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.

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.