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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Metro Yarn Crawl 2017

I can't believe another Metro Yarn Crawl has come and gone!  We actually made it to 8 stores this year, but we still didn't make it to the store in Occoquan.

Nina, Mary, and I did the Maryland stores on the first Friday of the crawl, visiting Second Story Knits to pick up our totes (and some yarn of course).

We headed to Knit Locally's new location in Gaithersburg, where I scored some beautiful red yarn and a shawl pin.  They have such luxurious yarns there, this is definitely for a project for ME!

Our last stop was at Woolwinders on the way home.  Just like last year, it was a rainy, cold day, so what better to do than visit yarn shops and buy yarn!  Actually, this year, even though it may not seem like it, I tried to concentrate on getting new gadgets that would help in using up my yarn.  I will let this one speak for itself :-)

On the second Friday of the crawl (rainy and cold again!), Mary and I headed to Virginia.  It was a real adventure out to Leesburg to visit Finch Knitting and Sewing Studio.  It was worth the trip!  Such a great store, and you'll be seeing my new gadget from there in another post.  But here's a taste of the amazing vibe and decor.

Then off to Red Fox Yarns, where Uniquities used to be.  The new shop is delightful, with an emphasis on baby yarns and reasonable prices!  And you can't help but stumble upon a cute little stuffed fox everywhere you turn :-)

Our last stop was Nature's Yarns, where I scored a Della Q organizer for my knitting needles (haven't actually organized those needles yet, so no pix).  Love that store; it's definitely a place where you could sit and spend an afternoon so comfortably...

On Saturday, I bribed the hubby to driving me to Old Town Alexandria for a quick stop at fibre space, and I walked on Sunday to Looped Yarn Works (for the locals, that's about 3 miles!).  Another awesome Metro Yarn Crawl!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Last Days for #NatCroMo GIveaway!

Hope everyone's been having a wonderful National Crochet Month!  Amy and Donna of Crochetville have outdone themselves once again with the Designers' Blog all month, and here's my original post on the 9th.

I've been hinting all month on FaceBook about our NatCroMo giveaway, and you have only until midnight EDT on March 31st to enter on our FaceBook page (just "like" and follow the page!).  Last hint: it's a fun amigurumi project. 

Spread the word, we'd really love to hit 500 likes!  And we'll be posting complete photos of the giveaway and announcing the winner next week.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

NatCroMo 2017

It's really hard to believe that another National Crochet Month has rolled around!  I'm so honored to be part of the Crochetville Designer Blog Tour again this year in celebration of the enduring life skill and art that we all love so much. 

In anticipation of NatCroMo, I started offering my Pollie the Octopus pattern for free, hoping that each reader will feel inspired to make at least one to give to her local hospital to help premature babies!  More details on why octopuses are so comforting are in this post.

Also, I'm going to be having a little crochet mystery giveaway near the end of March through my Facebook page, but you have to "like" and follow my page to be in on it (a winner will be chosen from among the page's likes and privately messaged for shipping information).  I'm closing in on 500 likes, so please help me get over the top!  I'll be dropping hints about the goodies included, so check back here on the blog and on Facebook often!

This year's blog tour theme is Glamping.  Now, I am not at all the camping type, but I'm really enjoying the virtual trips we're taking this month through Crochetville's NatCroMo Facebook page, and be sure to click on Vedetta Lodges in Tuscany, Italy -- bellissima!

But still, my post is indirectly related to the theme of loving crochet and being inspired by exotic getaways and everyday locations.  This month (and throughout the year), we are going to be motivated to visit some of these amazing yarn stores that are participating in the tour and start a number of the beautiful patterns that this month's featured designers generously have posted.  But, March has 31 days in it, and, at some point, the abundant offerings of NatCroMo are going to be overwhelming -- I'm here to say that it's ok to give yourself permission to NOT crochet (only you can let yourself off the hook so to speak). 

Treasonous talk for the month in which we celebrate all things crochet?!  Hear me out.  I'm not advocating giving it up totally or taking a break if you don't feel like it; but, there are times when NOT crocheting will actually deepen your love and appreciation of crochet and help you see it all with fresh eyes (and hands!).  Frankly, I've gone through a few periods like this recently and wanted to share my experiences:

1.  Do NOT crochet when doing so gives you more angst and stress than it takes away.  Whether it's a project that's on a very tight deadline (real or imagined) or a new technique that's giving you fits, if crocheting is causing stress, you need to step away.  Life is already full of enough stress, something you love should not be adding to it.  Sometimes just a few hours away will do the trick; sometimes you'll need more time to decompress and center again.  The point is, trying to power through is going to set you back more than stepping away for the time you need to love crocheting again.

