Monday, July 28, 2014

sneak peek.

The crochet pattern for this baby blanket was inspired by a very dear and sweet customer. It just so happens that as I was pondering a design for a square baby blanket, one of our customers contacted us, and suggested designing a pattern for a square baby blanket with a cabled owl border. I was immediately inspired and spent the rest of the day looking at stitch dictionaries and researching yarn.
Working from the center out presented all sorts of design challenges! After much frustration and tearing out, I'm so pleased with the finished results and happy to share with you a sneak peek.....
Just a few details to work out and the pattern for the "Basket of Owls Baby Blanket" will be ready for publication.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

winter sale in july.

Come visit and receive 50% off all crochet patterns!
Our regular offer of buy 5 patterns in one transaction and receive 1 free still applies. Simply convo us, or leave us a note upon purchase as to your free pattern choice, and we will automatically send you your free pattern.
kim and tara.

Friday, June 27, 2014

that nasty word "gauge".

I can't think of 5 letters that can evoke more stress in the mind of most crocheters then the word "gauge". We've all seen it written in patterns, and we all know that it is something we should check, but it is so much easier to ignore it. Really, all we want to do is relax and crochet. Then when our project turns out to be any size, other than what we intended, we do what every good crocheter does...we cast all blame on the pattern and the designer. I know that I'm guilty of this and I'm sure that I'm not the only one, so I thought that I would take a few minutes to talk about gauge (also known as tension). Hopefully, this will take away some of the mystery and fear.

First off, what is gauge? Simply put gauge, or tension, is your guide as to how tight or how loose the designer crochets. Each of us is unique. Not everyone holds their yarn the same, or crochets the same. Some us crochet loosely while others of us crochet tightly, and for some of us our gauge is dependent on our mood. When we are happy and relaxed our gauge is loose, and when we are upset or tense our stitches are tighter then normal. The gauge is added to the pattern so that you are able to match your gauge, or tension to the designers. If your gauge is different then the designers then not only will this affect the finished size, but it will also affect the drape and feel of the fabric.

Now, comes the do you check gauge? Before you start your crochet project you will want to work up a small test swatch. You want to know how many stitches and rows you are getting in a given measurement. Often, the designer will suggest a 4" (10 cm) square, but it is best to work up a few more stitches and rows then the gauge instructions recommend. This will ensure that you get a accurate measurement. Also, be sure to use the yarn weight and hook size recommended, and to follow all instructions regarding blocking and pressing. After you have crocheted your test swatch as directed, lay it out on a flat surface and using a metal or rigid ruler measure the length horizontally across the square. Mark the length with a pin at either end as shown.

Next, take the same measurement vertically across the square and again mark with a pin at either end.

If you are measuring the gauge over a pattern of stitches then the same principle applies.

Now, count the number of stitches and rows between the pins. If you have the same number of stitches and rows, as the pattern suggests, then you can proceed with your project. If you have more stitches, this means that you crochet tighter then the designer, and if you have less stitches you crochet looser.

The next question is, how do you match your gauge to the designers? We have found that the simplest way is to change your hook size. When a designers adds the hook size to a pattern this is meant to be used as a guide. There is no hard and fast rule that this is the hook size that you should use. The most important thing is to make sure that you are getting the same gauge or tension as the designer. If the designer crochets tighter then you do then this would mean that you would need to choose a smaller hook, and don't be alarmed if your hook size is drastically different then the hook size called for in the pattern. I'm a fairly loose crocheter so for amigurumi I've been known to use a hook as small as a 3.00 mm to a 3.50 mm (E) using a worsted weight yarn, whereas someone else may achieve the same gauge as me using a 5.00 mm (H) crochet hook.

Another way to match the gauge is to try holding the yarn in a different manner. If your stitches are too loose you can try wrapping the yarn around your ring finger as well as your little finger. If your stitches are too tight you can try not wrapping the yarn around your fingers at all. You will need to make up a new test swatch for each trial, but it is well worth the effort as it will help you to successfully finish your project and ensure that you have something that you are proud of and able to enjoy for years!


If you are interested in further information on gauge and garment design, Kim Guzman is a designer that I admire and an expert in the field. If you are ready to tackle a garment then I would recommend checking out this post by Kim: Problems with Gauge


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

finished project - seafoam shawl.

I've been eyeing up this one skein of Blue Heron Rayon Metallic in my yarn stash for some time now. Although, I tend to stick to more neutral colours I was drawn to this gorgeous colour way, and I've been pondering for a while now about what to make with it. I'm not a big fan of colour pooling so I was looking for a quick, lacy project that would really show off the yarn. I finally decided on the Seafoam Shawl by Kimberly K. McAlindin. Not only did I love the pattern, but it also turned out to be a great match for the yarn.

Seafoam Shawl by Kimberly K. McAlindin
Seafoam Shawl by Kimberly K. McAlindin
I thoroughly enjoyed crocheting with this yarn as it is amazingly soft, and not at all itchy, which is unlike most metallic yarns. Also, the drape is simply delicious! I used a 3.75 mm (F) crochet hook and if you compare my shawl to the original you will notice that I didn't follow gauge....ooops. I really should of taken the time to work out a test swatch as I would have preferred my finished project to have turned out a bit bigger. Totally my fault, but  in the end it is a nice size for a scarf. To open up the stitches and to stretch it out a bit, I lightly steamed blocked the shawl/scarf when it was done.

Friday, May 23, 2014

new crochet pattern - notebook tea cozy by kim miller.
Skill Level: Intermediate

You can crochet this charming tea cozy! Inspired by notebook paper, this tea cozy fits nicely over your teapot allowing your tea to stay hot for a longer period of time.

This detailed crochet pattern includes directions on how to make a tiny pompom using a fork, and is complete with 12 figure pictures to help you to successfully complete your project. This crochet pattern calls for ¾ ball of Patons® Classic Wool (colour - Aran), ¼ ball of Patons® Classic Wool (colour - New Denim), and scraps of Patons® Classic Wool (colour - Bright Red). You will also need a 4.00 mm (G), 3.50 mm (E) and a 3.25 mm (D) crochet hook. The pattern uses the following stitches and techniques: chain, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, and reverse single crochet.

The finished tea cozy measures 2¾ cm (9”) wide and 20¼ cm (8”) long and will fit a standard sized teapot. The Gordon Ramsay Maze teapot by Royal Doulton is the model for the tea cozy shown.
(Purchase this pattern and receive 20% off by entering the coupon code "notebook20" at the checkout!
Offer valid until Friday - June 6th, 2014)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

sneak peek.

In addition to being obsessed with owls, cables, chalkboards, chevrons, etc....lately I've also been obsessed with notebook paper which is reflected in my latest design for the 
Notebook Tea Cozy!

The crochet pattern for this charming tea cozy should be ready for release any day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

creative way to use crochet.

I was bored with my planter and wanted a change, but after months of browsing and not finding anything that I loved, it finally occurred to me to shop the house. I would have never imagined using one of my braided baskets for a plant cozy, but as soon as I spotted it I knew that it was change I was looking for. Plus, the price was right.
Braided Baskets - Crochet Pattern
Braided Baskets - Crochet Pattern
Now it's your turn...have you repurposed your crocheted items in an interesting way?  We would love to hear about the creative ways that you've use your finished projects.