Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Unfinished business

A couple weeks ago, I vowed that I wasn't going to start any more new projects until I had finished all the old ones. Well, that's proving to be a lot more difficult than I thought it'd be. For one thing, I've come to terms with the fact that I have a short attention span when it comes to projects, and I'm easily distracted by anything shiny and new. For another thing, I also have waaaaayyyyyy more unfinished projects than I thought. During my recent "inventory," I came across at least two different hats, a handwarmer/muff (don't ask me why I have any need for that in TX), a sleeveless top that I started as a gift for my mom three years ago, and a rhinocerous stuffed animal. And those are just the knitting projects.

So even with all that sitting around, I'm still secretly tempted to start a couple new projects, namely a baby sweater. I found a couple easy-looking patterns and I already have the yarn (of course). Then there's the ongoing amigurumi obsession. I'm currently working on what I think will turn out to be a bunny.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Amigurumi Mania

A couple weeks ago, I was IMing with Mee and she innocently sent me a link to a site with some books of amigurumi patterns. There was all sorts of cute little animals, as well as garden gnomes and flowers...and thus, a new obsession was born. So what the heck am I talking about? For those of you that don't know, amigurumi is a japanese term for cute little crochet dolls or critters, usually made in the round from the top down. I started poking around, searching on google, and I realized that this would be an excellent way to use up a lot of the cheapo yarn that I don't have any other use for. In fact, the more I surfed, the more I couldn't believe that I had never stumbled upon this before! Besides being a good way to use up all the random odds and ends of leftover yarn, amigurumi are also very quick and easy to make. Gotta love anything that's easy and FAST.

One odd thing I discovered though is that there aren't a ton of great patterns out there, at least, not free ones (yes, I am a cheapskate). There's a lot of people who are creative and talented enough to come up with their own patterns (the best of which are for sale on Etsy), but it seems like the rest are making them from a series Japanese pattern books that seem to be readily available on the west coast. Grrrr. I found the books both on Ebay and on Amazon Japan, but I'm not sure I'm ready to spend $20-$30 for a book that originally cost about $10. Actually, I probably would spend that much if I didn't know that A) it would only feed my compulsion to buy more crafty amigurumi-related stuff, and B) T would kill me.

I finally found a pattern that I thought was both easy to follow and very cute - the Amineko Cat. It turned out pretty well (see above), for a first effort, although it did end up being a lot bigger than I expected. I kinda assumed it'd be little, like beanie baby size. It's actually more like a regular stuffed animal, maybe 20 inches long. I think this is one of the first times I worked on a project nonstop from beginning to end (usually, I get bored halfway through and abandon it to start something else). I'm actually a little bit proud of myself.

With that under my belt, I decided to try my hand at making my own amigurumi without a pattern. I'd seen these very cute little birdies on another site and figured I could wing it (no pun intended...well, maybe a little intended) just by looking at the picture. didn't go so well. I won't say it looks bad. It's just...weird. For one thing, it's not quite as round and bird-like as I was aiming for; it's more bullet-shaped. The other problem is that I put the face and wings on before I put the tail on, and they're not quite lined up right, so it looks all crooked. I took one wing off to reposition it and haven't gotten around to putting it back. I'm thinking about pulling the face off too. He looks like a demented baby bald eagle.

But I've already moved on and started another critter with some super soft yarn that was leftover from a blanket I made. I'm not quite sure what it's going to be yet. Maybe a bunny? Or maybe just some sort of random made-up animal. We'll see.

Admitting I have a problem (part two)

So last night, I went searching through my stash, trying to find a hot glue gun. In the process, I ended up pulling out just about every bin I could find and I realized that my problem extends way beyond yarn. I think in the past ten years or so, I've gone through a phase where I was obsessed with just about every craft out there, maybe with the exceptions of sewing (which I really do want to take up at some point), soap-making, and scrapbooking. I found crafty crap that I totally forgot I owned.

Some examples:

  • A small bin that was FULL of origami paper - I went through a phase where I was really really into making these modular origami boxes. I also have two books of instructions.
  • A small jewelry box that had naked hair clips and pins.
  • Lots of beads (nice ones, too). I can't remember the last time I was remotely interested in jewelry or beading. In fact, I could swear I gave away all my beading stuff to my cousin years ago.
  • Some cording (maybe hemp?) for macrame.
  • Glass bubbles and magnets. I made several hundred of those little bubble magnets as a favor for our wedding reception and, as tedious as it was, I kind of enjoyed it, so of course I went out and bought a whole bunch more.

  • You get the idea. The irony of all this is, that hot glue gun I was looking for? Never found it. I think somehow in the shuffle of moving cross-country three times in the last five years, it must have gotten lost. So what did I do? I went to Hobby Lobby today and picked one up, along with a few other things. So what did I need the glue gun for anyway? I've started making little hair bows for E. Never mind that she doesn't have enough hair to clip them to just yet. Like I said, it's a sickness.

    Admitting I have a problem (part one)

    strawberry hatI think I'm addicted to yarn. I have so much yarn now, that I've lost track of my stash. A couple months ago, I did what I thought was a thorough inventory. I came up with two large rubbermaid storage bins, in addition to a duffle bag and a large zipped bag that originally held a comforter. That's pretty bad, in and of itself. I didn't dare count the number of actual skeins or even colors, but let's just say that it's way more than any reasonable person should have.

    Then last night, I was looking for something else (more on that in later), and found yet another bin under the guestroom bed...and then another one. I also realized I have two small bags that have been kind of floating around the house. **sigh** I should also now confess that in the past couple weeks, I've been buying more. What can I say? I can't help myself. I keep seeing yarn that's so cheap, I can't pass it up, so I pick up a few skeins, rationalizing that I'll eventually find a use for it. Or, I get fixated on some new project idea that, of course requires a new and specific type of yarn that I don't already have.

    pink striped hatMost recently, I became obsessed with making baby hats. Never mind that it's currently 102 degrees in Texas right now. I figured I'd get a head start on the winter. I started out with a very cute strawberry hat (see above). But when I finished it, I plopped it on E's head and realized it's too small. Crap. I guess it'll make a good baby gift. So I started another one that I thought would be much much bigger, this one stripey. It fits her head perfectly, which means that in a couple months, it will also be way too small. Dammit. Then I started thinking, maybe I'll make one for a friend who's having a little boy soon. But I didn't have any boy colored yarn. Another trip to the store. Or maybe I'll make a whole bunch of different ones and sell them... You can see the downward spiral.

    One blog, two blogs, three blogs, four...

    I thought it might be better if I split up the crafty stuff and the random ramblings and put the crafts into its own blog. This also gets around the other blog being blocked by firewalls because of the 'b' word. I'll be moving over a couple of the posts when I get a chance, but I won't be backdating them.


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