Sometimes It's About Crochet

I love knitting to pieces and it's been the biggest part of my crafting life over the last 25 years.  It's soothing when I need to be soothed, it's peaceful when I need to find peace and it's healing when my soul is wounded.   But sometimes I just need a little change of pace in my creative outlet and that's where crochet comes in.

I started crocheting when I was about 11 years old (yikes that was 40 plus years ago!) and learned from my Mom, who was an avid crocheter (most throws and afghans).  I know that sometimes crochet gets a bad wrap as many think of granny square afghans (which I love) and the crochet our grandmothers made.  But crochet in its own right is gorgeous.. and sometimes I actually prefer crocheted lace over knitted lace, but that's me.  

I have found several patterns that I love in crochet but my go to favorites have been:

  • Haiku by Rebecca Velasquez - a simple design that is so elegant. I have used this design in both handspun and commercial yarn.
  • Half Granny by Anastacia Zittel - I do have a love affair with granny squares and this design fits the bill.  Perfect for handspun and commercial yarn.  Here's a link to my handspun project page on Ravelry.
  • Spring Petals by Ragamuffin - I love this one for lace weight and hand dyed fingering weight yarn.

The Crochet Project has been posting several designs on Instagram over the last few days and a couple of designs have sparked my interest.  Needless to say, I decided to start a second crochet project called Fronds, a design by Joanne Scarce, who is the second designer behind the Crochet Project.  This pattern is simple, textured and elegant, and the best part, it's very easy to memorize!!!
Photo courtesy of © Kat Goldin
Feel as warm this winter as you would on a palm lined beach when you wrap up in this palm leaf inspired, super sized shawl. Using very simple stitches, pattern and construction this shawl grows very quickly in the DK weight yarn making it great for gifting too.  Our sample uses 230g of DK for a real hug of a shawl but you can get a smaller shawl from 150g upwards., just keep crocheting until the shawl is the size you want or the yarn runs out.

For this project I am substituing sport weight yarn for dk weight because I wanted to use my stash of Plymouth Yarn Reserve Sport in the color 304-Gray Mix.  I also found that a size F (3.75mm) hook was what I need in order for my crochet not to be too loose or sloppy, or possibly too tight.  I love the ability to work on something that is very easy to memorize and quite soothing to one's hands.  The second best part of the design as it is 100% reversible!  

I think this will end up being a fun piece to wear and I look forward to finishing it soon. If you are a crocheter look for a simple, quick project, I would highly recommend Joanne's design.

Until next time ~ be creative!

XOXOs February Spin for #spin15aday

I swore to myself that I would not buy any more fiber until I have spun down my current stash, which I am admitting is found in a hall closet, an antique corner cabinet and an antique hutch.  With that being said I could not resist Sherrill's upcoming SAL for February called #xoxospin15 - which I will say there are a few still available in Sherrill's online shop (as of today's post).

Inside the #xoxospin15 pack you will find:
Courtesy of the  1764 Shepherdess

  • approx.100 grams merino top fiber in a “passionate kisses” colorway sourced from the UK
  • An envelope-style 100% cotton kisses bag crafted @ the 1764 studio
  • A #xoxospin15 charm to adorn on your bag or use as stitch marker sourced from Canada
  • A #xoxospin15 yarn tag for your completed handspun
  • A little something extra for your love of sheep (See my personal photo below for the badge Sherrill included)

For you on Instagram, you can follow the February SAL with these hashtags:
          #xoxospin15     #spin15aday  
I love the color of the fiber in this kit, along with the hand made bag and the "Save Sheep Wear Wool" badge.  I haven't ever spun such a vibrant color, especially red, so this will be a fun spin for me.  I'm thinking this fiber will be scrumptious for a hat or maybe mitts.

This is a fun and easy spin along, so I hope you can join in the fun by either spinning from your stash or purchasing a kit from Sherrill. If you're on Instagram be sure to follow the hashtags mentioned above.

Until next time ~ be creative!

Ohh Owls .... Well Sort Of

This past weekend went way to fast but I managed to snag a little spinning time.  I started spinning a lovely Cheviot hand dyed by Quillin Fiber Arts in the color Owls (Black, Blue, White and Brown Ochre.

