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Archive for August, 2012

I hope I haven’t lost any of you yet by showing you all the projects I’ve been working on for the past couple of months in one week. This is the last one with the new projects and tomorrow I will show you the booties that Nina wears to keep from licking her paws raw from her allergies.

Back in February I started making yarn project bags to sell. First to a yarn shop near where my sister lives and also to several fellow bloggers that requested custom bags. A couple of months ago I approached one of the local yarn shops The Village Yarn and Fiber Shop and asked if they would be interested in selling some of my bags on commission and they agreed to take 5 bags to sell.

They accepted the four drawstring bags shown above and one clutch style bag.

The clutch style bag has a new feature with an opening next to the zipper where you can pull your yarn through while you are working on your knitting or crochet project.

I’m happy to report that within a month and a half four of the bags sold and they requested more.

   
   
   

These are the new bags I brought them. I haven’t checked in recently to see how they are selling, but plan on doing so after the holiday weekend.

I’m excited to be able to sell these bags locally, but I really enjoy making custom bags. If you are interested in ordering a custom bag from me feel free to stop by my Etsy shop Cindy’s Thread Craft to place your order for a custom bag.

These bags are not just for yarn crafters but are great for carrying a variety of items. The drawstring bags can be used as a backpack and the clutch makes a great evening bag or camera bag.

There are a wide variety of embroideries to choose from that include many dog breeds and other pet related themes. You can check out the embroidery designs at my Cindy’s Thread Craft blog. Don’t forget the holidays will be here before you know it so if you are interested in a bag as a gift for a friend place your orders soon.

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Next up for my Project Week posts is my biggest crochet project so far. I like checking the magazine racks at the grocery and craft stores to see what new quilt and crochet magazines have come in. A few weeks ago I picked up the August issue of Crochet World and thought there would be a few projects that I could tackle and some to save for later.

Scanned from Crochet World Magazine

As usual my husband, Charlie likes to thumb through my magazines and give his opinions on what he likes and doesn’t. When he saw this tote bag he asked if I thought I could do it and after looking at the pattern I thought I would give it a try. It took three tries to get going correctly. One of the attempts I again pulled the tension so tight that when I had finished one complete side of the bag I measured it and found it was 10″ x 11″ and it was supposed to be 14″ x 15″!

I pulled it apart and started again with a much looser tension. After the first couple of rows I measured the width to see that it was correct and then proceeded.

Here is my finished tote. I’m not sure if you can tell, but I went a bit rogue and modified the pattern to add more depth to it. The original pattern just called for two sides sewn together so it was a flat pouch. I decided to make some sides and a bottom to give the bag more volume.

Side View of Tote

I crocheted three extra panels, one for each side and one for the bottom. The other modification I did was to add a lining. It is always nice to have a substantial stash of fabric in my closet. When I decided to add the lining Charlie and I looked through the stash and he picked out this perfect striped fabric (it’s no wonder I call him my Chief Creative Consultant). I think the bag is more useful with some pockets and the lining makes sure nothing will get stuck to the side of the crochet or poke through the holes.

I put two pockets inside. The plain pocket is actually divided into slots so you can put crochet hooks and other accessories in them. The other pocket is what I call a divided zippered pocket. Instead of sewing all four sides of the zippered pocket to the lining I only sewed three and left the top open.

Double Zipper Pocket

Divided Plain Pocket

As always you can click on the images to see a larger version of the pictures. Even though it took three tries to get going I am real happy with how this turned out and plan on using it as one of my primary crochet project bags. In addition to the tension issues I was also challenged by using two strands of yarn to crochet at the same time and went the extra mile by adding the side and bottom panels to increase the volume.

I think one thing I can conclude from all this is that I am certainly hooked on hooking!

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The next project on my list are a couple of dachshund bags I made for Agnes (What’s Her Name from the Dachsies With Moxie). Her mother in law is owned by a longhaired red dachshund and Agnes asked me to make a clutch and a tote bag embellished with a longhaired dachshund embroidery.

I found a nice embroidery for this project at Embroidery Library, but the colors they stitched theirs out in were for a black dog so I had to figure out how to modify the colors for a red colored dog. I asked Agnes for some hints and she suggested that Ruby, one of Frankie Furters beautiful wives, looks very similar to her mother in-laws dog. I printed a couple of pictures of Ruby from their blog to use as reference and I think it turned out very well.

The tote bag has the embroidery on an exterior pocket on both sides of the tote. The green area was quilted with a Sashiko style of quilting and the interior features a fun dog related print.

When I first saw the lining fabric I knew it was right for these bags. It is printed with all sorts of words like, woof, yap, bark, arf, ruff, etc. There are two zippered pockets and two plain pockets inside as well.

I made the clutch bag out of micro suede and embroidered the dachshund on one side. The lining is the same fabric as the tote bag.

Since the bags were for Agnes’ mother in laws birthday and I was shipping them directly to her I wanted to spiff up the packaging just a little so I wrapped the bags in some colored tissue paper and included a birthday greeting.

As an added bonus I also included the “Bad to the Bone” toy shown above. According to Agnes the bags and toy were a huge hit and will be well used. If you are interested in a bag with your favorite breed on it leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can come up with.

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Or How I Learned to Read a Crochet Pattern and Mind my Tension

The first crochet project that Lynne set up for the Blogville Ladies Crochet Society to try was a dish cloth. It was a great project for a novice like myself.

Variegated Crochet Dish Cloth

Yellow Crochet Dish Cloth

I had fun making the first two and wanted to stretch my wings on some more. I realized that my first two cloths weren’t done using the intended stitch properly when I saw the tutorial for the pot holder that Lynne presented for the next BLCS project. Without knowing it I had used only back loops to do my single crochet, creating a corrugated or ribbed effect so I made another cloth using the proper single crochet technique. I also stretched my wings a bit by changing the color every two rows!

Proper Single Crochet Wash Cloth

By this time I figured I had mastered the single crochet and wanted to try some new stitches. I like the idea of doing dish cloths since they are small projects, but a person only needs so many dish/wash cloths. While surfing around some knitting and crochet web sites I discovered Warmth for Warriors. Their main focus is to provide hats to soldiers in Afghanistan, but during the summer months they are also looking for wash cloths so now I had an outlet for all my wash cloths.

One of the challenges with learning to crochet is to be able to read the patterns. You basically have to learn a foreign language. For all you non-crocheters here is an example of a crochet pattern to give you a feel for what I’m talking about:

Row 1: 3 dc into 4th ch from hook, *skip 3 ch sts, (1 sc, ch 3, 3 dc) into next ch, rep from * to the last 4 ch, skip ch 3, sc into last ch, ch 3, turn.

See what I mean? Everything is written in a shortcut language. At first I was really intimidated by this, but I am starting to get the hang of it and keep trying new patterns. I also found the Ultimate Crochet Bible at Joann’s and picked it up with one of their great coupons. I wanted a good reference book for stitches and this seemed to fit the bill.

My first Tulip Stitch Wash Cloth

One of the patterns I stumbled upon was for this Tulip Stitch wash cloth. It uses a double crochet stitch so I had to teach myself that first. Next I attempted the same pattern with different yarn and a hook the next size up (what the yarn wrapper called for). I also tried to not pull my stitches real tight as I did in the above one since I am learning that isn’t necessarily the proper technique either.

Multi-color Wash Cloth

I love how using different color yarn can produce something that looks quite different. What you also can’t tell from the separate pictures is how different in size they are.

Tulip Stitch Wash Cloth
Same Pattern With Same Number of Rows

The colorful one is maybe a bit too loose so my next try will aim for somewhere in between. I also found my next wash cloth pattern online. I liked this one because it used a series of different stitches for groups of rows.

Big Girl Wash Cloth

You can see the different stitch patterns in this picture. Since I am making these for the Warmth for Warriors project I tried to find yarn that wasn’t too “girly”, but that isn’t always easy when looking for cotton yarn.

The next version I did I used some coordinating solid color yarn.  I like the way this version shows off the different stitch areas and I think it makes it look a bit more masculine. I have more yarn and will be making more versions of this pattern with the three colors of yarn. This is an easy one to have for a small carry along project.

Same Pattern, Same Yarn, Same Hook – Different Tension

Like I said earlier, I am trying to loosen up my tension and you can see how the one on the right is slightly larger by loosening up the tension just a bit.

The Warmth for Warriors project will be accepting wash cloths until September 30th so I plan on plugging along to see how many I can send to them. I would like to challenge my fellow American crocheters and knitters to make a wash cloth and send it to the Warmth for Warriors project too. I don’t know if there is a similar program in other countries, but I don’t suppose that you have to live in this country to participate if you would like. Let’s see how many we can make and let me know if you do.

 

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Before I start today’s post I wanted to say that I have added another topic to my Project Week posts. A few of you asked about Nina’s booties that I mentioned in my previous post so I will conclude Project Week with some pictures and maybe some tips on how I made them so stay tuned.

Back in early July I told you about the seat cushion I made to take to the three-day Ricky Tims seminar. It was a complete improv project and turned out quite well. Many ladies attending the seminar were interested in a pattern so I thought I would make another one, but for whom I didn’t know. It finally hit me that I should make it for my father.

My dad enjoys attending local professional lacrosse games and has also helped out the local high school as a spotter for football and lacrosse. At 82 years old and with arthritis in his back I thought a stadium seat cushion would be perfect for him. I had neglected to get him anything for father’s day since it is so difficult to figure out what he could use so now I had my answer.

I decided to use team logos for the embellishments on his cushion. In addition to the professional lacrosse teams he also is a big fan of the Buffalo Bills football team (upper left) and follows sports for West Virginia University (WVU – center left) and Purdue University (bottom left) which are my and my sister’s alma maters. Of course none of the logos were available as embroidery files to download so I had to digitize them myself. Luckily most of the logos were fairly simple with a limited number of colors. The most difficult one to digitize was the Rochester Rattlers lacrosse team (lower right). The Rochester Knighthawks (upper right) and Irondequoit Eagles (middle right – the high school that my siblings and I graduated from) were challenging, but not as difficult as the Rattlers logo to digitize.

Once I had all the embroidery files I stitched out each logo on a seperate square of fabric. The digitizing turned out quite well and they stitched out great on the demim I had chosen!

This project turned out to be a real labor of love and I almost quit a couple of times. The denim I used was fairly thick and when trying to sew through the multiple layers of fabric and/or the multiple layers of high loft batting I broke a lot of needles.

That is a picture of the 15 needles I broke or bent while putting the cushion together. Needless to say there were a lot of HBO words flying around my sewing room. I kept going and was very happy with the finished product. I took pictures of the process so that eventually I will be able to write-up instructions.

For the most part I made this exactly the same as the one I made for myself but I did add a couple of new features. The main addition is a carry handle. I also added another set of ties to go across the back of the cushion. That way it can be tied on a seat in two ways if needed. The only other thing I did differently was to add piping around the edges of the cushion. That just helps the cushion keep its shape better and adds a touch of flair.

Chuck with his Chair cushion

My mom had seen the beginnings of this project, but my dad had no clue it was coming. After it was completed I emailed my mom to set up a time for me to come over, but told her not to tell my dad I was coming. He was not only surprised to see me walk in the door the day I came over, but he was also surprised to be getting a gift from me as well. I told him it was a belated Father’s Day gift and also a thank you gift for finally getting hearing aids so we can have a conversation that both of us can understand.

I think you can tell by the picture above that he was very pleased with his gift. Later that night he took it to a Rochester Rattlers game and said it worked great!

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Hi everyone out in blogville! This week I am going to show you all the things I have been crafting in the past few weeks. My blog posts for the past few weeks have been all about Nina (first the Olympics and then her illness) so it is my turn now.

I will give you a quick update on Nina and that is that there really is nothing new from my previous post. She willingly allows me to administer her subcutaneous fluids twice a day and gets to eat whatever suits her fancy. The barbecue chicken is still her favorite and tonight she enjoyed a helping of our spaghetti dinner. Okay so there is one minor thing that is new…she has been bothered by seasonal allergies (something she has had for years at this time of summer) which means she has been licking and chewing on her paws. No big deal she just gets to wear some booties that I made for her on her feet. When they are covered she doesn’t bother with them.

Now on to the show! Last month Lynne posted the latest tutorial for the Blogville Ladies Crochet Society and I was very excited to give it a try. It was for an amigurumi pebble! Well pebble really is a fancy name for a small ball made of crochet. Lynne did hers with some fancy yarn so they did look like pebbles. I figured since it was my first attempt I would use some yarn I already had from one of my previous projects so it doesn’t look much like a pebble. I could also see adding some catnip to the stuffing and using it for a cat toy (if I had one).

It really went together very fast and I had fun making it. I can’t wait to try out more amigurumi patterns. There are about 87 million different patterns you can find on the internet and many of them are free! I’m saving my pennies to purchase this pattern when I get a little more experience with this type of crochet. Go click on the “purchase this pattern” link, I’ll wait for you to get back and I’m sure I’ll hear a few squees while you are looking. Are you back? Isn’t that just adorable! I love a lot of the patterns on that site so there may be more than the sea otter in my future.

This picture should give you an idea of how big (or small) my pebble is. Here it is on my laptop keyboard. I plan on making more balls in different sizes and some ornament shapes in holiday colors to put in a bowl for a Christmas decoration. So stay tuned to see how that turns out.

Thanks again to Lynne for getting me started on my new hobby.

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Good Sunday Blogville! A few of you have been checking in on Nina so I thought I had better update everyone on how she is doing.

We have settled into a nice routine for the administration of subcutaneous fluid for her. Twice a day, about 12 hours apart, I set up the IV bag of lactated ringers. The bedroom is the most convenient place for the treatment as we have a couple of doors to hang the bag from depending on where Nina is laying on our king sized bed.

IV bag on door

Close up of IV bag

We try to catch her when she is very settled and sleepy so she will be fairly calm. I have gotten much better at inserting the needle so as not to cause her any discomfort. The vet gave us large 18 gauge needles so the flow rate is about as fast as it could possibly be. She gets between 300 to 350 ml of fluid twice a day and it only takes about 10 minutes for each session.

On the culinary front Nina seems to be getting enough food in her system although not exactly what you might call high quality nutrition. The appetite stimulant definitely peaks her interest, but it is still a guessing game as to what will wet her appetite from one feeding to another.

She has settled on a few favorites. The above picture is of Wegmans Barbeque Flavor Rotisserie Chicken which has become a mainstay of her diet. She especially enjoys the dark meat and some of the breast meat too. She usually prefers me to hand feed her small pieces until she has had her fill.  Charlie and I also get to have some of the chicken too as after a couple of days it isn’t fresh enough for the Queen. Luckily at only $5.50 each it isn’t a bad deal for a few meals for her and us.

Another favorite of Nina’s is a McDonald’s double hamburger. Okay so the picture isn’t a double, but I couldn’t find one so the single will have to do for illustration purposes. We take off the top bun and all the condiments leaving the two burgers and the bottom bun. Cut up into small pieces she usually snarfs it down pretty quickly. At under $1 each also not too bad a deal (except for the gas to get there).

Last but not least she also will eat a variety of dog treats. One of her favorite is the Three Dog Bakery Lick’n Crunch. She gets to eat all the dog cookies that she desires. Every time we take her out she gets a cookie or two (although she isn’t always in the mood so we save it for later). We figure that at least the dog treats are a more balanced food and since we try to find the “all natural” type there isn’t a lot of junk in them.

Nina seems to have a bit more energy than she did a couple of weeks ago. She still is a 14 1/2-year-old dog so that isn’t saying much. She enjoys spending time out in her yard exploring around all the plantings and going through her cave. For now we have settled into a routine. We have no idea how long we have left with Nina, but as you can see we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep her as happy as possible. She will never be healthy again, but we can keep her kidneys going as well as we can be for now.

In closing I want to thank everyone for the kind words, prayers and power of the paw you have sent our way. Many of you have been emailing and commenting to check up on us and we appreciate it immensely. By the way, did you see the great Power of the Paw web site that Roo and his mom set up so we can always know who is in need. I put a link on my side bar so you can check it out. Thanks Roo and Mom. We know the POTP really helps.

 

 

 

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