Monthly Archives: November 2011

WIP Wednesday: Gold Rush

Having a four day weekend gave me a lot of uninterrupted crafting time. (Side note:  I usually teach crochet and knitting on Saturdays.  While it is mighty fun to get paid to do what you love, having a one day weekend does prove stressful over the long haul.)  I really needed the extra days to make some progress on the blanket for my sister.  (You can read more about this project here, here, and here.)

I actually worked on it right in front of her during Thanksgiving, but since I was only using the black and white yarn, she was none the wiser.  On Friday, the Cascade 220 Superwash in 877 that I will be using for my gold granny squares arrived.  With all of my yarn now in place, I started working a little faster.

Yay, my first strip with Saints gold!

This pigeon is too cool to be impressed by my progress to date. (How very NYC of him!)

I’ve been keeping track of my progress by updating the project layout picture I made for myself.  The grayed out sections are already complete.

As you can see, I still have a lot to get done.

For more Works in Progress, visit Tami’s Amis.

Winner: 60 More Quick Knits

 This post contains affiliate links.

Apparently, quite a few readers are itching to do some quick knits.  But according to, the winner of my review copy of 60 More Quick Knits: 20 Hats*20 Scarves*20 Mittens in Cascade 220 Sport from Sixth & Spring Books is…


Congratulations Knititall, and thanks to everyone who entered!

Lazy weekend with a side of yarn haul

This post contains affiliate links.

This is my first uninterrupted long weekend in quite a while (since I usually teach on Saturdays).  I successfully avoided the Black Friday madness yesterday by staying home most of the day crocheting, inventing new turkey leftover dishes, and making the best batch of brownies ever.

These look like standard brownies, but deep inside, amazing flavors await.

MC and I have been avoiding high fructose corn syrup for some time now, which is actually kind of hard to do in a regular grocery store.  I decided to pick up all of my chocolate in the fancy organic part of Fairway to be on the safe side.  (Side note: It later turned out that good ole Nestle Toll House chips do not have high fructose corn syrup anyway!)  I was working with the banana brownie recipe from my all time favorite brownie cookbook, The Ultimate Brownie Book: Thousands of Ways to Make America’s Favorite Treat, including Blondies, Frostings, and Doctored Brownie Mixes by Bruce Weinstein.  I used Sunspire unsweetened baking chocolate and peanut butter chips along with some Endangered Species Chocolate dark chocolate, and an extra banana.  The brownies were so rich, we could only eat a few.  I’ll probably freeze most of the batch for later.  Yum!

I’ve been planning all week to do some local shopping today for Small Business Saturday.  It’s a sad fact that most of my favorite local stores closed in the last few years, so there are few options left.  Naturally, I took this opportunity to visit my two LYS.  I don’t actually need any yarn, but I went with two specific holiday projects in mind.

A collage of The Yarn Company signage.

I stopped at The Yarn Company first (review here).  I did see some lovely yarn, especially some undyed alpaca that is exclusive to their shop.  Nothing was suitable for my projects though (or my limited budget), so I left without buying anything.

Do you think they want us to notice there’s a sale?

Though I’ve been avoiding the holiday shopping fervor, I did stop briefly into the Laytner’s Linen and Home adjacent to The Yarn Company.  I’m working on several free patterns in collaboration with Galler Yarns and I picked up a pillow form for one of the samples.

My next stop was my favorite LYS, Knitty City (reviewed here).

A collage of Knitty City signage.

It was fairly crowded, but I did manage to find yarn suitable for my holiday projects.  I bought one skein of Cascade 220 Superwash in 817…

I hope I have time to turn this skein into a hat before Christmas!

…and three skeins of Sandnes Garn Mandarin Petit in 4418.

This may work itself into a Valentine’s Day gift since I have so many holiday projects and other looming deadlines.

I haven’t used this brand before, but the color was really red, which is exactly what I was looking for today.

