Yarn Review – Premier Rodeo

Saddle up, folks – it’s time for my rootin’ tooting’ review of my experience with Premier Rodeo! (hehehe, lucky for you, this should hopefully be my one and only “authentic” rodeo reference, LOL).

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Earlier this summer, I went yarn shopping at Joann, and after having seen another designer’s work with this yarn, I knew I had to get some.  I had a cardigan design in mind, so I bought a big fat lot of it.  I mean, I probably would have even if I didn’t know what I was going to do with it because it just feels AHHHHHH-mazing!

The feel of this cotton yarn is really smooth, both as a skein and the fabric it yields.  For days I would just grab a skein on my way past my craft room and rub it across my cheek – it’s just that yummy!

And don’t get me started on how much I love the drape!!!  The fabric yielded from this yarn is really flowy – not stiff and “crunchy” like some cottons can be.  It’s an awesome fiber for garments, blankets, washcloths, face scrubbies… you name it!

The only drawback to this yarn is it splits… and I mean splits like no other!  The pattern I was designing called for foundation single crochet, and it took me F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to get that foundation row completed because it would split apart every time I inserted my hook anywhere.  The splitting did lesson some as the garment got bigger, but it never really went away.

Once I got the garment completed, I realized I made a HUMONGO mistake and needed to frog 90% of my work.  As I started to frog, my frustration kept mounting… and mounting …. and mounting.  All that splitting during construction made it almost IMPOSSIBLE to rip out my work.  I kept having to cut the yarn to undo the tangled mess – and I finally got so fed up with it that I am just going to chuck the whole garment and start over.  As much as it pains me, my sanity has suffered enough and I just have to walk away from it.

All in all, the yarn feels great, looks great, and the results are amazing!  If you can stand the splitting and can be sure you won’t have to frog it, I encourage you to give it a try!

Happy hooking!

Shelley

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Fighting the Growth in Your Crochet Garments

Now I’m not talking about the improvement of your skills in crocheting the garments…  that kind of growth is always a good thing!  I always say when you stop learning and improving, you stop living!

What I’m really talking about is when you’ve crocheted a garment, that you really really love, and then over time, it doubles in size… which is so dang depressing after you spend all the time and money to create that wonderful wearable!

Let me tell you a little story…

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Several years ago, I made this fantastic Glamour Fusion Blouson sweater designed by Glamour 4 You – and I was IN LOVE with this top.  I mean seriously GOO GOO GA GA!!!  Great texture, the fit was perfect, and it could be worn year round with a long sleeve tee under it.  It was one of the first garments I made to actually be worn out in public.   Man, I was so proud of it!  I wore it a bunch of times before I finally decided to wash it.

I tossed that bad boy right in the washing machine, and then the dryer, because the yarn label said I could.  What came out of the dryer was nothing short of heartache! There was no damage per se, but the sweater had grown 2-3 sizes!  When I crocheted it, I wore a size L, but it came out about a 2X/3X, and it was no longer wearable.  Lemme tell you – I was crushed!  I double checked the yarn labels, and yep, it said I could wash and dry.  But, alas, what I learned was this is another instance of “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”  Stupidly I tossed the sweater, which is really unfortunate!  Because I am now a 2X/3X and would totally rock that oversized beauty right now, LOL!

I had the same thing happen last year with a cardigan I was knitting.  Remember that post about dyeing the 8 year sweater?  If you haven’t read it, go read it now!  It’s a hoot!  Anyway, that cardigan started out as a size L too, but by the time I went through all the dramatic steps you can read about in that post, it too fits me fine now as a 2X/3X.

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And because I love y’all so much, I’m going to share a few tips I’ve gathered along the way that will help you to avoid this kind of heartache with your crochet garments.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Even though the yarn label says you can machine wash and dry, the label is referring to the fiber itself and whether or not the fiber will be damaged by the process.  But the yarn manufacturers  have no way to know what you will create with it or the stitches you will use.  The process of washing and drying in the machine involves a lot of agitation, tumbling, and weight from the water…. all of which put tension on the stitches causing them to stretch.  So if you are going to machine wash/dry your crochet garments, put it on gentle cycle and use a drying rack with the dryer on fluff/no heat.  Ideally it’s best to hand wash and lay flat to dry, but if that’s not an option gently cycle and rack/no heat are the way to go.

Why no heat you ask?  Well, the heat shouldn’t damage the fiber (if the yarn label says so), but it can cause the fibers to “relax” more than you’d want, which in turn causes the garment to “grow”.

Choose your stitches wisely.

The looser the stitches, the more chance for stretching and growing there’ll be.  That’s not to say that everything you crochet should be a tight dense fabric – quite the opposite!  I am a huge lover of lace & open weave designs… (OO LA LA!)  But if you are going to make a garment with a stitch like that, proper care will be even more critical.

Storage makes a difference.

Do you hang your knitted or crochet garments in the closet?  I did, because it takes up much less space…  I mean who has the room for a bunch of bulky folded sweaters?!?!  Well, if you don’t have room now, make room!  Gravity uses the weight of the yarn to gradually pull down on the garment, which… you guessed it – can contribute to stretching.  Fold those yarny treasures and store them on a shelf.

What  it all boils down to is this….  if you spend the time and money (and let’s face it, blood, sweat, and tears..) to create lovely wearable works of art, go the extra mile to take care of them and help them last a long time.  Treat those babies like the fragile treasures they are…  trust me, you’ll thank me later!

XOXO

Shelley

ChiaoGoo Circular Needle Case – Product Review

You guys might not know this, but my birthday was yesterday.  Yep, I am now the ripe old age of 46!  There are lots of pros and cons to aging, but one thing that just makes my heart happy to be middle aged is that my husband and I have learned how to shop for each other.  Or rather, we have learned how to make sure we get exactly what we’ve asked for, LOL!  Before I explain, you should know this post contains affiliate links 🙂

Anyway, I have posted several times before about how much we love and use Amazon – especially now that it is hard for me to leave the house much.  Prime shipping is super fast, and I can shop in my jams from the comfort of my recliner!  And, the hubs and I have really embraced the Wish List feature as well.  And not just for Christmas either!  We have multiple lists – ones that we use for others to shop for us, ones that we want to shop for others, and ones that we buy from when we have a little extra pocket money.  And let me tell ya, this sure came in handy for my birthday!

One of the items on my list was this ChiaoGoo Circular Knitting Needle Case

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It has a small zipper pocket on the outside and  a large zipper closure around the outside of the entire case.  When it’s opened, it lays flat and you’re able to flip through all of your needles, sort of like a circular needle rolodex!

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And it’s super easy to get your needles in and out!  Each little pouch has a little velcro closure on the side to keep the needles from falling out or getting damaged… they stay tucked in safe and sound 🙂

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And if you’re like me, you may have more than one set of the same size needles… but never fear!!!  These pouches have room for multiple sets…  at least on these smaller sizes.  I have to confess that I haven’t tried putting more than one of the larger sizes in together, but that’s because I still have those on my shopping list, LOL!  I hope to remedy that though, because I tell ya…  knitting with 11-14″ straight needles is becoming a thing of the past… for me at least!  Circulars are much easier to finagle and they don’t get caught on whatever is within arms’ reach 🙂

So if you’re looking for something to hold your circular needles, I highly recommend this case!  And if you click on the image below to shop for yours, I would OH SO MUCH appreciate it, as it does help me earn just a few pennies 🙂

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Thank you all for stopping by my blog!  If you have a product you’d like me to review, feel free to comment or find me on Facebook to let me know!

XOXO – Shelley

New Pattern Release – FurEver Love Knit Scarf

I don’t know about you, but I am and have been my whole life a dog person!  We always had dogs as a kid, and I have both a pet dog (a Shih-Tzu Poodle mix named Piper) and a service dog (a black lab pit bull mix named Bella).  And let me tell you, aside from my own kids and grandkids, they are the center of my world!

So I just HAD to design a pattern in tribute to my fur-babies!

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This is my brand new FurEver Love Knit Scarf!

The pattern features primarily knit and purl stitches in a pattern that gives a heart shaped paw print detail.  There are also very thin cables on each side that provide a fantastic frame for the paw prints.  Cowls, traditional scarves, infinity scarves – any length is possible!

Hop on over to my Ravelry shop where you can save $1 on your copy with code FURKNIT  through 2/9/18!

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And keep your eyes peeled – a crochet version will be coming soon!

XOXO – Shelley