Tag Archives: Crochet

Knitting: A Lot More Than Just FUN! ;-)

I follow the Veggies, Yarns & Tails blog where I found this post and just had to blog about it.

It’s true! I definitely need knitting and crochet to help me with anxiety and stress. If I don’t get some crafting into my day, I can tell a difference in my mood.

I read an article last year that talked about the brain and how it’s unable to focus on worry or stress when you’re involved in repetitive motions, like with knitting or crochet. Your blood pressure decreases and your breathing has a regular pattern about it (which helps with anxiety).

For me, not only is the act of knitting and crocheting fun and satisfying, but I also enjoy making items for others. The benefit of having something tangible that someone can use, and making them happy too, releases dopamine. Everyone feels good!

Knit On!

VEGGIES, YARNS & TAILS

fruit slices socks for post 1

I came across a very interesting article today, at the Tree Hugger site re: the many benefits of knitting.

Not only is it great for stress relief which I did know about, it actually helps in a lot of other ways, to keep us healthy.

**Click to read the post here.**

So, the next time you are trying to justify another trip to your LYS or an online yarn splurge, remember it’s not just fun, it’s so good for your health too.

That’s certainly enough of a reason for me! 😉

Happy Crafting! 

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Up to the Challenge

Gerri Hat pattern designed by Marly Bird

Gerri Hat pattern designed by Marly Bird

Now that the holidays are over (hope yours were wonderful!) and I finished all of my gift knitting, I’m kicking it into high gear knitting hats for Halos of Hope.  Halos is a nonprofit that collects and distributes hand knitted and crocheted hats to cancer patients.

A few months ago, the KnottyGirls KnitCast decided to challenge other podcasters to see who could get their listeners to donate the most hats to Halos of Hope before Stitches West 2014.  Stitches events (there are several held around the country) are like conventions for knitters and crocheters.  I’ve never been to one, but some day… oh, yes, some day.

I listen to the Yarn Thing, Fiber Hooligan, and Knitmore Girls podcasts, all of whom are promoting the Podcaster Throwdown.  But Jasmine and Gigi, the Knitmore Girls, are the only ones of the three who are in the contest.  So, they’ll get my hats.

Marly Bird, of the Yarn Thing podcast, gave her listeners 2 free hat patterns on the condition that they would use them for Halos.  The Gerri is the one I’ve been knitting first.  So far, I have 8 completed and 1 almost off the needles.  Caron Simply Soft was on sale at Michaels, so I scored!  I bought more than I thought I could reasonably finish, but being one to jump in whole hog (oops!  let my GA roots come through there!), I told myself that it is possible.  I had the Gerri hat pattern memorized by the time the second hat flew off the needles, and I’ve been knitting every moment I can.  Each skein of Simply Soft gives me 2 Gerri hats with yarn left over.  I’m going to combine the left overs to create Marly’s Sous Chef hat.  It’s crocheted and I’m hoping it will go pretty fast.  Thanks Marly for the fantastic patterns!

9th hat almost finished!

9th hat almost finished!

I’m usually not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I made a few.  My first New Year’s Resolution is happening!  I WILL have these hats shipped off before February 20th!

If you knit or crochet, please consider knitting soft, comfy hats for Halos of Hope.  Here are their guidelines.  It’s a great cause and you don’t have to make the February deadline.  They accept hats all year round.

Crochet-a-Long: Part 2

Colorfully Modern Cardigan

Colorfully Modern Cardigan

Drum roll, please… It’s finished!!  I really enjoyed crocheting this sweater.  It’s nice and soft and warm.  I wore it to brunch with my hubby to celebrate our anniversary.  We sat outside and I was nice and toasty even though the wind kicked up a bit.Kelly Modern Cardigan

Now, for the scoop on how I finished the Colorfully Modern Cardigan.  I worked the pattern as written until I got to the trim for the sleeves and neckline.  Then, I switched it up a bit.

The pattern says to work the surface slip stitch from the wrong side.  But, if you do that, the “V’s” of the slip stitches will be on the wrong side of the fabric.  I wanted mine to show, so I worked with the right side facing me.  I worked 2 rows of it on each sleeve.  For the neckline, I wanted it to be wider, so I worked some sc back and forth around the neck.  Some decreasing was needed a few times to prevent a little ruffling that started to creep up on me.  Back!  Back!  I ripped back and tamed that neckline with decreases.  And with the 4 rows of surface slip stitch, it’s perfect.

Surface Slip Stitch at Neckline

Surface Slip Stitch at Neckline

I also decided not to sew a snap at the front top trim.  I’m still thinking about what I want to do for the closure.  It’d be nice to have something, even if I create loops and place a few buttons.  The double crochet posts might even work as loops if the buttons are small enough.  But the buttons will have to be subdued.  There’s too much going on with color and texture in this sweater to have busy buttons.

I’m definitely going to make another one of these and probably in a solid.  But first, there are a few other projects I’d like to tackle (it is football season, after all!).

 

Crochet-a-Long

I saw Lion Brand’s Colorfully Modern Cardigan pattern and decided to jump into their crochet-a-long (CAL).  Isn’t it cute?  I love the colors and the vertical striping created by the front post double crochets (FPDC) – and pockets too!  If all goes well, I’m thinking of making some of these as gifts.  But this one is mine!photo

If you’ve never been part of a CAL, you should try it.  Really!

The way it works:

The host of the CAL has a blog and guides participants through yarn substitutions, gauge, and each step of the project.  Photos posted of the various steps and techniques really help too.  And the participants have a conversation online by posting their problems, solutions, and photos.  Everyone helps each other.  It’s really exciting to see the same pattern worked in so many different color combinations and with modifications a few participants make.  It’s like attending a class, but you can do it at your own pace AND in your pajamas!

yarn Modern CardiganI wanted to get started as soon as possible (no time to wait for shipping! Must…Start…Now…), so I went to Michaels and pondered colors for what seemed like an hour.  I decided on the Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn in Folklore, Ginseng, and Southwest and Vanna’s Choice in Charcoal Grey and Chocolate.

After swatching and many trips to the basement for different sized hooks, I finally got gauge with my Susan Bates Crystalites size L (8.0 mm).  I know, I hear ya.  Swatching isn’t fun for me either.  But I learned my lesson long ago that if you want something to fit, you have to just do it.  Just take a deep breath, swatch, and measure.  I repeat to myself, “It’s worth it.”  I definitely don’t want to spend precious hours on a sweater only to discover that it doesn’t fit.

Here’s a photo of the Back in progress.  Modern Cardigan2I’ve placed stitch markers to remind me of the sections between the FPDCs where there are 2 sc instead of 3 sc.  It’s going really well.  I have my yarn balls sitting next to me in order, which makes it very easy when changing colors every 2 rows.  I know exactly which one is next without having to look twice.

The FPDCs create the raised texture and slimming vertical lines.  I really enjoy working this stitch.  In The Crocheter’s Guide to Yarn Cocktails, I designed a purse with it and created a cabled-look.  And I’m designing a sweater now using FPDC and BPDC (back post double crochet) as well as other stitches to create an Aran sweater look.  Look for my post in a few days about this doozy!  Whew!

Modern CardiganHere’s a close-up of the FPDC.  These are worked around the posts of each other for straight lines with a row of sc between each FDPC row.

I’m making good progress.  Crocheting is so much faster than knitting!  Don’t get me wrong, I love knitting.  Each has it’s own pros and cons depending on what type of project and yarn you choose.  But that’s a topic for another day.  Ready for the armhole decreases!  Yay!

 

 

The Crochet Dr. Will See You Now

Handmade items of any type are treasured.  I understand this because I know the time it takes to create them and the love that goes into each one.  My parents create all sorts of wonderful items.  My Mom likes to sew, knit, crochet, rug hook, cross stitch, embroider, tat, quilt, bead, spin fiber into yarn, paint with watercolors, and cook.  My Dad likes to build scale model live steam engines, rebuild cars and boats, invent, tat, cook (especially biscuits and apple pie), make spinning wheels and other tools from wood, and is an all-around engineer.  Their creations are precious to me.

Sewing the Seams

Sewing the Seams

So, when I was approached to repair an afghan treasured by a daughter who had recently lost her mom, I agreed to the challenge.

The goal: to fix all of the holes invisibly.

Her mother made this afghan by crocheting wool yarn into motifs of greens and yellow and sewed them together.  I knew wool was the fiber content since there were signs of felting.

I went to several yarn shops in my area until I found the perfect yarn.  100% American wool, spun in a smooth worsted weight, and in the right shade of green!  I spent many hours on the floor in my living room stitching up obvious holes and shoring up sections that needed some love.  Luckily, none of the motifs needed reworking, only the seams needed attention.

The hug and elated face of the daughter when I handed her the finished afghan meant the world to me.  She will have many more years of enjoying a treasured item her mother made.

Crochet to the Next Level

I’m working my way through Level II of the Craft Yarn Council’s Correspondence Course for Crochet Teachers.  It’s a challenge because I haven’t worked hairpin lace or broomstick lace before.  But learning new techniques is fun!!

photo copy 12I designed this piece of crochet mesh inspired by my living room rug.  It has a southwestern feel.  Thread crochet isn’t my favorite but I enjoy the challenge of the math and working it like a puzzle.  The design you’ve created on paper is definitely not as exciting as seeing it form in your hands!

Levels I and II are already complete in knitting, so crochet is lagging behind.  I’ll get there!

Beading Classes at Michaels

I’m offering new classes at Michaels — Beads!

Wire Crochet
Wire Crochet

This is going to be so much fun.  I’m very excited about the possibilities – color, texture, all of the various materials like wire and cording.

Fundamentals of Wire Crochet

No crochet experience is necessary to take the Wire Crochet class.  And the materials needed are few:  an aluminum or steel crochet hook, a spool of wire, a clasp, and beads that catch your eye.

The results can be stunning!

Crimping
Crimping

Fundamentals of Crimping Techniques

Crimping
Crimping

Tiny crimp beads incorporated into this design result in a ‘floating’ necklace.  Bead stringing wire or  clear transite can be used as your stringing material.  Add some beads and a clasp for results you’re sure to be proud of.

One of the exciting things about the jewelry classes is that students leave with a finished piece!  In 2 1/2 hours, learn new techniques, meet others who are interested in beading, and design your own unique piece of jewelry.

Sign up today at Michaels Arts & Crafts, Springfield, VA.  I can’t wait to see your designs!