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I came across this awesome hexagon design for an afghan.  The only problem?

I don’t crochet afghans.

They take too long, give me visions of creap-o acrylic, and I can’t understand why someone would choose a blanket made from yarn over am-in-a-spa? squishy fabric.  I don’t even like saying the word.  Afff-ghan.  af-GHAN.  af-a-gan.  Ew.

I can’t control my fingers, though, and when they see something they like, they must crochet it.

I’ve modified the pattern a bit so I only do 5 rounds in each hexagon (the pattern calls for 7) because I noticed it was after the 5th round that I would start to get bored.  See, I was serious about this whole hating afghans things.

But I’ve been working since around 11am and 5 hours later, here’s my progress.  I must say that I’m really enjoying this pattern.  In fact, I’ve kinda been addicted to it.

I’ve made it my goal to get it finished by tonight.  Ambitious?  Maybe, but we’ll see.  I have 22 hexagons finished and figure I only have 11 more to go.  Average in at 9 minutes/ square, that’ll take me around 2 hours + seaming… might be a late night.

My goal this summer is to brand my business.  Practically, that means a new logo for JJCrochet, blogging, more free crochet patterns, and sew-in fabric labels for my hats.  (Ohh, big goals I know).  I got a new logo thanks to Sarah McDill on Etsy’s Alchemy and wanted to put it to use in my quest of creating a cohesive image.

After browsing Etsy, I found it would cost between $.15 and $1.00 PER LABEL to have my design printed.  I forgot to mention, but as part of this quest, the goal is to be as frugal as possible.  I can’t afford to spend that much on labels, ambitious summer quest or not.

In a search for a cheaper solution, I came across this incredible tutorial by Patchwork Pottery on how to make your own sew-in fabric labels.

All you need to make these fabric sew-in tags are:

  • 1/2 inch cotton twill tape
  • Computer and Photo Editing Program (to make your label template)
  • T-shirt transfer paper
  • Scissors
  • Iron

I bought the supplies, made the template, printed, cut, ironed, peeled, cut again, and viola – labels! On my first run through, I made 75 labels for under $5.  Victory.  $.06 per label – Eat that, you fabric label price gougers!

Click here to view the complete tutorial.


I’ve since updated my website and and you can view the free pattern for this hat hereFree crochet hat pattern for women – Rachael’s Chunky Open-Weave Hat with Flower.


Use this free crochet hat pattern to create your own crochet hat in a few hours.  Made with SUPER bulky yarn and with only 9 simple rows in the pattern, this hat pattern will have you lookin’ good in no time.

The crochet pattern is named after my good friend (and future roommate!), Rachael. This hat is crocheted in an open weave so it’s suitable for those below zero temperature days, but it’s chic and fashionable nonetheless. Because Rachael is eternally classy and always hot temperature wise, this is her perfect hat.

Materials

Gauge: First 2 rows in pattern = 4.5 inches in diameter.  Take time to check gauge.  Adjust needle size if necessary.

Directions

Ch 3, join with sl st to form ring.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc now and throughout).  11 more dc into ring (12 dc).  Join to top of turning ch with sl st and at the end of each round.  Do not turn.

Round 2: 2 dc in each st around (24 dc).

Rounds 3 – 7: Ch 4 (Counts as 1dc + ch 1), *dc in next st, ch 1*.  Repeat from * to * around. (24 dc and 25, ch-1 sps)

Round 8: In ch-1 spaces and dcs, work 40 sc evenly spaced around.  (Clarification:  At the beginning of this round, you will have more ch-1 spaces and double crochets than 40 stitches.  In order to only work 40 sc in this round, you will have to skip some ch-1 spaces.  It’s okay to break out of your shell and skip stitches… you can do it!)

Round 9: Sc in each st around (40sc).

Fasten off.  Using darning needle, weave in ends.

Flower

Ch 3, join with sl st to form ring

Round 1: Ch 3, 9 more dc into ring (10 dc).  Join to top of turning ch with sl st.

Round 2: Chain 4 (counts as 1 sc + 3 ch).  * Skip next st, sc, ch 3 *.  Repeat from * to * around.  (Five, ch-3 spaces)  Sl st in first ch-3 space to join round.

Round 3: Ch 1.  In first ch-3 space, work 4 dc, 1 sc.  In each ch-3 space work *1sc, 4 dc, 1 sc*.  Repeat from * to * around to create 5 petals.  Sl st to first ch to join round.

Fasten off, leaving a 10 inch tail.  Using darning needle, sew flower to left side of hat.

Viola!  You did it!

Confession: I purchased a Canon SLR EOS Rebel Camera with the intent of getting into photography and taking better pictures of my crochet hats.  Fail.  The camera was a tad too advanced for me and I always felt weird pulling in out at parties or events because then I was that girl.  The girl with the big camera who was trying to be all indie and artsy.

So I sold my Rebel on Craigslist and shopped around for an easier camera.  Enter the Nikon Coolpix L110.

Specifications:

  • Digital, not SLR (so easy to figure out – just point and click)
  • Small and convenient to tote around
  • 12.1 mega pixels
  • 15x zoom
  • Great Macro Pics
  • Decently priced

I was converted.

The camera is perfect for what I need it and I’m already finding it to be a refreshingly simple downgrade from my Canon.  Here are some pictures of flowers I took while experimenting with the macro setting… not too shabby for a camera under $250.



Free knitting pattern – Newborn Tie-Cord Hat


This knit baby hat was my first venture into the world of DPNs.  After watching this Youtube video on how to knit with double pointed needles, I finally mastered the technique.  I had heard knitting with DPNs was equivalent to wrestling with an octopus, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be.  If you’ve never used big-bad (ooooh) DPNs before, try it.  I thought having to sew up circular knit projects when I was done was no big deal.  Wrong.  Knitting in the round on DPNs is so, so, so much better.  Try it… you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Free Pattern: Newborn Baby’s Knitted Tie Hat

Size: Newborn.  Finished hat measures 12″ in circumference and 5.5″ inches high, not including tie.

Materials

  • US size 8 (5.0mm) double pointed needles
  • ~75 yards worsted weight yarn
  • Darning Needle

Pattern

CO 45

Knit in Stockinette Stitch (K every round) until hat measures 4″ from bottom.

Begin to decrease.

Round 1: (K3, K2tog) around

Round 2: (K2, K2tog) around

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2, decreasing until only 4 sts  remain.

Continue to K4 sts to form an i-chord that measures 6-7″.

Bind off.

Use Darning Needle to Sew in Ends.

Loosely knot i-chord at top of hat.

Laugh at all your other friends who knit this on straight needles and have to sew up the seam.

I’d had my eye on this free knitting pattern on Ravelry: Baby Sophisticate for a while.  I’ve never really had an excuse to make it, though.  I’m a single 21-year old that has zero use for a knitted baby sweater.

Enter my good friend who’s pregnant with her second kid.  (Suz, I’m sorry if you’re reading this, just act surprised when I give this to you the next time I see you.) On Monday, I learned she was having a boy and cast on for this knitted baby sweater Monday night.  Finished it by Tuesday.  Can’t stop looking at it.  For more project details and where you can get this free knitting pattern for this baby sweater, check out my finished project page on Ravelry.

Only downside: My friend isn’t due ’til October so it’s another 5 months until we can try it on her little tyke.

So after looking for some books with which to fill my summer days, I came across this list (found on Design Sponge) listing some must-read books for “Biz Ladies”.  One particular book caught my eye: The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line by Kari Chapin.

Because my mom is the director of our local public library, I thought she might be interested in picking up this praised crafty book for the library’s collection.  And of course, in doing so, I could be the first to preview its contents without actually buying it myself.  Shady?  No.  Resourceful?  Yes.  I asked, she took the bait, the book was ordered.  Came in the mail today.

I have only read the first 4 chapters, but I’m already in love.  When other people said this book was chalked full of pertinent information, I didn’t know they meant it would keep me nodding my head every 5 seconds or re-reading sentences because of the useful info.  There are resources about taking better photographs of products, where to find inspiration for your next product, ways to connect with others in the crafty community, marketing lessons, a list of tax writeoffs, tips from crafting pros, and that’s only the first 4 chapters!

I will certainly be finishing this one up in a the next day or so, then it’s off to the library so others can share in its goodness.  What are some of your crafty business must-reads for the summer?

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