New Pattern – Looking for testers!

Hey everyone,

Looks like it’s been about a year and a half since my last post, and also a year and a half since my last pattern. I think I’ve officially taken the top spot as ‘Worst. Blogger. Ever.’

I’m glad to see people are still visiting my site though, I’m still here behind the scenes working on new ideas, which *hopefully* will translate into more blogging action soon!

Anyway, I have a new Baby Mary Jane Booties pattern which I am looking for 3 testers for. First come first serve, but there will be more in the future for anyone who can’t do it this time around and would still like to be a tester. You can leave a comment here if you’re interested and have time in the next week or so to test out my pattern.

Thanks!

Crochet Baby Booties Pattern Released!

pattern-crochet-booties

Finally! I’ve completed my pattern, and it is now on sale! Visit my shop if you want to check it out.

I am completely ashamed that it’s taken me so incredibly long to finish this thing! A combination of indecisiveness, many many revisions over the last couple years since I started making these booties, procrastination, work, and general exhaustion and lack of motivation made this take FOREVER!! I hope the finished product is worthwhile though, and many of you can make adorable booties for your loved ones. Hopefully more patterns to come before long!

Well, I hear fireworks booming outside, I think I gotta go outside and watch 🙂 Happy 4th!

Another Pattern Update – Thank You Testers!

***adding a quick update just to let my testers know I’m still making progress 🙂 Still aiming to have this ready for you guys some time this month, thanks again!

A week or 2 ago, I posted an update asking for testers. And I’m very excited that before I’ve even had a chance to finish up the pattern, I already have 6 testers! I was going to have the first 5 who contacted me do the testing, but I’ll extend that to 6, because well, I’m excited! Thank you to those who’ve been keeping an eye on my blog despite my never posting updates, I’ll try to get my beta pattern to you as quickly as possible (probably/hopefully sometime this month). Thanks again 🙂

Another Pattern Update, Looking for testers!

I’m going to try to update my blog a little more often. We’ll see.. I have lots of plans but much difficulty finding time for them 🙂

First things first though, I’ve been promising everyone some patterns. Well, I started typing it up, then decided I needed to improve my patterns one more time (which is like…the 10th time I’ve done so in the last year or so). It’s a time consuming process! But each time I improve, I’m even more proud afterwords, and more determined to prepare this thing for you guys!

Now, it’s just a matter of photographing steps and typing up the different pattern sizes. Once I’m done, I want a few helpers to test my pattern out for me before I release it for sale. I’m looking for intermediate crocheters—people familiar with patterns, and familiar with crochet basics–single, double, half double, decreasing. Once my pattern is ready, I’ll give it to the first five people to respond (again, intermediate crocheters please), and you can test it out for me, let me know what areas are confusing, any general problems or comments you have.

So let me know if you’re interested! Free pattern in exchange for being the first to test my pattern out!

Thanks in advance,

Jenn

 

pattern update

For those waiting on my patterns, just a quick note, I’ve made another change to my bootie pattern and haven’t worked it out for all sizes yet, and I’ve also been very busy with my web design, among other things, so I’m not sure when my patterns will be available. But I’m still here! Sorry to keep you waiting.

Crochet Ribbed Scarf. It’s like knitting, only better!

crochet-scarf-7

Knitted scarves are beautiful and soft, but they take FOREVER to make (to a crocheter anyway). Crochet scarves are often kinda awkward and stiff; crochet is more dense than knitting, and doesn’t have the same softness and drape. So started my quest to find the perfect way to crochet a scarf.

I experimented with a lot of stitches to find one that would look nice (on both sides of the piece, because who wants a one-sided scarf?), would feel nice (not too dense, and with soft and smooth stitches), and that wouldn’t take too long to make. Continue Reading “Crochet Ribbed Scarf. It’s like knitting, only better!”

Blocking, the all-important yet all-too-often skipped last step.

You find a great pattern, see the beautiful project in the photo, carefully check your gauge, crochet (or knit) the piece as perfectly as possible, but when you finish, it’s ok but….why doesn’t it look like that nice project in the photo?

Answer: You haven’t blocked the piece yet, have you?

Blocking is SO important for many knitted and crochet projects. As you work, the piece is naturally twisted and turned in different ways, so even if your stitches are perfectly even, without blocking, you won’t have the polished, professional, finished look that you probably desire. Blocking can flatten your piece, even out stitches, give the perfect shape to your piece, and soften the fibers. Just do it, PLEASE!!

What’s that? You’ve never heard of blocking before? Well yes, I suppose many patterns fail to mention this final step, so I don’t blame you. There are a few ways to block your work, but most often and most simply, it just means you wet your piece, lay it out flat (or for shaped pieces, stuff it) and allow it to dry. Lay your piece on something non-absorbent (I lay garbage bags out on the floor and put my wet pieces on the bags), and if you are stuffing your piece, also stuff with something non-absorbent (I use polyester fiberfill–the stuff toys are stuffed with–and would recommend it, but I’ve also heard of plastic wrap being used.)

