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Hooded Wolf Cowl – Pattern Review

As I said earlier in the month, I have been working hard on some hooded wolf cowls for a friend of mine. I have always had some issues making hoods, so I decided to start looking for patterns. What I found was a killer pattern for a hooded fox cowl! Well, that’s simple enough, all you have to do is change the ears, and it can be turned into almost any animal. Trust me, that is a project for a little ways down the road. I have so many plans for this pattern. But for now, these wolf cowls are available in the shop!

Well, about the pattern, I absolutely adored this pattern. It was so, so simple to follow. She even included a neat tutorial to help you if you are having problems with the connections! This cowl worked up really quickly. It took me less than 2 hours to make a child sized one, and about 3 hours to adjust it to make an adult sized one. Oh! And did I mention! She even includes instructions on how to adjust it to become a larger size! No one does that anymore! I am so glad for that! Basically, this is one of the coolest, easiest, most fun patterns I have seen in a while. I will definitely be making and reviewing more of her awesome patterns. Just as soon as I have time.

Oh, and the bow came from Repeat Crafter Me. Because apparently, girl wolves have bows. Duh. Everyone knows that.


  
  

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The Pain of Mohair

As discussed in yesterday’s post, I have serious yarn problems. Part of the lot of 111 skeins that I got off of EBay, was A LOT of vintage yarn…seriously…the manufacture date on some of this yarn was the early 70s. And there was one beautiful gem in the lot…a few skeins of Lion Brand Imagine, Norwegian Woods. Now, Imagine still exists, but it is now an acrylic / wool / nylon blend. But, back in the day, Imagine was an acrylic / mohair blend.

Man, if you have never felt a mohair sweater, scarf, stuffed animal…you are really missing out on some amazingly soft, fuzzy yarn. But, if you have worked with it…you understand why it was discontinued. This stuff catches on everything. It is a nightmare if you make a mistake, because there is a pretty darn good chance that you are not getting that yarn separated from itself. I cannot even think about how much pain I went through with this yarn trying to correct minor errors.

Lion Brand does make another mohair, Moonlight Mohair. It is actually more mohair, less acrylic, even softer, and easier to work with. It has definitely come a long way since Imagine.

But, let’s get back to the Imagine yarn, with it’s pretty blue/gray/brown colors. For anyone who knows me, you know that I am all about earth tones and neutral colors. Being pasty white, I do not have much of a choice in the matter, so luckily I really like them.

In my boredom and frantic rage to create things for the Funky Finds craft fair last December, I started throwing skeins of anything soft that I could find in my travel bag and worked on scarves, hats, blankets, whatever, anywhere I went. Well, not knowing what mohair was or how hard it is to work with, I threw this in there before a long road trip once. What I also didn’t realize was that due to the small gauge of the yarn, I needed a really tiny hook, which made it all the more painful.

I started working on this scarf. It had a beautiful pattern, initially. But, I kept finding all sorts of mistakes and errors and having to frog large portions of the scarf. So, I did what any good yarn worker does…I turned my mistakes into a pattern and pretended like it was supposed to look like that. The pictures do not show the difference too well, I need to take better ones, but the ends of both sides of the scarf are more open, light, pretty. The rest is a solid piece, HDC, I believe. Life was much easier once I stopped trying to be fancy.

mohair scarf

kids scarf

winter scarf

Kid’s 40″ Mohair Scarf

The problem then, was that I had not used nearly all of this yarn. I still had so much…and I did not want to do anything else difficult with it. So, I went back to an old familiar, as I always do when I am at a struggle fro what to make. The result was the cutest, softest, cuddliest elephant ever. He is tiny, just 3in tall, but man oh man is he sweet. I am actually a little afraid that this guy will sell. Which would be great, he deserves a loving home, but heartbreaking to have to part with him. I left him blind on purpose…I just could not find a yarn for his eyes that did him justice. Everything just looked wrong…so here he is, in his blind, fuzzy splendor. Gawk all you want. I am quite proud of myself on this one.

amigurumi elephant

mohair elephant

3″ mohair elephant

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Sorry all you people with the snow…

Sorry for all of you people out there snowed in and the like, but I actually got a slight sunburn this weekend. I was a little excited about the 75F sunshiney beautifulness that was my weekend. On Sunday, I spent about 2 hours in the morning playing with my awesome new lightbox, taking product photos. Unfortunately, my mannequin body does not fit in there, so the mannequin photos are still just up against a wall, but we at least had the common sense to put up some sheets first. So the background is consistent and not hideously ugly. But yes, this lightbox is the greatest purchase I have ever made. It helped so much, the colors on my products are actually showing as the actual color! No more off yellow or blue instead of purple. Things look vibrant and fun! And I think it helped a lot.

I have been listing like crazy the last couple days, and will continue through the next two weeks. I am trying to get back on track for my 2015 goals. So, after this week, back to photographing and editing on Saturdays. I will still continue to write up draft listings the weekend in advance and then just chuck in photos after they are edited. This allows me to keep listing new products each day, or at least a few days a week. I would rather not have 35 items expire on the same day. I am also trying to do better with listing only ready made items. The made to order items can be such a headache. I will keep the more popular ones around, but I am thinking that for most of the items, like scarves and such, once it sells, it sells, and I will not relist it as made to order, unless I actually get more of that yarn in. It is too big of a pain in the butt to try to remember the hook size, the measurements, exactly what I did to replicate something unless it came from a pattern or I wrote down the pattern.

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Revamped this listing. Both these yellow and neon pink ones are ready to ship, by the way!

6 Elephant Butts

Revamped this listing. Both of these guys are ready to ship.

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Added the green, brown, charcoal, and maroon scarf listings.

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Speaking of patterns I write!!! I am working on something top secret right now. I CANNOT wait to share it once I am finished!!

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Pom-Pom-Pompadoodle

In my about page, I talk about the devastating earth quake and tsunami in Japan, and how that got me back into crochet. Well, here is sort of the elaboration on that.

In March of 2011, I went home to Las Vegas on leave to see my best friend who was ready to give birth. While she was in labor, I watched on the news as an earthquake and tsunami devastated the country I was living in. I spent a couple extra weeks in the US, trying to get back to Japan. But, in the meantime, I was left with more free time than I had ever had, and no vehicle. I couldn’t afford to keep renting a car! So…off to this magical place called JoAnns I went! I found the fluffiest, silliest looking yarn. It was called Red Heart Pompadoodle. (It is now discontinued, which is sort of devastating to me.) I bought a few skeins of it, took it back to my aunt’s house and made a scarf while watching a movie. This yarn is really hard to work with, because of the pompoms attached. It makes it hard to see your stitches. And heaven forbid you have to take this yarn apart! That is an even bigger nightmare! It sticks and grabs and the pompoms get caught and ugh…I have a few half done scarves that I messed up on and became homicidal before I finished taking them back apart. Anyway…I made a few of these scarves, and my gramma, mom, and aunt loved them. They all wanted one…so I went back and bought some more yarn and made a few more…and this is just sort of what I did while waiting for returned phone calls and emails from my sailors and my command. Then came the 16 hour flight from LA to Tokyo…do you have any idea how many scarves you can make in 16 hours? I actually ran out of yarn first.

Well…now I had a dozen or so of these scarves in my bags and they got dumped in my house in Japan in my craft room. (This was really just a room without heat or A/C that I stored all of my yarn, photo albums, and half finished blankets.) Well, I spent about a week in Japan without any real clue as to when they were going to fly us back out the to ship…and because of the earthquake, a lot of the businesses in the area, and half the base, was shut down…so, I did what any good crocheter would do…I went to the 100yen store and bought more yarn…of course, it wasn’t nearly as cool as my pompadoodle yarn, but it would do. I started making some blankets, though I didn’t get far at all…I ended up taking those out and using those yarns to make elephants in later years. Anyway…I got distracted from the blankets because it was finally time to fly out to the ship…and after a few days onboard, in the awesome mail plane came MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE pompadoodle yarn. I am serious…half of my storage space in my rack (bed) was this yarn…it was so much yarn. But, I just kept making scarves. I mean, I was fully qualified, I was running a division with some completely awesome leaders working directly under me, I had to find something to do with the 2 or 3 hours a day that I should have been sleeping, but never could. Well, as you can imagine (and even if you think they suck, pretend with me), the scarves were a huge hit in berthing (our living quarters) with the ladies. So, I gave away probably a dozen scarves on that underway…and that Christmas, every lady I knew got a pompom scarf for their gift! It was a little ridiculous. Well, when I got back to the states, I decided to open up my very own etsy shop. I listed exactly 3 items…3 pompom scarves. Well, after a year and a half, the pretty blue one finally sold…I also realized, after actually figuring out how much it cost me to make this scarf, I lost money on that sale. Which was sad, because no one wants to pay people to take their stuff. The beige and pink still sit, waiting for their forever homes. However, I have a feeling that these are more of a craft sale item…you really need to feel just how amazingly soft they are to really understand the value of this yarn…soft and warm. Too bad I don’t wear scarves…because these are pretty cool.

Blue PomPom Scarf
Sold to a very warm and happy lady!

Pink PomPom Scarf

This could totally be yours!

Beige PomPom Scarf

This could go with your every outfit!

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M-O-U-S-E

Sometimes, projects just kick your butt. This is one of them. A buddy of mine at work has this girlfriend who is absolutely obsessed with Minnie Mouse. Well, after I had made a trick or treat bag for my god-daughter, who went as Minnie Mouse this past Halloween, he decided that I was the girl for the Christmas project. So, we spent weeks discussing just what would be perfect for his girlfriend…he wanted to get her a scarf, since she is cold, all the time. And he wanted her to have one of the little tote bags I had made for my god-daughter.

So, off I went, amidst Christmas orders, Christmas presents, and craft show chaos, to try and make a very basic, simple, and obvious Minnie scarf for a lady I have never met…the bag was no problem, that worked up quickly and was easy enough. This scarf, well, now that was a whole different monster.

It started out simply enough, lots of big and little circles. That part wasn’t so bad, and it didn’t take so long. Well, as you have heard me mention in every amigurumi post I have ever made, and will ever make, I hate sewing things together more than anything. You can see the problem here…well, I think it took me approximately 5x the amount of time to sew everything together than it did to make all of the circles! And then, it was fantastic, I was so happy…until I remembered the bows. Those blasted bows…so, more crocheting…more sewing…All in all, it was a project that encompassed about 7 hours, 5 days, and about 147,989,578 curses. I also vowed to never make another one, so of course, it was immediately listed. 🙂

Oh! And the best part! When my friend gave his girlfriend this scarf, the first thing she said was, “oh, I really hate scarves…” Luckily, once he got her to actually pull it out of the purse and look at it, she was ecstatic, thrilled, and mystified, vowing to wear it always.

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