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Tag Archives: Swatch.

  • Halloween Tote: Swatch Ready

    Aren't these silly questions: Do I really need another tote bag? Do I really need more yarn? I laughed out loud when I saw this Dory comic saved by Knitting Paradise on Pinterest. I have new Light Reflecting Yarn and a pattern for halloween tote, time to get started.

    For the love of yarn; found on Pinterest. For the love of yarn; found on Pinterest.

    I've only been learning to knit and crochet on-and-off for two years now; I've been coloring a lot the past 12 months! In this short amount of time, even I have accumulated five bins of yarn. However the lure of a new project, or a new color or texture of yarn, certainly inspires me to try something new. Plus, if the project is seasonal...BINGO, count me in! 

    Latest goal: I want to make this super-cute seasonal Halloween Tote. It is pictured in Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions, using Red Heart's new line of Reflective yarn. What makes this tote unique is the promise of it being reflective; a silver grey reflective thread is spun with the other yarn fibers. This yarn and tote seem perfect for nighttime trick-or-treating while walking under the street lights, visiting neighborhood houses for treats.

    GOAL: To make a Halloween Tote Bag like the one pictured in Leisure Arts' item 75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions. GOAL: To make a Halloween Tote Bag like the one pictured in Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    Crochet and knit projects require one to learn the language of the craft. In addition, the crocheter and knitter must try to learn the stitches. Once the mechanics of making the stitch(es) is mastered, the crocheter and knitter must work towards having consistent gauge. Gauge is why every project has the measurements for a swatch.

    Challenge No. 1 - Gauge: I've only made projects that were more lenient when it comes to gauge, i.e., dishcloths, a bandana, and fingerless mitts.

    Challenge No. 2 - Multi-strands held together.

    Challenge No. 3 - Working in-the-round.

    Understanding and doing are two different things; my comprehension of the instructions was one thing, my performance was another. I ripped out my first swatch after three rounds. I realized I was adding a chain stitch before every single crochet. Lesson learned: don't try to fit a new project into your schedule if you are tired.

    Here is my second swatch using four strands of Bulky weight yarn. This is NOT the yarn that will be used for my Halloween Tote, but it is the correct weight and number of strands held together. I definitely needed to use stitch markers!

    In-the-Round Swatch No. 2 - Using four strands of Bulky weight as called for in the directions. Oh, boy; the swatch is lopsided! In-the-Round Swatch No. 2 - Using four strands of Bulky weight yarn as called for in the directions. Oh, boy; the swatch is lopsided!

    I discovered that I was not recognizing the correct stitch when ending a round or joining; this resulted in too many stitches. I resorted to doing another swatch holding one strand, making my stitches very loose and using a Light weight yarn. I wanted to see each stitch very clearly.

    In-the-Round Swatch No. 3 - Back to one strand in Light weight; trying to see the construction of each stitch. In-the-Round Swatch No. 3 - Back to one strand in Light weight; trying to see the construction of each stitch.

    I learned where my error was occurring: I was not recognizing the first single crochet at the beginning of each round. When I finished each round, I needed to join the last single crochet to the first single crochet with a slip stitch. Instead, I was joining to the chain made at the beginning of the round. Okay; I learned my error. My fix was to use a stitch marker so I would not question the location of the first single crochet when I needed to finish the round by joining with a slip stitch.

    I didn't like the uneven open spaces that Swatch No. 3 had in some portion of the rounds. Granted I was still experimenting, but I decided to make another swatch. I didn't have any more of my practice Bulky weight yarn, so I chose Super Bulky yarn to make my next swatch. I would be more careful with the construction of my rounds with the hope of having tighter stitches.

    In-the-Round Swatch No. 4 - Using one strand but in Super Bulky weight. Okay; better gauge and count is correct. In-the-Round Swatch No. 4 - Using one strand of yarn but in Super Bulky weight. Okay; better gauge and count is correct.

    Alright; I think this is better! The stitch count is correct with their construction and gauge being more consistent. I felt like this was a major accomplishment -- three cheers for me! At least this was recognizable or passable as the bottom of a tote bag.

    I'm as ready as I can be; now it's time to open my new Reflective yarn and begin. I am a bit tentative, but I will get continual inspiration by looking at the finished Halloween Tote as pictured in Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions.

    This Halloween Tote is one of the featured projects found in #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions. My goal is to make one for this season! This Halloween Tote is one of the featured projects found in Leisure Arts' item #75526 - Light-Reflecting Fashions. My goal is to make one for this season!

    Wish me luck; I'll keep you posted on my progress!

    Martha

  • Tasteful Palette of Gel Pen Colors

    Happy National Coloring Book Day! I am so excited that all of the coloring enthusiasts can share their creativity on a special day dedicated to the art of coloring. I have the large 36 count box of gel pens from Leisure Arts. Many of you want the variety that is found in such a large set, but at the same time, may get overwhelmed by the variety of colors and styles.

    Don't feel stressed about your choices, try to learn the look of the different styles to help with your color decisions. In order to better understand the colors and styles, my suggestion is to break down the box of gel pens by style. See the front of the box; it outlines the number of gel pen colors in each style: 10 Solid, 8 Metallic, 8 Fluorescent, and 10 Glitter.

    In order to demonstrate the different styles of gel pen colors found in the 36 count box, I decided to look for a coloring book page with similar images. I chose a page from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Yeah, gel pens in 36 colors and four styles: Solid, Metallic, Fluorescent and Glitter! Yeah, gel pens in 36 colors and four styles: Solid, Metallic, Fluorescent and Glitter!

    The task before the fun of coloring is to break down the gel pens by style. Some gel pen lids are easier to judge by their appearance that that specific pen belongs to a certain style group. For instance, the Glitter pens have little sparkly specs in their plastic caps. The caps in the Metallic style group have a more muted tone. The best thing for me to do was to make swatches of each color on a blank piece of card stock. Then I could switch out colors if I was unhappy with one or more colors in a style group until I was satisfied with the final group.

    Gel pens are sorted by style (my Neon label should be called, Fluorescent). I also color-coded each style. Gel pens are sorted by style (my Neon label should be called, Fluorescent). I also color-coded each style.

    After I was satisfied with the gel pens I chose for each color style, I went one step further and color-coded each group. I placed a paint swatch of color on the gel pens belonging to each group. For instance, my Metallic style group has a pink paint swatch on the front of the cap, the cap's top and the pen body. This way no matter if the pens were lying down or standing in a container, I could easily grab all of the pens belonging to one group; my coloring life just got easier!

    If you compare the beginning of my coloring below, the fish are colored in the same order as the above-photo showing the gel pens in their color palette styles.

    To demonstrate the different gel pen styles, I chose a drawing with similar images of fish (Leisure Arts' item 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone). To demonstrate the different gel pen styles, I chose a drawing with similar images of fish (Leisure Arts' item 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone).

    The top fish showcases the colors from the Solid style. The second from the top fish is smaller and is colored with the Fluorescent gel pens (in the earlier photo, I incorrectly labeled my piece of card stock with the word, Neon).

    Next, you will see the Glitter style used on the fish on the left-hand side that is third from the top. The bottom fish shows the Metallic style and is very pretty is person but tends to be too shiny in my photos to highlight any good contrast. The one thing that I did find a little peculiar about the Metallic [especially the pink color], if I tried to go over a section because all was not properly filled with color, the pink became more grey. It was as if there was too much color build-up.

    I really like looking at the different styles in one project; I can more definitively choose in which color direction I wish to go. Also, it saves me frustration when I think I've chosen one color based on the gel pen's lid, when in fact the ink color is not what I intended at all! I'll finish the fish eyes after I stare at the bodies of the fish for a while. I may not do the background so I can keep the fish as clean examples for each color style.

    Showing their respective gel pen style, the fish are complete except for their eyeballs. Showing their respective gel pen style, the fish are complete except for their eyeballs.

    Consider your first colored page using your 36 count box of gel pens broken out by style as your color swatch. Just like knit and crochet, begin by making a swatch - a palette swatch of colors - for your reference before beginning your project. Spend a little time up front to make your creativity flow more easily. Enjoy!

    Martha

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