Back in the Saddle

That loud whooshing noise you hear is the dust being blown off the blog.

I know I only have a handful of people who read this wee craft blog, but regardless of time lapsed between posts, it still means a lot to me to be able to post projects and other goings-on related to this love of crochet.

I hold down a full-time job at an accounting firm, which means that the first four months of the year become increasingly stressful as each month passes, until there’s just work and sleep between April 1 and Tax Day (U.S.). With tax season now behind me for the remainder of 2017, I can resume my crafty passions on the side.

Rested and refreshed now, I have all of these ideas percolating for projects. I know I’m not alone in Potential Project Land, where your mind goes here and there and everywhere coming up with All the Things you could be making.

Things on my To Make list include:

  • A Tunisian crochet pillow cover; I’ve had the supplies sitting in my cart for a few months now. Yeesh.
  • Amigurumi patterns I haven’t tried yet; I just purchased a new bunny pattern and a new pig pattern. I also need to FINISH the one I started almost a year ago now (a seahorse from Lalylala) — it needs details on the head and body, the arms sewn on, and the baby seahorse made. I also have loads of patterns in books, both digital and paper copies, to choose from.
  • Amigurumi orders and gifts to friends that are currently being worked on or are in the queue
  • Challenging stitches, such as broomstick lace. I have a Craftsy class on working in broomstick lace. It also means I have to go out and buy a giant knitting needle (or two, since they come in pairs).
  • A new blanket pattern; there are way too many to choose from, but I have a new pattern for one I’d love to try (with little owl motifs), and another one I want to do is a Tunisian entrelac blanket. Where I get hung up is trying to create a cool plaid pattern and then I just sit and swirl about colors.

Despite being incredibly busy from January to April, I still completed some crochet orders or worked on things to help me relax (even since the Big Red Fox). In no particular order, below are a handful of photos of those items. It’s more or less a photo dump of anything from my camera roll since the last time I updated, which is admittedly a long time ago.  Take a gander!

What have you been up to? I’d love to see anything you’ve been creating!

 

Dragonfly Blanket Over Chair

Babies: Pig, Lamb, Whale

Quad of Gifts

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Pink Whale

Sunset Tunisian Crochet Knit-alike Scarf

Feel the Love and Savings

Hallo, everybody!

I thought I’d let my handful of readers know about a discount code I’ve got active in the Etsy shop right now: ZVCTHANKS shaves off 10% of any purchase in the shop, be it crochet or photography items.

My shop is three years old and so I am passing on the love–and savings–to those who have lurked and waited for the right time to buy something.

This code is good through February 16! Happy shopping!

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Big Red Fox

img_9645I’ve been making efforts to make projects that I like and would get enjoyment out of, even if there is no intended buyer (or person to give the item to just yet). Working a full-time job means I crochet in my spare time. I’ve discovered that if I start something and put it down, even for a little while, it will easily turn into months before I pick it up again or find the motivation to finish it.

(Case in point: Sepp the Seahorse, my first Lalylala doll, has been a work-in-progress since June of 2016 — yeesh!)

I bought this red fox pattern a couple of months ago and finally got around to making it. I tracked my progress on Ravelry and was surprised I finished it in five days. That is pretty quick for me, but I also realized afterwards that I prioritized it over other projects. I’m glad I did, though, because it kept the momentum going, and this handsome fella came out of it!

This pattern from Kristi Tullus calls for using joints, which I did not use. I labeled it as easy or medium-easy on Ravelry, but I would say that this pattern is definitely meant for an experienced crocheter and/or amigurumi-maker. I had to do some very careful sewing since I wasn’t using joints, and I made some mental notes about what to do for future foxes.

I do love the long limbs, and using Vanna’s Choice yarn was a great “choice,” since it yielded a bigger doll, even using a 4mm hook. Plus I just love that rich orange color, don’t you? The colorway is called Terracotta, for anyone who wants to use that. The pattern calls for using a dark brown but instead I used a Lion Brand yarn, colorway Smoky Mountains, which is dark gray and wisps of silver. I thought it gave the paws and accents a bit more depth.

All told, Big Red is 15″ from the top of his head to his tippy toes.

