30 October 2015

Yarn Subscription boxes -

I have just started to crochet.  Yarn is expensive.  I bought some of the standard cheapie stuff to start out with (if you do anything with yarn, you can guess what kind of yarn that is - rough, but still available in some nice colors).  The prices of the nicer stuff is scary, especially as a newbie.  So I searched because there had to be some of those monthly subscription boxes for yarn.  There were.

The first one that I found was YarnBox.  They have a few different options -
- $19.99 + shipping gets you their Sock box -- a skein or two each month and a pattern
- $36.95 + shipping get you their classic option which guarantees at least 2 full skeins a box and the usual things a subscription box of this style would have - patterns, maybe some goodie extras, coupons, etc.
- $69.95 + shipping gets you their luxe box.  It seems to be every three month and doesn't really tell you what to expect beyond the luxury yarns that most people don't have in their usual budget.

Yarn box seems fine but as a newbie crocheter, I wasn't sure it was for me.  The classic seemed the   best option but $40 a month for a couple of skeins when I'm not sure what to do with most stuff yet, eh...

The next one that I found was KnitCrate.  They have a much wider range of plans from a $16.50 mini crate that includes 30 yards of fingering weight yarns to a $59 Indie hand dyed luxury package.  Theirs include shipping.  As someone who has no interest in knitting, their package that appeals to me most is the standard KnitCrate at $49 a month.  Still a bit much for something I'm not sure will work for me.  And these tend to target Knitters.  I've tried knitting.  I am not meant for it.  I want my craftiness to be fun and relaxing.  Knitting made me want to throw things, I'm just not that coordinated.

Then I stumbled upon the Darn Good Yarn Yarn Club.  Also mostly targeted at knitters but with a focus more on the yarn and less on the pattern and extras... this could work.  I was a little leery because there don't seem to be many unboxings or reviews.  But hey, it's $19.99+shipping.  I found it the day after my birthday so, what the heck I'll chance it for one box - a bday present to myself.  If I don't like it, cancel.

I just received my first package (November 2015).  They guarantee at least two full skeins though this month was a special test run of yarn, so I got 4 in my first package, yay!  Picture to the left.

Two of the skeins are a recycled silk yarn.  It reminds me of twine, if twine were made of silk and were soft instead of rough.  One skein has a much wider range of colors throughout while the other skein is a lot of what I would call a natural color and red, and you don't see a lot of other colors until you get to the center, then it too is a mix of vibrant colors.    This would be a great general craft yarn beyond knitting/crochet.  I could see it as trim on a card or in a journal.

The other two skeins, which I believe to be the bonus skeins for the month, are a a sock yarn.  They say that each skein makes one sock.  I'm no knitter so I'll take their word for it.  The colors are awesome.  I'd probably actually pick those colors for myself.  Just not sure I'm ready to brave such fine yard with crochet.  It might be awesome for a needle tatted necklace though.

So while I cannot judge KnitCrate or YarnBox, I can say that the one Darn Good Yarn Yarn Club box that I got was good enough for me to try another month.  And it's one of the cheaper options - BONUS.  Great way to build a stash when starting out.  Or at least supplementing your cheap newbie stuff with nicer yarns.

28 August 2015

Girl and cat

We had a rough day yesterday.  Soooo my kitty stayed close to me when not hiding under the bed.  She "helped" me draw this or, as I call it, she sat on the paper making it nearly impossible to draw anything.

11 July 2015

Craft desk organization

So I have been wanting to mega organize my desk.  About 80% of my crafty supplies are things like pens, pencils, brushes, crochet hooks, etc.  Stuff that just gets all jumbled in plastic tubs.  I fell madly in love with a pinterest solution - stackable wine racks.  This allows you lots of storage in a semi small space and everything in the cups would be easily accessible.  So while at Pier 1 looking for furniture, I picked up two of these:

What the pinners often fail to tell you is that basically no cups fit in these racks.  The best I found so far are the types of cups that I believe are 32 oz and a softer plastic generally seen as collector cups at places like movie theaters and amusement parks. I only have one or two of those, so I still needed more cups that would fit.  While sitting here staring the racks and it hits me: oh, hey the cleaning wipes container!  Perfect fit (and perfect pencil/marker container even without the rack).  I might have to stock up on cleaning supplies so that I can finally use my wine rack desk organizer ;)

31 May 2015


I've attempted to crochet about a million times since I was a kid.  Never got past a chain.  Gave my yarn and  hooks away.  Or so I thought,  found a few hooks I still had and two things of yarn, I try once more and FINALLY figured out the basics.  Go me.

