Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Eve 2013 Party on Knitting Help Forum!

Yes, it's that time of year again.  
Time to welcome 2013 with an online all night party for knitters! :)

Every year, in the Knitting Help Forum, I host a party that lasts all night long, so we can celebrate the New Year for every time region in North America.  Fun!
As usual, there will be PRIZES, so come and join the fun.  You have to register to win the prizes by posting a comment in the party discussion thread in the forum, so go there and take care of that.

Another thing we usually do is make a project together to commemorate our party.
This year, our project will be a MYSTERY!  :)

All you need to do is get two skeins of FELTABLE WOOL yarn, in contrasting colors.  Do NOT use superwash wool, because it will NOT WORK!  Just look at the label on your yarn skein, and make sure it is NOT WASHABLE WOOL.   Our project will be felted when we finish our knitting, so that's why I'm being so particular about the kind of yarn you should use.

I would recommend using Patons Classic Wool or Lion Wool or Lion Fisherman's Wool.

You can buy yarn in any color you want, making sure that you have TWO DIFFERENT COLORS that will contrast with each other, so one color will stand out from the other.  I recommend using one dark color, and one light color.

We will be doing duplicate stitch when the knitting is complete.  The duplicate stitching will be how we can personalize our project with "2013" and "KH" (or your initials).

You will also need a bag of rice for our project.  (OK, you people....don't be spouting out any hints or taking guesses...we want this to remain a MYSTERY!!!)


Two skeins of worsted weight FELTABLE wool yarn, 
    in contrasting colors (dark and light)
Knitting Needles: Size 8 (US) or 5 mm
Yarn Needle for seaming and duplicate stitch
A bag of rice

To get started:  

Choose one skein of yarn, and cast on about 15-20 stitches.
Row 1: Knit every stitch
Row 2: Purl every stitch
Repeat these two rows, to make a stockinette fabric, until it is square.
Bind off, and set aside.

Next, get the other skein of yarn, and use it to make an identical square.

Bind off, and set aside.

When both squares are complete, use the dark yarn on the light square to work duplicate stitch for "2013" in the center of your square.  Then, use the light yarn on the dark square to work duplicate stitch for "KH" (or your initials) in the center of the other square.  (I will post links for duplicate stitch embroidery in the forum.)

We will finish our project in the Knitting Help Forum, so watch the discussion thread there, to see instructions for the rest of the project. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Behold! The Christmas Stocking is COMPLETE!! :)

Stocking Complete

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fair Isle Christmas Knitting

This year, I'm knitting another fair isle stocking for a customer.  Hours of work, with lots of stranding, using fingering weight wool yarn.  I'll be glad to finish this one up.

Chaos Fair Isle

Friday, November 16, 2012

Still the Same

I was going to post an update about my latest knit and crochet projects, but I see that my last post pretty much shows my crafting reality right now.  I'm still working on the same things!

At least I did finish ONE of the slippers I knit with scraps of yarn in my stash. :)

Finished Slipper

And I've been making a video series on how to make this simple slipper.  Check it out!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sick, But Crafting Nonetheless

I've been stuck at home for the past four days, getting over a bad cold.  No fever...just exhaustion, stuffy nose, and dizziness.  Been sleeping a LOT.

When I'm awake, I'll eat a little something, watch Netflix, and work on a knit or crochet project.  I've gotten a lot done this week.  Here's a little tour of my in-progress projects:

Bernat Cable Baby Sack: ready to start the hood now!
Cable Baby Sack - Ready for Hood

Some Crocheted Phentex Loafers for my step-dad.  Just need to sew some shelf liner to the soles, to make them non-slippery.
Loafers for Ken

A Crocheted "Red Friday" Scarf, using vintage Bernat Nylo-Germantown yarn.  This will go to the Red Scarf Project for orphans aging out of foster care.
Red Scarf So Far

And this shows the planning stage of some slippers I'm knitting from scraps of worsted weight yarn. (free pattern HERE)
Worsted Slippers - Scraps

I am double stranding those scraps along with this teal worsted weight yarn, to make the slippers warm and comfy.
Worsted Slippers - Main Color

And here's how it's working up so far:
Worsted Slippers - Progress

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm Not Royalty, But I Can Stay Warm Like One!

Many of you will remember the photo of lovely Kate Middleton, wearing a ruffled green shawl, while out grocery shopping.

kate shawl

One day, while some of us were talking about knitting in the Bernat Forum, someone mentioned that they would like to knit a shawl like Kate wore.  Lucky for us, Bernat already has a pattern with a very similar design! :)  It's called the "Carolinian Shawl", and is a free pattern on their website.

Carolinian Shawl by Bernat Yarn

Some of us decided that we would like to make the shawl as a knit along, and it has been going on now for a few weeks.  It's not too late to join us, so grab your knitting needles, 3 skeins of Bernat Mosaic yarn, and make your own lovely shawl!

I'm using the color "Spectrum" for my shawl, and I really love how it's coming along.

Carolinian Shawl Third

Friday, September 14, 2012

My First Crocheted Cardigan!

I've made several knitted garments before, but had never crocheted one.  I only started crocheting a few years ago, so I'm just now feeling confident enough to do it.

I chose Bernat's "On the Lace" Cardigan, made with Bernat Satin Sparkle yarn in the color "Twilight".
Here's my finished cardigan!

Shandeh - On the Lace Cardigan

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Unlabelled Yarn - Getting to Know You...

"Why thank you for the free yarn, my anonymous yarn-giving friend!"
"You're very welcome, my yarn-using charity knitter friend."
BOTH of us are happy with this.  I get free yarn, and my friend unloads stuff she doesn't want anymore.
(I mean, she really TRIED learning to knit, but it just wasn't for her.)

So, now, I have a bag full of yarn, ready to be used for my charity knitting.
It's pretty awesome, and I'm happily looking through all the yarn, to see exactly what I have.
Unfortunately, lots of the yarn has no label, so I'm not really sure WHAT I have.  This makes it difficult for me to plan projects.  I mean, I can't go searching for patterns on Ravelry, if I don't know the specifics for my yarn.  :(

But, I'm not giving up!  Not me!  I am DETERMINED to know what this yarn can do.
Thankfully, I know a little bit about how to figure out the details of a yarn.

#1: What is the weight? 
Fingering, Sport-weight, DK, Worsted, Chunky, Bulky, Super-Bulky?
A quick way to determine this is to do a "wraps per inch" test (WPI).

You don't need any fancy tools to do a WPI test.  Just a ruler will work.
Grab your ruler, and wrap the yarn around it (not too tight!) over and over again, then place all the strands side by side (but not squished together).  Then, count how many strands there are in an inch.  I usually count how many strands there are in two inches, then divide it by two.  Seems to work better for me.

Once you know how many wraps per inch your yarn gets, you can use THIS chart to see what the weight of your yarn is.  Now, you have that part figured out.  CHECK! :)

#2: How many yards of yarn do I have?
My favorite way of checking this is to run the yarn through a yarn meter.  It's pretty fun, actually.  I run the yarn through it, then wind the yarn into a nice yarn cake on my ball winder.  So, I'm getting two things done at the same time.  I'm measuring my yarn and winding it too! Cool....

When I finish measuring and winding my yarn, I always write down the information I learned, so I don't forget it.  I make my own yarn label, using a piece of paper and tape, with my information listed.

Now that I know the weight and yardage, I can search through the Ravelry pattern database, with that information entered in the column on the left side.  Awesome. :)

#3: What size knitting needle/crochet hook should I use with this yarn?
But, before I run off to Ravelry-world, I like to get to know my yarn even better.
So, I sit myself down in my knitting chair, with the unlabelled yarn, and a fistful of knitting needles and crochet hooks in different sizes.  Then, I knit a few rows with the yarn, to see how it feels on the different sized needles.  I also look at the fabric it creates, to see how it looks.  When I'm happy with the results, I write the knitting needle size on the label.  Then, I do the same thing with the crochet hooks, and list that info as well.

By the way, now you can do a gauge swatch (knit and crochet), then, write the stitches per inch on the label.

It takes a couple hours to get all this done, but it is SO worth it.  Now, your yarn has a label again, which will make it much simpler to choose a pattern.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Knit Coffee Cup Cozy with How To Videos

Time to be environmentally friendly, politically correct, and perfect in every way. Ha!
Let's knit a cup cozy for our fancy coffee drinks at one of those high falutin' shops.  Make everyone jealous of your amazing skill, intelligence, and concern for the world.  ;)

The free pattern is by Bernat Yarns:
Cozy Complete

To make your job much easier, you can watch these very detailed how-to videos.  I won't tell anyone that you didn't figure it all out by yourself.

Here are all the videos for making the Sock Cup Cozy:
Casting On:
1st & 2nd Rounds:
Quick Tips:
Changing Colors:
2nd Color Change:
Binding Off "In Pattern":
Weaving in Ends:

Crochet Baby Booties with How To Videos

I think it's so fun to make baby booties!  Some parents use them for their babies to wear, and others just display the booties in their baby's room.  Either way, they are adorable! :)

Recently, we had a Beginner Crochet-Along in the Bernat Forum, where we made some baby booties together.  Here's the free pattern:
Finished Bootie #1

Since I was hosting the CAL, I made some very detailed How To Videos, showing how to work each step of the project.  Here are links to all of those videos.  I hope they help some of you learn to crochet some booties!

Making the Strap:

Weaving in Ends on Strap:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bernat Forum: Knit and Crochet with Friends

Have you checked out the brand new Bernat Forum
You can find me there every day, moderating the forum, and participating in all the discussions.

It was originally created for the 2012 Mystery Blanket Crochet & Knit-Along.
Now, the Mystery Blanket-Along is over, but the Forum is still alive! :)
We are talking about so many things, including:

Bernat Yarns and Patterns - Here, we share our experiences with current Bernat products.

Helping Hands - Sometimes one of our forum members needs help with a knit or crochet project.  We all do our best to provide answers for each other.

Bernat Projects - In this part of the forum, we talk about all the Bernat projects we have knitted or crocheted.  Sometimes, we use a Bernat pattern with a different yarn.  Or a Bernat yarn with a different pattern.  We enjoy showing photos of all of them.

General Knit & Crochet - This part of the forum is for anything knit or crochet related.  So far, we've discussed knitting tools and gadgets, how to work with center-pull skeins of yarn, charity knitting and crochet, and tips and tricks for our yarn crafting.  We've also recently started a Learn to Knit, as well as a Learn to Crochet discussion.  To learn, we are making small projects together, offering advice and sharing photos of our work.  I sometimes make simple instruction videos as well.  It's fun to learn this way!

Crochet Alongs and Knit-Alongs - During our 2012 Mystery Blanket Crochet & Knit Along, we made lots of friends.  Several of us don't want to lose our friendships, so we are making more projects together until it's time for another big blanket.  Here are some of our current CALs and KALs:

On the Lace Cardigan CAL - 

Slouchy Lace Beret KAL -

Mermaid Tears Purse CAL -

We have also been making dishcloths, doily pillows, and tea cozies!

If that isn't enough topics for you, we also have an Off Topic area, where we are chatting up all sorts of things in our lives. Pets, Cooking, Travel, Reading, and Music are some of the things we've been talking about.

Come join us, so we can get to know you in the Bernat Forum!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Knitting an Easter Bunny Toy

Since Easter is almost here, I wanted to knit a little bunny.
I looked for patterns on the Bernat Yarn website, and found this cute finger puppet pattern.
Bear, Bunny, Kitty, and Mouse Finger Puppet

Using Bernat Satin yarn in the "Banana" color, I quickly made this sweet little bunny!

Bunny Finished

As you can see, I decided to stuff the body and seam it closed.  I thought it worked better as a small toy than as a finger puppet.  I added the ribbon at the neck, just to finish it off.  So cute! :)

Here's how it looked as it was being made:

Body complete, and making the bunny head. Body Done - Starting Bunny Head

Body, head, and ears complete. All Parts Complete

Ears attached to head.
 Ears Attached

It only took a couple days to make, and was fun.  Small projects like this are always satisfying.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Knitting and Crocheting some Dishcloths

This month, I've decided to make a few dishcloths.  My mother is always asking me to make more, because she likes them a lot.  She usually wants them to be green, so I looked through my cotton stash, and found these two huge skeins of Bernat Handicrafter

Handicrafter - Psychedelic and Mod Green

The one on the left is the "Peace and Love" line, in the color "Psychedelic".
On the right is the color "Mod Green".

I've already started making one Mitered Dishcloth with the Mod Green, and it's going quickly.

Mitered Dishcloth

I think I'll use that same pattern for the Psychedelic, because the color changes should look cool with that design.  My mom is more into modern things than I am, so she should like these.

While working on that cloth, I also started a crocheted cloth for my kitchen.  I was interested to see how the Chrysanthemum Dishcloth would work up, since I'd never tried that.  And I'm still learning a few things about crochet, so this would teach me something new.

I used Bernat Handicrafter in two colors: Tangerine and Creamsicle.  It was quick and fun!

Chrysanthemum in Orange

I really like how large that cloth turned out - 10 inches across!
I'm using it as a doily under my teapot now. It sure does brighten up my kitchen. 
I just LOVE orange and yellow together - They bring sunshine to the world. :)

Chrysanthemum Doily

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 Mystery Blankets on Bernat Website

Yippee!  It's time for more mystery blankets on the Bernat website!

Back in 2009, we had a knit-along, where we made pretty blankets, using Bernat Satin.
In 2010, we had a crochet-along, making lovely blankets, using Bernat Softee Chunky.
In 2011, we did knit AND crochet baby blankets for the Project Linus charity.

THIS year (2012), Bernat is giving us clues to do knit and/or crochet blankets, using their new "Waverly" yarn.

And they aren't alone in sponsoring the event.  They've brought in interior design specialists from Waverly Fabrics, to help us in choosing just the right color combination for our blankets! :)  I think that is just awesome.  I especially like the "My Palette" webpage they created, that shows all the colors of Waverly yarn together, cleanly presented on a white background.

Along with the KAL/CAL, they have created a brand new discussion forum on their website, and they have asked ME to be the moderator. I am very excited about it, and have really enjoyed getting to know several knitters and crocheters all over the world for the event. 

Right now in the forum, there are over 1,000 interesting crafters, talking about what colors they are choosing for their blanket.  Some of the members are wanting to do the crochet blanket only, and others are choosing the knitted blanket.  A portion of us (myself included) are opting to make BOTH blankets.  Wish us luck!

Even though we have all that help from the Waverly Fabrics interior design experts, it is STILL difficult for us to make our final color choices for our blankets.  BUT, since the yarns have been arranged in color "moods" for us, we can't go wrong if we choose colors in the same group. 

Some of us (myself included) are color mood "rebels", and are just picking colors randomly.  I guess we think we are smarter than the experts.  HA!!

ANYWAY, I'm very excited to see how all our blankets turn out.  It's a fun event, involving knitters and crocheters from all over the world. 

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I'm a forum moderator and blogger for Spinrite Yarns (, and I spend WAY too much time there. :D You can also find me on the Knitting Help Forum occasionally