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

Crochet Along With Me & Happily Hooked Magazine!

Have you ever wanted to create a project but worried you might need a little extra guidance along the way?  Have you ever wanted to participate with a group for fellowship and celebrating everyone’s accomplishments?  What about having the chance to win some really awesome prizes?

Well I am so thrilled to announce that I will be hosting the February Crochet Along with Happily Hooked Magazine!!!

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Together we will be hooking my Berry Swirl Slouch which was published in the January 2017 edition of Happily Hooked Magazine.

The pattern features some great color changes and fun stitch patterns that give the slouch delightful texture and visual appeal!

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If you already have the pattern, you are ahead of the game!  If not, visit the Happily Hooked Crochet Along page to purchase the January 2017 issue of the magazine.

You can also purchase the pattern directly from my Ravelry shop here!

Once you have the pattern in hand, head on over to the Happily Hooked CAL Facebook group and join in on the fun!

See you there!!

XOXO – Shelley

The Nitty Gritty on Dyeing the 8 Year Sweater

Before I get into the low down of dyeing this type of fiber, I should really give you the back story on why I had to do it in the first place…

Picture it, Sicily 1927, a little town north of Chattanooga TN in the summer of 2009… I was in Hobby Lobby, on the hunt for a new knitting project.  I bought a magazine, some skeins of acrylic yarn, and some appropriately sized circular needles.  It’s probably fitting to also admit that it was to be my first knitted garment, not counting the crudely crafted “halter top” I designed when I was 13. (trust me, that halter top is yet another example of why I am glad the internet was not around when I was a kid, LOL!) 

I had originally bought enough yarn per the pattern instructions, but over the years, the project was shoved in a plastic bag, unfinished, and left to gather dust.  And during that time, I robbed a skein or 2 for other projects, never imagining I would actually go back and finish the sweater.  Fast Forward to November 2017… Christmas is on the horizon, money is extremely tight, and I am going through my large mound of WIPs (works in progress) to select projects to finish and give as gifts.  In the back of the closet was this plastic bag containing a nearly finished sweater on old plastic circular needles, 1 skein of yarn, and a magazine that is so old it’s starting to yellow.  My sister-in-law immediately came to mind, and I knew this sweater would make the perfect gift for her!

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After spending a little time reviewing the pattern and counting stitches and rows, I figured out where I had left off, and the knit & purl & cable tango began.  So far so good, right?  I mean, that’s a major accomplishment since this baby had been in the bag for years!  Finish the front shoulder that was missing – CHECK!!  Bind all that off – CHECK!! Knit the 1st sleeve – CHECK!  Knit the second slee— OH CRIPES!!!  I ran out of yarn 😦  Remember when I said I robbed skeins?  Well, it came back to bite me… and HARD!  Luckily, though, the brand and color are still available, so I sent the hubs back to Hobby Lobby to bail me out.

When he got home, I cast on the remaining sleeve, and, when it was all sewn together, it was VERY evident that the dye lots were wayyyyyy off.  Even in the poorly lit living room in the evening, I could tell.  Heck, Stevie Wonder could tell it didn’t match!  I guess color matching after 8 years between dye lots was too much to ask, LOL…

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Of course the obvious solution would have been to frog back to a point where I could have added the change in yarn as a design element, but there was NO WAY IN H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS that I was going to frog one single stitch…  UH-UH, NO WAY, NO HOW!  Every single stitch in this 8 Year Sweater was precious to me!

You all have seen that I dye wool blends, but I had never tried to dye acrylic.  I thought “meh – how hard could it be?”  Welllllllllllllll….  Apparently acrylic and other synthetic fibers are not dyeable in the traditional sense.  Every bit of information I found said the only way to change the color would be to “paint” the yarn with acrylic paint.  And after reviewing the process, it didn’t sound like it would make me happy.  A friend happened to recommend that Rit had a new dye for synthetic fibers called Rit DyeMore.  Skeptical but desperate, I sent a silent prayer up to the Lord, and submitted my order on Amazon.  In just a couple of days, I was ready to go!

I gathered my giant pot, the Rit dye, and the dish soap, and again said another prayer.

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First, I had to bring some water to boil, and while I was waiting for that, wash the sweater in the sink to get all residue off.

