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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What to crochet ( or to do) when you are bored: small tips to back in crochet in no time.

11:18:00 PM 0 Comments
Back in the day when I was still working from 9-5, crocheting has never fail making me relax.
But since I have a career switch, become a freelancer, blogger, doing freelance editor and crocheting is one of my income stream, there are days I cannot read pattern right and kept making mistakes on counting, have to frog rows and tired of looking for inspirations to re-gain my crochet soul.

First thing we need to understand is that sometimes, getting bored with activity that we usually enjoy is completely normal. Having crochet as a hobby, side hustle or the major income are completely different. For the last one, the pressure is real and it is totally understand-able that make a living with crochet is completely not an easy thing. That is why, we get bored easily, along with a bit of frustration, and lack of rest. It took me a while to think how I am going to solve this, but at least these are points to try on to heating up again. :)

1. Try to work on something small, quick and easy project.

Could be hat, bookmark, small bag, small granny squares, scrunchies, anything small will work. The project should be finish in 0 day and it will give us sense of gratification. Once the small project finished, I can tick my daily to do list and feel completed. I know it sounds silly, but it works for me, so I can move on to other things, like read a book which has 'heavy' content, why? the only reason is just aiming to keep the brains in balance. next chapter will explain it well.



2. Switch to your left brain exercise.

As a crafter, a blogger and editor, I feel like I have to do the job everyday. That is the reason behind my super busy to-do-lists. Successfully ticking one chore is sooo..satisfying. When the right brain done exercising through crochet, time to upgrade my left brain speed. There are advantages in keeping both left and right brain in balance, science says it helps us in long run, to identify problems, finds solutions, take action in righteous ways. For sure, being an entrepreneur needs both brains to work in harmony. What do we do to 'activate' the left brain? easy, just read something, not a pattern this time please.., but something that trigger your analytical thinking, rational thoughts, scientific and time oriented readings. My self usually buried under my biological books and scientific journals I love to read, besides, it gives me advantages while doing editing for some scientific papers.

But another time, I munched lots of writing suggestions, hacks, keeping up with audience or anything for my blogging success. It is a rewarding short escape from crocheting, by learning something else at a time. Great way to save the day!

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3. Don't pressure our self.

Take it easy! It is ok not to do crocheting while it put us in pressure. Magazines and books are good to relax too. Maybe by seeing colour combinations or new pattern can heal our crochet soul. So just enjoy something you would love to make, not because someone else would like it. The last would be the main idea, make something you love, do not bother whether the customer will love it or not. It is time our self first. Anything else can wait.

4. Make something to donate.

A sense of giving can bring us joy too. A lot of people feel more completed after making donations, which also confirmed by science where it says sense of giving activate brain areas identical to pleasure. The worth of giving affects our happiness too. 
Some people concern about how and where we could make donations.
Well, there are plenty charity foundation easily found online, or we can access nearest hospital, or mosque, or church that regularly help the needy. Even we can start our own fundraising to help wild animal care, homeless or orphanage. We can sell things or directly giving our crocheted item to the one who need it, sure if they need it they will love it as much as we do.

5. Take a break.

What I mean is days off from the crochet hook and the yarns. It could be just one day, one week. It is up to you. During the break we can do horse riding, go to the sea, ... or maybe yarn shopping like I always do. It never fail bringing back my mood. 
I usually have my break planned at least 2-3 days before. At the early hours of the break, what I always do is re-shaping my schedules. I do note taking a lot, to records which one of my plans are work, and which one are failed. Then followed by future planning. By doing this, I keep my business on track even on holiday. Re-planning and re-scheduling like that usually only take 1-2 hours, then I am ready to play with my kids and leave the business behind for a while. The key is just time management! :)

6. Switch to knitting or sewing!

I have to admit, I do not know how to knit, but a most crocheters can do knitting too, hahahah. But I can sew neatly, *laugh*.
When my tedious state strikes, I sew easy things. It could be re-newing my pillows, sewing small pouch or just an easy sling bag. I am totally in love any kind of sling bags. Many times, while I was completing my sewing projects, I am badly miss my crochet hook and yarn stash again. :)

7. Re-arrange the yarn stash and our working space.

Oh my, this part is my favorite!!
I really enjoy arranging the stash , based on color, types and I do it regularly. My work space is very tiny, it is just occupying one small sized table and 1 medium sized cupboard. And everything should fit inside, plus I have a very active toddler that always curious about my 'treasure'. So, I have to make them (all my yarn, buttons, sewing machine, and all my crochet and sewing tools) away from his sight. But the good thing is, I frequently fell like finding a new stock of yarn, ribbons or new buttons anytime I do cleaning and re-arranging, hahahah. It was my own, just buried under other things.
Just try it, guarantee you will amazed finding your 'old' things too :).

Well thats all I can suggest to bring back the crochet spirit.
Just try to crochet something new, or definitely leave crochet for a while, you will back with new enthusiasm.
I would like to hear your stories too, just leave comments or subscribe so we can connect.
Thank you, and happy chaining again crafters :*
send my love from Indonesia!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Small crochet projects to sell: a zippered key cover tutorial

9:53:00 PM 0 Comments
Have you ever think that you have too much excess yarn like I do?
My experience taught me that left over yarn is valuable when it followed by a matching crochet pattern.

Previously, I was happy utilising the left over to make mini appliqués, but then I lost my mojo to crochet flowers or other appliques, what do we do then?
I have tons of left over yarn after making a bag, rugs, and blankets. They have different texture, colours and sizes. I felt that I was barely make money with it.

Until one day, during my lazy time surfing on Pinterest, a key cover free pattern caught my attention. I copy the pattern and made some of it. Well, my first batch was not a great success, and decided to gave them to my friends but then ask for a review. Hearing my friends honest comments really help me to make some improvements. And they started to sell! I am happy to share tutorials that will include both, key cover which made following original pattern and updated key cover with some upgrades.
Enjoy!

1. Key Cover Original Pattern 

There are hundreds of key cover pattern available on Pinterest. But since this is the first time I am into it, I decided to pick the easiest. The pattern I adopted is not written in english, but it is easy to understand. Unfortunately, the pattern does not comes up with yarn and crochet hook suggestion. So, I was totally blind, how big it is going to be. I decided to go with small ply soft cotton yarn, using 2.5mm crochet hook.
This pattern saved from this link, easiest key cover pattern that I can make. I do not understand the words, but the pattern is just readable to me.
On First trial making key cover, it turns out to have 7cm of width and 9cm of height (2.5mm crochet hook with small ply cotton yarn), not too big. It fits only for 2-3 keys inside. But they looks sooo cute. I used local made cotton yarn from Crochet Republic. Bought them when the store had sale and I love it. It is quite soft (but not too soft also), and not too stiff nor itchy. The colour not even fade after my friend used the key cover for 2 weeks, but need to find out later whether it is going to fade after washing.

First time making these key cover. We absolutely can play with colours , beads, buttons and anything.
I have to admit, even though the key cover looks extremely cute, since this thing is not quite popular yet in Indonesia, it was hard to sell them. I decided to gave some to my friend as a gift with an exchange receiving an honest review of the product. My beloved friend's reviews are true gold. They reviewed the size, the length of the tail that hold the ring to attach keys, the yarn, and put some other things that might make the key cover make more sales, which I never think about it before.

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2. Functional Improvements of Key Cover's Original Pattern

**First thing that I need to work on is the length of the tail. Apparently, I made it too short, so whenever the user need to use the keys, they should pull the cover a little bit hard, not really nice though :(. But later on, I make sure that I added extra 1-2 cm from its height.

Blue circles point to the extra 2 cm long I added on the A key cover compared to the B key cover.

As seen on the picture above, the 'B' key cover is the first batch I made. The key ring hardly seen to be pulled out. Took the lesson, and then I added extra 2 cm for the second batch. Both A and B were made exactly using the same pattern, but since my beloved friend said it only able to takes up 2-3 keys inside, I made it with a bigger-acrylic yarn. Well, it is rather stiff, but on this size ( 14 cm tall and 11 cm width), it can manage 6-7 keys inside.

Another option is using bigger ply of cotton yarn. I have tried it by using worsted cotton from local yarn shop too (Poyenghobby), using 4.5 mm crochet hook, then it meets almost all the requirements. It has comfy size (9cm of width and 10 cm tall), the tail a lot easier to pull out. The last, worsted cotton make it smoother compared to acrylic, so then it would not scratch any other thing inside your bag or pocket.

All those three key cover were made with the same pattern too. The pink is made out of super soft baby cotton, using 3mm crochet hook, the blue was made with worsted cotton using 4.5mm crochet hook and the grey-sleeping baby owl key cover using 100% acrylic yarn with 4.5mm crochet hook. The difference clearly seen on their size. The lesson is, if customer requested for larger or smaller size of the key cover, instead changing the counting on pattern, just use smaller or bigger ply of yarn. Because changing pattern will have consequences on its shape, there is possibility we will end up having -not so proportional size and shape- unless you are really a professional in re-making a crochet pattern.

** Second thing that I worked on is to put zipper on it.
 There is request to keep keys stay inside the cover, so it would not scratch other thing. Well, this is a point that I never think before, yes of course, don't we hate it right? I often found new scratch on my cell phone caused by the keys, they are the absolute culprits because all coins safely grounded in my purse, lol.

At first, I had a thought to add a button. But well then, I think button can not keep the keys entirely inside, there is still chance keys will leave out the cover. So, zipper would be the best. Well, then attaching zipper onto the key cover is another real problem. I have tried sewing it using sewing machine, but the size of the key cover does not fit into my sewing machine, it is away too small.
Then I sew it by hand, here is how I managed it:

1.

