Tag Archive | crocheting

Day Seven: Your Time, Your Place

Day Seven (Sunday 17th May): Your Time, Your Place
Where and how do you take time out to knit and/or crochet? Maybe you don’t take time out at all and instead have your needles twirling as you try to juggle a multitude of other tasks with no ‘spare’ time to think of. Maybe you enjoy nothing more than to crochet whilst winding down from a yoga session, chatting with some friends in a nearby cafe.

Whether social or solitary, tell readers about your crafting time and space, and where you either most enjoy (or can simply find a few snatched moments) to turn yarn into something even more beautiful.

There are two main places you will find me with hooks and needles. Either on my couch in my living room (probably watching Golden Girls) or in Mom’s chair at my parents’ place. Or on the deck in either place. But it’s very rare that I leave home without some project in tow. I’ve stitched during my son’s swimming lessons and soccer games. During his Christmas concert. Waiting to pick him up at school. At the doctor’s office. At the dentist’s office. At Tim Hortons. At the movies. Camping. By the waterfalls. From scenic lookouts. In other words, there isn’t a place I won’t stitch. I think it’s more rare to see me without something in my hands that it is with!

This makes sense though because fibre is my career. Of course I’ll probably never make the same amount I would with a conventional job, but I’ve come to accept that. I would rather work 16 hours at something I enjoy than 8 hours at a higher wage at something that will stress me out, send me into anxiety/panic attacks and flare up depression. I’ve been there, done that. I won’t do it again.

So this concludes the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week. I had a blast! I hope to see you next year! Thank you for dropping by.


Day Six: Polls Apart

Day Six (Saturday 16th May): Polls Apart
Almost every blogging platform offers a way to easily put together and host a poll, and polls, surveys and questionnaires can be a great way of engaging with your audience and readership. There are times when readers do not feel that they want or have time to think, compose and post an answer or response to a post, but short polls can often be completed with just a few clicks.

Importantly, survey findings and poll results can give bloggers an absolutely wonderful source of information to blog about. Whether you are looking at basic statistics of the percentage of knitters, crocheters and those who enjoy both or the results of a more opinion-led set of questions, you will be gathering a greater understanding of your readers and may find out some surprising results.

Think of a knitting or crochet related question (it can be literally anything from favourite yarn weight or colour to which month readers believe they complete most projects) and host a simple survey. Hopefully once Knitting And Crochet Blog Week is over this year you’ll have that information as inspiration for yet another blog post when you are ready to write about your findings.

Again, I didn’t get this done until today (Sunday). I was out yesterday helping a friend skirt fleece while her husband sheared. While this is important, I figured you’d all understand that playing with fleece comes first. I know you’d do the same 😉

Anyway, if you would be so kind as to answer the questions on the pole below, I would really appreciate it. I would love to add more posts geared to what interests others. I’ve sort of been using my blog as a diary, but if I can also use it to fan the flames of other fibre junkies, you bet I’m going to do it! Thank you in advance.

Knit and Crochet Blog Week, Day One: If You Were Yarn.

Day One: If You Were Yarn
If you were a type or brand of yarn, which would you be? Are you a classic pure wool? Is there extra tension but a bit of bounce in you because of your high twist? Would you be more like a high-maintainance, strictly hand-wash fluffy angora or a ‘bring it on’ acrylic, bravely heading into the world of possible baby-sick laundering disasters knowing that you will always come out bright and unharmed?

Spend some time browsing yarns and getting to know their qualities, and decide which yarn you think best matches your personality.

This one is pretty easy because of the spinning. I’m sure my answer will change as I discover more fibres on my spinning journey. But for now…

I would be a handspun Alpaca/Corriedale blend, with some Angelina. My colours would consist of all the colours of the rainbow in long blocks. I would be spun Z/S because as much as I love knitting, I think I would want to be a Crocodile Stitch item.

The Alpaca represents my softer side. While I love my day-to-day hippie/country girl thing, I do enjoy getting dressed up and being “fancy”. Fancy, yet functional.

The Corriedale represents my more durable side, the stability that I offer my son. While he needs to discover the world on his own, I’m always the strength quietly doing my job in the background. As with the Corriedale in this blend, it also offers strength and stability. It helps the alpaca hold its shape, just as I help my son hold his as he faces some of the injustices this world has to offer. I’m warm, soft and snuggly, yet durable and protective.

The Angelina… Well, you HAVE to have some bling! I’m a colour/sparkle freak. I think it makes the world just a little more interesting. This shows my fun-loving side. And is possible further proof that I may have been a bird in a former life.

As for the colours, they represent my many moods. But put them all together and it makes me very happy. I’m blown away with how colour affects me. When I’m down, I bust out a project with bright, vibrant colours. It helps pick me up. Add some sparkle to that, and oh my goodness! As for the long sections, while my moods vary, they don’t vary enough to be variegated (which I’m sure my loved ones are thankful for! hehehe)

I would want to spin myself. I have a lot of energy (and a lot of baggage) that only I can take care of. Only I would know how to handle all of that. And I would LOVE stitched up into this pattern.

This is a spinning project that I’ve been dreaming about for awhile. I’m hoping that I can make it a reality this summer (or at least dye the yarn). I don’t know if I’d be able to stitch it up though. I have a feeling that it may become a “petting skein” hehehe

6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week

6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week

6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week

Last year I dropped the ball, but I’m taking part again this year! I’m going to do my best to keep up with the posts. It would be a lot easier if my awesome designer friends weren’t on fire with some amazing new designs. But I’ll suck it up hehehe

If you would like to take part, you can find the details here at Eskimimi Makes’ blog.

Crocheting 101:Patterns Featuring Single Crochet

As promised in my previous post, Crocheting 101:The Stuff You Need to Know Before You Pick Up a Hook, this post is going to provide a roundup of links to patterns featuring the single crochet stitch (sc). You will find the chain stitch (ch) in there as well (I don’t think I’ve run across a pattern without it). Some patterns are free, some you will have to pay for. Some are very easy, others are a little more zesty.

Crocheting 101:Patterns Featuring Single Crochet

  1. Catnip Pouch Cat Toy by Simply Collectible Crochet (free)
  2. Easy Camisole by CrochetKim.com (free)
  3. Simple Rainbow Bracelet by Jessie at Home (free)
  4. Keychain Bag by Posh Pooch Designs (free)
  5. Playin’ Hooky Disc by Playin’ Hooky (paid)
  6. Simple Single Crochet Hat by KT and the Squid (free)
  7. Lips Applique and Cozy/Koozie by Simply Collectible Crochet (free)
  8. Boricua Patriotic Infant Baby Tank Top by CrochetKim.com (free)
  9. Color Me Happy Kerchief by Jessie at Home (free)
  10. Tuxedo Baby Top and Short Set by CrochetKim.com (free)
  11. The Graph Beanie by Playin’ Hooky (paid)
  12. Bob’s! Easy Tweed Blanket by KT and the Squid (free)
  13. InfantJogging Suit by CrochetKim.com (free)

I hope you enjoy the links! I’ll be working on putting another stitch-themed post together really soon. Thank you for stopping by!

I have been asked to provide tips on reading patterns. This request came after I had started putting this post together. It would make sense to have a post addressing this, but I wanted to get moving with the single crochet post because I know there were some people counting on it. I will backtrack and go through some of the features you will find in a pattern. Look for this post coming soon.

Crocheting 101:The Stuff You Need to Know Before You Pick Up a Hook

A dear friend of mine excitedly sent me a text the other day with a photo of a ball of yarn and a hook. Yes, she’s been HOOKED. My job is done here.

Oh, wait. I can’t leave her high and dry! hehehe

I was chatting with her about it and of course she was full of questions. There are a lot of questions that come to mind when you’re first starting out. I’m going to try to answer some of them. The questions I want to focus on are ones that aren’t generally covered in tutorials or patterns.

What is a dye lot?
This is a question that many beginners don’t even know to ask, yet it is so important if you’re going to be requiring more than one ball of yarn for your projects.

Yarn is dyed in batches, both commercially and by those of us who do it by hand. While every effort is made to stay consistent with colour formulas, there is always a chance of some unknown variable causing the results to come out a little bit “off.” For example, I had three balls of Bernat’s Handicrafter, all the same colour but with different dye lots. The difference in colour was mind-blowing when you held the three together.

Here are 2 examples of labels with dye lots:

20140503-143021.jpg   20140503-143012.jpg
As you can see, the one on the left specifically says “Dye Lot.” It’s there on the label on the right, but it doesn’t say it. One way you can tell is that if it looks like it’s been printed independently of the label. It looks like it’s just been stamped on there (which would make sense… They make the labels up and add the dye lot numbers as they go).

What kind of yarn should I get?
This all depends on what you’re planning to do with it. If your intention is to just practice the stitches, I would suggest a value worsted weight such as Red Heart’s Super Saver. That way if crocheting isn’t your “thing”, you’re not out that much money. It’s also a personal choice too. Some people want to start off with cotton. I find it’s really nice to work with. Others already know they are going to love the art, so they invest in some wool. I would suggest staying away from novelty yarn until you get the hang of crocheting. I’ve been crocheting for almost 28 years and I still find it a challenge in some cases.

If you’re planning on eventually working on a pattern, I would suggest getting the kind of yarn that the pattern calls for. You can still practice your stitches and then when you’re ready, you can start the pattern.

A note about Red Heart Super Saver:
I, along with many others, find this yarn to sometimes be scratchy and rough. I do use it, but it is primarily for slippers, bags and things that don’t need to be soft. I would NOT use it for things like afghans, sweaters or hats. Their Super Saver does seem to be getting better in quality, but it’s still not there yet in my opinion. One thing you can do to help this is to wash your yarn in a mesh bag before you use it.

A note about Bernat Handicrafter and Lily Sugar ‘N Cream: It has a tendency to lose its colour over time. Some of the colours in their lines also bleed. I suggest hand washing items made from it to preserve the colour (ALL of your handmade items should be hand washed anyway). It’s also best if you can soak the item in vinegar and water before you part with it or use it. Bleeding and fading is common in cotton yarn.

What hook size should I get?
Again, this depends on what your intentions are. If you’re just looking to practice, I would suggest a bigger hook like a J/6mm. It is often used in patterns for things such as hats and scarves.

If you’re planning on using a pattern, it will give you a suggested hook size. Once you get “hooked” on crocheting, you will find that you’ll probably want to purchase a set. Different patterns call for different hook sizes. It’s handy to have them available when you need them.

What type of hook should I get?
There’s a few categories when it comes to types of hooks. There’s brands, shapes and the material it’s made out of to name a few.

There are various brands out there such as Bates, Aero, Knitters Pride, KnitPicks and Boye. I primarily use Bates. Again, it’s a matter of personal preference.

Hooks can be made of materials such as aluminum, wood, bamboo and steel. I’ve found that the smaller hooks are generally made of steel.

There are also different kinds of grips as well. If your hand bothers you or you have arthritis, you may want to consider an ergonomic hook. The ergonomic hooks can get quite pricey, but it’s worth it. I priced out different hook sets, but I ended up going with a set of hooks with polymer clay handles from NK Designs on Etsy. I got them a little over 2 years ago and they have been worth every penny.


What is the right way to hold the hook?
There is no “right” way to hold the hook. It’s whatever is most comfortable for you. There are two basic ways though:


The pencil grip


The knife grip

I use the knife grip. I’ve tried the pencil hold and I just can’t seem to get it to work for me. To each their own.

What is a gauge and why is it important?
Gauge is the number of stitches and/or the number of rows/rounds it takes to achieve a specified measurement. For example:

15 stitches and 15 rows in sc = 4” x 4” (10 cm x 10 cm) using a J/6mm hook

Some designers include a checkpoint in their patterns. That means that they will have you measure your work after a certain row/round to ensure that it is the same size that the designer has. On a side note, I LOVE it when designers do this because you don’t have to do a separate swatch.

It is ESSENTIAL to ensure you match the gauge in order to achieve the same measurements in the pattern. In other words, if you want to be sure that hat fits, you need to match the gauge.

Gauge is affected by a few different variables such as how tight or loose you stitch, the kind/brand of hook you use and the kind/brand of yarn you use. For some people, if they were to do a swatch with a Boye hook and one with a Bates hook, they would find a size difference.

If you find that your swatch is smaller than the given measurements, it means that you need to go up a hook size or two. If it’s bigger, then you need to go down.

Many crocheters do tend to skip over the gauge swatch. It is a pain in the neck to do, but it’s better to have to frog a few rows than to frog a whole project because it’s too big or too small.

Wait, what does frog mean? It’s a term commonly used when you have to “rip it rip it” hehehe

How do I find the end of the yarn in a skein? Should I wrap it in a ball?
I’m not going to lie… Sometimes it can be tricky to find the end of the yarn in a skein. It MAY also cause some colourful language too LOL From what I’ve found, Red Heart’s Super Saver is the absolute winner in this category. It’s very rare that I haven’t been able to find an end on one of their skeins. I haven’t found a magic trick for the other kinds. I just stick my fingers in, hold my breath and hope I can find it by fishing around. If not, I end up just pulling. Sometimes it works out, other times it’s a mess. I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any that I’ve overlooked.

I was asked if I wind my yarn into balls. I don’t as a rule. If I can find the end and it’s not too messy, I generally just keep it in the original format. If I can’t find the end and it turns into one big mess, then I will wind it into a ball. Now, there are exceptions to the rules here. If I get a big ball of yarn, I will wind it into balls on my ball winder. Again, personal preference.

If you do decide to wind your yarn into a ball, you may want to make or buy a yarn bowl. I don’t have one, but it’s on the “wantwant” list.

What should my first project be?
That’s a personal choice. It comes down to “Do you want instant gratification” or “Are you a go big or go home person?” I was 9 when I started crocheting. My first project was an afghan. It just consisted of chains and double crochets. If you’d rather hold something in your hands sooner, then something like a dishcloth or a scarf may be more to your liking.

Where can I find patterns?
Oh boy, THAT is a loaded question! There a lot of sites out there with free and paid patterns. I’m also planning on doing some roundups of patterns with particular stitches. If you don’t know what a roundup is, it means that I will put up a post with links to various patterns. It saves you from having to do the leg work.

In the meantime if you feel like searching, I’ll give you a few links. There are both paid and free patterns. Good luck. DISCLAIMER: Keep Me in Stitchez will not be held responsible if you are sucked into the pattern vortex and forget to come up for air. You take full responsibility for the risk of contracting PAS (Pattern Acquisition Syndrome).

Can I share patterns I buy or find for free?

You can share the links and where you got them from, but you CANNOT share the patterns themselves. That includes emailing, posting them in groups, uploading them to patterns sites… In other words, if somebody asks you for a pattern, please give them the link.

Can you suggest a couple of links to get me started with stitches and basic projects?
As a matter of fact I can! I’m also planning on doing some pattern roundups that include links to patterns with specific stitches. Here are a couple of links to get you started:

Just the Basics from Oombawka Designs

Free Crochet Patterns and Tutorials from Look At What I Made

Crochet Tutorials from Petals to Picots

Kim Guzman’s YouTube Channel

A few other helpful things to keep in mind…

  • As you can see, crocheting involves a lot of choices based on what YOU like. There’s a lot of room for creativity too. Go with it!
  • You WILL make mistakes. Everyone does. That is the beauty of handmade. If it’s a little one, don’t sweat it. But if it’s really noticeable, it’s okay to frog it. I still frog projects from time to time. Is it fun? No. Is it frustrating. VERY. But it’s all part of the package.
  • There are a lot of good paid patterns out there as well as free ones. If you see a pattern you like that’s paid and you’re wondering if it’s worth it, look for reviews. I try to post reviews of the patterns I’ve done here on my blog. You can find them by putting in “pattern reviews” in the search box in the right column. If want to know my two cents on a pattern that I haven’t posted, feel free to ask. I may have done it, but haven’t written about it (the reviews are a recent thing here)

I hope this post was helpful. Stay tuned for the upcoming pattern roundups!

5th Annunal Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week Launch!!!!

The announcement I’ve been waiting for!!!!

The 5th Annual Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week!!!!!!

I took part in this event for the first time last year. I really enjoyed it! It gave me a lot to think about. It was opportunity to reflect on why I enjoy these forms of fibre arts so much. And let’s face it… My blogging has been a serious fail lately.

For those who don’t know, I’ve recently lost Mom. It’s been killing me. I’m doing my best to keep my chin up, but it’s been a rough go. She was IS my best friend. I miss her like crazy, but I think I’ve been doing well at moving forward. I know that’s what she would want. And I KNOW this week is going to help me. So onward and upward!

The post says that the topics are going to be posted this week. I just hope that I can remember that the official week isn’t until May LOL