Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

As Peppermint Patty and company learned on the annual favorite, 

‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’, it's not what you eat or where you eat.  The important part is with whom you are eating.  I hope you are as lucky as I am to be with loved ones for the holiday and in a safe and warm environment.  

For those of you who have to travel to be with family and friends, please stay safe.   For those of you who will be going to the sales on Friday, be even more careful.  I will not be among the shoppers.  I will be home starting Christmas decorating and working on Christmas presents.  IF, and this is a big if, the computer remains on friendly terms with me, I will be posting pictures that have been neglected for far too long.  If the computer decides to take a vacation, pictures will have to wait.  This is part of the reason why none have been posted.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

December Class Schedule

I know we are all getting ready for the feast of Thanksgiving.  I know that we have much to be thankful for here in my home, my sister getting a job, our son getting into the Air Force, our son's fiancee, Brie, our other son gaining his own home,  our continuing to have jobs in this economy, more importantly our health and love of family and friends.  

Here is the calendar of classes for December.  Please note that there will only be classes the first two weeks of the month.  If there is something that you will need help with, come in when I have a yarn event scheduled and I will see what I can do to help or contact me and we can set up a special class.  Some things are a quick fix.  Others are not.

December Calendar of Classes

December 2012
Discover Single Crochet
Discover Baby Crochet – Baby Rattle
Discover Knit
Discover Baby Knit – Kimono Sweater
11 – 1 demo
Discover Tall Stitches
Discover Texture Stitches
Discover Purl
Discover Pattern Stitches
 I will be on vacation
 until the first Monday of 
New Year’s Eve

Keep checking the next few days for January’s calendar of classes!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Classes, new and old

I have been working on classes.  I have loom knitting and how to knook added to the schedules.  Both of these tools would make great gifts to people who want to craft with yarn but are unsure of themselves, people who have issues with motor skills, or just want to learn a new skill. 

Loom knitting can be done in the round and reminds me of the spool knitting I learned as a child.  Loom knitting can be done on long looms and either in the round to make very wide panels or  so that there is a knit side on both sides.  The round looms can also make flat panels.

The knook is knitting on a hook that has a tail.  It is a cross of knitting, crocheting and Tunisian crochet.  This could be great for someone who is interested in learning a new skill.  This could be the thing for someone who doesn't like knitting but is interested in gaining that look with a hook.

Classes for these techniques will be starting in January.  They will run on Saturdays.  See the class schedules for dates and times.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thanksgiving Knitting and Crocheting

How many of you do it?  I will admit to not doing this every year.  I will even admit to not doing something crafty for every Thanksgiving.  Once upon a time, I had a stuffed turkey that I made from one of those cut and sew panels.  He was neat but had to be propped.  He had a tilt problem.  One year I did pilgrims that had to have dowel rods implanted to stand.  I did crocheted napkin rings one year (they got tossed as they didn't do things as I intended).

This year is no different.  I'm not doing any crafty thing for Thanksgiving.  However, I did find a cute pattern on Red Heart for crocheted Pilgrims.  Here is their picture.

 Maybe next year.  Maybe not.  I'm finding I don't really need more stuff sitting around my house especially with a slew of animals who like to play with stuffed toys, even if they aren't meant to be toys.

I would like to have napkin rings again, but the trick is to use the right yarn and last time I didn't.  I used something that had a lot of stick to it.  That caused them to curl when slid over the napkins.  I will also do something better like make them larger, but not by much, a mercerized cotton or a nice washable silk would be much slippier.  I was also thinking about making the decoration detachable, acorns for autumn, pumpkins for Halloween, turkeys for Thanksgiving, eggs for Easter, flags for Flag day/Memorial Day/4th of July/Labor Day, and so on.  These could be done in beads or beaded crochet/knit on very small thread so they aren't overwhelming.  They can also be done when free time arrives.  Plain rings are just fine too.

I also know I will NOT be out and about on black Friday, nor any other day of that weekend.  I will be home working on presents, like my son's sweater.  Pictures will be coming as soon as I get the camera charged.  I will also be doing at least some of my holiday decorating, planning my baking, and getting ready for holiday visitors.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fair Isle Sweater

Well, it appears as if I will have quite a bit of frogging to do.  Our son came over for lunch Sunday and so I could measure him.  It seems he has grown a bit since he was in 10th grade.  Who would have thought such a thing could happen?

Here is what it looks like right now before frogging.  I'm really sad about this too.  I felt like I had such a good start.  However, if it won't fit, it won't fit and better to frog and restart now than later.  Also, these yarns are wool.  When I questioned him, he wants something he can toss in the washer and dryer.  He knows he doesn't have room to lay flat to dry clothes.  He also doesn't want to be hand washing things.

Here is where I am in the knitting.  I found a pattern after a long search for a top down raglan that is seamless.  I am working the pattern stitch he had made for me to follow into this sweater and really the increases are easy since I'm "outlining" them in the black.  I started the neck area in black as well and did probably 6 or 7 rows before picking up the Fair Isle patterning.  Tonight as I counted rounds in the dark I have 50.   I need 55 before dividing for the sleeves.  Pics will be added soon.

For now, I will be knitting this in the light and awaiting the hurricane to come.  We have battened down every hatch, stocked up the pantry and then hubby added more, gassed up, and checked on family that needed checking on.  Now that the work is done, the extra storm work is done, I can concentrate on two projects, this sweater and making my display for Warm Up America.  I need to keep on track because I have a second sweater to do for a present for Christmas and want to have that done on Thanksgiving weekend.  Then all I have to do is a blue jean quilt for a third present by Christmas.

More details for WUA

New details for Warm Up America Kick Off!!

With so many blocks donated and the weather taking a turn for the worse with Hurricane Sandy on her way, we are having a joining party November 11 from 1 - 4 pm.  Yes this is a Sunday.  Yes this is Veteran's Day.  Please consider honoring a vet by helping with this endeavor.  

Blocks can be in any color you like.  Darker colors will tend to hide more of the wear and tear life can hand them as opposed to white or light colors.  Please do use washable fibers like acrylic.  Wool, while warmer, can be difficult for some to launder and not turn into a potholder.  Please do not use cotton, linen or bamboo for blocks.  Washable wool and acrylic don't hold the water like these plant fibers do.  Wool especially can be very warm while wet.  Acrylic less so.  Wet plant fibers just make people feel cold.  However, these fibers can be used to create facecloths for washing with.  Choose smooth patterns for this.

Joining yarns and hooks or needles will be available for use in the store for these afghans.  We will be using mainly the slip stitch method and single crochet method for joining.  Sewing the blocks together can be done but will take longer.  

Solid patterns for the blocks are encouraged since they are warmer than lacy patterns.  The gauge suggested is 5 stitches to the inch, tight enough to be warm but not so tight as to be stiff and armor like.  Garter stitch and stockinette stitch are quick to knit patterns.  Half double crochet and double crochet are quick to crochet and simple enough for most people.  Offset shells are also a nice pattern with enough variation to keep boredom at bay.

For more information, please check out  
There are more patterns available as well as a history of this charity.

All donations will stay local.  Our donation point will be as this is the local homeless shelter for men.  Women and children find shelter at Agape House.  While their main function is to help those battling addictions, they do have beds available to those in need.  

My manager has also suggested a canned good drive to benefit the local food pantry.  Donations can be dropped off in the same red box in the classroom.  Our donations for this will benefit (Lebanon County Christian Ministries).  LCCM hosts the daily noon meal which serves about 300 people a day, including those in the Meals on Wheels program.  For some this is the only meal they get.   

The donation box remains up year round.  These blocks can be done in the heat of summer without the burden of a large article in your lap.  Any foods that show up will be taken to LCCM.  They see an increase in meals over the summer when kids are home from school.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Love Yarn Day ~ Weather ~ Warm Up America

Today is October 12.  That part is obvious from the calendar.  What is not so obvious is the weather.  Tonight, frost is expected.  This is early for our area.  Even the gardeners will agree to this.

Today is I Love Yarn Day.  Seems like a great time to spread the yarnie goodness.  Tonight I was at Michaels where I teach to help spread the love of fiber, whether you love acrylics, wools, plant fibers or other animal fibers.  Yarn is great for all sorts of things.  Knitting and crocheting are only 2 things.

Because today was I love yarn day and because the weather is cold by recent standards, I spent time tonight spreading the Warm Up America message.  I solicited squares, blocks, unloved and unwanted swatches for the cause.

For readers now and hopefully in the future, I would like to ask for 7 x 9 blocks.  If you are not a local reader, donate to your local collection place.  If you are local to me, please donate to Michaels.  There is a red collection box waiting for blocks.  I'm hosting a joining party the second weekend of November.  There will be more details posted here, on my facebook status, and on Lebanon Valley Knit 2-Gether Guild's page on Ravelry.  I will post more details in an email as well to everyone for whom I have an email address.

Patterns for the blocks can be found at  Look on the left side for the free patterns link.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Class WIPs (Works In Progress)

For those of you new to knit and crochet, you might well wonder why anyone would have more than one work in progress and how anyone keeps them straight.  I used to wonder that myself.  Now I just try to keep the unfinished things to a "manageable" number.  There is no set number, by the way.  Manageable means to me what doesn't feel overwhelming.

When I was a kid and just starting with knit and crochet, my parents didn't invest in it because it could be a phase.  Most parents didn't get their kids every last thing they wanted back then.  I used the same skein or two of yarn I had to knit and re knit different things.  I knit and crocheted that yarn until it was a mass of knots.  Then I got new.    With only one pair of needles and one hook, I couldn't start a whole lot.  I also didn't care for the patterns in the one book I had.  So scarves and I were "good friends".

So how did I get to this point of having more than one thing going?  As I had kids and they got older, they wanted sweaters in something out of the ordinary, I would start something for son A.  Son B would also want something for himself.  Thus was born 2 or 3 projects on the go.  I would also be working on Christmas gifts and afghans during this time as well.  Also my interests in what was going on around me necessitated some quick start to finish items.

Then the kids got older and started doing after school activities and sports, there was a need born for portability in my projects.  I took things with me to sports practices, drama practices, music practices.  I knit and crocheted through concerts, plays, sporting events.  My prerequisite was that it could not have too many pieces or be complicated.  Basic stockinette, garter and granny squares went everywhere with me.  When something was too big, complicated or had too many pieces, it stayed home to be finished when I had the time.  Thus was born the multiple projects.  Many got finished.  Some languished in drawers or cabinets for a while, a long while in some cases but none at this moment are more than 10 years old.

I have finally gotten a handle on my works in progress, or WIPs, as they are commonly referred to.  To date, I only have a Fleur lace scarf/necklace to knit for class, a sweater for Son B (started when he was a sophomore in high school.  He's 23 now), a dishcloth, a cabled cardigan for myself, a red and tan cardigan for myself that needs frogging (rip it, rip it, rip it), two pairs of socks for myself, a pair of socks for Son B and a broomstick lace shell for me.  If there are more, I don't want to know about them.

During the past year, my projects spiraled out of control.  It was almost overwhelming.  I was working hard to get class samples finished for my students to see, feel and learn from in class and during Open Houses or demonstrations.  I also had quite a few swatches and projects that needed to get done for my class.  On top of that, I had gifts I wanted to make.  You can see how things take priority at times.  My home projects got pushed aside to get small things for class done.  Larger projects for class were scaled down to something manageable but still had the techniques that needed to be seen.

At this time, I keep one small project in my purse.  I have tote bags with one project in each ready to go with me at a moment's notice or sit beside me as I watch TV or scroll through stuff on the computer.  Large projects live life beside the sofa and never see the outside world until finished.

When do I find the time to do all I do?  This is something a lot of family and friends ask me.  My purse projects are for just such occasions now.  Am I sitting waiting for a train to go through the middle of town, waiting in line at the grocery store/post office/bank?  Did husband and I go out to eat and wait for the waitress to take our order/bring our food after ordering/bring the check after eating?  Am I waiting for an appointment, either in the waiting room or in an office?  All these are prime knitting or crocheting opportunities.  Just a couple of minutes here and there add up to hours of time during the week.  Is there less time now that the kids don't have sporting events and plays and such?  No.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day.  I just live mine a little differently than I used to.

So the next time you are in a restaurant or home improvement center or any other kind of store, and you see a woman knitting or crocheting, stop by and say Hi!  It's probably me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saturday's Yarn Tasting Class

Saturday, there will be a yarn tasting class.  I will be featuring five novelty yarns, what can be done with them, and how to use them. These are the yarns and projects I plan to feature.

Premier Starbella yarn

Red Heart Boutique Chic yarn

Loops & Threads Pompom yarn

Loops & Threads Poodle Yarn

Red Heart Boutique Sashay yarn
Patterns and how-to's for each project will be in class.  Come check out the newest yarns and how to use them.

Friday, September 7, 2012

NEW CLASS!!! Learn to Fair Isle!

Just got word, there is a new class out.

Learn to Fair Isle

This is a class to learn the basics of knitting in Fair Isle and the project is a nice warm headband instead of a hat.  Even though today, temps are going to hit near 90*, fall and winter are coming.  

I have added this class to my schedule to coincide with the Discover Knit Gifts - Fair Isle Cowl.  You can choose to do one or both during those classes.

These look wonderfully easy and will help keep you warm on those cold days that are coming.

This class can be signed up for during Michaels Open House, September 8.  All Discover Knit and Crochet classes are 50% off.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Must Share the Good News

Being part of a fairly large family on my husband's side, we have many nieces and nephews.  I have good news that one niece had a son a couple months ago.  Congratulations to Raquel and her son.  Tonight I was given the good news of another niece presenting the family with a son as well.  Mother and son are doing well, but baby is premature.  I will make a few things for this little fellow until he can grow into newborn sizes.

All the patterns I will be using come from Bev's Country Cottage  Bev very generously shares patterns she created when her own child was born prematurely.  Some are for knitting,  Some are for crocheting.  Some are for sewing.  A few are taking advantage of the knitting looms available.  Others have contributed their own patterns and variations of patterns.  I will be using easy care, hypo-allergenic acrylic yarns for the patterns I choose.  A lot of babies that size have sensitivities to animal fibers or harsh plant fibers.

And now back to the hooks and needles.  There's a little boy who's a touch under dressed.  Hopefully I can get pictures and get them uploaded.

In progress, I have a granny square afghan made from lion brand's homespun in the colorway ocean.  I will be putting a border of pale blue bunny tail around the outside edge.  I also have a cardigan/diaper shirt started with pound of love in light blue.  I'm doing the preemie size with a G hook.  I also printed the going home outfit and will be doing that one once others are done.

This is the preemie set

Two views of the granny blanket

 Newborn sized hat and sweater  The pattern is the 5 hour baby sweater with optional bonnet done in the boy version.
Baby Jae

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sale Time!!

Michaels has just announced!!!  

Knit & Crochet Classes during September 8 Open House will be 50% off.  What a great deal!!  

I must edit this post as new details have arrived.

Knit and Crochet classes qualify for the discount all day September 8.  The meet the instructors event is 11 - 3.  

All classes in the books will qualify for the discount.  I have classes scheduled to the end of the year.  Schedules will be available.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Getting ready for Open House

Open House  September 9
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Come meet the instructors!

As the knitting and crochet instructor, I know I will be there all 4 hours to talk to anyone and everyone who wants to discuss classes.  I know someone will be available to discuss the Wilton Cake Decorating, Grumbacher Art Painting classes, Bead Corner Design Academy classes, Paper Ed classes, Spotted Canary School, Martha Stewart classes, kid classes, birthday parties, and more.  Come check out what we have available.

My display will include projects from all available classes.  I start with the basics of knit and crochet and offer classes in some of the advanced techniques, such as loom knitting, sock knitting, double knitting, broomstick lace, intarsia, mosiac crochet, filet crochet, beaded crochet and knitting, and how to work with some of the newer novelty yarns.  If there is something you want to learn and don't see an offering for that class, let me know and I can tailor a class for you and any interested friends.  

My classes include individual attention and learning the basics of the stitches and pattern reading.  There is also a yarn department tour where a quick discussion about the variety of yarns and tools available take place.  We will also cover gauge and gauge swatches and their uses during classes.

Crochet Classes start with the basics of chaining and how to do the foundation stitches that all crochet is built on up to and including the common shells, clusters and granny square.  More advanced Crochet classes are available after the basics are learned and textural stitches, working in the round, natural folds, construction, reading charts and lace are tackled.  

Knit classes start with the basics of casting on and how to knit and purl and move through patterning and cables in the beginner classes.  The more advanced classes include learning more about shaping, working in the round, touching on fair isle, charted knitting and mitered knitting.

I even offer ideas to get you started on how to take the most basic pattern and change it so you have something completely different looking but still stay within your skill level.  Discussions can take place about trying new techniques you want to learn and how to incorporate them into something smaller to test.

New Classes being added to the calendar

New classes are being added to the existing calendar of yarnie goodness!!!  Schedules will be available with the updated classes at all classes, demonstrations, yarn nights and other events.

I am adding these classes due to requests!

Discover Time to Knit/Crochet - Novelty Yarns  September 15, 9 - 11:30am.  I will be showcasing 5 different novelty yarns and how to use them and patterns for completing the sample projects.

Discover Time to Crochet - Afghan Stitches  September 29, 9 - 11:30 am.  I will be featuring ripple stitches, granny stitch variations, and mile a minute.  Patterns will be available both written and charted.

Discover Time to Knit - Loom Knitting  9 - 11:30 am  Don't want to learn to knit with needles?  Can't knit due to health issues such as arthritis?  Just want to learn a new way to knit??  I show you how to use a loom to knit flat panels and in the round.  

I am also listing my demonstrations that I know of to the end of the year.  I will update this as new things crop up.  I can answer simple questions about yarn, tools, and patterns during these times.

September 22  11 - 1                                              November 3    11 - 1
October 13      1 - 3                                                December 8    11 - 1

Second Friday of October (October 12)
I Love Yarn Day
I will be in from 430 - 530 for I love Yarn day.  Come Check out some of the neat things being done with yarn!

Warm Up America
 will be kicking off in the beginning of November and information will follow.  All afghans created will be donated locally to Lebanon Rescue Mission/Agape House, Lebanon's homeless shelters.  

I also want to include these Yarn Nights:
September 22     1:30 - 3:30 pm
October 16         6 - 8 pm
October 30         6 - 8 pm
November 27     6 - 8 pm
December 1       11 - 1

During Yarn Night, I will be available to answer simple questions about patterns you may have, questions about yarns, etc.  I will have yarn as well as hooks and needles for use during these times for anyone who wants to help with making blocks for Warm Up America afghans.  Come on out and sit and stitch with me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Mother's in law hooded scarf present ~ Christmas 2011

Last year, I gave my mother in law a hooded, pocketed scarf.  It was done in red wool/acrylic blend.  Red was chosen because it favors her well.  It was a fairly quick knit on size 13 needles and with a super bulky yarn.  The area inside the pockets is stockinette.  The body of the scarf is 3 stitches of seed stitch and a plait cable in the center with 3 stitches in reverse stockinette.  I will have to see my Mother iu law about getting good pictures of her with her scarf and the scarf alone.  The pictures I took with my cell phone and camera are less than acceptable.  Pictures and I are uneasy friends.  Maybe I should invest in a photography class for beginners.

Mom's Scarf

I used 6 skeins Cozy Wool and size 13 US needles.

Stitches used are Seed Stitch, Reverse Stockinette Stitch, and Plait Cable.

CO 11 sts.
Row 1,3:  K 5, m1, K to end.
Rows 2, 4:  P 5, m1p-wise, P to end.
Row 5:  k 1, p1, k1, p 2, k3, m1, k2, p2, k 1, p1, k1.
Row 6:  k1, p1, k3, p3, m1 p-wise, p3, k3, p1, k1
Row 7:  k1, p1, k1, p2, k3, m1, k4, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 8:  k1, p1, k3, p4, m1 p-wise, p4, k3, p1, k1
Row 9:  k1, p1, k1, p2, k9, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 10:  k1, p1, k3, p9, k3, p1, k1

You should have 19 sts on R 10.

Now start the plait cable

Row 11:  k1, p1, k1, p2, k9, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 12:  k1, p1, k3, p9, k3, p1, k1
Row 13:  k1, p1, k1, p2, FC6, k3, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 14:  k1, p1, k3, p9, k3, p1, k1
Row 15:  k1, p1, k1, p2, k9, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 16:  k1, p1, k3, p9, k3, p1, k1
Row 17:  k1, p1, k1, p2, k3, BC 6, p2, k1, p1, k1
Row 18:   k1, p1, k3, p9, k3, p1, k1

Rep R 11 - 18 until you have 6ft of scarf.  Start doing reverse shaping from R 10 - 1, using k2 tog in place of m1 and p2tog in place of m1 p-wise.

To make pockets (Make 2)

CO 11

Row 1,3, 5, 7, 9:  K 5, m1, K to end.
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8, 10:  P 5, m1p-wise, P to end.

Work 2 inches in k1, p1 rib.  Bind off in pattern.

Mattress Stitch to Scarf ends.

To do the hood portion

Fold scarf in half and on center 36 inches pick up 2 sts for every 3 rows.  Work 3 sts at each edge in seed stitch and working in to center, 1 stitch Rev Stockinette, a 6 stitch plait cable, 1 stitch Rev Stockinette, and the bulk of the hood is stockinette.  Work in this manner for 15 inches.  Graft edges together for a seamless look.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

More about snowflakes

In general, when I was on the hunt for snowflake patterns, I had a hard time for one reason.  Every day I would set a goal of 1 hour of hunting and copy and paste patterns into a Word document to spell check and print.  I kept them all.  They didn't survive in digital form after a computer crash.  But more importantly, I didn't keep track of my sources so I would not keep repeating.  Many didn't have pictures with the instructions that would copy and paste.  So I could not even check that way.  I started keeping that information very late in the game after I started crocheting.  Some of my sources are easy to find and are constantly being updated.  Others have been taken down for one reason or another.  Here are links to some I have used.  This might be a new one given the 2008 date but the sites it references are for the most part ones I used, I think.

Two books I would not want to be without are 99 Snowflakes (Leisure Arts #3013) and 

Crochet 101 Snowflakes (American School of Needlework No. 1217) by Delsie Rhoades and Kathy Wesley (1995)

One of the more interesting things I learned about snowflakes is that when they form as water freezes, they are 6 sided figures.  The arms may break or not fully form but they are 6 sided all the same.  4, 5, 7, 8 sided figures are interesting and I did find some labeled as snowflakes.  I make quite a few too.  They are really neat but if you are a purist, you might want to skip them.  A couple I wish I had.  In particular is one that had 4 arms radiating from the center and the pattern called for each arm to be crocheted and break the thread and start anew in the next spot indicated in the pattern.  All fine and well but there must have been a mistake in the pattern or my reading of the pattern.  I had room for 4 1/2 arms and if I took them out and made them fit the space I had, it looked very wrong.  I didn't keep that flake.

Along the way, I learned I liked the flake patterns that were mostly chains for working but more solid looking for aesthetics.  Good old white school glue, waxed paper, foam core board and rust proof pins are essential for stiffening the flakes, if you like them like that.  More glue than water is essential to keeping mostly chained flakes looking their best (too much water in the mix and the droop sadly before the Christmas season is over).  There are groups for people who do nothing but crochet snowflakes.  Snowflakes can be joined together to form lacy place mats and tablecloths.  Smaller flakes make nice adornments for coats and fabric purses or headbands for girls.

Enjoy the links.  There are plenty out there.  There are even a few beading sites that have beaded snowflakes that are pretty neat.  Done in tiny size 10 or 11 seed beads in either white or silver or clear (or combination of those) they make nice earrings or a pendant for a chain.  You can also add beads to your flakes.  Pre-string or grab as you go and put them in where ever you think is a good spot.    I did a couple in baby blue beads and red beads.  After all these years, I still don't know if I like them.

Lastly, throw in a few icicles to keep things interesting.  There are a few patterns for them as well.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas in July continuation

Sorry it's been a bit since I posted anything.  My church had its annual carnival and I co-chair the whole thing.  We got rained out a day and a half and had a day and a half of good weather.  Better luck next year.  This is why my mind has not been on knitting or crocheting.  On the up side, I had my yearly review at Michaels today and found some interesting new yarns to play with.

I picked out Loops & Threads Poodle and Pompom and Flaunt yarns, Red Heart's Boutique series Chic, and Premier Yarns' Starbella.  I then headed over to Ravelry after checking out the patterns available for these yarns on the company sites.  As much as I hate to admit it, some of these yarns are very popular in scarves.    They take the work out of projects and allow you to use simple stitches to complete a scarf in a small amount of time.  The finished items look stunning and you can get all the glory.  Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

I have also seen some interesting and unique ideas for some of these yarns, shawls, purses, hair scrunchies, adornments like flowers for other items, purses/clutches, pillows, blankets, cuffs and mitts, and strangely tea cozies.  For as much as I like a nice cup of tea when it's cold out, I never really thought about these for tea cozies but they are there.  And they look really interesting.

And now since a tornado watch is in effect for my location, I must get off the computer and shut things down.  This weather system arrived earlier than expected.  At least I don't have to go out right now for a class and I'm home from my day job.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bookmark Patterns

As promised, here are 2 bookmarks.  The first is a knit Christmas tree.  The lace pattern is taken from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knit Patterns.  Her books are a gold mine of patterns that seemingly never end.  Even if you run out of actual patterns to work with, your imagination can take those patterns and combine them in ways that many have not seen before.  The second is a double pineapple bookmark in crochet.  Pineapples in crochet have been around for a very long time.  They can be added into patterns, stand alone, created circles or squares.  They are an amazing motif.  In my research of pineapples, I have even seen a pair of earrings made from crocheted pineapples.

Knit Christmas Tree Lace Bookmark

Gauge:  Not important for this project

Finished Size:  2" x up to 6" long

Materials needed:  Size 10 Crochet Cotton Thread, I used DMC Baroque in Christmas Green
                             Size 7 steel hook
                             Size 0 needles
                             Tapestry needle

Stitches used:  K - knit, P - purl, k2tog - knit 2 together, ssk - slip stitch knitwise, slip stitch knitwise, put both back on the left needle and knit them together through the back of the stitch, 

Cast on 25 sts.

Knit in garter stitch up to 4" in length.  For the lace section, keep first 4 and last 4 sts in garter.  End with 3 - 6 rows more of garter stitch.

Lace Panel Directions

Row 1 wrong side (and all wrong side rows):  K 4, P to last 4 sts, K 4.

Row 2:  K 10, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k to end

Row 4:  K 9, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k to end

Row 6:  K 8, (k2tog, yo) twice, k 1, (yo, ssk) twice, k to end

Row 8:  K 7, (k2tog, yo) twice, k3, (yo, ssk) twice, k to end

Row 10:  k 6, (k2tog, yo) 3x, k 1, (yo, ssk) 3x, k to end

Rows 12, 14, 16, 18,  20, 22, 24,  and 26:  Rep Rows 8, 6, 4, 6, 8, 6, 4, 2

Row 28:  K 11, k2tog, yo, k to end

Row 29: Rep Row 1

For this pattern I used a light pencil mark to keep track of where I was in the row count.  Also this will need blocking.  Use a burst of steam and a light pressing for this.  The garter will need stretched a bit around the lace panel and the stockinette background will need the steam to help the stitches to line up.

Pineapple Bookmark

Materials needed:  Size 3 thread, I used Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet Cotton in Scarlet
                             Size B hook
                             Tapestry needle

Gauge: Not important in this project

Finished Size:

Stitches used:  Ch - chain, sc - single crochet, sl st - slip stitch, dc - double crochet, sp – space, dc3tog – double crochet 3 stitches together

Note:  Ch 3 at the beginning of a row counts as a dc throughout this pattern.

Ch 5, join with a sl st to form a ring.

R1:  ch 1, 9 sc in ring, join with a sl st in top of first sc.

R2:  Ch 3, 3 dc in same st as join, * 3 dc in next st.  Rep from *. Turn

R3:  Ch 3, dc in next st, ch 2, * dc in next st, ch 1.  Rep from * to the last 2 sts.  End ch 2, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 of prev row.  Turn.

R4:  Ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sc in ch 1 sp, * ch 3, sc in next ch 1 sp.  Rep from * across.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 of prev row.  Turn

R5:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp, * sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3.  Rep from * across skipping last ch 3 sp.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R6:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp, * sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3.  Rep from * across skipping last ch 3 sp.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R7:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp, * sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3.  Rep from * across skipping last ch 3 sp.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R8:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp, * sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3.  Rep from * across skipping last ch 3 sp.  End ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R9:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, sk first ch 3 sp,  sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 sp of prev row.  Turn

R10:  ch 3, dc in dc, ch 3, dc in dc, dc in top of ch 3 of prev row.  Turn

R11:  ch 3, dc in next 2 sts, dc in top of ch 3 of prev row.  Turn

R12:  ch 3, dc3tog.  End off.

Turn upside down so the sc ring is at the top.  On the right side, sk 2 sc.  Join thread with a sl st in next sc.  Start with R2 from the other side and make the other half.

Again blocking with a shot of steam will help this to lie flat. 

You can embellish these as you see fit.  Just remember to keep beads away from the main body of the bookmark so as to not break the spines of the books these are sure to be used in.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An idea for Christmas Crocheting

This idea came to me a few years ago.  I decided that our new house, which has a lot (every room at that point) of paneling, would look ever so nice with Christmas tree type garland around each doorway in the kitchen (2 doorways), living room (1 doorway) and hall hall (3 bedrooms, a bathroom, a closet and the double wide opening between the living room and kitchen/dining area) and the plain non-branching garland around the ceilings of the hall, living room and kitchen/dining area..  All this was put up using cup hooks that never left the walls unless the walls were removed.  Some have been since that time.  It did look nice.  It also looked rather dark with all that wood, dark green garland and doors closed to keep heat where we wanted it and pets out of the rooms.  To remedy this I decided to add white snow flakes to each garland around each doorway and around the ceilings.

Each branched garland was 9 feet long and I had the bright idea to put a flake every foot on each one (to help brighten the dark areas).  Each garland around the ceilings was 50 ft each.  I lost count of how many feet of this I put up each year.  Needless to say, I started crocheting snowflakes.  I gave myself a year to make them all.  I was hoping to have around 300 I think at one point.  I really have no idea how many ever did get made.  It was a bunch.

I collected patterns from the internet the summer of 2005.  I bought snowflake crochet pattern books when I found them.  I wanted one of each pattern.  After all, snowflakes in nature are all different, so mine had to be too.  There are very large 12 inch flakes on down to 1 inch flakes.  Some are beaded.  Most are not.  Most flakes I tried to keep in the 3 inch - 5 inch diameter range.  I still have the printouts in a 3 inch binder and the books.  I got a third of the way through them.  Some day I will go back to them.

The flakes when done look absolutely terrible until blocked and starched.  The terribleness could have something to do with me crunching them up to stuff into the cardboard tube in the center of the white mercerized cotton thread.  To get them in the shape I wanted, I took a piece of foam core board and made 6 pointed shapes on them 6 inches long.  I covered this in waxed paper.  Now I could soak my flakes in glue and pin them out.  Each flake to a shape with really small ones in the spaces in between.  I have tried differing strengths of glue to water ratios, from 1/2 and 1/2 to full glue (white school glue).  The half and half gives a nice starched appearance but doesn't really hold up.  Points started drooping.  The full glue, depending on the brand, would give a look of plastic to the flakes, but they held their shape.

If I find the pictures again, I will post them.  A computer malfunction wiped out a lot of my pictures, I think I had some of these printed off.  However, every year since I started this, the flakes and garlands go up first thing.  The cup hooks remain in most places year round and have tarnished so that they blend in with the darker wood paneling.  In places where walls have been replaced, we opted for lighter and brighter wall treatments and sadly the flakes don't show up on these walls.

The snowflakes would also make nice package ties, ornaments for the tree or jewelry if you use the very small ones.  Some people I have heard about leave the flakes in the unstiffened state and lay them on the branches.  You could even use them to embellish some everyday wardrobe items with either a few stitches on the points to hold them on or use some of the tacky quilting spray to hold them on for just a night.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Something for the readers in my family

For some reason most knitters and crocheters I know also read a lot.  I know I do.  One of the ideas that came to me today was bookmarks to tuck into a bestseller or topic specific book those on my list have been yearning for.  I'm thinking of thread lace crochet, hairpin lace, knitted lace, and possibly book jackets in some of the "standard" sizes of books.  This allows the reader to be left in peace with his or her book.  No one to question the choice of book or if your are into the new thriller, no one to spoil the whodunit.

Along this line would would also be an e-Reader sleeve to protect it from bumps and scratches.  I think a nice fair isle pattern that gets felted could be a good idea.

In looking through my patterns, books and magazines recently, I came across some interesting ideas.

Create a single crochet pineapple two pineapples long and put scallops along the edges.  Pattern for this will go up this weekend.  Pick any lace pattern either knit or crochet that is 6 to 12 stitches wide and work in size 10 thread with either a size 8 steel hook or size 0 knitting needles and work enough repeats for 6 inches.    Again a pattern for a knit idea and a pattern for a crochet idea will go up this weekend.  All of these will also have pictures.

For a book jacket or eReader sleeve, try these patterns from different yarn manufacturers.  Some nice ones are at lion brand and caron.

For the last two, put kindle in the search box.  There are a few for your viewing and stitching pleasure.

A selection of many different and fun bookmarks can be found at these sites.

For the last two, put kindle in the search box.  There are a many here also for your viewing and stitching pleasure.

If this isn't enough variation, go to and signup if you haven't already.  Once you are in, click the patterns tab and put in your search request.  No matter what I'm looking for there is always at least one pattern or project for me to see out there.

This should help with a few ideas for now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Christmas in July continues

I've been giving some thought to this once again as I listen to podcasts from KnitPicks.  One episode was geared to what one book has patterns that would satisfy most if not all of your holiday knitting.  I think you would have to know what you are planning to do in the general for each person you are knitting for before you can start pinpointing patterns.  One of the people quizzed said that she kept her knitting for holidays simple.  Choose basic patterns that you can do easily but with enough variety to prevent boredom and let the yarns you choose carry the project.  Another people quizzed said that you should pick projects based on the recipients.  In other words don't give something lacy to a person who really only likes and wears tailored items, a bulky wool sweater to someone who lives in the tropics.  However, you can give finger-less mitts to people who work in offices that are not heated as warm as our homes or feel so due to the sedentary nature of their jobs.

Today's patterns are all about finger-less mitts and mittens.  You can choose patterns that use yarns as fine as fingering weight (sock yarn) on up to patterns that use super bulky.  They can be knit or crocheted.  Mittens are appreciated by almost everyone and they can keep your hands warmer than gloves by keeping the fingers bunched together.

Some choices for easy patterns would be   K   C   K   K   C   K   C

These are all from Red Heart.  However, they were chosen for being easy to knit or crochet and allowing the yarn to give emphasis to the mitts or mittens.  Any pattern you choose can be done in any yarn as long as you remember to check the gauge of the yarn recommended and match that up to the gauge of the yarn you want to use.  As your math skills get better you can pick any yarn  to go with any pattern.