Monday, June 30, 2014

Rainbow Bright Beach Bag - Video Tutorial REVIEW


*Note: I DO NOT get endorsed or paid to mention such products. I simply went to Big Lots, walked up and down aisles with my boyfriend, Chad, and these are what I picked.

After receiving my June 24th email of recommendations from YouTube and trying my hand at the Crochet Handbag Purse (post to come as soon as I finish the sewing!) I checked out the Stylen with Cstyles Bag O Day Facebook page to see what else was out there. Absolutely gorgeous and fun purses/handbags and beach/tote bags.

I had purchased some materials to make my cousin, Tiffany, the Children of Mine Bracelet for her birthday but once I received my supplies I realized I forgot one important component - 2 crystal bicones to represent her daughter Madison!
So... I decided for the time being that I would make her this Rainbow Bright Beach Bag and fill it with lots of goodies!

I used Caron One Pound in Bright White and Red Heart Super Saver in Turqua, Bright Yellow, Glow Worm, Pumpkin and Light Raspberry (you could use Pretty 'n Pink instead if you wanted a brighter pink color). It doesn't require much yarn - you could easily make multiple tote bags with the same selection of yarns.
I'm planning on make some more of these beach bags. I think one in alternating white and another color would look nice, one with only the strips throughout (no mesh) would look nice, etc... Oh the possibilities!

This Rainbow Bright Beach Bag YouTube video is very easy to follow along with. There is no written pattern but it's easy enough to jot down some notes to self and/or simply watch again! The video is short and sweet.

The bag is nice sized! It measures approximately 11" wide by 14.5 tall. It stretches to accommodate your goodies - stretched 15" to accommodate mine! I was able to fit a small lunch bag/cooler (filled with small bottles of Gatorade and Luna Bars), some sunscreen, a new beach towel, some lip balm (since sunscreen doesn't really taste too good!) and two magazines - Cooking Light for Cooking Inspiration and Mixing Bowl for Baking Inspiration (but it's an all around cooking/baking magazine).

I then put the bag over my shoulder to see how it held up. Because it is made from yarn and has the weight in it, it will stretch ESPECIALLY the strap, but I walked around for a few minutes with it on and didn't have any concerns. If you would like to make your bag extra secure, for the last round and the straps just double the thickness like the bottom of the bag is made. OR you can use cotton yarn (ie Lily's Sugar 'n Cream or Handicrafter Cotton) as it has less stress to it.

This bag worked up in roughly 3 hours. It was so much fun to make though that the time just flew by!

This video does not show how to insert a lining so if you make the bag as is, keep in mind pointy objects (ie keys, writing utensils) will poke through. No biggie for me though!

Overall, this beach bag was so much fun to create! It was an easy video tutorial to follow, used a minimal amount of yarn, and is a great tote bag.

I will slowly be attending these beach bags into my Etsy shop. Feel free to request custom color combinations - Caron One Pound OR Red Heart Super Saver. Ask me how to receive 10% off your first one!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Coloring Easter Eggs Chunky Baby Blanket and Hat Set - Free Crochet Pattern


At the same time of purchasing the Kitty yarn I used in the Crochet Granny Square Baby Blanket and Hat Set, I also purchased this chunky yarn in Spring. This Spring yarn is such a neat color mixture - its yellow, green, blue and pinkish purple blended with white - reminds me dying Easter eggs!

This blanket is great for laying down to change the baby or to cover the grass so you can put the baby down in the park.
It works well for photo shoots too!

Materials:
-L11/8mm Hook
-4 Balls of Chunky Yarn - I used Deborah Norville's Serenity Chunky Yarn in Spring (or you will need 4-8 balls (depending on the size) of worsted weight)
*1 ball of the Deborah Norville yarn will give you 6", and each remaining ball will increase the size by 6" intervals.

Time Spent:
     Each row took me about 4.75 minutes for a total just shy of 3 hours. 

