Blog, Patterns, Sales

New Products!

Today I launched another key chain. This one is a Mini Rosary and is available in two colors: Pink and Blue. I have to say that after a lot of trouble getting beads I like, I fell in love with the blue. The blue beads I ordered never arrived, so I had to find something else. These were sitting upstairs just waiting to become these key chains. 😀

bluerosary4
pinkrosary2

Also! On the design front, the test for the Scarf of Many Colors is wrapping up and that pattern will be launched in the next couple days. So, keep your eyes peeled for that one. 😀

I also have a new sock design that is in progress. I’m hoping to get this finished soon because I have a couple pairs of socks to make for a donation, and those will take priority when the yarn arrives for them. But, either way, these socks will be heading off for testing in the next month or so. I am really liking how they are turning out. 😀 Right now I am going back and forth on the heel color. I think I might do green for the heel, since the toes are grey. I think that will make a nice statement.

IMG_1933

And speaking of socks, I am hoping to get the third installment on How to Knit Socks up in the next few days.

Blog

Cactus Keychain

I have just listed my next keychain. This is my Cactus Keychain. It is a Kumihimo braid that is finished with a few beads and a cactus charm. I have used industrial strength glue on any knots and on the end cap to make it as strong as possible. There are only 4 of these little guys, for now, until I can get more charms.

Untitled

The finished length, including the keychain hardware is 7.25″. I hope you love it!

Blog

More Keychains

I launched another set of keychains yesterday. These ones are my critters line. I have a cat, a shark, a killer whale and a panda. 😀 I’m hoping next week to get some other ones made up. These next ones will be a beaded/Chinese knot style. I am waiting for some supplies to arrive, and then I can start the R&D on those ones. I am thinking of perhaps a Kumihimo version as well. I’m just not sure of the design yet. I have something in mind, but I have to work up the prototype to see if the vision in my mind can be recreated in real life. 😀

But, for now, here are the critters. I really need to figure out a better way to photograph them. I think instead of hanging them, I will skewer them on the nail I have in the wall for these and get them to sit properly. I’m going to work on that this weekend, and then I can update my listings with the best version.

This little guy is my absolute favorite so far. It’s my killer whale. I gave him just a single fin on top to make him more stream lined, but I think he’s just adorable. 😀

Untitled

This is my cat critter keychain. 😀 I had a lot of fun figuring out his face. hehe

Untitled

This is my happy little shark. His gills make it look like he has hair. hehe But, he’s super cute. 😀 He has the single fin on top, just like the killer whale.

Untitled

Then we have the panda. He is mostly white, with a stripe of black around his middle, and then back to a white bum.

Untitled

All these little critters are a lot of fun to make. Although, I will admit that even though the killer whale is my favorite, working with the black yarn is not my favorite. lol It’s so hard to see! But, he’s so cute that I’ll overlook it just for him. 😉

Blog

Keychains!

I have finally made enough progress to list my keychains/bag tags for sale. These little guys are hugs. They are designed to give you something to send to a friend or loved one to let them know you are thinking of them, or to even get for yourself to remember you are loved! I tried to chose a range of colors for different tastes, while keeping them mostly bright to be uplifting. They are between 2 and 2.5″ in width. The width will vary based on when I have made them, and the yarn I used. I use all the same brand yarn, but it still has variation in thickness. That is the joy of handmade! They are all 100% unique.

These are each made with acrylic yarn for durability, and have polyester fill. They are meant to be soft and squishy. I have used safety eyes for each of them, but they are still not meant to be toys and are not safe for children. Each one comes with the key chain hardware already attached, so they are ready to go!

I haven’t quite figured out the shipping logistics for these on the website yet, so I have chosen to list them on Etsy for now. I may change things up later, but for now this is a great solution.

Untitled
Blog, Patterns, Test Knits

Open Test Knits!

I have two patterns that are accepting test knitters. First up is my Scarf of Many Colors. I have a group started on Ravelry, but you can also work with me via email. This scarf uses fingering weight yarn, in a variety of colors that are completely up to your choosing. I’m not picky. I personally used Miss Babs Advent 2018 kit in the Midcentury colorway. I used all 25 colors, but did repeat a couple. You’ll want to be able to make 29 triangles, if you want to match the sample. Of course, you can always adjust the size up or down, but I recommend an odd number of colors to get a squared end scarf.

IMG_1793

This scarf is a pretty easy knit. The main stitches are simple knit and purl stitches. The only complication to it, are the wraps. I have included detailed instructions on how to work the wraps, but you can also search for ‘knitting wraps’ or ‘purling wraps’ and you will get some great videos on how to do these. This is done to create short rows and make the triangle shape.

The deadline for the scarf completion is September 20, 2019. And for testing for me, you will get the finalized pattern for the scarf as well as a coupon code for a free pattern of your choosing (not including kits or ebooks) that is valid for one full year.

The second test knit that is open is for my Middleton Pullover. There is also a group on Ravelry for this, but just like the scarf, we can work together via email if you prefer. This sweater uses sport weight yarn. I chose Miss Babs Killington in the Dahlia colorway. One of the requirements for this test is letting me know how much yarn you used to complete your size. The sizes available are 30 (32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52)“ Bust. I have built in 2″ of ease, so the finished measurements will be 32 (34, 38, 42, 46, 50, 54)” Bust.

This pullover has lace at the bottom of the body as well as at the bottom of the sleeves. The construction is bottom up for the body. Then for the sleeves, the stitches are picked up and the sleeves are then knit down to the cuff.

IMG_1816

The deadline for the sweater completion is October 15, 2019, which means it should be finished in time for the cooler temperatures. For testing, you will get a copy of this finalized pattern, as well as a coupon code for one free pattern of your choosing (not including kits or ebooks) that will be valid for one full year.

If you are interested in testing either of these patterns, you can message me on Ravelry, or you can email me at tlcraftsanddesign at gmail dot com.

Blog, How To

Sock Basics Part 1: Your Cuff and Leg

Okay, so you have decided you want to make yourself a nice pair of knit socks. But, they look so complicated! And those heels…how do those even work?! The good news is that socks are not as complicated as they look, and they use some of the skills you probably already have at your disposal. They can be a bit fiddly though. I will try to give you all the tips and tricks that I have learned over the years, to help make your first pair of socks be just the first of many!

If you would like to work along with me as I walk through these steps, definitely try using a worsted or bulky yarn at first, with about a size US 8 needle. This will give you a much better visual of how all these steps come together. Many sock patterns use a sock weight yarn, with about a size US 1/2.25mm needle. That makes for tiny stitches that can be tough to see when you are starting out. Going big will make things look much clearer.

Now, there are two ways you can make socks. You can either start at the Cuff of the sock and work down towards the ankle, or you can start at the toes and work up. Neither of these is necessarily better for learning, but many find that the cast on for toes can be overwhelming, so lets start with the cuff. It’s a simple procedure that will get you going quickly. As you work through making socks, you will be able to decide for yourself which way you like to knit your socks…toe up or cuff down.

When it comes to needles, you can use either double pointed needles, or circulars. My patterns are all written for circular needles. I will do my best to break the steps down to accommodate both. If you are interested in giving circulars a try, you will want a long cord, about 40″ long for the Magic Loop Method, or if you are really bold, you can try the 9″ sock circulars that people are using now. I haven’t tried those yet, but a lot of folks love them.

To start, you will want to cast on the number of stitches listed for your pattern. In this case, I’m going to use my standard size small numbers, and cast on 56 stitches. When casting on your stitches, you need a stretchy cast on. You can use a long tail cast on, but it does run the risk of being too tight on the calf. If you can do a loose cast on with the long tail, then great, go ahead and use this. However, if you are like me and cast on like your life depends on it, and your first row is crazy tight, then perhaps try the German Twisted cast on. It’s a bit looser, but does create a different edge than the long tail. But, I still like it. There are lots of great YouTube videos that can walk you through how to do this cast on. It’s very much like the Long Tail cast on, but adds an extra little twist in there, that gives a bit stretch.

Spread your stitches across your needles evenly. If you are using a set of 5 double pointed sock needles, then divide the stitches over 4 needles. If you are using a set of 4, then divide over 3 needles, and if you are using circulars split the stitches between the two needles. When using double pointed needles, the stitch count may not divide perfectly. Just divide as best you can, making sure that the number of stitches on each needle is as close as you can manage.

Now, you are going to join the stitches to work in the round. This is the same for any other in the round project you may have worked on. You want to make sure that all your stitches face in the same direction, so there is no twist. After you smooth them all out, and they are all in the same direction, join and begin to work your stitches in a knit 2, purl 2 repeated pattern around all the stitches. Most of my cuffs will use this or some variation for about 1″ of length. This will give the cuff a nice stretch to better hug your leg. If you find that you easily loose track of the beginning of the round, use a stitch marker that opens to just hook on to your yarn, so you can see it as you work your way around. Many folks will say to just use the marker, but honestly, if you are using any of the needles listed above, that little thing is going to slip off every time you get to the beginning. I like just clipping it to the fabric where I can see it, but I don’t have to keep moving it or finding it when it falls off my work.

After you finish the specified number of rounds for your cuff, you are now at the leg. This is one of the simple parts of the sock. You are just going to go around and around, following the pattern, until it is the length you like. Personally, I like to go until my whole leg from the cast on is 6″ long. If the pattern you use has a different heel than the standard, it should specify that you knit until the leg is ‘X’ inches shorter than your desired length. This will also depend on the kind of heel the pattern uses. It could be 2″, or if it’s an afterthought heel, which I’ll dive into next time, it will be less.

So, that is it for Part 1 of our sock construction. I’ll be back soon to get into the good stuff. Heel construction is up next!!

Tips and Tricks: When you are working in the round on something like socks, you will notice that regardless of the needles you choose, you can get what is called ladders between the needles. This is a stand of yarn that seems to be leaving gaps. The easiest way to deal with these, is when you are on stitch two of your needle, give an extra little pull on your yarn to tighten it just a tiny bit more. This will help to even things out. If you still have a little bit of a gap, this will even out after you wash your socks. As a note, if you tighten too much on the very first stitch of your needle, especially if you are using circulars, will cause the last stitch on the previous needle to be too tight. So, you want to stick to the extra tightening on stitch two.

