Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Weekend

Well, it's no longer weekend but holidays feel like it, so we're still celebrating not doing anything in my house. I want to share this Summer Weekend treasury list I curated on Etsy. Great sellers and great shops. Feel free to click on them and read about them and see who else loves them. I'm in love with creating treasuries right now, I'm getting to interact with other sellers, shops, and find minds alike. I dedicate some time to this activity often, you should do it too. Here it is:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gatuxedo's Summer Coasters Pattern

A few words
Because I've been having headaches more than ever in my life in the last three days, I've had to avoid computer, movies, reading and crocheting. Yes, that's no fun at all. Guess what I've been doing? Resting. Yes, resting. I decided that I need to put my obsessions off from time to time and stop trying to do everything, so that's probably what the headaches meant. But I cheated, because water marks annoy me so much that I decided to crochet a set of coasters, a small project that took less than 1 hour and today I'm feeling better. I didn't have to buy new yarn cause I already had tons of scrap and fortunately different weights/fibers. 

I don't think I've ever mentioned over here that Berroco yarns are my favorite so far. They are so soft and pretty, although they could be a bit pricey. I made a mistake once when trying to buy berroco weekend and I got weekend chunky, because I was in a hurry and I desperately needed black yarn to complete a shrug. Well, the shrug is still uncomplete, and the yarn was on sale so I couldn't go back and exchange it. Weekend requires a 4mm hook and Chunky a 6mm and I am in love with both so much I decided to keep the hank. So the Gatuxedo's Summer Coasters worked perfect with my Berroco Chunky (Black). 

The yarn I used for the center of the coasters was an accident too. I ran into a sale that Hill Country Weavers in Austin was having a couple of months ago, where they had baskets of discontinued Berroco yarn. It's called Berroco Suede. It's a 100% nylon ribbon and it is, believe me, the softest thing ever, real dreamy. So, I grabbed one ball in Chicopee, a multicolor beauty, for something like $2.50. Today I really wish I had taken 10 balls, cause it's just the loveliest thing ever. You know what makes it suitable for this project? If it gets wet it won't get hairy like most yarns. The cons are that you can't wash it in the machine. I hope I can find more of this yarn somewhere, I know all there is is left overs.

For the outline yarn I used again my Retro Yarn I bought in Mexico. I have 10 different colors but I wanted to keep it tuned with my living room colors which are all warm: reds and golden yellows, browns and pearly mattes. I also needed some blue boost cause I don't like perfect stuff. 

The pattern (American English)
Abbreviations: R# (Round - please note that this pattern is worked in rounds), CH (Chain), SC (Single Crochet), SLST (Slip Stitch), DC (Double Crochet). [ If you are still learning to crochet you can click on the links in the parenthesys and they'll take you to a section on my blog with video tutorials. ]

R1: Using a 4mm hook and the suede nylon ribbon (or anything similar), Ch3, SlSt into first Ch to make a ring. Ch3, 12DC in the ring and SlSt into top of first DC. 

R2: Ch3, 1DC in same stitch, 2DC in each stitch all around, SlSt into top of first DC. Total stitches 24.

R3: Ch3, (1DC, 2DC in same stitch) all around. SlSt into top of first DC. Total Stitches 36.

R4: Using a 6mm hook and Berroco Chunky yarn (or any other suitable yarn of similar ply) get your hook thru the same loop where you worked your last SlSt and pull the new chunky yarn thru the loop to join, Ch1 and work 1SC into each stitch around, joining with a SlSt on first Ch. 

R5: Using any other yarn of lighter weight and your preference of color with 4mm hook, join again in the same way in the same stitch where you worked your last SlSt and Ch1, work 1 SC into each stitch around, join with SlSt into the first Ch. Fasten off.

Was that difficult at all?  Happy Summer time to y'all!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A-round We Go

Gatuxedo is honored to be featured on A-round We Go, ETSY Treasury list by KathleenMeetsMorgan. Check it out!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Retro Yarn?

