Inspired by pretty yarn at Michaels

About a month ago I had some extra time while I was waiting to meet with a friend and decided to spend it in my favorite craft store – Michaels.  I had been trying to avoid going there because I was trying to use the stash of supplies I already have, and I know that it is really hard to resist buying something while I am there.  But this time I gave in to temptation and decided to browse in both the scrapbooking section and the yarn section.   Sure enough it wasn’t long before my eyes found some pretty yarn with an equally pretty name – gumdrop.  I didn’t have any idea what I was going to make with it, so I decided I had better pick up two skeins  – I sure didn’t want to run short when I finally decided what to make.

I met with my friend and didn’t get home until late, so it wasn’t until the next day that I could look through some patterns and decide what to make with my new yarn.  The other projects that I had been working on got set aside while I worked with this yarn.

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When I finished my first project I was still so excited about this yarn that I found another pattern and made it.

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And then made a third project before I ran out of yarn.

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What has inspired you lately?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

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Free Knitting and Crochet Patterns and Tutorials on Blogs

On my last post I shared some links to yarn companies that offer free patterns. This time I want to share some blogs that have free patterns and sometimes even tutorials.  I find that the pictures in the tutorials really help me learn new stitches and understand new patterns.  This is just a short list of blogs where I have recently found patterns.  I will continue to add more as I discover more.  I hope some of these help inspire you to try new patterns. 🙂

http://rainbowjunkiecorner.wordpress.com  Cross bookmark, pineapple bookmark

http://8thofthe8thofthe8th.blogspot.co.uk
Lots of color in these designs

http://www.homemadezenshop.com/2011/04/free-amigurumi-crochet-pattern.html
Great graduation owl and other animals

http://www.mooglyblog.com/category/free-moogly-patterns/

http://www.purlbee.com
Knit, crochet,sewing, embroidery,needlework, etc

http://doityourselfbyruta.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/the-grey-giraffe-with-a-bow-tie-pattern/
This link will take you to a cute giraffe toy.

http://allnightknitter.wordpress.com
This knitter has been working through some stitch patterns that her grandmother left in a notebook.  She works through the patterns and then shares them.

http://petitepurls.com/Fall11/fall2011_p_george.html
Here’s a pattern for a vest for a boy.

http://blog.knittersmercantile.com/category/free-pattern-friday/
A blog that has a new free pattern every Friday

http://thegreendragonfly.wordpress.com   The owl pattern that I posted about in an earlier post came from this website.  This is a website that I regularly follow.

 

Free Knitting and Crochet Patterns

I think most of us have a limited budget.  A pattern has to be really special or I have to have a special reason for needing it before I pay money for it. So I am always looking for free patterns to try. Today I thought I would share some of the places I find free patterns.

YARN COMPANIES

A great place to start is with companies that make and sell yarn.  Here are some that I have found.

https://www.lionbrand.com/

http://redheart.com/

Crystal Palace yarns http://www.straw.com/cpy/free_patterns.html

http://www.bernat.com/pattern.php?NEW_PATTERNS=1

http://cascadeyarns.com/patterns.asp

http://www.berroco.com/patterns

http://www.sugarncream.com/pattern.php

http://www.plymouthyarn.com/patterns/free

http://www.caron.com/free

Yarn market lists a lot of yarn companies that I didn’t know about and gives you links to their free patterns.  http://www.yarnmarket.com/knitting/Free-Patterns-527.html?CFID=15256215&CFTOKEN=57588291

OTHER

www.ravelry.com

http://priscillascrochet.net/freepatterns.html

http://www.bestfreecrochet.com

http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/

BLOGS

Blogs are another place to find some great patterns.  There are usually a few free patterns mixed in with others that you can buy.  Sometimes you will even find a tutorial which I consider a bonus!  🙂  In my next post I will share some blogs that have free patterns.  If you have a great place to find free patterns I’d love to hear about it!!

My new lightbox

ImageI recently attended an online class put together by Etsy and Adobe on taking pictures..  As part of the class we received a pdf explaining how to make a lightbox so that we could control the lighting  and our pictures would show better on Etsy.  I talked my husband into putting one together for me and was so excited to have it finished.  I decided to try it out and got a card that I wanted to take a picture of and set it in the lightbox.  Before I could pick up my camera and take a picture our cat decided to check it out for herself.  This is the picture I got.

ImageI have to admit that it is the best picture I have ever gotten of her because she usually moves before I can get a picture taken.  But I hadn’t really planned on using the lightbox for that purpose.  I am so excited to start using it to take pictures of things that I’ve made..  Just haven’t figured out yet how I am going to store it.  🙂  Right now it is taking up a large part of my kitchen table!

 

 

Soap Cozies & Dishcloths

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Dishclothes

Here are two of my recent projects – Soap Cozies and dishcloths. Both of these projects are great for using some of your leftover yarn. The Green/Brown/white dishcloth was crocheted and the purple dishcloth was knitted. These are just two of the patterns I have been trying.

What are soap cozies you ask? They are my own personal creation. They are crocheted little bags with a tie on the top. You place either a bar of soap or leftover pieces of soap into the bag, and tie the bag shut. It’s like a washcloth and soap in one, and you no longer have to worry about a slippery soap bar slipping out of your hand. It also solves another problem that I have. I hate throwing away small pieces of soap because I feel like it is wasting them, but I also hate trying to hold on to them. This way I can use them up!! These cozies were crocheted with cotton yarn.

Creating an online shop.

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted. It seems like every moment has been taken up with starting my online shop. I tried a shop on Etsy, but was unhappy with paying them for advertising every week without getting much traffic from it. I finally decided that with my own shop at the very least I wouldn’t be making an income for someone else. I would be the one to benefit from my hard work. That being said – I didn’t realize how much hard work it was going to be.

Although I had taken classes to teach me how to use Dreamweaver I didn’t want to have to pay the high price for the software. My goal was to try to put this together as reasonably as I could. I tried one hosting company, but found that their “easy” software was very limiting and I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out how to make it do what I wanted. I tried theme after theme, but found each theme had limited capabilities based on what the author had wanted which wasn’t necessarily what I wanted. 🙂 I searched around the internet for different themes thinking that if I found one that I liked I could just upload it to my hosting company. WRONG! When I found one I liked I found out that I had to use their hosting company to use that theme. So I ended up switching to another hosting company. Then I had to start over modifying the theme to make it my own. To make a long story shorter – I finally have something that I am reasonably happy with. I am sure I will continue to tweak it, but I now have something that I feel like I can publish and start to use.

If it’s true that learning new things helps keep your brain strong – I should be good for a while. LOL Because I have been learning new things daily!

If you would like to check out my new shop – it’s at www.mycraftyalleycat.com. I am adding new things daily. Please let me know if you find anything that doesn’t work right or is confusing, so that I can get it fixed. I have a coupon for first time buyers. NEW2013 This coupon will give you a 10% discount on your first purchase. Feel free to pass this coupon on to your friends.

Also, If you have an online shop or are trying to start one, I would love to hear about your experiences.

Upcoming posts –
Projects that I am working on
Places to find free patterns
Resources I love

Handmade cards

Making cards was my original inspiration for opening an Etsy shop.  I had been making cards with the idea that I would give them to friends and family members …But then I realized that I was getting quite a collection and it was going to take me a long time to use the cards I had already  made and I didn’t want to stop making cards!!  So I had to find an outlet for them, so I could keep creating.  Most of my cards are unique because I love trying new ideas.  Here are some that are currently in my shop.

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