Get This Gift! The Perfect Kit

Wow! I am excited about this!

This has been a unique undertaking in which I have partnered with Lickin Flames and Mountain Colors Yarn to put together an AWESOME Kit.

I contributed the patterns, both crochet and knit (Brenda Atchison helped a lot with the knit version), for this cute one skein shawl. Lickin Flames added an adorable Shawl Pin, this little black sheep, which works wonders at pinning a shawl while making everyone smile. Mountain Colors contributed the yarn, a skein of Twizzlefoot (a great blend of Superwash Merino and Domestic Wool with silk and nylon), a great sock weight yarn.

This kit features 2 brand new colors from Mountain Colors….Shooting Star and Silver Anniversary, as well as the classic Ruby River.

We released this kit last month exclusively on the wholesale market, getting it in the hands of shop owners, so that anyone needing a holiday gift would find the perfect kit for their loved one…either the knitter or crocheter.

It is FINALLY available for direct sale, so you can get your own kit! Or one for a loved one!

This really is a great kit. The colors of the yarn or FABULOUS…not to mention that the yarn is pretty great too….and the Shawl pin is really adorable…I think you will like it. The pattern, okay, well I always have a hard time talking about my work…but those that have already worked it tell me that they LOVE it…That makes me feel good.

I have never had something put together in such a way as to allow everyone contributing really shine. It was fun to work on the collaboration, and I hope we can pull off another one in the future. If you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift for your yarn lover, or just looking a gift for yourself, please consider checking out the Cooperation Shawl.

 

Art With More Than One Use- That’s Value

I really love when I can see a real value in something. When something can fulfill different needs; when something is a real workhorse; and it if looks great while doing it, that is placing it over the top. When talking to a longtime friend of mine, I realized that her new business venture was of a product that met this description.

Lilla Rose creates hair products, which I admit are a bit different then what I have seen before. On the surface it looks like a typical hair tie, but it is actually flexible. Made from what I understand as piano wire, it is sturdy; so it holds its shape and such, but it is also flexible so that it can catch your hair more like almost a net and then cradle it. This helps it to feel comfortable all day long. 

Another different feature is that the pin that holds it in place, is actually attached to the tie, so that is it never lost, and it is in the correct place every time to keep your hair in place.

So, now what makes this a work horse, well, aside from the many different styles and looks, it also works great as a shawl pin. It adds a perfect locked in approach to keeping my shawl in place without slipping and sliding around. With the pin attached I know that it will not fall through or twist around. I know that when I put it in my shawl, it will stay. 

Then after some playing around I think I found my favorite latest use…holding my yarn balls in place. When I am working with multiple colors in the same fabric, it never fails…I get the yarn completely tangled and if I am using balls they are rolling everywhere. I can use multiple yarn bowls, but sometimes that is not practical as I am traveling with my work. However these hair clips fit perfectly in the yarn, and prevents it from rolling, while securing the end where I want it. 

I know this might seem like a small thing, holding yarn in place, either on the ball or my shawl, but sometimes it is the small things that really make a difference.

I am glad my friend and I had a chat about her products, as I think I have found a new “go-to” for a few different things. You can check out her clips here… http://www.lillarose.biz/proverbs31

Free Pattern- Tapper Cowl

It started a couple of years ago, I took a trip with Lisa Souza Dyeworks to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, known to many simply as Rhinebeck. I teamed up with Lisa and began offering a free pattern to go along with her limited edition yarn for the show. This next weekend, Rhinebeck is occurring again, just as it does every October, and I have another new pattern for you featured yarn (this year it is in Deluxe Sock!).

Instead of making it only available to those that attend the show, this year I decided to share it with you, my followers as well. I hope you enjoy this quick and relatively simple one skein project. If you want to try it in the same yarn you can order it here (www.lisaknit.com), I don’t know if the same color will be available as it is a limited edition, but there are many other beautiful ones to choose from.

If you decide you want to change the yarn, it is pretty forgiving for substitutions, but I would recommend a yarn that is no larger then a 3 weight (sport), with the best being a 2 weight (fingering).

If you would like a printer friendly version, I have one available on Ravelry for $2.

Tapper Cowl

Stunningly simple, yet the effect is confident and enjoyable. This simple stitch pattern allows the yarn to be the star; it has great drape and fabulous flow. Long enough to double up, and wide enough to act as a hood, a cowl that is versatile.   

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner    Finished Size Approximately: 52”x 17”

Materials List:

  • I/9/5.50mm size crochet hook
  • Lisa Souza Dyeworks Deluxe Sock! light weight 80% Superwash Merino,10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere (4oz/495yds): 1 skein color: Rhinebeck 2017 (www.lisaknit.com)
  • Tapestry needle

Gauge: 4 ½ (sc, ch 3) groups/13 rows= 4”

Pattern Note /Special Stitches

This pattern is worked in the round, without turning.

