Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is in your crochet tool kit?

    Since I got back into crocheting "seriously" a little over a year to 2 years ago I have gone thru a series of bags and containers that I store and carry all of my crochet paraphernalia around in. Since I do bring my crochet work with me about everywhere (no telling where you will be able to find a few extra minutes to get projects done) I have gone from carrying a purse and extra bag with yarn, tools and projects in varying degrees of completion to my current travel companion a laptop/messenger bag I got for a steal when we had back-to-school supplies on clearance at my day job. I can put everything in it from my cell phone, tablet, yarn, current projects, notepad, etc. When I go to visit my mother and step-father they always jokingly ask if I am planning on moving in. :-)

       Another of my back-to-school clearance buys was the pencil pouch (above) that when I saw it I knew it would make a perfect place to keep all of my smaller crochet tools in one place. At only $1.00 I knew if that didn't work there would always be some other use for it instead. Up til now I had the hooks and scissors thrown in one of the pockets on whatever bag I was using. The tapestry needles and safety eyes were in one of those little magnetic lipstick cases. Then the yarn and project I was working on would be in another bag.

       So I was looking at the case and remembering the recent series of articles Stacey Trock from FreshStitches did on crochet hooks I got to wondering.... just what tools do other crocheters have in their arsenals and what could they not do without.

     The pencil pouch is made of neoprene so I am able to stick the tapestry needles, safety pins and t-pins thru the inner layer. Working (left to right / clockwise) A small tape measure when I have to measure progress. I also have pens to sketch out ideas or write down notes as I design patterns and highlighters to mark changes when editing. There are small, sharp scissors. Next are 2 yarn ball winders for hand-winding center-pull yarn balls which I have discovered do not bounce around when using them. Next are some crochet hooks with bamboo handles (just had to try some different ones after reading Stacey's reviews). Don't quite know how got 2 more pairs of scissors, but I did. "Tip" - the green grips for hooks (the ones you snip the ends off of) are really handy to slip over the tips of your scissors so you don't reach into your bag and stick yourself. In the center are my ergonomic hooks which are my favorite because the tips of my fingers were starting to feel numb and my hands were cramping when I spent too much time hooking (ya, no hooker jokes please). The remaining are my first set of aluminum hooks that sometimes I will use, but have been replaced with the ergonomic ones. Oh and I cannot forget in the back is my favorite tool, my Toshiba Thrive tablet. So much easier to carry around than my laptop and get better viewing online than my smartphone when on the go. Can also store all the .pdf patterns and other files on the removable SD card. I love it!!!

     So I want to know "What so you have in your crochet tool kit?" and "What one item can you not do without?" Come on now I want to hear back from you.

Best Wishes to All this Holiday Season... and Happy Ami - Shannon

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Meet Henry Turkey

     Hi there. This is Henry Turkey and he is the newest addition to the A.O. family. His pattern is now available on both my Etsy and Ravelry sites.
     I wasn't initially going to make a turkey. I cannot really tell you why except to say that I had already gotten into working on my Christmas ornament designs and pattern and my brain just hadn't gotten into it. But I was working on them during a break at my "day job" and several of my friends asked when I was going to make a turkey. Since they have all watched my amigurumi obsession grow over the last year+ they are getting used to all the new designs that I've worked on. 
     I am just getting used to trying to having my designs and patterns completed and ready in time for a holiday schedule. My brain thinking is still kind of on regular calendar time. I am having to train it to be on an earlier "designer" schedule so people can have the patterns in time to actually make the products for the holiday.
     Henry does have a cousin who should be coming to visit soon. Don't really think he will be available in pattern form though, but is an idea I have to do.

     I think my friends and family are finally getting used to the fact that this ami thing is probably not going away anytime soon. As I figured out a long time ago absolutely none of my friends or family have the same interests I do. So the fact that I still get "whats that?" when I tell someone about my amigurumi designing hobby/obsession is something I am getting used to.

.... Welcome to Hobby Lobby

     I also have to mention that I am just thrilled that we have a new Hobby Lobby that has come to our area. I have been using acrylic yarn for my designs but having tried cotton yarn (that I had to order online) I am wanting to do more with it. While there is 1 local yarn store it is way out of my way and the other crafting stores are stocked with mostly acrylic and wool. While their selection is "slowly" evolving I have found that Hobby Lobby has a very large selection of yarn (including their own "I Love This Cotton Yarn"). So now I do not have to go online for my last minute ideas. When I think it , I like to go get it and get started. So thank you!!! They are expanding a lot right now so if they come to your area I would highly recommend checking them out. I believe in supporting all my favorite craft stores so I also quite frequently go to Beverly's Crafts also. (I nice that they are right next to my work also.) They've always been really good to me too (... and I've been doing their copies at my "day job" for more years than I can mention). Hobby Lobby is family though so I am glad they are here now. Apparently lots of other people are too cause the parking lot is usually always full.

Happy Holidays to all and Merry Ami,      Shannon