My giveaway from Tumblr!

NEW EDIT: 24 hours passed so I did another draw… congrats to Monique!!!!!!

EDIT: DONE AND DONE. CONGRATS TO NICOLE/LJ USER BOWSER/WHAT IS YOUR TUMBLR NAME HELP ME. Definitely going to do another one of these in the future. 😀

Welcome to my giveaway! If you’re here from Tumblr or Livejournal, read through the rules before commenting please. 🙂

I am giving away:

  • One handmade knit or crochet headband/earwarmer of your choice (I have a selection of colours to pick from)
  • Beauty Samples: YSL Lip Oil colour, First Aid Beauty ultra repair cream and face cleanser
  • Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Orchid Hush
  • Rimmel soft kohl eye liner pencil in black
  • Cynthia Rowley lip stain in Heartthrob
  • ELF glitter gloss
  • Revlon Skyline Pink lipstick
  • Sephora lipstick (colour 1242C)
  • Model CO Party Proof Matte Lipstick in Dusk Til Dawn
  • MAC Creme Cup lipstick
  • Body Shop raspberry lip balm
  • plus other assorted accessory/jewellery goodies!

Rules:

  • You must be 18 or over to participate.
  • US/Canada only, sorry! Shipping is pricey here. 😦
  • You must comment here with a name and email or site I can reach you at. Comments will be screened. I will assign each comment a number and use a random number generator to draw.
  • You can only comment once per day.
  • Deadline is Friday, March 27th, 2015 at 7PM EDT.
  • If you don’t respond to me in 24 hours I will re-do the draw and contact another person.

I haven’t ever done this before, so I’m really excited. 😀

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The Sweater Saga: A Thrilling Conclusion (not directed by Michael Bay)

It’s really sad when I realize that my last post was back in July, which means I whittled away an entire summer of not posting. It’s even sadder when I realize my last sweater saga post was in April.

So what happened to my sweater?

Well I spent parts of my summer crawling through the stockinette, using it as a “break” from other projects. I even took it with me to my LYS to work on it, where a lovely lady took a peek at it and complimented me on my tension and the lattice parts. Of course that gave me this false sense of self-esteem and confidence, and I plowed through the last bits of it:

I was so proud of myself I completely forgot that I have no idea how to seam sides at all. But again, inflated confidence and all that that after that second picture was taken I just jumped right into it. I used the mattress stitch or whatever to do so, and I was very impressed at how it was invisible.

Throughout this entire project, I had so many worries about the fit and stretch of the material. During the first 4 inches of this sweater, my mom took a look at it and was convinced it would be too small on me. I had my doubts, it seemed like it would have to stretch a lot closer to my hips. And while working with this yarn, I didn’t find it to be the most stretchy. (Actually to note: parts of this fucking yarn were puffed and pilled so much… I tucked those into the inside of the sweater and although they aren’t noticeable, I can still see some parts of the stockinette that don’t look uniform)

NEVERTHELESS, I tried it on. Halfway through pulling it down my head I was already impressed at the stretch and then finally:

A perfect fit! It’s still mostly warm here, so I’m waiting for colder temperatures so I can wear it with a cardigan and skirt. And with that ends our Sweater Saga.. for now

I have made about a zillion more things in between this and the blanket that I want to share PLUS I’m getting in the mood to share Christmas gift ideas and do some more book reviews since I keep buying pattern books, oops.

How about a blanket in the summer?

So here in Toronto, summer temperatures can fall anywhere between 20C and 45C. I can’t think of a better time to invest myself into making a hardy winter blanket.

That being said, I decided to make one for two reasons:

1. I have amassed many quarter or half-used (some new!) balls of yarn that need some sort of project to go to and I can only make so many hats and sweaters.

2. It’s always a smart idea to make a heavy, thick blanket in sweaty summer months.

So the second point is just more of my sarcasm, but the first one is still valid. So I set off trying to figure out the best approach to doing this. My first requirement was I want this project to work up fast. I threw out the idea of knitting one because not only would it take me well into next summer, but I also didn’t have the needed tools for this. One day I will buy an interchangeable needle set, but only when it’s all metal/aluminium/nickel and comes with a goddamn 16″ cable option as well. (so: never)

Crochet it was then. Armed with this book I experimented with various stitches to see what would work best. I really wanted something that would be easy to remember (I’m not going to keep that book next to me at all times!) and visually appealing for many, many different yarn colours. I ended up starting and stopping a bunch of stitches, until I found The Granny Chevron.

(Although I used my book, you can easily take a look at this YouTube tutorial for it.)

And we’re off! I started this blanket July 1st and I’m attempting to have it done by the end of this month, though in reality I’m probably looking at the end of August since I have 20 other WIPs going on. (Okay 4 other ones, but they feel like 20.)

Here’s its journey so far:

The first week of making this.

Last week. I’ve since added another 7 rows to it. I am digging the autumn feel it’s got going for it as well.

Hope you all enjoyed my “first blanket ever” post. 🙂

Crochet Hook Snobbery: or why I now own two 5mm hooks for no reason.

Confession: I’m a crochet hook snob.

Other confession: I’m not even a fancy one.

Once I decided that I should give crochet a try, I went to my LYS and picked up a basic hook to use. As the wall was literally covered with different hook sizes and materials, I literally closed my eyes and chose a 4.5mm hook from a brand called HiyaHiya. I wasn’t disappointed. First off, it’s Aluminium – perfect for a person like me that will snap a bamboo or plastic one in half just out of sheer frustration over the craft. So already right there, I have a hook that will not succumb to my flimsy hands. (I mean, I’m pretty weak but I can snap those other ones easily.) Also one time I sat on my upright 4.5mm hook and ended up with a bruise on my ass so clearly if it can withstand that it can take anything.

Another reason why I love them: For the way the hook bends. Unlike another brand I tried which I will get into soon, the hook curves in softly, not sharply. It doesn’t snag or divide up my yarn while I’m crocheting. Case in point: I could not for the life of my find a HiyaHiya 5mm hook at my LYS and settled instead for a Susan Bates one that A) has chipping paint after like 1 use, and B) has a hook so sharp I couldn’t properly use it. It also hurt my hand a lot, something the HiyaHiya ones don’t do.

So I ended up doing all 5mm projects with my 4.5mm or my 5.5mm. And eventually I donated the Bates one to my knitting/crochet club.

And then a magical moment happened last weekend. I wandered back in my LYS and found that rare 5mm. It was seriously like finding a shiny Pokemon or something less nerdy. I picked that up, along with a 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm. Now I have a rainbow of these fantastic hooks and my collection would seriously be complete… if it wasn’t for the missing 7mm one. 😦

Also a 2mm, but how often would my worsted-weight yarned self use that? (Hint: never)

In conclusion: if it’s not HiyaHiya, I’m not using it.

So if anyone’s reading this, what are your favourite hooks? I demand pictures!

Have another book review, plus some pictures.

Hey, how about a book review to distract from the fact that I have 4 current projects going on and no willpower to complete them. In case anyone’s keeping track of them, they are:

  • The sweater. (Haven’t touched that other 10 inches in stockinette yet…)
  • A seed stitch cowl. (I did two rows today after forgetting about it for a few months, oops.)
  • The Dudester.. I ACTUALLY HAVE A PICTURE OF THAT. HERE YOU GO, LOOK AT THAT ASYMMETRY 
  • The Leyla Cowl. (Fantastic One-Skein wonders project, you can see an example of it here on Ravelry!)

That being said, let’s talk about the book I got the Leyla Cowl from:

Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects from Crocheters Around the World

edited by Judith Durant

Amazon Link

Amazon Description: Finally, a One-Skein Wonders book just for crocheters! Edie Eckman and Judith Durant offer 101 great crochet projects — from jewelry and scarves to bags, hats, dresses, and home dec items — that each use just one skein of yarn. Whatever your experience level, you’ll find something here to delight you!

Level: Some experience needed – the usual sc, hdc, dc things, plus the ability and knowledge to do more (like how to make a foundation double crochet or magic loop)

My Thoughts: So we’re already familiar with the fact that I have a lot of yarn. More often than not, I’ll need 2 skeins of something and end up using a whole skein, plus like a literal fucking whisper of the other skein. I’m sure that’s how this yarn stash problem started. I was really happy to find One-Skein Wonders at my local, awesome book store. Finally, something to do with yarn other than leave it in the Jeffrey Campbell shoe box to metaphorically die.

What I immediately liked about this book is that it arranged all the projects by yarn weight, the options being from thread to chunky and everything in between. I pretty much jumped myself to worsted and went from there, bookmarking projects of interest with my little sticky tabs. A good sign is that I have around 10 that jumped out instantly as “good idea, I’ll do that” while doing this.  The projects themselves vary a ton, with scarves/cowls, hats, gloves, purses, jewellery, socks (!!!), baby clothes/accessories, home decor, amigurumi, and even a blanket. With such variety, I’m already thinking of gift-giving situations so I can make a bunch of this stuff. Each project has a couple of clear pictures to show it, material/hook/gauge specifics, step-by-step instructions, as well as any special stitches needed and diagrams.

