Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bags, Vests, and Curly Q

Well, hello, beautiful people!  How busy are you now that it's officially the Christmas holiday season?  Are you crafting away like I am?  I have had less time due to work, but I have managed to start a few WIP's and finish none.  Oops!  Big oops!  I have an afghan that I took over work on from a fellow crafter that is unable to do so.  I am really hoping to send it back before Christmas.  There are the items for the two swaps that I'm participating in.  Paula, my former swap partner from Down Under, and I have begun a purse/bag CAL.  We have survived two Saturdays (her Sunday), and we've achieved some progress!  I am making Kim Guzman's Crescent Bag and even have the magnetic clasps and lining picked out for it.  I may use a handle I purchased instead of crocheting it.  I haven't decided yet.  

Here's a picture of what I have completed so far:

Remember that granny square bag that I made out of the squares from the Round Robin?  I finally lined it.  The fabric was too short to line the bag all the way to the top.  Instead of stitching it where it ended, I added the peaks with crocheted sections.  Otherwise, the stitching would have shown through the squares' designs.  I think it looks great.  It now holds the almost-finished projects that are missing a booty here, woven ends there... they're not exactly WIP's, but they're not FO's either.  

Here is a picture of the lining:

I have a few other baby sets I've made.  The patterns are not public yet.  I'll post pictures when they are.  I wish I could show you the other things I'm working on, but I don't want to risk my current swap partners reading about it and seeing the pictures.  I doubt that will happen, lol, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Have you heard or seen Red Heart's new Curly Q yarn?  It is fabulous!  There's a learning curve because it is stretchy and you have to make sure you don't crochet or knit while you're pulling on it.  You have to keep the yarn relaxed.  I found it at Hobby Lobby yesterday, all the way at the bottom of an aisle.  I had missed it on two trips down that aisle while looking for it.  I chose the Allspice colorway.  It's gorgeous, and the yarn is bulky, stretchy, soft, and just yummy! I chose to make the Drop Stitch Scarf on RH's web site.  I know that the name of it is actually Drop Stitch Tassel Scarf, but I don't like all the tassels.  I'll add them only at the short ends.

Here's a picture of the first few rows:

It doesn't look like much, but the flash distorted the colors.  It's dark outside or I'd use natural lighting instead.  Red Heart has a video on youtube with tips for using the yarn.  Watch it and see if it's something you'd like to try [disclaimer:  I am not being paid by anyone for any endorsement whatsoever].  It works up very quickly too.

It doesn't seem like much, but that's what I have been up to lately.  Have you ever seen the Soccasins by Megan Mills?  I made them maybe two years ago.  Or was it one?  I can't remember.  No, it was two years ago.  Last year, Ms. Mills gave me permission to make a video tutorial.  A few people had contacted me with questions when they saw pictures I had posted of the ones I made.  At that time, it seemed those were the questions asked most when I was contacted for help.  Immediately after getting permission, my aunt was killed.  Needless to say, I was not in a tutorial frame of mind.  I am planning to make another pair; so I'll videotape my progress and then edit it to show how to make the soccasins.  It will be anywhere between January and February.

Oh!  Today I scored a free little organizer.  No pictures because it's going to be part of a swap, but it was nice to get something free!  I went to the Yarn Garden in Whittier, CA after my job today almost across the street from there.  I promised my oldest niece that I'd make her the Heather Hoodie Vest.  I have had the pattern for a while.  Today I went for the yarn.  It was not on special, but a few other things I purchased were either BOGO free or BOGO 50% off.  That organizer was a total surprise.  Apparently a customer took them in and left them for whomever wanted them.  How nice is that?!  Yep, yet another project to add to the queue.  I'm really expanding my knitting repertoire.  I'll finally be working with cables.  Let's hope I don't pull my hair out!

So that's all, folks!  If I try, I know I'll remember some other projects I'm working on, but then I'll never make it to the grocery store.  Have a wonderful week :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Swaps, Improvisation, and Inspiration

I have been so busy lately with work and crochet, but it's been satisfying and fun.  I often visit and post on Crochetville, and recently I joined two swaps.  This was a new and nerve-wracking experience.  It's so easy to make baby stuff that the majority will like, but making something for an adult is an altogether different experience.

My first swap was a shawl swap.  My partner provided a list of colors she liked.  I got an assortment of colors in Caron Simply Soft.  Why did I get into a swap to make something I've never made?  I dive into projects, sight unseen.  I learn a lot, but I should make things easy once in a while.  It hasn't happened yet.  lol.  So I made the shawl my partner was hoping for, the Butterfly Wing Shawl by Holly Miller.  I had read from others that the bigger you made it, the longer the bottom tip got.  I modified that tip to control the length a little.  It took me a couple of weeks to make it because of work, but at last I finished it and started to gather extras to send with the package.  My partner sent me a lovely shawl, the Fancy Fans Stole, as well as some other very nice things.  

The second swap overlapped with the first.  Both were to be mailed by the same date.  On top of it all, I made my own cosy instead of using a pattern.  The flowering teas reminded me of Japanese teas; so I went with a cherry blossom theme.  You know what the most difficult part was?  Getting reacquainted with thin steel crochet hooks and cotton thread.  I would lose grip of them and ended up with sore hands.  I should have used my Boye interchangeable steel hooks with the grip made by Jimbo.  Here's a picture of what mine looks like.  It was an educational experience.  I love what my partner sent me.  She also improvised her own pattern.  I'm so lucky that we turned out to have so much in common.  Can you see all the cute details on the cosy she made, pictured below?  She even added a clothesline!  I can't get over how perfect it is.  If I had partners like her for all swaps, I'd be in all year round!  lol.

Aside from participating in swaps, I have tested some more patterns for Shifio.  I've tested Halloween baby hats, a puff matinee set, and some other sets that haven't been put up on the website.  Once they do, I'll be able to post pictures.

I had so much I wanted to write, but it's almost 2:30 a.m. here.  I am finally sleepy.  What have you been up to on your end of the woods?  What has inspired you lately?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Use Less Elbow Grease!

I'm quickly posting this because I'm in a hurry yet want to share a tip.  I have a stove I purchased three years ago but only used for two and even then only sparingly.  I moved and left it so my roommate could use it.  Mind you, I left it nice and clean when I left.  She had to vacate and asked me to pick it up.  It was dirty, and the burners were grimy and yucky with burnt food!  I found a buyer, which got me to thinking there's got to be a better way to clean those grates.  I found it, and it works!  The longer you leave it the better the results.  By accident I discovered that if you leave very warm or hot water running while you're cleaning them after soaking, your job is even easier.  Those grates are almost perfect!  They could have done with more time soaking, but the buyer is going to pick it up soon at the storage place.  I'm on my way out but not before recommending this post.  You will not regret it.  I will try to post after pics when I return.  Hasta pronto :)

**And a couple of hours later:  I forgot to take pictures!  Ugh.  Glad that there are pics in the link :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

RoMa's Heirlooms Now Open!

I opened an online store!  I'm trying out Payvment on Facebook, and apparently what I created was a store on Lish that is accessible through Facebook.  It's nothing fancy because I'm not a photographer or an artist, but it will have to do for now.  I'll see if my brother has time to fiddle with cover art for my FB page and also some good photo ideas.  If you want to see what it looks like, visit RoMa's Heirlooms.  "Ro" is for my mom, Rosa, and "Ma" is for me.  After all, she was my crochet teacher.  I feel it's her legacy and so it must have her name in it too.  I miss her.

I'm having difficulty getting good pictures of my crochet.  What do you personally do?  Were you ever a newbie like me?  How did you learn?  What do you recommend?  Tips are really needed and are greatly appreciated.

There's not much going on this weekend except some more crochet.  I'm not going outside.  It's too hot!  Ah, I love A/C.

Happy crafting!

Rosa Luz Vazquez, 06/30/53-03/05/04

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Firstly I would like to dedicate a moment of silence to all the victims of the 9/11 attacks.  The horror of that day will forever be in our minds, and their sacrifices will forever be in our hearts.

May they rest in peace.


Sometimes we find something that just gets us really excited.  Yeah, I was happy when I read about this on another blog that I follow and placed an order.  It arrived, and I was wondering where the promised pattern booklet had gone.  So I was ready to contact this place and let them know that they'd dropped the ball somewhere.  A-hem.  I actually had only ordered the hook, not the combo.  Oops!  I'm glad I went to the site first and revisited the ordering page.  Okay.  Nobody dropped the ball.  I made a mistake.  Happy mistake, though!  So what's this mystery tool?  It's aptly and simply called the Sharp Crochet Hook.

In revisiting the site, I checked out their patterns.  Now I'm excited!  Have you ever crocheted a purse and then needed a liner and zipper but, not being a seamstress, you were intimidated?  That's me.  I've only ever used a zipper on my only purse that I tested.  I avoid zippers and linings like the plague!  I purchased a sewing machine just for that liner and zipper for that one time.  lol.  I finally took my first sewing class yesterday.  I learned that using a sewing machine for anything made out of yarn is not fun.  The feed dogs would catch the yarn.  I'm sure there's something I could do to change that.

In the meantime, the Sharp Crochet Hook has come to the rescue.  I don't have to sew zippers onto purses anymore!  Check this pattern out to crochet a purse that has lining and a zipper.  In fact, they also have a pattern with just a zipper and no lining.  The hook does it all!  I have a few purses that I have been wanting to make.  I'll start with the purse first and lastly add a base layer to the zipper in a yarn color that matches the purse and whip stitch it all together.  I hope you love it as much as I do.  I have my hook.  Now I get to make a purse :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

L.A. County Fair

I'm back!  My room is nice and cool, it's so quiet everywhere, and my sister got a new car.  Yay!  It's a 2012 Nissan Versa.  I remembered to take a picture after she left.  Of course.  lol

I've never submitted anything to a fair.  Have you?  I'm too nervous no one will like anything.  I'll try to force myself to do it next year.  I'll go out of my comfort zone and see what I come up with.  There are so many talented people.

It was very, very hot in Pomona yesterday:  105 degrees F.  I have no idea what the humidity was, but it was a lot because it is supposed to rain there today.  I even took a picture of the clouds.  We didn't see much more than the submissions and a parade because it was unbearable!  The asphalt made our feet hot, and then it was just getting crowded.  So we ate at a nice place with air conditioning, chatted for quite a while, and were on our way -- but not before buying fried stuff!  Patricia, from our crafting group, got frog legs.  I got a fried Twinkie and fried PB&J.  Patricia liked hers.  I tasted a bit of each of mine when I was home and then passed it on to my niece.  I really liked them.  I won't make a habit of them, though.

All in all, only one item submitted by Debb and Pat didn't get a ribbon.  The Raggedy Ann and Andy were separated from their matching afghan due to some unknown fair rules.  The dolls got ribbons but the afghan did not.  Does that make sense?  Pat's beautiful bunny got a ribbon as well, and so did Debb's pillow and purses.  Even a friend of theirs that they talked into submitting one item received a ribbon.  Way to go!  There were so many wonderful things to admire.  I wanted to take pictures of everything.  I wanted to buy everything!  I'm now addicted to crafting fairs.  I plan to get details of fairs nearby.  It's a great place for ideas too.

Once I got home, I got a big chunk done of a cocoon I'm testing.  I'll post a picture as soon as the pattern is officially on sale.  It is not my pattern, though.  I'm just the tester.  I'm accumulating quite a few items.  I have been told online selling sites aren't good for selling.  Apparently not many buyers appreciate the time, effort, and money that go into materials.  I hope that the consignment stores I've been recommended work out better.  Now I have to figure out how to prepare for that.  Do I need specialty labels?  What about packaging?  I can't begin to imagine what goes into that.  I feel a trip to those shops is in order to see what it's all about.

How has your weekend turned out?  What's on your hooks?  Any FO's?


Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day -- A Day Off?

It's been a long time since I posted.  Don't be surprised.  I think I've started three diaries over the years and never gotten past the first week.  I really don't have much to say when it's a one-sided conversation, but I'll do my best to add something interesting or fun that I've learned.  Firstly something not fun.  My Aunt Irma passed away May 24th after a long battle with cancer.  She leaves behind a loving husband and two sons.  My older cousin is in his early years of college.  The youngest is in elementary school.  We miss you, Tia...

I've been crocheting up a storm, mostly baby items I've tested for Shifio.  That pile of stuff is just accumulating!  I've made a few other things for friends and family, and I'm knitting a sweater for myself.  That is taking waaaaay too long.  That's because it keeps being put aside, poor thing.  It's meant to be for the warm weather.  I'll finish it when it's too cold to wear.  A technique I've fallen in love with is the Russian Join.  Less ends to weave in!  Just a few finished projects...

I guess you can say I've been busy.  There are also two swaps I'm in on at Crochetville.  One is for a shawl, and one is for a tea cozy.  I'll post them after they've been received.  I am really having lots of fun!  I do work, by the way ;)

For those in the U.S., Happy Labor Day!  Someone once asked me why we would take a day off on Labor Day.  Isn't it the day TO work?  I don't know.  I take Mondays off anyway.  I think I've been robbed.  lol