hauled off one sale with the biggest candle I’d ever seen, just imagining how many little candles I could make from it. The cost? $1.

Like any business owner the real cost is in your time, but hopefully that time is spent doing what you love and I LOVE THIS.

The bags were another story. Being stubborn I’m determined to find a way to make them super quick, but with knits that’s really tough. Does anyone out there sell knitware? Is it even possible to make it profitable?

So thanks for hanging in there, whatever readers I have left. I’m exausted but happy to be through phase one of my project, which is turning out the first batch and praying someone likes it. Many more phases to come (let’s hope) and many more lessons to share, I’m sure.

Thanks also to Mike for picking up the slack while I was boiling away in my little lab – I know I left plenty of it.

Crochet stripes blanket, a must-make

So here it is, the wedding present I almost couldn’t bear to give away.

I started it a month before the wedding, which left me just enough time to work a few rows here and there, usually a set amount daily, and then speed crochet the last couple days and finish weaving in the ends on the car ride to the airport. A close call, yes, but it turned out so beautifully it was worth every scrambled minute.

Here’s a look at it before I finished the ends.

The colorway is really nice, and the way the stitches switch from single crochet to double and back adds cool texture and speeds up the process. The edging also cleans up any bobbles that come from the color switches, a technique I plan to use again for other projects. Find the pattern at lionbrandyarn.com. It’s beginner-friendly.

I made one bitty change because I thought the ’70s color combo begged for orange yarn (a fave of the bride, too) so I used magenta for the red rows and orange for the magenta rows. I never expected to be a fan of Vanna’s Choice yarn (as boutique-y yarn tends to spoil the knitter), but it is actually lovely and soft and I’ll use it again. (Not to mention tres affordable…)

Childhood photo project

I have been wanting to finish this project for a while now, and it is so nice to finally have it done. And I’m happy to say I did not have to buy a single thing. I already had photo paper and a printer, and the frames from a previous project I had done. They were just sitting empty in a Rubbermaid tub.

The photos were all taken between 1980 and about 1988. I went through albums both at my house and at Mike’s house and picked out the ones that we (and our moms) liked the most, either for photo quality or good memories.

There is some seriously cute stuff here.

I guess I’ve just been really into the idea of showcasing great photos instead of keeping them stuffed in an album lately.

This is what I did:

-Scanned in the photos at 300 dpi (this allows you to blow them up if you want them bigger).
-Imported them into iPhoto. This is where you can make any adjustments to the size and color.
-Printed them on photo paper. I was able to select what size I wanted, so I went with mostly 5x7s and 4x6s. Some 3x5s, too. (Many times I order prints from Snapfish. I think the quality is great, and shipping is usually only 99 cents.)
-Then I just arranged them, sort of like a collage over the 6 frames. I trimmed some so they would fit better. I hung them on the wall in a random pattern.

The frames aren’t high quality by any means, but I can always put the photo collages in better frames if I get them someday. For now, I love having those photos out for all to see.

Valentine striped scarf pattern

I almost forgot to post this pattern! It is a beautiful scarf, should you decide to make it.

Materials:
2 skeins Patons classic merino wool in bright red
2 skeins Patons classic merino wool in that’s pink

Tools:
Size H/8 crochet hook
Yarn needle to weave in ends
Scissors

Chain 31. Starting in second chain, Single crochet in each chain across, 30 stitches. Turn and repeat for second row. Switch colors for the third row, then fifth and so on. I crocheted over the end of the new color each time, so I only had to weave in half the ends. But that was still A LOT. If you have a better technique, use it. After 65 inches (or however many you want) bind off. Weave in ends.

I also noticed when I was just about finished with this that about 6 inches into it I had added a stitch, making it a little wider. I don’t know why I do this sometimes, and fortunately you can’t even tell unless you’re looking for it. But be careful!