I stripped the roving into two pieces, and then stripped the two pieces into several thin pieces of roving that I gently drafted and made into little buns ready for spinning.

As many of you know,  and may have remembered reading in prior posts, I am participating in the #spin15aday challenge over on Instagram.  I am finding this to be so motivating and it is really helping me to spend time each day to spin.  My friend Lara (@spinninglara On Instagram) mentioned that she kept track of her spinning time in 2018 and ended up spinning over 300 hours.  If you're on Instagram, check out her post here to see what she spun last year.  It's amazing!!  She has inspired me to keep track of my time too, so I have started with this fiber and and photo below shows a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes of spinning.  

I am really loving the rustic look of this yarn and it’s spinning up beautifully! I can’t wait to finish and ply it.  I am aiming for light worsted and enough yardage for mitts.

Until next time ~ be creative!

Wednesday WIPs ....

So one WIP is officially finished!!!!  

I'am so excited to have finished my Oink Pigments fiber, which only took over a month to finish  but hey, it’s done ! My bobbin is now resting and I will be plying later this week.  

The fiber itself was a dream to spin and I am hoping it will end up being a DK weight so that I can mix it with other handspun for a scarf.  The colors are so soft and a lovely blend of pinks and golds, which for some reason still reminds me of a bouquet of old fashion roses.

I have decided to chain play, so fingers crossed that I achieve the weight and yardage I am hoping for. I should have this all finished by the weekend.

I am now concentrating on my Toe-Up waffle socks. I didn’t quite like the structure of the heel so I added 1” of slip stitches before starting the pattern.  I like how it fits and looks and now I’m happily working on the leg in the waffle stitch pattern.

This addition to my sock heel might see a bit odd to a few sock knitters, but it works for me and I like to make socks to fit me.  Sometimes I follow a pattern and sometimes I make things up as I go.  This sock is one of those that I'm making up as I go.  It fits perfectly and I really love the yarn I'm using and definitely will purchase it again.  This one should be off the needles soon and I will cast on the mate quickly so I don't end up with SSS ( second sock syndrome ).

I have frogged a few projects as I have decided it was time to move on.  My crafting thoughts are changing a bit and I'm wanting to work on other things.  So I have decided that socks, and maybe shawls/scarves, will be about it for me in the knitting realm.  I still want to concentrate on my spinning and I now want to give weaving a try again, nothing big just small pieces.  I also have a love of hand stitching, quilting and art.  See what my problem is ... sigh, I just love to many things!!!

Until next time ~ be creative!

On My Wheel: Still Working on Oink Pigments

Recently I made a work change and I am finding that I haven’t quite been as diligent in making my blog posts as I should but promise to get back on track very soon.

Meantime, I am still spinning my Oink Pigments and really love how it’s spinning up.  I’m still trying to decide if I want to chain ply or 2-ply when finished and most likely won’t decide until I’m done.  I am trying to spin at t least 15 minutes a day and find that I am able to do a little spinning on my breaks (I work at home) too.  Hopefully I can finish up this week, fingers crossed.

I truly love the colors in this fiber !

I am way behind my breed study spinning (shown n the left) and I’m anxious to start spinning my newly acquired fiber from Quillin Fiber Arts.  The fiber I purchased from Dedri is gorgeous and my fingers are itching to start!

At times there’s just not enough time in the day !

Until next time - be creative!

On My Needles: Socks, Socks and More Socks

Wednesday I casted on a toe-up sock using a new to me yarn, Goomy by Bergere de France.  I am really enjoying knitting with this yarn and have decided I will have to try other colors. 

For this project I chose the color Imprim Prun, which is a mix of gray, cream and burgundy.  

I was thinking about doing a plain vanilla toe-up but decided to do a waffle stitch.  After looking at the sole of the sock I'm now wondering if I should have gone with my first thought of a plain vanilla.   As you can see in the photo below, the one on the left shows the waffle design (front) and the one on the right shows the self-striping design (sole).  Sometimes just going vanilla can bring out the best in a yarn.

I love how toe-up socks seem to knit up quickly and have never really understood why they do, well at least for me they do.  The only reason I can think of that slows my knitting on cuff-down socks is working the heel and gusset.  Have you ever found that toe-up socks knit up quicker than cuff down?   I would love your thoughts.

I plan to cast on my Damson Gin Socks this weekend and may cast on an additional toe-up, I haven't quite decided on the pattern yet but it will be one from WendyJohnson's Socks From the Toe Up book.  

Until next time ~ be creative!

Who Are the Spinners behind #spin15aday

Sherrill @the1764shepherdess decided it was time for the #spin15aday spinners on Instagram to get to know one another better. She had a simple request, post a photo, share five spinning related things about yourself , use the hashtag #spin15adayaboutme and tag five IG Spinners.

Since I was tagged by a fellow spinner, Rachel ( @raerichar from Scotland), I thought it would be fun to share my facts with you all too !

So, here it goes 5 spinning related facts you might not know about me:
  1. I own five Schacht wheels, three Ashford wheels and for some reason I collect Turkish spindles like they are going out of style.
  2. My favorite fiber to spin is BFL or a BFL/Tussah blend.
  3. I love to spin in the early mornings to start my day off right or just before bed to relax.
  4. I’ve been spinning since 2010 with my first wheel (Ashford Traditional) and learned to spin by watching videos and asking lots of questions from my spinning friends.
  5. I enjoy listening to classical music while spinning 

If you’re on Instagram check out #spin15adayaboutme and #igspinners.  There are so many wonderful spinners out there !

Until next time- be creative!


Hot of the Needles ... A Pair of Cozy Autumn Socks

I am so excited to have finally finish my Cozy Autumn Socks  !!!  As mentioned in earlier posts, I started this pair of socks last September and just couldn’t seem to get my sock knitting mojo going. The last few weeks have been wonderful and I look forward to casting on a brand new pair.

Close up view - I love this yarn! 

The color looks a bit different out in the light.

It might look like cablework but all knit and purl.

Now I’m off to cast on Damson Gin Socks by Ambrose Smith and will be using my stash of Patons Kroy in Flax. This will be my first pair for the Miss Marple KAL

Until next time ~ be creative!

I Won!!

Do you ever enter yarn giveaways on Instagram or FaceBook with high hopes of winning ?  I do and I have entered quite often but never seem to win, well that is until recently.

At the end of December I was so excited when Marcie of the Bad Sheep Yarn contacted me on Instagram to tell me I won her giveaway, featuring this gorgeous one of a kind hand dyed yarn.  The yarn is super soft and the colors are so warm and vibrant.  I just love how this yarn matches my Batik table runner.

5 skeins - 76 yards each
Color: Sun Dog
80% SW Merino and 20% Nylon

So what will this yummy yarn become ?  I have decided that I will make Andrea Rangel's Sentiment Shawl.  I love this pattern and have made this shawl before using MadTosh Home (Bulky weight yarn / 100% merino). To me this is going to be a match made in heaven.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out Marcie's shop, Bad Sheep Yarn

About Marcie, the fiber artist behind Bad Sheep Yarn:  
I am the artist behind Bad Sheep Yarn. I was born in Alaska, married in Alaska, and now raise our three kids and goofy German Shepherd in our tiny Christmas themed town of North Pole, Alaska. (It’s a real place!) I started knitting and crocheting when I was 10. My love for color and fiber has only grown from there.  I am on a mission to share color appreciation through yarn and crafting by creating colorways that make your creative mind come alive! I am a painter, and yarn is my pallet. Every single skein of my yarn is dreamed up, created, and tenderly wrapped up in my little home studio.  I hope each cozy package brings you joy and inspiration to keep creating amazing things.
You will find a beautiful collection of hand dyed yarns in sock and dk weights.  For more inspiration, you can find Bad Sheep Yarn online at Facebook, Instagram and Ravelry.

Until next time ~ be creative!

When Sock Knitting Mojo Returns

I'm finished with a pair of socks that I started back in November, yikes that long ago!!  My problem seems to be a lack of interest in sock knitting.  Not sure what happened  but I really just didn't feel like finishing mates to socks I started.  I think I had a little loss of sock knitting mojo but my mojo seems to be back and I'm on a roll!!

