Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crochet gloves

Time has passed far faster than I expected it to and I'm trying to catch up and get things in order. I was away visiting family for a while and the morning after arriving home again I fell sick. It's nearly better, thank goodness for copious amounts of vitamin C being available over the counter, am I right?
I am sure that it was the constant chill I had while I was away that contributed to my catching a bug. My father's house was by far the coldest, but my Nanny's house has always been a chill-box and we make sure to bring flannel pj's and slippers/socks even in the summer. Those two places were cold enough, but we are unused to the amount of moisture in the Rogue Valley after 5 years in the high desert and we stayed cold for our entire visit.
I made my youngest sister a pair of wool slippers since dad's house is so cold and while I was there my stepmom became infatuated with a pair of fingerless gloves in purple mohair that I made a couple of years ago. They look delicate since they're made from cobweb lace, but they are surprisingly warm and she LOVES purple. I had already been thinking that they no longer matched my wardrobe, I was going to replace them so I just gave them to her while I was there. I didn't tell either my stepmom of sister how to care for wool, I hope they don't felt them too soon.
I had a half made glove in my knitting bag from the trip but being sick from Monday morning til this afternoon, I didn't do anything with it til tonight. I got two fingers finished before I realized it might be smart to make both gloves at the same time since I am using my own pattern and all. Fortunately it's easy to do with this pattern as the yarn is broken with each finger's completion.
Once the pattern is completed and I've checked my work again, I'll post it on my blog. It's made in a very similar pattern to my fingerless gloves, an alternating shell and sc stitch and the thumb gusset increases are made the same way as with my other pattern, but the cuff is ribbed and instead of a picot edging... well. Fingers. It IS a glove after all.
My latest projects are finished - a half dozen oreos and a trio of cloches with a different colored flower for each. I just got a package of yarn for another round of hackey sacks and I'm looking forward to getting started on them. These are only the paid projects, of course. I'm like that cousin who works on cars - always busy doing things for free. Mot that I mind, I'm flattered and I love a good yarny thing. Before I came home I was asked for two mobius scarves like the one I made myself. One in tan and one in green. Got to say, I love them and they are super easy so I's looking forward to them. I'll post a couple of variations of it here on my blog as great one skein, quick-finish gifts.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Things have a way of cropping up

My notebook, Marcie, has died. She fought bravely through being dropped, stepped on, cords brutally severed, connectors broken, ballpoint pen graffiti, overheating by fleece blanket, and Dove body wash being poured into her keyboard. Sadly, she lost her battle early one morning when I was surfing eBay. The screen blanked suddenly and when I restarted it, all I got was a message that said GRUB load error.
Mike did his best, but no dice. Thankfully Black Friday is coming up and I can get a replacement.
Of course, this means that my cell phone had to die also. I was in bed pitying myself (did I mention I've had a nasty cold for going on 3 weeks? I'm very happy to say I'm much better, but not completely over it as of today) I tried to text my husband and the phone refused to recognize the WiFi. I tried Netflix, no go as well. mike's laptop worked downstairs, though... weird. I unplugged and restarted all the things I was told to by my tech savvy husband (thanks sweetheart) and the phone still said "Ppffffth" in my general direction. At one point it screamed "SIM crashed!"
Been my month, right? LOL.
On the upside, I have had a good month as far as crochet is concerned! Yesterday I finished a bundle of hacky sacks I've been working on for Bridgette, I found a great pattern for a top made with motifs, and I'm trying out a pattern for a newsboy cap, if you are a Ravelry member it's called the Mikey Cap. OK, so it's knit, not crochet, but it seems pretty easy and I like the look of it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I forgot to post pictures of the spats pattern I was trying to make

Here we are again at a familiar place... me, apologizing for my absentmindedly forgetting to post a picture of a project I promise to share with the two people that actually read my blog.
Here are the spats~

Since I made the boys each a unique pair of knit fingerless gloves, of course they lost them in the first day and a half. I managed to scrounge up one pair and Mick, the darling, agreed to model for me. These are actually Mase's pair, but he is about as manageable in front of a lens as an ... um... unmanageable thing. Sorry, my brain keeps different hours than my body and that was the cleverest thing it could come up with on it's own.

Bring on the SHAWLS

I love crochet for the cool months and I stock up on projects to start. I fell in love with the new Lily Chin shawl Gathering Leaves and wanted so badly to make it, but can't afford the pattern. I looked around for something free that was close and found the Growing Leaves shawl ~ which is not only knit (so not my forte) but it's in a chart form. Meydani no comprendo. Sucks for me... so I decided to make up a pattern with leaves in it myself. Trouble is, I'm not good at creating shawls.
I started with a Caron Simply soft skein to practice with. I hooked and frogged, hooked and frogged, over and over again. I finally stumbled into a pattern that WORKED, changed to my coveted cashmere then found out about 15 rows in that I forgot the spaces in the first half and it made a weird hill then evened out into a flat horizon... yeah. No way I was frogging yet again, so I kept it as 'personality'. What's with the coveting, you ask? My mom gave me some truly gorgeous yarn she reclaimed, a wine-red cobweb weight cashmere blend. Lovely and bouncy and I kept it out of sheer greed.

I am thinking of names for it, so far Autumn Leaves is stuck in my head. It's so... blah. I want something memorable and I don't know that it would fit if it were made in green or blue or pink, so the Autumn part might have to go. the leaves look suspiciously like diamonds, too. Hmm, I'll have to ponder longer and hope it just comes to me.
mom was also generous enough to buy two patterns from Annie's Attic that I am just dying to make. One is the Cathedral Rose Window afghan because it was just gorgeous and something I couldn't really approximate on my own. it will be for my bed, I think, I always get too cool at night and I hate turning up the heat because then Mike gets too hot. See my issue? It would also be beautiful downstairs on the couch when I feel like cuddling up with my hook and my Netflix Instant Watch que on the TV. Oh, and cocoa! Can't forget that.

I did mention I love crocheting in cold weather, right? Good. :)

The other pattern Mom bought was the High Top Crocheted Boots pattern. You know, she loves slippers but I have yet to see her wear them. In the cold she wears thick socks and tennies, in the heat (depending on the plans for that day) it's flips flops or a pair of garden clogs. Anything in between the two extremes finds her barefoot. But not slippers. Oh well, I hope she'll wear them just because they are so comfy looking.

I almost forgot to add! My boys love getting winter stuff so every year I make them new hats and mittens. Every year they love the hats and quickly discard the mittens when they impede the snow fun. This year I was brilliant, genius even, I made them fingerless gloves! Simple and easy - k1,p1 ribbing for the cuff, a few rows of stockinette, work a thumb, then a few more rows stockinette. Of course it was slightly more involved than that, but you get what I'm saying. 1 pair took me about an hour. I'm making some more later tonight :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Crocheted Spats for Pumps or Heels

I had an idea, made it and oh, swoon. Seriously. Swooooon. Simple, fast, and so freaking cute I can't stand it. I'll take pictures when I remember to, but in the meantime it's easy to explain so I will. Breathe in, breathe out, and here we go.
I used to be a neutral kind of girl. I loved t-shirts and jeans, tennis shoes, work boots, or non descript sandals. One day I learned about wonderful things, beautiful things, very girly things like make up, hair styling with mousse, pretty dresses in bright colors and zomg, high heels. I fell in love with shoes. I have a pair for every occasion and I'm only slightly ashamed to admit it. My dentist and his hygienist even noticed and commented on my array of cute shoes. I felt an odd mixture of embarrassed and flattered. They never said it was a good thing. I suppose if I'm going to have a purely feminine flaw, shoes are among the most acceptable.
Since I can't go get a new pair of shoes every time I want to spice up my wardrobe and I refuse to do anything permanent to my darling heels, I fell back on crochet. As I often do :) I love the vintage look and I wanted to make a pair of spats. They would change the whole look of the outfit/shoes and yet be easily washed and stored when not needed. We can't forget how deeply cold it gets here in the winter months... and spring... and fall... I don't want to wear boots all the time. These keep my poor feet a little warmer in my pumps. See? not completely frivolous.
Alrighty, project identified! Now, to make them.
Here's what I did, forgive me if I make little sense but they look good in the end. Make sure of your gauge, my dear hookers, or you run the risk of floppy sagging spats. No girl wants THAT. It's worked from the top down in a flat panel, buttonholes spaced out over one edge.
Materials -

fingering weight cotton thread
1.80mm hook
12 1/2inch buttons
sewing needle

Measure around your leg where you want the top of the spat to be. Using your gauge, figure the number of stitches. Mine was 72, but I'm a big girl. To keep it all straight and clear, I'll be using my own measurements for the pattern but you can adjust it super easily to fit your own. The even rows should all have the same number of stitches as your chain row and then it should be 1 more stitch per increase row. Like I said, easy. Make your buttonholes as big as you need for your button size by adding another 'ch 1, sk 1' keeping in mind the stretchy nature of crochet. Place however many you desire evenly down one edge.

Chain 72 +2, and hdc in the 3rd ch from the hook, ch 1, sk 1, hdc to the end of the row. (the 'ch 1, sk 1' forms a button hole)
Hdc evenly for 4 rows, then repeat the button hole making sure to keep it on the same edge as the first. I repeated these 5 rows (button hole row + 4 even rows) then one more button hole row, for 11 rows, 3 button holes, and still 72 sts across.

From here on out I increased 1 st at the end or each row (increase is 2 hdc in the last st), still placing button holes on the same edge til I had 6 total, ending on the last buttonhole row.
This should be 26 rows, 6 button holes, and 84 sts across. Sew each button on the opposite edge from the button holes, sew in all loose ends and button up!
I tried these on and they weren't too tight anywhere and didn't sag, so I know I got the gauge right, but when I put them on over my pumps, wowsa! Pictures to come should help you understand a bit better because I know I wrote that pattern badly, but you will want to try this. I am thinking of making a pair of short fingerless gloves to match.

My head is all spinny with the possibilities. Such as...
Lacing it up with ribbon instead of using buttons, sewing something fun on the side, mixing up the colors of buttons and yarn, stripes, even joining the edges for a tube instead of a panel. Make them longer, or use a thicker yarn and make them warmer.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer crochet is difficult

I find it hard to crochet in the summer. Sitting in one place in the heat is uncomfortable, but I can tolerate it.. I can even handle the extra layer of warmth from the yarn I work with. My problem is that projects for summer are hard to find. Clothing is an option, but unless you want a short skirt or cami/tank that you have to wear a slip or undershirt with, you are severely limited. By 'you' I mean me, of course.
I find myself turning to baby projects. They are simple most times, fast and lightweight and so cute that people can't help but buy them. Then babies outgrow clothing quickly enough that there is always a market.
I love that fall is only a few weeks away. I like making scarves and socks and shawls... oh my. Yes, yes I had to. Hats and mittens and fingerless gloves. Don't forget that fall and winter are prime gift-giving seasons! I love the colors and variety of patterns. Right now I am working on a BUNCH of baby booties and hoping that they will be well received.
Still wading my way through the sweaters I got from my mom, we had a mishap with the silk cobweb lace and I am still refusing to accept that it's lost to me. Knots get tired, then they can get UNtied!!! Right? Sniffle. Good things come with the fall, my favorite season, and I am more than ready!! Bring on the cool weather!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oh, yarny Bliss! Sweaters be thy name.

I learned to crochet at 10. My step dad's step mom taught me, trying to use it as a way to get to know me I guess. My mom tried to teach me to knit and I was horrible at it, but I knew love at first chain with crochet.
I crocheted non stop from then on and my mom dusted off her old crochet skills to join me. I started selling what I had made and all was good. I then moved on to reclaimed yarn. From there I reclaimed my own. New obsessions are wonderous, are they not?
I taught my mom to reclaim. The first sweater made her swear and huff, and eventually throw it at me.. I mean to me, to finish up. The second sweater, ho ho, that was different entirely. She now fell in love with it as I had.
Bad thing.
Now, a year later, she has a huge overflow of sweaters and yarn. My stepdad is trying to get her to get rid of it and my poor besotted mom can't face giving up the comfly fuzzy yarn she worked so hard on or the washed, stacked sweaters she sees so much potential in. The next best thing to keep it is to give it to me.
I'm smiling like a moron. Really. I was giddy and bouncy and practically swooning in the yarny heaven of choosing what to take home. out of all that was offered me, I said no thanks only once. And even then it was hard. Melanie's Closet on Hyena Cart is paid and ready to stock, I have cards in the mail to me, a business phone number, and now I have enough yarn to keep me afloat for a year.
Things are really coming together for me. I am so happy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Melanie's Closet Crochet for Hire

