23 November 2010

Wrapping the semester and wrapping up goodies!

I gave my last presentation for a research class last night, which went well. I'm working on the last edits of my thesis and would love to be able to defend in the next couple of weeks, but I dont' know if my committee will have time. Maybe in January!  Then I'll be on the road to my second master's degree in Speech Language Pathology. Then the reeeal world. The scary real world.

Anyway, what have I been crocheting and knitting lately?  How about a visual representation :)

Bears are too cute :) Earflaps just make it better.

 I want to talk in detail about this one. It is made out of a yarn called "bamboospun" that you can get at hobby lobby. This color is "pink camo" and it is SO amazingly soft. Like ridiculously soft. I want to knit everything in bamboo from here on out. And how about the appliqué? I'm thinking of adding some items like this to the shop, and I've been toying with it for a while because it is super cute and I love the mix of materials and methods.

Finally, these gloves. Theeeese gloves. I'm not sure if I've talked about it before, but I'm not the best knitter. I only recently got into it (like the past year or so) and seriously...it is hard to wrap my crocheting brain around. So for me to successfully knit a pair of gloves is HUGE! The cupcake is part knitted and part crocheted. I want to experiment some more with fusion fiber arts and this was great practice.

That's what I've been up to. School is on until the week of December 15th or so.  Hey! If you're a reader, how about a comment? I never know who is reading or if anyone reads :) Give me a comment and let me know if you are a fiber artist, what you do, you can link to your blog or shop or facebook fan page. Are you going black friday shopping? I am and it is my first time going "for real" so I'm kind of excited!

06 November 2010

The big sale was great! staying on task

This week I did a giveaway on my shop for reaching 100 fans on my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bowrene

In addition to that, I ran a 15% off sale that was so great. The orders came pouring in, and I'm so thankful. You have no idea how much this has helped me out. I got to create new designs that I will be adding to the shop soon, and the money I earned will go to our Christmas budget. As some of you may know, I am a graduate student and am currently finishing up my thesis and am teaching an intro course for money. If any of you have had a GTAship before...you know they don't pay much :)  That's why I'm so very thankful for all my facebook support and readers here on the blog.

You may wonder how I balance everything. I will tell you that I have been working on an empirical research study since 2009 and am just finishing up the writing of the stats and the overall analyses of the huge amount of data I collected. It is well over 60 pages at this point and I'm hoping I'm in the final stages of editing so that I can defend this sucker and be done with it! See what happened there? I got off task. That tends to happen when I'm writing. Again...you may wonder how I balance a two-year old, a busy etsy shop and teaching and being a student. This is the secret: http://tomatoi.st  This is a timer for the pomodoro method. What it is is a method where you work for 25 minutes; this is called a "pomodoro". When the timer dings, you must stop, start a "short break" and go do something else--usually I fill my water or tea and bum around on facebook. The timer dings again and you start another pomodoro. You repeat this another couple of times and then you get a long break for 15 minutes. This helps me stay on task and work without distractions but also without getting burned out and frustrated. I mark my pomodoros on a sticky note attached to my monitor and it really helps to watch them build up! I'm obsessed.

Crocheting and knitting--I never have trouble staying on task. I pop in a wonderful Korean drama (http://viikii.net if you're interested) and watch and crochet or knit forever and ever. Crocheting and knitting really are my two passions. I love doing it and am so glad that I get to share what I've made with everyone. Thanks again to all of you.

P.S. The drama I'm currently watching is "Playful Kiss" I want to strangle the main characters, which seems to be a common feeling when I watch Korean dramas, but then I get this weird attachment where I'm happy that they finally end up together :) It also helps improve my Korean. I took 2 classes over the summer and now meet weekly with my Korean teacher for independent lessons. Its a good break from all of my other studies.

Here is what's coming soon to the shop (there's more, but my camera is being a stinker)!

I made a lightbox ^  

02 November 2010

The winners are in!

I recently had a drive for upping my facebook fan count. My goal was 100 fans and we exceeded it by ten wahoo!  The incentive was that I would give away one of these:

Chocolate Mod Ribbed Newsboy Wood Buttons

I used a random name chooser to choose ONE lucky winner from all of my facebook fans.

The lucky winner is

Emely W.!

If you are the lucky winner, send me a convo on etsy telling me what size this hat will be! :)

THAT'S NOT ALL (wow I feel like I'm in an infomercial)  I have decided to give away TWO runner-up prizes and drew two more names:

Julie G. and Stephanie V.  you have won the super secret mystery prizes! I will make you an adult or child sized hat. Just convo me on etsy and let me know what size and gender I am making a hat for!

