Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chocolate Box Reinvent and Make Your Own Sock Blockers

Did any of you receive a box of chocolates from your Valentine?  Me neither!  My daughter did, however, from her boyfriend.  She gave me this heart shaped box when she finished the treats as she knows my love of reusing things.  

It's perfect for holding my knitting/crochet bits and bobs.  Stitch markers, plastic bread bag ties for fair isle bobbins, buttons, needle protectors, ribbon, small rubber bands for keeping small balls of yarn from unraveling, hair barrettes for the same use, an empty dental floss container for cutting thread or yarn, row counters and circular needle cord stoppers.

All perfectly nestled in the box for easy access.

I also put to use some wire hangers.  "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS"!  That's funny if you know about movie actress Joan Crawford and her distain for wire hangers.

Anyhoos, to make some affordable, wire hanger sock blockers, just give it a pull in the middle then bend back the top point towards the opposite point.  I covered the hanger part with electrical tape so as not to snag the socks.  Slide your just washed socks over them and hang outside, over a shower curtain rod or in your laundry room.  

They dry super fast with all that open space the hanger provides and the sock fits great after.

These are Mary Maxim Step It Up in Tie died 

I hope you have a rainbow in your day,

Yarn tip:
Be brave with color when you make socks.  I would never knit a rainbow sweater, but I definitely would wear them on my feet!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five Pairs of Socks and.....

I've been on a major sock knitting binge.  Not sure what has come over me, but I am quite enjoying it!  The pattern is free from Susan B. Anderson.  You can find it on Ravelry.  A very simple pattern for a very basic sock with fabulous results.  All the yarns are either sock yarn or fingering weight (1).  I used US size 1 double point needles for all the socks.

The sock on the farthest left is a fun yarn from indie dyer Dyeabolical.  You can find her shop link on Ravlery.  She is in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri!  One skein of Strong Arm Skinny Sock Yarn in Firefly, 400 yards.  I'm still working on the second sock.  Fun colorway for a boy, I think.  Red, yellow and black.

The purple(ish) one next to it has lost its yarn band....sorry about that.  

The pretty blue ones in the middle is one skein of Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Whitewash, 420 yards and I still have quite a bit left so I might make some ankle socks.  These were a joy to knit.  So very soft and squishy.  They are so pretty and feminine.  Quite a luxury sock that I plan on wearing often with my Birkenstock sandals. I found this yarn in Des Moines, Iowa at Yarn Junction Co.  A lovely new shop in Valley Junction if you are in the area.

The rainbow pair next to those is one skein of Plymouth Yarn Stiletto in color number 820, 384 yards.  There is no color name on the band, just the color number.  These are a gift for one of my cousins that has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  She will start here chemo treatments soon.  I am so very upset about this news I can't tell you.  One feels so helpless at a time like this.  All I could think to do was knit some rainbow socks for her.  I hope they will brighten up her day.  

This fun, muted rainbow one was a bit difficult to knit.  It is two skeins of Patons Kroy Socks in Sporty Stripes, 166 yards per skein.  The yarn band says it is super fine (1) weight, but it looks and feels like a sport weight to me.  Still, I love the colors!

The ones on my feet are also a Madeline Tosh Merino Light yarn.  One skein in Morning Dove, 420 yards.  Again, have tons of yarn left over for a pair of anklets.  

I found these in a little shop called Tandem Brick in Des Moines, Iowa on a recent visit.  It says it all!

This photo cracked me up when I found out it is actress Joanne Froggatt....Anna Bates of Downton Abby!  You can see it in the latest issue of Mollie Makes issue 49.  So cute!

I hope you had a lovely Valentines Day!


Yarn tip:
When I am working with a paper pattern, I slip it in a clear page protector and pin it to the arm of my chair.  It allows me to easily read the pattern and move my "post-it-note" down the the page to keep track of what row I am on.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Burberry Inspired Sock Kit and A Shameless Plug

I've been busy knitting socks.  It's bitter cold here in the midwest and cozy hand knit socks have been the major knitting project lately.  I love knitting them in any sort of color changing yarn.  Stripes, variegated, gradient and solids with spots of colors in it.  

I've put together a Burberry inspired sock kit that is available in my Etsy shop.  I am down to 5 kits at the moment.  I love the simple, classic stripe goodness and colors.  Burberry has been around forever and for good reason.  It never goes out of style.

Here's the information from my Etsy listing:

Everything you need to complete the knitted, Burberry inspired socks! 

You get:
*One skein of fingering weight (1) yarn. 75% superwash merino/25% polyamide 
(460 yards/420meters) 
*One printed pattern in a plastic page protector 
*One project bag (style may vary)
*A coupon for your next order. 

No need to change colors to get this classic British look. The yarn does all the work for you!

This is a very basic sock pattern. You will easily get one pair of socks from this yarn. I have included a video link to show you how to complete the Kitchener stitch for the toe.

The classic Burberry stripes are nice and clean.  Black, white, red and tan.

I have these rain/snow shoes I wear and how cute are these socks with them?

On to my shameless plug.  I am so very honored to be featured in the Simply Knitting, February 2015 issue 129.  This is one of my favorite knitting publications.  Great projects, free patterns, stories, puzzles, reader projects AND free goodies.  This issue comes with a free knitting pattern and set of bamboo needles!  How great is that?  

If you live in the United Kingdom, I'm sure you are very familiar with this publication.  For us in the USA, I have found it in Joann Craft Store and Barnes & Noble book store.  You can find the issue number in the lower right hand corner of the magazine.  

 On page 78 is a full page article about my knitting/crocheting journey.  I love how it turned out.  Pics of my Missoni Inspired Crocheted Blanket, Fortune Cookie Baby Booties (which is a free pattern in my Craftsy shop), Knitted Arm Warmers, me in a rocking chair crocheting a crocodile stitch scarf, Technicolor Chevron Blanket, Giraffe Hat and my daughter wearing the Hitchhiker with charms (pattern by Martina Behm on Rav). 

My Christmas Hats Collection was mentioned a couple years ago as well.

Here are a few of my favorites in the February 2015 issue.  This Hot Water Bottle Cozy has great texture and the pattern is free in this issue.

Knitting God, Alan Dart has a free, exclusive pattern in every issue.  This Sugar Plum Fairy is just darling.

This wrapped cardi is so chic.  The pattern calls for DK weight yarn and the pattern looks to be for the intermediate knitter. 

This free pattern for a manly cardi looks oh, so cozy.  Would be a great boyfriend sweater for a gal as well.

Thank you so, so much Simply Knitting for a great publication!  Keep up the good work.  

Here are all the links for Simply Knitting

My Sock Kit is only available in my Etsy shop 

You can find all my patterns in my


Yarn tip:
When I am knitting socks, I knit the 2x2 rib back and forth, on the double point needles, as if you would on straight needles. I then start knitting in the round and sew up the rib after the bind off when I fasten off the tails. So, cast on, knit the 2x2 rib, then start to knit in the round with the remaining needles. You will sew up that rib with the cast on tail after you have completed the rest of the sock.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Anastasia Wedding Blanket Pattern

I do love gifting blankets!  I haven't found a person yet that didn't love a crocheted blanket.  I put much thought into gifting yarny goodness.  It must be the right color(s) and style for that person or persons.  That is key if you want to make them happy.  You don't want to go to all the trouble, time and money just to have them put in a Goodwill (charity chop) pile.  

I crocheted this blanket as a wedding gift in their wedding colors, which were grey and yellow.  

I was very lucky as the wedding invitation had the colors on it.  Even if you are not sure of the EXACT colors but have a general idea, you can make it work.  There are many shades of yellow....egg yolk yellow, sun yellow, pale yellow, banana yellow and so on.  The same goes for grey....silver grey, dark grey, light grey, almost black grey.  

I just picked 3 colors in each color, if you know what I mean.  Three shades of yellow and 3 shades of grey.  That's all you need to do.  It makes it so much more personal.  

I have crocheted this blanket in school colors, nursery room colors, teen bedroom colors and sport team colors for boys and men.  I have gifted it in 3-6 shades of someones favorite color and they come out gorgeous every time!  

I have the pattern for sale in my

Have a great week,

Yarn tip:
If you aren't sure what color or colors a person likes, think neutrals like 3-6 shades in creams, browns, greys or blacks.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fun Findings at Michael's

I was at Michael's this morning looking for yarn, of course, for an order.  For my friends overseas, Michael's is a craft store here in the USA.  They are gearing up for spring and I noticed some very lovely Cath Kidston/Greengate inspired goodies!  Gorgeous pencils for $2.00.  Eight are in a package which come to $.25 each.  I just adore them in all their feminine glory!

