Saturday, October 28, 2017

Yarn Review - Crafting Oasis Yarn Co

This week I'm reviewing hand-dyed yarn created by my talented friend Cat. She is a very crafty young lady - I am sure you know the type, they do it all crochet, knit, spin, dye, paper craft, embroider and more.. whereas I am firmly stuck on the crochet with the occasional knit project for variety. And of course Cat is really good at all of these things, is one of the sweetest people I know and lives in Houston too.

When Cat asked if I'd review a skein of her hand-dyed yarn on my blog of course I agreed and I decided it was going to be a one-skein shawl as my second shawl for the #SeptemberShawalong organized by lovely Hannah of the Cozy Cottage Crochet Podcast. I always like to link my hooking to an -along, don't I?

I didn't specify a color but wow - when I opened the parcel I just couldn't do anything but smile - that pop of bright pink red was irresistible. And when I posted it on Instagram lots of other people loved the color too. Fortunately Cat told me this is a color she can replicate. It's called "Pinkberry" and it's fingering weight on a 100% merino platinum base.

The color is just the best. Everything else about the yarn is good too. It's super soft around my neck (and I am very sensitive). It smells good. It didn't split at all when I was working with it.

The pattern I chose was the Metro Kerchief by Yuliya Tkacheva also known as Ms Weaver. It has a fabulous track texture which is achieved with lots of slip stitches which slowed me down a little but I do love the end result. I will wear this when it's a little dull outside and I want to cheer people up.

So please do head over to Cat's shop on Etsy Crafting Oasis Yarn Co to see what she has in stock.  She told she was going to be dying some Christmas themed yarn next. How fun!

Listen to the Audio Podcast

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Woah We're Halfway There

Lovely Rosina from the Zeens and Roger podcast wrote a wonderful blog post this week about our Back to School Sweater crochetalong which included several photos of herself sporting not one but two sweaters. She is one of several talented crocheters out there who had never made a crochet garment until our CAL. I just love that!! 

Her blog post reminded me that we're only halfway there. You have until November 17th to finish a garment and post a photo of in the Ravelry finished objects thread in the Crochet Circle Podcast Group or post the photo on Instagram with the hashtag #BackToSchoolSweaterCAL Come on, you can do it! It's four weeks today.

If you need guidance on making a crochet garment we have our helpful blog hop series. Helen of Making at Number 14 my amazing CAL co-host came up with a really comprehensive list of topics. So please do check them out if you 
Week 2 - Current Trends / Choosing a Style to Suit you by Jojotwinkletoes
Week 3 - Yarn Substitution by Helen
Week 4 - Measuring & Swatching by The Crochet Project
Week 5 - Making Alterations to Fit by Sam
Week 6 - Finishing and Blocking by Fay

And there are some wonderful prizes to tempt you!
Baby cardigan pattern & yarn to make it from Marta MrsDaftSpaniel
A pattern from The Crochet Project
Blocking kit from Fay of Knit It Hook It Craft It
Set of stitch markers from Helen Making at Number 14
Three Squirrel crochet hooks from myself
A pattern of your choice from Rosina Zeens and Roger
A project bag of your choice from Emyahandmade
Sugar & Cream 100% cotton yarn from Lisa

Anyway to finish up I'd though I'd share some of the lovely FOs (finished objects) posted so far on Instagram. These talented folk have all given me permission to share their photos. I know not everyone who reads my blog is on social media and you just have to see all this crochet garment loveliness! Have a wonderful week everyone!

 From top left clockwise @sophiexuan @crogemcrochet
@_toni_white @thecrochetninja

 From top left clockwise @alicecloseknit @hayrie
@jojotwinkletoes @aspoonfulofyarn

From top left clockwise @knitithookit @andthentherewasmorgan
@zeensandroger @heleneccles1

From top left clockwise @justalilbitcrafty @alicecloseknit
@flicmerrison @lisapinenotes

Listen to the Audio Podcast

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Back to School Sweater CAL - Garment in Progress

In January I decided this was going to be the Year of the Crochet Garment - I even blogged about it - and I bought a book: Top Down Crochet Sweaters by Dora Ohrenstein and wrote a review on it. I managed to make one garment the Tunisian Entrelac Yoga Top by Elena Fedotova and finish off another the Classic Sweater by Rachel Choi but then was hopelessly distracted by CALs (crochetalongs) and preparing my class on crochet socks for the Houston Fiber Fest. Fortunately Helen, amazing crocheter and blogger at Making at Number 14 proposed that we organize a Crochet Garment CAL and the Back to Sweater Sweater CAL was born so this year has been turned out to be the Year of the Garment after all - and not just my garment which is even better!

Pattern: The pattern I chose had to be from my Dora Ohrenstein book having bought it so long ago and raved on about it. I chose the specific pattern I did, Zora, because the stitch design looked fun and I thought the vertical lace and v stitch panels would be flattering.

Yarn: I used mainly stash yarn, Rowan Pure Wool 4ply, bought from a super sale at John Lewis in Norwich in the UK visiting my sister-in-law a few summers ago. I bought it because it was in the sale, wool wasn't too scratchy and I liked the color. I didn't have quite have enough and it was discontinued but I found three extra balls from Love Knitting

Progress: My progress has been variable on the sweater. It took forever to get my yoke right. Gauge in the round is not the same as flat gauge. And my gauge swatch was for the v stitch pattern. My yoke had v stitch panels with eight sets of lace stitches between them. My lace stitches stretched a lot, far more than the v stitches. Plus my stitches are wide and short so that was another variable to factor into my calculations. I know I could use the golden loop method to increase the height of my stiches but I stubbornly stick with my shorter stitches. If I was seriously going to get into designing I would probably make a concerted effort to change. Here's a link to a video by Deja Joy Fixing Gauge When Height Is Incorrect AKA Golden Loop Method if you're wondering what I'm going on about. Anyway, after frogging back the yoke three times, I eventually got there.

I was not alone though! Over on Ravelry in The Crochet Circle Podcast Group we had a yoke frogging party going on for those who had chosen top down designs. But the bonus of so much frogging was that I nailed that stitch design and consequently the rest of my sweater was fast.

I slowed down again waiting for Fay's blog post on Blocking to finish it. I thought I knew everything about finishing and blocking but no, apparently not. So here she is my Zora!

Hope you enjoyed our blog post last week from Marta with Designing a Crocheted Garment. Next week, continuing on our blog hop, we will have a garment in progress blog post from Sam of Sing a Simple Melody. I can't wait! Have a great week y'all!

Listen to the Audio Podcast

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Garden of Shawls - Book Review & Giveway

Taking part in the AutumnWAL2017 made me seek out my WIPs and I found the shawl I made while on holiday in Colorado and have duely blocked and finished it. Hurray!
This is the second shawl that I've made from Karen Whooley's latest book A Garden of Shawls so I thought I was in a good place to provide a review. I also contacted Karen to see if she would be able to offer a giveway for my blog readers and she agreed to provide a electronic version so that I could make it available internationally (I know I have regular readers/listeners in the US, UK and Australia, probably other places too).

I wasn't going to buy this book, I was being strong, because even though I wanted it I am sort of in denial about my great love of crochet shawls. Anyway, it was meant to be because I was listening to the amazing Marly Bird interview Karen Whooley and there was a giveaway of the book at the end and I won! I was SO amazed! Listen to the interview and you can hear me laughing hysterically. And so the book arrived and I've made two shawls and there are more that need to be made. I am beyond helping and I don't really care.

I love that fact that this book is self-published and also that Karen has used yarn entirely produced by indie dyers. All twelve of the shawl designs are lace or fingering weight. But Karen does have advice for using heavier weight yarn too if that is your jam. Every shawl has full written instructions and is charted and also there's a schematic of what it looks like so you know the shape of it. I think that's quite important because I'm definitely drawn to particular shapes of shawls - I have my favorites. The designs are inspired by Italian lace and are absolutely gorgeous.

I made Violaceous first because it called for lace weight yarn and there are 8 pages of charts for it, every single one of the 158 rows is charted. I was kind of testing myself to see if I could make it or if I'd go crazy in the process. But I actually loved it and couldn't put my hook down when making it. All that hooking of crochet socks in lightweight yarns has really paid off. And when I wore it to the yarn store where I work everyone thought it was knitted (they are all knitters so that's a massive compliment for them) and I wore it both days to Houston Fiber Fest and loads of people were asking me who the designer was...

The second shawl I made was Foliole. I was drawn to this one because the shapes looked like mitochondria cell drawings (I was helping my 7th grader study for her end of year finals). I know that's a really odd reason for a stitch design to appeal to you. But anyway it is my latest shawl so it's the one I love the best and I'll be wearing it every day until I made the next one (which is already on my hook). I'm a SSH - serial shawl hooker.

To enter the giveaway to be in with a chance to win an electronic version you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook and leave a comment or send me a message on Ravelry. I'm craftyescapism in all these places. You've got a week to do this. I'll randomly select a winner on October the 16th. Good luck and have a wonderful week everybody!

Listen to the Audio Podcast