Cut the zipper but with addition 2 cm for every corner.

Put a mark (dot) for every 0.5cm. Then start making a net around it using using exactly the same yarn and tapestry needle. When it finished, should be like picture below.
2. Next step is preparing stopper for the zipper.
We can use fabric, but here I used ribbon for the quick result. Picture colase below is the step I was adding stopper to the zipper.
3. Final step is sewing zipper onto the key cover. We need single strand yarn and tapestry needle. But any needle as long as it has big hole to carry the cotton yarn is fine.
Carefully sew the zipper to the key cover, this is why I was suggesting to use same yarn, to make the stitches look perfect and seamless. I think any type of stitches would do too. Besides using tapestry needle, we can attach the zipper using crochet hook too, both results are look fine and neat.
Picture below is the final look of the zipper.

Once zipper done, it is time to apply appliques you have, or maybe buttons, pearls. Basically we can decorate it with everything we love.
After all, those zippered key cover is kind of similar with mini crochet coin purse but with slightly different purpose.
I really enjoy making it.
Hope you have a good time making some of them too..
Happy crocheting my crochet fellas 😘😘😘

Monday, May 13, 2019

How to teach crochet to beginners

3:22:00 PM 0 Comments
Teaching crochet to a person or a group of people that totally new about crochet could be challenging yet fun!
Soon after few minutes teaching a crochet class for beginner, we will notice that there is someone who easily engaged to crochet, while others struggle even to hold both yarn and hook at once. I remember my first class teaching crochet, pretty awesome to me. Gives me insight what to prepare for next classes.

Later on, when we talk about crochet classes in a closed group, everyone shares their experiences teaching a crocheter beginner, and here are some points to put into consideration for those who will have their first crochet class. 

1. Preparation speech

I always think that giving a front speech about crocheting to beginner is nice, to give them idea that we are at the very beginning point of becoming a crochet crafter. I always do this for the class, not very long, it is usually around 5-10 minutes include introducing myself. I usually explain that later on, we might face the feeling called a crochet block, but then there are also days when all we want to is just crocheting, nothing else! We have to understand that all these things are normal, everyone been there! But to maintain our crochet mojo is a must to make a fortune, even if we must also consider taking a break during the way. Don't forget to tell them that the beginning is always the hardest, then should get easier by the time.  

2. What to make?

For the first meeting on crochet class, almost all audiences will love something finished to take home.
Chose the small project carefully. It should not be too complicated, because we might have to introduce many stitches at once along with learning to understand the pattern.

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So here are some lists of small projects that might help for teaching a beginner.

* Making a super simple wash cloth, granny squares, coaster.
Remember that they will have something to make since day 1 and show progress. Start from the easiest. A lot of crochet crafters recommend granny square is good to learn stitches and tips at once.

* When we teach teens, it might a little bit more challenging. Because sometimes they automatically think that crocheting identical to grandma stuff and definitely not cool at all, lol.
Well, one of my crafter friend experienced this too, haha. But then she stole those little girls heart by teaching them making pompoms, because the idea is to make them feel comfortable with the yarn first. Other suggest making stitches using bare hands (hand crochet), but this option might be more challenging when we have a left handed person.
Next class there will be some people refuse to attend, but don't worry, crocheting is always only picking the right person, :P. Next crochet class for teens we can try to make book markers, which they can use when they back to school. 

3. What to learn?

-Definitely, how to hold the hook, yarn and start chaining, make a constant chain is the very first thing  they should master at.  Some people who are teaching crochet many times suggest to use hook J or H,  they are perfect for beginner, not too small neither too big. So the purpose of having finished project to take home could be easier.

-Soon after the class member feel more comfortable handling the hook and yarn, it is a sign to learn the basic stitches. As I mentioned before, use medium-large hook (H or J size) and thick yarn. it would be more advantageous to use solid and light colour, so the class members can see the difference between stitches.  Using too small or too large hook and yarn tend to make the beginner frustrated. Too small hook and yarn will take longer time to finish, and the tension also a little harder to maintain, on the other hand, using too large hook and yarn can be challenging in making the stitches.

-Next step is teaching them about how to change row without losing stitches, here we remain them the importance of counting. Sometimes I feel sorry when one of the learner made mistake in changing rows, yet feel grateful at a time because they will know exactly what will happened if they miss even only one stitch, and of course it is a good lesson for the whole class too. What I usually do is we then teach them how to count properly and match it with the pattern, so they clearly have ideas where the mistake was, and not to repeat it in the future.

my crochet note of the first year learning crochet. Reminds me that things  are not always easy, but  passion is worth to follow.


-Reading a pattern is one of crucial thing of crochet crafter should be skilled. I have met some people, they can crochet neatly (which is amazing). They learned it from other people by watching them to see how it works and able to repeat it. However, they cannot read pattern, this put me into a shock. Months later, I did not see any improvements or any creative products making they could have, just because they can't read patterns which are available and accessible freely from internet or books. So, this is our duty to get the learners understand the importance of reading pattern and how to do it correctly. Please introduce them with both diagrams and written patterns.

4. What else to prepare?

I put these lists just in case we might forget something prior the class. I usually prepare the bags of crochet stuffs for class at least 1 day before.
- make a copy of lesson ( written instructions and charts) to take home so they can make a practice at home.
-videos or youtube might help too! prepare suggested lists to watch at home.
- bring at least one of our finished product that they are going to make at the class. Believe me it helps a lot, it is helpful to show them mistakes (if they made it) and a great way to compare between pattern and the end product.
- get someone as a helper to reach all people to make sure they are doing right thing. If it is impossible to have a helper, having the beginner itself who is already engage with the lesson might help too, she/he can teach others next to them to make sure they are fine.
- carry a box of paper clip to mark stitches and rows, it help them counting.
- if the class is for teens, make something fun and funky because they don't want to be seen like grandmas. We can try bracelets, hair clips, etc
- bring our stock of excess yarn, make something quick with the scraps in multi colours is what most girls love. It is also good to give them a skill on changing yarn during the project.

At the end, all I just can say is to be patient. We are all know that crochet might not for everybody. The first and second class are usually the hardest. Notice that even holding a hook and yarn altogether are also a big progress, remains them and our self that there will be a lot easier later.
Have fun teaching!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

How to wash acrylic yarn: The Acrylic thread -the science and treatments-

12:10:00 AM 0 Comments

Acrylic yarn is quite popular among crafter and crocheter around the world because often it charges lower price compared to other yarn.
Days ago I found 3 to 4 skeins of my acrylic stash were dusty.
Then questions came across my mind, can I wash it? does it safe? will the colour fade like cotton yarn? and most important is, can I wash it using my washing machine?
Here we go, some informations gathered from serious reading of scientific paper and some of popular writing.

Yes, acrylic can be washed easily by hand or washing machine. Both are fine because acrylic well known for its stability. What is more with acrylic?

Acrylic is a man made.

It is a synthetic fiber and made of polyacrylonitrile. I just found out that most of those commercial acrylic yarn consist of 85% of the acrylonitrile polymer, when it down to 35% people called it modacrylic that usually used for wig, hair extension, carpets, etc. Nowadays, acrylic's chemical properties has been modified to increase its level of water adsorption.

Conventional acrylic retains water only 3% whereas new acrylic able to retain up to 15% of water before it will feels damp. To obtain this -good- level of water absorbance, the conventional acrylic undergo several treatments with selective solvents. I would not mentions all the chemicals, but surely it makes me a little concern. Science says that newly modified acrylic has core and sheath structure which able to push water into the core of the fiber, so we will feel the yarn still dry outward before it adsorbs 15% of water, this character a lot better compared to 13% for wool and 11% for cotton yarn. So now it is explain a lot, we found a new acrylic yarn as good and comfy as natural fiber. Even able to replace wool for its warmth.

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Does acrylic yarn toxic?

Now we are informed that several chemicals(solvents) are involved to produce such a good quality of acrylic. So then, does it bad for health?
Well, we aren't going to eat it, I haven't found any significant relevancies between having a close contact with acrylic yarn and specific illness ( I will update this post soon I read something about this). But personally, I will avoid acrylic for baby and kid stuffs, like blanket, dolls, hat and any kids and baby warmer. For wearables I will go with cotton, rayon or mohair/wool, or at least acrylic that is combined with other natural fiber. 

How to wash Acrylic yarn and its crocheted products? Does it shrinking?

Acrylic can be washed by hands or washing machine. I have tried both and it was fine.  
I read other crafter's writing suggesting to hand wash acrylic yarn using shampoo. when I had 1 skein of dirty yarn I washed it by hand, and dry it under the sun. Shorter time to wash, but longer to dry.
But when I found 5 skeins full of dirt, I was too lazy to wash it by hand, instead I used washing machine in soft mode to wash them. But first don't forget to put all the yarn in a clothing pocket to keep yarn safe and not tangled, then dry them in a dryer without heat. Remember, they are made of a plastic component, when it hit by heat, there is a chance to shrink.

Acrylic dry faster than other types of yarn. My pure acrylic took 1 day to completely dry.
No changes on its colour, shape, everything stays the same before and after the washing except the dirt. One more credit for acrylic for the easy maintain. Moreover, the sturdy character of the acrylic makes them suggested for crocheter at the beginner level, because it is easy to recognise the shape of different stitches with acrylic, yet easy to count the stitches too.

How to wash combination of Acrylic and mohair? 

