Long Time No Update (Picture Heavy)

It's been quite some time since I have posted an update! I've had a few personal health concerns, and some family health concerns to contend with during the last month, and I have not been in much of a posting mood.

Sara and I have spent an enormous amount of time trying to find our niche on Etsy. And after undertaking such an endeavor we basically said "Screw it" and have just decided to focus on the things we like to make. Lately we've both had our heart on bath and kitchen items. Sara is working on a few cotton travel toiletry bags that come with matching wash cloths, and those will be available soon. Very adorable, and I hope she makes me one for my next trip. :) My cotton bath obsession has been in the way of face scrubbies which, try as I might, I cannot seem to make enough of. Mark and my bathroom is bursting at the seams with scrubbies. I use them religiously now. I use smaller ones for my face and larger ones as a body cloth. Love, love love them. I've noticed an improvement in my complexion as well. I'm hooked.

I recently made a kitchen set for a friend of mine who is laid up for a few months after some orthopaedic surgery. I had gotten 24 skeins of SnC on eBay for a steal (Well under $1 per skein and that included the cost of shipping), and she mentioned a fondness for the "playtime" (which is the multi pink, orange and yellow shown below). So I made her up a kitchen set. Clockwise from the top: 4 square dish cloths, 3 round dishcloths, 3 double thickness "pot scrubbers" (which are awesome on the teflon and I will never go back to sponges again), and finally a set of 2 potholders. I was very happy to hear that she liked them.

The final, cumbersome, all-consuming obsession I cannot seem to shake is my obsession with hats. Newsboy/baseball-cap style hats in particular. I had acquired a handful of patterns, some free and some that I purchased, specifically to make myself a baseball style cap for the spring and summer. I had originally planned to use some Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy to make them, assuming it would be a nice light summer hat. As usual I started following a pattern but maybe two or three rounds into it I just strayed from it enormously. I tried another, and the same thing. It's not that I cannot find a pattern that I enjoy, because that isn't the case. In fact I'm so in love with Ele Shnier's cotton version and would love to eventually have one for myself. But I just have the hardest time reading a pattern and not changing something about it as I'm going. I'm....I don't know....not a follower I guess. I'm stubborn, I'm a pain in the ass, and I just have to do my own thing.
So anyhow, these are the hat "designs" I have tried over the last 2 or so months. Some are more hippie-ish and slouchy. Some are roomy. Some are basic. Some are more girly and have a nice shell stitch pattern. My favorite unfortunately is a terrible photo that is possibly going to get me in trouble. The last hat below is my dear Sara and I say terrible because it just doesn't show the stitch pattern well. Otherwise it's a nice picture of her, and hopefully she won't mind that I stole it off her myspace page. Sorry hon and thank you. :) The last hat that Sara is modeling is the design I've settled on, and I recently made myself one out of Charcoal Cotton-Ease. I love it. I still haven't quite perfected the brim, it's just not where I want to be yet. Straight across doesn't work for me. A slight peak in the center is nice. Two peaks evenly spaced looks good. Wider brims look better to me than smaller ones. But....I want them to be firmer and I can't really go down a hook size or crochet tighter. Maybe it's just the nature of yarn brims, maybe they will never be extremely stiff. I'll figure something out. But for now, here are some pictures.
Hazelnut and Lake Cotton-Ease, sized for a toddler. Not my design, I copied (by look and from memory) a custom order Sara made for Etsy.

This was the first shell stitch newsboy I did, and I really love the way it turned out. I alternated the shell stitching each row. It's one of my favorites. This uses Lake Cotton Ease.

I like the idea of 100% cotton hats (the next ones are just SnC) but they end up being too firm and "formed." The shape holds well, which is fine unless you want a softer hat that will sort of form to your head. This one is extra roomy. I like it a lot but the colors are not a favorite. It was a stash buster. The stitches are too large and I should go down a hook size. I forget sometimes that cotton stitches pop so much.

This one is better than the above one I think. More what I was going for. Love it, except for the colors. Another stash buster. I will not do a wide stripe again either. Didn't like it, and learned my lesson. Like smaller stripes. The brim goes straight across, but see how it waves a bit in the center? It's a little wonky. I think a peaked brim works better.

This one is worked to be slouchy. I don't have a good photo of it on. I sold this to a girl on Etsy who sent us a picture and it looked great on her. The slouch part was a result of too many stitches while increasing in the round. The top, flat part of the hat is worked so it has a bit of a ruffle or wave to it, and then the remainder of the hat is worked the same. It gives it an interesting look. This is Violet Cotton-Ease.

And this is the best one, the design for now that wins. I have 2 more skeins of Cotton Ease in Almond and Cactus to make 2 more of these. I love how the stitch pattern is diagnol around the body of the hat. I plan to write up the pattern for this and offer it on Ravelry. I would like to finalize my brim design though. I still cannot quite decide which of the 3 or 4 styles I like best.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. I am spending time with family and very happily so. I'm making dinner for a crowd tonight. I need to make low-fat foods because of my stomach issues. I found some ground hamburger today at the store that is endorsed by the American Heart Society. It's only 4.5 grams of fat per serving (a serving is 1/4 pound) and it's 96%/4% lean. It's not a local brand, it's a national brand, and it cooked up amazingly. We made meatballs with it this morning, and there was not a drop of grease in that pan. Pretty exciting that I'll be able to have some beef today. It's been a long time, and I wish I had found this sooner. It was more lean than the low fat ground turkey and the lean ground bison. Anyhow, have a great weekend everyone.

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