Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where are they now?

Whatever happened to your __________?
Write about the fate of a past knitting project. 
Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted 
for yourself or to give to another person. 
An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

Back when I first began to crochet, I remember concentrating on scarves. I know now that most people start with a scarf. It's easy for learning and provides instant gratification. After about ten scarves, all of them gifts for family and friends, I found myself bored with them. But I was still new to the craft and I was a bit shy of trying new patterns. 

So at that time, with a handful of scarves, and the chilly/foggy "summer" months in Monterey, I started to think about people in need of warmth locally. A member of my crafting group has a charity so I brought the idea to her. We then told the group about it and I was thrilled that so many others were willing to pitch in and provide at least a scarf for the initial cause. 

It become such the success that first run, with over fifty scarves that were given to a local teen shelter, that I made it a small mission of mine to donate at least one or more crocheted or knitted items each month. 

It's been over a year and a half, and not only have I donated scarves, but also hats, mittens and most recently, about 10 crocheted afghan squares for Warming Up America. I do wonder what happens to many of those items. Sometimes I'll see people downtown and wonder if they're wearing mittens I made, or perhaps a beanie. I do hope that all of them are in use, if not by the receiver but maybe reclaimed by someone else. 

Currently, I am not donating locally which is something I prefer to do, but since the crafting charity group closed, I've since started to donate nationally as well. Now, some of those items would be sweet to come across. I suppose I would need to travel. Seattle anyone?

Some of my pieces donated to charity:

Crocheted Hat using Lion Brand's Thick'n Quick - great stuff for charity!

Fingerless mitts, crocheted. This was actually my first attempt at mitts.
Free yarn cowl!! :)
I acquired this yarn at the Maker Faire in San Mateo
last year during a Lion Brand mini seminar.
This stuff makes great quick and easy pieces. 

I'm usually in a rush to get them out, so I tend to forget to snap photos. This is something I should really work on.

Seriously, I'd love to learn about any charities you donate to or know of. I'm always looking for new ones! Share in your comment. Thanks in advance!  

always, PLUR,
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tidy Mind + Tidy Stitches

Day Three: 30th March. Tidy mind, tidy stitches.
How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? 

Since I have recently transformed my crafting area and have posted an overview of it here, I'm going to showcase some of my storage in detail. I thought it would be fun to create a numbered photo with the list of items, kind of like what editorials do. 

Yarn Stacked

1. Top drawer = all of my cotton skeins
2. Most of my sock and DK yarns
3. Wound up yarn, mostly sock
4. Bulky skeins live here
5. Randoms, left-overs and extra Sunshine Yarns mini storage
6. Tote filled with larger cotton skeins and my hand-dyes

Close-up of tote

"Miss Poppins"

This has been my favorite bag! It's a Land's End canvas tote that has enough storage and pockets to house all my knitting and regular purse items on the go. One year my crafting group held a holiday party with a white elephant theme & I ended up with the biggest box which had it inside. Before I obtained this bag, I used to carry two bags plus my knitting project bag with me. It's been over a year since, it still stands well & it truly is like a Mary Poppins bag!

Can I borrow your...?

1. Project bag
2. Sunglasses + a purse hanger, perfect for keeping bags off the ground
3. ER pouch = bandages, contacts, PocketBac, gum + lip gloss
4. Notions
5. Needle case
6. Pens + Post-Its
7. My wallet (can't leave home without my CoffeeMia punch card!!)
8. Smartphone - besides it's typical uses, I also use it as a row counter.
9. Shopping bag or an extra project bag if needed

Close-up of needle case

Ready, Set, Go!

This is where I house all of my project bags. At the moment, all of them are filled with projects. I love having them organized this way. Easy to locate, plus it's become such a cute display! 

As you can see, I'm fairly organized. I've always been this way, just like my parents. In my opinion, it reduces stress and provides a clean space that allows me to create more freely. The only thing I tend to do is dump Miss Poppins out each day upon my table and leave it all sitting there until I get ready for the next day. So if ya ever want to come over for dinner, you just might end up with some notions on your plate...

Do you have a similar story? Leave your info, I'd love to hear about it! 

with peace, love, unity, and respect,
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Skill + 1UP – 2KCBWDAY2 
Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill
 and knowledge of your craft to this time last year.

Upon looking over my completed projects from last year, I began to notice that many of them have been knitted recently as opposed to crocheted. Before then, the only thing I knitted was a cowl for charity. It was my first completed knitted piece. I was proud! But I was also actually quite embarrassed that I gave it away because it is not something I'd wear. 

• Project: Knitted Girls Cowl
•Made for: Local teen shelter, Crochet with Heart Charity 2010

Around the same time, after I was done knitting a scarf for charity, I decided that crocheting was the only fiber craft I could do, and do it well. This was about March of last year. So after that, I kept sticking to crochet patterns. Definitely my comfort zone! 

It wasn't until about May of last year with a failed attempt at crocheting a pair of socks (infamous boyfriend's slipper/socks) that I realized I wanted to try my hand at knitting a pair instead. Everyone in my crafting group will tell ya that I have been talking about knitting a pair of socks for ages now. Even my dear crafty friend Ang got me the From the Toe Up sock knitting book for my birthday! So I picked out some gorgeous Berroco Sox metallic sock yarn, a basic top-down sock pattern from Teach Yourself Visually Sock Knitting by Laura Chau and a set of circular needles. 

With determination, I went to reading the book thoroughly, making sure to not miss any steps. Unfortunately, reading comes easy for me. Actually knitting those words? Um, yeah. Different story. Thankfully a good knitting friend of mine, Jules, was willing and more than happy to help me. After figuring out the K2P2 bit, I was knitting the leg of the sock like a pro! My first hurdle was the heel flap. Easy! Next was the heel turn.

What heel turn? 

Exactly! I will pat myself on the back for at least trying it once though. But no more since I placed said leg/heel flap of sock far away from my sight. I knew that I needed to get more of a grasp on knitting. One of the ways I did this was by joining a dishcloth swap group on I figured that I could try different knitting stitches and learn many of the techniques besides knit + purl. What better way to practice by making essentially a bunch of squares? 

Obtaining knitting "mojo" didn't happen over night, and I'm not quite where I'd like to be with my knitting skills, but I am happy to say that I have been learning various techniques and that I am actually wanting to knit more!

• Project: I left my cowl in Ed's V
• Pattern: Cowl - My own design
•Yarn: Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock 100% SW Merino
• Color: Edward's Volvo

Have you learned any new techniques or have you branched out of your comfort zone? If you've blogged about, add your info! 

with peace, love, unity, and respect,
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns

A Tale of Two Yarns – 2KCBWDAY1
Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. 
Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after 
and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

Only two?! Well then, this should be easy! I say this because I really only have one absolute favorite yarn "brand" in which I completely adore and appreciate. Everything else follows behind. I find that I have a mixed stash - samplings, really, of yarns. One skein of Barking Dogs Yarn, a few from Three Irish Girls, a couple of specialty cotton/silk blends, a small yet growing collection of Sunflower Yarns and so on. When it comes to choosing yarns, I am huge supporter of indie dyers. I grew up attending art camps each summer and taking classes throughout my schooling which has given me a deep appreciation for art. This may be why I love the process of someone taking natural fibers and using them as canvases. 

 Sunshine Yarns

For those of you who already know me, you definitely know my passion for Sunshine Yarns. Yep. What is it that I love about this particular brand? Well, so many things, that I could literally write a thesis! Really though, my love for Sunshine Yarns stems from the artist behind the brand, Dani, with her ability to create gorgeous hand-painted luxurious fibers. She is able to translate color onto fibers by becoming inspired by photographs or characters from books, telling stories, mimicking seasons, and dreaming in color. 

Hunting Wildflowers

Sunshine Yarns
Classic Sock 100% Superwash Merino
(photo from sunshineyarns flickr)

Harry Potter

Sunshine Yarns
L to R: 100% Superwash BFL wool • Classic Sock 100% Superwash Merino • 100% Superwash Merino Worsted
(photo from sunshineyarns flickr)

Along with creating gorgeous skeins and rovings, what I also love about Sunshine Yarns is the outstanding costumer service! Dani and her husband Scott are such lovely beings that are awesome at so many things, and always so busy yet Dani makes time to reply to each personal message she receives and makes certain to remember her costumers.

Central Coast Crafters at Stitches West 2011 visiting Dani in her Sunshine Yarns booth
From left to right: Fran, Anne, Angie, Heather, Em, Dani and me

Notice the stringing of socks? These little knitted cuties were all made with Sunshine Yarns and donated for booth display by some of their costumers from the Sunshine Yarnies group via Amazing!! If you are a member of ravelry, I strongly urge you to check out the group. Everyone there is so welcoming & lovely! There are always K/CALs going on, mini swaps, inspiration, help and great chatter!

So as you can tell, Sunshine Yarns definitely takes up a lot of my fiber passion. It also, of course, takes up a lot of my fiber stash and storage.

Four full bins of Sunshine Yarns

It may seem like a lot, and maybe it really is, but for some reason I feel like it's just a start! Especially since I've been acquiring Sunshine Yarns since 2009. Fast forward to 2011 and I've only actually made two items using only three skeins!! Knitting/crocheting more with Sunshine is definitely one of my key crafting goals this year. I hope to showcase a lot of the projects here via my blog.

• Novelty yarns

As you've been reading, you've probably come to the conclusion that I may be what some would label as a "yarn snob." To the contrary, I am far from such label. I will admit that I do prefer quality, like knitting with merino or merino/cash blends and running my fingers through a fluffy Malabrigo worsted. But I also do not mind using inexpensive cottons or yarns with synthetic blends like nylon/acrylic. I have a complete bin full of Lily's Sugar'n Cream solids and stripes. Perfect go-to dishcloth or amigurumi yarns.

So just because I do not mind non-natural fibers doesn't mean that I love any/all yarns. In fact, I cannot stand to work with novelty yarns. Anything from boucle to eyelash yarns and even tape yarns (ribbon yarn).

Examples of novelty yarns from the
If someone is asking for a scarf or a stole made by me using any of these types of yarn, I'll politely decline and recommend another knitter for the task. Off the top of my head, I can name over a dozen knitting friends that would happily except the project too! I'm always so amazed by how many people I see knit or crochet with novelty yarns. I've seen some unique items crafted out it. After trying some of them out when I first started in this craft, I've come to learn that they are simply not my cup of tea. This is great news for you if you like them. More for you! ☺

If you're participating in KCBW, I'd love to hear about your blog & read along! Be sure to leave a comment with your info.

What type of yarns do you love or loathe? Maybe it isn't yarn, but perhaps a particular craft? I'd love to hear about it!

with peace, love, unity, and respect,
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Knit and Crochet Blog Week 2011

I’m stoked to be participating in the 2nd Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week! Created from conversation in the Blog Hub group on, Eskimimi knits had the general idea and it has since taken off. For more information, you can visit her blog here.

Essentially KCBW is “a week of blogging for knitters and crocheters, where individual bloggers could all simultaneously post about the same topics over the course of seven days, so that for one week readers might be able to read from blog to blog and enjoy a community of bloggers all talking about elements of their craft in their own unique way.” –Eskimimi Knits

Thanks goes to my dear friend Kristin over at A Change is Necessary for Growth. She introduced me to this last year but I didn’t partake since I didn’t have a blog. Well, now that I do, I can’t wait to get started!

So stay tuned…I plan to post later today on the topic of A Tale of Two Yarns…

with peace, love, unity, and respect,
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Swap Fanatic

Over the last year I have become quite the swap fanatic, especially through! As mentioned in my last post, I had joined Amy's (Mrs. Darsie's Menagerie) swap group and became hooked. Around that same time, my friend Julie and I joined a dishcloth swap group. To our dismay, the organizer was going to delete the group but instead stepped down. We then took over the group, renamed & reorganized it. Between our group and Amy's The Swap Stop group, I've been having so much fun swapping!

What is a swap & how do they work? Swaps are an exchanging of items, usually consisting of themed or like-minded items. Commonly, two people are partnered by the swap organizer or moderator. They then exchange information such as likes/wants/dislikes and start to put together a package for one another, sometimes based on a swap's particular package requirements, adding extra goodies for fun.

Yesterday, I signed up for The Swap Stop's Favorite Colors swap. Like many of the swap groups on ravelry, Q&A's are given so that swappers can fill them out and post them in the thread or via their blogs.

I've decided to share my Q&A here.

Group: The Swap Stop
Theme: Favorite Colors

Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been at your craft?I primarily crochet and can do basic knitting.  Crocheting since 2008 – knitting off and on since late 2009, but I have recently started to knit more!

Do you spin? What type of spinning do you do? I do not spin but just acquired a drop spindle last month from a lovely swap partner in NC.

Are there any other crafts that you participate in?
Sewing, card-making, beading and dyeing yarn are also my passions.

What are your favorite yarns/fibers? ♥ Soft squishy yarns - super-wash merino wools, Cottons, wool blends and the like.

Are there any yarns/fibers that you don’t like? Loathe scratchy yarns, 100% synthetics, and anything with mohair. I do not care for novelty yarns (beaded, glittered, etc).

What is your favorite color? Currently crazy over various grays and purples. But I always ♥ blues and greens too.

Are there any colors you don’t like? Not a fan of pastels or super bright colors.

Do you have a yarn winder and/or a swift?Yep, thanks to DB.

Do you have a blog? Yes.

Do you collect anything? Not really. I used to collect fancy pens and letter pressed paper/stationery. Now I’m just a yarn addict. Also, I guess unique earrings have been a small growing collection of mine.

Do you like sweets? What are your favorites? Yep, very much so!  Love salty-sweets like trail mixes with dried fruit, milk chocolate covered pretzels. Mmmm, homemade marshmallows, blowpops, Jelly Bellies, Reese’s Pieces, skittles, fancy milk chocolates with nuts, caramels, honey sticks…drooooooooooooooool.

What is your living situation like? Any pets? Children? Wonderful. Nope. Nope.

Are you allergic to anything? Cats, most trees and certain milk proteins. Also, I have a sensitivity to smoke of any kind and strong scents.

Is there anything else that you want your pal to know?Check out my profile – I’ve got a list of things about me to help you! Let’s see…I’m a swap-crazed lover of life, down to earth, crafty/geeky chic!

I cannot wait until more people are signed up and partners become announced!

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

with peace, love, unity & respect,