Yarn Shop Review

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I made a stop at a local yarn shop yesterday.  It is located in San Marcos, California.  The shop has a great name: Yarning For You http://yarningforyou.com/site/.  I met the owner Debra and she was very nice and cheerful.  The selection of yarn is wonderful.  I spent a good amount of time looking, touching, and overall enjoying the beautiful yarns she stocks in her store. I finally settled on this selection.  I’m thinking Fall is around the corner and this color palette is just right.

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This yarn is from Berroco.  It is made from 100% recycled fibers: Nylon, Cotton, Acrylic, Silk, and Linen. It’s called “Remix”.  I saw a beautiful long sleeved sweater Debra knitted with this yarn and it was beautiful.

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The pattern I will be using, I found on Ravelry.com www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/winter-wave-chevron-cowl the designer is Lorne Haythorn Eppolite and you can see her other lovely designs at www.ravelry.com/designers/lorene-haythorn-eppolite–cre8tion-crochet

Debra invited me to bring my crochet and sit with the ladies that knit on Thursday nights when the store stays open late (8pm).  I will try to make it out there soon as it would be nice to sit and chat with other fellow yarn lovers.  I will say that no matter the yarn shop location the knitters outnumber the crocheters.  It seems that crocheters don’t venture out to these shops as much as the knitters as they are ever present at the shops’s tables.  They have always seemed a friendly sort and have made me feel welcomed so I’m thinking getting out of the house for a couple of hours to have coffee and crochet with a group may not be a bad idea at all.

I love yarn stores, they are filled with the most beautiful colors.  The yarns skeins are a pleasure to hold.  Some are buttery soft and others are airy and light, like cotton candy.  I can spend hours just thinking about color schemes and putting palettes of colors together for some future project.  Sadly, as always, there’s just too little time in the day to indulge and so much yarn out there that wants to come home with me!

For the love of yarn

I am simply obsessed with yarn, there I said it. My name is Claudia and I’m a yarnaholic. I may also be addicted to yarn shops but I may revisit that statement in a later post.

I visited Sin City Knit Shop.  I give you one guess as to its location.  Yup, it located in Las Vegas. I was there last weekend and though I didn’t have much luck in Sin City, I did find this wonderful yarn shop. http://www.sincityknitshop.com/  The yarn selection was to die for and the staff was so nice and helpful.  This was what I bought.

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It’s a beautiful cotton, acrylic blend with a metallic yarn that gives it a pretty sparkle.  Can’t wait to find the perfect pattern for it.

New Aquistions

I love thrift shops. You can get awesome deals on just about anything. Lately, I’ve been on the hunt for yarn and crochet books. Up until two weeks ago my searches yielded quite a nice collection of yarn but no crochet books. Finally I hit the jackpot! I found a book from 1985 titled “The 7 Day Afghan Book” by Jean Leinhauser & Rita Weiss. It’s got over 50 patterns for crochet blankets, there are patterns for knitted afghans as well but it’s mostly filled with pattern after pattern of oh so delicious crochet and the best part…wait for it…I paid 50 cents for it!!! Happy dance, oh yeah!

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The colors are so very 1985 but they can easily be updated. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into one of these patterns.

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I Also received three other crochet books from my sister-in-law as part of a crochet package she put together for my birthday this past June.  I’m building quite the nice crochet reference library and this too, makes me happy.  I love books, I love to live surrounded by them.  It’s been difficult these past few years moving around Southern California and not have access to my book collection.  Sadly, they have been packed away in storage waiting for the day my family and I find a place to call our forever home.

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I’m back!

Had to take a break from the blog due to illness and work but I’m feeling better now. I’ve been working on the Frida Kahlo wrap and that’s coming along nicely.

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I’ve gone through my stash of blue yarn to build up the length. I’m using a DK Merino Superwash by Plymouth Yarn and a 5.00 mm hook.  It is lovely to work with and I am pleased with the quality.  Of course I am one skein short on the blue yarn which means a return trip to Redlands Yarn Company. http://www.redlandsyarncompany.com/

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The pattern I am using I found at http://bizzycrochet.blogspot.com/2008/09/sweet-and-simple-shawl.html. It is a free pattern which is awesome! Once I figured out how to work the pattern, it was quite easy to crochet row after row. I love to get to that point on a project, it’s why I love to crochet so much.  It’s therapeutic for me to work with my hands.  I have always been process oriented, meaning it’s the process of making something, whether it’s a painting, a ceramic bowl, or a crochet piece that excites me.  The end result of my efforts is not as important as the journey to get there.

I also had the idea to make more coffee dispensers. I ordered ten coffee dispensers from an internet distributor and created sleeves for five so far. Making the appliques is my favorite part. I’m becoming slightly obsessed with buttons, add that to my yarn addiction and it spells trouble for my wallet.

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I like to play around with the eyes on the skulls.  I try different combinations until I find the one that works.  I must say, my least favorite of my little canisters is the the one with the blue skull. I had some left over owls from the graduation party I help plan and decided to try one out on a canister.  I like how it turned it.

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As a side note, I have to share this with you.  The family and I went to a dog festival which would make sense if we had a dog but as we are currently sans pooch, I decided to get my dog fix by checking out the festival at Liberty Station http://libertystation.com/history .  It was a beautiful day and the different pet rescue organizations where out in force with their adorable pooches.  One particular vendor caught my attention.  They we selling coffee…yes…coffee at a dog festival.  This is no ordinary coffee vendor since 20% of their proceeds help rescue organizations. The coffee bags are the perfect size for my coffee dispenser so I decided to try one out.

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The coffee is excellent and I was happy that my purchase helps the rescue organizations that do so much to help all the doggies out there to hopefully find their forever home.

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My little bit of heaven

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For the past year or so, I’ve been obsessed with a magazine by the publisher Cloth, Paper, Scissors. The magazine is called Studios Magazine.

http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/blogs/studiosmagazine/default.aspx

I head to my local Barnes & Noble at least once a month and make a pile of whatever new crochet magazines I need to devour, I especially love the UK crochet magazine Simply Crochet www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk , art magazines, and a copy of Studios Magazine. Before I started the blog and embarked on living La Vida Crochet, I would dream about having a little creative space to call my own.  I live in a small apartment so the thought of being able to claim a bit of square footage for myself became a mini obsession.

I love to look at how artist organize their creative spaces.  I simply drool over the ones that have built dedicated spaces for their craft from scratch.  Others take over a spare bedroom or garage.  I’ve looked at the wonderful spaces photographed in Studios Magazine and have thought that maybe someday I too will have a studio as beautiful as those shot for the magazine.

Looking over the studio photographs in the magazine inspired me to re-evaluate what having a creative space means but left me pretty much at square one with yarn under my bed in plastic bins or stored in the closet.  My watercolor palette, the one I’ve had since my days in art school tucked neatly away in a bookshelf, blank canvases in some dark corner of a living room closet, and paintbrushes gathering dust.  It’s like having bits and pieces of my soul scattered out in the universe.   The worst of it was feeling the pull of those things and telling myself that soon I would return to the creative life.

It has been a long road but recently I managed to bring some of the pieces together. I’ve claimed the space at the end of my kitchen counter and placed a slim folding table that I am now using as my “crafting center”.  I’ve also taken up part of the kitchen counter to store some yarn in what used to be my fruit holder.  I now have a place to sit and crochet or sit and read my favorite blogs without worrying about my stuff being in the way.  I’ve also been training my kiddos and my husband to respect this space.

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It’s not much but I love my little table.  Part of my yarn stash is within reach and looking at my pretty colored yarn makes me happy.

4th of July Weekend Roundup

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I hope you all enjoyed the 4th of July holiday weekend and that you were able to spend it with the ones you love.  I manage to spend it recovering from Strep Throat alongside my wonderful husband who was also struck down with the malaise.  So, antibiotics in hand and our alarms set to go off every six hours we managed to get out an about this weekend.

We started in San Marcos, California at a little Farmer’s Market and Art Show.   It was really quite a small affair but enjoyable nonetheless.  There was a car show as well and we made our way through the market and ended up in front of this beauty.

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I know next to nothing about cars but the beautiful red paint on this car caught my attention.  We met Woody Wood whose auto shop assisted the owner in putting the engine together.  We had a nice chat with Woody who proceeded to tell us about his experience with cars and being a local high school auto shop teacher.  The best part was when he decided to show us pictures of his cars.  He showed us actual photographs that he pulled from his wallet, the photos were part of a series of photos he kept in his wallet, old school, the way people used to carry their photographs.  No phone pics but real, hold in your hand, wrinkled and bent at the corners photos. I liked Woody Wood and we will be going out to see him race his car at the local races soon. www.baronadrags.com

Next we took a short ride to the town of Ramona, California.  We’ve been wanting to explore more of San Diego and this seemed like a good way to start, so of to Ramona we went.

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Ramona is a small town that at one point in its history was known as “The Turkey Capital of the World”. www.ramonachamber.com Now, it is known for its beautiful Thoroughbred horses.  You can see by the mural above that horses are kind of a big deal.

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They also have many antique stores of which we visited one. It was full of beautiful horse theme antiques. My daughter loves horses and this will be the perfect place to visit with her. The store had a lovely display out front for fourth of july.

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I also did my usual routine of looking for yarn stores and though I did not find any to visit I did find that there is an Alpaca Farm in Ramona.  They dye their own yarn! Check out, www.ldvalpacas.com

I would have liked to have done more but I was happy to get out and enjoy a little local exploration.

Coffee Dispenser Makeover

I have this plastic coffee dispenser I picked up a while ago and every morning when I make coffee, I think how much I hate the way it looks.

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Well, this morning I looked at it again and decided this would be the day to crochet something for it. I headed over to Attic24 (see Blogs I follow) for a little inspiration.  I found a post called “Jar Jackets” where she shows how to wrap glass jars in crochet and it was all I needed to get started on my little project.

I had some yarn left over from my owl project and I used it to make the crochet sleeve that would fit over the plastic dispenser.  I also decided to add a little skull with flowers to add a little something of interest.

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It came together fairly quickly and now I have a coffee dispense that I will enjoy looking at every morning.

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Start of the day

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Every morning should start like this: hot cup of coffee, yummy toast or some other pastry, box full of Prismacolors, and blank page to sketch on…this is heaven!

Fast forward to five minutes after I had set up my perfect morning to hear my daughter’s little voice saying “good morning mommy, what are you doing?”. The perfect start will have to be on pause until I get my kiddos off to school but I will return to that blank page and see where the imagination takes me.  Can’t wait!

Redlands Yarn Company

I have made it a mini mission to visit as many yarn stores as possible.  I learn something new with every visit and I just love, love, love being surrounded by yarn.

I had the chance to visit a yarn store located in Redlands, California. It was so hot that day that I was sure glad to get indoors.  I knew right away I was going to like Redlands Yarn Company http://www.redlandsyarncompany.com/   as I opened the door and was greeted by a beautiful French bulldog.

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Becky, the owner, proceeded to tell the dog’s name was Cosmo.  I spent a minute or so making friends with Cosmo and took in the sights of the lovely store.  Becky was very helpful as she showed me how the store was organized.  All the yarn was grouped together by weight. She asked me what I was looking for and I told her I was looking for a lightweight yarn but more than the weight, I was looking for specific colors.

I focused on the selection that held a light/DK weight selection and found the perfect shade of blue I was hoping to find.  Luckily, she had plenty of hanks of the same color and I laid out my collection of yarn on the table.  By the way, there were several ladies sitting at the long table talking about various subjects and knitting away.  I loved seeing that. It was such a relaxed environment, every one greeted me and made me feel right at home.

I noticed that the store had a yarn swift and ball winder. I was happy to see it as most yarn bought at yarn stores come in hanks which have to be wound into balls that can then be used to crochet.  Until the hank becomes a ball, there’s no using it.  I know that there is a way to manually roll the yarn into a ball but after visiting a previous yarn store and having them use the swift and winder to do it, I knew this was the fastest and easiest way to go.

Yarn Winder. Image from www.yarn.com
Yarn Swift and Ball Winder. Image from www.yarn.com
Hanks of yarn.  Image from www.etsy.com/shop/Coloredworld
Hanks of yarn. Image from www.etsy.com/shop/Coloredworld

As I said at the beginning of this blog post, I learn something new each time I visit a yarn store and on this day I learned to use a ball winder.  I got to turn all 10 of my yarn hanks into 10 balls of yarn ready for my new crochet project.

It was a great visit to a great yarn store.  I was very impressed with Becky, she took the time to make sure that all the yarn I bought had the same lot number.  She educated me on the importance of keeping to the same lot number when purchasing multiple hanks of the same color since there can be variations in color from lot to lot…who knew? Now, I will add that tip to my list on how to purchase yarn for my projects.

Redlands Yarn Company Purchase
Redlands Yarn Company yarn purchase

I was excited to get my yarn purchase home so I could get started on my Frida Kahlo shawl project.  Yarn ball 1/10 is on the hook and ready to go!

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La Frida

There is not enough space or time to go on about one my favorite artists. Frida Kahlo. The master of emotions: Loss, heartache, joy, pain, you name it, she painted it.

I’ve been a Frida fan as far as I can remember, probably from the first time I saw her work and read her life story. Here is a link to learn more about her: http://www.fridakahlo.org/

I’m writing about Frida today because she is the inspiration for my next crochet project.  Actually, the idea started with a pair of Frida earrings I own.  I was wearing them the other day when I thought to myself that I just have to do a Frida inspired crochet project.

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There are two images that make up the images on the earrings.  They are from her painting The Two Fridas (Las dos Fridas).  In 2012 I had the privilege of standing before this beautiful painting when it came to the Los Angeles Museum of Art as part of exhibit Titled: In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United Stateshttp://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/wonderland-surrealist-adventures-women-artists-mexico-and-united-states. It was a breathtaking experience to stand in front of the massive painting and to take the time to simply take it all in.

Resized book cover Resized Frida and Claudia

I’m working on developing the design for the project.  I am thinking of doing two blankets that will be inspired by the color palette in the painting or making two shawls.  I haven’t worked on any shawls so this project can further advance my skill.  Stay tuned for the sketches.

Frida Kahlo - The Two Fridas - 1939
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1954). The Two Fridas, 1939. Oil on canvas. 68 5/16 x 68 1/8 in. (173.5 x 173 cm). Collection Museo de Arte Moderno, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes–Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. © 2007 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust