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'!