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.
Yes birds are chirping these days and it seems like our “winter” weather has taken a vacation from us here in So Cal. Bees are coming out of hibernation too. While bees are nice to see pollinating flowers, I do not care for them when they search out our fireplace and enter our apartment.
Gizmo kitty got an up-close introduction to several of them, getting stung on the face and cheek. A quick trip to the vet, a shot of Benadryl and he was back to his antics within 48 hours. Here’s hoping the exterminator’s spray is able to keep the bees at bay and not use our fireplace as a new home.
March went out like a lion, so to say, with lots of animal custom orders. Lee started taking a couple of my crochet animals to work with him, and within 2 weeks, 10 animals were sold. With more orders, came more work. While some of my favorites sold; i.e. piggy, party penguin, octupods, new animals were popular like the Happy Car, Big Ear Bunny and Teddy Bear made with Caron Sprinkle Cakes yarn. All in all, March had 22 sales.
April is for my consignor. Last weekend we drove down to her shop in Laguna Beach, about 90 minutes away, to deliver some animals. At that time, I inventoried her current stock and she placed her order for more ocean related animals: octopus, squid, mermaid, seal, walrus, hippo, you get it, water related critters.
Baggy and Gizmo are so thrilled to know my crochet animals are heading to their new homes. They will miss all the yarn tails, ball and strands that were play toys for their entertainment.
Until next time, when the 6th LA Yarn Crawl comes around April 19th thru April 22nd. 26 stores, lots of free knit and crochet patterns, trunk shows, giveaways and miles and miles of driving the freeways.
Here it is February already. So much hit at once, seems like a big bowl of random. The Super Blue Blood Moon, did you see it? Ground Hog Day-6 more weeks of winter; the Super Bowl-Philly won, yay! Baggy cat had surgery, a new knitting product review and yarn was purchased.
Plus, January ended with 10 WIPs finished! My hands have been working feverishly. I was able to finish 1 Knit Shawl, 1 Crochet Shawl, 1 Tunisian Crochet Scarf, 5 knit Kids hats with cute animal toppers and 2 crochet trimmed fleece baby blankets. The baby blankets are for charity. Many skeins, cakes and hanks of yarn were put to good use.
It feels good to accomplish something that has been sitting and brewing, so to speak.
Over the weekend of January 26, we drove up to Venice, Ca, to see my sister’s art on display at The Kinney, for the stARTup Art Fair. A year’s work accumulation for her, she showed 26 pieces of her art in a hotel room. There were over 50 artists, 2 floors and many visitors. I am very proud of her, lots of hard work, and long hours.
Baggy the Cat, mascot of Yarn Kat, has been recuperating from his surgery. He has been wearing the “cone of despair” for 3 weeks now. He has a hematoma on his right ear, and a drain was inserted into it. He hates it, and has been able to “free” himself from the cone. We hope its only another week before the cone comes off and the drain is removed. Poor Baggy, he hates the cone, but its for his well being.
While walking around the store, I noticed a display that caught my interest. The black packaging said The Gang Collection, Wool And The Gang. I was curious, so I picked up one and read what was on the packaging. It was a kit! Yarn, Knitting Needles, Pattern and Darning Needle. All in one package. I had to buy one! But what to choose: a hat, fingerless gloves or a cowl? I chose the hat, in a soft powder gray.
The cost for each kit is $29.99. With a coupon, you could save as much as 50% off the price. The yarn and the needles can be purchased separately for $14.99 each. Look at the beautiful colors to choose from.
After getting home with my yarn and kit purchase, I decided I must knit the hat. I carefully opened the package, and pulled out the goodies inside. As you can see here, you get a big ball of yarn, 150g – 66 yd – 60 m of 70% wool, 30% acrylic yarn. It is very soft, fluffy to the touch. It even states the time in which it will take to knit the hat, 3 hours.
The needles are made from 100% Mango Wood, size US 17 – 12mm – about 14 inches long. One needle top is embossed with WA, the other TG (for wool and the gang). Nice lightweight needles, even though they are long.
Happy Daze Beanie pattern with 3 ways to make the beanie: Beginner (garter stitch); Easy (moss stitch); Intermediate (twisted rib). I chose to knit this hat with the Twisted Rib Stitch. I have never used the Twisted rib, so I chose to knit it.
Easy to follow instructions with the stitch technique written out clearly for you to be able to knit up the hat. The pattern even shows you what your stitches will look like when you are knitting it. I was able to knit up the hat within 5 hours from beginning to end. I did run into a couple bumps along the way, but kept moving forward to accomplish the task at hand.
One thing about this yarn, as a caution for you, when closing the top of the hat, take care in not pulling the yarn too tight, the yarn may tear. Pull tail with ease to close the top. My hat did not close completely, about 1 inch was left open, but the large pom pom fit onto the open space, and it did not affect the finished product.
Baggy here: ya really didn’t think you could get away with taking picture without us in it, did you?
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.
The Granny Square has come a long way, baby. From the early days of crochet squares stitched together to make a throw for the back of the sofa to models strutting down the runway in designer granny square clothes.
A staple for crocheters with balls of leftover yarns, the granny square lives on not only in afghans, but you would be surprised at how much it has expanded. Clothing, bedding, pillows, hats, scarves, bags and purses, even jewelry. With a crochet hook and a knowledge of double crochets, you can make art out of little balls of leftover yarn.
Whether you choose a color scheme for just go random, the granny square is making a comeback for the next generation. Now you probably won’t see the granny vest worn, but you may see a scarf or a hat, or a knit top accented with granny squares.
And the granny is not just a square, it’s a triangle, a rectangle, a pentagon, even a circle. BobWilson123 http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bias-granny-shawl has a great bias granny shawl pattern that is easy to follow. The shawl I crocheted is that pattern.
Stripes, solids, variegated yarns can all work with the granny. It’s up to you to decide what colors, yarns, hooks, designs you use to create your granny.
The internet is a great place to find your inspiration for the granny square. Pinterest shows many styles of the granny in all shapes, sizes and colors. What will be your inspiration to crochet something granny?
I would love to hear about and see your granny square creations.