My “resolutions” for the New Year!

I’m joking because if you treat something as an actual resolution, it’s so much easier to give up and forget about. However, I really do like treating each January as a fresh start. I screwed up some stuff in 2016, and I did some things right too. 2017 is a new book and I look forward to writing it!

There are a few things I’m looking to change/start, and I figured I might as well share them on here.

Number 1 is probably the one that could be called a resolution if I felt like doing so. In my crochet life, I’m very much all over the place. I find a great pattern, vow to make a ton of items with it, and then I go on Ravelry and get lost in “I need to try that instead”.

So besides orders and special projects for family and whatnot, I’m going to spend a certain amount of time “stocking up” on multiple colors/versions of the same item. This helps me in several ways…

  1. I need more inventory
  2. When I post something for sale/have a booth at a fair, I always get questions like “my daughter really likes this hat but do you have it in other colors for my niece too?” And if I’m not stocking up on several colors of items, that’s turning a 2-3 item sale into a 1 or even zero-item sale because they wanted to buy other things but can’t.
  3. It gives me more practice!

I sort of started this by accident because I was working on this hat during the New Year…literally, I made most of it December 31st and finished it off in the early hours of January 1st.

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Gorgeous, right? Actually for some reason, an in-progress picture of this hat on New Year’s Eve got me probably the most likes I’ve ever had on Instagram. It’s at like 110 and counting. (I know that’s not much for most of you but my average is about 25-30.)

And then yesterday, January 1st, I wasn’t feeling well so I made another one…

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And it’s only gotten worse from there…

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I’m not going to set some frame on it like “I have to make the same pattern for an entire month” or “I have to make ten items”. For one thing, the month one would be stupid because there’s a lot of craft sales in February so I’d really only get to stock up on one item! And going by number would suck because stuff like this bun hat can be done in an afternoon or two, but other things are much more complicated.

So I’m just going to follow my gut. Once I’ve made probably 5 or 6 of these hats, I’ll move on to something else. But for now, I’m really enjoying them! We’ll see if I start on number 4 today because I’m still not feeling great…on day 2 of 3 days off, which is total bullshit that I never call in sick so when I’m scheduled for 3 consecutive days off, THAT’S when I get sick. Grr.

Anyway, on to my other idea for the new year!

I’ve always wanted to do a temperature blanket. But I’m planning to move across the country during this year, hopefully in May or possibly August. So do I do it for just one of the cities? Do I start in my current one and have the major change when I move? Plus they’re two opposite and fairly intense climates (Texas and Michigan) so either way, it would take a lot of work.

So I had another idea.

I’m going to do a MOOD blanket! I’m not sure exactly how but I’m thinking a 1-10 scale. 1 would represent a shitty day that just needed to end, 10 being a day that I would be happy to relive forever. And 5 of course is just a totally “meh” day that I won’t really remember. I’m guessing most of my days will be between 4 and like 7-8, and that’s okay. That’s fairly normal. But I think it would be fun to end up with a blanket that immortalizes my actual experiences of the year!

Let me know how you feel about any of these ideas in the comments please! Feel free to share better ideas too, my brain isn’t working great lately so this may be a really dumb concept. I don’t know, what do you think?

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Christmas is over! Yay!

No, I’m not a holiday-hater.

I mean, I do find it kind of hard to get into the spirit in this time of my life, and that’s not just because I’m in my mid-20s and stuck in that awkward “not a kid anymore but no kids of my own yet” stage. It’s also because I live literally across the country from all of my family and haven’t seen my own parents in over 2 years.

Plus I grew up in the Midwest, so it never feels like Christmas without snow or at the very least, temperatures below 70 degrees. I believe it was 88 this year, and I almost cried.

But I’m getting way off topic. No, I do not hate Christmas or any of its related holidays. I love them.

However, and this is both good and bad, this was the first year in which my holiday season was absolutely insane with orders. It was tough because I also needed to spend some time actually celebrating, and I had my own family gifts to take care of, and of course I wanted to actually sit down once in a while!

But it was nice because it means people are starting to like my products! I have a customer now who has ordered two child hats, an adult hat/scarf set, and now she wants another set at least! (I just delivered her scarf this morning!)

Over this holiday season, I completed…

1 peppermint blanket (you guys remember that one, right?)

2 child-size hats

5 adult beanies

4 bun hats

2 laptop cases

4 adult elf hats

3 cowls

3 stuffed dinosaurs, and

1 triangle scarf/wrap thing.

I’m sure that’s not a complete list by any stretch, but it should give you an idea.

This is why I’m exhausted. But it earned me enough cash that I’m ordering my husband a custom handmade walnut cookbook stand for his birthday this week! It’s from a custom woodworking guy I follow on Instagram, I’ve always wanted to order something from him to support a small business.

