I love Yarn Day

 

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Today is National I LOVE YARN day!

Today is the day to look for lots of giveaways and sales concerning yarn, all done in order to help us celebrate our love for yarn. If its possible check out the Facebook page I LOVE YARN DAY!

As for me I will be celebrating in two ways today. First, by making sure I crochet today using one of my favorite yarns in a project. I am going to crochet a doily for my mother ’s birthday.

Secondly, I would like to share the reasons I shop for yarn as compared to the same way some women shop for shoes. In my early 20’s I was experiencing stress attacks which required some medical help. Not wanting to be on medication with two small children in the house, a very wise doctor suggested I find a hobby. He claimed that people who do not how to relax are more prone to stress related aliments. To make a long story short I started crocheting, and within a few months my stress attacks were a thing of the past.

Crocheting has become so entangled (ha-ha) in my life that I am now teaching crocheting at our local college. In addition to this blog, I have also recently started a crocheting club to help others along their joinery in the wonderful world of crocheting. It still amazes me even after all these years how one little string of yarn can because something that is so beautiful. Often the useful things that I and my friends enjoy everyday in our lives.
Taken from The Craft Yarn Council web page about I Love Yarn day:

LOVE YARN DAY is a collaborative effort of the Craft Yarn Council, a non-profit made up of the leading yarn companies, accessory manufacturers, publishers and consultants in the yarn industry including: Annie’s Publishing; Boye/Simplicity Creative Group; Clover Needlecraft; Creative Partners; Creativebug; Interweave Press/FW; Leisure Arts; Lion Brand Yarn; Prime Publishing; Red Heart Yarns; Spinrite; TNNA and TMA Yarns. For more than 30 years the Council has sponsored a wide range of promotional and educational programs, including its highly acclaimed Certified Instructors Program, Discover Knit and Crochet classes and its popular and ever-growing annual I LOVE YARN DAY event.
So as you plan out your day today, please grab a skein of your favorite yarn or go and add to your stash by taking advantage of the many sales going on in the name of I Love Yarn day. Would love to hear from you the stories of why you love yarn.

Until next time keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook & Needle Club – Kit 65 – Christmas Mats

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I thought I would continue the Christmas theme by reviewing this year’s kit for the Holiday season. This year’s Christmas kit , and my most recent one is Christmas Mats. I really thought this was the perfect kit for me this year, seeing that my theme this year was the year of The Doilies. For those of you who did not see my earlier post, I have decided this year to crochet doilies for everyone”s birthday. So already being in the mood for doilies I started working on this kit very quickly.

The pattern is written in an intermediate level and has enough yarn to crochet two mats. As with all of Annie’s kit the patterns are written for both crocheting or knitting, I opted for the crochet.

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The kit came with about 120 yards of red, green and cream color worst weight (4) yarn. To complete the mats I only needed my size J hook and a tapestry needle.

The Christmas mats crochet quickly into a beautiful center shell stitch, one focusing on the green and the second in the red. I found these mats both enjoyable and relaxing as the pattern was very well written and I had no trouble following the designers instructions.

All of this being said I am rating this kit a 9, losing just the one point again for the yarn being in unmarked labels. Which means no matter how much I liked the yarn, I can never find it for any future projects.

The Christmas mats are not only my first holiday project of the year, they are also my first doilies I have placed in my Bazaar bin for next July. Are any of you beginning to think of the upcoming Christmas Holiday? If yes, please share your project plans – who know you might help inspire someone for what they would like to do this year.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook & Needle Club – Kit 55 – Christmas Ornaments

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Yes, I am still trying to catch up on some of my older reviews, at the same time keeping up with my new ones and still trying to post other subject topics. However with Christmas almost upon us I thought today would be a good time to post the review on Christmas ornaments.

For those of you that are new to my blog, back some time ago, when my daughter announced that she and her family were moving to Africa in a few months.  I decided to put every thing aside and focus on spending some quality time with her and my grandchildren. So this is the kit I actually received and crocheted a year ago, So please forgive me for the late review.

