Thursday, December 31, 2015

Knitted Gifts For The Christmas Holidays

This year I decided to knit as many items as I possibly could to give away as Christmas gifts this year to close family members and friends. Well, I started knitting gifts in September and kept adding names and gift ideas to the list below.

Gifts for my cousin:

Purple arm knitted scarf
Purple knit cuffs to match scarf
Prayer shawl

Gifts for my Mom:

Knit Cuffs to Match Poncho
Knit Necklace

Gift for my Step-dad:

Knit Hat in Denim Blue

Gift for my Hubby:

Knit Hat in Blackstone

Gift for Step-Grandparents:

Arm Knitted Blanket

Gift for Paternal Grandmother:

Chunky Knit Cowl

Gift for Maternal Grandmother:

Chunky Knit Cowl

Gift for my Friend, Sarah:

Arm Knitted Scarf and knit necklace

I'd like to make the following items for myself this holiday season:

Knit Hat
Knit Cuffs 
Ripple Scarf

Knit necklaces for fourteen other people

The good news is that I was able to night all but four items on the list I intended to make this year to give as gifts. Everyone was happy with the gifts I made them for the Christmas holiday season.

I look forward to continue to improve my knitting skills in 2016!! Happy new year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Importance of Knitting a Gauge Swatch

I have learned my lesson big time when I decided to skip knitting a gauge swatch for four knitting projects I recently completed.

I never knitted a gauge swatch for scarves or other items I've made in the past... And for the most part, the items turned out fine. That is until now!!

I knitted four hats to give to family members this year for Christmas and the circumference for each hat is too wide by two to three inches... Whoops, my bad! 

That's when I finally realized the importance of making a gauge swatch before starting any knitting project. The last thing I want to happen again in the future is to knit something and have it turn out too small or too large and be unable to use the item I just finished making. 

By not having an item turn out to be the appropriate size, I've also wasted my time and money on yarn to make a project that doesn't fit.

Watch the following YouTube video on titled 'Understanding Knitting Gauge with Debbie Stoller' to learn more about knitting a gauge swatch.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gifts to Give the Knitter in Your Life!

Do you know someone who knits? Are you looking to find them the right gift for the holiday season? Well, I found a few great knitting gift ideas in an article from the Huffington Post titled The Perfect Knitting Gifts That'll Make Someone REALLY Happy by Kristen Aiken. If all else fails, a gift card to a knitters favorite knitting store or other hobby retail chain will be a good option too. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Beginning Knit Prayer Shawl ~~~ Lion Brand Pattern #81041AD

Early stages of knitting the prayer shawl.
My Aunt Dee was diagnosed with stage four, non-operable lung cancer and ovarian cancer in August of this year. At the time, her doctors said she may only have 6 months longer to live.

So, I decided to begin knitting her a colorful knit prayer shawl to wear during her remaining days with us. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete the prayer shawl before my aunt's death, as she passed away about a month after her diagnosis. 

It was heartbreaking losing my aunt to cancer and that she suffered so much from the ravages of end stage cancer. Aunt Dee was a wonderful person and I will always cherish the wonderful memories I have of her.

I continued making the prayer shawl and decided to give it to my cousin, Kim, my aunt's daughter.

The pattern I used for the prayer shawl I made was Lion Brand Pattern # 81041AD. It's a very easy to knit prayer shawl. If you can cast on, work the garter stitch, and bind off, then you can make this super easy Lion Brand prayer shawl for yourself or others. This prayer shawl pattern may be downloaded for FREE from the Lion Brand Yarn website. Simply visit the Lion Brand website and search for the pattern using the pattern number provided above.

I did make one major change to the prayer shawl though... Instead of casting on 48 stitches as called for in the pattern, I cast on 60 stitches as I wanted the shawl to be wider. I am glad that I made the prayer shawl a bit wider as it may wrapped around the upper body to provide warmth and comfort.
Finished Prayer Shawl

I made the prayer shawl using Lion Brand® Homespun® Yarn in the Marble Colorway, which is a lovely self striping yarn. I also used size 10.5 (6.5mm), 24-inch Clover circular knitting needles to make my version of this prayer shawl. 

I thought this Lion Brand Pattern #81041AD was easy to make and turned out beautifully. Lion Brand® Homespun® Yarn is super soft to the touch and feels luxurious as it lies against the skin. The finished dimensions for the completed prayer shawl were 69 inches in length and 22.5 inches in width.

Want to learn more about prayer shawls? Check out the Lion Brand Yarn blog post about pray shawls titled: 

10 Truths: Knitting and Crocheting Prayer Shawls

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Alameda Yarn Company

Now that I am becoming a more experienced knitter (not to mention that knitting has swiftly become a hobby I can't imagine living without doing on a regular basis), I find myself expanding my horizons by visiting independent yarn stores for my yarn these days verses exclusively shopping at large chain craft stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores.

Last Thursday evening, I had the lovely opportunity of visiting an independent yarn store in Alameda, California called Alameda Yarn Company. I was pleased to discover that Alameda Yarn Company stays open until 9pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, which is fabulous as most of the independent yarn stores I've come across seem to close around 5pm or 6pm most evenings.

Upon entering the Alameda Yarn Company, I saw a group of women sitting around a large table knitting and talking. They looked like they were having a fabulous time working on their knitting projects and talking among themselves. A couple of the women even greeted me with a smile and said 'hello' in a friendly greeting... It made me feel welcome into this yarn store.

As far as a knitting store goes, I feel that the Alameda Yarn Company is a small, quaint yarn store with a wonderful selection of yarns in nice colors at decent prices. The staff on hand during my visit were friendly letting me know they were available should I have any questions and letting me browse their store front at my leisure. 

I didn't buy any yarn during my visit the Alameda Yarn Company as I already have plenty of yarn at the moment to make quite a few projects. I do look forward to making another visit to the Alameda Yarn Company in the future.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How to Read A Yarn Label!!

Make sure you know how to read a yarn label to make the most out of a yarn project you are working on. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Knitters & Crocheters Needed to Make Red Baby Hats

I came across a post on the American Heart Association website about the Little Hats, Big Hearts program. In the post, I read the following information:
Volunteers for the American Heart Association are celebrating American Heart Month by knitting red hats for all babies born in February at participating hospitals. We’re raising awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country. 
We need your help!

If you knit or crochet and would like to participate in Little Hats, Big Hearts™, please click on your state, or the state nearest you, for more information on how to volunteer. If you do not see your state listed below, please send hats to the next closest state until we establish the program in your area.

Little Hats, Big Hearts™ started in February 2014 in Chicago, IL collecting 300 hats in the first year. The program has now expanded to 33 states. We are thrilled to have so many volunteers interested in Little Hats, Big Hearts™!

Thank you for making this program so special and for helping to spread awareness of heart disease and congenital heart defects.
Click on above link to learn more about the Little Hats, Big Hearts program.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do You Keep A Knitting Journal?

I started keeping a knitting journal late in the year and am using a simple composition book to record the knitting projects I make.

Basically, I record the name of the knitting pattern and where I found the pattern. I record the brand of yarn and color I used. Plus, where I purchased the yarn I used. I keep track of the size knitting needles used for the project. I also keep track of things I liked and/or didn't like about making a particular project or problems I may have encountered while making the project all for future reference should I make the project again.

I do take pictures now of most of the items I finish knitting. I post the pictures of the items here on my blog to refer to in the future so that I have a visual record of what I make. This is all in an effort to keep track of my knitting projects.

Do you keep a journal to record your crafting projects?? If so, what pieces of information do you record in your crafting journal?

Make a Knit Necklace For a Fashionable Accessory!

Necklace in the Blue Jay colorway
While surfing the Lion Brand website for free knitting patterns to download, I came across a pattern to make a knitted necklace using Lion Brand Pattern Number L10111. Visit the Lion Brand website by clicking on the link above and enter the pattern number above to find and download the pattern for FREE if you'd like to knit your very own necklace! This pattern is for the beginning knitter. So go ahead and have fun making your own unique piece of jewelry!

To make this beautiful necklace, you'll need one skein of Martha Stewart Crafts Mambo Yarn in any color you desire. I discovered that Lion Brand is offering a deep discount/clearance prices on three pack skeins of Martha Stewart Crafts Mambo Yarn. Click on the yarn link above to learn more. I used Lion Brand's plastic size 19 knitting needles called for in this project. I found the knitting needles to be light weight, which was a good thing as I was concerned that they would be fairly heavy as they are larger knitting needles than I'm use to working with normally.

Overall, I'm really happy with how the completed necklace turned out. It's really cute, fun, and fashionable! So far I've made three necklaces. I've found that the size 19 knitting needles were a bit awkward to use at first because they are so large... I'm hoping that they become easier to use over time. I was also a bit confused on how to knit the pattern at first. But now, I have handle on the situation and think it'll be easier to knit up the rest of the necklaces in no time.

Necklace in the Purple Caterpillar color
I purchased a total of 19 skeins of the Martha Stewart Crafts Mambo Yarn to make 19 different necklaces in different colors. I plan to keep a couple of the necklaces for myself to wear and give out the remaining necklaces I make as Christmas gifts this year.

As far as the yarn goes, the Martha Stewart Crafts Mambo Yarn is a super bulky, roving yarn that comes in limited colorways. I wish this yarn was offered in more color choices.

I think that the Martha Stewart Crafts Mambo Yarn is fairly expensive for the price of $5.49 for 5 yards of yarn. So, I am grateful that I was able to purchase my skeins of Martha Stewart Crafts Mambo Yarn through Lion Brand's clearance yarn section on their website. I was able to buy 3 skeins of it for $4.12. I was also able to buy a few skeins of the Martha Stewart Crafts Mambo Yarn at Tuesday Morning on clearance as well.

So what do you think about making a knitted necklace? Is this something you would make for yourself or someone else?

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Red Heart® Super Saver® Chunky Colorful Knit Cowl

A few months ago I visited Michaels to purchase some skeins of yarn for a knitting project I was working on at the time. While perusing the various yarns in stock at Michaels, I came across a free knitting pattern titled Red Heart® Super Saver® Chunky Colorful Knit Cowl. I quickly discovered that this pattern was not only cute, but meant for a beginning knitter like myself, so I decided to make the Chunky Colorful Knit Cowl. 

However, I decided to use a different brand of yarn and in a different color than the one suggested for the pattern. Instead, I used Craft Smart™ Yarn in the Desert color as I thought this colorway made the perfect color to wear throughout the Fall season and into the Winter months. I used Clover Bamboo 16'' Circular Knitting Needle -- Size 13 to make this cowl.

The Red Heart® Super Saver® Chunky Colorful Knit Cowl is easy to make, but it wasn't a quick project... Or at least it wasn't for me. I found that it took me much longer than expected to knit it as the directions said it would take roughly 3 hours to make this cowl. Once completed though, I really liked the look of the Red Heart® Super Saver® Chunky Colorful Knit Cowl.

I actually made the Chunky Colorful Knit Cowl to give my grandmother for Christmas this year. I hope that she will enjoy wearing it!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Turn Your Yarn Scraps Into Wall Art

Let your creative juices flow and make an easy, cool piece of wall art from left over yarn!!

I Made My 2nd Newsprint Poncho (Pattern L32425) From Lion Brand

Newsprint Poncho 
Last night, I finished knitting a second Newsprint Poncho!! I used Lion Brand Pattern L32425 to make this project. This pattern is for the beginner and it may be downloaded for FREE from the Lion Brand website. Simply visit the Lion Brand website and search for the pattern using the pattern number listed above.

I made my version of this poncho using Lion Brand® Jiffy® Thick & Quick® Yarn in the color called Cascade Mountains. I also used size 13 (9mm), 29-inch wood/bamboo circular knitting needles from Clover to make my version of the Newsprint Poncho. I used approximately 5 balls of Lion Brand's® Jiffy® Thick & Quick® Yarn to complete this project.

I am giving this handmade poncho to my mom as a gift for Christmas this year. I will also be making matching wrist cuffs to go with this poncho as well. Above is a photograph of me wearing the completed Newsprint Poncho. 

I am also hoping to make quite a few more knitted items as gifts for family members and friends this holiday season. I think I may have over committed myself as I may not have the time to make all the items I want to before Christmas though. I'll have to wait and see what happens.

Until my next post, happy knitting!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

21 Things Every Knitter Knows

I came across an article on the Metro website titled 21 things you only know if you knit by George Lindsay-Watson. I can relate to quite a few of things listed in George Lindsay-Watson's article. Click on the above link to read the full story. Until my next post, happy knitting!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

14 Knit & Crochet Kits Inspired By The Outlander: The Series

I have been a fan of the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon for years now! I have yet to watch The Outlander Series on the Starz Channel, but I have enjoyed reading the series over the years.

I recently discovered on the Lion Brand Blog that Lion Brand is
Introducing… 14 Knit & Crochet Kits Inspired by Outlander: The Series and these kits look awesome! Click on the above link to read the blog post by Lorena from Lion Brand. In the blog post, Lorena wrote the following:
Do you knit or crochet curled up with your favorite television show? When we first caught up with Outlander: The Series on Starz, we were hooked, in more ways than one.
Finding herself transported (through time!) from the 1940s to 1743, main character Claire Beauchamp journeys throughout the highlands of Scotland wearing incredible period pieces; we fell for her knit shawls almost immediately.
We’ve developed 14 knit and crochet kits inspired by garments worn in the series! Each piece was designed to emulate the styles and colors of Claire’s 18th century fashions. They’re all gorgeous cold-weather accessories that fans will love to wear this season.
Watch the behind the scenes Lion Brand video below to learn more!

I am contemplating purchasing one of the knitting kits from Lion Brand to make one of the Outlander pieces for myself to wear this Winter season.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Vaginal Knitting As Performance Art?!

While surfing the internet, I never thought I'd accidentally come across an article on the Huffington Post titled How to Break the Internet With a Vagina and a Ball of Wool by Vanessa de Largie. 

Seriously, I was ONLY looking for knitting ideas, when I stumbled across Vanessa de Largie's above mentioned article!! I was surprised and intrigued by the article's title to say the least. I wanted to know what the heck Vanessa de Largie meant by her article's title... So, I went ahead and read the article. In the article, Ms. de Largie writes:
I'm a woman.
I'm a feminist.
I'm an artist.
It's these three things that drew me to controversial performance-artist and craftivist, Casey Jenkins. You see, Casey knits with her vagina. Say what? You heard correctly, she knits with her vagina.
In the space of a fortnight, over 3.5 million people watched a YouTube clip titled Vaginal Knitting, shot by SBS2. The clip offers an overview of Jenkins' work, documenting her 28-day performance piece Casting off My Womb, where Jenkins' uses skeins of wool, lodged in her vagina to knit a long passage, marking one full menstrual cycle. Obviously this kind of art pulls people one of two ways -- you either hate it or you love it. For me it was the latter.
Vanessa de Largie goes on to interview Casey Jenkins in her article about about her performance art titled 'Casting Off My Womb'. So, click on the above link to read the full article.

Below is a video from Feed of performance artist and craftivist, Casey Jenkins talking about her performance art called 'Casting Off My Womb'.

WARNING: The following video may not be appropriate for some audiences. Some nudity.

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this whole 'vaginal knitting' idea as performance art. I understand where Casey Jenkins is coming from and support the idea behind her performance art. I can only add that I'll never look a knitting and performance art the same way again.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Making Sweaters From Dog Hair!

I'm a dog lover at heart... So I found this video on Making Dog Hair Sweaters on YouTube fascinating to watch. Angie Sullivan from Vice speaks with Kendall Crolius on how to knit with dog hair. 

This almost 9 minute video talks briefly about how to collect dog hair, clean it, and spin it into usable yarn to knit with in your projects.

I now want to use dog hair to knit something with in the future.

Also, check out Kendall Crolius's book on Amazon titled 
Knitting With Dog Hair: Better A Sweater From A Dog You Know and Love Than From A Sheep You'll Never Meet.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Top Ten Books About Knitting That I Want to Read

As a newer knitter, I am always on the look out to learn how to improve and expand my knitting skills... Or simply read a book filled with stories about knitting, whether it be fiction or nonfiction. 

So, below is a list of ten books I would like to read about knitting:

Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting by Ann Hood
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics by Debbie Stoller
Lace One-Skein Wonders®: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace by Judith Durant
Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles by Alice Curtis
Knit Kimono by Vicki Square

Are you a knitter or crocheter? If so, which books have been a valuable resource for you in learning about and/or improving your craft?

I Love Yarn Day 2015!!

I learned that today is I Love Yarn Day through Craft Yarn Council. So, if you're a knitter, crocheter, or another type of yarn crafter then today is cause for celebration! Check out the websites above to learn more about I Love Yarn Day 2015 as there are contests to enter, free patterns available to download, and so much more.

I love my new found hobby of knitting. I enjoy the creative process of transforming skeins of yarn into something beautiful and useful. I am always amazed at how the finished product turns out once I finished knitting a project. I also find that knitting is a great way to relieve stress and unwind, which is another wonderful perk of knitting. Building my knitting skills is also a good thing... I've recently learned how to work the slip stitch and how to pick up dropped stitches.

Yarn (and needles) are the basic tools to begin knitting (or crocheting) any project. I've become quite the yarn enthusiast since I've become a knitter... So much so that I have accrued quite the yarn stash. I may need to find new ways of storing my yarn stash.

The world of yarn is wide and vast... The various colors yarn comes in, the type of materials that comprise each skein of yarn, the various thicknesses of different skeins only begins to describe the different types of yarn out there on the market. There seems to be endless possibilities when it comes to what yarns will look like.

As far as yarns go, I mostly seem to work with bulky yarns as they are easy to work with and make starting and finishing a project quick work. I've recently begun working on a project that calls for worsted weight yarn, so I am having fun expanding my knitting horizons.

Aside from making a blog post about I Love Yarn Day 2015, I have no special plans. I may visit a yarn store later today.

What do you like about yarn? Do you knit, crochet, or both? Do you have a favorite yarn you like using? Will you be doing anything special on I Love Yarn Day 2015 to celebrate the wonderful world or yarn and crafting?

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Yarn Less Raveled --- Independent Yarn Store in Danville, California

Visiting independent yarn stores is something I am striving to do more frequently as I become more vested in knitting as a hobby and also as my knitting skills continue to improve over time. 

I also enjoy promoting and shopping at small, locally owned businesses as they are essential to the local economy and they are also a valuable resource for the community. I strongly feel that independent yarn stores are a valuable resource for knitters and crocheters alike. Independent yarn stores have knowledgeable sales staff that are passionate about knitting and crocheting and enjoy sharing their expertise with their customers. They also carry a wide variety of yarns in just about every color imaginable, as well as needles and accessories, plus offer classes, and so much more.

Luckily, I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting a delightful independent yarn store in Danville, California called A Yarn Less Raveled earlier this week. It was my first time visiting A Yarn Less Raveled and W-O-W, what a fabulous yarn store it was to visit!!

A Yarn Less Raveled is a delightful yarn store. As I walked in the front door, I noticed that A Yarn Less Raveled was a happening place to visit as it was filled with rather large group of satisfied looking customers. I also noticed that there's a nice sized circular table near the entrance of A Yarn Less Raveled where I noticed a group of people sitting around it working on various yarncrafting projects. Additionally, I also noticed quite a few other customers shopping in the store as well.

A Yarn Less Raveled is a nice sized yarn store. The layout of A Yarn Less Raveled is wonderful and well organized. The displays are well placed and nicely done... And the flow of the store is well thought out. I aslo liked the yarn samples that showed off what the various skeins of yarn looked like when it was knitted or crocheted. I found the staff on hand were friendly in greeting customers and helpful in answering customer questions and ringing up sales. 

Several knitting and crochet classes are offered at A Yarn Less Raveled and you can sign up for classes online.

I ended up purchasing two skeins of teal colored ribbon yarn to make a ripple scarf. I wasn't planning on purchasing anything during my visit to A Yarn Less Raveled, but when I saw the ripple scarf on display in A Yarn Less Raveled I found myself wanting to make one myself. After purchasing two skeins of yarns from A Yarn Less Raveled, I received a free pattern to make the ripple scarf. I am excited about making the ripple scarf once I've completed a few other knitting projects that I am currently working on now.

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit at A Yarn Less Raveled and have the feeling that I'll be visiting A Yarn Less Raveled again in the future.

Until my next post, happy knitting!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Click, Clack, CASH: How to Make Money Knitting by Emily Pearle (Book Review)

eBook Edition
Some day in the future, I'd eventually love to make money via my newly found love of knitting. 

At the present moment though, I enjoy the creative process of knitting and learning how to improve my current knitting skills. I'm having fun knitting items for myself and also knitting items that I like to give as gifts to family members and close friends.

But as I mentioned above, I'd eventually love to make and sell handmade knitted items to others. Wouldn't that be cool? 

It just so happened that while surfing Amazon's website last night, I came across an ebook titled Click, Clack, CASH: How to Make Money Knitting by Emily Pearle. For 99 cents, I decided to download this ebook and see what ideas Emily Pearle had to share in her ebook about making money through knitting. 

Click, Clack, CASH: How to Make Money Knitting by Emily Pearle is a short read and is approximately 44 pages in length. I liked the short, well organized chapters, the quotes at the start of each chapter, and the authors humor. I also liked many of the ideas that Ms. Pearle presented in her ebook. I just wished that she had expounded a bit more on a few of the topics that she had presented in her ebook. 

I am giving Click, Clack, CASH: How to Make Money Knitting by Emily Pearle an overall rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Garter Stitch Hat (Pattern L0336B) --- Beginning Knit Pattern From Lion Brand Yarn!!

My New Garter Stitch Hat
I finished making my first knit hat ever! It was an easy hat to make and it was made by using the garter stitch.

I used Lion Brand Pattern # L0336B to make this Garter Stitch Hat. This pattern is for the beginner and it may be downloaded for FREE from the Lion Brand Yarn website. Simply visit the Lion Brand website and search for the pattern using the pattern number listed above.

I made my knit hat using Lion Brand® Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® Yarn. I think I made the hat in the Sandstone yarn color, but am not 100% on color. I threw away the label, so I don't have it to refer to any longer. I also used size 13 (9mm), 14-inch straight wood knitting needles to make my version of the Garter Stitch Hat. 

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Newsprint Poncho (Pattern L32425) --- Beginning Knit Pattern From Lion Brand Yarn

Finished Newsprint Poncho
I knitted my very first poncho to wear for the upcoming Fall and Winter months. And the poncho I knitted turned out fabulously, if I do say so myself! This is the most advanced knitting project that I have made to date.

I used Lion Brand Pattern L32425 to make the Newsprint Poncho. This pattern is for the beginner and it may be downloaded for FREE from the Lion Brand website. Simply visit the Lion Brand website and search for the pattern using the pattern number listed above.

I made my poncho using Lion Brand® Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® Yarn in the color called Blackstone. I also used size 13 (9mm), 29-inch wood circular knitting needles to make my version of the Newsprint Poncho. As an FYI, the pattern calls for five skeins of Lion Brand® Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® Yarn, but I only ended up needing four skeins of yarn to make the Newsprint Poncho. I noticed a couple of the other online reviews of this particular Lion Brand pattern also mentioned only needing four skeins of  Lion Brand® Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® Yarn as well. So, I am glad to know that I am not the only one who ended up using less yarn than called for my poncho.

I'm really happy with how well my knitting skills have improved since I began knitting last year. And, of course, I look forward to wearing my Newsprint Poncho in the months to come. Above is a photograph of me wearing the completed Newsprint Poncho I made for myself. I tried taking various pictures of me wearing my handmade poncho in natural lighting with a better background than in my kitchen, but alas I couldn't obtain a good photograph of the poncho that showed it colors and texture properly like the photograph above.

Until my next post, happy knitting!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Yes To These 26 Clever And Inexpensive Crafting Hacks!!

I love creative hacks that are also inexpensive as well. So, when I came across an article titled 26 Clever And Inexpensive Crafting Hacks by Alanna Okun, I looked forward to reading it.

I look forward to trying #18 (aka Relax curled circular knitting needle cords with warm water) and the various inexpensive ways to make a yarn bowl.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Knitting Stitches For Beginners by Emma Brown (Book Review)

Free eBook
As a beginning knitter, I've been having fun reading and exploring knitting books to help me become a better knitter. So far, I've read four knitting books -- of which I've reviewed here on my knitting blog.

I recently read an ebook titled Knitting Stitches For Beginners by Emma Brown and it is approximately 220 pages. Knitting Stitches For Beginners is a good knitting book for both beginning and intermediate knitters.

I think I'll be referring to Knitting Stitches For Beginners by Emma Brown quite a bit in the future! So, what did I link about this book? A lot actually! Some of the things I enjoyed the most are as follows:

* I enjoyed the author's writing style!! It was fun to read what Emma Brown shared in her book.

* The plethora of links to videos (as well as photographs) on how to do the various knitting stitches and other techniques discussed in Knitting Stitches For Beginners.

* Good instructions on various types of knitting stitches.

* Important reasons for keep a knitting journal.

* Standard abbreviations used in knitting patterns.

* How to read a pattern and how to hold the needles and yarn while knitting.

This is just some of the things I enjoyed about reading Knitting Stitches For Beginners by Emma Brown. 

I am giving Knitting Stitches For Beginners by Emma Brown a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy knitting!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Do You Make Knitted Gifts For Family & Friends??

I enjoy making myself various knitted items and I also enjoy making knitted items to give as gifts for others. In fact, I'm trying to decide now which items to make for close family and friends for Christmas this year. 

Last year, I used my newbie knitting skills to make four people scarves and hand warmers as gifts to give for Christmas... And earlier this year, I made two additional people arm knitted scarves for their birthdays. My handmade items were hits with each recipient, so I'm looking forward to sending off newly made gifts once again this holiday season!!

Are you making knitted or crocheted items for family and friends this upcoming holiday season??

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Black Sheep ~~ Independent Knitting/Crochet Store!!

I don't really visit independent yarn stores all that often for my knitting needs, as I usually shop for my knitting supplies at either Joann Fabric and Craft Stores or Michaels Stores. 

However, I recently visited The Black Sheep, a yarn store in downtown Encinitas, California. The Black Sheep has been in business for 40 years and specializes in natural fiber yarn. I was super impressed with their retail storefront... 
I'd say that The Black Sheep is the BEST independent retail yarn store I've been to date! My visit to The Black Sheep really had me excited about improving my knitting skills as there are so many types of awesome yarns I could use in various knitting projects in the future as my skills improve.

The Black Sheep has a large, retail storefront with a vast array of yarn supplies to suit all knitting, crocheting, and yarncrafting needs and tastes. Plus, a large selection of knitting and crocheting needles as well as other notions. 

The staff member I interacted with during my visit was also helpful, nice, and knowledgeable. Too bad I no longer live in the San Diego area as I have the feeling that I'd be visiting The Black Sheep on a regular basis for my knitting needs!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

David Babcock ~~the Knitting Runner!!

I don't know about you, but I find David Babcock to be an amazing person. I think it is cool that he is a marathon runner (which is awesome in and of itself) and that he is also a knitter... But even more incredible is that he knits while running marathons! I'm am not sure I could do both activities at the same time!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stress Relief Gloves

Has anyone used Stress Relief Gloves for knitting or crocheting?? If so, which brand of Stress Relief Gloves did you use and did you finding using them during your crafting project to be helpful in reducing stress, pain, and/or fatigue?

I recently purchased a pair of Lion Brand Stress Relief Gloves to use while I am knitting as I have found that my right hand, as well as my fingers on my right hand and right forearm become a bit sore/achy after knitting. 

I do make sure to take frequent breaks while knitting and do not knit for long periods of time. I also try and be as ergonomic as possible while knitting to reduce stress and alleviate muscle fatigue.

The Lion Brand Stress Relief Gloves come in three different sizes --- Small, Medium and Large. The following is a product description of the Lion Brand Stress Relief Gloves from the Lion Brand website:
These gloves alleviate pain without restricting your movement. They are lightweight and fingerless with the comfort of support to the vital areas of the hand and wrist. Made of a tightly woven spandex/nylon fabric, they help keep your hands warm, enhancing blood-flow and massaging muscles. Measure across your palm to determine size. Small is 2 1/2'-3' Medium is 3'-3 1/2' Large is 3 1/2'-4'.
I look forward to using the Stress Relief Gloves from Lion Brand and am hoping that they will help alleviate the soreness/achy feeling I have experienced from knitting.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A 5-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Yarncrafting Wellness Plan

I've read a few online articles regarding the many positive health benefits of knitting and yarncrafting in general. I've even posted a couple of the articles I've read about the health benefits of knitting here on my blog last month.

I recently came across an interesting article written by Kathryn Vercillo titled A 5-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Yarncrafting Wellness Plan on Lion Brand Yarn's Blog. Wow, I never really thought about using a five step guide to create my own knitting/yarncrafting wellness plan!! But a 5-step yarn crafting wellness does sound like an intriguing concept to explore.

I have personally found knitting to be a relaxing and enjoyable hobby for me. I love learning new things, so knitting is a perfect outlet for me. Plus, knitting is very portable! I also enjoy seeing how my various knitting projects turn out... It's fun to see a skein of yarn be transformed into something usable. Additionally, I enjoy watching my knitting skills improve over time with each new project I complete. 

But, back to Kathryn Vercillo's article... Her article really has me wondering if it is possible to create a wellness plan using yarncrafting in mind. Is it possible to see positive results/real changes in one's health for the better by creating a 5-step wellness plan? 

After reading Kathryn Vercillo's article, A 5-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Yarncrafting Wellness PlanI am ready to create my own wellness plan and see if it will help me improve/overcome my sleep issues. I've been suffering with insomnia off and on for more years than I care to admit. I've tried various things in attempts to overcome my insomnia with mixed results. I am ready to try something new. So, perhaps now is the time use the tools outlined in Kathryn Vercillo's above mentioned article and see if they'll work for me. 

The first step is to create my own 5 step yarncrafting wellness plan and then implement it. I'll keep you posted on my progress and how things turn out for me.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Knitting For Beginners by Diane Ellis (Book Review)

Once again, I discovered another free knitting ebook geared for beginners to download to my Kindle from Amazon!! I read Knitting For Beginners by Diane Ellis in less than 2 hours. This ebook is approximately 44 pages in length. Below is my unbiased review of this book.

I enjoyed reading this book about knitting. It covered some of the same topics I've read before like the history of knitting, healthy benefits of knitting, basic supplies, and easy to do knitting patterns. 

I think the best tip I learned from reading Knitting For Beginners, is to keep a knitting journal. Keeping a knitting journal is something that hasn't been mentioned in other books that I've read so far (or at least that I can recall anyway). The knitting journal makes a great reference guide for you as you can keep notes, like the name of the project you made, where you obtained the pattern for the project you made, information about the yarn and needles you used, a place to write down any problems you encountered while making the project, add any information you learned that could help you when doing the project again, adding pictures of what you made, and so on... Basically, any information about the knitting project (good or bad) that will help you or someone else in the future.

The actual knitting patterns provided in Knitting For Beginners by Diane Ellis weren't many, but the few offered were varied enough for the beginning knitter to make this ebook worth having.

I am giving Knitting For Beginners by Diane Ellis a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Knitting For Beginners by Christie Anderson (Book Review)

As a new knitter, I'm always on the look out for new knitting books geared for beginning knitters. So, I was thrilled to discover and download a free copy of the ebook version of Knitting For Beginners by Christie Anderson from Amazon to my Kindle. Knitting For Beginners is approximately 76 pages in length. Below is my unbiased opinion of Knitting For Beginners by Christis Anderson.

There's a lot to like about Knitting For Beginners by Christie Anderson. I enjoyed learning about the benefits of knitting, learning about the different types of knitting needles and needle styles, learning about the different types of yarn used in knitting and choosing the correct weight of yarn for projects, how to read a knitting pattern, learning the basic knit stitches, as well as a few easy knitting patterns to help one starting out in the wonderful of knitting make something fun! 

I'm giving Knitting For Beginners by Christie Anderson a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. So, if you're looking for a knitting ebook for beginners, then this may be the one for you!! 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Where Do You Buy Yarn?

I'm curious about your yarn buying habits! Where do you buy the yarn you use for your knitting and crochet projects?

I primarily buy yarn at chain stores like Michaels Stores or JoAnn Fabric & Craft Stores. I've also occasionally purchased yarn directly from Lion Brand Yarn's website. I rarely purchase yarn from independent yarn stores... In fact, I think I've purchased yarn only once from an independent yarn store. I like supporting small businesses, but tend to notice that indie yarn stores tend to have more expensive yarns than chain stores.

I tend to tyically purchase skeins of yarn that are $9.99 or less each as I'm on a budget... By the way, Gotta love the store coupons from both JoAnns and Micheals. 

Also, because I am a new knitter, I don't want to buy expensive skeins of yarn until I know how to knit really well and am able to make more advanced projects. So, I avoid buying expensive yarns for these reasons I've mentioned.

Tell me more about your yarn buying habits!

Do You Know How To Read A Knitting Pattern?

If you're a new knitter, then learning to read a knitting pattern can be a bit difficult at first --- That is until you understand the knitting lingo/abbreviations and what these abbreviations mean. 

Ultimately though, reading a knitting pattern is like reading a cooking recipe. The above video walks you through reading a few knitting patterns to help make reading knitting patterns easier for you!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How To Hold Your Knitting Yarn

As a new knitter, one of the things I struggled with the most was how to hold the yarn while I was knitting. No matter how I seemed to hold the knitting needles and yarn, holding the yarn always felt awkward and I'd end up with either a hand, finger, wrist, and/or arm soreness after knitting for a while. 

So figuring out how to wrap the yarn around the knitting needles in an efficient and ergonomic fashion became a huge priority for me in being able to move forward with my new hobby of knitting.

I'm still playing around with which way to hold the yarn while knitting works best for me. But I have found that holding the yarn the way Cheryl Brunette shows in the above video to make knitting easier for me. Ms. Brunette also shows how to hold yarn for crocheters too.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Make A Knit Headband --- Beginning Level Pattern!

I enjoy discovering new beginning knit patterns for me to knit my own wonderful handmade items for myself and to give as gifts to others. 

About two weeks ago, I discovered a wonderful video for beginning knitters on YouTube from Chandi at Expression Fiber Arts on how to knit a headband!! 

After watching the above video, I couldn't wait to make this simple knitted headband for myself as it looks, not only like an easy item to make, but cute, comfortable to wear, and fashionable as well. 

So, after I purchased a pair of wood Clover Brand knitting needles in size 9 and a skein of worsted weight yarn, I began making the above knit headband. I used the Loops & Threads Bobby Jean yarn in navy, which is a variegated yarn in navy blue tones. 

I thought making this knit headband was easy and fun to make. I like the overall look of my headband once I finished making it... However, it's a tad large in length. I'm not sure if this is due to the stretchy yarn I used or not.

If I use the same yarn next time I decide to make this headband, I think I'll make the headband a half inch to a full inch shorter in length and see if I have a better fit... Otherwise, I think the headband I've made this time around feels fairly loose and may stretch out as time goes by.

Attached below is a picture of the headband I made using the video from Expression Fiber Arts. Thank you Chandi for making this video for beginning knitters like myself.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Which Yarncrafting Tools Are Allowed In Carry-On Luggage??

I usually don't fly on board airplanes very often, but soon I will be taking a domestic airline flight to visit my parents. To pass the time waiting to board my flight and during the actual flight itself, I usually find myself reading a book or magazine when flying solo.

Now that I am a new knitter, I wondered if TSA actually allows knitting or crochet needles to be taken aboard an airplane in one's carry-on luggage?

Lucky for me, I found the following article on Lion Brand Yarn's blog titled Which Crafting Tools Are Allowed In Carry-On Luggage? by Sarah. In the article, Sarah writes:
Are knitting needles and crochet hooks allowed in carry-on luggage? 
Knitting needles and crochet hooks are permitted by the TSA in carry-on luggage on domestic flights in the US. Savvy travelers suggest that you carry wooden or plastic needles over metal and bring circular knitting needles instead of straights which might seem more obtrusive. If you are travelling internationally be sure to check the guidelines of your airline and security agencies abroad. You may be allowed to fly into a country with knitting needles in your carry-on but be required to check them on your return flight.
Scissors with blades less than four inches are also allowed to be brought on board an aircraft in one's carry-on luggage, which I found surprising! I wouldn't think TSA would allow scissors at all.

Click on the above link to read more information about what can be brought on board an airline flight and other helpful links.

I hope you found the above information informative. Happy knitting!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

10 Important Health Benefits of Yarncrafting!

Here's another wonderful article about the many benefit of being a knitter or crocheter from Lion Brand Yarn's blog titled 10 Most Important Health Benefits of Yarncrafting by Kathryn Vercillo.

I like that the information presented in Kathryn Vercillo'sarticle. It is written using bullet points that highlight the many benefits of yarncrafting!

Click on the above link to read the 10 Most Important Health Benefits of Yarncrafting. I hope that reading the provided in Kathryn Vercillo's article helps to inspire you to become a knitter or crocheter. Happy knitting everyone!

The Health Benefits of Knitting!

Since I began knitting last year, I've come across several articles online about the many health related benefits of knitting and croceting. One of the knitting articles that I came across last year from The Sacramento Bee is titled Health benefits for those who stick to their knitting by Sammy Caiola. In the article, Caiola writes the following:
Carrie Barron, a psychiatrist with the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and a knitter, lauds handiwork as a tool for alleviating anxiety and depression. Her husband, Alton Barron, orthopedic surgeon and president of the New York Society for Surgery of the Hand, says knitting can prevent arthritis and tendinitis.
Pretty cool benefits of knitting, right? I also learned in Caiola's article:
Knitting someone a sweater, in addition to saving you from holiday shopping, can also be a great workout for the fingers, hands and forearms, said Alton Barron. Moving the joints of the fingers forces fluid to move in and out of the surrounding, sponge-like cartilage, keeping the joints well-hydrated and minimizing the risk of arthritis, he said.
“If you let a joint sit, not only will it get stiff, but the actual cartilage will lose its structural integrity and break down,” he said. “Most of us grow up thinking the more you use something the more it wears out, but that’s not the case with cartilage.”

Read more here:
To learn more benefits of knitting, please click on the above link.
Read more here:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Lion Brand Yarn

I love using Lion Brand Yarn... Granted, I've primarily used their 
Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® super bulky yarn at this point to make several knit cuffs and matching scarves. I love the quality of Lion Brand's Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® yarn. It's an easy yarn to work with for beginners.

I also enjoy visiting the Lion Brand Yarn website as they offer several free patterns for knitters and crocheters. You can search for patterns based on skill level, which is awesome! There are other knitting supplies for sale through the Lion Brand website as well like looms, knitting/crochet books and knitting needles, etc.

So check out the Lion Brand website by clicking on the links above!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Basic Knit Scarf

Me modeling the first scarf I ever made.
In my first ever post here on my knitting blog titled, I'm A Knitting Newbie!!, I showcased a picture of the knit cuffs that I made using Lion Brand's Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® yarn in Denim. 

After I completed the knit cuffs, I decided that I would make a matching scarf to go with the knit cuffs by using the same colored Lion Brand's Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® yarn in Denim for the scarf. 

I also used the same sized knitting needles and knitted the scarf using the knit stitch (aka the garter stitch) throughout the knitting process to give the knit cuffs and scarf a uniform/matching look. The scarf turned out longer than I would have made it otherwise as the pattern suggested making the scarf 2 yards (or 6 feet) in length. In the future, I'd make the scarf about 5 feet in length instead as I feel that would be long enough for the length of a scarf.

I used a free Lion Brand Pattern to make the scarf you see me wearing in the above photograph, which you can search for on the Lion Brand website and download as a pdf file. I'm not sure how to attach a pdf file to this blog post if that's even possible... But a beginning knit scarf pattern of your liking should be easy enough to find through the Lion Brand website.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Learn To Arm Knit by Leisure Arts (Book Review)

Paperback Book For Arm Knitting
I purchased Learn To Arm Knit by Leisure Arts through Joann Fabrics and Craft Stores website for 40% off the cover price. This book seems more of a pamphlet than a book and is 32 pages in length. This book is for beginners and also offers an online video tutorial on how to arm knit as well.

I've made several arm knitted scarves so far and given some of them away as gifts. Arm knitted scarves are fun, fast, and easy to make. I am now an avid arm knitter and loving promoting this knitting technique!

Arm knitting is also a great way to teach kids how to knit as you don't have to worry about them poking themselves or others accidentally with knitting needles.

Learn to Arm Knit by Leisure Arts also offers a photo gallery with various arm knitted scarves in different colors and an index of which yarns were used to make each scarf using the technique outlined in the book.

I also enjoyed the reading the instructions on how to make a very cute looking scarf using a finger crocheting technique, which I haven't tried doing yet.

Me modeling one of my arm knitted scarves.
Even though, I enjoyed reading Learn to Arm Knit by Leisure Arts and adding it to my permanent collection of knitting books, I am glad I didn't pay full price for this book. I felt that there wasn't anything revolutionary in it that couldn't have been found for free by watching a YouTube video on how to arm knit. In fact, I had already learned how to arm knit by watching a YouTube video prior to buying this book online. 

I guess the redeeming feature of Learn to Arm Knit by Leisure Arts for me was the photo gallery showcasing various arm knitted scarves and the index that followed stating which yarns were used. I also think that that the finger crochet scarf is worthwhile and I look forward to making it in the future as well.

Which knitting books have you found to be invaluable in your journey to becoming a better knitter?

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog post!! Happy knitting!

Beginning Arm Knitting --- Learn How To Make An Infinity Scarf!

Me modelling an infinity scarf I made for my mom.
Who knew that you could use your arms to knit beautiful infinity scarves?!?!? I was excited to learn about arm knitting last Fall. I absolutely love arm knitting and have already made ten different infinity style scarves in various lengths, colors, and styles. 

Arm knitting is fun, fast, and very easy to do!! It's a great way to make beautiful, chunky, infinity style scarves for yourself and others... In fact, this past holiday season, I actually made several arm knitted scarves to give as gifts to a few family and friends. The scarves were a hit.

Arm knitting is also a great way to teach kids how to knit and not have to worry about them poking themselves (or others) accidentally with knitting needles... Plus, as I already mentioned, arm knitting makes for a reasonably fast knitting project for both kids and adults to complete in a short amount of time.

To make the exact same arm knitted scarves I made and am wearing in the two photographs I've included in this post, please watch the Michaels Stores arm knitting video. This arm knitting project is great for beginning knitters and it only requires two skeins of bulky yarn in the color of your choice to complete.

I used Loops & Threads® Cozy Wool™ Yarn from Michaels. I made one arm knitted scarf in the Caribbean Sea color and another scarf in the Earth color. 

I think it took me approximately an hour to complete each scarf from start to finish. This project makes a great scarf that is warm and comfortable to wear during the Winter months.

Have you tried arm knitting yet? Tell me about your experience with arm knitting. 

Happy knitting!!