Posted by: mamas2hands | October 22, 2014

First Bear is Finished

Finished Bear

Today was our local CGOA Chapter meeting and I brought in my nearly finished bear. I facilitate the meetings, so I wanted to demonstrate how I sew my bears together. Kathy and Bear I had filled the arms and legs and head with stuffing and brought stuffing for the body. By the end of the meeting I had finished the bear and given him to my friend Kathy that is organizing this effort. Margie and her bears My friend Margie wins the prize for the most bears completed. She brought in all these bears. She said she cheated a little as these were bears she had made on a knitting loom and were just waiting to be finished with stuffing and bows. Kathy and I both said, they still count and will be very appreciated. Bear and Malabrigo Before my little bear left the shop, he had a cuddle with some wonderful Malabrigo. I am feeling very inspired with ideas about how I want to design my bear. Hopefully I will have a prototype worked up by Christmas time.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 18, 2014

Another Happy Birthday

Maple Leaves

I can’t believe it, but another birthday has come and gone. Now it really feels like Fall.

It was a great birthday, I spent the day with my family. We went to a photo studio and had some really nice pictures taken of the 4 of us, as well as a couple of boys. Next we headed down to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We explored the new Whale Exhibit and saw the Imax movie “Journey to the South Pacific” which had some awesome under water footage. Afterward we headed home and stopped for dinner at a nice restaurant.

Barn and Pumpkins 3

Now Halloween is just around the corner with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays not far behind. That has me thinking about my gift list and sending off Christmas/New Years cards and letters.

If you are making gifts for folks this year you might find the following pattern helpful. I love getting homemade jams and jellies at Christmas time, and I’m always impressed with the various presentations. Got me thinking though about ways of creating a gift that would still serve a purpose after all the yummy stuff is eaten.

Crochet Chain Tie

I came up with a jar cover. Once all the jam or jelly is gone you still have a pretty jar that can be used to send out your own home-made goodies, or you can remove the little cover and use it as a bag.

Ribbon Tie

The tie for the cover can be crocheted or you can dress it up further by using a satin ribbon. In this example I used a 32 inch length of 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon.

SPARKLY JAR COVER

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Jar Cover is 9”/ cm around x 5 1/4“/cm long.

Fits a Pint size Mason Jar

YARN

Lion Brand Yarns, Vanna’s Glamour (96% Acrylic, 4% Metallic Polyester), 1.75oz/50g, 202 yds/185m

Color used for sample is: #150 Platinum, approximately 12g/49 yards were used for sample

CROCHET HOOKS

Size US G=6 / (4mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

Stitch markers

Yarn needle

Pint Mason Jar

Optional:

GAUGE

First 3 rounds of pattern = 2.5” in diameter

SPECIAL STITCHES

V Stitch (V-st): (Dc, ch 1, dc) in indicated st or sp.

INSTRUCTIONS

Rnd 1: Ch 4 (counts as 1st dc and center), 11 dc in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of beg ch-4. [12 dc]

Rnd 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc here and thru out), dc in same spot as join, 2 dc in next 11 sts, sl st to top of beg ch-3. [24 dc]

Rnd 3: Ch 3, 2 dc next st, (dc next st, 2 dc next st) 11 times, sl st to top of beg ch-3. [36 dc]

Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in same spot as join, sc next 5 sts, 2 sc next st, (sc next 5 sts, 2 sc next st) 5 times, sl st to first sc of rnd. [42 sc]

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in each stitch around, sl st to first sc of rnd. [42 sc]

Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in next 41 sts, sl st to top of beg ch-3. [42 dc]

Rnd 7: Ch 4 (counts as dc and ch-1), dc in same st as join, (sk 2 sts, V-st in next st) 13 times, sl st in 3rd ch of beginning ch-4. [14 V-sts]

Rnds 8 – 15: (Repeat Rnd 6 then Rnd 7) 4 times.

Tie (Make 1)

Ch 100 and fasten off

FINISHING

Weave in tails.

Weaving in ribbon

Thread the tie (or ribbon) thru the openings in the last round.  Slide the jar into the cover, tie a bow. Tie knots in the ends of the tie, cut off excess yarn.

Posted by: mamas2hands | October 10, 2014

I Love Yarn Day

Today has been declared “I Love Yarn Day”.  A celebration that I can truly get behind, since I really do love yarn.

As many of my readers know, since the start of the school year I’ve been spending my Wednesdays at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe. It’s one of my favorite places to hang out. Surrounded by yarn and other folks that love to play with yarn the hours go flying by, and inspiration always strikes.

Some of the great activities at LYS are all the charitable stitching being done for various organizations. My friend Kathy comes in most Wednesday with another friend and we all sit around the table working on our various projects. Lately Kathy has been working on knitting a Teddy Bear, she is making toys to give to graduates from the Front Range Community College’s Early Childhood Education program.

She asked me if I thought any of our local CGOA Chapter members would like to crochet some bears. Deadline for this project is November 1st, so not a lot of time. Fortunately there were chapter members up for the challenge. I brought some of my leftover yarns to donate to the effort and hunted down some patterns for bears. Both Red Heart and Lion Brand have some patterns available for 12 inch tall bears.

Red Heart's "Birthday Bear for a Prince"

Red Heart’s “Birthday Bear for a Prince”

I found this bear at the Red Heart website.

Lion Brand's "Bear in a Jif"

Lion Brand’s “Bear in a Jif”

And this bear at the Lion Brand website.

Before I got so busy designing and writing I used to crochet lots of charity projects. Blankets for Project Linus and premie hats for Save the Children were some of my favorite projects. I decided that I wanted to make some bears too, at least they are quicker projects than blankets.

So I’ve started with the bear from the Lion Brand website and I’ll be making the one from the Red Heart website next. It’s been really fun crocheting a project from someone else’s pattern for a change. I just have to follow along and pretty soon I’ll have a bear finished.

Pieces of LB Jif Bear_edited-2

Above is a photo of my progress so far, I’m finished crocheting all the pieces except his body.

I’ve actually been surprised at how quickly the crocheting for this project has gone. Of course, I had to tweak things a tiny bit. I’m crocheting his eyes and nose from size #10 cotton thread then sewing them on firmly, instead of using safety eyes and embroidering the nose. These bears will be in the hands of little ones, so I’m upping the cautious factor. Plus the crocheted eyes will be more washable than plastic eyes.

I’m also coming up with something a little different for his “scarf”.

A Bear for All Seasons Photo courtesy of Annie's/Crochet World

A Bear for All Seasons
Photo courtesy of Annie’s/Crochet World

Working on my bears made me realize that I need to design a teddy bear of my own. I’ve designed a little bear that was published in Crochet World in their December 2012 issue. But that bear is much smaller, I think my next bear needs to be snuggly size.

Okay, back to work on this bear. Hopefully I will have a photo of the finished bear very soon. Though I am reminding myself that it takes nearly as much time to put all the pieces together and stuff the bear as it does to crochet the bear.

Posted by: mamas2hands | September 23, 2014

A Little Birdie Told Me

I’ve been crocheting and designing like crazy, but nothing that I could share with everyone quite yet.

Image courtesy of Storey Publishing

Image courtesy of Storey Publishing

Finally I can tell you all about a wonderful new book: “Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home and Tree: Stockings, Ornaments, Garlands and More” by Edie Eckman.  I was very honored when Edie Eckman asked me to contribute a design to this compilation back in January 2013.

My original sample prototype.

My original sample prototype.

Edie selected my Little Bird Ornament, called “Bird Trio” in the book. I love to decorate my Christmas tree with symbols from nature. Which meant a bird ornament was the perfect design for me to create.

One of my favorite things about this book is that all the designs have written instructions and stitch diagrams. When working sculptural projects I always find stitch diagrams to be very helpful.

Sparkly Birdie

I decided to work up another bird for my tree this year. I used Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Glamour in the Silver color, and switched to an E hook for the thinner yarn. I also added some pearly white glass beads along the edges of his wings for some extra sparkle. He is going to look marvelous with the Christmas lights, I might need to make a few more.

