Product Review – Hook Organizers by Chetnanigans

A while ago, I stumbled across this fantastic shop on Etsy and, in particular, this hook organizer! I fell in love and posted a photo of it and the link to my Tumblr page so that other artists could see it! At the time, I didn’t think much of it, I had just found something cool that I wanted to share with other crocheters (and eventually purchase for myself).

At this point, two things happened. First (and unknown to me) my fiancé purchased one of their hook organizers for me for my birthday. Second, my post proceeded to get a ton of notes. Enough notes that Chetnanigans noticed the influx of Tumblr traffic and reached out to me with an offer! In exchange for a product review, they were willing to send me one of their organizers! I tell you this up front in the interest of being transparent. However, I have now been using these organizers in my work for several weeks and believe that I have been able to obtain an unbiased opinion on them!

From the time or order, each hook organizer took a week and a half to arrive. This was within their stated timeframe and, for a made to order item, was excellent! Upon arrival, the product was securely bubble wrapped in a professional and aesthetically pleasing way. IMG_3288

A note I have is that the box came with an adorable Chetnanigan’s sticker on the outside. I adore the branding and think it adds a nice touch. However, when my birthday present arrived, I knew what it was right away! If you happen to be ordering a gift for someone who is likely to see the mail arrive, you might want to make note of that when ordering. However, I knew that the organizer was coming before it showed up, so no surprises were ruined and I am not complaining! On the contrary, I’m looking into where to get adorable stickers made for Mostly Harmless!

Chetnanigans’ pieces also arrive with small package of supplies – a seam ripper, a tapestry needle, stitch markers, a tape measure, and a pair of scissors. I really appreciate the touch, especially as the organizer itself comes with a perfect spot for each of these tools!

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When each hook organizer arrived, I was very excited to dig my hooks out of the disorganized pouch where they were living and put them on display! As I do not have a full set of hooks, it took a bit of trial and error to find the perfect slot for each hook in the standard size organizer. My main conclusion here is that I need more crochet hooks and I don’t find this to be a negative. The hooks fit beautifully and look fantastic! I think that the standard size hook organizer is flawless! I still loose my scissors, but that wouldn’t happen if I actually put them back where they belonged rather than next to me on the couch.

For the comfort grip organizer, there’s a lot more flexibility on hook positions, as all the holes are the same size. As there are numerous brands of comfort handles, the artist does a great job making sure that the holes will work for as many of them as possible. I took a gamble here as my Susan Bates hooks were not on the list of tested hook brands for this piece but they fit beautifully! I would note that the holes on the bottom of the organizer that hold the hooks in place are a  bit shallow. When I move the hook organizer from place to place, the hooks have a tendency to shift out of place and need to be adjusted when I settle down. However, I mainly mention this in the interest of writing a balanced review because I am totally in love with this piece!

What makes this really special is that I haven’t seen anything like it before! I’ve spent years rummaging around in bags for my crochet hooks or storing them in cups. I love the simplicity of the design that is both beautiful to look at and highly functional! It is very clear that the artists understand crocheters and have put a lot of thought into their design!

As a final design note, I was pleasantly surprised by the stitch marker section. When I first looked at it online, my first thought was “don’t they have cats? Those will never stay in place!” However, two weeks in and my cat has yet to bother them! I can’t be sure if this is due to design or my cat being oblivious, but I am very happy either way. I love having stitch markers RIGHT THERE as it enables me to work much more efficiently.

Working with this Etsy shop was a joy! I spoke to both the husband and wife through Etsy messages and found them both charming and helpful. They helped me decide on a product and happily shared their story with me!

Overall, I am thrilled with Chetnanigans and will definitely be placing an order again! My ambition is to someday have enough tools around to need to purchase this and I have my eye on this blocking tool if I ever get my act together about making a granny square blanket.

10/10, would recommend!

 

Chibi Pikachu Pattern

After finally finishing a crazy semester of grad school, I finally had time to do something that I’ve wanted to for a while – publish a crochet pattern to Etsy!

This Pikachu pattern is the first of many patterns that I plan to post and is available from my Etsy shop!

If you’re looking for the finished product, you can pick that up here!

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Leafeon

Recently, a friend of mine commissioned a Leafeon for his boyfriend. But not just any Leafeon. He requested a Pokemon that was about three times the size of my typical Eeveelutions. I’m hoping to start developing sellable patterns in the near future and this guy seems like a great place to start!

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I’m really proud of how this guy turned out and am looking forward to developing the other Eeveelutions and more! If you’re interested in one of your own, don’t hesitate to contact me for more commission information! This sized plushie starts at $100 and is roughly the size of my cat! (WIP photo below with my fiancé for scale)

Chris and Leafeon

Lehigh Valley Comic Con

Con TableToday, I had the opportunity to be part of the Artist Alley at Lehigh Valley Comic Con. Roughly six years ago, two of my high school friends invited me to attend this event with them. It was my first con ever and it definitely changed my life, even if I didn’t know it at the time. We went dressed as the 9th Doctor, Rose Tyler, and Jack Harkness and even came second place in their costume contest as a unit! I also remember spending a while talking to one of the artists of the Buffy comics and being really excited to find out what Joss Whedon was like in real life. At the end of the afternoon, he actually gave me a signed print of one of his pieces that I still have hanging in my apartment!

Though the venue hasn’t changed since then, I was amazed when I returned last year to find that attendance had skyrocketed! For such a small area, its a big deal to have a recurring event like this one. They put on about 4 shows a year, from March to December and always manage to fill the firehouse with excellent artists and vendors.

I was thrilled to be able to be part of this event and had a blast meeting everyone and seeing their responses to my work. I love what I do for its own sake, but there’s nothing like seeing smiles when people catch sight of my crochet! I’d say that BB-8 probably got the most attention today, and the mini version even found a new home! I guess I need to make another one!

It was wonderful to see how many kids were in attendance today! The benefit to such a small event is that its a great way for parents to introduce their kids to various geeky interest without too much insanity. I loved getting to watch their genuine enthusiasm and excitement about everything!

I’ll be returning to vend at the con on December 3rd and am thrilled! My hope is to increase my con attendance in the next year or so to a larger, but hopefully still manageable number. While its not official yet, the current plan is to be at SaikouCon in August of this year and Wizard World Philadelphia in 2017. If you’re familiar with any other cons within a few hours of Allentown, PA that you think would be a good fit for Mostly Harmless, I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Now, back to crochet! My stock collection still fits on the love seat, so clearly, there isn’t enough of it!

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Pre-Con Prep

I’m known among my family and friends for always having  yarn with me, no matter where I am. I choose my purses based on how much yarn they can hold and have devised a nifty pouch to carry my hooks. Whenever we have to wait somewhere, I have something to keep myself occupied and be productive at the same time!

However, this kicks into total high gear when I have an approaching deadline. In two weeks, I have a table at our local comic con and the yarn is slowly taking over our apartment! Despite having several bins in the closet to store finished creations, I love settling them on the armchair in our living room so I can see the progress I’ve made!

Pile of Fluff

All of these have been created within the past 2-3 weeks and I’m still working! If I finish any more, I think that they’re going to need to move from the armchair to the loveseat!

As you can tell, I’ve been on a Pokemon kick since its the 20th anniversary! Now I just need to decide what to make next! I think I may take on something a bit bigger next – maybe a Hobbes or another BB-8!

As a final note, I recently hit 1,000 followers on my Tumblr! I’m hosting a giveaway over there and everything in my Etsy shop is 15% off until March 18th with the code 1000Tumblr!

BB-8!

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I recently finished a BB-8 for a commission and it is, by far, one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever made! This version is my second attempt and I’ve been able to improve him so much between versions. I’m hoping to make another one for stock this week or next week.

Though most of the pattern is one I created, I would like to give a major shout out to Ms. Premise Conclusion and her Ideal Crochet Sphere pattern! It may seem complicated at first, but the results are totally worth it! If you’re in need of a perfect sphere of any size, check out her original sphere pattern, large sphere patterns, or custom spheres!

Crafting With Animals

Crafting with animals presents its own unique set of challenges. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird or ferret, animals have a way of inserting themselves into your process, not always for the better. Cats in particular like to sit on things, bat at yarn, and knock things over.

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While this can be a nuisance, I, personally, try to embrace it. My animals are family to me and part of the reason I took up crochet to begin with is that my cat really enjoyed playing with the yarn.

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However, there are moments that you definitely do not want “help” while working on something. Whether it is a particularly delicate moment or you are merely growing frustrated, you may want to discourage your animal, particularly a cat, from being in your way.

With smaller animals, like a bird, the solution is usually to simply return them to their cage. Unfortunately, this strategy is not usually feasible with a cat. When dealing with cats, nothing is 100% effective, but I have had a certain amount of success with a few strategies.

  1. Decoy Project – If you begin your crafting session pretending to work on something else, your cat will often hone in on it as being the most in the way place to be. Once your cat is firmly planted on your decoy project, you can pick up your real project and work on it. At least until your cat realized that they’ve been tricked.
  2. The Box – Recently, my fiance and I were trying to eat dinner. The cat refused to leave us alone! Eventually, my fiance got up from the table, pulled a box out of the closet, and set it on the floor. Possibly because this box had once held catnip, the cat was all over it! It didn’t last forever, but we did manage to finish our meal in peace and we occasionally spotted her curled up in that box for the next several weeks.
  3. Distraction – Particularly if you have someone else around, distracting your cat with treats or toys can sometimes keep them away from your project – at least for a while!
  4. Acceptance – Sometimes, its time to pet the cat, not work on your craft!

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Kirby Crochet Pattern

Kirby

This is my first time trying to write out a pattern, so please let me know if anything is unclear!

Materials

  • Worsted weight yarn in pink and red (I tend to use Red Heart)
  • Size G Crochet Hook
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Scissors
  • Polyfill
  • Small amounts of felt in red, white, and sky blue
  • Fabric Glue

Continue reading “Kirby Crochet Pattern”

Tutorial – No-Sew Fleece Blankets

To me, the coolest thing about these no-sew blankets is that anyone can learn to make them! As long as you can use scissors and tie a knot, you’re ready to start! Making this style of blanket is something of a tradition in my family. Whenever someone new joins us for a holiday, more than likely, they will receive a fleece blanket. They can be machine washed and dried, which makes them great for everyday use!

In high school, I was required to complete a service project for National Honors Society. I collected donations from friends, family, and even teachers and used it to purchase the materials to create 28 fleece blankets that I then donated to Project Linus!

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In the following video, I will demonstrate how to create one (or more!) of these fantastic blankets for yourself or a loved one. In order to keep the size manageable, I will be making a cat bed, but your blankets will be much larger!

Before you get started, you will need:

  • 2 pieces of fleece (2 yards each for an adult-sized blanket, 1 1/2 for a child, 1 for an infant)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • A piece of paper or cardboard to guide your cutting (4 inches for a full sized blanket)
  • Space to fully spread out the fleece and move around it.

Note: if the edges of your fleece are slightly rough feeling, this is selvage that should be trimmed off in the process of lining up your fleece.

Once you have the method down, the no-sew fleece method can also be used to create pillow, scarves and anything else you can imagine!

Pokemon

Pokemon are one of my favorite subjects to crochet! They are cute and cartoony, with clearly defined shapes, which make them relatively simply to design patterns for. However, there are so many Pokemon and they come in so many varieties that each one presents its own challenges and keeps the process interesting.

Pokemon

Last year, I had the chance to work with a fantastic model in a Pokemon trainer photoshoot and would love to do so again! Perhaps one day I’ll even create all original 150! (There’s way too many at this point to even consider crocheting them all!)