Crochet with Linda at the Winery

Crochet with Linda at the Winery, a new adventure. Just when I think life should be settling into a rhythm, a new idea spices things up! I have spent the beginning of 2019 traveling and teaching, and just as I set my schedule for teaching at my local yarn store I add in something new….retreats!

I am offering the first of several retreats Thursday, August 29, 2019 from 10:30-4, just south of Placerville, CA.

Crochet with Linda at the Winery, featuring Holly’s Hill Winery and Lisa Souza Dyeworks Yarn

I have been imagining these retreat events for quite a while now. An event that engages skill building with inspiration, in a great setting, with great materials. And maybe doing something that you have always meant to do. This one in just a few weeks, definitely fits that build!

The Skills and Project

Sometimes gaining skills at a Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels can be a challenge. This unique design and pattern has been created to do allow skills to be built and advance your skill. The same stitch pattern utilizes three different ways to create a cowl. Beginning level works the cowl flat, while intermediate works in the round, and still advanced works in the round moebius from center out. The cowls are wide enough to be hooded, and with just enough lace work to allow this cowl to be worn in many seasons.

The Location

A family owned and operated winery, in a beautiful setting. Holly’s Hill overlooks the north fork of the Consumnes River Valley, and features French style Rhone Wines. The Co-Winemakers, the husband and wife team of Josh and Carrie Bendick, have a hand in every aspect of the process. They use old fashion techniques to create these Rhone-style wines. We are fortunate enough to have an exclusive tour of the winery. While learning about the wine making process from the experts. In addition you will get to sample a variety of wines in a tasting, while relaxing and enjoying the beautiful view.

The Materials

We will let a fingering weight superwash merino and bamboo yarn flow through our fingers. Lisa Souza Timaru Sport is a luscious yarn that has a coolness to the touch and a beautiful shimmer. Three hand dyed colors available to choose from, a warm, neutral and cool color, which offers a bit of something for everyone. Lisa is known for her gorgeous colorways of yarn, and these will not disappoint. Hooks will be provided (beautifully turned wood), but if you have a preferred hook in your set, please feel free to bring your size G/6/4.00mm.

Enjoy the view, the wine and definitely the crochet!

Enjoy gourmet box lunch, also included. No pepperoni pizza here. There are menus are being worked up with locally renowned restaurants to provide a day that allows everyone to feel pampered and valued.

As the final outlines of this event are being worked up, plans are well underway for another in October. If you want to be kept abreast of these new retreats, please sign up for my newsletter. Want to attend this event, register here.

I hope to see you soon, and will keep you posted on this new adventure!

5 Tips to Stay Cool and Crochet

Some say it is too hot to crochet, but I have always found the summer months my most productive time of year. I should preface that I do not have any air conditioning. I know that some might see this and think that I must be in some Nordic part of the world, and while I live in a climate that affords me cool nights and hot days, my summer temperatures can easily find a month of temperatures over 100° Fahrenheit (38° Celsius). So, let me share some of my tips.

Stay Hydrated

I keep a glass of water or iced tea near me at all times. I have a pretty bad habit of getting really involved in “just one more row” to the point that I can miss meals, so having a beverage at the ready really helps me have no excuse to not get a drink. It is pretty easy to hold the project and get a sip.

A tall cold glass to keep hydrated

Lotion if Needed

Since I live in an area with very little humidity, I need a good lotion to keep my hands smooth and feeling good. I have found that I like some wax based lotions that are in a solid form, like lotion bars. However I have also found success with thick medicated lotions. Basically anything that absorbs into my skin and does not feel like it is just sitting atop my skin.

Find the Shade

Honestly, I probably am in doors with most of my stitching, but venturing out in the heat of the day means that I am finding a nice piece of shade. If the location has a bit of a breeze even better. In addition, I am usually wearing a hat and sporting sunscreen.

If at all possible I make sure that I am out of the car. Sitting in the car and crocheting might be a necessity for me in some instances, but if I can get out of the car and get into fresh air it helps.

A Well Placed Fan

Putting a fan about 6-10 feet away and directed at me, is all I really need. If it oscillates, it is even better. This air movement helps to keep me comfortable, even while finishing a king sized afghan.

Check your Yarn

I tend to avoid using yarns with a lot of halo, or “fuzz” when the weather turns hot. I prefer a smooth yarn. Although this is probably more of a mental thought of what is cooler to work with than a reality. I just think that as the yarn slips smoother through my fingers, the easier it flows the cooler I feel.

I think that looking over my list I realize why I am so productive during hot weather….I basically find a place and stay there, I stay in a seat, with a fan blowing and a cold drink, in the shade while pampering my hands a bit. This makes it easy to work on projects, and beat the heat.

Crochet More Alike

For some reason I am finding it difficult to write this post.

The last couple of weeks has reminded me of something quite fundamental within the fiber arts. When you find those that share your hobby, you find your tribe. I have witnessed several examples of how this tribe is a force of good in the world.

The first example was while I was at the DFW Fiber Fest. Just as the vendor market was about to open the rumor had spread that one vendor had not been able to set up. Apparently, the trailer that carried all of their yarns, their samples, their entire booth set up was stolen from a hotel parking lot.

Most vendors are small businesses, the entire family participates in the entire experience. This is the livelihood, and obviously a loss like this is huge set back.

So, what happened next was a true feeling of the tribe. All the other vendors donated items for a raffle drawing, while attendees began taking up donations. After 24 hours all organization came together for one central raffle drawing fundraising event. In just two and a half short days over $12,000 was raised to help offset the losses to this family.

To add to the story, apparently the thieves took approximately a third of the yarn they had stolen and donated it to a Habitat for Humanity store. A crochet loving volunteer thought that this donation looked odd, did a bit of research and was able to return some of the vendors stock to them. The vendor was able to have a small booth to sell these found yarns, in which they had a steady show of support.

This was occurring as a fellow crochet was losing her battle with cancer. By now in life I have been down this path before, it does not become any easier. However there was a bit of a difference with this passing. I know this crocheter from the Crochet Guild of America, I have spent time with her at the annual conference, and followed her life on-line via Facebook.

After her passing, her only living relative, her brother, reached out to her crochet community to inform them of just how much we all meant to her. This tribe was her family, and the simple act of sharing our love for crochet had created an environment in her life that was the world to her. Her tribe was important to her enough that they become a part of her everyday life. There is a void in the crochet community.

There are other instances that have come together this week to remind me that there is so much more we have in common than we have different. Crochet just happens to be one of those tribes that we can easily recognize, we know that if someone plays with yarn we can find a common ground.

I still do not understand why I have had such difficulty putting any of this to words, maybe it is because my tribe is too close to my heart.

My Crochet Carrot- Crochet as Motivation

Usually crochet becomes a bit of my refuge from doing the dishes and cleaning the floor. However, with spring in the air I do get the urge to actually clean out some clutter and have a fresh home. I use crochet to help me to do this.

This spring, crochet is my carrot.

I know myself well enough to know that this desire to clean those dust bunnies from under the sofa will be short lived. I really only spurs during the seasonal changes of spring and fall, and have a very limited number of hours that I will be in this mood. This year I decided to nurture it a bit.

Using Crochet as my carrot to keep spring cleaning productive

I allow myself a set number of pattern row repeats on the project I am working on, then I can clean a shelf in the refrigerator. Once the shelf is clean I can return to another pattern row repeat of my project.

I really have found this to be productive, even if the back and forth nature seems a bit counterintuitive. While I am working my pattern repeats I am mentally planning my attack on my next small cleaning projects so that things go smoothly. In addition I do not get burnt out as fast in my cleaning undertaking.

If it were not for my carrot of getting to crochet after I finish a small cleaning, I am not sure if I would be as productive. In the past I would start in a corner to clean, give it my all and go full throttle into the project, I would have everything torn apart to give a through deep clean….then as everything needs to get put back into place I would lose all desire and energy, and if things went well everything would end up tossed in the corner again and I would pass out on the couch.  At least in this small step approach I find that the entire small project gets completed. Not to mention I am actually still making headway on my crochet.

Shift the Stitch

There are some subtle differences in the way each of crochets that can create drastic overall differences. One such thing is where exactly you are working your stitches.

We have all been taught that if a pattern does not specify that the stitch is worked under the top 2 loops of the stitch below. While this is correct, there are times you might want to move you hook down just a bit and insert it under the back bar and the top 2 loops.

First let me explain a bit about stitch construction. The last loop of your hook is always the top loop of the stitch, and just by this simple nature it means that the top loop is not exactly centered directly over the all the yarn over and pull through loops below in the post of the stitch. Sometimes this shift is very minimal and not really recognized at all.

So essentially crochet stitches are stacked just slightly to one side of the stitches below, when you turn our work and work back they stack to the other side, resulting in an overall straight piece of fabric. However this is same reason why when working in a round that your seam starts drifting to one side, because you are not turning the work, the stick up of the stitches stay to the same side of the stitches.

Stitches to the Left are worked only under 2 loops, the last 2 stitches on the right have been worked under the back loop and the 2 top loops.

This “Stack” can sometimes be recognized in simple fabric like a double crochet, chain 1, pattern, as is worked in Filet crochet.

The left stitches are worked under the 2 top loops only, the Right stitch has been worked under the Back Bar and top 2 loops.

There is a little trick to help this stack become less obvious, that is by working through the not only the top to loops, but including the back bar of the stitch. If working in the round, this means you would need to bring your hook down a little lower in the post of the stitch and then insert it.

Traditional inserting of hook, under the top 2 loops

Working through this back bar of the stitch, or sometimes called “third loop”, is the loop in the back of the post that is directly below the top loops, is shifted to the opposite of the post then the bigger opening created only the 2 loops. This slight shift of position of the loop helps to keep the stick more centered.

Inserting the hook under the back bar and top 2 loops.

Granted the difference is subtle for most people, it might be exactly what you need to take you stitching to a new level.