Sunday, April 28, 2013

Got Skills? 4KCBWDAY7

One year from now what new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

It likely comes as no surprise, but a year from now my primary goal is to reduce my stash. My dream is to have all of the overflow gone and my stash completely contained in my spare closet. This will be no easy task considering I've only managed to eliminate two cubbies worth of yarn (about 40 skeins) in the past 3 years. But like I said, this is my dream. In reality, I'm just hoping to avoid new purchases. I'm not going to go so far as to say I will exclusively use stash yarn for my projects, but I can confidently commit to doing so at least 85% of the time; hopefully more.

 My spare closet nice & tidy :)
I just wish the rest of the place looked like this!!

My blog activity has been sporadic over the past few years. So my second goal is to be better about keeping up here. I plan to continue to post more often, talk more about my crafting inspirations, show off more of my finished projects, and create a better web presence in general.

Speaking of web presence... I've finally come into the new millennium and created a Facebook Page for my Crochet Amore and Crochet Amore Knits! line of patterns. Yes, there is only one knit pattern in there now, but hey, it's a freebie! Be sure to check back next week as I have 4 new knit patterns that I'm finalizing as we speak. And never fear crocheters! I have tons more crochet patterns on the way as well. :)

freebie knit pattern

My third goal is to learn more about Bruges Lace. Ever since I first saw the Amandine Doily (3rd one down) by Hartmut Hass I knew I needed to make it. I've bought the pattern and have watched a couple of you tube videos. I think I understand how it works, now I just need to get to it! :)

And my fourth goal is to once and for all knit a pair of socks for myself! This has been on my to-do list for 5 years now and I have yet to brave up and just do it. I need to decide on an easy first-time pattern. I've thought about doing these just to learn the mechanics of it, but at the same time, I'd kind of like to jump right in with some of the sock weight yarn and small dpns I have. :)

I have more, lots more, I'd like to accomplish this year. I will likely not finish half of what I would like, but I'll give it a good honest try. :)

I just want to say I've enjoyed this year's blog week. Thank you to Eskimimi Makes for organizing the week's activities! I've had a lot of fun meeting bloggers from around the world. Please stay in touch! :)


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday's Smile/Cool Tools 4KCBWDAY6

Write about your favourite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc) tool.

I thought today I would combine my "Saturday's Smile" with my Day 5 post for Knit and Crochet Blog Week since my favorite tool definitely makes me happy. :)

My favorite tool is my hook caddy. I bought it at Target a few years ago in their impulse buy section for $2.50. It has been worth every penny and then some! It is actually a child's "Art Caddy," but it serves me well in its current function so, oh well. :)

It has plenty of room to hold all of my crochet hooks, my "go-to" knitting needles, a few pair of scissors, and some other supplies. The bottom has a lazy susan type mechanism that allows it to turn giving me easy access to everything.

I just wanted to talk quickly about some more of my favorites. I prefer Boye hooks, Bates are okay, but they tend to split the yarn on me. I have a set of bamboo hooks but don't care much for them. They have a "tooth" to them that holds onto the yarn. The slick metal hooks allow me to move faster allowing me to be more productive. That's always a good thing! :)

Ironically, in regard to bamboo knitting needles, it's that drag that I love about my Clover bamboo needles. I'm not a great knitter so I need all the help I can get! The slick metal makes me drop too many stitches. Someone on a forum years ago suggested I try these. Oh my, what a difference!

The ones above are the sizes I grab most often, 6, 7, and 8. I have metal ones in all types and sizes but keep them tucked away as I never use them. I've been toying with the idea of creating this just so I can give them something interesting to do. :)

I also have a few specialty hooks, and with me being a Bee, I have to show you this one I picked up on ebay a few years ago. I had a hard time getting a good picture, but hopefully you get the point.

Well, that's it for today. I was out all day so am behind on reading posts from yesterday but I will be catching up over the weekend. I look forward to reading about everyones favorites!

EDIT: I meant to say... when I saw Bek's video on her blog Polka-Dots & Sparkles, like the bee that I am, I was instantly drawn to the Ten Stitch Blanket she had on her needles. The wip above is the beginnings of a Ten Stitch doll blanket for my daughter's classroom (she's a pre-K teacher). LOL


Friday, April 26, 2013

Buzz Buzz 4KCBWDAY5

It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. 

Okay, prepare to roll your eyes because this is undoubtedly the corniest thing you will read today.

 Bee-ing Mee

to bee or not to bee
a monkee or a pee-
cock, no not mee
the see
is not for mee

a new thing I see
calling mee
distracting mee
I must see

swinging in a tree
curious monkee
"come play with mee"
a tempting plee

something fun I see
luring mee
tempting mee
I must see

gentle manatee
cute and cuddlee
splashing in the see
that's no life for mee

a new thing I see
teasing mee
taunting mee
I must see

strutting proudlee
"hey, look at me"
majestic pee-
cock, can't you see
feathers aren't for mee

petal to pozee
flying free
with glee
bizzee bee
yes, that's mee
it's meant to bee!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Color Me Happy 4KCBWDAY4

What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects?

I was looking forward to writing today's blog post. But now that it's here I'm finding hard to articulate my color philosophy. I use a lot of different colors in my projects. I love most colors and enjoy playing with them for effect. There are colors I tend to gravitate toward, but to say they are my favorites might only be true for the moment. The only colors I find myself actually avoiding are the overly pale pastel "baby" colors.

I know when I look at my projects over the past year or so, of the ones I have made and kept for myself, there will be many bright pastel colors. Nothing pale, but lots of rich, vibrant, true colors. Nature colors. Possibly a hint of something dark, but no black. Maybe a splash of white for contrast. Yes, bright, flowery, nature colors. Happy colors.

Dishcloth bouquet on my kitchen counter

My "Lucy Flowers" (a wip for the bathroom wall)

 One of many bright floral-y hotpads I use in the kitchen

A "Just for Fun" kitty sitting on a shelf in the bedroom

I could go on, but I think you get the point. :)

Now stash is a different story. The vast majority of what I crochet is given to others, either as gifts or to charities, so the colors will not represent my personal tastes or preferences. I've also been making a concentrated effort to reduce the beast that is my stash, so there will be an absence of some colors. I know I am low on reds and blues. I am really fighting the urge to shop. Really fighting...

 My Red Heart stash 3 yrs ago

My current stash (Red Heart reduced to 4 cubbies)

Nothing exciting there, so let's move on. :)

As you'll see, I love the traditional granny pattern, especially for charity projects. They are quick and easy to make and I can put one together start to finish in under 4 days. What a productive Bee I am. :) These projects also give me the opportunity to play with colors I wouldn't normally use for myself. I've had some failures, but most of them usually turn out nice. I'll start with a couple of my fails...

 I was going for Christmas, but ended up with Martini. LOL

The other six. I wonder what the seniors thought of this one. :)

Another Christmas one that fell slightly short of its mark.

Now this one is more like me. Very garden-esque.

This is one of my favorites, Neopolitan.

Another favorite. I feel like I'm sitting in a field of flowers. :)

Not a granny, but I saw it on Ravelry in these colors and HAD to make it. :)

There are more, but I won't bore you with them now. If you'd like to see my other granny-ghans, I am CrochetAmore on Ravelry. Just search "granny" in my projects. I am really behind getting pictures up, but I will try to finish that up next week sometime.

One final (long) thought on my personal color style. I have different tastes for different purposes. If you look in my closet you will see I have a clear affinity for purple, teal, blue, and black. I rarely wear red or any "hot" colors. You might occasionally catch me in pink or brown... but it's a rare sight. And never ever yellow, orange, or green... my complexion just can't handle it. :/

In the second stash picture above, you likely saw the pineapple afghan on my bed. When I choose colors for a large project for myself, such as an afghan, I tend to lean toward a more subdued palette. Choosing solids over multis, mid-tones over brights, etc.. I am currently working on a sofa throw, the Pinwheel afghan, in Ranch Red. A very muted, almost brown-ish, red as another example. Why these bland colors? They do seem to go against what I've said about my preferences.

Looking at the examples of my personal color style above (and below,) I trend toward smaller accents of color. A bouquet of dishcloths on the counter. A flowered cozy on the dish under a plant... By allowing the larger pieces to fade into the background, the smaller-more vibrant-bursts of color don't have to compete for attention. They are allowed to make their own statement. In other words, less is more.

Yarn for sofa pillows

Various colorful magnets/fridgies

My Christmas tree skirt. Just a hint of red. Let the tree be the center of attention. :)

EDIT: I am just noticing that I do a lot of floral themed projects for myself. How very "Bee" of me. :)
2nd EDIT: Corrected the link for the pineapple blanket.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Round and Round We Go 4KCBWDAY3

Make your own infographic to convey any element of your craft(s). 

I've always tried to be a monkey, tackling one mind-bending project at a time, but my dominant bee self won't seem to let it happen. I truly am attracted by bright shiny objects.

My biggest weakness is color [how very bee-like. ;)] I love to play with color. I tend to be somewhat methodical about my choices though. I'm not afraid to try new combinations. It excites me to see how colors play against each other, especially in unexpected groupings. But I have a hard time when it comes to the scrappy look. This really puts a damper on my stash-busting efforts. Hard as I try I always end up with some sort of a pattern or color scheme. Not very bee-like is it? Maybe it's my inner monkey fighting to get out?

Without fail, this happens every time...


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tiptoe Through the Tulips 4KCBWDAY2

Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal.

The purpose of today's post is to sketch out the journey I take in deciding on a project. The honest truth is the path is different every single time. Sometimes it's a color combination I'm in love with, occasionally I see a pattern that I must make, or maybe I've seen something that inspired me to create an original design. Many times it's all of these things, and just as often it's none of these things. Here is today's journey...

Bee keychain I made several yrs ago.
(Sorry for the fuzzy pic!)

The obvious choice for a House of Bee mascot would be, well... a bee. But that might be a bit predictable, don't you think? No offense to the amigurumi makers out there, I do love a cute ami, they just aren't my first choice for a project these days. Unless of course there is an even cuter 5 year old saying "but I neeeed it mom mom!" :)

"Bees are busy and industrious."

I've always been fascinated by the above picture. I love the variety of colors and patterns. Lots of inspiration to be found here. I also can't help but think if I never gave any of my finished projects away, this is what my living room might look like!

Calendar 'Ghan Charity Project

The bee's busy and industrious nature stems from practicality. They are not selfish. They do what they do because it needs to be done for the good of the hive. But that's not to say they can't enjoy what they do. I love making afghans. I do that for me. And if my efforts can keep someone warm who would otherwise be cold, that can't be selfish.

"...can flit from one interesting project to the next 
as bright and shiny things capture their interest."

I absolutely love flowers. Of course the real ones are awesome, but they fade far too quickly. Wouldn't a crocheted flower garden be the perfect "mascot project" for the house of bee? So many individual projects to flit between. I came across this image from Betz White on Pinterest several weeks ago and immediately put the concept together in my head. I totally want a flower garden headboard!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Queen Bee 4KCBWDAY1

Welcome to Knit and Crochet Blog Week 2013!
To learn more about blog week, what it is, and how to participate, click here.

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

For day one's post we were asked to choose from among four different styles in regard to how we approach our handwork. Although my personal style is somewhat eclectic, and encompasses, to some degree, each of the four choices, it was obvious from the beginning where I fit in. As indicated above, I have pledged my loyalty to "The House of Bee."

I have many bee-like qualities. I am very easily distracted by new patterns, color combinations, and ideas. If you follow my blog you know I have more WIPs than I know how to keep track of. I start new projects without trepidation or guilt. But like the bee, I can also be very productive.

Generally speaking, from the time a bee emerges from its cell, until its death, it works to serve its community and its queen. There is rarely a day that goes by that I haven't had a hook or 2 needles in my hand for at least a few minutes. In doing so, I am serving my "queen." That inner desire need to "bee" creative.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday's Smile

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I have a brown thumb. I keep trying though. I bought a few plants this time last year, and Ben gave me a geranium for Mother's day. I still have 3 of the 5, and they are happily growing. I am especially impressed with the geranium. By the end of Winter it only had 2 very sad looking leaves. I am amazed, and very happy, to see that it is making a comeback! I didn't think it was going to make it, but it hung in there. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Cleaning and Organizing

It didn't feel much like Spring here last week with temps in the 30s and 40s, including the threat of snow. Despite the weather I was struck with the Spring Cleaning Bug. It was actually more like unpacking and organizing as opposed to cleaning.

I didn't take any before pictures, but I do have this one that I took a couple of weeks ago. What you can't see in this picture is just to the left the stacks of cardboard boxes. Quite a few of them actually.

I had several boxes, still full, from the move a year ago. I figured it was about time I get them unpacked. :) I'm glad I did because it was like Christmas morning! There were LOTS of partially finished projects, most of them original designs, that I had completely forgotten about. I ended up putting some of them back into boxes and stored them in the closet. I will go through them a box at a time this summer and get the patterns written up and published in one form or another.

And here is the yarn that didn't fit in the closet. 12 cubes full of worsted weight acrylics, plus 2 tubs full of wips and other projects, and several project bags on the floor. The orange milk crates are for a charity lapghan project. I have 7 finished 'ghans plus enough squares to make at least a dozen more. I also have more squares that are still at Cyndi's to put together. I hope to have at least 20 lapghans finished this year to donate to a nursing home. :)

Well, now that I see this picture I realize just how bare my walls are. I will have to give some thought to finding a remedy for that... But that will have to wait for another time, the wips are calling.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday's Smile

I love fridgies. Especially cute handmade ones. I guess technically they may qualify as kitsch, but they make me happy to look at them so I don't care. Am I alone in this school of thought? What's on your fridge right now? :)

Front view of fridge:
Side view of fridge:

Friday, April 5, 2013

Paper Crafts and Crochet Stuff Too

I've been dabbling a little with paper crafting. I used some die cuts to create the flower and recycled my Marshmallow Bunny Wreath to make my new Spring flower wreath. The crocheted bunnies will be used again next year, along with some new ones in different colors, to to make a bigger and more colorful wreath. :)

I also made these adorable little baskets filled with Rolo Pretzels (Yummm!) to give the adults for Easter. Lindsey from The Frugal Crafter did a nice video tutorial showing how to make the baskets. They are incredibly fast and super easy to do. The ones below are made with 6x6 scrapbook papers, and I also made a larger one for Ben with a full 12x12 sheet. I was surprised by how much I was able to fit into it!

Ben's large basket.

I'm still working the Hinterland Throw. It's starting to get to the point where the rounds are long and tedious... but that just means I'm getting near the end, right? Only 12 more rounds to go! :)

I haven't made any more flowers recently. I've been busy with other projects for now, but am really wanting to get back to these. I know there are lots of other flowers out there similar to these, but I did make these up as I went along, so I'm thinking about writing up the pattern as a free download if anyone is interested? :)