Handcrafting Inspired by the Ocean Breeze!

Handcrafting Inspired by the Ocean Breeze!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Same soul, different name

I am not a names person. When I'm introduced to someone, I never pay attention to their name but rather to their expressions and body language. I never get a name right on the first greet.

It's hard choosing a name. Whether it's for your pet, your child or your business, you always want it to be original, beautiful, meaningful... You want a name that is empowering and somehow reflects the subject's personality.

When I first started my little handcrafts business (if I can call it a business...), I went for a very blant and straightforward descriptive name: my initials and my product - AEHandcrafts. Ten points for description accuracy, null for creativity.

After doing some reading online and attending a few small business and online marketing seminars, I decided to change my branding name into something more creative, that reflected a bit more of my outgoing personality, that maintained a connection to my product and that allowed me some maneuver space in case I decided to expand into selling other stuff other than my handmade crafts. And I came up with my current brand name "L'Ana Banana Crafts". Because Ana is my first name and lana in spanish means wool, I figured it would be a nice word play.  Ana Banana was what my childhood friends would call me, friendly teasing my name. So that would give it a more personal meaning. And crafts, well that needs no explaining.

Then I decided I needed a blog, as all online marketing experts will advise you to. I figured I would give my blog a different name from my brand, so I could give it a different tone. I didn't (and still don't) want a blog just to sell my things. I want to write a blog to engage and inspire people, to feel closer to other crafters or craft fans, to tell a bit of my story. "Kafka on the shore" is my favourite book from one of my favourite authors, Haruki Murakami. Funny enough, until the day I chose my blog name, I had never realised this, but I have been living in coastal cities all my life! Hence "Crafter on the Shore".

Some time ago I came up with another name, the perfect name, that name... THE name. A name that describes all my essence, my life, my story, all that I am. I wish I could just change everything immediately, but all these social websites have so many restrictions to name changes, it's discouraging... But I will start to work on it slowly. So don't be surprised if one day you visit me again (here on my blog or on any other related network) and you find a different name. It's the same soul, just a different name! :)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Man's best friend

It's been such a long time since my last post!!! Today I present you my apologies for this long absence in the form of... - TARAN! - A free pattern!!! And this is not just another free pattern, this is a free pattern for those friends that stick beside us no matter what, those friends that love you even when you feel fat, or grumpy or have a bad breath! Those friends who are always happy to see you and always have an empathetic eye! I am talking about dogs, of course (although I share the same deal of caring towards other 4 legged friends)!

Some time ago, a good friend of mine asked me if I could make a set of dog booties for her dog because he had a terrible rash in his paws and I decided to take the challenge! Gathered my yarn and my (new and amazing!) crochet hooks, put my imagination to work and I came up with this fun set of dog booties. This is my tribute to all these sweet caring creatures all over the world!

Dexter in his new set of booties!

Crochet Dog Booties - Free Pattern

4 mm crochet hook
8 ply acrylic yarn in two different colours


With main colour: 
row 1 - ch2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook (6 sts) 
row 2 - 2 sc in each sc (12 sts) 
row 3 - 2 sc in first sc, sc in next sc, repeat (18 sts) 
row 4 - 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 2 sc, repeat (24 sts) 
row 5 - 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 3 sc, repeat (30 sts) 
row 6 - 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 4 sc, repeat (36 sts) 
row 7 - sc around in back loops only (36 sts) 
row 8 to 11 - sc around (36 sts) 
row 12 - sc in next 12 sc, sc2tg x6, sc in next 12 sc (30 sts) 
row 13 - sc around (30 sts) 
row 14 - sc in next 9 sc, sc2tg x6, sc in next 9 sc (24 sts) 
rows 15 to 22 - sc around (24 sts) 
row 23 - hdc around, fasten off (24 sts)
Lacy cuff 
With wrong side facing you, attach contrasting colour at the back (you will be working around on the wrong side): 
row 24 - ch3, sk next st, ss in next, repeat around 
row 25 - ch1, sc in ch3 space, ch 3, sc in next ch3 space, repeat around, ss in first ch 
Repeat row 25 until desire length (I worked 5 rows), fasten off.
Cord: ch80.
Interweave cord around row 23, leaving ends hanging in the front under cuff. Use it to tie around doggy’s leg. If your dog has smaller paws, omit row 6.
It should look something like this:

Now both go out for a walk and show off! :)
I would love to see pics of your best friends in these booties!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A stocked up yarnsmith!

My new crochet hooks arrived this week, all the way from Britain! How exciting!!!

KnitPro Waves ergonomic crochet hooks. The full 19 hook set!

