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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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As Good As Gold Knit Hat with Tassle, A FREE Pattern

As the Winter Olympics have come to a close and the cauldron is now extinguished, I can say I enjoyed these Olympics. I watched many hours of programming, recording some events, watching others live, or was it really live. Chloe Kim winning Snowboard Half Pipe had everyone talking. You may not be talking about her, but it was her knit hat that had everyone talking.

Where did she get that hat? Where can I get one? Wait a minute, I can knit that hat. I may not have that exact yarn that was used for the hat, or the USA emblem on it, but a hat can be knitted up. Time to check out my stash of yarn and let’s figure out a pattern for it.

I found some yarn to knit with: Lion Brand Hometown yarn, in the colorway Los Angeles Tan; Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick, in the colorway Natural Cream. The knitting needles used: US15 – 10mm, 16 inch circular needles. Make sure to have double pointed needles, or another US15 circular needles for decrease section. These can be purchased at your local yarn shops, but if you like more options, Love Knitting has a great selection of super bulky, super chunky yarns like Blue Sky Fibers Bulky, Cascade Lana Grande, Plymouth Yarn Encore Mega, just to name a few.

Now for the pattern. From all the photos of Chloe Kim, it looks like the pattern is be quite easy. Knit 1, Purl 1, repeat until desired size. Its figuring out how many stitches to cast on. With several attempts of, I decided to use 40. So here is the pattern:

Cast On 41 stitches. Normally you would just attach first stitch to last stitch and knit. But for this pattern, and all of my patterns when knitting in the round, cast on 1 additional stitch, Knit 1, Pass the last stitch that was cast on over the Knit Stitch. That is your first stitch, your next stitch will be Purl 1. Then continue with the pattern.

*K1, P1, repeat all the way around. Place a stitch marker after the last stitch of the round.

Continue until the hat measures between 10 inches from edge to needles. Fold up the edge, try on the hat. You can knit it longer if you want the ribbing taller. Time to decrease, then bind off. You will be decreasing in knit stitches only, as it is easier than trying to figure out which stitch

Decrease for top of Hat

Next Rnd: * Slip next 2 sts as if to knit, one at a time, to right hand needle; insert left hand needle into fronts of these 2 sts and knit them together, purl the next 2 sts together; repeat from * around – you’ll have 20 sts at the end of this rnd.

Next Rnd: *Knit 1, purl 1; repeat from * around.

Next Rnd: * Slip next 2 sts as if to knit, one at a time, to right hand needle; insert left hand needle into fronts of these 2 sts and knit them together; repeat from * around – you’ll have 10 sts.

Cut yarn, leaving a long yarn tail. Thread yarn tail into blunt needle and then weave through the sts of the last rnd. Pull to close top of Hat and knot yarn. Your hat is finished, wear until you get the tassles cut.

To cut tassles, cut a piece of yarn, about 8 inches long and set aside. With the remainder of the skein of yarn, wrap yarn around a small container like the tools box shown , or you can wrap around your hand. Count about 4o wraps. Take the piece of yarn, thread it with large eye needle, insert into one edge of box, and tie it tight. Take your scissors and cut through the yarn on the opposite side to create strips. Now sew to top of hat on the inside, making sure you weave the yarn tails around the top of the hat. Knot and cut.

The hat is done, and you will be the envy of all those that want the hat. Be sure to post to your social media site with the hash tag #YarnKat. I would love to see what your hat looks like, send me photos and I will add them to my social media pages.

Copyright 2018 Kathy Bartholomew Designs. Please to do copy this pattern and claim it as yours. You may link back to me here @YarnKat as the originator of the pattern. Feel free to sell items made from the pattern.

P.S. Baggy cat has recovered from his surgical procedure, as you can see in his photo. He now has a “cauliflower” ear.  It will never be straight, but he is happier since the drain is removed. He’s back to his old self, playing with Gizmo and, each chasing each other throughout the apartment.

 

 

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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?

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The Year of WIPs continues, Valentine’s Day Crafting Suggestions

As the year of WIPs continues, I have completed 3 projects that were started last year. Take a look at the lovely Tunisian Crochet scarf that I made with 2 hanks of hand dyed yarn. It is from Expression Fiber Arts, and it’s their Dewy DK yarn. As their website states: a mix of superwash merino wool (70%), nylon (20%) and silk (10%). It is super soft, lots of bounce and with the majority of it wool, it will definitely keep you warm. Thanks goes out to fellow knitting guild member, Merilyn Burnside, for teaching this class.

The other WIPs is the South Bay Shawlette, a Lion Brand pattern. As you can see, it is a nice size for cooler days and nights. When I picked up the cake, the first thing that came to my mind was sunsets.

   

And finally the Knit Shawl, Take Cover! By Katarzyna Baranska, a paid pattern on Ravelry. I used 1 hank of Malabrigo Mechita. I just need to block it as the top edge does curl and I want all the beautiful lace work to show through.

Now on to some fun projects for Valentine’s Day

Cute Little Hearts are the perfect start on projects. This heart can be crocheted quickly and added to all sorts of items. It takes just some scraps of yarn and a H – 5mm crochet hook. In just a few minutes you can crochet a little heart. Here is the instructions for the little heart:

Scraps of Yarn: red, pink, lilac, purple, white

H (5mm) Crochet Hook

Darning Needle and Scissors

Stitches Used: CH-chain; DC-double crochet; Treble Crochet; SS-slip stitch

Leave a long Tail, with the Magic Loop, do the following in the loop:

Chain 3

                                                                                                         Treble Crochet 3 times, Chain 1

                                                                                                       Double Crochet 3 times, Chain 1

                                                                 Treble Crochet 1 time, Chain 1; Double Crochet 3 times, Chain 1

                                                                                  Treble Crochet 3 times, Chain 3; Slipt Stitch into loop

                                                                                                        Pull loop tight and your heart is done

With this little heart, you can make all kinds of fun items. Just take a look at these gems:

 

                                                                                      Sew them to hair clips; Attach them to hoop earrings

 

                                                                                                                         Make a necklace

For the necklace, the sample shown just make a chain of at least 140 stitches, slip stitch each chain, add a 2nd color, slip stitch those stitches, cut yarn, take another color or use first color, and slip stitch across. Sew both ends to back of hearts, and you have a cute necklace.

How about coffee cup cozies, 2 versions, one to wrap around your coffee mug and 1 to take with you for your favorite brew from the local coffee house.

For the coffee cup cozy with handle, chain between 30 and 40 stitches. The length of the chain should wrap around the cup, but meet up to both sides of the handle, without touching.

Half double crochet in 2nd chain from hook, hdc in each remaining chain.

Turn, hdc in each stitch for 8 rows. Chain 1, single crochet along side of cozy, until you get half way up, about 3-5 stitches, chain 16, slip stitch into same space as the chain stitch, single crochet to the end and bind off. Add a cute button, I got this heart shaped button at JoAnn’s.

For paper cup cozy, chain 30, slip stitch to first chain to form a circle, being careful not to twist chains. *Chain 1, hdc in each chain around, ending with a slip stitch in top of beginning chain 1. Repeat from *, for a total of 10 rounds. Bind off, weave in ends on inside. Attach heart and you are ready to go.

A couple more ideas (sorry no, photos) you can do with the little heart:

  1. Stitch 2 hearts together from the top, leaving the bottom point open and, add a little fiberfill stuffing, and place on top of a Valentine pencil and either glue it shut or tie it closed so the eraser can be used.
  2. Seam 2 hearts together, add some catnip, and it becomes a kitty toy
  3. Attach 2 hearts together, add crushed lavender and herbs and it becomes a sachet.
  4. Add hearts to handmade or store bought headband
  5. Sew hearts together to create a cute bracelet.

One Little Valentine Heart, many ways to accessorize just for Valentines Day. What will you come up with? See you soon, when I will have a review on a new product I found at my local JoAnn’s store.

 

 

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Giving Thanks to You, Part 2, With a Free Pattern

 

The past 2 weeks have been quite busy for me here at casa YarnKat. My consignee at Buy Hand – Laguna Beach placed an order for extra animals for 2 events the shop will be having, so my work stopped and the animals have been crocheted and delivered. Then our newest YarnKitten, Gizmo, got, um, neutered. Uncle Baggy is taking good care of him while he recuperates.

Thanksgiving just a week away now and the next FREE PATTERN is my QUICK KNIT FINGERLESS MITTS. They are knit with super bulky #5 or #6 yarn like Lion Brand Hometown USA, Bernat Softee Chunky, Premiere Yarns Deborah Norville Everyday Chunky, Plymouth Yarn Encore Mega or Malabrigo Rasta. One skein/hank of at least 75 yards will make the mitts.

 

For 1 week only, the pattern will be free, after that it will be $4.00 in my pattern shop.

If you prefer to have just the written pattern, without all of the dialog, please go to the patterns section and grab it HERE.

The sample shown is made with Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn, in Cincinnati Red color, #6 Super Bulky, 5oz (142 gm), 81yds (74m), US 10½, (6.5mm) straight knitting needles.

Lion Brand Hometown USA Bernat Softee Chunky

 

Materials

1 skein/hank Chunky yarn

US 10½ (6.5mm) straight knitting needles

Large darning needle

Scissors

Removable Stitch Marker

 

Terminology

K-knit               P-purl              BO-bind off                RS-right side

 

Notes:

Since I do not have 9inch circular needles, these mitts are knit flat, leaving a long tail to stitch the side seams together.

 

Instructions

Row 1: With a long tail, using Long Tail Cast On, cast on 20 stitches

Row 2: *Knit 2 (K2), Purl 2 (P2), *repeat across to end of row, turn

Row 3-6: Repeat row 2, turn (5 rows of ribbing) measures about 2 inches

Row 7: Knit across (place removable stitch marker at beginning of row), this will be RS

Row 8: Knit 2, Purl to last 2 stitches, K2.

Rows 9-23 Repeat Rows 7 & 8 until piece measures 5 inches long from cast on edge to needle, (approximately 15 rows)

Rows 21-25: Repeat Row 2 (k2, p2) for 5 rows.

Bind off in k2, p2, leave a long tail.

Assembly

Starting at bind off edge, fold right side together (place removable stitch marker told in place) and whipstitch down the 5 rows of ribbing, making sure you stitch tight to close the seam. Leave tail for now and go to opposite edge of mitt, whipstitch from bottom up the ribbing, place mitt on hand and continue to stitch closed until you feel comfortable with the thumb opening.

My Little Helper

 

If you did not leave a long tail on one end, you can weave in thru the stitches to get to opposite side and finish stitching seam closed. Repeat for other mitt, turn inside out, and you are ready to wear. When finished I had 2 ounces of the original 5 ounces remaining. If the ribbing had been shortened, there would have been enough to make a second pair. Something to consider if you do not want to have any leftover yarn.

These mitts make great gifts, you can wear them while knitting or crocheting, walking the dog in the morning, or driving.

Feel free to leave comment on this free pattern. I would love to see your mitts, so be sure to post your pictures on Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and hash tag #yarnkat #quickmitts

 

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.