Lovely gift tags, as well for $2.00.  Twelve in a package for $.16 each.  I plan on using these in my "goodie bags" that are included with any purchase, excluding pdf patterns, in my Etsy shop.  In these little bags I place a coupon for a future order, one of my business cards and a little something else. 

These clothespins are a future gift for one of my out of town girlfriends who loves the color pink.  When I stay with her I like to give her something in her signature color and she will love these.  I think I'll crochet a little cotton bag to keep them in as I'm sure she will use them outside to hang her laundry.

These paper straws are cute too and perfect for a party.  Again, $2.00 for 36 straws.

They also have a bunch of bins with Betsy Johnson goodies.  For those of you who don't know, she is a fashion designer using bright colors.  These cel phone cases were $5.00 each.  I didn't look, but they might be for an iphone6.

  This luggage tag and plastic zippered pouch were $5 each too.  They have both of those is different colorways.  I'm just showing you one style here.

The 4 clothespins are great for keeping snack bags closed and are $5.00 and so is....

the zippered pouch.

This travel cup comes in different colors for $5.00 each.  Cute.  If you are gifting some yarn to a friend, put the balls in here with some knitting needles in place of the straw.

Lastly, these journals with an elastic band and built in bookmark are fun.  I don't remember the price, but it would be $5.00 or a little more.

I hope you  like my fun findings!  
Happy Hump Day,

Gift buying tip:
When I see something that someone would like, I buy it!  Especially if it only costs a couple dollars.  I know I will be needing a gift for that person whether it's a birthday, Christmas, get well, hostess gift or just because!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hand Crafted Crochet Hooks

Hope this find you cozy and warm!  It's FREEZING here in the midwest!  So cold that I'm hesitant to leave the house.  Not even the cutest coat and stylish boots can tempt me to brave 7 degrees with a wind chill of -20.  The silver lining is, the sun is out and it's perfect weather for crocheting or knitting blankets.  Bright yarn, a cup of tea and a movie on the television suits me just fine.  

Look at these fun hooks from Lisa Clarke of PolkaDotCottage,  Lisa hand makes these using polymer clay and I just love them!  I treated myself to a Christmas present and I so enjoy hooking with these beauties.  You can request a flat thumb spot or completely round.  All mine are flat.  The size is embedded on the end.  I really like the "granny square" one on the far right.  Her prices are great considering how much time it takes to make them.

They are $18.00 each, but, if you purchase 3, as I did, you get $2.00 off of each hook.  Below are some photos from her shop.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend,

Yarn tip:
To avoid a ruffled border on a crocheted blanket, go down one or two hooks sizes.

Here is the information from the PolkaDotCottage site:

Metal hooks with comfortable and decorative polymer handles

[Jump to: custom ordering | ready-to-ship hooks | my crochet patterns!]
These crochet hooks are metal, available in several brands and sizes, and the handles are made by me from durable polymer clay, in one of my signature millefiori designs.
The color and finish on the handles is inherent in the clay. No paints or sealers are used, so there is no possibility of chipping. Each handle is baked right on to its hook and cannot slip off. After baking, the handles are wet-sanded through several grits of sandpaper, and then buffed to a nice shine. They are exceedingly smooth, and pleasant to hold.
Do you experience pain in your hands when you crochet? I am told that these special handles are quite comfortable to hold, and help to stave off joint pain.
Handles may be made completely round, or with a depressed grip for your thumb. And, so you never have to wonder if you have the right size hook, the letter size is embedded in the end of the handle.
Do you have special preferences when it comes to your crochet hook handles? I will be happy to work with you to create a tool tailored to your needs, that will be both as comfortable and as beautiful as possible.
Price: $18 per hook
  • Buy 3 or more, get $2 off each hook. Use voucher code: 3HOOKS
  • Buy 6 or more, get $3 off each hook. Use voucher code: 6HOOKS
A note regarding manufactured hook color: I have no control over the colors of the aluminum hooks, or the quality of their factory paint jobs. Sometimes there are spots where the underlying silver shows through. This is especially true of the Susan Bates hooks. It's just the way they came in the package!

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