During my last trip to Monterrey, Mexico, I didn't do as much shopping as I wished. Part of it because the city has became, sadly, difficult to transit and dangerous. 

From the list of things I wanted to do while I was there, there were a few very important ones I couldn't do, such as eating corn (that Mexican corn I don't find in the US). 

What I luckily did was to see a bunch of old friends, current friends and I made some new friends (specially this, it felt awesome. In a moment when society seems like falling apart, there's an urge to make friends among young people).

One of the things on my list that I was glad to check was going yarn shopping. There's a very popular yarn that's being sold like food, everywhere in Mexico. It has been this popular since the 1930s. It's very affordable and it comes in a very wide variety of colors, but only a few weights. I bought this yarn myself when I learned to loom-knit. I didn't really ever like it that much because it seemed old fashioned (it's been produced the same way for decades!), but if there's something I've learned in any creative project is, it doesn't matter what it is, everything can be used and if used in the right way, you will always get the right results. 

So I call it Retro Yarn. I got 20 bags of 50gm each in 10 colors (2 bags for each color). I went wild and I got all kinds of colors, from earthy to party. I made sure I could match all of them in a contrasting way and I'm happy I did. I have now a huge plastic box full of these babies and I don't know if I'll ever run out.

Here are some of the few projects I've been using my Mexican Retro Yarn for:

- This improvised Granny Square Coin Purse in DodgerBlue and DarkRed.

- This in-the-process Retro Waves bag (another baby from the Audio Waves Family)

- More Squares for my Granny Wall.

And definitely more projects on the way. ♥

Friday, May 20, 2011

Crochet Friday Series 6: Treble Crochet

Treble Crochet, abbreviated Tr, is slightly longer than Double Crochet. Fabric composed entirely of treble crochet stitches is open and very flexible. If you don't have a clue what you could use this stitch for, I'll show you a few pictures I found on  the web that might explain it themselves. 

Note: Avoid confusions with this stitch by making sure that you have a pattern written in American English. UK terms are different and Treble Crochet is slightly different down there. Another thing, in American English, this stitch could also be displayed as Triple Crochet. I go by Treble, both words mean the same.

The written explanation of how to achieve this stitch is this: 1. Wrap the yarn over the hook twice, then insert the hook from front to back into the chain where it will be worked. Wrap the yarn over the hook again (while it's across the loop) and draw the yarn through the chain toward you, leaving four loops on the hook. 2. Wrap the yarn over the hook again and draw it through the first two loops, leaving three loops on the hook. 3. Wrap the yarn over the hook again and draw it through the first two loops, leaving two loops on the hook. Wrap the yarn over the hook again and draw it under the last two loops. This leaves one loop on the hook and completes the stitch. 

It sounds like a lot of work, but no. It's very easy. I'm posting you a video that explains it:

So, OK, what can you do with this stitch? Let me begin with this Spring Shrug I made myself:
I will be posting a pattern for this soon. In the meantime, check this beauties out:

I found this at Adaiha's blog, Things to make and do. There's a pattern of how to do these, so if you feel ready to try a pattern, go for it. Please, navigate through other people's blogs, read different tutorials, posts, enrich your knowledge (even if it's still little), and try to crochet at least a bit every week. You won't regret it. Get some cheap yarn, I recommend something between #3 and #5 Ply yarn. Tags on products always have this information, always look on yarn weight before starting a project. And always have the right hook for it. This is an example of how it's displayed.
Now, get your hands in some yarn. Have a good one!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Candy Waves Handbag

I am very proud to introduce you to the sister of AudioWaves, The Bag, Candy Waves! It's possible that you did see it before if you have sneaked into my Spanish blog sometime, cause I posted an explanation of the stitch used for this handbag, over there. 

