Thanksgiving Memories of Family Past and Present

Memories of  Thanksgiving flood me today, the day where people have traveled to their family homes far and near. The airport running to catch that flight, the gassing up the vehicles to start that long drive to family far away, the hustle and bustle of grocery shopping to get all those ingredients for hours upon hours of cooking ahead.

Memories spring back to life when Thanksgiving props its head every November. I remember waking up early to see my grandfather boiling the onions, mincing the parsley, roasting the chestnuts in the oven, taking the Jimmy Dean sausage roll and inserting it into the back end of the birdl all for his own recipe for stuffing the bird.

The chopping of the onions, the oversized bowl to fit not 1, but 2 packages of Mrs. Cubbison’s stuffing. The 3 slices of bacon placed on top of the bird once the bird was stuffed and was about to go into the oven. The butter strategically placed between the wing and thigh, seasoning the bird, placing the 2 large pieces of foil on top of the bird. Those overwhelming smells got me salivating for turkey, but that was hours away.

Memories as a kid jumping out at me. My mom always made the pumpkin pies the day before. I liked to help beat the filling with the mixer, I was never good at cracking the eggs. I can still smell the spices that went into the filling, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Those pre-made frozen pie crusts never really could pour all the filling into them, slowing sliding the pies into the oven, hoping the rack did not jump and pie filling spill into the oven.

Once the pies were done, chilled in the refrigerator, the next morning it was time to whip the whipping cream. In our home, we did not use aerosol whipped cream. My mother liked to decorate the top of the pies with real whipping cream. It was my job. She would add sugar and a little vanilla extract while I was holding the hand mixer, watching the cream turn into whipped cream. Of course, I got to lick the beaters.

That was my life as a kid, someone else doing all the work to make Thanksgiving memorable. As an adult, I was able to replicate my grandfather’s turkey stuffing recipe, I did not roast chestnuts, but did chop walnuts. I boiled the onions, minced the parsley, even stuffed the back end with sausage.

Memories fill me today. Thanksgiving will be with Lee’s dad, brother, sister in law, nephew, sister in law’s parents and dad’s girlfriend. I will be in the kitchen shortly prepping all the side dishes. I will not be stuffing the bird, his dad prefers the bird NOT to be stuffed. Lee’s brother is bringing the “deep fried” turkey along with pies. Plenty of eating to be done today.

I will be crocheting a hat or 2 while visiting, one never leaves home without some sort of project to work on.

May your day be filled with memories and a full belly

The kitties were nestled all snug in their chair?

Sharing momma’s new chair, it fits us

Month Long Project Finished and Delivered

Drum roll please… the month long project is finished!  The project started when my brother alerted us that they evacuated from their home due to the Carr Fire in Redding, CA. What should I do to help out my brother and sister in law?

My first thought was to buy them gift cards so they can shop for what they need. Our sister instead started a gofundme page, which raised $3500 for them in 2 weeks. I decided the best way to help them was to use my crochet skills and make them a blanket. Something they can curl up to at night when it feels like the sky is falling and they need to escape from reality.

Off to the local shops to see if anything color scheme comes to mind. I knew it was going to be a big project, but also it would help them get through having to start all over. Out popped this chocolate brown yarn. Big skeins of yarn… on clearance… I had to have all that I could find. 4 skeins, 14 ounces each skein. And so it begins. Red Heart Super Saver was the yarn of choice. With numerous colors to choose from, my stash was ready to be used.

But how do I add color? I want the chocolate brown throughout the blanket, but I also want color. After talking to a fellow crocheter, we both came up with double the strands of color, 1 brown, and 1 accent color. That way, the blanket is thick for cold winter nights, and the accents of color will show through.

Gizmo “supervising” the project

 

Now to begin the task of crochet several rows to gauge sizing. I know my brother has a queen size bed, and the size is 60 x 80 inches. I have a queen size bed, so using my bed for gauging, I chained 150 stitches. One row of half double crochet should give me draping. I lay it on the bed, looks too big, it drapes too far down the sides, frog back 10 stitches, and looks good, so I start there.

Time to grab remnant skeins of yarn from my stash. Holding 2 strands together, my project begins. I decide to only do 3 rows of 1 color, change the accent color, and continue changing colors every 3 rows keeping the brown as the main color.

It’s moving along quite nicely. Might I remind you that we were having a heatwave, with lots of humidity added for more discomfort. The blanket is growing daily, but I cannot keep working on it when I have crochet animals to make for my consignor. She sold 10 animals in 5 days, which is incredibly fast for her shop, so during most days, I crochet animals, take a break and work on the blanket at night.

After a week, the blanket grows, right Gizmo?

 

After a couple weeks, the blanket is big, not big enough yet… keep working on animals and blanket, animals and blanket. Ship the animals, work on blanket. More animals, more blanket. When almost finished, I decided the blanket needed accent pillows.

Have to fold blanket, heavy on my legs now.

 

Text brother, ask their favorite colors. Great, I have 1 pillow form already, need to buy another pillow form, running out of brown yarn, need more yarn. Off to yarn shop again. Get home, wrong size pillow form, use it anyway.

side 1 of accent pillows

 

side 2, corner to corner makes great diagonal pattern for pillows

 

Corner To Corner technique was used for the accent pillows. Crochet 2 panels bigger than the pillow form size,  single crochet the sides together, slipp the pillow inside, and stitch it closed. An additional row of single crochet, chain 1 in every other stitch of previous row.

Blanket and 1 accent pillow finished right before my knitting guild meeting. I wanted to get blanket done so I can show and share it, telling them the story of my brother losing home. The ladies LOVED it, even several ladies asked for the pattern, it’s a good way to use up scraps of yarn.

MY TIP:  Use 1 color as the main color, and take scraps of leftover yarn as accent colors and crochet an afghan or blanket. Change out the accent color after a few rows, always weave in the color changes while crocheting next row.

My brother and sister in law love the blanket and pillows. The weather is too hot to be used on their bed, it’s on the back of the sofa for now. As she said, “its big enough for both of us to curl up on the sofa and both of us will be warm”.

Until next time, may your fiber dreams be filled with splashes of color.

 

 

  

Shark Week, All Things Toothy But With No Bite

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.

Shawn the Shark, etsy, Theresa Crochet Shop

 

Chum the Shark, etsy, Critterbeans the designer

 

 

Large Shark, pattern on etsy.com/daaveydreamer

 

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.

Shark Bag, by The Cookie Snob, on Ravelry

 

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.

Shark Hat, Free Pattern

 

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?

        

 

 

Summer: Dog & Cat Days; Light Projects for Hot Summer Days

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.

 

bowl of assorted fruits

 

vegetables galore

 

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.

knit, crochet cookies
Ice Cream Scoop, YarnKat Pattern

 

 

 

 

 

crochet donuts

 

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.

Photo found on Pinterest, go to Ravelry

 

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.

“too hot to sleep”

 

Yarn Crawl 2018, 4 Days of Yarny Fun in Los Angeles

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 Map  

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.

The Passport  

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.

My plethora of patterns collected from the crawl

 

Yarn Crawl Bag, before pins

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.

Yarn crawl Bag, after, with pins attached from all shops

 

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.

Half of my yarn crawl haul, along with metal accessory boxes, phone stand, buttons

 

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.

The Little Knittery, Crochet Pattern, with Noro Yarn
Stitches In Time, Knit Shawl Pattern and Uluru Yarn

 

Creative Ewe, Wool Light I picked up

 

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.

Handmade and Handcrafted Roots

 

buck-scarf-2
My first scarf. Can you believe my brother kept it all these years?!

It’s been just a few days since YarnKat was launched and I feel reminiscent. Jump into my time machine as we go back (GASP) 40 years, a shy teenager learning a few tricks with knitting needles and crochet hooks: How to do the backward loop cast on, making chains and single crochet with a crochet hook.

I was proud to be able to knit scarves with circular needles. All I needed was 1 circular needle, 1 straight needle, and 1 crochet hook, all Boye brand.

I knitted my brother a scarf and embellished it. I think the yarn I knitted with was Wintuk, an acrylic yarn.  I was quite surprised to learn that he kept the scarf. It looks brand new. Handcrafted by me, handmade by me.