Tag: Stitch Marker

All I Want For Christmas…..

Thanksgiving hasn’t even come and gone yet, but already I have seen so many advertisements for Black Friday shopping and stores with their Christmas decor and candies out. I am more of a traditionalist. Yes, Christmas is my favorite time of the year; but, I also like to celebrate the holidays as they occur, not jump over them to prepare for the next.

However, in preparation for the holiday shopping season, I thought it might be fun to put together a list of goodies that would be awesome for the crocheter (or knitter) on your list.

LIL’ LUVVIES

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You know I had to do the shameless self-promotion thing. But, I really do thinkmy Lil’ Luvvies are the perfect gift for whomever you have on your shopping list. They are cute and cuddly and made to order. So, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t include myself and my babies in the conversation.

Aside from the Luvvies, all the other gifts I’m going to mention are items that I like to use, or have seen and would love to try myself (hint, hint Santa). I do not get any commission or compensation for anything listed in this post.

SUBSCRIPTION BOXES

I have to say I can’t think of subscription boxes and not start giggling like crazy because I remember National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when Clark gets a jelly of the month club instead of his Christmas bonus and his brother-in-law responds it is the gift that keeps on giving. But, it really is the gift that keeps giving, and is a nice pick me up. Too often we only see bills and junk mail come in, so it is nice to get that special little gift even after the holiday season to let someone know that you are thinking of them.

The large majority of subscription boxes that I have seen actually are geared more toward knitters – with the yarn choices, the notions, and patterns. However, there are some companies that have boxes for crocheters, or that can be used by both crocheters and knitters alike.

One of the most reasonable options I have seen is Darn Good Yarn. For $10 a month, you can give fabric of the month, yarn of the month, or beads of the month. I received a three month subscription from a friend and really enjoyed the product. Darn Good Yarn specializes in ethically sourced yarn, so everything they provide is artisanal, and done in small batches. It was a nice way to try some silk yarns, or some new colors that I might not have tried otherwise.

Speaking of subscription boxes, I actually just enrolled in a three month subscription for one as a gift to myself. One of my favorite yarn providers, Knit Picks, is offering its own line of subscription boxes and they have one for the crochet-minded. A little more expensive than the Darn Good Yarn at $27 per month, the subscription is supposed to contain at least 150g of yarn, a pattern or book, and fun notions, valued at least at $30. I will be excited to try this, and will report back when I get the first one.

There are other companies with subscriptions, if your crocheter has a favorite yarn brand, check with that company first to see if they have a subscription and then go from their. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

YARN

I mean this is the heart and soul for every crocheter (and knitter). Find me a person who crochets who doesn’t have a yarn obsession and I would say you don’t have someone who loves the fiber arts.

There are so many options to choose from. Your artist might have their own favorite brand of yarn, or you may just want to let them go crazy on their own and give them a gift card to Joann’s or Michael’s. However, if you want some suggestions, or maybe want to get them something different, here are a few of my ultimate favorites.

Paintbox

I don’t even know how I found out about Paintbox yarns. And some days, if you ask me, I wish I never would have (lol). They are one of my top favorite yarns. Available in about 60 different colors, it is like having a box of Crayola crayons to crochet with. The colors are vibrant, and the DK weight is just perfect for most of my amigurumi. If your fiber artist has never used this brand before, it might be something fun to get them a 5 or 10 ball sampler pack to try. Of course, if they are like me, they will just fall down the rabbit hole and buy all the colors and then hate/love you for the hoards of yarn they have, but it is worth it.

Knit Picks – Mighty Stitch

One of the pattern designers that I buy from listed in a pattern that she used Knit Picks Mighty Stitch to make the display image. The colors were absolutely beautiful, so I decided to try some.

It still is a crap shoot for me if I am going to like yarn that I buy online if I can’t feel it first. I have texture issues, some of that is just me, some is me being super aware because of my daughter’s autism. I ordered a small quantity of yarn and fell in love.

With a silky soft texture and medium to light worsted weight, the Mighty Stitch yarn is 100% acrylic (good for allergens). Some of the online complaints are that it frays too easily, but I do not see that as an issue – I have not had any problems with mine and I’ve used probably 10 skeins. If your crocheter likes Caron Simply Soft, this would be something for them to try that is similar, but just a bit more luxurious, too.

Knit Picks – Brava 500

Once I started with the Mighty Stitch, I got regular email offers from Knit Picks and one day, I received a really good offer for the Brava 500. I am so glad I decided to try it. The stitches are consistent and clean. There is no fraying of the material. The composition is 100% acrylic (I have issues with cotton), and it is just a delight to work with.

I have taken to making the Shaun the Sheep duo that I am working on completely from this yarn.

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I think it has provided a study fabric and good stitch definition. The feel of it is very high end, but the price is ridiculously reasonable.

Y’all know I can talk yarn all day and there are tons of good purveyors (Lion Brand, Yarnspirations, Craftsy, Love Crochet) where you can find something special. And all of the sites offer gift cards, so again, you can let your loved one go crazy.

My only online caution would be for my beloved Amazon. I adore Amazon and do a lot of my own holiday shopping from the site, but when it comes to yarn, I typically do not buy from them. I find their prices (surprisingly) to be higher than directly through the companies, and I have never been as happy with the product I’ve received, even if it is from a company that I know well.