The book is available from Storey Publishing on Amazon.com as both a paperback or Kindle Ebook. Get yourself a copy soon and you can Crochet your Christmas this year.

Posted by: mamas2hands | September 15, 2014

Signs that Summer is Over

Last Thursday evening was very cold. Compared to some of our winter weather it really wasn’t that cold, but after 80-90 degree temperatures it felt very chilly.

Friday AM Snow

This was the view out the front door first thing in the morning.

Frost and Fog1

Then I headed down the mountain a little ways to have some crochet time with my friend V. When I drove back up a few hours later the top of the mountain was socked in with fog. It was beautiful and I decided to stop and take a few photos.

Foggy Valley-1

Valley Frost and gulley

Looking back down the mountain I couldn’t see the tops of any of the ridges around the valley.

Afternoon Fog Frontyard

A few hours later things were warming up a bit and the sun had come out. I looked out the window and noticed the daylight fog.  In my front yard it wasn’t super noticeable.

Afternoon Fog

But the backyard looked absolutely magical.

I have the feeling this is just the beginning of our Autumn yo-yo weather, definitely the signs that summer is over are getting clearer.

Posted by: mamas2hands | September 11, 2014

The New Routine

Seems like this last month has gone screaming by. I’ve been adjusting to my new routine with the boys going to school in town. We are starting our mornings bright and early, this past week we were up before the sun was and it will be trailing us more as the Autumn moves forward.

Outside Window

I’m still exploring my options for getting work done while I’m down off the mountain. One of my new routines is spending my Wednesdays from 10a – 1:30p at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe.

My little spot at the table.

My little spot at the table.

It is a very appropriate space for me to hang out, surrounded by yarn and inspiration, as well as the lovely company of the owner, Gail and her lovely “shop dog” Kit.

Shop Dog Kit (who doesn't like to sit still for photos)

Shop Dog Kit (who doesn’t like to sit still for photos)

 

Classes Corner

Classes Corner

Gail has the shop set up beautifully. Here is the class section, where there are samples of the various class projects for the myriad classes that will be taught this Fall at the shop.

Cuff Sample

I’m modeling my little wrister cuff that my students will be making this Saturday afternoon (September 13th, 1p-4p) in my Crochet Wristers class. The students will learn all the techniques they will need to make the wrister cuff and will go home with the pattern for my “Spiraling Crosses Gauntlet”.

Spiraling Xst Gauntlet

The Gauntlet was designed in Crystal Palace Yarns’ Sausalito sock yarn. I love this yarn, the gradual and subtle color changes make for interesting striping effects. There is still room in the class if you are in the area and want to join us. Just call the shop at (303) 678-8242 or stop by at 454 Main Street in Longmont, Colorado and they will get you signed up.

Today is chilly and wet,  so I’m hanging out at the Boulder Public Library. Not as quiet as I had hoped here, there is a big construction project underway, but it is warmer than sitting in my car. This might be an option later on as the school year goes along, but I don’t think I’ll be utilizing the library as a work place until the construction is done. I may do some investigating to see if I can find a corner in a friend’s office to rent for a few hours each day.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | August 23, 2014

Twisted Vs Cowl

Jennifer at Holiday Yarns

At the Knit and Crochet Show I saw one of my yarn company friends that I had just seen at the TNNA trade show in May. Jennifer from Holiday Yarns. Jennifer dyes yarn and her booth is always a visual feast for the eyes.

We have been talking about me creating some crochet designs using her lovely yarns and decided that there was no time like the present. After some conferring we settled on a simple cowl design worked up in a bulky yarn.

4 hanks of yarn and a lovely ball of sparkly pencil roving from Holiday Yarns.

4 hanks of yarn and a lovely ball of sparkly pencil roving from Holiday Yarns.

As you can see in the above photo, I bought a few hanks of her lovely yarns for my own enjoyment. She also sent me off with a hank of her Bea-Ewe-tiful Bulky to design the cowl from. Of course the big challenge would be to see if I could get the pattern written, tech-edited, the sample crocheted and sent off to her in time for her to have it in her booth at Stitches Midwest. Challenge Accepted!

Project modeled 2_edited-1

I spent most of my time on the flight home to Colorado swatching. I tried a couple of stitch patterns but finally found myself returning to an old favorite: The V-stitch. Of course I had to make this a moebius.

The pattern for this snuggly cowl is available now in my Ravelry Shop for $3.99, and you can order the perfect color of Bea-ewe-tiful Bulky at the Holiday Yarns website or check with your own LYS, they might have some of it on their shelves.

Posted by: mamas2hands | August 21, 2014

Winged Columns Wrap

It’s getting to be that busy time of year, just a little less than 18 weeks until Christmas. If you are planning on making your holiday gifts, then you know it’s time to get started.

Cover of Special Issue

Cover of October 2014 issue : Image courtesy of Annie’s Publishing.

Fortunately the folks at Annie’s Publishing know that we are all on the hunt for ideas for lovely gifts that won’t take forever to make. They have just published a special issue magazine: “Crochet! presents 70+ Crochet Gifts in 1-2-3″.

Winged Columns Shawl 2

Wrap with a Shawl pin fastener – Image courtesy of Annie’s Publishing

You can find loads of wonderful gift ideas in this issue, including my new design “Winged Columns Wrap”.

Winged Columns Shawl 3

Back view of Wrap – Image courtesy of Annie’s Publishing

The wrap is worked outward from a central back foundation in 2 parts and requires no finishing other than weaving in a few ends. It only takes 2 skeins of yarn, 1 skein for each half. The lacy stitch pattern makes for a lot of fabric without a lot of bulk.

Wrap worn as a Scarf.

Wrap worn as a Scarf.

Because the fabric isn’t bulky it can also be worn as a scarf.

I really love this stitch pattern, the shapes within the columns put me in mind of migrating flocks of birds. Thus the name, Winged Columns.

I hope you get yourself a copy of this Crochet! Special issue. Then you’ll be all set for making gifts for the upcoming holidays. It is currently available on newsstands, or visit their website  to order a copy for yourself.

Posted by: mamas2hands | August 19, 2014

Shopping at the Show

Something I always enjoy at the conference is doing a little shopping (okay, maybe I should say a Lot).  Though it can result in an interesting challenge for packing my suitcases to fly home. This year my time at the conference was book-ended with shopping.

Jan and I had decided, since we were driving up to Manchester from her home in New Jersey, we should figure out a way to go visit WEBS during our trip. Usually Wednesday is Professional Development Day, this year there were other events happening, but we decided to spend our Wednesday at WEBS.

If you’ve never heard of WEBS, you can check out their website at www.yarn.com. They have great yarns and wonderful sales on yarns, as well as a fabulous selection of tools.

Our Picnic spot at WEBS

Jan’s GPS took us on a interesting route to get there, but eventually we did make to our destination. I was having so much fun I didn’t really get much in the way of photos. We ate our lunch at a little picnic area that was across the parking lot from the store.

My WEBS goodies

I exercised a bit of self-control shopping at WEBS because I knew that there would be lots of shopping to explore at the show as well. I did manage to find a few things I couldn’t live without. Some yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks and point protectors for knitting needles.

Jans WEBS goodies

Jan was very focused on getting yarn for particular projects she wanted to tackle and of course she added to her crochet hook collection.

Sheepies as Tower

Sheep Pin Cushion

Thursday evening was the market preview and I purchased a few things. These cute little sheep for my boys and a sheep pillow/pin-cushion for me.

Ellens Motif Book

Ellen Gormley was having a book-signing in the Crochetville booth so I purchased her latest book “Marvelous Crochet Motifs”. I really like that this book includes text and stitch diagrams for the instructions.  There are 24 motifs and 24 half motifs, as well as pattern instructions for making 4 projects.

I spent most of the time at the preview saying “hi” to friends and exploring all the various booths with an eye toward serious shopping on Sunday. After all my classes and socializing of the previous 3 days, Sunday was my day to get down to some real shopping. As always, Jan was available to help me find everything I might have missed.