I just finished the mate to my Vanilla Socks and I really love the 100% merino fingering I used, a beautiful yarn by Schoppel-Wolle called Ambiente. The first sock only left me with a few yards of yarn left, so I am quite pleased not to have a lot left over.  Each skein is 170 yards and is a sport weight yarn.  These will be perfect bed socks!!!

I am also working on the mate to my Cozy Autumn Socks that I started last September.  Oh dear, that really is sad to have a single sock for so long!!!  I am working my way down the leg and hope to have the heel and gusset finished this weekend.  I love this pattern, Cozy Autumn Socks by Olivia of This Handmade Life, and the yarn, BFF B by Alpha B , is so yummy to knit with. 

One reason my sock knitting mojo is back is largely due to a new sock knitting KAL (knit along) by This Handmade Life and Ambrose Smith Designs - The Miss Marple KAL.  This KAL features 12 designs created by Olivia and Amber.  If you're interested in joining in the fun, head over to Ravelry to the Ambrose Smith Designs Group.  

The KAL particulars from the group ....

For 2019, Olivia of thishandmadelife and I are hosting a Miss Marple KAL! There are 12 sock patterns in total, that combine to make a perfect Miss Marple box of socks! To participate, you can knit one pair, several, or go for all 12! Here are the Rules:
  1. This is a year-long KAL, starting January 1st, 2019 and ending December 31st, 2019.
  2. To participate, knit any pair of Miss Marple socks designed by us! WIPs count!
  3. To enter to win a prize, post a photo of your finished pair (by either designer in the FO thread.
  4. Prizes will be drawn quarterly, with a grand prize at the end of the KAL!
  5. Participation in the KAL will mostly take place on Instagram. Use the hashtag #missmarpleknits on your posts so other participants can find you easily! You can also chat here in the Chatter Thread and show off your WIPs!

Miss Marple Inspired Designs by Amber of Ambrose Smith Designs ...
You can get the full collection for $15 by using the coupon code MISSMARPLE15 or get a special discount on all individual patterns with the code MISSMARPLE20 for 20% off.

You can follow Amber on Instagram at Ambroseknits

Miss Marple Inspired Designs by Olivia of This Handmade Life ...
Per Instagram Post by Olive:  The socks are all 20% off with missmarple20

Tea and Scandal 
Bluebird Cafe 
At The Vicarage 
St Mary Mead

You can follow Oliva on Instagram at thishandmadelife

Since I'm a huge Miss Marple fan, I purchased all patterns by both designers and will be joining in this sock knitting KAL ASAP!  I plan to match my stash yarn to pattern this weekend and can't wait to cast on.  The hard part is deciding which pattern to cast on first!!!

Until next time ~ be creative!

Something Old Becomes New Again!

I told myself that I would not start anything new until I finished my current WIPs, but I couldn't resist starting a throw on New Year's Eve, the Navajo Afghan, a pattern that was in the 1979 publication of Bernat's Treasury of Afghans.  

I remember one Christmas when visiting our family in Idaho, my Aunt was sitting next to the fireplace crocheting.  She was making a Navajo Afghan, which my Mom fell in love with.  She loved this pattern so much that she made many afghans for family, all in various sizes and colors.  Over twenty years ago she even made one for my husband for his birthday, which he still loves and cherishes today.  

The one thing I personally love about this pattern is it's simplicity and easy to memorize stitch pattern.  Once you get started with your first set of colors (first photo below), you really don't need to follow the pattern until you've reached the length you want.  Then it's a quick peek of the pattern so you can finish off the bottom border to mirror the border at the beginning.  

For my Navajo Afghan, I'm using Lionbrand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in the colors Charcoal, Eggplant, Petrol Blue and Fisherman.  I hooked 86 stitches using a size US 13/M  (9.00mm) crochet hook.  This pattern is so adjustable as the stitch pattern is over 20 stitches plus 6 (3 for the beginning and 3 for the end).

I love crochet just as much as I love knitting and it's a welcomed change of pace for me.  It's quick, super easy and always looks beautiful when you're finished.  I have even talked myself into joining a CAL (crochet along) over in the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers group on Ravelry.  I am looking for just the right yarn in my stash and then I will get started.

Courtesy of Beradette Ambergen

Until next time ~ be creative!

Happy New Year !

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.' 
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and wonderful New Year!