Monday, December 26, 2011

Episode 13: Merry Not Contrary

Welcome to the 13th episode of the Shorty's Sutures podcast! Today begins with a super fast recap of what Christmas Wishlist wish came true and what stitchy projects are underway.

Finished Objects

  • Shorty's Classic Cowl in Sheepish yarn

  • Plum Crazy Cowl in Cascade 220 Superwash

What's in my ears?

What's in my bag?

What's in my stash?

  • Cascade 220 Superwash - Gray

What's in my library?

Well friends, that’s it for this episode. Feel free to send me an email at, find me on Facebook, Twitter or join the ShortysSutures Ravelry group. Thanks so much for joining me and I do hope you’ll join me again next time.

Until then, keep those hand stitchin’!

Friday, December 16, 2011

What Are You Waiting For?

I'm waiting for several things right now.... the work day to wrap up so I can start my weekend; the weekend to start so I can pick up my handsome son then head out with Hubby to meet some good friends for dinner, then maybe watch A Christmas Story when we get home.

I'm waiting for a few more presents to arrive so I can wrap 'em up and stash 'em under the Christmas tree. I'm waiting to finish up the last little bit of Christmas shopping.

I'm waiting for Christmas.

Then I'll be waiting for my faux Christmas celebration with my maternal side of the family in Santa Fe, New Mexico where we'll exchange our gifts and go sledding in the wonderful snow! And then we'll bring in the New Year together!

The last two weeks of this month are going to be grand, I tells ya. And, I'm just waiting for it all to get here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Twinkly Lights and Squishy Noses

Well, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. The holidays somehow crept right up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder, but I'm glad they're here. I'm still not finished with shopping, but I'm getting closer to being finished.

The holidays just aren't filled with holiday spirit unless you have a few beverages with a twist. How about a Gingerbread Mallow in your Hot Chocolate? This is a wonderfully delicious treat that I highly recommend you partake of.

Over the weekend Hubby and I managed to make time to frolic in Fort Worth under some beautifully lit trees with a good friend who came to town for a visit.

[gallery columns="2" orderby="rand"]


I hope you're taking the time to find some Christmas spirit wherever you're at, too. Wishing all of you the happiest of holiday seasons!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Episode 12: Brevity

Since wrapping up the cowl craziness I had during the last episode, I've managed to practice my knits and purls and whip up a beaning for my son. I share bits of my Christmas wishlist and holiday preparations so far.

Finished Objects

[caption id="attachment_173" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A teen too busy to look up to show off his beanie!"][/caption]

What's in my bag?

What's in my ears?

  • This section was omitted in the podcast as I'm listening to all my faves that have been featured before

What's in my library?

[amazon_image id="1118030052" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia (Teach Yourself VISUALLY Consumer)[/amazon_image]

Well friends, that’s it for this episode. Feel free to send me an email at, find me on Facebook, Twitter or join the ShortysSutures Ravelry group. Thanks so much for joining me and I do hope you’ll join me again next time.

Until then, keep those hand stitchin'!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Secret to Staying In Touch

Do you ever feel 'out of the loop' when it comes to crocheting or knitting? Sometimes its easy to get sidetracked from our projects, especially if life is dragging you around from one place to the next. I've found that carrying a project with me everyday helps me make time to keep my hook or needles going in the yarny loop, so to speak.

I've been making slow but steady progress on my Plum Crazy Cowl since I frogged it did the Michael Finnegan begin again. Instead of stitching a knit 5, purl 5 combo I've been knitting five rows, purling 5 rows, knitting 5 more and only purling 2 then back to knitting. I'm finding that I prefer to knit versus purl, but maybe that will change as I get more experience under my belt.

[caption id="attachment_170" align="aligncenter" width="367" caption="Plum Crazy Cowl Take 2"][/caption]

I'm looking forward to podcasting this weekend, but until then I'm staying in touch with the fiber community through all the podcasts I've been listening to. I haven't been able to stitch in person with a group in a few weeks, so it's very comforting to listen to familiar voices while I commute or stitch at home. I find that taking audio podcasts with me on my phone makes staying in touch with my fiber friends much easier, even if I can only just listen to them. It helps me not to feel so out of the loop!

Happy Friday, friends and don't forget to keep those hands stitchin'!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Case of the Curlies

Over the past several months I've made one scarf after another. Honestly, that seems to be my project of choice on a subconscious level. I truly dream of making sweaters and more complicated projects, but I guess deep within my psyche is an impatient need to complete a project quickly.

The scarf I'm currently working on is giving me a bit of trouble. It's curlier than anything I've crocheted in quite some time. I've researched this subject a bit online and found confirmation that single crochet does tend to curl, and that's exactly the stitch I'm using for this scarf.

[caption id="attachment_168" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="The scarf before blocking."]Before Blocking[/caption]

How will I be able to correct this curliness? With my good friend Blocking. You know, blocking is something I didn't learn about until I started listening to Yarncraft podcasts. In all the years I had spent crocheting no one else had ever mentioned to me directly, nor had I heard talk of, blocking anything that I stitched.

If you're not familiar with blocking then don't be afraid. It's really quite a simple task. Basically, you're steaming or washing your finished piece of work then pinning it down in the desired shape while it dries so that your stitches are allowed to settle into the fabric. Different yarns will block differently so make sure to pay attention to the recommended washing instructions on your yarn label. If you're using wool yarn you'll want to make sure you don't felt your fabric unless that's the intended effect.

I haven't had blocking boards or pins in my tool arsenal so I've had to make do with what I have around the house. I have towels and lots of straight pins from sewing, which is pretty much all you need to get started with blocking. I layer two or three bath towels and place them on the floor, then I wash or steam my crocheted pieces according to the yarn label directions. After I have gently removed as much water as possible from the pieces then I lay them out on the towels. I gently stretch and shape the pieces to the size each one is supposed to be, then I use my straight pins to secure the pieces. You may only need to pin down the corners, however you may need to place a pin every few inches. Pay special attention to how quickly your crocheted pieces try to shrink up after you tug on them. The faster the yarn pulls back in the more pins you may need to use. After that just let your pieces dry then you can claim your project to be complete or finish up with any final stitching if needed.

Here is my finished scarf after blocking. For the record I didn't need to use pins this time around. I pulled the scarf into the position it needed to be in while it was wet, then just let it dry. I looked in on it periodically to make sure it was still laying flat while it dried.

[caption id="attachment_167" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="The scarf after blocking."]After Blocking[/caption]

It looks like this case of the curlies was solved after all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Whimsical Detour in Colorful Crochet

I'm not always a morning person. Matter of fact, most mornings I'm pretty irritated that I'm at work before the sun comes up. Sometimes it helps me smile, relax and breathe easier when I have the opportunity to visit a place like this.

