The Lycka Cowl

You guys, I am SO HAPPY with how this one turned out.

I had no idea what the plan was until I was already making it, so you can see how it could have gone quite badly. But for once, my first attempt worked out and I now have a gorgeous cowl to enjoy!

Check it out:

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I know, it’s really…neutral, and simple, for my tastes. But all I really had for spare yarn was this Bernat Super Value in this off-white (their colorway called “Natural”), and I figured that’s a nice winter color so why not?

It really works well with the texture. I didn’t want boring texture, but so many of the pretty stitch patterns I find are too open and lacy and wouldn’t keep you warm.

I think I found a good compromise. And since I’m so happy with how it turned out, and it was all sheer luck, I named it my “Lycka Cowl”, because according to Google Translate at least, lycka is Swedish for happiness…and I’m half-Swedish so I love the sound of the language.

I’m going to make this my first paid pattern, and I’m currently uploading it on Ravelry right now so I’ll come back and link that later on, or at least I’ll try. I really thought I was somewhat tech-savvy but apparently I’m not, at all.

(Edited…) Figured it out! Pattern can be found here on Ravelry. Check it out and give it a try for Christmas presents!

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I made another thing!

It doesn’t have a name right now, and that’s why I’m coming to you guys.

I don’t have the pattern all properly edited and written out yet, plus I think I just might make it my first paid pattern, so I’m not ready to share it quite yet.

But I wanted to show you guys anyway and see if I can get a little help on what to name it. I’m completely stumped!

Check it out:

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A little too bright, but kinda cute, right? I really like it. I’ll definitely do more muted colors next time. I’m thinking purples.

But I really do like how it turned out! All the names I come up with for stuff are not really appropriate for publishing patterns…I’ve given out hats that I named “Clown Barf”, for example.

So I know there’s very little actual content in this post but I have to go to work. Please help me with any idea you can think of on what to name this neon chaotic beauty!

 

Someone made one of my patterns!

I was just messing around on Ravelry, checking out new patterns, when I checked on my first published pattern (the Cappuccino Scarf) to see if anyone had commented.

And it actually had a listed project.

You guys, someone not only used my pattern to make a thing, they put in the description that it’s a “great pattern” and “nice texture”. I won’t share their username because privacy, but whoever you are, nice Ravelry user, I LOVE YOU. They even said that they’ve made like 4 already and are planning to use it many more times!

I just can’t describe how proud I am right now. You’re awesome, random person. Keep being a great person and encouraging new designers!

Thanksgiving!

I’m not going to make a cliche post about what I’m thankful for. Yeah, it’s good to remind yourself of, and I really am thankful for many things, but how many times can you read the same thing? Of course I’m thankful for family, and my cats, and food, and all of that. Duh.

I’m having a pretty good day though. We made all the important stuff–a turkey, green beans, and for some reason some macaroni and cheese (with 5 different cheeses!) because my husband considers himself a chef now and he wanted to try it out. I haven’t started on wine yet purely because I only have about a glass or two left and I want to save that for tonight with my homemade flourless chocolate cake!

We’ve already done the cooking, the eating, and the very beginning steps of the cleaning. The dishwasher can only handle so much, but it’s on round 2 of probably 5 or 6…poor thing.

Everyone else is settling into the couch to watch the Dallas Cowboys game, and I honestly could not care less about that. But I do really appreciate the company, with everyone else being in the living room too while I work on my projects.

I’m finally going to tackle the project that has been my white whale…

The custom scarves.

A month and a half ago now, a customer asked me to make a scarf based on a knitted scarf picture she found, on Facebook I’m sure. I’m really starting to hate custom projects that are just recreating something, they’re really not worth it for me. But we live with my husband’s mother, and she’s a Facebook addict, so she’s constantly telling people “I know someone who would be happy to make that for you!” and then basically I’m already committed. I’m going to talk to her about that because now that I’m working on creating my own designs, I don’t have the time anymore. But I’m getting off topic…

Anyway, that’s what happened with these scarves. The customer wanted two in different color combos, and I begrudgingly agreed. The problem is that they’re not regular scarves. They have all kinds of flowers and shit hanging off of the front:

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Yeah, for one thing it’s OBVIOUSLY knit, and I told her that I don’t knit. She was like “yeah, but can you make something sort of like this?”. I mean, it’s a basic scarf that fastens in the front somehow so yes, I was willing to figure it out.

