Tuesday, October 25, 2011

measurement bilingual.

I was 9 yrs old and part way through grade 4 when Canada switched from imperial measurements to the metric system. Having been taught both measurements in school I thought that it was just my generation that was "measurement bilingual", but I realize that my grown daughters also have this talent.

As Canadians we seem to switch from one measurement to the other with out any thought. For example, when I go to the fabric store I buy one meter of material and when I get home I sew a 5/8” seam which I trim to 1/4” and I don't even blink. If I was to make a trip to my local lumber yard I would drive 50 to 70 km and hour and once there I would buy 2x4's and 3/4” plywood.

It wasn't until I started writing crochet patterns that I even noticed. When I sat down to write my first pattern I figured that since I am Canadian I should write the pattern using Canadian spelling and measurements. This is what I was taught in school. So, I spell colour with a "u" (even though my word processor tells me I'm wrong), I use metric measurements and I crochet with metric hooks. This was all fine until I added sewing. I have never sewn anything other than a 5/8” seam and I have never heard it called anything else. My daughter had just finished a sewing course in school so I asked her what she was taught, and she also calls it a 5/8” seam. My other daughter was in wood works and she was using imperial measurements. This was when I first realized that in Canada we are still using both systems of measurements, hence the term “measurement bilingual”.

For a while I added both imperial and metric measurements to my patterns, but most of our customers were American and adding both measurements was tedious. I started adding both metric and US hook sizes, but I seem to own some crochet hooks that are oddly sized. For example 3.00 mm and 4.50 mm crochet hooks are missing from the US size charts. As hard as Tara and I were working to remain consistent we were running into problems.

In the end what does all of this mean? Well, although there may be slight variations on some of our older patterns we will do our best to include both metric and imperial measurements. However, a 5/8” seam will still be 5/8” seam and we may or may not spell colour with a "u", but for the most part we will do what we can to accommodate the needs of all our customers. In Canada when we buy a box a cereal the ingredients are written on the box in both English and French so it only makes sense that our crochet patterns should include both forms of measurements and hook sizes.


Friday, October 21, 2011

new crochet pattern - boyfriend cowl.

by kim miller

Skill Level: Easy

Whether you are just learning or if you have been crocheting for years you will love this quick and easy pattern. Although this cowl is super easy to make the unique construction really adds to its shape and you will be delighted with the results. Also, if you don't want to share...then don't tell your guy that it will look equally as good on him.

This well written crochet pattern calls for 2 balls of Patons Classic Wool and the finished cowl measures approximately 28” (71 cm) in circumference and 12 ½” (32 cm) wide.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

working in yarn ends as you go.

Whenever possible Tara and I like to work our yarn ends in as we crochet, but what do you do when you are working a granny square? Well, we found this excellent tutorial that shows you how to work your ends in as you go. Enjoy!!!



Monday, October 17, 2011

sneak peek.

"Boyfriend Cowl"

Just a little taste of a soon to be released crochet pattern...

Whether you are just learning or if you have been crocheting for years you will love this quick and easy pattern.


Friday, October 14, 2011


We were just going through our files when we stumbled across some of our very first etsy photos from 3 and a half years ago. Not only did they bring a smile to our face but some of them actually made us chuckle so we just had to share them with you.

This was our very first banner...

We both really liked this banner but as we evolved we found that it didn't really go with the rest of our etsy shop

This was one of our first icons...

We liked these pictures of the sunhat with our sweet little model but the first few months were all about trying to figure out our look, our branding and how to take photos. This is just one of the looks that we played with.

Is it just me or is this next picture blurry?

When we first started I had little to no experience with taking photos or of editing them. I remember Tara so patiently teaching me how to crop and save photos. Obviously, from this picture of the Market Bag you can see that I was still struggling and had lots to learn. I must have improvised by placing the word "Pattern" half way between the grey and the white so that it would look like I did it on purpose.

This next picture really brings a smile to my face...

I'm not sure what look I was going for here but my model is just a couple of baby fingers away from looking like a gangster! No wonder my children run whenever I bring out the camera:)

All of this retrospect makes me wonder what we will think 3 years from now when we look back.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

new crochet pattern - two tone cable scarf.

by kim miller

Be warm and stylish this season with this "Two Tone Cable Scarf". This scarf features a beautiful crocheted braid down the center front that will keep your friends guessing as to whether it is knit or crochet.

This crochet pattern calls for a total of 6 skeins of Knit Picks Gloss Sock fingering weight yarn (2.5 skeins of each colour). Detailed pattern is clear and easy to understand and is complete with colour illustrations and a stitch guide. The finished scarf measures approximately 6 ¼” (16 cm) wide by 68” (172.5 cm) long.The pattern calls for the following techniques and stitches: front post double crochet, front post treble crochet, and back post double crochet.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

new crochet pattern - double twist cowl

by tara schreyer

This cowl/scarf is long and luxurious. It is made up of two individual scarves of contracting colours and then linked together. You can wear it long or wrap it a few times for added warmth and interest. Play with the scarf and the colours to create a variety of looks.

The finished measurement (blocked and with ends joined) is 37.75" L x 6" W. The scarf calls for 4 Balls of Knit Picks DK weight yarn and is made up of the basic stitches of ch, sc, and dc.

Monday, October 10, 2011

sneak peek.

Coming soon and just in time for fall this "Two Tone Cable Scarf" will make a great addition to your wardrobe.


Friday, October 7, 2011

first friday freebie.

felted colourful caterpillar - crochet pattern
by tara schreyer

With this crochet pattern, the possibilities are endless. Switch up his colors, felt him if you wish or simply leave him crocheted. Give him some character with eyes and a smile. Insert a bell to make him even more interesting to your little one.

He works out to be approx: 12¾ cm (5”) L x 7¾ cm (3”) H x 4½ cm (1 ¾”) W


Thursday, October 6, 2011

don't forget...

Just a reminder that tomorrow, October 7th 2011, is first friday freebie. We've been busy adding felting tutorials to our blog so this months theme is "felting". Be sure to check back tomorrow as we will have a free felting pattern for you to try.

kim and tara.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

felting tutorial.

I am in need of a new hat so I thought that I would make myself the Ladies Felted Chapeau as this would also give me an opportunity to do a felting tutorial. The pattern calls for 2 skeins of Cascade 220 and the colour that I chose is called Chocolate (2403) which is a deep rich brown with a purple undertone.

If this is your first time felting then I would recommend starting out with a smaller project where the finished size is not going to be an issue. Even though I am making my own pattern it is still important for me to follow and check my gauge.

As you can see from the picture the pre-felted hat is large and awkward looking but once it is felted it will shrink down considerably and the stitches will not be as prominent.

It is always a good practice to write down the pre-felted measurements. According to the pattern the hat should shrink about 4" in circumference and the finished hat should measure about 22" in circumference so the pre-felted hat should measure about 26" in circumference.

I prefer to felt by hand as I like the control, but because this is such a large project it is going to take a lot effort to get it to felt so I am going to start the process off by washing it in the machine. To be on the safe side side I going to place it in a colour fast pillow case. I've never had a problem with Patons Classic Wool, Lion Brand Wool, or Cascade 220 but if you are felting with Alpaca it sheds like crazy so you will always want to put it in a pillow case when you are machine felting.

These are the materials that I use for hand felting. I would recommend that everyone try felting by hand at least once just so they can get a feel for the process. I wear rubber gloves so that I can tolerate the hot water. Remember that it is the friction and the heat that cause the fibers to bind together so their is no need to worry about being gentle. I have even used a scrub brush and a wash board.

I start by soaking my project in hot soapy water. I use straight hot water from the tap and dish soap.

The scary part is that sometimes your project seems to grow at the beginning and it is hard to imagine that it is ever going to shrink down to size. This hat has already been through a wash cycle so it didn't stretch out much.

It is the friction and the heat that cause the item to felt so use whatever reasonable means you have to create friction.

When I first started felting I was very gentle with my project but it is really amazing how much abuse the wool can take.

Try gripping the fabric between your hands and rubbing your palms together.

I also find that periodically going from really hot water to really cold water sort of "shocks" the wool and speeds up the felting process, but it is important to remember to keep the hot water from cooling down too much.

As you can see from the photo the stitches are not as definite.

Keep scrubbing and alternating from hot to cold water.

Okay...at this point you are probably discouraged so feel free to take a break. As I said earlier the wool takes an amazing amount of abuse.

Back to scrubbing...

...and alternating between hot and cold water.

At a certain point the fibers will really start to bind together. As you can see from the photo the stitches are barely noticeable and water beads form on the fabric. I only took one small break and the process still took me about an hour, but it was worth it.

For a really professional look it is a good idea to spend a some time shaping your project. To help maintain the shape while your project is drying try stuffing it with fiberfil or a like item. Also, as you can see from the picture the edge isn't very even...

...so pull and stretch your project into shape. The fabric has some stretch so think about the shape that you want your finished project to be.

I just used an old bowl to prop up the hat so that it could dry. Depending on the heat and humidity it may take 2 to 3 days for your project to dry completely.

There's still some finishing work to do but I'll save that for another day and another post.

For additional information on felting see also:

what is felting.
felting gone awry.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

sneak peek.

Here is a peek at another crochet pattern that will soon be added to our shop.