Sunday, February 28, 2010

Custom Yarn Spinning

An interview with Sarah of Handmade Sunshine,
an Etsy shop dedicated to selling handspun and recycled yarns.

Did you know that we have a team member who will custom spin yarn for you? Handmade Sunshine is an Etsy shop run by spinning whiz Sarah, who is happy to whip up a skein of yarn in the fiber of your choice.

In her shop, Sarah uses yarns that are mill ends and would otherwise have been discarded. She takes the waste fiber left over from changing “bumps” of wool and dyes the wool
and then spins it.

Why does Sarah spin? Here are her own words:

“When I spin, it's a very personal thing. No two yarns are the same, even a batch of yarn may differ from beginning to end a certain small amount. It all depends on my mood that day, how much stress I'm under, how humid it is, how fast I peddle...really a myriad of things. That is why hand spun yarn is so unique. It has a wonderful texture and whimsy that is lacking in commercial yarn. It tells a story about the person who spun it if you know how to read it.”

If you’d like to add some custom-spun yarn to your stash, Sarah will need a bit of information:. What kind of fiber? How much yardage and what weight? How many ounces will it take to get that amount of yarn? Where is the fiber coming from? When does it need to be done?

Sarah asks for half of the cost up front and half when it's done. She charges per ounce of fiber spun, not usually for the time it takes since that is hard to know because she starts and stops so many times.

If you are buying hand spun yarn for the first time, Sarah has a few suggestions. If you only buy one skein, if you don't mind pooling, just work with it as you would any other skein. To help keep pooling to a minimum, work from both ends of the skein at the same time, alternating rows, and it will help blend the colors more and keep any thinner or thicker areas from happening. If you buy 2 skeins, work with them both at the same time alternating rows.
Also another thing to keep in mind, the fatter the ply, the more apt it is to pill. If the ply is thin, it will resist pills better because more twist is holding the ends of the fibers into the yarn. The last thing is, follow the washing directions on the label for a long wearing, beautiful finished object.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Color Me Beautiful

I was thinking about what I should write about for this blog post. Well, rather than another mundane post about the technology that is floating around (although I do love what I have written about that) I thought “Hey! Why not talk about what we all love most? Yarn!”  We all know about fiber-type, weight and technique, but how many of us are paying attention to color?
Are the combinations we use working? Are they trendy?
Let me insert a business moment here, if a color isn’t “hot” who is going to buy it?
This is where we need to take a look at the color here.

This website shows the trending colors for each season; remember, most fashion is one or two seasons ahead of the actual season, create  accordingly.
Don’t be afraid of embracing color.  Leave taupe, white, and tan at the door, embrace the bright, exciting colors. What is going to look great on the front page? (we will all get there someday)
If you try something, the worst that will happen is that you will hate it and you rip it out and do a different project.
Now I am not saying completely leave the neutral tones, because there are buyers who will buy it. Also, those colors can be used in striking ways.

These are a few examples that I took directly from our team :-)

I absolutely love the combo here in this cuff  by Anadiazarte ; the striking sand tone in the middle of a deep blue really makes the entire piece pop. that gradual richening of color to the center really draws the eye to the focal point of the wrapped bead.

This scarf by CatsCrochetCorner shows that tan can be used as a primary color in a trendy modern way. this particular use makes the scarf feel hip and mature. The balance of the blue with the tan gives me a sense of  cleanliness. I'm not sure why per se, but it looks good!

This Circle scarf by lainedesign uses rich warm tones to heighten the coziness factor here. An orange "persimmon " attracts the eye, but the nutmeg brown tones it down to a more manageable combo. If this had been only persimmon, I would venture to believe that it might be too much, but with this pairing, the colors work together in harmony.

There are dozens and dozens of great color combos  in this team, and it would take days if not weeks and months to post why I like each one haha.

Keep the hooks goin'

-Benjamin Krudwig

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Ideas In Crochet: Plarn

An interview with Teresa, the owner of Plastique Recreations (
an Etsy shop dedicated to using leftover plastic shopping bags to create usable handmade goods.

