Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A Little Birdy Told Me

I've been a busy hooker, though I don't have a completed project to show off just quite yet.  I've been working on designing a bag for my son's Kindergarten teacher.  I couldn't find a pattern that was just what I am envisioning, and so I am giving it a go on my own.  It's been a lot of hooking and frogging, rehooking and refrogging, but I'm happy with what I have.  It really is a joy to see what I have been envisioning in my head take shape.  However, I do have a little fellow chirping in my ear, wanting to be shared with you!

 Awhile back, Lucy of Attic24 shared with the world a bird she designed herself which she called her bower bird.  You should see the wonderful little birds she has made!  Unlike most things that Lucy designs and selflessly shares, she hasn't gotten a pattern up on her site yet for the little darlings (but her recent posts promise that it is coming soon, so be sure to check her blog often if you don't already!).  I really wanted to put one of these on a wreath I was making, and so I attempted to figure out the pattern from her pictures.  What I ended up with was not an exact replica, but I think he turned out rather cute all on his own anyway.  I'm not very good at embroidery- I was never taught that and so I just winged it (ha!).  The weather here has been very gloomy, cloudy and wet, so it has been hard to get out and get a good picture of this little guy in the natural light.  his actual colors are a light yellow and sea green.  He was too big for the wreath that I made, so he happily moves from place to place in my living room, giving it a nice little splash of birdtastic color. I'm pretty happy with him, but I'm looking forward to trying Lucy's pattern as well to make him a little friend!

Friday, 13 June 2014

A Fond Farewell

With the school year winding down, we took the first batch of teacher gifts to school today!  I totally forgot to take pictures of the items until we got to the school, so I had to take them on the hood of my car (and I was in such a rush that I didn't have time to primp and pose the items, and I see my flowers got a little squished while the wreath was in the gift bag), so please pardon the picture quality.
The first batch went out to the Special Education Assistant in my son's Kindergarten class.  She was also the SEA in my daughter's Kindergarten class last year.  She does a phenomenal job with all the children and we wanted to to something special for her, as she is retiring this year.  She doesn't carry a purse or bag, so I wanted to make something different than what I am making the teachers so it would be something she might actually use.  I know she had said that she planted the flowers we gave her for the end of the year last year, and she also planted the rose bush my son picked out for her for Teacher Appreciation Day this year.  Knowing that she then must like flowers, I decided to make her a wreath.  I am not a good bow tier by any stretch of the imagination.  See that bow there?  Yeah, two hours, and an uncountable amount of butchered ribbon, went into that bow.  Don't laugh!  I was going to sew buttons onto the middle of the smaller flowers, but after I pinned them into place with my fancy pins, I decided I liked the way it looked and to leave them that way.

I also decided to make her an amigurumi doll of herself.  She is a T-Shirt and jeans sort of woman (a woman after my own heart!), so I kept her clothing simple.  I made her glasses out of jewelery wire and put a few strategic stitches with some grey embroidery floss to keep them on her face.  She actually stands up.  I had meant to take a picture of that, but I ran out of time.  I put wires in the arms to make them poseable as well.  Everyone thought it was a great likeness, and she was happy with it (which was the most important to me)!  We put these together with a card and a gift card to a restaurant and wished her a wonderful retirement.  It was a bit of a sad goodbye for us, but I was happy to give someone a little token of appreciation for the things that they do for our children.  All too often the SEAs and other teacher assistants get overlooked.  I wanted to be sure she felt all her years of service were appreciated, and I think we accomplished that!

Friday, 6 June 2014

The Crochet Crowd Market Bag Challenge: Complete!

Hello there!  How've you been?  Me?  Well, I had been experiencing some technical difficulties which were preventing me from updating my blog, but I am happy to announce that they have been resolved!  Now to get back to sharing the hooky goodness with you!

As many of you know, the wonderful folks at The Crochet Crowd are almost always running one type
of challenge or another.  These challenges give everyone an opportunity to try a pattern maybe they wouldn't have chosen to do on their own, learn a new stitch or technique, use a different type of yarn than you are used to, or simply provide just a fun project to complete along with others.  This month is The Market Bag Challenge.  You can read all about the challenge as well as obtain the link to the free pattern from there. Basically, you don't have to sign up, you just make your bag!  Then you fill out the easy to use form from their website along with a picture of your masterpiece, and presto!  They give away a fabulous Red heart bag filled with yarn and Crochet Crowd swag to one lucky contestant at random.  Do you live in a country that isn't this one but still want to participate?  No problem!  As long as that country is on Earth, you are eligible!  Do you want to use different yarn or a different colour from what is shown on their site?  Also no problem!  In fact, my bag is not made with the yarn that was suggested for the pattern, as I chose to use some yarn from my stash.  Lets talk some more about that yarn!

One of the purposes listed for this challenge was to use thinner than usual yarns.  The yarn suggested was Red Heart Luster Sheen.  I considered picking some up to keep with the spirit of the purpose for the challenge.  However, I felt hungry for colour.  I wanted to make something bright and bold with lots of colour, and the ten shades that this yarn is available in just weren't doing it for me.  Heigh ho, heigh ho, off to my stash I go!  What did I find?  A yummy, luscious skein of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the shade Parrot.  I hadn't ever made anything with this yarn, and to be honest, the yarn itself scared me.  It is beautiful in a skein sitting on the shelf, full of possibility and wonder.  I just wasn't sure that I was the one to turn it into a wonderful yarnwork. It is technically a weight 4 yarn, but the girth varies throughout the skein and for the most part it is very thin.  I won't deny it- I'm a worsted weight sort of hooker.  Give me a skein of Red Heart With Love any day of the week, and you'll make me a happy hooker!  But I wanted to challenge myself a little.  How else can we grow?  So I decided that I would use this for the body of my bag.  I was still a little distrustful of the strength of it though for a bag. I thought that maybe for the base and handles it would be a better idea to use good ol' worsted weight yarn for strength and stability.  
For the base I used Loops & Threads Impeccable in Arbor Rose that I had left over from another project.  The handles I made with Red Heart Soft in Deep Sea.  All my worry was for nothing!  As you can see, my bag turned out beautifully!  Not only is it a pleasure to look upon, but it is functional, and has a fabulous stretch factor too!  For my bag's maiden voyage, I took it yarn shopping!  Just look at all the balls it held!  Honestly, I could have gotten at least six more balls in there!  Now that's a ball sack!  You should really pop by The Crochet Crowd's new site and take a look around.  Mikey has really outdone himself with challenges (there is even a video tutorial for the challenge pattern if you so desire to go that route!), yarn calculators and more!  I adore their site, and was pleasantly surprised last week when they featured my bag on their Facebook page!  Last I looked it had over 5100 likes!  I never dreamed that 5100 people would ever see my work, let alone like it, so a big thanks to them for that boost of warm yarn fuzzies!
"Hey everybody, have you seen my balls?!"