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?

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!