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My Fibery Christmas List

So as the kids are making their Christmas lists, I thought I should do mine as well. Of course my list has a fiber-arts spin to it. Here are my top picks for my Christmas list.

Celtic Swan Crochet Hooks: This is the second time this has been on my Christmas list. I may just break down and purchase one in 2015. The crochet hooks by Celtic Swan are just beautiful works of art! Hand forged from pure silver, they are hand buffed so yarn slides right through.

Yarn Switft: Like many fiber fanatics, I hate winding yarn from a hank to a ball. I’ve had a winder for several years, but I am sure it will make life much easier if I had a swift to go with it. This yarn swift from Knit Picks I think is a solid choice.

Bison Yarn: There are a lot of beautiful yarns available – and some of them can be a bit pricey. One I have always wanted to try was Bison Yarn. The Buffalo Yarn Company offers some of the finest bison yarn I’ve ever seen. Warm and soft, I’m sure a ball or two would make a very nice project!

Morgans Mane crochet hook
Crochet hook by Morgans Mane

MorgansMane Crochet Hook: I love collecting crochet hooks. And MorgansMane offers some that really lovely. This crochet hook with amethyst is high on my list!

Hook Holder: Now at this point, I definitely need something to show off my hooks. So a hook holder would be a nice addition to my fiber collection. RParishWoodWorks makes some very nice holders. Along with the MorgansMane hook, I may need to make a purchase in 2015.

Time: At the end of the day, all of us want more time. Like many, I never have enough time available. I definitely want more time to…play with fiber more! So what is on your fiber arts Christmas list? Make sure to share!

Book Review: Christmas Crochet

Anyone who does any type of craft knows that Christmas arrives before you know it! I always wind up scrambling at the end trying to put the finishing touches on several gifts for family and friends. I am also always on the hunt for new and unique patterns. Well Edie Eckman has come out with a new book that helps provide great pattern ideas for Christmas gifts.

Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree: Stockings, Ornaments, Garlands, and More offers innovative patterns for every ability level. The book is broken down into three sections: “For the Hearth,” “For the Home,” and “For the Tree.” In the “For the Hearth” section, there’s a multitude of different fun stocking patterns in great color combinations. In the “For the Tree” section, designers provide different garland patterns, ornaments, stuffed critters, and a tree skirt. Finally, the “For the Home” section is all about pretty bows, table top trees to adorn the table, and comfy pillows.

As I flipped through the book, I absolutely loved the little mittens for the Advent Garland. I could see making them individually to top off a nicely-wrapped gift instead of using a store-bought bow. I can easily see nestling the Bird Trio in the tree. And I absolutely couldn’t decide which I liked more – the Snow Storm Stocking or the Ripple Stitch Stocking!

As usual, my only complaint about this book – or any pattern book for that matter – is that it has a perfect-bound binding. I much prefer when a pattern book is spiral-bound so it can lay flat while following a pattern. But I am sure that is a very expensive process. The most important part – the patterns – are absolutely great! They provide detailed directions as well as stitch charts, so regardless of how you like to follow a pattern, they have you covered. Several patterns have close-up photos so you can really see stitch details easily. I can say with confidence any crocheter will have no problem finishing these patterns in time for Christmas!

And now, as usual, this book can be yours! This time I have not one, but TWO copies to give away! As usual, the rules to enter are simple:

1. Make sure you “like” my Facebook page.
2. Make sure you “like” the book review post on Facebook.
3. I pick two winners!

I will pick the winners on Saturday, November 1, so you have an entire week to enter! Good luck!

Book Review: The Spinner’s Book of Fleece

Back in 2006 a discussion group I belonged to decided to do a fiber study. Each member picked a type of fiber, researched it, purchased raw fiber, cleaned it, spun it, and then plied it. We then sent everything to one person who had the dubious job of assembling all this information into binders and mailing them to each person. It was a great exercise and I know we all learned a lot.

The Coopworth pages from our fiber study in 2006.

Fast forward to 2014.

There is now a great book available that covers what we did and a lot more. The Spinner’s Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose
is an amazing book that I am enjoying reading. It is written in a conversational tone so it is an easy read. It goes beyond a straightforward explanation of the different breeds and talks about how to pick a fleece, how to protect your fiber, and different ways of spinning your fiber for projects. It also talks about different spinning equipment and even how to maintain your wheel.

Author Beth Smith breaks down the different fibers into four simple groups: fine, long, down, and multicoat. She also has a “miscellaneous” category. She then goes into all the approaches you can take when spinning your fiber into yarn. She talks about drafting, using a lazy Kate, how to clean your fiber, and carding, to name a few techniques.

What I think I like best about this book is how well Beth breaks everything down into easy-to-understand bits of info. Even if you don’t spin, you will find this book helpful with your weaving, crochet, and knitting projects as she covers fiber information for each art form! I definitely see myself reading this book cover-to-cover.

And as always, you can win this copy!
Again, the rules are simple:
1. Make sure you “like” my Facebook page.
2. Make sure you “like” the book review post on Facebook.
3. I pick a winner!

I’ll pick a winner on October 2nd. Trust me when I tell you, you definitely want to be in this giveaway. Good luck!

What to do with cotton yarn

I absolutely LOVE cotton yarn. There are more colors available than every before, it feels softer than ever before, and is a great value. I will admit, however, I do struggle from time to time with ideas for cotton.

There are plenty of bath scrubbies and dish cloth patterns available – regular favorites for this type of yarn – but beyond that, I really have a hard time finding something to use the yarn that I love. I’ll make scrunchies out of anything, including cotton; but what else?

CottonSlippers1Well, I’m starting to do a hard search for patterns that work well with cotton. Last week I made these really cute slippers!

My next cotton projects will be this really nice coffee cozy and this cute mug cozy. In case you haven’t noticed, I have a tad of a coffee problem. And because I am an angler, I have to make these adorable little puffer fish!

What do you make with cotton yarn? I would love to hear your thoughts?


Just a note of Thanks

I just wanted to post a note of thanks for all the supportive and wonderful comments and well wishes I have received about my new blog. I am completely touched and hope you continue to check back to read my posts.

I hope you all have a wonderful new year with lots of time for fiber arts!

A New Year, A New Adventure

Well, a new year, a new adventure! I am moving my blog over from The Yarn Basket to a permanant location, The Fiber Forum. This will be a place to discuss new projects, industry trends and whatever else comes to mind as I continue on my fiber-filler journey!

I wish you all a happy new year with plenty of time for fiber arts!