Sunday, March 10, 2013

What I've been up to: Spyro, and something new!

A bout of unemployment has sent me into a creative hurricane. I've been making loads of stuff solely to put up on my Etsy shop, but a few things were made for me, and me alone.

First up, a blast from the past: A Spyro plushie!

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There were a few years of my life where my memories are the most vivid. I was 9 - 11 years old or so, and I spent my days doing things like drawing my own sailor scouts, writing Gundam Wing fanfiction, playing Dragonball Z with my best friend, and of course, eating giant jawbreakers while playing Spyro.

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When I say giant jawbreakers, I mean GIANT jawbreakers. They were about the size of a baseball, and took me a few days to finish (even for a candy-obsessed 10-year-old). I would often times break it with something, so I could fit rock-sized pieces in my mouth in order to hold my Playstation controller with both hands to fight gnorcs and save dragons. I have a grey 'video game chair' that I sat in, mere feet from the TV. It was a very small chair that rocked back and forth and sat right on the ground. These glorious days can be summed up with Jawbreakers, Spyro, and leaning back in this chair like I didn't give a care in the world.

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When I came across this pattern, my heart leapt for joy. To be able to have a tangible thing to not only hold, but to make! To be able to look at and taste the sugar of the giant jawbreakers, and remember the Virginia air wafting into my room as I wasted my day trying as hard as I could to beat Metalhead.

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This pattern can be found here (along with a pattern for Ember from "A Hero's Tail", though I haven't made her), and I have to say that it is absolutely worth the money. It's written very well, and looks amazing. It is time-consuming, but doesn't actually use up that much yarn. I didn't have to change a single thing, and Spyro looks amazing, and stands up nicely. There is some use of wire (to make his wings and tail poseable), and a lot of attaching of limbs. If you're up for a challenge, and need something comforting, then this is definitely the project.

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My next project....IS NOT A CROCHET PROJECT!!

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Yes, after months of longingly looking at overpriced ribbon bracelets being sold in stores, I finally decided to give into the ribbon jewelry craze.

Despite these bracelets having all the qualities I look for in jewelry (which is ribbon, and anything else that makes me feel like a mermaid and/or princess) I've held off on buying any, because I always felt like I could make it myself. As it turns out- I was right!

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After crocheting in all of my free time (which is...all of my time), for the last two weeks, I knew I needed to find something different to do before I became completely and utterly burnt out on crocheting. Luckily, I had seen this tutorial on Pinterest awhile back, and had even bought the supplies for it. Unfortunately, the tutorial had kind of overwhelmed me, and the beads and ribbon didn't do much more than collect dust for awhile.

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However, after a particularly yarn-heavy day, I decided to give it a shot. I was so pleasantly surprised! These bracelets were the perfect combination of simple and repetitive, while also being challenging and engaging. The result was absolutely gorgeous, and the use of elastic makes putting them on and taking them off very easy. 

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I am, in fact, so happy with the results of these bracelets that I went out to Michael's yesterday, and bought more strands of glass pearls, as well as another spool of ribbon. Michael's sells the glass pearls in 7" strands for only 99 cents, and longer strands of smaller beads for the same price (a ribbon necklace would be amazing, too!). They also have nicer stone strands, but my wallet was just feeling a bit too light for that.

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The tutorial can be found here. I did the "wave" and "pleat" patterns, since I was a bit too chicken (and short on supplies) to make the "fold". I'm not too keen on that design, though, so I wonder what other designs I could come up with...?

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Fun fact: The bigger the bow, the more you feel like a princess.

Next time I come around I'll talk about chocolate, perler beads (SO MANY PERLER BEADS), fingerless gloves, how I can't stop making them, and why it's a problem.

Friday, March 1, 2013

One Skein Weekend: Drawstrings and Dragons Edition

This "edition" of One Skein Weekend is one I'm pretty excited about. I made a purse using crocodile stitch, and a small drawstring bag intended for Tarot cards (although it can be used for just about anything).

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Anyone who knows me, or has been to my house, knows how I feel about dragons. The crocodile stitch is irresistible to me because it reminds me so much of dragon scales, and using crocheting to be able to flaunt and express my love for them makes me smile every time.

I have also been a Tarot card enthusiast for a long time, having acquired my first deck of Tarot cards when I was about 12. I really enjoy having such a beautiful bag that I made myself, and can store my favorite deck of Tarot cards in (which, you guessed it, is the Celtic Dragon Deck).

These two projects, while both being bags, serve different purposes, and are both so magical, that they somehow feel as though they go together.

Let's get started.

First, let's talk about the yarn:

Yarn: Bernat Satin
Color: Teal
Yardage: 200 Yards
Weight: Worsted
Price: (Not sure, it was a gift)
Extra stuff: A couple feet of ribbon, A few yards of scrap yarn in a contrasting color (I used Caron Simply Soft in Gray.)

First up is the Crocodile Stitch Clutch (The pattern can be found here.)

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I made a few changes to Sara's pattern. First up, I added 4 more rows, to equal two more rows of crocodile stitch. I also made the handle out of 9 fsc instead of 9 ch (to add some extra width without doing a fifth row of CC). And for the back, I did a total of 29 ch to start, instead of 33.

I love the combination of sapphire and silver, so when this purse was finished I couldn't help but to think about how much it reminded me of treasure lost in the ocean. I have always had an affinity for the ocean, and the "scales" simultaneously reminded me of waves, and dragon scales.

I also love her version of the crocodile stitch, where she uses hdcs instead of dcs, so the stitches are tighter to prevent any smaller items from falling out. This pattern is beautiful, elegant, and the shimmery teal color makes it perfect for the midwesterner who still misses the ocean.

And, although this looks like it took a long time, it went really quick. Only doing 6 or 7 scales per row makes it go very quick, and the hdcs of the back work up quickly. Had it finished in a few hours.

Next up is the StarGazer Tarot Bag (which can be found here.)

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I made this bag for the first time back in January of 2012, and at that time I used a very expensive yarn I bought with a gift card (because I'm too cheap to spend my own money on nice things). After I made the Crocodile Stitch Clutch, this project felt like it was the right amount of yarn to use up the rest of my skein. So, without thinking, I found the pattern again, and started to stitch it up, when I was hit with a very odd sense of deja vu. Looking towards my Tarot cards, I realized that this is the same color I used for the other one! While my expensive yarn drapes a little differently, using Bernat Satin has the same shimmer, and works up even quicker.

I only did 22 rows before the beaded row, and 5 instead of 7 rows AFTER the beaded row. If my gauge was smaller, I probably could have gotten away with doing all the rows, and still coming to the end of my skein, but using an H hook and omitting 5 rows, It worked out nicely that I had only a yard or two of yarn left. In fact, because of my large gauge, I probably could have made the foundation chain even shorter, since I can fit a deck of tarot cards in there with a lot of walking room left. If you ARE using one skein of yarn for both of these projects, and want to make this one true to pattern, you can always make the Crocodile Stitch Clutch true to pattern instead of adding two rows, and you will definitely have enough leeway.

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As I said, though, this can make a nice drawstring bag in general, and can work as a dice bag, or a small drawstring bag for whatever trinkets needs you may have, so gauge isn't the most important.

I worked this up in a little over an hour, so it makes a great last minute gift, or a good way to get out of a crochet rut. The pattern is just single and double crochets, so it's really easy, too.

If you're looking for other things to do with a skein of yarn, here's my other One Skein Weekend Post:

-First Edition (AKA Radioactive Hobo Pirate Edition)