Patterns and Colors

I remember visiting fabric stores with my momma when I was little. “I’m going to make you a dress,” she’d say. “But first we have to pick out a pattern.” We’d go through pattern book after pattern book. She’d see something cute and point it out to me. I’d say no, I didn’t like the color, or the print, or too many flowers. Because the picture was made in a fabric that didn’t suit my tastes, I would rule the pattern out completely and keep looking. Most of the time we both ended up frustrated. Sometimes she would find a pattern she liked and we’d go straight to picking out material. It was years before she made me realize that I was only supposed to be looking at the shape of the dress, that the rest was completely up to our discretion and we could do whatever we wanted.

I like to think that I’m better about that now. I like the freedom of being able to take what I want and like about a pattern and change all the rest of it. I have an easier time doing that when it comes to sewing.
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This dress is a perfect example. The inspiration was white and blue. I was presented with green satin. I had some very overwhelming pink organza. I love how it turned out, and so did the owner.

Crochet patterns are ever challenging though. I see a gorgeous pattern, and I love everything about it. Then I look at my yarn stash, and see nothing that will do justice to that pattern. Much of my stash is a collection of hand-dyed single skeins. They are the most beautiful yarns I’ve ever seen, but finding the perfect patterns to showcase their beauty is difficult. To that end, I will be showcasing my collection of one-skein patterns. Many that I have used, many that are in my ravelry queue. Reviews will be provided where appropriate, of both pattern and yarn. My work schedule is about to get crazy with the upcoming holiday season, so hopefully this will provide an opportunity to reflect.

Silk and a Struggle With Perfection

There is no challenge in worsted weight acrylic. It is a tool, and a tool only. No longer do I marvel at the colors, the texture is so-so. I find it to be very serviceable for babies and children, because it wears extremely well and it washes extremely well. But there is no challenge and there is no excitement in the yarn itself, only in the pattern.

I purchased a skein of Silk Ribbon Yarn from YarnBabyLLC several months ago. It is green, it is beautiful, and I promptly crocheted it into this thing that was nothing like the thing that was in my head. I grew frustrated, so I put it away.

Not long thereafter Darn Good Yarn was running a promotion for their Mystery Box – 4 skeins of yarn for a little more than half price – a great opportunity to try out some new fibers. I bought, they shipped, it arrived, and lo and behold, two more skeins of Silk Ribbon Yarn. (check out Darn Good Yarn, they have a great ministry)

Now what was I going to do with all of this bulky yarn? Each skein consisted of 50-ish yards, not enough for really anything.

Then I happened upon the Zpagetti Clutch pattern on Ravelry. Designed by Cecily Rosol of Happy Chatter, the pattern calls for a tshirt yarn, but only about 50 yards of it. I decided to try my silk and what a success!

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It has been a tremendous challenge for me personally. I struggle with perfectionism. And this silk, with its knotted ends and varying widths has made me let go. I had to. Otherwise I would lose my mind. The stitches are not even, they cannot be. But I think that adds a charm to it, a whimsy, a certain carefree spirit. I need more of that carefree spirit.

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I hope to be finishing the last of these today, then working on the finishing and photography process. Listing on Etsy to take place soon after with the option for custom orders. I see them as bridesmaid gifts, personally. What about you?

Busting the Stash

After going on a recent organizing spree (not induced by my mother at all…) I’ve concluded I have too much. Too much yarn and too many books to be specific. Possibly too many socks as well, but that’s a problem I will gladly live with. I’ve tried to make a stack of giveaway books. It never works. I’m emotionally attached to every single one of them. The yarn though, the yarn I can work through.

I’ve promised myself that I will not buy any more yarn UNLESS IT IS FOR A SPECIFIC PROJECT I WILL MAKE RIGHT THEN AND THERE until I’ve cut down on my stash.

To that end, I’m participating in my first crochet-a-long by Moogly. With one block every other Thursday I figure I have to be able to work that into my schedule. I’m also going pattern crazy and my Ravelry favorites grow every time I have a spare minute to browse. There’s just so much to make! I’m looking forward to developing a decent stock and variety for the next craft fair, even though it’s not until November. Bags, sweaters, dishcloths, towels, hats, I need to figure out what looks good together and what makes sense. Suggestions and ideas are welcomed. As usual, items that are not made to give away will be posted to my Etsy shop!

Bobble Poof Earflap Hat by Moogly: Pattern Review

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This hat has been in my queue on Ravelry for a long time and I finally took a day to make it. It’s adorable in the pictures Moogly has posted (and she has awesome tutorials to go along with it, perfect for beginners or those who are slightly less confident in their crochetabilities – a new word, yes). I’m trying to make more new things this year, trying to get out of ruts, trying to be a little less predictable when it comes to gifts, etc. So I was looking for another hat pattern and this fits the bill.

The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, so I was concerned about how it would work up with a bulkier weight yarn, but it worked out great. I think Baby’s First yarn might be a new favorite. This hat is adorable and I’ll definitely be making and gifting many more.

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Crochet Owl Hat by Repeat Crafter Me: Pattern Review

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This Owl Hat is my go-to baby gift. They’re “in” right now, and I think they’re absolutely adorable. Repeat Crafter Me has some amazing patterns and tutorials, and I’ve learned several new things. Her technique for joining is amazing and I can’t make myself use anything else.

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I was a little bit worried about how it would work up with Lion Brand’s Baby’s First yarn, but I think it came out beautifully.

Hexagon Baby Blanket – Pattern Review

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My granny gave me several balls of Lion Brand’s Baby’s First yarn in Cotton Ball and Honey Bee. Since then, I’d been looking for the perfect project and the perfect baby to gift it to. When I found out one of my mom’s friends was expecting, and they weren’t finding out the gender, it was perfect. And when I found this pattern by Red Heart, it was perfect.

I followed the directions exactly, though I think I ended up with fewer rows than suggested.

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I absolutely love this yarn though! It’s so soft, a 55% Acrylic, 45% Cotton blend. I’m hoping it holds up well and I’d really enjoy working with it again. I think I might have enough left for a set of matching newborn owl hats, so keep an eye on the Etsy shop for those!