Posted in Art, Diamond Painting

Hobby Talk – Ready for the Ride Diamond Painting Progress

I first started diamond painting in the winter of 2019, and it’s a hobby that I’m working to revive again in 2022.

I was really excited by this new hobby – I even have a website for my log – but as 2020 came around, and shipping/supplies slowed down due to the pandemic, it quickly became harder to pick up new diamond paintings. This was due to much of stock coming from China at the time.

When folks started staying home more due to COVID, diamond painting also took off as a relaxing hobby to keep busy at home. Stocks were often sold out as new crafters came to learn about diamond painting. But this is also when US stores such as Diamond Art Club and Dreamer Designs started to really flourish with the requests for diamond painting in our areas.

In my case, I was quite busy with diamond painting in 2020, and stocked up on kits with lots of plans for 2021. I even bought myself a completely different crafting desk that I was really proud of at the time.

But then… all of that fell through last year. Moving my painting projects away from my computer desk to the crafting desk ended up meaning that I worked on my projects less. That says a lot about me, I guess.

I started Ready for the Ride before Christmas of 2020 with every intent to finish it over the holidays that year. I’m still working on it in 2022… and that makes me sad.

Once I realized that separating my project from the computer desk had only caused me to work on my diamond painting far less, I moved it back to where it was before. Don’t worry, though. I did move my crafting desk into a place where I needed a desk (replacing an old rickety desk that needed tossing). So it didn’t go to waste.

So, it’s with much happiness that I write that I’ve picked up the project again and I’m finally at a little over halfway point of being done.

Because I only have a little working space (I really need to do something with this), I usually focus on the bottom half of a bigger project like this first. I have a slanted stand that holds up the light pad that I keep under the project so I can better see the symbols. That folds a project of this size in half like so:

To finish the upper half, I do the same thing. I just turn the project upside down. Yeah, that makes the symbols upside down, too, but I’ve never had too much trouble figuring it out as long as the symbols are clearly marked on the project.

So this is my current upside down view of the work area on this project at this point.

I hope to stick with this and get it done because I have so many projects and kits waiting to work on since I really slacked off last year. Not to mention, I’d love to have this one done to put up in my house come Christmas of 2022! I just have to think of how to frame it – this one might require a good frame.

Posted in Crochet

Hobby Talk – Learning to Crochet

This was quite the ironic thing, to be honest. Over the holiday, I started to consider learning how to knit. I’m not sure where the idea came about, or why, but I was poking around Amazon looking at knitting kits (and I never mentioned it to anyone).

Then, out of the blue, one of the gifts my sister sends me for Christmas was a Woobles crochet kit! Of course, this sent me out looking for the difference between knitting and chrochet, but all things said and done, I think I’m glad I tried to learn crochet first. This is more than enough to tackle!

The Woobles kit is made for beginners, but being an absolute beginner who had never held a crochet hook in my life, when I started to dive into their very good video tutorials, I quickly got the idea that I was in over my head. Since then, I’ve confirmed that working in circle patterns is a bit more challenging than working in rectangles.

I wasn’t going to let that stop me though! Instead, I purchased a new ball of yarn so that I could experiment and learn on the side.

I ran across a lot of really good YouTube channels for learning to crochet. This is the series I ended up following, learning how to single crochet a chain and then a square.

The outcome of this experimentation was heartening. Not perfect by any means, but I started to get the hang of it!

Once I got a bit of practice under my belt, I came back to my Wooble. Working in circles was still a challenge, but having figured out basic stitching, it wasn’t as daunting as my first attempt at it.

I made a lot of mistakes along the way and had to undo rows several times. But working on it over the span of a few days, the project slowly began to take shape!

The body of the project, which is pictured above, had already been started for me when I got the kit. So I didn’t have to struggle with things like learning a magic circle until I got to the other pieces of the project.

In hindsight, the eyes are a bit too far apart. But it’s okay to have a first-time derp bird.

The magic circle bit was undoubtably the hardest and most time consuming section of this project. Especially the smaller parts that only had 4 stitches into the loop! I had to scrap the wings, especially so many times, and even had to discard a wing all together and remake it.

I still feel like the wings are a little too low on the body ultimately, and that it looks more like a random blue bird than a penguin. However, it’s my first finished crochet project and I’m going to give myself some slack on it.

First ever project done! Not perfect, but still cute?

I absolutely enjoyed this first crochet project, and looking online, I can see there’s tons of resources and patterns you can pick up for other cute projects. I certainly want to continue to practice and develop my skills and not forget what I’ve just learned over the past few weeks.

I’m going into practice mode yet – I picked up some cotton yarn, and have decided to work on crocheting some usable dish cloths for the kitchen. This is something that I actually do need, so it will be fun to craft something helpful for around the house.

I have the perfect color yarn for it, too!

I also picked up a crochet hook set that I’m excited to get into using soon.

Posted in Art, Diamond Painting

GemsFlows – Diamond Painting Log Book App

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about diamond painting. In fact, it’s sadly been a while since I worked on my diamond painting – I’ve been caught up in so many other things in my free time.

I’ve meant to get back to working on the project I started over the holidays. I even picked up a new art desk a few months back just to have a diamond painting station separate from my PC desk.

Thankfully, I ran across this new app that has got me working on my diamond painting again!

Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to keep a log of the diamond painting projects I completed. I’ve moved the pages a few times – once from my Sygnus.org blog to my Tumblr. Then I was considering moving them again to a Neocities site (I might still finish this).

Over the weekend, I ran across the GemsFlow app. Now that I’ve been using my Samsung tablet for exploring many apps that my tiny little iPhone has no room for, I hopped right into this and found it exactly what I needed in terms of keeping a personal diamond panting log.

So you can enter each diamond painting as a new project in this app. You can record things about it like the size, how many colors were in the kit, where you got it from, when you started and finished it, and a rating of how much you enjoyed it. If you want to do things like log hours, you can do that too.

You can also upload several pictures – such as in progress shots that you’ve taken of the project along the way.

Creating an optional account allows you to connect your data to the cloud where you can sync your logbook across several devices. This is a nice feature, though for now, I’m mostly interested in keeping it on my tablet.

GemsFlows as a company selling diamond paintings (including customs) is not one I’m familiar with. There is a storefront within the app, but I’ve never bought from them before. I might give one of their customs a shot somewhere down the line, though!

In searching, I did find another diamond painting log book app out there called AliDiamonds. I did download this and look at it a bit – it seems to be connected with AliExpress (a Chinese storefront that offers a huge number of diamond paintings).

When I first started diamond painting, I did order some from AliExpress. Though once COVID hit, getting non-essential imports from China closed down real fast, so I started turning towards more local options.

Diamond Painting shops in the US tend to be more expensive overall. However, the quality of kits from overseas can be a little iffy and they can take months to finally deliver.

When buying diamond paintings from US shops, you generally know that the cost goes into the quality of the kits you get. Also, many US shops work with the artists they feature within the kits and ensure the artists get a rightful royalty from the work.

So, all that to say that I’ve not purchased anything from AliExpress in over a year. And the AliDiamonds app, while it seemed to do about the same thing, also had ads strewn through it on top of a marketplace. This turned me off and made me settle on GemsFlow, which doesn’t have ads that I’ve seen.

I’ll probably still keep a log online because I just like having one out there to point to for those who are curious. But as a personal log, I’m happy to have a tablet app that I can pull out anytime and anywhere of my diamond painting projects.