You use something non-absorbant just so that the piece will dry properly without causing any stinky forgot-to-put-my-laundry-in-the-dryer smell.

Yepp it’s that easy. Wet, shape, dry. And yepp, it really is THAT important.

To demonstrate, I took some pictures of a scarf and some booties before and after blocking.

First, the scarf. I was experimenting with different stitches for scarves. This is made with beautiful merino wool and I didn’t want to waste it, so I kept making a scarf, pulling out all the stitches, and making a new one until I found the stitch I liked. By the final attempt, the yarn was really damaged. So the scarf just looked….terrible:

blocking-2

Yikes! But before giving up on it completely, I blocked it to see what would happen. I carried it to the tub, soaked it thoroughly, squeezed out the water, dabbed it some more with a towel, then laid it out on some trash bags :

process

Already looking better! And here’s the final result:

blocking-7

It’s not quite as good as new yarn, but its amazing how the stitches totally smoothed out, isn’t it? I even got some good enough shots to list this item on Etsy. But let me be clear, I would NEVER sell this on Etsy after re-using the yarn so many times; this will be MY scarf for the winter. Any purchased scarf will be made with NEW yarn!

For anyone curious about the stitch, it’s crochet. Super cool. Hefty like crochet, but very soft and elegent like knitting. To make the stitch, start with a row of half double crochets, then for each row after, you continue in half double crochets in the extra loop created by the half double crochet on the previous row.

Now, the booties. Here are the booties BEFORE blocking:

blocking-1

Yuck! A lumpy bumpy mess! But after blocking:

blocking-5

Ahhhhhh, perfection.

I hope this helped some of you; let me know, and also feel free to suggest anything else you would like me to blog about. Thanks for reading!

Pattern – Small Rosette

Originally when I decided to try and attach some pretty flowers to my booties, I went to the library to search for some flower patterns. I found an entire book on crochet flowers, but surprisingly, none of them was quite what I wanted. So I started searching online. The technique for most that I liked was the same, but depending on the size and number of petals, and the type of stitches used, the look greatly varies. I experimented a lot and came up with what I think is the perfect little rosette to attach to my little baby booties:

crochet-flower-booties

And best of all, the pattern is included in today’s post!

I like to use fingering weight yarn, the stuff used for socks, and a c2 (2.75mm) size hook, for extra snug little stitches. You can really use any yarn and hook you like, but I think the fingering weight gives the petals a nice delicate look to the petals, and snug (a bit tight) stitches hold the whole shape together nicely.

and FYI:

sc=single crochet

dc=double crochet

ch=chain

Ok let’s get started….

1. Chain 27

2. Skip first 4 chains, sc in 5th ch from hook, and (ch2, skip 1ch, 1sc) across

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

3. Turn piece. (sc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, sc) in each ch2 space across (as well as the final ch 4 space).

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

4. That’s all of the crocheting. Finish off, leaving a long tail, and threading the tail through a needle (the tail will be used to sew it all together).

5. Now, holding the short beginning tail in your hand, begin to turn the piece to form your flower.

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

6. Last step, sew the petals together using your long tail and needle. Keep your stitches at the base of the petals, and start with the 2 outer layers. Stitch them in a few places around the flower. Then put the needle through the entire flower a few times in a few different areas to capture the inner petals as well.

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

Check to make sure everything is secure, and that’s it! A sweet little rose!

Here’s the pattern again, without all the images:

1. Ch 27

2. Skip first 4 ch, sc in 5th ch from hook, (ch2, skip 1 ch, sc) accross.

3. Turn piece, (sc, ch1, 3dc, ch1, sc) in each ch2 space accross, and also in ch4 space at the end.

4. Finish off, leaving a long tail, and threading tail through a needle.

5. Form flower by holding short beginning tail and turning the petals around.

6. Using the long tail, sew petals in place, beginning with outer 2 layers of petals, and finishing with a few stitches to hold all layers together.

This pattern can be adapted in all sorts of ways. Add extra chains to step one for additional petals. Use more chains and skip more stitches in step 2 and you can crochet larger petals in stage 3. There are many possibilities, I’ve had fun (and some frustration) exploring those possibilities myself.

One note if you decide to experiment: if you have a larger number of petals, it will be much better to ‘sew as you go’ rather than just sticking the needle through the center to attach the petals together.  The flower will turn out prettier and more secure if you stitch every couple of petals as you wrap the petals around. I will show you exactly what I mean later when I add more flower patterns. Hopefully that will be before long!

That’s it for today. Let me know what you think!

My Flower Baby Ballet Flats are on sale now on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JennOzkan
Bootie Patterns are hopefully soon to come to my Etsy shop, please let me know if you would be interested in that as well.

Wooly Handbag!

Since I’ve joined Etsy, I’ve begun designing my own patterns so that I can sell items that are truly my own, and the process of creating a pattern has taught me a lot. Creating a truly good pattern (which in my opinion, means both lovely and useful) is far more complicated and time-consuming than I thought it would be. I want to walk you through the development of my first handbag to demonstrate:

In the past, I would sort-of create things on a whim. “This lacy yarn crochet is really cool, I like this granny square too, maybe I can make a bag.” This first example was made following that train of thought. It was also made before I had moved out on my own and had bills to pay, so I had plenty of spare time 🙂

I used the bag for a little while just to not let it go to waste, but the top flap curls up terribly, and the bag is so flimsy, it just doesn’t look or work well.

Next, I started thinking about it a bit more as I joined Etsy and thought I could sell some handbags. But I didn’t think it through enough. I found some cool yarn, and experimented with some stitches, and here’s the result:

This one’s not terrible. The stitch and yarn-type gives it good strength, but with the way I shaped it at the top, It doesn’t open well; it’s hard to see inside, like a cave or something. I tried another, with a super-chunky stitch that I invented:

This one’s kinda cool, it could maybe have some potential. But it’s overly chunky, which isn’t very practical. It doesn’t have much space inside. If someone is going to pay over $50 for a handbag, it better be roomy enough to carry their stuff!

I thought the bag above was cool, and wanted to try some different shapes as well. I started to think more about shape and structure. The bag needed to have the right shape so that with stuff inside, it wouldn’t create an awkward shape like the flat flimsy bags. I experimented with the crescent moon shape:

Getting better, but inserting a zipper was going to be way too much of a pain. And without a zipper, I don’t think the shape would look right when the bag is in use.  I actually want to make a semi-living off of this stuff, so it has to not only look awesome and work well, but can’t take too too much time to make.

I searched handbags on Etsy and Zappos, looking for shapes that seemed like they might work. I came upon the slouch bag, ding ding ding! I also wanted to get into tunisian crochet, and since it’s a thick dense stitch, it seemed great for handbags, and also allows for some cool color patterns. Here was one of many experiments:

After testing a few different ways, I decided to use the tunisian knit-stitch for the bottom, because it is the most dense stitch, but it sort of folded in on itself and forced the bag to flatten, which made the bottom pointless. I need a bottom of the bag to give the bag some structure, rather than a flat and floppy appearance.

Then, in a happy turn of events, I had the fabulous idea to use the knit-stitch in the opposite direction, and indeed this forces the bottom to stay open, and gives the bag a nice shape:

I added a strap and used this bag for awhile. I absolutely loved the feel of the squishy wool around my shoulder, but I realized I wasn’t happy with how the ‘slouch’ shape looked while the bag was in use. It didn’t slouch nicely as pictured above, it was too sloppy. A zipper could solve this, but I’ve decided to ditch zippers; I want soft natural wool bags, a zipper somewhat destroys that feel, and is also time-consuming and frustrating to sew into a crochet bag.

I browsed for some more ideas online. I found this bag from The Sak which served as my final inspiration:

thesak

Here is what I came up with:

crochet-handbag

This is the bag I am currently using, and I really love it! It uses the same tunisian stitches for the base and body as the failed slouch bag above, but the shape at the top has been altered. It is comfortable both for carrying in my hand or around my shoulder, is the perfect size–not too big (I hate oversized bags), not too small. The wool is so cozy, lightweight, and yet still very sturdy.

The bag is also lined with matching cotton fabric:

I learned to line the bag using these tutorials from the fabulous FutureGirl

Tutorial: Sew a Lining For a Crocheted Bag
Tutorial: Sew a Lining Into a Crocheted Bag

Sewing the lining into the bag is very easy and fun, don’t let the length of the second tutorial fool you into thinking otherwise 🙂

I listed my bag on Etsy and got a pretty good response (meaning a good amount of views and hearts), but have since taken the bag down. I’m not happy with how the handles are attached. I will post another update once I’ve made the final change and added some handbags to my shop again. For now, I’m quite proud of the progress so far. Let me know what you think!

The Intro, Kinda

Hi there, I’m Jenn. I’m a full time web designer, part time artist/crafter/artisan. I recently opened an Etsy shop, and business certainly gives me a new perspective on my crafting! In order to create products that will sell, I continuously re-examing my work to figure out how I can improve it, trying to make items that are as beautiful AND useful as possible while expressing my personal style. It’s been a lot of work, and a lot of fun. Now I just need some more sales!

I set up an experimental blog on WordPress.com a few months ago, but decided to set up a ‘real’ website, before this gets too big. I’m a web designer after all, so my site’s gotta be good 🙂 So this is only ‘kinda’ an intro, because technically I already started the blog, only….it was also technically a different one. Hmm…

I hope to share ideas with other creative people out there through this blog. I’ll include some tutorials, advice on techniques, materials, selling on Etsy–basically about anything I learn that I think is worth posting, I will share with you. Some tech-y tips will also be included from time to time for you bloggers and Etsians who could use the computer help 🙂 I’ll also keep you up to date on my latest projects. If you enjoy my blog, I’d love to hear from you!