I picked the Leyla Cowl to start off with since I recently bought a new 5mm hook and had a ball of beautiful yarn that fit the yardage. I almost bailed on this book – as in almost shut the book and threw it across my room – when I saw that it required me to A) do a foundation double crochet and B) join in the round. Let me tell you about these things: I spent almost an entire weekend trying to learn FDC and could not. I also attempted to join in the round without twisting at least 20 times that same day as well. Something was just not computing for me. HOWEVER, One-Skein Wonders has a really, REALLY helpful appendix with a glossary that finally made FDC not look like gibberish. Nailed it. Also nifty: there’s an abbreviation chart as well, since I had no idea what FDC stood for to being with… (for those of you still here, you’re probably wondering how I even use a crochet hook or knitting needles, yes? I wonder sometimes too.)

I’m currently on the last set of rows for the cowl, and found the row-by-row instructions easy to read and simple. I should also add I started this last night, so if they were really vague and complication I probably would still be at the “FDC 80” part. 🙂 The diagram of what each row should look like was really helpful as well, and I notice that diagrams are pervasive in the book, so super great for visual learners that need that additional information.

My one beef with the book is that the way aforementioned blanket pattern calls for 1000+ yards of yarn, so I find that stretching the “One-Skein” part of the title just a little bit.

Overall though, this is a really cute book with a bunch of awesome, easy to make patterns that just might help you unload that leaning tower of yarn you’ve amassed.

The Illusion of Starting Early.

As far as the sweater saga goes, I probably won’t be updating much about it until the last stretch. There’s not much point in sharing row after row of suckinette stitch, as I’ve already clearly run out of barely humorous ways to describe it. So until I get to the part where I pretend I know how to sew, we’ll move onto other things.

I’m already pretending like Christmas gifts are a priority in my life. The sad truth is I’m just trying to decrease the amount of yarn I have lying around for ~~~future projects~~ well THE FUTURE IS NOW AND HERE I AM. So I started making this rather pleasant scarf known as “The Dudester” and it’s going well. I’m really digging the various textures the pattern gives, and it yarn I’ve picked for it it really durable. A problem I’ve had with this is that said yarn is chunky instead of worsted, so I omitted the last repeat for rows 3 and 4 and cast on 36 sts instead – as suggested by the pattern creator in the comments section. It almost worked except that I was left with 6 sts instead of 3 at the end of the third row. So with some imagination (read: don’t panic, never let your yarn see you panic) I just made it slightly asymmetrical. Pictures will follow later on, I’m trying to get better lighting with dark grey yarn, and I want it to be longer as well.

I should also add that my favourite part of this was forgetting where I left off and becoming incredibly confused. Rather than yanking my needles out completely and having that terrifying row of 36 live stitches, I found a better (slightly saner) way of “frogging”. That’s also for another post coming soon! Plus PLUS that book review too!

So basically we’ve established that I have mentioned 3 actually interesting topic here but have failed to make better posts for them. At least I shared a pattern with you, at least you all have that now.

Give me a break, it’s standardized testing for my students and I have report cards and 50 weddings/wedding related events to go to. I’m happy I actually banged this thing out right now.

p.s. I’m thinking of starting the Beekeeper’s Quilt with all my leftover yarn. Huge endeavour, I know. It also would be the first pattern I’m paying for. I haven’t decided if I want the full puff effect, or to deal with flat hexagons. Anyone else doing this? Talk me though it, I know you’re out there fellow knitters/crocheters/bloggers.

“Stash” is such a harsh word, I prefer “disorganized pile of hopes and dreams”

Before I launch into this whole mess, I just wanted to say that the original intent of this post was to busy myself until this awesome seamless fashion knitting book was delivered to me. And it almost worked, except it arrived today and this post is still not created. SO, expect another book review soon, but for now let’s take a look at every knitter/crocheter’s simultaneous pride and shame: the stash.

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Other than the fact that it’s starting to resemble the leaning tower of Pisa, it looks harmless enough. I mean there’s a box, my books, my WIP, and the hat box right? So there’s a bunch of yarn sticking out of the hat box? It’s still good, it’s still good.

Let’s take a gander in the shoe box – which is the best stash box in the existence. God Bless u, Jeffrey Campbell.

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Here we have new skeins of yarn, leftover skeins, yarn labels, my first ever knitting and crochet instruction book that I bought for $1 in Walmart, and (I barely believe this fits in here) the unfinished work of a blanket I’m going to get rid of shortly to make more room in the box.

Then we have the yarn overflowing from the hat box

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And a look inside the hat box, featuring more leftover yarn balls, all my knitting needles, and all my crochet hooks. Also some unseen tapestry needles and ribbon embellishments I will totally use one day. Don’t look at me like that. Don’t judge me.

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In a perfect work, I’d love nothing more than to have a cute looking space to neatly organize everything. Maybe some day I will and I can make a new post. In the meantime, I’ll continue to marvel at the fact that a year and a half ago I had like 2 knitting needle sets, 0 crochet hooks, and 2 balls of yarn.

And before I get totally sentimental with that – what’s your stash look like? I’d love to see a comment here, or a post sharing it. Anyone? Bueller?