A New Crochet Podcast

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Social Networking by Tammy on Friday 30 March 2012 at 4:44 pm

After pointing out that the yarn podcast world is inundated with knitters but no crocheters, I’m so happy to report about a new crochet podcast produced by Stacey Trock called Crochet Chat. You can find it linked on her Fresh Stitches weblog, over on Podbean, and (of course) on iTunes. If you just want to listen from your PC, I suggest the Podbean link because you can stop and start it very easily. If you plan to listen to it on an ipad or ipod, then iTunes is a good place to download it.

The first episode is 45 minutes long, and Stacey plans to post the second episode on April 4th. She will record a new episode every other week and post them on Wednesdays. I finally got a chance to listen to her inaugural podcast, and I thought it was excellent. She’s funny and informative. In fact, she had some excellent information about how some plant-based yarns, like bamboo, are made.

I can only imagine how much work recording, editing, and posting a podcast is, so hopefully, she will continue to be up to the challenge and we crocheters will have some audio crochet love going on for a change!

Yarn Store Trip – Knit and Stitch in Cocoa Village

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Fiber Fun by Tammy on Monday 26 March 2012 at 4:48 pm

I was visiting family in Rockledge, Florida this past weekend, and since I was in town, I thought it might be a good excuse to check out a yarn store I had been curious about that is located in Cocoa Village called Knit and Stitch. Besides the fact that I was just curious, I had a really good excuse for going because I was running out of the Big Trend yarn I was using for shawl number 2. Originally, I bought just two skeins with the idea I was going to make a hat and maybe a scarf, so needless to say, two skeins is not enough for a big shawl!

Granted, I could probably have gotten more of the same yarn from the shop here in town, but I thought I’d at least see if Knit and Stitch had it since I was in the area. Not only did they have it but in the same exact dye lot too, woot!

As a native Floridian, I have not exactly been to tons of yarn shops, so I’m not sure really what to expect, but boy, howdy, this place was awesome! It had yarn, yarn, and more yarn. I mean floor to ceiling, wall to wall, baskets on and under tables, there was yarn all over the place! Luckily, I had a few things keeping me from spending my entire pay check. When we walked in, there was a knitting circle right in the center of the store. Many of the knitters greeted us when we came in, which was very friendly, but it was kind of hard to move around in the store because it was packed with people. Then there was my mom who had come with me. She has knitted and crocheted in the past, but it’s not her thing any more, so she had to keep remarking to me about how expensive the yarn was. Yes, a “Debbie Downer” will help keep you from going too crazy with the yarn spending. Then, finally, there was still my own sticker shock demon that I continue to fight.

I ended up getting two more skeins of the Big Trend to finish my shawl (or at least I hope it’s enough to finish it). Then I just bought a few skeins to taste test. I keep hearing about Merino, which I really don’t know what that is exactly other than it’s wool. So I bought a 50 gram/180 yard cake of Zarina Print Tweed extra fine superwash wool Merino. I can’t see if there is any specific name of the color of yarn on the label. This is from Italy, so some of the label is in Italian. I know this is one little bit of yarn, but I’m hoping it’s enough to make a lace-type scarf. It was on sale, normally $12.50 marked down to $9.95. (Yes, for this tiny little cake of yarn, $10, but it is so cute and soft).

My second experimental splurge is a little 50 gram/170 meter skein of Peter Pan Double Knit 55% nylon and 45% acrylic. I couldn’t find anything on the label that indicated the name of the colorway. This skein was $6.75, and more than likely I will make some baby hats with it.

My yarn strategy was that I would get a few small skeins and see how I liked them. I am clearly still out of my element when it comes to fancy yarn shops, and unless I have a specific project in mind, I’m not ready to pluck down a lot of many for yarn that I don’t have a very specific purpose for. I ended up spending about $40 total, which isn’t too bad, and I received a discount card from Knit and Stitch. For every $10 you spend, they stamp the card. Then once you reach $100 total (not difficult to do in a fabulous place like that), you get 10% off your total purchase, including sale items.

Though the shop felt very knit-centric (everyone there was knitting and they have a knitting cruise scheduled for November), I found the store and everyone in very inviting. I hope to go again on my next visit to the area, this time possibly without mom and hopefully a few less knitting circle people so I can see more of the yarn and not have an extra voice telling me that the yarn is expensive.

Crafty Link Time

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Monday 26 March 2012 at 6:35 am

About Family Crafts
Play along with the new Make-It-Over craft challenge. This challenge is all about making crafts using Easter Peeps candy.

Aileen’s Musings
Aileen offers you a re post of a fun magnetic Easter or Mother’s Day project!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
Carmi makes some pop up cards using some beloved vintage imagery!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there tutorials on how to make tube rivets, recycled envelope stamped mail art, use an ironing board to adjust drape, info on Crafted at The Port of Los Angeles, and a recipe for peanut butter bread.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
One of The Artful Crafter’s readers has developed a new, improved recipe for homemade polymer clay. Be sure to check out Eva’s recipe, as well as the darling “gingerbread” house she made with it.

Mixed Media Artist
What’s a girl to do when she can’t draw but she wants to include a drawing in her quilt?

The Card Album Blog
How to make a “Keep Calm and Cut On” Recycled art card.

My Link List of Podcasts, Knitters Only?, & Good-Bye Spring Break

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Sunday 25 March 2012 at 5:44 am

My spring break is just about over, and of course, I did not manage to do even half of the things I had planned. It always cracks me up when people say, “What do you do all week?” As if I couldn’t possibly have anything to do for an entire week away from my job. Besides the fact that I did have to spend some time during my break on some school work, I’d say I lost a day at least, I always have plenty to do around here.

One of the activities I was planning to do and did not was to pick up my knitting needles again and work on purl stitch. Instead, I became enamored with this ripple shawl I started. Now, my love affair with the shawl has not been without its mishaps, but that is story for another blog post. As I stitched endlessly on this new project, I listened to tons of podcasts, some old ones I was catching up with and some new. That, at least, was one thing on my list that I did end up doing: listening to podcasts.

All this podcast catching up soon lead me to a number of new podcasts, so you will notice that I have added new ones to my list of Craft Podcasts (on the right side of my blog template) and removed some that hadn’t updated in a really long time, so obviously, they are no longer recording. Here are some of the very recent ones I’ve added to the list:

  • Commuter Knitter – This is really a clever one. She records while she’s driving to work and uses a travel and driving theme to organize her show.
  • Fat Squirrel Speaks – She is a hilarious, no filters kind of knitter who does a video podcast. She’s new to this but I think she will be in it for the long run (fingers crossed).
  • Girl Friends Knitting – This is also a video podcast about knitting and spinning as well. I have just watched one show, but I liked her. Her personality comes through really well.
  • Knitmore Girls – I’ve just listened to one show, but these gals have been podcasting for awhile. Again, they cover knitting and some spinning. I tend to like shows like this that have two people talking, so I enjoyed it even if I felt a little lost sometimes with some of the terminology.
  • Knitabulls – This is also a video podcast, which seems pretty well-established. It seems video podcasts are starting to more popular than audio. What do you think?
  • Knitting Brooklyn – This is an audio style podcast; though it looks like she might start adding some how-to videos as well.
  • The Knit Girllls – Another video podcast, this was one I especially liked, again because there are two people, so it is more like a conversation.
  • The Knitting Den Podcast – I have to admit I haven’t listened to this yet, but I plan to soon.
  • With Pointed Sticks – She’s pretty new at podcasting (audio), but I enjoyed it. She also usually includes a few photos of projects she’s working on in her show notes.
  • Yarniacs – Another good podcasts with two speakers, though I wish there was another way to listen instead of just iTunes. I like to be able to stop them and start them, and I couldn’t figure out how to do that.

So, do you notice a theme going on here? Knitting, knitting, knitting! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but where are the other craft podcasters? What about jewelry? What about crochet? What about scrapbooking?

I still have enjoyed crocheting on my shawl while listening and watching many of these this week, and I did learn a lot about knitting and yarn in general. However, I miss someone with a hook or a handful of beads talking to me.

Use Up that Yarn Book Review

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Saturday 24 March 2012 at 5:49 am

The prolific writer and designer Drew Emborsky, The Crochet Dude, has yet another wonderful book out from Leisure Arts. This one is called Use Up that Yarn! and as the title explains, the projects focus on stash busting, as in lots of small and easy to make items that do not take tons of yarn to make. Most yarn people, whether they crochet or knit, will soon discover that they tend to end up with extra pieces of yarn, sometimes as much as entire skeins, after finishing their projects. I have tons of small balls of yarn and orphaned skeins waiting for that perfect project. Since the projects in this book do not require much yarn, that also means they are fast to make and many would make wonderful gift items (for those who are already thinking of starting those holiday projects).

The 32 page book includes instructions for 13 projects: oval bowl, coasters (those are the flowers pictured on the cover), scarf and mittens set, coffee cup sleeve, snow scarf and hat set, teapot cozy, table runner, round bowl, cowl (these seem really popular up north), fingerless gloves, and water bottle sling. The skill levels range from beginner, easy, and intermediate, but most are at the “easy” level, so that is right in between. I am eyeing the flower coasters because I have a lot of left over pieces of cotton yarn, and who doesn’t have time to make a coffee cup sleeve? These are great little “thank you” items that won’t dig into your personal crochet time, and you end up with some useful items to use for yourself or give to others.

The book retails for $9.95, so that’s about .77 a project. It’s available at Amazon (see the linked ad in this post) and also the Leisure Arts web site which has a hard copy or a digital copy (which retails for $4.98.

Crochet Donations, Final Count

Blogged under Charity Crafting by Tammy on Friday 23 March 2012 at 6:22 am

Here is a photo of all the donated baby items for the February 2012 Crochlist donation drive. We ended up with 50 hats, 2 sweaters, 1 pair of booties, and 9 baby afghans. Wow! My next step is to drive over to Okeechobee (about an hours drive) to deliver all these to Healthy Start. Normally, I give my donations for this group to a friend who delivers them for me, but she wanted me to come along with her on this trip since we have so many baby goodies to bring with us. I have washed and packed them all and I’m ready to go!

Ripple Shawl, As in Shawl # 2

Blogged under Projects in Progress by Tammy on Thursday 22 March 2012 at 6:15 am

Funny thing, this is the second shawl I have started in the past month or so, and I just realized that I don’t think I have mentioned the first shawl or even how my desire for making shawls started. I’ll start with my shawl stalking: While I have always thought shawls to be beautiful, I seriously wasn’t sure if I wanted to make one for the longest time. It’s not that I never made a shawl at all. In fact, back in the late 70s, I made a few as gifts, but back then, a cute shawl over a spaghetti strap sundress was considered chic. Today, I’m not so sure. Besides the blast from the past feeling they gave me, I also envisioned the old grandmother scenario. I’m pushing the big 5 – 0, so the grandma look is not something I look forward to.

However, the more I kept seeing them around in books and on-line, the more I came to realize that I could definitely use one, even though I live where it’s warm. My husband and I tend to play tag with the thermostat, and that means I’m usually freezing in the house while it’s 90 degrees outside. He’s wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and I’m wearing sweats and a hat and scarf! What better reason to wear a shawl then?

I will skip the shawl # 1 story for now and move on to how I started shawl # 2. I originally bought the yarn I’m using for it (Marks & Kattens Big Trend, 70% acrylic and 30% wool in a shade called “Parti”) during my last LYS trip with the idea that I would make a hat with it. I briefly showed the pattern to the store owner, and she saw that it used self-striping yarn, so she brought me over to this yarn, which came in this purple/green colorway as well as a blue mix. This was the closest she had, and so I bought it. Last weekend, I finally decided to at least start the hat, but as I started trying to work with this yarn, I realized that the hook size (a K) was just too big. It felt weird. The hat was a no-go.

Well, shoot, what was I going to do with this beautiful yarn that I had been dying to touch and play with? Of course, I went to where else but Ravelry.com for help. I looked the yarn up under the “yarns” tab and looked to see what other Ravelry folks had made with it and found not only the exact yarn but THE perfect project: a ripple shawl using this yarn. Since the original pattern used different yarn, I emailed the Ravelry user and asked her if two skeins of the Big Trend would be enough and she said it would be plenty. Yeah, again!

As you can see from the picture, this is turning out great. The self-striping yarn is doing it’s thing, and the ripple pattern is so easy to do. This is a fairly larger project than I usually like to take on, but I think I can stick it out. Oh, and the best part is that I’m actually making something for myself for a change. This is not going to be a gift or donated to a charity. It’s for ME!

Making a Center Pull Yarn Ball

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Wednesday 21 March 2012 at 10:22 am

After you have been knitting or crocheting for awhile, it does not take long before you start collecting leftover yarn pieces. Normally, I have wrapped these into balls of yarn. In fact, I do this often too when I have a skein of yarn that does not want to cooperate and pull from the middle like it should. (Don’t you hate that?) Then I saw this very cool center pull yarn ball method over that KnitFreedom.com and was amazed! No more pulling on the yarn and it rolls all over the place!

I tried the method demonstrated on the video below, and once I started getting the hang of it, I realized how simple it really is. One issue I did have, however, is that for larger yarn pieces, it can be a little challenging since my hand is only so big and you wrap the yarn around your fingers in a figure 8. But for smaller yarn pieces, this is now my “go to” method for wrapping.

Finished Baby Blanket Yarn Baby Afghan

Blogged under Charity Crafting,Finished Projects by Tammy on Tuesday 20 March 2012 at 3:49 pm

Awhile back I blogged about some amazing baby blanket yarn, and here is the finished product. Because the yarn is super duper thick, I decided to make a granny square with it. Otherwise, at least in the South, it might just be too heavy. It turned out great, and I am in love with the yarn now. In fact, I’m thinking of making some larger afghans with it for some future holiday gifts. Unfortunately, most of the colors it comes in are more for babies, but there are a few, such as a pretty peach color, that I think I can use for a non-baby afghan.

The finished size is 30 inches, and I ended up having to purchase an extra skein to finish it. As I suspected, the 10.5 oz size was just not going to be enough for one baby afghan, even a small one. I probably used a little less than half of another skein of the same size, and I managed to use a 40% off coupon when I picked up the second skein in JoAnn’s. So it was about $5 for it. Now I am just going to be on the lookout for it to go on sale and stock up when I can.

I’m Back & Blogging!

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Tuesday 20 March 2012 at 2:25 pm

Shew! I had to take some time off blogging over here because I was in the middle of switching domain hosts. Boy, howdy, that is not fun, especially for someone like me with very minimal technical skills! However, crossing fingers and toes, all is well and everything made the migration nicely to my new home. Look for some craft updates soon. I’ve been busy!

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