I’m pretty excited about my new crochet project! It came about suddenly….one of those ideas that wasn’t planned but that just started as an experiment….and now, Adopt-a-Creature is a new section in my Etsy store.
I also have a new page created where I post photos and locations of my adopted creatures! Hopefully they end up all around the world! Click here to take a look!
Each creature comes with a name and an attached story speaking to their personality/likes/dislikes/etc.
This all began because….about a month ago….I sat down and decided to crochet some amigurumi.
I had been working on some large projects, shawls and the like, but that morning I decided to focus on something small. Something that I could complete quickly (well, quicker than a shawl at least) and feel good about doing.
So, I made a bat.
Continue reading Adopt-a-Creature: Adventures in Amigurumi
A few months ago, I came across an acrylic yarn with a metallic sheen to it.
I’m not one to necessarily buy loads of acrylic yarn but the glossy, polished look of this yarn drew me in and I find myself going home with a number of metallic black skeins. I had no plan in mind…
***My fellow fibreartists, I KNOW you have been there too! “Ooooh, pretty! I’ll just pick up a couple of skei-….No, probably should grab four-….five! Five! To be sure I have enough for whatever I decide to do with it.” Your head is nodding along to this…right? I’m not alone here!***
…so, no plan in mind but I figured I’d come up with something. Eventually.
Some time later, I was visiting Len’s Mills in Kitchener with a friend and we came across a variegated version of the same yarn: black with shades of silver grey and splashes of a metallic grasshopper green.
I admit that description doesn’t make it sound all that great but it isn’t as bad as all that.
But my friend dared me to grab a couple of skeins and make something with it. So of course, I did.
***It was a DARE! I HAD to! (Because you know, it takes a lot (read: a wee bit) of convincing to get an yarn addict like me to buy more yarn.)***
Both colourways sat in my craft room for a time until I finally decided to tackle a new skull shawl project.
I knew I didn’t want a shawl made completely of the variegated yarn. It’s incredibly busy and I find it camouflages any pattern you try to make. Your eye can’t focus on the overall shape because the colour splashes are too intense.
But as granny skull squares within a body of black…I like it.
The skulls in this pattern are based on the Skull shawl pattern by kungen ooh marks but the rest of the shawl is from my brain and I haven’t written it down…yet.
In case you do wish to try your own version, I used three skeins at the same time, one black skein on either side and the variegated skein for the middle portion. So each row had me switching between all three and back again.
I’m really happy with how this shawl turned out. It’s pretty sharp and, in addition to functioning as a lovely shawl, it works well as a extra layer, for those of us who like to dress a bit more bohemian with tons of layers 🙂
It’s somewhat large in size (84″ across the top and about 38″ from top to point) but I like the flexibility the size gives to its function…it can be worn so many different ways and drapes so nicely!
I considered keeping this one…but it’s headed to my Etsy store today!
My time spent in Iceland last year holds a special place in my heart. So many good memories of such a beautiful country, warm people and happy sheep!
I keep meaning to write more blog posts about my trip…they ARE coming…but as I’ve said before, it’s so hard to capture the experience in pictures and words.
Recently though, I completed a shawl from a yarn kit I bought while I was in Reykjavik. It was a yarn kit created by Gudrun Bjarnadottir, the owner of Hespa. Gudrun takes Einband, a single ply Icelandic wool yarn, and dyes it naturally, mainly with native Icelandic plants.
Perhaps letting her speak for herself is a better idea:
“I teach Botany at the Agricultural University of Iceland at Hvanneyri. I spend all my spare time collecting plants and coloring yarn. I also make my own yarn from the Icelandic wool. Plants, knitting and nature are my favorite things and I am so lucky to be able to combine them all in my work and life.” (Etsy Owner Description)
At the end of our Hiking with the Elves tour, we had a workshop run by Gudrun. She explained her process and discussed the various plants and lichens used to create the various colours of yarn. Continue reading Hyrna, an Icelandic Shawl, & Continental Knitting
The past few weeks have been an awesome and yet ridiculous and blurry mishmash of back-to-back work assignments, custom orders, teaching crochet and a last-minute trip to Florida.
Not necessarily in that order.
I’m not complaining at all! I like to keep busy and Florida…well, there was no snow…
And I had a ton of time to work on some knitting projects, so overall, pretty happy with how things are progressing.
The fall out to being so busy is that I don’t update my blog nearly as often as I should. So, for this post, I thought I would show a few of the items I have completed over the past couple of weeks.
They are all skull patterns. I know. You’re not surprised! 🙂
I’m especially proud of the acrylic version of the Solid Body Skull Scarf that I made as a custom order. (Pics and description at the bottom of this post!)
Believe it or not, I do have some other projects on the go as well…but they’re works-in-progress and there isn’t much to show…yet.
The weekend that I taught crochet in Cambridge (see my blog post about that here), I also completed a few skull shawls for Black Orchid Designs to sell in their shop. They had requested a few more shawls so the week leading up to the classes, anywhere I went, I was crocheting. On the subway, in a waiting room, getting my hair done, even while walking…hooking, hooking, hooking!
The extra awesome thing about selling with Black Orchid is that the owner, Kerri, is willing to ship the items if they sell online, so they are also listed in my Etsy shop.
In addition to shawls for Black Orchid Designs, I have also been working on a couple of custom orders.
The first one was so much fun to make…mainly because it is made from alpaca and I LOVE working with alpaca fibre. The black base is a worsted 80% alpaca/20% acrylic brushed fibre, twisted with a teal alpaca/silk lace weight yarn. The awesome part is that it weighs practically nothing!
The second custom order was a bit more challenging. The customer wanted a skull scarf that was similar to the original red/burgundy/grey/black wool scarf that I made a few months back, see the picture below. (I also provide the free pattern here.)
But… she wanted it in acrylic so I had to spend some time visiting yarn shops and trying to match the colours.
Eventually I found some balls of lace weight acrylic that seemed to do the job. I had to use a smaller crochet hook than for the wool scarf above and it took me quite some time due to my schedule…but it is complete and on its way to Scotland!
And here is the completed acrylic version! The colour changes are somewhat sharper as the wool yarn (above) is variegated and the acrylic scarf was made with four separate skeins, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!
So yes, incredibly busy these days…but still creating and playing with yarn!
In other news, I have been teaching myself brioche stitch…now THAT is an adventure in patience and soon to be its own blog post!
Last week, I was given the opportunity to teach two crochet classes at Black Orchid Designs in Cambridge, Ontario. The first class was Crochet for Beginners and the second class for those who were already familiar with crochet, How to Crochet a Skull Shawl.
This entry is a reflection on the experience but I would love to hear from you about your crochet class experiences. Have you been taught by an awesome teacher? What made them awesome? Or from the other end, have you had a crappy crochet class experience? What would have made it better?
I hope to teach again in future so any suggestions or thoughts are welcome in the comments below!
I was so excited for these two classes that I spent a lot of time preparing. It was an interesting exercise as I am almost completely self-taught. A friend started me on crochet years ago by teaching me how to make a granny square and from there I kept learning more and more through the internet and books.
So in terms of an actual class, I have no experience and have never seen how others formally teach this craft, so I did some research online and put together some materials. I also spoke to Jennifer at the Purple Purl here in Toronto just before that weekend and she offered me some incredibly helpful advice .
“Don’t use black yarn of any kind.” Hadn’t considered that, but of course! A person has to be able to see their stitches!
“You will only get through a small fraction of what you hope to teach.” I have to admit I did overplan just a tad.
Well, okay, a LOT. I had so much I wanted to share!
My original thought was to teach a granny square, which I have mentioned is the first thing I learned to do. Made up a sample and everything.
What I neglected to think about was that I spent three or four days at a friends house for girls’ weekend working on my granny square, whereas my class was only offering 2 hours.
So, yeah, not realistic.
I am pretty lucky in that I had three awesome students for my very first class. They were patient with me as I worked my way through the introduction and I really had a great time teaching. We went though the construction of crochet and the variety of hooks and yarn available.
Then we practiced chain and single crochet stitches and the students were able to start a rectangular piece that they could take home and continue to work on.
I learned a lot from my very first teaching experience…
1) My brain goes faster than my hands and my spoken words. I really need to slow down!
2) It’s difficult to teach something that you are so used to automatically just doing, without much thought. The moment you start to analyze and be aware of your movements, you suddenly get confused and forget HOW to do it!
