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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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: 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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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
• Stitch Marker
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.|
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?)
Here at YarnKat, the holiday fun continues. And Baggy seems to have made a party out of YarnKat. He’s even got his black tie on in anticipation of the New Year. Which is still a few days away.
Baggy here: Don’t I look handsome? I think I do.
Oh, YES, you are one handsome kitty in your bow tie. Speaking of tying things on, someone must have put catnip in the hot chocolate –the YarnKat Holiday Sale has been extended until January 2nd. Big savings all around. 55% off everything!
That’s right. 55%. That $40 scarf you wanted before Christmas is now $18.
Use coupon code YrEnd2016 to save.
Baggy: Gotta be the catnip…
Speaking of year end, we’re doing a little housekeeping. If you subscribed to YarnKat, and have not received any posts or updates, there is a 2nd step you need to do to complete the process. When you enter your email, we automatically send out a confirmation email and in it, ask you to, obviously, confirm your subscription. Make sure you confirm, or you will miss out.
Baggy: Don’t forget to wish them a Happy New Year.
I think you just did, silly cat. Happy New Year and thanks for supporting YarnKat.
As Christmas is just a week away, we all look forward to spending time with family and loved ones far and near. Some of you will brave the long lines of security checkpoint at the airport, rush hour traffic on the road. And some of you are staying home, curled up to a warm fire with a cup of hot cocoa, knowing it’s nice that family can be just a call away…
With the holiday fast approaching, the malls are crazy with shoppers, the stores are low on stock and patience went out the door a long time ago. Have no fear, YarnKat is here.
Baggy: My patience went out the door years ago….
As a crafter, I like to give handmade items as gifts. The handcrafted element is something that can be treasured and I know from experience the person receiving it will cherish it for a long time.
Baggy: Yes, we know. Now tell them the good stuff!
Okay Mr. Baggins, give me a second. So, here’s my Holiday gift to all the YarnKat family:
YarnKat is having a one of a kind event.
EVERYTHING, yes, everything is 50% OFF.
That’s right. Everything including patterns are on sale.
At 50% OFF.
Baggy: 50 PERCENT! Yeow!
It’s my way of saying Thanks for stopping by and looking at YarnKat.
Baggy and I decided to time the sale with the US Postal Service Christmas deadline. The sale is good until Dec 21, so act fast if you want it delivered by Christmas. Weather pending, of course…
Enter this promotional/coupon code at checkout to receive 50% OFF your order: holidaycat50
Are you done with your shopping for Christmas? Have all of your knitting and crochet completed and packaged nicely to give? I have my last 2 shows this weekend and have been quite busy finishing up projects for the potential sales.
However, a couple of weeks ago, I started feeling a lot of pain in my left arm. This pain actually became unbearable and my work stopped. Pain is not a good sign for a fiber artist with upcoming events. Yikes!
I saw my orthopedics doctor and I learned that I have Tennis Elbow. Repetitive motion, straining the tendons that connect the elbow causing pain –to the point that I cannot hold anything as light as a ball of yarn without pain shooting through my arm. Many things can be done to help prevent this very common condition…. the best being REST!
Unless I want to continue to live in pain, I HAVE TO STOP crocheting and knitting for a little bit of time. Baggy cat won’t like this because he loves yarn, especially the balls which are perfect for his paws.
YarnKat will still be here going strong, just at a much more leisurely pace until further notice from the orthopedics doctor and physical therapists. Meanwhile, I wanted to let you know that there will be upcoming specials that you will want check out, so stay tuned!
For now, the needles and hooks are on hiatus, taking a well deserved holiday..
Old memories: Growing up, my grandparents always cooked the dinner, whether at their house or ours. Long, long hours spent waiting for the bird to be done. Homemade stuffing, stuffed inside the bird, the jellied cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and rutabagas. Dinner was around 4pm and the naps began quickly afterwards. Football was a must watch, family conversations, laughter.
Now Thanksgiving dinner is ordered, less cooking time needed, rutabagas and potatoes not on the menu, appetizers are in place, Martinelli’s Apple Cider the drink of the day, and the Bartholomew Green Slime (lime jello mold) are on the menu. As we make our way to Long Beach to Lee’s family home, I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
(Ahem, Baggy wishes you all a happy Turkey day, too! Now I wonder how much yarn I can unroll while they are gone…)