Tag Archive | crochet

Giveaway: Appalachian Baby Organic Cotton

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review some U.S. Organic Cotton from Appalachian Baby. I love that it’s grown organically in the U.S. and processed by small family companies, plus it’s pretty cool that they use earth-friendly dye processes. You can learn more here, if you like. Mostly, I love pretty yarn! I got to choose from 3 color combinations, and I selected Indigo, Natural, and Doe. When it arrived, it was a delightful surprise to see the beautiful organza gift bag holding the yarn. I also liked the brown paper labels; they fit the brand perfectly.

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Each ball was 194 yards of sport weight yarn, giving me a total of 582 yards. Sport weight isn’t one I use often, and it took me forever to decide what to make with my kit. I don’t have any little babies in my life, and selfishly, I wanted to make something I could use. Finally, I decided on the Diamonds in the Rough cowl, a pattern that’s been in my Ravelry queue for ages. Since it was designed for two colors and I had three, I chose to do the main seed stitch section in stripes. At first I was going to switch to stockinette, but then I remembered the dreaded stockinette curl and decided to stick with seed stitch after all. After refreshing my memory of the provisional cast on, I got started, choosing 4-row stripes so I could easily carry the yarn up the side and avoid weaving in fifty million ends. This project took a month, giving me a finished cotton cowl in plenty of time for early fall.

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I really enjoyed this yarn. The colors were rich and earthy, and the yarn was soft in my hand, with the subtle crispness that you get with cotton. It made for a lovely squishy fabric in the seed stitch, airy and breathable but still with some substance. Given that it’s cotton, it was a little splitty, but I think I (unintentionally) made it worse by choosing the pointiest metal needles I’ve got. Still, I knit easily and quickly, a good thing since I had 30″ of seed stitch to knit! I have to say, I did get tired of it for a bit after about 20″ of neutral-colored seed stitch, but that’s no fault of the yarn, just my own wandering brain. Still, the indigo was my favorite. It’s a deep dark blue, but not hard to knit with like black is.

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My only hiccup in this project was pairing this pattern with this yarn. If you’ve ever tried to p2tbl (purl 2 together through the back loop) with cotton, you know what I mean. Cotton tends to give less than wool, so I struggled a bit with manipulating multiple stitches. I tried to remember to knit as loosely as possible, and that helped. Anyway, cotton and complicated lace are just a trickier mix than I personally like, but I have to admit the end result is attractive. The yarn blocked wonderfully, opening up the lace pattern just enough.

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And the cowl even came out long enough to wear doubled!

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I enjoyed both the yarn and the pattern. This yarn, especially since it’s machine washable and dryable, would be fantastic for baby garments and blankets. I also think it would crochet wonderfully!  It comes in seven beautiful colors, or you can buy the 3-color set in one of 3 versions: Indigo like mine, Blush, and Woodland. They’re available for purchase here.

But one lucky person can get one for free! Appalachian Baby generously provided a set for me to give away, in the same colors I used. Would you like it to be yours?

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling me what you’d like to make with the 3-color set of Organic Cotton!

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 6 pm CST on Friday, July 13th. All entries must be submitted on this blog. Winner will be announced by 10 am CST on Saturday, July 14th. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. (You don’t have to put the address in the comment field for everyone to see, just make sure it’s in the email address field.) I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone. If winner does not respond within 7 days, I will draw a new winner. Shipping via USPS first class. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. US residents and APO/FPO only please.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Appalachian Baby Design, who sent me one 3 Pack U.S. Organic Cotton Yarn Set (retail $35) for free, as well as one to give away. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knitting in Public

The boy had an orthodontist appointment this morning, and it was my turn to take him. I almost forgot my knitting, which would have been torturous, but I remembered at the last minute. So there I was knitting along on my sock using my size 1 DPNs, and when the doctor came to check on the boy, he immediately noticed what I was doing. He and the two techs standing by marveled that I was using four needles, and they were so tiny, which of course made me feel very clever even though I truly believe that just about anyone can learn to knit.

Anyway, then the nice doctor said something about how he’s heard about doctors doing that kind of thing (motioning toward me), like “crochet or needlework” to work on their fine motor skills. I laughed and said, “And knitting?” He nodded and kept talking but then one of the techs asked which I was doing, so I got to give a little lesson about the difference between crochet and knitting, and how one uses one hook and the other uses multiple needles. It was a good reminder that not everyone speaks this language called Yarn, and that I should take every opportunity to normalize it and make it accessible. Definitely a good argument for knitting in public!

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Diamonds in the Rough

I recently received a pretty bag of yarn in the mail, some organic cotton from Appalachian Baby. This is another review opportunity, and I got to choose my color palette of the 3-skein U.S. Organic Cotton set. I chose Indigo, Doe, and Natural.

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I had a heck of a time choosing a pattern. The yarn would be perfect for baby items, but I don’t have any babies in my life, so I finally chose a cowl pattern that’s been in my queue for months, Diamonds in the Rough. I’m going to modify it a bit to add stripes. I had some quiet time yesterday, so I took the opportunity to cast on. It calls for a provisional cast on, and it’s been so long since I crocheted that it took me a while to remember how to hold the hook and make stitches! But I figured it out and I’ve made a good little start. (The blue is the provisional cast-on.)

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It’ll be nice to have some cool cotton to balance out the wool in my other projects!

Whoa! Destash!

I got a whim today, a whim to go through my yarn and get rid of what doesn’t bring me joy. I’ve been pondering it for a while, but kept telling myself it wasn’t hurting anything to keep it all, and I had the space, so why not keep it just in case I ever needed it?

Well, I didn’t really have a good answer but I decided I needed to go through it all anyway. This is close to where I started. (This is an older photo. I’d added more yarn between this photo and today. So imagine this plus some.)

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I pulled out a LOT of acrylic, mostly stuff I’d bought back when I was making things to sell. Also, I tend to prefer natural fibers to acrylic now, so I only kept my very favorite acrylic blends. I pulled out a lot of cotton and blends. Even now in the heat, I don’t find myself wanting to work with the mercerized cotton. I don’t tend to wear the things I have made with it. I only kept kitchen cotton in the colors that are actually in my kitchen, and the cotton blends that are soft and drapey.

Then I moved into the good yarn, the wool and blends. If it was itchy, I pulled it out. A few yarns I pulled are gorgeous; I still loved the look of it. But I’d used some of it and didn’t like knitting with it or wearing it, so there was no point keeping it. If it was a color I would never use, or a weight I’d never use (like one skein of sport weight?), I pulled it. I was ruthless but it wasn’t painful at all. This was what I had in the end:

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That’s a LOT of yarn. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous when you see it all spread out like that! I’ll bag it up and see if I can sell it locally for a bit of money, and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy my newly organized stash. It’s gorgeous!

 

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Even looking at the shelves makes me happy! This is all yarn that I love, that I can see myself using. I even found a skein of Madtosh that I forgot I had! And that right there is a good reason to get rid of stuff I was keeping just for the heck of it: I can see what I have more easily, I can see the yarn I chose with intent, and I know that I could pick anything from my stash and be happy to knit with it.

p.s. yes I know it’s still a crazy big stash! I’m okay with that!

Knitting Injury

Let’s start with the good news: the long holiday weekend gave me so much knitting time that I was able to complete two socks! It was very satisfying, as I’m sure you can imagine. One is a plain vanilla sock in KnitPicks’ Felici Spaceman, and the other is a Strutting Peacock in KnitPicks’ Chroma in Lakefront.img_5260-1img_5261-1Sadly, last night I noticed that the middle finger on my left hand was hurting, especially when I closed my fist. I picked up another sock project to see how I hold my fingers while I knit, and discovered that I keep that finger bent when I knit socks on little DPNs. So it would seem that I need to take a break from knitting. I’m hoping that if I rest it this week, I’ll be good to go on Saturday. We’ll be on a day-long road trip for the girl, for All-State Band Auditions, and I need to be able to knit that day, otherwise I might actually go crazy. For this week, then, my lunch break project is crochet, an Artfully Simple Angled Scarf in Zauberball. I chose it mostly so I could use my new Furls crochet hook.img_5262-1Give me some hope: who else has had minor knitting injuries that healed quickly?

 

 

Gloves and Flowers

As expected, I finished the blue and gray fingerless gloves yesterday during our drive to the band competition. With an hour and a half, I even had time to weave in all the ends, so they’re ready to go to their new owner today. The base pattern is the 75 Yard Malabrigo Mitts, but I added the design element of the Twinkly Lights Cowl.

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It was a good thing I finished them before I got there, too, because once we got there, I didn’t really want to be distracted. The girl is a senior, you see, and this was her last marching band competition. She was a featured soloist in their show, a siren standing atop a pirate ship, and I’m always amazed and proud of her, but last night the finality hit me a little hard. Of course I’m so excited for the next part of her journey, but I can’t help but be sad that this part is almost over. I wasn’t a band geek in high school; I was a theatre geek. They’re actually pretty similar crowds, and I love the collaboration and camaraderie and commitment that I’ve seen in her bands. They’re good kids. She’s a good kid. Plus, I’ve discovered I love band music. I love watching marching band shows. Thank goodness I still have three years to watch the boy in marching band! Anyway, it was a lovely, emotional night, and the band did well, winning lots of awards, including Grand Champions in the field show category.

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With the gloves done, I wanted to finish up another small project before returning to my bigger WIPs. The knitting group at work makes bouquets of flowers for friends who have lost loved ones, and we had a couple to make recently. They’re a beautiful variety of flowers: some people make felt flowers, some ribbon flowers. I chose my favorite crochet flower pattern, added a green pipe cleaner, wrapped the stems with floral tape, and finished each one off with a pretty button. I think they’ll make a nice addition to the bouquet.

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Now that I’ve finished two projects for others, I think I’m justified in going back to some selfish knitting today. I was clever and did the grocery shopping yesterday, so today I can relax with my tea and yarn. Happy Sunday, friends!

Furls Purple Odyssey

I feel like I have progressed to a new level of crafter: I purchased a Furls crochet hook! I’ve coveted their hooks for ages, those gorgeous colored Candy Shop hooks and the striking black and silver Odyssey hooks, but never gave in to temptation. Partly because of cost, but mostly because once I learned to knit, I wasn’t much of a crocheter anymore. If I didn’t crochet often, why buy a $30 hook when that money could go toward yarn?

Well. That all changed when I saw the ad for the pre-order of the new purple Odyssey hooks. I ordered one immediately and started counting down the days until it would ship. Lucky me, it shipped sooner than I expected, and I finally got to open it last night. It’s so pretty! It’s a darker purple than it looks here, but just as shimmery and beautiful. I pulled out some scraps to make flowers to test it, and found that it’s heavier than I expected, but not unpleasantly so. The shape was definitely comfortable in my hand. The only thing I didn’t love was that there’s no thumb rest, so when I picked up the hook I had to make sure I was holding it right to get the hook positioned, and sometimes as I worked, it would turn ever so slightly in my hand, putting the hook in a less-efficient position. I’m eager to try it on a bigger project and give myself time to get used to it. 

Anyone else use Furls hooks?