We are slowly approaching 3 months of isolation here in China. Life in the city is beginning to move back to pre- Coronavirus times, but you can sense the trepidation. There is still anxiety out there of contracting the virus. One positive sign is out school just made some of the final decisions to reopen in a few weeks. We will finish out the last six weeks of school on campus. The plans are a little sad for the kids (e.g., They can only play in designated areas with no equipment and at a distance from each other) but I am sure they will adapt.
For the last month, I have really been on a crochet kick. Especially with making toys. One of the fun projects I embarked on is making crochet vegetables for my daughter. Who knew produce could be so fun?
I am attempting to use up my scrap yarn, which has driven a lot of the color/ veggie choices. So far we have a cucumber, mushroom, bell pepper, tomato, and eggplant. Currently in the works is some broccoli and a carrot.
I am not using patterns, nor do I have extensive crochet construction knowledge, so I am just going with the good old intuition method. The hardest one to capture has been the red bell pepper- or capsicum as my Australian friends call it- due to the bumpy contours. With this one I used triple crochet stitches mixed with single crochet stitches to try to get the bumps near the stem just right. Not bad huh?
My mushroom needs a little something I think. Depending on what angle you are looking from, people have confused it with garlic. Maybe it is the color?
I will continue plodding along with this little project as the scraps make themselves available. It is a good filler for those times I am between knitting projects.
Innsbruck is such a charming town I almost have to pinch myself to make sure it is real. Imagine pastel colored buildings seated in front of snowy mountains that follow the curves of a gorgeous river. This is Innsbruck in a nutshell.
Being that the town is set in a snowy place I suspected there was a yarn store. My suspicions were correct. I found this small shop on the outside of the Old Town.
Glattverkehrt is about what the sign advertises… wool. If you are not a wool lover this yarn shop is not for you. Aside from alpaca and a very tiny cotton section, the stock in this shop is all about wool. This disappointed me a little as I was looking for a bit more variety as I live in a super hot climate and wool can be worn maybe 1-2 months per year.
Another warning… this shop is very narrow. I was with my infant and her stroller barely fit in the shop with enough room to walk around. However, the shop keeper was super nice and helped me get the stroller in and out of the shop without destroying anything.
A plus side to Glattverkehrt was that it had decent price points as well as a great stock of sturdy sock yarn. This yarn is the stuff you use when you want socks to last and last. So did I buy anything? I did! I purchased a DK weight Austrian wool. I picture it will be a nice cowl or maybe tunic for the baby.
This shop wasn’t terrible, but it wouldn’t be my go to LYS as I like to knit with a little bit of everything. What kind of fiber do you like stocked in your LYS?
I have a fickle relationship with crochet. I enjoy the intricacy of the stitches and the ease of incorporating color into a piece. However, the creation process is just not as relaxing as knitting for me. Knitting has the advantage because I don’t have to look at my hands all the time. With this being said, I generally have a crochet project languishing in my yarn bins. Case in point this blanket. It has been sitting around for about a year. Every now and then I pick it up and add a few rows and then it gets cast aside once again.
Last week, I decided I had reached a point that this WIP should move to FO status. It is big enough to be a baby blanket or lap blanket if your thighs are cold. I used acrylic based yarns with a size 7.0mm hook. I just made up the stitch design as I went along. I kept the general idea of a granny square while adding some other elements.
I need to give this blanket a good wash and blocking and then it will be all set to find a new home. I don’t think I will search for a crochet project anytime soon, but I never know when my hands will get the itch to change it up.
I whipped up a couple of quick items for the husband and baby to join the “Spooky Walk” hosted by our co-workers. 👻
The outfit was a gift that was too cute to resist. I made a simple wool crochet headband to top it off.
When my husband saw the cat costume he wanted to be a mouse. So I dove into the stash and whipped up a simple knit beanie with crochet mouse ears. The two of them looked quite cute as we walked around trick or treating.
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!
Recently, I had a lull between knitting projects. I couldn’t quite decide what to work on next. My Ravelry queue had about 30 choices, but the choices just made me more indecisive. So instead, I decided to investigate the excitement around Tunisian Crochet.
I gathered some scrap yarn and a hook and settled in front of my computer. I figured out the mechanics in about 10 minutes. If you know the basics of crochet, Tunisian Crochet isn’t that far off. The difference is you work the piece from right to left and DON’T turn the work.
I chose to work the Tunisian Knit Stitch, which to an inexperienced eye looks just like knitting. You can notice a slight difference in the back of the swatch. The look and weight of the garment is slightly thicker than knitting.
I ended up really liking the final look of the stitch. However, in order to make anything larger than a swatch I will need to invest in an Afghan hook (super long crochet hook). I don’t know if there will be much Tunisian Crochet in my future, but it was fun to try it out.
Have you tried Tunisian Crochet? What did you think about it?
This weekend I headed to Guangzhou City to trying find some yarn. This took quite a lot of preparation beforehand. Fist of all, I don’t speak or read Chinese so I needed to research where to find yarn and the mode of transportation to take. I ended up concluding that I could take the Metro to Sun Yet-Sen University to the big textile marketplace.
This place was huge! I didn’t know where to begin looking. So I began wandering. I weaved through the shops filled with fabric, beads, buttons, and embroidery patches for about 20 minutes. Eventually I came to an alley with some furry fabric. Maybe it was my inner yarn radar, but I felt a pull to investigate this alley.
Luckily, my yarn radar was correct. I found 4 or 5 shops with some yarn in them. Let me just say these yarn shops were not like the US. They had all of the yarn stacked up and it was still in the plastic. I had to be very very careful while shopping. I didn’t want a mountain of yarn toppling down on me.
I ended up purchasing 6 skeins of yarn for ~$11USD. I bought 4 skeins of acrylic yarn (2 red, 2 blue) that were very very soft. At my new school, I am teaching a kids’ knitting class so this yarn will be perfect for them to practice with.
I also bought something called “milk cotton.” Not sure what that is, but it feels like a soft cotton blend to me. I choose blue as my friend is having a baby in December. I am still looking for a good pattern, but I am thinking a little cardigan would be best.
Overall, this was an interesting shopping experience. I really didn’t like that the yarn not out on display. I am so use to the tactile experience of yarn shopping. I am going to still keep an eye out for an actual yarn shop so keep checking back for my progress.
My Knit Picks Yarn is here! Woot woot! Last week, I succumbed to Knit Picks marketing email. I clicked and looked and clicked and looked and now my goodies are here 😊.
I wanted to design something in solid rainbow colors. So I selected some Shine Sport and Comfy Sport, which are sport weight Pima Cotton/acrylic blends. I am thinking a cowl, but I am not 100% committed to that idea. I also purchased 2 skeins of Felici in Limeade and Slumber Party. Both skeins remind me of delicious salt water taffy. I couldn’t resist the fun colors.
Knit Picks is a solid online shopping option for yarn if you are being cost conscious. They have a variety of affordable selections that are not just acrylic-based. Unlike big box retailers, Knit Picks stocks wool, cotton, linen, and alpaca in 6 different weights. So if you haven’t peruse their site I definitely suggest a visit.
Headbands are a great spring transition accessory. They keep your ears warm on those nippy days and are a fashionable way to hide a bad hair day 😉. Headbands make for great stashbusters as they use around 30-40 grams of yarn.They also are great gifts for kids, teens, and co-workers.
Flowers are a easy way to adore a basic knitted band. I generally crochet them, but I also like to experiment with I-cords. Here are some of my original headbands listed in my Etsy shop.