Friday, January 27, 2012

Hands Down

The full grasp of winter is upon us here in the Midwest and one of the benefits of living in this frozen tundra is the constant battle with dry skin. The air outside combined with the heat inside really takes a toll on my skin every winter and it starts to get noticeable with my crochet work. My hands can get so rough that I find them snagging the yarn. I’m not a big nail polish wearer and don’t often have time for a professional manicure but two products that I’m using this year and absolutely love are Curel and Seche Vite.

Curel makes an inexpensive line of moisturizing products that work great, are not greasy and a minute after I’ve applied it, I’m ready to hit the yarn again. Check out their site at

My second must have is Seche Vite dry fast topcoat. If you’re going to polish you must get this item. When I do polish it’s base coat and two color coats – a lot of layers to dry. Apply this dry fast topcoat and you are good to go in 5 minutes. In all honesty, I wouldn’t crochet after 5 minutes, but you’re able to grab keys, type, etc. Maybe 15-20 minutes before I’d pick up the hook and yarn. Unlike the Curel, Seche isn’t cheap. It’s about $10 at Ulta, but SO worth it. Grab an Ulta coupon off the web or in the Sunday paper and make it an even better deal. Check out Seche at

Your hands will thank you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crafting Controversy

by Kelly

I recently read a post on Stacy Trock's Fresh Stitching about the new Susan Bates Silvalume design, and it reinforced something that I've been thinking for some time - that knitting and crochet groups are just as likely to split into opposition parties as politicians or religions.

Even in my short time as a crafter, I've seen a lot of comments on knitting and crochet forums that seem awfully fervent for something that's supposed to be a pleasant pastime. On the subject of yarn alone, there is quite a bit of controversy. Some crafters won't use acrylic yarn, some are opposed to wool as that's an animal product (although shearing doesn't harm an animal, they are opposed to keeping livestock in general), and some believe that using recycled materials is the only responsible path to take.

Meanwhile, crochet hooks and knitting needles are another sore subject. Some prefer wood over any other material, some prefer a particular brand. I, myself, don't mind the soft, metallic clicking noise that my aluminum  knitting needles make, but years of listening to rock music may have reduced my hearing slightly. To someone else, they may sound like fingernails on a blackboard. And while I prefer my Susan Bates Silvalumes, I'm not going to say that they are the only ones I'll ever use, because I haven't tried very many brands. I will say that I prefer smaller sized crochet hooks to be metal, rather than plastic, because I'm always afraid of breaking small plastic hooks.

Honestly, though, I think that all this division and controversy is just human nature. Whether for good or bad, I think that people in a group feel as though they should support each other, and one way to do that is to defend the majority opinion. And if someone from another group feels differently, watch out!

I actually hold any number of strong (and often unpopular) opinions, but not about crafting. How about you? Have you tried the new Silvalumes? Is there a big difference? Or do you feel that one hook is just as good as any other?

Monday, January 23, 2012

50 More Crocheted Afghan Borders

by Kelly

We're going to be having a giveaway soon, and one of the items in our contest is a book. If you're a regular visitor here, you know that I love
me some books. 

I'm always delighted to give books as gifts, because then I can check them out before wrapping them. One year for Christmas, I bought the Twilight series for someone, and read them all before The Big Day.  Luckily, I have inherited my mom's ability to read a book without cracking the spine or leaving other evidence behind.

The book to be included in our giveaway is 50 More Crocheted Afghan Borders  and has, of course, fifty beautiful borders. But two in particular caught my eye, so I had to try them out.

First up, a simple pink heart pattern, which I think would work beautifully as a border for anything made for a little girl:

then there was this slightly more complicated flower border:

I'm glad to report that these patterns are easy and fun. The directions are clear and the pictures are beautiful and encouraging, even when the pattern is a little challenging. The book stays open when you're working from it, unlike some pattern books that I have in my library.

Our giveaway is scheduled to begin January 30th, so be sure to visit us then for your chance to win a copy of this book!
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