Pattern

Rnd 1: Ch 233, sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 3, sk 3, [sc in next ch, ch 3, sk 3] 57 times, sk last 3 sts, sl st to beg sc. -58 sc, (58) ch-3 sps

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st, ch 3, [sc in next sc, ch 3] around, sl st to beg sc.

Row 3-55: Rep Rnd 2.

Finishing- Weave in ends, attaching beg of original chain to the bottom of the first sc st, block as desired.

Abbreviations:

ch: chain

rep: repeat

sc: single crochet

sk: skip

sp(s): space(s)

st(s): stitch(es)

Don’t Under Estimate What You Don’t Understand- Pom-Poms

There are many ways to embellish with yarn, such as tassels and fringe, and then there is pom-poms. In my years of crocheting pom-poms have probably been my least liked of the three noted above. This is because I found they were a bit labor intensive and yarn consuming, and I could never replicate one…each looked very individual.

As a kid I understood pom-poms as short strands of yarn that were all tied together in the middle. There are supposed to be enough strands to push outward and create a sphere. I would wrap yarn around a ruler, or small book; much in the same manner I would create fringe only smaller. I attempted to tie these together to create the sphere. I found that that had a lot of trimming to do to make this item look like a ball, and this left yarn scraps everywhere. With my hand trimming no two balls ever looked alike.

I had found some other directions in books, about making cardboard rings, two that matched, and wrapping the yarn around the ring to create a pom-pom. Honestly, I never completely tried it. The cardboard I had access to was pretty light weight, as from a cereal box, and this did not lend itself well to having yarn wrapped around it. Also, I did not fully understand what the directions were asking me to do. I thought that maybe this was just one of those novelty things. As a result, I rarely made or worked with these little balls of fluff.

Recently I had a student that had purchased a pom-pom maker, and was attempting to put it to use. I was skeptical. I thought “another novelty idea”, but then we played with it and all the concepts I didn’t understand before came into clarity. By working over these two pieces of plastic, shaped in a ring like the cardboard directions had suggested, I understood that the two pieces were to help you cut and tie the pom-pom. The reason for the circular shape was that the yarn was evenly placed in the tie, unlike my wrap of a ruler where the yarn was more focused at a point. This rounding at the tie helped form the sphere shape, and also used a lot less yarn! By using a template, use as this tool, it is much easier to make more than one and have them come out the same size.

Having helped my student understand this tool, I gained a filling in my knowledge void, and started to think of ways I could use these balls; maybe some garland, tops of hats, edges of scarves. I must remember, never dismiss anything as a novelty until I actually understand it.

More Than One Alpaca- Suri Yarn

Several years ago I learned to spin yarn, indirectly this lead to my now working in crochet. However I digress, during my time spinning I visited a local alpaca farm that sold fibers for spinning. The farm was filled with those cute little teddy bear like animals that I learned were a breed called Huacaya. I only thought that these were the standard alpaca, until the farm owner showed me a fleece of another breed of alpaca, one known as Suri.

The Suri fleece was smooth and silky and in ringlets like a young Shirley Temple. It only resembled the Huacaya in size and shape…the same body but very different fleeces. I was mesmerized by the Suri, probably because it is not commonly found in the United States, and I definitely get drawn to something a bit out of the ordinary.

Researching a bit about these different breeds I learned that almost all alpaca yarns found are created from Huacaya fleece. Huacaya is a much more common breed in the US, and the yarn is warm and soft, really an affordable luxury. The Suri is much less common, and until recently I had not found a commercially available yarn made of this fleece.

At a trade show this summer I found Salt River Mills, Simply Suri yarn. I admit it drew me in. I was fascinated to find a Suri yarn, it is produced by the North American Suri Company that purchases fleeces from breeders across North America and is helping to create a market for this fiber.

I have been playing with a skein lately and have enjoyed how it works up in the hand. I have been using Simply Suri, an 85% Suri, 15% wool yarn. It is very common for all alpaca yarns to have a blend with wool, as wool adds a bit of structural integrity to the yarn that alpaca by itself does not have.

I have found the yarn soft and smooth, with a nice sheen that makes me think of a silk blend. It is light and airy, but it is easy to feel that it is warm as well. It has nice drape and stitch definition. It is a three ply yarn with a soft twist, that lends itself to standard stitches, however I would not personally try to much textual stitches, like cables or popcorns as the yarn does not seem strong enough to give it a bold definition. I am currently envisioning a shawl….I hope to have the pattern available soon….but this yarn will definitely have me playing with it more in the future.