I now feel an accomplished crocheter, with all these amazing tools! I've already used the 10mm hook for my latest creation: an amazing scarlet scarf, made in new Australian wool and alpaca! Scrumptious piece! And amazing hooks! I can't wait to use them all!

With these and all the other tools I showed you in one of my recent posts, I am all geared up! And the same way there are blacksmiths and goldsmiths, I propose knitters and crocheters shall be known as yarnsmiths! eheh What do you reckon?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Perfect Crochet Hook

This is it! I have finally found it, the love of a lifetime, the perfect crochet hook!

Waves crochet hook by KnitPro

If you are a regular follower of my blog, you know I have been on a quest to find the perfect crochet hook. In my previous post, I told you I had found the new Waves crochet hooks by KnitPro. It seemed to have a lot of potential and now that I have tried it, I must say it is nothing less than spectacular! Just as I expected, the metal shank is amazing, the yarn slides beautifully, just like with the Addi swing, but the handle feels much more ergonomic and it's smooth and so much lighter!
Today I weighed my crochet hooks, all size 4 mm and the results speak for themselves:
Pony - 5g
Bamboo - 2g
KnitPro Symfonie - 3g
Addi Swing - 19g
KnitPro Waves - 8g

For a crochet hook with an ergonomic handle, 8g is pretty good! It is less than half of the Addi. I have now ordered the full set: 19 crochet hooks, from size 2 mm to 12 mm. That's another tick on my wish list and I am now set for life with crochet hooks! I'm so excited just thinking of all the amazing things I will make with them!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Stocking up for Winter - Part 2: Tools

When I started this blog, I intended to write a new post at least every week. However, sometimes my life as a scientist gets in the way of my life as a knitter; I have pretty busy week days and on the weekends I just want to relax and enjoy life.

But when I get feedback from people, even if it's just a simple message saying that they like my work or read my blog, it reminds me of why I started this blog in the first place and gives me motivation and inspiration for another post. I don't think people realize how much difference they can make in a crafter's life. Just a simple hello when I open my email, a quick message on ravelry or a "like" or comment on my facebook page is enough to make my day. You, dear reader, you matter to me, you are important in my life. And I thank you for being here today, bothering to read these words.

Anyway, mushiness aside! Today I am here to tell you about crafting tools. Tools can make all the difference. A quality tool will contribute for a quality work and make you enjoy it more while you're at it. So, if you're a regular knitter or crocheter, do not be afraid of investing in a better more expensive tool. It will last you longer and make your hobby more enjoyable.

If you've been following my blog, you already know that I am a big fan of KnitPro. You got to love a brand that puts such a big effort in making good knitting/crocheting tools! One of my biggest investments was buying their birch wood interchangeable knitting needle set and it was worth it! The set is so versatile, with all the different knitting needle sizes and cables, that I am set for life! Then I discovered their cubic double pointed needles. I love knitting with double pointed needles (dnps). The first time I saw it was in a book that I bought on amazon to make knitted dolls. My first thoughts were "I am never going to be able to do this!". But I loved the dolls so much that I set my mind to learn it - I love a good challenge! From then on, I use my dpns whenever I can! I find that it's easier to knit with dpns than circular needles and it looks very daunting to other people, so it makes me look like an expert (ahah!). Recently, after reading a great review on the cubic dpns by KnitPro, I just had to try them. And it is everything good they say! They are amazing to work with, they stack on each other making it easier to work on those starting rows without twisting them, the needles don't fall off the stitches (which happened to me a lot in the beginning) and it's also easier to store your work when you pause. And of course, as KnitPro has accustomed us, they are light and the yarn slides beautifully! Unfortunately, KnitPro has not made a set for these needles, so I've been making my own set - stocking up! - with different sizes of needles and different lengths.

In one of my recent posts, I told you about my quest to find the perfect crochet hook. I've been sticking with my good old Pony hooks but I am still hopeful! Yesterday I just found a very promising crochet hook, by KnitPro of course! I discovered their new Waves crochet hooks - aluminium hooks with a soft grip. I am hoping the yarn slides easily on the metal like on the Addi Swing hooks, but the handle is lighter and feels more comfortable. I have ordered one of these hooks to try it out and if they're good, I'll definitely buy the whole kit! I am really excited about these hooks and I will let you know how it turned out! (Disclaimer: I am not in any way sponsored by KnitPro, I am just a user and a big fan and believe their effort in quality should be given credit for).

My crafting tools

You will notice that besides the crochet hooks and the knitting needles I have included in my tools list a wooden spoon. That's because to me crafting also happens in the kitchen - Cooking is the most noble of all Arts! I know nowadays all the food safety standards require non-wooden spoons, but it's my party and I'll use them if I want to! In what's related to cooking, I still prefer the good old traditional way and I am very attached to my wooden spoons.