Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mermaid and Shark Blankets

It seems like blankets with tails are the new hot item this winter!  I've made several and have outstanding custom orders for more!  The mermaid blankets are soft, cozy and beautiful and there are endless possibilities with colours.  Each blanket takes me 10-12 hours to make (these are medium sized).  They're cool because they open up like a normal blanket at the top, and it creates as little pouch for your feet to snuggle into at the bottom by the tail.  That way it's easy to get in and out of them!

Pattern credit: Mermaid Tail Afghan by Nadia Fuad (it actually has a pretty great youtube video of instructions as well), I didn't follow it exactly but used it as a guideline.  If anyone is doing this pattern I recommend using 3 colours and carrying the yarn up the sides, it saves a LOT of sewing of loose ends after completing the body of the blanket!

The pictures aren't the greatest, my 'model' wasn't cooperative and the blankets are size M, made for ~10 year olds and she's only 3!

The Shark Blankets I improvised based on a picture sent to me from a friend.  I actually used the same tail from the mermaid blanket pattern above and did the fins, eyes and teeth free form.  I was happy to figure out how to make a string of triangles together and then sc'ed them into place with the red.  The whole shark base is just loose dc stitches.  These take me around 10 hours.

Monday, November 30, 2015

For Knit/Crochet, Homemade = Expensive!

I was approached by a client who was interested in a Transformers hat for their grandson for Christmas.  They had a picture of a hat from Etsy that I based my design on.  Unfortunately, the hat on Etsy was $75 CAD!  That's simply not affordable!

That's the issue with homemade stuff.  If I charge an hourly rate for the work I do and cover my material cost, there's no way people would be able to afford buying this stuff!  Luckily, I happen to love making things and have hit a point where I'd rather make things for others than make stuff for myself and my family.  That's why I started selling my stuff to people... but I wanted to do it at an affordable cost.  So I don't really charge much for my time.  I more think of what I would be willing to pay for such an item and ballpark the price around there.  I'm selling blankets for $40 where the material costs $25 and it takes 12 hours to make!  So if I charged hourly, the blanket would be $145, no one would pay that!  So instead I'm making just over a dollar an hour.  But I love doing it... idle hands are the devil's plaything, right?

Anyways... the hat.  It was pretty fun to do as I had really no plan on how to make it going in.  I simply looked at the picture the client sent me and went for it!  I started with a basic hat and made it longer on the sides.  Then I structured a pointed ear piece + another top half to sew it into place.  I made the circular ear pieces and then stemmed the antenna from them, making 2 pieces the same and sewing them together with a bit of batting in the bottom.  I shaped the front visor and made a piece to go along the headress part.  Then shaped the mask and hand sewed some velcro in to make it removable and adjustable.  Voila!  It sounds basic but it was a lot of stitching and playing around with it.  Overall it's pretty great!

One last collage, for Pinterest's sake!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Frozen Fever is still in effect...

I know Frozen came out literally 2 years ago, but it seems that everyone still has Frozen Fever!  I know my daughter has watched the 'Frozen Fever' short film on Netflix a bunch of times since it became available.

A client asked for an Elsa Hat.  She send me a picture, it seemed straightforward and guess what?  It's amazing!  I went to Michael's (Canada) and found some notions to use - snowflakes, snowflake buttons and some jingly bells.  I make a test hat for my daughter and she just won't take it off.

This hat is... everything!

Custom orders available through my Facebook page, or email me!  This kind of stuff is so fun, I may have to make a whole series of hats for all the different princesses.  It looks GREAT with the Elsa dress!

Just for fun, here she is wearing the test hat.  The only difference is the number of notions in the braid and the hair material is actually wool!!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

First Custom Orders!

I'm celebrating this week as I've officially completed my first 2 custom orders!  These are also my first official sales, which is exciting.  I'm getting into the groove.  I have 7 other pieces I'm currently working on for clients, so I'm keeping busy!