MBT Arm Knitting Demo

Our first stop of the day was to attend Mary Beth Temple’s demonstration of “Arm Knitting”. I managed to take this photo of her with her eyes closed, but it is so easy to arm knit, that you can do it with your eyes closed.

Armknitting book

I purchased her book “Arm Knitting” from her booth. The book has clear instructions on how to arm-knit as well as 15 patterns for various fun projects.

Then Jan and I got down to some serious shopping. We both had things we had been looking at thru-out the market days and now it was time to make decisions. There were many booths with yarn, but it was a little harder to find things like hooks or buttons.

Big hook

I did splurge on this 18 inch Tunisian hook, it’s a size N (10mm).

Yarn pile

By the end of my shopping on Sunday I had a nice pile of yarn (plus I had Wednesday’s purchases).

Tools, Buttons and Misc

There was also my new “Hooked for Life” bag, a few tools, buttons, beads and other miscellaneous goodies. The little sheep are missing from this photo because the boys would not return them to me for photography purposes.

Yarn from goodie bags.

There was some very nice yarn in my goodie bags from the show as well.

I’m looking forward to next summer’s conference in San Diego. I’m hoping with the show being on the West Coast we will be seeing some new vendors and fun stuff happening in the show marketplace.

 

Posted by: mamas2hands | August 16, 2014

Knooking is Cool!

Karen and I in a "selfie" during the banquet.

Karen and I in a “selfie” during the banquet.

I decided to take this class with Karen Whooley on a bit of a lark. I was curious about knooking and I love taking classes with Karen. As a teacher myself, observing other teachers’ class room styles is very educational to me…and Karen is a fabulous teacher. But this class turned out to be so much more for me than I had expected.

My issue with knitting has always been that I feel like the needle in my right hand is lacking something. That’s right, it needs a hook! So this knooking thing was way cool for me. Finally, everything I understood about knitting could be applied to a craft that used a hook. The fabric created with knooking is true “knit” fabric, the tools to create it are just a little different.

Knooking Kit

Leisure Arts very kindly supplied the kits for all the students in Karen’s class. So that made it easy for us all to get started. The kits held 3 hooks of different sizes, 3 satin cords and a handy sized booklet with everything you needed to know to begin knooking.  Having taken my knitting class the day before also helped me. I was rocking along very quickly with my knooking and having a great time.

Different Sized Swatches

I got a lot further along with my swatch in this class than I had in my knitting class.

Curly Knook Swatch

Didn’t bind off very well though, the top of my swatch had a serious curling problem.

One thing I’ve always struggled with in my knitting is twisting stitches and if I pull out a needle accidentally I often put the stitches back on the needle wrong. What I was really enjoying about knooking was I wasn’t struggling to keep stitches from slipping off the needles when making them and could focus more on what was happening with them.

Karen Teaching

I think knooking is going to be the “doorway” craft for me to improve my knitting skills. In fact Karen said that lots of folks that take to knooking eventually end up feeling more comfortable knitting with 2 needles. She helped me see how the way I was wrapping my yarn would make a difference in my knit stitches and whether they would “twist”.

As you work each row in knooking the cord holding the previous row of stitches allows you to correct the new row (if needed) without making a mess of the previous row. Somewhat like using “life lines” in lace knitting. I think it is easiest to knook with a hook that has a fairly pointed hook end, especially since you are working into stitches that also have a cord in them. I actually have some wooden hooks that have very pointed tops I’m considering modifying so I can knook with them. Just need to make the tail-end of the hook a little flatter and put a hole in it.

KW Knooking book cover

Karen has also published a book with Leisure Arts called “Easy Knit Projects”. It’s geared toward kids, but is really great for crocheters that don’t knit and want to try out knooking. In the back of the book are 8 pages that have illustrations and information reviewing the basics of knooking. It contains 9 fun projects to try out once you have the hang of knooking.

After taking this class I can highly recommend it to anyone that has ever wanted to learn to knit, but found 2 pointy sticks to be too intimidating.

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