Testing Yarns

When scrolling on the forums I would sometimes see posts calling for testers for a new pattern, and after looking at it for two seconds, I would scroll on.  Until a couple of weeks ago, when I seriously considered signing up as a tester for the designer Frank O’Randle.  He’s the one with the ‘Rings of Change’ series.  After reading through his tester requirements, I filed it in the back of my mind.  I didn’t think that I would be able to dedicate any amount of time and work on what he designs, however much I would like to be a tester for his designs, which are all beautifully intricate, which is what I like.

And then came a call to test a shawl pattern … and just for the heck of it, I wrote in and ‘auditioned’ … and got accepted!  What??  I hadn’t done much crocheting recently, but I guess from what they saw on my previous projects were enough for them?  Hmmm ….

So, that of course set off a frenzy to look for the right yarn … fingering weight.  *sigh*  That means that it’ll take me a while to finish this, although crocheting with fingering weight isn’t so bad as knitting with fingering weight for me. And as luck would have it, the NJ Wool Walk was going on last weekend.  More trouble …

I had some free time over the weekend, but I purposely didn’t go to any of the LYS on the Wool Walk.  I’m trying to stick to the budget, see, and going to the yarn stores is not going to help me stick to the budget, right?  But, since I know I didn’t have 1,100 yards of fingering weight yarn in my stash, I had to go and get some, right?  *sigh* good thing Sunday was the last day, and I could only visit two LYS’s …

So, here’s what’s been added to the stash …

At Patricia’s Yarns, I came across Madeleine Tosh Light – fast becoming my new favourite yarn to work with. I thought I could use these for the test pattern shawl. Love that deep blue (Stargazer) …

At Yarndezvous, I came across sparkling yarn … This green I knew right away that I wanted to make a scarf/wrap with it … And maybe I already have the pattern for it …

These are other colours that caught my eye, and will probably end up as accessories as well … Although now that I see them laid out, they all link to each other nicely.  Subconsciously, my brain had already matched them up.  So … now … maybe I can use these for the test pattern … hmmm … 

And these?  Well, I just had to get these … they looked so yummy and creamy and fresh and springy … I have no idea what to make with these, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something …


And there goes my budget …

Textured Purples and Greens

From the bag of donated yarn for my charity/cause, I came across this one big skein of beautiful colours.  No brand name on the tag, just that it was !00% wool.  It had nice texture – wavy and thick and thin.  It dawned on me that maybe this would look better woven than knitted or crocheted.  Excitedly, I warped the loom.


There was another ball purple cashmere-mixed yarn in the bag, and thought it would do well as the weft.  As I wove, I asked the boys how it looked.  Nice, they said, but it was kind of looking dark. Hmmm… so I went back digging into the bag and came up with a Cascade Superwash, in a lime green color and added that to the weft. And here’s the finished product.  It’s about six feet long and nine inches wide.


No particular pattern on the weft.  I just wound yarn onto the shuttle until I thought it was enough.  2015/02/img_9155.jpgThe self-striping colors on the wool made up its own pattern – random stripes and random widths of colors.  I was enjoying weaving with this yarn.


For the most part, the selvages stayed straight.  But  I think that because I was using two different weights of yarn on the weft, the tension was a little uneven, and there are sections that pulled down.  There’s mistakes along the way – a missed warp thread here and there, uneven tension here and there … Certainly more practice needed but I’m happy with it.


On to the next project!

All Because of One Square

While out on holidays, I also acquired one skein of the Red Heart Banana Berry for an on-again, off-again project from a couple of years ago that I had unearthed and re-discovered. You know how that is, right?  Well, I thought that I might as well finish up the throw, since I had quite a number of the squares done.  And so I proceeded to make big and small squares while sitting out by the pool, until I used up the skein of yarn.
As I unpacked the suitcase when I got home, I had a sudden urge to finish the throw with the squares I had made.  I spent a couple of hours working on the dark blue borders for the new squares, then proceeded to lay it out to get an idea of how I was going to join it … and found this …


There’s a square missing!  Seriously?!  Did the dog take it with her when she jumped up on the bed? I searched everywhere for it, and couldn’t find any stray square.   Well, you know what that meant … a quick trip to the yarn store the next day, for sure!

The next day … Yes, that’s two skeins of the colour I need, when all I need is enough for one more square.  Why?  I don’t know.  I think I’ve trained my mind and hands to pick up skeins and balls of yarn in twos.  And two more of the RH Watercolour for the African Violets afghan in progress.


Oh, except that the RH Boutique Unforgettable in Dragonfly was all by himself, so I had to pick him up to give him a home.  And the RH Unforgettable Cappucino was for the other WIP that I had started during the holidays, and had used up already.  So, only one of each.


And I don’t know yet what I’m going to make with these, but I just couldn’t resist those colours … RH Unforgettable in Petunia (the purples) and Sunrise (the oranges and reds).  *sigh*


I’m on a yarn diet … again.  And all because of one square.



Icy Snowflakes Finished

I arranged and rearranged the squares to fit the picture in my head …


And at the end of all the arrangings, this is what it looked like:


Hmmm … no, this is not what I had in mind.  It didn’t come out as planned, the way I thought it would look …

But I wasn’t frogging it either to rearrange, because for some reason, I joined the squares going out from the middle. Not row by row.  Don’t know why; guess I was just too excited about finally joining the squares together.


In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have used blue to join those middle white squares; maybe use white instead, so there’s no outline around the squares.  Maybe that’s what’s bothering me with this.  I may frog it yet … or make another throw, in different colours … nah.  I’ll just take better pictures of it next time; apologies for the quality of these photos, taken late at night because I couldn’t wait till the morning.

At least somebody is enjoying it …


Icy Showflakes

Our sub-freezing, frigid, colder than cold weather continues …

We got about six inches of snow over the weekend.  I know – it’s not as much as what those in the mid-west have been experiencing recently, and normally I wouldn’t mind all that snow.  But paired with the freezing cold winds, it wasn’t a good weekend to be out and about, so I stayed inside.

I finally took out yarn and WIPs in the afternoon to settle down for uninterrupted crocheting.  Justin had friends staying over, so I knew that they would be busy downstairs.  I took out the Icy Snowflakes challenge to continue working on it, and then my musings had another brainstorm on the design.  The boys wanted the throw to be blue and white – the colour of snowflakes, they said, so I used various shades of blue for something different.  My mind has been going round and round on the placement of the squares, but  instead came up with another colour design for the squares.

And this is what I came up with …




So now I have three different colour versions of the squares to play around with  …


It’s coming along pretty good … I’m running out of these colours, though, so I’ll need to make a trip to the yarn store … Yes, even if it’s cold, sub-freezing weather!

Snow Is on the Way

So … the snow is coming our way because I’m making snowflakes?  LoL .. I’m already tired and it’s not even the middle of the week yet!  Wait .. maybe I should be home instead making snowflakes.

These are the squares for the challenge from The Crochet Crowd, that I had posted about before.  Sorry about the poor picture quality, but the only times I can work on my WIPs is at night, and the camera phone is so much easier and convenient to take quick pictures with.

I made the first two in solid blue (royal and navy blue) – that’s the two on the left side.

Then, because my brain was whizzing all around, I thought maybe it would look good with variegated yarn to outline the snowflakes, then a dark blue border.  That’s the second and third squares on the second row.  I picked up what I had on hand, which was a sort of grey-blue combination.


Not feeling entirely satisfied with that, I went to Michael’s for a quick trip and bought two skeins of Dusk Ombres.  Those are the three on the first row, and the one on the bottom right on the second row.   The boys liked that better, so I guess that’s what I’m sticking with to complete the afghan.

I hope I don’t have any other inspirations that will distract me from completing these … like maybe I can use the variegated yarn to make the snowflakes, then use the white around it?  hmmmm ….

What do you think?

The Colour of Snowflakes

I had seen this pattern in the summer, and filed it away as a future WIP.  But then The Crochet Crowd picked it up as one of their challenges, and I thought ok, maybe I should join since it was also on my to-do list.  But then, I said that I had too many WIPs and I really didn’t need another one to add to the pile, so I passed it over.

Until I saw photos of the completed throws, and again, I wanted to join in … and so I picked up hook and yarn just to try out the pattern ….

icy snowflake1

‘Oh, that looks cool,’ said Justin.


‘Yeah, you should do it in light blue, because that’s the colour of snowflakes.’

Hmmm …. I like that … the colour of snowflakes.  A lighter blue sounds good too, but this was the blue that I could lay my hands on at the moment.

‘I’m sure you have a light blue somewhere in a box up in the attic’, said Justin.

I probably did, but nobody wanted to go up in the attic for me … *sigh*  Maybe during the weekend … or else a quick run to the craft store for one skein of lighter blue …

So … nothing inspires me more than one of the boys giving their stamp of approval, their endorsement, their go-ahead.  It’s not often that they really really  like something that I’m working on.  I’ll ask them what they think of my current WIP, and they’ll look over and say ‘Good’, or ‘OK’, but you know that they’re not really seeing it.

And so another WIP is added to the pile.  But I think this one will work up fast, and might just be finished in time for Christmas …

icy snowflake2