There I find bits of whimsical crochet in very soothing colors that remind me I've wanted to make crocheted garlands for over a year now. I still haven't made a single garland that resemble these.  I have visions of what colors I would use to make a crocheted garland, and I have more visions of where I would hang them in my house, but still no garlands quite like these from Emma Lamb.

Last year I did make a few larger garlands, but they've been focused on holiday decoration and not year round whimsy. I supposed these Christmas garlands count for something, but I still dream of sweet delicate garlands that encourage me to twirl in the sunshine.

[caption id="attachment_166" align="aligncenter" width="456" caption="Christmas Garland"][/caption]

Do you have any crocheted garlands that bring you inspiration and positivity?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Episode 11: Cowl Craziness

Today's episode begins by recapping the launch of the Shorty's Classic Cowl. Responses to the free pattern and YouTube videos have been positive and confirm this is a great project for crocheters of any skill level.

[caption id="attachment_161" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Shorty's Classic Cowl (Single Loop)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_162" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Shorty's Classic Cowl (Double Loop)"][/caption]

Finished Objects

Shorty's Classic Cowls for two friends who each ordered two cowls. Yarns used for these infinity scarves have been Malabrigo Worsted, Malabrigo Rios, Cascade Superwash Wool and Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton. Each type of yarn lends unique characteristics to the scarves.

What's in my bag?

  • The fourth Operation Gratitude scarf is well underway with one more to go so that I can reach my goal of completing five scarves

  • The Plum Crazy Cowl is about to be frogged and started over

  • The Orange Sharf has been frogged because two many stitches slid off my needles and I had no idea how to recover them

What's in my ears?

What's in my stash?

Thanks to a few sales through my Etsy shop, I've had a bit of yarn money to help with local economic stimulation. I've recently purchased my first ball of Sheepish in Olive by Vickie Howell, more Perfection by Kraemer  and Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton from my favorite LYS Knitting Fairy in Grand Prairie, Texas.

What's in my library?

I'm still waiting for a publisher to send me a book I won recently, however I have a couple of great online resources to share with you. The Fall 2011 issue of Tangled is out and it includes some wonderful crochet patterns that mix beautiful yarns with modern stitch combinations. Some of the patterns that really piqued my interest were the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Harmony sweater and Emma cardigan.Sign up for the Tangled newsletter here.

Another online resource I want to share is KnitFreedom by Liat Gat. Liat has put together wonderful instructional videos along with a newsletter that includes video the videos right in it. She has lots more videos on her YouTube channel, as well as video e-books and other resources so that you can become a knitting superstar!

My recent pattern purchase is the Vita Capelet (pronounced vee-tah) by Lindsey Stephens a.k.a. Poetry In Yarn on Twitter.

Well friends, that’s it for this episode. Feel free to send me an email at, find me on Facebook, Tout, Twitter or join the ShortysSutures Ravelry group. Thanks so much for joining me and I do hope you’ll join me again next time.

Until then, keep those hands stitchin’!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shorty's First Crochet Pattern

I'm excited to share that I've created my first free crochet pattern, and I've even made some videos to help you with the project. Join me and make a Shorty's Classic Cowl!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to Make Shorty's Classic Cowl

[caption id="attachment_157" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Shorty's Classic Cowl"][/caption]

I'm excited to share with you a type of scarf that I've been making almost non-stop since I created the first one about a month ago. It's not a complicated design, it may not be newsworthy to experienced designers, but I think it's a great project to help anyone new to crochet finish a beautifully classic infinity style scarf in a short amount of time. It's a quick project for experienced crocheters, too.

In this post you'll find written instructions along with video snipits to help you along. Please keep in mind this is my first time to ever film video, so if you find it hard to follow please let me know. I'd love to utilize your feedback so that I can make my instructions as comprehensive as possible.

What You'll Need

  • 215-220 yards of worsted weight yarn (recommended yarn -  Malabrigo Worsted)

  • Size H crochet hook

  • Yarn darning needle

  • Scissors

The Written Pattern

Note: there are a few ways to approach this project. You can make a single loop scarf where it will only go around your neck once, or you can make the scarf long enough for a double loop. The instructions below indicate how many foundation chains you'll need to make either lengths of the scarf.

  • Crochet 70 foundation stitches for a single loop scarf; Crochet 138 - 150 foundation stitches for a double loop scarf, depending on how long you prefer your cowl to be

Click on each picture for details (above and below each picture) on how to do each step of the foundation stitches. (If you prefer to watch the video on making the Foundation Stitches please scroll further down to find the links.)


Here are the written instructions for the steps noted above in the pictures: To begin your scarf and make the foundation stitch chain 2, yarn over and insert the hook in the first chain (the one farthest from your hook), yarn over and pull up a loop , yarn over and pull through two loops, then yarn over again and pull through the last two loops. For the second foundation stitch, and each subsequent foundation stitch, yarn over and insert your hook in the front loop of the bottom of the stitch (the loop just above your very beginning chain), yarn over and pull up a loop. You should now have three loops on your hook again, yarn over and pull through two loops, yarn over again and pull through the last two loops. Repeat this until you have enough foundation stitches to suit the length you want your cowl to be.

  • Join row 1 with a slip stitch in the top of the first foundation stitch, chain 1

  • Row 2: skip the first stitch that the chain 1 is attached to, and half double crochet in the next stitch and all the way round to the last stitch; join the row to the top of the beginning stitch of Row 2 with a slip stitch, chain 1

  • Rows 3 through 12: repeat Row 2

  • Row 13: after the chain 1 turn your work, skip the first stitch the chain is connected to and half double crochet in the front loop only of the next stitch and all the way around; join the row to the top of beginning stitch of Row 13 with a slip stitch, cut your yarn leaving at least a five inch tail, and pull through to tie off the row

  • Secure the base of Row 1 by weaving in the tail and also weave in the tail from the Row 13

If the written instructions have left you a bit befuddled, or you just prefer an instructional video, click on the links below to watch the videos on making the Shorty's Classic Cowl.

Foundation Stitches for Making Shorty's Classic Cowl

Joining Row 1 and Beginning Row 2

Row 3 and Beyond

Final Row of Stitches

Finishing the Shorty's Classic Cowl

This has been a really fun and confidence building project for me. As I mentioned in the videos, I've made this style of infinity scarf in a few different sizes. The example shown is meant to be worn as a single loop, but the other scarves I've made are long enough to be doubled around the neck for a fuller and warmer effect. I've also used different yarns to make the cowl which really adds a new look to each one. Pick your favorite yarn and give the Shorty's Classic Cowl a whirl. I think you'll find it's a fun, fast and easy project that takes you a bit out of the routine of sticking to what might be in your stitch dictionary. I hope this pattern helps you to explore the many creative options that are out there in the crochet world.

Keep playing with yarn and you'll find all kinds of new ways to keep those hands stitchin'!


This pattern is copyrighted by Shorty's Sutures. Anyone who takes this pattern and tries to sell it as their own is violating that copyright. Feel free to make a Shorty's Classic Cowl and sell what you've made if you wish, but kindly acknowledge where the pattern and inspiration came from.







Friday, November 4, 2011

Self Sufficiency and Stitchery: An Epiphany

Have you ever realized something at the end of the day and immediately thought, "Oh my... I completely forgot about...!" That's what happened to me last night when I realized I was expecting two books to arrive and I hadn't checked the mail.

I opened the front door and saw two boxes, one addressed to me from Amazon. Hubby snagged the other box and happily headed to the mailbox to see what else might be waiting for us. Indeed there was another little package addressed to me from Amazon! Here's what arrived:

[amazon_image id="0978866568" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Make Your Place: Affordable & Sustainable Nesting Skills[/amazon_image]


[amazon_image id="1440215456" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress[/amazon_image]

I've read wonderful things about Make Your Place: Affordable & Sustainable Nesting Skills, and I can't wait to dive in! As I mentioned in my last post, we have a small backyard garden and compost bin, but I want to do even more around the house to live a more sustainable lifestyle. This book has topics in it from canning to making your own detergent. With some of the lifestyle changes I'm planning to make in 2012 I really need to beef up my sustainability skills so I can save money and time. I think this book is going to be an invaluable resource to help me do just that!

The Colette Sewing Handbook is also an exciting addition to my resource library. I've been following Sarai Mitnick of aka Colette Patterns for a couple of years, watching her design and seamstress skills from a distance. I've always admired her style and how she makes sewing seem simple and doable for me. But, this is another area that I've been a big chicken about! I've talked myself out of investing in fabrics outside of quilting cotton out of fear of messing up the fabric, not measuring correctly or following a pattern well enough. Following Sarai and how she's grown her business by inspiring other people like me, along with hearing Isabelle of Fluffy Fibers customize her own wardrobe, has inspired me to have more faith in my abilities. I've wanted to make tailored garments for myself for decades (and that's no exaggeration)! But, I have yet to take steps to really make that fantasy a reality. That's about to change, and I'm confident this book will help me achieve another stitchy goal.

What stitchy goals do you have? Are you content with one craft, or do you have aspirations to tackle crochet, knitting, embroidery, spinning, weaving and everything else crafty related?

Keep those hands stitchin'!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gearing Up for Change

As a teenager I used to be fond of change, or at least I told myself that to cope with the many moves my family made where I had to start over at school and with friendships. As I've settled into my adult life, however I've found that I prefer routine and stability over change.

These days I'm gearing up to make some major life changes and I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of a bit of ambiguity. That's considerable progress for someone who has claimed to hate 'the unknown' for the past several years.

I know it's too soon to start talking about resolutions for 2012, but honestly I can't wait. I've been working to change the way I think about my current lifestyle and schedule so that when next year comes I'll be more likely to let the changes become permanent.

Here are a few things from my lifestyle changing list:

  • Have more free time: I literally run from one thing to the next every weekday and sometimes weekends, too, and I'm so tired of being tired

  • Garden and live off the land more: we already have a small garden and compost bin in our backyard, but I haven't learned to can and dehydrate our produce yet

  • Bake more: I would love have home baked goodies around the house more often, and I'm confident with more free time this will become possible

  • Create more and sell more: I love to not only crochet, but also to embroider and sew, and I want to learn to love knitting, too; my plan is to make more stuff to list in my etsy shop

  • Work less: enough said I think

  • Exercise daily: I consider myself to be an active person but I certainly don't dedicate a regular block of time each day for promoting physical well being.

My husband is on board with all of these changes, and we're working together to see how we can make it happen. Over the past several years we've scaled way back on 'extras' around the house like satellite tv, having a land line phone, frivolous shopping sprees and buying on credit. We're happy to be independent of all credit card debt and we discuss purchases before we make them even if the total may seem insignificant.

One of the things that's helping me gear up for more lifestyle changes is basic mental preparation. I've thought long and hard about what I want out of this life, I started making notes and referring back to them to see what 'wants' were recurring, and I've tried to map out a plan for how to allow those changes to take place. I'm amazed at just how much mental adjustment these proposed lifestyle changes have caused me to embrace. I can't tell you how many tearful episodes I've endured where I've had to basically brainwash myself into thinking that I can let go of what I consider to be 'normal' in order to have a more fulfilling life. I've had to let go of some close friendships in the process because it's really hard for me to relate to people who don't share the same basic lifestyle. I've had to accept that's ok. I still have the friends in my life, but definitely not on the level that I used to have. I'm finally ok with that.

I'm also gearing up for resistance from family. My parents want certain things for me, and scaling back instead of blasting forward into a higher level of career will be difficult for them. I'm confident I can show them that everything will be all right, and that I'll be a happier person over all.

The biggest obstacle has been me, though. I'm having to let go of security and that's tough. Like I mentioned, there's been a lot of brainwashing going on inside my head. Conforming to the norms of society has been easy, becoming a nonconformist isn't. But, I'm still gearing up for change. Change is going to be good. And I will continue to keep my hands stitchin' throughout it all!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Costume: My Birthday Suit

Happy Halloween, Stitchers! Are you in costume today? I've been enjoying the pictures of friends and family posted online over the past few days of their costumes.

One year I dressed up as Rosie the Riveter, and another year I donned this strange bird beak mask on my face, but this year I'm not costumed in the traditional sense. I think I'll just stick with what's attached to me in the natural sense: my tattoos.

[caption id="attachment_137" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Original"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_138" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Additions"][/caption]

Have a safe and fun Halloween, friends! I'd love for you to share what you're wearing this year, but most of all, make sure to keep those hands stitchin'!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pattern Sale from Linda Permann

Those of you who've been listening to the Shorty's Sutures Podcast know that I'm a big fan of Linda Permann. I've been fortunate enough to acquire both of her books this year and I've signed up for her Craftsy class Beyond Rectangles.

Now through October 31st Linda is running a 20% off sale on her patterns. Click over to her site for all the details!

In case you're wondering, I've just purchased the Peanut Butter pattern Once I finish my Beyond Rectangles class I'm going to tackle this super cute cardigan. I've been eye-balling it for several months now. And, thanks to some extra encouragement from Shorty's Sutures friends on Ravelry I'm going to stop being a big chicken about making a sweater!

Happy (almost) Halloween, my stitchy friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stitchery Update: A Passion for Crochet

Last week was a whirlwind of stitches for me! I started off mixing a bit of knitting in with a lot of crocheting, but as the week wrapped up I found myself only in love with crochet.

Remember the Orange Sharf? It's been frogged. It really didn't happen on purpose at first. I pulled the project out of its bag and noticed that about 15 stitches had come off one needle. Well, I don't know how to fix that yet, so I felt I was given an invitation to begin again. I reaffirmed that thought when I glanced back over all of my stitching mistakes by telling myself, "ahhh, yes.... just start over."

And so I will begin again.

Remember the Plum Crazy Cowl? It's demise is in the plotting phase. I've made enough progress in the project to better analyze what it's going to look like upon completion, and I'm not liking what I see. It's too big around for my neck, my cast on is quite atrocious, and I'm just sick of all the mistakes.

And so it will be frogged, then I will begin again.

These revelations in knitting have lead me to remember what brought me to my love of yarn: my love of crochet. I still have a deep desire to crochet every day, no matter what other stitches I may throw into the mix. It's so comforting to me but also productive.

I managed to crochet two cowls last week and begin a third, with even more crochet prospects on the horizon! And, I'm proud of my stitches when it comes to crochet.

I'm confident my knitting skills will improve one day, but crochet will always be my true love. Crochet brings me peace, fond sentimental feelings and a yearning for more. It makes me smile and leads me to confidently invest in luxurious yarns.

I must thank my Grandmother Berger for helping me to develop this amazing skill . Rest in peace, dear Grandmother, and thank you again for bringing such a wonderful art form into my life.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Episode 10: A New Way of Thinking

This episode begins with a new way of thinking about design and pattern writing. Who knew jotting down a few thoughts and stitches could lead to something wonderful!

[caption id="attachment_132" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="New Cowl Stitches"][/caption]

Finished Objects

A new cowl for Alexis, an infinity scarf or two for Holly and a new cowl for mehave been completed since the last episode. The third scarf for the Operation Gratitude campaign is complete with the goal to finish two more before December.

[caption id="attachment_131" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A Cowl for Alexis"][/caption]

What's in my bag?

What's in my ears?

  • My usual yarn-lovin' podcasts referenced in previous episodes

  • The Nerdist

  • The Moth (a must if you love story telling!)

What's in my stash?

The cowls mentioned in the finished objects section were quick crochet projects using Malabrigo Black #195 and Sealing Wax and Lion Brand Homespun in Wildfire.

[caption id="attachment_130" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Blocking in my bathtub! A blocking board is on my Christmas wishlist!"][/caption]

Those yarns were in my stash ever so briefly! I want to give Sheepish a whirl by Vickie Howell and add that to my stash as soon as possible.

In other news, I'm thoroughly enjoying a Craftsy class with Linda Permann, Beyond Rectangles. I highly recommend this format of instruction! I also whipped out my knitting instructional video called [amazon_link id="B000A0P6A4" target="_blank" ]The Complete Beginner's Guide to Knitting by Nici McNally[/amazon_link] to study up on correct technique and try to improve my tension and speed. Excitedly I briefly talk about being asked to review a new crochet book by Lark Publishing.

Well friends, that’s it for this episode. Feel free to send me an email at, find me on Facebook, Tout, Twitter or join the ShortysSutures Ravelry group. Thanks so much for joining me and I do hope you’ll join me again next time.

Until then, keep those hands stitchin'!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Show Notes: It's All in the Details

While preparing for Episode 10 of the Shorty's Sutures Podcast it occurred to me to change the formatting and style of the Show Notes. For the first episode I included a more conversational style of notes, but as I've published other episodes I've migrated to basic topic links.

Which style of notes do you prefer:  conversational or topic links?

I'm interested to know if any of you follow the show notes while you listen, if you read through them before listening or if you come back to the show notes after you've finished listening to an episode. Please leave your feedback in the comments section below.

Episode 10 will be available this weekend, but until then keep those hands stitchin'!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finding Design Inspiration

If you would've asked me a few months ago if I thought I could design a crochet pattern I would've told you no. It's amazing how things can change when you least expect them to.

About two weeks ago I was working on a project that didn't pan out very well for me. I frogged the attempt at a new cowl and rewound my yarn. The yarn promptly went back into my craft cabinet, but that yummy Malabrigo candy kept calling my name! Especially the red colorway.

I decided to go ahead and try to wing it and make a cowl anyway, without a pattern. My thinking was that I had this beautiful yarn and I wanted to quickly crochet a cowl so I could wear it as soon as the weather began to turn cooler.

Soon after beginning this project I realized how much I liked how it was coming together. The rounds were joining together practically seamlessly! Then I thought what a great project this would be for me to share, especially if there are any new crocheters out there who are looking for a simple project with almost instantaneous gratification! This is also a great project for experienced crocheters who are looking for an efficient project that will leave them with a classic cowl to wear for years to come.

[caption id="attachment_125" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Prima Classic Cowl"]Prima Classic Cowl[/caption]

I was shocked that I had come up with a pattern! It's a pattern that I'm proud of and I actually had a friend ask me to make one for her, too! That made my heart sing, I tell ya. It boosted my confidence, enabling me to think that I just might be able to come up with more designs in the future that other crocheters would like to try. Amazingly enough, this design and pattern came together by following the inspiration of a simple plan in my mind and using wonderful yarn.

I'm in the process of making my second Prima Classic Cowl as a way of testing my pattern notes to make sure they will be easy to follow. My plan is to release the free pattern within a week, so stay tuned! This may end up being your favorite crocheted cowl of the season, too!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Make a Crocheter Smile in 1.7 Seconds

I've been told I'm one of those serious types who doesn't smile often enough. I like to disagree with anyone who calls me overly serious and point out the deepening laugh lines that tease me every time I look in the mirror.

But, even on my most serious of days one thing that will make me smile faster than a speeding bullet is for someone to say, "I love that! Will you make one for me?" Then the coy, demure expression takes over and you may hear me say, "Really, you like it? Of course I'll make one for you! What color?"

Last week I had two friends reach out to me within a three day period asking about Infinity Scarves I had made. Maybe it's the change from summer into fall that's rousing my dear friends from their yarn-less slumber. Or maybe I should give myself a little more credit that I can crochet a great scarf! Either way, I've been smiling ever since the first message asking for one of my handmade creations.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Colorful Cleaning

Did you know how fun it is to clean with crocheted dishcloths? I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I'm seriously not kidding!Having a cutesy little thing to wash dishes or wipe down my counter tops with is a wonderful feeling! I feel a bit like I should be dressed like Donna Reed with a beautiful dress and apron on serving my family a glass of fresh milk that was just delivered.

You should try it! It's not only fun, but crocheting these cuties was incredibly fast. It's a great way to use up yarn scraps and quick projects do wonders for your mental health. Here's to happy stitchin' and a clear, focused mind!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lots of stuff is happening over at Shorty's Sutures:
  • Episode 9 of the crochet podcast is ready for your listening pleasure
  • New posts are online to get yarny thoughts spinning
  • Social media links allow you to interact with the Shorty's Sutures group
Stop by and check it out! I'll be waiting....

Why You Shouldn't Follow the Us vs. Them Mentality

Schoolyard taunting is over for most of us, right? Amazingly enough, though, it's not over for everyone.

You may have heard me mention in a past podcast episode about not understanding why some knitters mock crocheting and some crocheters mock knitting. By this I mean adults are making fun of and/or opposing the other fiber art. In case you didn't hear that episode I indicated I was shocked to discover that this mentality even existed. Alas, it does exist in certain circles and I'm on a quest to bring that frame of mind to an end.

For the purposes of my argument I'm going to refer to this way of thinking as the Us vs. Them Mentality. If a yarncrafter is pro-knit and anti-crochet, or pro-crochet and anti-knit then they are part of the Us vs. Them Mentality.

After getting over the disbelief that anyone would pick sides like that I began asking where might this way of thinking have come from. I'm guessing one of the contributing factors is because knitting has historically been around longer than crochet, or at least based on documented artifacts knitting appears to have been around longer than crochet. It's natural to think the longer a particular art form has been around the more people have played with it and developed new things within that medium. If we are going to assume that history is correct, and knitting was here first, then knitters have simply had more time to develop more stitch and technique options, and focus on more natural fiber yarns, than crocheters have. Beware any anti-crochet lurkers... crocheters have been catching up and are gaining new ground!

I've received responses from listeners and readers that crochet has a stigma of being a granny-style hobby that's only used to create novelty items with rough and outdated acrylic yarns. Those of us who actually crochet know better, but perhaps there are some knitters who really think that way. Crocheters can help combat this ideal by continuing to make more crocheted products using high quality yarns and a variety of stitch techniques.

As far as crocheters being anti-knit perhaps this mentality developed as a defense response to the aforementioned group. Or, maybe the anti-knit movement was in response to seeing too many ugly holiday sweaters back in the 80's and 90's. Who knows. No matter how the negative sentiments came to be they should disappear. And, I have four reasons for you to ponder as to why we should all choose not to jump on the Us vs. Them bandwagon and simply embrace both skill sets.

First of all, having either (or both) the ability to crochet and the ability to knit proves that you have specific skill sets. Having the ability to make beautiful things by hand is a wonderful thing! Develop those skills, no matter what they are, and you'll not only see your confidence level grow but you'll contribute to keeping those skills around for generations to come. Keeping them around will also help them to become even more developed and complex over time.

Just look at designers like Vashti Braha and Doris Chan who are consistently working to improve their crochet skills, develop new techniques and share them with everyone. (I would also name an innovative knitter or two, but I'm too new on the knit scene to know of them. I'm sure there are many and I welcome you to note any innovative knitters in the comments section below.)

Secondly, being part of the Us vs. Them mentality is just plain reactive instead of being proactive. Being reactive is defensive while being proactive is forward thinking and can be positive. To help illustrate my point here is a quote by Serge Prengel from

In this context, the word “reactive” implies that you don’t have the initiative. You let the events set the agenda. You’re tossed and turned, so to speak, by the tides of life. Each new wave catches you by surprise. Huffing and puffing, you scramble to react to it in order to just stay afloat.

In contrast, the image we associate with “proactivity” is one of grace under stress. To stay with the previous analogy, let’s say you’re in choppy waters. Now, you look more at ease. It’s not just that you anticipate the waves. You’re in tune with them. You’re not desperately trying to escape them; you’re dancing with them.

I'm a fan of choosing to be graceful and letting the naysayers fill themselves up with negativity.  (Ok, sometimes I may reactively vent to myself or my family, but I put the negativity away and get back to a positive approach as soon as possible.) I honestly don't feel that this topic should consume anyone in the yarn world, but I do feel that we shouldn't give any more of our energy to the causes who so defiantly oppose either skill, both of which used to be more commonplace skills in society.

Thirdly, other fiber artists aren't doing this to each other. Do you read or hear about dyers taunting or speaking negatively about spinners? Or weavers making fun of those who choose to embroider? Why any knitter or crocheter would care about knocking the other craft is completely beyond me. Learning and sharing any or all of these facets of the fiber arts is keeping the crafts alive for future generations, and helping them to grow and develop in new ways.

Lastly, but most importantly we need to support each other and remain in the same network. Trends can ebb and flow, and right now we're seeing an upswing of crochet in the fashion markets. This trend may continue for a season or two, or it may remain for years to come. When the crochet trend fades, or when the knit trend fades, I say just continue working your skills and developing your craft so that these skills aren't lost with whatever the latest fashion may be.

I'm a firm believer that the art of crochet will become as mainstream as knitting the more we use it and the more we invest in our supplies and skills. Keep asking for more types of classes that will not only expose you to more intricate crochet stitches, but it will also allow you to create more complex garments, accessories and home decor. Having more options for both skills around the world will evolve and one day it won't seem so one-sided.

No matter what your preferred method of stitching is, friends, just keep those hands stitchin'! Be confident when it comes to developing your skills and don't be afraid to brag about them.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Feel Peaceful in Minutes

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I felt like crap-o-la when I woke up. I was determined not to let my day be wasted just because I didn't feel like my normal  somewhat energized self, but I knew I needed to take it easy.

One of the first things I did after Hubby left for the office was to pull out my Radicowl project that I've had listed in my projects queue on Ravelry for over a month. I grabbed my pattern, my freshly wound yarn balls, my crochet hook and began getting down to business. I sat in silence, my Dobie Axel on the couch beside me and I worked to create what I hoped would be a new cowl and learn a new technique in the process. Despite having to navigate through an unfamiliar pattern I felt a level of peaceful determination take over.

The new [to me] technique is called Crochet Brioche. I wasn't able to find a lot of information in video format about it online, so I just dug into the pattern to see how far I could get. Basically, one row is completed in two parts, an A section and a B section. The A section is crocheted in one color and the B section in another color. After about an hour and a half into the project I was beginning row 3. I kept looking back at my work not liking what I was seeing. I kept telling myself that I wasn't going to wear this. Ever.

The color combination of deep red and golden yellow, which I thought would look like a sunset, I realized is not a color combo I would regularly wear. The stitch pattern that I was creating, which could be technically incorrect since I'm unsure if I'm following the pattern correctly, looked more like Granny Square stitching than the Crochet Brioche I was seeing in the picture. I knew I wasn't going to wear a Granny Square-ish cowl. Ever.

So, I frogged the entire thing and rewound my two balls of yarn. Despite my failed attempt at this project I felt better than I had when I gotten up. I didn't feel frustrated and I didn't feel like I had failed. I felt like I had made a new discovery. I had discovered that Crochet Brioche is something I will need to learn from a class online or person-to-person instruction, and that it may not be a form of crochet work that I truly like.

I maneuvered around the house to complete the rest of my goals for the day at a very slow pace. I managed to reach all of my goals and even add one more: to use my Sealing Wax Red Malabrigo worsted yarn (one of the yarns from the Radicowl project) in another project before the day was over.

You see, this deep red Malabrigo worsted weight yarn has been in my stash calling my name since April. When I wound it on my Nostepinne a couple of nights ago I felt how soft and fuzzy the texture was, causing the yarn to stick to itself throughout the process. I kept wondering how it was going to feel as I crocheted with it. To tell you the truth, it felt amazing moving between my fingers and onto my crochet hook. So I was determined to not let the day pass without beginning a new project with it.

I reached my last goal of the day. Before retreating to bed I started a new cowl with a simple series of crochet stitches. Once I had my desired length and joined the two ends of foundation stitches together I felt satisfied enough to put the project away for the night. I felt a small smile emerge on my face as I switched off the lamp.

I'm sharing this story with you today to communicate just what a positive impact crochet has on my life. It helps me turn a murky day into a brighter one. It lowers my blood pressure and it brings me peace. Even when I have to start over and begin something totally new I feel better. Even when I have to acknowledge that a simpler stitch is the right way for me to go I feel better. I hope that crochet, or some other form of hand stitchery, can bring you that same type of feeling.

Keep those hands stitchin', folks. It will bring you peace!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Episode 9: Stitch Chat

Kelly comes up with a new word to describe a scarf-shawl project and shares a guilt-free, stitchy lifestyle philosophy.

Finished Objects

What's in my bag?

What's in my ears?

What's in my stash?

In other news...

Well friends, that’s it for this episode. Feel free to send me an email at, find me on Tout, Twitter or join the ShortysSutures Ravelry group. Thanks so much for joining me and I do hope you’ll join me again next time.

Until then, keep those hands stitchin'!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A World of Color

Thankfully the air in Texas is changing! It smells and feels cooler, which means to me that changes are about to happen not only in nature but also in our wardrobes.

I'm excited that I have lots of vibrant colors in my project bags right now... orange, plum, green, deep red and yellow. All just waiting to be reclassified from 'project' status to 'accessory item.' I must admit I think I have too many projects on my hooks and needles at the moment, but that's ok. It will either teach me to push through or to get back to the one-project-at-a-time way of thinking.

Today I stumbled onto a wonderful article from LoveSewing that prompted me to think about the colors that are currently in my project bags. Denise Wild, known as TheSewingStudio on Twitter, shared that we'll see the emerald jewel tone from designers this fashion season. Green is my ultimate favorite color so I couldn't be happier!

I'd better get back to my green triangle scarf!

[caption id="attachment_81" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Grasshopper green but an emerald jewel tone, too!"][/caption]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting Chatty with Yarncraft of Lion Brand

What is a Yarncrafter? I haven't been able to find the word yarncrafter in the dictionary just yet, but I have a feeling that we'll see that very word in a future edition of Webster's.

To many of us who crochet, knit, weave or spin the epitome of a yarncrafter is one who can do all of those things and more. Fortunately, those of us who may only participate regularly in one of those crafts can also consider ourselves a yarncrafter.

Yarncrafting for me began in childhood, with a dabbling of crochet and knit work in my late teens and early twenties. I put it down for several years and picked it back up just a couple of years ago. One of the things that got me moving back into the world of crochet and yarn-play was finding the Yarncraft podcast from Lion Brand. Once I started listening to the Yarncraft podcast I was completely enamored by the quality of the production, the variety of yarny material that was covered, and honestly by just how intelligent Liz and Zontee made me feel while listening. They provide me with a friendly level of education that is inspiring and thought provoking.

If you haven't had the opportunity of listening to Yarncraft then please treat yourself to an episode today! I'm confident you'll not only find a wealth of information on crochet and knitting options, but they also enlighten their audience with information on spinning, weaving, yarn dying and other fiber related topics.

[caption id="attachment_108" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Zontee and Liz from Yarncraft at Lion Brand, Photo published at"]Zontee & Liz from Yarncraft at Lion Brand[/caption]

Now that you know how I feel about the Yarncraft podcast, you can imagine my excitement when my offer to feature Yarncraft on my blog during the Yarncraft Blog Tour was accepted! I literally felt as if my mentors had just shook my hand and invited me over for a glass of wine! Without further delay, please enjoy the responses from Liz and Zontee below, and hopefully you'll get to know them from a new perspective.

The Q & A

How long have you been with Lion Brand and how did you come to work there?
Liz: I've been at Lion Brand for about 5 years. I answered a post on the Parsons The New School for Design (where I went to school) job board looking for freelance knitters, and have just stuck around!
Zontee: I've been here just over 4 years, and it was a really lucky coincidence for me that Lion Brand was looking for someone to join their marketing team and that I happened to be a knitter/crocheter who used their yarn.

If we could see your desks, what would we see?
Liz: On an organized day, a clear work surface with a few binders and spreadsheets. On MOST days, bags and bins and boxes and balls of yarn EVERYWHERE.
Zontee: I have a big bulletin board at my desk with photos from fiber artists I've worked with over the years, tokens from various yarn and craft events that I've attended, as well as lots and lots of knitting and crocheting books and magazines. I like color, so I like to keep my area decorated with buttons, ribbons, and little yarn creations.

What was the first complete project you ever knitted or crocheted?
Liz: A basket weave scarf out of Lion Brand's Chenille Thick & Quick. It was a gift for a friend, and she still has it!
Zontee: Well, the first thing I knitted was a little swatch I turned into a tissue holder for my purse. The first finished thing I crocheted was a sampler scarf in cotton; in retrospect, I wouldn't recommend 100% cotton for a beginner, because it was pretty hard on my hands!

Tell me a bit about your all-time favorite project that you've knitted or crocheted.
Liz: Wow, that's like trying to pick a favorite child!  I suppose mine is the Rogue Hoodie I made, because I learned so much about making it,
including how to modify a pullover to a cardigan, read cable charts, and sew in a zipper.
Zontee: That really is a hard question. Honestly, I don't think I have a favorite project--my favorite project is probably whatever I've just finished because I often pick projects that challenge me in new ways. YarnCraft listeners probably know that I make tons and tons of things for other people, and making things for others is always enjoyable to me because I love seeing their reactions.

If you could teach a class (either knit or crochet) what technique would you teach about?
Liz: I love knitting socks, so I'd teach about all the different methods for doing that! Top down, toe up, heel flaps, gussets, Kitchener stitch, etc.
Zontee: I think my class would be about getting back to basics. I really believe that all yarncrafters should have a foundation in understanding different fibers and what they're good for, doing substitutions, reading the stitches (both knit and crochet) in a piece of fabric so that you can understand how the designs are constructed, understanding basic shapes and how to accomplish them. I'm a firm believer that if you understand the basics, then the sky is the limit.

Out of all the fiber options (bamboo, cotton, acrylic, mohair, angora, wool, alpaca, etc.) what is your favorite?
Liz: My favorite fiber, which I think everyone knows, is Superwash Merino. I love that it's natural but also easy care, and so soft.
Zontee: I definitely think wool yarns are my favorite. They're so versatile, warm, sproingy (springy plus a little extra bounce!) and even water resistant. I like them at all weights, fingering to super bulky. I love the softness and silky hand of alpaca too, but I think it's the spring of wool that makes it really versatile and suitable for all kinds of projects.

What has been the best benefit to you for being actively involved in the fiber arts?
Liz: Definitely all the great people we've gotten to meet!
Zontee: I definitely agree with Liz. I think I wouldn't be nearly as outgoing in the fiber community if I weren't a part of Lion Brand, but I'm glad I am, because there are so many amazing creative people in this community who are so generous about sharing their ideas and resources.

Thank you so much, Liz and Zontee, for taking the time to share your responses with  Shorty's Sutures! I'm so excited to be part of the Yarncraft Blog Tour and am looking forward to your next episode of Yarncraft. And, as I like to say to the Shorty's Sutures crew... keep those hands stitchin'!

Rest assured Liz and Zontee will be stitchin' up a storm and sharing their experiences with us on the next episode of Yarncraft!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Episode 8: Lacy, Sporty and Worsted

The severe heat is subsiding and there are wonderful fibery projects to chat about, including crocheting with worsted weight yarn, drooling over sporty alpaca softness and knitting with lace weight fluffy goodness!

Finished Objects
  • Dishcloths for my Etsy shop
What’s in my bag?

What’s in my ears?

 What’s new in my stash?

  • From Colorado 100% Arvada Alpaca from Mystic Star Alpacas (250 yds, sport weight, dark brown)

  • Also from Colorado 100% Alpaca from Lonesome Stone (235 yds, sport weight, light brown)

Other wonderful news:

  • Thanks to Mary Beth Temple of Getting Loopy for her mention of the Shorty’s Sutures podcast on her September 6th episode

  • Thanks to Allison from Hollywood Knitter for her mention of Shorty’s Sutures on her 8th episode

  • Join me on Facebook

  • Please go to iTunes and leave a review of the podcast in order to help crochet and yarn fans find more listening options

  • Have you tried Crochet Brioche and checked out the link from episode 7 to the Tangled/Radicowl pattern? I’m up for giving it a whirl and would like to invite any crocheters to join me, we can chat about progress as we go.

Well friends, that’s it for this episode. Feel free to send me an email at, find me on Twitter or join the ShortysSutures Ravelry group. You’ll also find pictures, links and details on what we’ve covered in this episode on my blog at Thanks so much for joining me and I do hope you’ll join me again next time.

Until then, keep those hands stitchin’!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Wonderment of Yarn

Is wonderment a word? I'm guessing it is since a little red line hasn't popped up underneath where I just typed. It's good to know not all the words that pop into my brain aren't made up completely.

I just wanted to share with you a bit of the wonderment that I experienced this past weekend while in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For starters, the mountains are glorious. The drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe in the afternoon is such a lovely one. I can't get over how much I love seeing the mountains, no matter if they are snow covered or rock. I think about when they may have been created and how their evolution has changed them.

The weather was sensational. Such a change from the nasty heat and humidity in Texas. My husband was in Colorado over the weekend, too, and we were comparing notes about how much we loved the scenery that surrounded us. We also compared notes on how we want to live near such beauty. But, that will come later... a few more years down the road at least.

[caption id="attachment_98" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Backyard Beauty"][/caption]

Then there was the cozy little yarn shop I found on Friday with Mom. Tutto Santa Fe. The warm colors and textures that enveloped me as I moved from shelf to shelf was so comforting. I imagine I had a smile on my face that was a bit on the goofy side. But, that's ok. I spoke up and asked the shopkeeper about his amazing stash for sale, and learned that yarn from the Santa Fe area tends to be a bit rough for knitting and crochet. He noted it was great for weaving, but since I wasn't in the market for a weaving project I asked him to direct me to something soft, squishy and knittable. (Now, knittable is a word I'm making up, you see.)

My dear crochet friends, please do not be alarmed at the mention of knitting. I'm still very much in love with crocheting and plan to continue along with my usual stitch adventures. But, while visiting my mom (who is more of a knitter than a crocheter) I thought it would be fun to work in a bit of stitching time together. I hoped she would be able to help me remember what I've learned in the past about knitting, and since I usually confuse the knit and purl stitches, I looked forward to her setting me straight.

The Tutto Shopkeeper asked me about my knitting experience, which I noted was extremely basic, and then showed me a completed scarf that immediately called my name. It was so soft, bouncy, a light shade of green and it was made entirely of a simple knit stitch. I was sold! I picked a sweet burnt orange shade of 100% Alpaca Isager yarn, accepted the recommended size 7 Addi knitting needles and was sent on my merry way with a simple pattern typed up on my sales receipt. My goofy smiling face headed out the door with Mom in tow. Did I mention that Mr. Shopkeeper took the time to show me how to add a stitch at the end of each row? He very sweetly did just that and provided me some other helpful tips about the project. And, I didn't mention the pattern he wrote down for me was free? I really appreciated that little extra bit of sharing. I was an eager tourist and he could've easily charged me a few bucks for a pattern. His sweetness added to the charm of this LYS, I must say!

[caption id="attachment_97" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="100% Alpaca Yumminess"][/caption]

I've completed several more rows than what you can see here, and my stitches are full of flaws, but I'm quite proud of my first knitting project. Did I mention this is a lace weight yarn? I had to restart the project after my first attempt was frogged, but I was determined to make this project work. I figure by the time I finish this little ditty I'll be a whiz at knitting with fine yarns. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Will Travel for Yarn

Do you ever sometimes feel the need to just leave town, pick up and venture to far off places in search of new things or adventures? I've felt that need quite a bit lately. Life has been overly busy in the past several months and its caught up with me.

I'm excited that very soon I'll get to head to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a long weekend visit to see my mom. There are familiar scents that I'm so looking forward to smelling when I walk in her door, and new sights to see around her house due to some recent renovations.

There's just something about going to visit Mom. Long conversations, jokes and being silly, catching up on stories, being on her time schedule and not having to worry about mine, and this time there will be a bit of yarn shopping. One of the places I'm hoping to stop by is called Tutto Fine Yarns & Buttons. Another shop off the Plaza is called Oodles Yarn & Bead Gallery and there are some great reviews about it online, including they carry local yarn. I'm always intrigued by what's locally produced. Knit Map also listed a couple of other shops that are calling my name, too. Of course, you know I'll keep you posted on what I find.

After I finished up Episode 7 this week I realized there were other things that I wanted to share with you that I had left out. Mainly about my recent experience at The Knitting Fairy in Grand Prairie, Texas. I joined the Sunday afternoon stitching group for some conversation and stitchy bonding, and I had a blast. It was relaxing, comfy, heart warming... and I was surrounded by gorgeous yarns and garment samples that offered so much inspiration. I can't wait for another Sunday afternoon to be here so I can join the group again. It's so nice to have found a local place to gather with like-minded people and share a hobby.

If you have any plans for the upcoming Labor Day weekend enjoy yourselves and be safe! And, until next time keep those hands stitchin'!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Episode 7: Exciting Yarny Goodness

My first scarf for Operation Gratitude is complete, my triangle scarf is still in progress, and there is lots to share about woolly yarn goodness!

Finished Objects

 What’s in my bag?

  • Midsummer’s night triangle scarf

    [caption id="attachment_91" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Malabrigo Rios... so yummy!"][/caption]

What’s new my library?

  • [amazon_link id="0307352161" target="_blank" ]The Knitter’s Book of Yarn[/amazon_link] by Clara Parkes

What’s in my ears?

 What’s new in my stash?

Other wonderful news:

A big thanks to everyone who has commented on Ravelry, Twitter and on the blog; it’s so awesome to interact with all of you!

Thanks so much for joining me for Episode 7. Feel free to send me an email at, find me on Facebook, Twitter or in the ShortysSutures Ravelry group.

Until next time, keep those hands stitchin’!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Stitching

Alas, the weekend is almost here and I couldn't be happier! It's been a week of exhaustion around my house... Hubby and I working too much and not getting enough rest, and my son's week included theback to school with football practice on top of that. We can't wait for Saturday and Sunday!

One of the things I'm looking forward to the most this weekend is stitching with  a new (to me) group of knitters and crocheters on Sunday. I found a group that meets weekly and the meeting times work with my schedule. I'll also continue working on my current projects (the triangle scarf and gratitude scarf) as well as put together the next episode of the podcast.

Stay tuned... lots of stitchery and chit chat is yet to come!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So Grateful for Operation Gratitude

My friend Alexis at Magnum Boots, USA sent me a link through Twitter last week to a site called Operation Gratitude. They are kicking off their fall and winter scarf drive where they need help from any knitter and crocheter who would like to participate.

[caption id="attachment_85" align="alignright" width="223" caption="Tunisian scarf in progress"][/caption]

This project helps support our troops who are fighting for our freedom by providing them with a handmade scarf that's been crocheted or knitted by one of us back home. There are some specific guidelines to be followed with regard to color and size, but I thought this was a very easy way to combine my hobby with a bit of giving back to those who are putting themselves on the line for me and my freedom.

As I've mentioned in past episodes of my podcast we have a connection to the United States military in my household, and my husband does what he can to support our troops around the world personally and through his business. I was so excited when Alexis led me to this project because I felt like it was a perfect match for me and what I could do to help the troops, too.

The only thing I'm struggling with is that I can't crochet fast enough! I'm using Tunisian crochet knit and purl stitches to create the scarf I'm currently working on and I must admit it's a slow process. Slower than regular crocheting. But, I absolutely love the texture and look of the fabric that's coming together by using the Tunisian stitch combination so I'm dedicated to making more that look like this. Maybe I'll get faster as I keep going.

[caption id="attachment_86" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Continuing the progress"][/caption]

Are you interested in learning Tunisian crochet? I took a wonderful class from Mary Beth Temple of Getting Loopy back in April, but if a class is not in your immediate future you can find some great videos on YouTube that will help get you started. Here's a link to Stitch Diva's channel where you'll find several Tunisian related videos. And, just in case you're wondering where I got the yarn for this project, I visited The Knitting Fairy in Grand Prairie, Texas on Saturday and purchase my yarn there. What a wonderful shop full of inspiring yarns and a cozy, inviting atmosphere.

How are you keeping those hand stitchin' this week?


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project Update: Triangle Scarf Relief

I am so happy this project is coming along well! After the frustration I was feeling from my three attempts at the DROPS pattern I started with I was trying not to be discouraged. I am really looking forward to having a triangle scarf to adorn myself with in a couple of weeks, so successful completion of this project is critical! (OK, not life or death critical, but you understand where I'm coming from, right?)

[caption id="attachment_81" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Triangle Scarf in Action!"][/caption]

Since the Midsummer's Night Shawl pattern is new and unfamiliar to me I'm finding that I have a repetitive question about following the diagram in specific spots throughout the pattern.

[caption id="attachment_83" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Blank Spaces between diagram stitches"]Blank Spaces between diagram stitches[/caption]

My main question is what to do when I get to the large blank areas where no chain stitches or connections are referenced. I'm still a newbie when it comes to following stitch diagrams, and this is the first time I've encountered this type of spacing between stitches. I'm guessing that I just need to allow a bit of looseness in my yarn in order to reach the spot where the next stitch needs to be placed.

If anyone is familiar with this type of spacing in a stitch diagram please let me know if I'm understanding the pattern properly. I've tried Googling the Internet for more details but I haven't found where anyone discusses this specific topic. When I reference all of the original pattern pictures shown on Ravelry I can't get a close enough look to see what the seemingly disconnected areas of the pattern look like on the shawl.

The way my stitches are looking to me right now I may have to rip back and leave a bit more distance between the cluster stitches in some areas, but I'm going to keep progressing until I can get a better idea of how the scarf will block out.

What projects are you currently working on? Feel free to share links in the comments section to your Ravelry or blog postings so we can see what beautiful stitchery you've got your hand's on.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The State of This Union

I thought I would give you a quick chuckle at how the progress of my current project is going.

[caption id="attachment_78" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The sad state of my cardboard tube wrapped center-pull ball, which isn't center-pull after all."][/caption]

As you can see, my center-pull-wound ball on a cardboard tube has fallen out of shape rather quickly. Sadly for me, the yarn is not even able to be pulled from the center.

And in other news, I'm about to start completely over on this project. I'm attempting to acclimate my brain to the directional style of this diagram, which looks more like piece of Navajo art than the diagrams I'm used to. I've reprinted the diagrams with the key symbols plainly visible in hopes of understanding it better with a new perspective.

You may remember that I mentioned in the last podcast episode that there were videos to help me (and anyone else) get through the pattern. Alas, the videos will only help with instruction for basic crochet stitches, not keeping your project's right and wrong sides in the proper direction. The directional aspect of the project has been the hardest part so far. Flipping from the right to the wrong side without understanding the diagrams is proving to be quite a challenge.

This little flower pattern is a lovely concept, and I am hoping I can make this triangle scarf a successful project. Wish me luck at Attempt #2!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Episode 6: Trivets, Squares and Triangles... Oh My!

The vintage trivet plan turned to mush, but alas cutesy dishcloths were born and more exciting projects are on the horizon!

Finished Objects

  • Kitchen dishcloths

What’s in my bag?

 What’s new my library?

 What’s in my ears?

Questions for Episode 6 listeners: What are some great garment-making resources that you have in your library? Have you overcome a fear of making something either in crochet, knitting or sewing? Please share your response either here on the blog in the ShortysSutures Ravelry group.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on Ravelry and on the blog, and a special thanks to Artsyjo and Crochetr for being the first to type up a review on iTunes of the ShortysSutures podcast! That helps the podcast become more searchable to anyone looking for crochet content.

Thanks so much for joining me for Episode 6. Feel free to send me an email at, find me on Twitter or in the ShortysSutures Ravelry group.

Until next time, keep those hands stitchin’!