BLUPRINT

Earlier this year, Craftsy split into two entities. For its online store, it has retained the name of Craftsy; however, its library of streaming videos has been rebranded as Bluprint.

What is nice about this is you can pick and choose. You can give your loved one a year subscription to Bluprint so they can on demand stream professional videos of whatever new technique they want to pick up – whether it is crochet, knitting, embroidery, photography, cooking, or many others.

I enjoy going to You Tube for quick videos about how to do specific techniques, but the videos on Bluprint for learning an entire new skill (or ensuring your finishing is correct) are so helpful.

If you don’t want to purchase an annual subscription for your loved one, you also can gift them with one or two individual courses to give them the added edge they need to take their skills to the next level.

HOOKS, NOTIONS, AND NEEDLES – OH, MY!

And, if you are looking for that special stocking stuffer, purchasing stitch markers, new crochet hooks, or new tapestry needles can never misfire.

Sure, you can get all of these from Craftsy (and they have some awesome ones) or from Amazon (and yes, on this you can order from them), but if you really want to make an impression, there are gorgeous custom designed notions available from Etsy.

I just recently purchased some left and right, handcrafted stitch markers from Etsy so that I can put these on my amigurumi to know which should be the left and which should be the right leg. Not only are these extremely useful, they are so sparkly and pretty.

Just by doing a quick search of stitch markers or crochet hooks, you can find a whole world of beautiful items that will please the crafter in your life. Personally, I have my eye on some really sweet Magic Wand Crochet hooks, I think I may be asking Santa for those for Christmas.

Whatever you buy the fiber lover in your life that individual is going to adore the gift, because it came from you and from your heart. I wish you the happiest (and most stress free) of holiday shopping.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

 

All Hail the Mighty Stitch Marker

Yet another tale that is going to start with: Back in the day…..I really do feel like a old lady when I start blogs like this (back in my day we didn’t have these fancy). I’m only 40, but sometimes the age starts to show.

Anyhow, back in my day (lol) when I started crocheting the first time, my mother and I were simple crocheters. We had a hook, some yarn, and the pattern from the wrapper of the skein of yarn. My mother and I had never heard of notions; the first time someone in a Craftsy class mentioned notions I was like say what now?

Which also explains when I started crocheting again last year and I bought a set of hooks, I had no clue what the weird circle like thing was. I thought maybe it was for knitting and didn’t pertain to me. It wasn’t until I started watching some videos and saw people talking about stitch markers that everything clicked for me.sm3

Pictured are a loose stitch, locking stitch, and claw stitch marker

Once I started into amigurumi and working in the round, I really started to learn how valuable stitch markers could be. With working in the round because you are just going round and round, you need to know where your first stitch is to know what to do for that round’s pattern.

There has only been one time that I thought I was smart enough to know to count my stitches exactly that I tried to forgo the stitch marker…the result ended in my garbage bin. Needless to say, stitch markers have become my little lifesavers since then.

Sttich Marker Meme

I’m coming to find, however, that stitch markers have more value than just being used for patterns in the round. Even more “traditional” types of projects can be aided with the stitch marker.

I’m waiting for some materials to be delivered for a custom order I’m working on, so I decided to play with my first graphghan (go big, or go home, I always say). I decided for this that I wouldn’t use the corner to corner crochet method, but would just use a traditional double crochet. I started to get nervous as I did this. Each row should have 150 stitches – in the past blankets and afghans have always been my nemesis because I’m not always the greatest counter (even though I am an accountant and I work with numbers every day of my professional life). I get distracted too easily – either by watching a show on TV, or by talking to whomever is in the room, or just by my own thoughts….what number was I on again? So, working on a pattern for an afghan where the stitch count was going to be vitally important because of the design, I started to question my own sanity.

However, as I was doing my foundation row the idea snapped into my head: Use stitch markers! They can be like the little breadcrumb trails that lead me along my path and keep me on the straight and narrow (or straight and growing as I hope will be the case).

Armed with this epiphany, I started to place stitch markers every 10th stitch: This way I can either count the full 150 chains; count each set of 10; or just mosey along and only go back to check if the stitching starts to look a little wonky. I have to say, except for the last 10 stitches of each row, I have been just kind of breezing with the breeze – that’s the beauty of having the stitch markers guide my way. Of course, to this point, there haven’t been any color changes or distinctive pattern markings either, so that has made a bit of a difference.

I have the first 15 rows of the project completed and (touch wood) so far my rows are staying nice and straight and consistent – well set up for the pattern to come. Now, we will see what happens as we go on. My actual first attempt at a graphghan was a corner to corner crochet-a-long that I got so far in and then had to completely frog because I had missed a stitch somewhere and I just couldn’t get the pattern back on track. Scaling this back and using not only an easier pattern, but traditional rows I think will help make the project more set up for success. Of course, I could always panic again and just decide to rip the whole thing out even after making 25-30 rows of progress.

I am posting regular updates of the blanket on my Instagram page if you want to follow along and drop me some encouragement (I could use it). I’m as curious as anyone to see how it turns out.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha