Last week I ordered a big box of yarn from http://www.yarn.com/. I was planning to make a big order soon, and that happened to coincide with the free shipping they offered durnig the week of Cyber Monday, so I took advantage of that to get a big box of yarn for a pretty good price. So, here are the new goodies that I got:
The next 3 pictures are Berroco Pure Pima. This yarn has the same gauge as the Berroco Weekend in which my bolero pattern is written, but is a little more luxurious since it is, as the name suggests, 100% Pima Cotton, instead of an acrylic/cotton blend. I want for all of the items that I make to sell in my shop to be made of luxurious fibers, so that is why I chose to use this yarn instead. I wanted to begin adding some other items to the shop, and I decided I'd try making a few boleros. I haven't timed myself making one, so I'm not sure yet how much I will charge for them, but it's likely to be upwards of $100, maybe even $200. I have enough yarn now to make 2 boleros, one in "oyster" and green, and the other in "oyster" and corral. The lace panels will be in the oyster, and the green or coral will be the edging. I have enough to make these in some of the smaller sizes, not in the larger sizes. If you are interested in having one of these, please let me know and we can discuss sizing!
http://www.bananamoonstudio.etsy.com/ and on Ravelry: www.ravlery.com/stores/banana-moon-studio.
I haven't forgotten that Kelly suggested she'd like to read more about what inspires me. I will make an effort to write more about that as time goes on. I contemplated on my inspiration, and concluded that it didn't sound very exciting. However, I know that I like to read the blogs of other designers and hear about their inspiration, even though to them it probably doesn't sound very interesting. I'll mention the baby mittens and bolero here since I wrote a bit about them above.
I made my first few pairs of baby mittens as baby shower gifts for some friends of mine. A few months previous to that several of my friends that came over monthly for craft nights, and I all made children's mittens to donate to the LDS Humanitarian Services, which they donate in turn to orphanages, and other individuals or organizations that may have a need for them. So, this gave me an idea of how to construct mittens, though there are other ways, I liked the sc blo ribbed cuff and then turning it to work in the row ends to make the mitten body, but those mittens had thumbs. So, then several of my friends were expecting babies (which is quite common among groups of Mormons, because we believe that God likes us to have large families if we are able). So, I grabbed some leftover yarn from my stash and made a few pairs of baby mittens. They turned out very cute, and then I decided to make little circles with which to embellish them. I got the idea of working into a slip knot to make circles from Lily Chin's Crochet Tips and Tricks book which I had browsed through at Barnes and Noble once. By the way, she has lots of good ideas in that book! The first ones that I made I stitched the circle on just with thread around the edges instead of stitching it on like a button, but I didn't like the look of it all that well. Then I got the idea to stitch it on like a button, and I fell in love with it! The couples to which I gave them loved them as well. Since then I have given baby mittens to many expectant couples. Fall of 2009 I opened an Etsy shop called April Creates and sold baby mittens, but with a shorter cuff. I decided to lengthen it in an effort to help them stay on better. I also discovered that superwash wool makes a good yarn choice because it is more elastic than most other yarns. The cotton/microfiber, and wool/angora yarns that I have also used will stretch out in the cuff, but don't spring back to maintain a snug fit like superwash wool does. The mittens that I now sell in my shop stay on quite well. My own Baby has some and she likes them alot. They are beautiful, they stay on well, they are machine washable, and very soft!
The bolero started from a Christmas gift that Mr AC gave me last year -- two spools of Patons Bamboo Silk, one in navy blue, and one in grey. I contemplated what I would do with them for quite awhile. Since I only had a little I was mostly thinking of a small accessory item - a capelet, shawl, scarf, shrug, etc. I began work on designing a capelet, but eventually abandoned it because I didn't really like it that well. I then drew a sketch for the bolero and loved it! I browsed through stitch dictionaries to find a stitch pattern I liked. The one that I used was from Interweave Press' Harmony Guide. I knew that I wanted the main panels to be lacy. I settled on that arch stitch and began designing. I wound up buying quite a bit more yarn to finish it, but I loved how it turned out. I approached one of the co-owners of my LYS about selling the pattern at their store. She provided the Berroco Weekend yarn to make a prototype with since they don't sell Patons yarn at their shop. I tweaked things a little when I redesigned it in the new yarn, for the better. The prototype turned out beautiful! and I was grateful for my beautiful friend Whitney modeling it for me! She is actually expecting her second baby now - her first girl! Congrats Whitney! I worked so hard on that pattern. I didn't realize going into it how challenging it would be to write. I used symbol charts and charted out every piece in every size just so that I could figure out what the changes needed to be. Between each size there was only one or two additional stitches along the edges. Because of the lacy stitch pattern and the wide pattern repeats this meant that the changes between sizes weren't as simple as putting a larger number in parentheses. I usually had to rewrite the instructions for the edges of each size, with only a little overlap. This means that, while the stitches involved are not all that complicated, the pattern is difficult to read and would be a real challenge for anyone other than an experienced and well-versed crocheter. I'm hoping that as I begin working from the pattern to make a few boleros from the shop that I will find ways to simplify the pattern.
Well, Hopefully, that didn't bore anyone to death. That was a really long post! I'd love to "hear" your thoughts on all of that! After all, the fact that you read this and have opinions about it is what makes this fun for me!
Happy crafting! and Merry Christmas!