A Project for Five Year Old Me

•May 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

In kindergarten, I loved pink and purple – specifically together. I had a dress that was purple with bright pink trim that I wore all the time. It became the subject of one of my first sewing projects when I decided to add leaf shaped sequins to the ribbon it had around the waist. As I grew up, I tried to act like I grew out of the pink/purple combo, you might have heard me say my favorite color was blue for quite a while, but now I’m admitting it, there is still something about the girly colors together.

What does that have to do with anything? Well, not long ago I was allowed to raid my boyfriend’s grandmother’s yarn collection. She doesn’t use it anymore, and had several big tubs collected from her own crafting and from her mother’s stash. I left with a trash bag stuffed full of all sorts of goodies. Most of it didn’t have the labels, so it’s not really possible to date it (though a few do have some rather ancient looking paper wrappers…), but the above label (click to see a larger than life version) went with yarn that is an eye searingly neon pink. Based on the design, I’m going to guess it’s from the 80s. I love it. It makes me think of Barbie, Jem and the Holograms and Lisa Frank. Actually, if I had more of it, I would probably have to make a hot pink wraparound dress like Jem wears.

What could possibly go with this super bright color? That’s where the five year old in me kicks in – it has to be purple. Luckily I pulled the perfect one out of those storage tubs – it’s bright in its own right and also a little iridescent. I can’t date this one, it was rolled in to a ball and thus didn’t have any information accompanying it, but it’s also excellent.


The actual project I chose for this was something I’ve considered doing for a while, but when it came down to it, I didn’t do a huge amount of pre-planning. I’ve wanted to make crocheted baskets for a while, and I’ve mulled over ways to give them rigidity, but truth be told, in that moment, I just sort of went for it. I saw the two yarns together, decided I wanted to do something with it right that moment, and went for the project I’ve thought about but always pushed aside in favor of something else. I’ve seen a few patterns that involve crocheting two yarns at the same time, but until now haven’t tried it – it ended up being perfect for making the fabric stiff and solid. The resulting basket is goofy, lumpy, far from square, and somehow perfectly fitting for the wacky colors.

It’s not something I’d make for someone else, I’ll have to tweak my method and pattern a bit first, but because it reminds me of something a five year old made, I think it’s pretty perfect for me.

Posting a Particularly Pleasing Piece

•May 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been a little silent here because I was trying to avoid this just becoming an advertising spot for my Etsy shop (ok, so that was a little shameless, but when you see an opening…), and most of my creating lately has been in the form of jewelry to list there. But this one is too pretty to keep to just one online venue – I had to share this bracelet in a few places.

It’s a piece of copper chainmail that I admittedly bought ready made, but I added a touch of my own in the form of a wire wrapped link on one end of each figure 8 piece of the ‘mail. The links have a little spiral on the unattached end and hold a tiny red glass seed bead.

The whole thing jingles ever so quietly and is really pleasant to wear. I almost wanted to keep this for myself, but I was good and listed it instead. Hopefully it will find its way to someone’s home where it will be worn often and bring them the same happiness watching it take shape brought me.

I do have some projects in the works that aren’t Etsy related or jewelry, but they’re not quite ready to be seen by the world. Soon my pretties, soon…

Now With 100% More Etsy!

•May 6, 2011 • 1 Comment

I’ve gone and taken the plunge (again) – I’m selling on Etsy. My shop is located at www.marasaxer.etsy.com and is, for at least the time being, focused on jewelry. I’d like to work some crochet things in to it eventually, perhaps with crocheted jewelry, but for now I can’t work fast enough for it to be financially viable for me to sell, so those of you who have something I’ve crocheted, congrats, you’re very special. ;D

My current goal is to make and list at least one item per day and build up the stock there. So far so good, though it’s only been less than a week. This is also helping me make a lot more things to show to potential brick and mortar shops that might take my work, hopefully.

I had another shop on Etsy some time ago, but it went nowhere – never sold a piece and I doubt it even got seen by many. This time I hope to do it better by actually keeping the shop active with new things, being involved in the site community to gain tips and exposure, and promoting it around some.

I know New Years was a while ago, but I’d rather make a resolution when I’m ready to, and now is that time. Be on the lookout for lots of updates!

We Interrupt This Radio Silence…

•April 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So my noble intentions to keep this active and not lame out immediately almost looked like my usual insanity. I would have believed this blog was dead before it really got going too, had I not known what was going on elsewhere. I’ve still been designing, but nothing involving wire or yarn. I have been working on a website. Gasp!

It’s basically a combined portfolio for the various things I do/have done. It isn’t completely done yet, only a few actual projects are up, but they’re being added slowly. The framework is there, and that’s the part that I, knowing myself, am likely to procrastinate on most. Hopefully it doesn’t explode and/or look terrible when viewed on any screen but my own. This is my first site outside of practice projects in web design class, so I’m a little nervous. No way to find out without allowing that possibility and just putting it out there, so here goes!

Babyraffe

•April 5, 2011 • 1 Comment

What happens when a friend has a baby? It’s time to make a stuffed animal!

Giraffe

Part of the challenge with baby toys is that they can’t really have things like hard eyes because they’ll likely get chewed on, but at the same time, I think the little stitched faces make them at least 50% more adorable, proving that design constraints only make things turn out better.

This little giraffe was inspired by the jungle animal fabric my friend chose for her baby’s room. Basically it is covered in super cute little animals that live in the jungle, and according to me the giraffe is the cutest of all jungle animals. He comes together pretty easily, if in rather a lot of pieces. The only design change I might try in the future if I make more or advise to anyone else is to change the spots. They came out really thick and three dimensional once sewn on. This could probably be avoided by cutting them out of felt rather than making them with yarn.

Giraffe Again

Pattern for a Wee Baby Giraffe


Materials

Worsted weight yarn in green, mustard yellow and blue (mine are all random leftovers of different types and materials, as long as they’re all around the same weight it’ll be fine)

G size hook or whatever size is comfortable with the yarn you have

Embroidery floss in brown

Optional: in place of green yarn use green felt

Polyfil or similar stuffing

 

Body

Round 1: Start with a magic ring, sc 6 stitches in it [6]

Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch [12]

Round 3: (2 sc in one stitch, sc in next stitch) 6x [18]

Round 4: (2 sc in one stitch, sc in next 2 stitches) 6x [24]

Round 5: (2 sc in one stitch, sc in next 3 stitches) 6x [36]

Rounds 6-21: Sc around [36]

Round 22: (Sc 2tog, sc in next 3 stitches) 6x [24]

Round 23: (Sc 2tog, sc in next 2 stitches) 6x [18]

Stuff firmly

Round 24: (Sc 2tog, sc in next 2 stitches) 6x [12]

Round 25: (Sc 2tog, sc in next stitch) 6x [6]

Round 26: Sc 2tog 6x or until you’ve gotten rid of the hole, F.O. and tuck tail in to body

 

Leg (make 4)

Round 1: Start with a magic ring, sc 6 stitches in it [6]

Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch [12]

Round 3: Sc around in flo [12]

Rounds 4-17: Sc around [12], F.O. leaving a long tail to stitch to body

Sew one leg about 2/3 of the way on to body, then stuff firmly and finish stitching on. Repeat with remaining three legs.

 

Neck

Round 1: Ch 14, sl st in farthest stitch from hook to join

Round 2: Sc in each chain around [13]

Rounds 3-19: Sc around [13], F.O. leaving a long tail to stitch to body

Sew on to body, then stuff firmly.

 

Head

Round 1: Start with a magic ring, sc 6 stitches in it [6]

Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch [12]

Round 3: (2 sc in one stitch, sc in next stitch) 6x [18]

Round 4-12: Sc around [18]

Round 13: Round 24: (Sc 2tog, sc in next 2 stitches) 6x [12]

Stuff firmly

Round 25: (Sc 2tog, sc in next stitch) 6x [6]

Round 26: Sc 2tog 6x or until you’ve gotten rid of the hole, F.O. and tuck tail in to head

Sew on to neck, adding more stuffing to neck before completely stitching together if it is not nice and firm yet.

 

Ear (make 2)

Start with a magic ring

In MR, sc, dc, trc, dc, sc, pull tight before you F.O. leaving a slightly long tail to stitch ear to head (it won’t take much)

Sew to head.

 

Tail

Ch 3, sl st in farthest stitch from hook

Sl st through second stitch, ch 7

Sl st in second stitch from hook, then in 5 remaining chains, F.O.

