baggy paper

Finding my niche

R.B. Craft Show 2008

Last Saturday I participated in the El Segundo Hometown Fair. It’s an annual event for the city that brings out families. The kids get to play in the bounce houses, the adults chatting amongst themselves and the arts and crafts vendors get to make new customers.

Typical of beach living it was a cold, windy, damp day. I am often approached by customers asking some common questions about my knit and crochet items. Such as if I teach children and do I teach knitting.

The answer to both is yes.

 I do teach kids how to crochet, with minimum age of 10 years, and not more than 6 kids at a time. If there are more than 6 kids in a class, they lose the one on one teaching, with some catching on and others not at all.

I also teach knitting. Sometimes privately in my home and sometimes through other venues like yarn shops or through a city program.

Customers also ask how long I have been crocheting animals. This question always brings back memories of the first arts & crafts event I participated in. It has been 10 years now that I have been knitting and crocheting for fairs.

To be honest, I cannot remember exactly how I got into selling at craft fairs. My first show was at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. My table had knit and crochet scarves and crochet beanies. The beanie hats were the first time I had ever crocheted in the round. People complimented me on how well I knitted scarves, and that I should have raised the price of the scarves. (Lessons of the newbie!)
I went online and spent many hours looking at patterns.

Turtle was my first animal.

 

My first animal I ever crochet was the turtle. Many mistakes were made but I had to try. Once I got the hang of it, I found it to be easy to crochet.

Some of my wares you can find at Buy Hand Laguna Beach.

In 2007, I participated in a show at a senior center, brought along 8 crochet animals, along with other items. The animals were a hit! I had found my niche and have been crocheting animals for 10 years. I create my own designs too which include the octopod, jellyfish, seal, teddy bear, ducky ball with more to come.

Five years after that beginning All of my ocean related animals are shipped to Buy Hand – Laguna Beach, where I consign them. Their customers love my crochet animals —they have even been photographed for a local newspaper article on the shop!

My Octopod gets featured in article about Buy Hand Laguna Beach.

How did you find your niche?

Baggy here: I love a good story. Tell me how you found your niche in the comments below.

SAMSUNG

2017 Spring Arts & Crafts Fairs Update

Here are 2 of my Spring Arts & Crafts Shows I am participating in. I hope to see you at either event. Earth Day is April 22, come out, see some fine crafters selling their wares.

Arts & Crafts Fairs are not only for fall and winter, they are also for the springtime.

I am confirmed for the following 2 local events and I hope you can come out and support my art.

Saturday April 22, 10am-2pm. Anderson Park, 3007 Vail Avenue Redondo Beach, supporting the North Park Seniors. I will have a table outside the center, and it will have shawls, crochet animals, felted wallets and coffee cup cozies.

Saturday May 6, 10am-3pm. Hometown Fair, 600 Main St El Segundo. This event has arts & crafts vendors, carnival rides, game booths, music & entertainment, community expo, bake off contest and a Rubber Ducky Derby benefits C.A.S.E. Buy your rubber ducky during the Hometown Fair.

I will have a  canopy full of my products for you to purchase. My new item this year is the repurposed tote bag: made from cotton yarn, its great to use for groceries, the farmers market, beach.

Sorry, Baggy will not be in attendance.

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LA Yarn Crawl 2017 “Wrap” Up

Yarn Crawl selfie

 

Did you get a chance to “crawl”? How many shops did you visit?

I crawled, and my husband was gracious to drive me from store to store. We even found a couple book stores for him to “crawl” in.

We mapped our route, packed a snack bag of water, sodas, chips, then started the 2-hour drive at 7:30am, along 3 freeways, to Claremont. It was faster than we anticipated, arriving at 9:00am, so we had time to eat breakfast. Knitting was my companion during this time. Occasionally an LA landmark made it into my photos.

Well known L.A. landmark

 

The goal all was to spend 15 minutes at each store, browsing the shelves, drooling over all the yarn lovely and meeting the shops owners. Twelve of the 17 stores we had never visited before, so it was nice to see what they have to offer.

Everyone had a hand in it

Instagram & Twitter also played a role in visiting the shops. Each shop had 2 yarns featured for the crawlers to snap a “yarn selfie” and post to social media. Photo bombing was prevented at most locations, except one or two, (you’ll see an extra limb or two in those photos) only because of a lack of seating.

Each shop gave the crawlers a logo pin to put on the official LA Yarn Crawl Tote Bag and a FREE knit and crochet pattern. And, several stores gave a free “gift with purchase”. There were product demonstrations, artist trunk shows, and exclusive dyed yarns.

