Crocheters need new toys too!

I have been crocheting for just over a year now.  I have worked with all sorts of yarn and made a number of different patterns…from scarves to amigurumi! But it was only recently that I was introduced to the beauty that is a yarn winder and swift! I got it in my head that after Christmas, I would go on a swift hunt…and I did! 😉

Up until recently, I wound balls of yarn onto my fingers…which didn’t necessarily lend itself to blood fl0w….

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Or I simply worked from the unwound skein…

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We were snowed in over Boxing Day and my mother-in-law suggested a different approach that worked!

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But I still had the idea of a swift and winder in my head….

So today, we drove to Kanata, ON and I bought some new toys!!!

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Now I can wind balls of yarn in minutes…PLUS they pull from the middle which makes this crocheter even MORE happy! 😉

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My first wound ball of yarn!

I can’t wait to get home and organize my enormous bin of yarn!

I’m such a Capricorn!

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Two-in-one-amigurumi…fish AND sushi?! Had to share!

NOTE: All the pics below are linked to their original sites so feel free to follow the links for more info!

 A friend sent me this via Google+ this evening…Thanks Peter!…and I have to say it’s impressive and HAD to be shared! No question!

Halfway between … is it a fish or is it sushi??

Fish!

All the pics to this pattern can be seen at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fish-to-sushi-amigurumi

There’s no way you, assuming you’re a crochet nut like me, will look at this pattern and not simply *have* to try it out! lol

Other Notable Amigurumi fun:

Star Wars amigurumi! Love that they even got Princess Leia’s hair correct! lol

Followed by…wait for it…. Hannibal Lecter!! Freakin awesome!

 

Hmmmm….I really have to start working on some more crocheted little ones!  Lil’ Death recently took a trip through NY state…pics to come!

Crocheted Yule gifts…and a viking hat!!

Happy New Year!

My long absence has been brought to you by both my laziness and a wordpress error that kept me locked out of my account throughout the holidays.

I admit, that was somewhat frustrating, but the good news is that I spent the holidays keeping myself busy with crochet!  Yep, I’m loving my new hobby … and it felt good to give gifts this year that I had made myself.

Here are a couple of my Yuletide creations…
First is the scarf I gave to B’s aunt….

Long Scarf - 100% Acrylic, made completely with half double crochet stitches

Followed by the scarf for his dad…

100% acrylic

….which Nosey, the family dog, apparently liked as well….

Nosey showing off one of my creations 🙂

Another scarf went to B’s mom…this is a scarf of which I am quite proud…it took a number of hours and was somewhat difficult because I kept the stitches quite tight…but it turned out incredibly well. I just wish I had a shot of her wearing it! 🙂

100% acrylic scarf made by me!

To my friend Heather and her husband Peter, I gave sort of matching scarves…well…matching patterns, different colours.  I secretly asked each of them what colours they thought would suit the other.  (On that note, I have to say that in many ways I enjoy the covert fact-finding missions more than the giving of the resulting gift!)

In addition to scarves, I also gifted armwarmers, which I have been making non-stop over the past month or so.  Recently, I attempted a pair of laced armwarmers…more for look than warmth I suppose (well, unless you wore them over something else!)

First pair of laced armwarmers....25% wool 75% acrylic

Okay…and la pièce de résistance?

A Viking Hat!!!

I already have a few people interested in having one made!  In some cases for their children and others want one for themselves 🙂  I have some great ideas that started with this particular pattern and I am anxious to see where my creativity leads me…but I also need to take a moment and acknowledge the source of the pattern: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mamachee  It was the first pattern I have ever purchased and it was so easy to follow!  Can’t wait to start making more!

So, on that note…I think I shall get some sleep…I have an order for a dog sweater and a scarf to start working on tomorrow 😉

Crochet: Keeping the palms warm! (Fingers come later!)

I had no idea I would like crocheting so much.

I’ve only being doing it for a month or so but I love being able to do something productive when I would otherwise be simply sitting, such as when I’m watching a movie or sitting on the subway.  Now if I could just figure out how to read and crochet! Hmmmmm…..

I plan to crochet most of my Yule gifts this year…likely scarves, which are pretty straightforward, or arm warmers.  How I love arm warmers!! I’ve said it many times, I really like crocheting because I see results so quickly.  I haven’t attempted gloves…have no idea how I’d go about crocheting digits so I’m waiting until I have the palm section down. 😉  I figure I’ll give arm warmers as gifts this year and then mail out the fingers as I figure them out…Next year’s Yule gift!

I tried to make my first pair a couple of weeks ago, basely loosely on a pattern I saw online.   It was easier than I had expected.  I of course made some mistakes but my first prototypes served their purpose.  Here are a few pairs I have made so far….

My first experimental pair

I have continued to work mainly with acrylic yarn but I have a few wool pairs in the works as well. Most wool makes me itchy (alpaca being the exception so far) but so far I find I can still crochet with it.

B&W Striped...as ordered 😉

 

A new lacy crochet stitch I discovered in one of my million crochet books! I love the library!

