knitting blog

For the love of chunky yarn

Ah Chunky yarn, We all love to squish you in shops and booths. For some people soft fluffy chunky yarn is our natural go to for projects while for others it can seem a bit confusing. While I think everyone can agree on its beauty, not everyone can picture what exactly to make with it. I personally love using chunky yarn. This probably has something to do with the season of life that I’m currently in. With the girls and Jolene constantly running circles around me the thought of a quick, cozy and textural knit is super appealing. While many chunky knits are super simple which lets their texture really shine some feature chunky lace patterns or drop stitches. I think the same can be said for yarn with beads or embellishments, beehives, or thick and thin yarn. All you have to do with more textured yarn is look for a pattern where you’re not forcing the yarn to behave in a flat compact fabric. If you leave a little breathing room I think you’ll be really happy with your result. When working with Chunky or embellished yarn I like to think about the finial product more like a sculpture than a garment, for me at least that lets me embrace the chunkiness of it all. Below are some fabulous chunky patterns I found ( and saved in my favorites) on Ravelry. All of these would use 1-2 of our Chunky weight yarn skeins.

As always we’d love to see what you make. If you have any projects made with fantastic handspun or art yarn , ours , yours or someone else’s please tag us on instagram #craftyhousewifeyarns

 

click images for links, All patterns are knit except for the bottom one from cocoon homespun ( don’t miss the 20% off coupon on her site)

Are you a Yarn person but not a tech person?

So I find that the fiber community is pretty evenly split between folks who love the internet and technology and those who are most likely using dial up.  I even ended up being the " web person" for my local spinners guild because no one else wanted to do it.  I feel that this is to be expected because if you enjoy passing your time with yarn and spinning wheels you may not be into all things technology.  As a result I've gotten a good many questions about the website ravelry

Ravelry is an online search engine and community for fiber artist. I personally have sort of mixed feelings on it.  It absolutely can't be beat for pattern searching and finding new designers.  I personally prefer Instagram or Facebook for socializing and sharing projects just because I find the sites more user friendly and updated.  Here are some videos I made to give sort of a run down on the site and how useful I find it for finding the perfect pattern to incorporate some handspun or art yarn.  Please comment if you have any questions and I'll be here to help.  

 

 

Upcycle your plastic shop bags with the ultimate Plarn market bag

I absolutely hate the idea of things ending up in the landfill that don't need to so I just love this new project

All of those plastic store bags drive me nuts, thats one thing I love about trader joes is I find the paper bags with handles much more useful.  Recently one of my oldest friends and fellow crafty work form home moms came to visit for a long weekend.  We had a great time going to our local spinners guild meeting where Jamie quickly picked up drop spindling and we took the girls to visit a local fiber farm.  All weekend Jamie was knitting away on this fantastic market plarn bag as a gift for me.  The more I looked at it the more I was impressed with all of her well thought out details and designs.  I just knew as soon as I shared pictures of it and started using it around down that everyone would want one.  Since her bags are actually award winning in earth and eco fairs in the Orlando FL area she is familiar with people wanting their own.  Since they are fairly time consuming with making the yarn from bags and then knitting them we decided it was more practical to make a "mini course" to go with the pattern so people could make their own, teach a man to fish, or plarn you know...

The best news is this fun project uses a ton of those annoying bags, it also gives you a fun scavenger hunt aspect to your shopping so that you can find different colors to work into your yarns.... 

Jamie can be found on Ravelry as jamiemyselfandi , we're also on our facebook group handspun yarn love , please share all of your fun  eco projects with us. Once you know how to plarn we're sure you'll find many creative uses for it!

A lovely review of my yarn from Angela of Little Monkey Designs and Mastering Crochet Courses!

Angela is a friend of mine from an online fiber arts makers group that we are both in and I've had the privilege of brain storming a few ideas with her and I hope to be collaborating with her more in 2018.  Her business Little Monkey Designs is well known for great patterns, kits and premade items and it's really a pleasure and honor to get featured and reviewed on her site! She also launched a course last year called mastering Crochet that I've heard wonderful things about from people who have taken it and I've seen them take off crocheting ( with some of my yarn of course) pretty much right away.  Here is the link to the review of my yarn on her blog , there's video and everything very fancy... Little Monkey Review

Check out the beautiful cowl she made with one skein of my single ply worsted weight yarn!  Click the image for her free pattern

Check out the beautiful cowl she made with one skein of my single ply worsted weight yarn!  Click the image for her free pattern

If you're finding this pattern and it appears that we are in between collections and things are looking a bit picked over for the single ply worsted like in the pattern in our shop.... Please fill out this form below and I'll contact you about making you you're very own skein in the right size and yardage for this pattern but in the colors you would prefer for any occasion.  The form is just to ask questions you are not obligated to buy.  