Well, this is interesting. I have washed 100% acrylic and acrylic in combination with mohair.
How do I wash those combinations of mohair?
I have 2 types of acrylic-mohair yarns. The purple yarn skein has 40% mohair and 60% acrylic. The brown one (2 skeins) has less acrylic, unfortunately I lost the cover so I can't say the components in precise. But I think it has more mohair than acrylic due to the look.
The purple skein is 40% mohair combaned with 60% acrylic. Whereas the brown skeins have more mohair in it.

Basically, I treated those mohair-acrylic yarn in the same way with pure acrylic. But we can see the different results later.

Here is the tips:

1. Before the wash, get a clothing pocket that has a big pores. They meant to protect the yarn plus to keep them untangled. Put the yarn inside the washing pocket, soak them in water with diluted shampoo.
Basically, any fabric pocket would do the job as long as it porous. Mine is actually from a package while we bought a pair of mountain slippers.


2. Let them sit for 30 minutes.

3. Wash-Rinse-Dry.
I set the washing machine on the soft mode with cool water. Rinse them, and dry it with no heat.

4. I put all the washed yarn in the room with natural light and still keep it away from the kids.



My acrylic-mohair yarn has small changes and took 5 days to completely dry. Mohair yarn made of the hair of angora goat. Some of those natural fibers were pulled out after the washing, not much but noticeable.
The purple skein (40% mohair and 60% acrylic) not much change.
However, the brown with motives and plain brown had a little tangled up on its fiber, so we need extra care to pull the yarn.


Pros and Cons of Acrylic.

There are Pros and Cons of acrylic among crafters. 
The one that loves acrylic usually goes with all these reasons below:
# Good thing about acrylic is that it is able to show contour of stitch we are using to crochet, because it is stiff and quite strong. 
# Affordable.
# Lightweight.
# Warm.
# Washable with ease.
# Resilience, it is easily returns to original shape after washing.

On the other hand, some would avoid acrylic due to these reasons:
* Higher chance to get shrink.
* Some people feel itchy to work with acrylic.
* Some other concern about environmental reason, living with minimal amount of plastic. Also, during the process of the acrylic making which involve some kind of chemical that are harmful to the nature.

After all those informations, despite of the disadvantages of using acrylic yarn, it  involves in advancing human creativity through crochet and knit. Maybe in the future human being will be able to make synthetic acrylic yarn that has features as good as natural fiber but less negative impact to environment and proven harmless for human too. Who knows, science never have barrier.






Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Crochet hair ties that every girls can't resist: crochet spiral hair ties, with beads and using edging motifs

1:09:00 AM 0 Comments
Making a crochet craft is undeniably privileged for those who love yarn and hook.
However, most of crochet projects are taking a long time to be completed. Some of the projects are not applicable for a quick presents that should be taken in minutes. But making scrunchies doesn't relates to all of those problems, It is quick, pretty and functional!

Crocheting a scrunchie could be more fun than you ever expected. We can be creative applying beads, spirals or have fun using edging motif patterns on the making. Here I present basic steps of scrunchies making followed by ideas you might expand to make your own.

Materials:
  • Elastic Hair tie
  • Crochet Hooks (4.5 mm and 2.5 mm)
  • Yarn ( I prepared 2 colours)
  • Scissor
  • Stitching marker
  • Tapestry Needle

Materials needed to make a scrunchy, looks like I was missing my crochet hooks in the picture. Apologise for tiny little finger too :)

Basic Scrunchies making:

Tighten the yarn to the elastic hair tie. We can do whatever technique to make the yarn well attached to hair tie. But I prefer to use a simple knot as seen on the picture.
To cover the hair tie, I doubled the yarn so it covers quicker than using single. Don't feel bothered with the different colours (orange and blue), I love doing it with contrast colours, because it always blends nicely. 

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In the picture above, I used orange and blue from Alize baby wool (made of wool and bamboo) so I needed 4,5 mm crochet hook to do a single crochet covering hair tie. Another option for quick covering hair tie is using bigger and more chunky yarn. The result is pretty nice too, but don't double it, because later we need more stitches to make beautiful layers.

The colase above shows how to cover hair tie in a short time. Notice the orange and blue colours blend perfectly. When the hair ties completely covered, put stich marker on it.
That is the basic technique to cover hair tie, once it completed we can stop here and directly finish the work or start playing around by adding layers with beautiful shape.

Adding layers to scrunchies.

First step at making the layers is picking the pattern. In my project I decided to use edging motif from one of my japanese crochet book and adding spirals into it. If previous step (basic scrunchies making) I used double yarn in one go, I will take one down for now, and keep going with only one yarn. As a consequences, I need to change the crochet hook too, so I keep crocheting using my 2,5mm now.
I wanted to work with blue yarn, so need to take down the orange. Put the marker at the blue loop, then do single crochet with orange then fasten off. Start layering by following the diagram, here I added extra spiral backbone while doing first round of layering to make a spiral shape on the scrunchy.

Spiral shape.

Making a spiral is not difficult. It basically just adding extra 2 double crochet at every backbone spiral chain. Lets see the picture below.

