Saturday, February 27, 2010

There's a Silver Lining in Every Bag

I really need to get going on lining some of my bags. Since I posted a couple weeks ago, I've done zilch on the sewing front.  I'd much rather crochet than sew. The end.  However, some comments on my previous rant  blog post about my pile-o-poo sewing machine by the VERY informative Karen has prompted me to put the pedal to the metal, as it were.  Wait- let's pause right here- go read her comments- don't worry I'll wait.

*dumdedumdedum.....I need to do laundry....and clean the kitchen....I hope those folks hurry up.....I wish my nose would stop running....whoo- I really shouldn't have eaten those peppers for lunch today......*  

Oh good! You're back!

How awesome was that?? Thank you so much Karen!! (Btw- Karen belongs to a group called The Hat Ladies who make and donate hats to cancer patients in Corona, California.  If you have time, send a couple hats their way!)
(ETA: Karen now has a blog!  Check her out at http://artfulcrafts-karen.blogspot.com/ )

I really wish that I had access to all that information a long time ago!  However, the good news is that I got a new machine for the New Year.  My hubby was very sympathetic to my frustrations with my other turd pile machine and got me a FANTASTIC Brother XR-9000.  It's a digital machine and has 120+ decorative stitches PLUS a font stitch. (It was on sale at Costco- they will sometimes have a $30 coupon in their mailers- check it out.)  I've used it once to line a Watermelon Tote last month and I had absolutely no issues with it. I actually, dare I say it, ENJOYED sewing with it.  It's smooth, quiet, and, best of all, it doesn't gobble my thread.  (You can actually see it behind my shoulder in my Watermelon Hat pattern video which will be posted either tonight or tomorrow- yay!)

My old nemesis machine is a Singer 2932.  AFTER I bought and fought with this machine, I found these reviews from Joanns and these ones from Amazon and couldn't help feeling a little vindicated.  It wasn't just operator error!  I knew that I wasn't all that incompetent.  I read my manual and had tried changing needles and adjusting the bobbin tension and even maneuvering the needle by hand with the wheel. Nothing.worked.  

I know that it's because of my very negative experience with my old sewer reject machine that I've been a little gun shy to really have a go with my new one.  My Brother seems just too good to be true.  However, I do have to get going. I have another Watermelon Tote to line, my Traveling Turtle Bag, the companion Turtle Handbag, the Not Quite Mitered bag, and, this- my Purple Haze Traveling Bag.  

purple haze

ACK!!  I LOVE IT!!!  I couldn't find the right handles for it for ages, which truly is the main reason I've not lined it yet.  However, I was rummaging around the Good Will and found the *perfect* pair this week.  So, hopefully I'll be able to get some lining accomplished this weekend.  I really want to finish it very soon.  The Traveling Turtle Bag is an overnight sized bag.  This one is more like a long weekend sized.  It's freakin' huge.  And I love it.  (ETA: I was writing up the pattern to this bag as I was crocheting it, so the pattern should be up relatively soon...part of my New Year's Resolutions list thingy.)

So, thank you again, Karen, for both your wealth of knowledge and for giving me the push I needed to get back on the horse sewing-wise. It is very much appreciated!

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Cabernet Sort of Day

So today was a Cabernet sort of day.  I've got a cold. Or, perhaps I'm suffering from allergies...I don't really know what the differences are between the two.  All I know is that I've been sniffling for the past couple days and not hacking up a lung, so I guess I'm quasi allergic to snot. Well, I decided to be a trooper and go to work instead of calling in sick and petting my yarn stash. (I really do need to take a picture (or 5) of my stash(es) that are strewn across my ever so tidy house.  Yes....it's very tidy....keep believing that....)


Anyway, I was rewarded for my good work ethic (or my morbid desire to spread germs far and wide- if I've got to suffer, then EVERYONE has got to suffer!!!  muahahahahahahaha!!!!), by having one of the craziest days I've ever had at this particular job.  It was nuts.  I really wanted to come home at a decent hour and change into my heels and pearls and make a very tasty dinner for my beloved hubby who would then reward me with lots of loving hugs (but not kisses since I'm sick and he's a freak germ-a-phobe) and praise for being the bestest wife in the whole world.  Instead, I left work 2 hours late and was starving and had no desire to delay my rabid devouring of anything eatable by even a minute- especially if that minute included slaving in front of a stove just to be air-kissed by my favorite person in the world.  Just a little FYI- I go through a Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde transformation if it’s late in the afternoon or early evening and I’m hungry. Seriously- it’s kinda scary. Throw in "tired" along with "hungry" and you had better head for the hills with your garlic and crosses.


ANYWAY, my hubby knows this.  He's lived with me long enough to know that when I vent at 300 wpm with a few "GAH!" and "ARGH!!!" thrown in the mix, then it's his turn to be the loving spouse and basically give me whatever it is I want.  He's a very smart cookie, that hubby of mine.  Or, at least he has a very strong will to live.  One of the two.


So,  I got to have a very simple, yet tasty and European, dinner of Baguette and Brie with some shrimp and cocktail sauce on the side, as well as a healthy dose of Cabernet Sauvignon and I'm finally feeling.......pretty darned good, actually.....teehee!


In addition to my no-cook dinner, my hubby has placated me by finishing one of my videos. YAY!  So, it is now "publishing" and will hopefully be youtube ready later tonight.  So, Cool Him (and Scared for His Life Him) ended up pulling through for me and, subsequently, for all of you.  He truly is a smart cookie.  (And he has a cute butt.) I knew I married him for a reason.


Hey garcon!  More vino for table 1!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Home Alone With Watermelons and Pixels

Yayayay! I had the day off yesterday which was AWESOME. It was awesome, my friends, because I was home....ALONE! Woot! No cabin feverish hubby or chattering sis to interrupt me. Oh, don't get me wrong- I love them both to bits, but sometimes you just gotta have alone time where you don't have to worry 'bout nothin' and nobody. Just hang out with yourself. I missed me. I'm pretty cool.

So, how did I utilize my precious day alone? I spent a full day in Crochet Nirvana and was able to cross some items off of my New Year's Resolution list. Or, at least my imaginary list- the list I would have made had I really made New Year's Resolutions. The list Cool Me probably made. Dang- I wish I was more like her.

Get this........I know many folks have been waiting for this........so I won't delay this announcement any longer..........it's really awesome...........are you sitting down??  I wrote up my Winter Watermelon Hat pattern! GAH!! FINALLY. So now you don't have to keep asking/inquiring/pestering/demanding for the pattern!! It's here!

watermelon hat collection

This is the 3rd time I've made it. The first pink one is my sister’s, but it wasn’t quite long enough and felt just a mite loose. The second one is mine, but it felt a little imbalanced and was too tight in the crown. What these hat qualities may say about their respective owners is purely conjecture.

Watermelon hat vs.2
 
In addition to the hat, I recorded not one, but TWO video tutorials! The first goes along with the hat pattern. In one amazing video, you will learn how to do a Magic Loop, how to fl/bl crochet in the round with increases AND decreases, how to switch colors in the round, AND how to do beaded crochet IN.THE.ROUND. (which is actually different than the beaded crochet for the matching scarf). All this for the low introductory price of $19.99! What?!? That's an amazing offer! But, if you call now, Cool Me will let you have it for absolutely FREE. (Dang, Cool Me has no business sense.)

The second video is....drum roll please.....How to Change Colors with Tunisian Crochet. WHAT?!?! Oh yeah baby! Cool Me has got your back. I've been bombarded with requests for information on this topic. I had recorded a video eons ago but had to reshoot a portion of it, so Procrastinator Me (not too fond of her) left it on the pile of WIPs and never finished it. So, Cool Me had to come and take over- I reshot the entire video yesterday. You'll learn not only how to do color changes correctly, but you'll also see THE Map of my Super Mario Blanket, as well as 2 pictures with sketches that I used for 2 panels. What the what?!? Yep. Cool Me is letting you catch a glimpse of my creative process. I love that girl.

The videos will be up in the next day or two- my hubby will be editing them so, hopefully the Cool Him will hurry the heck up.

Now, for the pattern!
Video Tutorial found here.