Blog, Projects

Having some fun

One of the problems with trying to have your own business, is that sometimes it can get overwhelming and just not feel fun. You can feel like you are bogged down or stuck. That happened this past weekend. I started to feel very stuck. I was overwhelmed by everything going on. My sales have been in the tank, which can be very common during the summer, but it’s still really tough to deal with. So, as I usually do, I start thinking about plan B. That usually involves the thoughts of what I can do to make money via online sales. Perhaps I SHOULD look at getting into Lularoe (which I debate about every 3 months, even though I just don’t have the mental stuff to do it…just really not something I am good at), or perhaps focus more on the Young Living sales (which I might still push forward with), or search for something else. Then I remember that I’m just not the sales type. Which is funny, but I’m not. I need to work on this more, because obviously it would be beneficial for more things.

I ended up going back to the thoughts of my dormant Etsy shop. I thought, what can I put on there that could be good. I settled on keychains. A very specific thing, that I can make varieties of. Just keychains. Keychains with wood burned tags. Keychains with stuffed critters. Keychains with beaded creations. All keychains. I might add stuff later, but for now…keychains. haha

I started working on my prototypes this weekend, while I wait for some yarn to come in for these. Now, the stuffed critters will have safety eyes, but are still not for kids. They are specifically for keychains, and not for play, but are still super cute. 🙂

Untitled

These are the three I have worked up so far. The kitty still needs whiskers, and his tail to be attached to his body. I don’t want to have a dangling tail that would get all tangled up. And the other two are getting some kind of mouth. I just need to dig out the embroidery floss to take care of that. 🙂

Stay tuned for these little guys to be released. I have a bunch more options for critters as well (shark, bat, dolphin, a hug), but I need to get the right color of yarn first. 😀

Thanks to this helping to clear my head and give me some direction, I will have some designs coming down the pipe. I have a couple things that are finishing up testing, and will be released around the 15th. I also have my Scarf of Many Colors that is scheduled to go to the editor on the 12th. That should mean I can start testing of that the following week. Right now the scarf is blocking, and should be dry before too long, so I can get proper pictures. 😀

Untitled

Thanks for reading!!

Blog, Projects

Making Plans

We have been waiting for someone to come and look at a couch/recliner that we have up for sale, so I took the down time to do some planning. It’s good to do that every once in a while to make sure I know where I am heading. This time, it wasn’t all about patterns, though. I am working on getting some products up for sale. I’m not 100% sure how that is going to work. If I can get it to work on here, then they will absolutely be listed here, but if not, they will go up on Etsy.

I was trying to decide what would be the first product listed. Part of the problem is getting myself going. I spend so much time working on my pattern designs, that I don’t do much else. I need to be able to balance my time a bit better. To start with, I have decided to make a bunch of keychain items. I already have some wood burning items I have been wanting to do for that. I am now expanding into little crocheted toys that will be on keychains. I have about 8 different designs that I am working through to get them the size that I want them to be.

To start my day, I cleaned up my desk, but you would never know it now.

Untitled

I’m playing around with yarn I currently have on hand, but I do have a bunch of specific colors coming to make what I am planning. I have to find my keychain hardware though. I know I bought some. lol I also bought craft safety eyes a while back, and have no idea where they are. But, I know I don’t have near enough, so I went ahead and got some more. My original craft room is still in complete disrepair, so the eyes are probably down there…somewhere. hehe

I better get myself back to work, or I will never get these going. Thanks for reading!

Blog, Projects

New Things

Goodness I have been busy lately. Most of it has been things behind the scenes that isn’t visible. Over the past year I’ve had the debate raging in my head of where to go next with my designs. Do I open my own store? Do I go back to Etsy? Do I keep going as normal? Then Craftsy changed things up, and all my stuff was gone from there, and I was pretty annoyed at the idea of uploading everything again. That made the debate go even more. So, the decision was made to go ahead and set up a store on here.

Once my choice was made, it was all about dealing with the logistics. Tax numbers needed to be obtained (that was being taken care of by other places). Once I was legal all over, I could start the store for reals. I listed everything and was all set. But, now what? At this point, I am looking at making sure I have some sort of advertising campaign going.

Of course while I was doing all this, I needed to make sure that the designs didn’t fall through the cracks. No point in having my own store if I have nothing new to put into it. Right now, I have three projects in testing. That means August will be busy with launches. 😀 Here are some pics of what is coming down the pipe!

Socks:

IMG_1775

Hooded Cowl:

IMG_1606

Scarf:

IMG_1772

And a sweater (about to go to editing and also get a proper photo shoot):

Untitled

I also have a couple other things in progress. One is a scarf made with mini skeins:

Untitled

And a Game of Thrones inspired snowflake shawl:

Untitled

I can’t wait to get these all out to everyone. 😀 I think I need to do a brain storming session soon, though. I’m hoping to get these latest in progress items finished in the next 3 weeks to get them all out for editing. 😀 I will be sure to post in the patterns page when these each launch!