Several Cozy knitters took on the May/June challenge of Joji Locatelli's Starting Point Mystery Knitalong, and every version, finished or unfinished (fellow procrastinators, raise a hand!), was as unique as its owner. Because every one of the hundreds of knitters to make this wrap used the same pattern, the individuality comes from the diversity of the color palettes.
Every person has a story. For Fred, each color was a yarn from a store on his own personal Portland yarn crawl. Nancy started with two complementary variegated yarns from her favorite dyer, Shaggy Bear Farms, and then added in solid colors to match. Nicolette also used two variegated yarns, by Sunrise Fiber Co., and then alternated with stripes in the colors of the rainbow. Tom unravelled a previous mystery shawl, and reused the five beloved yarns in a new and much more satisfying arrangement.
Five colors is not very many, right? And yet the toughest question of this and many other popular knitalongs has been: which colors? If color choice has been the tough decision keeping you from making the mystery shawl of your dreams, here are some ideas for harnessing that infinite rainbow:
Choose A Color Family: Pick a color, just one, and then choose your yarns in multiple shades of that color--light, dark, variegated, tonal. (Yarns here are Cascade Heritage, CandySkein Luscious, and Three Fates Yarns Eponymous Sock)
Use Yarn For Inspiration: Start with a colorful variegated or speckled yarn, and then use its colors to select matching solids or semisolids. (Yarns here are Sunrise Fiber Co. Classic Sock, DragynKnyts Dragyn Feet, Malabrigo Sock, and Cascade Heritage)
Neutral + Pop: Neutrals always go together, but to keep things lively, add in one bright color. (Yarns here are Cascade Heritage, DragynKnyts Dragyn Feet, and Sunrise Fiber Co. Classic Sock)
Mystery and other multicolored shawls are a fun way to bust your stash and experiment with color; the next time your favorite designer sends out a call to action, we hope you feel confident to answer with your own unique work of art!
While we are all in the spirit of giving and gifting, it's a good time to recognize some of the ways that knitting and crocheting can bring help and hope to others, during the holiday season and throughout the year. Your talents really can effect change and make a positive difference for the world!
For women who've undergone a mastectomy, traditional breast prostheses are often expensive and uncomfortable. Knitted Knockers are handmade alternatives, knitted and crocheted in soft fibers by caring volunteers. The Knitted Knockers website offers free patterns and guidelines, and lists the addresses and collection points for completed Knockers.
The Pussyhat Project
Knit, crochet, or sew a pink hat for the Women's March on Washington D.C., on January 21, 2017. Organizers would love to have over a million pink hats, one on every pledged marcher, to demonstrate solidarity and support for women's and families' rights.
Mother Bear Project
The Mother Bear Project sends handmade teddy bears to children in developing countries, whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS. You can purchase a knit or crochet bear pattern; proceeds from pattern sales cover the cost of shipping bears to their destinations.
Bags of Love
Bags of Love is focused on helping children in Lane County facing difficult life situations (neglect, abuse, poverty or homelessness). Bags, created and assembled by volunteers, include blankets, clothing, and toys, to create a sense of safety and security for the recipients. Handmade items needed for the bags include washable hats, mittens, scarves, and blankets for children from birth through 17 years old.
Congratulations! You are now the proud parent of a tiny baby yarn! Or two! (Or three or four or five...)
But once you get that mini skein of squee home to your stash, how can you actually use it? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Multiple minis can make a Memory Blanket (This one belongs to The Yarn At Home Mom herself, Shannon!).
2. We are partial to cozies around the shop, for obvious reasons.
3. One or a few colors can be used to make granny squares.
4. Crochet a necklace!
5. Knit or crochet a striped cowl. Or scarf.
6. Decorate for the holidays with a tiny stocking.
7. Make a handful of bunnies, chickens or slugs.
What do you love to make with your mini skeins?
Even if you're not a diehard crocheter, a simple necklace is easy to make. Can you crochet a chain? (And if you can't yet, there are good instructions at Purl Soho.)
1. Assemble your supplies: a small amount of yarn, beads with a hole big enough for your yarn, about 6" of beading wire or tigertail, and a crochet hook.
2. Bend your wire or tigertail in half, and catch about 4-6" of yarn in the bend, just like threading a needle.
3. String on all your beads first, using the doubled wire as a needle. It's better to have too many beads on the yarn than too few, because you can't add more once you've started the chain.
4. Start chaining. When you'd like to place a bead, slide one up your yarn right next to the chain on the hook.
5. Crochet around the bead: with the bead next to the hook, yarn over, and pull through the loop already on the hook. Pull your loop tight, if necessary.
6. Continue chaining and adding beads as it pleases you, then slipstitch your last chain to your first one. Instant glamour!
That funny little tool you've noticed at Cozy's checkout counter is called The Loome, and it's actually quite the multitasker! With a little yarn and The Loome, you can make pompoms, cords, friendship bracelets, and tiny tapestries. There's a great set of video tutorials at The Loome's website, but here's how we used ours to create the pompoms for our window this month:
1. Secure your yarn in one of the notches on the arms. One side of your Loome will make small pompoms and the other makes larger ones.
2. Wrap the yarn around the two adjacent arms until you have a thick and puffy bundle, with about 100 -150 wraps.
3. Cut your yarn, and then cut an additional piece of yarn, about 12-18".
4. Use your cut yarn to tie a tight knot around the center of your bundle, making a bow shape.
5. Slide your bundle off your Loome, and use a sharp pair of scissors to cut through the loops on each side.
6. Your initial pompom will look very scrappy--don't worry!
7. Use your scissors to give your pompom a haircut. Trim it all the way around, at least 1/4" in all directions.
8. You've made a pompom!
One of our customers was admiring the collection of fiber-rific children's books on our coffee table at Cozy, and suggested that it might be fun for us to offer an accompanying bibliography of yarn-related kids' books. Challenge accepted!
Stories about yarn and crafting have always been favorites around our house, and here are some that might appeal to you and your budding knitters and crocheters:
Fiber artists everywhere would love to know, what are YOUR favorite yarn-related children's books?
After days and days of IKEA assembly, we can finally move from a room full of boxes...
...to a room full of yarn. 4 shelves down, 162 to go!