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Birds Chirping, Bees Searching, Crochet Animals Abound

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.

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January WIPs summary, Baggy the Cat Update, Knitting Product Review

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.

January WIPs finished

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

A few of Terri’s artwork on display

 

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.

Now, for a new product review. A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by my local JoAnn’s Store to stock up on one of my favorite yarns, Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky yarn. I use this yarn to make crochet animals like the Teardrop Bunny, Micropods and Elephants.

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.

 

Happy Daze Hat finished

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?

newyearkitty

New Year, Resolutions, and Saying Good Bye

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.

Happy Mew Year 2018

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.

ZZzz

 

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.

Top: Crochet South Bay Shawlette Bottom: Knit Hitchhiker Shawl

 

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;

Left: Crochet Project Bag Right: Crochet Virus Shawl

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.

 

Top: Tunisian Crochet Cowl Botton: Knit Hitchhiker Shawl

 

And with crochet animals, and kids knit hats too, I have a long list of projects to finish.

“There’s always room for more animals”, Baggy says

 

What are your New Years Resolutions? Are they fiber related? Photos to follow when projects are completed. Stay tuned.

Spooky Halloween Kitty

Stitch Markers, Notepads, Lifelines, WIPs, Tool Bags

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.

lifeline, red yarn

 

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

 

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!

knitter tools bag

 

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.

Gizmo – a WIP

 

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.

post it with pattern

 

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.

BaggyInClouds

The Granny Square Is Not Just Afghans Anymore

Granny square purse

 

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.

granny loveys

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.

Triangle grannies found on Pinterest

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.

Granny colors scarf from Lanas de Ana

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.

granny bracelets found on Pinterest

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.

Kathy, get me off this thing! I’m not Nyan Cat!
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Patterns, Websites, Instructions, Oh My

Knit Afternoon Tea

I love the internet. It is packed with a plethora of information. It is easy to spend hours and hours looking at pictures, patterns, web sites, emails of all things knit and crochet. For a new knitter or crocheter, it can be quite overwhelming trying to find the right pattern to knit or crochet. Over the years of frolicking the web, I find that there are a few websites and blogs that I tend to return to more than others. Here are just a few locations that I think are quite helpful for those of us afflicted with yarn:

RAVELRY Here you can find all kinds of information about yarns, patterns, designers, people, groups. If you are looking for information on a particular yarn, you can search for it on Ravelry. I have recently been purchasing beautiful designer yarns and some of those yarns only have the name of the company and the yarn color. I am not too familiar with yardage on cones, so I search for the yarn, and Ravelry pulls up all the information I need: ounces, yards, grams, needle size recommended, hook size recommended, if its discontinued or not, even other colors.

It’s also one of the places for patterns, patterns, and more patterns. Whether they are Free or A Fee, you can definitely spend hours just on Ravelry searching for patterns. Last week, my library of patterns was 10 pages, about 500 patterns. I edited the library and now it has 400 patterns in it. I have not knit or crocheted each of them, but right now I have 8 WIPs (works in progress) of patterns on page 1.

I have decided to revisit a shawl that took 1 year to complete. It’s called Afternoon Tea, a knit shawl by Helen Stewart. In 2012, my knitting guild chose this shawl as its quarterly knit item. The first time I had tried to knit it, I got about half way done, and put it away to be finished at another time. I was insecure about my knitting techniques at that time. One year later I picked it up and finished it in a weekend, and it sold at an event I was participating in. Now with new yarn on the needles, I am already half way done with it. My skills have improved quite a bit this past year, and I feel comfortable knitting the pattern.

ALL FREE CROCHET/ALL FREE KNITTING. I receive their newsletters which are filled with many ideas. In each email, you can easily get 10 patterns to try to knit or crochet. Whether it’s a scarf, hat, shawl, afghan, baby blanket, you will find many patterns to choose from, ALL FREE. That’s right, no charge to you.

LION BRAND YARN. This is the first website I ever visited, way back in 2001. In fact, I learned how to crochet animals from Lion Brand. My first animal was a turtle I crocheted in 2003; 14 years later, I still crochet it. The step by step instructions are easy to follow. The patterns use Lion Brand yarns. If the yarn is discontinued, it will give you suggestions for other Lion Brand yarns.

Turtle

Some of the patterns I knit and crochet with are from Bloggers that I have followed for years. These include:

MOOGLY. Tamara has been crocheting and blogging for years. One of my all-time favorite patterns is for a shawl called Fortune’s Shawlette. The shawl can be made with any yarn, no matter the gauge, from lace weight to chunky yarn. She has great tutorials on her blog, along with many patterns.

REPEAT CRAFTER ME. Sarah is another crocheter and blogger who is known for her C2C—corner to corner —afghans. I found her while researching kid’s character hats, and her daughter is her model for her hats and all things kids. One of my all-time favorite patterns is Penguin Earflap Hat. Her hats include all sizes from infant to adult, all easy to follow with plenty of pictures and details.

Penguin hat

These are just a few sites that I find both informative and educational. What are your favorites websites? Comment below and let’s see what we can come up with.

YarnKat trainee

Gizmo here: My roommate and mentor Baggy is taking a little R&R because of a bad tummy. So he asked me to fill in and let you know about Kathy’s FREE patterns! From now until August 12 all patterns are free. So, check them out and grab one or two. Hey, are you going to use that yarn? 

got something to say

May Gray, June Gloom and a Wee G.

The Newest Yarn Cat, Lil’ G

 

Can you believe its June already? Where has the time flown? The weather has been wonderful, a few hot days in May, ending with what the forecasters now call May Gray, synonymous with June Gloom. The gloom comes from the dense cloud coverage that does not go away during the day, only for an hour will you see the sun, as it sets over the ocean.

I actually like the gloom, it keeps the heat down and most importantly, the traffic muffled during the wee hours of the morning. Except this past week.

SNACKS!

There’s a new yarn cat in town. We adopted a tiny, 8 week old kitten. He was found a couple weeks ago, just skin and bones. His foster family took him in, fed him, gave him love, but could not keep him. I saw a picture on facebook, contacted the foster, and then I showed Lee.

Baggy Here: I know how Kathy works…

That was fun, now I must nap.

 

Lee has wanted a kitten for a long time. It has been 25 years since we had a kitten in our household that small. Baggy was almost 6 months old when he came into our lives.
It’s been a bit of a change here. So far so good. We kept them separated for a couple of days. Slow introductions, with humans watching over each kitty.

Peek a boo

The kitten, whom we are calling Lil G, as in Gandalf the Gray —the name the fostering family gave him— has no fear. He walks up to Baggy, a stare down begins, Baggy hisses, Lil G hisses back, then runs away.
So far no claws, all paws. Yesterday, we let them sort out their differences. There has been lots of chasing; Baggy chasing G, G chasing Baggy. It’s shaping up to be a 2 cat household quickly. Now if I can get Lil G to sleep past 5am, life will be back to normal, and I will be able to crochet without Lil G shredding my yarn.

The way to a cat’s heart is through its belly.

Baggy Here: If that little guy keeps up the good manners and respect for his elders, I may be able to teach him a few tricks.

baggy paper

Finding my niche

R.B. Craft Show 2008

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.

Turtle was my first animal.

 

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.

Some of my wares you can find at Buy Hand Laguna Beach.

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!

My Octopod gets featured in article about Buy Hand Laguna Beach.

How did you find your niche?

Baggy here: I love a good story. Tell me how you found your niche in the comments below.

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Fiberista Elbowitis Againus

I’m here to help.

Was writing this as we were waiting one of those “big storms of some century.” Not much in the knit and crochet has been going on. Why? Because I am  STILL suffering from Tennis Elbow of my left arm.

As WebMD states: “Tennis elbow is a pain focused on the outside of the arm, where your forearm meets your elbow. It’s related to a muscle and tendons in your forearm. Tendons connect your muscles to your bones. When you constantly use your arm in a repetitive motion”

In other words, a big pain. When I saw my orthopedic surgeon in December, he did state most people recover from it with plenty of rest, from 1 month to up to a year. Needing immediate relief from the pain so I got a predinsone shot. Pain for 2 days and then its gone. He told me to rest, to let it heal. I did, for 1 month, then started to crochet. Unfortunately, this was a bad mistake. I needed more rest that my mind would allow. (Typical of all us creative and crafty folks, right? Argh!)

For now, knitting and crochet are done at small intervals, only 1-2 hours daily. Along with other rigorous therapies to help heal muscles and tendons.

So,  what do I do during the day when not crocheting? I am enjoying my time with jigsaw puzzles. Baggy  likes the puzzles too, demanding  to be entertained, or be the entertainment.

Meanwhile, during my adjustment, I have noticed that always right handed, I lift with my left arm. Picking up groceries with my left arm, I fill the hot water pot with my left arm, I carry my purse on my left arm. So, maybe I’m going  to train my brain, and arm, to grab with my right instead of my left arm.

Maybe I’m becoming ambidexpaws. (What do you think, Baggy?)

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New Year, New Pattern & The Women’s March

Pretty in pink Pussy Hats

Rain, Rain, Rain… oh how I love the rain. We here in California really need it, and this year we have had plenty of rain. It’s also a good time to look at new items to crochet and knit.

Baggy here: Speak for yourself, I have cabin fever and I don’t even know what a cabin is.

One of the new items out in the world wide web is The Pussy Hat. It’s a cat hat (not black but pink). It is based on “The Pussy Hat Project”.

The mission of the Pussy Hat Project is to provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard.

It also provides a way for people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and women’s rights. The more we are seen, the more we are heard. Let’s come together to support women’s rights in a creative and impactful way. Please visit www.pussyhatproject.com for more info and awesome free hat patterns.

I was approached to make the hats for friends, after reading about the project, I knew I wanted to participate. They are cute, and, well anything kitty cat has to be cute, right Baggy?

Baggy here: Absolutely! Darling. Handsome, even if I do say so myself.

As you see here, I knit 2 pink hats, and crocheted 3 hats. And a black one too…just for Baggy!

Baggy here: Aren’t I the lucky cat?

The trio of hats were crocheted with worsted weight yarn. With the knit hats, I tested a new yarn called I Love This Yarn Chunky for the solid pink. I used about half of a skein. The stripe yarn is Lamb’s Pride in the color Strawberry Smoothee. It is a worsted weight yarn and I used about 3/4th of the skein. It will felt if washed.

These hats were fun to knit and crochet and I will probably make more in kids size. Next up is the “Messy Bun Hats”, a hat with the top open to allow your messy pony tail to hand through it… Stay tuned!

Baggy here again: If you are interested in a Pussy Hat of your own, send Kathy an email for pricing and shipping. Honestly, I don’t know what Kathy would do without me.