A Crocheted Birthday Gift

Birthday present for C

Birthday present for C

There is a joke among crafters about only making things for deserving recipients. Anyone who would not appreciate the handmade value, who would refuse to wear the item, or be stupid enough to felt it in the washing machine does not qualify as a worthy recipient. Then there are the people in your life who are so close to your heart and so worthy you would make them a hundred items by hand even if they did accidentally felt one of them.

Whole lotta crocheted merino

Whole lotta crocheted merino

My friend C is someone who falls into that category, so I decided several months ago to make her something special for her birthday which falls this week. Her favorite color is gray, so choosing the yarn was easy. I decided to make her this wrap, which appeared in Interweave Crochet several years ago and has stuck in my head ever since I saw it. It was lots of work, to say the least, as the Sundara yarn I chose was not the weight used in the pattern. I pretty much had to follow the stitch patterns but make my own pattern based on fittings with my friend and calculations from my gauge.

I ended up doing alot of ripping out when things didn’t quite go to plan, and I had to ask her to try it on so I could see what adjustments needed to be made. But there is another proof that she is a most deserving recipient, as she didn’t mind having her birthday surprise be a little less of a surprise, and good-naturedly tried it on as many times as I needed her to.

The view from the back

The view from the back

I think the final result was well worth the effort, and I know she will keep it and wear it for years to come.


The completed amigurumis...but this group could grow...

Completed amigurumis…but this group could grow…

Considering I have a long-time fascination with all things Asian, particularly Japanese art, it’s high time I extended this to Asian crafts. The tradition of crocheting amigurumi animals originates in Japan, but has become popular everywhere.

The octopus won't make it to my son's class because my husband requisitioned it for his desk at work.

The octopus won’t make it to my son’s class because my husband requisitioned it for his desk at work.

My son has VIP Day coming up at school next month, and wanted me to be his VIP and to make something for his class. I’ve been wanting to make some amigurumis for a long time but other things always took precedence. This was my perfect opportunity to take a break from everything else and browse the library for pattern books, and browse my yarn stash.

For the teacher...who takes the class on a field trip to Seaworld each year.

For the teacher…who takes the class on a field trip to Seaworld each year.

Amigurumis are so fun and fast to make and so cute, I just could’t stop and pretty much spent last weekend making one right after the other. (They are also awesome stash busters because you can use whatever colors strike your fancy and they don’t take much yardage.)

Yarnosphere 2015 (and a little “haul”)


I had a very packed weekend and therefore could only attend Yarnosphere on Sunday. I love these shows, especially with a friend, because I always walk away having learned something even if I didn’t take a class. They’re a great place to see yarn lines up close and personal and find new ones you may never have heard of. I have heard people complain about Yarnosphere being really small, compared to shows like Vogue Knitting or the Stitches shows. This is somewhat true, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some new lines at Yarnosphere I had never heard of before. All the big companies buy booths at the big shows, and I don’t recall seeing as many small indie dyers at Stitches last year. Yarnosphere had lots of indie dyers, many local to where I live, and I will definitely go again next year.

I did try very hard to control my shopping urges, but there were two yarn lines I’d never heard of before with colorways I simply couldn’t pass up.

Celestial Strings - Dark Matter

Celestial Strings – Dark Matter

Celestial Strings had great colorways, and I simply couldn’t walk away from the one called Dark Matter. She also dyes yarns that respond to black light, but unfortunately was sold out, or one of those skeins would have come home with me too. I haven’t yet decided what these skeins are going to be, but the wool is so soft, I’ll probably just enjoy petting them for awhile until inspiration strikes.

In the Deep Hue Sea

In the Deep Hue Sea

In the Deep Hue Sea is the other line that caught my attention all day. It has vivid colorways, all with oceanic names, and is done locally in Huntington Beach. I am wishing I would have also bought the one entitled People Are Strange, but I really was trying to control my shopping. But I think the fact I am still thinking of it three days later means I probably should have sprung for it. She told us she does lots of small batches, so if you see something you like, you really should go for it while it’s there. But she also does custom dyeing, and runs an Etsy shop. The two skeins you see above will make a very striking shawl or scarf I think. I just have to play and figure out the perfect design!

Realigning My Life

I seem to be going through one of those times in life where I suddenly feel disoriented, like the rug has been pulled out from beneath me. Over the last year, I’ve had alot of changes, my plate is a little more empty than it was for a long time, and I have been faced with the truth of who my true friends are (and are not). This is not all related, in fact, most of it’s separate, aside from the fact it is all just part of my life.

I spent a long time having way too much going on and waking up every day (or often in the middle of the night) wondering about where to start and how to manage it all. So even though I now feel a void, I am being very careful and thoughtful about where to go from here. It is not a bad thing to have a little extra time to cook healthy meals instead of constantly ordering takeout, and it’s good to have the opportunity to reboot once in awhile, preferably if you can fill your life with better things than before.