Kathy with Tunisian Crochet Designer & Author, Sharon Hernes Silverman

On Friday morning, I met a Tunisian Crochet Designer/Author, Sharon Hernes Silverman. She demonstrated a different way to crochet Tunisian without the long double ended crochet hook. I had a nice conversation with her, and cannot wait to start crocheting from her books that I purchased.

Not only is yarn available for purchase on the crawl, so are the tools and accessories for both knit and crochet. See the photo evidence of my purchases. You can never have too many locking stitch markers or tape measures, right?

One store even had “$5 & $10 Mystery Bags”. You buy the bag, and inside is a mystery as to what you purchased. I purchased the $5 bag, and inside was Tapestry Needles, Folding Scissors and Row Counter. It was a good purchase.

As you can see, yarn was acquired for crochet animals (Chunky Baby yarns), scarves, shawls, project bags and tote bags. New colors, new fibers, new year.
After 3 days of crawling, 10 freeways, over 300 miles, now the real fun begins… Winding Yarn!

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The Yarn Crawl, What’s It All About?

L.A. Yarn Crawl Participating Locations

 

Any fiber artist, that is crocheter, knitter, weaver, knows what this is. For anyone else, here is what Google has to say about it: A “yarn crawl” is a multi-day event for yarn and fiber lovers connecting them to local yarn shops within a specific area or city. Yarn crawl participants are encouraged by their local yarn shops to develop a self-guided itinerary for a weekend of exploration and fun.

Yarn Crawl “Passport”

In the Los Angeles area, the yarn crawl is Thursday April 6 through Sunday April 9. There are 21 LYS (local yarn shops) participating this year. Each store has a grand prize gift basket worth over $500 in goodies from the sponsors of the event.

Kathy and her winnings

 

Plan your days out, route the stores, order your yarn crawl tote from a LYS, print out your passport to get it stamped from each store you visit, get free knit and crochet pattern at each store, see the latest and greatest products, see demonstrations, shop the trunk shows. You could win the grand prize at one of the participating shops, like I did 2 years ago.

Yarn Crawl totes and badges

 

For more information if you would like to get “crawling”, you can go to www.layarncrawl.com.

You crawl, I’ll sit here and make wishes
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To Block, Or Not To Block (Knitting)

To Block or Not To Block?

That is the question when it comes to knitting. You have made a lovely shawl with some beautiful yarn. It looks good as is. You wear it, people say it’s lovely, but something is missing. What do you do?

Do you block it?
Most knitters will say, “YES” to blocking. “Absolutely block your garment. The stitches will shine through, and the compliments you will get from it don’t hurt either.”

I’m going to answer a few common questions below.
• Will all fibers block?
• What items are needed block the garment?
• Where to purchase the supplies for blocking?
• How to block a shawl.

Let’s get started.

Blocking pads, cat not included


Blocking Mats:
Foam rubber mats fit together like puzzle pieces to make the size and shape you need. It is an affordable and portable alternative to blocking boards. One side is smooth, one side has texture. The mats shown can be purchased online at  www.KnitPicks.com. You get nine 12″ grey squares in the set. If you want colorful mats, check out amazon.com.

Baggy here: I like the mats, they are soft and squishy. Good for a scratching too, but don’t tell Kathy.

More helping paws and T-Pins


T-Pins.
Pins that are shaped like a capital T, made of nickel plated steel. The pins hold your garment in place on the mats. These can be purchased at retailers like Jo-Ann’s, Michaels, Target, and even office supply retailers like Office Depot and Staples.

Fabric wash


Fabric Wash:
Some fibers, even after knitting, still feel a little rough. Washing the fabric usually will soften the garment. You do not use the washing machine for these laundry washes. SOAK, EUCALAN, UNICORN FIBER WASH, are a few good soaps. Use a capful in kitchen sink, let the shawl sit for 15 minutes, and ring out excess water from garment. No rinsing needed.

Enjoying blocking pads, ignoring T-Pins

As shown in the picture, this shawlette is being wet blocked with T pins and blocking mats.  

Cat not included.

Baggy here again: As you can see, I am a very efficient worker. I am keep the shawl in place with my body, and relax. Sometimes I even make the extra effort to move a pin when it gets in my way.

Acrylic yarns will block if steam is used instead of water. Using your steam iron, set the temp on high and with the shawl pinned, hold the iron close to the shawl, not touching it. Press the steam button to apply steam to shawl.

Blocking Cotton Shawl

 

You can block any type of natural fiber for any type of garment. Animal fibers, like wool, alpaca, yak will wet block nicely. Even cotton yarn will block. This pink, green and white shawl took almost 3 days to block since cotton is a heavier weighted yarn. As you work, remember to get the knitting into the desired shape without stretching it out or damaging the fibers.

With so many yarns out there, why not take some time to block that garment?

Blocking pads are comfy


Baggy here: Some might be asking, what is blocking? It is a technique for stretching, easing, and redistributing stitches in a finished piece of hand knitting. Blocking creates an even fabric, making it easy to work with and nice to wear. And you thought all I did was lay around!

CAKE

Caron Cakes Cherry Chip Review

Cherry Chip “Cake”

Now that I have to take the time to rest my hands, I will be reviewing more products.  Next up is Caron Cakes Yarn. I chose Cherry Chip, a nice color combination of various shades of pinks.

Caron Cakes is quite generous in their “cake:” 7.1oz/200g, 383 yards of 80% Acrylic, 20% wool yarn. Recommended size crochet hook US H, 5mm or US 8 knitting needle. It is only available at Michael’s Art Supplies, Crafts and Framing Store. And, can also be purchased at Michaels online.

It’s a soft acrylic yarn, you barely feel the wool in it. To test out the yarn, I am crocheting the Desert Winds Scarf , a free triangle scarf pattern courtesy of makeanddocrew.com. It’s a quick pattern that uses H hook and double crochet throughout the pattern. The scarf is crochet sideways, with increases on both ends, get to half way point then decreases.

Soft and pink Cherry Chip scarf.
Cherry Chip Gradient

 

I notice the color changes are not subtle. You start with 1 color and suddenly the next color is there with very little gradient change.

I finished the scarf, and the color changes did happen on the end of the row, as you can see in the photo. Putting the scarf around my neck, I do not feel the wool at all. It’s soft to the touch. I am sure when washed, it will soften even more.

I like this yarn. With the size of the “cake,” you could easily knit or crochet a shawl, or 2 scarves. Definitely worth the purchase price. Be sure to pick up a Caron Cakes, you will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

Baggy here: Maybe a Baggy size pet bed with the remainder of the cake?

One last thing, I was able to pick up the new Lion Brand Mandala yarn. Will be knitting a shawl with it, look for my review very shortly.

 

Oops! Baggy was having way too much fun! Did you catch the faux pas?

Quick apology for omitting the scarf in the last post. Baggy hit the publish button before someone was finished placing images. So here is the corrected version of that last post:

Clover Pom Pom maker

R & R continues, so today I am reviewing a product that I absolutely love. It is the CLOVER Pom Pom Maker.
I had a 50% off coupon from Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Store, and decided to pick it up. I bought the Large set. It comes with 2 different size pom makers, 2 ½ inch and 3 3/8 inch diameter. There are other sizes you can buy too, including a Heart Shape Pom Maker.

The Clover Pom Pom Maker is quite easy to use. Just wrap the yarn on each half of the maker, cut the wound yarn, tie it off and remove it from the maker. A little fluff and trim and you have a pom pom. Even kids can make poms, with parental supervision.

These can be added to not only scarves and hats, but to shoes, hair clips, wraps, shawls, wreaths.

The Sample Diagonal Knit Scarf pictured is made with 1 skein Red Heart Super Saver yarn, 236 yards, 5oz, 141g. I made the poms first, then knit the scarf. As an added bonus, here is the pattern for the scarf.

Sample Diagonal Knit Scarf

• 200 yards worsted weight yarn, preferably one that is self striping.
• Size US 8, 5mm knitting needles (straight or circular)
• Clover Pom Pom Maker
• Darning Needle
• Scissors
• Stitch Marker

Directions:
CO 20 sts   you can add more stitches if you want a wider scarf. This scarf measures 4 inches wide.
Row 1: (KFB) Knit front to Back in 1st St; K (knit) across to last 3 sts; K2tog (knit 2 together); K last stitch
Row 2: K across
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until almost out of yarn, Loosely Bind Off all stitches after Row 2. Cut yarn, weave in ends.
With darning needle, attach pom to each side on long diagonal. Make sure you tie it tight. And now you are done.
Enjoy the pattern, it’s a fun and easy one to knit.

Baggy here: I’ve got a Kathy fun fact. Kathy likes to make the tassles and poms before the scarf. She says it is to make sure there is  enough yarn to make a long scarf. Humans are such interesting creatures.|

Poms on diagonal scarf

 

Here it is, the diagonal scarf with pom poms
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The Clover Pom Pom Maker Product Review

Clover Pom Pom maker

R & R continues, so today I am reviewing a product that I absolutely love. It is the CLOVER Pom Pom Maker.
I had a 50% off coupon from Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Store, and decided to pick it up. I bought the Large set. It comes with 2 different size pom makers, 2 ½ inch and 3 3/8 inch diameter. There are other sizes you can buy too, including a Heart Shape Pom Maker.