“Plarn” is yarn made from used plastic bags. Using plarn for crochet is a wonderful way to recycle those plastic bags that seem to multiply if you leave them alone in a dark closet.
CreateCrochet Team member Teresa is an Etsy seller that not only uses plarn to crochet items for her shop, she sells balls of handmade plarn. Her shop “Crochooley” has quite a few different colors of plarn, making it the perfect place to shop if you’re curious about trying plarn for the first time.

We asked Teresa about her interest in plarn. Here is what she had to say:

I have been crafting with plastic bags for approx 15+ years. It all started with a swatch and my love for plastic bags evolved from there.

This is what happened: I needed to make a swatch for a pattern and had just enough yarn for the project. At that time my alternative yarn was old t-shirts, sheets, etc. I just completed a bathroom set made from old sheets I collected so I had no extras to work a swatch. Right when I was going to unravel a sweater, I noticed a plastic bag on the counter, decided to use it instead. Once I figured out how to cut and loop the plastic, I made the swatch. I absolutely loved the texture and appearance of that swatch so much, I couldn't stop. I just kept going and ended up making the project with the plastic yarn. As I was making the project, that's when I discovered several bags would be needed, more than I had laying around the house. So after I used every plastic bag I had, I went knocking on my neighbor's doors and even called my sisters. Once I had the project completed, everyone that donated their bags were curious as to what I was making with it and when I showed them, they loved it as much as I did, they wanted one to.

I realized then that plastic bags would end up being my preferred 'fiber'. The more I used plastic bags, the more I learned about how bad plastic bags were for the environment, how much they harmed animals (land and sea) and how horribly flooded the landfills were with plastic bags. That's what continues to motivate me today and is my objective in life - do whatever I can to keep as many plastic bags out of the landfill as possible.

Over the years, I would make and share various items such as rugs, bags, totes, etc. with my crochet friends. They would be curious and wanted to give it a try. So I started balling a bunch of plastic and what caught me off guard, they offered to pay me for it especially when I explained to them the time consuming process behind making it. It evolved from there.

I have learned that there are some plastic bags - the shiny ones, that are not hook/needle friendly as standard plastic grocery bags. I will use these but only as the contrasting color or for edging. The great thing about crafting with plastic bags, you can use the exact same tools you use when crafting with fiber. I can offer this piece of advise for those that encounter an unfriendly plastic bag whether they are using a hook or needles - if the bag isn't gliding, rub a bar of soap against the hook or needle. It works every time and poses no harm to the plastic.

Be sure to check out Teresa's shop! Not only does she sell lovely handmade items made from plarn, she also sells balls of plarn ready for your crafting needs!

Crochet Tips of the Month

Submitted by Arti from

1) If you can't afford a stitch marker, you can substitute a paperclip or a bobby pin.

2) Use a foam pencil grip on regular crochet hooks to make them more ergonomic.

3) ALWAYS use a good light source when crocheting- I recommend using a small lamp for this purpose. Some people don't realize, but an overhead light might not be enough.

4) When weaving in ends, I weave once in one direction, and then reverse direction. I feel this makes my ends more secure.

5) Use old tins for storing crochet “notions” like buttons, beads and tapestry needles.

6) Always buy enough yarn to finish your project—it’s better to over buy, keep the receipts and return the extra yarn than run out of yarn halfway through the project.

7) Designate a specific place for all your receipts for when you DO need to return your yarn.

8) When teaching a child to crochet, use plastic tapestry needles rather than sharp metal needles.

9) Use your leftover yarn to crochet for charity. Cancer hospitals love to receive soft hand made chemo caps, and homeless shelters will take hand made washcloths.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Storage Solutions

Hello again, I am going to keep this blog post short and sweet.

Do you live in a Small space, or maybe your big space is just over crowded.? then this little idea will help you out... An over the door Shoe organizer is a great storage and organizational tool. Not only is great for Shoes, but it is great for Yarn storage, or for your finished projects... As you can tell I use mine for shoes and dog leashes. but I added some yarn and projects to show you how nicely they fit. The little bathroom organizers you can get, typically used for traveling, are great for smaller items like Needles, thread , yarn remamnents, etc.