Not bad for a first real attempt using the wrong sized hook and yarn that had been used, torn apart, used again, etc.

22 May 2015

Needle Tatting vs Shuttle Tatting

As I said yesterday, I prefer needle tatting as it's faster and easier.  But shuttle tatting looks a little tighter and better to me.  Here's a sample of rings in two different thread sizes using needle and shuttle for comparison.

21 May 2015


So when I decided I wanted to learn to tat last year (thanks Pinterest), I bought these Clover Tatting Shuttles.  While I am not the most coordinated person on the planet, I did figure out how to make a ring and make a chain, even picots.  Thing is the tutorials I found that really made things clear were all different.  Use two shuttles for a ring.  One for a chain.  Use the ball of thread connected.  Don't use the ball of the thread.  Putting it all together was so confusing.

I didn't want this to be like my attempts to knit and crochet AKA total failure.  So I kept watching videos and looking at pictures.  I realized needle tatting might be easier for me.  Needle tatting needles aren't the easiest or cheapest needles to find so before making the purchase, I grabbed some general craft needles from my desk.  Those needles are way shorter than tatting needles but they are long enough to see if you can figure out chains, rings, and picots.  Seemed much easier so I ordered the Handy Hands 3-Piece Tatting Needles Set.

I was immediately making rings and chains and linking them.  Nearly perfect picots.  Yay!  I'd say I moved from beginner to intermediate real quick.  Still, I envied people working with smaller threads.  I only made it to intermediate with size 10 crochet cotton.  I can actually make a much tighter ring using a needle than I can with the shuttles.  When I get to the size 20 thread though... *sigh*  It gets messy then.  I've found my rings look much better on the shuttle.   Maybe it's just me that needs to figure out both needle and shuttles, but it really does seem one if awesome for size 10 crochet thread or thicker (they have needles for up to yarn sizes).

I've decide to go with shuttles that have bobbins for practicing because I get a little crazy - trying this size, that size, this color... but with shuttles that's tougher to do as I only have two shuttles.  With a needle you can just pull the work off the needle, play with something else and then switch back again.  Shuttles you tend to wrap a fair amount of thread on them and then are sort of stuck.

So next up I'll be trying the Aerlit Tatting Shuttles With 2 Bobbins.   Hopefully I figure it out this time.  I did finally work out that you really either needle two shuttles that share a thread or to leave the ball of thread attached.   It would have been nice to know that earlier.  Darn those videos just showing you how to make a ring on the one shuttle and the chain with two.    A good page for seeing the different types of tatting can be found here.  If I improve using either methods, I'll post pics later.  For now all I've done was already posted here and was done with a needle.

01 May 2015

Art Journal pages

A year or two on my birthday, I got some K&Company SMASH folios with Amazon gift cards. I like doodling but kind of suck at it too.  Soooooo, I've finally started using them anyway.   First real pages = this two page spread of a favorite quote ("In matters of style, swim with the current.  In matters of principle, stand like a rock" ~ Thomas Jefferson).  My cat helped -  which basically means every time I started drawing or writing anything she came running over and plopped down on the book.  If I pulled her off it, put the book away?  No longer wanted my attention.  Break the book back out?  Yeah, she was back.  Silly kitties.

05 March 2015

My current project...

So I got this: Cosco The Avery Line 4-Shelf Open-Front Cube Storage Changing Table, Dark Cherry Finish for free for review.  No we don't need a changing table but I think the cube design will be perfect for storing things in the living room).  Haven't put it together to review it yet because it is my current decoupage project.  I figured it's be easier to to the placing and gluing and varnishing on flat pieces rather than the completed piece (my hubby has asked if I'm being smart enough to avoid covering the screw holes)...

Started today and only got two pieces of the wood covered.  Yes, that's a lot of comics but fear not -- I used the giant modern reproduction books and did not cut any old comics up.  It might also be taking awhile as I'm reading as I go / cut.  I think it's looking good my first serious decoupage project.

Close up with the edge piece next to it (probably won't do anything to those fancier edge pieces).

First section glued down with Mod Podge and light top coat.  Still needs the varnish top coat.