The Clover Pom Pom Maker is quite easy to use. Just wrap the yarn on each half of the maker, cut the wound yarn, tie it off and remove it from the maker. A little fluff and trim and you have a pom pom. Even kids can make poms, with parental supervision.

These can be added to not only scarves and hats, but to shoes, hair clips, wraps, shawls, wreaths.

 

The Sample Diagonal Knit Scarf pictured is made with 1 skein Red Heart Super Saver yarn, 236 yards, 5oz, 141g. I made the poms first, then knit the scarf. As an added bonus, here is the pattern for the scarf.

 

Sample Diagonal Knit Scarf

• 200 yards worsted weight yarn, preferably one that is self striping.
• Size US 8, 5mm knitting needles (straight or circular)
• Clover Pom Pom Maker
• Darning Needle
• Scissors
• Stitch Marker

Directions:
CO 20 sts   you can add more stitches if you want a wider scarf. This scarf measures 4 inches wide.
Row 1: (KFB) Knit front to Back in 1st St; K (knit) across to last 3 sts; K2tog (knit 2 together); K last stitch
Row 2: K across
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until almost out of yarn, Loosely Bind Off all stitches after Row 2. Cut yarn, weave in ends.
With darning needle, attach pom to each side on long diagonal. Make sure you tie it tight. And now you are done.
Enjoy the pattern, it’s a fun and easy one to knit.

Baggy here: I’ve got a Kathy fun fact. Kathy likes to make the tassles and poms before the scarf. She says it is to make sure there is  enough yarn to make a long scarf. Humans are such interesting creatures.|

Poms on diagonal scarf

 

Here it is, the diagonal scarf with pom poms
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Fiberista Elbowitis Againus

I’m here to help.

Was writing this as we were waiting one of those “big storms of some century.” Not much in the knit and crochet has been going on. Why? Because I am  STILL suffering from Tennis Elbow of my left arm.

As WebMD states: “Tennis elbow is a pain focused on the outside of the arm, where your forearm meets your elbow. It’s related to a muscle and tendons in your forearm. Tendons connect your muscles to your bones. When you constantly use your arm in a repetitive motion”

In other words, a big pain. When I saw my orthopedic surgeon in December, he did state most people recover from it with plenty of rest, from 1 month to up to a year. Needing immediate relief from the pain so I got a predinsone shot. Pain for 2 days and then its gone. He told me to rest, to let it heal. I did, for 1 month, then started to crochet. Unfortunately, this was a bad mistake. I needed more rest that my mind would allow. (Typical of all us creative and crafty folks, right? Argh!)

For now, knitting and crochet are done at small intervals, only 1-2 hours daily. Along with other rigorous therapies to help heal muscles and tendons.

So,  what do I do during the day when not crocheting? I am enjoying my time with jigsaw puzzles. Baggy  likes the puzzles too, demanding  to be entertained, or be the entertainment.

Meanwhile, during my adjustment, I have noticed that always right handed, I lift with my left arm. Picking up groceries with my left arm, I fill the hot water pot with my left arm, I carry my purse on my left arm. So, maybe I’m going  to train my brain, and arm, to grab with my right instead of my left arm.

Maybe I’m becoming ambidexpaws. (What do you think, Baggy?)

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Bags, Bags, Bags

I cannot believe how fast January has come and gone… with lots of rain too! All the sources say we got between 40% to 75% rain replenishment to get those lakes and reservoirs filled. But they are not filled up completely, so I am hoping February brings us more rain. And why not? I tend to crochet and knit more when it rains. So, why not wish for more, right?

I have been trying to create practical items to fit various needs. As many of you know, California has become a “No Plastic Bags” state. That means when going to the any store,  you need to bring your own bag, or be charged ten cents for one of the store’s bags.

Taking inspiration from my favorite designers, I have been using up cotton yarn to make these bags. I like to mix up colors, whether it be solids and stripes or solids and variegated yarns. Lily Sugar & Cream, Bernat Cotton Soft and Lion Brand Cotton Ease are yarns I have been working with to create these bags.

Multicolor market bags

 

Thanks go out to: Cre8tion Crochet for her Hobo Style Market Bag (photo with 3 bags); The Stitchin’ Mommy for her large Summer Fun Market/Beach Tote (purple green, white) and Simply Collectible for her Sturdiest Ever Market Bag. You can find the patterns on their blogs or Ravelry.

Baggy here: If you would like one of these featured bags, they are $25 each and will be in the shop no later than February 2nd. Even I have one, and goodness knows why…