Friday, November 25, 2005

Fishin' (Crocheting) in the Dark

Eek, I cant believe it's been so long since I posted! I guess sometimes other things get in the way and we don't post as often as we'd like to.

Anyhoo, I have been crocheting squares for my exchange group, caps and mittens for kids for Christmas, and more caps and mittens for our church's holiday drive. :) I even crocheted on the way to MIL's house Wednesday evening, even though it was pitch dark. I was trying to make a hat but didn't think it would actually look like anything. I knew I was dropping stitches in the dark but tried to feel my way around and pick them up on the next row. When we got there, I looked in my crochet bag to see what I had made. I didn't even know what color it was until I looked in the light. Here it is:
Image hosted by
It's a little wavy but not too bad for the way it was created. Some day it might even grow up to be a cap. :)

I'm still experimenting with felting crocheted items. This is a hat made from Lion Wool that I crocheted for Izzy for Christmas (yeah, I finally made peace with the Lion Wool yarn). This is before felting.
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe photo doesn't show how big the thing is, but believe me, it was quite large.
And after felting.
Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt shrunk down a lot but still looks kind of high to me. I'll have to try further felting it before Christmas. Either that or just stuff the top part and tell her I made her a Cat-in-the-Hat hat.

Here are a couple of winter caps and a pair of baby mittens for the church drive.
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThere are more, but the seem to be buried under the yarn in the trunk in the living room. I should go take a picture of that and show you how shamelfully addicted to amassing great quantities of yarn I am.


I'm's my yarn trunk.
Image hosted by Photobucket.comSheesh, you almost can't see the trunk any more. I know what you're thinking..."Get yourself into a 12-step program, girl!" Hanging on the lid of the trunk are some of the skeins I've dyed and some waiting to be dyed. In the lower right corner is my traveling crochet bag.
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis is a granny square hat that I forgot I made!

Coming back from the inlaws yesterday it was light enough to actually see what I was crocheting and I made this funky hat complete with dreads. LOL...the hat isn't really that misshapen, but a teddy bear was all I could find on short notice to make it stand up! Image hosted by

Oh, I almost forgot...I wrote out another one of my patterns this morning. This is the one I'm sending for the Christmas exchange for one of the groups I'm in.
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This is the same square about 2/3 done, with the yarn I used.
Image hosted by I posted the pattern below.

Gotta run and stir the stew! Hope everyone is having a great day/evening! :)

Lynn’s Poinsettia in the Snow Holiday Square
Both 6” and 7” versions.

This square is so pretty and sparkly for Christmas! It can be used in an afghan, table runner, etc.

Difficulty: Easy.
Red Heart Holiday yarn (light worsted weight yarn with silver thread running through it for sparkle) or any other Christmas yarn.
One skein each: White/silver, Red/silver, and Green/silver (One skein of each will make about 14-15 squares).
Crochet hook size G

Pattern notes:
Cluster stitch: Yo, insert hook in st, yo, draw up a loop, yo, draw thru 2 loops on hook, *yo, insert hook in same st, yo, draw up a loop, yo, draw thru 2 loops on hook* 2 times. Yo, draw thru all loops on hook.

Beginning corner:
Ch3, 2 dc in same space, ch2, 3dc in same space.

3 dc, ch2, 3dc in same space.

With red, ch 4. Sl st into first chain to form a circle.

Round 1: Ch 4, *dc, ch1* into circle 11 times (12dc and 12 ch1 spaces). Sl st to ch4.

Round 2: Sl st in next ch1 space. Ch3, insert hook in same ch1 space, yo, draw up a loop, yo, draw through 2 loops on hook, yo, insert hook in same st, yo, draw up a loop, yo, draw through all loops on hook, ch2. *Work cluster stitch, ch2* in each ch1 space around. Sl st to ch3. Finish off red.

Round 3: Attach green. Sl st to next ch2 space. Work beginning corner. *Ch1, three dc in next ch2 sp* twice. Ch1, work corner. *ch1, 3dc in next ch 2 space* twice. Ch1, work corner. *ch1, 3dc in next ch 2 space* twice. Ch1, work corner. *ch1, 3dc in next ch 2 space* twice. Ch1, sl st to beg ch3

Round 4: Work as for round three, working 3 dc in each ch1 space and working corners. Finish off green.

Round 5: Attach white. Work as for rounds 3 & 4, adding 3 dc in each ch1 space and working corners. Stop here if you want a 6” square.

Round 6: (For 7 “ square only) Sl st to corner, Ch2, 2 hdc in same space, ch2, 3 hdc in same sp, ch1, *3 hdc in each ch1 space to corner, 3 hdc in corner sp, ch2, 3 hdc in same space, ch1* 3 times. Sl st to beg ch2.

Finish off white, weave in and trim all ends.

For a 7” square, if you crochet tightly, you may need to do a dc round for Rd 6. If you crochet loosely (like I do), you will need to work the last round in hdc.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Yarn Dying

I just finished my first yarn dying adventure with Kool-Aid. It took awhile but was also a lot of fun and a chance to get creative with colors. I started out with this yarn: better than all the fancy yarns!

Then I did this to it:
Winding yarn takes about ½ hour per skein
The yarn I used is Bernat Lana 100% merino wool in 3.5 oz skeins. I used three skeins. Be sure to tie a piece of yarn around the skeins in about four places to keep it all together.

The next step was to wash the yarn gently with a little bit of mild soap and rinse. Don’t use hot water or your yarn will felt. Squeeze most of the water out (gently!) or the yarn won’t soak up the dye as well.
Poor pale, colorless yarn!
Looks like spaghetti, no?

Here are the colors of Kool-Aid I used, all mixed up and ready to go. You don’t need to use any vinegar because Kool-Aid is pretty acidic. Some people use paper or plastic cups for the dye but I didn’t have any, so I used all glass containers. Glass doesn’t stain. If I do it again, I’m going to use at least three packs of Kool-Aid per glass because my colors weren’t as bright as I’d like, plus I was running out of dye before I ran out of yarn. 
Color me!

Then lay the yarn out on a garbage bag and start painting. Use a turkey baster or large syringe to apply the colors to the yarn. This is with just the blue painted on.
Blue on ivory
Wear plastic gloves or your hands will stain. Squish each color into the yarn gently to saturate every strand….like when you color your hair.
Add your other colors one at a time. This is where you have the chance to get creative!
Looking better
You may have to turn the skein over to get the dye through to the other side if your skein is thick. Watch for white areas, especially under the ties and in the middle.

When you’ve got the colors applied and are happy with your arrangement, carefully lift the yarn and place it into a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a couple of holes in the plastic to let the steam escape. Microwave on high for three minutes. Let the yarn sit in the microwave for a few minutes and then check it. Be careful of the hot bowl and the steam when you take off the plastic wrap. If the water is clear or just a little milky—in other words, not colored with dye, then the yarn is done. If there is still color in the water, then microwave for another three minutes.

When the yarn is done cooking, carefully slide it out of the bowl into another container or an empty sink to cool. Don’t add any water yet or you could shock the yarn into felting and that would not be a good thing after all your hard work. Careful, it’s hot!

When cool, again rinse the yarn in water that is the same temperature as the yarn. Pretty colors! When you have it rinsed, pick it up and again gently squeeze most of the water out. Place yarn on a towel, roll it up, and squeeze gently to remove more of the water. Citrusy goodness! I love citrus colors, so I used orange, yellow, and green on half of my yarn. With the other half I was trying to duplicate this yarn. Maybe I’ll get it right next time but my dye colors just weren’t vivid enough. Remember, buy plenty of Kool-Aid because you will use a lot!

The only thing left to do is hang the skeins up to dry. I’m not very patient though…I want it to be ready now! 
Hurry up and dry!
closeup of yarn 1
closeup of citrus yarn

I’m not sure what I’ll make out of the first yarn. I want to use the citrus-colored yarn to crochet a big ole tote bag and felt it. I just wish it would hurry up and dry! It was a lot of fun and I plan to do it again.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Yarn addiction

I really must stay away from the yarn section of eBay....there's so much beautiful yarn and I want to buy it all! I've already got way too much, but when I see all the lovely colors and soft textures, sometimes you just gotta go for it and buy the yarn. It wasn't bad before, when I was mostly using the cheap but good Red Heart acrylic yarns, but now I've got the wool bug, and man, that stuff is expensive. To justify myself I will add that I quit smoking one month ago and, although I may have spent as much money on yarn as I would have on cigarettes in the last 4+ weeks, I'm much healthier for it. So in a way, you could say that yarn saved my life! :)

I'm thinking of bidding on some wool yarn to Kool-Aide dye on Ebay but I'm confused by all the different terms they give for yardage and yarn weight. What does 800ypp mean?

This is another one I'm thinking of bidding on. Not sure if the price is too high though when considering the shipping.

You know, I think if a person was to buy cheap ivory wool yarn and hand dye it (like the skein above), offer it on Ebay and figure in the shipping in the price of the yarn and then advertise free shipping, they would probably sell a lot of yarn.

What's up with all the hemp and wool yarn? I didn't know they could even make yarn out of hemp. Wonder if it's soft or prickly....when I think hemp, I think prickly rope. :)

If anyone else has any thoughts on yarn, yardage, or selling on eBay, I would love to hear about it.

Bag of candy

I picked up the mail today and look what came!
Look at all the pretty colors!

It's called the felter's bag of candy from Mielke Farms, and it really does look like a bag full of different colors of cotton candy. It's actually 40 colors of dyed wool roving that I'm going to use to teach myself how to do needle felting. At least that's the plan. I know the basic concept, but have yet to put it into action. In other words, I'm chicken to start! I want to put some felt decorations on the kids' mittens I'm making for Christmas but I have a confession to make....I'm no artist! Guess I'll just have to start with something simple and practice on one of my gauge swatches. Will post pics when/if I get anything done!

I think I've crocheted enough long hats for now, don't you? :)
The Hat Family
They look kind of like the three bears!

This is a ski mask and matching mittens that I'm making for Nick for Christmas. The blues don't actually match
I made up the pattern for the ski mask but have yet to write it down. I hope I can remember it and also remember how to finish the mask. I tend to get too many projects going at once. The mittens are felted wool and should be nice and warm. They certainly are soft.

I picked up some of the Yarn Bee Frosting yarn at Hobby Lobby today. It was on sale for $2.46 a skein. I'm trying to make a top for Isabella but might have to frog it and start over because it looks a little small for her as is. This yarn is so furry that the sweater is going to be really thick and that may pose a problem later on when I'm trying to sew it together. I'm afraid the armholes won't be big enough.

The pattern is a real easy one that I found online. The top is crocheted all in one piece. Here's the diagram from the pattern so you can see what I'm talking about.
funny looking sweater

Other than that, I just have two afghans, three pairs of mittens and hats, and a pair of slippers to get done before Christmas. That is, if I don't see some yarn in the store that just calls out to me and says, "Scarf, scarf" or "sweater, sweater"! :)
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