Saturday, December 26, 2009


Happy Festivus!

I finally got around to spinning my first yarn on 12/14 (sorry the holiday season delayed my chances of updating.)  First and foremost, I need to get used to how my machine works.  Too many times the fiber would fall off the hooks and pulleys and what not and would jam up, making some parts over spun than others.  But overall, I like the results.

I bought wool roving online and it was already pretreated and combed.  I took some parts of it and hand dyed with Kool-Aid.  I chose purple for obvious reasons (being my favorite color and all) but also tried some pink.  I originally had the idea of twisting them both together.

I waited till they were pretty much dried (I get so impatient so they weren't perfectly dry) then began to spin.  First I tried the two together but realized it was too frustrating.  I really should learn how to spin before I attempt more advanced techniques but yes, I am very stubborn and a big know-it-all show off idiot that only gets frustrated after I fail.  So I calmed myself, and just went for the basic spin with one color, purple.  As you see above, I had a little ball done.  There were many times that I had great momentum but then lost it on simple little things like the draft falling off certain parts of the machine.  I had some pit falls, but nothing catastrophic. I managed to make pretty decent yarn.

Ok the pics are rather blurry (sorry) but after I was done I wanted to crochet something up.  I started a hat but didn't have enough yarn to finish.  As you can see, some parts are very thing and other pretty chunky.  While most handspin creations have that imperfect beauty, which really is a nice inspiration from what I learned from my boyfriend from the Japanese view of wabi sabi. I do want to learn how to perfect the art of spinning, making it more even.  Then I will advance my studies into the technique I originally wanted to try with two drafts of yarn with two colors and making one unified yarn.  I will pace myself (of course having the time to attempt this would be nice but alas I will try my hardest to make room for this.)  I eventually want to be good enough to sell mine and use mine in my own shop.  Then I can truly live up to my Etsy standards of quality yarns (though I really am a yarn snob.)

And my half-ass hat smells like purple so I like it even more.

Wabi Sabi!

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Friday, December 4, 2009


A coworker saw my work on Etsy and wanted to make a matching hat set for her granddaughter and daughter in law.  I never made a baby hat before so it was a lot of research to figure out the correct size.  I also came up with my own pattern.  The baby hat was actually easier to write than the mommy hat (I actually had to do things a bit differently because I had to work with even numbers and the hat would have ended up too big with even numbers.  So maybe I'll stick to the baby pattern since it makes most sense.

It's for 6 month-12 month.  Pattern to soon come.  I promise!

Baby Hat

Mommy Hat

I actually love how the stitches look a bit lacy.  Woohoo!

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Creative Roadblocks

Sitting around, making new items, starting to feel uncreative.  I have no idea why I feel so tired and unmotivated, but I know I will get over it.

Maybe I am trying to hard on my Etsy and seeing little results, but I have to remind myself that pretty much everyone on Etsy is not seeing the results they want now.  No one wants to spend their money when money isn't as easy to obtain.  

My bf is helping me cut up the millions of plastic shopping bags to make a fabulous project. Check this out!  I dislike collecting shopping bags and throwing them out.  I don't consider myself very "green" yet I really think there are so many fun things you can do instead of being wasteful.  I'll be happy to post what my bag looks like at the end.  I don't think I will follow the same pattern but try something else.  I'll crochet and see where that brings me.

Ok I'll go back to my black kitty hat, similar to this one.  So many people hearted it and told me they loved it I decided to make more options.  I think I'm unmotivated not because I don't want to crochet, it's that it's been a rough week altogether.  I'm just tired and unmotivated in general.  It'll pass.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oh So Many Things to do

It's a Saturday night and I'd rather be inside crocheting tonight. 

I have my number one fan sitting next to me as I make a Santa hat.

He's little Squeakers and he's the cutest little parakeet (well in my humble opinion and his too.)  He cheers me on and purrs at me when he likes my finished product.  He even tries to eat it, but no worries, anything not meant for my use only was not harmed or eaten by Squeakers.

I've been going to a knit and crochet group every Friday night down the street from me.  The ladies and gentleman are wonderful people-very funny and witty and make my projects go so quickly.  We met on Ravelry.  I'm still a newbie, but based on my repeated appearances I think I'm staying.   Yesterday I took my mom and she had a lot of fun bonding with me in a casual environment.  She really needs it too.

I also have a new and awesome hat made by my friend from down under.  No way under.  She's in Antarctica now. She was still in the states when she made it (so I guess you can say made in America, though technically her base is American "on the ice" but I digress.)

It's so funky and cool and it's purple (lavender) so you know she really had me in mind.  Oh I feel special!

I'm also working on another pattern to be posted shortly.  I do hope many people enjoy my previous post and also would like any feedback so I know I'm on the right track.  I really appreciate even the harshest critique.  Well, as long as you don't make me cry.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chemo Hats

copyright © 09/15/09 Jackie Fiedler

Two people I know are going thru chemo.

One is the mother of a dear friend who had a double mastectomy and needs chemo to stop the fast and aggressive cancer. Sarah told me her mother's favorite color is blue, like a purplishish blue. I had acrylic soft yarn in my stash so I used a berry blue. I emailed Sarah is she likes the flower added on. If not, i just bobby pinned it in so we don't need it. I also wanted to make the brim around the hat so it almost looks like short hair is underneath and not the result of chemo (no one can notice from the front and back of the head.) I can only assume people treat you differently if it looks like you went thru chemo and I wanted to make a sense of normalcy with the hat.

The other hat is for my mom's best friend who has a very rare disease. She is at Mayo as I write this going through a stem cell bone marrow transplant (right now she's actually getting ready for the marrow to be extruded) then harvested and put back in. This is after chemo and radiation to destroy her immune system to allow this to happen. I won't send the hat until she is able to handle anything foreign.

It's a basic cloche but with the frilly at the end.

Start of Pattern:

I am using Caron Simply Soft Medium Weight with G hook (recommended H hook but I wanted a tighter weave.) This is the blue hat above. The pink hat was another yarn and had to adjust the pattern to reflect a different yarn.

Rnd 1
CH 5 and connect with sl st in first CH.

Rnd 2
CH 2 (counts as first SC) 6 SC in ring and sl st in 2nd CH from 1st SC (7)

Rnd 3
(Now I begin to work in rounds without connecting to each end of each row. My personal tip is to use a bobby pin to mark your stitches so you know when the next rnd begins.)
2 SC into first st (the one you just sl st into.) *2 SC in next st *repeat this in each SC until the end. (14)

Rnd 4
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next st *repeat this until end of round (21)

Rnd 5
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next st, 1 SC in next st *repeat this until end of round (28)

Rnd 6
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next 3 sts *repeat this until end of round (35)

Rnd 7
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next 4 sts *repeat this until end of round (42)

Rnd 8
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next 5 sts *repeat this until end of round (49)

Rnd 9
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next 6 sts *repeat this until end of round (56)

Rnd 10
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next 7 sts *repeat this until end of round (63)

Rnd 11
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next 8 sts *repeat this until end of round (70)

Rnd 12
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next 9 sts *repeat this until end of round (77)

Rnd 13+
Leaving bobby pin in place at last Rnd, 1 SC in first st and each st around, working in rounds until hat measures 7 1/4-7 1/2" from top of hat to bottom. Fasten off with sl st in next st around the same spot of bobby pin last sat. Do not fasten off.


Rnd 1
*2 SC in first st, 1 SC in next st *repeat all around and 2 SC in last st

Rnd 2
*1 SC in first st, 2 SC in next st, 1 SC in next two sts * repeat around to end of first SC in this rnd (keep bobby pin in this st to mark next rnds)

Rnd 3-8
SC in next sts in rounds and fasten off with sl st by the spot where bobby pin was left


To make the stripe around the brim like the photo, I tied in a different color yarn from Simply Soft about two rounds above the start of brim. I tied between the stitches and CH 1 and SC by hook in hole and exit the next hole, YO, pull hook back, YO and SC. Continue all the way to the first CH1 and sl st in that to connect.


I actually use a lot of wonderful flower patterns from Nicky Epstein's "Crocheted Flowers" book. You can also find some on this link:

This was my first attempt at writing a pattern. If there are any mistakes, problems or concerns, please let me know and I will fix! I appreciate the help and hope many people feel inspired to make a hat for someone who's going through a tough time with hair loss, no matter what causes it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Something old but new to me

Ok I made my first Tam. Tam O'Shanter. Silly as it's so easy yet never tried it before.

I used this:

Great pattern, btw. I wanted to know the basics before I started something by adding my own flair. There's a ton of patterns, so many creative ones, but I'm trying out using a pineapple stitch and maybe even other things. I'm done with the back, done in SC. It's huge, but I have long hair so what the hey?.

Actually, I just got my hair cut so I can finally feel cute enough to model my hats for Etsy. I had blah hair before and didn't have the time to cut it. It was half way down my back and dual colors with previous dye jobs. Plus, the hints of grey sprouting from my skull wasn't helping. I look young for my age and I intend on keeping this trend up for hopefully the rest of my life (or when it really matters most.)

Ok, I digressed as usual.

I used two yarns and combined as one. Caron's Simply Soft colors Heather and Berry Blue. I lined the bottom in just the blue at the final part of the pattern and used a smaller hook to make up for it. I modified the pattern at that point to make up for that change.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

spinning machine

Yay! At a garage sale my bf spotted me cash for this fabulous new spinning wheel (and accessories for carding the material before spinning.) Ok, so it's taking a lot of my patience and I am starting with a very hard material, cotton, so I shouldn't be so zealous to learn right away. Mostly it's getting the pedal down and the rhythm. We figured out how to assemble and fix the places that needed to be fixed. I can't wait until I am able to make beautiful yarns and possibly sell them too. Yes and also dye, etc.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Newbie (for now)

It's almost like I've jumped on the bandwagon and I'm doing this all to promote my work and hopefully run a successful Etsy. I also think there are many things I can share. Things I hope to inspire others who crochet.
In all honesty, sometimes I am doubtful of my own work. Yes, it may be pretty. I was only taught to crochet by my grandmother shortly before she died. I worked on Barbie Baby comforter sets and scarves and I actually did them all wrong. I only new double crochet. I probably knew how to start a row and end it properly from my grandma, I just forgot. So for a long time I was making people gifts and the rows were crooked and the stitches were always off, so I improvised.
One day I taught my friend all my skills. Everything I knew. Even the BS stitches I made up. She ended up reteaching me and correcting my most basic errors. I felt so bad. But I kept going.
I ended up going online. Relearning. Reteaching myself the most basic. Start off on stitch one. I didn't have my grandmother to show me, but everytime I look at her beautiful afghans, I knew she wanted to pass the craft to me. So I learned.
I'm still learning, creating. I follow patterns once in a while to make sure I know I'm doing it right. But I also make up so much of my own. I get inspired by people going beyond the "typical" crochet of my grandmother's day. She focused on afghans and blankets, hats too. She loved making gifts for people, especially her grandkids. I make so many gifts as well. At least to the people who appreciate it (yes, I've seen the reaction from some people as if my handmade scarf was an insult and me being cheap.) To all their own.
I love what I do. I wouldn't do it if I hated it. I have always been artistic. I also love painting and crafting anything I can do. I am also an interior designer. But on the side, I want to do this. I want my Etsy shop to succeed. I want to know people enjoy my designs, whether kookie or fun.
I think there's a style I make most. Colorful and bold. We can all wear grey but sometimes some of us need to feel bright.
I'll post some patterns but please understand I'm still learning to write them. All criticism if appreciated. Also, I appreciate that my designs remain used for personal use. I would never sell someone else's and use it as my own (although many designs may look like someone else's, I promise that I did not follow anything but my own counts and style.)
Ok, enough of that.
I want to have fun!
More to come...