Pull yarn tail through base of giraffe’s tail so it is sticking out the underside, then use it to sew the piece to the body.

 

Spots (make 6-10 in varying sizes)

Small

Round 1: Start with magic ring, sc 6 in it, sl st in first stitch to join, [6]F.O. leaving long tail to stitch to body

Large

Round 1: Start with magic ring, sc 6 in it [6]

Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch [12] F.O. leaving long tail to stitch to body

Stitch on back and neck of giraffe in random pattern.

 

Use embroidery floss or brown yarn to stitch the mouth and eyes.

It’s Octopus Time!

•March 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment


What started out as an attempt to ad lib a quick little animal turned in to a full evening of work thanks to my boyfriend’s habit of having ideas that sound excellent but actually take forever. The base of this little octopus is actually really easy and fast – it’s essentially a sphere with a pause partway through to make little tentacles. That was what I wanted, something that comes together fast so I can have fun customizing each one but not spend forever just getting the basics of it done. All his sweet ‘tude, from the bitchin’ ‘hawk to the sweet shades and (to a lesser extent) the sly grin, are where the work is. I’m letting it be a lesson: next time, remember that there are a zillion easy ways to make eyes and a mouth, and they’re probably at least as neat looking.

In the spirit of learning lessons, I thought I’d try my hand at writing out the pattern for the little guy. Here we go!

Supplies:

Yarn in whatever crazy color you want, for body

Contrasting color of yarn in similar weight, for mohawk (if desired)

Appropriately sized hook for that yarn

Embroidery floss for face

Pattern:

Round 1: Start with a magic ring, sc 6 in to ring [6]

Round 2: Sc 2 in each stitch [12]

Round 3: (Sc 2 in one stitch, sc) 6x [18]

Round 4: (Sc 2 in one stitch, sc 2) 6x [24]

Round 5: In blo (sc, ch 16, sc in second ch from hook, sc 14, sc in next stitch on ring, sl st) 8x [24]

Octopus tentacle

This is what the tentacles look like pulled flat.

 

Round 6: In remaining flo of last round (Sc 2 in one stitch, sc 3) 6x [30]

Round 7: (Sc 2 in one stitch, sc 4) 6x [36]

Round 8-9: Sc around [36]

Round 10: (Sc 2 tog, sc 4) 6x [30]

Round 11: (Sc 2 tog, sc 3) 6x [24]

Stuff body.

Round 12: (Sc 2 tog, sc 2) 6x [18]

Round 13: (Sc 2 tog, sc) 6x [12]

Round 14: Sc 2 tog, repeat until hole at top is closed up, F.O.

The mohawk was added by starting with one loop on the hook, then single crocheting right in to the finished body of the octopus. I started down near the tentacles on one side then working a straight row toward the center, going just past it. I then went back halfway down that row with single crochet and switched to slip stitches to have it taper away toward the back.

The face was embroidered on, but I don’t recommend trying to make aviator glasses and filling them in solid unless you’re a masochist because they took at least twice as long as the entire rest of the project.

A Productive Day for Jewelry

•March 18, 2011 • 2 Comments

I had a pretty productive day of jewelry making. It felt nice to get back in to that, as I haven’t really done any in a few months. I was most pleased with this particular set, and also liked that they photographed pretty decently as well. I wish I knew what the weird poky things were – they were a gift and that person didn’t seem too sure either. I think they’re some sort of seed pod, possibly some which had been lacquered? They had plant like gunk inside, like the divisions in a seed pod, hence the guess. Whatever they are, they’re paired up with hematite, labradorite, pearls and a funky silver chain.

While that was the general favorite, the rest of these were also highlights. Hence, image dump:

This necklace is a mish-mash of amber, glass, resin, plastic and other stones I can’t quite identify on a whole jumble of wires in different gauges and metals.

The copper chain was the inspiration here, and led to something of a Grecian feel. I tried to emphasize that with blue glass, then paired it with other metals and pearls.

And down below we have a chunky earring/necklace set with big glass dangles, some sweet glass elephants, then more of that funky chain used in different earrings. These earrings also showcase the work of my new favorite toy – a little pencil torch that allows me to finish off the ends of wire with a little dot rather than having to twist it. It’s almost like I’m a real jeweler with real tools!