Frozen Beauty

Another very cold day up here on the mountain. Third day in a row that the temperature has been below 40F. Quite a lot below that last night and this morning. At 9 a.m. , when I was taking these photos, it was 25F.  Currently it is a balmy 28F. It will actually have to warm up a bit before we will get more snow.

This cold weather convinced me it was time to get the wood stove going again. So here is the first warming fire of the winter season (even if the calendar says it is still Fall).

Frost feathers on Pine Branches

If this is any indication, I’d better be prepared for some seriously cold temperatures this winter. I have been working with a lovely Alpaca yarn from my stash recently.  It is going to become a cozy set of Hat, Scarflette and Fingerless mitts. I like to wear the mitts over thin gloves, gives me warmth where I need it at the same time I have some dexterity with the exposed fingertips.

One of my favorite things to work on in the cold weather are afghans, especially ones with a simple stitch pattern that allow me to cozy up under the work-in-progress and happily stitch along whilst watching a show or movie.

Frost Feathers on Deck Fencing

What are your favorite cozy crochet items? Do you make hats, scarves or mittens for yourself? Or are you like me, so busy making gifts for others (or design pieces) that you never have any new crochet to wear for yourself?

What’s This?!

Look what was outside my house this morning when I woke up. Yup, that white stuff is snow.

Actually, by the time I took these photos it had begun to melt away where the sun had been on it the longest. But according to our local meteorologist (who actually works for NOAA and lives in our neighborhood) we got nearly 2 inches of snow and we may get another 2-4″ tomorrow.

Funny thing that happens up here on the mountain though, it is warmer today than it was yesterday.  That is typical for the snow season, it has to warm up to give us snow.  Prediction is that it is going to stay cold here for the next couple of days.

So while the rest of you have Autumn right now, we have sped right into Winter here at the Graves house. Of course this is not that unusual for us, which is why I find it easier to design cold weather crochet projects.  Nearly 9 months of every year is pretty chilly up here.

The really good news? I love cold weather. I was already thinking about Christmas the other day, but it is even more on my mind now. Who knows, I might have all my Christmas gift giving wrapped and cards ready to send before December rolls around. Ha!

Mountain Ruana

Photos courtesy of Crochet! Magazine/Annie’s

For those of you that have been following my blog a while, you might recognize the yarn in my latest published design. This ruana is made with the Universal Yarn “Mohair Mountain” that I told you about earlier this year in the post “Now That’s a Ball of Yarn”.

The stitch pattern used in my design is super stretchy, so keep that in mind if you are a little shorter and work fewer rows for all the panels. Or if you want a wider ruana increase the Back Panel foundation by 8 stitches (this will add 2 shells/5 inches to the back panel and 1 shell to each front panel), and decrease the number of rows by 2 rows.

You can find this pattern and over 40 others in the Fall Special Issue out from Crochet! Magazine : Warm & Cozy Crochet.  It will be on newsstands now.  I have an extra copy of this issue, and as a little goodie for my readers I am going to have a drawing for it.

Just leave your name and a comment telling me what your favorite crochet projects to work on in the winter are by 6 p.m. (Colorado time) Friday, October 12th.  I’ll announce the winner’s name here Saturday, October 13th.

Gotta Have One!

Now, now, I meant the hooks.

This is the talented Mr. Harrison Richards, founder and president of Furls Crochet and I’m here to tell you that these are some amazing hooks. He calls them the finest crochet hooks in history and he is spot on.

His company is based out of Austin, TX and each hook is handcrafted in their studio out of local and exotic woods. I was having a very difficult time picking one to bring home with me. So instead he decided I needed a custom hook.

Harrison can measure your hand and create a hook that is the perfect fit for you. Mine arrived this past Monday in the mail. It is so beautiful, I don’t know if the photograph can do it justice.  It is made from a piece of Mexican Cocobolo wood, the finishing polish is so smooth that the wood seems to glow from within.

