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An Extended Vacation

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Hi guys! I know it’s been forever & I know I keep saying this will stop happening – but who am I kidding! I’m a student, & life is always insane!

I graduated from college in May & moved home to live with my parents for the summer. At home, I got a full time job & pretty much did that for 4 months, while packing & getting things ready for my big move 8 hours south for graduate school! Now, the time has come for me to make the big move, & unfortunately my MASSIVE craft collection can’t come with me.

My apartment in my new hometown is tiny. Like so small, it doesn’t even have a real closet or a full-sized fridge. That’s right, I’m going to have to survive with only a mini-fridge for a year. Yikes! Anyways, the lack of a closet or ANY storage for that matter makes it really difficult for me to take my bins & bins of yarn, embroidery thread, sewing machine, craft books, etc. with me. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad this makes me.

Ultimately, I hope to get a two bedroom apartment I can afford & keep the rest of my years in graduate school. That way, I’ll have a bedroom AND a craft room… & a living room & kitchen, which I’m not really used to having in separate places either!

I also feel the need to apologize for my lack of crafting & blog updating this summer. I’m not really sure what happened. For the first month of summer, I remember being so elated at being a college graduate. I sat in the sun & tried to tan [‘tried’ being the keyword], I read lots of books, I crocheted, & I bugged my dad to help me clear a space for my sewing machine. I was so gung ho about having 5 whole months off! Then I got a job, & all that went out the window. All I did after that was sleep, eat, shower, & work. & now, it’s suddenly September & I’m moving out of state in a few short days. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! Hell if I know.

 

One last thing – On August 5th I had almost 600 views on my blog! That’s super crazy for this blog, especially because I haven’t been updating it. Over 400 of the views were said to be brought here by Facebook, but my Facebook page hasn’t been getting much traffic lately so it couldn’t have been from there. Many of the views were only for my one post, the Sharpie Mug post, which isn’t all that uncommon, but typically if people are brought to the blog they look around a little & other pages [home & about] get some hits. I guess I was just kind of confused & wondered if this is a common thing. Was it some sort of spam? Could someone have linked to my page & I have no idea? Am I just worrying too much when I should just be enjoying my small spike in views for a day? I know. I can’t help it.

 

Thanks for reading guys. I’m taking my knitting needles & crochet hooks with me to graduate school, but no yarn. That means I have hope that some crafting may occur at some point this year. Otherwise, I’ll see you in a year, when I have a new apartment & ample space to frolic & craft in!

New Listings on Etsy!

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I’ve posted 4 new listings on my Etsy page in the last few days, so check them out, if you will. I would appreciate it very much.

Fall & Winter are right around the corner, & I’m loving making cowls/infinity scarves for that time of year. They’re some of my favorite accessories, so I figure other people probably love them as much as I do.

The bright, floral colors are a great addition to any Fall/Winter wardrobe, since people often get down & depressed on the coldest & darkest days of the year.

Check out the new listings here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/theyarntotell

Dani

 

Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange!

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So I finally completed my gift for the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange & I’m really excited about it. I’ve never done this before & I’m a little shy, so I actually didn’t get to know my gifter or my giftee very well – but oh well. Maybe next time.

So the girl I was to be making something for said that she liked useful kitchen stuff, so I decided to sew her a half apron. I’ve been DYING to make myself an apron, but it’s even better when I get to make it for another person! I also decided to make it without using a pattern, which was scary since I’m a fairly new sewer – but it came out great! Of course, it’s not perfect – I didn’t realize that the fabric I chose to use for the waistband/tie was slightly see-through, & some of my top-stitching is obviously not perfectly straight, but who cares! I SUCCESSFULLY SEWED AN APRON! It’s super simple, it doesn’t even have a pocket because I didn’t want to mess up the apron itself. I also decided to also make a few washcloths to go with the ‘kitchen’ theme. Originally, I wanted to make those wooden spoons with the painted handle, but I don’t have any supplies for it, so washcloths it was. I really love working with cotton yarn, & I also love the idea of them being SO useful. The washcloths aren’t in my giftee’s favorite colors, because I wanted them to somewhat match the apron instead. :] Either way, I’m proud of my handiwork & I hope my giftee loves the set as much as I do!

Check out the Craftaholics Anonymous blog, there’s some great stuff on there. I think you can get to her site through the Handmade Gift Exchange button somewhere over there –>

Busy Summer

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Today I took a break from all the craziness in my life that is GRE preparation and research paper writing to do a little crafting. I’ve only added one thing to my Etsy since opening it, & it depresses me to know I’m simply too busy to do much more. Hopefully, when all my summer work is [mostly] over, I’ll be able to craft my heart out – because that’s really what I would like to do all summer.

Firstly, I’ve been considering business cards for The Yarn To Tell for awhile now, but for the longest time I was trying to design them on Vistaprint or Moo & then I came across handmade cards somewhere on Pinterest & fell in love. That’s when I realized it would be super easy & inexpensive to make cards using my personal printer & cardstock, especially since I don’t need the 200+ you get when you purchase through a website.. In the end, I also added a zig-zag embellishment using my sewing machine & some lavender thread, & they turned out so great. I can’t wait to leave them all over town & hand them out to friends & family.

After completing a small stack of cards, I went to work on the gift I’m making for an exchange I’m participating in. I’m doing this month’s Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange – my first EVER, I’m so excited! I don’t quite have pictures & I’m hoping to make some other things to add to the gift, but I’ll keep you updated on my progress, & there will be pics when it’s all ready to go. :]

It was a busy day, but this is a pretty short post. I’m working on more items to list on Etsy, as well as a shrug that my mom commissioned me to make her. Life has just been so crazyyy.

As mentioned, don’t forget to check out my latest listing on Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/shop/theyarntotell! Here’s a peak:

Thanks for reading, & happy crafting!

Summer has arrived!

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So this is going to be a long post. There were a few things I’d been meaning to post about when I had the time, but that ‘few’ turned into a lot more very quickly. I’ve been neglecting this blog a lot more than I thought I had!

First, I finally took some good pictures of the scarf that has recently become the bane of my existence. The pictures turned out great & it looks fairly complete – but it isn’t. I keep thinking so too, but it probably needs a foot or more to make it a decent scarf. Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a lot more work that will go into it after it’s completion [note the tails on every row & the curling]. Either way, at least this is proof that I’ve been spending every spare minute working on it, & I haven’t given up [though I sometimes wish I could].

So, it’s coming along & I think it’s pretttttty. It’s just tedious & time consuming. Crafting should never feel tedious & time consuming.

Next on my list: I told you all months ago that my dad was going to make me a thread holder for my sewing space, & he did! It looks so great! He obviously had a lot of fun with it, because he spent lots of time making it especially functional & stylish – it even MATCHES my sewing machine! He made it so that there are about 4 shelves of thread/bobbin storage, & 3 bigger shelves to hold jars of buttons, etc., & the very bottom shelf we made into a ribbon holder/dispenser. Anyways, I really love this addition to my crafting collection, & I’m sure it will get years of use.

Here it is along with the entire sewing corner. I recently did some organizing & cleared out the drawers of the desk so that it could hold my sewing accessories & other crafty items. I also placed my sewing/crafting books next to my printer on the right [since every other bookshelf I own seems to be overflowing with movies &/or other books!].

Most days tho, my sewing area looks like this, with my sewing machine all cozy in it’s cover. Hopefully that will change very soon. :]

So, I’ve always really loved thrift stores, especially for the cheap, good books you can buy. But recently, I discovered the hidden treasure of buying fabric from thrift stores. Some thrift stores have specific ‘notions’ areas, which are my absolute favorite. When my parents were here for my university’s Mom’s Weekend a few weeks ago, we went to all the thrift stores in the area & I bought TONS of fabric. This time around, I mostly just got scraps [fat quarters & the like], but I also have a huge roll of tulle & other fabrics that I found at thrift stores in the past.

The only issue with scraps is that they’re just that. They’re too small to do much with & many of the patterns I want to try need larger cuts of fabric. So, I’ve been considering my options & I think I might just have some fun sewing pieces together & making things out of the pieced together fabric. But I’ll keep you posted.

A few months ago, I successfully followed & pattern & sewed my first item. It was a simple little reversible bag, & I think I did pretty well considering it was my first time. I think I printed the pattern out wrong [I don’t think I did it at 100%] & I didn’t choose especially attractive fabric, but it was just practice, so all of that is okay. The good news is, I didn’t sew any handles together or something like that [though, I nearly did, haha]. I got the pattern here.

The last thing I wanted to post about were the gifts I made my best friend Jessica for her birthday this year. I knew I couldn’t afford anything serious, so I figured some cute, handmade gifts would work, && they did! They actually turned out way better than I expected, I was pretty excited. I pretty much everything about it was made my hand, except for the frame of the embroidery. I made the mat for the frame myself, as well as the roses on the frame. So fun! :] I got the pattern for the cow here.

So, now I’m FINALLY caught up on blogging about the crafting I did this semester. A few of the things on my list for this summer are:

1. FINISH THE  SCARF.

2. Make mom this shrug [in a cream color].

3. Work on my granny square blanket.

4. Make dad fingerless gloves.

5. Make things for my Etsy stock & open my Etsy

6. Have fun!

I’m off for now. Once Upon A Time will be on soon – I’ll watch it while I spend some time working on that scarf.

Avoidance

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I should be studying for exams that I have this week, but I’m procrastinating. Not on purpose, really. I have my notes, study guide, & book right in front of me, but I can’t seem to focus. I’m tired & all I want is a nap, but I know that would solve nothing. So I’m blogging instead!

I got my sewing machine yesterday! It got to my parents place on Thursday, I think – a whole four days before the estimated delivery date. I wasn’t supposed to get it for another two weeks, but my neighbor from home was coming down to this area this weekend to visit her best friend before she had her baby & brought it down with her. It was great, because I also got to spend some time with them over coffee & catch up – something we don’t often get to do, even when I’m home on breaks.

Anyways, the machine is wonderful. As beautiful as I thought it would be, but much much bigger than I originally thought, which actually came as a pleasant surprise. I was worried it would be small & difficult to use because of it, but the size is great & I especially love the large sewing area. It’s so so so easy to use – I knew the basics of how to wind a bobbin, insert a bobbin, & thread a machine, but I had never done any of it before. It took no time for me to get the machine threaded for bobbin winding, & then threaded for actual use. Some other things I really like is the thread cutter on the side – it’s so simple & once you cut the thread, the top & bottom threads stay up there & out of the way – & the pedal! Other machines I’ve used have super sensitive pedals & no matter how gently you press on it, it takes off. This one is much more my style, & I can sew slowly if I need to.

I’m excited that it fits so well & looks so great on my desk. It’s the perfect sewing area, since I never use this desk for it’s typical uses – I do all my homework, internet surfing, eating, etc. at the table in the kitchen.

Before:

After:

I’m really looking forward to transforming this area into a fully functional crafting corner. I have a desk in my kitchen that I’m mostly using for storage/counter space, so I want to empty a few of these drawers out & transfer the stuff into the kitchen desk so that I can keep all my sewing/knitting/crocheting/embroidering/etc. supplies right here. I also want to get rid of the weekly planner board [that I never use anyways, as you can tell], & hang the thread shelf organizer dad’s making me there, as well as a corkboard or something similar for idea/designing space. I actually already found something that I would really like to make for this – it’s a hanging wall caddy that has pockets on the top half and cork panels in the bottom half. The pattern is in the Sew Retro book that came with my machine, & it doesn’t look difficult. I can’t wait to go find pretty fabric for it!

So overall, good experience so far with the sewing machine. I’ve really only played around with different stitches, different lengths & widths, & practiced practiced practiced. So much so, in fact, that I already went through a whole bobbin & had to wind a new one! I’m pretty bored with that & really want to make something, but I was unprepared for the machine to come so quickly & don’t have all the materials I need, like interfusible facing, measuring tools, etc. So, for now, I’ll be practicing on the cheap fabric I found in the clearance bin at Walmart, & maybe try a practice pattern with it & w/o facing.

 

Back to studying. UGH.

Branching Out

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I’m currently hanging out at my favorite coffee shop downtown with Shawna. I got up pretty early today for having a day off. I’m not a morning person, but I wish I were. My days off would be a lot more productive if I got up before 11am on a regular basis. But last night I was tired & went to bed extra early, so I made sure to set an alarm for 9am.

I haven’t been doing tons of crafting recently, but I posted all my knitted & crocheted items on Facebook & it blew up. I got so much great feedback, and now I actually have a few orders of things people would like to pay me to make them! It’s super exciting, & a great pre-Etsy run, I think.

So last week, the friend I made the Gryffindor scarf for asked me to make her a matching headband with the leftover yarn. The first thing I did was make the flower [a new pattern I found that I absolutely LOVE for headbands], but then she requested that I put an owl on it. At first I was skeptical, not sure if I’d be able to do it or find a pattern for it. The first pattern I tried was unsuccessful, I didn’t understand some of the instructions, but the second one was so easy, and so cute! Turns out, this owl headband may have been one of the best things I’ve ever made – everyone seems to really enjoy it, & I know that I’ve personally never seen anything like it. Plus, the owner of the pattern allows selling the things you embellish with it, which I love and appreciate.

So with the flower I had made, I decided to try a new, simple headband pattern that I single crochet together in the back.

I’m currently waiting for cable needles that I bought last week to get here. They might actually be in my mailbox, I just haven’t checked yet today. I got them from KnitPicks & I’m really excited to try them out. Since I learned to cable using a single double pointed needle, I knew that I wanted a straight cable needle but they don’t seem to sell them in the craft stores. All I could find around here were ones with a dip in the metal to hold stitches, or ones that were shaped sort of like a hook. So these needles are perfect for me, & I’m extra excited because they’re made with Harmony wood, which I’ve been wanting to get my hands on for awhile now.

My sewing machine is also on it’s way. Last I checked, it had left Cali and was headed for Portland, Oregon. The tentative delivery date to my parents house is Feb. 6th. I can’t wait! I know I still won’t get it for a few more weeks, but it was a big purchase – so it’ll be a huge sigh of relief when it shows up safe & sound, & in working order. I’ve been busy on Pinterest & CraftGawker lately, pinning & favoriting as many sewing patterns, tutorials, and ‘classes’ as I can get my hands on. I also bought a couple easy Simplicity patterns at my local Walmart, including some pillow covers & an apron. :]

In my blitz of sewing pattern searching, I found a few different ways to store and organize thread that could also be considered wall art. I sent a few of these pictures to dad & asked him to make me the one that he thought would be most useful to me, and that he liked the most.

He said he liked the last one, with the shelves best. It was also the one that I thought would be the most useful, since it’s easier to see and sort the thread colors, plus there is a place to store bobbins of the same colors! Now I have another thing to look forward to when my parents come to visit!

I recently had an itch to take up a new craft. This tutorial was my inspiration. I absolutely LOVE the idea of using patterned fabric as a sort of pattern for embroidering. What a beautiful embellishment! So I thought, well, I used to do cross-stitch and needlework when I was younger, and I have TONS of embroidery floss – I should try it! So I purchased a yard of osnaburg fabric, as well as a roll of some embroidery fabric I found at Michaels, some needles, a disappearing ink fabric marker, and a hoop. I learned the split stitch, the stem stitch, the back stitch, the chain stitch and the french knot from this how-to on the Sublime Stitching blog. So after a few practice runs, I decided to copy a pattern [of jelly beans!] onto my fabric & embroider it. I can already tell that I need to broaden my horizons a bit – my favorite stitches are the back stitch and the french knot, & I really really don’t like the chain stitch, even though it’s beautiful [probably because I suck at executing it]. But either way, I felt really good about my first attempt & I can’t wait to do more.

Please disregard the pink on the top – those were all my practice stitches. & the lower right jelly bean – I tried something new with the eyes & it didn’t really work out for me.

So that’s been my week. I have a few things I have to make for sales, but also on my list are a shrug for mom, finger-less gloves for dad, and a birthday present for my best friend, plus the granny square blanket for my parents and practicing practicing practicing embroidery. Wish me luck!