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The kit arrived in the mail containing four small skeins of yarn; one red, green, black, tan and orange all in light worsted weight yarn. a small bag of polyester fiberfill, which was to be stuffing and filling for the small projects it also came with.
In order to crochet this kit and see it through to the end I had to have a few more tools that were necessary than these kits usually required.

Size 7 crochet hook
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle
White craft glue: optional
Straight pins: optional
Cardboard: optional
Plastic wrap: optional
Ornament hangers or some way to hang them on the tree

At my daughter’s suggestion I decided to tackle crocheting animals last year. This kit was a really nice break as I soon realized that crocheting animals were not one of my strongest area’s to crochet. At the time I was totally surprised that I would have any difficulty crocheting anything, but now I am glad that God reminded me what my students are going through. When one has crocheted as long as I have sometimes it is good to be humbled .   I believe the experience will improve my teaching skills and strengthen my patience with my students, you can imagine how the kit was a huge help for me. It was nice to crochet something small and easy in-between the requested projects that are more of a struggle and tedious.

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The kit came with eight patterns: a knitting and crocheting one, each for a Stocking, Snowflake, Snowman and Santa ornament. All were marked easy level and quick to work. The patterns were all well written and easy to follow.

This kit is getting a rate of 9, losing only one point for unmarked labels. I really enjoyed working these patterns and am even considering crocheting a few more this year for a friend or two.

In closing I would like to say the Christmas Ornament kit was a very cute and for me a practical and useful kit. Rewarding also as I distributed the ornaments among my children’s families. Just a memorable little gift for Christmas. As Christmas approaches it gives me a warm feeling to know that when my children and grandchildren trim their tree in Tennessee and Africa that they will smile as they hang their homemade ornaments, and for a special moment are reminded of their grandparents who love them very much in Illinois.

Until next week, keep those hooks flying.

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Starting a Crocheting/Knitting Club

It is a fact that I have devoted much of my life and time to crocheting and attempting to inspire others in this art form whenever possible. I cannot not imagine why it took me as long, and so late a season of my life to consider having a crochet club. I am even further embarrassed to admit, but it was not even mine idea but my hubby’s. This just goes to prove what I always tell people – that I married a very intelligent man.

When I was learning to crochet I was totally on my own. Not knowing any other crocheter’s and living in the pre- internet era at the time – anything I learned had to be by trial and error. (And later relearned because I taught myself incorrectly) I was limited to library books and crochet magazines to find the information I sought. A group of women meeting to crochet in a relaxing atmosphere, who would be able to help me over my learning pains would have been such a blessing.

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So as the decision was made to make the idea a reality we begin to move forward with organizing a Crocheting/Knitting club there were two things that had to be decided;
First, the location and the name. I had always seen such clubs in libraries of neighboring towns and so I approached our local library. Within three weeks it was voted on and approved.

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The next step was to decide on a name – Fellow-Stitchers – and then to get the word out. So a flyer was designed to post around town and posted on social media repeatedly.

My goals for the club at the present is just meeting and working on our personal current projects, remember, Christmas is just around the corner. For now, I am planning on spending the first ten or fifteen minutes of our meeting in sharing resources and my experience  –  just a topic that I think might be beneficial to people who like to work with yarn.

For example:
Crochet stitch dictionaries
Patterns
Go over how to read a yarn label
How to mark rows
Change colors
Caring for your hooks
Mapping your patterns for easier use
How to figure out how much yarn you need for a pattern
Making pom poms
What to do with scrap yarn
Weaving in ends
Different ways to crochet a foundation chain
How to store yarn
How to pick out patterns on your crochet level
Go over hand and wrist excercises
Go over some crochet tools

If you can add to my list please feel free to do so.

I am also hoping that maybe some other members might like to share their wisdom or any special interest to help inspire some of the members who are newer to crocheting.

For the first few months we are all just going to work on our own projects, as I mentioned that Christmas is just around the corner. I am sure we all have projects we want to finish. But after January, once in a while I thought it might be fun to learn a new project together or maybe crochet something for charity.

When I was learning to crochet I was totally on my own. Not knowing any other crocheter’s and living in the pre- internet era at the time – anything I learned had to be by trial and error. (And later relearned because I taught myself incorrectly) I was limited to library books and crochet magazines to find the information I sought. A group of women meeting to crochet in a relaxing atmosphere, who would be able to help me over my learning pains would have been such a blessing.

As of now, I just would like to meet some other women in my area that love crocheting as much as I do. Those who know how much work is involved and appreciate the effort and love that goes into our work. Maybe to just help encourage each other or help us get past some harder spots in our projects or just help in deciphering a pattern. And always have a spot light time to share what we are working on and have completed.

Our first meeting was this week and I must say it was a really nice group of women. The two hours flew by as we were busy crocheting, getting to know each other and just visiting. I was surprised at all the connections we all had with each other already. One of the ladies was even encouraged to get out a project that has sat on the side after a brief spell away from crocheting.

I am one of those people who learn as go. So I am expecting to make a few mistakes along the way. But I am thinking this will not only be a blessing to me, but also, for those in my community who attend. This will be a new adventure for my crochet journey so any advice from people who have been there would be welcome. Or if you are like me and are interested in organizing a crochet club in your town then maybe we can learn together.

When I was learning to crochet I was totally on my own. Not knowing any other crocheter’s and living in the pre- internet era at the time – anything I learned had to be by trial and error. (And later relearned because I taught myself incorrectly) I was limited to library books and crochet magazines to find the information I sought. A group of women meeting to crochet in a relaxing atmosphere, who would be able to help me over my learning pains would have been such a blessing.

If you are trying to start a Crocheting/Knit club remember the first thing you will need is a location with available tables and chairs. A name, and a way to get the word out. Finally a willingness to help and encourage other crocheters or knitters along their journey and inspire them to new levels.
Let us know your feelings about it.

Until next week keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Crochet Afghan Block of the Month Club – Kit 7

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The seventh kit of the Annie’s Crochet afghan block of the month club is one of my favorite ones so far. The kit contained three written patterns with two stitch combinations I have never worked; two intermediate and one easy. I really enjoy learning new stitches to go along with the old familiar ones that I have mastered long ago.

The yarn is Premier Everyday Yarn in cappuccino color in this kit. All three blocks were worked using the larger I hook and then switching back to the smaller H hook for the edging. As usual the DVD that accompanied it was very detailed and easy to follow.

I wish I could post the names of the blocks instead of just numbers, but since there are none, they are listed by number.

Block 19

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Block 19 is worked in clusters. When working it, keep in mind in this square the clusters will all pop out toward the front, leaving the back looking flatter.

Block 20

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Block 20 gives us some experience with long cross over stitches.

Block 21

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When working block 21 I would suggest you take the time to count each row, since it will be less time consuming in the long run and help to prevent those unwanted lost or added on stitches.  Although the Kernel stitch is easy to work, it is easily to lose count on.

I am reposting my earlier tips and am trying to add one more to the list each month.

1. Make sure you keep all unused yarn, as it will be needed to finish afghan.
2. I like to keep my squares in 1 gallon zip lock bags. A year is a long time and I do not want to lose one of the blocks, or get them dirty. You can fit 6 in each bag with plenty of room to spare. Also this way I can keep them in order.
3. If you are someone who is trying to learn to read crochet patterns. This is a good club. In the DVD they take you through the pattern, row by row. First they explain what to do, and then they demonstrate what the instructions are saying.
4. When you are ready to work the edging always remember, that no matter what hook you use to work your block, always work the edging in a H hook.
5. If you had to use a different hook to obtain the desired gauge or size, make sure you write it down next to the instructions. This way if you want to crochet it again, you will already know which hook to use.
6. Take the time to gauge your works. There are not words to describe the disappointment you will feel at the end of the 24 blocks when your blocks lay before you in all different sizes. It is important to remember that gauging a project takes far less time then reworking one.
7. Annie’s seems to being using this club for building steps, since each block and its stitches build upon the previous. I would suggest that you work these blocks in order for best results.

For those of you that are in the club with me, I hope you are enjoying this kit as much as I am. Would love to hear about your experiences.

Until next time, keep those hooks flying.

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A Year of Birthday Doilies- Part 1

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Last April I took a short holiday to the Wisconsin Dells with my hubby for a time to rest and recharge, then do some sightseeing. To an avid crocheter a holiday would never be complete without a crocheted project or two packed safely away with the clothes.

