Pattern Roundup

Here we go again with another pattern roundup for everyone.  This time I let random rule the searches and have been able to find quite a few cute patterns.  Once again, I’ll try to keep the ones you have to pay for down to one or two and keep the rest free, but we’ll see what happens.  You may end up with more bookmarks today.

First off under crocheting we have a rather cheeky gift for that friend of yours with chickens or ducks.  Ladies and gents an Egg gathering apron.

From Designer Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby we have a gorgeous throw.  It’s an updated feel to an older doilie design. Nothing wrong with that, in fact that’s where two of my favorite patterns come is updated doilie patterns.  Okay enough teasing, here’s the Mandala Throw, a free pattern.

Since we’re doing a quickie swing through of cheekiness check out these two free Halloween themed patterns in crocheting from Red Heart.  A Top Hat for the Mad Hatter in your family and what’s a costume pattern without a well dressed Pirate Wench.

Oooohhhh Halloween.  As you can guess, it is one of my favorite times of the year though here in Arizona it’s still too hot to wear capes in the daytime and most nights for that matter so dressing witchy and not getting weird looks for it has been shall we say…updated a bit.  For some spooky decor for your Halloween season why not let the Eyes have it? A rather well done, though not free pattern from the lovely Darleen Hopkins is sure to make an excellent gift pattern to the more quirky of your crocheting friends.

Well since we’re bouncing around inside of Halloween theme at the moment, how’s about a knit Witch’s Hat Cozy for your teapot?  Another pattern for the favorite’s list!

Say it’s a might chilly out this coming Halloween.  For those of you with a bit more experience in following knit patterns, this adorable Skull and Hearts cap for free just might fit the bill.

Now how about some dragons? Or snakes?  Or just a nifty tutorial on how to add scales to your knitting?  Heh, knew that would get some of you to pay attention.

And let’s not forget some classics like “Are you my Mummy?”, “How much is the Doll in the window?” or “You’re our only Hope.”  Just be sure to watch out for the big bad wolf  this year Little Red.

Now some of you may be wondering why I would link to some patterns you have to pay for.  Well I have three criteria that I use for linking to such.

  1.  It’s under six dollars.
  2. It’s the actual designer and the links I find go directly back to them.
  3. There’s a good chance that these patterns are that little extra keeping the power on, the rent paid and chickens fed.

Every little thing helps and it encourages the designer to keep working on new designs.  And all crafting people, love new designs.

 

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Making choices for a better future

It does not boil down to having time for parties, vacations etc, political elections (you’re gonna get screwed somehow regardless of who gets it, sorry).

Those things should only be something you experience wildly when in your early 20’s.  After that, parties and hanging out should be good or new friends in new areas and starting spend quality time with people who don’t make you think in the back of your head “Yeap, you’re zombie bait” or make your teeth grind from jaw clenching.

Facebook and Google + and Tumbler and etc etc etc are one thing.  Yes they can link you up with folks who are similar to you, but they can’t replace the occasional hangout. They can’t replace having someone you love home for part of the day and in the bed next to you.

It means making choices that while you hate making because they cause you minor inconvenience now but pay off later.  Take Jade Rose Zen ThreadWorks for instance. I did a lot of work in the first few years taking a lot of custom orders that were awkward to make at best and had buyers back out on a few big ones.  It’s annoying when you make a product but don’t stick to a niche.

Finding a niche has been extremely had for me actually, but I think I have it narrowed down.  I love making the toys, so that stays and they go over well.  I love making the shawls, they don’t sell as well as the toys but I can honestly say, I have unique shawls and those that are owned by several folks have gone over incredibly well.  They stay.  Then there’s bags.  I had gotten away from making those as the ones I thought were going to go over well, weren’t really.  It was the more eye catching tote bags and messenger bags that are really liked and appreciated. So I’ll probably stick with those and have the smaller bags for craft shows.

Then there’s the coats, which are really starting to come into their own.  I enjoy making them and I’m having fun experimenting with the different stitches and colors to really make them start popping.  Those’ll be staying too.  There’s the cloches which I love making and they are enjoyed by everyone who owns one.  Those stay.  I have the neck scarves that incredibly simple but chic (basically mini shawls) and then I’ll have two new things.

Krazy Kolored Kaps, short just over the ear tips scrap yarn hats done in about three different stitch designs for folks who’ve got friends in chemo.  Some folks get really cold in chemo, though I’m aware of at least two people who were always too hot. And, baby gift sets.  These’ll be a couple times a year thing and have : Two baby blankets, baby hats, booties, washcloth set of three, two bibs and one toy.

I’m thinking about not taking customs anymore unless I’ve done business with them before and I know they won’t bitch about paying me half up front.

In relation to JRZT updates, I’m working on getting through all of my yarn stores.  After I’ve got them used up, I’m going to be organizing the stocks into two categories.  One’s that will be listed on the shop and others that will go into a tub for random road booths and a sign that says $5-10-15-20 bucks for anything in the tub, depending on what it is.  Obviously some of the bigger things will be more expensive, and store stock will taken with when I do those things but things like the pineapples shawls are over 150 bucks (the really lacy ones anyways).  Those may not sell but ya never know.

Once the stock has been sorted and such, I’ll be actually working on sorting my yarn “buckets” (fabric drawers that I store ongoing projects in) by size so that I can keep bigger yarn things in the bigger ones, etc.  Then it’ll be time to buy more yarn and keep it carefully separated.  Scraps will be set aside for some very specific projects which are still currently top secret.  Sowwy.

I plan replacing one of my yarn storage units.  It’s starting sag a bit (It’s an old bookshelf) and we’ve found better shelves that take to organizing things as capricious as what yarn can be.  Replacing it with two newer shelf units will be a piece of cake.  The single unit that will be remaining, I’m going to be converting over to prep space.

I’ve been doing a lot of research this winter when bored and have found a few sources of wild edibles that be harvest. Mainly Desert Hackberry and Prickly Pear Cactus.  The goal this summer is to make space so that I can pressure can about half a dozen jars of Prickly Pear Cactus fruits.  Most like 3 syrups and 3 jams.  I know, omg what a huge amount…. well in this home we don’t use a lot of syrups or jams.  3 jars of each will last us a really long time.

I’m planning on canning salsa from the Cherokee Purple plant I just planted yesterday, the green onions, the jalepeno’s and the basil.  Should make for an excellent blend (though because I grew them I imagine they’ll taste better).  At the most we’ll get maybe four jars though, considering DR and I both love picking a tomato straight off the vine, taking a bite and lightly salting it and a tomato-cide ensues.

I’m planning on hitting the farmer’s markets and snagging whatever vegetable deals I can and doing a batch of vegetable chicken soup. I’m planning on Beef stew and at least one other thing.  My goal is to have 30 jars of canned goods, made by me.

See I grew up with my mom canning and while that means giving up yarn space, it’s actually not that horrible because I’ll be going to doing and practicing skills that will come handy.  Given the number of things I can can, it’ll free up more space in the freezer and it’ll help with the grocery bill in the future.

Many of the things we want to do, mean making small sacrifices on things we enjoy doing now so that once we get moved into a bigger place, we start bringing back a little bit more of the older habits (like a space for my sewing with a dedicated fabric cabinet, a dedicated sewing thread drawer set….I’m just going to stop else the rambling with be scary and DR will call me crying because his wallet will be giving him cramps).

The shelves will give us a better place to store the extra water we need and free up space on the kitchen shelves for actual every day kitchen stuff.  Plus, once we get a dehydrator that’ll gives us shelves to get a head start on storing the dried goods (via a water bath method in the mason jars.  Not a good idea to pressure can dried goods I think.)

All these things take baby steps.  Takes being willing to step back and look at the things you keep talking about doing like making space for preps, narrowing in on what you enjoy, not going too over board with the things that make you feel better, cutting back on how often you drink.

Actually taking the time to outline the goals you’ve talked about and work on writing them.  Then breaking each goal down into what kind of work and what has to happen first before it can be achieved.  What tasks in achieving each goal are crossover tasks and get you one step closer to other goals.

This is a part of the work that makes for a genuinely better and more fulfilling future.

Pattern spotlight I

Time for something a tad different.  I think I’ll be keeping this as a bi-weekly thing as well.

I’m going to start highlighting really cool crochet and knitting patterns as sort a means of inspiration springboarding.  So let’s dig in.

For knitting patterns we have a beautiful knit shawl/scarf called Sivia.  This one is not a free pattern, but if you’ve a ravelry account you can add it to your favorites toot sweet.

For something with a little more cutesy character and a neat little gift for first aid and medical career oriented friends are these  two patterns for a first aid kit.  One done in crochet and one done in knit.

If you’re like me, you love wraps and shawls and the classic Ruana is definitely a hybrid of both.

Then there’s the last pattern for this round.  An adorable blanket.   Mix this one up by doing it in crochet and use as a towel for the kids when at the beach.

 

 

Summer break

Whether I actually want to take one or not it seems.  I’ll be working on Changeling’s Agony, no worries there but it seems I’m not going to be able to as active on the blog right now as I want.  So I’ll be doing some re-blogs of content I like and the occasional update here and there, but keep an eye out for activity ramping back up around September.   (When the kids have been back in school for a couple of weeks.)  If all goes decently well, I’ll have several weeks of posts done and going.

I’m going to be working on The Guild and a new separate group dedicated to the paranormal research fields.  I know I said I wasn’t going to take on anymore projects, but stuff keeps dropping into my lap with a clear indication that I need to pick it up and run with it.

So sit tight and thanks for sticking around for the ride.

Experiments

With Food

For whatever reason I was really really really wanting Salmon candy.  Which is basically Salmon jerky.  The steelhead trout was a better deal though.  Used my Sriracha Sauce (vinegar/citrus juice, honey, sriracha and soy sauce) as the marinade and will be popping them into the oven tonight on low heat for over night drying.

The parts that didn’t go into the sauce (ahem) I turned into dinner.  It was good enough that even DR who hates fishy liked it well enough to eat a few bites. (Win!)

With Thread

I don’t know how much non-crocheters/knitters out there know about Irish lace, but I’ve a new project gearing up that I can’t wait to unleash that’s involves these older techniques.

With the Background

Progress is being made on Changeling’s Agony.  I’m hoping once I get another four chapters done, you guys will have seven weeks back to back of chapters and I’ll be able to work on a couple of the other writing projects for a couple of weeks.  Been playing around with different music types, singers and composer’s.  It’s an odd concept I suppose letting what I’m listening to guide me through my day’s activities, but it works.  It’s merely one trick in a bag of trick in staying productive.

Project finished: The Beast of Dr. Who afghan

And in “Never Again unless I really really like and you’re buying me a .50 Cal” project categories….

I’m most seriously pleased with it, however I won’t be making one of these again unless you really really really want one and you’re willing to pay the price.  That’s one fiddle song you will pay for.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Projects finished so far

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These are going to be donated after a turn of being listings on Etsy. This is frustrating DR because he feels I need to try harder to sell stuff I’m crocheting. I tried that.

You know what’s brought in the business? Posting pics, talking about how much I enjoy it. Not so much aggressively pushing it. That just doesn’t work.

I’ve got business cards I’m working on, a website that I’m going to be building  over the summer…  Paid advertising would be the only thing I won’t do (mostly cuz I can’t afford it!).

Next week is gonna be busy.

Between the new puppy (Henceforth known to all as Maggie) and finally starting to feel settled here in Arizona, it’s going to be busy.  Plus tomorrow is my first gun class ever.

With the arrival of Maggie, I know it was time to step up my online store game.  Not too long ago, a fellow co-blogger and friend from over at Blue Collar Prepping offered me a sub-domain.  Yesterday I took him up on it.  Over the next couple of week’s, I plan on spending at least an hour each day on it.

I used to be really damn good at doing basic HTML coding. Used to be.  Between then and now is a lot of shit, and I remember very little.  The plan is to take and use templates that they already have for most of the site, but have two pages that I build the code on myself.  It’s through Yahoo and unless anything has changed, you’re able to do that in an HTML page editor.

It’ll be good practice. Though how being able to do basic HTML might pay off later… not really sure. I had an old habit of writing out the page first before typing it up to see if that coding worked.  Once problem’s with sizing and colors were identified, I would then go in and correcting the black or blue written with a red or pink pen, then re-writing the pages with the corrections.

