Finally Finished…

DSCF4748It’s hard to think that someone could work on a baby blanket for over two years, but that my friends is what this post is about. So the backstory goes something like this…

I have an obsession with baby blankets, and baby clothes, and toys, ok crochet in general, but blankets are my favorite thing to make. So I find this designer Little Doolally, and she has the cutest baby blanket patterns. I seriously bought the majority of her patterns in one day! But this one just called to me…the Retro blanket! It was seriously the coolest looking DSCF4746blanket ever. So I go to the yarn room, yes I have a yarn room, no judging, and i’m scouring the room for a Dk weight yarn in several colors. I find the mother load! Apparently I’m obsessed with cotton blend yarn too, eye roll, duh of course I am. But I really liked this Bernat Cottonish Yarn by Vickie Howell because I had every color made, or close to it. I had ten skeins in ten colors. I decided to get a little funky and use it all!!!

I’m sitting at the computer trying to figure out how I’m going to make this work and I decide I want it to be completely random, in terms

Retro Blanket

Progress at the first blog post

of the pattern. So I assigned each color a number. I then Googled random sequence generator. I found an awesome site (random.org) and I put in 1 – 10 as my numbers and hit generate. It literally gave me a random sequence of the numbers. I did this seven times and wrote the numbers down on an index card along with the corresponding number.

It’s now the evening of March 11, 2014. I sit down down in my crochet spot and I start. I make a good bit of progress. To be completely DSCF4741honest I’m not sure what project or event stopped my progress but on January 9, 2015, I write a blog post WIPS, WIPS, and some more WIPS professing my need and determination to complete these unfinished blankets/projects. DSCF4739Needless to say 2015 goes by and no finished blanket. I’m determined now, this is ridiculous. It’s already April of 2016, I have completed my orders, made a few new items from patterns that have been sitting about as long as this blanket, and I decided its time. May 1, 2016 I complete my Retro blanket, two years and two months from the day I started it. I have put it in my Etsy shop and will sell it if someone wants it, but this labor of love will be hard to let go, should that time come! On a side note. I posted a finished picture on Instagram and tagged THE Vickie Howell because of the yarn and not only did she like my photo, she commented! I almost fainted! 13124993_10208035613465520_3746751511780813101_n

Moral of the story perseverance always pays off, and at the end a famous person might take notice, wink wink! Here’s my post with Vickie Howell’s comment!
Blessings and Happy Hooking

~Mel

 

 

Toys, Toys, and More Toys

Have you ever had that one thing that you just couldn’t get the hang of? Here’s a few things for me, rollerblading (laughable), gardening (black thumb), and most of all amigurumi (depressing).  Some of you might be asking what is amigurumi, I know I had to Google to figure it out, its basically crocheted toys. You know those cute little stuffed crocheted critters. Every time I see one of those cute little Lalylala plushies the sound that comes out of my mouth is “uuggghh, why are they so cute and why can’t I do it”.  Seriously click the link and you’ll hear it too. I’ve tried and tried and tried and amigurumi is my nemesis.

One day while on my favorite inspiration spot, IG (Instagram), I see this half lovey but half amigurumi. I tap the picture and its a cat that is super cute. It’s head is stuffed but the body is flat. What?!?! I think I might be able to do this. The designer is A La Sascha, of course I must now follow her on all social media, once the liking and following has commenced I head on over to ravelry, there’s a coupon code for this kitty cat, so I have to get it NOW! But alas it just sits in my library, I can’t bring myself to fail miserably once again at amigurumi. Every few weeks a new ragdoll comes out and of course I buy it, so the puppy, the dragon, the robot, the mouse, the bunny, the penguin, the panda, and the princess, all join the kitty cat in the library. They’ve been there a yearish, ok maybe two, that sound escapes my mouth once again uuugghh.

I will conquer this crochet! I figure it’s half and half I can’t possible fail as bad as I did before. So I order safety eyes from amazon. I pick out the puppy dog, because my dog obsessed friend, is going from four legged babies to a two legged baby it July, so it’s only fitting that he get a puppy ragdoll. First fail no brown yarn, second fail I didn’t order noses, just eyes. Ok i’ll admit I almost quit again, but I refuse to be defeated by this nemesis. A co-worker is due the same day as my friend with a little girl and the princess doesn’t need a nose! I have purple yarn, flesh color, lets do this! I start with the head, which is the most amigurumi thing about this toy, and that little head was the cutest thing ever! The next day I make the rest of her parts, and sew her together.She really is the cutest little toy. Maybe I can do this, bring on Lalylala!

Wwweeelll lets not get ahead of myself yet. I need a little more practice before graduating to one of those Lalylala dolls, but that’s ok I’m happy with the progress I’ve made. I’ll be ordering some yarn, the noses are on their way according to Amazon, and I have eight more friends to make, not to mention the lamb, horse, and elephant, I haven’t bought…yet. I have dubbed my little princess as Princess Gabby and she’s now available in my Etsy Shop, The Cotton Road.

Blessings

~Mel

It’s been too long…

The last time I wrote it was days before I left for South Carolina for a month long academy for new job. It was a whirlwind few weeks, I was elbow deep in orders and magazine submissions if you remember the post about the Rainbow Blanket. I survived my academy and the hurricane…yes the hurricane that hit and flooded South Carolina last fall. I was stuck on a flooded military base, in jeopardy of being sent home to return to finish at a later date. Luckily we were able to finish. It wasn’t all bad though, I met some amazing people from all over the U.S., I visited Savannah, Georgia, which was breathtaking, I went to Fort Sumter, saw the beach for the first time, and officially earned my badge!

South Carolina

Adventures In The South 

 

Buffalo Magazine

The Buffalo Magazine 

The best thing, business wise, was that my Buffalo Pillows were published in the Buffalo Magazine while I was gone. WHAT!?!? I started receiving a lot of phone calls and messages of people wanting to know more. I left South Carolina with two pillow orders, large pillow orders, 10 pillows to be exact. I sent my husband to the store back in NY to find the magazine, he didn’t, but I found it when I returned home. Whew…I finished the Vintage Chevron Table runner, it was the only item that I hadn’t finished before I left. That had a photo shoot and was sent to the magazine for publication in January 2016.

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Vintage Chevron Table Runner

Needless to say when I returned home I was thrown into working on all the Christmas orders that I had received while I was gone. It was crazy to me that second week in October, I was closing the books for orders. It was hard to tell people no, but these hands only crochet so fast. I reopened the books for none Christmas orders with a two month wait…OMG two months, people are willing to wait two months for my handmade things. Mind Blown…

I lunched my very own website too! I had requested the domain www.thecottonroad.com, about a year ago and the domain was owned by someone else. Go Daddy monitored it and as soon it was available for purchase I did. It took me  a few months to get it together with all that I had going on but it is up and running. I haven’t added patterns yet, but will.

I finished all custom orders March 30, it felt weird to not have anything to crochet, but at the same time I was finally free to crochet what I wanted! AND I have. I’ll write another post on that tomorrow. I was able to get a little designing in there also. I wrote two tunisian patterns one for Happily Hooked Magazine and one for the Pattern Pack, both are for the April 2016 issue and are Eco-friendly options for Earth Month. I’m also working on a new tunisain baby blanket that will be published hopefully soon.

View More: http://littlebelliesphotography.pass.us/baby-rug

The Bee’s Knees Tunisian Honeycomb Rug

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Wet or Dry Mop Tunisian Swifter Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to try to be better about posting. I’ve settled in to my new job and completed my long black log of custom orders. I’m focused on designing and adding to the website, my section of baby clothes and toys are lacking, so you can expect several posts about those, as I have lots of patterns I have yet to crochet…

Blessings,

Mel

Over the Rainbow

rainbowA few weeks, maybe a month ago, a friend sent me a photo and said “Remember that rainbow sweater you made a few years ago for my friends baby, can you do something like this? She’s having a new baby.” Looking at the picture I was skeptical that I could. I have confidence in my skills but on this one I wasn’t certain. I told her I’d do some searching for a pattern and get back to her. So as usual with these kinds of requests, I head to Google Images. I find the picture and it links to a Ravelry page. Yeah! I’ve struck pay dirt because she has linked the original pattern.

I review both the original pattern and the woman’s page with her changes and let my friend know that I can tackle this project. She tells me I have time but I want to go look at yarn. I head over to my happy place, JoAnn’s and decide on Deborah Norville’s Everyday worsted yarn. I send her a picture and she’s liking the colors. I buy the yarn and head home. This is r3where things get sketchy.

I had just taken a new job and was pretty focused on working on my designing and getting things to the magazines for publication. Things are going great, I love my job and the magazine patterns are coming along nicely and out to testers. Then it happens my new job has informed me that I will be going to training in South Carolina in September. Now this is not a surprise I was aware that this would be happening but so soon….(interest scared, nervous, and maybe crying emoji)!

I’m in overdrive now as the two patterns need to get to the magazine before I leave. I’m handling things and then an email from an idol in the crochet world.

Hello!

I’m a huge fan of your work, and I’ve been happily following you in Instagram for some time!

I’m working on future issue of our publication, and I was hoping you could create some pillows for us for future issues. Here is our submission call, complete with theme schedule and outlines…

Please contact me anytime, with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you, and working with you, soon!

Salena Baca

What?!?!? She follows me on IG! Of course I’ll design something, how can I DSCF4303not! So I’m elbow deep in designing and crocheting when I get a text…”babe whats going on with the rainbow blanket” … oh crap! My response was when do you need it? Her response “soon”. At this point I leave for South Carolina in two weeks. I start making rainbow clouds at my son’s football practices. Sleep, well lets just say that I didn’t get much. I did however get everything done but one thing. So lets run it down in a month and a half I wrote three patterns, had all three tested. I had a photo shoot for two of those patterns and made a rainbow blanket. What!?!? You may be asking what didn’t I get done, the third pattern is written, but I unlike my testers, did not get to finish mine so there
are no pictures. That pattern may not make it into the magazine. I plan to take it with me to South Carolina and finish it while I’m there but not to sure about the photo shoot. I will release it on my own if I can’t get photos in time for the DSCF4304magazine.

So the only thing I can show you out of those four things is the rainbow blanket. The other three are secret until the magazines come out (November and December).

As I said in an earlier post, I started writing patterns this year and its been a whirlwind. Some times I feel like Dorthy, and I must be dreaming and I’m ok with that; I’ll just keep following the rainbow. I confirmed that I work well under pressure and sleep is over rated.

 Blessings

~Mel

Is that knitted….

So last year a long time friend, who is one of a kind and loves the most eccentricDSCF4210 things, sends me a text and says “Babe can you make this?”. This isn’t a surprise this is how most of our crochet orders start out, but I’m looking at this picture thinking I’ve never seen anything like this. A little Google image searching happens and its a knitted scarf. Not my specialty, knitting and I have agreed to DSCF4202disagree. I let her know its knitting but to give me a few days and let me see what I can come up with.

It took some more Googling and YouTube to figure out you can actually do a drop stitch in crochet but you actually need a knitting needle to do it go figure! Well for the first scarf I made I didn’t have a big knitting needle so I used a large cake pillar, it worked great. You can tell in the photos because the loops are smaller in the one she is wearing. I’ve since bought the giant knitting needle.DSCF4208

I make the scarf, wrote a few notes down and moved on. It was Octoberish and I had Christmas orders to complete. I forgot about it until recently when I was going through my notebook trying to make sure I had actually wrote up all my patterns in the book and added them to Ravelry. Well that one wasn’t done.  I never wrote down how much yarn, the DSCF4205measurements, what hook I used, nothing but drop stitch, DC and SC repeat. Not super helpful. Oh vey it was like starting from scratch, AND I never took pictures of it, so I really had to remake a scarf to be able to have pictures of not only the finished product but also for the photo section of the pattern.

I start fresh, pick out the most beautiful soft Peruvian cotton yarn and set out to make the scarf again. I write everything down, take some pictures and before I can post the pattern the scarf sells. I write up the pattern add it to Ravelry and within 10 minutes it sells 5 copies! DSCF4212Wow, people love the scarf as much as I do.

My friend loved my version better than the knitted version she had originally sent me. I think its a unique piece that others don’t have, and you can’t find in stores. I hope you guys out there in the inter-web area love it too. It takes a little practice getting the hang of the knitting needle, because you will essentially crochet backwards and turn your work very little. A bit of a foreign Morgan Scarfconcept to us crocheters. If you’d like to try the pattern for yourself you can get the pattern on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy. If you are a follower who lives in the UK or any other European country check out Loveknitting. Not a crocheter and want the scarf, I can do that too head over to Etsy or Facebook and order the finished item.

This scarf is meant to be airy, the bigger your loops the more air, so get creative like I did and use whatever you have laying around to make your loops. You can also customize to other weights of yarn. I used worsted weight yarn but bulky or sport weight would look great too. You’ll need to adjust your starting number and length but it’ll look just as great. Thank you as always for your love and support!

Blessings

~   Mel

Anchor’s away…

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know a few things. crocheting is my passion, i’m from Buffalo NY and I’m a DSCF4092slightly loud Italian. I created my original buffalo pillow and expanded the buffalo line to include the three most prominent heritages in the Buffalo NY, Italian, Irish and Polish. Ok well the Polish one is in graph form not yet made but the intent is there. The next thing to remember about me is I’m obsessed with pillows and graph patterns. I took that obsession and turned it into two more pillows.

There are two inspirations for these pillows. One I received an email for pattern submissions to a magazine and some fabric I saw at JoAnn’s, when buying what else…yarn. I read through the email and with the image of the fabric stuck in my head, and when I read the theme for the July issue I knew what to do…a pillow! So I began the arduous process of drawing and three graphs later I had the vision Anchor's Away Pillowin my head on paper. That spiraled into a whole line of pillows. What is you ask? Well if the title of the post, and the pictures weren’t a give away I’ll just tell you, its a beach theme, and the fabric was dark blue with white anchors.

So the first pattern had to be an anchor pillow. I responded to the email and the editor loved the idea, so I took my graph and went back to JoAnn’s to get just the right shade of blue and red. I loved how that pillow turned out not even a third of the way through. I set out to create a whole DSCF4102nautical theme. I did a lot of Googling and tried to see what would translate into a graph, most of the nautical items I found were round and round is not  an easy shape to translate into a graph. I settled on a sail boat as my second pattern in the line. I would like to add a whale and possibly a captain’s wheel if I can figure out that pesky circle.

I submitted the anchor pattern to Happily Hooked Magazine and they loved it! This for me is a big accomplishment. Way back in January one of my goals for my business this year was to start writing and publishing patterns. I had achieved that with several published patterns in Ravelry but I never imagined in January that I would have a pattern published in a magazine. It is so beyond the goal that I set. I wont be stopping here though I have several ideas for upcoming issuesLet's Sail Away of the magazine so stay tuned.

Back to the anchor pillow, if you would like to have the pattern you ‘ll have to subscribe to Happily Hooked Magazine. The publication date is July 15th. If you would like the sailboat it is available now in my Ravelry Shop, along with the Buffalo pillows and a few other patterns.

Thank you all for your support in this wild adventure!

Blessings

~Mel

Buffalo Love Irish Pillow

DSCF4020I wrote awhile ago about my Buffalo Love Collection. Well today I’m writing to let you know the first pillow in the heritage line is available! There will be at least two more pillows in this line but today we focus on the Irish.

If you live in Buffalo NY you know that Buffalo has three very distinct ethnic groups that the city was built around. The Irish, who still claim South Buffalo as theirs, have a strong sense of Irish pride. If you go into South Buffalo and visit the old first ward you can see the pride front and center. DSCF4022So when I set out to design pillows with our iconic Buffalo Silhouette the ethic lines came to me because in our house we are divided between two. My husband who is Irish and Scottish (kinda the same thing) and myself (Sicilian, not the same as Italian if you ask Nonni Piscitelli), and our son who is the perfect blend of both of us.

DSCF4017I started with the Irish not because my husband won out but because I was trying to get it done by St. Patrick’s Day which is a big deal here in Buffalo, there’s like three or four parades and what not. But alas my orders and life in general got int he way, clearly as I’m publishing in May….

So along those lines the Polish one was not published in time for Dyngus Day,11152341_989808077726321_1725952314445065653_n also a big deal here in Buffalo. But I still have hope for the Italian pillow which has the potential to be done before the Italian festival in July in North Buffalo, the area that is still primarily Italian.

The buttons on the Buffalo Love collection are going to unique also. I found a shop on Etsy that does custom buttons and I ordered Buttons that have the Buffalo Silhouette engraved in them. Check out All This Wood their shop is amazing!

DSCF4028I hope you enjoy these heritage line pillows as much as I do. If you think there should be another pillow in this line, let me know and I’ll see if I can put it together.

If you’d like to create your own Buffalo Love Irish Pillow you can find the pattern link to Ravelry here. Use IRISH to get $1.00 off, but hurry this is only good until Friday (5/15/15). If you’d like to purchase a Buffalo Pillow already complete you can do that too. Check out my Etsy or Facebook page. As always I appreciate all the love and support from you guys. ❤

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Blessings (Benedizione)

~Mel