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Let's Get Ready for 2017!

Great news! I'm ready to get back to blogging, writing, and crafting (with and without cat hair)!

So, grab a cup of tea, some yarn, and a hook and join me next week as we craft our way through 2017!

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

I've been pretty silent these past few weeks and there is a reason, or two, why. It has been a very overwhelming summer for me with good and not so good reasons.

Let's start with the good news. . .

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to sign up for my first Christmas craft show. I have always wanted to do a craft show, but really didn't know if my products would sell. Plus, that enormous booth fee. . . But this show had a very reasonable booth fee, so I didn't blink when the opportunity came up.

Little did I know paying the booth fee didn't automatically mean I was ready to sell in November. Nope! My products and my brand had to be approved by the members of the board. I figured since I had never done a show before I had a very slim chance I'd get picked. But, just a few days later I got an email that the board had unanimously voted to include me in the show!

When I got the news I was super excited and super overwhelmed. I had, maybe, 10 items made. That is it! And I figured I need to bring at least 100 to the show. So, you can guess what I'll be doing from now until late November. . . CRAFTING!!!

And now the not so good news. . .

When I started this blog many years ago I took inspiration from my little girl, Drusilla. She is the cat behind Crafting with Cat Hair. A couple of weeks ago she was diagnosed with kidney disease. I was devastated! My childhood cat had lived to be 21, so I thought I would have her for at least another 7-8 years. But to know the clock is now ticking is very hard to accept.

She is currently having tests done to see just how far along the disease has spread, but I know her days are coming to an end soon. I am, though, spending as much time with her as I can and giving her the best months or years that she has left.

With that being said, I have decided to cut some things from my life. My novel writing that I have been working on for 3+ years is being put on the back burner until at least mid/late 2017 as is this blog. I just can't do it all. Something had to give.

Is this temporary or permanent? 

I honestly do not know. We'll have to see how the rest of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 pans out.

I won't be completely silent, though. I will be selling my products on Etsy as well as my own website starting in late September. I'll also be blogging on once a week, leading up to my shop opening in late Sept. and the craft show in late Nov. I'd love for you to check it out.

I want to thank each and every one of you for following along with me on my crafting journey. I have had an amazing time and met a lot of great friends along the way.

Until we talk again. . .

Yarn Palette: Edible Hues

To celebrate my birthday this weekend I thought I'd combine my favorite brands of yarn with one of my favorite indulgences to celebrate my birthday, which is why I chose the Waffle Edible Hues palette from Design Seeds for August. 

All of the yarn for this palette are acrylic with a medium 4 gauge. They also happen to be three of my favorite brands of yarn.

Sky Blue: Caron One Pound
Aruba Sea: Red Heart Super Saver
Lime: Vanna's Choice
Antique Rose: Vanna's Choice
Mustard: Vanna's Choice
Pearl Mist: Vanna's Choice

I not only have all of these brands in my current yarn stash, but I am pretty sure I have all of these colors too!

I prefer quick projects to time consuming ones, so for this palette I recommend a cute owl hat, mood scarf, and this awesome wall hanging. I have a wall hanging on my to-do list. They are the HOT ticket item this year.

As always, if there is a color combo from Design Seeds that you’d like for me to match to yarn, just leave me a comment on this color palette post or shoot me an email.

Crochet = Love

I enjoy making things. I always have. Whether it was playing with my Light Bright set or coloring my Fashion Plates, I have always been a crafty girl. But it was when I learned to crochet that my creative juices really started to flow. 

Learning To Crochet
I learned to crochet through an online course almost 10 years ago. It was actually around the same time that I started craft blogging. I had tried to learn to crochet several times before, but I just couldn't get it. For some reason, that crazy slip knot was so tricky. But one day I stumbled across a blog that had just started a 6-week crochet course. Unfortunately, the blog is no longer around. As are many of the blogs I have grown to love. I joined in, followed along with all of the steps, and practiced. And at the end of the 6 weeks, I was crocheting. 

It might not have been the prettiest thing I had ever done, but I was super excited that I was actually crocheting. The above pictures are from the very first crocheted items I ever made. 

The first picture is my very first "square" if you can even call it a square. I had issues with tension and have since realized that I am a very tight crocheter. I think that was pretty apparent from the beginning too.

In the second one, I had started to master the square and made more of a rectangle. This was a month or so after my first square. I also did my first button loop and circle and had to whip stitch the sides together. 

The third picture was a pretty challenging car toy with different shapes. I think this was about 6 months after my first square. I had to stitch all of the pieces together by sewing and crocheting. That was difficult. But, this was when I realized how much fun crocheted toys can be.

Refining My Craft
Over the past 10 years, I have really refined my craft. I learned what I am good at (small items like scarves, toys, and potholders) and what I'm not good at (hats!). And I am okay with that. My family and friends know that they won't be getting any crocheted hats from me anytime soon. :)  

I've come a long way from my wonky first crocheted square!

I have also learned a new stitch here and there, although I still have a long way to go. Along with the very basic stitches of slip stitch (ss), chain stitch (ch), single crochet (sc), half double crochet (hdc), double crochet (dc), and triple crochet (tr) I learned a few advanced beginner/intermediate stitches, like the picot stitch (p), v-stitch (v st), shell stitch (shell), and puff or bobble stitch (ps).  The bobble stitch has really become one of my favorite stitches. 

I haven't made too many things using the bobble stitch, except for my little bow and my totally awesome Gator scarf. I need to see about making something else. Maybe for myself this time.

What Are You Waiting For?
If you are struggling with learning how to crochet my advice to you is to not give up! Just look at where I started. It has taken some time and lots of practice, but it is totally worth it. I'm now making circular potholders and bobble stitched alligator scarves. :) 

If you want to learn but don't know where to start there is no need to fear. There are lots of resources out there to help you.

Mollie Makes magazine is currently hosting their 12 Days of Crochet video tutorial series. You can find the first few days on their website, here. Mollie Makes is a British magazine, so if you are an American crocheter like I am, the terminology might get a little confusing. But don't worry. I've put together a handy dandy crochet stitch conversion chart for you.
You can find other crochet video tutorials by searching online. YouTube has some great ones. There are some very useful ones here and here.

Also, try your local craft stores and yarn shops. A lot of them offer beginner crochet classes. You can also check out some beginner crochet books at the library or online. My favorite is Teach Yourself Visually Crochet by Cecily Keim and Kim P. Werker. I am a very visual learner, so I need to see exactly what they are talking about.

I hope you give crochet a whirl. You can really make some fun and cute crocheted items if you just give it a try!