Summer is here…

Ok well not officially but June 21st is just around the corner. So it’s time for summer crochet. I know that people don’t wear hat’s and cowl’s in the summer, some people buy blankets for those summer babies. So you might ask what does one make in the those hot summer northeast months? Lots of things, bath items, household items, summer sweaters, baby sweaters, and my new item! We may have a short summer, but we sure know how to spend it.

Summers are filled with our favorite bands, our favorite cars, long days at the beach, festivals, and so much more. In that spirit I’d like to share the newest item to the lineup over on the Etsy shop….the crop top! Yep you read that right. I’ve never been one to make clothes for adults, but there is just something about these tops. It almost makes me want to work out and give up pizza…gasp….I said almost!

Even though my pizza loving, stretch mark riddled belly, can’t rock these crop tops, doesn’t mean you can’t. So check out two of many more to come. While you’re checking things out, head over to Mermaidcat Designs and let me know which crop top you’d like to see next (she’s the lady with all the patterns). If you’re a crocheter yourself, buy one or two or ten…she’s got coupon codes!

Speaking of coupon codes i’m having a summer sale that ends on June 21st. In my Etsy shop use code “summer” for 30% off of a purchase $25 or more. If you would like to purchases patterns from the ravelry store use the same code for a BOGO!

Blessings

~Mel

Gaia Crop Top

 

Emerging Crop Top

 

 

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New Pattern: The Poppins Purse

Today is pattern release day!!! That’s right the first pattern of 2016 has been released, I View More: http://littlebelliesphotography.pass.us/baby-rugknow its already June.  The Bees Knees Tunisian Honeycomb Rug was published in April 2016 of The Pattern Pack.The Tunisian Mop Cover released in the April 2016 Happily Hooked

Magazine. I’m working on another pattern for the DSCF4683September issue of Happily Hooked Magazine. But this is the first one published
on its own.

I have a Bees Knees Tunisian Honeycomb Baby Blanket to match the rug that is almost done!!! I’ve been working on orders and working the day job so designing has taken a back seat. I decided I need to get something out so I went small. I saw a video in I think Dutch, so obviously I didn’t understand her instructions but loved the stitch. She was making a DSCF4791large baby blanket…I said I was thinking small. I settled on a change purse. Now I’ve never done this before so it was a bit of a challenge.

I set off to amazon and found metal frame clasps, ordered them two day shipping. Once they arrived I headed to the yarn room. I wanted cotton or a mostly cotton blend so that when the coins were DSCF4793added the purse didn’t stretch too much. The first purse I made was with 100% Egyptian cotton yarn, the second was with Bernat Cottonish yarn. Both work great but I’m partial to the 100% cotton.

I watched that video a million and one times, I’m not sure I did it the same as she did, but I like the look that developed. I tried round, I tried oval, but alas they didn’t look right. So I switched tactics and went rectangle and boom it worked. I will admit the sewing on of the frame was not easy, even after 4 coin purses.

DSCF4795As I crocheted it it began to look like a mini carpet bag and it took my to Disney…my absolute favorite movie is Marry Poppins! Her bag fixed anything!!! So the Poppins Purse was born. My little helped me model it and even asked for one himself. We’re giving them as teacher gifts for the end of the year.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry, Craftsy, Etsy and Loveknitting! I’d love to see your finished items, share on my Facebook page, hook it on Ravelry, or tag me on Instagram!!

Happy hooking!DSCF4796

Blessings

~Mel

Sweaters: My New Obsession

So I go through phases of obsessions. They never really leave I just get new ones. I still love making baby blankets. I’m still very obsessed with Tunisian crochet!! In fact the first two obsessions have been put together and I’m working on a Tunisian baby blanket. A blog post will happen once I complete it. It’s been a labor of love. So the newest obsession you ask…well its been here awhile but recently leapfrogged to the head of the list, sweaters.

I’ve made a few baby sweaters in the past, even a toddler, and adult sweater. Sweaters are one of those items that I feel only look good in pictures if they’re being worn. My baby isn’t a baby anymore, and most of the sweater patterns are for little girls. So generally they are made to order which makes it hard to get orders, oh vey. So when a co-worker announced she was having a little girl and she was due on my birthday, I decided instead of my customary baby blanket I was doing a sweater…or two.

cardigan

Classic Baby Cardigan

I have two favorite clothes designers, Holland Designs and Mon Petit Violon. Trust me they are my go to’s. I head into my pattern library mostly on Ravelry. That’s another great website for us crocheters, it’s great for knitting too. There it is the classic cardigan by Holland Designs. I must make that one!!! I look at the suggested yarn and head into the yarn stash and find a beautiful cotton blend in lilac (the lighter purple in the picture). The pattern is quick and adorable. I posted the finished picture on my Instagram account and within a day someone wanted to buy it. Good and bad news! The yarn is discontinued and they wanted that exact color. So I thought about it and decided to sell the original sweater and made another for my co-worker in Cottonish by Bernat and Vickie Howell. I made them both in 0-3 months because she was due in July. I just love this pattern and think that for little girls it might just be my new go to baby shower gift.

1-2Y Zara Cardigan

Zara Sleeveless Cardigan

 

I wanted to make a short sleeve one too, so I went back to the library of patterns on Ravelry
and settled on the Zara Sleeveless Cardigan, from Mon Petit Violon. I used the same Cottinish yarn but this time I used Jade, a beautiful green color. I made this one in 1-2 years because it has no sleeves She would be able to wear it next summer.

I have almost all of Mon Petit Violon’s patterns here are a few items that I’ve made with her patterns. I still have so many that I haven’t made yet too!

PicMonkey Collage

Other Mon Petit Violon patterns I’ve made

I highly recommend these two designers if you have the need or the desire to make adorable baby girl items.

Blessings

~Mel

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.

DSCF4323

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

DSCF4683

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

Buffalo Love Collection…

I’ve wrote several posts inadvertently about the weather here in Buffalo NY, not a fan of it, but the city of Buffalo is an amazing place to live and work. DSCF3867The culture, the architecture, the pieces of history that only Buffaloians know, our sports teams (not so great this year), I could go on and on. I was working on a custom order Bunny cushion for a customer and the idea popped in my heBuffaload that I could design graph patterns. I let that idea sit there and for a few days thought about what I would graph, and then BOOM…my husband was showing me something Buffalo Bills related and the idea of a Buffalo seemed doable. What better way to show my Buffalo pride!

I finished up my Bunny, and set out to graph a Buffalo. I went online and found a buffalo silhouette that I liked. I Googled how to make a crochet grid and it seemed that Microsoft Excel was the most common answer. So I made the graph in excel, printed, and plotted my Buffalo. It looked great on paper but the first pillow I crocheted looked like a Buffalofailwarthog, yeah I’m talking Pumba from the lion king. Back to the drawing board literally. It turns out trying to use Excel to create a graph pattern doesn’t work well, at least not for me. I Googled crochet grids, not sure what I was going to find, but was pleasantly surprised to find a perfect grid pattern. I placed that over my Buffalo picture and printed. That was the easy part. After printing I took a sharpie and traced where I wanted the grid lines to be. I tried once again and I was getting closer. Seven drawings later I had a Buffalo that looked like a Buffalo when crocheted!

The hard part came when I was trying to write up the pattern. I couldn’t figure out how to get my hand drawn graph digitized to be able to put in the pattern. Another Googling session, a little swearing and the software pattern I found worked! If you are considering designing graph patterns I recommend Denise’s Easy Graph Designer Version 2.0, it worked like a charm. Still figuring some things out with the program but my cute little Buffalo was all computerized and ready for publication. DSCF3969

That Buffalo got me thinking some more and ideas began to swirl in my head. I created a New York State graph and placed a heart over Western New York. I’m in the writing process of that pattern but the pillow is done, on the first try. I’m hoping to offer other states in the future. Let me know which state you’d like to see in yarn!

DSCF3884I have decided to name this the Buffalo Love collection. Its a collection because I will be adding a heritage line. Any true Buffaloian knows that the Irish, Italian and Polish heritages play a big part of our city. I will be offering pillow patterns for those three heritages. You’l have to wait and see those are drawn up but not stitched yet.

I couldn’t be more happy with my Buffalo pillow a true labor of love. I know that theDSCF3985re are Buffaloian’s all across the country, in fact I have  a custom teal and pink Buffalo pillow heading to North Carolina tomorrow. You don’t have to be from Buffalo, NY to appreciate the Buffalo pillow. A little fun fact 16 states have a city named Buffalo. Maybe you’re from Buffalo, South Dakota, or Buffalo, Minnesota…the Buffalo silhouette is an image associated with more than just a City in 16 states though. It’s a symbol associated with the plains of our great country, you know where the Buffalo roam, Native American tribes and even some currency (the Buffalo Nickel).

If you’d like to create your own Buffalo Love Pillow you can find the pattern link to Ravelry here. Use BUFFALONY to get $1.00 off, but hurry this is only good until Wednesday (3/11/15) night. 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. ❤

 

Blessings

~Mel     DSCF3880