BaggyInClouds

The Granny Square Is Not Just Afghans Anymore

Granny square purse

 

The Granny Square has come a long way, baby. From the early days of crochet squares stitched together to make a throw for the back of the sofa to models strutting down the runway in designer granny square clothes.
A staple for crocheters with balls of leftover yarns, the granny square lives on not only in afghans, but you would be surprised at how much it has expanded. Clothing, bedding, pillows, hats, scarves, bags and purses, even jewelry. With a crochet hook and a knowledge of double crochets, you can make art out of little balls of leftover yarn.

granny loveys

Whether you choose a color scheme for just go random, the granny square is making a comeback for the next generation. Now you probably won’t see the granny vest worn, but you may see a scarf or a hat, or a knit top accented with granny squares.

Triangle grannies found on Pinterest

And the granny is not just a square, it’s a triangle, a rectangle, a pentagon, even a circle. BobWilson123 http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bias-granny-shawl has a great bias granny shawl pattern that is easy to follow. The shawl I crocheted is that pattern.

Granny colors scarf from Lanas de Ana

Stripes, solids, variegated yarns can all work with the granny. It’s up to you to decide what colors, yarns, hooks, designs you use to create your granny.

granny bracelets found on Pinterest

The internet is a great place to find your inspiration for the granny square. Pinterest shows many styles of the granny in all shapes, sizes and colors. What will be your inspiration to crochet something granny?
I would love to hear about and see your granny square creations.

Kathy, get me off this thing! I’m not Nyan Cat!
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Patterns, Websites, Instructions, Oh My

Knit Afternoon Tea

I love the internet. It is packed with a plethora of information. It is easy to spend hours and hours looking at pictures, patterns, web sites, emails of all things knit and crochet. For a new knitter or crocheter, it can be quite overwhelming trying to find the right pattern to knit or crochet. Over the years of frolicking the web, I find that there are a few websites and blogs that I tend to return to more than others. Here are just a few locations that I think are quite helpful for those of us afflicted with yarn:

RAVELRY Here you can find all kinds of information about yarns, patterns, designers, people, groups. If you are looking for information on a particular yarn, you can search for it on Ravelry. I have recently been purchasing beautiful designer yarns and some of those yarns only have the name of the company and the yarn color. I am not too familiar with yardage on cones, so I search for the yarn, and Ravelry pulls up all the information I need: ounces, yards, grams, needle size recommended, hook size recommended, if its discontinued or not, even other colors.

It’s also one of the places for patterns, patterns, and more patterns. Whether they are Free or A Fee, you can definitely spend hours just on Ravelry searching for patterns. Last week, my library of patterns was 10 pages, about 500 patterns. I edited the library and now it has 400 patterns in it. I have not knit or crocheted each of them, but right now I have 8 WIPs (works in progress) of patterns on page 1.

I have decided to revisit a shawl that took 1 year to complete. It’s called Afternoon Tea, a knit shawl by Helen Stewart. In 2012, my knitting guild chose this shawl as its quarterly knit item. The first time I had tried to knit it, I got about half way done, and put it away to be finished at another time. I was insecure about my knitting techniques at that time. One year later I picked it up and finished it in a weekend, and it sold at an event I was participating in. Now with new yarn on the needles, I am already half way done with it. My skills have improved quite a bit this past year, and I feel comfortable knitting the pattern.

ALL FREE CROCHET/ALL FREE KNITTING. I receive their newsletters which are filled with many ideas. In each email, you can easily get 10 patterns to try to knit or crochet. Whether it’s a scarf, hat, shawl, afghan, baby blanket, you will find many patterns to choose from, ALL FREE. That’s right, no charge to you.

LION BRAND YARN. This is the first website I ever visited, way back in 2001. In fact, I learned how to crochet animals from Lion Brand. My first animal was a turtle I crocheted in 2003; 14 years later, I still crochet it. The step by step instructions are easy to follow. The patterns use Lion Brand yarns. If the yarn is discontinued, it will give you suggestions for other Lion Brand yarns.

Turtle

Some of the patterns I knit and crochet with are from Bloggers that I have followed for years. These include:

MOOGLY. Tamara has been crocheting and blogging for years. One of my all-time favorite patterns is for a shawl called Fortune’s Shawlette. The shawl can be made with any yarn, no matter the gauge, from lace weight to chunky yarn. She has great tutorials on her blog, along with many patterns.

REPEAT CRAFTER ME. Sarah is another crocheter and blogger who is known for her C2C—corner to corner —afghans. I found her while researching kid’s character hats, and her daughter is her model for her hats and all things kids. One of my all-time favorite patterns is Penguin Earflap Hat. Her hats include all sizes from infant to adult, all easy to follow with plenty of pictures and details.

Penguin hat

These are just a few sites that I find both informative and educational. What are your favorites websites? Comment below and let’s see what we can come up with.

YarnKat trainee

Gizmo here: My roommate and mentor Baggy is taking a little R&R because of a bad tummy. So he asked me to fill in and let you know about Kathy’s FREE patterns! From now until August 12 all patterns are free. So, check them out and grab one or two. Hey, are you going to use that yarn? 

got something to say

May Gray, June Gloom and a Wee G.

The Newest Yarn Cat, Lil’ G

 

Can you believe its June already? Where has the time flown? The weather has been wonderful, a few hot days in May, ending with what the forecasters now call May Gray, synonymous with June Gloom. The gloom comes from the dense cloud coverage that does not go away during the day, only for an hour will you see the sun, as it sets over the ocean.

I actually like the gloom, it keeps the heat down and most importantly, the traffic muffled during the wee hours of the morning. Except this past week.

SNACKS!

There’s a new yarn cat in town. We adopted a tiny, 8 week old kitten. He was found a couple weeks ago, just skin and bones. His foster family took him in, fed him, gave him love, but could not keep him. I saw a picture on facebook, contacted the foster, and then I showed Lee.

Baggy Here: I know how Kathy works…

That was fun, now I must nap.

 

Lee has wanted a kitten for a long time. It has been 25 years since we had a kitten in our household that small. Baggy was almost 6 months old when he came into our lives.
It’s been a bit of a change here. So far so good. We kept them separated for a couple of days. Slow introductions, with humans watching over each kitty.

Peek a boo

The kitten, whom we are calling Lil G, as in Gandalf the Gray —the name the fostering family gave him— has no fear. He walks up to Baggy, a stare down begins, Baggy hisses, Lil G hisses back, then runs away.
So far no claws, all paws. Yesterday, we let them sort out their differences. There has been lots of chasing; Baggy chasing G, G chasing Baggy. It’s shaping up to be a 2 cat household quickly. Now if I can get Lil G to sleep past 5am, life will be back to normal, and I will be able to crochet without Lil G shredding my yarn.

The way to a cat’s heart is through its belly.

Baggy Here: If that little guy keeps up the good manners and respect for his elders, I may be able to teach him a few tricks.

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.

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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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New Year, New Pattern & The Women’s March

Pretty in pink Pussy Hats

Rain, Rain, Rain… oh how I love the rain. We here in California really need it, and this year we have had plenty of rain. It’s also a good time to look at new items to crochet and knit.

Baggy here: Speak for yourself, I have cabin fever and I don’t even know what a cabin is.

One of the new items out in the world wide web is The Pussy Hat. It’s a cat hat (not black but pink). It is based on “The Pussy Hat Project”.

The mission of the Pussy Hat Project is to provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard.

It also provides a way for people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and women’s rights. The more we are seen, the more we are heard. Let’s come together to support women’s rights in a creative and impactful way. Please visit www.pussyhatproject.com for more info and awesome free hat patterns.

I was approached to make the hats for friends, after reading about the project, I knew I wanted to participate. They are cute, and, well anything kitty cat has to be cute, right Baggy?

Baggy here: Absolutely! Darling. Handsome, even if I do say so myself.

As you see here, I knit 2 pink hats, and crocheted 3 hats. And a black one too…just for Baggy!

Baggy here: Aren’t I the lucky cat?

The trio of hats were crocheted with worsted weight yarn. With the knit hats, I tested a new yarn called I Love This Yarn Chunky for the solid pink. I used about half of a skein. The stripe yarn is Lamb’s Pride in the color Strawberry Smoothee. It is a worsted weight yarn and I used about 3/4th of the skein. It will felt if washed.

These hats were fun to knit and crochet and I will probably make more in kids size. Next up is the “Messy Bun Hats”, a hat with the top open to allow your messy pony tail to hand through it… Stay tuned!

Baggy here again: If you are interested in a Pussy Hat of your own, send Kathy an email for pricing and shipping. Honestly, I don’t know what Kathy would do without me.