Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not quite a slouchy cap

Two skeins later...

This isn't what you'd expect from a slouchy cap :p...I thought I had only a few more rounds to finish, but now I have to rip it several rounds back. Or maybe start all over again and use a bigger hook :(

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lacey crochet design and a slouch hat coming soon...

Another new week, and I really couldn't wait to show my latest shrug. Its finished, but my camera is out of power... Actually, I couldn't charge the battery since I can't find the cord! So I have to use my old camera, and I bought AA batteries for it :p
I am not totally finished with writing the pattern yet, so the modeled pics would come a little later...
Meanwhile, I'm making a hat. A while back, I had been thinking about coming up with my own pattern for a slouch cap, since its currently in fashion. Just look at all the crochet slouch caps over at Ravelry. (Btw, congrats to Zu for making it on the top list!)

Here's a peek at my hat design:

I used Catania cotton (thanks again to a dear crochet buddy for it). I would probably use up to 2 1/2 skeins of Catania...
The size of the hook is 3mm.
I can't wait to finish and show you this hat!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Crochet Monday and the blues...

Its a nice, quiet, good-weather day for crochet. I have not spent much time for it lately...But the shrug I'm making didn't have to take 3 weeks to finish - my mind just wandered off many times.
I finished the last round (or so I thought...), yesterday. Then I decided I could add one more round to the edging - which means frogging the final round and doing another repeat round. Two more rounds and its finally done. However, I'm only halfway through with the pattern :p
Also today, I took out my new camera. I got it last November, but haven't quite learned how to use it. I'm really not so into photography and high tech gadgets to begin with. Its a shame, but I'll probably just use the automatic mode most of the time.

From the ground looking up, I took a shot of my Mom's bougainvillea plant which grew up to their bedroom window (the one on the right), and she let it have its way. It was a sturdy plant and didn't need much care...(I'm not into growing plants either :p)
Looking at it makes me so sad, but there's some comfort in it as if Mom is still there appreciating the simple beauty of the flowers, and looking at us through the window...

That wasn't a good picture though, I'll try again some other time.
I did play a little more with the camera. It has a video feature too, but for now I can only take less than half-a-minute vids until I get a memory card. I tried to take my own little video, of me crocheting while watching TV. And I was quite proud of myself that I was able to edit it too, using Windows Movie Maker program for the very first time! If I didn't edit it, you'd see 5 secs. of my hand moving towards the camera to shut it off :p

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lacey Crochet

Most of us admire lacey crochet. In wearables, it looks prettier and for warmer weather it is light and airy - so we can still use it.
For me, I think cotton thread is best for wearable lacey crochet for tropical weather. Here in the Philippines when we say crochet cotton thread there are only two known brands: Cannon and Monaco. There are others, but the quality cannot be compared to the two popular brands. Of course I prefer the Cannon brand made by Coats Manila Bay. But since I'm very particular about color, sometimes I have to use Monaco when I've set my mind on the color.
By the way, there is another brand of high quality thread by Coats - Anchor size 10 thread. It differs from Cannon size 8 thread, in that it is a bit finer and thinner. But overall, it could be substituted for designs made with size 8 thread. The reason it is not as popular as Cannon is that it is more expensive. I prefer to use it for doilies, curtains and other home decorations. I did make shrugs using size 10 thread, and they're lovely and comfortable too.

There are so many ideas going on in my mind using lacey crochet - from books, magazines, and the internet - there is an endless source of material and inspiration for this. But to actually create a design and write up a pattern is not easy...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My obscure patterns and Etsy update for sellers

Some of you may want to know how my pattern sales are doing. I can only say that in the past several months, I sell xx patterns a month through my website, Etsy shop and Ravelry store combined. But I am a little pleased with it, since I didn't expect much to begin with, and I also only invested a little money (though much time and effort) to get it going.
This next bit of info made me stop and think a little. Based on Ravelry statistics, all my patterns are obscure - less than a 100 projects and less than 200 queued. I have to disagree on the numbers since crocheter membership in Ravelry does not represent a good amount of crocheters worldwide. Nor do all of the existing members post their projects or link to the patterns.

Anyways, on the bright side I can say:
1. Currently, 3 of my shrug patterns are in the popular crocheted shrugs list -
* Shells and Flowers Shrug
* Breezy Shrug
* Little Cotton Shrug
2. Local sales of my designs by Coats Manila Bay in the past two years are doing fine. (Though it could have been better if they had released the 3 more patterns they had on hand for more than a year already!)

3. I am still motivated to make new designs, and optimistic that my pattern sales will go up :)

Btw, here's good news to Etsy sellers. You can now pay your Etsy bill using your paypal account. That's a great improvement esp. for international sellers, who are charged bank service fees everytime they pay Etsy (read about it here).

Saturday, March 07, 2009

More on the pineapple, a tropical fruit shake and a shrug ;)

Here are some tips on how to buy fresh pineapple.
Now I'm able to juice a pineapple, I've been thinking of other fruits to mix it with...something like four seasons juice - made from pineapple, orange, mango and guava. But I didn't find native guava, and bought some strawberries instead.

All of these are local produce except for the orange.

Now to shake it all up.

Added a couple of ice cubes before I sipped it...hmm so refreshing! This one serving costs around P40.

Another thing for our tropical weather is my latest shrug:

This is a shrug that is light and airy and fits our tropical weather.
Pattern will be available soon...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Go fresh - make pineapple-orange juice at home!

I have not been crocheting much lately, and have been a bit obsessed with preparing and eating healthy foods. Several years ago, I bought the Fit for Life book and since then have learned how to eat fruit. I couldn't follow all the guidelines for eating right, since that would be very hard considering the budget and different food preferences of my family. But for the most part I believed in the book. If I were to feed only myself and have all the ingredients available, I can probably follow most of the principles in that book.
I have no doubt that the most important rule is to EAT FRUITS ON AN EMPTY STOMACH.
It is then most practical to eat fruits for breakfast, since they are easily digested and you know your stomach is empty. Best of all, if you're in a hurry someone can prepare the juice for you and you'll just have to drink it. That's part of what I do for my son who goes to the office and the other who goes to school, since they are usually in a hurry!
One of the must have item according to the book, is a fruit juicer. I have been wanting to buy one, ever since my mini fruit juicer broke down. (I guess it gave up on some of the carrots that I juiced, which where quite hard.) I don't think I want to have one of those big juicers since my kitchen is small, and the juicer parts to be washed are huge!
Anyways, I also have a dependable citrus juicer that I've had for years. I didn't realize until recently, that one could also juice an apple, pear, or other fruit on it. Then just the other day, I tried to juice a pineapple and it worked!
Its pretty simple. Cut the pineapple into four, slice off the center part. Hold the sliced pineapple firmly...

and proceed to juice:

One fourth of a pineapple and one orange, makes one glass of fresh juice. This one serving of juice cost only P25. It is the real 100% juice. Enjoy!

Don't believe those canned products saying its real or natural, since the fruit in them has already been cooked and processed and not fresh anymore. It doesn't have the benefits of fresh juice.

And if you do have a big juicer, then use it. Here's how: