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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Now that I have to take the time to rest my hands, I will be reviewing more products. Next up is Caron Cakes Yarn. I chose Cherry Chip, a nice color combination of various shades of pinks.
Caron Cakes is quite generous in their “cake:” 7.1oz/200g, 383 yards of 80% Acrylic, 20% wool yarn. Recommended size crochet hook US H, 5mm or US 8 knitting needle. It is only available at Michael’s Art Supplies, Crafts and Framing Store. And, can also be purchased at Michaels online.
It’s a soft acrylic yarn, you barely feel the wool in it. To test out the yarn, I am crocheting the Desert Winds Scarf , a free triangle scarf pattern courtesy of makeanddocrew.com. It’s a quick pattern that uses H hook and double crochet throughout the pattern. The scarf is crochet sideways, with increases on both ends, get to half way point then decreases.
I notice the color changes are not subtle. You start with 1 color and suddenly the next color is there with very little gradient change.
I finished the scarf, and the color changes did happen on the end of the row, as you can see in the photo. Putting the scarf around my neck, I do not feel the wool at all. It’s soft to the touch. I am sure when washed, it will soften even more.
I like this yarn. With the size of the “cake,” you could easily knit or crochet a shawl, or 2 scarves. Definitely worth the purchase price. Be sure to pick up a Caron Cakes, you will not be disappointed.
Baggy here: Maybe a Baggy size pet bed with the remainder of the cake?
One last thing, I was able to pick up the new Lion Brand Mandala yarn. Will be knitting a shawl with it, look for my review very shortly.
R & R continues, so today I am reviewing a product that I absolutely love. It is the CLOVER Pom Pom Maker.
I had a 50% off coupon from Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Store, and decided to pick it up. I bought the Large set. It comes with 2 different size pom makers, 2 ½ inch and 3 3/8 inch diameter. There are other sizes you can buy too, including a Heart Shape Pom Maker.
The Clover Pom Pom Maker is quite easy to use. Just wrap the yarn on each half of the maker, cut the wound yarn, tie it off and remove it from the maker. A little fluff and trim and you have a pom pom. Even kids can make poms, with parental supervision.
These can be added to not only scarves and hats, but to shoes, hair clips, wraps, shawls, wreaths.
The Sample Diagonal Knit Scarf pictured is made with 1 skein Red Heart Super Saver yarn, 236 yards, 5oz, 141g. I made the poms first, then knit the scarf. As an added bonus, here is the pattern for the scarf.
Sample Diagonal Knit Scarf
• 200 yards worsted weight yarn, preferably one that is self striping.
• Size US 8, 5mm knitting needles (straight or circular)
• Clover Pom Pom Maker
• Darning Needle
• Stitch Marker
CO 20 sts you can add more stitches if you want a wider scarf. This scarf measures 4 inches wide.
Row 1: (KFB) Knit front to Back in 1st St; K (knit) across to last 3 sts; K2tog (knit 2 together); K last stitch
Row 2: K across
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until almost out of yarn, Loosely Bind Off all stitches after Row 2. Cut yarn, weave in ends.
With darning needle, attach pom to each side on long diagonal. Make sure you tie it tight. And now you are done.
Enjoy the pattern, it’s a fun and easy one to knit.
Baggy here: I’ve got a Kathy fun fact. Kathy likes to make the tassles and poms before the scarf. She says it is to make sure there is enough yarn to make a long scarf. Humans are such interesting creatures.|
As a crocheter, I am usually making crochet animals for arts & crafts fairs, my website or my consignee,Buy Hand – Laguna Beach. Yesterday, I had to make a fiberfill run because I was running low on stuffing plus a 50% off coupon enticed me. I had heard that JoAnn’s Fabric and Craft Stores would be carrying Premier Yarns’ Sweet Roll, their version of Caron Yarns Cakes. I decided to purchase 2 skeins, because I can’t come home with only 1, right?
I chose Mint Swirl, a trio of green (husband’s fav color) and Black Pepper Swirl (black and gray, Raider Nation). Time to crochet a scarf with the Mint Swirl, and knit a scarf with Black Pepper.
I grabbed my Prym Ergonomic Size J (9mm) crochet hook, a longer and larger hook because I want the scarf to have a loose tension. Deciding how wide and long was not an issue for me, 245 yards is plenty for a crochet scarf. Half Double Crochet is my stitch of choice.
I like the Sweet Roll yarn. A nice worsted weight, acrylic yarn, that worked up quickly. Its soft to the touch, the color changes were smooth, with an exception where there was a knot, but I was able to hide that knot. When I folded it in half, the blocks of color closely matched up.
The scarf measures 7 inches wide by 53 inches long. It is long enough to wrap around your neck. It is machine washable, cold temp. Tumble dry. I plan to wash it with SOAK yarn wash to soften it even more.
(Baggy Here: As Kathy’s creative director, I’m thinking the next one Kathy crochets will be longer and not as wide, so stay tuned.)
There are many color combinations to choose from and at $5.99 per cake, it is a good price for the 245 yards you get.