Friday, September 30, 2011

Autumn Spectrum (an Etsy treasury)

The air had a crisp, autumnal quality today, which inspired me to create an autumn treasury on Etsy.  My theme was color, or a spectrum of colors.  As usual, I became way too engaged and spent more time on this than I had planned!  Nonetheless, I am quite pleased with this beautiful collection...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Woodland Cardigan

 My latest crochet project was larger than my usual scarf or bracelet but great fun!  I purchased a pattern for this beautiful cardigan, "The Ermeline Cardigan" from the Etsy shop of the very talented SylvChezPlum .  Of course I always like to add my own twist, but I was able to do so because of the clarity and design of this pattern.  Included in a 23-page e-book with beautiful images and 3 other patterns, this tutorial was worth every penny!  I wanted to add an appliqué to give it a "woodland" theme and I found the most gorgeous appliqué patterns at the Etsy shop of ch1306 .  I used slightly larger needles and yarn to make it usable as a pocket.

photo from ch1306's shop
There are tons of free patterns online for various projects, but I have found over the past few years that in most cases it is worth it to purchase a pattern, usually in the form of an e-book tutorial.  I have quite a few unfinished projects that started out as hopeful sweaters or potential dresses, but after struggling with a pattern that was incomplete or just completely vague, they became spare parts.  Of course, there are many patterns out there that are free and wonderful, but if I want to create something that could be tricky or time-consuming I usually look for reputable sources on Etsy or Ravelry.  There is an art to designing and writing a good pattern and I believe in supporting artists!

photo from SylvChezPlum's shop
SylvChezPlum's tutorial made the entire project enjoyable and I like how she created the layout of the cardigan.  As you can see from the image from her shop (right), her design is more polished.  I tend to add some whimsical elements to my work, mostly to pull the focus toward the slightly absurd and hopefully disguise the fact that my work is often a bit amateur and messy!  She also uses gorgeous, high quality yarn.  As I become more comfortable with this project I will probably move up to better quality yarn.  The kids are already asking for this is in several colors and pretty soon they will both have a brown one just like the one I finished.  Fortunately it is still quite warm so they are not fighting over this one yet!

I added a flower to the end of the hood to disguise a frayed end, made the sleeves flared (just because I love the look), and of course, added that lovely appliqué.  As I was stitching the appliqué to the cardigan, I left the top open to use as a little pocket for various treasures.   I also made the cardigan slightly longer and flared at the bottom.

Needless to say, both SylvChezPlum and ch1306 are on my list of favorite Etsy shops and I will be purchasing more from them.  It's so nice to have finished projects!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

If a blogger posts in the woods...

and nobody follows... is it really a blog?  Fortunately I wasn't so bothered by the fact that my blog has only 2 followers, even thought I created it almost 2 years ago.  I just assumed it was because I didn't blog frequently.  
the woods of blogger...

The other day a friend of mine questioned why she could not follow my blog!  I was confused, but also a bit relieved.  "I'm not so boring after all!" I thought.  Then I asked someone else to follow me and they gave me the same response... "I cannot follow your blog... it won't let me!"  This time I was more annoyed than relieved.  "What is wrong with my blog?" I wondered.   

I went into the settings and explored, changed a few things, replaced a few bolts, tightened some screws.  It was there that I discovered the "statistics" portion of my blog settings and found that my blog actually had lots of views... LOTS!  I'm not bragging here, keep in mind I'm still getting over the fact that I have only had 2 followers for 2 years.  But I am hoping that whatever I changed around in settings will actually enable people to follow if they wish.