As much as I love the fox, I decided to list him in the Etsy shop because I feel like he could make a kid (or collector, whoever) very happy. So he is officially for sale! And I threw in free shipping, just ’cause.

Here are some photos for your enjoyment! And if you have any questions about the making of the fox, please do comment below or send me a note at zavvycreations {at} gmail dot com.

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Latent Mermaid Tail Photos

I kept my promise to myself and took photos of the completed mermaid tail blankets with my DSLR, so I have a few more pictures to share. I was quite pleased with how these turned out and I’m told the girls they were intended for love them.

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*Note: I don’t know why some of the photos appear blurrier in WordPress except that they are larger than they appear, and so downsizing them causes the blurriness.

Super Fluffy Cowl with Celtic Basket Weave

I decided to challenge myself during a recent bout of illness where I could do nothing but sit around at home, for days. During the times when I did have a little energy, I would work on this cowl. I wasn’t sure at first whether I would actually finish it, but I was determined to see how it would go for several rounds, at least.

Little back story: I have had two skeins of Scarfie yarn from Lion Brand sitting in my yarn cart for months, waiting to be made into something. It’s ultra fluffy and soft but is a pain to frog and takes a jumbo hook to use it.  (Example: I have tried and failed so many times with Moogly’s Squish cowl and have just given up on making that project; I can’t get a split bouillon stitch to work with Scarfie to save my life.)  In late 2015, I made a hooded cowl with one skein of Scarfie, and while it turned out well, I also used a wooden hook for that project, which greatly fatigued my hand.

By now, I have invested in a Susan Bates aluminum M hook and that helped immensely for trying this cowl pattern. My personal note about the pattern is that it is crucial to watch the video tutorial that she links to. Learning the Celtic basket weave stitch is best with visuals, in my opinion. It still took me a few rounds before I felt comfortable knowing what I was doing. Due to the size of the hook and having to be super careful with the fluffy yarn,  I never got up to my normal speed of crochet, but I was still able to finish this piece over the course of doing a round here and there while being sick.

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In the end, I love the final product! It feels like a springy cloud around your neck and is ultra warm because of the dual layers of basket weave stitches. The mocha colors are so pretty and go with a lot of winter wear. I’m really happy with it and may even devote my other skein of Scarfie yarn to make another of these down the road.

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A Tail of Procrastination (Three, Really)

When I was “commissioned” to make three mermaid tail blankets for some friends’ daughters, I thought I would have had them completed by summertime.

Fast forward to November 8, and I have finished just one and am rounding the bend on the second. It isn’t that they’re very difficult to make, but that I worked on completing other projects before even thinking of starting on them. Then a whole bunch of stressful stuff happened in my family life between June and September (almost no crocheting took place), and then the ticking clock prompted me to get cracking. These are intended as Christmas gifts, so it’s definitely go time.

To that end, I figured a good way to keep me accountable would be to post my progress as I went along.

I definitely plan to take better photos when all is said and done, so bear with me with the phone pics!

The first one I finished is for the youngest daughter in peacock blue with a multi-colored fin:

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The second one I’m working on for the oldest girl is in a hot pink color (Hot Rose from Hobby Lobby’s “I Love This Yarn”) and it will have a Peacock Metallic fin.

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I’ve actually begun the fin, just don’t have an updated photo, since I would prefer to post it when it’s completed.

Only one more tail to finish after the hot pink one (in purple!) — goal is to finish all by the end of the month.

More progress to come!

Edit as of November 14: mermaid tail #2 is complete! On to number three!

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As of December 6, 2016, these babies are in the can! Woo!

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Flash Photo Sale for Fall!

Hi, folks!

Some of you may have seen on the social medias that I moved over the summer. After a month or so of settling in, I’m happy to be back to creating with yarn and photos.

Speaking of photos! I’m currently holding a photo promotion in the shop for 10% off ANY photo listing through Sunday, October 16! Use the promo code PHOTOSALE16. It’s good for prints, canvasses, or custom orders!

Feel free to message me through this site or on Etsy with any questions. 😀

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Shop on Vacay!

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I wish I really were at some tropical location where I was enjoying views of the water and sand with nothing more to do other than relax, crochet, stream shows on Netflix, nap (and repeat), but alas, I had to put the shop on vacation for a completely humdrum (but exciting in its own way) reason: I’m moving!

