Shark Week is upon us. Well, actually Discovery Channel has expanded its annual event to 2 weeks this year —which is always in July, the height of vacation season and when sharks come out to hunt, er, play in the waters. Here you will discover fun projects to knit and crochet all things sharks.
With many species of toothy sharks on the planet, fiberistas have taken it in their hands to create softer and more cuddly versions of aquatic sharks. The internet has exploded with patterns of all shapes and sizes from little ball shaped to very large sharks. Here are a few samples of sharks that I have crocheted. If interested, you can purchase the patterns on Etsy and each photo tells you the designer name.
I have crocheted each of these sharks, all are easy. Chum the shark is small, Shawn medium size and Sam the shark is large.
Once you have the shark plushie done, you might want to move onto shark shaped bags. These are fun to make, and are a great conversation starter. I have crocheted this bag in 2 sizes, kid size and adult size. I lined the adult bag with fabric to make it sturdy.
The Shark Bag is also a fun, easy pattern to follow. Go Ravelry, where you will find the FREE pattern by Erin Sharp. I banged this out in less than a day, pretty easy.
How about a shark hat? Not just for babies, kids of all ages can wear one too.
Repeat Crafter Me, is the designer of the shark hat. She has great detail with instructions, many photos, and many sizes. The link provided will lead you to the FREE pattern on Ravelry. The photo here shows you 2 different size hats made from her pattern. I added a little fiberfill stuffing to the dorsal fin.
And let’s not forget about “Fluffy.” Your cat may hate you, but it is good for a laugh.
(Sorry, no link available for these cat costumes.)
Then there are the slippers, slipper socks, sleep sack, shark can cozy, shark oven mitts. The possibilities are endless. What can you come up with?
Dog Days Cat Days of Summer, Light Projects for Hot Summer Days
June Gloom, where did it go? The gloom has parted ways, as the fireworks raged on –elsewhere this week. Baggy and Gizmo are scattered on the bed, fans blowing on them, trying to keep cool. Southern California has been HOT, even at the ocean –no foggy mornings these days. The weather channel reports its hotter in LA than it is in Phoenix, WOW, now that’s HOT! Welcome to summer.
So, how do you crochet and knit when the weather is hot? (Let me know.)
Besides crocheting animals, I try to craft shawls for the fall and winter shows, often deterred by the weather. Who really wants wool resting on their lap when its hot outside? Maybe I need to think about wool more in winter…
Instead of focusing on the heat, I thought I’d share Here are some fun, small projects to keep you motivated during these hot summer days. Made with scraps of yarn in your stash.
Fruits and Vegetables. These are fun, quick projects that can be crocheted in no time. Imagine the possibilities of fun food. No more dusting off plastic fruits and veggies, crochet and knit them. Teachers tell me they use fruits and veggies as color association for kids to learn colors, i.e. apple-red, banana-yellow. They can also be cat or dog toys, before closing the fruit or veggie, just add some dried catnip with the stuffing. Your kitty will love you for it.
Cookies, Ice Cream Cones, Donuts. Why not, right? These are great toys for kids to play with, filled with fiberfill stuffing, no calories, just fun food. Put in a large clear container, and the kids will think you got them sweets to munch on. The cookies paid patterns can be found on Craftsy. The ice cream scoop is my pattern, and the Donuts are a free pattern.
Flowers. The possibilities are endless. Take a straw bag, accessorize it with flowers. Get French clips, sew flower onto clip, you have made a cute flower for your hair. Take a mini flower, attach to paperclip and you have a cute bookmark. Daisies, Roses, Sunflowers, Lilies, Pansies. From small to large; earrings & necklaces to belts; scarves too. Add a stem and you have created a lovely bouquet of flowers.
Cactus. . Saguaro, Barrel, Agave, Star just to name a few, just place them in cute clay pots. Wouldn’t these be cute as pincushions? A fun conversation piece sitting on a table. These teeny tiny cacti patterns can be found on etsy, with the direct link to the seller MuffaMiniatures
What’s great about all of these items, you can use up scraps of yarn. No need to stop by the local store to pick up many yarns. Little bits of leftover yarn and in no time you will have a cornucopia of little projects.
So stay cool, keep hydrated, place the pets indoors with fresh water, and enjoy the little projects during the hot, summer days.
Many things are happening today with World Wide Knit in Public Day, National Rosé Wine Day, Donald Duck Day and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day, and Iced Tea Day is tomorrow. With summertime ideas for crocheters and knitters, summer does not have to be boring.
What a great day to get out and take a peek at people knitting and crocheting. Have you ever wanted to learn how to knit or crochet? Maybe join a group, meet interesting people, or just catch up with friends while showing those curious in a craft. It’s not just for grandmothers, any age can crochet or knit. Today is your day.
The weather has finally changed, no more “June gloom” clouds in the morning, beautiful blue skies in the day, leading to some coastal fog in the late afternoon. The crochet hook continues to produce animals new and reintroduce old favorites.
Summertime beckons great colors, fabrics, ideas. Here are some to get you started, all made with cotton yarn.
How about picnics in the park, with a handmade blanket to sit on? Take a look at Ashleigh’s gingham blanket. Just make squares and sew together. If you are handy with making graphs, use the C2C method and make a graphghan. Its more work but less ends to weave in.
For knitters, miter squares are a great alternate to crochet. I am working on a blanket using miter squares with remnant pieces of yarn.
Heading to the beach, take this oversize tote bag with you. Imagine the color possibilities with this bag. I made this one for a July 4th party we were invited to. Strips of color, woven together, add a shoulder strap or 2.
Having a summer time party? Give your guests their own drink cozy. No worrying about whose bottled beverage is who’s when each guest can have their own cozy. Embellish the cozy if you want or not. Your guests leave home with a party favor.
Watermarks on tables? Not anymore, a quick 10 minute crochet pattern is all it takes to make a coaster. I like adding a cork backing to the coaster to ensure no condensation seeps through. Michael’s Crafts Store carries adhesive back cork in a roll. Just cut the shape, peel off the backing and stick to back of coaster.
And finally, what’s not summertime without Iced Tea. If not brewing suntea, a favorite tea is Starbucks’ Passionfruit Tea with Lemonade (no sweetener). Crisp, sweet from the lemonade, and refreshing.
One big black cat loves summertime, he gets some sun for himself outside with leash attached, which tends to be hours of quenching those rays. He would live out there, if not for the busy street we live on. (Note, picture was taken a couple of years ago)
As a fiber artist, my hands get a workout when I crochet animals. Stress, strain, arthritis all become unbearable, making it hard to finish projects. I was given a product that I have to share with you, I absolutely love it. It is called Pinch Me Therapy Dough, and it works wonders.
What does Pinch Me Therapy Dough do? Its soft, pliable putty (think Play Doh for adults) that relieves tension, calms the nerves and helps relax those overworked hands. For those stressful days, grab the jar, and give it a squeeze, slipping the stress away..
Take it out of its container, hold it in your hand, squeeze it like a stress ball, pinch it between your fingers. The dough is soft to work with, has a wonderful scent, and is quite calming.
I learned many years ago, that ice is nice for inflammation, Pinch Me Therapy Dough, chilled, works just as good as ice. Plus with a nice scent like Beach, you feel like you are escaping to a secluded island, coconut scent catching the winds.
Mine is kept in its jar in the refrigerator. At night, after a long day of crocheting, I massage it in my hands and fingers for just 5 minutes; when I wake up the next morning, my hands do not hurt.
Pinch Me Therapy Dough, 10 oz jar, is available in 10 scents including Spa (hint of lavender), Spice (cinnamon and berries), Cafe (coffee lovers dream). You can find it on their website: www.pinchmedough.com and other websites.
Pinch Me Therapy Dough has teamed up with BootStrapUSA, helping to pay for a soldier’s stress management training. Giving back to the community one soldier at a time. Made in the USA.
So grab yourself a jar, take care of your hands, stress, and unwind. You will feel better. Its not a replacement for medical attention, its a holistic, stress relieving technique with aromatherapy scents. Not recommended for children under the age of 4 without parental supervision. It does contain wheat, so those with allergies be aware.
The Los Angeles Yarn Crawl, is an annual opportunity to discover local yarn shops one has never been to but want to visit. It is a 4-day romp around L.A, from as far east to Claremont, north to Santa Clarita, south to Long Beach, and west to Santa Monica and stores in between, 26 stores including a mobile shop.
So how does one plan their crawl? With research and the yarn crawl website www.layarncrawl.org was the place to get all the information. Let’s begin with:
The guide to get you from shop to shop. Color coded groupings of shops along the freeways, you could navigate your way with ease. Plus the map ensured you made it to each shop.
Your guide to the location of the shops, are also grouped together. Once you got to the shop, your passport was stamped and a collectable pin was given to you. A way to make sure you did visit all the shops in the group. Plus a FREE Knit and Crochet pattern. A Win-Win already.
The Tote Bag
One must have something to carry all that yarn in, right? This year’s bag is an extra large natural canvas, with long handles; the chic sheep wearing his sunglasses and hat.
Each store had a drawing for one of the large gift baskets full of yarn, needles and more from the Super Sponsors of the Yarn Crawl. Some stores even had daily raffles.
4 days, 26 yarn shops, navigating many Los Angeles freeways, what could be better? The Grand Prize.
The Grand Prize, if you visit at least 1 shop in each of the regions and turn in your passport, is STITCHES SoCal 2018 VIP Prize Package, which includes up to 24 hours of classes, VIP seating at the Fashion Show and Fashion Show Dinner, VIP seating at the Student Banquet & Style Show; All Access to Stitches So Cal 2018 Market; Hotel Room at one of the host hotels Wednesday thru Monday. What a great grand prize, and because its in So Cal, what a great opportunity to go to a Stitches conference.
This was the first time to attempt to get to all 26 shops, not in the super speedy 2 days that some crawlers did it, but within 3 days. With a few bumps in the road to start the crawl, I was able to shop 4 stores on Thursday.
Lee drove me the rest of the crawl, Friday through Sunday, I navigated the freeways for him. We hit all the stores, and yarn was purchased. I had a goal in mind, I knew what I wanted in yarn, planning ahead for crochet animals. I was able to find some yarn for the animals, lovely bright colors. Found yarns for larger animals, and even found a few items that are not yarn, but yarn related like the Wool Light I picked up at Creative Ewe in Santa Clarita.
We had a great time traversing the vast freeways to shops far and near. Yarns I purchased, like Noro, Encore Chunky and Mega, and Cascade Yarns Anthem are new to me. Now its time to get back to crocheting, crafting, designing and planning.
Happy New Year 2018! Chinese New Year-Year of The Dog. Mardi Gras. Many things to celebrate as we start the new year. After a long year of crocheting and knitting for myself, family, friends, my consignee and my crafts shows, I took the last 2 weeks off to rest. That meant no crochet, knit, winding yarn, designing new items, nothing. And it felt good to just relax.
Our new year was a quiet one. We like to go to the last showing at the movies as the new year rings in. This year it was Star Wars The Last Jedi. We needed a distraction, as my father fell ill at Christmas, and passed away on Dec 30th. My sister and brother were by his side when he took his last breath. I was grateful they were there.
Lee and I flew to Redmond, Oregon on Friday for his burial, which was on Saturday, a crisp 24 degrees. The ground was covered in white, as the dew turned to ice. No wind made the cold temps really not feel that cold. Maybe I was just numb. I brought yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks, but had no inclination to craft while there.
Baggy and Gizmo had the apartment to themselves, I guess they were busy while we were gone.
We are home now, and my new year’s resolutions are to finish projects started last year. You know those items, the scarves, shawls, crochet animals, hats, bags… new patterns you start, put away because another pattern distracts you, its put away… and so on and so on. 2018 I have decided to call it the Year of Finishing Projects.
The South Bay Shawlette is a pattern I ordered online as a kit from Lion Brand years ago. The first version was crocheted with mohair. When that yarn was discontinued, the pattern was placed in my binder for later use. With all of the cake yarns in the marketplace, I decided to crochet the shawl. It is about half way done, less than 1 cake used, and will be the first project of 2018 to finish.
The next project is Hitchhiker Shawl, by Martina Behm. Pattern can be found on Ravelry. It is a knit project with shark teeth pattern, as you can see in the photo with the southbay shawl. For this pattern, I am using The Sassy Skein, mercenized cotton yarns, in various shades of oranges, greens, gray and blue.
Other projects to be finished include the Virus Shawl, that internet sensation from a couple years ago, this one started with Red Heart Unforgettable yarn; 2017 LA Yarn Crawl Crochet Project Bag from the knit shop A Stitch In Time, using Trendsetters Ecotone cotton yarn;
Tunisian Crochet Cowl, my knitting guild did last year in a workshop class, taught by Merilyn Burnside, , this one I am using 2 hanks of hand dyed yarn I purchased from Expression Fiber Arts; The Take Cover Knit Shawlette, a Ravelry pattern from Katarzyna Barańska, using Malabrigo Mechita.
And with crochet animals, and kids knit hats too, I have a long list of projects to finish.
What are your New Years Resolutions? Are they fiber related? Photos to follow when projects are completed. Stay tuned.
About a month ago, I happened to be at Downtown Disney, in Anaheim, Ca, for a knitting event. A group of about 40 ladies and a few gents, joined our illustrious hostess, Laura Wilson-Martos of Dizzy Blonde Studios for knitting in public. We sat at the Hearthstone Lounge inside of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, chatted to friends we know, met some new friendly knitters and had fun.
While we were knitting and socializing, we played a fun game: Knitting/Crochet version of Bingo. You had to fill in the squares with knitting & crochet quests like: someone crocheting amigurumi, knitting on dpns (double pointed needles), frogging an item and someone using a “Lifeline” plus more.
A Lifeline you ask? I had no idea what a lifeline was. I had to ask a fellow knitter. It is piece of waste yarn that it threaded onto a row to hold the stitches. If for any reason you need to undo your work, you can always go back to your last lifeline, pick up the stitches and continue your work from that point on.
That has to be one of the best pieces of advice I have ever learned. When knitting a project that has lots of lace work; i.e., YOs (yarn overs), SSKs (slip slip knits), K2TOGs (knit 2 together), a lifeline will help you from having to deal with a mistake that was made rows ago. As you can see, I have placed a lifeline. Now if there is a mistake, I know I can unravel it to the lifeline and not worry about losing anymore stitches.
Stitch Markers are nice to have when working with a pattern that has many repeat sections. When you look at the shawl, the stitch markers are placed every 13 stitches, as the pattern states. The repeats are usually inside the brackets or parentheses of the pattern. One can never have too many stitch markers!
A Tool Bag is the accessory that a knitter carries with them when doing projects. It can include: scissors, several sizes of darning needles, stitch markers (removable or not), tape measure, stitch counter, lifeline yarn or dental floss, crochet hook, pen and notepad, portable light, magnifier, hand lotion, post its, nail file. All of this including the yarn, pattern, page protector for pattern and needles (or crochet hooks). I have several tool bags to go with my current projects.
WIPs, Works in Progress How many projects do you start, thinking that it’s a project you can come back to and then forget about it. You go into your yarn stash, find that WIP, and realize you did not remember what you were making. Pattern? Is the pattern printed, in a magazine, online, saved to a folder on computer, on tablet, on Ravelry? So many questions, so few answers.
One of the ways I keep WIPs from being just a WIP is to make a project bag for that project. Items needed for the bag: clear plastic storage bag- gallon size or larger, yarn, needles/hook, pad of paper, pen, Post Its.
With pad of paper, I write down pattern name, location of pattern; i.e. Ravelry, Craftsy, Lion Brand website, and keep a notation of what row/round I have worked on. For me, this works and keeps my projects safe until I am ready to finish them.
If I have a printed pattern, I use a post it, with a notation as to where I need to continue with the pattern, next to the row or section to be completed.
I download a lot of patterns, about 90% of those patterns are saved on my laptop. I do not print the pattern, to save paper and printer ink, and I use my laptop for pattern storage, until I am ready to finish that project. When I leave home with a project bag, I move the pattern to my small tablet for portability to take along.
Currently I have 8 works in progress, with only 1 to be frogged- ripped out- if I cannot find the pattern. Not bad, if I say so myself. My goal is to get most of those projects finished in the next 3 months. All but 2 are knit shawls.
As always, I would love to your comments on this post or any of my other posts.
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.
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.
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!
How did you find your niche?
Baggy here: I love a good story. Tell me how you found your niche in the comments below.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.