Monday, March 28, 2011

New Shop Listings

I've finished some new trellis yarn necklaces in a pretty spring color--they have lime, pink, blue and copper in them.  They'll go well with all kinds of different outfits.  Here's a photo:


 
You can find one on my Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/brendascraftstore and on Artfire at http://BrendasCraftStore.artfire.com.

I also tried a new item--a preemie baby's hat.  The pattern I was using was a free pattern from Bernat and it gave no information about the circumference the hat should be.  I found it really frustrating.  My son is 19 years old, so it's been a long time since I had a baby around, and I really don't remember how little a baby is.  So I googled newborn baby head size and there were several things that came up.  I stumbled onto a website called http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/.  She has all kinds of stuff on there, including a size chart for preemie, newborn, toddlers, children and adult hats.  I love it!  It was really helpful to me so I'd like to say thank you to Bev.  She also has a lot of hat patterns for babies and children.  I believe she does a lot of hats for donations, which I encourage everyone to do.  It's a worthwhile cause.  If you're in Minnesota in the Twin Cities area, we have something called Bundles of Love which makes afghans, booties, etc. for newborns of mothers who need help.  If you would like contact information for Bundles of Love, please let me know. 

In any event, I crocheted the preemie hat using Bernat Softee baby yarn and it came out pretty well. I ended up using my old Baby Pat a Burp doll as the model.  She has a 13" circumference head and the hat fits loosely on her.  So it should fit a preemie.  Here's a picture:



I only used 1/2 of the skein so I'm using the other half of the skein to do this hat in a knit version.

My other new project didn't come out so well.  I tried a new pattern for a crocheted cotton dish towel, but even though I checked my gauge, it came out too wide and too long and I just don't think it looks good enough to sell.  So I'll use it at home because I can't stand to waste yarn.  The perfectionist in me is irritated though, and I'm going to try it again and see if I can get it right. I can't let that pattern beat me!  (Is anyone else like that?)

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Have Spring Fever!

I'm back from vacation in sunny Florida and now I have a serious case of spring fever.  Here in Minnesota it was 50 degrees yesterday, but today only in the 40's.  And there's still plenty of snow on the ground.  But Florida inspired me and I'm ready to start making something other than hats and scarves.  I knitted a very springy green/yellow/turquoise dishcloth on the plane.  I think I'll do a yell one and a turquoise one now and list them as a set.  I have a couple of cute bunny patterns so I think I'll start doing some bunnies for Easter.  I'll post pictures and links as I get them done.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lots and Lots of Patterns

Dear blog:

This entry will be about patterns.  I LOVE knit and crochet patterns.  I order them from catalogs, on-line from sellers on Etsy, etc. and print them off the internet. I have file cabinets full of patterns.  I have plastic storage bins full of patterns. And I have a pile under the coffee table in the living room and patterns and a pile of patterns on top of the coffee table.  And I have crochet magazines piled on top of the coffee table in the family room.  Does anyone else have as many as  I do????

I wish I could say they were all organized.  The ones in the file cabinets are.  But alas, the piles are not.  The closest to being organized are the ones in a pile on top of the coffee table in the living room.  That's where I've been putting the ones that are for things I really want to try soon.  It's only about 7" high.  So today I was going to pick a new craft project to start on.  I decided I should go through that 7" high pile and narrow it down to ones that I really want to do now and would be appropriate for the season or things that I think will sell.  I figured I could narrow it down to a few things to concentrate on.  WRONG.  The new pile is still about 2 inches high.  I guess I'd better get busy! 

And to top it all off, in today's mail came the Patternworks catalog.  I love looking through that catalog.  Most of their patterns are for knit projects, but they have some crochet ones too.  And they have lots of very nice yarns.  I marked a few patterns I want to order!  If you haven't seen their catalog before or their website, you can find them at www.patternworks.com.

Some of my other favorite pattern places are www.knitpicks.com, www.anniesattic.com, www.lionbrand.com (lots and lots of free patterns), Bernat and www.bernatcares.com.  There are also a lot of sellers on Etsy.com who sell their patterns and there are some really cute ones.  Very creative people there.  Joann.com also has project patterns but I find their's rather hard to search and find what I'm looking for.  Herschners and Mary Maxim also have a lot of patterns that come as kits with the yarn.

I'm always looking for new patterns, so if you have a favorite place for patterns, please post them in the comments.

I also have to mention a new website I found courtesy of a seller on Etsy.  I bought a pattern for a crochet bath mat from her and she used 8 ply Peaches n Cream cotton yarn.  Now the only place I ever see Peaches n Cream cotton yarn anymore is in Walmart.  And our Walmart barely has any yarn or craft items anymore--maybe 1/2 an aisle's worth.  They eliminated all their fabric and everything.  And the only Peaches n Cream they have is 4 ply which I use for dishcloths.  I asked the seller where she bought 8 ply Peaches n Cream and she directed me to this website:  http://www.elmore-pisgah.com/.  They have regular 4 ply and also 8 ply in balls and cones.  The price doesn't seem to outrageous.  So I've ordered some and I'm waiting so I can start that bath mat! 

I also have to plug that I sold a trellis necklace on ArtFire today (thank you!).  And I listed a new pink crochet headband.  It's really a pretty pink and is just the right color to promote breast cancer awareness.  Here's some pictures:


Friday, March 4, 2011

A Really Good Band

Dear Blog:

Last night I should have been taking pictures of the headband and hat I just finished and listing them in one of my on-line shops, but instead my husband and I actually went out to a bar!  (We've never been the type to go to bars, so it was quite a thing for us.)  My son works with a band and they were playing at a local bar last night along with a couple of other bands.  So we were good supportive parents and went to hear them.  We loved seeing them in person.  They had a small but good crowd.  Hopefully, they'll start drawing even bigger crowds.  The band is called Crashing Daylight and it's made up of 4 very nice young men in their late teens and early twenties.  They play rock/alternative rock.  They really are quite good and are trying to make a name for themselves.  They have an EP out on iTunes and you can find them on Facebook and MySpace.

http://www.myspace.com/crashingdaylight

http://www.facebook.com/crashingdaylight 

It was also fun to see the puzzled look on my son's face upon seeing his parents in a bar and actually having a drink.  Sort of dispels his notion of us as old fogies who just stay at home and don't do anything.

Since I have no pictures of my newest creations to show you yet, I'll plug somebody else.  I just bought a couple of patterns from this shop today and service was excellent and fast.  Check her out.

The Blackwood Cottage

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My first ever blog

This is my first ever blog on a blog website.  I have no idea if anyone cares what I have to say or will read it, but I guess we'll find out.  I feel like I'm 13 again, writing in my diary--"Dear Diary...."  So maybe that's a good start.

Dear Blog:

I want to start selling my handmade crafts on-line and I've started some on-line shops.  All of the "experts" out there say you must do social networking to promote your shops including Facebook, Twitter and blogs.  Well, I have a Facebook page which I started awhile ago to see other people's photos and then I created a fan page for my crafts with some help from my kid.  I will never Tweet.  I think it's kind of dumb.  But I've read blogs by my students and friends' kids and some of the ones out there by crafters, so I thought I could maybe do that.  Hopefully I can think of something worthwhile to say.  Maybe it will turn into that great American novel I always dreamed about writing.

So for anyone out there reading me, I'm a 50-year-old wife and mother.  I work full time in administration at a college in St. Paul, MN.  My son is 19 and job hunting after finishing an associate's degree in radio broadcasting (if you have an entry level radio job for him, let me know).  I've crocheted since I was about 8 years old.  I also learned to knit but crochet was always my favorite.  In the last year though, I've been knitting a lot more.  I've always given things as gifts, but there are only so many people to give gifts to and some of them have now grown up or died, so the pool of gift receivers has shrunk.  For years I've had co-workers and friends ask me to make things for them.  I've sold things at local craft shows for maybe 8 years or so now.  I do pretty well at them, but I usually only do them in November.  Spring and summer items don't sell very well in November.  So I thought selling on-line might be a good way to sell those things that don't fit a November craft show.  And there's so many things I want to try and such great patterns that I need a place to sell them and someone to sell them to after I make them!

I make all kinds of things--basically whatever looks fun.  There are afghans, dish cloths, dish towels, hats, scarves, wrist warmers, stuffed toys, dolls, purses, tote bags, seasonal things, clothes, and jewelry.  I just finished several special order scarves and headbands.  I tried starting a hat last night that is done entirely in slip stitch.  I was not having good luck with it.  The stitches kept getting tighter and smaller.  I need some help to figure out how to prevent that.  (If I learn some good tips, I'll pass them on.) So I quit the hat and went back to making another headband--this time in a really pretty pink.  If I figure out how, I'll post some pictures here of some of my work.  Over on the right hand side of this blog, all of my on-line places are listed.  I hope you check them out.  Please feel free to contact me at any time (brenda.piatz@gmail.com) if you'd like me to make something for you. 

I feel kind of funny just doing a blog to promote myself, so I'll try to promote other things and pass along good ideas and share information.  Maybe some little bits of wisdom or fun facts.  I think for my first piece of useful information will be about the Half Price Bookstore Marketplace.   We have several Half Price Bookstores here, and I love going to them.  I love to read and watch movies.  I just learned they have an on-line marketplace that sells hard to find items and such.  It looked pretty good to me, so here's the link:

http://www.hpbmarketplace.com/