Friday, October 28, 2011

When a husband requests....

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Stop the presses!!!
A husband has made a request for a pair of arm warmers, customized to fit his arms, that run from the wrists all the way up to just about the shoulder. They have to fit snuggly but not tightly, they must be made with a dark colored yarn, preferably black, must not sag or bag and heaven forbids that they might not stay up! OH, and they must be soft on his tender skin!!

Now there's a challenge! But is it one that most fiber users dread to receive from the last person they expect to get a request from? This dear friends is exactly the case. My husband recognises the hard work that goes into designing a pattern, add to that the custom fitting of said pattern; custom fitting that requires many try-ons for fitting purposes. Noting comments such as it's a bit tight or it's a bit loose at *insert arm part*. These will be worn for the most part when he's sleeping. He cannot stand to have his arms under the blankets and since the bedroom gets a tad on the cold side in winter, he could not leave his arms above the blankets, at least not without a good pair of arm warmers. But I also have to keep in mind that he will wear them while at the computer on those particularly cold days.

In the past, I knit more than a couple of pairs of arm warmers for him. They were ok, but not exactly what he wanted. The one pair was too short, but works great when he's at the computer and his hands are freezing. The next pair went up to the elbow, included a thumb gusset, stayed up fairly well but weren't quite long enough. Those have now been repurposed for keeping my extremities warm (more on that pair later). The next set went up past the elbow, but were too wide for the upper arm section and sagged when worn.

So I went the crochet way since I feel more comfortable doing crochet designs over knitted ones. Don't take me wrong, I have designed knit patterns in the past, and have found that for me,,crochet is better. It translates much better from my sewing patterns (which I used extensively when designing clothing for my son who is disabled) to crochet patterns. After much measuring, I remembered that I had not asked the hubster what kind of yarn he wanted. The answer came back quick, acrylic please. So acrylic it is in black please.

I went through my stash and discovered that black yarn is a rare bird in my collection. I found a ball of camo with black, dark green and beige and hoping against hope presented it to the hubster for approval. He frowned at it until I told him that was the total sum of the black yarn I own. And he finally agreed, that ok, he would try the camo but if he didn't like it, I'd have to make a 2nd pair after I'd found black yarn.

The first arm warmer is completed, and I'm 1/3 of the way into the next one. So far the hubster is satisfied. I will have photos and the pattern available over the next few days! 

PS. I haven't forgotten about the new hat design I'm working on! Should be finished testing mid week!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October, pumpkins, birthdays and skulls, oh my!

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Already past the halfway mark in October and already so many things have come to pass with more on it's way. 

My darling daughter and her husband celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary medieval style. Don't they look absolutely darling? They also went to dinner and a show at Medieval Times over the weekend and had a ball.

Over the next weeks, both of them will be celebrating their birthdays, my daughter's the 26th and her husband the 29th. I'm sure they will have a great birthday together :)

After that it's Hallowe'en. Trick or Treaters, dressing up, handing out candy, all the fun stuff. Unfortunately, living in a secure building, no kids come here. But it's still fun to go for a walk and see them all over the neighborhood, especially the wee ones. I hope the weather is warm on that night.
I remember when my daughter was 3, we were living in Cornwall and we decided that it would be ok for her to go trick or treating in the neighborhood. So wearing a homemade costume by yours truly, we set off down the street where all the neighbors knew who she was. She was so cute, wearing a red coat, red pants, black boots, and a black furry hat with red devil horns sticking out of it. Her face painted red. She was the cutest wee devil on the block! Unfortunately over the years, the photos were lost during various moves, otherwise I'd have one posted for everyone to see just how cute she was ;)
And what have I been doing during these past few weeks since I published my bangles pattern you ask?
Well, I've actually had the opportunity to follow a university level course in Humanities offered free by McMaster University as part of their pilot program to provide advanced education for those less fortunate who will never be able to afford a university education. And yes, I fall in that category sadly enough. So I've been busy with homework and research which I'm enjoying tremendously.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything else! I've been working on and testing a new pattern, one I will be publishing soon and will come in time for Hallowe'en. Since it will be a fast crochet, it can even be made in time for Hallowe'en costuming! So keep in touch, and you'll get to see the cool new hat I've designed!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Braided Bangle and / or Wristwarmer

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Beautiful Rainbow colours!
I love wearing wrist warmers. They cover a section of the arm that usually gets left out in the cold between the mitten and the sleeve.

And what better way to have an accessory that does double duty as a bangle!