I realize few people actually read this, but I am hoping with the help of labels and Google, I can reach someone who is in need of my services.
I have been crocheting for 20 years now and I have made some money selling my finished projects here and there, but never consistently. Time and experience have shown me my strengths are not as a small business manager. What I would really love to do is simply have bulk orders to fill and do some custom orders occasionally. This doesn't sound too professional, I realize, but that may be a good thing because I myself, though a hard worker and very, very good at my craft (humble, too, it would seem) am not a stickler for professionalism. I am a laid back, easy going, mom of three who is absolutely addicted to crochet and a stickler for details when it comes to my yarny-things.
I can make just about anything you want and if you have a store front, online business, or a flourishing stand at a fair, street market, or craft show of some kind then you are who I am looking for. I want to supply you with crochet. When I say I make anything, I mean it. Household items, clothing for any age and size, toys, accessories, winter or summer items, edgings or appliques, as well as bulk orders for parties and special occasions, and business gifts (coffee sleeves, keyrings, and items for a company gift basket)This is not your grandma's crochet.
Shipping anywhere in the U.S., personal delivery to anywhere local to Deschutes county, Oregon. I'm not only good at it, I am very reasonable. I love what I do and I promise, you will get the best.
Please email me at for questions or orders.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The sun is here!

The warm weather has me thinking about comfort and cute clothes, so of course I made a summer outfit for a baby girl. Forget about me not having a baby, or a girl, or even knowing one young enough to give it to, I just felt moved to make it. And then spew nonsense about it.

I used an oatmeal colored size 10 thread cotton I reclaimed over the winter. The dress is very soft and stretchy but I would gauge it to be about 6 months size, jacket to match. The halter dress is knit with a crochet shell hem and the jacket is crocheted in a matching shell.It is small enough to be a baby dress, but could also be used as a halter top for a toddler. I learned how to make a vine of leaves a while back and I adore making them so I touched up the front and neck edges with a pretty dark green vine of leaves, also in 100% cotton I reclaimed from the same sweater. It was stripedy. I like stripes.
Sorry, got distracted, moving on.Pricing - I hate this part because I knit and crochet for the love of it, but I have no need for the stuff I am making and selling it is better than watching it collect dust here in my closet. So, I'm asking $25 for the set or $14 for each separately. Just email me or comment and I will get back to you!

For some odd reason, I feel compelled to make play-food this weekend. I started last night about 5 pm and ended up with three off white turkey eggs, inspired by my sister's generosity in giving me a bunch to take home.

Once I finished those, I got to thinking about a conversation Mike and I had about persimmons last week (yes, we're that dull) and I realized I had the perfect yarn for it. A two ply lace weight in an orangey color with a touch of pink. I also had the green and off white in the same fiber, so why not?
Found out why not 3 hours later. The stitches were so tiny it took forever! Thank goodness I got it right in one try, I couldn't have persevered if I was forced to frog it.

The eggs are $2 each and the persimmon is $5. It was a lot of work, that one! This afternoon was so beautiful that I HAD to take pictures. So enjoy my talent and marvel at the skill. Or just snicker and move on, it's all good :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A summer hat in thread

As some of you know, I am going on a business trip with my DH in a short while, to Florida. I am paler than Casper and in need of shade, but I also have a large skull and voluminous curls. This is problematic when it comes to shopping for a cute hat in any season, but more difficult in summer because most sunhats have no give, no stretch like the warm, wooly winter hats we all love.
Gosh, I wish I knew someone who could crochet just about anything. Wait...... I do!

LOL, ok, I'm done being funny now, you can all peel the fake smile off your faces. Feel better? Good. Now, back to the hat dilema. When the idea of making my own hat coalesced into a solid project idea, I went in search of patterns. I found the Sunlight Hat and Gloves, but they are too fancy for my needs. After all, as much as I love the pattern it's a trip to a convention in Florida, not a ladies tea and luncheon in a rose garden. Maybe I'll make it as a surprise for my mother-in-law for the next appropriate occasion.
What next .... most of the patterns I found fell under three reasons I couldn't use them~

1)Babies hats. I know we need to keep our little ones out of the harsh rays of the sun til their delicate skin is a bit hardier, but some of us never reach that 'hardier' stage. Where are the grown ups hats? *pout*

2)Too thick. It's summer and sun and heat and as much as we dislike talking about it, sweating. Why all the patterns that call for worsted weight yarn? It makes the hat heavy and thick, exactly what a woman like myself does NOT need in a summer sun hat.

3)Cost prohibitive. Though I normally like to make my own pattern because I sell my work often and copyright is a sticky subject, I do buy patterns for personal use or resale sometimes. But Great Googly Moogly, people! I'm not spending $14 on a pattern or $33 on a book full of patterns that I don't want to get the one I do and then another bundle on the yarn and THEN all the time to make it! I could pay the same for a plus-sized hat online if that's the case.

I had to come up with a pattern for myself. I am nearly finished, all that's left is to add the wire and put on the edging, then I have a custom sun hat. It's a simple 3dc,3ch,3dc shell pattern with increases. Yay, happiness is crochet. Of course, I did find a pattern that was free and I liked, but it would have to be in knit. Not my best subject. I think I'll try it anyway, it's called Wind-and-Sea and it's so pretty that I'll risk using my jealously protected fingering weight green merino. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Plarn Crochet

I first heard of this while 5 months pregnant with my first child. Someone asked me to make a purse out of plastic shopping bags and I agreed. I looked it up, learned how to do it and started. Then I took ibuprofen and slept off the headaches. Seems 5 months along I get awful headaches and focusing on crochet was bad enough, but the rustle and squeak of the plastic on the aluminum hook tripled the effect.
I haven't attempted it in years. Yesterday I decided it was time. I have a giant deposit of used shopping bags under my sink and every few months I consider again whether I should toss them or use them. The deciding factor on using them was when my 7 year old, the very child who was forming while I learned this particular craft, asked me if we were saving the plastic bag in his hand and when I said yes he gave me a long-suffering look and said with a sigh " I suppose I can find room under the sink with the others."
OK, time to face the project! I took out about half the bags and separated by color then cut up all the blue-and-white bags. I made a rectangle and kept growing it til it was the size of a placemat, added a row of red-and-white and continued on with the rest of the blue-and-white. When I get to the right size for a bath mat, I'll add one last row of red as edging and viola!! Half the bags are gone and we have a new mat.
It's surprisingly fun when I'm not fighting pregnancy woes. I should have done it years ago.
Here's how it works - Plarn Instructions.
And here are a bunch of ways to try it out - Plarn Patterns

There are tons of patterns out there, some really cute and usable, others downright awful. You have to choose for yourself, but it's such a neat way to crochet that it's worth a chance. My personal tips for making it easier to use.
1)ALWAYS make sure the bag is clean and free of holes. Finding a crusted something icky is not a fun surprise and holes in the bag can make for weak or broken loops.
2)Use a plastic or wooden hook if you can, the metal ones squeak in such a way as to make me drool as well as makes my inner ear vibrate unpleasantly.
3)Cut up all your bags ahead of time and keep them in (surprise) another bag. I have tried the method where they are tied then wrapped into a ball but if you get your loops tied together unevenly (which you WILL do) then as you crochet the extra on one side will stick out of the project. I tie them together as I go, no more than two at a time.
4) Be GENTLE. They will be super strong once crocheted together, but before that they are weak and will stretch or break easily. Stretched out plarn will make for a thin spot in your finished item.
5)Plan ahead with your stitches. Frogging is plenty possible, but it makes a lesser quality plarn for the second time around.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tie Front Top

I enjoy crocheting clothing and this was particularly fun. It was easy to follow, easy to make since it only had two stitches, it was plain enough that it could be dressed up with flowers or a funky edging, something to make it unique, but it was pretty enough to be worn without any additions. The sizing was just about spot-on, and it was easy to adjust the gauge to accommodate my rather larger-than-size-large self. Since it went to large and I needed a 2x-3x, I simply used the gauge given and my measurements to make it my size. It was really VERY easy.
There was a negative - the edges of the front were too far apart and didn't even cover half my breast. It felt oddly like being on display even though I was perfectly modest, lol. So I added 2 inches of edging to the neckline and fronts, now it's just right.
No pictures of me in it since, after all, I did just tell you I was plus sized. My husband and kids thought it was rather nice, though, so I must have gotten it right!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A shawl for spring

Since I usually cast around and then don't finish a project -or even start it sometimes- I decided to make it and then tell you all about it. All of the 2 people who read this blog. (thanks by the way)
I started a Pineapple Shawl. I got the pattern on Ravelry, of course. It's crochet and I am using a reclaimed fingering/dk weight yarn, a reclaimed merlot colored lambswool. It went together really fast, I did about 3 hours of work on it Friday and about 3 more on Saturday. Today I have to finish the current row of edging and start the last row, then work in the ends and block it. It went much faster than reclaiming the darned sweater! (get it, darned... hehe)

It's not quite as long on me as it is on the model, but I am bigger than she is and using a smaller yarn. It covers my shoulders and 3/4 of my upper arm. I love the way it hugs my neck and drapes in the front.
I might have to make a couple more for friends as a spring gift.
I still have no camera, so my pictures are dependent on Mike's camera being available to me and of my knowing how to use it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Egglpant is the color or the day

I have a love of purple that is mainly unrecognized. My first love is green, but apparently from my clothing and yarn stash colors, I am carrying on a rather torrid affair with red and purple, too.
I decided to use a purple mohair and a purple cotton with random and tiny slubs of colors like red, yellow, blue, and pink, matched up with some bright purple buttons (all of which I already had sitting around) and let the muse take me.
I started and stopped several times before I finally created a little girl's sweater/cardi. It's about a size 7, but with a loose, bell like sleeve and waist. Almost swing. I tied the sleeve with a bit of the cotton yarn to make a cuff. It's a rather unique combination of shades that is dark and vivid all at once and I think it's just perfectly suited to the large scallop pattern I used for the body and sleeves. I would share the pattern link or name, but it came out of my head so I don't have one for you. Just a raglan yoke followed by three rows of scallop (one pattern repeat) and then I divided for sleeves and body. No edging, the scallops create a pretty edge on their own I think.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm already casting around

I have 4 of the 5 swiffer covers made and now I am casting around for another project. I love crocheting girly stuff, so I think I'll make a toddler dress. I have a few coffee cup sleeves and a purple child's jacket made and ready to sell, but I have to get my store started up again before that can happen. I am really feeling the SPRING people! I want to make stuff, I want to create and accomplish. i am so happy to be crocheting again. With the stress of events over the winter I was not able to keep my mind focused on a hook and yarn. Now I can and I am raring to go.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I have been wanting a new project

It's not really new, it's more swiffer covers, but I didn't even realize how badly I wanted to get crocheting again. I haven't been able to for a while. Just... stuff.One thing after another happened and were big enough that I wasn't interested in crocheting at all.
Suddenly, out of the blue a friend admired a swiffer cover I made last year and blogged about and wants me to make her a bunch. Of course I will! She not only gave me something to make again, bless her heart, but then she overpaid me as well. Mike came home with the yarn last night. I was supposed to get it the night before that, but the kids were sick as dogs, poor things.
Tonight I'll make up the covers. I can't wait! I wonder to myself if I'll ever start up Melanie's closet as a store again... who knows. There is a regular crafts market in my little town, big Christmas fairs in the towns nearby, a freakin' wonderful Saturday market in Eugene and there's always Etsy and HyenaCart. I need to get serious about it.
I have such a list -
I have a gift to send to Lisa from Granola Chicks, another for Aubrey, also from Granola Chicks, almost done.
I need to send off Sophia's gauntlets and hat, been sitting here forever it seems, and then I need to make my cousin some new booties for her little girl since she outgrew the last pair.
Then I need to figure out what I'll be making to sell for spring and get my butt in gear!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No pictures yet!

I still can't find my camera, but there isn't much to show as an update anyway because I have been too busy to crochet lately. The playmat has gotten progressively more difficult and I'm getting a little more frustrated but it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.
I'll see you soon with pictures, I hope!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Miracle Diapers has a new name!

Miracle Diapers Is Now The Cloth Diaper Foundation

empowering families, improving the environment

As Miracle Diapers has grown so has the number of families they assist. In 2009, they helped over 450 babies directly, more than 100 babies through sponsorship and local distribution, and assisted other charities with the same mission as well!

To better serve those families Miracle Diapers reaccessed it's structure and practices. They have:

• New leadership with Roxanna Jolly—CEO and Lisa Johnston—Operations Manager and Board Chair

• Relocated their headquarters to Katy, Texas

• Restructured how they process and accept applications

• Opened a retail store for fundraising

• Founded a new membership program

• Welcomed several new board members from the cloth diapering industry

In it's fifth year Miracle Diapers wants to continue moving forward and has decided to take on a new name that better describes the organization and it's mission.

Miracle Diapers is now The Cloth Diaper Foundation.

“We felt that a more appropriate name would help the community have a better understanding of who we are, as we have often been mistaken for a diaper manufacturer. Our desire to move forward and build a legacy of support for the cloth diapering community will be reflected in our new name: The Cloth Diaper Foundation.”

-Roxanna Jolly, CEO, The Cloth Diaper Foundation

Monetary donations fell last year do to the economy. Which means there are more families out there for The Cloth Diaper Foundation to help! While diaper donations are always appreciated, we must be able to financially support organizational growth. Let's make this happen together and spread the CD love. Visit today to find out how you can help!

Addendum to Press Release: To assist in fund raising efforts, in the month of February, Tracy Whittemore and Lisa Adkins from The Cloth Diaper Company have so graciously offered to match, product for product, each Cloth Diaper Company product sold (Drybees, Wahmies, Rocky Mountain Diapers) in The Cloth Diaper Foundation Retail Store with an equal donation to our organization. (Example - Purchase a Rocky Mountain Diapers OS Pocket, CDC will donate our organization a RMD OS Pocket, Drybees for Drybees, etc.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Play mat update

It came along nicely for the first 6 inches or so, but then I noticed a flaw in my pattern- namely, I had overlapped the same skein of yarn. I was using the same color in two sections simultaneously but hadn't planned ahead for it. I had to cut the thread and then wind off a bunch. It ruined the smooth flow I and since I lost that flow, I started crossing threads and screwed it all up. Every so often I got frustrated and had to put it down, but I persevered and I am proud to say it's about half finished. My oldest son is personally invested because he helped me design the mat and he has been sure to check up on me repeatedly. i wish I had chosen a lighter shade of dark blue, but I can't change it now and who knows, the kids might not mind.

I'll take a picture tomorrow if I can find my camera... I love how creative my kids are, how artistic, but I H.A.T.E. how they love to sneak off with my camera and take pictures. I love those pictures, I hate losing my camera and hate the chance of it breaking, but I can't be mad at them, understand. I really love the surprise when I look through my pictures and see our live from a child's angle. Might be the best photography I've seen, and my stepmom is a talented photographer. In fact, my avatar, the picture of the hand? It was taken by my stepmom, but she let my oldest boy call all the shots; angle, lighting, subject, all of it. He sees something I don't when he looks through the lens.
Anyway, when and if I find my magically missing camera, I'll take a picture of the mat as well as a small side job I did in embroidery. A friend found a picture of a piece of cloth embroidered with blue lines and a red margin, black thread in 'cursive' on it and she fell in love. had to have it. So... of course I made it. I haven't told her I did, it's a surprise, but I don't think she even knows I HAVE a blog, so it won't spoil anything for you all to see, will it? I finished a 4T cardigan as well made in very lovely purples.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Originally uploaded by Meroluni

I love making things myself, I love natural alternatives to store bought, chemical laden products, and I love being sentimental. This project was a trifecta, I got all in one.
When I was little I remember my mom making us playdough. Since she didn't allow us to buy any Play-Do this was wonderful. I watched her in amazement as she spent no money and very little time to make us what was a forbidden and expensive treat normally. She only had one food dye color, though, so our new toy came out a fleshy nude color, making everything we formed from it look lewd and suggestive. Which was great fun by itself.
Now that I am a grown up and a mom, I am in my mother's shoes, living the same life she lived and seeing from her perspective. It's fun as well as difficult. Tonight I was reading updates on Facebook and my friend Donna posted about the strength it takes as a mom to not jump in and prevent the children from making, as a friend of hers called it, grey-dough. She toyed with the idea of making a batch for herself so that the colors stay pristine.
This brought up a host of fond childhood memories and I HAD to make a batch. Thinking about my three boys, I decided on a double batch. Mike had thoughtfully remembered that I was in search off food dyes and bought me two sets he found on sale last week.
1 c Flour...check.
1 c Water...check.
1 tsp Cream of Tartar...check.
1/4 c Salt...check.
1 tsp oil...check
Dye... check.
Alrighty! Mix all ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly til smooth and forms a ball that pulls away from the sides. Careful, this happens fast!
I dropped the ball of dough onto the counter to cool. It is still super soft and squishy, but I started kneading it as it cooled and it firmed up a little. I had to dust the counter with a little flour to keep it from sticking and to firm it up a little more because I didn't cook it quite long enough.
Then I cut it into quarters and put 6 drops of dye into a fingerprint depression I made in the top of each ball of dough. Knead carefully to avoid splashing dye on the counter or you could be smarter than me and knead it on a non-staining surface. I doubled it to getthe amount you see in the picture and each one of those is about 2/3 c.
I made the kids play with it on a giant lazy susan to keep things fair and equal as I could. Store in an airtight container. I plastic yogurt container would be perfect, but I don't have any at the moment and I am not risking my glass jars, so Ziplock baggies it is!
I love being Mom.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Step one

Last night I printed up some graph paper and got started on the kid's playmat. WOW, I gave myself a migraine. It's big, 42x42 and I had to use two sheets just to lay it out.
I asked my oldest son to share some of his ideas because he loves the math and symmetry to crochet. He has asked me to teachhim, but it's too sedentary a hobby for a growing boy and he quickly loses interest. Pattern conception, however, is right up his alley. He drew me a 'plan' last night as a visual aid. there is a big train track with an engine, a really squiggly road, and a big lake all populated by random people, cars, and trees. the road might not work without some tweaking, but he is really fun to collaborate with and i look forward to the challenge.