2.  Do NOT crochet when it's adversely affecting your physical health.  Whether it's the fact that you've been sitting on the couch not moving (except for your hands) for hours or that you're giving yourself carpal tunnel, it's time to put down the hook and get active!  Sometimes I try to justify watching TV by telling myself that, hey, I'm also crocheting, I'm doing something productive and meaningful.  That's true, but when hours have gone by, I realize that I feel stiff and sluggish, my eyes and neck hurt, and that I should have been pacing myself.  As they say, moderation is key.  Now, I keep an eye on the clock; I don't crochet for more than an hour at a time -- once I get to a natural stopping point, I put my project down and go for a walk.  Even if it's only for 10 minutes and just around the apartment, I get up and move!  It's usually all I need to feel better, plus this approach makes for a better crochet project in the end because I then take the time to look over the crocheting I've done and assess.

3.  Do NOT crochet when it feels like a burden.  Usually, I love making all different types of crocheted gifts for relatives and friends, and I love designing and posting new patterns, but sometimes the whole process just feels like one more thing that you have to do rather than something that you love to do.  Now, for my sister designers who are thinking to themselves, well, I'm not going to be able to make a living if I don't stay on top of all my projects, I'm especially going to encourage you to take a break.  Stepping away, even for just a day, to regroup, rethink, RELAX, can make all the difference in approaching your work with a fresh eye and renewed spirit.  Inspiration for a new crochet project is all around us, but we won't see it if we don't stop to take it all in.

So, to end on a high note, it's amazing how the love of crochet is spreading far and wide, with such variety in techniques and designs.  It's obvious that the fiber arts for many is not a short-lived fad but a lasting lifetime endeavor.  Enjoy the journey and please stop by to visit me on my blog or Facebook page during your travels.  Here's to many, many more NatCroMos!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  It's not too late to whip up some beautiful crocheted hearts to sprinkle among your favorite peeps, so go to my Ravelry page for the free pattern!  Please post your hearts, I love seeing the projects that crocheters have come up with using this pattern (making two and filling with potpourri has been a fave).

Unfortunately, my sweetie is out of town this year, so I'll be doing the next best thing:  crocheting and watching trashy tv :-).  I hope everyone's day is filled with fun and love.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Make a Crochet Octopus for a Premature Baby Today!!

A couple of friends have posted this UK article on Facebook about crocheters making octopuses for premature babies because the tentacles remind them of their umbilical cords and make them feel safe and breathe better!  Of course not only am I ready to go into action to make some, but I want to do more -- the article links to a lovely octopus crochet pattern, but I've had one for Pollie the Octopus for sale on my Ravelry page forever, and I'm making it FREE!  I think, if I do say so myself, that this pattern will be easier to make for a beginner crocheter, and it meets all the requirements mentioned in the article (all cotton, tentacles not longer than 22 cms/8.5 in.).  So, PLEASE, make one today!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Purl Soho in NYC

I just got back from a quick trip to New York City and was fortunate to see my friend Charlene who lives there.  We hopped the W train to Canal Street and visited Purl Soho, which is on Broome.

This yarn store in known as being one of the 10 best yarn stores in the country, and it's obvious why as soon as you walk in the door.  Not only do they have beautiful yarns, but Liberty of London fabric and all sorts of notions and accessories.

I of course couldn't help myself and bought some of the fabric (yes, that's $19.00 for a 1/2 yard!), a Purl Soho drawstring bag, and a weird little gizmo that came in a pouch with the cutest pompom on it (that will be figured out and revealed in its own post).  Surprisingly, I managed to not grab any yarn, but I figured it would be easier to call them or order yarn online in the future than it would these items.

Haven't decided yet what to do with the fabric -- maybe a little scarf for myself in anticipation of spring!  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Curation Consternation"

So, I've been thinking a lot about the blog content that I want to create for the upcoming months and for 2017.  I've been putting together individual posts for the general post that I did for the 5 Must-Have Crochet or Knit Baby Shower Gifts.   And I was thinking about my tagline "be thoughtful" and how it is intended to evoke in the gift giver thoughtfulness towards the gift recipient but also thoughtfulness towards oneself because, as we all have experienced, you often have as much pleasure in giving as you do in receiving.  But, as I move towards putting together collections of crocheted and knit items to make, I was thinking about another tagline to sum up why it's different and unique.  One of the new taglines I was thinking about was "Curation + Convenience" or "Convenient + Curated".

But, this morning while watching CBS Sunday Morning, Faith Salie had a whole segment on curation and her irritation with the word!!  She thoroughly explains the origins of the word and how it's evolved as well as why she believes it's become overused and meaningless. 

Suffice to say, the segment has given me pause about whether I want to use that word to describe what it is I'm trying to do.  I'm in search of a new, descriptive, catchy way to encompass my desire to inform you about, in my opinion, the best choices and resources that you have available when planning and creating your crochet and knit baby gift giving!  Back to the drawing board...