Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting for Irene

Well, we are as prepared for Hurricane Irene as we are going to get!  In our part of Massachusetts, it will hopefully be Tropical Storm Irene.   They are warning us to expect power failures, possibly for two days.

But we are well stocked with flashlights, batteries, food and water.  My Kindle is charged, as is my cell phone.  I have gathered supplies to finish my little owl, and to make more plarn.  We also rounded up some games to play together.  So we are ready to stay home and ride out the storm.

Best wishes for everyone on the east coast!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Amigurumi Books arrive!

Now that I have finished Fred, I decided to get serious about doing some amigurumi dolls.  After hunting about in amazon, I decided to start with a set of three books by Ana Paula Rimoli:

Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet

Amigurumi Two

Amigurumi Toy Box

(The above links will send you to

She shares cute stories about how her children play with them, or how the idea for the toy originated.  The patterns are pretty straight forward.  They all use single crochet, so there is no difficult stitch pattern to master, just the easy  rounds that make up the toys.  So as a reviewer, I highly recommend the books - the photos are great, and your creative juices will start flowing.

I am attempting to make one of her owls.  It began as a baby owl, and now is going to be something between the baby and the mommy.  (I did warn you I am pattern challenged, right?)  I think my mistake was not using a stitch marker for the rows.  But it is definitely going to be one cute owl!

Bottom line: If you ever wanted to see what amigurumi was all about, these books are a great visual introduction, with plenty of patterns to get you going on your own set.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My First Amigurumi Project - Meet Fred

Yesterday I caught up on the laundry and then - gasp - organized my sock drawer. I have two clear boxes that are drawer dividers, with space in the back for hose. I now have short socks in one, and long socks in the other, with all unmatched socks out and awaiting either a match or the trash.

On this heady wave of virtue, I managed to finish my first amigurumi project. I named him Fred. He (or she - depends on the day) is going to be a desk pet. Bright colors, looks welcoming, and reminds me I do get projects done. Plus, I smile when I look at him. What more can I ask of a desk pet?
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Visiting the Crochet Me site

I just picked up Crochet Traditions while grabbing a ball of yarn.  What a fascinating booklet!

One of the ads caught my eye - it was for the Crochet Me site.    They ask for your email address but otherwise all of the patterns and several ebooks are free.  You can also find some crochet along projects.  (My skills are not that advanced lol - I am still a patternphobe.)  I had a lovely time popping around the site, and even found what I hope will be the answer to a project I am working on.  I am attempting my first amigurumi doll and I feel it needs a beak, and I have no idea how to make one! (The main doll and wings I am just making up as I go along.)  They had a free pattern for a spring chick - with a beak!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Enjoying the August 2011 Blog Train

If you have never had the pleasure of going through a blog train, let me introduce you to the Blog Train.  Every other month, around 100 designers join in on a theme and a color palette, and offer an immense number of free kits.  It is a wonderful chance to see the work of  a lot of designers, and great  fun to see how they each handle the theme.  As an extra bonus, many of the designers also participate in smaller blog trains you can learn about when you visit their blogs.

For this month, they chose a lovely palette and have each designer choose a theme.  The colors are lovely, and I am enjoying it as always.  A few of the links are not working, but you can always go back to the main blog and catch up from there.

Definitely worth the time!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Plarn? What is plarn?

I was cruising Google looking for bag patterns and found listings for "plarn". As I am easily intrigued, I looked it up. Plarn is basically recycling plastic bags from the grocery store or other stores, slicing them into loops, and using them instead of traditional yarn.

My favorite description and the prettiest project is here on the Etsy blog. If you are interested in seeing more projects, Crochet Pattern Central has an entire plarn section.

A few of my mistakes you can avoid:
Try tying a few loops together before you cut up a lot of bags. If they keep snapping, go wider with the loops.
Watch to be sure BOTH the loop you are attaching and the one you are attaching it to are flat, or you will end up with some awkward bits in your plarn.
Keep track of the last loop of your plarn. If you drop it into your pile, it can be hard to find.

I did not do much to make my plarn uniform beyond doing a long stretch of brown bags alternating with a long stretch of white. When I ran out of plarn, I just cut up more bags and attached them to the end.

The photos show the loops after they are cut, the loops after they are looped together before rolling them into a ball, and my bag in process.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

Art Journal collage

This is my latest art journaling piece. After I was done, I merged all the layers as a copy (ALT-CTRL-E) and then ran the craquelure texture filter on the top layer. The soft light blend mode gave me the look I wanted.
Items used are by Tangie Baxter (Studio Graphics) and Syndee Nuckles (Scrapgirls.)
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Today's creative moment is from the check out clerk at Michael's.

I wanted a box to store some of my kid's old artwork, so I thought I would try a 12x12 scrapbook box. Since I also bought yarn, she decided instead of giving me a bag, she would just fit all the yarn into the box. It worked beautifully and looked lovely. I immediately got more boxes and now have all of my Sugar n Cream cotton yarn neatly and visibly sorted by type and put away on a shelf.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

T-shirt and duct tape tote bag

I just watched a fascinating video here:

She demonstrates how to make a tote bag from an old T-shirt and duct tape.  Since I love duct tape and have it in multiple colors and patterns, I was intrigued right away.  The original idea was from a book by Jodi Khan, Simply Sublime Bags.  The Amazon link is below.