So, the story of how this beauty came to existence is this: I wanted a sweeter version of the Audio Waves. First thing I considered for this project was using color trends for Spring-Summer 2011. Tea Rose, Clothespin and Cherry were the options that seemed to get along best in this case, they did the bag themselves. The yarn I picked is a blend of Peruvian cotton & acrylic. I'm sticking with animal friendly. The only animal fiber I will ever buy for crocheting or knitting will have to be from a happy animal that belongs to someone I have met or I have good references about. Sorry to say this (wait, I'm not sorry), I know that animal fibers are warm and more, but this is the 21st century, we can manage. Besides that, this is a bag not a poncho for someone living in the North Pole. Plus, cotton has a great texture. 

There is a story behind the pattern of this bag, so it has an extra value to me. It took more than only five hours of crocheting plus lining and stuff. The lining comes from a piece of recycled fabric that I found at a thrift store, but you can't really tell it's aged, it's still Reddy. I stamped my logo myself with special care (I can't do this twice). I do the stamping to reduce time; believe me, making tags and sewing them would add an extra eternity. Besides, since it looks cleaner than stitching tags, it balances the stitched lining. To sew the lining I had to put extra care, cause I don't do it with a machine but by hand. Stitch by stitch with a polyester black thread. Why? Cause it looks great! I've always loved the look of hand stitching, so I wanted contrasting colors. The lining was also attached in a way that can be partially taken out for easy washing, in case it's necessary to remove a stain without having to put it in the washing machine. 

Another special detail about this bag is this: two sides are made with the same 3 colors but differently arranged. Can you tell? 

The handles are heavy plastic, very good quality. They're not that kind of plastic that melts in your hands or makes you sweat. I wouldn't ruin this flattering purse with something uncomfortable to wear, cause then it would turn into a beautiful piece of art to hang from your closet and showoff in your dreams when you go to bed. Note: There's a little detail about the handles though: there's a minor scratch on one of them and I didn't notice it when I bought it (I should have checked that before assembling the whole thing, my mistake), but it's so little that I think only I found it annoying (cause I'm the crafter). I wish I could have gone back to the store to get better ones, before finishing the bag. Unfortunately I realized of this way later, and undoing the open shape of the bag could turn into a waste of time. So I decided to price it for little less, just for the scratch, to sleep without guilt. Can you see that? (left photo).

I almost forget to mention that this bag is one of a kind, this information is printed on the back side of a pretty paper sheet that includes care instructions. 

Measurements? Of course! 9 1/2" across, 12" bottom to top. Care? Of course! Cool Water / Gentle Cycle / Lay Flat / Do not Iron / Do not Wring. Hand crocheted in a smoke-free environment. I almost want to keep this bag to myself, but I don't really need it, I have plenty of bags! So yeah, if you're craving it, visit my ETSY shop, cross your fingers and hope it's still there. Meow~

Monday, May 16, 2011

Square Purse Experiment

I'm obsessed with Squares. Yep, Granny Squares. I like them so much I started a Granny Wall in my studio and it gives me the impression that it won't be just a "wall", you know? And because I've been making a dozen a day and I have a few coin purse frames, I decided to go for an experiment.

(Does anyone know about someone that sell or distribute purse frames in the U.S.? I had to order a few and have them shipped from Australia. I've seen a few ETSY shops selling them, based in Korea though. So far no luck with anything in the States and I have to say that my experience with this company I ordered the frames from wasn't very good, they were too expensive and shipping was even more; not to mention they took forever to arrive and they're not the best frames I've seen).

Also, I've been meaning to show you this retro yarn I have. Yes RETRO YARN. There's two facts about it that make me love it even more, first one that's made in Mexico and second that has been manufactured same colors, same everything, for over decades! That means it's new but naturally retro. I'll tell y'all about it in another post soon. I talk about this Retro Yarn in another post.

I recently surfed the web for tips on how to make a crocheted coin purse. I picked a few blogs that had great ideas and pretty cool stitch work. I realized this vintage yarn doesn't perform so well with anything that needs to be bulky and that also includes working in circles. There's just something about it that doesn't have that texture I want. Texture is so important. That's when I decided to only make squares and then to make a simple 2 Squares Coin Purse.

