Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yarn Bombing Upcoming Events

by Kelly

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

Yarn bombing is a kind of street art or graffiti that originally began as a way to brighten and warm up cold, sterile looking public spaces. Think of it as making a tea cozy, only on a very large scale.

Apparently, June 11th, 2011 has been declared International Yarn Bombing Day. Who knew? Well, all these groups of knitters and crocheters around the world, that's who.

So mark it on your calenders, and keep your eyes peeled, because all these secretive crafters have been plotting their yarn bombing for months, and they just might come to a town near you. 

More images at

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Patriotic Series

I got my yarn today and I am ready to start a new project or maybe I should say a series of projects. I am planning a 4th of July series, dishcloth, pot holder, hanging towels, placemats, coasters and napkin rings. I ordered my yarn from Herrshners. It is called Red Heart
Eco-Cotton Blend. It is made from recycled materials. It is 75% cotton and 25% polyester. It is soft and I think it will be easy to work with but it not bright. The colors are the faded type. I always think the flag colors should be bright. I've started the dishcoth. When I finish it I will post it.

I've done a little web surfing lately and I've found some interesting sites. I thought I would share them with you. One is This one has lots of dishcloths. Some are gorgeous.

Another is This one also has free patterns, videos, tips and links to other places.

Look the sites over. You may find things that interest you.

Save the Dates

Some fun needle events coming up this summer...

Every 1st Wednesday of the month, the Lockport Public Library hosts Hooks & Needles from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. I've gone a couple of times and it's a nice, low-key stitch and bitch - multi-generational and free cookies - how bad can that be?

Head to Milwaukee on June 21st for Stitch & Pitch - combining a night of baseball with needlecraft - not too weird! We LOVE Milwaukee and Miller Park is an awesome venue for baseball. We've been up there once already this year and plan to head out a couple more times before the season ends. And while you must have a beer and a brat, save room for all the other great food north of the cheddar curtain. I saw a plate of cheese curds that I'm definitely getting next time. Other teams participate in Stitch & Pitch as well - Chicago White Sox (Sept 10th) - check for schedules.

And finally - Stitches Midwest comes to the Renaissaince Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center August 26-28th. The Mac Daddy of needlecraft shows, there are classes and seminars or just wander around the exhibit floor loading up on all the new yarn and information out there. This one is a bit daunting, but this may be my year to brave the crowds.

Favorite Project So Far

by Kelly

This isn't really seasonal, seeing as how it was 91 degrees here a few days ago, but I need to make a Favorites tab for our navigation bar, so let's talk about my favorite scarf.

This scarf is the project I've most enjoyed doing so far. It was the first time I tried a lacy pattern in knitting, and though the pattern was a little challenging for me,  I managed to muddle through. Here's the pattern by Elaine Silverstein. Below is a picture of the finished scarf.

The yarn I used was Pattons classic wool in plum, and this yarn is the most wonderfully soft, beautiful stuff I have worked with. This scarf makes me happy in the winter, even when the world is white and gray and freezing cold.
Do you have a favorite project? Did you keep yours, like I did, or give it to someone else? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Irish Flag Blanket

So here is a picture of the blanket that I just finished. Sorry it's so small but it was taken from my friend's camera phone.

It's just a standard single crochet done for the entire blanket. It's actually twice to three times the size shown in the picture. The person just has it folded at the end of their queen size bed.
I was so happy when I finished it since it took me almost an entire year to complete with everything else I had happening this last year.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Almost a Dishcloth - The Nubby Chronicles

After much hand-wringing and ripping out yards and yards of yarn - I finally (almost) made the elusive nubby dishcloth! Almost. Kelly and Donna were nice enough to work through what should have been a simple pattern, to see where I was derailing. I just could not get the rows even. Donna talked me through a couple of phone sessions and I was able to get it worked mostly straight. I still had an issue with the edging - as you'll see, the chain-3 side has rather large holes and when I stitched the border that made that end larger and less square than it should be. So this one I'll keep myself and try out in the kitchen. And now without further ado, I give you...The Nubby.

Crochet Bags - Yarn Alternatives

by Kelly

The first bag I crocheted was made with two strands of yarn. It turned out okay, but I was disappointed by how stretchy it was. Of course, I could have made a lining for it, but that involves sewing. And since I don't have a sewing machine,  I would have to do the seams by hand. Ugh.

So I thought I would try out some alternatives to yarn. My next one was made with strips cut from an old set of sheets. I have since found out that there is a much easier way to make those fabric strips :

Strip-It Tool

This is from Herrshner's and it's called a Strip-it Tool. It's about ten dollars, and a lot easier than cutting all that fabric by hand.

That bag turned out fairly well, but the edges of the fabric strips frayed, giving the finished bag a fuzzy look. One way, I guess, to prevent this is to cut the strips thicker. Mine were only about an inch and a half wide.

Then I decided to try T-shirt yarn. Polka Dot Pineapple has by far the best tutorial on how to make your own T-shirt yarn. Using her method, you end up with one continuous length of yarn, which is way better than having a bunch of loose ends to weave in, or a ton of knots in your finished product. No matter how you choose to make it, though, that part is kind of a pain. And you need four or more t-shirts to make a good sized bag, so unless all your shirts are the same color, your bag is going to have stripes.

T-shirt yarn actually makes an awesome tote bag. If you've ever seen cotton piping, which is used in upholstery, that's almost exactly what this yarn is like, except that it's lighter. It's also easy to knit or crochet with, provided you've got the right size needles or hook. I used size 10 knitting needles and a J hook.

The finished bag is sturdy, not stretchy, and  doesn't have the fuzzy look of the fabric strip bag. It's also machine washable, which is nice, although it takes a long time to dry. That's really the only problem I see - this baby soaks up water like a sponge.

The fabric bag is on the left, the T-shirt yarn bag on the right.

Next I think I'll try a beach bag, probably made with twine. Sounds weird, right? But I've seen hemp yarn, nylon cord, and jute twine used to make beach bags. I've also seen a bag made of Raffia ribbon, but I'm just not sure about that. I keep wondering what happens to Raffia when it gets wet. Does the color run? Would the bag itself dissolve? Not exactly what I'm looking for in a beach bag.

I keep wondering what all those woven straw beach bags are made out of. Anyone have a clue?
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