Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts

Saturday, October 8, 2022

The Whole Kit and Caboodle

 A Craft Kit Review




What's the meaning of the phrase 'The whole kit and caboodle'?

A collection of things. 


Dictionary Meaning of Kit & Caboodle (The words have similar meanings):


  • A kit - is a set of objects, as in a toolkit.
  • A caboodle (or boodle) is an archaic term meaning group or collection. 


In crafting, a kit means having everything you need for your next DIY project in one box or package.  Below are some examples of kits for crafters in a variety of mediums. They are especially helpful to beginners who might not know exactly what they might need to have when learning a new craft. 


Craft Kits


Crochet



Start your own Jurassic Park with this dinosaur crochet kit! This kit includes all the materials you need to make 4 different dinosaurs, including a T-rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Brontosaurus! It even includes instructions for how to customize your dinos with pattern variations. 

Kit includes 

The Yarn (Yellow- Blue- Purple- Pink- White), Plastic Safety Bead eyes x 8, Pipe Cleaners, Stuffing, Darning Needle and Crochet hook (size G6/4.00mm).  The Kit also includes the pattern bundle of 5 unique patterns, each with their own full-length video tutorials so you never miss a stitch!


Knitting



This Beginner Knitting Kit for a snood is a great start for someone who is interested in learning to knit.

You can learn cast on, cast off, knit, purl and sewing thanks to basic illustrations and guidance included in How To Knit manual in this kit while you create a beautiful snood.

Everything you are going to need for your snood is included in the kit. All you need to do is decide which color you would like and whether you want knitting needles or not.


Sewing



Dragon - Sewing KIT, artist pattern, stuffed toy tutorials, soft animal, soft toy DIY craft kit.

This SEWING KIT includes a printed pattern with easy to follow step-by-step instructions and a link to a video tutorial. Plus, supplies for making this adorable mini dragon toy.


Felt


Create an adorable centerpiece kit for your holiday décor. This POLAR BEAR & PENGUINS FELT APPLIQUE CENTERPIECE KIT comes with everything you need to complete it (Stamped Felts, Cotton Floss, Acrylic Yarn, Needle, and Instructions) except the stuffing. The completed centerpiece measures 11.5" x 9" x 10". Kit can be found in the eBay store House of Sylvestermouse.


Quilting




Quilted tote bag kit.  


Kit includes Pre-cut fabric of your choice from several designs offered, plus instructions. 

Finished size: 14”x14” with 19” handles


*For more quilting ideas, read this review by Sylvestermouse all about creating a gorgeous wall hanging with a Quilt Magic Kit Wallhanging


Holiday Décor Kits


Create your own bead and sequin Christmas ornaments as Sylvestermouse did. Read her review here to find a variety of kits for many lovely ornaments.


Craft Kits for Kids


There are many craft kits made especially for children.  This review of the Hide and Seek Rock Painting Kit by Wednesday Elf is perfect for kids, especially ones who enjoy artistic endeavors like my grandson David does.







Summary


As you can see, there are craft kits in every medium you can name. Whatever your crafting interest is, you will find a kit available. 


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*Craft Review by Wednesday Elf






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Monday, August 1, 2022

Reviewing How Others Impact My Life and a Thank You to Melanie Ham

As I have moved physically to a peaceful location I have begun to move to a more peaceful emotional place in my mind. Over the past 6 months I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on who and what is important to my life and health. Since January 2022, when it was announced that Melanie Ham left this earth, I have focused even more on how we impact each other and who I should choose as mentors.



Who Was Melanie Ham

Melanie Ham was most known for her YouTube crochet and quilting tutorials. If you are a quilter or crocheter and have searched for help on the internet chances are good that you've come across her name. That is how I became familiar with her name and her gentle and affirming approach.

I would like to add to the heart-felt tributes to her life but I cannot imagine writing an adequate tribute. I do not have sufficient words. Prior to her death, Melanie and her husband began to prepare a documentary of her life. Made With Melanie - A Feature Documentary by Robert Ham went live just a couple of days ago. While I cried much of the way through the video, it was ultimately encouraging.

Life is cyclical. Life is a never-ending group of connections. I never imagined that I would find a crochet pattern to help comfort my friend during her battle with cancer - a pattern written by a woman who was ultimately taken from us by cancer.  

Jenny was a co-worker and friend who was battling cancer in 2019. The loss of her hair was devastating and we worked together to find a pattern for crocheted hats that would work for her. You can see my blog post about how I tweaked a pattern by Melanie Ham to suit Jenny's needs. Before Jenny passed, we worked together to mail off hats to a cancer treatment center. Even during times where she felt terrible physically, barely able to stand and concentrate, it was important to her to continue to give to others. 

I hope Jenny and Melanie are hanging out in heaven crocheting together.

How Those Around Us Impact Us

My dad was wrong about a good number of things. And while I thought he was wrong when he said "you are who your friends are" I now know that there is nothing more true.

If we choose to be around those who are cruel or angry, we will be cruel and angry. If we choose a mentor who says "I knew feelings would be crushed" with a gleam in their eye, we too will be pleased to crush others.

Now, the conundrum is what to do with those who are close to us but who have a negative impact on our peace. Do we cut them lose and end the relationships? Or do we work on improving the relationships?  The easy thing is to cut ties. The right thing may be to work on the relationship in a way that can move the relationship to a peaceful, productive, and good thing; as Robert and Melanie did.  

Whether we decide to cut ties or work to improve the relationship, we must do our own work. Moving from one person (or one group) to the next without doing our own work will do nothing to improve our lives.

How Will We Choose to Impact Those Around Us

Moving from a chaotic address to a peaceful address and from an extremely chaotic place of employment to a less chaotic jobsite has done wonders for my own peace of mind. I want to continue to broaden that peaceful feeling enough to be able to share it with others. 

Melanie Ham is a wonderful example of teaching and supporting others in a kind manner. And in a manner that spreads positivity.  She ran a highly successful business without cutting others down. Yes, sex and drama sell and there's a good chance that those business plans can bring in more dollars - at least for a period of time. But is that who we want to be? Profit via big drama? Some people want that in their lives. I have realized that I don't. 

"Pay It Forward" is often a tangible action; paying for the coffee of the person in line behind us. But it can be an emotional gift also. We can teach, donate, comfort, encourage, volunteer, and give with a kind and happy spirit.

I am a work in progress. There were long periods of my life that I was lost and struggling. And angry. I had a lot to be angry about but I truly didn't need to carry it with me for that long of a period of time. It's a bit sad that I am approaching my 6th decade of life before starting to live a peacefully. I imagine all I could have done with my life if I had found peaceful living sooner. But... I'm finding it now.  I am finding it by surrounding myself with good, peaceful, and faithful people who give of themselves. 

I wish you peace. And the ability to pay good things forward. Thank you Melanie for the shining example of living a best life during our time on earth and the crochet patterns that gave us comfort.






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Saturday, February 26, 2022

By Hook or By Crook – Book Review

 

 

*Created with Pixabay & Fotojet

 

I love books and am a big fan of mysteries. I also love to crochet. So finding a mystery book that is a crochet mystery was a delight. And discovering that the author, Betty Hechtman, has written a whole series of these cozy mysteries starring a crochet group was even more fun.


Today's review is on By Hook or By Crook by Betty Hechtman.


Story Characters


The characters in this story are known as the Tarzana Hookers ~ that's hookers as in crochet!


They are a group of ladies (and even one man) who crochet and meet regularly in a small book store in Tarzana, California (thus the name). The crochet group's main focus is to crochet for charities. The group is headed by Molly Pink (main character), a widow with two grown sons who works as the event planner at this book store. Somehow, Molly keeps finding herself involved in mysteries she becomes determined to solve. And, of course, various members of the crochet group get involved.


