The Mad Rush of Holiday Crafting

It’s that time of year where fiber artists make the mad rush to finish off handmade gifts for family and friends, and even to those less fortunate. Where does the time go and how do we get everything finished in time to mail off the packages? Lets start by making a list of what we want to make.

The Mad Rush seems to happen right about now. Every arts and crafts website sending out emails letting you know about some new pattern, new yarn, new crochet hook (or knitting needle). How many emails do you have just sitting there waiting to be opened?

If you are short on time and The Mad Rush has got you pulling your hair out, here are a few of my favorite items to knit or crochet. These items are quick to make, and you can mark them off your list.

  Fingerless Mitts. My mitts are easy for the new knitter, can be modified depending on yarn & techniques you want to add to it. The original pattern uses thick yarn, big needles and just garter (knit) stitch. These mitts are great at keeping your hands warm, and you can still text, you can email and you can drive without taking them off. It is not safe to text and drive at the same time, wear the mitts but leave the phone in your pocket or purse.

Crochet Beanie Style Hat. There are many hat patterns out there, and this is one of my favorite designers to use for her hats. It’s a quick and easy pattern. From infant to adult, you can crochet a hat in less than 4 hours. Worsted weight yarn and a 5.00mm hook (H hook), one skein of about 200 yards of yarn. Add a cute pompom to the top, add earflaps and tassles to accessorize it. Sarah’s patterns are easy to follow, with size changes, additional rows, her cute animal hats are fun to crochet.

  Knit Hat. I cannot leave out knitters when it comes to hats. The As Good As Gold hat uses a chunky yarn like Lion Brand Hometown yarn or Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick yarn, size US 15 circular needles in 16 inch length. With knit and purl stitches and some decreases to close the hat, you will have a big chunky hat just like snowboarders wear on the slopes.

  Crochet Scarf. Rolling Along scarf is a quick pattern that uses 1 cake of Sweet Roll yarn, 245 yds, worsted weight and 5.50mm I crochet hook. The V Stitch pattern is easy to memorize, and in no time, you have finished a scarf. The pattern states it is an infinity scarf, no ends to weave in. Modified if you want to add fringe to the ends of the scarf.

  Knit Scarf. For knitters, if you do not want to use worsted weight or heavier yarn, the Light and Lacy scarf will work for you. Knit with #3 weight yarn, YO and K2tog are the stitches used to make a pretty scarf. Cast on more stitches, more yarn and you can have a lovely knitted wrap to wear. Add sparkly yarn to dress up an outfit.

Crochet Animals. What child does not like stuffed animals. I like to give stuffed animals to new moms as part of their baby shower gift. Bright colors, soft to the touch, machine washable. Elephant is my favorite animal to make. One of the first animals I learned to crochet in the round (amigurumi).

 Water Bottle Carrier. This is a fun cozy to crochet for those that do not like to hold a bottle of water. One of the first patterns I designed over 8 years ago. Made with cotton yarn, it will hold a bottle up to 24 ounces, even those metal bottles will fit. Using less than 1 skein of cotton yarn, an H hook and in a few hours you will have finished another gift to give.

The Mad Rush is on, by showing you that there are items that can be made quickly, you will in no time have your list finished. Enjoy your crocheting and knitting, but remember to always take time for yourself. Happy Holidays to you and your family far and near.

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.

 

 

  

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?

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.

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

 

Giving Thanks To YOU with a Free Pattern

The holidays are fast approaching, Thanksgiving is 3 weeks away, and YarnKat is 1 year old. I am thankful for your support of my blog and website. In order to show my thanks I am giving you a FREE CROCHET PATTERN that can be made in 1 day or 2 days. This pattern is a crochet scarf. For 1 week only, the pattern will be free, after that it will be $4.00 in my pattern shop.

You using this yarn? It’s fits my head perfectly.

 

I call this my Rolling Along Infinity Scarf.  The  scarf is an easy pattern for the novice crocheter, the more experienced will find it can be crocheted it in a short time. The sample shown is in Premier Yarns Sweet Roll Cake, in colorway Pink Swirl. It is an acrylic yarn, worsted weight #4, with 245 yards. It is machine washable, and the recommended hook size is US I-9 (5.5mm).