But look at all that stuff attached to it! I did my best. I made a bunch of curly bits and did some random chain lengths and I’ll just attach whatever else I can think of.

This is what I came up with:

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(More curly bits came later.)

Not bad, right? You can at least see the basic idea is there. I just need to assemble it. This one is green with hot pink accents, and the other is black with a red flower and pieces.

At this point I’m mostly just rambling on to avoid actually working on the scarves, because I’ve had to undo and redo it about a hundred times. That’s why it’s taken me a month and a half, basically. And I just keep putting it off more and more.

So I’m going to sign off for now and actually force myself to work on them. Hopefully I’ll be back later on with finished scarves to show you.

Family

Not a long post today because I’m exhausted and cranky and I want to go to bed!

Here’s a quick update of what I’m working on tonight. It’ll be a color block cowl in the reverse order of this picture (the white at the top):

I love these three colors together. The neutrals are gorgeous and I’m OBSESSED with the red-purple Heartland. Anyway….

I’ve just been thinking tonight about how funny it is that family can be the people we love most of all…but at the same time we want to kill them a little bit. 

Specifically, I’m talking about my husband. I love him, really. I wouldn’t have spent the past 6 years of my life with him if I didn’t (at least I hope so). But damn, he can push my buttons like no one else. In fact, right at this moment, he’s acting out various movie scenes with our two kittens. Loudly. After I’ve asked him about three times now to stop being so loud and distracting. Am I the only one married to a toddler sometimes? I highly doubt it. 

Of course all family does this kind of thing. I haven’t seen my parents in years so they don’t really bother me, but once I move back up north that’ll come back just like when I was a teenager. And someday my kids will drive me insane too.

But that just means we love them even stronger to drown out the frustration…or is that just me?

Creation of the Hansel Gloves

First of all, the peppermint blanket is FINALLY with its real owner. The customer had time to meet up today so it was finally handed off.

This also meant that I finally got the rest of the payment (since I ask for half down), and could go to shop at my local yarn store for the first time in literally months. I mean, I was there last week for the outdoor stitching event but we never went inside the store itself.

So I wandered around for way too long because I haven’t gone there in forever, and I couldn’t decide on anything. Plus I knew it would be my last chance for a while too because my wallet cries when I enter those doors!

But I eventually decided on trying some yarn from a company I had never heard of called “Universal Yarn”. There were tons of different weights and yarns but I settled on one called “Uptown Worsted Tapestry” because it has gorgeous colors and it’s really soft.

Check out my miniature “haul”!

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Obviously I wanted about ten of each colorway, but I settled on this specific colorway because it’s very natural and earthy but also bright with that gorgeous vibrant teal. And I bought three because the original plan was for a hat.

But I was totally stuck on my hat. Every stitch I could come up with was a copy of someone else’s idea, and the few original ideas I could think of didn’t really work for a hat shape. I started and frogged like ten different concepts.

Then for some reason, I just thought “gloves!” and started messing around.

I wanted to do a simple, repetitive stitch, but not a boring one like just plain single crochet around and around and around. So I started playing and discovered that if you alternate single and half-double crochet, you get a neat subtle texture! Plus it actually works with variegated yarn and doesn’t make it look (too) messy!

I started with a ribbed border on the bottom, and realized how tiny my wrists actually are…

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Scissors are for scale to really hammer home how pathetically tiny my hands are.

Of course I had to frog some of the rounds about a dozen times because life is never simple. But I kept going, and I actually have a passable fingerless glove at the end of it all!

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I love it. It’s comfy, the colors look great, the yarn is really soft, it’ll be very warm in the winter…this was a total success. I decided to name the pattern after the kitten who slept in my lap during most of the creation process. His name to the rest of the family is Han (short for Han Solo), but his full name to me is King Hansel Meowsers. Therefore, these are the Hansel Gloves!

Now the only problem will be figuring out how to translate it into larger sizes…any advice? Should I just make larger ones and have family and friends try them on? Any help is appreciated! Hopefully I can write up a real pattern in the next few days if I figure that out!

 

Inspiration

Where do you find it?

Honestly, I’m not trying to sound deep here. I’m actually stumped.

If you ask me to come up with a color combo, that I can do in a heartbeat! I love finding neat color combinations through nature, or inspired by cool things on TV…I basically have a whole folder on my phone saved of color plans for various blankets.

But how do you come up with what to actually MAKE?!

Every single idea I come up with is something that someone else already did. I just started a really neat scarf pattern with bobble textures and strips that you tie in the middle so they look like little bows…and all I can think of is “I should make my own pattern like this”. Yeah, that’s not how it works. You don’t just copy someone’s concept and change it a little bit.

So how do you come up with original ideas? Do you take an existing idea and try to mix it up, like those hats that look like ice cream or cake or whatever? Do you look at stuff like a tree and try to emulate that texture/appearance in a garment?

I can’t think of how to actually stimulate my creativity. Please share any tips and ideas you have! I’d really appreciate it!

My local yarn store people are geniuses…

Guess what I get to do this evening? In like 45 minutes?

I get to crochet OUTSIDE. Yes, I’m a sheltered individual so this is very exciting to me. I’m attending the event “Stitching Under the Stars” which means everyone brings those folding camping chairs and whatever crochet/knitting project they’re currently working on, and we all just hang out in the parking lot for a few hours and talk and work on our stuff! I’ve never gone before and I’m SUPER excited.

I’ve gone to a couple of their events before and it’s composed of 80% older women (especially in the fall-winter months because for that half of the year, all the old people live down here where it’s warm). But I don’t care, it’s like I have a bunch of sweet grandmas to chat with!

And it’s actually about 75% knitters rather than crocheters. I’m not sure why on that one, I think it’s because the woman in charge of the store only knits so that’s who she makes friends with and invites to this stuff more often. It’s this really cool non-profit store that donates all their money to a church missionary program, and also donates tons of hats and blankets and stuff. I support them whenever I can!

Anyway, I’ve been planning what I want to do for this event forever. I’m not really working on anything big right now, no blankets to speak of. And I finished my current sweater yesterday, I’ll probably be assembling it tonight. Check it out, by the way:

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Super pretty, right? I love the deep blue. Plus I’m really white so it’s a very flattering color! I just need to sew it all together!

So anyway, for tonight, I had an idea. That red “Soft & Sleek” yarn that I bought for the CAL that I have basically completely neglected deserves to be used. I may go back to the CAL later on, but for now it’s just not holding my interest. So I have 4 balls of that in my stash, and I stopped by Hobby Lobby today for 4 more…

I’m making a sweater! I found this gorgeous pullover pattern for free on Ravelry, and even though it calls for sort of a tweed/speckled kind of yarn (not really variegated but not a solid color either), I think a nice solid burgundy will look really pretty with it. Plus I’ll be a Midwestern girl again in just 6ish months, so I need to build up my sweater collection again!

So my yarn is all bagged up in a cloth grocery bag, and my phone is charging so I can have the pattern with me. I feel like a little kid waiting for a play date! I’m basically just sitting by the door ready to go.

I know this was a long post without much news, but I guess I wanted to share my excitement and spread a little joy 🙂 I hope you get to go to fun local events and make some yarn friends yourself! Have a great weekend!

The Cappuccino Scarf!

Okay, time for MY FIRST PATTERN, YOU GUYS.

I finished this scarf in a day and I’m so stupidly proud and I’m so excited to show you.

I already shared the “origin story” in the last post, so let me just kind of explain why I did it the way I did.

I love Caron Cakes and how it makes a really simple pattern look all fancy and multicolored, yet the colors are coordinated and look nice together. So I had to use it for my first personal creation.

As for the actual item choice, I knew I wanted either an infinity scarf or a cowl, and I realized with the slow striping of Caron’s yarn that a cowl would be like 2 colors, or a full scarf should hopefully show them all. So that was an easy choice.

For the texture, I wanted a compromise. I don’t normally like the super open, meshy sort of texture. Plus I have kittens so I don’t want something they can get their paws stuck in when I hold them. But I didn’t want it thick and stiff, either.

So I started playing around, and realized I had seen multiple designers use a single crochet/double crochet combo to make a neat bumpy texture, but it doesn’t make an overly drapey fabric (at least with my stitching).

I then tried a double crochet and a half double in the same stitch, and it actually makes a really neat texture!

Look at the close-up, which I think I also shared in the last post:

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Super cool, right? (I apologize for photo quality, all I have to work with is a smart phone. When I move up north next year I’ll be in the same town as my father and he’s an amateur photographer with a real camera!)

I really like how the stitches look. It’s open, it’s light, but still a solid fabric that will keep me warm in the winter. So I just kept going until I had a good spread of the colors, and a nice long scarf to wrap twice around my neck!

I love it so much that I couldn’t resist a little “modeling”…(Again, phone pics)

I didn’t mean to have it folded in the full-length picture, but it’s now dark outside so too bad. I’ll maybe see if I can take a better one another day. And look at the wrapped picture, you can see every color at once! It’s really cute and I’m very happy with my first “real” creation.

Here’s the actual pattern written out:

Yarn: Any worsted, but for this I used Caron Cakes in Boston Cream. It used about 2/3rds of the cake, but this may vary depending on how long you want it.

Hook: J hook, 6mm.

Stitches: No special stitches, just half-double crochet and double crochet. Very simple for beginners.

  1. Chain 25. In 3rd chain from hook, HDC. *Skip 1 chain, DC & HDC in same chain.* Repeat across, ending with DC & HDC in the final chain. You should have 12 “clusters” of DC/HDC.
  2. Chain 2, skip first stitch, HDC in next stitch (the final DC of row 1). *Skip next stitch, DC & HDC in next stitch.* You’ll be doing these into each DC of the previous row, essentially. Final DC/HDC will be done in the turning chain.
  3. Repeat row 2 until your desired length! I stopped mine at about 48″ just because the colors matched nicely and that was a good length for me. You can do much shorter for a cowl, or even as an infinity scarf you can play with the length depending on your height.

 

I’m going for it.

My husband finally prompted me to take the next step in the crochet world…I’m coming up with my own pattern! I was talking with him about all the people I follow on Facebook and Instagram and related sites, and how much I respect them for coming up with their own original designs! He said “why don’t you do it?”

Well…I don’t know. I wanted to say “I don’t have any good ideas”, but that’s a lie because I have a list saved on my computer of concepts I want to try sometime.

I want to say “I’m not good enough to make stuff up” but at least 3-4 times now a customer has asked me to do something custom (the best example is the guy who wanted an amigurumi of a tooth…with a worm coming out of it) or to recreate something in a picture. Each time I’ve done my best to come up with something and they’ve been happy, so I’m at least okay at coming up with things on my own.

I also want to say “I can’t afford to design my own stuff” but I don’t even know where I got that idea. It’s just yarn. Which I already have lots of. It’s not as if I make half a scarf and decide I don’t like it that I’d have to toss it in the trash. You just undo the stitches and start over again.

So basically he asked “Why not?” and I went through a list of excuses in my head before I decided…

Well, WHY NOT?

So I’m currently on my 4th try of creating something from scratch, and I’m finally completely happy with what’s happening. I tried for a while with the Yarn Bee “Soft & Sleek” that I bought for a CAL that I’m not really following along with. But I tore those attempts out over and over again because I just wasn’t liking them.

Then last night I couldn’t sleep for anything, and in the middle of the night I decided to get out of bed and maybe read something for a little bit before trying to get some sleep. I went into the spare bedroom that’s kind of become my “craft room” and sat on my chair, and noticed my yarn winder.

With an almost-complete Caron Cake…cake on it! I must have had one left over after frogging something and wound it up last week or so (I haven’t had time to hang out in my crafting room lately) and totally forgot about it.

What better yarn to use for a new pattern than a new, very popular yarn? Also with the gorgeous self-striping, even a really simple creation looks fancy.

So I sat back down this morning (off work on a Sunday, I’m so lucky!) and played around again, and something FINALLY felt right.

Check it out:

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Gorgeous, right? The texture is just so pretty, and you know that’s like my highest priority in picking a pattern. It has to look pretty and feel pretty for me to really want to make it.

Hopefully I’ll be back in a couple days to actually write out this pattern and publish one for the first time! Wish me luck!