Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Introducing Purlescent!

Introducing my first every garment pattern! Oh, I've made garments... for myself or from a pattern, but this is my first attempt to designing and writing my first ever garment pattern!!! :-) :-) I can design purses, jewelry, socks, hats... oh just about anything else but garments. This was is pretty basic... no increasing or decreasing so not only was it easier for me to design, it was super easy for me to make!! :-)

This little beauty was made with SWTC's new yarn called Purlescent. This is probably my favorite size to work with - the size is like sock yarn, but the feel is way different! The yarn is cuddly soft and works really light - so the fabric almost feels like it's made of cob webs... but not in the yucky way. :-) As you can probably see... well, maybe not since the picture is not all that great - but my garment is made with a lace pattern. I took a closer picture of the pattern below.

When I was working on the cardigan, my dog Flick was just really fascinated with the yarn. He kept sticking his nose in the ball of yarn or in the fabric and would take a deep sniff. I had to stop working on it while he was inside because I was trying really hard to keep the white yarn... well, white! But after he sneezed on it while trying to put the project away, I just gave up and knew that I'd have to wash it before turning it in.
I'm actually kind of glad that I had to give the garment a wash because the feel of the cardigan now is wonderful!!! If it felt soft and light before, it's even softer after a wash! I have all kinds of ideas on what else I'd like to make with this yarn. Even though I find myself knitting more often now a days, my designing skills are still in crochet, so I have a feeling that all of my knit projects are going to be set aside for a while until I get my fill of playing and designing with this. :-) :-)
This pattern will be available soon from South West Trading Company, and when you purchase the yarn, you can get the pattern for free! Just give SWTC a little bit of time to try to make sense out of my attempt of my first garment design. :-) If you have any feedback, and I know that you will!, please feel free to contact me. As my first garment design, I know that I'll need all of the help I can get to improve the next. :-) :-)
Take care,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Classes

This class is my precious bead crochet pouch. I think when I started adding beads to my crocheting that I made more pouches than anything else. :-) If I remember correctly, I think my first bead crochet project was a basic pouch. I still remember it too. It was with some weird orange/brown thread that I thought was too ugly for regular crochet so I took it to my local bead shop and the bead shop owner suggested two really cool seed bead colors that would actually compliment the ugly thread color. She had a really good eye because the pouch came out lovely! I remember that bead crochet was not nearly as difficult as how some of the ladies I had talked to made it sound. I guess you can say that bead crochet to me was like... oh, how did that saying go? Like a duck takes to water??

Well, anyway, going back to my class. This little pouch is my pattern - one of the first that I've designed so it has quite a bit of sentimental feelings attached to it. I was lucky enough to actually teach this class at a Chain Link conference back in 2002. I know that the Fiber Factory has the book that I learned the basics of this technique for sale and have a feeling that they will sell out on the day of my class. :-) More than anything, this will be a fun class more for the options that can be done for the bottom tassel to the pull handle. The pattern for the pouch will be provided and your imagination will take over the rest. :-)

This is a basic kumihimo bracelet. I actually taught the first half of this class last week and will finish the class tomorrow. The first half of the class was a lot of fun. I know that I need to work on the explanation of my convoluted math equation, but I think and hope that my students will understand what I mean by the time the class is over. I'd hate to have a student leave me and not be able to make another bracelet on their own.

This little bracelet was made with 2mm satin cording. I love the way that the cording feels and it makes a nice size bracelet. When I've used smaller thread or smaller cords, the bracelet was much smaller and it took much longer to make as well. I fell in love with making kumihimo ropes with different types of yarn as well and have been finding my stash of partial yarn balls that I've saved for free form knit and crochet being used up by my kumihimo instead. :-) I hope that I can offer this class again in the spring and hopefully offer a more advanced class that moves away from the basic braid. I'll have to get that done soon before Fiber Factory starts putting their spring class schedule together. If I do this, will you be interested in taking the class? :-) :-)

It's not a very clear picture, but this is a little crochet pouch that has been embellished with free form beading. There really isn't all that much to free form beading but there is a little more thinking (that has now become second nature to me) to placement and color of the beads than just sewing a bunch of beads onto a pouch. The class is more of a tutorial on the basics of bead embroidery, but more of a study on color, bead size and placement. Yes, there is a logical order to the placement of beads... at least there is with my free form style. :-) :-) And this is what the class will be covering. I taught this same technique also in 2003 at Chain Link. I remember this very clearly because I was pregnant with my son and it was offered as an afternoon class. I was so tired by the end of class that I was lucky that I didn't collapse... but being surrounded by so many of my fellow crocheters who were also mom's and grandmothers themselves, I felt so safe and comforted that their caring actually energized me. :-) So it will be a lot of fun to take this class out of 'retirement' and get more people addicted to beads. :-)

This picture actually has two classes... beginning bead crochet and advance bead crochet ropes. I already talked about the advanced class in my last post, so this will be about the beginning class.

I am teaching this class twice. The first time has already past - it was at the beginning of this month - but I was so excited to have a full class! We all had lots of fun and I really enjoyed seeing everyone's show and tell on what they had made between the first and second class. The invisible seam was a bit complicated and it has forced me to re think the start of a bead crochet rope to make it flatter in order to see those little beads and know where to insert the needle next. Most of my students got it, but the couple that didn't will need this help and I will share this info as soon as I figure it out! :-) I am also planning on applying this new starting to the second time that this class will be offered at the beginning of December. :-) I have a little time between now and then, so I hope I will have a good grasp to what I'll be teaching. :-)

There are still a few more classes to share, but I'll post those a bit later. :-)

Take care!


Friday, August 6, 2010

My Classes :-)

Okay, I think I deserve some bragging rights here. I proposed 9 classes to my local yarn shop, Fiber Factory in Mesa, and got all 9 accepted!! :-) :-) I was so happy that I was speechless! So here I am to do some bragging and show off some of my classes. :-)

I've played with this bead crochet technique long before I knew it had an official name, Russian Loop or Turkish Loop. This beauty was made with 6mm bugle beads and size 11/0 seed beads. The whole body of the lariat is crocheted but the ends are beaded fringe. I will be teaching this class in two, two hour parts on October 22 and 29. The first two hours will be learning how to strings the beads and how to start making this beauty. Since there is a bit or repetitiveness and not enough time to finish the whole thing, you will take home the rest of the project to finish at home, then come back for part 2. This lesson you will learn to put the lariat together using focal beads and bead caps and learn to make the beaded fringe. :-)

Because this technique is done with really small beads and thread, it's a good idea if you have some bead crochet experience, or are familiar with thread work. :-) I've tried to teach a total beginner this technique, but it took almost 10 hours of 1 on 1 instruction to get her up to speed. I know that the 4 hours I've scheduled for this class will be more than enough time to learn to complete the project. :-)

This little necklace is made with a cord that is used in Romanian cord lace. If you've never seen this type of lace, it's breath taking! :-) Here is a link of just one example of this lace technique:

Well, I can't teach now to make the actual lace project, but I can teach how to make the cord that is used for the base on this needle lace technique. Learn to add a few beads and you have a necklace! Or you can use as a purse strap or just about anything you need a cord for. :-)

This technique also requires some kind of crocheting experience. It's only a 2 hour class on October 8 so there will not be enough time to go over the basics that any experienced crocheter should already know. It should be more than enough time to start and finish the necklace and answer any questions. One of my past students used this technique with a larger size nylon thread to make herself a cord to hold her reading glasses. She got so many compliments at work on this that she started her own small business making and selling these glasses cords. :-) You really can do so much with this little cord. :-)

This is a bead crochet rope. This is an example for my advance bead crochet rope class. This class is not a project class, it is more of a math and idea class where you can learn to calculate how many beads and thread you may need to make a necklace like the one pictured here. You will also learn how to read patterns or create your own. If you only want to make a bead crochet rope a little more fancy with a focal bead, I'll teach you the best way that I have found to attach that bead and keep it nice and tight. There will be lots of swatching and calculating in class, so make sure you bring your notebook, beads and thread, crochet hooks and most important, you ideas! :-) :-) This class is scheduled for November 5.

I'll post more pictures next week of three more classes and tell you all about them. I'm so excited to be able to share them! :-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

My new book!!!!

No, I didn't write a book or anything. I don't know if the stuff I know is unique enough for one of the many publishers to want to publish something by me. Plus there are so many designers out there that are much more popular, so I'm not holding me breath. :-) :-)

I did want to brag about the new book that I just got in the mail today. :-) :-) :-) Since I don't read Japanese I don't know exactly what the title is, but it is a book on one of my favorite, and still not practiced, forms of lace - Turkish lace. Lacis calls this book by Kou Nanami "Oyas: Turkish Elegance". But I got my copy from a site called Bargain Yarns and they called it "Tig Oyalari". It's the same book - at least I think it's the same. They have the exact same cover. :-)

So, you're probably thinking: "Pinka, what the heck are you doing buying a book in Japanese when you don't read it?" Well, yes, that is true that I do not read Japanese. Not even the Japanese exchange student that we had living with us was able to help me there, but one thing that I know for sure about these books is that they have awesome pictures on their step by step instructions! Who needs to read when the pictures say it all. :-)

Most of the projects in this book are for jewelry, but there are a few really cute edgings and of course, the main reason that I got this book, bead crochet!!! :-) :-)

I've only seen a glimpse of this mysterious Turkish lace. Once at a shop in CA (just can't remember exactly where it was so long ago), and the second time a couple years ago when my good friend Prudence Mapstone was in AZ. She had a wonderful sampling of this beautiful lace and I was so jealous of it! :-) I've been patiently waiting for some of the prices on these books to become affordable and when this one popped up, I pounced on it. :-)

There are some other books on Turkish lace that I'd love to get, but I'd have to win the lottery first. As it is, I was able to get this book for about $23, but have found it on ebay and other places for no less than $50. Check out Lacis! They have so many awesome books that I'd love to have, but $50 for a book is just way too much for me - and I don't care how free the shipping is. :-) :-)

I was able to get my hands on a whole bunch of lace weight 10/2 thread from SWTC called Xie that has been screaming for a delicate lace project like this. I've been using it for bead crochet with much success - I LOVE the drape! - but with all of the colors I have, I really need to show it off with a super, uber delicate project like this. :-) :-)

Okay, I'm teaching a beaded knitting class tomorrow, have a garment to finish and a couple bead projects that have been started. I think I can get all of that done and out of the way in the next couple of weeks. So, by the time Caeden goes back to school on the 26th, I should be ready to start! :-) You may be stuck hearing all about it! :-) :-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The tools really make a difference

Yes, yes... everyone always says the same thing. Knitting needles and crochet hooks can really make a difference in the quality of your knitting or crocheting. I've known that - that is why I only use bamboo needles for working with sock yarn. But recently I've discovered that cotton yarn, specifically the one that I'm working with right now - I don't remember the brand, but it feels very much like Tahki Cotton Classic - is super sensitive to the kind of needle that I use with it.

I've done the swatch a few times with no problems, but once I cast on the number of stitches needed for the back of the garment, my fabric suddenly looks like a beginner or a person that is all thumbs made it. Loose stitches here and there, super tight stitches over in this other area. The ends look even worse and I'm just not happy with the result. I used a needle that is super slick and works very much like the Addi Turbos and I've used these on multiple projects with no problem - until now. :-) :-) I've had suicidal stitches jump off the needles as I adjust the fabric because these needles just feel a bit too slippery.

I wouldn't consider myself a master knitter, but I'm definitely not a beginner either. I've made hundreds of projects and know enough about the craft to design my own stuff pretty well. But these needles just created a few more gray hairs!!!

Okay, so giving up on the slippery needles I move to the next one in my little stash of 4mm needles - a bamboo needle that is wonderful with acrylics and acrylics blends. I can even make wool just fly on these needles because they've been worn so smooth with all of the use they've received. :-) But when I switched to the bamboo needles, all of the sudden I'm struggling with sticky yarn not wanting to move on the needle nor the cable. Grrr... this was just annoying as heck and to make matters worse, the stress of forcing these gosh darn stitches to move started to hurt my elbow. Not a good thing when I've been having such a good summer so far.

So finally, I move on to the next set of needles. A pair of cheap circulars that I somehow inherited or got from one of those ebay de-stashing sales. The joins are horrible and I've hardly used them because it seems like everything gets snagged on those joins. The needles don't feel smooth or even comfortable, especially when I have to fight with the yarn so much to make it work. I wanted to give it a try before totally giving up and breaking down to buy another 4mm circular needle. Well, to my surprise, this cotton yarn just started flowing smoothly on the needles and those blasted joins that I've called every name in the book, actually didn't snag the yarn or make my blood pressure go up! I've worked about 10 rows now and haven't had one single problem with these needles. Apparently the needles really like the yarn because I've never completed anything with these needles and it looks like I just may have to keep them after all.

So, the moral of my story is... if you feel like you have a gazillion needles and hooks and don't think you need all of them, don't be too surprised if you all of the sudden find yourself going down your inventory of tools for that one little yarn or thread that does not want to get along with the rest of your tools. You just never know - so don't get rid of it! :-) :-)

I haven't taken apart the fabric yet for my garment. I'm not sure I will. It's only the bottom back and I don't think that awful fabric will be that visible. :-) The rest of the fabric should looks like it should so I'm not too worried. It's a personal project and not one that will be photographed or travel to shows. So, when it's all done, it may turn out that I may be the only one that will know about this little adventure with my needles. :-) :-)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tofutsies Toe Socks

What exactly is a toe sock you ask? Well, that's easy. It's a sock that only covers your toes. :-)

It's not a very good picture, but here are a couple of my examples of toe socks. I like to wear them with my little slip on sneakers and mary jane type of shoes during the summer. Sometimes the inside of the shoe rubs the top of my toes causing blisters so I decided to try making some toe socks to prevent that from happening. :-)

Plus, since I am so out of practice on the dreaded Kitchener's stitch, I can practice all I want at the end of these little guys. I've practiced all of the toe options for socks - thanks to my handy dandy copy of Socks a la Carte by Jonelle Raffino and Katherine Cade. I've found that my favorite is the standard, everyday toe shaping and I still can't figure out why my oragami decrease seems to looks like it's swirling. :-) My Kitchener's stitch is still not very good, but I'm getting there. I don't have to look at the instructions (conveniently located in the front of the book) nearly as much, but I still don't understand the logic behind it. I will eventually click - it took me years to finally master the mitered square - and even then, I still don't think I've really mastered it all that well. :-)

For those that know dancers - I've tested a few of my toe socks with a dear friend of mine that still have close ties to the dance community and a few of the dancers that swore by the classic 'toe pad' have switched to my humble little toe sock. :-) :-) She said that it's not as thick as the toe pad, offering a better fit to the point shoes, but still protects from rubbing and blisters. Plus, she said that after a few washings, the sock gets really soft and comfy. :-)

Okay, so here is what I do to make my toe sock:

Cast on 64 stitches - or whatever you are used to - and knit for 1". Then just choose your favorite sock toe shaping and you're done! :-) :-) Really difficult, eh? :-) :-)

If you are knitting for a dancer, you may want to skip the 1" if the point shoe has a low vamp. Sometimes it may be necessary to put the toe sock on where there is more sock under the foot but enough to cover the toes so that you don't have any sock poking through the top. :-) Just remember that your dancer may need to be re-sized with the toe sock if they were using gel or toe pads. :-) If I could find my old point shoes, I'd have a picture but I have a feeling that they are all put away where I can't reach. :-)

For shoes, I like to use some type of ribbing for the 1" band... sometimes I keep working the ribbing even through the toe shaping just to have a little more elasticity. Some shoes will require a bit of experimentation on the proportion of sock under the foot vs. covering the toes so that the sock will not poke through. You may also need to hold on to your toe sock while you slip on your shoe the first time until the sock has relaxed or been washed a few times.
So far I've been using up my left over Tofutsies sock yarn, but I'm sure it will work with any sock yarn you like. Just keep in mind that the thicker sock yarns, just like when you make regular socks, may change the fit of your shoe because of the thicker sock. :-)
I'd love to hear from anyone that gives this a try - especially dancers! Feel free to email me or send me links to your blogs. :-)
Take care,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

No shop this time

I can only spend a small amount of time on the computer every day and I'd rather play a game or try to find some bargains on ebay. But every Saturday morning I spend about 15 minutes checking out some of the new shops on Etsy to see if there is something that I get excited about to feature on this blog.

