Book Review: Drop Dead Easy Knits

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Monday 26 June 2017 at 2:27 pm

Drop-Dead Easy Knits by Gale Zucker, Mary Lou Egan, and Kirsten Kapur was published by Clarkson Potter in 2016. It retails for $16.99 in the US and $22.99 in Canada and includes 29 knitting projects.

Admittedly, after I flipped through this book when I first received it, I was put off by the claim of “dead drop easy” in the title. Of course – disclaimer – I’m a beginning knitter who continues to struggle through every knitting project, even the simplest. I do enjoy knitting, but it has never been intuitive for me like crochet has been. So, the definition of “easy” clearly varies depending on your own knitting experience.

I read through the introduction because I wanted to know why these patterns would be considered easy, and there I discovered the idea behind this book. The authors, all seasoned knitters, created projects that had large repeated areas in the patterns. This repetition of stitches is where the idea of being easy comes in because experienced knitters will probably find these patterns easy. As further proof that this book is not for new knitters or beginners, there is very little “how-to” information in the book. This is not meant to be a criticism of the book. I just wanted to be clear that my review indicates this is book of “easy” knitting projects for people who are already at least intermediate level knitters.

The 29 projects in this book are organized into chapters such as “The Waiting Game,” which has projects that are good for working on while you might be waiting on the phone for example. All the projects are divided up into three levels of difficulty: mindless, relaxed, and attentive.

As far as the projects in this book – and I have to say 29 is a generous amount – there are some really beautiful ones, and I plan to forward this book to a friend of mine who I think will be able to rock some of them. Sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, baby clothes, even toys provide a huge variety to choose from. So for experienced knitters, I recommend they consider this book for their personal knitting library.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for review.

Linus Knit Shawl Finished Object!

Blogged under Finished Projects,Free Craft Projects,learning2knit by Tammy on Wednesday 21 June 2017 at 10:18 am

Ta da! I have frogged and re-knit this shawl way too many times to count, but it is finally done. This is a free pattern available through Ravelry simply called Linus, and it is an asymmetrical shawl knit in garter stitch. While I’ve been knitting for a few years now, I am still not that great at is (thus the constant need to frog or tink on just about every.single.project), so this is a pattern that is great for beginners. I have already started another one.

I used 50 Shades of Gradient yarn in the Cocoa Beach colorway. I love all the colorways of this yarn, but after making this and another similar shawl for my sister, I don’t see me using it again any time soon. It is not friendly when it comes to frogging and will often tangle as I pull on it. I also found it a tad splity. More experiences knitters probably wouldn’t have these issues. For knitting needles, I used 5mm Harmony from my interchangeable set. (I have a review of these and other Knit Pick needles on my Youtube channel.)

This Linus shawl is super long, and it wraps more like a scarf. I have no doubt there are other ways to style this, but below are a few photos of my first attempts.

When I first started it, I was having trouble remembering which row I was on when I would put it down (even though there are only two row repeats…yeah…um…pathetic), and I was having problems understanding the knitting jargon (limited though it is) on the pattern. However, I found a wonderful video on Youtube from Fiber Spider (embedded below) that helped me tremulously. If you are knew to knitting or just want a no-brainer project, I highly recommend this free pattern!

Mookaite Stone Crochet Bead Necklace Project

Blogged under crochet jewelry,Free Craft Projects,Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Saturday 10 June 2017 at 12:02 pm

While this is not my first time ever making crochet jewelry, this Mookaite Stone Crochet Bead Necklace (56 inches long) is the first time I’ve ever used Chinese knotting cord to crochet with. I have been wanting to experiment with different types of string and cord, and this is one experiment that turned out great. I am a big fan of Chinese knotting cord now. The beads are from a strand of mookaite 10mm faceted beads I purchased while briefly visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico. (You can find out more about my bead hunting trip to San Juan in a video I posted on my YouTube channel).

I used the following supplies and materials:

.5mm Chinese Knotting Cord, Ginger (color)

1 – 16″ Strand of 10mm Faceted Mookaite Beads

Flexible Eye Needle

1 D-size Crochet Hook

1 Brass Toggle Clasp

Clear Drying Glue

Corsage Pin



Below are a few photos I took while I made the necklace and a general description of the process:

1. For bead crochet, you have to get the beads onto whatever thread or cord medium you plan to use before you start to crochet.I knew I wanted to use all of the beads and make the necklace super long, but I had no idea how long the cord would need to be, so I kept the cord on the spool as I worked. To help get the beads on to the cord, I attached a flexible needle to the end, and then threaded all the beads onto the cord.

2. After all the beads were strung on the cord, I measured about 8 inches from the end of the cord and made a slip knot to attach the crochet hook to the Chinese knotting cord, and I made five crochet chain stitches.

3. Then I moved a bead down and made a chain stitch right after the bead to secure the bead into the cord, and I continued to make five more crochet chain stitches.

4. I just repeated this process – move the bead down, chain one, then chain five – for all of the beads.

5. Once I had all the beads and chain stitches done, I slipped one part of a toggle clasp onto one end of the cord and tied several knots. Then I repeated this with the other part of the toggle. I used a corsage pin to help push the first knot up against the loop of the toggle clasp section.

6. Once I had all the knots made, I used sharp scissors to trim off the excess cord and added a dab of clear drying glue on the knots and allowed it to dry.

The necklace is super long (56 inches), which allows me to wear it triple wrapped with no problem. The flash on the photo below makes the cord look almost white, but it’s actually more of a very light pink, almost a flesh color.

I set four beads (that matched) aside before making the necklace so that I had enough to whip up a few simple pair of earrings to go with the necklace when I finished.

Yarn & Dollies: Retro Blythe; Hotel of Bees Shawl FO

Blogged under Yarn and Dollies by Tammy on Thursday 8 June 2017 at 8:57 am

Here is my latest Yarn and Dollies podcast. I show off my finished Hotel of Bees Shawl and discuss some other crafting projects I have in the works. I also briefly discuss a new book I received for review, Little Loom Weaving: Quick and Clever Projects for Creating Adorable Stuff

Disney Zootopia Crochet Kit

Blogged under Crafty Products,Crafty Videos,crochet and knitting by Tammy on Monday 5 June 2017 at 10:06 am

Thunderbay Books sent me the Zootopia Crochet kit to review, and in the video below, I unbox all the supplies provided to make two of the characters from the movie and also give your some information about the booklet provided in the kit. Below is also a direct link to Amazon where you can purchase the kit at a discount.


Carnival Cruise Review & St. Maarten

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Monday 5 June 2017 at 8:48 am

As you can tell by our discussion in this video, St. Maarten was a big hit with us as our last port of call on our Carnival cruise. 

Carnival Cruise Review & St. Kitts

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Monday 5 June 2017 at 8:46 am

In this video, we review our time on the boat and our day at St. Kitts.