Abbreviations:
     CH - Chain
     ea - each
     sp - space
     SC - Single Crochet
     DC - Double Crochet
     sl st - Slip Stitch
     v-st - V-Stitch (DC, CH 1, DC)

Gauge:
     Not important. 4 rows = 3".

Measurements:
     GOAL was 30" x 30". Actual blanket measures 32" wide by 30" long.
*If you're unsure about the size you'd like to make, I found a Blanket and Afghan Size Chart courtesy of Clare of BOBWILSON123 with a range of sizes for preemie's up to adult size and lapghans.

V-Stitch Pattern:

Pattern:
FDC 90. 
Row 2: CH 3, V-St in 3rd (SK 2, V-St in next). Repeat across 26 more times.
Row 3: CH 3, turn. V-St in each V-St across. DC in last DC.
Row 4: CH 3, turn. V-St in each V-St across, DC in 2nd CH of turning CH.
Rows 5-34: Repeat Row 4.
Row 35: CH 1, turn. SC in ea st and CH-1 sp across.
Fasten Off.

Please feel free to make and sell this blanket, but please DO NOT claim this pattern as your own nor should you sell my pattern, and DO NOT re-publish my photos as your own. DO NOT copy and paste my pattern anywhere, rather you should link to it. Thanks!


For this 0-3 Month Baby Hat, I used Emi's 15 Minute Chunky Baby Hat Pattern. You can watch her How to Crochet a 15 Minute Chunky Style Beanie Hat YouTube video or vist her Etsy shop and purchase the 15 Minute Beanie pattern, which includes changes for all sizes.
I added a button on my hat. It is a 1 1/8" wood button I purchased from Joann's. I sewed it onto the left side on the second to last row. I reinforced it with a drop of hot glue on each side.
*Should the button come loose, it can pose a choking risk so do not leave babies unattended with hat.

This Chunky V-Stitch Baby Blanket and Hat Set is available for purchase in my Etsy shop. Color and size is completely customizable! Search color options here. Feel free to send me a message with your request.




Sunday, June 22, 2014

Watercolor Lily Pads Chunky Granny Square Baby Blanket and Hat - Free Crochet Pattern


I've recently taken a liking to crocheting baby blankets. While blankets aren't needed much in the hot summer weather here, they make great blankets to put down should you need to change the baby or to sit the baby down at the park.
This blanket and hat set would also work well for a photo shoot!

For this blanket, I went with the ever popular Granny Square pattern. I am in love with that pattern - as many people are!

I also fell in love with Deborah Norville Yarns - in fact, the moment I first picked a ball up. I've worked with the Serenity Garden (2), Every Day Soft (4) and the Serenity Chunky (5). I love them all! They are so soft and consistent with never any splitting or tangling.
When I went on my Joann's yarn-handling adventure, [check out my post on My Tips for Becoming More Familiar with Yarn Types] I spent a lot of time looking at the Deborah Norville Yarns. I ended up going back a few days later to pick up some chunky yarn. I had enough to make two baby blanket sets - I made one in Spring with V-Stitches and this Granny one.

Materials:
-L11/8mm Hook
-5 Balls of Chunky Yarn - I used Deborah Norville's Serenity Chunky Yarn in Kitty (or you will need 4-10 balls (depending on the size) of worsted weight)
*4 balls of the Deborah Norville yarn will give you just about 29" minus one side and no border. The extra ball will complete the blanket and leave you with enough to make a matching hat.

Time Spent:
     I was able to complete the first 9 rows (13.5") in about an hour, the 10th row in roughly 8 minutes and each remaining row took approximately half a minute more than the previous one for a total of about 3.5 hours.

Abbreviations:
     CH - Chain
     ea - each
     sp - space
     SC - Single Crochet
     DC - Double Crochet
     sl st - Slip Stitch

Gauge:
     Not important. Each row is 0.75" in height.

Measurements:
     30" x 30"
*If you're unsure about the size you'd like to make, I found a Blanket and Afghan Size Chart courtesy of Clare of BOBWILSON123 with a range of sizes for preemie's up to adult size and lapghans.