Also works great as a pulse warmer to keep hands warm in those air conditioned offices .

The braiding is done before the bracelet is seamed together. For those of us old enough to remember; the same braiding technique is used to make those ever popular leather bracelets in the late 60's and early 70's.

The pattern itself is fairly simple once you master the tunisian linked stitch. I have included a youtube video detailing how to make this stitch.

(pattern written using north american crochet terms)
ch - chain                                                                                                Click here for pattern store
sc – single crochet
yo – yarn over
tunisian linked stitch
HOOK 3 mm
Darning needle

YARN Patons Astra Bright Ideas dk – Paint Box – small amount.
Any dk or sport weight yarn with 11 to 12 wpi (wraps per inch) can be substituted.

Advanced beginner who likes a challenge to Intermediate

Finished bracelet measures 17.5 cm (7”) unstretched (20.25 cm (8”) before braiding) by 2.5 cm (1”) wide

The final braiding also includes a how to youtube video to walk you through the process. Once you start making these little gems, you will not want to stop. These would make great gifts for a co-worker, a teen, yourself to keep your wrists warm and stylish.

I have proof, I've made all these bracelets in one evening!!

I look forward to seeing these bangles worn this winter. I may even wear 2 or 3 together to be totally original!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stacks Baby Hat (crochet pattern)

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Click here to go to my Ravelry Store
Finally! After clearing the snafus and sorting out the yarn and the pattern, I have a new baby hat that I think will make any baby or toddler feel special. It works for both boys and girls, it can be finished with a crab stitch hem or just left as is or with a simple rolled hem.

This hat was inspired by both Lego/Duplo building bricks and the yarn itself.

I love color, especially vibrant colors for baby clothing. When my daughter was just born, the bright vibrant colors would catch her interest immediately over the pastel shades. Her favorites were red, purple, green and yellow.

So, without further ado, here is my all new Stacks Baby Hat crochet pattern.

It covers a range of sizes from Preemie to toddler.

Preemie / Newborn to 3 months – 33 cm circumference by 13 cm high (13” by 5”) stretches to 41 cm (13”)

3 to 12 months – 37 cm circumference by 15 cm high (14” by 6”) stretches to 43 cm (17”)

12 to 24 months (toddler) – 46 cm by 18 cm circumference (18” by 7”) stretches to 56 cm (22”)

HOOK 4 mm (US G)

YARN Patons Look at Me baby sport, 50 gr (1.75 ozs) 139 meters (152 yards)
Used approximately half of a ball.
Any comparable sport or dk yarns that achieves the same gauge can be used.
Darning needle

DIFFICULTY Advanced beginner

This is also a fantastic pattern for using up partial balls of yarn we all have in our stash.

This pattern is available for purchase at My Ravelry Store. Simply click the image of the hat in the sidebar and it will direct you to my store.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Have you ever had...

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Have you ever had days where it doesn't matter what you do, it's going to go down the proverbial crapper? That's the kind of day I've had so far and I'm looking forward to it being over.

But then again...

I am diligently working on getting my latest pattern for a super cute baby hat published. Due to some technical difficulties (read this as designer, moi, looked at the wrong pattern during the final test crochet) causing a delay in the publishing schedule.

I should have it published by tomorrow night.. if I can thaw my hands out enough to do the crochet testing! It's turned seriously frigid here in southern Ontario. Usually I never feel the cold, but today, wowzers, do I ever feel it! Multiple layers of clothing, wool socks and still not feeling warm. Oh well, time to go back to keeping those fingers moving and finish up the test crochets!

And I may end up designing arm warmers so I can return the ones I borrowed from hubby. On a side note; my neck warmer (see previous post) is working very well mind you :) something for which I am thankful.

Stacked Baby Hat - Crochet pattern

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I know I have a teaser in red from my last post but I'm having problems with the pattern not cooperating the way I want it to. So for now, I have this lovely little baby hat that is perfect for warm weather wear or to wear indoors to keep that wee thin-haired head warm and cozy.

This pattern was inspired by both Lego/Duplo building bricks and the yarn itself. I love color, especially bright, vibrant colors for baby clothing. When my daughter was just born, the bright vibrant colors would catch her interest immediately over the pastel shades. Her favorites were red, purple and yellow.

It's a quick crochet, finished in one evening while watching a movie on the tele! The wee hat would make a perfect gift for a baby shower or a last minute surprise gift. I could see this hat worn by both boys and girls.