Great clearance price at Michaels

The huge Impeccable Endless yarn (1790 yards!) that came in up here in Canada in March for $25 a skein is now on clearance for $7.97 in our local store. That is a ton of regular worsted weight yarn for a great price. It may not be on clearance everywhere, but worth checking out if you can use it.

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Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

I made and decorated a batch of chocolate cupcakes for Valentine’s Day and they turned out quite lovely. I used this chocolate cupcake recipe, which is probably one of the best I have ever had. I put a red fondant heart on top then some put candy hearts on top of that while others got a white buttercream rose instead (yes I made them myself).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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My favorite Valentine’s Day pattern

Here is a cute pattern for a lovely heart lace shawl that looks intricate but is really quite easy to make.  The pattern is Sweet Heart Shawl from Girlie’s Crochet and, although written for #3 crochet thread, will work for any size yarn as long as you change the hook size to match.  I used a silk, rayon, and cotton blend yarn from Estelle called Sakura that I had in my stash just waiting for something special to make with it.  It is a worsted weight yarn so I used a size I/9 (5.5mm) hook for it.  I only had 2 skeins so I went to the 9 hearts across before doing the border, but since I was using a larger hook and yarn it still made a decent shawl size. 

I had just enough yarn left over to make a flower which I added a large button to the back of so I could use it hold the two sides together by putting the button through the mesh.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Hook and Yarn Size Conversion

yarn-labelIf you are using older patterns handed down in the family or found in thrift store, you may be confused by the yarn sizes called for in them. Since most of the yarns old patterns reference are probably not made anymore, you will have to find a modern equivalent. A good way to judge is by the size of crochet hook the pattern calls for. Just find a modern yarn that is rated for the same size hook as all the current yarns will have a suggested hook size on the packaging.

Here is a handy chart of yarn numbers with the conversion to the old style names:

0 – Fingering, thread
1 – Sock, fingering, baby
2 – Sport, baby
3 – DK, double knit, light or light worsted
4 – Worsted, Aran, afghan, medium
5 – Chunky, bulky, craft, rug
6 – Super bulky, super chunky, roving
7 – Jumbo, roving

Note that there can be several names for the same size and that there will be variations in size for yarn rated the same number. Generally a #4 yarn will be fine with a G, H, or I hook but for the rest it is best to read the label for the suggested hook size. It is always safe to go up to the next size, you will just get a looser weave in the final product, but if you use a too small hook you will get a very stiff final product from the weave being too tight.

Another chart you may need is for the various ways hook sizes can be named. I grew up using the letter system in the US, but newer yarns or patterns now seem to lean toward giving a size in millimeters (mm). Here are the letter sizes with their corresponding US number, size in mm and UK number:

B — 1 — 2.00mm — 14
C — 2 — 2.50mm — 12
D — 3 — 3.25mm — 10
E — 4 — 3.50mm — 9
F — 5 — 3.75mm — n/a
G — 6 — 4.00mm — 8
H — 8 — 5.00mm — 6
I — 9 — 5.50mm — 5
J — 10 — 6.00mm — 4
K — 10.5 — 6.50mm — 3

This only covers the main hook sizes, and not the smaller steel hooks for thread. You can view an expanded chart that includes the steel hooks and more sizes at AllFreeCrochet.com

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Review of new Caron Pantone Yarn

_20180824_193850This is a new yarn exclusive to Michaels that comes in a nifty looking braid in hand selected Pantone color combinations.  It is a 10 strand twisted yarn that is 60% Acrylic, 20% Nylon, 20% Merino Wool.  It is only 127 yards in lengths, split between the colors, and is a #5 bulky rated for a size J (6mm) crochet hook.   The feel is nice and soft, but it is a bit of a pain to work with as the strands tend to come apart while you crochet so you have to be careful you aren’t missing one of the 10 strands.

_20180824_193817Before you can even start using it, you have to disassemble the braid to get 5 separate loops of yarn which you then have to roll into balls to use efficiently.  This takes about 30 minutes if you are hand winding and requires a partner to hold the loops to avoid tangling.  This may go faster if you have a ball winder and a swift would eliminate the need for help.  Still, this is an annoying and time consuming step.

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When you are finished with the separating and winding of the yarn, you will have 5 tiny little balls of around 25 yards each which basically look like leftover scraps rather than a new skein!  There is barely enough in one to make a single hat and any larger project will require several of these to complete and lots of yarn changes.  With a regular price of $9.99 here in Canada and $7.99 in the US, this is a very expensive yarn to use!

I really can’t think of a reason for anyone to want this, other than the attractive way it is packaged and not having to think about getting coordinated colors.  Maybe colorblind people would find it useful?  You can get a striping or variegated yarn that is all one piece that would still be color coordinated that would be longer and have no yarn changes, such as Caron Cakes.  I really can’t recommend it.

Dsc_2682I had to make a sample hat with it for work, which turned out pretty, but was a pain to make because of the way the yarn splits and the intricate color work pattern.  The surprise was when I wet it to block it, it really stinks like a wet animal.  Maybe the merino wool in it?  It wasn’t this exact pattern, but similar.  There was almost nothing left of the yarn when I finished.

 

 

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Yarn Pooling Throw

yarn-pool-blanketI posted about my previous experiment in yarn pooling and mentioned I was working on another.  Well, it is finished and I really like the look of it.  I used Caron Simply Soft Stripes in “Churchill Downs” color. (I have been there many times and none of these colors make me think of the place!)  I think it turned out pretty cool though.  It uses granny stitch (6 cluster for each color) and I did the border in cream Caron Simply Soft with one row of double crochet and two rows of single crochet.  I based it off the pattern in this blog post from Repeat Crafter Me.  The hardest part is making each color turn out into exactly 6 clusters, so a lot of ripping out and redoing with either tighter or looser tension to get there.

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Baby blanket, hat, and booties

_20180203_1556201528687397.jpgI have a baby shower to go to in March and I am in the process of making a set of blanket, hat, and booties as a gift.  I am using Caron Simply Soft in off white, soft green, and lavender blue.  I picked these colors since I don’t know the sex yet and those are pretty baby neutral.  The booties and hat are finished since they are pretty quick to make, just an hour or two.

dsc_18311618520281.jpgThe blanket is in a ripple pattern with four rows of each color and is about half finished now.  I like this ripple as it is a very repetitive pattern and easy to keep track of your spot since it is all in 3’s.  The purple looks a bit darker here than in real life for some reason but the other two are pretty accurate.

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