Winter Watermelon Hat Pattern
By: Gege Crochet


MATERIALS
  • Green WW yarn- not a whole lot- maybe an ounce
  • White WW yarn- ditto
  • Red or pink WW yarn- a little bit more...maybe 2 ounces
  • Size 5.5 mm (U.S. I/10) crochet hook
  • Yarn or tapestry needle for beading yarn and finishing
  • 24 black pony beads

GAUGE
Not important

NOTE:
  • Chain 2 counts as half double crochet.
  • To change colors, work hdc until 3 loops are on hook, yo with new color and draw through all three loops
  • repeat instructions between asterisks as many times as directed

ABBREVIATIONS & TERMS
  • ch = chain
  • bl = back loop
  • fl = front loop
  • hdc = half double crochet
  • hdc dec = half double crochet decrease ([Yo, insert hook in next st, yo, draw lp through] twice, yo, draw through all 5 lps on hook.)
  • blhdc = back loop half double crochet
  • flhdc = front loop half double crochet
  • B-blhdc = beaded back loop half double crochet (yo, slide bead, insert into st indicated, finish hdc)
  • B-flhdc = beaded front loop half double crochet
  • ss = slip stitch
  • yo = yarn over


Ch4, join with ss.

Round 1: Ch2. 11hdc in ring

Round 2:
Ch2 (counts as first hdc) blhdc same st.
(Flhdc, blhdc) in each stitch around. Join in bl of ch2. 24 hdc including initial ch2

Round 3: ch 2. Flhdc same st
*Blhdc next st. (Flhdc, blhdc) next st. Flhdc next st. (Blhdc, flhdc) next st. Repeat from * 5 times omitting last (blhdc, flhdc) join w/ss in bl of ch 2 36 hdc

Row 4: Ch 2. Flhdc same st. *Blhdc, flhdc next 2 st, (blhdc, flhdc) next st. Repeat from * 11 times omitting last (blhdc, flhdc). Join w/ss in bl of ch2. 48 hdc

Round 5: ch 2. Flhdc same st. * Blhdc, flhdc, blhdc next 3 st. (flhdc, blhdc) next st. Flhdc, blhdc, flhdc next 3 st. (blhdc, flhdc) next st. Repeat from * 5 more times omitting last (blhdc, flhdc). Join w/ss to bl of ch 2. 60 hdc

Round 6: Ch 2. Flhdc same st. * Alternate Blhdc, flhdc next 4 st. (blhdc, flhdc) next st. Repeat from * 11 more times omitting last (blhdc, flhdc). Join w/ss to fl of ch2. 72hdc.

Round 7: ch 2. Blhdc next st then alternate flhdc, bldhdc around ending with blhdc in last st. Join w/ss in bl of ch2

Round 8: Ch2 flhdc next st then alternate blhdc, flhdc around ending with flhdc in last st.

Finish off green and change to white. Join w/ss in fl of ch 2.

Round 9: repeat round 7

Round 10: repeat round 8. Load 24 beads onto pink. Finish off white and change to pink. Join w/ss to fl of ch2.

Round 11: repeat round 7.

Round 12: ch 2. Flhdc, blhdc, flhdc next 3 st. *B-blhdc next st. Alternate flhdc, blhdc next 11 st. Repeat from * 4 more times. B-blhdc next st. Alternate Flhdc, blhdc, next 7 st ending with flhdc. Join w/ss in fl in ch2.

Round 13: repeat round 7

Round 14: ch 2. (Flhdc, blhdc) 4 tines, *B-flhdc next st, alternate blhdc, flhdc next 11 st. Repeat from * 4 times.
B-flhdc, blhdc, flhdc next 3 st. Join w/ss fl of ch 3.

Round 15: ch2 blhdc, flhdc, blhdc next 3 st. * hdc decrease in next 2 fl and bl. Alternate flhdc and blhdc next 4 st.
Repeat from * around. Join w/ss in bl of ch2. 60 hdc

Round 16: ch2 flhdc next st. *B-blhdc next st. Alternate flhdc, blhdc next 9 st. Repeat from * around. Join w/ss in fl of ch2

Round 17: repeat round 7

Round 18: ch 2. Alternate flhdc, blhdc over next 5 st. *B-blhdc next st. Alternate flhdc, blhdc over next 9 st. Repeat from * 4 times B-blhdc, flhdc, blhdc, flhdc. Join w/ss in fl on ch2.

Round 19: repeat round 7. Join w/ss to ch 2. Fasten off pink and weave in ends.


Watermelon hat vs.2

Copyright 2010 Geraldine Lemay of Gege Crochet. All rights reserved. Pattern available for personal use only- please don't sell it- that's just not cool. Please don't post this pattern anywhere- you can provide a link back to here, though.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Super Mario Blanket Love on the Interwebs

Last year at this time, I was spending 8-12 hours a day (yes, seriously) sitting on my ever expanding rear end watching Gilmore Girls and Avatar: The Last Airbender while obsessively creating my surprisingly popular Mario Blanket.  I really can't believe it's been a year- 2009, I hardly knew thee.  

It's been amazing to see where this thing has ended up.  I posted it on Crochetville first.  Then, over at Craftster.  (Btw- I am a Best of Craftster 2009 winner!) That's where it got a life of it's own.  Boing Boing picked it up and then it exploded all over the place.  I also listed it on my Ravelry page (user name: Gege.....duh).  I listed it at the end of March and found out that the deadline for nominations for the Bobby Awards was April 1.  At the time, I had no idea what the heck the Bobby awards were, but here we are nearly a year later and I find that I've been nominated in not one, but TWO categories!  Geekiest Pattern and Best Personal Pattern Project.  If you are on Ravelry, please be sure to vote for my blanket- voting closes Monday. :)  Thank you to everyone who nominated me and to those of you who have voted. It truly is such an honor to be nominated. (But, dang, it sure would be better to WIN! Just keeping it real, folks.)

In addition to the numerous tweets and wists, here's a list of a various websites/blogs on which I've seen it posted. Since many sites will show a picture of the blanket and not provide a link to my blog, I wasted my entire evening and googled myself and this blanket obsessively for hours. If you found it on another site, let me know!

Boing Boing
WiiNintendo
Sprite Stitch  (I had posted it in the forums first)
ThreadBanger
RugRag  
FaveCraftsBlog
EpicWinFTW  
Slash Gamer 
I-am-bored
ibored
Geek Central Station 
Craftster Manic Monday
GeekSpective 
1nation 
CraftyCrafty
I Am The Manta
Nerdism Is Sexy
Technabob (though not the blanket...it's for my Princess Scarf, which is pretty awesome in and of itself, but.....hello!? Did you not see this crazy awesome blanket?? Gosh!) (/Napoleonic (Dynamite) rant)
Geeks With Issues 
GoNintendo
That Girl's Site  

It was also in the Official Nintendo Magazine (UK) Fan Art section in May/June 2009 and someone mentioned they saw it in NGamer, as well (it would have been nice to have been notified about these things so I could have gotten a copy.....) 

Thanks for all the comments, compliments and overall geek love for my work.  It truly has been amazing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Win Win Win!

Today was a great day. We've been snowed in for quite a while now due to the insane amount of snow that has blanketed the east coast. Let me rephrase that- my husband has been snowed in due to the snow. He's been home since the storms (yes, plural) started last Friday. I, on the other hand, have a 4-wheel drive SUV (don't judge me) and work at a place that scoffs at the notion of blizzard-like conditions.

This is me last Saturday. We got over 3 feet of snow total this week.


While dear hubby was at home bemoaning the woes of acute cabin fever, I was traversing the land risking life and limb to bring home the bacon. I am a Nutritionist. I actually like my job and am very appreciative to have employment right now. However, I am not an essential employee- I'm pretty sure folks will survive The Blizzard of 2010 without their Nutritionist telling them to not eat yellow snow.


Again, I'm very thankful for my job. However, I would have loved to have had a week off to work on my projects. I have a whole heck of a lot of ideas to get out of my head and fleshed out into yarn-y goodness or actually onto paper and not a whole lot of time to do it in. I've been promising some patterns for months now and am ashamed that I've not followed through in a timely manner. Sure, I have provided some free patterns (minus the Watermelon Hat pattern- seriously, it is coming!), but the ones that I am going to offer for sale have to be tested and edited and otherwise prettified for public consumption. It's so easy to make one thing once- it's not so easy for me to write it down while I'm making it and then making it again to make sure I wrote it down correctly.

HOWEVER. I am getting it done. For example, I promised a while back that my Watermelon Tote Bag pattern was going to be posted. I worked on the second bag this summer so that I could write down the pattern. This is a pic of me at Summer Camp at the end of June working on it.



I FINALLY finished the purse a month ago because I received an order for it. I have the pattern written down and am making it a third time just to get pictures to accompany the pattern. Looky- here's a screen cap (not final product):



See! New Years resolution WIN! I hope to have the pattern completed this week. I have a few more pictures to take and then off to Etsy it goes!

Now, getting back to my opening line of "Today was a great day." You see, I really wanted to stay home today so that I could finish my pattern as well as work on the Turtle Bag pattern (I'm making the second bag now). However, my hubby truly was about to die from cabin fever (mainly because I was about to kill him for interrupting me the umpteenth time to tell me how bored he is). He wanted to go skiing or see a movie or go on a road trip or
anything that got him out of the house. So, I, being the brilliant lass that I am, suggested driving to the nearest Hobby Lobby.....which is an hour and 20 minutes away. COMPROMISE WIN!