I have been wanting to arrange myself a more organized studio of sorts for a long time. I had been winding my yarn at the shop when I went in, which of course, is no longer an option. But thanks to my favorite little happy place, I do know where to buy good quality stuff. I ended up going with a cheaper ballwinder, but for fun, if you want to look at some top-quality swifts, ballwinders and other such investments, have fun browsing through here. The shop ballwinder came from this site, and it was a dream to use.

Since I’ve been feeling a bit off my game, I am looking forward to Yarnosphere this weekend. If you’re in the LA, San Diego or Long Beach areas, check it out! I always find the energy at these shows reinvigorating, and aside from trying to not spend too much money on yarn I don’t need, there’s no way to go wrong spending the day with a friend at a show like this.

All you faithful readers of this blog know there’s nothing I love more than challenging myself with a project. A good friend of mine and I are seriously considering working through the master knitter programs. We haven’t started just yet because both of us felt we needed a little more time to get our heads in a more positive place first, but even if we wait until the new year to start, it will be good to work through it together. I went to art school, so I’ve been through all the presentations and critiques of my work plenty of times, but even so, this program does intimidate me. However, if we can tough it out and make it through, I am anticipating that the sense of accomplishment and bragging rights will be a satisfying reward. :)

And yes, there is also a master crocheter program, which is also on the list of accomplishments I’d like to add to my life. I don’t have any friends signing up for that, so if anyone wants to work through that with me, leave a comment! I’m always open to making new friends!

In Anticipation of the Blockbusters

There’s nothing better than a day out at the movies with a good friend, and this is usually something we do around the holidays. I am waiting in great anticipation of the new Star Wars and James Bond films. If there are two film franchises that top my list of favorites, it’s probably these two. Apparently I’m not the only one, as I found this post today and thought you all would enjoy these Star Wars goodies.

For pure inspiration, this is something awesome posted in the Kaffe Fassett Collective on Facebook, but it seems science fiction fantasy/hi-tech to me.

And just for some James Bond fun, this site examines the little details, in detail. A Google search doesn’t come up with much in terms of Bond-inspired knitting patterns, but this is a great place to gather inspiration if you feel so inclined. Enjoy!


A Chapter Ends

If you are wondering where I’ve been, the answer is, I’ve been taking some time to mourn the loss of something I really loved, which I am now losing, and trying to figure out how to properly acknowledge it here.

Anyone who has read my blog for much length of time knows how much I enjoyed working at the yarn shop, and how grateful I was to be part of it. It is closing in the next few weeks, although I already feel as though it’s gone, given how bare the shelves were the last time I was in. The owner, my boss, is an amazing lady, but even the most organized and efficient among us cannot be in five places at once. She is moving into a new career working for yarn companies and thus can’t continue running a shop too. I understand it, but it is a loss for all of us who loved it.

I always jokingly called it my happy place, but it really was. I didn’t spend nearly as much time there outside of my work hours as many of my coworkers or customers did, due to my other obligations, but I do feel the loss very much. I have many happy memories there, and I learned so much about the industry and of course, yarn itself. My current skill level in knitting and crocheting both is eons beyond where it was when I started working there. When I started designing, it was the first place outside of my family to support and encourage me. My boss was always there to bounce questions off of or to offer guidance.

The sign outside always said not to knit alone, and thanks to Unwind, I fully understand why. When you are in a place where people are supportive and always happy to share what they know, you grow and improve in ways you simply can’t when you are working on your own. It is hard to sum up all my memories or all the things I will miss into a few short paragraphs, but  a yarn shop truly is about the people. I think the most special parts of life are about the people you share it with, and I will miss all my personal interactions more than anything. Of course I made friends and will keep in touch with everyone the best I can, but I will miss the place that drew us all together.

I tried to write this post carefully so it was not too much of a downer, but I thought such a special part of my life deserved a proper mention and notice. Sometimes we do have to just stop and mourn something we loved before we move on. I will miss sitting in the shop getting inspired by the beautiful walls of yarn, taking a look at the latest store samples, and of course, working events with my coworkers and hearing customers’ stories. I am taking some time to feel the void before I hopefully find something equally fulfilling to fill it with. But I am a better knitter, crocheter, and designer because of my time at Unwind, and good friends are never to be taken for granted. So even though I am sad, I am also very grateful.

A Beautiful Marriage

There have been other brides who have crocheted their own wedding dresses, to beautiful effect, but I love this marriage of satin and purple crochet. This is such a beautiful example of combining crochet with a traditional dress, and when I saw this photo, I had to share. I also love her hair – check out the photo of the bride from behind! I have absolutely no reason to be interested in making a wedding dress at this point, but sometimes things are just so beautiful and noteworthy, they deserve a few moments of admiration anyway. Enjoy!


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