Tag Archive | start

Oh! I Want To Make That! Now!

124025535d79d799e41221839803134bThis summer I have suffered from a severe case of “Start”itis.

By definition, Startitis is a condition caused by seeing a new amigurumi crochet pattern and needing to make it NOW despite the fact that the last amigurumi project isn’t even close to being completed.

It is the process of abandoning the current amigurumi project that was being worked on previously, and leaving it as a UFO (unfinished object) to start yet another amigurumi project with the broken promises of later returning to that deserted project as soon as the new one is done, and before yet another new one is started.

My case of Startitis has been quite severe and it is going to take some time to get over at this point.

img_5668At the first of the summer, I found the cutest little lamb pattern. I have seen several cute lamb patterns over the years but I had passed on making them because of the challenge of crocheting the lamb’s wool. When I saw this lamb pattern, I was ready to accept img_5689the challenge, and started to crochet the pieces for this lamb. After crocheting the body with popcorn stitches, I needed a break from this project.

The popcorn stitches took a lot of time and concentration to crochet and keep count and I was feeling lazy. This was not a “watch tv” and still crochet project. I tried to crochet the other parts of the lamb that did not have popcorn stitches like the arms and legs, but the thought of the up coming parts with popcorn stitches just made me completely lose interest. I was determined though to see the lamb project through to completion until I spied an amigurumi pattern that I just had to make IMMEDIATELY!

Yes of course, you guessed it!

img_5687It was a ferret in a sweater!

I mean come on, EVERYONE NEEDS one of those don’t they? Boy, I sure thought that I did!

It was love at first sight when I first saw this ferret pattern and it was simple to put down the cream colored yarn of the lamb and pick up the dark brown yarn of the ferret and start on yet another new project. The ferret’s pieces crocheted easily, and I loved adding the little sweater to his body. I crocheted his head and the cut and tied yarn color changed for his little bandit face but then I promptly put my hook down. The problem was, I just saw the cutest momma and baby dragon patterns and I just had to make them both. NOW!

img_5695Since it was so easy to stop working on the lamb project, and start the ferret project, I had no problem at all in deserting the ferret project to start to crochet the dragons instead. I picked out burgundy and gold for the momma dragon and two shades of purple for the baby dragon and then I started crocheting on the momma dragon’s body right away!

Because I was in such a hurry to start the dragons, I didn’t take the time to read through the pattern first so I was surprised as I crocheted the momma dragon’s body just how big she was going to be, but since the body was turning out really cute I had no problem continuing to crochet on it. I finished the momma dragons body and then I started crocheting the next pieces until I was presented with a new challenge.

Yes, you again guessed correctly. I just had to make a black panther!

img_5693You see, while I was visiting with an old friend, I decided to make her an amigurumi and asked her what her favorite animal was. I was expecting her to say a dog, a cat, a mouse, a cow, a pig, a monkey, or, could I be lucky enough, a lamb, a ferret or a momma dragon, but her response was a black panther instead.

As soon as she named a black panther, I lost total interest in making her an amigurumi for two reasons. One, I have never seen a pattern for a black panther and two, I can’t see black yarn very well so it is more difficult to crochet with than other colors. Crocheting an entire amigurumi from black yarn and getting something that resembled a panther out of it was just too much for my little brain at the time.

But, as time when on and I thought more about it, my little brain started to design a black panther for my friend. This challenge intrigued me so I stopped working on the momma dragon to get the panther started.

img_5699After crocheting a few pieces of the panther, I put my hook down. Luckily, not to start yet another amigurumi project but to evaluate what I had been doing. So far I had a bag of cream and beige yarn and pieces of a little lamb, a bag with the cute ferret’s pieces ready to be stitched together, a bag with a big momma dragon’s body, and now a bag with black panther’s pieces in it.

tumblr_nrsok0hg571uawe7no1_1280I decided that I really had to stop this and focus on one project, complete it and move on. These were all projects that I wanted to finish, but I had let new pattern after new pattern get in the way. I could not allow myself to start a new amigurumi project again until I had completed these four that were already started.

So, my new amigurumi project was to pick one of these four current project and compete it. This was a great goal until I realized Halloween is in just six weeks.

Oh crap!

I had wanted to make more candy filled ghosts and spiders for Halloween this year. Now, what do I do? Do I abandon the little lamb, the cute ferret, the momma dragon and now the black panther to start on Halloween projects before it is too late? Stay tuned to see what I decided next time!

Until then, crochet forth and start yet another project before you finish the previous one on!

I won, but I lost, but I won

Well after organizing and re-packing all of my fabric into fifty two separate boxes, the fabric in my stash is finally organized, pictured, labeled and put back in the closet, or at least mostly put back in the closet. Some of it just would not fit, so it is sitting in boxes next to the closet instead.

And with that my New Year 2013 resolution is finally complete! Yay!

Now that my stash is finally fully organized and under control again, I am very satisfied with the results and very pleased with myself for a job finally completed and done well. It has been a long time coming.

And I felt that it was time for some relaxation and what better way to relax than to check out Fabric Mart’s latest sale? And what better way to reward myself for a job well done than to make a fabric purchase?

Now, a small fabric purchase of a piece or two of shiny new fabric should do just fine I thought to myself. And the fact that it was on sale for an unbelievably awesome deal and that it would not ever enter the stash at all, but would instead be used right away should be a fine reward for anyone who had just completed a total reorganization of their stash, but oh no, not for me. Instead I ended up purchasing 45 yards of fabric on sale at Fabric Mart, for a grand total of 37 pounds of new fabric. Cheese Louise!

.P1030126

But, but, but the flannel was only two dollars a yard and the wool was imported from Italy, and the pique is just right for the husband’s shirts and at just one dollar per yard how could I not buy at least 10 yards of it? That’s 4 shirts for just $10! Really?!? How could I not buy it ALL? REALLY?!? How could I actually go and BUY more fabric?

.P1030129

After just spending almost 2 months of my free time reorganizing all of my fabric stash how could I possibly add more to it? Hadn’t I handled enough fabric lately to have grown sick of it? Hadn’t I just found so many pieces that I had long forgot I purchased so it was like a new fabric purchase to me anyway? Hadn’t I been inspired by all of the cool pieces in the stash to do something with them? Why oh why did I feel the need to purchase still more fabric? Now I will have to get more boxes. Now I will have to take more pictures. Now I will have to add more categories to my new stash organization system. When will I ever have the time to sew again?

.P1030131

Although I can not answer all these questions right now, I can answer the last one. It is time to start sewing again after a two month hiatus. While organizing the stash I found two pair of pants for me already cut out and just waiting to be sewn up. So that is next on my list to do. And I set out 4 pieces of fabric from the stash for baby sleepers. So that will be the second thing I put on my to do list. And I know exactly what piece of fabric I want to use for the husband’s next shirt too.

So let the sewing begin!

And perhaps I can stay busy enough sewing fun new things that my fabric addiction will subside, at least for a short time…  Or until the next great fabric sale that is just too good to pass up, so maybe I am safe for a week or two! I hope!

At The Closing of the Year

P1020758As much as I hate to see the year end, I am also excited by the renewal that the new year brings. It is a fresh start. A time of hope. A time of empowerment. My ambitions are high. And I feel like I can do anything I want at this point.

And, with all of this excitement coursing through my veins, I have set only one sewing goal for this new year.

TO GET CONTROL OVER MY FABRIC STASH.

.

Sure. It sounds simple you say, but you have to understand just how out of control the stash is. Because of where I live and the fact that I must travel great distances to get to any sort of real fabric store, I must have a stash of fabric on hand. When I want to start my next project, I can’t just run down to the local fabric store and pick out some fabric and notions for that project. There is no local fabric store to run to. My stash is my local fabric store. So, when I make it to a fabric store, and see a piece of fabric that I might want to use to make something at some point in the future, and especially if it is a good price, I must pick it up. NOW! And this is why I have such a large stash of fabric. Well at least this is my justification for the stash.

.

P1020761Seriously though, I like every other fabriholic love to get a great deal on some nice new fabric. And I just love to make a shirt with $2 dollar a yard fabric and then brag about how the buttons cost more than the fabric used in the shirt. I just love to touch and feel all of the wonderful pieces of fabric I see at the store, and then to purchase and own them. I wonder sometimes if my hobby is not sewing but instead the practice of collecting fabric, patterns, and notions. I love to add a new piece of fabric to the stash. It enters the stash with such possibilities of someday becoming a great sewn up master piece of art. And I love to buy patterns for just $0.99 a piece. They fill me with hope that someday I will make a fabulous item from them.

