Tag: TipsandTricks

Sometimes it’s the little things

I don’t consider myself to be a super high maintenance girl. Yes, I like my yarn and some other goodies, but for the most part I’m just happy to sit and do my thing. The downside to this is that sometimes I can get upset over something that seems minor to other people, but the upside is that  small things can make me really happy.

Case in point….last night I was working on a new project; I am making a unicorn for next week’s Steel City Con. As part of the finishing touches, the pattern calls for pinkening the cheeks. The first time I made this, I ignored that part of the pattern.

First attempt at this cutie unicorn – without rouge

I was also making the first unicorn as a birthday present and didn’t want to take a chance the rouge wouldn’t be added correctly.

I’ve added cheek color before, but I’ve never been happy with it. It always ends up too light or too dark or too smeary.

I haven’t tried actual makeup on the Luvvies yet – I know some people swear by that as an option, but it just seems like that would come off far too easily, in my opinion. Plus, I don’t wear blush myself so I haven’t had any laying around the house to try.

I have tried using some of my daughter’s crayons – but I find the application to be uneven, and more often than not it tugs at the completed fabric of the Luvvie and distorts the finished piece.

More recently, I have tried fabric markers, but whenever I have used them directly on the piece the coloring comes across too harsh, practically screaming “HELLO, MY CHEEKS ARE COLORED IN. CAN YOU SEE ME, NOW?” And I am not happy with it.

Which leads me to my point and why I was so giddy with excitement – or maybe sleep deprivation, I’m not entirely sure at this point.

It was after midnight, I had to be up in 4.5 hours and I wasn’t done with my new unicorn, which I had hoped to finish. As I looked at her I decided I wanted to try to color her cheeks and I pulled out my fabric markers wondering how I could be less heavy handed and it dawned on me….makeup sponges!!!!

I’m not great at wearing or applying makeup, but I love makeup. Because of that, I have a large assortment of makeup accessories – including sponges that are used to blend makeup, or to help apply foundation. I dashed into my bathroom and grabbed a sponge. I took the pink fabric marker and applied several strokes of color directly to the sponge and then tapped the color to my unicorn’s cheek. With the taper side of the sponge – the side without color – I evened out the color a little to make it closer to natural. I still have to work on my technique a little, but this was the happiest I have been with pinked cheeks.

My semi-naked unicorn with her mane and tail curls ready for application and with her newly pink cheeks.

Although I was disappointed I wasn’t able to complete my new cutie last night, I was so happy that she looks as cute as she does. The color on her cheeks definitely made a difference, and I think she will be even more adorable once she is fully complete.

And with my little triumph at adding color to her, I consider that victory enough and promptly closed up and went to bed…after all, 5 am comes around very quickly when you are up past midnight; but, I do think my discovery was worth it…at least to me, it was.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

Here Pattern, Pattern

One of the most important things I have learned so far on this crochet adventure of mine is that if you don’t have the ability to design your own projects, finding an awesome designer or project is critical.

new-crochet-pattern-im-going-on-an-adventure

I have designed one pattern in my time as a crocheter – my Captain America/Hello Kitty mashup. Other than that, I don’t have the creative spark and ability to be able to design projects. However, I have been very fortunate to have a great number of resources available to access quality patterns from sites such as Ravelry, Etsy, Love Crochet, and various sites across the Internet.

One critical thing that I learned the hard way recently is not all patterns are created equal. Not all designers go through the process of having friends or outside voices review and test their patterns prior to publication. Read More…

All Hail the Mighty Stitch Marker

Yet another tale that is going to start with: Back in the day…..I really do feel like a old lady when I start blogs like this (back in my day we didn’t have these fancy). I’m only 40, but sometimes the age starts to show.

Anyhow, back in my day (lol) when I started crocheting the first time, my mother and I were simple crocheters. We had a hook, some yarn, and the pattern from the wrapper of the skein of yarn. My mother and I had never heard of notions; the first time someone in a Craftsy class mentioned notions I was like say what now?

Which also explains when I started crocheting again last year and I bought a set of hooks, I had no clue what the weird circle like thing was. I thought maybe it was for knitting and didn’t pertain to me. It wasn’t until I started watching some videos and saw people talking about stitch markers that everything clicked for me.sm3

Pictured are a loose stitch, locking stitch, and claw stitch marker

Once I started into amigurumi and working in the round, I really started to learn how valuable stitch markers could be. With working in the round because you are just going round and round, you need to know where your first stitch is to know what to do for that round’s pattern.

There has only been one time that I thought I was smart enough to know to count my stitches exactly that I tried to forgo the stitch marker…the result ended in my garbage bin. Needless to say, stitch markers have become my little lifesavers since then.

Sttich Marker Meme

I’m coming to find, however, that stitch markers have more value than just being used for patterns in the round. Even more “traditional” types of projects can be aided with the stitch marker.

I’m waiting for some materials to be delivered for a custom order I’m working on, so I decided to play with my first graphghan (go big, or go home, I always say). I decided for this that I wouldn’t use the corner to corner crochet method, but would just use a traditional double crochet. I started to get nervous as I did this. Each row should have 150 stitches – in the past blankets and afghans have always been my nemesis because I’m not always the greatest counter (even though I am an accountant and I work with numbers every day of my professional life). I get distracted too easily – either by watching a show on TV, or by talking to whomever is in the room, or just by my own thoughts….what number was I on again? So, working on a pattern for an afghan where the stitch count was going to be vitally important because of the design, I started to question my own sanity.

However, as I was doing my foundation row the idea snapped into my head: Use stitch markers! They can be like the little breadcrumb trails that lead me along my path and keep me on the straight and narrow (or straight and growing as I hope will be the case).

Armed with this epiphany, I started to place stitch markers every 10th stitch: This way I can either count the full 150 chains; count each set of 10; or just mosey along and only go back to check if the stitching starts to look a little wonky. I have to say, except for the last 10 stitches of each row, I have been just kind of breezing with the breeze – that’s the beauty of having the stitch markers guide my way. Of course, to this point, there haven’t been any color changes or distinctive pattern markings either, so that has made a bit of a difference.

I have the first 15 rows of the project completed and (touch wood) so far my rows are staying nice and straight and consistent – well set up for the pattern to come. Now, we will see what happens as we go on. My actual first attempt at a graphghan was a corner to corner crochet-a-long that I got so far in and then had to completely frog because I had missed a stitch somewhere and I just couldn’t get the pattern back on track. Scaling this back and using not only an easier pattern, but traditional rows I think will help make the project more set up for success. Of course, I could always panic again and just decide to rip the whole thing out even after making 25-30 rows of progress.

I am posting regular updates of the blanket on my Instagram page if you want to follow along and drop me some encouragement (I could use it). I’m as curious as anyone to see how it turns out.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha