Monday, January 8, 2018

Fun Crochet Finds at The Handmade Showroom in Seattle

Around the holidays I went out to the movies with my boyfriend. I just love going to the movies! Being transported to another world for an hour or two is enjoyable in so many ways. Not to mention, I get to have my favorite food: Popcorn!

One of the movie theaters in Seattle is located on the top floor of a mall. Since we were a bit early, we poked around the mall for a while. They happen to have a new store called The Handmade Showroom. Inside are cool objects that are all handmade in the Pacific Northwest. I found a bunch of crochet! Here is a sampling.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Crochet Pattern: Weightless Cowl

It's the first day of 2018. I can hardly believe it. The last couple of years have been very busy and very challenging in a number of ways. I hope that life calms down a bit for me and that I can be much more active in the fiber community this year. I want to kick off 2018 by releasing a new pattern right away. The Weightless Cowl is available on Ravelry and Craftsy.

Float away to crochet bliss while you create this lovely cowl. The gradual widening from top to bottom makes it easy to style. This simple, elegant cowl is worked in the round with the right side facing. It isn’t difficult to create, using different sizes of hooks to decrease instead of decreasing the number of stitches.

This pattern is a part of my new Cerebral Crochet Series. I've been looking for a way to unite my three passions: fiber arts, teaching/learning, and psychology. I think I may have found it!

So, what is the Cerebral Crochet Series? Well, the cerebrum is the part of our brains responsible for complex functioning, including what we would colloquially refer to as "thinking." Every pattern in the Cerebral Crochet Series will include some researched facts that relate to the name of the pattern.

For your entertainment, a few fun facts about weightlessness are included at the end of the Weightless Cowl pattern. I'm really excited about this series! Let me know what you think in the comments.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: Charley Crochet Cactus Kit from Global Backyard Industries

Today, I will be reviewing the Charley Crochet Cactus Kit from Global Backyard Industries. Disclaimer: I received this complimentary kit in exchange for a review. I am not being paid to write this review and everything shared here is my real opinion. Thanks go out to Global Backyard Industries for providing the kit.

So, there are 10 days until Christmas. How did we get here so quickly? Who knows. I am pleased to report that all of my (modest) shopping is done. Are you sitting there with no idea of what to get for someone this holiday season, be they crocheter or not? This kit could be a great solution to your problem! Since it is available on Amazon, you can buy it now and it will ship out quickly. Furthermore, the cactus it creates is quite giftable as well! Finally, this kit is priced very reasonably.

The kit comes with everything you need to create the cactus, even the hook! I trusted this to be true before opening it and brought it to my fiber group the other day, ready to work on it. The only thing it doesn't contain is scissors. The materials are of good quality.

The instructions were clear and the cactus was really fun to make. I was a little unsure about working with the green novelty yarn, but it turned out to be sturdy and just fine to work with. I love my little cactus! I haven't decided if I will give it to a friend or take it to work. Check it out!

How cute! I unhesitatingly recommend this kit.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Free Crochet Pattern: Ombre Lightning Scarf

The other day I told you all about the Royal Time Gradient Trio that I had the opportunity to work with. I'm happy to report that I have just finished the pattern I was writing with it. Here's the Ombre Lightning Scarf! This is an extra extra long and skinny scarf that is chic and wrapped many times. Pattern below.

- 600 yd (548 m) of fingering weight yarn; 200 yards of each of three colors
- US size E 3.5mm crochet hook
- yarn needle
- scissors

This scarf is about 10 ft (3 m) long and 3 in (7.5 cm) wide. 

sk = skip, dc = double crochet, ch = chain, st = stitch, rep = repeat, sc = single crochet

Scarf Base
With darkest color, chain 32.
Row 1: Sk 3 ch sts (counts as 1 dc). Work 1 dc into the fourth ch from the hook. Work 1 dc into each ch st across. (30)
Row 2: Ch 3, turn. Sk first st. Work 1 dc into each st across. Work 1 final dc into the top of ch 3. (30)
Row 3: Ch 8, turn. Sk 3 ch sts (counts as 1 dc). Work 1 dc into each remaining ch. Work 1 dc into first 24 sts. Leave remaining 5 sts and ch 3 unworked. (30)
Row 4: Ch 3, turn. Sk first st. Work 1 dc into each st across. Work 1 final dc into the top of ch 3. (30)
Rows 5 through 30: Rep Rows 3 and 4.
Change to middle color.
Rows 31 through 60: Rep Rows 3 and 4.
Change to lightest color.
Rows 61 to 90: Rep Rows 3 and 4.
Fasten off and weave in ends.