They're are two Right-Angled Granny Squares (don't know how to make them? Try here), in Lime and Salmon Ply 4 Yarn. About 4 x 4" each. Since the frame has two rings, one on each corner, a chain can be hooked; and because of this, I thought of making it a flat purse. 

I had to make a lining too, otherwise anything you put inside would come out through the holes. Luckily I had some crazy greenish fabric from the 90s I had been saving for a project like this. Now that the purse is done I think the green lining would do better with blues and grays so I guess I'll be making another one of these.

I still need to do something about that horrible look of the inside of the frame. I'm going to let it rest and wait for day light of tomorrow. Have you ever made a crocheted coin purse? This is my first time. 

There's a blog I read called the Voodoo Notes where a great writer, Ricë Freeman-Zachery, talks about creativity and the process of and other related things. One of the topics that has been discussed lately in comment threads and posts is that artists/artisans should also talk about and show the process of their work, even when it's ugly or didn't go the desired way. So here I am.

Doesn't it look like a Pop Frog? I think I'm going to name it the Pop Frog. I don't like turtles, don't hate me. I'm off to make some hibiscus iced tea and pan popcorn because my hair stylist is coming over tonight for a snack  & records hair party. Good bye hair, Hello Summer!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crochet Friday Series 5: A Rose

I have a little project for you, brought by the Crochet Friday Series, of course. It's a ROSE. Now, there's two reasons why I picked this for today; the first one is that this is a very quick project (20 minutes at most, I'd say, it takes you to crochet this flower), second one is, I'm crocheting myself a collar of white roses that I'm wearing for 8 de Mayo. Yes. Forget about 5 de Mayo, I foresee a 8 de Mayo commemorative day in the future, WHY??? Well, first of all, in Mexico we don't even celebrate 5 de Mayo, that's a US thing. It is of course a holiday in Mexico but it's not a big deal (maybe only for the State of Puebla) and if you really wanna know why, it's because thanks to Mexico kicking the French out during an invasion in the mid 1800s, Napoleon couldn't use MX as a base to help the Confederates win the Civil War. Now, what I would really celebrate for 5 de Mayo is that we're not speaking French here (at least for me that I'm Mexican, and because I live in one of the Southern States in the US) and that we're after all brothers and sisters in this continent called America. That makes more sense than Mexican Heritage to me; this battle was won after 52 years of our Independence from Spain, besides, pride doesn't really make it for me (in a patriotic way). Anyways, there will be an 8 de Mayo happening this 8 de Mayo 2011 (duh) in many cities around the world, wanna find out about it? Click HERE

Let's continue with our Friday project. I'm using 4 Ply yarn (#4, worsted medium) and a 4.5 mm hook. If you've never read patterns before maybe this is the right time to get familiar with it. You will need to know how to work these basic stitches: Chain Stitch, Slip Stitch, Single Crochet and Double Crochet. Not sure if you can work them? Try these video tutorials in my blog

I am abbreviating them Ch, SlSt, SC and DC.
Ready? These are the instructions: 

Ch17. To the left from your hook, in the 5th Ch work 1DC, 1Ch in between them, 1DC. Now, skip 1 stitch from row below and work again, 1DC, 1Ch, 1DC in the same stitch. Repeat to end.

Ch3, turn your work, 5DC all in the space between DCs in the row below (you guessed right, where you worked 1Ch).

The 3Ch at the beginning were the equivalent to 1DC, that's why we worked 5DC next to it, to make groups of 6DC from now on. Before you go on the next group of 6DC in the spaces, work 1SlSt in that tight space between groups (where I told you not to work any Ch). Finish with 1SC and 1SlSt at the very end.

