Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Three – Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches

It’s Day Three!

Here’s today’s prompt:

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised?

Ah, funny you should ask this today! Tomorrow the Knit and Crochet Show will release the info about the classes for the summer show before registration opens on April 7th. Why am I mentioning this? Because, I’m teaching a class on organizing your space at the summer show! I hope you’ll come out and take the class, we’re going to have lots of fun. I’ve been gathering all kinds of cool info to share.

Anyway, how do I organize my yarn?

As you may have read back in my designing series, I live in a 225 square foot room in my parents’ home. It was the old family room, so it does not have closets. Let me go fix a cup of coffee while that sinks in for you: I live in a tiny room with no closets and I’m a designer.

Ok, I’m back, have you processed that? Yeah. I won’t even discuss the fact that this house was built in the 70s so I only have one outlet on each wall. πŸ™‚

Anyway, for new readers, in this tiny little room I have bedroom stuff, living room stuff, and a full studio. 225 square feet. I’m not a math person by any means, but I can tell you that’s too much stuff and not a lot of room.

However, I have gut checks with everyone who comes in my room and other than a tiny little spot against the wall that holds luggage totes, nothing looks too cluttered. I also declutter every week because I’ve watched too many episodes of Hoarders. If you can watch that show and not go and declutter something in your house, you’re a stronger person than me.

My room is divided into zones. Unfortunately, when I got my comfy chair I had to move my zones around a bit. So, my divider wall that I used to have by my table is now against the wall by my bed. It works there, I use the top half for a bookcase and the bins for holding swatches and projects.

My yarn, though, my yarn lives under my table. Here, let me show you it:

This is an older photo, and I’ve added a few since then (but there’s not a lot of light in here right now, so no new photos). I use plastic bins and at some point I will buy all matching ones (since it will make it easier to stack them). My yarn is divided mostly by fiber:

Big plastic bin: Acrylic (mostly Red Heart, TLC, etc)
Skinny plastic bin: Simply Soft & other Caron yarns (I’ve just always kept them separate)
Brown bin: Cottons
Green bin: Misc yarns I either need soon for swatching or yarns I can’t figure out where to put them (this bin doesn’t have a lid, so it becomes my “Gotta refile that yarn” bin and every week or so I go through and put yarn away)
Big clear bin: Thread….holy cow do I have a lot of thread
Skinny plastic bin: Wools
Little plastic bin: Lace weight yarns

Over in my storage unit there is a special cloth bin for sock yarn because that is holy and should be treated with respect. Amen.

Every few months I go through and take a hard look at my yarn and destash a lot of it. Last time I did this I gave away a huge black garbage bag full of yarn. And I’m still left with bins that are stuffed full. And it just keeps coming in (as I stare at a stack of yarn I just got for a project).

Organizing is an ongoing process. It’s not something you do and then you’re done. Unless you don’t interact with the stuff you’ve just organized. Otherwise, you have to constantly go back through things and see what’s working and what’s not. The reason my yarn got reorganized was because it wasn’t working for me anymore. It’ll probably get reorganized again once I go through to destash a second time.

So, a bit of a shorter post today (I can’t give away all my secrets that I’ll be teaching about!), but I hope it helped you. Until tomorrow!

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY3. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day One – A Tale of Two Yarns

Hooray! It’s time for Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week!

Today’s question:

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I’m going to do a tale of four yarns (gotta do things differently) only because I want to talk about two mass market yarns and two yarn shop yarns. Also, I’m going to talk about yarns that I love. πŸ™‚

Mass Market Yarns

I have many favorite mass market yarns. I think this happened because I don’t have a local yarn shop really local to me. And when I started crocheting in full force I didn’t know there were shops that were dedicated to just yarn.

Okay, the first yarn that is my go-to yarn in my stash for most gifts (especially if they’re afghans) is Red Heart Super Saver. I know, many people hate it. I don’t. Is it scratchy sometimes when working it up? Sure. But a quick wash in the machine with some fabric softener and it’s awesome. I’ve made every single blanket I’ve made for my niece out of this yarn. And all of them have held up. Even the ones she dragged behind her as a little kid. The color range is awesome. And I’m always amazed at the new colors that come out each year.

The blankets I made for my niece and step-niece

Photo of Spectrum Afghan made for Coats and Clark

In fact, I’m busting through my stash of it right now working on the 63 Cable Stitches book to make myself a long overdue afghan. See, it’s summer right now (yes, I’m aware it’s almost April, but this is Florida) and working on the bigger scrap afghan I was working on has to be put away until winter. It’s just too hot to have an afghan on my lap. So, an afghan out of squares is perfect.

Photo of my WIP of the 63 Cable Stitches pattern

Anyway, I also love to “kill” Red Heart Super Saver. That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? What I mean by that, is that my favorite way to block Super Saver is with steam. I pin the item to measurements (perfect with motifs) and then hit it with steam from my garment steamer. I love watching it relax. Now, I wouldn’t do this for everything, but for things like afghans, I love having it relax and get a bit more drape.

Josalynne’s Garden Afghan from Crochet World, first afghan I “killed” the motifs on to help them relax

My other favorite mass market yarn is Naturally Caron Spa. This bamboo blend yarn is just sumptuous. It holds up well to wear (I have a pullover out of it) and can be washed in the machine (love that). The one thing that would make me love it more? More colors! Oh, and maybe a fingering weight, but that’s the designer in me talking.

Spa is super soft, though, and holds up really well while crocheting with it. It’s also very lightweight, something that’s great here in Florida. I haven’t done many things with it because I just haven’t had the time. But, I did design and make this pullover in it:

My design, not written down yet, I need to make another one since I can’t read my notes

Local Yarn Shop Yarns

I fell in love with Rowan Calmer when I got it as a gift. Helps that it was in purple (y’all might detect a theme there). πŸ™‚ It’s a cotton and acrylic blend. It was so soft and luxurious to work with. I immediately started crocheting up a Doris Chan pattern and this has become one of my favorite crocheted tops. It even ranks higher than my own designed pullover. It has held up well since I crocheted the top in 2009.

Runaround pattern from Doris Chan’s book Everyday Crochet

My other new favorite local yarn shop yarn is Zitron Noblesse. It’s a Merino and silk blend tonal yarn. I received it to make the sample for the Red Rocks Wrap that was in Interweave Winter. When I opened the box I gasped. When I opened the bag the yarn was in, I was in love. This yarn is so soft and yummy and the tonal shifts are amazing. If I could have kept the extra yarn, I would have. So luxurious. It was fabulous to crochet with. I’m still convinced that it was the yarn that took this design from cool to absolutely amazing.

Photo copyright Interweave and used with permission

By no means are the yarns I listed here my only favorites. I have a ton of other yarns I love and will use for various projects. And while there are yarns I don’t like, for the most part it’s not that I don’t like the yarn itself…it’s that the yarn is hard to work with here in Florida (looking at you bulky weight yarns). πŸ™‚

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY1. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Swag and goody update

So I didn’t get a lot of things while at Chain Link. Coming in to Buffalo, my checked luggage was at 47.3 pounds. So I didn’t have a lot of room to play with.

When I registered I bought the commemorative hook. It’s really pretty and I picked that up on Wednesday:

Here’s a closeup of the carved info:

I also got a Lion Brand goody bag. It was a huge bag but didn’t have a lot in it. Two skeins of yarn, some plastic circular knitting hooks, the Just Wraps book, and a handout that was all knit hats. Here’s what I kept:

I’m likely going to give my niece the yarn since I didn’t get a chance to pick her up anything. πŸ™‚

During Professional Development Day I got an Annie’s Attic book along with all my handouts. Everyone got different ones. I got Comfort Crochet:

I also won a door prize! A Tahki Stacey Charles pattern book (that I’ve wanted for a while) and 9 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic. There’s a Doris Chan pattern in there that I wanted to make and I have just enough yarn for it! How awesome is that?

On Thursday after the Getting Loopy show, we ran over to the market preview where Mary Beth Temple was signing books at the Leisure Arts booth. Leisure Arts was giving away copies of the book! I was stoked about this since I had planned on buying it anyway!

It feels weird to me to get an autograph from someone I consider a friend. But I did it anyway. πŸ˜‰

Friday during lunch I broke down and went to buy the Tulip Etimo hooks. I held one in my hand during the Thursday preview and had to have them. Here’s the case closed (I love how fancy it looks):

And open:

Yes, it came with all the hooks from D to J (including the 2 sizes of G), a pair of really sharp scissors, a hard ruler, and 2 needles. There’s room for 2 more hooks if I move the scissors to the zippered section.

Saturday after the Meet and Greet we stood in line for Drew’s book signing. Again, Leisure Arts was giving away books. They were totally random but it worked out great! Margarita got a hat book and I got the pet book.

It has so many cute projects in it! Midnight currently sleeps on an old memory foam topper that has been cut into two beds. There’s a cover in this book that I think I might make (better than the blankets tossed on it). I need to do it with a zipper so I can take it off to wash it. Anyway, also got an autograph:

On Saturday I finally broke down and bought a Nantucket Bag. I’ve been lusting after one of these for months now. As soon as I heard they would be at Chain Link, I knew this was something I was coming home with. I just wanted to see it in person and make sure I liked it. Well, I do. I love it!!! They had it in purple (guess what color I got?), too! This thing is so neat and customizable. I spent one day with it as a backpack and then traveled with it as a tote bag. I plan on pulling out some of the stitches to customize my pockets. Plus, I can hang it flat on my studio wall to hold my tools and then when I’m going somewhere I can just grab it and zip it up and go! Here’s some pics of it:

As a tote bag:

Two shots of it open:

And the view of the back showing the shoulder straps:

I also picked up a pair of crochet earrings on Saturday in our last run through the market before heading down to the dinner. Aren’t they cute?

The last thing I got was at the dinner on Saturday night. There were double ended hooks and knitting needles on the chairs. I grabbed a seat with a hook. It’s a G double ended hook which I can use as a Tunisian hook by simply putting a stopper on the other end.

So that’s all the swag I came back with. And for the record, my luggage was right at 50 lbs on the way back. πŸ™‚ And that’s with putting most of the yarn swag into my carry on bag. πŸ™‚

Stitch n Pitch 2009

This year’s Stitch n Pitch was a Sunday afternoon game against the Royals. I went this year with my parents, my brother, and my 12 year old niece. We got there about half an hour before the game and picked up our goody bags. And yes, my dad and my brother picked up bags, too. I was a bit disappointed (especially after last year’s really good bags) since other than the yarn, the whole thing was knit-centric. There was a great pattern book but it was all knitting. There were also double point knitting needles in there.

Here’s my bag:

And here’s the yarn haul (from mine and my brother’s bag since he was so gracious to give me his). πŸ˜‰

Lots of artsy yarn that I don’t know what I’m going to do with. Oh well, in the stash it goes.

I was shocked because there were no vendors this year. This made me sad as I was all about picking up some more sock yarn. πŸ™‚ Oh well, I’ll just get yarn this week at conference.

We got settled into our seats and Josalynne and I started crocheting. I had taught her when she was younger, but she was too young to pick it up well. So we pulled out her book and her hooks and yarn and got started on a little project (a fish toy for a cat). She picked it up right away!

Here’s her starting her fish:

And a closeup:

And after an hour or so, she was reading the pattern on her own and figuring out what she needed to do. And here it is finished (other than the seaming and all that…yeah, I know, passing on bad habits of calling something done before it’s really done):

And here’s a great shot of the two of us:

I got the report today that when she got back to my parents’ house, she pulled out the hook and yarn and started crocheting. She told my mom, “I think I just made something awesome.” What did she make? A top for her doll. On her own with no pattern. Yeah, taking after the aunt! πŸ™‚

I also heard that she’s been crocheting all day. πŸ™‚ I’m going to try to plan a visit out there once every other week to keep working with her. Warms my heart, it does. πŸ™‚

Okay, so I’m out. Bags are packed, homework is currently being done, and I want to relax this evening before I go to bed. Gotta get up bright and early to go to the airport (we’re leaving at 6am). I’m going to do my best to post from Chain Link, but if nothing else, you can follow my Twitter. πŸ™‚ See ya on the flip side!

Holiday wrap up post (picture heavy)

Whew. That was a whirlwind week last week! This will be a quick wrap up with lots of pictures so I can get started with my work week.

Thursday:

I stayed up until nearly midnight on Christmas Eve working on Josalynne’s dress. Finally I had to stop as my hands just wouldn’t go anymore. So I got up at 7am on Thursday and took care of the animals and got back to work. I finished crocheting the skirt of the dress and weaving in all the ends around 10am. John wrapped gifts for me while I crocheted. I packaged up more thread so I could do the neckline and armhole edgings once she opened the gift. Kelli got one sock with a note that I’ll have the other one done by Thursday when Mom comes out.

Here are a few quick pictures from Thursday:

Josalynne holding up her dress (when Kelli makes a slip she’ll send me a picture of it on):

Daddy’s socks:

Mom’s socks:

Sean’s socks:

No, I don’t have a picture of Kelli’s sock because I ran out of time. When I finish her second sock, I’ll take a picture of that.

But here’s a great picture of Kelli and I holding up the shirts Mom got us. They say, “My sister has the best sister in the world”. πŸ™‚

And here’s a pic of me and John:

Oh, and of the pretty bracelet and earrings Kelli made for me:

We got home that afternoon and slept. Then I made some yummy dinner and we just relaxed the rest of the evening. I did not crochet the rest of the day.

Friday:

This was a somewhat lazy day for us. Although John did mow the lawn and take apart the steering wheel in my van. He needed to replace the clock spring in my steering wheel and got it finished once the part came in on Saturday. I finally started crocheting that evening as I was getting antsy. I’m back to working on his vest and it will likely take forever. So he may get it for his birthday or next year’s holidays. πŸ™‚

Saturday:

We finished up the van and I now have cruise control and a working horn. However, it did not solve all the issues we had with the van. πŸ™ So we’re moving on to the next things he thinks are wrong. The downside is if he was working here in town it’d likely be done by now. But having to cram in all the work into weekends makes it difficult. He does do all his research at night in the hotel and typically either orders parts while there or picks them up there and brings them home.

After he finished that we met his dad for dinner. Here are some pictures of that:

All four of us (JP, Beatrice, me, and John):

JP & Beatrice:

John & Me:

They gave me 3 books from my wish list (Colorsense, The Savvy Crafter’s Guide to Success, and The Art of Tangle Sweater Collection Vol. 2) and gift cards for Michaels. πŸ™‚

Sunday:

We got up Sunday morning and Margarita came over to visit. She came bearing bagels and that was super yummy. We all went to lunch at Panera and then John started getting ready to go back to work for this week. πŸ™ Boo, it was nice having him home for all those days.

Margarita and I went to Michaels (my van acted up once John left so Margarita had to drive us) and spent gift cards. I got a ton of sock yarn (enough for 6 pairs of socks):






After shopping we hung out here for a bit and then went to dinner and got gelati’s after at Rita’s. Yum. Margarita headed home around 10:30 and shortly thereafter, I heard from John. He was at the hotel and said that the weather was warmer than last week.

Today:

Time to get back to work. I have finished up SSP#4, I just need to do blocking and such and then get it ready to go. I also have to go run the code scanner on the van to see if I’m going to be able to drive at all this week. πŸ™ I hope so, I have things I need to do.

So there’s my holiday recap. I hope your holidays were great as well!

Gift making frenzy

Whew, been a busy morning already.

I finished the main crocheting on SSP#4 on Friday night, so I can take this week off guilt free. While I have 2 more small things to make to go with it, I will likely do that today. I’m not going to ship until after the holidays so it doesn’t get lost during the mail rush.

Today I needed to whip up some quick gifts to send to Nelcy and Ray up in NJ. My original plans got shot down simply due to time. I will likely still do them and have them ready for either birthdays or next year. πŸ™‚ I was going to just do some ornaments and such, but found a great pattern last night and decided to do that instead.

So here’s why I made Nelcy (if you’re reading, Nelcy, stop now, please):


It’s the Crochet Beaded Bracelet (Ravelry Link). It worked up very fast. I may be making a few more since it was so fast and easy.

For Ray, I sent up a hat I had in my “made it, don’t know what to do with it” bin. I hope he likes it.

It’s the Skater Hat (Ravelry Link).

After getting those done, I whipped up a small ornament (no pic, sorry) and packaged them up and sent Priority Mail to NJ. Hopefully they get there by Wednesday. If not, then at least it should reach them by the end of this week.

Today’s plan? I have one more pair of socks left to make. I finished the 3rd pair last night. Then I need to finish my niece’s dress. Then I’m done other than working on John’s vest. I’m in a good place, I think. John’s vest likely won’t get done by Christmas, but if I can get it done by the time he leaves next Sunday, then I’ll be happy. He said it was 34 when he got into the hotel last night.

Today’s delivery people (not mail, it’s not here yet) brought me 2 books: Crocheting on the Edge and Amigurumi Animals from Crafter’s Choice (LOVE them…I got one of them for free) and yarn for the next project to be published. Yay! That project will start as soon as I wrap up SSP#4 and get it sent.

Okay, since I’ve eaten lunch (ceasar salad, yum) I’m going to get back to work on the socks. πŸ™‚ After Christmas, I’ll post pictures of all the socks. πŸ™‚

And to all my readers who are celebrating: I wish you a very happy Hanukkah. πŸ™‚

Holiday get-together

Tonight was a fun time. A group of us have been been crocheting together for at least 2 years (a few of us longer than that) and so every year we do a Secret Santa swap and get together for dinner. We typically do it at one of our homes, but this year we decided to go out to dinner. So we met at Applebee’s and had a great dinner and great conversation and lots of laughs.

Let me say right now that I am in total love with my camera. These pictures were taken in very low light at the restaurant. Some of them look a little funny as I get used to holding my hand very steady in low light situations. πŸ™‚

Anyway, here we go….

Before everyone got there:

Carolina and Amber looking through some of the books I recently got:

Amber and Margarita:

Margarita and Me:

Dani, after fighting through traffic to get there, decided to order a beer. Well, it was happy hour so she got two:

Once everyone got there we ordered dinner and then started opening our gifts. This is always a ton of fun because we fill out little forms on what we want and what we like.

Here’s Jo and Carolina as Carolina opens her gift (and then the socks she got…she also got a ton of Hello Kitty stuff):

Amber is on a purse making kick lately and she got a lot of purse making supplies (handles, closures, etc) and a gauge check since she’s starting to make garments and has listened to my rants. πŸ™‚ And no, I didn’t buy for her this year. πŸ˜‰

Richard (who I bought for) was opening his gifts and Margarita stole the purple bow that I put on the package. I got Richard a black bag to carry his projects in (tired of seeing him come to meetings with a plastic grocery bag), 2 skeins of Caron Simply Soft in dark green and a book on dog sweaters since he is currently crocheting for his dog, Emma:

Margarita got a candle holder, battery powered tea lights, a mug, and then a Christmas light garland (made by Dani):

I got a candle holder and candle, 2 skeins of sock yarn, and 2 skeins of bamboo yarn:


Dani got 2 skeins of Naturally Caron Country, a pack of her favorite hooks (Susan Bates) and a small cookbook for healthy cooking:

It was a great evening and I had a ton of fun. I always do with this group. πŸ™‚ It wasn’t the same without John being there, though. But I did get to talk to him twice tonight, once before the party and then on the way home. And tomorrow is Thursday which means he gets to pack and come home the next day. πŸ™‚

On the work front, I should be finishing SSP#4 tomorrow. I have one more bit of assembly to do and then finishing. Hopefully I can get it done tomorrow. We’ll see. Once it’s done and out the door then I can work full time on holiday gifts.

Speaking of holiday gifts, my thread to finish Josalynne’s dress will get here tomorrow. Rush delivery is fast! πŸ™‚ Totally worth the $9 extra. πŸ™‚

Well, it’s late, and I’m tired, so it’s off to bed with me.

Finally have time to update (and breathe)…picture heavy

Okay, y’all have been so patient and I appreciate that. Not like there’s really anything you can do about it anyway, but I do hope I still have some readers after not posting anything of substance lately. πŸ™‚

So let’s start with the important stuff….yarn.

This is the yarn John brought me last weekend. It’s 6 skeins of Rowan Calmer. Yummy. And it’s in the perfect color. No, I haven’t decided what I’m going to make out of it yet. I think for a while I’m just going to sit and pet it and love it and call it George. Sorry, I’m just now drinking coffee, so you’re going to get me a bit scattered right now.

I also have yarn for holiday gifts, but I’m not showing all of it. Sorry, but some gift recipients read here so instead I’ll show a couple of sock yarn offerings and some other yarns. Not explaining who or what anything is for. πŸ˜‰



Okay, now on to things I’ve worked on. I finished the Pensacola Socks:

I also made a new beret. I used the pattern from Crochet That Fits and I loved it. It was super easy to do and went pretty quick. The yarn is Plymouth Encore in purple. And no, I didn’t take a pic of me wearing it because, well, I just didn’t. So you get to see it on Sally.


I’ve started Josalynne’s dress for her gift. Here’s a pic of that, not like there’s much to see yet:

Today I am in a bit of a holding pattern with the yarn company projects, so I’ll go back to working on the publication project today. It’s Friday which means the weekend starts tomorrow. More importantly, John comes home tonight. πŸ™‚

This weekend we will be celebrating my birthday by going to dinner Saturday night. Next weekend we’ll have my birthday party. When’s my birthday? Right in the middle on Wednesday night. John won’t be here (boo) but our crochet group meets that night so I’ll be able to go hang out with my friends and celebrate my birthday that way. πŸ™‚

I likely won’t post over the weekend. With only having John home for 2 days each week, I try not to be on the computer too much during that time. Have a great weekend!

Oh, and Happy Halloween!!!

Real post soon, I promise

I know, I know, I’ve been slacking. I’ve just been so busy with this yarn company project that I haven’t had time to take the pics I need to take and get them posted. Hopefully later this week. I have lots to show you…the yarn John brought home for me and the holiday yarn that came in. But it’ll have to wait for a few more days as I spend all my time crocheting on this project.

Oh, and in a non-crochet related front (and as a message to Marie)….you know, if y’all had a stadium with a lid like ours they wouldn’t have had to call that game last night. πŸ˜€ Go Rays!

The weather here is beautiful! Today I had to wait for it to warm up a bit before opening the house up, but it was awesome to have all that fresh air in. John is dealing with rain and much much colder temperatures, but staying warm.

Okay, I’m done with a bit of a late dinner and now I’m going back to work. I’m hoping to get this finished tonight or first thing tomorrow morning. Once it’s done (and the extra yarn for the other project gets here) I’ll finish the first one and then have time to breathe and update.

Have a good week everyone and I’ll post again when I have time! Hopefully with pictures!

Lots of yarn

Yesterday I was out and about all day and when I got home I had a package of yarn. πŸ™‚ It was the yarn for the hat and scarf I’ve been commissioned to make for my friend Andrea. A little bit later, UPS knocked and there was a huge box for the next publication project(s).

Can I just say that I love the fact that yarn shows up at my door? I know I ordered the yarn for the hat and scarf set, but the other boxes that just show up without me having to pay? Those are the best!!!

I have two new crochet mags sitting next to me. We picked up Crochet Today on Sunday (there are a few things I may try to find time to make) and snagged Interweave Crochet yesterday (QUITE a few things in there I’m in love with). I need to go ahead and just subscribe so I can quit chasing them down every month.

Okay, slow starting this morning. I’ve now got my coffee on board and am about to get started. Hoping to finish the yarn company’s project today. We’ll see. πŸ™‚ Have a good day, everyone!

Oh, also….a very happy birthday to my dear friend, Kerry! Here’s wishing you lots of yarn and love for the day!

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