Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Study in Color.....

Wow!  That post title sounds rather academic doesn’t it?

I promise today’s post is definitely not academic.  Instead it is just a few thoughts that have come to me as I look through the pictures of projects I have posted on this blog.

Two days ago someone posted pictures of her newest knitting addiction in a Facebook group I follow.  It was the Mad For Plaid hat pattern.  It is a paid pattern on Ravelry and can be found here.
(I do not know the designer and am linking to her pattern for reference. But I do love the pattern!)

I immediately purchased the pattern (not something I often do) and cast on my first one.

This morning I finished my second.

As I was knitting the second I noticed how different it looked from the first one.  I even double checked the pattern and the chart numerous times to make sure I was knitting it properly.  
I was.

So what made the difference?

The color made the difference.  The first one was bold and somewhat earthy.  It reminds me of the lumberjack trend that has been all the rage.   But the second one is soft and almost hazy. 

I have noticed on some of my own designs a similar occurrence as I knit samples.  For example take a look at my Swirly Leaves Beanie.

The leaves and swirls are knitted with the same yarn in both samples, but the difference in the black versus the tan background yarn  is amazing.

 Then I took a look back at my Rooster Beanie.

I originally knitted the Rooster design as a mascot beanie for my children’s school.  But I had so many people ask me for a pattern that I knitted up samples in other colors as I was editing my pattern notes.

Here’s a look at the back side of the Rooster beanie.

The red and black is a bold statement while the other more muted colors are soothing.

I’m not always sure of my color combinations as I’m designing.  But I’m even more hesitant to venture far from another designer’s sample colors.  But after my photo journey down knitting memory lane, I feel much more confident about choosing colors.  My advice to you would be to just jump in and try it.  Keep in mind the boldness of contrast versus the soothing complimentary colors when choosing your yarns. Take pictures!  And date them if possible. It’s always great to look back at your creations for inspiration, even years after they’ve been gifted. I think the next time you flip through those pictures looking for a muse, you will discover that your color choices correspond with your moods.

And if you are searching for my published patterns you can find them all on my Ravelry page.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Love Freebies!

It has been a crazy week around here as I plan for oldest daughter’s Sweet 16 party this weekend.  We have been going Pinterest crazy looking for exactly the right cake and fun party ideas.  Between party  planning and finishing a few custom orders there hasn’t been much time for designing and creating.

But thanks to the wonderful crafting communities on Facebook I have found a couple freebies that I had to snatch up and want to share with you.

Those who know me know that I am self taught at most of my crafts.  Once I start a craft I may take a class here or there to learn a new technique but for the most part I learn from books, online tutorials, and a few YouTube videos.

One thing I always shied away from was crochet.  I taught myself to knit and it just felt awkward to work with only one hook versus two needles.  But my children have a way of forcing me out of my comfort zone.  About two years ago my daughter wanted a pair of boot cuffs and you guessed it, they were a crochet pattern.  So I forced myself to pull out the hooks I had hidden away and attempt again.  Surprise! It was easier than I remembered.

Fast forward to the present and many of my custom orders are crochet.  But I still primarily knit when doing something for myself.  So I decided I needed to force myself to do something to practice crochet and challenge myself to learn something more about the craft.

So I have joined the Groovyghan CAL.  All the info about the CAL can be found here.  It’s free and the first clue was just released on Wednesday so you can still get in on the fun. And it promises to be a stash buster if you happen to be on a yarn diet.

This morning while scrolling through Facebook I found a link to a temporarily free pattern.  Again it’s crochet and looks to be just the thing that I would make for myself.  It’s called the Persephone Poncho and looks amazing!

The Ravelry link can be found here.  I can’t wait to pick out some yarn for this and get started.

What are your favorite free patterns out there?  Is there anything totally cool that I am missing out on?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It Makes Me Happy!

As a crafter I often fall into the pitfall of running out of time to make all the projects I have on my list.

Occasionally a gift or two gets put to the side and I (gasp!) buy a gift from the store.

Last year when my niece got married I made a quilt for her and her husband.  I also made small lap quilts for my two new great nieces!

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite complete the detail work on one of the quilts.  I took it home with me to finish up and ship back.

Fast forward 3 months and my parents came to visit.  I intended to send the quilt back with them but we had just moved and I couldn’t find the box.

So when we visited over the holidays I had to make sure that I hand delivered the precious cargo.

She was so thrilled!  She just kept hugging the quilt and from what her mommy tells me will not sleep with any other blanket.

And that is why I make handmade gifts.  The look on their faces make me happy!

Her baby brother got one of my sock monkeys too, but we couldn’t quite catch him hugging it on camera.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Visit to the Alpaca Farm

I hope you had a very joyful time over the past couple of weeks.  Christmas break from school and work provides opportunity for much family time.

We were blessed to join my family in Ohio for a few days including New Year’s Day.  Needless to say adding 2 (well 3 now) additional adult and 4 (well 3 now) children to my parents home can prove to be a little overwhelming.  We begin to find ourselves tripping over each other.  So we try to find activities to take us out of the house for a little while each day.

One of these outings was to a local Alpaca Farm.  My parents had visited during their open house a couple months ago. And nothing stirs up interest in an avid knitter like the possibility of yarn.

We were so excited to see babies still with their mamas in the pen.  The owners were very gracious and took us right into the pen with them.  

Alpacas tend to not like to be petted. They startle and run from you if you reach out to them.

But, as we discovered, they are quite curious.  And if you are little and can stand still then they will come right up to you.

And of course I did manage to snag a little yarn for myself.

I restrained myself and only picked up one skein of the yumminess!  So now I’m off to find (or maybe design) the perfect pattern to use this 200yds of DK goodness.  I’m open to suggestions so comment away!

If you’re interested in purchasing an alpaca and are open to pickup in the Cincinnati area check out East Fork Alpaca Farms.

Now if I could just manage to find the land (and convince my hubby) maybe I could go back and buy one of those sweet babies to bring home.

And then I need a spinning wheel.....

Oh the possibilities!