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.

Stitches SoCal and The Playground, All Things Fiber Related

With less than 1 week to Stitches SoCal, I am getting yarn, crochet hooks, and patterns ready. Why? You ask, because I will be teaching How To Crochet in The Playground. Along with another quick demonstration on how to crochet my cup cozy.

Stitches SoCal is a 4 day event being held Thursday November 1st to Sunday November 4, in Pasadena at the Pasadena Convention Center, 300 Green Street. 4 days of classes, shopping, demonstrations, how to’s and more.

Stitches SoCal is making their first appearance in Los Angeles area because of the overwhelming desire from knitters, crocheters, weavers, quilters to have a large conference in one of the largest cities in the US. Here is your chance, if you live in Los Angeles, to take a class or 2, shop at the many vendors in the marketplace, see a fashion show, or even buy a pattern book from an author and have it signed.

Gizmo kitty here: “Did you say yarn?” “I need more toys”

 

Did you know Stitches is celebrating 27 years in the consumer fiber events? Stitches continues to have their annual west coast conference in Santa Clara, in February each year. It has even added Salt Lake City for 2019.

The Playground is where people can see demonstrations of knitting, crocheting, weaving, quilting, spinning techniques. On Saturday, Nov 3, I will be showing people how to crochet: chain, single crochet, double crochet, even treble crochet. You are welcome to see me in action.

Saturday AM 10:30 HOW TO CROCHET, Kathy Bartholomew, El Segundo Slipt Stitchers

 

 

SUNDAY, 11:00 CROCHET CUP COZY, Kathy Bartholomew, El Segundo Slipt Stitchers

 

On Sunday Nov 4, I will be demonstrating my cup cozy. A fun, quick project any crocheter can make. These make great stocking stuffers, gifts for co-workers for the coffee enthusiast; even a bridal shower gift. For those that see me in The Playground, not only will you get to see the demonstration, you will get the pattern, and some may even get a cozy too.

Here’s your chance to see me in action, “Let’s make a cup cozy”

 

Be sure to stop by Booth #432 for El Segundo Slipt Stitchers, the knitting group I belong to. The guild is part of the stitch marker swap. Stop by and swap one of your stitch markers with one of ours. We are having  a fun Vegas Style knitting and crochet scarf project for you to try out, along with learning about our guild, what we do, our charities that we donate to and possibly join our guild.

This is sure to be a fun event, with plenty of shopping to do. Who doesn’t need more yarn, stitch markers, knitting needles, crochet hooks, patterns, books… you get it. Hope to see you there.

Live life to the fullest, get out and enjoy the weather.

Baggy cat: “what, you are not going to be home          taking care of me?                                                                                    

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”

 

Summertime Ideas, World Wide Knit In Public Day, Iced Tea Day

Many things are happening today with World Wide Knit in Public Day, National Rosé Wine Day, Donald Duck Day and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day, and Iced Tea Day is tomorrow. With summertime ideas for crocheters and knitters, summer does not have to be boring.

Plush Donald I recreated for a custom order

 

What a great day to get out and take a peek at people knitting and crocheting. Have you ever wanted to learn how to knit or crochet? Maybe join a group, meet interesting people, or just catch up with friends while showing those curious in a craft. It’s not just for grandmothers, any age can crochet or knit. Today is your day.

 

The weather has finally changed, no more “June gloom” clouds in the morning, beautiful blue skies in the day, leading to some coastal fog in the late afternoon. The crochet hook continues to produce animals new and reintroduce old favorites.

Summertime beckons great colors, fabrics, ideas. Here are some to get you started, all made with cotton yarn.

How about picnics in the park, with a handmade blanket to sit on? Take a look at Ashleigh’s gingham blanket. Just make squares and sew together. If you are handy with making graphs, use the C2C method and make a graphghan. Its more work but less ends to weave in.

Sewrella’s Gingham Picnic Blanket

 

For knitters, miter squares are a great alternate to crochet. I am working on a blanket using miter squares with remnant pieces of yarn.

Heading to the beach, take this oversize tote bag with you. Imagine the color possibilities with this bag. I made this one for a July 4th party we were invited to. Strips of color, woven together, add a shoulder strap or 2.

Patriotic Tote Bag

 

Having a summer time party? Give your guests their own drink cozy. No worrying about whose bottled beverage is who’s when each guest can have their own cozy. Embellish the cozy if you want or not. Your guests leave home with a party favor.

Water, & Soda Drink Cozies

 

Watermarks on tables? Not anymore, a quick 10 minute crochet pattern is all it takes to make a coaster. I like adding a cork backing to the coaster to ensure no condensation seeps through. Michael’s Crafts Store carries adhesive back cork in a roll. Just cut the shape, peel off the backing and stick to back of coaster.

Cup Coasters, Cork Backing

 

And finally, what’s not summertime without  Iced Tea.  If not brewing suntea, a favorite tea is Starbucks’ Passionfruit Tea with Lemonade (no sweetener). Crisp, sweet from the lemonade, and refreshing.

Passionfruit Tea with Lemonade, yummy

 

One big black cat loves summertime, he gets some sun for himself outside with leash attached,  which tends to be hours of quenching those rays. He would live out there, if not for the busy street we live on. (Note, picture was taken a couple of years ago)

“Just leave me here, I’m happy away from the Gizmo monster.”