Other yarn choices: Vanna’s Choice (2 skeins), Red Heart Unforgettable (1 skein), Bernat Pop Cake Yarn (1 skein), Plymouth Yarn Company’s Encore (1 to 2 skeins), even Red Heart Super Saver Soft or With Love and Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn. These are all economical choices, each being less than $8 per skein

The crochet hook we will be using is US J-10 (6mm). In choosing this hook, there will be more loft, more flow to the scarf. It will not look so stiff because the larger hook eases the tension of the yarn.

If you prefer to have just the written pattern, without all of the dialog, please go to the patterns section and grab it here: https://yarnkat.com//?product=rolling-along-infinity-scarf

Materials

1 Sweet Roll Cake, or 245 yds of worsted weight, like Vanna’s Choice, Crochet Hook J-10, darning needle, tape measure, scissors and piece of cardboard (to make fringe/tassles)

Sweet Roll Cake yarn

 

Terminology

Ch-chain, SC-single crochet, DC-double crochet, V-stitch

Chain 3 counts as double crochet

Sample scarf measures 72 inches

Pull yarn from center pull.

 

Pull yarn out from center of cake, Chain 24; sc in 2nd ch from hook; sc in each remaining chain; Turn

Chain 3, skip next stitch, V stitch in next stitch; skip 2 sts, V stitch in next stitich, repeat across to last 2 sts, skip next stitch, double crochet in last stitch. Turn

Chain 3, V stitch in each chain 1 stitch from previous row’s V stitch. Double crochet in top of chain 3 st.

Close up of the V Stitch. Do you see “V’s”?

 

Repeat last row until you are almost out of yarn. Or if you do not want to make infinity scarf, you can crochet scarf at least 60 inches and bind off and take remaining yarn and add fringe/tassles to ends.

Spread the word, I would love to see your scarf. Post it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Ravelry.

Stayed tuned for my next post. I will be offering a  Knitting item. I would love to hear what you have to say about YarnKat. Feel free to share your scarf with me. Post it to Facebook, Instagram, Ravelry, Pinterest with the hastag #YarnKat  #RollingAlong.

Baggy here: a FREE pattern? My human is so generous.

The Weight Of The Yarn, The Size Of The Animal

Here we are, heading into the last days of August, the end of summer, back to school, changing into fall weather and the holidays will be fast approaching.

I have been preparing for my fall and winter arts and crafts shows. Applications are being mailed, hoping to get into events from the past, and I am waiting for the application process to open up for those highly sought-after December boutiques.

Baggy– not sure about those lady bugs

 

This week, I crocheted a couple animals of varying yarn weights. Weights, for those that don’t know, are the varying thicknesses of the yarn. Weights range from 0 (Lace) as ROWAN KidSilk Haze to 7 (Jumbo) like BERNAT Mega Bulky yarn. I have knitted with the Bernat Mega Bulky yarn, using size 19 needles for a blanket. Sadly, lace weight yarn is too thin for me to see the stitches.

Ladybugs

The ladybugs you see were crocheted with 2 different weight yarns. The large ladybug used Bernat Softee Chunky yarn, a 6 (Super Bulky) gauge and H (5.00mm) crochet hook and the smaller one, Red Heart Super Saver, a 4 (Medium) weight and a G (4.25mm) hook. The pattern was purchased on Etsy, from designer daveydreamer.

As you can see, there is quite a difference in size. The large ladybug measures 10 inches long by 6 inches tall by 7 inches wide. The smaller ladybug measures 6 ½ inches long by 4 inches tall by 5 inches wide. It’s fun to take a pattern, use another weight yarn, and see the differences it can make. Same pattern, big results.

Micropods, from left: Red Heart With Love, Serenity Chunky, Bernat Baby Blanket

 

The same can be said for the micropods shown. Whether its Red Heart With Love yarn, Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky or Bernat Baby Blanket, the same pattern can have varying results. I love to mix up the yarns and make various sizes of animals. Who says you have to follow the guidelines of a particular pattern. Mix it up, use a thicker yarn for a larger animal or a thinner yarn for a smaller animal.