I had decided in March that this year when I finished a project that I would take the left over yarn and make a doily for everyone I knew in my circle who had a birthday. This decision has not only helped in keeping my yarn stash from growing, it has turned left over yarn into a useful decorative touch for their homes. I having been trying to use what I have in the house for the last few years. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a trip to JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby. I am just trying to look and empty my yarn stash first.

When we travel I like projects on the smaller side, so I took three squares for an afghan and enough cotton yarn to make a small doily. The doily was composed of split triple clusters that formed a star design in the middle making it quite the eye-catcher..

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So while we enjoyed a snow fall of seven inches falling upon an already five inches on the ground, hubby and I each grabbed our own projects we wanted to work on. He sorted through some paper work while I started my first doily of the year.

The patterns I have been using for the birthday gifts have all come from one book “The book 99 Little Doilies”. These are the doilies that I have crochet so far according to the month.

April

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I crochet two of these I liked it so much.  One for my house and one for a friend’s.

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May

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Forgot to take a picture but this was the pattern I worked

June

 

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Because of the amount of yarn this doily used I decided to crochet two of these.
July

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August

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Being in a small circle my family and friends already know that I have declared this year of Birthday Doilies – but so far they all seem delighted when I hand them their gifts. What are some of the gifts you have made for people’s birthday?
Until next time keep those hooks flying.

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Annie’s Hook & Needle Club – Kit 63 – Spa Cloths

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Wow! This summer just seemed to have flown by. Already I am seeing school buses driving by and my hubby excitingly talking about the upcoming hockey pre -season games that are just a few weeks away. It seems that the older I am getting the busier I seem to be and the quicker times seems to fly. Is it the same way for you?

My 63rd kit from Annie’s Hook & Needle Club, Spa Cloths ,was just another reminder of how we all need to slow down once in a while and enjoy some relaxation time.

I was so excited when I opened the envelope to see the first kit containing patterns using Tunisian stitches. Although the skill level is marked easy, I still found some of the stitches challenging. partly due to my little experience with anything other then the Tunisian Simple Stitch- or what my older patterns would call the Tunisian basic stitch.

The kit came with a pattern booklet of six patterns, three crochet and three knit; and three skeins of cotton yarn, in white, gray and light teal. As soon as I obtained my H Tunisian crochet hook and tapestry needle I was ready to work my first spa cloth.

Although these three projects were small, for me they were not exactly travel friendly. In addition to working some stitches for the first time, each pattern used two to three colors at once. Although I could have easily carried the skeins, I’m certain I would have ended with twisting and tangling the yarn which causes me to divide my time with crocheting and untangling. Not my idea of a relaxing time.

At home I seem to have more control of my skeins and am able to focus more when learning something new. Once I mastered the special stitches I learned, then I could multi -task by listening to a biography of Noah Webster and found a nice ending to my warm summer day.

Tip: When I am crocheting with more then one skien of yarn I place each skien in a zip lock bag. Then, as in this case I place one on each side of me and one in front of me on my foot stool. At the end of each row I turned clockwise for odd rows and counterclockwise for even and this seemed to keep me tangle free.

The patterns in this kit were really pretty to look at when completed:

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Broken lines Spa Cloth

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Woven Strips Spa Cloth

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I think was my favorite in the kit:  Tiles Spa Cloth

Even with the added challenges, I really enjoyed this kit from beginning to end. I am rating it a 9. The pattern was easy to read and fully explained the unfamiliar stitch well. I love the yarn, but this is where it loses a point. The yarn was in unmarked labels which means I can never make another project using it. I love going back and reusing yarn I enjoy in other projects, I think we all have our “go to” yarns that we reach for over and over again.

Would love to hear your opinions on this kit for those of you who receive the same one. In the mean time, as August draws to an end when you take a break from crocheting take time to enjoying a nightly stroll with hubby, the fresh breeze from the open windows on a hot day, the taste of ice cold watermelon, or lemonade, a bicycle ride in the countryside and all the other things that we will soon lose of summer. Till next time .

And remember to Keep those hooks flying.

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