My 'plan' is now done. There is a straight railroad track across the top, brown rail road ties intersected by silver/gray track and the background is a tan-brown with random edging to simulate dirt. To the left side of the mat and crossing over the tracks is a road, black with yellow lines down the center, white 'stop here' lines on either side of the tracks, and it also has a tan 'dirt' edging. The road is straight til just after it crosses the tracks, then there's a T intersection and that crossroad is all curvy. not squiggly, but definitely not straight.

The straight lines were easy peasy, the random edges, meh, it was more about the organic flow than precise lines, but the curvy road - that was HARD. It was only natural to me to keep the edges of the road the same number of squares apart on the graph, but that resulted in pinched looking tarmac and an awkward collision of numbers and feel. Ugh. Right about then I discovered that an eraser on a #2 pencil can make graph lines disappear.
I went with the look and feel as a priority because after all, this is for little kids. The lake was super easy as well since it SHOULD be wavy and I placed it in the lower right corner to counterpoint the track and road intersection in the top left corner.
Are you with me so far? Hopefully you can visualize it all fairly well. Last night my 6 year old was haltingly trying to explain what he was thinking and it made little sense, so he paused, tilted his head to the side and asked me, Mom, do you know what visualization is?
This led to him needing to literally draw me a picture because it seems I really have no idea how to visualize with him.
Back to the concept at hand. the road, track, and lake seem fairly simple to place on a big square and the spaces left are going to be green. Like the tan 'dirt' edges, the green will have a paler green edging where the grass is close to the dirt. There is a dirt rim around the lake as well and then the lake water will be pale blue for shallows and dark blue for depths.
Breathe in, breathe out, visualize with me. Are you there? OK, moving on to much simpler ideas.

There will be vehicles on land and water - a little flatbed pickup truck, a sedan, a train engine, a sailboat. There will be a home with a nice front porch, a general store, a stop sign, and a RRx sign. Pine trees, small bushes and flowerbeds for landscaping.
All of these are going to be stuffed and flat bottomed to stay upright on the mat, and I am considering a couple of fish stitched onto a coin-shaped blue background for the lake. i don't know about people or animals yet, there are a lot of details and pieces as it is and I fought off a migraine just dealing with THIS much last night.
I sort of tossed ideas around for a vest, but it was too much for me after the small town I just created. My Mick wants a mountain now. thankfully that is really easy. This is going to be a huge project!

Friday, January 15, 2010

back in the saddle

I've gotten so spoiled using other people's patterns that I nearly forgot how hard it is to write the darned things myself. I used to use my own exclusively but then I got entranced with the ingenuity and creativity I saw from other writers.
I have plans to make two projects and keep the patterns for later use. First, I want to make a play-mat for the boys. they love that sort of thing and it's really hard to find in crochet.

I'm going to make it with~
*a train track
*tarmac roads
*a lake
*surroundings with green and brown as grass and dirt.
*I'm also going to make a few little things to go with it, like vehicles, buildings and animals.

Graph paper is definitely in order for that one! Any suggestions are welcome.

Secondly, I want to make a vest for myself. Finding a vest pattern that isn't a spiderweb or a big blocky thing from the 70's or 80's is difficult enough, but a cute vest in my size is nearly impossible. I did find a few, but they're not really my style. I have a short waist and a large bust as well as a large rear, so the long vests are not exactly flattering.

I am looking to make a pattern that has~

*narrow straps (not spaghetti strap, but I would like to avoid the big wide shouldered 'sleeveless' look)
*a deep V neck that covers my belly button, but not that covers to my collarbones
*large arm openings so that there isn't any uncomfortable rubbing or conversely, tight arm seams that restrict movement
*a waist that falls naturally on my own with a hem that ends at mid hip.

Right now I have a couple of projects to send out, but I'll be updating daily from rough drafts, to the WIP, to the finished object.