Tag Archive | Crochet

I Heart My Minion Onesie

Mom always got us pyjamas for Christmas. That is one of many traditions I have kept alive. This past Christmas, I bought myself a Minion onesie. It even has a hood!

Today is one of those days where I’m grateful that I got it. It’s dark, dreary and damp. Pretty sure I’ve caught the bug my Sweet Pea was fighting off. I’ve changed into my onesie and I’m curled up in a blanket. There is so much I should be doing. I had to take a day for myself though. If I don’t, my body will take control and MAKE me take the time off. So I give.

I decided over the weekend that I was going to at least start a sweater for a crochet-along hosted by A Crocheted Simplicity. Whether I finish it or not will remain to be seen. I’m off to a good start though. It’s a cool sweater.

Since I’m feeling like crap, I won’t take the energy to post all the links I could. I will post a link to my project page though. That has all the links. It also has a pic of my gauge swatch and the yarn I’ll be using.

Here is the start of my back panel:

keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com - Crossover Pullover - back panel

Crossover Pullover – back panel

Just in case I don’t have the time to update my progress here on the blog, you can follow along on my Ravelry project page.



I had a loyal customer contact me about an Elmo hat a couple of months ago. I was reluctant at the time because of how busy I was. I did explain that too her. I figured I could squeeze it in though. I had no idea what life had in store for me. I did see it through though and finally finished it on Friday.

keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com - Elmo Hat

Elmo Hat

He is actually a combination of three patterns. The original pattern was for a baby. So I had to make a bigger hat base. I wasn’t fond of the nose, so I worked it from another pattern. If you’re curious about my project notes, you can find them here.

Gifting Your Work: Think it through before you’re too generous

If you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you’ve probably figured out by now that I get the urge to rant every now and then. There’s a method to my madness though. I’m HOPING that by reading my rants, you may save yourself from some heartache or wasting your time. I think this is a big one because I’m sure that many of you like to gift you work. Or maybe not. Maybe you’ve figured this out long ago. For your sake, I really hope so.

I get the impression that a lot of people think that I give handmade gifts because I don’t have the money to afford to buy gifts. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Why would I put all the thought, time and effort into something when I could just pick something out/up in 10 minutes? I’ll tell you, buying a gift sure would save me a lot in the long run!

No, when I make a gift for somebody, it costs me more than you may think. The time that I put into that gift is time that I’m not putting into making items to sell or fulfilling orders AKA making money to feed/clothe my son. Or it’s my allotted “free time” (although what I like to do in my “free time” is the exact same thing I like to do when I work). So that six hours I spent working on your childs’ Minion toy? Yeah, I could have spun up a couple of skeins of yarn or whipped three or four hats. If we’re talking minimum wage here, that means that I’ve invested over $60 PLUS material into their gift.

We’ll start with those afghans that I made for some of my “friends” when we were in high school. I put quotations around “friends” because they sure as hell didn’t turn out to be friends (this only applies to a couple… The ones I’m still in touch with are there for a reason – I love them!). The very first one I made an afghan for turned her back on me because of someone else’s actions before we even graduated. I can’t count how many hours I wasted on her. And she wasn’t the only one to get an afghan from me. I’m going to be honest. I deeply regret making most of the ones I made. (My bestie still has hers though and she proudly had it on display until her little dog decided he wanted to adopt it. And by adopt it, I mean dig at it, potentially destroying it).

Another thing I regret is the Wonder Woman Minion I had made. Well, regret is an understatement there. I spent far more than six hours on that one. I didn’t have a pattern. I went based on pictures. She was a work of art. And for what? I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that there are two faces and some throwing under the bus involved. Now that I know what I do now, I would never have bothered.

