Category Archives: Yarn

A New Concept in Yarn

On the Freeform Guild Discussion Group there has been much discussion about a new product by Conjoined Creations called Flat Feet Yarn. It is a flat piece of fabric that appears to be machine-knitted and then hand painted.

On one hand, each piece of fabric is completely unique. On the other hand, I don’t know how I feel about having to pull apart a pre-assembled piece of fabric to re-crochet into a new project.

It is also a bit pricey at $25 per “flat,” which will make one pair of socks. The content breakdown is 80% Superwash Merino/20% Nylon. I have been unable to locate a total yardage or weight.

I am hoping to find a LYS that carries Flat Feet so I can see it in person before making a purchase. According to what I have read online, it is flying off the shelves. Not sure if it is because its the “newest thing,” that the colors are dyed by hand which makes it unique, or something else.

I would love to have comments from knitters or crocheters have tried it. Share your experiences!

I Learned Spool Knitting!

I have always wanted to learn to spool knit. For those of you who do not know what spool knitting is, you can made cord by using a tube with nails on the top. You wrap the yarn through around the nails and lift the lower yarn over the higher piece of yarn. Confused? So was I for quite a while.

Well, today I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. I purchased a lovely two-prong hand made by Noreen Crone Findlay. I took out the directions, a basic yarn and opened my mind. Wow! I did it! I took it a little further and pulled out some pretty eyelash yarn and cotton. So far, it is going well. I am very happy with it! When I finish the necklace, I will be sure to post it.

Noreen has great instructional videos on You Tube and her hand made spool knitters come with great step-by-step instructions as well.

I hope you will not wait as long as I did and give spool knitting a try. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Doing for Others

I have always taken great pleasure in making crochet items for others. I feel it is a great way to show someone you took the time to make something especially for them and put real care into it. There is no greater way to show appreciation or caring then to give something created by you.

A great way to do this is through the prayer shawl ministry. The idea is to knit or crochet a shawl and to pray, think positive thoughts or good wishes while creating the garment. You may also want to play soft music while working your project. The receiver can then “wrap themselves in a prayer” whenever they wear it. Many churches and civic organizations make them for people going through chemo, after the loss of a loved one or any difficulty they may be experiencing as a way to help them through. The stitch pattern should be simple enough that you can continue to think positively or pray while working the shawl.

I think this is a great way to show someone you took the time to take your stitching ability and create something just for them. I encourage everyone to make at least one prayer shawl to give to someone who needs it. There are many sites that can help you find more information about the prayer shawl ministry, as well as a book by Lion Brand: The Prayer Shawl Ministry; Reaching Those in Need. I have listed the sites below and hope you will consider taking on this important project.

Prayer Shawl Sites
http://www.shawlministry.com/
http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/khs-prayerShawl.html
http://www.waitingroomministry.com
http://www.maggiescrochet.com/pages/Crochet_Help/Prayer_Shawl_main.pdf

New Jersey Farmers Rally in Trenton to Oppose DOA Elimination

Today the farmers of New Jersey made their voices heard in Trenton when they protested the proposed elimination of the state’s Department of Agriculture.

Estimates of the crowd varied from 500 to 2,000, not counting the more than 100 tractors and several farm animals. Many of the animals were pigs, signifying the pork that can easily be found in the state’s budget.

I do not keep farm animals, but I have great respect for those who do and the Department of Agriculture provides important support and services for them. If you crochet, knit, spin or weave, the fiber used for your yarn comes from animals that those farmers care for. It is important that we who enjoy fiber arts support those farmers.

According to Rich Nieuwenhuis, president of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, the last time the New Jersey government shut down, approximately 35 percent of the DOA employees were considered essential personnel and still needed to report to work. This was by far the highest percentage of all state agencies. This says how important the department is to the approximately 9,000 farmers of the state.

I hope you will consider contacting your local representatives and remind them that we live in The Garden State and the DOA needs to stay a part of the farming heritage of New Jersey.

To read more about today’s rally, click here.

My LYS Pet Peeve

While checking the forums I am subscribed to on Ravelry, I read an interesting thread about poor experiences at their LYS (local yarn shops). There were several of the same issues mentioned over and over again. Things like poor customer service, lack of marked prices and the ever popular “hard sell.” There was one however that I had to share, as they are definitely not the norm.

One woman told a story about how it wasn’t just that the owner’s child was running wild, but decided she was hungry, so she climbed up on mommy’s lap, lifted her shirt and started to nurse! I have to agree with her, that is definitely something that would make me feel uncomfortable!

My poor experience took place a few years ago. There was a new shop that opened, so of course I had to check it out! I walked in and wasn’t welcomed because the owner was on a personal call. I found a ball of yarn I liked, but there was no price tag. I had to wait for the owner to finish her call to ask the price. She then asked what I planned to knit. I told her I crochet, not knit and I got an “oh” as an answer. I put the yarn back and walked out.

What is the point here? Well, if you are a LYS owner, the guidelines are simple:
1. Say hello/good morning/etc. when someone walks in.
2. Ask if I need help. If I say I am just browsing, don’t follow me around ready to pound. The hard sell doesn’t work for me.
3. Don’t give me an attitude becuase I crochet.
4. Generally be pleasant.
5. If I ask a question and honestly don’t know the answer, just say “I don’t know.” Don’t try to make something up.
6. When I make a purchase, say thank you and have a nice day.

These may sound simple, but sometimes they are easy to forget. I try to patron my local stores as a way to help the local economy. Just be nice!

New Review of The Coat of Many Scrumbles

I am a proud member of the International Free Form Guild. About a year and a half ago, we  completed an amazing project, the coat of many scrumbles. Members of the Guild make scrumbles (small motifs of free form) in underwater tones and jewel tones and shipped them Free Form Artist, Prudence Mampstone, who lives in Australia. She then took all those motifs and created a coat, two wraps and an umbrella cover. She did a glorous job putting the garments together and it was an honor to be a part of it.

The project went so well, Prudence had a book published about it! Recently, Black Purl e-zine did a great review of the book. Click here to read the review. If you would like your own copy of the book, it can be purchased from The Needle Arts Book Shop.

Hyperbolic Crochet

I have long believed that if you have a child struggling with math, teach them crochet. There are a lot of math concepts you can easily find in crochet and other fiber arts. Well, the new concept of hyperbolic crochet has taken the connection between math and crochet to entirely new level!

Cornell mathematics research Dr. Diana Taimina has developed a way to crochet hyperbolic planes. This takes the idea of making geometic shapes to a whole new plane (literally and figuratively!). I love making geometic shapes in my crochet and am fascinated by the whole concept by Dr. Taimina. The beautiful shapes she creates and explains are all mathematically accurate. They are truly amazing!

The Institute for Figuring has plenty of information about the concept and lots of photos. Trust me, you will be in awe! You can also check out Dr. Taimina’s sitefor more information about her development of the hyperbolic plane in crochet.

I have really become fascinated by this concept and even though I am not a huge fan of math (was never one of my best subjects), I am going to start crocheting some hyperbolic pieces and will be sure to post them in the future. I also believe that if I had learned to crochet when I was younger, maybe I would have been better in math!

A Different Kind of “Fiber Arts”

Recently in a town in Ohio, a group of knitters created a unique outdoor art project by knitting a “sweater” on a pear tree. Clinging to its pockets are family photos, poems and other small items, adding to the tree’s charm.

This project is not only bringing smiles to the locals, but it is bringing knitting and fiber arts to the masses. Like knitting, crocheting or spinning in public, it peaks people’s curiosity. What do I recommend? Bring your fiber arts outside as the weather warms and spring lets us spend more time out of the house. Grab a cup of coffee or tea at your local coffee shop and sit and work on your projects. A week or two ago a friend from work and I went to Starbucks at lunch. I worked on a baby gift for a friend and she worked on a blanket for her youngest son. Several times people came up to us to ask what we were doing and how their grandmother (aunt, other member of their family) used to knit or crochet and brought up good memories from their childhood. Instead of complaining about the interruption, I would talk about your project excitedly and encourage them to take up the craft!

To read more about the Ohio yarn tree, click here. It is a great story!

March Is National Crochet Month

March is National Crochet Month. What can you do to celebrate you ask? Well, how about teaching someone to crochet? You could make a donate a project for charity. Learn a new stitch. Join the CGOA (Crochet Guild of America) and get in contact with other crocheters.

The CGOA has a great page with tons of links to charities, sites with stitch patterns and more to celebrate the month. You can check it out at: http://www.crochet.org/.

I cannot tell you all how crochet has changed my life. It has put me in contact with people I never would’ve met otherwise and am proud to call them my friends. I have tough many people to crochet and have developed a second income from it. I learned about Freeform crochet, which I LOVE! You can check out that great art form at www.freeformcrochet.comIt is simply amazing!

No matter what you do decide to do this month to celebrate, value your love for crochet and share it with someone else!

I would love to hear from all of you how you learned and what crochet has meant to you!

My Latest Purchase

Let’s face it, we all love to buy yarn, even if you don’t have a project in mind.

Recently, I had a gift certificate at Flying Fingers Yarn Shop that was in desperate need of being spent. So, I looked all over the site and made two purchases.

The first was a beautiful yarn from Manos Del Uruguay. I love the yarn from Manos. It is a cooperative of women in rural Uruguay that hand spin and hand dye their yarn as a way to provide economic opportunities to their area. I purchased a skein in Stellar Multi. It is just gorgeous! If you ever have the opportunity to purchase yarn from these special ladies, I promise you won’t be disappointed. The colors are just amazing and you will be helping provide economic stability to the area.

I also purchased a Serendipity Scarf Pin, which I have wanted to get for a while. I asked that they picked one in the blue/green family and I am very pleased with their pick! The colors of their pins are very vibrant and I can’t wait to wear it.