Using A Knitting Yarn Guide As A Tension Keeper

Clover's Yarn Guide
Clover’s Yarn Guide

A viewer told me recently that she used Clover’s Yarn Guide as a way to keep her tension while crocheting. I was incredibly intrigued since the way I usually keep tension (see the video below) hurts my hand after awhile.

I promptly purchased one and gave it a try.

yarn_guide_2
Yarn Guide out of the package.

The Yarn Guide is intended to keep different colored yarns separated for working stranded knitting, but seeing as how I like to repurpose things, I was ready to change this into a tension keeper.

First try.
First try.

My first try included just laying the yarn through two of the posts and trying to crochet.

As you can see by the picture above, the tension created was… none.I couldn’t even make a stitch this way. I had to figure something else out.

This gave me an idea.
This gave me an idea.

I then realized that I had four posts to work with on my Yarn Guide.

The photo above shows how I hold my tension when I work projects where I need tight stitches. I wrap the yarn three times around my first finger and I get very tight tension and it keeps my fingers from hurting as much (see the video below for more info).

So I thought about wrapping the yarn around the guide for more tension.

This actually worked.
This actually worked.

Here I laid my yarn (back to front) in between each of the four posts. There was good news and bad news with this revelation.

The good news:

It worked. The yarn kept good tension and the yarn guide helped with my previous problem of having my circulation sometimes cut off with the three finger wrap. Having it wrapped around the plastic kept it loose enough to keep  the circulation just fine.

The bad news:

The plastic itself. The wrapping caused the already pinching plastic to pinch even more. So I traded good circulation for annoying pinching.

Then two separate viewers had some good ideas.

1) Wear a band aid around the finger you put the Yarn Guide on with the padded part facing down. This definitely helped, but still not great. If I could create the tension without wrapping the yarn, this would all but eliminate my problem. Insert viewer number 2.

Just about perfect.
Just about perfect.

2) Weave the yarn between the posts instead of wrapping. The photo above shows the weave. This created just enough tension that I didn’t need to wrap the yarn.

If you want to try this, make sure the tail is on the left and facing back and the working yarn is on the right coming out the front.

The Verdict

Using the yarn guide as a tension keeper is something I will use in the future. Mostly for projects when my hand becomes tired from my normal tension holding. The pinching was greatly reduced when I didn’t have to wrap the yarn, but was still there. Putting on a band aid every time I need to crochet doesn’t sound too appealing.

Do you have a Yarn Guide? Have you ever tried using it for a tension keeper? Let us know your thoughts or ideas below. Be sure to check out the video below as well. It will show how the Yarn Guide works with different thicknesses of yarn.

 

 

 

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Chevron Basket ~ 50% off ~ and a Yarn Giveaway

Start spring cleaning early!
Start spring cleaning early!

I have a new pattern available just in time for spring cleaning.

These super cute chevron baskets are the perfect way to stash your stuff. Use your imagination to create tons of color and pattern combinations.

The pattern includes four basket variations:

Small Basket with no handles: 21” around x 7” high
Small Basket with handles: 21” around x 7.75” high
Large Basket with no handles: 32” around x 8” high
Large Basket with handles: 32” around x 8.75” high

Using super bulky yarn, these baskets work up quick and are super sturdy for all your organzing needs.

The pattern includes step-by-step photo tutorials for techniques used for working chevrons in the round.

Plus you will receive a link to a pattern exclusive video tutorial that will show you all the techniques as well.

50% off

Use promo code: chevron at checkout to receive 50% off the pattern.*

Go buy now!

*offer good until Sunday, March 2nd midnight Pacific time.
 

Now For The Yarn Giveaway

What's your favorite color combo?
What’s your favorite color combo?

Get your baskets started with the yarn used to make the pattern. One lucky reader will win the two skeins pictured here.

Lion Brand Hometown USA is a super bulky 100% acrylic yarn that is super soft and fun to work with. It’s great for all types of projects and comes in a ton of colors.

How to Enter:

Simply leave a comment below about your favorite color combo*.

One winner will be chosen randomly and the two skeins will be shipped promptly to them.

*Entries close March 15, 2014 and a winner will be announced March 16, 2014. Contest only open to US residents. 

Yarnbox February 2014 Reveal

What will it be?
What will it be?

I just got the newest Yarnbox last night and I can’t wait to share what I got. If you’re ready to see, keep reading. If you’re a subscriber and haven’t received yours yet, hide your eyes!

Look, yarn in the box!
Look, yarn in the box!

As usual, I’ll breakdown the contents and give my initial thoughts on my goodies.

Yarnbox Trading Cards
Yarnbox Trading Cards

I’m calling these Yarnbox Trading Cards from now on. They remind me of baseball cards, but instead of awesome athletes, I get awesome designers.

The two featured designers this month are:

1)Lily Prajogo (subscription includes a 25% off all purchases in her shop this month)

Plus you get her crochet Saltire Shawl as a free download ($6.oo)

I really appreciate Yarnbox giving us both a knit and crochet pattern in each kit and this crochet shawl is beautiful.

2)Kitman Figueroa  (subscription includes a 20% off all purchases in her shop this month)

Plus you get her knit Thorn Shawl as a free download ($5.oo)

This designer’s shawls make me want to learn to knit better. Her designs are absolutely beautiful.

Now for the yarn:

So soft!
So soft!

This month I received almost 400 yards (398 to be exact) of Phydeaux Designs Caresse Worsted Weight Yarn. ($33.00 a hank)

This merino, cashmere, nylon blend is a beautiful hand dyed yarn that is extremely versatile because of it’s content. Scarves, shawls, heanies, and so much more can be made from these skeins. I can’t wait to start working with this yarn.

So as you can see the overall Yarnbox was a great deal as usual. Not only is the discount on yarn and designers a steal, but learning about these companies and people I might never had found is something that can’t be measured.

Did you get a yarnbox this month? Tell us what you think about it below.  Plus see the video reveal below for more views of the beautiful yarn I received this month.

 

 

Hand Winding Hanks Of Yarn

A little while back, I showed you how to use a swift and yarn winder to turn your hanks of yarn into cakes.

Now, I have a video on how to wind your hanks by hand. This is a great alternative if you haven’t made the expensive investment for a swift but still need to wind hanks at home.

All you will need is a chair, or a pair of hands from a friend to make this work. Check out the video for the quick tutorial.

Do you have another method for winding hanks by hand? Let us know below.

A Valentine’s Treat and Giveaway Results

valentine_day_hearts_cloud_pinky_01Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I have the results for the Knitcrate Pattern giveaways. The winners have been notified already.

The winner of the Knit Pillow Pattern is Linda E. and

the winner of the Crochet Hearts Abound Patter is Marecrochets19.

Congrats to both of them. If you didn’t win this time, stay tuned because I have tons of giveaways in the works (including yarn and notions). So make sure you follow the blog if you aren’t already.

Now for the Valentine’s treat.

All of my patterns that have hearts on them are 50% off today only. Use promo code: heart50 at checkout to receive the discount. Offer good just today. It ends at midnight Pacific time.

Click on the patterns below to go to the shop to purchase them.

Hearts Abound Beanie
Hearts Abound Beanie
Forever Hearts Reversible Cowl
Forever Hearts Reversible Cowl

Stovepipe Cowl ~ Desert Chic

Great for sand and snow!
Great for sand and snow!

It was a very windy day in the desert yesterday.

Unfortunately, everyone on base does not get a “sand day” and have to contend with the stinging sand blowing so thick you can barely see 30 feet in front of you.

That is when my husband sent me this shot of him sporting one of my Stovepipe Cowls.

He had found it in his truck when looking for a solution to block his face from the sand while on the range.

Added bonus — it just happened to be a color that worked great with his uniform!

I love when crochet comes to the rescue!

 

KnitCrate Feb 2014 Reveal With Giveaway ~ Caution ~ Possum Inside!

The Red Package Has Arrived
The Red Package Has Arrived

I just opened up my February 2014 Int/Adv KnitCrate and I am so excited to share with you what I received. As always, if you’re a subscriber and don’t want to know what’s inside, stop reading now!

KnitCrate Unpackaged
KnitCrate Unwrapped

For those of you still with me, I have to say, this Knitcrate has the coolest yarn I have ever seen.

The title of my post is foreshadowing the awesomeness to come.

But first, the rest of the goodies:

Promo Card with Free Knit Pattern
Promo Card with Free Knit Pattern

The promo card is near and dear to my heart this month. The reason being is that my little ol’ shop is featured on it.

There are 4 different promos this month as well as the Free Pattern:

Note: as always, I don’t share the actual promo codes (just what the value is to demonstrate the total value of the Knitcrate), you have to subscribe to Knitcrate to get those.

1) 20% off the featured yarn (which you’ll see in a minute) in the KnitCrate shop. ($3.00 a skein savings)

2) 50% off any pattern at Emily Peter’s Ravelry shop. Her Octopus Mittens are so cool. ($2.00 to $3.00 average savings)

3) 40% off your whole purchase in my pattern store. (infinite amount of savings!!)

