Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Single ply yarn...

bowl of yarn bits
Here's what I've been furiously working on lately. Well this is actually all of the little bits and pieces from all the weaving & trimming of loose ends from the project I have been working on and it's all I can show for the moment. Glad that's over with. The yarn is Stitch Nation Full O'Sheep in Aquamarine and I love it. Single ply yarn is gorgeous & this blue is over-the-top beautiful. If you haven't tried the Full O'Sheep you are missing a beautiful single ply worsted weight yarn at a great price.

Last spring I was hired to work on some Christmas ornaments for Coats & Clark. It's hard to get into the spirit of things in May but now these little Christmas-y creatures make sense. They were fun to make using Coats & Clark Holiday yarn.
Christmas BFF's

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We have a winner...

Knittingbelle on Ravelry won the random drawing. Here's what she said;

These are just so cute! I'd love to win a copy! SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 9:46 AM

Thank you all for your very, very kind words! I have another Red Heart booklet coming out in October and will be having another contest. Oh & next time I may just add a very special item just for fun. Here's a hint: it's blue.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sing-a-ma-jigs and stuffing show-through...

Have you seen these? They are so funny and so adorable, I just love them!! In fact I picked some up today before the mad rush. The blue one sings "When the Saints Go Marching In". Naturally I had to get him due to our close proximity to New Orleans. Not having an NFL team of our own, there are so many Saints fans on the gulf coast. At any rate, I think these little creatures and brilliant and I am fascinated with them.

While I'm on the subject of stuffed creatures & since I am currently working on a stuffed toy design I started thinking about stuffing show-through in knitted and crocheted toys. For any of you who are new to toy making stuffing show-through is akin to your slip showing as it detracts from the cuteness of the toy. So here's how I prevent or at least minimize the problem;

1.) Use a smaller crochet hook or knitting needles. Oftentimes this will be several sizes down from the recommended size. I use an F with worsted yarn when crocheting toys. In the same vein when knitting toys with worsted yarn, I use needles in a size US 4 or US 6.
Kool-aid dyed yarn
This little teddy was crocheted using a tight stitch and an F hook. Nothing showing that isn't supposed to...

2.) Work in 100% wool and felt the toy. In this situation, you should knit loosely and perhaps go up a size for your hook or needles. Remember when felting not to stuff the toy too tightly so that the yarn can shrink nicely. And better still, stuff the toy with wool rovings which will shrink along with the toy.Small swatches are helpful and recommended as felting can be  so unpredictable from one yarn to the next. And sometimes yarns require more than one felting bath.

If you haven't felted anything before, you should really try it. It's fun and even a little exciting due to the unpredictability of the finished product and there are so many good tutorials on felting posted on the web.
Bunny Before
Before - Look at the stuffing peeking out here, but it's O.K. in this before felting situation.
Bunny After
After - I can still see a bit on the head. Perhaps a 2nd bath would have fixed this.

Thirdly, using a stuffing that is similar in color to the toy can work well. There are some colored polyester fillers out on the market now but I have not tried them. Try stuffing the toy with yarn remnants, roving or place the filler in a knee high hose that is of a similar color.

Monday, September 20, 2010

This just in...

Yarn, brand new colorful yarn.This is the yarn to be included in my Design Coming Out Party giveaway. In addition, as promised I'll also be adding some mini balls of Red Heart Supper Saver so that in the off chance that the winner doesn't have any she or he will be able to start on one of the projects in the booklet. Plus, I REALLY need to de-stash a bit.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'll have a Mystic Curly Q Smoothie, please...

Nope,I'm not talking about one of those supposedly healthy blended fruit, wheatgerm and tofu drinks. I'm talking about YARN! Red Heart has come out with new yarns this season that I am really excited about.
This is Mystic in the Cornflower color and it's a worsted weight. The fiber content is 70% acrylic & 30% alpaca. It is soft without the itch that some alpaca yarns have. That's a real plus for me as I find Kidsilk Haze unbearably scratchy, seriously.  Each skein is 154 yards and has a recommended knitting needle size of a US 7  and K-10.5 crochet hook. Oh and the look is soft & a little shiny.It will be good for scarves and shawls due to it's drapiness but I want to make some toys with it as well. Loving this blue!!

curly q
Next up is Curly Q in the Totally Teal colorway. Isn't the color fantastic? I'm a wee bit partial to blue. This yarn is chubby (super bulky) and stretchy and just a lot of fun. The fiber content is 94% acrylic, 5 % polyester & 1 % spandex. The ball has 150 yards and the recommended knitting needle is a US size 13. I've been swatching this one and see so many possiblities for this yarn. The stretch aspect makes this yarn especially interesting to me. LOVE it!

Finally, here's Smoothie in Slipper Pink. Isn't it sweet and dainty? This shiny 100% acrylic yarn comes in a very generous 218 yard ball. Recommended needle size is US 7 and H-8 crochet hook. This would make a nice shopping bag I think. LOVE the smoothness of this yarn.

I'll be swatching these and uploading pictures in the very near future. Until then don't forget about the Design Coming Out Party giveaway, which closes on September 22nd. Included in the giveaway are skeins of 2 of these wonderful new yarns (not the ones pictured 'cause these are MINE); 1 skein of Curly Q in the Calypso colorway & a skein of Smoothie in the Lime colorway, as well as a couple more previously mentioned skeins, so y'all can try it too.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Late summer flowers and an FO...

Here's a quick knit. The pattern is called "Off to the Races Scarf" by Patricia Bishop and can be found on Ravelry for a very affordable price.As the name implies, this project is FAST. I started this scarf 2 days ago and now it's done. It's knitted out of bulky cotton/wool blend yarn that I harvested from a sweater. The yarn was held doubled for even more bulkiness and it was knit on a pair of US size 15 knitting needles. It'll be a while until I can wear it as we are still experiencing temperatures in the 90's.


My good friend's husband has not one, but TWO green thumbs. Here are just a few of the flowers growing in their well-tended garden.
white dahlia
Dahlias in various colors.
pink dahlia

Sunflower volunteers under the bird feeder.
happy dog

A romp in the garden isn't nearly as fun without a dog or two to keep you company.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Red Heart yarn for my giveaway...

Regarding the Red Heart yarn that I am including in my design coming out party giveaway,I got to thinking that the yarn for the animal designs in the book is readily available and most Red Heart fans have enough remnants to make at least the smaller toys. So, why not include some of the exciting new & less common Red Heart yarn in the prize package?

So I went online and purchased a skein of the new Curly Q yarn in the happy Calyso colorway, a skein of Red Heart Smoothie in the beautiful Lime & a skein of Red Heart Soft yarn in Seafoam. Naturally I chose my favorite colors. I hope the winner will share the same taste. Frankly, I can't wait to get my package so I can see the Curly Q & Smoothie for myself, as I am very excited about this yarn. In addition I will include some Super Saver just because. And if the winner would like some mini-balls of Super Saver, I'll be happy to throw in some of that as well as I have remnants galore and am always happy to share as space is a premium at my house.
4 animals
That's all for now. TGIF y'all!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Petite Purls Fall 2010 Issue, Adorable Cuteness

Don't you just love this Petite Purls Beach Bag? I got it in their shop. Adorable!

Y'all, the fall 2010 issue of Petite Purls came out 2 days ago and it is chock full of adorable designs and ideas. In addition there are many wonderful articles to inspire our creative sides.

Fall is always an exciting renewal time for me. Time to begin a "new" (school) year. After spending so many years marking milestones & passages of time by the school year, both as a student and as a mother, it just makes sense to me to consider this time of year a renewal.

So with the "new" year comes new teachers, schools & activities. The exciting Fall 2010 issue of Petite Purls is full of designs for fresh, classic back to school knitting, crocheting & sewing. Remember what it was like to start the new school year ? All the new school supplies, lunch box and shoes? This issue has sweaters & frilly socks & a backpack & lunch bag & notebook cover and so many other exciting things to make for the children in your life.

Notebook cover designs "in the works". The final design was the black & white version, which can be found in the current issue. Many thanks to Cascade Yarn Company for their generous yarn support.

Design coming out party...

The animals I shared in the previous post are now published in a Red Heart publication called "Crochet Animals Big & Small", Art. J27, Book 0025. Included in the booklet are my animal BFF's but also 7 additional, ADORABLE creatures! Lots of dinosaurs for your pre-historic fans out there, as well as a lion, puppy and bear. Red Heart does such a good job with their photo layouts.

The wonderful folks at Coats & Clark sent me 3 copies of this booklet. So I'm going to give one of them away, as well as some colorful, happy Super Saver yarn. So, leave a comment between now and September 22nd and I'll do a random drawing, send the winner my extra booklet and some Super Saver yarn.

 Here's a peek;

booklet 3

This is so hot off the presses that there is no link for it yet. Please check the Red Heart link above for more information on this booklet. I'll update this with the link as soon as it comes available.