#1 shows you the chain space where you are supposed to work your 6DC, and #2 shows the SlSt worked in between groups. This cinches the work in between groups and gives them the shape of a petal. 

Fasten off. Leave a long strand of yarn, cause with the help of a tapestry needle we have to sew the rose. I like to begin with the side of the work where I started crocheting (the one with the short strand) and I roll it like this (the short strand in the inner side):

Tighten it enough so you can sew through the wholes in the base of the petals to secure it. I always leave a long strand of yarn for future use (to attach it somewhere else).

And that's it! Was that difficult? :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Romance Pledge... What?

Often happens to me that, just when I'm ready to snuggle in my delicious white marshmellowy bedspread, close my eyes and do the trip to the other life over the land of the dreams, I come up with the craziest ideas (I first wanted to say lucid, but honestly by the next morning they just sound plain crazy). 

Every time I visit my family in Mexico, ever since I moved to the US,  I feel that I spend real quality time with them. Of course, since I don't see them that often, (we do talk over the phone, I mean Skype, and e-mail several times a week) I surely miss just sitting around with them cracking jokes. I don't know how many times we've talked about how my parents met each other, surely dozens, since I was born. Every time there's something new we, my brother and I, didn't know. This makes me terribly curious about details and I begin asking questions nonstop. I am quite an analytic person and going through facts all over again it always brings new results and perspectives in my life. So there I am entangling my present going back to my parent's past. I've tried also asking about my grandparents and other relations that I grew close to. This activity has always left some kind of a bliss and the sensation of being emotionally lighter. Does that make any sense?

I've been, for a while, meaning to start up a charity project, but honestly the idea of a project that involves a lot of people has always intimidated me. I have what it's called a INFJ personality, and socializing just isn't my thing. I've heard all kinds of stuff about this, I'm not shy, I just have a different brain. The point is I had this incredible idea of putting those two things together, the Love Stories and the Charity Project, and this is what it turned into, the Romance Pledge Project. So I asked my dear friend Michaella to give me a hand with a few things, and obviously tons of moral support, and it's finally here. 

Romance Pledge is a Charity Project. People curious about participating: you don't need to donate one single penny, but must submit a Love Story you have previously got from someone else. I want you to experience that bliss and that lightness. Thanks to the internet, something that brought the anonymity revolution we're living right now, we're changing the way we communicate with other people. We are overusing technology, we NEED to stop being an I.P. address and be someone again. We become obsessed with our profiles online and with talking about ourselves. So, why don't we chill for a little bit and go ask our neighbor, our boss, our daughter's best friend, anyone: will you tell me a Love Story about someone you know? will you tell me how did you and your partner meet? a story about adopting a child? Really, anything that will set the other person in a trance of stopping the time to bring the good memories for a minute. Will you try?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Look and New Treasury

I've had a very unusual day, today. I spent hours playing with new layouts and designs for the blog, getting frustrated, without success. After that, a series of fun things started happening, that totally changed my mood and made my day, and good news happened too; so I stopped being hard on myself and finally the new look for the blog came true. I am loving it. I feel more functional, more blog and less showcase. And honestly that pink background was getting me high, in a way I didn't like it. That gallery-type template was cool but wasn't very flexible, so I decided to switch from templates to backgrounds and well, here it is. Sometimes it's better to keep it simple and use the tools available from the blog site than figuring out HTML and coding. I have enough with English, Spanish, Music and Crochet; I don't need to learn another language yet (well, except  maybe Galician and Portuguese, I am very in ♥ with these two Latin branches, very much I confess).

In the middle of all these exciting things happening this evening, I found myself creating another ETSY Treasury; this application is the best idea ever. I can make my own galleries and showcase people that blow my mind and share it with anyone in the World Wide Web. This time I picked items for the love of COZY, and this is what I compiled:

I'm gonna go relax for the rest of the night. I have a lot to digest. I'm coming back tomorrow to tell you about this new project I started, a few days ago, along with my dear friend Michaella. I can't wait.