I don’t really have a point today, it was more to just emphasize that the Christmas season is OVER and I can hopefully return to more regular updates soon.

I hope you enjoyed your holidays so far and that you continue to enjoy the rest of them!

Confession: I hate those bun hats

I know, right?

To be clear, I do not hate the concept or the actual object. They’re totally freakin’ cute. I don’t personally have enough hair to really make use of one, but I love them on other people.

And of course I don’t hate them existing as a crochet pattern. I mean, how could you? Less than a skein of yarn, only takes a couple hours of work, and you can sell it for $10-20 depending on your general pricing and how much people are willing to pay. Great profit margins.

So why do I hate them?

Because they came into my life at the worst possible time.

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. That’s because of Christmas. By that I mean both working retail during the holiday season (42 hours on my schedule this week!), and being “that girl who knows how to make this crochet stuff” during the holiday season.

My mother-in-law is a major Facebook addict, and she’s lived in this city for 20+ years plus worked in a school for nearly that many years. So she knows EVERYBODY. And she likes to “help” me with my business by posting everything I make on her own page.

That’s awesome, right?

Yeah, not this time of year. I keep telling her (and have put such a notice on my crochet page) that I can’t take orders right now because I’m booked up. She understands, but then still puts the pic up on her page and says “my daughter-in-law would be happy to make you one, just message her!”

She says that they may not want it for Christmas so if I just explain that it won’t be done by then, it’s fine! But no one is thinking January right now, they’re all wanting Christmas gifts! And I have to keep turning them down!

So anyway…back to my original point. Why do I hate the messy bun hats?

Because now in addition to 5-8 messages a day of “I have seven grandkids and I want custom hats for all of them by this weekend please” that I have to turn down, now I’m also getting another 10 or so of “I keep seeing pictures of these bun hat things, can you make me one?”.

And I WANT TO! They’re fun (I tried one for the hell of it), they’re quick, and they’re such a great profit margin. But did they really need to pop up in December of all months? I live in Texas, so by the time the holiday season is over, no one is going to want them anymore because it’ll be 80-90 degrees again.

Please, bun hats, just disappear for a little while and then come back in the spring. Please?

The holiday season

I was going to be ready months ahead this time.

Back in early October I started posting on my “business” Facebook page that if someone wanted bigger items for Christmas they would have to tell me by November because of the time it takes to make big stuff.

In early November, I again posted that if anyone wanted anything made for Christmas, or just warm clothing like hats and scarves in general, that they’d have to tell me ASAP or I might not have time to make it. (We live in Texas so it doesn’t get truly cold until mid-December).

I again posted right around the first of this month that I hadn’t had as many orders as I thought, so there was still a little bit of time if anyone wanted anything.

Just in the last two days, suddenly now I’ve had orders for…

  • 2 dinosaur toys
  • 2 child hats and an adult hat (same customer)
  • 3 hats for a family friend
  • So far, at least two of those “messy bun” hats that are ridiculously popular right now
  • A hat for a coworker

That’s it for now, but I feel like I’m cursing myself saying that.

But at the same time, I definitely appreciate the extra cash while we’re still down to one paycheck for myself and my husband. He has found a job, but it’s at a school so you don’t actually get paid for a while at those places because they often only pay monthly.

I’m not sure what my point is here, but I think it’s mostly to express that I’m simultaneously happy and overwhelmed by all the orders I have going on right now. But that’s just how life works, isn’t it?

A productive-ass day.

It just doesn’t sound right to call it simply “productive”, so pardon my French.

Anyway, today has been super productive.

I finished…

Quinn the Owl (the pattern’s name for her, I’m leaving her actual name up to the customer):

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All I was told by the customer was “I love owls, and you pick the best colors so do whatever pattern and color combo you want!” I feel like I definitely fulfilled that request.

Also I finished a laptop case:

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Don’t ask why it’s sideways. I flipped the picture a million times at every step but it likes to be sideways, so we’re just going to have to deal with it. Anyway, the case turned out really cute!

I also finished this headband that I started a few days ago:

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The cables aren’t supposed to be slanted, but that’s just how it lays when it’s flat. It looks super cute on but I’m not quite comfortable posting selfies on here yet. I’ll find a “model” (friend) someday.

I started on a sweater:

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Super adorable, right? I love how it feels. I think this is the right match for this yarn, finally. Yes, I know I’ve said that before but shut up.

And, drumroll please!

…..

………

…………….

I. Finished. The. Scarves.

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Boom. Also I know about the top scarf having blue yarn on the buttons. I somehow thought it wouldn’t be noticeable, because I couldn’t find any black yarn to sew them on, but it’s super noticeable. I’ll find some black scraps somewhere and fix that tomorrow.

I’m just so glad to be DONE with those things.

Ok, this was a picture-heavy day but I’m just so proud of finishing all this stuff! I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

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!

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?