Moving is one of those sucky parts of adulthood where the process of it totally sucks but the end result feels amazing. I’m actually going to have a dedicated space for my desk and craft things and I’m completely over-the-moon thrilled about it.

That means I put a halt on fulfilling any orders for the rest of the month, but I’ll be back in action in just a couple of short weeks.

Hope the handful of folks out there who read this are having a lovely summer. Only one more month before it’s officially autumn–eep!

 

Finished! First Joined-Motif Blanket

Last we spoke, I was struggling hardcore to finish a blanket. This thing took over six months of my life, once I had done the research and bought all the yarn, etc. Realistically, we’re talking nine months in total.

I became stuck when I had a stack of squares to finish with weaving in all the ends (I counted–almost 300 of them). Thankfully, I had woven some in as I went along, but the task was still daunting by the time I had to finish those up before moving on to joining.

Joining.

That’s another chapter of the tale that I thought might make the whole blanket go down in flames. I had already started, frogged, and started over a Join-As-You-Go owl, with the extremely popular African flower motif pattern that Heidi Bears uses for her intricate designs.

I think that trying a JAYGO pattern before I had ever successfully done even a simple motif blanket was definitely putting the cart before the horse.

Fortunately, I had been inspired last year to purchase access to a wonderful class on Craftsy, called Joining Crochet Motifs with Edie Eckman, who is a fabulous teacher. If you have ever wanted to learn the intricacies of creating granny squares and want to know more than one way to join (and finish) a blanket, absolutely download that class! They go on sale pretty frequently and you get lifetime access. Just that one class has been a lifesaver for me, and in fact, it’s what helped me finish my blanket.

I had done some of the “homework” from the class last year, but needed a refresher. (The instructions on this particular pattern simply said “join by slip stitch,” which was not helpful at all. It assumes that one has already mastered joining squares together.) I simply went to the Slip Stitch Seam part of the class to get tips on what to do, and the joining up of the squares flew by so much faster than I thought it could. It still took me several hours on and off on a Sunday, but once the joining was finished, I was able to weave in the ends and focus on the border.

When it came time to do the border, I ended up doing the first two rounds as directed by the pattern. Then I did a cluster of two half-double crochet stitches in the chain space of the previous round. Lastly, I did a double-crochet picot stitch all the way around. It was the first time I’d done a picot and it took me a while to get the hang of the technique. I wound up doing two double-crochet stitches, a picot, and two more double-crochets.

I put the blanket in a mesh laundry bag, threw it in the washer on gentle, and after laying it flat while it was damp, I put it in the dryer on low for about 20 minutes. It came out extra soft and cuddly, ready to wrap around some playful kids.

The blanket was sent off to my friends and they sent me some adorable photos of their kids goofing off with the blanket as the backdrop. A couple of them are below.

I couldn’t be happier with the end result, especially knowing my friends will get a lot of use out of this blanket for years to come!

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Tunisian Color Block Throw

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The Blanket That Won’t Make Itself

I’m struggling, you guys.

I had (and still have) the best intentions when I excitedly told my friends that of COURSE I would make their children a new blanket, since the one they’ve had prior to now only fit them as babies and it was more of a stroller size.

When I got the request, I did all of this research to find the “perfect” blanket and ended up choosing this one from Red Heart, which uses honeycomb squares in Tunisian crochet surrounded by standard crochet borders that you slip stitch together before adding more lovely border.

I got all of my squares done in the requested colors and then the daunting task of doing the bordering began. I only have eleven three more of these to do and it feels like Mount Everest.

I thought I’d have this blanket finished by now, honestly. We’re into June and this thing is not even halfway finished.

I feel like I’m allergic to bigger projects or something. How can so many people whip out blankets left and right and I’m STUCK?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m  determined to stick this out and finish it. I just hope my friends’ children aren’t teenagers by the time I’m done with it.

I posted my progress in a group I’m in on Facebook, and a woman said she’s made TWO of these already.

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Once I finish the remaining three squares, I have to weave in All the Ends, have a drink, and attempt to tackle the joining (using the slip stitch join).

Here goes nothin.

Any seasoned crocheters out there who have joined motifs and have any words of wisdom or encouragement for me–please leave some!  ❤

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