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Snuggling under Blankets Making Blankets

Winter Blankets | Color Me Reckless

I always use the wintertime to work on new blankets for around my house, and to get a jump on wedding blankets for the year. It’s the perfect time to work on something warm and snuggling, that keeps you warm as it grows. There is nothing better than coming home from work, freezing and exhausted, and curling up on the couch with a warm blanket on the hook and a cup of tea steaming next to you.

Winter Blankets | Color Me Reckless

I like to have several blankets going at once, because I get bored with the same thing fairly quickly.  Even just mixing up the colors in a new blanket with the same pattern works to keep me interested.  And I like that when I get tired of blue and grey, I can jump into red and white.

Winter Blankets | Color Me Reckless

I just started a new blanket on Saturday.  It’s an ombre corner to corner, and I absolutely love it.  I love the different hues of blues and I love how easy (and count-free) the pattern is.  While I love my ripples, counting each stitch so I know where to increase or decrease is frustrating after a while! It’s great to be able to really zone out and let my mind conquer other problems.

Corner to Corner | Color Me Reckless

 

 

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How To: Single Crochet Stitch

Color Me Reckless | Single Crochet Tutorial

One of my goals for this year is to teach people how to crochet.  I’ve taught a few people in the past, and I am constantly attempting to teach Justin how to crochet.  So I thought, what better way to teach a person than by creating online tutorials? So here’s the first one.

The single crochet stitch (I’m using US terms since that’s how I learned) is a basic stitch, and is used to go on a make other stitch patterns. I use it to make my dishcloths.  For this tutorial, I’ll be illustrating with Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn and an H8 (5 mm) hook.  The abbreviation for single crochet is SC, so if you see that in patterns you’ll know what it means! I’m starting with a foundation chain of 11 here.  I’ll cover how to create a foundation chain in the next post.

Single Crochet Tutorial (US)

1. Insert hook through the first stitch.  You should insert the hook under the top loop, so you’re going through the stitch in your foundation row.

Step 1

2. Yarn over the hook. With the hook in your right hand, and the yarn in your left, wrap the yarn over the top of the hook, from back to front.

Yarn Over Image

3.  Pull the hook back through the first stitch in your foundation row, giving you two loops on your hook.

4. Yarn over the hook, and pull the loop through both loops on your hook, leaving you with one loop on your hook. Repeat this process across the length of your project.

SC Step 3 and 4

Row 1 complete

5. When you get to the end, chain one, turn your work, and get ready to start again! Insert, yarn over, pull through, yarn over, pull through two loops.

SC step 5

That’s it! Now you can make your own dishcloths and get started on your New Year’s resolution to learn how to crochet, that you didn’t realize you resolved to do until right now. So go. Crochet!

 

 

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What’s in a Hook?

My First Crochet Hook | Color Me Reckless

This is my very first crochet hook.  It’s old – so old I can’t find anything like it in the stores.  It’s a Susan Bates 3.75mm hook, made from a solid steel (or what feels like a more solid steel than my new hooks). It’s been passed down to me from my grandmother (I would swear to you it was my grandmother. My mother swears it was my great-grandmother. She’s probably right, but my memory is somehow connected with my grandmother).

I love this hook. I love the way it feels in my hand. I love the lightness of it.  I love the sharpness on the point of the hook which makes it easy to do intricate work.

I love that this hook has been passed down from one crocheter to another.  I love that when I use it, I’m adding to its repertoire of amazing projects. Maybe with each project or blanket I use it to complete, I strengthen a tie between me and generations of my family.

What's in a Hook? | Color Me Reckless

It’s not just my grandmother (or great-grandmother) who I feel tied to.  On my mother’s side, there are generations of crocheters too. Every time I pick up this hook, I’m reminded of that fact. My family has always been spread out all over the place, hours away from me.  It’s hard to feel connected to people so far away. But this connects us.  The same need to create with my hands, to pick up a hook and bring something to life, flowed through them too.

But it’s not just about how this all connects us. This hook also reminds me of my first projects.  It’s how I started, making one long chain after another.  I made my first blanket with it back in college.  Not only does this hook hold the memories of my grandmother’s past projects, now it holds mine too.

I love this hook.

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The End of My First Craft Show Season

The end of my first show Season | Color Me Reckless

Wow. When I started doing shows this year, I had planned to do two shows.  I did a total of five, and I wish I had done just one more. I can’t believe I managed to do something, and even look forward to something, so far outside my comfort zone! By the end of the year, I really enjoyed talking to people and selling them on my products.  I’ve learned a lot! Here are some of the lessons I learned:

1. Don’t Get Discouraged.

It sucks a lot when people keep passing you by, and no one seems to be interested in what you’re selling.  You put your heart and soul into this, why does no one want it?? Cue panic/freak out.

But it’s ok.  My first market I did, no one bought anything until the very end of the show, and then it was just a small item.  I was so discouraged.  I was embarrassed, I was heartbroken.  I couldn’t believe that I had worked that hard just to have the world throw it in my face as another failure.  (So I’m a bit dramatic…) Why didn’t it work?

Simply, it didn’t work out because that was not the right market for me.  That market attracted a lot of lookers, and lookers mostly want pretty things like jewelry.  They are not likely to buy a crochet washcloth on the spur of the moment. And that’s ok. It just means that my market is more people who are there to buy with a purpose in mind. My job is to sell them on the fact that my item meets their purpose.

It takes time to figure out what the best shows and markets for you are. And the only way to figure it out is to try a whole bunch of different ones!

2.  Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to People.

Talk to everyone. To customers, to the people you meet on the way to the bathroom, to your fellow vendors.  My favorite show, I talked to two fellow vendors that I had never met before.  One was a potter, and one was a crocheter as well.  From the potter, I learned amazing things like how to sell to stores and how to keep doing this forever.  From the crocheter, I got so much encouragement.  She was so excited to see another crocheter there, doing something different and being so young. It was awesome.

The people around you want you to do well.  Your fellow vendors want to help you learn to sell. Don’t be afraid of them! Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about how they got started and what they do now.  You never know, maybe there will be a partnership there.

3. Be Confident that What You Do Is Good.

I can’t tell you how many times, I freaked out the night before or the morning of absolutely sure that my stuff was no good and no one would buy it. It is good, and people do buy it.  I still have a lot of things to learn, and skills to refine, but I love my work.  It’s bright, it’s fun, and it’s practical.  And there are people are out there to buy it.  Maybe not at this show, but maybe at the next one. Or maybe people will start to recognize you and tell their friends. If you are confident and talk to people, they will remember you. And that’s huge.

This is so hard for me to remember.  I tend to get very down when my items don’t sell, and then I don’t want to talk to people and then no one wants to buy from the sulky girl on the end.  Be confident.  Or at least fake it.

4. Keep Trying.

Your first few shows might suck, but then maybe you get that awesome show.  And it makes all the hard work and disappointment worthwhile.  Sometimes it takes a while.  My very last show was my absolute best.  I more than doubled my table fee, and it was fun! Now I know that that kind of show is probably my best bet, and I need to do more shows leading up to the holidays.  I only know that because I did all those other shows first!

5. Lessons Learned.

After each show, write down what went well or what didn’t.  What did people seem to like, and what didn’t they like.  This will help hugely in preparing for the next show.  When you have a good feel or sense of what people want, you can sell it better.  And that’s the point, right?

I’ve learned so much this past year.  I’m so excited to look ahead to the next year.  I want to do even better than this year! My goals are to do 7 shows, and to have more pillows and home decor items for show.  This little hobby of mine will keep growing and it will be amazing.  One day.

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Learning to Spin

Learning to Spin | Color Me Reckless

On our anniversary trip out to West Virginia, we stopped at a local yarn store and I took the plunge into spinning! I’ve been thinking about it for a long time now, and talking to the woman at the store (who was spinning alpaca wool right there in the shop) made it seem like the right time to leap.  She even gave me an impromptu lesson!

Learning to Spin | Color Me Reckless

Here’s the beautiful wool I bought to spin with.  The brown is wool, and the white is Alpaca.  The woman at the store was spinning the white alpaca, and tore off a piece for me to try my hand at it.

I should point out that I’m not spinning on a spinning wheel – I’m learning to spin using a drop spindle.  It’s the same idea as a spinning wheel, but instead of powering it with your feet, you get the spinning motion for dropping the spindle.

It’s tricky. It took me a few hours just to figure out how to do it right, and I’m still not sure I am.  But my yarn did get better and more controlled toward the end of my wool.

Learning to Spin | Color Me Reckless

You can see that it’s still kind of choppy and un-even.  But I figured out how to make different weight yarns and learned how to control it better. So I call it progress.

And I’m hooked! I can’t wait to buy some more wool roving to keep trying and learning more.  A whole new world is open!