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.

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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? 

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Bags, Bags, Bags

I cannot believe how fast January has come and gone… with lots of rain too! All the sources say we got between 40% to 75% rain replenishment to get those lakes and reservoirs filled. But they are not filled up completely, so I am hoping February brings us more rain. And why not? I tend to crochet and knit more when it rains. So, why not wish for more, right?

I have been trying to create practical items to fit various needs. As many of you know, California has become a “No Plastic Bags” state. That means when going to the any store,  you need to bring your own bag, or be charged ten cents for one of the store’s bags.

Taking inspiration from my favorite designers, I have been using up cotton yarn to make these bags. I like to mix up colors, whether it be solids and stripes or solids and variegated yarns. Lily Sugar & Cream, Bernat Cotton Soft and Lion Brand Cotton Ease are yarns I have been working with to create these bags.

Multicolor market bags

 

Thanks go out to: Cre8tion Crochet for her Hobo Style Market Bag (photo with 3 bags); The Stitchin’ Mommy for her large Summer Fun Market/Beach Tote (purple green, white) and Simply Collectible for her Sturdiest Ever Market Bag. You can find the patterns on their blogs or Ravelry.

Baggy here: If you would like one of these featured bags, they are $25 each and will be in the shop no later than February 2nd. Even I have one, and goodness knows why…