3) I need to learn a variety of ways to hold the yarn for tension so that I can offer more suggestions. I really only know my way. Luckily, during my class, there were a couple of other people in the shop who very kindly paused at our class and offered to show us how they each held their yarn.
4) A beginner crochet class benefits from being more than one session. The students took a started piece home with them (a rectangular piece that they could continue to work on and lengthen) but we all agreed that we wished we had another scheduled session to get together again and build on the work.
5) I neglected to mention how to end a project. That would have been helpful since those in attendance were taken a scarf-like project home to work on.
There’s so much more that I took away from that first class. I’m now itching to teach more but I’m curious about other perspectives. Have you attended a crochet class that you loved/hated? What was awesome about it or what would have made it better?
The adventure continues…..
So, in knitting my first pair of socks, I learned quite a bit; both because I was attempting something new and because I made a ton of mistakes.
Sock knitting wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. This is big part thanks to Wickwum Mom’s tutorial. (If you’re feeling intimidated by the idea of making a sock…I highly recommend you check out her website AND her facebook group. It was really easy to follow and the online group is incredibly encouraging and helpful.)
I have already mentioned my first pair of socks on this blog in my Afterthought Lifeline post but I wanted to add another quick write-up to a) show off my socks 😉 and b) share the two major errors I made so as to help you avoid making the same mistakes.
And so, here we go!
a) Show off socks!
Yup, pretty darn proud of these socks! Mistakes and all!
b) Share mistakes! Continue reading Knitting Your First Socks: Your First Mistakes
B and I are presently in New York City on a mini-vacation. Our first time in NYC. I came originally to see a play but during the planning stages, a friend who lives here told me that there was a large knitting event taking place on the same weekend as my arrival. She was a member of our knitting/hiking group in Iceland last summer so of course she had to bring the event to my attention. Wool Sisters Unite!
Vogue Knitting Live was huge and overwhelming and inspiring…every colour, every fibre, every weight….of yarn! And I thought I would share some of the highlights 🙂
A marketplace on two floors??? Yes please!
Two floors of vendors…vendors that spilled out of the main floors and into the surrounding hallways. Yarn spillage! Here, I’ll help clean it up!
Continue reading NYC + Yarn Addict = Vogue Knitting Live
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about wanting to winterize crocheted scarves. Crochet tends to create a fairly open weave, especially if you’re using longer stitches (double crochets, treble crochets, etc) so it isn’t always the warmest it could be, regardless if you’re using natural fibres such as wool or alpaca.
I wanted to try sewing a layer of fleece or some other fabric to the back of my scarves for added warmth.
Yesterday, I finally did it!
It’s an exciting project for two reasons. One is because I finally tried my winterizing idea. Two is because the scarf in question is a Dr Who scarf! Who can’t be excited about that! 🙂 Continue reading Winterizing Crochet Scarves Pt 2: Dr Who style
Over the weekend, I experienced some…shall we say….incredibly effective blocking results with a crocheted item.
I am now the proud owner of an XL skull shawl 🙂
It has been in process for the past few weeks. I wasn’t making it to fill an order or anything, it was more of a side project. Something that may actually end up being for me 😉 Continue reading The Magic of Blocking
This past July, I spent 10 days in Iceland. It was my second trip to Iceland after an initial 4-day stopover last January, on our way home from Europe.
This time though, I signed up for a structured pre-planned trip. The majority of my 10 days were spent as part of a hiking and knitting tour created and run by Hélène Magnusson called “Hiking with the Elves“.
I have been meaning to blog about the trip ever since I arrived home.
I want to record my experience, but I also want to share it with others who are considering a similar trip in the future.
Unfortunately, this has proven to be such a difficult post to write.
Part of the challenge is to try and capture the experience without writing for pages and pages. I’m sure that you, my dear readers, have better things to do that sit in a comfy chair, with a glass of wine, snuggled up to your computer screen while you read through the novel that is my Icelandic blog post.
The other difficulty comes from the fact that the experience was so tremendous. How can I ever hope to capture the magnificence and grandeur of it with mousy little English words?
Continue reading Letters from Iceland: Hiking (and Knitting) with the Elves Pt 1: The Group