It took a while for me to actually crochet with this hook. I was slightly hypnotized by the feel of the hook in my hands. When Harrison and I conferred about my hook I specified a size L – 8mm hook. That has been my favorite size lately to use with light worsted and worsted weight yarns, as well as fluffy mohair yarns that need a little breathing room to work up beautifully in crochet fabric.

Of course, a luscious hook like this needs some equally luscious yarn for its first test drive in my hands. So I picked a ball of gorgeous Artful Yarns “Heavenly” a novelty style yarn with fluffy mohair and sparkles that makes me happy just to look at. It was interesting crocheting with this hook. Took me a moment to get used to the feel of the hook, as it is much shorter than most of the hooks I normally work with and it doesn’t have any sort of thumbrest.

I hadn’t realized how much I actually depend upon a thumbrest for orienting my hook to my stitches. After all these years crocheting I don’t look at every stitch. Once I got a feel for the hook though I was really enjoying it. My hands felt very relaxed even working with a yarn that can be a bit tricky whether knitting or crocheting.

I think this hook may become more than a beautiful object to look at, it might  just be my new “pet” hook when I’m working with larger hook sizes.  In fact, I may have to acquire a few more of the Furls hooks in the near future.

If you think you would like a Furls hook of your own Harrison has very graciously offered a 15% discount for my wonderful readers. When you order a hook from him on the website, you can use the coupon code: M2HBlog at check-out to get your discount. This is a limited time offer though, you need to place your order by or before December 10th, 2012.

So Cute!

I was so excited to see these fun little skeins from Lion Brand Yarn. They call them “BonBons”, which is a very cute name too. You can see more of the colors and fibers available at the Lion Brand Website, I’m not sure what stores they will be in.

Sparkly BonBon in my Favorite Color

Of course I am now faced with the dilemnia of deciding if I am going to crochet the yarn. They are so adorable like they are. And the 2 packettes I purchased are the sparkly ones.  Jack Blumenthal of Lion Brand said that they had a customer that put them in a glass jar as a decoration in her crafting room. I am tempted to do the same.

At the booth with Brandyce & Zontee

It was great fun to talk to the Lion Brand folks at the Reno Knit & Crochet Show. They were the sponsors of the Professional Development Day and had a booth in the Market with their lovely new yarns for sell. Lots of exciting things happening with their yarns.  Soft luxurious yarns with subtle sparkles and of course the fun BonBons in sparkly and other options.

I’ll be doing some fun designs over the next year using their yarns so watch for news about them here on my blog. In the meanwhile you might want to get some BonBons for yourself.

Drool Worthy Yarn

You may have heard of Blue Heron Yarns. The description you’ll get from most folks that have worked with these yarns is “yummy”. The colors they offer it in are eye pleasing. The drape and fluidity of the fabric, whether it is knit or crochet is delightful.

My 2 hanks of Blue Heron Yarn

When I knew that Blue Heron was going to be one of the vendor booths at the Reno Knit & Crochet Show I made immediate plans to swing by to check out the lovely colors and pick up a few hanks to play with.  The yardage in the hanks is very generous, so I knew I would have a great time creating some wonderful crochet designs.

Demian and Miguel

It was fun and interesting visiting with the 2 gentlemen at the booth. I’m sure these fellas were wondering what they had got themselves into. Neither of them crochets, though Miguel said he was learning.  Demian’s Mother started Blue Heron Yarns and he gets to go to all the various shows and sell their yarns.  If you can’t make it to a show where they are selling their yarns, you can purchase them thru their website: YarnJunky.BlueHeronYarns (a great name for a yarn website).

I did get a bit of a giggle from  Demian when he was surprised that I would be looking to crochet with their bamboo lace weight yarn (that’s the gorgeous pink and coral colored one in the first photo). Of course I’m always amused when folks think that certain yarns can’t be crocheted with. It’s wild how crochet’s hey-day of Irish lace work has been replaced in most people’s minds by the 1960-1970’s Granny Squares. Don’t get me wrong, I adore granny squares. It’s just that crochet is so much more.

Clearly I’ll have to create something gorgeous out of this yarn soon and get the pictures out there. Even if I worked simple granny squares in these yarns though, they would look amazing.