And then there’s the ungrateful “family” member. I made them an afghan for Christmas one year. In that case, I did have to make the gift because I didn’t have the money. But it was the nicest yarn I had in my stash and it was NOT cheap. I’d never seen the afghan after I gave it to them. I was asked to make a sun hat for their child – never saw the child wearing it or got the picture I was promised. I have made a lot of things for the kids over the years and have never seen them worn/used after they were given to them. I didn’t have the money to get them a wedding gift at the time – I felt that anything I could afford wouldn’t be good enough. So I thought of what I could make. Nothing came to me. Why? Because I knew deep down it would just get shoved in a closet, re-gifted or donated (I have no issue with donating something after it’s been enjoyed, but this would have probably gone directly to the bin).

I don’t ask a lot from somebody when I give them a gift. A thank you is nice. Appreciation of the love, time and effort is a bonus. When I make something for somebody, I have put a lot more than thought into it. My son is proud to give gifts that I make. Any time he gets invited to a birthday party, I always ask him if he wants me to buy the gift or make it. So far he’s always asked me to make it. There may have been one exception. The other piece to that is that if the child gets a handmade gift from me, I hope they know they have/had a place in my heart. I wouldn’t put that time/effort in for just anybody.


There have been others that haven’t even said thank you.

No, in light of recent events, this really has me reconsidering gifting the things I make. A piece of my heart goes in to every piece of my work. And many of the past recipients don’t deserve a piece of my heart. I have ended up regretting it. I don’t want to do that anymore.

So please, for your own sake… Don’t do what I have done. Make sure that if you’re going to be investing all that time and money into a gift you want to make for somebody, think long and hard whether or not they’re worth it. Will you regret it? Is there a remote chance? If your gut is telling you yes, then save yourself and listen to it.

Day Five: Something A Bit Different

Day Five (Friday, May 15): Something A Bit Different
It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post, a beautiful infographic or write in verse. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There’s not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be.

Well, I would like to say that I’m confident in my creative writing skills, but I’m not. I think I use up all my creativity with my fibre. I figured I would give it a shot anyway.

My hooks are flying.
Yarn stash is getting quite low.
Must replenish now!

It is 2am.
I should be sleeping right now.
Just one more row please.

I’m at the yarn store right now.
Lost in fluffy paradise.
Please don’t look for me.

I’m on a roll now. This is totally out of character for me. I may edit this post later if I keep going LOL

Day Three: Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers

Day Three (Wednesday 13th May): Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers
Every Year Knitting & Crochet Blog Week tries to feature at least one day where photography takes a key role, because it has been proven many times that what captures reader’s attention for the first few seconds to hopefully hold them long enough to invest the time to read your words is your pictures, and so this topic crops up each year, but every year it yields such different results!

Okay, so this one really tripped me up. Well, not really. But I spent Wednesday and yesterday playing around with my camera. You see, I’m going in the direction of opening an Etsy shop. I wanted to get some great product shots anyway, so the timing of this post couldn’t be better. While I didn’t go all funky like many others, I focused on getting the best possible shots I could. I tried different backgrounds and different settings.


I used a white sheet as a background here. While it did do what I wanted it, it was difficult to work with outside if a breeze crept up. It was also a challenge to get all the wrinkles out.


Next I went with a bristol board background. That worked far better. I took two pieces and taped them together so that it would reflect the light a little more.


Edited version of the previous photo


Back view with the bristol board


Edited version of the previous photo


I tried to see what it would look like on a different background


Back view

Doing this project, I found a couple of things. White is REALLY difficult to photograph. The other is just because it doesn’t look good on your camera’s preview doesn’t mean it won’t look good on the computer. I took a LOT of photos because I wasn’t happy with how they looked on the camera. When I loaded the photos on the computer, I was quite surprised!

I know I need some work with colour balancing etc, but I’m thinking this isn’t too bad for being self-taught. When I was reading Etsy’s tips for effective listing photos, they indicated that a studio shot with a white background was the best. While I do agree that some products look sharp with that kind of setting, I think there are some exceptions to the rule. Such as this dress. I think that you just need to play that one by ear. I guess I’ll find out, won’t it?

Chances are you’ve probably fallen in love with this little dress, so I’ll tell you where I got the pattern. It’s from Crafting Friends Designs.You can also find her patterns on Ravelry and Etsy. Her blog can be found here. She’s also on Facebook.

Day Two: It’s All About You

Day Two: It’s All About You
Cast your hooks and needles aside!

This year you are challenged with one of those tasks that some bloggers can find quite daunting: but there’s never a better time then when we’re all in it together, so let’s shift the focus and turn the attention from the things we make to the things that make us.

The important thing here is to remember that you don’t have to go into great personal detail and certainly do not have to reveal anything too personal. You can be as candid or as private as you like, but you can also give your readers a feel for those things that you like to do outside of your crafting.

Do you like to walk or keep fit
Do you read or enjoy movies – are there any personal favourite books or films that you would recommend?
What is your dream holiday destination, job, dinner party guest list?

This post can be about your reality, your aspirations, past, present or future. Enjoy talking about you. If you really don’t want to write about yourself, though, use your creative license and invent yourself an alternative persona, whether you are a spy, deep-sea diver or astronaut (who just happens to love yarn).

This is a tough one. Aside from my son and my dad, wool/yarn is my life. I live it. I breathe it. I love it. There are other things in life that I do enjoy, but I usually do them/watch them as I work.

Some things you may not know about me…

I have a background in dog training. Sixteen years ago, I went to Harrisburg, Pa. to do a service dog trainer internship with Susquehanna Service Dogs. That is how I got my beloved Kirby. I applied to places here in Canada, but they did nothing to help me. One of my dreams is to start a service dog program of my own, even if I only train one dog at a time. What’s holding me back now is that I don’t have the space. Another tidbit is that my Kirby was also a therapy dog. We went on visits for a while, but then life happened. In late 2004, I adopted my Panzer. While I was confident that I had the skills to train him, I knew that I could not provide socialization for him. So I signed up for dog training at Petsmart. When they found out about my background with the service dogs and my intention of socializing Panzer, I was encouraged to apply for a dog trainer position. I did and I loved it! Not only did I get to help people train their dogs, I also got to take my boys (Kirby and Panzer) to work with me! They took turns coming with me.

And staying with the doggy theme, I am also a pet sitter. One of the reasons why I have chosen fibre arts (aside from it being my passion), is that it’s highly portable. When I pet sit, I’m also house sitting as well. I stay in their home while their “parents” are away. I highly enjoy it. It’s nice to have pets to snuggle and get a change of scenery. This is also a big reason why I haven’t got another dog. I have a bunch of others I can love! When I pet sit, I treat the pets as I would treat my own. They all have left paw prints on my heart.

I used to be a hairstylist.

After I left the hair world, I primarily did factory work. I actually enjoyed it.

I left an abusive relationship 7 1/2 years ago. I decided that while I was rebuilding my life, I was going to follow my dream and take the Fibre Arts Program at Fleming College. That’s where my love of spinning started.

Aside from wanting to make a better life for my son and I, one of my big reasons for going back to school is to set an example for my son. I want him to know that you’re never too old to learn something new. AND when he hits a rough patch in life, I can genuinely tell him that if I can do it, he can too!

Other little tidbits:
-my favourite colour has been purple for as long as I can remember
-you can tell what frame of mind I’m in by the colours I work with
-I am a HUGE NKOTB fan. I went to 2 concerts when I was 13. Then I went to their first reunion concert in 2008 and another one in 2009. Jordan was my first love
-I will give you the shirt off my back. I may even forgive you if you burn me. But mess with my baby or burn me more than once and hell hath no fury…
-I LOVE to laugh. Sometimes too much
-I used to figure skate and coach. I miss it so much!
-I want a red rag top ’64 1/2 Mustang in the worst way
-my all-time favourite movie is Dirty Dancing. I also love Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, the Iron Man movies, both Avengers movies, (okay, pretty much the whole Marvel series), the Lethal Weapon series, North and South,the Lego Movie, Planes… Okay, I could do this all day!
-my all-time favourite TV show is the Golden Girls. Closely followed by Friends. I also love Ghost Adventures, the Dead Files, Dr. Who, Big Bang Theory, the Simpsons
-my favourite group is ACDC, favourite artist is Meatloaf. I also like Walk Off the Earth, Brooks and Dunn, Garth Brooks, the Stones, George Jones, Johnny Cash – classic rock and country. I also like 80’s and early 90’s music too. My life’s theme seem to be the chorus from Tub Thumping.
-I secretly adore Justin Timberlake. And don’t tell anyone, but I watch Hell’s Kitchen. It’s like a train wreck… I can’t turn away!

I had started a list of pet peeves, but I’m just going to leave it at this… I despise rude/arrogant/phony/fake/know-it-all/narcissistic/deadbeat/inconsiderate/ignorant/confrontational/manipulative/pushy/disrespectful people!

Take me or leave me. But don’t try to change me. You can help me or encourage me to grow. But you won’t change me.

A Pattern Rant… Again!

I got my first order for a couple of very popular character hats. My customer had sent me a picture of the ones that she wanted and I was able to find the exact pattern. So rather than try to figure it out on my own by looking at the picture (which I could have easily done), I figured I would support yet another independent designer and purchase the pattern.

I am so sorry I did at this point. I say “at this point” because I do have a message in to the designer asking for the missing information.

This pattern had no gauge. It had no measurements, finished or working. So even if I followed it to a “t”, I wouldn’t know if it fit until I finished it and checked it with the measurements my customer sent me. Thank goodness I’m not a crochet newbie! Could you imagine if this was one of your first “big” projects and it didn’t fit? Things like that are enough to make some inexperienced stitchers throw down their hooks in frustration and blame themselves. That makes me sad.

I buy patterns a)to support designers and b)to save myself time. I know there are a lot of wonderful free patterns out there. When I run across one, you bet I sing the praises of the pattern and its designer. I also know there are a lot of designers cranking free patterns out and not having them tested because of time constraints. I’ve ran across my fair share there as well and some of them were atrocious. When it comes to a choice of a free pattern versus a paid pattern of a similar item, I will purchase the paid pattern. Reason being is if there are any issues, I feel the designer is responsible to address them because they have been given money out of my pocket. I’m not saying I wouldn’t send a message to a designer of a free pattern, but I don’t feel they should be held as accountable because what it comes down to is: you get what you pay for.

When I pay for a pattern, I expect that this pattern will save me time and I will get the required size IF I MATCH THE GAUGE. If there is a gauge and my item doesn’t turn out, the onus is on me. When I see that there is no gauge, I’ve already made up my mind that I won’t be purchasing any patterns from this designer in the future, no matter how well-written and illustrated it is. Sadly, that’s the case with this one. It looks like an excellent pattern.

I have messaged the designer and I politely asked for this information. I also suggested that they may want to include it in the pattern for others because I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world that may or may not match their gauge. We’ll see how it goes… Sometimes designers take offence, even when you tactfully point out that they’re missing important information. My intention is to help. I don’t want to nitpick or degrade them. BUT we’ll see what their reaction is. My attitude will depend on that.

UPDATE: I did get a message back and she said that I wasn’t the only person asking for a gauge. She sent me one and said she’s working on the others. Yay! So… I won’t be naming names (and I wouldn’t have anyway), but I will be posting finished results when I get them done and linking to where you can purchase the pattern as I do with all my finished items. It may not necessarily be the next finished item I post, so please don’t jump to conclusions as to who it may be. And even if you do, this gal has a ton of good stuff to say about this person’s work because the pattern itself is great! I won’t post a finished item or a link to a pattern if I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends.