crafty things · crochet

Hank the Sheep

Hank the sheep made by Kara

My daughter gave me the book: Edward’s Menagerie for Christmas. Every single critter in it is adorable so it was tough to pick a first project, but I settled on Hank. Making the wool was a new technique for me, so that was fun to learn.

Edward's Menagerie Book by Kerry Lord

My Hank looks a little different then the one in the book, but I just used basic acrylic yarn that I had on hand instead of the fancy natural alpaca yarns all the samples in the book are made with. Plus I think I stuffed mine more firmly than recommended. The book mentions stuffing lightly to make the critters softer and floppier. I think less firm stuffing would have also made putting the wool on a little easier. It was difficult at times to get my hook into the body stitches because it was so firm there was nowhere for my hook to fit, and it sometimes pulled a little stuffing back out with it.

crafty things · crochet · quilting

2020 – The Year of Finishing

I was tackling my closet with the Marie Kondo energy and was surprised at how many unfinished craft projects I had in there. I was cleaning it out in preparation of cleaning my sewing table because there is a lot of overlap in what I keep in both places and it makes it hard to find things. Plus the sewing table has become one of those catch all horizontal surfaces in the house where all kinds of bizarre things go to be forgotten.

Some of the projects were started to learn a new skill or technique and maybe don’t need to be completed, but others I was excited to see again. They had been out of sight out of mind, but I would actually like to complete them. I made a list of all the projects I found, and am making it a goal of 2020 to finish at least a few of them. Not every project need to be completed, and I’m sure I’ll have new ones I want to work on as well, so I think a goal of 2 or 3 off my list is a good start. Not to mention some of the quilts are likely to be a good amount of work and asking myself to compete all of them is just setting myself up for failure.

I’m going to go ahead and post my incomplete project list just to make anyone else who tends to start then fizzle out on their projects feel a little better. We are not alone.

  • The cat quilt (this is a quilt with pictures of cats, not necessarily FOR cats) it has a very time intense sawtooth boarder.
  • Sunflower quilt (a medallion quilt I was trying to make as a gift for my mother in law)
  • Doctor Who scarf
  • Christmas square mini quilt. (Found this not really started, but all cut out and ready to go)
  • Baby clothes quilt
  • Green/yellow Jack in the Box bed Quilt
  • Quilt of Valor (plus I think I know who I’d like this to go to so I need to look the rules up)
  • Fantastic Beasts Newt blue coat
  • Soccer Jersey quilt
  • Tessellating triangles mini quilt
  • Pile of clothing that needs repairs
  • T-shirt quilt
  • Small amineko
  • C2C scarf – DONE! Gave to my mother before getting a picture (boo)
  • Crochet sheep – DONE! Pictures coming soon

You might notice I have finished the last two times on my list already. I went ahead and added the projects I was currently working on when I made my list because they were still technically unfinished at that time, and I knew I’d be done soon and would like the boost of being able to check them off.

In the spirit of finishing, I am going to take my Doctor Who scarf with me to my sort-of-monthly crochet and knitting get together this week. At first I was trying to think of what new thing I should start to bring along, then realized, I didn’t need to come up with something new to start. I can finish! (Although I’m a very new knitter and my mom finished off the end of the scarf for me at Halloween so I could wear what I had so far, so I also have to learn how to undo her cast off so I can continue it – well, luckily learning is fun too.)


Novel Revisions

I’ve gotten back into regularly working on my novel. Not every day as I would like, but still, I am making progress for the first time in a long time. Starting back on it was tough at first since I didn’t have it all still in my mind and I’m having to do a read through and make notes so I know what needs to be done. The positive side of that is that I like the story again. When I set it aside, I had come to hate it. I was still resolved to revise and edit, because I was getting into a bad place of finishing a first draft, hating it, and starting something else. I realized I would never learn to revise if I didn’t start revising. But the time away seems to have cleared my head and let me see the work differently, and I think I can make it something good. Something fun. That’s a nice feeling.

In addition to the novel, I also came across a novella I wrote a few years ago that I hated when I finished it, and thought it was too much of a mess to fix. rereading it now though, I don’t think it’s so bad. I plan to also revise that one. It’s looking like I’m one of those people that needs to set a story aside when I’m done and take a little time away from it before starting the revision process. I didn’t see this about myself before because I don’t feel that way at all about my short stories. Time rarely changes my opinion on them. Weird.

So one of my 2020 goals will be to revise both the novel and novella and get both to my critique group, then depending on the feedback I get, continuing the revising or editing and publishing.

I have some other writing goals, but I will cover those in another post. This will be a good year of revising for me. Something I haven’t done much of because I tend to give up instead. This is my year of sticking with – and finishing.

crafty things · crochet

Cocker Spaniel: Bonus Christmas Amigurumi

Cocker Spaniel amigurumi made by Kara Hartz

I joined in the ornament exchange at work this past December. The co-worker’s name I drew likes crochet, but doesn’t do much of it herself. So I knew I wanted to crochet her ornament. After looking at a lot of patterns for more traditional ornaments, I had the idea to make her a Cocker Spaniel, as she is a big fan of the breed and has one of her own. I used the book Amigurume Pets to make it. This is a lot like the book AmiguruMe (and written by the same person) in that it has different head types, body types, legs, etc. that you combine to make a pet that looks the way you want. There is even a table to help you figure out what pieces to use to make various dog or cat breeds. Unfortunately, a Cocker Spaniel is not in that table. I used most of the recommendations for the Beagle, substituting a docked tail for whatever the Beagle tail was.

The other thing I did was used a more fluffy, kinked type of yarn for the ears and legs to hopefully make it look the way Cocker Spaniels look when they have been nicely groomed. Crocheting the fluffy yarn (I used Lion Brand Homespun in Pearls color) with tight amigurumi stitching took away a lot of the fluffyness but I think the effect still mostly looked good. It was super difficult to crochet tight with that yarn though and I will probably try to avoid using it for tight work again.

Cocker Spaniel amigirumi by Kara Hartz

My co-worker loved it though, so it was all worthwhile.

books · crafty things

Broken Snowshoe Logo

Broken Snowshoe logo

I wanted a little logo for my books. I’ve been calling my publishing self Broken Snowshoe after my beloved cat Bob. Despite his many challenges he was always loving and happy and made those around him happy too. I asked my daughter Anna to design me a something, combining Bob and books. This is the logo she created for me. I love it.

Then as an added surprise, for Christmas she made a little clay model of it for me. It’s even cuter! Here’s to creative and thoughtful kids!

Broken Snowshoe logo clay model by Anna

Now I just need to finish my books so I have something to put this logo on. Coming soon. . .