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When the water reached 180 degrees, I added one bottle of dye and the dish soap.  I ordered 2 – thank the Lord, and you’ll see why in a minute.  But to start, I just used 1.  Submerge the sweater and then continuously stir, scoop with tongs, dunk, swish, swirl for 30 minutes… that’s what the bottle said, and I thought “meh – easy enough”.  Well, it only took about 5 minutes for my arms to feel like they were about to fall off!  I held out for as long as I could, but after 20 minutes I couldn’t take it anymore and called it done.

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Time to hand wash and rinse in the sink to get all the dye out.  And much to my dismay… ALOT of the dye went right down the drain instead of into the fiber.  Some of it did stick, but it was pretty splotchy and inconsistent.  And the worst of it was I could still tell the sleeve was a different color.  But, just like your hair looks different when it’s totally dry, I was hopeful that once the sweater was dry, the colors would appear to have blended better.  So I laid it out on the towel and let it dry.

Later in the day, it became abundantly clear that nothing changed – it was still splotchy.  My only hope was the 2nd bottle.  What did I have to lose?  If it didn’t work, the sweater was headed for the dumpster because I was getting FED. UP.  Did I mention how much of a pain in the RUMP all that dunking and stirring is?  groan!

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The second time around, I made SURE that the water stayed at 180 degrees.  I watched the time and diligently stirred for the entire 30 minutes, which incidentally resulted in a really bad sprain and a visit to the orthopedic surgeon.  I’ll be going for nerve conduction studies too to determine if I have to have carpal tunnel surgery, but hey – I digress!  Suffice it to say I really have a lot invested in this sweater, LOL!

After the 2nd round of cooking, the color change looked significantly better!  There are still spots that look a bit “marbled”, but at least the sleeve and border did not look like a completely different color.  Once again, I laid the sweater out on the towel and left it overnight to dry.

The next day, having decided to be ok with the color, I held the sweater up and quickly realized I was a little over zealous when blocking the sweater.  It grew from a size L to a size 3-4X…  ENTIRELY too big for my sister-in-law.  I said a lot of swear words, and put the sweater in time out.  And my husband picked up the slack and went to buy her a gift.

Last night, I thought I would try one final life-saving intervention to see if the sweater could be salvaged.  I through it in a net bag and ran it through the machine was and dryer.  Remember – it’s acrylic so it’s machine washable 🙂  I didn’t expect it to shrink, but my hope was that at least the fibers would redistribute a little more evenly.  I am SO GLAD I was patient and held out, because, even though the sweater is still a bit big, even on me and has some marbled spots, it is finally wearable!  Yay!!!!  I need to adjust the buttons a bit to compensate for the variance in the side lengths (I told you I was over zealous, lol), but over all, I will have a “new” sweater for Spring time!

The moral of this story is this….  buy enough yarn for the entire project.  And then LEAVE IT ALONE!  If you do decide to rob from the yarn supply, scrap the project or plan how to incorporate a new dye lot IN ADVANCE.  Trust me… You’ll thank me later, LOL!  All in all, I would say the Rit DyeMore was a success, but not worth the effort unless it’s a dire emergency 🙂

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12 Days of Christmas 2017

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Can you believe there are only 12 more days till Christmas?  I mean seriously, it seems like I blinked and this whole year passed!  But just like so many of you, Christmas is such a magical time for me – all over again now that I have grand babies.  11 of my favorite designer friends have their own Christmas spirit – and we are so stinking excited to bring you our version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

And yours truly is kicking things off….

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On the 1st day of Christmas, The Blue Star Boutique (that’s me) gave to you:

My brand new pattern – the Candy Twist Children’s Cape for only $1.00!

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This cape is so darling!!!  And believe me, I’m not just saying that because my granddaughter is such a cute model (although really, can you stand the cuteness overload?!?!?!)  The cable loops remind me of Christmas candy twists, and there are elements of lace that brings a touch of the Victorian era back to life.

The pattern features sizes Toddler (1-3), Child (4-10) and Preteen/Teen (11-15), so all the young ladies in your life are covered!

All you have to do to claim your copy for only $1 is click this link and enter code PARTRIDGE and your cart will be adjusted!  This code is good through Christmas Eve, so if Santa comes early and leaves a little moulah in your stocking, this adorable cape can be yours!  And if not, no worries – it’ll still be available at regular price of $4.95.

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On the 2nd day of Christmas, Sweet Potato Crochet Creations gave to you:

Her brand new pattern – the “Check” Me Out Bag!

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You can get the pattern for this snazzy bag, and any other pattern in her Ravelry shop, for 50% off with code 2TURTLEDOVES.  Visit her blog here to read all the details!

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On the 3rd day of Christmas, Ambassador Crochet gave to you:

Her awesome snuggly Arctic Snowdrift Cowl pattern!

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Check out her blog post here to find out how you can grab your copy for only $1!

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On the 4th day of Christmas, Blackstone Designs gave to you:

A big shop-wide 50% off sale!

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The code to use is CALLINGBIRDSgo to her blog to learn how to save BIG!!!

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On the 5th day of Christmas, Glamour4You gave to you:

A shop-wide 50% off sale!

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Visit her blog here to see the different ways to save with code  5GoldenRings!

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On the 6th day of Christmas, Snappy Tots gave to you:

A whole bunch of really cool stuff!

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Go visit her blog to see all the fun goodies she is bringing you today!

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On the 7th day of Christmas, Sweet Potato 3 gave to you:

Her brand new Hygge Wine & Coffee Cozy pattern!

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You can get this amazing versatile pattern for only $1 with code 7Swans, but she’s got even more goodies for you over on her blog.  Go check it out!

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On the 8th day of Christmas, Creative Threads by Leah gave to you:

A huge store-wide sale!
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If you visit her Ravelry store and have $5 or more in your cart, use code 12DaysChristmas to save 70%!

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On the 9th day of Christmas, Yarn Medleys From the Heart gave to you:

A store-wide sale!

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Visit her Ravelry store and use code 9LADIESDANCING to save 50%!

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On the 10th day of Christmas, AllieCat’s Hats and Crafts gave to you:

A store-wide sale and an extra surprise!

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Not only can you save 50% off of all of her patterns through Christmas day, she is giving you the Very Merry Stocking pattern FREE TODAY ONLY with code 10LordsLeaping – so leap on over to her shop!  If you are taking advantage of both offers, please make sure to create 2 separate transactions.

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On the 11th day of Christmas, Crafting Friends Designs gave to you:

A store-wide sale!

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Check out her blog to see how you can save!

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On the 12th day of Christmas, KMT Creations gave to you:

A store-wide BOGO sale!

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Go to her Ravelry store and save big!

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Shelley here…  I want to take a moment and thank you all for staying tuned in and participating with my designer friends and me for the 12 Days of Christmas 2017!  We have had the best time bringing you all the goodies and holiday cheer, and we hope you all have enjoyed celebrating with us!

It’s almost time to get the cookies plated, the milk poured, and the stockings hung by the chimney with care! Be sure you’re on the nice list, because St. Nick soon will be here!

Merry Christmas to all!

And in case you want to keep track of the participating designers, here are their links!

1st Day – The Blue Star Boutique (hey that’s me!)
2nd Day – Sweet Potato Crochet Creations
3rd Day – Ambassador Crochet
4th Day – Blackstone Designs
5th Day – Glamour4You
6th Day – Snappy Tots
7th Day – Sweet Potato 3
8th Day – Creative Threads by Leah
9th Day – Yarn Medley’s From the Heart
10th Day – AllieCat’s Hats and Crafts
11th Day – Crafting Friends Designs
12th Day – KMT Creations

Fellow Designer Spotlight – Sweet Potato Crochet Creations

Next up on my Fellow Designer Spotlight series is Carol from Sweet Potato Crochet Creations!

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TBSB:  Hi, Carol!  Tell my readers a little about yourself.

Carol: I’m a wife and a stay at home mom to 2 super energetic kids (4 and 1). When I’m not busy with them, I enjoy crocheting and Netflix binging. I love designing patterns using fun stitch combinations and my kids sometimes help me with my color choices!

TBSB:  At what age did you learn to crochet, and who taught you?

Carol: I was 21 when I first learned how to crochet. I didn’t have any family members around me at the time that knew how to crochet, so I learned the basics from YouTube. After that I taught myself how to read patterns and progressed from there with books, videos, blog posts, and lots and lots of practice!

TBSB:  Don’t you just love that there are so many more resources than there used to be?!?!

TBSB:  When did you start designing?

Carol:  I started designing at the beginning of 2015.

TBSB:  That is impressive, Carol!  Your designs are detailed and lovely, I would have assumed you’d been designing forever! What are your favorite things to design?

Carol: Hats – I love making hats. I really enjoy smaller projects that give me instant gratification, and for me, hats give exactly that!

TBSB:  Where do you find your inspiration?

Carol: I find inspirations from a lot of different things! I love skimming through Pinterest to get ideas. Even shopping helps ignite a spark! I also have several stitch books that I like to peruse through. Sometimes I find myself coming back to a stitch several times and just NEED to make something with it. People I know also inspire ideas and designs for me. I have a few designs that were made for a specific person in mind (Aidan’s Sunhat-my son picked the stitches for this one!, Olivia’s Sunhat, The Amelia Sundresses and my Chelsea Waves Slouch)

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Shelley here……  This is Olivia’s Sunhat that Carol was taking about – check out the awesome texture all over this hat!!!  Totes on my list to make for my granddaughters!

TBSB:  With regard to crochet hooks, are you on Team Bates or Team Boye?

Carol: I’m team Clover Amour! However, if I had to choose between the two, I prefer Bates.

TBSB:  Oh NO, not Bates?!?!  Say it ain’t so, Carol!  LOL!  (Before all the members of Team Bates want to strangle me, I am sure they are just swell, but I personally am not a fan, LOL)

TBSB:  What is your favorite yarn weight/brand to work with?

Carol: I love worsted weight yarn because I find it’s availability to be endless as well as its color options! It feels comfortable in my hands, and I can make almost anything using it. I do love using lighter yarns as well.

TBSB:  Is there a stitch or technique you would like to learn?

Carol: I would love to learn the crocodile stitch or broomstick lace!

TBSB:  What is your favorite tool in your yarny toolbox?

Carol: I love my pom pom makers! I used to make them by hand, and they never came out as good or as round as with my pom pom makers without having to trim them a lot.

TBSB:  I know EXACTLY what you mean – pom pom makers are total game changers!!!

TBSB:  What is your most popular pattern?

Carol:  My most popular free pattern is my Happy Little Elephant Applique, and my most popular paid pattern is my Twilight Horizon Hand and Shoulder Bag.

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This is Carol’s Twighlight Hand and Shoulder Bag – and again the texture is amazing!  Check it out in her Ravelry shop!

TBSB:  Where can readers go to see your work?

Carol:  My Blog (click here to view her blog).  My patterns are for sale on Ravelry (click here to visit Carol’s Ravelry shop), Twitter (click here to follow her on Twitter),  Pinterest (click here to see Carol’s Pins), and Instagram (click here to see her on IG).  I also have a Facebook page (click here to visit Sweet Potato Crochet Creations on FB).

Shelley here again….  If you are looking for a projects that work up fairly quickly yet features textural design elements and great opportunities for color use, Sweet Potato Crochet Creations can definitely meet your needs!  Go show her some love and tell her I sent you!

XOXO

12 Days of Christmas Coming Soon

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Who doesn’t love the 12 Days of Christmas?  Besides the Grinch, that is…  Well, 11 other designers are joining me to bring you 12 days of really fun surprises, gifts, and special offers, and the fun will begin on December 13th!

Here are the participating designers bringing you all the awesomeness:

The Blue Star Boutique (hey, that’s me!)
Sweet Potato Crochet Creations
Ambassador Crochet
Blackstone Designs
Glamour-4-You
Snappy Tots
Sweet Potato 3
Creative Threads by Leah
Yarn Medley’s From The Heart
AlleyCats Hats and Crafts
Crafting Friends Designs
KMT Creations

So be sure to tune in here on Wednesday for the 1st Day of Christmas Surprise!

Fellow Designer Spotlight – Sweet Potato 3

Next up on my Fellow Designer Spotlight series is Christine from Sweet Potato 3.

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TBSB:  Hi, Christine!  Tell my readers a little about yourself.

Christine:  I am a Wife, Mom, and Designer. That about sums it up. I know that sounds simple, but boy does it keep me busy. I have been blessed to be married to a charming man for 17+ years. We have the most amazing 3 kids that keep up guessing whether we are doing good or not-LOL! I manage our household, and I am sure most of you know what all that entails… a whole lot of craziness! And then, in my free time, I design crochet patterns

TBSB:  At what age did you learn to crochet, and who taught you?

Christine: I cannot remember an exact age when I learned to crochet. I know I was in elementary school and started with simple patterns like doll blankets and bibs. What made crochet so special, was that I was taught by my Great Grandmother. It was a special time that we spent together. My first big project was a blanket kit and my Mom ordered 2 kits, one for me and one for my Great Grandma. We worked on those blankets every time we got together. Great Grandma has been gone for many years, but I still have that blanket and the memories.

TBSB:  Wow – I am speechless!  What a treasure to have had that time with your Great Grandma, and that you still have that blanket!!!  That’s an heirloom for sure!

TBSB:  When did you start designing?

Christine:  In 2012. I started design when my cousin, who is a professional photographer, asked me to make a soccer ball beanie. I couldn’t find a pattern that I liked so I just made it up. Once she posted the newborn photo’s of a baby in the soccer ball beanie I had so many requests for the pattern that I decided to write it up. Within a couple months Sweet Potato 3 Patterns was in full swing.

TBSB:  I hear that so often!  What are your favorite things to design?

Christine: That is the toughest question! I love designing everything. I started with hat designs and that was my niche. But, after a while it moved toward newborn photography props. In the last couple years I feel as though I have fallen in love with blankets. I really enjoy switching up what I make, it keeps things fresh and new.

TBSB:  Where do you find your inspiration?

Christine: Everywhere! Some days you just see something at the most random place: while grocery shopping, on a run or walk, cooking dinner or helping kids with homework. It’s true, some of those math problems can spark some creativity! The inspiration can be a pattern, a design, a style or even a color combination. It is usually just one and then I turn to online google and Pinterest searches to gather more inspiration to begin a new design.

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Shelley here……  I just have to show you Christine’s Pygmy Seahorse Stuffy pattern – isn’t it the most adorable thing ever?!?!?!  It’s a perfect example of Christine’s creativity and attention to detail!  You can find it here in her Ravelry shop.

TBSB:  With regard to crochet hooks, are you on Team Bates or Team Boye?

Christine: Boye all the way baby!!!

TBSB:  Me too, me too!! What is your favorite yarn weight/brand to work with?

Christine: I love to play with different yarn all the time. I use more worsted weight yarn than any other, so when I decide to work with sport or fine yarn I love it! I love the different textures in each yarn weight and brand, it is an exciting adventure to find the perfect yarn for a new project. As for brand, I use Red Heart most of the time, just because it is easy to find. But, I have to admit, I am a huge fan of Lion Brand yarn.

TBSB:  Is there a stitch or technique you would like to learn?

Christine: I would LOVE to learn Tunisian Crochet. I always see stitches that I want to learn and 9 times out of 10 they are Tunisian. Maybe that needs to be my 2018 goal…

TBSB:  What is your favorite tool in your yarny toolbox?

Christine: Honestly, I don’t have any fun or unique tools. But, what has been a life changer is my Clover Hooks. I am seriously in love with them.

TBSB:  What is your most popular pattern?

Christine:  Two designs are in the running for top in sale for 2017 – Sleep Tight Teddy Bear Blanket Set, and the Deerly Beloved Blanket.

TBSB:  I can totally see why!!!!  My granddaughter loves the Sleep Tight Teddy Bear Blanket I made for her!

MSP3Blog-008-TBBlanket3_small2

Copyright Sweet Potato 3

This is Christine’s  Sleep Tight Teddy Bear Blanket – it’s it so cute and snuggly???  It is available in her Ravelry shop, but you should really check it out on her blog – she’s got some great photos and video tutorials there!

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And the Deerly Beloved Blanket…  look at the detail on the graph – and those braided elements on the borders… Ooo LA LA!  Check this one out on her blog as well!

TBSB:  Where can readers go to see your work?

Christine:  My Blog (click here to view her blog).  My patterns are for sale on Ravelry (click here to visit Christine’s Ravelry shop), Etsy (click here to view her Etsy shop), and Craftsy (you guessed it – click here to see her on Craftsy).  I also have a Facebook page (click here to visit Sweet Potato 3 on FB).

 

I just have to tell you that Christine is one of my favorite designers to work with!  Having tested patterns for her in the past, I know first hand the passion, detail, and creativity she invests into her designs.

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This is my version of the Sleep Tight Teddy Bear blanket!

Whenever you see a pattern with the Sweet Potato 3 name, you can be assured that you are not only purchasing a high quality design but also top notch customer service as well.  Be sure to visit her, and tell her I sent you!

Christine – much love to you girl!  I’m proud to work with you!

XOXO

Post Stitches Demystified!

There are lots of tutes (tutorials for the lay folk) out there on the interwebs for all the various post stitches, so I won’t be redundant and reinvent the wheel.  BUT…  I had one heck of an epiphany the other day when I was working on a new pattern design that I do want to share with you.  It totally made a switch flip in my noggin, so hopefully it’ll help you keep things straight too!

All the tutes are pretty standard… For a front post stitch (we’ll use a double crochet (dc) for this dose of enlightenment), you insert your hook from front-to-back-to front:

And the back post stitch, you insert your hook from back-to-front-to-back:

Seems pretty self-explanatory, right?  Well, when I get to hooking at a frenzy pace, sometimes I forget what I’m doing.  Classic case of brain fart (hey, I can say fart on my blog)!  And as I was working on a new design yesterday, the light bulb went off, and I literally did the V-8 forehead smack!

When you have momentary cerebral flatulence (real medical term for brain fart…  I’m almost sure) and you can’t remember which stitch you’re doing, here’s an easy way to recognize whether it’s back or front post:

With a front post stitch, the post of the stitch is IN FRONT OF THE HOOK. 

FPdc front

With a back post stitch, the post is BEHIND THE HOOK.

BPdc front

If you are trying to figure out after the fact whether you worked a front post or a back post stitch, I got something to help with that too!

This is a completed front post stitch:

FPdc bump

And you can recognize it by the fact that it creates a hump on the side of your work that is facing you.

FPdc bump 2

Here is a completed back post stitch:

BPdc Ridge

You can recognize it by the tiny shelf in front of the stitch made by the top loops of the stitch you worked around.  This is how it looks after working the back post stitch facing you.  And here’s the little shelf:

BPdc Ridge 2

Although I may likely not be the first person to think of this, I was pretty shocked and amazed at myself for getting the puzzle to finally click in my brain!

Comment and tell me I’m not the only one to suffer from cerebral flatulence, or let me know if this helps clear the fog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SKYSCRAPER FINGERLESS GLOVES KAL – PART 3

Can you believe it’s time for the last installment of the KAL?!?!?!  It seems like it has passed very quickly for me, and I hope you all have enjoyed it so far!

Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL

 

R51-54   Repeat R11-12

R55   Repeat R11

R56-60   Repeat R1

Finishing

BO in pattern, leaving long tail for sewing. Lay glove flat, lay your hand on top, and place plastic pins to mark the top and bottom of the thumb opening. Use yarn needle and long tail to mattress stitch from the bottom edge to the bottom pin. Then repeat for the seam at the top of the glove. Weave in all ends. Block if desired.

All that’s left now is to repeat the pattern for your second glove!

If you are just learning to knit and need a helping hand, feel free to join our Learning to Knit in 2017 Facebook group.  There are lots of experienced knitters in there willing to offer support and guidance!  You can share pics of your Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves or anything else you’re knitting  – we’d love to see them!

If you’d like to follow my imagination and stay up to date on new patterns, sales, and fun special events, please follow me on Facebook at The Blue Star Boutique.  If you complete any of my patterns, I’d love for you to share your creativity on my page!

Be sure to tune in here, same bat channel, next Monday, same bat time, for 3rd and final installation of our Skyscraper Fingerless Gloves KAL!

If you’ve missed Part 1, you can find it here.  Part 2 is here.

P.S. – Again I just want to say thank you for participating in my very first KAL!  If you have any suggestions or requests for a future KAL or CAL project, please don’t hesitate to either comment below or reach out to me on Facebook!

Next week the entire add-free PDF pattern will be available for purchase on Ravelry.

XOXO – Shelley