Thursday, August 31, 2017

(n) To Mark Your Stitches

I joined a stitch marker swap.  I really love stitch markers and progress keepers.  I have a little container of them in each of my knitting projects.  I love using progress keepers to see how far I've come when I'm knitting or crocheting.  I got this one from Mothy and the Squid late last fall.  It's a little teacup with a teaspoon attached.  I have a set of tea kettles from them that I love, too.

So when I connected with a group on the Yarnhoarder podcast ravelry group who were doing a homemade stitch marker swap I said, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"  

Then I started making them.  They really looked homemade.  A lot.  So, I spent some time on Pinterest.  And that's where I learned about wire and crimping beads.  I picked up a spool of beading wire and a package of crimping beads.  And a star was born!!! I love this look.  It's clean.  It doesn't look super homemade.  They work up a lot quicker. Here are some of the results:

I will be making lots more.  I will be participating in more swaps too.  They are fun to make and I think they're really beautiful.  I'll show you a picture of the stitch markers and progress keepers I receive in the swap in a couple weeks. The markers I made can only be used for knitting.  I have some materials to make progress markers that are also useful for crochet, but I've got to work up to those.  This jewelry making is not for the faint of heart.

So that's my stitch marker story. What is your favorite style of stitch marker?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I Needed That Hook

I get to ride to work with my husband every morning.  We drive together for about 45 minutes before we go our separate ways. I spend that time knitting or crocheting while we talk. We don't even turn on the radio!  We just talk and I knit or crochet.  So this morning, I packed up one of my favorite Sew Flo bags to work on a crochet wrap that has been lounging in WIP-land for too long.  I stuck the crochet hook in the bag and off we went.

There it is.  See it sticking out of the top of the bag?  Oh, and what a cute bag right!?!  That's one of my two Harry Potter bags from Sew Flo.  I love her bags. Check out her Etsy shop here. They're so well-made.  And this fabric is so super-cute.  Anyway, I digress.  

When we get in the car, I don't start knitting or crocheting for the first 10 to 15 minutes until we get to the highway.  I get a little carsick and we live out in the middle of nowhere. So I have to wait until all the twisty back roads are behind us.

We were chatting away, when I reached down into my bag and pulled out my project.  I rooted around in the bag and couldn't find my hook.  I searched and searched.  No hook.  Not only could I not crochet on the way to and from work, but I also would have nothing to do on my lunch hour.  Well, we couldn't have that!  Lucky for me, I work within 5 minutes of two craft stores!  So, a quick trip to JoAnn's at noon and I was back in business.  I splurged on these Susan Bates hooks:

They are super-light!  And I really like the one I'm using on the wrap.  It's amazing how much different it is to have a lighter hook.  If you find these in your craft store, give them a try.  You'll be surprised at the difference a lighter hook can make.

P.S.  I'm hoping to have this wrap I'm crocheting on the blocking boards by the weekend.  So stay tuned.  Pictures coming!!

P.S.S. When we got home I found my hook laying in the driveway.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Chalk Paint is Life

So we were yard saling the other day.  I know I posted about a thrift store find yesterday and today I start off talking about yard sales.  It may seem like all I do is buy used stuff, but, well maybe that's true.  Anyway, we hit a yard sale and I picked up a little baggie filled with small items.  As I started looking at the items inside I knew I had found treasure.  $.50 later we spread the bag's contents onto our old pine kitchen table and laid claim to it's items.

Among the many interesting items were a few findings that immediately gave me a picture in my mind of a shelf.  I knew exactly what I wanted this shelf to look like.  It was so clear in my head.  The next day I headed to the craft store to find the perfect shelf and the paint I was imagining.  The shelf had to be very simple.  And the paint had to be chalk paint.

I knew I wanted the shelf to look worn and sort of rough.  So using this turquoise-colored Folkart Home Decor chalk paint called "patina" I spread it very thinly over the shelf.  I covered the entire shelf, but you could still see some of the pine showing through so that it looked more worn.  Then it was time to apply the items from the baggie.  Now, I know this isn't a super-functional shelf.  But it is just how I imagined it to be.  These were all the items from the yard-sale baggie.

I loved working with this paint.  I will definitely be finding other things to paint with it.  It turned out exactly the way I wanted it to.  It's very matte.  Goes on smoothly.  And is easy to thin out to get the effect I wanted.

We hung the shelf in our bedroom near the door.  I may hang my jewelry on it sometimes. But mostly, I just like the way it looks hanging on our wall. There are a couple small hooks on it, three different drawer pulls, three clock hands, and two other ornate findings.  I love it.

photo by firstnamemclane on Instagram

When the light is a little better during the day I'll try to get a better picture.  But my little yard sale findings shelf makes me happy.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mama's Gotta Brand New Bag

Do you know that song?  Nevermind. This post isn't even about that song.

Last week I was thrift shopping, a favorite pastime of mine.  I stumbled on a $4.97 bag of yarn.  This was not your ordinary bag of yarn. This was what I would call boutique yarn.  Not the yarn you find in a big box store, but special yarn.  One skein had a $29.00 price tag on it!  Here's a glimpse:

Eventually I will use all of it.  I have some ideas already.  But this weekend I used two skeins.  In that lovely pile are two skeins of Kollage Riveting Worsted.  This is 100% cotton made from recycled demin.  I knew exactly which pattern I wanted to make.  I've made the Pineapple Crochet Market Bag by Ambrosia's Creations in the past.  It's a great string shopping bag with just a little pineapple pattern.  I love a pineapple pattern.  My favorite doilee is a pineapple doilee.  The pineapple pattern of this bag is just enough detail to make it especially cute.

I started the bag on Friday with an I hook and both skeins of worsted-weight cotton.  I finished the bag Saturday.  It was a quick project with a great result.  Today, I gave it to a friend at church.  When I started working on it, she came to mind.  I spent the rest of the time working on it and thinking about her.  So today, it was hers.  I think when things like that happen, where a person comes to your mind, you need to act on that.  If you think, I should make *so-and-so* a pie.  Then make them a pie.  If you walk by the phone and think, "I should give that person a call."  Call that person.  These thoughts come to mind for a reason.

And if you're thinking, "I should make that pineapple market bag."  You're right!  You should!  The bag would be cute in any worsted cotton.  I even made one once with leftover acrylic.  It holds a ton.  It's cute AND functional!  So get your I hook and get working!