Make sure the right side is facing you. You will know that the right side is facing you if the little tips are curling up toward you. With the darkest color, attach with a slip stitch in the lightest corner. Work sc evenly up one entire side of the scarf. I worked 2 sc into each row end, ch 1 in the inner corners, 1 sc into each unworked dc, 1 sc into top of ch 3, and ch 1 on the outer corners. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Change to lightest color and attach with a slip stitch in the darkest corner. Repeat the same process up the other side of the scarf. Note that you will be working into the underside of the chain stitches instead of dc sts.

Optional Fringe
Once again, make sure that the right side is facing. With the middle color, cut 128 10-inch strands. Attach the strands in sets of four in every other stitch at both ends of the scarf. Use the Lark's Head Knot to attach the strands. Trim as desired.

I hope you enjoy this pattern! Let me know what you think in the comments. I could see this pattern being adapted for thicker yarn weights. If you try it, let me know!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review: Gradient Trio from Zen Yarn Garden

Today, I will be reviewing the Royal Time Gradient Trio from Zen Yarn Garden. Disclaimer: I received this complimentary yarn in exchange for a review. I am not being paid to write this review and everything shared here is my real opinion.

Gradient patterns are really hot right now. The bold ombre trend came up a few years ago, and now the focus has shifted to slightly more subtle color transitions. I love gradient projects. I think they are really classy. However, something that can sometimes be challenging is finding the right yarn for the pattern. Zen Yarn Garden has got you covered with their prearranged gradient sets. They even suggest patterns!

I am currently working with this yarn and it is a very pleasant experience. I'm using a smallish hook (3.5mm), and yet my hand is not tiring too much. I think it is because the yarn is very smooth and easy to work with. It is soft, yet it also provides good stitch definition.

Purple is my favorite color, so this is the perfect set for me. At first I thought I might find an existing pattern to work with. However, I got a flash of design inspiration and I've actually been developing a simple crochet pattern. Guess what? It will be a free pattern!

This is just a little teaser picture. The free pattern should be posted sometime at the beginning of December. Speaking of December, I heartily endorse this gradient trio as a holiday gift. For a knitter or crocheter. If I have extra yarn after the pattern is complete, I'll knit it up and let you know what I think. For now, I am perfectly pleased to be crocheting with it. Thank you for the yarn, Zen Yarn Garden!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gift Nature's Gifts!

Thanksgiving has passed and winter holiday decorations are popping up everywhere! Something I'm really happy about is that I am completely done with my holiday shopping. It's true! I got a jump on it this year and now I get to wrap all of the presents. I think wrapping presents is super fun!

However, I realize that I am likely an anomaly in having my shopping done. Most folks are just getting started. If you're looking for a gift for a crocheter, consider my book: Nature's Gifts for Baby. It can be purchased on Amazon and the Leisure Arts website (where it's on sale this weekend!), as well as in craft stores around the United States. Your giftee will be able to get a head start on all of the baby shower gifts that will be needed next summer as a result of this year's cozy winter moments *wink*.

 Still not convinced? Check out these reviews:

From Mikey of The Crochet Crowd: "Sara has gone that extra step to make the blankets look and feel special."

From Tamara Kelly of Moogly: "Aren’t they gorgeous!?"

From Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence: "I love the way that nature has inspired the pieces in ways that are both obvious and subtle."

From Susan Carlson of Felted Button:  "As you know--I looove making blankets, so this is right down my alley!"

From Susan Lowman of The Crochet Architect: "If you’re looking for some new crochet patterns to make for a favorite baby in your life, I hope you’ll consider this book with lots of creative designs!"

PS: Re-reading all of the kind words of the reviewers definitely has me misty-eyed. The crochet community is so kind and supportive!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Yarn at the Northwest Chocolate Festival

I have been going to so many events. It's been fun, but also exhausting. I recently attended the last event I'll be going to for a while. The Northwest Chocolate Festival was interesting and tasty, but also very crowded. It was located right on a pier with a pretty view of the Puget Sound. They had chocolate vendors visiting from all over the world. In addition to chocolate, they also had other specialty items like hot sauce and jerky. I sampled both kangaroo jerky and alligator jerky. I enjoyed the former... not so much the latter.

Why am I talking about a chocolate festival on a fiber arts blog? Well, as luck would have it, I actually found yarn there! Stellar Alpacas had a selection of yarn and goodies for sale.