I had a lot of fun making my first minion hat.  I improvised the pattern based on a picture that the client found online.  She'll be giving it to a little girl at her birthday party this weekend!  The key to making the minion hat was finding the right yellow.  I ended up using Butter Yellow from Bernat Premium, it's soft and not too light but not too bright.  Just the right amount of minion-ness!

And with the yoda hat... well... everyone loves yoda!  Or rather... love yoda, everyone does.  It's a simple hat that has awesome ears!  Pattern credit: Crochet Yoda Hat by Teri Heathcote.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stuff I've Made!

I thrive on custom orders from people.  And that's much easier when people have ideas of what they want! So I figured a blog post with pictures of some of my older work might help with that.  See examples of stuff below, or if you see something online (Pinterest, Facebook, other blogs) that you want customized or made for you, please please please email me a picture and let me know!

I have made tons of crochet items.  I've only recently started knitting in the last two years.  Once you do one needle craft, others come pretty quickly!  I can pretty much do anything knit or crochet, and there are tons of free patterns out there in case I need a little help!


I love making blankets.  For people who don't know, a crocheted throw blanket probably takes 20-30 hours.  A big blanket like the ones I've made for queen sized beds (which is what most of the pics are from) take around 50 hours.  So if I charged $10/hour for my work, a blanket would be several hundred dollars!  Which is why most people don't sell homemade blankets unless they're smaller baby blankets.  It's also a reason why you should be very, very happy and grateful if someone gives you a homemade garment or blanket for a gift!!  Even if you don't use it.

Realistically I would probably charge $75-$100 for a large blanket, but know that it will take weeks to work on, so if there's something you want or a colour you love but can't find, let me know!  Otherwise, I suggest hitting up your local HomeSense or Bay store to find beautiful machine-knit blankets that are a reasonable $25-$50.

Here are some of my favourite blankets I've made in the past.

Top row: Alphabet blanket (50 hours!), Hexagon blanket (40 hours!), Sunshine blanket (50 hours!)
Middle row: Hearts blanket x 2 (25 hours each), Block blanket x 2 (30 hours each)
Bottom row: Mossy throw (10 hours), Granny Squares (40 hours), Simple baby blanket (15 hours), Ripple baby blanket (20 hours)


Hats are quick, easy, and can be super fun or really elegant.  I crochet the fun hats, with owl faces or yoda ears, and a knit the more elegant ones with twists (cables) or intricate patterns.  I like doing them because they're quick and they're easy to size, so I know the recipient will be happy!!  Plus I love making pom poms and flowers for them.  Baby hats are cute but I also love making manly hats or beautiful hats for adults.  Homemade is better than store bought, but you can't beat the prices in the stores because they're mass produced by a machine!  My homemade hats usually cost $20-$30 depending on the yarn used and the complexity.

Here are a few hats I've made.  There are lots more on my store!

Clockwise from top right: Pink Cable hat (knit), Engineer cap (crochet), Sock monkey hat (crochet), Slouch hat (crochet), Newborn Berry hat (knit)


Sometimes people don't even think of the kinds of little critters that could be made!  Custom critters for their kids, or for adults to have as something fun on their desk at work (reddit alien, anyone?).  Personally, I made some fun angry bird bean bags that I took to the office, and when we were frustrated or bored we would toss them around and it would bring us a bit of joy!  A little critter would probably cost $10-15 per critter depending on the size.  They're quick and fun to make!

Here are some critters I've made.  I found great 'safety eyes' that can be used for eyes that cannot be pulled off by little ones, so that's a great feature to have for these!  Some have stuffing inside, others have a sewn bag with little beads inside and are bean bag quality.
Clockwise from top: Angry bird beanies, Little Penguins, Baby Turtles, Lil' Octopus, Monkey beanie

Baby Clothes

I love making baby sweaters, especially now that I know how to knit.  However, I find it complicated and a bit stressful to make something the exact right size, so I don't do it often!  These sweaters can take a long time (20 hours?) and if the fit isn't right, it sucks!  So they take a lot of planning as well!  Depending on the size of the sweater I'd probably charge $35-60 for a sweater.  Because of the complexity, I don't really make adult sweaters.  I may dive into it sometime but it's not high on my list right now!