One the way home, I stopped by the Greenflea, which is now open on Saturday for the holiday season.

This is one of those really hit or miss markets, where you might find a treasure but you are more likely to find vendors reading newspapers and tables stacked with random junk.  Today was a miss.

When I got home, there was an email in my inbox from American Express. My purchase at Knitty City qualified for the $25 credit for Small Business Saturday, so that was pretty sweet.

How’s your weekend going?

FO Friday – Galler Yarns sample and Hats for the Homeless

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday had a wonderful day.  My post this week is a bit of a cheat.  I have one FO that I can’t show and several that are newly photographed but were actually made a long time ago.

I’ve been working on several samples which will eventually be free patterns released in collaboration with Galler Yarns.  I finished my first sample earlier this week and I will be mailing it off today.  I’ll have to wait to share pictures until after it is published :(.

Lion Brand Yarn Studio is collecting new and handmade hats, gloves, scarves, and socks for Hats 4 the Homeless.  I’ll be taking Photographing Your Fiber with Franklin Habit as part of their Master Class series next week, so I decided to go through my stash of projects to see if there was anything I could donate while I’m there.

Mittens and hats to donate.

Scarves to donate.

I also found some scarves for my uncle and grandfather, so I’m now officially done crafting and shopping for my dad’s family.  This tiny accomplishment makes me feel better about taking on the challenges of the bedspread for my sister and the other top secret design projects on the horizon.

Very manly colors, don’tcha think?

For more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Great Gifts for Yarncrafters

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Happy Thanksgiving!

In the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) signifies the official start of the holiday shopping season.  In the spirit of keeping the holidays a little more handmade and small business and a little less mass produced and corporate, I’m sharing several holiday gift guides today.

Great Gifts for Yarncrafters

There are so many great gifts out there for yarncrafters that I hardly know where to begin.


Books are great gifts for yarncrafters, but with so many options out there, it can be hard to choose.


CRAFT magazine posted a Craft Kits gift guide for 2011.  Here are some of my favorites.

Double Drop Spindle Maple Wood Yarn Spinning Kit from Maine Woods Yarn & Fiber. (Image used with permission.)


Classes are so fun!  Not only can you learn new techniques and projects, but you get to meet more people who share your passion for knitting and crocheting.


Most yarncrafters are always on the look out for new (and more) yarn.  Buying yarn for someone else can be daunting though.

  • Look for tips for color and yarn weight in their Ravelry project pages.
  • Or pick up something unique, like a handspun or hand dyed yarn, or something that isn’t available in their community, like small batch yarn ordered online.
  • Check Ravelry’s Black Friday Yarn Sale thread in Needlework on the Net for weekend sales.
  • I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced to some wonderful yarns from several small companies this year.  You may want to check out A Stash AddictBitsy Knits, or Chopped Tomatoes Design Kitchen.  Other yarns that I’ve admired from a distance but haven’t yet tried include Candy SkeinFunky Monkey, and Swoon Fibers.

Emerald Forest colorway from A Stash Addict.

  • A gift certificate to a LYS is another option, if you are worried about making the final decision yourself.
  • And, of course, I wrote about my favorite yarns here if you are still looking for ideas.

Hooks and Needles

Crochet hooks and/or knitting needles make great gifts, especially if you pick out something special.

Show Your Appreciation

Making things by hand is a labor of love.  Show your appreciation with a set of This Took Forever woven labels from Sublime Stitching and maybe you’ll get a homemade gift in return :).


Does your favorite yarncrafter have a wishlist?  I rely on the Add to Amazon Wishlist browser button to keep my wishlist organized in one spot.  (Hint: If you are a yarncrafter hoping people will get you awesome holiday gifts, maybe you should do that, too! You can even add patterns from Ravelry so that non-members can see them from the pattern purchase page.)

Enjoy the last gift guide, and feel free to share your favorite gifts for yarncrafters in the comments!