Name *
Name

Rustic winter , handicrafts, tips, and recipes.

rustic winter
White chicken Chili

Ingredients

1 pound of chicken breast roughly diced
1 can white or sweet corn
2 cans great northern beans
1 little or big can of green chilis
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet ranch seasoning
1 8 oz of cream cheese
1 squeeze of a lime
1/2 can of water

dice the chicken quickly and toss in the bottom of the crock pot. Add everything else except the cream cheese and the lime and stir.
cook on low 6 hr or high 4 hrs.
when 30 minutes from servicing add the cream cheese in chunks and stir . Squeeze the lime over top. serve with chips
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Taco soup chilli


ingredients

1 pound group beef browned and drained
1 packet of ranch seasoning
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can black beans
2 cans red kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn ( if you want)
1/2 can of water

brown the meat and drain then add all of the ingredients to a crock pot and stir. cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4. Is great served with sour cream and cheese, chips or corn bread if you’re really feeling fancy.
click picture for pattern

click picture for pattern

click image for pattern

click image for pattern

make your life easier holiday tips,

  • If you're like me and take tons of great pictures on your phone but are too lazy or don't want to deal with printing them out at the store( biggest pain ever) check out www.freeprints.com . You can get the app too and then you just easyly select the pictures you want ( even from facebook or instagram) and they print free.  The shipping I think is around $9 so even with that all the free prints are a great deal. I've been really happy with the quality.
  • Another great app if you're multi taking family life and business life is ( ITTT) it's stand for if this then that.  You can easily program lots of automation on your phone. like adding appointments to calendars, pinterest and instagram hack etc 
  • knitting or crochet to avoid putting your foot in your mouth in family gathering situations ha ha

 

If you need some pattern ideas here are some of my favorite designers shops on ravelry

 Little monkey designs for crochet gifts and accessories  

Knitalogy for really great knit beanies and shawls

Caitlin ffrench kinda goth kinda woodsy very cool

Cassondra Rizzardi some of the most imaginative and fun patterns I've seen. 

Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary help me live out my fantasy of living a rustic north eastern life style. I've made many projects from these two.  

Indian summer collection

Indian summer is an old expression for a lingering time of good favor and happiness.  

We've had a hot and busy summer. We're still enjoying the sun but looking forward to the cooler weather and family traditions the holidays bring.  

I hope this limited edition collection of handspun yarn and spinning fiber captures that sweet transitional  period for you too.

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Interview with Fiona Langtry

was lucky enough to meet , befriend and get to interview Fiona Langtry Australian crochet designer  we tried doing a video interview and the conversation was great but the memory in the camera was lacking. However I'm old enough to remember having to buy a phone card in high school to talk to my boyfriend who lived an hour away so it blows my mind we were able to figure out all these time differences and talk on the web with video.  As supplement here's some q&A with Fiona 

 

 

 

Your name & Etsy shop link:
Fiona Langtry
Madeforyoubyfi.etsy.com

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Tell us something interesting/unique about yourself! 

I won the Hand Sewn Needlework Grand Champion prize at the Bendigo Agricultural Show in 2013. My Mum entered one of the 2 cross-stitch tapestries I had given her for her 70th birthday.

Write 5 adjectives to describe your products.

Boho, Relaxed, Easy Going, Textured, Trendy

Where else do you advertise/sell your work? (eg. social media, markets,...) 

- Social media - I have facebook, instagram and pinterest accounts
- I've tried markets with little sucess. I live about an hour from Canberra and don't like spending every weekend away from my family, so I think my issue has been not choosing the 'right' markets... now I don't care :)
- In May 2017, two small yarn producers started displaying products made by me and selling the related patterns at markets. This is by far my preferred option as far as markets are concerned - I don't HAVE to attend, but people are still finding my patterns and are able to see and touch the results :)
- there are a lot of on-line places to sell crochet patterns and I'm slowly gaining a presence on a few of them; Ravelry and LoveKnitting both have thriving indie-designer communities and I'm working hard to sell on both sites.
- I have my own website (still not the way I want it, but it's getting there). All of my patterns are for sale there as well.

What has been the proudest moment of your journey so far?
There are 3 major milestones I've experienced in the past year:
#1 - I launched my very own, created and designed by me, website! Not as a means to get off Etsy completely, but as a platform that I can control - I LOVE it! :)
#2 - On May 18th 2017, I released a 10-piece cohesive product collection of crochet patterns, along with 5 kits. This project represented hundreds of hours of my time, and hundreds of dollars in photography and other investments, but how happy was I to be able to 'go live'?! The collection can be seen in my Etsy shop - it has it's own Section in Madeforyoubyfi.etsy.com - and/or you can see the whole thing laid out at madeforyoubyfi.com/luxurious-layers-collection/
#3 - Twice in the last couple of months, one of my patterns has made it into the top 5 of 'Hookin on Hump Day' - an international link party where people vote by clicking on their favourite thing in fiber arts. The link party is hosted by two of the market's biggest players 'Petals to Picots' and Moogly. The fact that I've made 'top 5', means that both these bloggers have had to notice me, and that's a big deal :)

What inspired you to create your business and how long have you been trading for?

My business started in 2013, and I opened my Etsy shop in April 2014. An individual lady ordered 10 pairs of slippers from me over 2 months, which gave me the push to start a 'business'... since then, I've tried a few different directions, but crocheting ladies' accessories and layers have become my passion.
3. When shopping for woolen goodies, what should a person look for in the item?
When you are shopping for knitwear, you should look for designs which are easy-to-wear. I prefer to create 'one size fits most' designs - a relaxed fit means that most body shapes are catered for.
The yarn composition (fibers blended together) is super important - there are exclusive/expensive fibers (like alpaca, llama, silk, mohair, merino) which have the capability of turning an 'ordinary' garment into something extra special, which will last a lifetime (or 2!) Many of these fibers are extremely soft, some have water resistant properties, but all add a level of luxury to scarves, hats, gloves etc.
4. Outside your business, what inspires you?
As a practicing Christian, I am involved in a community-centered church - being around the people and seeing their needs is always inspiring. I help run a weekly craft group - collaboration is something that happens naturally and I love it
I love music - I lead the singing at church most weekends. I love seeing the colours and shapes that God has put together in nature. The place I work is set in Australian bushland - there is always something inspiring just outside the window!

NEW COLLECTION:

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My ‘Endless Summer...’ collection will be launched on July 31 

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Despite living in Australia, where we’re in the middle of a pretty cold winter at the moment, I’ve been getting requests for summer patterns from my customers in the Northern Hemisphere.  As a result I’ve created a collection of summer patterns designed to be created with cotton (or similar).  These are a range of garments which can be worn to the beach, the shops, on a picnic or to a festival, keeping you cool and comfortable while staying on trend.

Included are 4 brand new crochet patterns, some gift sets, Made to Order and Ready to Ship products for the following general styles:

a)Bralette

b)Crochet Top

c)Shrug

d)Vest

I am very excited to share these with the world, after the success of my current Luxurious Layers Collection. 

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fun handspun yarn project

Alicia plummers adrift with handspun yarn

I just wanted to share this project I just finished. It's Alicia Plummer's "adrift" pattern

I used one skein of my handspun yarn 75+ yards and one skein of a natural tweed from my LYS 153 yards even though I didn't end up using all of the 153 yards so you could get less.  I used size 9 needles which works well with my bulky handspun.  

With these materials I did end up with a finished project the decisions she list but the last decorative section was a few rows short.  This didn't bother me at all and it was the same dimensions  as listed but you could easily double this pattern and materials if you wanted a longer double wrapping scarf.  

All credit given to the designer ( one of my favorites) I just wanted to promote a fun lovely project and a great use of one skein of bulky art yarn.  

Beach yarn spinning

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Even though we are in the middle of expanding to include other fiber artist on our site I love that we are primarily a family business. The girls try to help the best they can sometimes more than we need. My husband really doesn't get enough credit for his help as the self proclaimed "creative director" and head of the awesome free swag and gift with purchase department ha ha. His job is very technical and demanding so getting to be creative with the rest of us is a lot of fun for him. The other perk is we get to take our business on family vacation with us. We made our yearly pilgrimage to north myrtle beach sc ( we're from the coastal low county) and it was great to get to hang out with my mom and fellow fiber artist and get some yarn spun and hand off some fiber. Now that we're back on Knoxville we have so much to get done for the next collection release "Indian summer " July 25th 

heres some pictures from our first beach trip to oak island no with moms side of the family and a video from north myrtle beach.  

 

Enjoy a little behind the scenes

 

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oh the excitement  

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Oak island nc

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mom and her louet  

North myrtle beach  

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seagull  feeding in oak island nc

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Sneak peek of some cool free swag for the holiday collection  

DIY fiber blending board

I made a how to video for making your own fiber blending board and rolag spinning fiber.  

Check it out and hit me up with some questions, hope this is helpful. Blending your own fiber is super fun and shouldn't cost an arm and a leg in my opinion.  

My brand is called crafty housewife because I'm a big fan of finding value and frugal uses for things.  

I love the old saying from the depression era

" use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without "  

 

Check out  

www.paradisefibers.com for the drum carder cloth  

and your local ace hardware for the rest.  

have fun