Spinning Quite a Yarn

I was super excited when Lauren McElroy’s Crafter’s Box collaboration was announced. I love her Instagram content and have always been interested in learning to use a drop spindle, so it was a perfect box to spend some birthday money on.

There was a small bit of a learning curve, as you can see from the progression in that photo, but the video class was so easy to follow. I even started incorporating some color with some roving from Ganxxet.

Once I had a good amount of two-ply yarn, I wanted to create a project with it. I swatched a bit in crochet and knitting to decide which looked better. The crochet showed off the variation in the thickness (which we will pretend was intentional), so I started a hat.

The yarns I used were about 4-5 WPI, and I roughly measured the smallest amount to find out that I had about 6.9 yards per 10 grams. This hat used 58 grams of the all-white yarn and 41 grams of the blue/purple/white yarn. Really rough estimates mean that I used around 68.31 yards in total.

I’ve also started experimenting with chain plying the yarn (the two small skeins in this picture), which is a lot of fun. I don’t have enough of it yet to do much with it, but I’m thinking maybe gloves.

If you are looking to learn drop spindle spinning, I’d definitely recommend this kit. It’s still available through The Crafter’s Box Marketplace, and they have some accessories you can also pick up through the marketplace to create even more yarns.


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Crocheted Cross Stitches

May I present to you the Cross Stitched Beanie! The lovely Ila Quinn of Ila Quinn Designs created this pattern to combine her love of crochet and cross stitch, and it does so beautifully.

I had the pleasure of testing this design before its release, and I created two versions of it. The first is this one in a two-tone pattern in Lion Brand Oh Baby Organic:

And the second is is this one made of the original Cozy Cotton Cloud DK from Fuzzy Whatknots, specifically the Rainbow on a Cloudy Day color:

Pattern specifics: This pattern calls for 200-300 yards of DK weight yarn and a 5.5mm crochet hook. You can also add an optional pom-pom, either yarn or faux fur, if you are so inclined. Obviously I added one to each hat. It is written in four sizes by band measurement, small at 18 inches, medium at 20 inches, large at 22 inches, and extra large at 24 inches. Mine are both the medium size, which gives me negative 2 inches ease.

More specifics on these projects: The pink and blue hat used 65 grams/ 234 yards of Lion Brand Oh Baby Organic in pink and turquoise (not including the pom-pom). The gary and rainbow hat used the full 100 grams/ 218 yards of Cozy Cotton Cloud DK plus 5 grams/ 21.8 yards of Knit Picks Comfy Fingering because I ran out a round and a half before the end. It is easily covered by the pom-pom.

The instructions in the pattern, especially the instructions for the crossed stitches, are very easy to follow and very clear. I would probably suggest an intermediate knowledge of crochet to be able to work the pattern easily. It’s a very quick make, as well. Each hat only took me about 4 hours to finish, and the finished product is very comfy, especially made in the Cotton Cloud.

Go out and support an independent designer today!


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Swatching Up A Storm

I’ve got to admit, I was not very good about swatching before starting a project for many years. Most likely because I was using cheap worsted weight acrylic yarn that doesn’t really change gauge much for so long that I didn’t think it was necessary. Using real yarn has taught me the value of doing a gauge swatch first. That and reading the book Custom Knits Accessories by Wendy Bernard. I rarely follow a pattern to the letter, so swatching is pretty important.

I’ve even started washing the swatches to see how the yarn does in a normal wash cycle, so I know whether or not it will be okay to wash the final product. Much better to find out that a small square shrinks than having an oddly misshapen hat or glove at the end of laundry day.

I’m casting on two projects this weekend:Starry Stole (swatch 1) and Zooey (swatch 2). I knit the swatches Wednesday, hand-washed them yesterday, and now I am ready to measure once more to be sure and cast on.

Oh, and my other swatch project is still going strong. Up to 297 out of 400 right now according to my Google+ Photo Album. Only 103 more to go.