For all my winners: Be sure to convo me your address as well. If you are new to etsy, feel free to email me at bowrene@gmail.com

Thanks to all my fans, we will do more fun stuff soon! How does a sale sound to you? :)

15 October 2010

What on earth have I been doing?

welllll here are some photos to show you!
This is a hat I made for my niece, its a cupcake with a cherry on top!
This is  a looovely Jack Skellington hat I made for an awesome little boy
Theeeese are matching mother and daughter hats. I'm planning on starting up a little line within my etsy shop called "just between us girls" that features matching mother and daughter hats. I love these, they are ribbed and super stretchy. I also am a huge fan of black/pink as a color combo.
Who doesn't love foofa?
and where there's foofa there must be a broooobee! brobee rocks! These horns were removable! The one in my shop I think will be sewn on, though. The horns on this one have buttons on the bottom that button anywhere into the double crocheted hat. I'm thinking of writing up my simple beanie pattern. Its tried and true and I need to share it with the world.

Let me know what you think of all my projects! I'm trying to get 100 fans on my facebook page and then I"ll do a giveaway of a free newsboy! http://facebook.com/bowrene

I'm more active on there than on here, but I swear I'm not annoying. Sometimes I fan things and then the admins are posting asinine information that is not even relevant to the product. You won't get that from me. 

I'm interested in expanding my products in shop. What kind of hat do you want? I'm thinking some saggy berets for adults. What do you think?

26 August 2010

Destashing Part 1

Ok, as promised I wrote up my new pattern yesterday. It is available in the shop, but I am looking for testers so if you're interested let me know and I'll send it your way!

Here is a picture of the destash hat that I wrote the pattern for and it is available in the shop as well. I used a closure method that is usually used in knitting, but I really like it and used it here! You just pull up long threads of yarn and then weave them in and out of all the stitches and then pull and tie to close up the hat. Its so much easier than all of that increasing and decreasing!

Ignore my tired face, its been a long first full week back at school. I wanted something really fall-y and I happened to have some old orange and brown acrylic. I am really partial to the ripple stitch, and I'm sad that I haven't sold more in my shop. This scarf is one that I'm especially partial to.

Anywho, more to come soon, I swear! :) saludos.

25 August 2010

I suck, again. :)

Is anybody out there? Hellooooooooo?

Sorry, I've been really busy and therefore had not been crafting until recently! I stumbled upon this awesome yarn at wal-mart/hobby lobby. Its lionbrand "hometown" usa yarn and it is huge and chunky and awesome!

I can whip up hats in no time! Right now I'm making a cowl out of the lovely orange. I actually got it on closeout at Wally World because they discontinued some of the colors (NO IDEA why)

Anyway, here are some pictures of what I've done with it:

My standard newsboy:

Chunky Newsboy Hat for Toddlers and Adults

Simple Beanies:

Chunky Simple Beanies For Toddlers Children and Adults

The yarn is wonderful to work with, and the colors are so bright and cute! I really would like to go nuts and buy up all the colors, but I'm currently in destashing mode.

Coming soon, a ripple hat pattern that will be available soon! The hat will also be featured in my Etsy shop. I've been cooking up a storm lately, so maybe I will throw some of that in soon as well as some of the things I"ve whipped up with my NEW sewing machine (from craigslist :))

08 February 2010

I did it! And success!

I knitted a whole sock. It is red. I used this pattern: http://mary4169.tripod.com/Easy_Worsted_Socks.pdf

Now, I am told that knitting socks is difficult and not for beginners, and it was difficult, but not anything I couldn't handle. I don't know if I should attribute this to my ability to read crocheting patterns and experience with other fiber arts, or if it genuinely is easy for everyone starting out knitting. Maybe you, my readers, can let me know! I still have to knit the other one...but I'm running out of red yarn--so I think I will make it half red/half navy blue to match my Kansas University! Rock Chalk!  Matching socks is not a priority in my life anyway.

I used to really hate knitting and couldn't relax while doing it, but here I am and I obsessively knitted on this sock until is was done and I actually enjoyed it! The only bad thing about making socks is----making the other one to match. By "match" I mean be the same size. If matching color isn't my priority, matching size probably should be, right?  Let me know about your sock experiences. I'm also looking for recommendations on types of sock yarn! We dont' make socks much in crocheting, so this whole sock yarn thing is a new experience and I am once again a virgin to the ways of the yarn!

Thanks for reading!

17 January 2010

Fiber arts on the big screen and small screen

I want to do a little series once a week or so on knitting and crocheting (and other fiber arts) in film and tv. I always chuckle when I see it because some actresses really ARE knitting or crocheting and that really makes me smile. Then others are doing a weird imitation.....and its HILARIOUS.

I want to start with I <3 Huckabee's Lily Tomlin really is knitting in this movie:

Here is the trailer, if you haven't seen the movie (I highly recommend it if you like silly artsy movies with Jason Schwartzman!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-t2s0IlVm8

I can't seem to locate a ready made picture of Lily Tomlin actually doing the knitting, and for that I am sorry :( booo. However, see for yourself and let me know if you think she's the real deal!

14 January 2010

Care of your Crocheted Items!

So you've crocheted something or purchased something crocheted or knitted...but how do you care for it?

Personal Preference

Spot clean when possible. Just use a damp clean white cloth to dab at the fibers and allow to air dry. If you must wash the item, hand wash it according to the fiber recommendations (discussed in a minute!). Usually I always use cold if that will get the stain out or dirt out and then lay in the sun to dry (the sun does WONDERS for stains from tomatoes and other stains). With square items, you may have to mold them into place with your hands and pin them to a towel to make them retain their shape. This is called "blocking" and I will cover this in the future.

Machine Washing

I have washed my crocheted items in the washing machine on the delicate cycle in cold water with a light detergent. My tip for doing this *don't care if the item is unraveled and destroyed*  This is not very helpful at all, I know, but if you want to wash an item in your washing machine, you have to accept that the item may get destroyed. I would wash my handmade dish towels in the washer just like any other garment, but I might be more careful with an afghan. Discretion is key.

When in doubt

Read or look up the care label for the yarn that your item is made from. If you get your item from me, just let me know you need help and I will be happy to advise you on the care of your garment.

I hope this post is informative and if you have further questions PLEASE! let me know in the comments!

Happy crocheting!

08 January 2010

Back and Forth

I'm so weird. I have no problem cranking out orders in a couple of hours the day that I get them. When I'm working on something for my family or more specifically for ME I blow it off and can't seem to get as much done. I only added 2 inches to the world's ugliest afghan yesterday, which got rid of a good chunk of yarn, because each row is about 8 feet long. I need to work on this afghan to make room in my house. We've done a huge shifting of stuff in the last few months and my yarn lost its nook. So now it is stored in a huge rubbermaid tote in my bedroom. I want that to not happen anymore and am seeking solutions! If you have any suggestions on how to store yarn, let me know. These are a few things I've been looking at:

Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering News has these suggestions for storing yarn, but they seem to work best if you actually have a craft room, which I don't. I LOVE the wine rack idea, but it would not last long for me, because I'm a yarn-a-holic.

Chica & Jo suggest using shoe storage solutions for yarn and I love this idea as well. It would be probably a better idea for me.

I'm thinking I want some sort of cubby hole set up that I could maybe hang a decorative fabric over to cover the wide array of clashing colors that i have. Something like this?

Its WAY out of my price range, but I would like to explore similar options. Leave me a comment and let me know how you store your yarn! Low budget tips especially!

07 January 2010

Ugliest Afghan!

Most crocheters and knitters know that when you take part in this sort of hobby, you will have LOTS of leftover yarn and nothing to do with it. You can do many things with your leftover scraps like granny squares like on the back of Roseanne's couch:

The granny square is quite easy and is actually the first thing I learned how to do at age 9! They are worked in the round in almost a checkerboard pattern. There are really easy patterns all over online for free!

Another thing you can do with your scraps is to make amigurumi animals:

Another afghan or scrapghan that many people make is a ripple afghan:

These LOOK difficult, but are actually quite simple. It is a matter of strategically skipping stitches and doubling stitches. I made a ripple scarf last winter, but maybe I'm the only one that loves it, because it has not sold!

Scarf--Chocolate Ripple

All of these ideas are great ways to get rid of scraps; however, I did not go any of these routes 5 years ago. Yes, 5 years ago I decided to destash and started double crocheting with 3 strands held together using a J hook. I have been adding to this blanket for 5 years now. It is currently around 8 feet wide and 4 feet long and getting longer all the way! I added about 6 inches yesterday. Now...this could have been done probably in a more pretty fashion...but I really love the random mixing of the colors! Sorry the pictures are so terrible, but I have camera issues at the moment. BOO!

02 January 2010

PHEW! Big day!

I wrote a pattern for this little guy ^ today! I'm looking for testers if you're interested let me know! It will be your chance to try out my pattern, give me feedback, let me know if it works before it goes live on etsy! I'm really nervous because most of the patterns I used were usually vintage, so I'm not sure if things are still written like that anymore. Please reply if you would like to try my pattern out. I'm letting it rest for tonight, but plan to revisit it tomorrow and should be able to email it to you in pdf form.

Pattern writing is much more difficult than I ever imagined. I really respect the artists that do this all the time! Hopefully this is the start of something for me. For one thing, it will be so much easier to send the pattern via email. When I make items, I take them and my toddler across town to ship them, which isn't a problem, I love doing it, but the appeal of a point and click delivery is what drove my motivation today! :)

Again, let me know if you want to give the pattern a try for me, but please only serious responses, as I would like to have your responses as soon as possible. This dino takes me about 2 hours to make, but I would think with a pattern it would go much faster!

Happy crocheting!