I’m now experimenting with more lacy crochet stitches and using ribbon to accessorize…..More pics to come!

Since then, I’ve

Visiting the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair

One of the common responses I’ve been hearing each time I tell someone that I recently went to Toronto’s Royal Winter Agricultural Fair is “Wow,  I haven’t been to that since I was a kid!”  I can see why families would go and take their children…these days, in the big city, that’s pretty much the only way to expose them to farm animals and agriculture…but there’s something for everyone and I had a really good time wandering around the site.

There were huge sections dedicated solely to sheep, cows and horses. In the cow portion of the fair, we watched as people did their best to catch waste from the bovines in buckets  as it appeared. Lesson learned.  Next time you feel the need to complain about your job, just remember that it could be worse.  Somewhere, there’s a person whose job is to catch cow pee in a big white bucket.

We passed by some two-month-old calves and I expressed to desire to pat one.  Ben suggested I scratch a little one behind its ears and the calf loved it!  So cute…bunting my hand just like my cats at home.

I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of everything….but I managed to capture some highlights of the experience 🙂

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There were many, many more vendors and craft booths than I expected, and not all of them were focused on farming, animal care and riding (although many were serving those demographics).   There were dozens of food booths including yummy cheese companies, cultural foods such as Thai and Indian cuisine, and the notorious Apple Dumpling booth that I didn’t get to visit.  I tried my very first bison burger and I have to say it was yummy and filling!

Other interesting notable food related booths that I feel the need to mention are the Boreal Birch Syrup booth and the Muskoka Lakes Winery booth.

The birch syrup was an interesting product.  Not as thick as maple syrup and not very sweet at all, it was described as having a sort of prune taste.  I know, doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but that really doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the flavour.  The man behind the counter said it worked well as a glaze on vegetables etc and as soon as he said that, I had to agree.  It would be delicious on steamed veg.  They have some recipes on their site and now I wish I had bought a bottle.  There is a store in Toronto that carried it and as well, they apparently deliver! 😀

The Muskoka Lakes Winery I mention because I absolutely love their wines!  They carry a large variety of cranberry wines and among my favourites are their Cranberry-Blueberry and their White Cranberry wines.  I also presently own a bottle of both their Raspberry-Cranberry and their Maple-Cranberry dessert wines that are just waiting for the right moment to be opened.  Some friends and I discovered the winery by chance when we were spending the weekend in Bala almost two years ago, it’s an awesome place to visit, not only for good wine, but also for lovely hiking trails and an interesting/educational view of the cranberry fields.  Sadly, I’m finding it harder and harder to find their wines at the LCBOs that I pass on a daily basis.  Trip to Bala anyone? 🙂

Lastly, I want to mention the lovely woman I met at the Gateway Fibreworks yarn booth.  We had an interesting discussion about wool.  Unlike alpaca wool that is generally lanolin and chemical free, sheep wool naturally contains lanolin and goes through a number of chemical treatments.  It was suggested that most reactions are due to the chemicals, not necessarily the wool.  We had the chance to truly test this as a friend who was on site with me is extremely allergic to wool.  Just a touch causes her to break out.  After this conversation, she purposely rubbed the back of her hand on a few different alpaca wool samples and as far as I know, she hasn’t noticed a reaction.

I too am sensitive to wool, although it pretty much just makes me itchy, and I found alpaca wool to be softer to the touch that sheep wool.  Perhaps that will be my next crocheting yarn purchase! 😀

Anyway, the Winter Fair was fun and isn’t only for kids.  At one point, Ben took the time to sit with an employee who was surveying people on site about their experience.  She commented that the 25-35 age group, our age group, seems to be the least represented in their attendance and asked us for suggestions to draw in those individuals.  We both responded that an 18yrs+ day could work 😛 but also helpful is reading a blog entry about a great experience…and so I have done.

Crochet: Learning to work the needle!

Last spring, I attempted to learn how to knit.  A friend showed me the ins and outs of purling and knitting, which I could do….sort of.  But knitting didn’t make sense to me.  Purl, knit, purl, knit…I didn’t get it and it didn’t stick.  My knitting needles became sticks to hold up my hair and that was that.

In September, I decided to try crocheting.  I didn’t have huge expectations.  I had heard that although crochet was somewhat !similar to knitting, many people usually preferred one or the other.  So I figured, what the heck, I’ll try it.

Two months later, I’m still crocheting and I’m really enjoying it!  It makes sense where knitting completely lost me.  I have attempted scarves, granny squares and, most recently, amigurumi!

I have been taking books out of the library to study various pattern ideas, using youtube to clarify stitches that require more than just a picture to explain themselves, and joining a number of awesome crochet websites!  As I experiment with patterns and various creations, I’ll definitely be sharing them on this blog 🙂

My first attempt at a scarf...It's taking me a little longer as it is quite wide...straightforward double crochets.

My first completed scarf - Find the pattern online for free HERE

My first completed granny squares, made with a mix of camouflage yarn and green yarn, both acrylic.