With Maggie on the way (I don’t get to meet her until tomorrow night. 😦 ) having a website that is not Etsy for my store is going to be the best bet. Reason being, I’ve had a few ideas for t-shirts, but due to Etsy TOS I can’t list them in the Etsy store because I wouldn’t be the one printing them.

Between the website, training with Maggie, working on setting up my two charity boxes that I’m going to be working on filling in between working on other projects and designing hopefully at least one more t-shirt, it’s going to feel…

well… spectacular really. 🙂

Dog toys!

So, I mentioned yesterday crocheted dog toys and a fellow blogger inquired after the pattern. There are a lot of them out there for more showy ones, but here’s the really simple one I use. My mom ordered six of these not too long ago, three with rope and three without and they have been very well received by the puppy and the older dog. I should also note, that this design is also cat approved (use soft stuffing for when making for a cat…unless it’s a rescued Maine Coon breed like size then yeah you might want to use a more sturdy stuffing).  Also, leaving these balls to soak in the catnip bag guarantees you days of entertainment long after the ball is in play. 😉

I use 100% cotton for these, because it seems like it would stand up best to the chewing of a young dog and not be abrasive on the teeth of an older dog.  If anything is not overly clear, please feel to comment or point a spot that could use a bit more elaboration.

Pattern for the humble Crocheted Dog Ball.

Code for the following is:
sc is single crochet
ss is slip stitch
scd is single crochet decrease

Chain 2.

Row 1: 6 single crochet in second chain from hook, slip stitch to join, chain 1. (do not turn, work in rounds)

Row 2: 2 sc in each stitch, slip stitch to join, chain 1.

Row 3: *1 sc in stitch, 2sc in next stitch* repeat ** until end of row, slip stitch to join, chain 1

Row 4: *1 sc in next 2 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch*  Repeat ** until end. ss, chain 1

Row 5: *1 sc in next 3 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch* Repeat ** until end. ss, chain 1

At this point you can stop increasing if it’s a small dog, for a larger dog use the following two rows.

Big dog row A: *1 sc in next 4 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch* Repeat ** until end, ss, chain 1.

Big dog row B: *1 sc in next 5 stitches, 2 sc in next stitch*  Repeat ** until end, ss, chain 1

Main Body of the ball: (row count for if Big Dog is in parenthesis)

Rows 6-9 (8-11): 1 sc in each stitch to end, slip stitch joining and chaining 1.

Row 10 (12): *1 sc in next 3 (5) stitches, 1 scd in next two stitches*  Repeat ** until end, ss to join.

Row 11 (13): * *1 sc in next 2 (4) stitches, 1 scd in next two stitches*  Repeat ** until end, ss to join.

At this point, for the small dog, stuff with stuffing. You can use dried beans or something similar if you’d like to give it a bit more weight.  Single crochet is great for because you don’t need to use a lining.

Row 12 (14): *1 sc in next 1 (3) stitches, 1 scd in next two stitches*  Repeat ** until end, ss to join.  (At this point for big dogs, stuff!)

Now for the small dogs, the last row, which is row 15 for small dogs you are single crochet decreasing 2 stitches together. Finish off.  Use the tail to weave in the last stitches and gently pull them tighter. Stuff end into the ball and done!
Instructions for a “rope” will follow after finishing the big dog rows.

Big Dog row C (15):  *1 sc in next 2 stitches, 1 scd in next two stitches*  Repeat ** until end, ss to join.

Last row: Do the same as what you would on the small dog.

Now for a version with a rope, slip stitch join at the top (where you finished) and chain 1. At this point, if you can do a foundation single crochet or any of the other foundation rows, knock out about two-four feet long section. When you get to a length you like, go back along the row and slip stitch join into the ball. If you want a stronger rope, merely a few more rows, slip stitch joining them in the ball. Finish off, pull the end into the ball and you my friend now have an crocheted dog toy.

May you and the Doggie, have many hours of fun!

Why…

…knit when you can crochet or vice versa? Well, I’m knitting right now because I’m tired of crocheting, but it’s all simple knit stitches, in the round and on double point needles with colors I wouldn’t normally have bought, but came into possession of when I won a yarn lottery a few months back. It’s why I like doing the Dr. Who scarves, Ma Cobb hats and want to learn purling. So that I can have a break from crochet, and not risk burn out.  This is going to be one goofy ass looking hat!