While he did the driving (I did enough this past week, thank you very much), I was able to work on my Turtle Bag. Then, we got to do some retail therapy at one of the best stores in the world. I scored some yummy cotton yarn on clearance- win again! I then used said yarn to work on a bag concept I've had tumbling through my head for a while. Another win! We hit a couple other stores that were in the area (including a Joanns and AC Moore!) and then ate dinner at Carrabbas. So, I got to work on some crochet, bought some yarn and other crafty goodies, placated my hubby's need for freedom, AND had a date all in the same day! WIN WIN WIN!

Hey Vancouver- where's my gold medal?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Year, New Beginnings

Hello to all the peoples in the world(s). Wow. What an insane few months this has been. Heck, what an insane week it has been! I live outside of the DC metro area so I've been basically snowed in since the weekend. Sure, there's a butt load of snow out there now (we got 30 inches on Saturday) and even more coming tonight/tomorrow (another foot in the forecast), but I can't complain. It sure makes for great crafting time!

I know that I've been MIA lately. I'd love to say that I had a fabulous Christmas and New Years and that everything has just been feasting and fun. Unfortunately, that was not the case for me. Unfortunately, we had a loss in our family, so 2009 ended with a lot of dread for the inevitable and 2010 began with the fulfillment of that dread. It's been a really tough few months.

I think one of the ways I coped in these last few months was by letting my creative juices flow. And, man!
I have been busy! I have 4 new bags (all new designs) to line. One is my Traveling Turtle Bag.


For the picture, I just pinned on the straps, stuffed it full of yarn to give it some heft, and pinned it close. That's my sis modeling it- she got stuck by the pins- hee! I have a fabulous fabric with which to line it and I'm adding a zipper. I had a few motifs left over from this bag (it was going to be ginormous!) so I made a Turtle Handbag, as well (one of the 4 awaiting to be lined). As soon as I type up this pattern, I'll be offering it on Etsy.





Another bag I've designed is the Not Quite Mitered bag. I have the fabric for this one, but can't locate the perfect handles.....soon, my pretty.....soon. This one was actually done with tunisian crochet. People have asked how I come up with designs- I'll be blogging about that soon with this project as the example. I LOVE this bag.



Another bag is called Purple Haze- it's a great travel bag and is rather large. I actually just felted it today, so I'll have pics of that beauty very soon.

In addition to the bags, I've been working on some hats. I made another cat-eared hat.

This one is called Holy Eartha Kitt Batman! I'll be writing this one up, too.










Next, I have a Pixie hat that I had mentioned a few months ago. I got this beautiful purple yarn as a mill end at AC Moore. I have no idea what it is, but I have 4 pounds of it. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I made it into a scarf from my Pinky LaRue pattern- it was awesome! …..Until I tried it on. It must have wool from a porcupine in it. The most uncomfortable scarf IN THE WORLD! However, when I made it into this hat, it was bearable. I wanted a pixie hat with a scarf/tie on it, but that will be the next one I make with a more comfortable yarn. I really did love how this pattern came out, though.

Now to make a Purple Porcupine purse…….hmmm…..


This one is the Not Quite Mitered Hat. I wore it to AC Moore and a lady would not stop staring at my head. She asked if it was handmade and if so, if someone made it for me.....harumph! She knits and crochets but couldn't figure out how I did it. It was quite creepy, really. Yet, strangely a nice ego boost at the same time....ha!








I made a peppermint hat, too, and will have the pattern's minty goodness up soon.










Also, I'm working on a SMB themed hat, as well. Very fun!! In addition to these projects, I've made my Pinky LaRue scarf 4 more times- one for my sis (she felted the nice pink one I made earlier), one for my friend, one for my mom, and one for me. YAYAYAY!

SO, as you can see, I've been a busy little bee. One of my New Years resolutions has been to actually write down my patterns. I love creating all these loverlies, but it's a pain in the butt to write and test the patterns!! But, Ima gonna do it!!

Ok, that's enough updating for now. Even though 2009 ended quite suckily and 2010 didn't get off to the greatest start for me, I'm a natural optimist, so, here's to an amazing new year and new decade!!

Peace out homies.