Note for Pattern:

     If you want your blanket rounds to be in alternating colors (such as red one round, blue the next), then at the end of the round you will fasten off. You will join your next color into the CH-1 space.
If you are only using one color throughout (like me), then you will be slip stitching over to the CH-1 space in the beginning of each round.

Pattern:
CH 4. Join to form a ring. CH 3. 2 DC in ring, CH 1, (3 DC in ring, CH 1) 3 times.

Rnd 2: sl st over to the CH-1 sp. CH 3, 2 DC in same CH-1 sp, CH 2, 3 DC into same sp. CH 1, (3 DC into next CH-1 sp, CH 2, 3 DC in same sp, CH 1) around. Join.

Rnd 3: sl st over to the CH-1 sp. CH 3, 2 DC in same sp, CH 2, 3 DC into same CH-1 sp, CH 1, (3 DC into next CH-sp, CH 2, 3 DC in same sp, CH 1, 3 DC in next sp, CH 1) around. Join.

Rnd 4-19: You will continue in this pattern, slip stitching into the next CH-1 sp in the beginning of each round, (3 DC, CH 2, 3 DC) in each corner (where the CH-2 spaces are), and (3 DC, CH 1) in each side (where the CH-1 spaces are). You will notice with each round, the number of CH-1 spaces will increase by 1.

Edging: After last join, CH 1, SC in ea DC and ea CH-1 sp with 2 SC in ea CH-2 sp.

Please feel free to make and sell this blanket, but please DO NOT claim this pattern as your own nor should you sell my pattern, and DO NOT re-publish my photos as your own. DO NOT copy and paste my pattern anywhere, rather you should link to it. Thanks!


For this 0-3 Month Baby Hat, I used Emi's 15 Minute Chunky Baby Hat Pattern. You can watch her How to Crochet a 15 Minute Chunky Style Beanie Hat YouTube video or vist her Etsy shop and purchase the 15 Minute Beanie pattern, which includes changes for all sizes.
I added a button on my hat. It is a 1 1/8" wood button I purchased from Joann's. I sewed it onto the left side on the second to last row. I reinforced it with a drop of hot glue on each side.
*Should the button come loose, it can pose a choking risk so do not leave babies unattended with hat.
**I DO KNOW that the picture to the left does NOT have a button on it. I realized too late that I did not get a single shot of the hat with the button on.

This Chunky Granny Square Baby Blanket and Hat Set is available for purchase in my Etsy shop. Color and size is completely customizable! Search color options here. Feel free to send me a message with your request.



Saturday, June 21, 2014

New Summer Ceramic Tile Coasters - Batch #1

I made a trip to Hobby Lobby about a month or two ago and made a big purchase of summery scrapbook papers. While summer is still a few weeks days away (shows how long it's been since I started this post! Oops!), here in the Sunshine State it already feels like it's here!

If you'd like to make your own coasters, check out my DIY Ceramic Tile Coasters post. It has been split into two parts: Supplies Needed and The Process.

You will find all of the following coasters in my Etsy shop for sell. They are made to order but ready in 3-5 days.

If you'd like to request a custom order, simply send me a message! I love the challenge.

Fishing Lures
Perfect gift for Father's Day!
Or any man cave.
Fun Bugs

Flip Flops
Baseballs
For the baseball lover!
Pool Words, Subway Art
Seashells

Solid Turquoise Swirl
Road Signs
Splatter Paint
Travel Icons

Summer Stripes
Tie Dye

Turtle & Fish Patchwork
Sketchy Beach Icons
 
Green Flowers
Watercolor Floral
 
Intricate Damask Green Blue
Linen Big Polka Dots
 
Good Times
Linen Stripes



Lacy Market Bag - Pattern Review and June 2014 Challenge


The June 2014 challenge posed by Mikey of The Crochet Crowd is the Lacy Market Bag from Red Heart Yarns. Deadline to enter is June 30th, so you still have plenty of time to enter!
This is my OOPS! photo.  I was
taking a photo to show a friend and
noticed just to the left of my hook, I
had missed the very last cross-over
stitch ON THE LAST 3 ROWS!!!
I took a big sigh and then pulled all
my work out to fix it. OH NO!

The instructions look as Mikey says, "long and daunting" and I'll add the slightly confusing to follow. While I don't read diagrams, I will say they probably would have been helpful in this pattern to link the instructions to a mental image, but Mikey did a GREAT job interpreting it for us in his How to Crochet a Market Bag video.

About a month ago, I received the Crochet Crowd newsletter. In it, it mentioned the new challenge would require 3 balls of Red Heart's Luster Sheen Yarn. I immediately jumped online to check out the yarn as it wasn't one I had previously looked into or added to my Yarn Reviews page. I discovered it was only available online. Though many sites I regularly visit have the yarn available (many out of stock) it wasn't in my budget to order 3 balls at $4.50 a ball plus shipping (since none of my local craft stores carry in store).
I decided to take a trip to Joann's and see what I could find in a weight category of 2 and within my budget.
UPDATE! WHILE BROWSING RED HEART'S DISCONTINUED YARNS PAGE, I NOTICED THE LUSTER SHEEN YARN HAS MADE IT ON THERE. 07.08.14. 

After searching through the aisles without having any luck, I turned to a personal favorite - Deborah Norville's Serenity Garden. At $4 a ball, I only put one ball in my basket. On my way to the check out line, I saw a side aisle full of cotton yarns I hadn't seen before. On it, I found the yarn I chose to use for this challenge - Cotton Fair Multi in Cloud Gazing by Premier Yarns. It is 52% Cotton, 48% Acrylic, soft and available in many BEAUTIFUL color combinations. It is a 3.5 oz ball and only $4!

To complete the market bag, I used one ball and a tad bit of a second. (With one ball I was able to complete the double crochet's through to one handle.)
This yarn was really nice to work with and I've been wanting to work on some summer scarves so the leftover yarn won't be sitting around very long.
If you only follow the repeat 11-23 times, you will have enough to do one bag, and add extra support in centers of the handles. (And still qualify for the challenge!)

If I were to make another one of these bags (which I plan to), I'd add a longer handle or possibly even a drawstring type handle.

This challenge couldn't have come at a better time - a friend, Jenny, is going on vacation and as soon as I found out the challenge, I knew it would make a great gift.
*After completing it, I tested it out with a rolled up towel, a pair of flip flops, a tube of sunscreen and two magazines. The bag stretches out nicely and the handle holds up well.
**Snacks, sunglass and/or a new crocheted sun hat (to name a few) would also make nice additions to this summer gift!

Timewise, it took approximately half an hour to complete the bottom circle and then roughly 13 minutes per row plus another 30-45 minutes to add the handles and weave in my ends for a total of about 5 hours - WOW! While it seems like a while, it really felt like it worked up pretty quickly.

Each row measures 1" tall so any added or omitted rows will change the final length in 1" intervals.
You can easily make this bag wider if you'd like by increasing your beginning circles.

As I was working on the bag, I also was thinking how neat it would look as a hat. A bag is basically an oversized hat.

Overall, I think this was a GREAT challenge! The lacy pattern is perfect for inspiration on hats and scarves for the Spring and Summer. I think with some chunky yarn, this pattern would also make a nice blanket. It also builds my confidence in the ease of making a market.

Looking forward to the upcoming Stitch-cation Afghan Challenge.

I've added the Lacy Market Bag to my Etsy shop. Feel free to request a custom color - click here - as well as choosing your own size or whether you'd like the handles as is or with a drawstring. Should you like it as a hat, scarf or baby blanket, feel free to request it as well.
For all custom orders, send a messsage to - EyeLoveKnots@gmail.com. Or message me through my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Donating Blemished Coasters

Today, I sat down and went through the ceramic tile coasters I had stored. Most of them Spring and Easter ones. I had a spare box at home so I boxed up the Spring and Easter coasters and put a note on top so I would remember which ones were in there. This box will make them easier to store and move - which is great when my space is limited.