For my project, I did 15 chains of spiral backbone. But others love to do around 20 which makes it longer spiral. Then please added 3 chains before doing double crochet twice at chain number 4 (picture no.9). So those 3 extra chains are counted as 1double crochet.

At the next chain, do 3 double crochet along the way until we reach the last backbone spiral chain (as shown at picture 10). Last chain should be filled with 1 double crochet, then 1 half double crochet, and followed by 1 single crochet (picture 11). Then finish it with slip stitch to the chain where we start chaining the backbone (picture no. 12). Now we have a perfect spiral.

After 1 spiral done, start layering again following the pattern along with adding the spiral shape. When it was done, the half done scrunchie starting to show a cute colour combination.

My half done scrunchie before I added 2 more layers on it.

More layers.

I changed the yarn and got another blue colour (dark blue) of local cotton yarn. Changing the yarn would not be a problem if it was having a same size and  using exactly the same hook too. If the first layer and the spiral was using Alize baby woll, the second and third layers were made of cotton yarn.


Other ideas for scrunchies

Actually, making scrunchies is fun and a little bit addictive for me. It almost always turns out so cute at every pattern and design I have tried. Moreover, there is no painfull counting during the making. Because the stitches basically depends on how much ruffle or layers we want to make.
Here are some I made weeks before, now all of them are happy with their new owner (I hope)!.
Enjoy..

A scrunchie I made with edging pattern.

 Various spirals models on scrunchies.

Scrunchies with beads, makes it even more beautiful.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How to avoid crochet block: 9 things crocheter do to be more productive

11:57:00 PM 0 Comments
You have been crocheting for years, but then suddenly the ideas just stop coming. We don't know what to crochet even losing interest to touch the hook.
Keep calm ladies, it is the time to understand that 'Crochet Block' attacks you.

Having a crochet block is common among crochet crafters. I experienced it too many times.
Since crochet fails to be relaxing activity, we might just sit back and take a break. It could be just because we are too tired caused by daily activities, but could also a sign of something serious happened (in this cause, making appointment with doctor might help).

Here are lists of activities you can try to re-gain your crochet desire.


1. Start a new but small crochet project.

As a crafter we too rough to our self in completing a big project. Big project is really challenging to be completed, sometimes it takes up to months to be finished. During the work, taking a small break is crucial to avoid crochet block. However, catching up with the big project again after the break could be challenging too because we need to focus on what to do next. I usually make a note for each project and put each of them in a bag. The note contains the pattern, the hook I used to make it, the types of yarn and where I am up to. It helps me anytime I get back to the project.

Make Your Home a Dream! 
 
There are a lot of small project we can try without loosing focus on the big one. My favourite is trying a new flower pattern. Other good thing about those flower project is I can turn it into corsage and sell it. Then I feel a sense of accomplishment too, which is good to my mood.
One set of my corsage flowers.

2. Join Crochet Communities

There are numerous number of crochet group out there. Joining a group is advantageous to get some supports. It is true that most of the members doesn't know each other in person, however, I have seen they support each other a lot. almost all members never hesitate to encourage whenever someone found herself down for some reasons and the spiritual encouragement come in a seconds!

Groups are also the best place to ask for recommendations. Having a suggestion from crochet crafter that have been crocheting and crafting for 15-20 years is gold. Basically we are free to ask anything in the groups as long as it is not a hate speech (or maybe a violent content, just follow the rules!), what types of yarn best for afghan, pattern for baby blanket, a throw ideas, kitchen napkin, towels, anything you want. Members will be happy to answer and giving a review. Don't forget that all of those review is genuine! it is based on their personal experiences as crocheter.

I Joined some Groups on Facebook. Some are local crochet communities which sells second hand crochet yarns and hooks. The most fun rule for me is that someone could only purchase that super low priced yarn after presenting her recent crochet project! The admin said it is because most of us tends to builds up tons of skeins at home rather than start chaining (well, It happened to me too....). In other groupie share difficulties when met unsupportive spouse or other family members toward our hobby, we also make discussions about pricing, a trouble reading patterns, even sometimes arrange meet up between group members.

Despite the local crochet groups, I joined international group too. Joining international groups is really gives me bunch of lesson in crochet. Mostly regarding types of yarns available in every country  which are so diverse. I realised that most popular yarn abroad might not the most preferred in Indonesia, it caused by the lack of supply, if it is, the price is not affordable for some of crafters. However, seeing other crocheter hand made is relaxing and kind of triggering a new idea pop-up to my mind. Lets say crocheted bag, cushion and blanket are my timeless favourites. Just need to be a little creative adjusting the size because I am going to make it with local yarn. 

3. Take days off.

Don't feel guilty to take some days off and do other things that fun. It is totally okay even if crochet is our life line and it support family finance. There are many things to do outside our crochet cube, such as gardening, cooking, or maybe short family travelling might be an option to heal our crochet soul. Sometimes I caffeinated my self during a small break in a day, it goes very well with cookies though! lol.
In my opinion, If we are treating crochet as an income pipe in life, we deserve a memorable holiday too! Just figure out what to do during the break and go for it!

4. Read a crochet book.

Well, to be honest, I do not really read the crochet books.
I usually go straight to the diagrams or written patterns. I am a big fan of Japanese crochet books. They are awesome beside the price! I got some of mine from online sales, other from a lady who sells her second hand books. I am immediately in love with them, they are written in Japanese, I cannot read even a single word. But the diagrams are so easy to understand.


Two of my evergreen favourite books

5. Social Media Strolling. 

I have to admit that Social Media is great platform to dig new ideas. Facebook is helping me a lot to connect with other crafter yet for inline shopping stocking my craft supplies. Instagram has unlimited beautiful photos of handmade things to try. I also count on Pinterest for free patterns and free online crochet books. Feel free to enjoy those social media during the break, it is not a taboo for keeping some pattern later then forget it tomorrow, lol. And as mentioned earlier, throwing problems at specific group might help. We can support, learn and share ideas together. 

6. Sending Gifts.

I did it several times and planning to do it regularly. 
It is really warm and nice feeling while our handmade well accepted by friends. We can ask for feedbacks too. It is good to improve our handmade quality. Anytime our friend wear it, she can point to us when someone look interested on the handmade.

7. Daily Routine Self-care. 

Looking back the past few years ago, I was so careless to my self. I was not happy. Life is taft to every new mom. I know nothing about the importance of self-care to a new mom with a new born baby, and that straightly put me in a little depression. Nowadays, I found that self-care is relevant to my productivity as a crocheter too.
My everyday self care routine only takes 15 minutes. So anytime I start to do crochet, I spent few minutes to look back my reflection on the mirror, then brush my hair, put a smooth shade on my face, and colour my lip. It brings my energy back when I see my self ready of the day, making a huge change to my life with crochet. :)). It gives me a sense that I am ready for work.

I found some other people make tea and enjoy the silence, read books in quite time, make a pray, recite The Holy Koran, without any distraction from any kind of gizmos. Other will send the kids play with their grandma or grandpa, so then the couple can make time just for talking, having a super nice dinner at home or restaurant, movies or even taking a bath in peace. :P

8. Talk to a friend. 

This maybe a little bit hard for an introvert. If it is not convenient, try talk to your spouse or your kids. Kids are amazing, they sometimes have a valuable point of view. Their fresh mind many times have an authentic ideas that worth to try. Even if it is not, their serious-silly comments ofter brings to laughter. Laugh is good in improving our mood, isn't it?

9. Meet the doctor. 

This might be the last option should consider especially if we lost interest in almost everything plus having a sleep disorder. It maybe a sign of depression. Medication with doctor's prescription will help. Companion from family is needed too. Soon after we feel better, crocheting will be fun and relaxing again.


After all, I hope at least one of those tips will work.
I would very happy to hear any tips or other suggestions or stories too..
and be ready to crochet again.
-with love-



Thursday, February 14, 2019

A quick update for a Small living room on budget.

7:25:00 AM 0 Comments
Living in a small house with a tiny living room could be so challenging when we want to put decoration in it. Too much decoration will make the room feel cramped, but if nothing there it can makes whoever sitting there having a dull moment all day long.
Having a right decoration is one point we should consider to upgrade the look.
After 5 years of our first home renovation, I was thinking to update my super tiny living room. However, I was too lazy to spend too much money on it even for shopping.

It took me few hours surfing on internet to look for some ideas of quickest way living room update.
Google gives me ideas that updating a room doesn't always means we have to replace all the furnitures with a brand new one, especially when you are on a tight budget or have no time to look for a brand new household properties that suits your home. Old furniture will look spectacular like a brand new thing with small touch. This brings me a flash to recycle or re-newing my old furniture, just by doing a little effort on it.

Then I decided to use my crochet flower collections, along with decision to make over old painting on the living room wall, and I think that was the best make-over I have done so far. :))
Check out the steps on how I did it!!

Make Your Home a Dream! 

1. Prepare the decorations
I like crocheting and have a lot of flower crochet stock in numerous styles and colours. Some of them were made using the same pattern but in different colour and types of yarn. So they aren't quite similar :P.
Choosing which one that I was going to use for wall decoration was not as easy as I thought. Because I need to consider whether it is match with the wall paint and other furniture exist in my living room. Am I wanting it to be completely flat or make it a little 3D looks? Whether I want it looks "rich" and full with flowers in different styles and colours, or keep it simple.

crochet flowers.

Artificial leaves
My concern is not to make the tiny living room too crowded. So I chose the most simple flowers and some of them are in the same pattern and colour. I prepared some artificial leaves and burlap fabric for background of the decoration. If you do not have a stock of crocheted flowers at home, you can be more creative using paper, fabrics or even invest in buying quilling paper then makes a quilling paper art!

I also prepared Astero glue, artificial pearls, needles and thread in matching colour to the background.

2. Design the arrangement of the ornaments and do a little sewing
It took me almost one full day to design final looks of the wall deco. As you know, there are thousands ideas on the internet. But then it makes me even more confused. I have tried many of them before then I realised that in order to get a nice arrangement, we need to count the overall size and colours of the decoration. *sigh
One might look best for other room because it was placed in a way bigger living room than mine. :P
In my case, I really want it to look warn and homey, but still simple.

Tips:
Investing your time on designing is not a waste at all. Remember that the decoration is meant to impress the guests and all the family members. Taking pictures of different styles before you decide to pick one of the best is also crucial. Our brain might not be able to remember all the design we have tried. Pictures are really handy to refresh our memories. For me, taking pictures is important since I have a toddler who following me almost everywhere. I can look back the pictures and decide which one I think is the best while playing with my baby.

Once the design is fixed, it is time to stick the flowers onto the background. At first, I was thinking to attach the crochet flowers using a glue gun. But then I remember some of my corsage were separated from its pin when it was tacked using glue gun, besides I don't want that opaque-dried glue appear on the decoration.
I decided to go with threats and needles. Yes it takes longer time. But I think the result is awesome, it  also makes the decoration washable which is impossible if I chose the glue gun.
Stick each flower onto the burlap one-by-one, by stitching every corner of its edge. Anytime I started to stitch a flower, I looked back the picture again, to remain me which flower and where it should be placed.

DOn't forget to sew each edge of the burlap fabric, it may takes time, but worth it. Unless we want to see the yarn fall a part.

A little hand sewing on the edges of the background fabric really helps to make it looks neat.

3. Clean up.
This step probably the easiest among others, lol.
I did not use specific cleaner for wood, I used water instead. Just pre-wet unused cloth, then wipe the wooden frame carefully. Let it sit at room temperature to dry.



4. Finishing
To finish my wall deco is such a big deal for me, because honestly I didn't have any idea how to attach the fabric onto the frame and covers the old painting!
My confusedness took me to search (again) bunch of videos, tutorials and bunch tips on "how to attach fabric to wooden frame", but none of them applied to my needs. Most of the tutorials are giving advices on how to make a permanent wall deco, in my case, I want it to be washable, which means it should be easy to be attached or removed for cleaning.

Then I have an idea to use velcro.
Velcro consists of two parts, which are hook and loop. I put the Hook on the surface of the old painting and the loop at a the back side of the burlap fabric(sewn).
Attaching the hook parts on the old painting is a real hurdle, I have tried sticking it using Astero glue (it says it is a multifunction glue, suitable for paper, carpet even for wood). However, it didn't as strong as I expected. I leave it for a while to dry, then tighten it by hand sewing, just like the way I was stitching the loop at the back of the burlap fabric.
This is how I attach the velcro. 

Once it done, the fabric is ready to be fastened to the old wooden frame and cover the painting.
And tadaaaa,,,, I love it..

New mood at my living room.
I hope you all picking ideas from my post, old thing can be transformed into something pretty too. Other good things are it is save your wallet and your time.
cheers!!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

How to hold a crochet hook and yarn

1:05:00 PM 0 Comments
Hi everyone,

The real struggle for begginer chrocheter is to hold yarn and hook consistantly and feel comfort with it.

I remember the few weeks learning chrochet for the first time, even making a constant chain was really a hard work. Lots of crafters say that there is no rule that work for everyone, especially when we came into the tutorial how we should hold yarn and hook correctly. Some tips may work for one but could be hard  to follow by others. However, I think it is important to see how other crafters do it, because it may give you ideas wich techniques that suit you very well.

One thing that beginner chrocheters should realize is that chaining is HARD, and I believe that almost all advanced chrocheters had been there too!.  So, all you need to do is just be patient and keep practicing. I will share how I usually do it, later you will notice that what I am doing is the most common technique on holding the yarn and hook.

Make Your Home a Dream! 

First of all, let’s pay attention on the part of the crochet hook below;
 


What I am usually doing is:
   Right hand (hold the hook)
- I have my thumb and index finger facing face to face each other on the grip
- Middle finger on the shaft
- Then set two other fingers free

    Left hand (hold the yarn)
- I set the thumb meets the middle finger to tightly hold the stiches
- The index finger would be functioning as the yarn winder, I usually have at least 2 coils of yarn there.

As you get more practise you will notice that the index finger plays an important role on keeping the tension while you make stitches .
If you feel not comfortable in the first week practising crocheting, don’t worry!  All crafters experience it, and it shall to pass. I promise  it will get easier by the time you do it and maybe you’re gonna love doing it  just like me.
Check my 1 minute video, to give you an idea on how to hold the hook and the yarn. So start chaining!
;) ~enjoy!



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