Synopsis of By Hook or By Crook


Book Review of 'By Hook or By Crook'
Available on Amazon

“Nobody noticed the bag at first”


The story begins as the group is packing up their table at a charity fund-raiser they had been involved in for a local state park. After the leftover crochet blankets, scarves and teddy bears from the sale had been put away, they noticed a plain brown grocery bag sitting on the end of the table. With nobody claiming the bag, naturally they had to look inside. 


The bag contained some curious items ~ an unfinished note that spoke of remorse, ending in Please....., a single-page diary entry written 20 years ago, and a piece of filet crochet with a group of complicated pictures that don't, at first, make any sense. The pictures on the panel of filet crochet include a building, a house, a couple of cats, what looks like a guy with a bow and arrow, and a vase of flowers.  What could it mean and who crocheted this piece?


As time goes on, Molly discovers that the aqua thread used in part of the filet crochet piece is a specialty thread and she tracks it down to the local yarn store which carries it. The shop owner keeps good records, so Molly is able to learn who bought this particular thread. When she goes to return the bag, she discovers that the crocheter it belonged to has been murdered.


Since the note in the bag began - "I did something a long time ago that I now regret and would like to make right.....” Molly decides she has to discover what that is and help make it right. She thinks the pictures in the crochet piece could be clues to solve this mystery and, with the help of fellow crocheters in her group, she sets out to learn what it is all about. Her discoveries take her to Catalina Island where things get very strange. Her life is also complicated by her parents suddenly deciding to visit and taking over her house, her two dogs, only one of which is hers, the bookstore demanding her attention, especially because a TV program is being scheduled to film an episode there, distractions caused by the lives of her crochet group members, and just life in general. 


Defining a Cozy Mystery


Loosely defined, a Cozy Mystery is a gentle subset of the genre of crime writing.  It's a comfort read that leaves you satisfied, rather than scared to sleep alone with the lights out....


These mysteries are enjoyable, most often starring a female amateur detective, and with the crime and detection taking place in a small community. They are a comfortable and quick read.


Author Betty Hechtman


Betty Hechtman

Betty Hechtman has (to date) written 14 books in her 'crochet mystery' series. Betty loves mysteries, which began with reading Nancy Drew. She has also been doing handicrafts since she was a child. She states it was like a dream come true to be able to mix mystery and yarn craft in her books. 




Summary


By Hook or By Crook meets the requirements of a cozy mystery and the series of 'crochet mysteries' this book belongs to is particularly interesting to not only lovers of mysteries, but also anyone who enjoys crochet.

Although the series appears to be a continuing one with the same characters, I don't believe they need to be read in any particular order. I began with this book, which is #3 in the series, and had no trouble figuring out who everyone was and what roles they played in the story. I now look forward to reading the rest of the series and learning more about Molly and the other members of the Tarzana Hookers. They sound like a group I'd love to belong to. 

 

*By Hook or By Crook Book Review Written by Wednesday Elf





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Monday, December 7, 2020

Reviewing Gift Ideas for People Who Crochet

People who learn to crochet often get hooked (pun intended) and always desire more yarn,
more supplies, and more time to crochet. We joke about our excessive hoards of yarn but would go shopping for more in the blink of an eye. My dream is to someday go on a Crochet cruise vacation (yes, those existed prior to social distancing limits) and if anyone would like to gift me a crochet cruise I'd happily accept. However, there are many great ideas for crochet gifts with smaller price tags. 



Crochet Gifts

There are so many gifts that can be given to someone who crochets. From Tshirts and mugs with messages that make yarn lovers smile to items that make the process of crocheting easier there is something for every crocheter. I've compiled a few samples in this review. 

Crochet sets. There are sets that include a little bit of everything. This set by BeCraftee is a good example: case, stitch markers, yarn needles, a set of hooks, and more. This is a great option and would be an appreciated gift. 

Crochet Set by BeCraftee

Yarn Bowls. What are yarn bowls?  They are wonderful "bowls" (usually made of wood or ceramic) that hold the balls of yarn that is currently being used. Why is this important? Because nothing is more irritating than knots in your yarn while you are crocheting or the balls of yarn rolling off the table or your lap while you are working. A yarn bowl holds the ball of yarn in one place while allowing it to spin freely while crocheting. A very functional item that is also a pretty gift.

Yarn Bowl by Athena's Elements


Round Knitting Looms.  Round looms aren't quite knitting or crocheting. With a bit of yarn, a hook, and a round loop almost anyone can make cute hats! I love my round knitting looms and use them when I want to add a bit of variety to my crafts or take a break from a large crochet item. I love my round looms so much that I wrote a separate review and you can see that here.

Round Loom Knitting Set

T-Shirts. This is a T-shirt that people who crochet will understand. There are others to chose from, with a variety of yarn and crochet messages. Some messages are funny, some a bit naughty, but this one fits me (and many people who crochet) perfectly!

T-shirts for Crocheters


Coffee Mugs. There are some really funny, and some really bawdy, coffee mugs with messages that suit crocheters perfectly - including a coffee mug that matches the T-shirt listed above. The message on this mug made me laugh and sums up 2020 perfectly.

Crochet Coffee Mug

Crochet Books

There are many books about crochet; stitch and pattern books galore! One of the best crochet books ever isn't about the stitches or patterns, it is about a young crochet phenom named Jonah Larson. You may have seen him on social media or talk shows with celebrities. I had. Even so, I didn't fully know his story. This book about this young man is a wonderful story and would make a wonderful gift. You can read my full review here

Hello Crochet Friends by Jonah Larson


This list is a small sample of the many pattern and crochet stitches books:

A to Z of Crochet: The Ultimate Guide for the Beginner to the Advanced Crocheter

Cats in Hats: 30 Knit and Crochet Hat Patterns for Your Kitty


Gift Cards !!!!

Does my list of options make your head spin? Are there too many options? If so, you can never go wrong with gift cards. Amazon offers many crochet and crafting items. Joann Fabrics and Michaels are two of my favorite crafting stores. All of these cards are available through Amazon - which is an convenient way to give long-distance gifts. I especially like (giving and receiving the Amazon gift cards in the holiday tins. Others prefer the digital/emailed gift cards.

Gift Cards

Crochet Stocking Stuffers

Like many people who crochet, I feel that I could always use more hooks, stitch markers, measuring tapes, round counters, and other small items. These items make excellent stocking stuffers.

Dedicated Scissors or Yarn Cutter. There is nothing more annoying than crocheting and having to get up to look for scissors. I eventually bought a pair of dedicated scissors that are supposed to be used for crochet only. However, they still sometimes wander off. Also, I have found that pointed scissors in my project bag sometimes snag the yarn. So, my crochet scissors are currently blunted tipped scissors (like child's school scissors). I would very much like some of the ornamental "embroidery" scissors or this yarn cutter pendant by clover! Such a great idea. And ends the frustration of not being able to cut yarn when I need to.

Yarn Cutter by Clover


Locking Stitch Markers. Stitch markers are such a little thing but such a huge help. They are small, plastic pieces that work very much like a safety pin. But because they are plastic they do not snag your yarn. I never knew how much I needed stitch markers until I bough some. Now I can't do without them. I like them so much that I wrote a review that you can read here

Locking Stitch Markers


Counters. Another little gadget that helps keep track of rows or rounds, that I'm not sure how I managed without for all of those decades of crochet, is a counter. No more misplaced slips of paper trying to track what row or round I'm on in the pattern. Such a helpful tool to have.

Click Counter

 

Vacations for People Who Love Yarn

Cruises: Prior to 2020 and related pandemic restrictions, I was trying to determine how I could go on a crochet cruise. Mikey from the Crochet Crowd provides some of my favorite online video crochet tutorials. I was THRILLED when they began offering crochet cruises. Currently, of course, cruises are not being offered. But I am including this link for future reference. 

Fiber Festivals: An internet search for "Fiber Festivals" provides a list of festivals where yarns and crafting supplies are the focus. During normal times (when travel and gatherings are not restricted), you could plan a day trip to a local festival or a full vacation that includes a festival in the area you are visiting. 

Farm/Ranch/Fiber Mill Tours: Many people who love yarn crafts also want to know more about the fiber animals, spinning, dyeing: all of the steps in the process of creating natural yarns. Again, an internet search can locate Farms, Ranches, and Mills that are open for tours and sales of the fiber. In just a few moments, I located Mountain Meadow Mill (sheep/wool in Wyoming) and Mountain Hollow Farm Store and Studio (cashmere goats/yarn, classes, and more in Tennessee)





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Friday, May 1, 2020

How to Make a Very Easy Afghan with Loop Yarn

Almost anyone can make a loop yarn afghan! No needles or hooks are required. All you need are your fingers and small scissors.
Almost anyone can make a loop yarn afghan!   

Even someone with arthritis who can no longer grip a crochet hook or knitting needles can make a loop yarn afghan that is beautiful.  This would also be the perfect afghan project for those who don't know how to knit or crochet.

Loop yarn is not a normal string of yarn, it is made with loops.  Most of the patterns either say knit or crochet, but you really are not doing either.  No needles or hooks are required.  You only use your fingers to weave the yarn.

When I first spotted Yarnspirations loop yarn, I knew I wanted to make something with it.  Normally, I would find a pattern and want to make a specific item.  However, in this case, it was the yarn that called to me.  I bought the yarn, then went on a search for a pattern.  I knew exactly what I would make when I discovered this afghan pattern that resembles a cable stitch. 

The Bernat Alize loop yarn is the softest yarn I have ever touched.  When my son first touched my afghan while I was making it, he said if felt like a chinchilla.  He is absolutely right!  I had been saying it felt like petting a baby rabbit, but it really is softer than a bunny.  This yarn truly is a joy to work with and to touch.


Loop Yarn Easy Afghan Pattern


I discovered this fabulous video that taught me how to make the pattern I love.  Instead of trying to write out instructions, I'll share the video.  It is very easy to follow and makes a lovely design.  

I do have a few tips to share before you begin.  

  1. Have a pair of small scissors available.  You start the project by cutting a few of the loops open.  You will also need them each time you start a new skein of yarn.
  2.  Decide how wide you want your afghan before you start.  I opted for a throw size afghan (100 loops - 60" wide), which is approximately half the size of a standard throw. 
  3. I originally purchased 10 skeins of yarn, but that was not quite enough for my desired length.  I actually needed 12 skeins.
  4. After you have completed the first few rows, the pattern design is easy to see, which makes continuing each row very easy.
  5. Instead of sitting at a table, I use a lap desk that sits on the arms of my recliner.  That allows me to watch a movie while making my afghan.

As you can see in my photos, I used a variegated denim blue & white colored yarn.  This yarn is available in 10 - 12 different colors (see below).  I highly recommend using the Yarnspirations Bernat Alize Loop Yarn.

 



My Lap Desk


In case you are interested, you can purchase a lap desk similar to mine on Etsy.  Clearly, you can use the lap desk for a lot of other things as well as crafts.  It even has a groove on each side for pens, pencils, markers, craft tools, etc.   

Click my image below to see the actual Etsy listing and shop where I purchased mine. 

 Lap Desk Available on Etsy

To See Several Colors Available, Click Here!






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Monday, April 6, 2020

Crochet: Using Those Leftover Yarn Balls

As soon as I crocheted the first afghan for my grandbaby I had thoughts of using that leftover scrap yarn to make a throw. A sentimental way to keep pieces of their blankets for myself. Now is the perfect time to do it and I've made huge progress on my own afghan. I want to share the super-easy idea with you.

using my scrap yarn to make something special for myself

I crocheted afghans with VERY different colors for my three grandbabies. As a result, I kept my idea of using all of the scrap yarn (orange, purple, white, pink, and a variety of "under the sea" colors of tans, blues, and greens) in one project to myself. I adore rag rugs. So I suppose it wasn't a far jump to crocheting a blanket with this odd color combination. It was just a matter of finding the crochet pattern I'd want to use. But this kind of wild color combination...who does that?

Apparently, a lot of people do! 

There is even a name for this particular blanket - Scrapghan.

In searching for patterns, I find that making scrapghans is a fairly popular thing to do. And using a wide variety of colors that may not typically go together can lead to some beautiful projects. In addition, these projects save odd bits of yarn from being wasted and ending up in the local dump.

Personally, I have the best luck with learning new projects via video crochet tutorials. Sometimes it is a bit frustrating finding a video with someone whose teaching style matches my learning style but I've always managed to find someone eventually. If you have thought about using your scrap yarn to make a blanket, Ophelia tells us about her scrap blanket (and uses the Granny Stripe).

Ophelia Talks About Making a Scrap Blanket (Ophelia Talks):


If you are interested in learning the Granny Stripe stitch, I recommended viewing  How To Crochet Granny Stripes, episode 246 (Fiber Flux):




I prefer the look of the "granny stripe" patterns with the different colors of scrap yarns. In addition to creating a wide stripe of each color, the pattern works up very quickly. I also personally think that a granny stitch creates a "softer" blanket than a straight single stitch. I already know that this is a project that will create a functional and meaningful blanket I will treasure.

Related Links:

Colors from Ardin, Harper, and Bentley's blankets
For my grand-daughter's baby blanket, I used the Bernat Pipsqueak yarn. The yarn is unbelievably soft!  And when used with worsted weight yarn, in a lined pattern, the Pipsqueak creates a soothing sensory texture.  To see my Pipsqueak review click here. Notice that in 2017 I was already planning on using that yarn in a project for myself!

In two of the grandbaby blankets I made, I used the Done in a Day pattern by Dabbles & Babbles. I LOVE that pattern. It is easily adjusted for any size afghan and any size yarn. You can see my review of that pattern here

Of the three grandbaby blankets I made, I used the Under The Sea pattern for my grandson who is already on his way to being a marine wildlife expert! You can find my review for that fun crochet project here.


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Friday, March 6, 2020

March is National Craft Month

Reviewing the Wonderful World of Crafting!

March is National Craft Month
As an avid crafter, I am thrilled to have a month for celebrating crafts.  Since March is filled with cold days kissed by spring, it seems like the perfect month for crafting.  

It is exhilarating to look out the windows at the beautiful days.  It fills us all with the desire and energy to do something.  However, March weather is not often cooperative, or conducive to outdoor activity. 

In my region, you never know what weather you will wake up to on any given day.  Some days we have beautiful spring weather bursting with new life in our flower beds.  Then the following day we can find ourselves thrown back into winter with ice and snow.

The spring days make you want to go outside, breathe in the fresh air, and have fun "running with the wind".  Unfortunately, when those days are followed by freezing weather, you find yourself stuck in the house still feeling that desire to do something.  I turn to my crafts and harness that energy while I wait for the warm weather to return. 


Fun Crafts - There's Something for Everyone


The wonderful thing about crafts is that there is a craft project for everyone.  For those of us who love needlework, there are a variety of options.  Sewing, quilting, cross-stitch, or embroidery fall under the category of needlework.  The beauty of many needlework kits is that they are often small and portable.  

Several of my fellow contributors enjoy crochet and working with yarn instead of thread.  That is also a craft that is portable.  Both Wednesday Elf and Dawn Rae have Etsy stores where they sell their beautiful creations.  

Avid crafters, like myself, tend to skip from one craft project to another.  Not only do we enjoy needlework, crochet or knitting, but we also explore the world of stenciling, painting, decoupage, flower arranging, latch hook, mosaics, beaded crafts, and many more.  

Regardless of the craft, it is always a creation made by our own hands.  Hours of love are often poured into whichever craft we choose and many finished projects turn into treasures for a lifetime and passed down for generations. For such a worthy endeavor, a month is not really enough time to celebrate, but it is a great beginning.

Here are a few websites you might enjoy visiting when you are ready to select a craft, kit, or pattern.  The tutorials on Crafter's Kingdom will make it easier to learn a new craft too.



The Business of Crafts


Because of my own love for a variety of crafts, like Wednesday Elf and Dawn Rae, I also opened an online store 19 years ago.  My craft supplies store is on eBay, which predated Etsy.  I love both sites and highly recommend either for selling or buying.



All of the craft kits, patterns, or books featured in the introduction photo, are available in The House of Sylvestermouse eBay store






House of Sylvestermouse





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Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review: Hello, Crochet Friends! by Jonah Larson

This little book packs a powerful punch! Hello, Crochet Friends: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy written by young Jonah Larson and his mother Jennifer Larson is the most uplifting and motivational book I've read in years.

Hello, Crochet Friends! written by Jonah Larson


Hello Crochet Friends!: Making Art, Being Mindful, Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy is one part autobiography, one part inspirational, and one part crafts. It includes topics of international adoption, school behavioral problems, and the importance of finding one's passion. 

Jonah Larson is an 11 year old crocheting phenom. I came to know about him from looking for crochet patterns and tutorials on the internet. This young man has a gift with crochet. His talent is nearly unbelievable. Watching his little hands fly as he works on his current projects is mesmerizing to me.  And all the more impressive when I learned a bit more about him.

Jonah was adopted by the Larsons when he was a baby. He began crocheting at age 5 by accident - when a single crochet hook was found in a bag of items. It became clear very quickly that crochet was his thing.

I work with children in a school that is focused on addressing their behavioral and learning difficulties. I run a small crochet club, teaching them just the basics (sharing my limited skills), because I know that crochet is a wonderful coping skill for some children. I ordered Jonah's book so that our students could read about a child who loves crochet. 

I was moved to tears when I received the book and read how Jonah also struggled with significant disruptive behaviors in school and how crochet helped him. And not only has crochet helped him manage his behaviors in school, he is using his art to give back to those in need in the country he was born. An astounding story and life lesson for all of us.

What this book is:

  • an age-appropriate picture book about an 11 year old who was adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage
  • a book that is written in a gentle, uplifting, honest and encouraging voice
  • an inspirational book - encouraging everyone to find their passion and do it
  • a helpful book for teachers and school staff - showing the positive results of thinking outside the box and helping students identify what calms and encourages them
  • an encouraging book for children who struggle with behaviors - helping them to feel as though they are not alone and that something can change
What this book is not:
  • this is not a book of crochet patterns
  • this is not a crochet tutorial
I'd like to express my gratitude to Jonah and his mother for writing this book and sharing this story. It has touched me and has been well-received by the students in my little crochet club. You are inspiring to so many others.


From the Amazon listing: "Hello, Crochet Friends! is the first title in the KWiL Publishing's Rock Star Kids series of books about young people doing incredible things in the world". Personally, I am looking forward to future books in the series!

Related Links:

While I am not as talented as young Jonah, I do love crochet. I am able to do beginning and easy intermediate patterns. I have written about a few of the easier patterns. If you are thinking about beginning crochet, look for one of the many online tutorials, find someone that matches your style, and just begin.

My review of Dabbles & Babbles Done in a Day pattern. This pattern is pretty, more interesting than just straight crocheted rows, and is versatile. I've made several different sized blankets with several different types of  yarns with this pattern. I have also used this pattern to create a long, rectangular piece that was used as a type of shawl for an elderly gentleman. 

Although loom knitting is not the same as crochet, it is an easy way to make interesting and beautiful hats. If you can't quite enjoy crochet, you could create your own treasures with loom knitting. The flower applique is crocheted and from the only flower pattern I've ever been able to complete successfully. This pattern is Flowers by The Dozen by Yarnspirations and I review it here






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Monday, March 11, 2019

Reviewing Jeans Yarn by Lion Brand

Stonewash Jeans yarn by Lion Brand.
Lion Brand Yarn Company sells some of my favorite yarns. While I'm waiting for my order of Comfy Cotton Blend yarn to arrive, I'm using some Jeans yarn that I had on hand. I had forgotten how much I love this yarn for hats. The super soft yarn, in blue jean colors, was perfect in a hat for my grandson. I think it'll also be awesome for making my Jenny Hats.

I've started crocheting chemo hats. I call them my Jenny Hats. If you'd like to know more about why I started making chemo hats the link to that article is listed below.

I've been using Lion Brand Comfy Cotton blend yarn for my Jenny Hats. Because cotton is so comfortable and because the Comfy Cotton yarn is so soft. But this weekend I did not have enough Comfy Cotton blend on hand. So I started a hat with the Jeans yarn. My goal is to make the most comfortable hats that I am able to make. 

I LOVE the Jeans yarn. It is 100% acrylic yarn - not cotton as I had guessed. It is machine washable and dryable. And the colors are awesome. "Stonewash" is the color pictured. Doesn't it look like a favorite pair of broken in jeans? 

The yarn is labeled as a size 4. In my opinion, it is on the small side of size 4. It is working up in this Jenny Hat just like the size 3 Comfy Cotton blend worked up. The Jeans yarn does not split or fray easily making it very easy to work with.

At the largest yarn store in my area, I can easily find Jeans yarn in 3 shades of blue, black and 2 shades of brown.  As I was preparing to write this, I see that Jeans yarn is being made in other colors; shades of pink, turquoise, red, and burgundy. These are labeled "Jeans Colors"

Jeans Colors - pink


Related Links:

Read about Jenny and why I began making chemo hats. I also shared photos of the Jenny Hats made with Comfy Cotton Blend yarn here

Another Lion Brand yarn that I rave about is the Wool Ease Thick and Quick. An excellent chunky yarn for neck warmers and other projects that call for a thick, soft yarn. 







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Monday, March 4, 2019

Reviewing Flexible Tunisian Crochet Hooks

Using the appropriate hook for the project. 
With a great deal of skepticism, I recently bought a 24" Flexible Tunisian Crochet hook. It is the recommended hook for larger Tunisian (also called "afghan") crochet projects. I fully expected to not like my purchase. I expected it to snag and not feel as comfortable as my preferred aluminum crochet hooks. Not only was I pleasantly surprised at the smoothness of this wooden hook, I was very happy with the longer length. I should have purchased more than just the one. I can imagine using a variety of sizes of these hooks in the future.

A friend at work asked me if I would try to crochet a scarf for her - from a pattern she found on Etsy. I told her that I'd try, but I was very new to Tunisian crochet. 

I started on the first practice attempt with regular, aluminum Tunisian Crochet hooks. I wanted to first test the pattern. I found that I could work it correctly for the most part. Then the project became wide enough that handling the straight hook was difficult. As the yarn gathered on the hook, it became bunched and too bulky to manage. 

So I ordered the ChiaoGoo 24" Flexible Tunisian Crochet Hook size H8. 

The flexible Tunisian crochet hook is a wooden crochet hook. It has a thick synthetic "cord" that ends in a wooden bead. The bead works as a stopper. The length of the hook with the length of the cord allows you to work on a longer project comfortably. As you can see in the photo, as I add stitches, my scarf easily moves on and off the hook. The bulk does not gather and bunch under my hand.

As I mentioned, I was concerned that the transition between the hook and the cord would snag my yarn. It does not. The metal cap is smooth and makes a smooth transition.

Initially, that stiff cord (think of super thick fishing line) flopped around while I crocheted and it distracted me. But after just 2 or 3 rows, I no longer noticed that naturally curled cord. 

My longer Tunisian crochet projects are much easier with this flexible hook.




Related Links:

This is the third project I've made using the Sweet Roll yarn by Premier Yarns. The color is Wild Cherry Swirl. While they offer many colors in this yarn the wild cherry is my favorite by far. 

I only began learning Tunisian crochet just a few months ago (October/November) and I'm enjoying it very much. See my first Tunisian crochet project here.

I've been taking more time to crochet and as a result I'm gathering a sizable collection of crochet hooks. This Teamoy Tunisian Crochet Hook Case is very helpful in keeping my supplies organized. 




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