I find plenty of shops that have some really cool stuff! I found one that make me laugh so hard I almost fell off my chair! They make soaps that look like breasts! Yes, you read correct - or in other words... boob soaps. :-) I found another shop that had the absolute most adorable baby caps. I was impressed with the shop that had all chain mail jewelry... especially an awesome cuff in two shades of bronze and gold.

So here I'm thinking... cool! I can feature this shop this week, the other next week and I'll be set for a while. Well, after the last two shops that I featured that didn't have any profile or shop policies, I'm not really convinced that these shop owners are really serious about selling their items. Oh, I'm sure they hope to make a few sales, but without any policies or a profile, how am I supposed to recommend them as a trustworthy shop? Do they take returns? What happens if my stuff breaks in the mail? Do they take other payments other than paypal?

So, here I am without a shop to feature. I'll need to spend a little more time on this, hunting for impressive items that have policies and a nice profile that I can read. :-)

In the mean time, I'll try to get some of the pics I've taken of my own stuff to brag about and get them edited. It may take another few weeks, but I'll slowly get to it. :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

New undiscovered shop

Yummm.... I love tea and this shop definitely peeked my interest with the oolong tea. The box and packaging is so pretty too!

Here is the link for this tea. This is first grade Tieh-Kuan-Yin oolong tea. I don't know how this compares to the other oolong tea I've had before, but it does make my mouth water just imagining it. :-)

The description really goes into detail so I'll just have to say that you'll have to go and read it all yourself. :-) The price is a bit out of my own personal range, but if you like quality, then this may be what you're looking for. :-)

This shop hasn't been open for very long, but it does not have a profile or any policies yet. If you are interested in purchasing from this seller, I would suggest that you ask plenty of questions first. Doesn't hurt to be on the cautious side every once in a while. :-)

Here is a link to the shop:

Until next time,


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WOW! What a shop!

Take a close look at this dragon... now, it's just my humble opinion, but I think it's awesome!!! This artist not only hand paints these treasures, but also makes them! Check out this link:

There aren't any policies or a profile, which may explain why this person has had this shop since 2007 and has not had a sale, but it is definitely worth a look. Gosh, the detail is just incredible... even if the paining is pretty simple, I really don't think that these dragons really need anything else. It's one of those type of items where simple is certainly better. :-) :-)

Here is the link for the dragon above if you want to take a closer peek at the pictures and price:

Enjoy! :-) :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Undiscovered Shop

Okay, it's been almost a year since I've posted anything on this blog... and oh boy, it's been a year. But that's for another blog, not for this one which I want to fill with art and talents from all over the Internet - mainly Etsy. :-) :-)

This shawl is from a shop that I found on Etsy that has one had her first sale yet. The shop's name is Crochet by Lynn and I can tell that Lynn is a very talented crocheter. Yes, I crochet as well, but can no longer make these kind of wonderful items as much as my hands try lying to me that they can. :-) :-) :-) This was my favorite item in her shop. Though she doesn't say in her description, it looks like it's made with crochet cotton - maybe a size 3 or 5 (if that means anything to anyone reading this) that has to be at least decent quality because it looks like it has a bit of a sheen. I wish Lynn would have written a little more about the materials other than that she used something called Royal Fashion thread - which I am personally not familiar with.

Another way that I can tell that Lynn is fairly talented is that she has chosen a pattern that has one of the stitches that most crocheters really hate to make - unless you're one of the few that just loves Irish crochet lace - and that is the dreadful picots. :-) I personally love picots and love to add them to edgings to my beaded crochet pouches. These stitches are time consuming and from the close up picture, it does look like they are all beautifully stitched and even. Yeah for Lynn!

I don't like to talk about price or how a person prices their items because that is all very personal, but I have to tell you that the price tag on this shawl is very reasonable... to the point of almost being underpriced for all of the work that went into this item. This shawl is definitely quality and not one of the junky items that you can find at chain stores selling for $10. If you want something made well, then you will find it with this seller. :-)

Please help Crochet by Lynn to make her first sale. Here is the link to this shawl as well as her shop: