I keep seeing all of these cute little crochet animals on IG and I wanted to try and make some. Now that I have a child (and know more people with children) I figured these darling animals would make great gifts for birthdays and the holiday season.
I am not a real cat fan, but this one was just irresistible. The pattern I followed was from https://paintitcolorful.blogspot.com and I used Rowan Handknit Cotton with a 3.5mm hook. The modification I made were adding the stripes to the body. I couldn’t quite judge if I would run out of yarn so I added them to give myself a little more yardage with the lilac color. I sewed eyes on the face and added a pink nose to up the cuteness factor. All in all this kitty is quite charming.
Katoomba, Australia is about 2 hours by train from downtown Sydney. As you saw in my last post we visited the Blue Mountains and Katoomba is one of the easiest ways to get access to the mountains. Since our adventures in Sydney have kept us busy I hadn’t been able go to a yarn shop. On a whim, I googled ‘yarn shops in Katoomba’ and to my luck one popped up! The yarn gods were smiling upon me.
The Granny Square is a cute shop about 400m from the Katoomba Train Station. It is situated right across from the Street Art Walk. When I entered the shop I noted that there was a winter sale! Woot woot! My goal was to find either some cotton yarn (for a future top) or some great sock yarn.
The sales associate was friendly and she let you do your shopping independently. Several customers had questions and she was more than happy to help. The store stocked mostly Morris and Co Yarns. This is a company that started in Sydney as a needlework business and then in the 2000s added yarn sales. The Granny Square also stocked quite a bit of Manos de Uruguay as well as Rowan yarn. The sock yarn selection was decent (German wools), but to my surprise the husband turned down picking out yarn for a hand knit pair! 😱 No worries! More yarn for me! The cotton selection was pretty limited, but I did manage to score 4 of these pretties.
They are 100% Pima Cotton and feel oh so soft. Plus they were really affordable ($27AUD for 4 skeins). A tank top or short sleeve top is in the foreseeable future.
The Granny Square was a cute shop. They stocked basic accessories, pattern books, and lots of wool to keep you happy. The sales associate was friendly and accessible. The shop prices were overall affordable, but the selection was a bit limited. If you are ever in Katoomba or the surrounding area I suggest you stop by for a peek in the shop!
Currently, my husband and I are in Japan. We are really loving it. The people are lovely and the food is fantastic. Before we arrived I did a little research about yarn shopping. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few sources to locate yarn stores. I used a list from Travel Knitter as well as Knitmap. Just my luck there was a craft store about 1 km from our hotel! The description sounded like this place was a crafter’s heaven.
Okadaya is located off the Shinjuku metro stop across from “Godzilla Road.” Okadaya stocks fabric, yarn, buttons, sewing notions…etc. I headed right for the yarn floor (Floor 5). The area was spacious and there was quite a selection to choose from. I also appreciated that the staff didn’t hover, but when I had a question they were friendly and helpful.
Most of the brands stocked were new to me. There were European brands as well as Japanese. I loved that they had all of the yarn out for petting! Okadaya’s stock was mainly wool, but I did manage to find some cotton yarn. I have two more knit tops that I want to make for summer. I purchased NaturaXL (aran weight) and Natura (fingering weight yarn).
My husband was with me and asked for some more hand knitted socks. Funny how whenever I go to the yarn store with him we walk away with a skein for him too. He found a pretty cool sock yarn by Opal. They took famous paintings and applied the colors to the yarn. My husband chose the colorway inspired by Le Café, le soir as he is partial to blue.
I also remembered that my Blaster sweater still needed some buttons. I went down one floor down to the button section. With so many choices I really had to stay focused. I ended up choosing buttons with a green and blue mosaic. I am not sure if they are the best fit. If they don’t work with my Blaster sweater I am sure I can find something else to knit up to go with them. 😉
Okadaya was a great experience. The shop had good prices (as compared to yarn prices in the US) and a variety of items that appeal to all crafters. Despite not specializing in yarn, I left feeling excited with my new purchases.
Until Next Time,
If you are interested in learning more my about our travels in Japan please visit Smithberrys Abroad.
Every year my husband’s aunt hosts Green’s Day at her ranch. Basically, it is a bunch of crafty people getting together to eat, drink, and create holiday wreaths.The barn is over a 100 years old and is one of the largest barns in county. The rustic ambiance, twinkle lights, and smell of pine was the perfect way for me to start the holiday season.
It was requested that I make a gold and red colored wreath to honor my husband’s other love…the San Francisco 49ers football team 🙄. For my wreath, I used glittered and traditional poinsettias and some wired ribbon to dress up the pine branches. It took me awhile, but my wreath was born.
I also took a stab at make a cork Christmas tree that I saw on Pinterest. I am not really pleased with how it came out…doesn’t look as good as the picture 😕. I might try to add some colored ribbon to jazz it up.
What are some of your favorite things to do to get ready for Christmas?
Crafts are a great way to get kids talking. Plus they are a hands-on so even the antsy kids have a way to keep themselves busy. This year I wanted to the keep the cards sweet and simple. Paint is always a pain (long wait to dry, messy) and paper collage can be tricky for the little ones (all the cutting and glue management). I stumbled upon this cute card on Pinterest from Teacher’s Pay Teachers. Well 5 minutes and a little glue later and Tah Dah!!!
What I think I like most about this card are the awesome number of adjective possibilities that kids could come up with regarding their moms. I am sure that some of them will have me cracking up.
Christmas is only 16 days away…can you believe it? I am still puzzled as to how fast this year has gone by. I know that many retailers have had Christmas stuff out since October, but I really like to get in the holiday mood closer to the 25th. In my mind, celebrating too early ruins the novelty of Christmas. I generally like to start talking about winter (think snowmen, penguins, and mittens) at the beginning of December with my students. Around week 2 or 3 we begin to talk about Christmas (we go on break the week before the 25th). Most kids are dying to talk about it sooner, but I try to divert them (haha).
This year’s first project: Christmas Trees
Materials: 1/4 of a paper plate, green paint, paintbrush, wooden craft stick, paper/stickers/jewels, stapler
Time: 10 minutes
1) Staple the wooden craft stick to the back of the paper plate.
2) Paint the paper plate green. Let dry for 5 minutes.
3) Apply stickers and/or jewels to decorate your tree.
This craft is super quick and makes an excellent prop for plays or assemblies. 🎄Enjoy!
The Love Knitting Blog posted a funny article about others reactions to knitting. As someone who knits in public often, I have heard almost all of them. One that I feel should be added to this list is: “Omg! How long does that take you?!?” I get it people are curious. At this point these reactions don’t phase me. Often times I suggest that they take a stab at it. 😉
What are some of your favorite reactions to your knitting?
I blame Michael’s Craft Stores. If they didn’t send me multiple emails a week advertising glorious sales then maybe I wouldn’t have this desire to craft excessively (haha). Due to these emails, I headed to Michael’s on Friday to indulge myself a little. I ended up staying out of the yarn section, but did wander into the floral section. Once I walked down the first aisle I knew I was in trouble. The colors of the beautiful spring blooms had me entranced. Pretty spring pastels have that affect on me.
Why was I in the florals section you ask? Well as I am in the early stages of wedding planning, I am beginning to realize how expensive it is to host a wedding reception. One of the most expensive (and non-essential) items is flowers. A little research on the internet lead me to the possibility of using silk flowers. Since florals were 50% off at Michael’s last week, I decided to take a stab at making an arrangement and see if I liked the look of the silk flowers.
Here is my finished result:
Not too bad huh?
I used a foam cube, wire cutters, and silk flowers (hydrangea, peonies, roses) to create this piece. I took maybe 20 minutes to cut all of the flowers and arrange them. I love how it adds a bit of spring time to our dining table. After having it in the house for a couple of days, I am still on the fence about using fake flowers at my wedding reception. I think it is the fact that I love real flowers so much that using fake ones feels like I am cheating myself. Good thing I have a year to figure it all out.
What are your feelings about fake florals? Are they a “yay” or a “ney”?
That’s right it’s back! I busted out my Wonder Knitter last night for a quick little project. Not like I need another project to work on. 😳 (I have two others in progress.) However, my favorite simple headband (black I-cord made on my Wonder Knitter) is looking a little shabby. Since I wear it so much, a new one was much needed.
20 minutes later and Tah-dah! My favorite Natural Hair Accessory!
I am glad my “stash monster” found a good home. Another positive is that I uncovered a lot of scrap yarn that I had forgotten about. I am embarking on a challenge to create a star-shaped afghan for our spare bedroom. So far the blanket it about 28 1/2 inches across. I am using a Size H hook as some of my scraps are sport and DK weight.
Keep checking back for progress! What are you working on today?