Crochet Attachment, or Attached to Me

When I was younger crochet was an emotional outlet, I do not know if I could say the same thing today. Maybe crochet has grown up with me, or maybe it has just become ingrained to my every day.

I remember when I was in high school that my brother use to joke that is anyone was cold and needed a blanket, then find a guy for me to date then break up with me. Not that I dated much at all, but break-ups did through me into an afghan making frenzy. Everyone in my family has at least one, friends from the time can probably say the same.

It was not necessarily that I was filling my stitches with tears, as much as it kept my hands busy and helped to let my mind focus. I guess in a sense it was my meditation. I am not sure if it applies the same today.

I crochet daily, but now it has a different focus, it is part of my work. I keep more notes about the stitches I am working, I am deciding the best way to highlight a yarn, I am thinking of things for blog posts, I am exploring different ways to explain techniques in teaching, basically I have lost my mind wandering. I am not completely sure that this has come from the position of it being my work, or the many years that I have been doing it, over ¾ of my life.

I also am not working nearly as many afghans. I made many blankets over the years, I really only started making garments about a decade ago. In all things relative that is very short amount of time. So maybe that has taken to my change of my crochet experience, that I have expanded the scope of my outlet.

I may not recognize it as my emotional outlet, but nearly twenty years of marriage could have curbed that need. I still am not sure what I would do with my hands while seated just about anywhere, so maybe crochet has grown into something more primal, maybe it is just a part of me that I cannot see as separate.

A Memorable Name for A Memorable Yarn-Twizzlefoot

A funny name that you definitely remember, but when the yarn is beautiful and great to worth it, it is just an added bonus. I am referring to Twizzlefoot by Mountain Colors, a lovely fine weight yarn that works up really nice.

I don’t know where the name comes from but your find a couple of “foot” named yarns in Mountain Colors collection, and as you might imagine, it is yarn designed for socks. The fiber content is 53% Superwash Merino (fine soft wool from the Merino sheep that has been treated so that it does not felt), 17% Domestic wool (unknown, or unspecified breed of sheep wool, is warm and has all the properties of wool), 17% silk (added for strength, will also help with warmth and adds a nice sheen), and 13% nylon (added for strength). Basically this yarn is strong and can take a beating, if necessary, and still keep it shape.

This yarn is hand dyed so that really no two skeins are the same, and the available colors are gorgeous. It comes in a good size hank of 450 yards and 100 grams, if your happen to knit you can easily make up a great pair of socks. I however see this as shawl yarn. It could probably be a nice light weight sweater or camisole, but I enjoy the stretch and color pooling, but admire them in an accessory way.

It feels nice in the hand, like something that you actually want to create with. The fact that the fibers take the color differently adds a subtle shade to the overall effect, but to my surprise it does not quite present the way I would think it would in the stitch. When looking at the ball of yarn I would have thought that the little color differences in the twist would show in the work, but when I begin crocheting it completely blends in my eye.

This is a fun yarn, with an unforgettable name….

 

Summer Crochet My Salvation

Often people think that the most productive time of year for crocheting is during the cool months of autumn and winter, however I have always found that I create more crochet in summer than any other season.

I thought that in my youth this was due to school being out and my having the extra hours of boredom that what seemed like then, a long summer break. However it continued through high school when I had a summer job and still found time to hang out with friends, so boredom did not seem the likely cause of the warm weather crochet.

Summer Crochet www.lindadeancrochet.comLooking back over project I have created, the majority have been completed when the sun created temperatures that did not require being bundled up. Granted living in California means that I have more days of shine then rain, but still November through February tend to be fairly quiet on my hook. Maybe it is the holidays and being busy with other commitments, or the fact that hearty foods are needing cooking, and those are always my favorite to make.

One of the more practical explanation actually comes from the weather itself. Maybe I crochet more in summer to actually keep cool. I have only lived in a home with air conditioning for a few years of my life, mostly apartments in my early twenties, other than that I have used the old fashion method of cooling your home, windows. Windows are opened every night, and closed every morning, I still do this today, so during the day I do not really want to run around in the hot sun I prefer to stay seated by the fan. So maybe it is my lack of activity that lends to the movement of the hook.

Or maybe it is simply that the new life of the season stirs a creative spark in me. Maybe I need more daylight to get my ideas flowing and my craft progressing. Whatever the reason, it helps me to remember that I get this bit of crochet flurry especially around January when I feel like I have no energy and ideas. Maybe the warmth stirs me, and that is odd since summer really is not my favorite season, I could do with less heat.

 

Cotton & Linen Perfect Zooey for Summer

When the temperature climbs to numbers that have more than two places in them, yarn does not sound like the leisure activity that it usually is. Fortunately there are nice plant based yarns that do not trap the heat like wool or even acrylic does. Juniper Moon Farm creates one such yarn in Zooey.

Zooey is a 60% cotton, 40% linen yarn that feels cool and is durable. I have to admit, I am not always drawn to linen, but the blend with cotton in this yarn makes it softer and less stiff than I have experienced in other yarns. It can take a hardy blocking, and I recommend that you plan on blocking this yarn, it brings an entirely new quality to it. Once it takes water, which it generously absorbs, it blossoms and becomes softer. It then can really open up stitch work and make some beautiful lace work with relatively little effort.

The yarn is listed as a fine weight, also referred to as a 2 weight, but easily works up with larger than expected hooks, even if the yarn is rated for a 3.5-4.5mm (F-G) I like it on a 6mm (J) for a more open effect.

The hank has some decent yardage at 284 yards (260 meters) for a 3.5 ounces (100 gram) ball. Even has a 4 ply yarn, plied with 3 strands of linen and 1 strand of cotton, it does not seem to have a really round nature. It seems a little flat, but that is something to be expected form the fibers. The ply is not real tight, however this did not seem to cause any splitting.

I think this yarn would do well as a market bag, maybe even a cover up for the beach. That also lends me to think that it could pull off a sun hat. It really does make me think of summer projects, this might limit my creative sense, but overall I think it can have some great uses.

 

Small Town, Small World, Big Punch in Fiber Arts

The world has ways of reminding me that it is much smaller then I think, and I have had friends recently make me think of my home town a bit differently. I grew up, currently live, and have long roots in the California gold country; a friend made a comment about living in such a historic place, and I admit I think I probably have taken that for granted. However the craziest thing isn’t how much my area has history, it is how often I learn about companies in the fiber industry that have roots here too.

 

As I was getting into the profession of crochet I began to pay a bit more attention to my surrounding in regards to other professionals. My local Fibers Guild (a groups of members that love all things yarn) I learned that there was a yarn company just a short distance from my kids school, Lisa Souza Knitwear and Dyeworks. I have worked with Lisa over the years to help create crochet designs in her beautiful yarns, as well as help work her show booth and visit various cities throughout the United States.

 

If only having a well-established yarn company in my town was enough, I also learned that a nationally recognized fiber spinning instructor and author, Lexi Boeger of Pluckyfluff, grew up in my community as well. Heck she was only a year ahead of me in high school, but my high school was large enough that I can honestly say that we did not run in the same circles. Her family owns a well-known local winery, and she has a studio just near the tasting room, that I have had the pleasure of teaching workshops at.

 

Those two connections should be more than enough, then I got into a conversation with a long time member of my Fiber Guild and when she learned where I lived she immediately assumed that I must know Lorna Miser, the creator and founder of Lorna’s Laces yarn. I did not know her, but the connection was made that as I was growing up she was starting the yarn company literally about 2 miles from my childhood home. There is even a colorway within the yarn company that features my street name, Bucks Bar. I did meet Lorna a few years later, and long after she had sold the business that is now housed in the Chicago, Illinois area, I was when working on some designs for a book that she was working on, and learned that she knew several members of my extended family. Even though up until very recently she and I only lived about thirty minutes apart, while she was starting up her latest yarn adventure, Zombie Yarns,  we would only cross paths at trade shows thousands of miles from home; but that is how it works out at times isn’t it? Never have lunch with a friend when you are in the everyday routine of home, but definitely make time when out of the ordinary grind.

 

So looking back over the connections above to my community, I thought that maybe there was something in the water or maybe every community as secret fiber artists dwelling in plain sight. Then I was at a trade show earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio when a friend and colleague escorted me over to check out a hook supplier. Honestly, I was tagging along a bit, my mind was already taking in the days discussions with various yarn companies when the gentleman, Chris Barnes, mentioned something about California. I mentioned I was from Placerville, that got him to look up, as he started he grew up there. Now I should mention that when traveling it is exciting to find someone that can pronounce the name of the town correctly (it is a short a sound), let alone know where it is without me drawing a map. We began chatting back and forth to find that we knew several of the same people and he was only two years ahead of me in high school and hung out with my cousin during his high school years. Apparently he had just taken over the business his father had started in my hometown, Brittany Needles. The company moved several years back to a little down on the northern coast that I enjoy vacationing at, Mendocino, but it started right here in my little gold rush town.

 

I know I have taken the local gold rush history for granted, but I did not realize that there was such a rich fiber arts history in the professional sense surrounding me. Honestly, since this last connection I am beginning to think I need to question the ladies at the Hangtown Fibers Guild more, as when I excitedly mention these new to me connections, they have already know everyone involved.  I wonder if there are any other industry connections hidden away in my back yard.