And then every once in awhile, the reality of it all sets in…

Somedays I wish there was really such a thing as Fabriholics Anonymous…

I have been collecting fabric to add to the stash for over 25 years now. And yes, I really do still have some of the original pieces that started in the stash back then. I remember the first move the husband and I made together after we had graduated from college. The stash was at that time just 12 apple boxes in total, and that included the notions and sewing machines.

.

Wow!

.

P1020763The stash now encompasses several large closets and over the last few years has leaked out from those, piling itself against walls and into every empty corner I can find. The stash is so disorganized now that the throw it and run method has been my way of managing it over the last couple of years. Recently, when I have purchased a new piece of fabric, it stays in its bag and is just tossed onto one of the piles. There is no organizing it with other matching fabrics so it can be retrieved easily later when needed. And my latest love of crocheting amigurumi creatures, has not helped the issues with the stash either. The fabric stash has now just taken on yarn too, and this is only adding to the current problem. And so this is why I have to say, the time has come to finally do something about the stash.

.

Back when the stash was only at 12 boxes, it was completely under control and organized. I knew what I had and where to find it. The boxes were carefully curated and labeled. It was easy to look over the boxes and know just where what I would need was at. As the years have progressed I had always been able to keep up the organization of the stash, but in the last few years, I have totally lost control of it. I now have to spend huge amounts of time to hunt for every piece of fabric that I think I have and that I think would work for every new project I start.

.

This is not working for me anymore. I need to get control of the stash and fast!

.

So, how am I going to complete this goal, and get the stash under control? I have decided it will take 3 steps.

.

1. Part with what I’m not ever going to sew something with and then organize the rest. I have finally found a local charity that would just love to have all the fabric and notions that I am not going to use. They will take it and put it to good use. This will be the divide and conquer part of the goal, to go through all the boxes and piles and have an open mind as to what to keep and what to give away. The organizing will occur during this stage too. I will then re-box all of the fabric in the stash so I know what I have and where it is at. I am not going to spend my time making spread sheets on my computer of what fabric I own to help me organize the stash. I think doing that would take a lot of time and not really help me out that much in the end. I think just having similar fabric and similar colors in their own boxes with proper labeling on the boxes will do more to help me find just the right piece of fabric to sew next. The husband has offered to build customized modular shelving to help this step if needed. I am unsure yet if I do but I all let you know later how it turned out.

.

2. Sew up what I’m keeping. Stop letting all the wonderful pieces of fabric that I have in my possession just set in the stash. Get them out and sew them up and make them into wonderful things. I started doing this last year and I had a lot of fun with it as I made sleepers, and kid’s shirts from patterns that I forgot I even owned. The local charity will also take my finished items and give them to people who really need them and can use them. That way I don’t have to limit what I make to just things for me and the husband to wear.

.

3. Stop adding to the stash. This will be the toughest step of all. This is not going to be fun or easy. I know I am going to hate it, and do the “Oh but its just one piece” or “Oh but it’s such a nice piece of fabric at such a great price” and “Oh but I can make …” but I will have to find the strength and willpower to turn and run away from it. With that, I have decided that it will be easier to just not see it in the first place. So, no more perusing Fabric Mart’s web site, no more stopping in at M&L fabric just to see what’s in the $2 a yard bins, and no more slipping over to Walmart’s fabric department to browse while the husband is in electronics. No more. (Except for interfacing, I will allow myself to go to a fabric store and buy interfacing. For some reason I can’t seem to keep the right type or amount in stock in the stash.)

.

So, there is the New Year’s goal and the plan. I am excited to get started on it even though I think it will take a few months to finish it. And yes, I know it will take away from the precious little free time I have available that I could be sewing, but having the stash under control will enhance my sewing experiences in the future. So I am ready to dive in head first on the hope of a brighter future!

.

Have a Happy New Year everyone! I hope you and yours have a great one!

Fur Starters

P1020769The fur adventure began with all of the planning and learning that was involved in me working with fur for the first time. Then after that came the cutting of the fur. This was not a quick process for me ,  and so here is what I did.

First, I needed to find out which direction the nap of the fur went. Then I needed to make sure that he nap of the fur went the same direction on each piece of the pattern that I would cut out. Next, I traced the pattern pieces onto the fur before I cut it out. I used a sharpie to do this. You might say that it was crazy of me to use a permanent black marker on my fur, but I wanted to make sure that I could clearly see the lines while cutting. I also knew that since I would be cutting on the line and that any remaining black lines would be caught up in the seam so it wouldn’t be visible once it was stitched up. I also made sure and used a fine point sharpie and I tried it out on a small piece of fur first to make sure it didn’t bleed through.

Because of the way the fur has to be cut, none of the pieces can be cut on the fold. So when I traced the back, I had to trace one side and then flip it over and trace the other side. After all the pieces were traced, the cutting started.

P1020773Since I did not want to cut the hair of the fur, the fur had to be cut out with tiny snips of the scissors, very carefully, making sure to only cut through the backing of the fur. This was not difficult, but it was very time consuming.

When I had finally finished the cutting, I figured it would be clean up time, but with since I was not cutting much of the hair of the fur there was really only a small mess when I was done. Also, at this point, I was still happy with the pattern that I had picked. The jacket pattern that I chose is very simple and did not have a lot of detail to it. This was a bonus for me since I did not have to try and make any special markings on the fur. In fact, I didn’t even worry about cutting any notches. I figured I would not be able to find them in the fur later anyway.

P1020703Next I cut out the lining. This was quick work since I was able to use my rotary cutter on it to cut it out.

At this point, I tried to pin a couple of the pieces of fur together, only to see my pins bend and twist. I was very frustrated at this since I am a big fan of pinning things together and I hate to sew with out pinning first. So to solve this problem I ending up using some large paper clips/clamps to hold the fur together. Not as elegant as using pins, but the paper clips did the job and held the fabric together.

Now that all the pieces are finally all cut out, it is time to sew!

Please be sure and join me in the next post in the continuing Saga of the Fur Wars…

Putting the Magic Circle To The Test

After determining that I liked the looks of my sample magic circle better than my chain two sample, I decided to use the magic circle in my next amigurumi project. What I figured out was that I had more to learn about the magic circle.

.

I started my latest amigurumi project with a magic circle. Row 1 turned out great, but as I crocheted row two, the circle grew and grew. It ended up making a bigger hole than I have ever got with the chain two method. Confused and a little disappointed, I undid my crocheting and started again but got the same results, so I tried it again. Now, totally confused and flustered, I said to myself, “Strike three, you’re out.” and went back to the chain two method. But, after finishing a couple of the parts for this amigurumi, the magic circle started to haunt me again. And I just could not get over the fact that I could not get it to work, so I tried it yet again. And the same thing happened. After crocheting the second row, the hole was huge!  This is when the simplest thought ever hit me.  To fix the problem, I needed to pull on the tail again and tighten the circle again like I did on row one. And, guess what, it pulled that big hole in tight. Wow, how simple!  Sometimes I amaze and scare myself.

.

With this new knowledge on how to use the magic circle, I started the next piece with a magic circle and it worked great. Now that I have done the magic circle with success, the only advantage I can see to the chain 2 method is that you have a little knot to push in the hole to hide it. The magic circle is smooth with no knots, but you still have the tail to cover the small hole.

.

I don’t think I will discard the chain 2 method completely. I think I will let the project, the yard and the pattern determine which method I start with, but for now I think I will continue to work with the magic circle.

Chain 2 or Magic Circle? That Is The Question.

The first amigurumi pattern I ever followed, started each piece with chain two and then so many sc in the second chain for the hook. It was not until several patterns later that I was told to start with the magic circle or ring. I read the instructions from the pattern for the magic circle and was totally lost, and decided at that point just to use the chain 2 method I had always used. It was not until the construction of Blue and the monkey and the comment from a reader that I decided to look into the magic circle a little closer. According to the comment, if I would start with the magic circle instead of the chain 2 method, I would not get the big hole when the first row called for more than six sc. So, I decided to figure out the magic circle and see what I got.

.

Since the written instructions I had for making a magic circle seemed to be written in a foreign language, I turned to YouTube and watched a couple of videos on how to crochet a magic circle. I learned very quickly that all videos are not created equally. The first video I watched left me more confused than my written instructions had. I understood what the next video I watched was telling me to do but when it came time to try it, I just could not get it to work. About to give up, I watched a couple of more videos and finally found one that made sense to me and that I could easily reproduce. Now, I am not going to tell you which one I finally had success with because it may not be the best one for you. What I will recommend is that you watch several different videos and determine what works best for you.

Now that I knew how to make the magic circle, it was time to compare it side by side with the chain two method. So, here are my samples with 8 sc as the first row. I know which one I like the looks of best but what do you think? Let’s just say, I will hate to give up the chain 2 method. It has served me well and is a quick and easy start.