4) 20% off any needle set in the KnitCrate shop. There are crochet hooks under the link as well so I’m guessing the hooks might count as well. ($10.00 + savings) 

Free Pattern: Beaded Cushion by Nathalie O’Shea ($5.00) This is a very beautiful pattern, and I’ll be giving it away to one lucky winner. See near the end of the post for more details.

Honey mmmmm
Honey mmmmm

1.6 oz sample of Rare Hawaiian Organic Kiawe Honey (approx. $4.00)

I tried a bit of this honey and it is delicious!

Such fun tea names!
Such fun tea names!

0.9oz David’s Tea in Read My Lips (approx. $3.50)

This tea company has a really great website and the names for their teas are so cute (ie. Brazillionaire, Glitter and Gold). I can’t wait to try Read My Lips.

Ever crochet with possum?
Ever crochet with possum?

3 balls of Zealana Kauri in color K14 ($15 a ball)

I am so excited about this yarn. I’ve never seen this brand before, but after checking out their website, I’m instantly intrigued and can’t wait to make something with this yarn.

What’s so special about this yarn?

It’s all about the blend. This yarn is:

  • 60% New Zealand merino wool
  • 10% mulberry silk
  • 30% brushtail possum

Yes, I said possum, and no, I had never heard of using possum in yarn.

He's pretty cute.
He’s pretty cute.

This is a brushtail possum and fur traders introduced them to New Zealand  (where this yarn is from, hence the brand name of Zealana). However, because there are no natural predators to this fuzzy guy in New Zealand, he’s become way too overpopulated.

What the New Zealanders have found though is when combined with wool and cashmere, they produce over 50% more warmth in the garments made from them. That’s pretty impressive.

Plus the Kauri yarn is a part of their performance line. So each 94 yard ball of yarn is machine washable and less likely to pill. so it’s really easy to take care of. Plus it’s actually really soft and I can only imagine it getting softer with washing.

I encourage everyone to go check out Zealana’s website. It’s really interesting to read about the yarn, they give even more information about the possum and all of it’s cool benefits of being used in yarn.

Now for the giveaway.

As most of you know, I am not a great knitter so you get to benefit from this every month. I’m giving away my code to download the Knit Cushion pattern to one reader. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment in this post about what you think about possum yarn. I’ll pull a name on Valentine’s Day Friday Feb. 14th and they will get the code.

Bonus if you are only a crocheter.

If you are like me and only crochet, I am going to give away a copy of my Hearts Abound Fair Isle Crochet Pattern (since it is Valentine’s Day) on the same day as well.

You will enter the same way, by leaving a comment in this post about the possum yarn. Just be sure to add that you are a crocheter.

If you do both (Knit and Crochet) you can state that as well and you’ll be entered for both patterns. Good luck!

Make sure to follow the blog as well so you never miss a good giveaway.

Here is a video unveiling if you want to see more of the possum yarn (as I am now calling it).

When You Don’t Like The Look Of A Chain 3 In Your Double Crochet

A viewer wondered if you could make a straight seam in double crochet when working in the round, but not have to use a chain 3 at the beginning of the round.

She asked and I created.

The video here will show you the straight seam in double crochet technique again, but this time you’ll learn how to make a beginning chain that creates an almost invisible seam.

New Pattern ~ Bubbly Beanie ~ 50% Off Now

Bubbly Beanie ~ So Colorful!
Bubbly Beanie ~ So Colorful!

The Bubbly Beanie

This polka dot beanie is the perfect way to learn a new crochet technique.
The self-striping yarn does all the color work and the simple repeat gives you an easy intro to Fair Isle crochet.

What?

You haven’t tried Fair Isle crochet yet?

What are you waiting for?

It super fun and addicting — it’s like drawing and crocheting at the same time. Watching the picture develop as you crochet keeps you engaged and on track.

Plus it’s 50% off!

Use promo code: bubbly50 at checkout to receive discount.

Hurry, the offer is only good until Sunday, February 16th midnight Pacific time.

And if you haven’t already, follow the blog so you never miss out on any of these deals!

 

Last Minute Gift For The Man In Your Life ~ New Free Pattern

Works up in a couple of hours.
Works up in a couple of hours. Great last minute project!

 

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I’m presenting a quick crochet project to make for your significant other.

This basic men’s beanie uses half double crochet and a large hook size to get you to the finish line even faster.

As always the pattern includes a video tutorial for anyone who needs some extra help. Download the pattern and check out the video here.

For the left hand video click here.