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1  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Question About Reclaimed Yarn on: March 28, 2012 03:11:18 PM
I just finished skeining all the yarn from my first sweater unraveling and I have a few questions. Do I need to wash the yarn afterwards? Or does it depend on the fiber content? The one I just finished is 100% cotton and was washed before being unraveled, although I'm not sure how recently. However, I have a few other sweaters in the waiting that aren't machine washable (silk, merino wool, and a blend). Some of them were from a thrift store, so the yarn should probably be washed at some point, but I'm not sure when.
2  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Seam as you go? on: March 27, 2012 12:32:05 PM
So, I made those awesome socks by modifying the Turkish Origami sock pattern. I tried making a pair of socks for OH using a toe-up method and so far they're completely too big. So I was wondering if there was a way to use the Turkish Origami pattern since it's easier to do with measurements, but instead of seaming it up afterwards, seam it as it's worked. Like, after making the bottom of the foot, when doing the top of the foot, use a slip stitch or something to attach it to the bottom as I work. That way there's no whip stitch and there are less ends to work in. Is that possible or am I absolutely crazy?
3  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / My First Pair of Crocheted Socks! on: March 12, 2012 04:10:31 PM
They're DONE! Cheesy I've been working on this pair of socks for a while, because I didn't put 100% of my focus into them, and I had to pause on them for a bit to finish a different project. As of the 10th, they're finally done! Just a couple days after my Birthday, so I'm declaring them a gift to myself.

I used this pattern at Ravelry called Turkish Origami Socks. Of course, I had to change the pattern in a few ways to make myself happy with it. It's made cuff down and worked flat. However, that means that if you don't have enough yarn, you'll run out at the heel. I don't like the idea of being in the middle of a project and hitting a point of "OMG I NEED to run out to the store and buy more of this exact yarn to finish!" To remove that high possibility, I worked the pattern backwards, starting at the heel. Then I sewed them up right after finishing the top of the foot before I got to the leg, and worked the leg in the round. I did the crunch stitch for the leg as well, but since it was worked in the round instead of flat, it doesn't stretch the same way the crunch stitch in the foot does. That's right: the crunch stitch in the foot STRETCHES! I even got to wear them to my parents' house (which is always ridiculously cold) and they kept my feet super warm. These are surely one of the warmest pairs of socks I own.

To sum up: these socks were a massive success and I'm super stoked. The next pair I make will be following the same pattern and will be with a beautiful purple alpaca yarn for my sweetie. I have to do a test swatch of the yarn first to make sure it will work okay for socks, but I'm feeling pretty positive about it. Then I will probably try a toe up method that involves the crunch stitch, since I like it so much. Smiley

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention, they totally fit in my shoes! I wear tennis shoes, nothing fancy, but they fit snugly in and keep my toesies nice and cozy! Smiley
4  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Alpaca Crocheted Socks? on: March 06, 2012 01:39:16 PM
So I'm learning more and more about yarn as I go. I bought some beautiful hand dyed 100% alpaca yarn at Stitches West that I was hoping to make some awesome socks with. One big hank is in purple and a couple smaller hanks are a raspberry pink. I'm almost through making my first pair of socks and they're turning out really well, so I feel comfortable moving on to a nicer yarn. However, I've heard mixed opinions on alpaca yarn being used for socks. One person (admittedly, she was selling alpaca sock yarn) said she makes socks with it and has no problems. A couple people said it felts really easily. Then another person said alpaca doesn't felt easily but doesn't stretch and can "grow" over time. I was also told that if it's treated a certain way before sale, the yarn will be less likely to felt. How do I know if it's been treated?

I was debating making a little test swatch of each and washing them and putting them in my shoes to see what they do. Does this sound like a good idea? Have any of you had experience with crocheted socks made with alpaca yarn? Do you know if it's a good idea to even try it or not? If I have to re-appropriate the yarn for a different project, I'll be kinda bummed, but not heartbroken. I was just hoping to make us some really high class socks as a nice change.
5  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Stupid Yarn Sales... Stupid Newbie Yarn Mistake on: March 02, 2012 02:28:53 AM
So I feel like a total dunce. I've had an idea of making a skirt swimming around in my head for a while. About a month ago I was at Jo-Ann's to get some cheap sock yarn for my first pair of socks and I saw they had a bunch of big skeins of cotton yarn on clearance. I ended up getting a skein of variegated pink (Azalea, I think) Bernat Handicrafter Cotton a few days later. Then when I realized it was obviously not enough for a whole skirt, I went online and purchased 4 more skeins of the yarn, 3 in a variegated blue (Swimming Pool) and 1 in a variegated blue-green (Meadow), because the yarn I first purchased was no longer available. So now I have about 2500 yards of worsted weight variegated cotton yarn.

And now I'm finally getting together with other crocheters and hearing about how it's incredibly difficult to make a garment in worsted weight. And looking at other people's work online, I'm revisiting my choices in variegated yarn. (Don't get me wrong, I still like it lots, but I don't think it'll work as well in a blanket, which is my only serious thought for all this freaking yarn.) After feeling just how heavy two skeins of the stuff was, I'm pretty convinced that even a knee-length skirt made with the stuff would be ridiculous. I suppose a shawl might be pretty heavy as well, unless I could do one in a skein or less. Obviously, I have no real idea of what to do with it all.

So, fellow crocheters, what do you think I should do? I'm totally open to the idea of trading it for some lighter weight cotton. I still want to make that skirt and I like the idea of cotton, but the weight of this stuff is way too much. Is trade or sell even a viable option? It's starting to seem like the only things people make with this stuff are washcloths and dishtowels.

ETA: I can't believe I forgot to update this! I swapped away the three big blue skeins for some much preferred sock yarn. Smiley I'm using the Azalea right now to make a hot pad and probably a hand towel. I'm still hanging on to the whole skein of Meadow, thinking that I might make an outdoor-friendly meditation mat. This yarn just feels too thick for me to imagine making any kind of wearables with, but it feels seems for home stuff.
6  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Weird Spinning Questions on: February 20, 2012 04:53:14 PM
Hello spinners!

So, I have a janky drop spindle made from a dowel and some old CDs. I've used it a few times for spinning plarn (yarn made from plastic bags). I really liked the result, but I hated the time it took. I often thought I'd do more with plarn if I had a spinning wheel, but it's hard to explain to people that I'd probably only use the spinning wheel for plarn or maybe plying yarns together, and it's even harder for me to usually understand their recommendations.

Now that I've discovered the idea of rescuing yarn from ugly sweaters, I'm seeing more and more the benefit of some sort of spinning wheel. So many store-bought sweaters are made with super thin yarn, if it's even plied at all, and it would be beneficial to be able to ply some of it together to make a more reasonable thickness of yarn to work with. However, I know this would take FOREVER to do on my little drop spindle.

What kind of spinning wheel would work for this type of spinning? I don't think I'd need anything fancy. It would be even better if there was some way I could make one instead of shelling out a bunch of cash for one.

And, as a last question, do you think it would be weird if I showed up to a spinning class with the intention of learning to do what I want to do instead of the usual spinning?
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Question About Tags on: February 19, 2012 11:14:53 PM
This is a store-related question, but it's most directly related to sewing, so I thought this would be the best place to ask.

I sell pacifier clips, and I wanted to put tags in them so I ended up making some cheaply by using my typewriter and some scrap muslin. Now, I absolutely love this method and am happy with the results. They're cute and vintage-esque. However, I'm trying to streamline my brand image from start to finish, and the tags I've made this way just don't go with the image of young fun I'm trying to get across. (I sell mostly cat toys and pacifier clips these days, and was hoping to expand in that same direction.)

I think I've heard of fabric that you can buy especially for printing on, but I'm not sure how well it works, or if it even works in laser printers. (I don't have regular access to an inkjet printer.) Or maybe there's some company where I can buy labels. I'm not sure what the best option is. I'd like to have tags that have a font at least close to the one I use on my website and my business cards. (It's a free Google font called Architects Daughter.) Iron on seems like it would be awesome, but I'm not opposed to sew in.

What do you use for tags in your work? Are there printable iron on tag options? Thanks!
8  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Yet Another Pricing Question on: January 29, 2012 08:24:52 PM
So I've seen the FAQ about pricing your work, and I've read over other people's discussions about how to include your time in the price of the product. My problem is dealing with products I already have listed and have already sold, which brings some issues.

One of my most popular products is a rather niche item. I sell pacifier clips for adults who practice age regression, or as I like to call them, "big kids." I first thought this would be a good idea for a product because I knew prospective customers who said they had problems finding long enough pacifier clips, and when I tried googling it myself my searches came up pretty empty. So when I set the price, I was basing it on smaller baby sized pacifier clips. I didn't want to price them that much higher than those because it's not that much more fabric and it doesn't take me any longer to make a big one than it would a small one. So I've priced them around $7.

Now someone else has started selling pacifier clips for big kids on Etsy and they're selling theirs for $13. But they sell ones that are made from ribbon, and mine are made with fabric (way more sewing involved). They haven't sold any individual clips on Etsy yet, so I can't say for sure that the market supports that kind of price. But I'm starting to think I should raise my prices. I don't feel I would be able to do any kind of drastic price increase, though.

If I went ahead and raised my prices do you think prior customers would be turned off? Or would that whole "perceived value" thing actually end up helping my sales?
9  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Nice Crocheted Socks?? on: January 24, 2012 01:37:00 PM
After sitting in a yarn shop for a while staring at their pretty sock yarn, I developed a strong desire to make my own socks. There are LOADS of patterns for knitting socks, but finding a decent pattern for crocheting socks seems to be near impossible, unless you want to pay a bunch of money. I really want a pattern that puts things in terms like "make a chain that is 2/3 the width of the ball of your foot" and "continue increasing until it's to the width of your foot" instead of exact stitch counts. Every yarn and foot is different, and I'm more of an inches person than a stitch person. I found one that was pretty good (had places where it allowed for adjustments based on your foot, "X stitches or until it fits"), but it's for bulky yarn and the heel came out really awful.

There was a "sock recipe" in a crochet magazine at one store, but I didn't want to pay for the whole magazine if I was only going to use the sock pattern, and I'm not sure that I'll even like the pattern after paying for it.

I bought some cheap sock yarn to try a new pair with, but I'm having trouble finding a pattern that I can connect with. And everyone seems to say that crocheted socks are not going to be as nice as knitted socks. Any advice? Has anyone here made crocheted socks? Do you like them?
10  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Knitting Board Sock Loom Questions on: January 23, 2012 09:55:26 PM
I'm a crochet person. I used to knit when I was really young, but I dropped it and could never get the hang of it again. I wanted to make some socks, and when I went to get some sock yarn I discovered a sock loom! I've never done loom knitting before, but it seemed like a good way to make socks. I got an adjustable wooden sock loom made by Knitting Board.

Unfortunately, it's been a bit of an issue. I found one post where someone recommended a no-tension approach, which has helped tremendously, as I tend to be a chronic over-tightener. The other problem is that it seems to be taking way too long. In the time I've spent making the first about two inches of the cuff, I probably could have crocheted almost a complete sock. Is it just this whole learning curve thing? How long does it usually take to make a sock on a loom? Do the socks come out nice?

Thanks for the help!

Update: For now this sock loom project is on "time-out" as it's feeling too tedious and taking too long. I'm about an inch into the foot portion, only because I changed them to be ankle socks, and I feel like I could have crocheted a finished pair of socks in the same time. :/ Unless anyone here can convince me that it does get better, I may just be taking the loom back to the store...
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