Thursday, March 31, 2016

Yarn Haul For March 2016

I'm trying to curb my yarn stash this year, but I keep finding yarn that I want to use to make various knitted items. So, I keep adding more skeins of yarn to my every growing yarn stash.

This month I purchased eleven skeins of yarn. Here's the breakdown of what I purchased this month:

2 Skeins of Loops & Threads Cozy Wool Marls Yarn in the Very Cherry Marl colorway 
1 Skein of Malabrigo Rasta Yarn in Ravelry Red colorway
2 Skeins of Lion Brand Imagine Yarn in the Brown Sugar colorway
1 Skein of Lion Brand Imagine Yarn in the Blue Bayou colorway
1 Skein of Lion Brand Imagine Yarn in the Black Ice colorway
2 Skeins of Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash Yarn in the Sea Green Heather colorway
1 Skein of Patons Astra Yarn in the Deep Pink Colorway
1 Skein of Patons Astra Yarn in the Cardinal Colorway

Sampling of the yarn skeins I purchased this month!

Which skeins of yarn have you added to your yarn collection this month?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lion Brand Imagine Finger Crochet Necklace

I Love & Adore Jewelry!! Couple my love of jewelry with my love of yarn crafting and it's a match made in heaven -- For me at least!

Me Wearing the Finger Crochet Necklace
Additionally, I've also been wanting to learn how to finger crochet. So, when I discovered a FREE Finger Crochet Necklace Pattern (Pattern Number L20592) on the Lion Brand Yarn website I couldn't wait to make the pattern!! Just visit Lion Brand's website and type in the pattern number mentioned above to make your own finger crochet necklace.

This finger crochet necklace calls for one skein of Lion Brand's Imagine Yarn to make it. Earlier this month, I purchased four skeins of Lion Brand's Imagine Yarn in different colors. This way, I could make the above pattern in four different colors. I plan to keep one of the finger crochet necklaces for myself and give the remaining three away as gifts.

Necklace Up Close
The Lion Brand Imagine Yarn is a super bulky weight yarn that feels soft to the touch. I thought learning to finger crochet was super easy. I also felt that the Lion Brand Imagine Finger Crochet Necklace was easy to make as it only took me about 10 to 12 minutes to make the necklace from start to finish. 

Because Lion Brand Imagine Finger Crochet Necklace is such an easy item to make, I just may end up buying more skeins of Imagine Yarn to make more Finger Crochet Necklaces.

Until my next post, happy yarn crafting!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Another Adventure Circle #Scarfie Completed

Earlier this month I made a Lion Brand Yarns pattern called Adventure Circle #Scarfie (Pattern Number: L40501B) with 100% baby alpaca yarn.
Adventure Circle #Scarfie 

The Adventure Circle #Scarfie is such a fun, quick, and easy project to knit, that I decided to make another one of these cute cowl, scarves last weekend! 

This time around though, I decided to make the Adventure Circle #Scarfie with a different brand of yarn and in a different colorway. I chose to use Loops & Threads Cozy Wool Marls Yarn in the Very Cherry Marl colorway. The Loops & Threads Cozy Wool Marls Yarn is a super bulky weight (6) yarn, so I was able to make the Lion Brand Yarns Adventure Circle #Scarfie (Pattern Number: L40501B) as directed and it worked out perfectly for me.

The only thing negative I have to say, is that I didn't love working with the Loops & Threads Cozy Wool Marls Yarn. I'd recently bought this yarn on sale from Michaels for 50% off the regular price. The Loops & Threads Cozy Wool Marls Yarn feels a bit rough to me and the colorway wasn't even in a couple of places. I also didn't like that the yarn itself separates easily in places. So, for me, the quality of the Loops & Threads Cozy Wool Marls Yarn wasn't up to snuff.

Unfortunately, I bought two more skeins of the Loops & Threads Cozy Wool Marls Yarn in different colors, so I will use them to make a few more Adventure Circle #Scarfies. But after that, I won't be buying any more skeins of this yarn to use on any projects in the future.

You may find the Lion Brand Yarns Adventure Circle #Scarfie (Pattern Number: L40501B) on the Lion Brand Yarns website and download the pattern for FREE. Just visit the Lion Brand Yarns website and type in the pattern number in the search box provided on their website.

Until my next post, happy knitting!

How Early In The Year Do You Start Making Gifts For Christmas?

Last year, I waited until September before I started making hand knitted items to give as gifts to family and friends for the Christmas holiday season. I was able to finish knitting most of the projects I had started making well before Christmas, but not all of them. 

In addition to Christmas gifts, I also have a few family members and friends with Fall birthdays that I would like to make hand knitted items for this year as well.

So, I'm on a mission to start making birthday and Christmas gifts even earlier this year than I did last year. I simply want to allow myself enough time to make the gifts I want to give as gifts this year. Especially, when I'd like to make more elaborate gifts than scarves, cowls, hats, and knit cuffs to those that have already received this type of hand knitted items as gifts from me in previous years.

I'm currently in the planning stages right now. I'm deciding on which projects to make for which person. Hopefully, I'll start making gifts as early as next month.

Do you make gifts for family members and friends for their birthdays and holidays? How far in advance do you start making gifts for them?

Until my next post, happy knitting!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Knitting Update ~ Cardigan Sweater Progress Report!!

 A few minutes ago, I finished knitting the first (and largest) panel of the cardigan sweater I'm knitting for myself. This particular piece will be the back side of the cardigan sweater and it measures 20 inches by 23.25 inches. 

Tonight in my knitting class, I will begin knitting the two front pieces for the cardigan sweater.

I am knitting my cardigan sweater using Lion Brand Pattern number L40689 in seed stitch. Visit the Lion Brand Yarns website and type in the pattern number to see what the sweater I am knitting looks like when it is finished... By the way, the pattern I'm using to make my very own cardigan sweater is absolutely FREE to download from Lion Brand Yarns and is a beginning knit pattern.

I really look forward to completing this project as I want to see what the cardigan sweater looks like upon completion... And, of course, I look forward to wearing the cardigan sweater too!

What knitting or crocheting projects are you working on these days??

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Yoga Poses for Knitters & Crocheters -- Poses For Carpel Tunnel!

Today I discovered a post with video included on Lion Brand Yarn's blog called Yoga With Shira: Yoga for Knitters & Crocheters, Poses for Carpal Tunnel! In the blog article I read the following information:
How does yoga relate to crafting? Simply put, the repetitive action of knitting/crocheting causes similar bodily reactions as yoga. Knitting or crocheting, like yoga, slows down the brain, tells the body to go into restore mode and allows time for the body to heal from the inside out. They both reduces levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — and shuts down overactive brain noise. Mindfulness will allow you to stitch longer with deeper awareness and a sense of ease. We’re talking about connection here. Connection to self. Connection to the material you are working with and connection to each other. About cultivating inner peace and a sense of community through activities that bring people together.

So grab a friend, get on the floor and do what you love because this life is all about one thing, working from heart and whenever you come from that place magical things will happen.
Watch the following video from the Lion Brand Yarn blog post (mentioned above) to see stretches for knitters and crocheters.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Busy Styx Yarn Store in Lafayette, California

On this rainy day, I decided to visit a new to me yarn store in Lafayette, California called Busy Styx. I love visiting independent yarn stores and seeing what these independent yarn stores have to offer for knitters like myself. 

Busy Styx has recently moved to a new location in Lafayette, California and had a grand reopening yesterday. The Busy Styx store front looks inviting and is filled with various weights of yarn, needles, buttons and other notions one has come to expect when visiting a yarn store. 

I thought that Marcia Brunning, who greeted me at Busy Styx was pleasant and inviting. She answered a few questions I had. I look forward to visiting Busy Styx again in the future.

What I liked most about Busy Styx is that they are an official CustomFit LYS store, which I think is awesome! Check out the following video for more information about CustomFit.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

How To Join In The Round

This is a helpful video I discovered on YouTube on how to join in the round for those knitting with circular knitting needles for the first time. Enjoy!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Blocking Knitted Items

Blocking is an important step to undertake after knitting an item and before wearing/using the new knitted item. 

Personally, I have yet to do any blocking though as I've been a tad tentative in doing so because I wasn't sure how to block. I decided to watch a few different videos on YouTube about blocking to grasp the basic concept.

I chose to post a short, concise video about blocking that I found on YouTube to give viewers the basic premise of blocking. So enjoy watching the above video about blocking.

Until my next, happy knitting!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Black Sheep Society --- Subscription Based Service

In January of this year, I made three different posts about three different knitting/yarn subscription based services I'd learned about --- Post Stitch, Yarn Box, and Knit Crate.

Earlier today though, I discovered the Black Sheep Society, which is another monthly online subscription based service. Black Sheep Society offers monthly, curated craft-a-longs. The cool thing is that Black Sheep Society isn't just for knitters!! If you knit, crochet, and/or sew, then Black Sheep Society offers craft-a-long projects made for you.

To learn more, check out Black Sheep Society by clicking on the link above.

Until my next post, happy crafting!

Monday, March 14, 2016

How To Pick Up A Dropped Garter Stitches -- Video Tutorial!!

How to Pick Up Dropped Stitches in Stockinette -- Video Tutorial!

What's inside Stephanie Pearl McPhee's Notions Bag?

Surfing on YouTube, I found a video of Stephanie Pearl McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot) showing what she carries in her knitting notions bag. I couldn't resist seeing what she carries inside her notions bag. I even have a couple of new items to add to my own notions bag.

As a side note, I've read various lists discussing the items that one should carry in one's knitting notions bag. At the moment, I don't carry much in my own knitting notions bag. Here's a quick run down of what I do carry inside my own knitting notions bag (which sadly enough is a Ziploc bag at the moment): I carry tapestry needles, scissors, flexible tape measure, dental flossers, stitch markers in two different sizes, crochet needles in different sizes, a knitting needle and crochet hook gauge, stress relief gloves, a gauge to check rows and stitches of a gauge swatch. I plan to add more items to my knitting notions bag and of course, update to a proper knitting notions bag at some point.

So, what do you carry in your knitting notions bag?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Knitting Dreams & Aspirations... Where Do I Go From Here?

I love knitting... I love touching, feeling, and buying various skeins of yarn in different colors and made from different materials... I love looking for new knitting patterns so that I can create various items out of yarn... I love learning new knitting skills & continuing to improve my knitting skills over time... I love taking knitting classes and socializing with other knitters... I love seeing each completed knitting I've made as I'm still amazed at what I can create from skeins of yarn... I love reading knitting books and watching knitting videos on YouTube... I love knitting gifts for family members and friends... I love how relaxing and calming knitting is... I love how portable knitting is... and so much more!

Knitting has swiftly become one of my favorite hobbies/pastimes in the past two years. Knitting may soon even surpass my love for reading books and blogging about anything and everything book related... This is definitely something I'd never thought I'd hear myself saying (let alone write this in a blog post for the world to read) as I've been an avid reader all my life.

My long term knitting goals and dreams are to continue improving my knitting skills as I'm still very much a newbie knitter... In my opinion, you can never know enough about your own favorite hobby. Knowledge is power, right? 

Eventually, I'd love to make and sell hand knitted items Etsy... Or sell my hand knitted items at local craft fairs... I also think it would be fun to teach others how to knit and/or open my own independent retail yarn store. 

I am open to seeing where my knitting journey takes me in the weeks, months, and years to come. Until my next post, happy knitting to you!!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Coloring Book For Knitters!!

Coloring books for adults have become hugely popular these days... I've seen them on display everywhere at several retail outlets from Michaels to Barnes & Noble. Adult coloring books have been promoted as a stress-relieving pastime for adults.

I haven't bought any adult coloring books for myself and don't plan to at this time as I'm already pretty busy with knitting, reading books, maintaining two blogs, and other fun activities. Plus, for me personally, I find both knitting and reading to be relaxing and stress relieving ways to unwind.

However, I must say that I thought it was pretty cool to see that the folks at Mason-Dixon Knitting have published A Coloring Book For Knitters! If I did take up coloring in adult coloring books, the one for knitters would be in my collection.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

World Wide Knit in Public Day!!

 I've recently learned about World Wide Knit in Public Day and it will be happening on Saturday, June 18, 2016!! What a cool way to promote knitting world wide than by having large groups of happy people knitting in public!! This is an awesome idea to help attract new knitters to the knitting community... Or at the very least, World Wide Knit in Public Day will make for a great day for knitters to get together for some knitting fun... Not that knitters need an excuse to knit, right?

I look forward to participating in World Wide Knit in Public Day this year!! Oooo, perhaps I should buy a knitting t-shirt through Cafepress or Zazzle to wear on World Wide Knit in Public Day.

Check here to see if there is a knit in public event in your area this year. If there isn't a knit in public event in your area, consider hosting a knit in public event in your area by clicking here.

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Time to Take a Knitting Quiz!!

It's raining today where I live, which is always an excuse for me to stay indoors and knit, read, or blog! Today, I came across an online quiz to test one's basic knitting knowledge titled Can You Answer 12 Basic Knitting Questions? from QuizPug. 

I received an A+ on the quiz and am now deemed a Knitting Queen!! Lucky for me, I know the answers to basic knitting questions. 

Click on the link above to test your basic knitting knowledge.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Adventure Circle #Scarfie Made From Alpaca Yarn!!

Misti Alpaca Yarn 100% Alpaca Yarn
In January, I purchased a skein of Misti Alpaca Yarn 100% Alpaca Yarn in the Faberge colorway. Let me just say how SOFT this alpaca yarn is to the touch!!! I've never worked with 100% alpaca yarn before and I love the feel of this yarn. If this yarn wasn't so pricey per skein, I'd work with 100% alpaca yarn more often!

I was trying to decide what to make with this particular skein of yarn, when I came across a FREE Lion Brand Yarn knitting pattern for a cowl from their website called: 

Lion Brand® Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick ® Adventure Circle #Scarfie Pattern Number: L40501B.... Just visit the Lion Brand Yarns website and type in the pattern number above to find the pattern if interested making this cowl... It's a fun, fast, and easy project to make in the round using circular knitting needles and using the seed stitch pattern.

I did have to make some adjustments to this pattern though... The above Lion Brand Yarn pattern calls for a super bulky weight yarn to be used when knitting this pattern in the round. More specifically, it calls for the use of one skein of Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick ®. I used the Misti Alpaca Yarn, which is a bulky weight yarn and it isn't as thick as the super bulky yarn called for in the pattern. What does this mean for me? It means that I had to cast on more stitches in order to have this cowl fit me.

I cast on 63 stitches instead of the 41 stitches called for in the Lion Brand® Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick ® Adventure Circle #Scarfie Pattern in hopes this would be large enough to fit around my neck. It ends up this amount of stitches made the cowl too large for me. 

I am not going to undo this project and redo it again... I already made two mistakes while working on this project and it took some time to correct the issues to make the project look good. This is the main reason why I'm not redoing this project. I'll just make a note for myself to cast on less than 63 stitches the next time I make this cowl.

I am happy over all with how this Adventure Circle #Scarfie turned out. I look forward to making more of them in the future in different colorways as this pattern is easy to make and would make awesome gifts to give family and friends.

Adventure Circle #Scarfie

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Closing the Gap After Binding Off in the Round!

Earlier today, I made a post titled Sandy's Rasta Cowl, where I share my first experience completing a knitted cowl I made in the round!! In this post, I forgot to add one of the minor issues I experienced while working in the round for the first time... And that minor issue was how to close the gap after binding off in the round. I had no idea how to close this gap and the gap was really, really noticeable on the cowl I'd made. 

Thank goodness for internet access and YouTube, because I was able to find a short, concise video on how to fix the issue. See the video below on how to close the gap after knitting in the round. Now my newly knitted piece looks complete!

Sandy's Rasta Cowl

Earlier today, I finished knitting my first cowl neck scarf on circular knitting needles in the round!! I'm so excited about completing my first knitting project in the round as, quite frankly, I had been a little bit intimated by knitting an item in the round using circular knitting needles. 

Before I knitted in the round, I'd have to sew my knitting projects together in order to complete them. With circular knitting needles, there's no need for me to sew items together to finish the item... The advantage of knitting an item in the round is not having a seam!

I used a pattern called Sandy's Rasta Cowl to make my cowl using one skein of Malabrigo Rasta Yarn (super bulky yarn) in the Queguay colorway. The knitting pattern was obtained from an independent yarn store in Pleasanton, California called Knit This, Purl That

Sandy's Rasta Cowl is an easy pattern for the beginning knitter like myself. The directions were very clearly written and easy to follow. It was my first time knitting with Malabrigo yarn. I love the soft feel of Malabrigos Rasta Yarn and the exquisite, super saturated color of Malabrigo Rasta Yarn I used to complete my cowl... I definitely look forward knitting another cowl using Malabrigo Rasta Yarn in a different color.

To make my version of Sandy's Rasta Cowl, I used Deborah Norville size US 17, 16-inch circular knitting needles. 

Below are pictures of the cowl I made!

Sandy's Rasta Cowl

Sandy's Rasta Cowl ~ Close Up Picture to See Stitches!

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Portuguese Style Knitting

Being relatively new to the wonderful world of knitting, I wasn't even aware that there are different knitting styles. I have only recently learned that I am using the English style of knitting technique, which means that I hold the yarn in my right hand and throw the yarn when wrapping on new stitches.

Then there's the Continental style of knitting, which I've only heard about, but I have never used this style of knitting. With Continental style knitting, one holds the yarn in their left hand and then they pick the yarn when wrapping on new stitches. I've heard that the Continental style of knitting is easier for crocheters to learn.

Then a few days ago, I learned about the Portuguese style of knitting through Craftsy in an article they posted on their blog titled Knitting With Pretty Pins: Portuguese Knitting Technique by Ashley Little. Needless to say, I was intrigued by the article's title, so went ahead and read it to learn more.

After reading Ashley Little's article I learned that:
Portuguese knitting — or maybe you’ve heard it called Andean, Peruvian or Bosnian — is a knitting style that involves more than just attaching a pretty pin to your shirt. It’s a style that also involves movements that are totally different from the usual Continental and English styles we’re so accustomed to seeing.
What makes Portuguese knitting so unique is the tension of the yarn. You’ll be able to spot a Portuguese knitting technique a mile away if you check out where that yarn is coming from. In addition to a pin, the yarn could also be wrapped behind the knitter’s neck.
What really appeals to me about the Portuguese style of knitting is that it is supposedly a great style of knitting for those with arthritis and carpal tunnel as "Portuguese knitting involves very small movements, including a flicking motion with your thumb." Since I struggle with right arm, hand, and finger pain at times, the Portuguese style of knitting sounds very appealing to me. Anything I can do to help lessen the pain and ease the stress knitting may cause, is a good thing.

I also learned that the Portuguese style of knitting also helps give even tension while knitting on one's project, which I like as well because I want even tension throughout the entire project while knitting it.

There are a few drawbacks to the Portuguese style of knitting, which are showcased in the above article. Click on the top link above to read the article in full.

In the meantime, I've learned that Craftsy offers an online video course for those wanting to learn the Portuguese style of knitting. I am planning to take this online course as I am interested in learning a new knitting style that may help relieve the pain/stress on my arm, hand, and fingers while knitting.

Below is a video of Andrea Wong demonstrating the Portuguese style of knitting for those not familiar with this knitting technique:

Until my next post, happy knitting!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Yarn Bombing Home Decor Ideas!!

I've heard about yarn bombing and after watching a few YouTube videos, I am inspired to use yarn bombing as a way to enhance every day items to enrich one's home decor.

The above Michaels video gives you a couple of inspirational ideas on how to make some yarn bombing project for home decor. 

I also enjoyed watching the above video on how to yarn bomb marquee letters!! Marquee letters would be a fun item to yarn bomb and have to decorate one's home... You can have letters spelling one's name or the initials of you and your beloved and so much more.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What Knitting Or Crochet Projects Are You Working On Currently?

I have three knitting projects that I'm currently working on at the moment. Each project is in various states of completion. 

The first project I'm working on is a hat that I've almost completed for my cousin. The hat will match a scarf and knit cuffs I made for her for Christmas last year.

Hat in Progress!

My second project is a cowl neck scarf that I'm making using circular knitting needles. The cowl neck scarf is made in the round using the seed stitch pattern. I love the 100% alpaca yarn I am using to make this project as it is sooooo soft! 

I was almost finished making the cowl neck scarf last weekend, when I made a major mistake while binding off. Maybe the mistake isn't so major after all, I don't know... All I do know is that I don't know how to fix the problem and will need to find someone to help me fix my mistake.

Close up picture of the seed stitch cowl neck scarf!

And lastly, I've started working on my very first sweater. I am making a cardigan with matching scarf. The cardigan and scarf will be knitted in the seed stitch pattern.

This is the back panel of my cardigan sweater. I'm only a third of the way finished.

So, what knitting and/or crochet projects are you working on these days?