Category Archives: Crochet

Rug is Finished

Yesterday’s post was about the beginnings and a how-to (kinda) of my rag rug using old tee shirts.  Today: the final product!

Using a total of 4 tee shirts, measuring in at 22 inches in diameter, here it is.

The final shirt didn’t quite make it back around on the last row (top left section), but I’ll have to live with it.


15% off sale at Etsy!

The Men of Etsy team is having a week-long 15% off sale! You can find my shop here and use BOYSOFSUMMER as the coupon code. Additionally, if you search “boysofsummer” you will find ALL the shops offering this deal (same coupon code). This is a huge selection of shops with many, many different types of items. Christmas in July!

My Etsy shop.


Sleep Through the Sun!

One of the nicest things about our apartment is this hug, half circle window over the other two regular windows.  It lets in so much sun during the day and makes the room really bright.  This, however, does not work well with one of the nicest things about my job, namely: I get to sleep in.

Here’s a picture of the window, early morning.

That’s a lot of sun, when one doesn’t have to get up for another two hours.  So, I did what I do… I found this pattern for a sleep mask, and made it one night.  Sure enough, when the sun woke me up the next morning, I pulled the mask on and went blissfully back to sleep.

Very happy, indeed.


Wonderball!

Now that I’m comfortable working in the round (as this trivet shows), I thought I’d set my sights on something more difficult: shapes! Last night, in preparation for the eyeball The Lady wants me to crochet her (no, seriously), I made my first sphere. Not only did it come out well, but the pattern I was using was written oddly about 7 rows in and I had to figure out some stuff on my own..which is something I’ve talked about before. I “get” crochet enough to be able to problem solve and that’s why I have never picked the knitting needles back up since 2007.

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As anyone who does amigurumi knows, being able to do this well has opened up a whole new world to me! Almost every amigurumi head is basically this creation, attached in different ways. Of course, when The Lady only wants an eyeball, not a whole body, things are much easier.

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I also wanted to show a shot of my “studio” because I built it after one of my readers, Denise, gave me the idea. To paraphrase the movie As Good As it Gets, she makes me want to be a better crafter  🙂

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PS: suck it, Spell Check, “crafter” IS a word!


Alien Attack!

One of the great things about crochet is that it’s easily portable.  And one can do small projects quickly.

Okay, two of the great things about crochet are that it’s easily portable and one can do small projects quickly.  And I can memorize short patterns.

Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.*

Anyway, the other day I crocheted a finger puppet in about 20 minutes while I did laundry at the laundromat.  I had made one the night before by following a pattern, but wasn’t fully satisfied with the outcome.  So I made this little alien without reading the original pattern AND I made alterations so it would come out the way I wanted, which is another great thing about crochet.  Amongst our weaponry….

The little fella, ready to begin his tiny attack of the Earth:

Here he is, surrounded by alien skeletons?

Here he poses for his mug shot:

* = The Spanish Inquisition


Back in Business

I am slowly beginning to “reopen” my store on Etsy, re-listing items that didn’t sell before and adding new items.  Right now it will mainly be the Crocheted River Rock Pendants and crocheted coffee sleeves, but if there’s anything you’d like, drop me a line, either on Etsy, here on my blog, or by email: curmade @ gmail.com (remove the spaces).

Because of the way Etsy promotes newly listed items, I am only listing a few at a time, so check back often over the next few days.  A good way to do this would be to A) bookmark my Etsy store on your browser and return often, B) add my Etsy store to your favorites on Etsy, C) add my Etsy store to your “circle” on Etsy?  The answer is, of course, all of the above.

An example of one of my pendants (that could be one of YOURS!)


Two Crochet Dudes

Today I finally got to meet The Crochet Dude, aka, Drew Emborsky.  As a male crocheter, he’s served as something of an inspiration to me and I was excited to meet him.  He was the instructor at today’s Etsy Labs, where he taught us to make “yarn” out of scrap fabric and then crochet it into a simple trivet.  He admitted to being as pleased as I was to be in the same room with another crochet dude.  Here is my final product, which stitched up SOOO quickly!

The hanging loop was my idea, and that goes back to one of the things I love about crochet: I figured out a way to stitch it in on my own.  I “get” crochet, and that is what makes it so much fun for me.

Also, make sure to check out The Crochet Dude’s blog, which includes a picture of Drew and Vickie Howell!  Two of my favorite yarners… yarn people… yarnies?

On a side note, while at Etsy, I was asked by two different people about my store, which I had to admit had no products in it currently.  Hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call, reminding me I can’t sell anything if I’m not making anything.


Re: sorta complaining?

In my last post, I discussed how I wasn’t happy that I did a lot of things well but nothing amazingly.  Via Facebook, here were some of the responses that made me really rethink my “complaint.”

My cousin Jeff:

Personally, I think the true mark of talent is being able to do a lot of things well. I would much rather be second best at everything than an expert at one thing, and absolutely clueless about anything else. The second mark of that talent is seeing the flaws in your work. Only a fool looks at his own work an says “its perfect.” The true craftsman says “there’s a gap, I need to smooth that spot, that piece don’t match the other one, and there is another mistake” everyone else looks at the work with awe.

I loved the line “I would much rather be second best at everything than an expert at one thing.”  It kind of made me think of the concept of the Renaissance Man, people who tinkered in many different areas, including art and science.  Then I read my friend Jodie’s lines

I feel the same way! I’m not GREAT at anything, but I love trying my hand at everything. Once I get pretty good at something…. I’m ready to try something else! Creative ADD.

These are two artists whose work I admire.  My cousin’s metal work is simple amazing (and of course I want to try it!).  To be in the kitchen, cutting vegetables with a knife you made yourself must be a really cool experience.  Then there’s Jodie who makes gorgeous glass jewelry and who won a big ole’ gingerbread house competition at Grove Park Inn.  Even my mom, who helped foster this love of creation, weighed in:

Son, did you ever notice that I am also “not great” at anything? Once I learned how to do something “well” I was on to learning something else. For me, it was never about perfecting an art, but the learning… that was the fun part.

Maybe I was just in a foul mood that day… but also their words were really powerful.  They’re right.  I don’t create to operate as a business.  If that was the case, I’d make one thing and lots of it (or variations thereof).  I create because I enjoy creating.  As Mom says, “the learning is the fun part.”

Maybe it’s the crappy weather, but I just haven’t felt like creating lately.  Especially not for creation’s sake.  I guess not working on any projects combined with seeing some amazing stuff being created around me made me feel like there wasn’t a point to what I have done over the years.  But in truth, that’s not who I am.  I create for the fun of it.  I just need to remember that… especially when I’m not working on something.


In which the “artist” questions himself

I blame my mother.

But then, don’t we all?

Growing up, there was one thing I learned more than any other from my mom: you can do anything.  I saw her sewing, doing cross stitch and needlepoint and latch work.  My father would take us boys on a trip and we’d return to find she’d re-wallpapered/painted the rooms.  She owned a scroll saw and would make toys for us down in the basement.

Frequently she involved us boys in these varied tasks, like when we all colored pictures on transfer paper and she made bed spreads for us with the pictures.  I remember the smell and feel of wallpaper after dunking it in the trough of water.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up a love for crafts and making art as well.

So I blame my mother for my desire to try as much as possible 🙂  To date I can say I have worked in all the following areas: crochet, knitting, water color, book binding, paper making, tie dye, clothes design/making, machine sewing, hand sewing, photography, graphic art, font creation, drawing, altered books, embroidery, jewelry making, embossing, pastels, picture framing, glass plate decoration, stuffed animal design/creation, glass etching, calligraphy… there’s  much, much more that I’m just not thinking of.  And that’s just in the broad field of Arts & Crafts.  I’ve also written plays, short stories, poetry, songs.  I played trombone for 7 years.  I have acted professionally for over 10 years.

But here’s the point I am heading towards: in all these endeavors, I have frequently risen from “not bad” to “pretty good.”  But never beyond.  I’m a good actor.  Maybe a pretty good actor.  But pretty good doesn’t set me above many others when it comes time for casting.  7 years of trombone and I still wasn’t very good at all.  My eye for photography has never been that interesting.  My drawing has always been labored and looks labored.  After years of crocheting, I’d say I could be rated at Advanced Novice.

There is nothing that I feel I do exceedingly well.

While that may not be a terrible thing, it still bothers me.  Even when it comes to my ideas for creating, I feel second-rate.  I see things and think, “Ooo!  I wanna try that!” and then I do THAT.  Exactly that.  Rarely does something I see/experience act as a springboard for something new.  Rarely do I come up with my own concepts.  Sometimes I can’t even put my own spin on concepts.  I might think, “I am going to write a story that takes place after an apocalypse (because I read World War Z) and the lead character is going to live in a casino (because I play too much Fallout: New Vegas).  Never mind, he’ll live on an aircraft carrier (wait, that was Fallout 3).”  I know there’s nothing new in the world (Dime Store Prophets quote) and that all the stories have been told.  The key is putting ones self into something old and making it new.  I just can’t seem to find the Me to put into something, though.  I’ve never been sure how to make it my own.

I guess I spent too much time when I was younger trying to copy exactly what my mom was doing, trying so hard to do it “right.”  I never bothered to color outside the lines and see where it took me.  As an adult, I have a lot of things I can do, but nothing I can do very well.


Double Duty Greeting Card

Here’s an idea: incorporate a handmade item with a greeting card!

Judith’s friend is getting married this weekend and Judith asked me to make a hair clip for her.  After making it, I thought, “How should she give this to her?”  I’m all for multipurpose items, so I designed and made this greeting card.

And here it is once the hair clip has been removed to wear:

And, finally, the hair clip itself:

I am very pleased with the way it all turned out.  What are your thoughts?


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