Here are some kid's garments I've made.

Clockwise from left: Baby Whales sweater (knit - it's AWESOME!), Baby hat and sweater set (crochet), Baby Sophisticate Cardigan (knit), Lemon-Lime St. Paddy's sweater (knit)


You may not think of socks and decorative fooltess sandals when you think of homemade knits, but they're fun to make and the "barefoot sandals" are so quick and easy!  A pair of custom knit socks are a different story, those can take some time and definitely won't be cheaper than socks at the Wal Mart!  But if you want something you really love, they're a great option!  A footless sandal set would probably cost $10 and knit socks would cost around $25.

Here are a couple examples that I've made.

Left: Crimson socks (knit)
Right: Footless sandals (custom made for a couple bridesmaids, crochet)

That's all for now!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Playing with Duplicate Stitching

Yesterday I decided to try duplicate stitching for the first time.  That's when you use a tapestry needle and mimic the knit stitches.  I decided to try it because I made a plain pink hat and decided it needed something extra to make it 'pop'.  So I figured it was a good time to try.  A quick google search showed me an easy 3 step video and voila!  I tried it.  It was time consuming (a lot more than simply knitting it into the hat directly!) and it had mixed results.

In this picture (above) I edged the heart shape to accentuate it but I felt like it looked a little to rough in general.  I will likely use this technique if I'm making something that looks more rustic or crafty.  So, I ended up covering up the duplicate stitch heart with a patch, which completes the hat the way I had originally envisioned.  Below is the finished product!  Check out my Facebook page to shop.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Baby, Baby, Baby... sets!

I love making clothes for babies for several reasons: they're cute, they're quick to make and they aren't TOO size-dependent.  Most babies are shaped the same!  I find sets to be the most fun to make, they make great gifts and are also great for baby photo shoots!

For the sets, I improvise some patterns, have fun with different colour work and incorporate other designs I see to make themed sets.  I'm just sad I don't have a young baby to model them on anymore (where does the time go?)

The flowers used in these sets were made using the Clover Hana-Ami Flower Loom.  All items are crocheted.

These sets incorporate the following patterns:
Angel Wings Pinafore by Maxine Gonser
Shell Stitch Beanie by The Dainty Daisy
Bitty Bow Baby Sandals by Bethany Dearden
Diaper Cover by Belle Tracy
Baby Shoes Sandals by Lanasyovillos official

March 3, 2016: Editing to add my new friend Baby Ruby modeling parts of the Lemon Lime set above!  She's 8 weeks old, what a sweetheart!

Earflap Hat Obsession!

I only taught myself to knit a couple years ago when my cousin wanted a custom infinity scarf.  Since I've crochet for so long, I figured it would be easy to pick up... and it was... for the most part!  There are lots of beautiful techniques and details that have taken a while to get used to.  I love knitting more than crocheting, even though it's slower and takes a lot more of my concentration.  It's so calming somehow!

My favourite new item to knit is definitely pom pom hats!  I use a Clover pom-pom maker for my hats to make them as full as possible.  I also finally did my first I-cord with the double rib hat, it's fun and easy to do, and makes a great alternative to a braid for the ties of the hat.

For the pink hat I improvised the striping and I love how it softens the hat!  The grey hat is cool because it looks like cables (twists) but it's actually quite simple to do and gives a lot of stretch and texture.

Pattern: Double Rib Toddler Hat by Torunn Espe

Pattern: Earflap Hat by Jane Richmond

Owl Hats

I've made a lot of Owl Hats in the past few years.  This is definitely the type of hat I've actually sold or given as gifts a lot in the past.  They're fun to make and easy to change up by simply changing the colour, eye size or little details!  I like adding the buttons for eyes, but also have made some with yarn as the pupils instead.  These are crocheted with the details hand stitched into place.  These could be lined with fabric for additional warmth.

If you're interested in purchasing similar hats custom made, visit my shop or email me for customization options!

Pattern: Owl Hat by Sarah Zimmerman