As I was going through the coasters, I was double checking that I had added them to my Etsy shop. 
*All of the Spring and Easter coasters left in stock have been marked down 10%.

I was also examining the images for blemishes and/or stray hairs. I set these aside.

I went through the set aside coasters and split them into 1.) sellable ones - which I marked down 25% and labeled as "Oops!" (hehe), 2.) donations - not sellable but no need to toss, and 3.) toss.

For the donation ones I packaged them up neatly and included a note for finishing them up (as I did not add the felt to the back of them) and caring for them. Find below my way of doing this. You can also use this method for gift wrapping!


I used:
A single hole punch for attaching the note
Colored Index Cards (I got mine at the Dollar Tree)
40" of two strands of worsted weight (4) yarn (adjust length if using other)
A set of coasters for wrapping

Fold your yarn in half. Center it on the coaster.

Flip your coaster over.
Cross the two strands on the back.

While holding the two strands, turn the coaster 90 degrees
 clockwise to twist the yarn strands.

At this point if you haven't hole punched your index card, do so.
Write your message - mine says,
"These ceramic tile coasters have blemishes on them - unfortunately
they weren't dry enough when I stacked them on top of each other.
They've been sealed with two coats of an acrylic sealer making them
water resistant NOT waterproof. DO NOT submerge in water. NOT
dishwasher safe.
To Care For: simply wipe with a damp cloth.
To Finish: Hot glue felt or cork to bottom of tiles.
Alexandra
EyeLoveKnots.blogspot.com"
*I include similar notes with each purchase. It's nice to receive
personalized, hand written notes. It's important to include care
instructions and other pertinent info.
**When donating handmade items, include your contact/store
information. Who knows? Someone may want to make
another purchase! Or see what else you have to offer.

Place your index card underneath your yarn strands.
Adjust the strands to accommodate the index card.
Prepare to tie.
*I'm not sure why I put my finger on the cross part here
since I still needed to string the yarn through the hole...
After the next step, you may need to use a finger to
help you with the tying.

String your yarn through the hole you made earlier.

Tie a simple overhand knot to secure your yarn.

Tie a bow.
Straighten your loose ends out & trim.
Now you're finished! This is a great way to give your coasters as a gift (or to wrap a gift box). Your note can be much smaller than mine and may not need to go as placed - of course these are all up to interpretation.

Before I placed my coasters in a box for donation, I took a single sheet of bubble wrap and wrapped them - just in case the box gets tossed around a little after I hand them off.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Spring and Easter Coaster 10% OFF Sale

Today, I went through my Etsy shop and marked all of the Spring and Easter Coasters that I have left in stock as Ready to Ship (RTS) and 10% off. 

They were $6.00 but are now $5.40. 

Summer is almost here and I'm trying to make room for more items. 

Mix and Matching is definitely an option! Any Spring/Easter Coasters that I have in stock can be mixed in at the sale price. Feel free to comment or sent me a message.

Once these sell, they will still be available for special order but at regular price and made to order - ready in 3-5 days.

As of 3:00pm on June 9th, 2014, the following are still available:

Diva Flowers Set of 4
Graceful Circles, Set of 4

Easter Pattern Bunnies Set of 4

Faith Cross Set of 4

Faith Words Set of 4


I Love Jesus Words 1, Set of 4

Linen Door Girl Plaid, Set of 4
Linen Door Girl Stripe, Set of 4

Linen Stripe, Set of 4
Multi Colored Crosses, Set of 4


Orange and White Chevrons, Set of 4

Linen Big Polka Dots, Set of 4

Floral Souffle #2, Set of 4

Floral Souffle #1, Set of 4

White Bunny in Cracked Egg on Green, Set of 4 MIXED

White Bunny in Cracked Egg on Turquoise, Set of 4 MIXED 
As always, 15% of each purchase will be donated to the National Retinoblastoma Research and Support Foundation headed by Doctor Timothy Murray to aid in medical advances on the fight against Retinoblastoma, blindness and other eye disease.