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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? 

crochet edgings

Crochet Edgings, A How To

Edged Baby Blankets

Crochet Edgings

At the knitting guild I belong to, one of the classes we learned from was how to add crochet edgings to baby afghans. It is a nice embellishment to an ordinary item. All it takes is 1 yard of fleece fabric, a rotary cutter with a skip cut rotary blade, some yarn and in no time will you have a great gift.  Thanks go out to our instructor, fellow guild member Cathy McFarlane for teaching the class.

Here is your supplies list:

1 yard fabric  Go to your local craft, fabric store. You can usually find remnant pieces already cut to size, no need to shop for the fabric, its already done for you.
Rotary Cutter (or Scissors) and Mat Round cutting blade in a handle and a mat that doesn’t cut.
Yarn  I use scrap yarn from my stash
Crochet Hook  I use US H/8, 5mm crochet hook
Skip-Cut Rotary Cutter Blade  Makes perfect holes in fleece and other material for crochet edge blankets
Needle and Thread/Embroidery Floss used for Running Stitch- Hand-sewn stitch that weaves in and out of the fabric, resulting in a dashed line.

Instructions:

With each 1 yard fabric piece, you will be able to make 2 blankets. Take your rotary cutter or scissors and cut the fabric in half at the fold. Set one piece aside. Lay one fabric piece on the table. With the needle and thread, you will sew a running stitch along all 4 sides of fabric. It’s about a 1 inch hem.

Lay fabric on mat, put the skip-cut blade in the rotary cutter. Be careful as the blade is sharp. Roll the cutter along the inside of the hem, only rolling once. When you get to a corner, carefully turn your piece. I use a pin, to mark the last cut. If you cut it more than once, it will leave a larger hole. Go around all 4 sides.


Time to crochet the edging. With all crochet projects, start with a single crochet row. Make a slip knot, insert your hook and yarn into a hole, be sure to go through both thickness, single crochet. Go across the edge, make 3-5 single crochets in corner. You may need to trim the corner, so it is not too thick, and continue around all 4 sides. Slip stitch to first single crochet.

Now the fun begins. There are many crochet stitches you can add to the single crochet: Double Crochet, Shell Stitch and Picot Stitch just to name a few. You can change yarn colors, or keep it the same, its up to you. Here are samples of my crochet edgings.

double crochet edging

Double crochet- dc each stitch gives you a nice border. My sample shows you the nice edging. When at the corner, add a chain between each single crochet to keep the corner from rolling up. Or do 2 double crochets in each stitch.

shell stitch at the border

 

Shell stitch- 5 double crochet in each stitch gives you a nice scallop edge. For my sample, I did 5DC in 1 stitch (st), skip 1 st, single crochet in next st, skip 1 st. Do this until you get to corner, at the corner, 6dc in center of corner stitches.

picot stitch edging

 

Picot stitch- Ch 3, 4, or 5 and slst into first ch (picot made!). Work two, three, or four stitches, then make another picot. My sample shows ch 4, slip stitch (sl st) into 1st chain, sc in next 3 stitches and repeat across. When at corner, ch 3, sl st into 1st chain, sc in next st, ch 4, sl st into 1st ch, sc in next st, ch 3, sl st into 1st chain and continue around. Repeat this process for each side and corner.

These are just a few of the many crochet edgings you can add to your projects. Not just for crochet and knit items anymore!
What are your favorite crochet edgings to use? Just post in the comments section on the page, I would love to hear your favorites.

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.

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.

PartyBag

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.

 

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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