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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Monday Night Auction

In our small town there is an auction consignment house. Sunday is the day they auction the “good stuff” but on Monday night it is more like the “American Pickers”.  People bring in what some might consider junk and what others might consider a treasure.  I like to think that I go to the Monday night auction to rescue treasures that might otherwise end up in the dump.
This last Monday night I hit the jackpot.  I rescued 6 skeins of vintage yarn. The yarn was made in France for the Wm Unger and Co., N. Y. It is labeled “Musette”. The fiber content is 90% virgin wool, and 10 % Angora rabbit hair. Each skein has 200 yards, 40 grams. The color is 571. I would call it heather grey. 
I wonder too about who owned this yarn, why did they buy it, and why was it disgarded. It appears to be a higher end yarn. Was it bought because it was on sale, (which is reason enough for me), or was it purchased for a special project, or is it left over from a project, or something  else.  I'm sure I'll never know the answer to these questions but that's okay,  I'm just happy with my new found yarn treasure.
I’ve searched online, but can find nothing about the William Unger Company, but I did find some vintage Unger Knit Magazines from the 1980s, and I did find quite a bit of Unger yarn stashed in Ravelry.
I’m quite excited about this yarn, and I’m anxious to start swatching with it. I haven’t decided what exactly to make, so for right now it will go into my stash. When I do decide to knit or crochet with it, I’ll let you know and if anyone knows anything about the William Unger Company please let me know.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Grand Finale Wrap

I finished the knitted scarf/wrap that I've been working on, and my husband was good enough to take some pictures for me. 

When I started I was thinking that the scarf/wrap could serve dual purpose. Now that it is done, I call it a wrap. I think it outgrew what one might consider a scarf.  I like it none the less though.

The Yarn Bee, Hobby Lobby yarn was fun to work with. I really the like the nubby texture of the knitted fabric. The wrap is very warm, and I think it will be great this spring when the weather is too warm for a jacket, yet cool enough that I still need something around the shoulders.  The wrap is about 16 inches wide and 60 inches long. I got about 10 inches of length out of each skein

The pattern is very simple, for simplicity in downloading, I'll post the free pattern in my Ravelry store.
You can look for me under the designer name Mary Riley Hunt, or by pattern name Grand Finale Wrap.                      

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Book Worth Reading

I want to tell you about a book I'm reading. It's "The Handmade Marketplace" by Kari Chapin. I downloaded my copy from Amazon to my Kindle. I believe the price was $9.99. It is also available  in paperback form.

This is a great how to book for crafters interested in selling their crafts. The book is divided into three parts:
Part One is "Getting to know yourself and Your Business", Part Two is "Setting the Scene for Success", and Part Three is "Getting Down to Selling".

My Sis and I are discussing the craft fair scene. Selling at a craft fair is something new to us, so I'm really enjoying the information in this section.

I've decided that so far I'm doing a lot of things right. For example I have a web presence, business cards, and I participate in several online communities related to crochet where I can network, and build relationships.  But, I still have a lot to learn.

This is a great little book, and  if you are interested in selling your craft items, I recommend it. 
Amazon Marketplace

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yarn Bee

Last week while at my local Hobby Lobby store, I came across some Yarn Been yarn called Finale', the colorway Aria.  Yarn Bee is a Hobby Lobby store brand, and the yarn is made in Turkey. 

I had never seen Finale' before but was immediately intrigued by the thick and thin yarn.

I purchased two skeins but had to make a return trip when I finally figured out what I was going to make with it.

I decided to knit a scarf.  I know, I know, this is a blog about crochet, not knitting. I'm just learning to knit so you may see posts about knit once in a while as I struggle to learn how.

I want a wide scarf that can serve as a wrap when needed and something long enough to throw around my shoulders and stay there.

I’m working on the scarf/wrap as we speak. As you can see from the close up, the fabric is very nubby. As a well meaning friend said to me "with that yarn, you could make a mistake and no one would ever know". And that's just fine for a neophyte knitter like myself.
Here are my basic instructions if you would like to knit a similar scarf

Materials 6 skeins of Yarn Bee Finale
Size 15 Circular Knitting Needles
Size 16 X 60 inches

Cast on 34 stitches with size 15 circular knitting needles. Knit row one and all subsequent rows until scarf measure 60 inches or desired length. Bind off.

This is a great beginner project. The scarf is going together quickly due to the large knitting needles, and as my friend said, mistakes won't be easily seen due to the nubby nature of the fabric.

When I’m done, I might stitch the ends together to create an infinity scarf.

I have about 1 ½ skeins left to knit, so that may take me a couple of days, but I’ll model the scarf or find a model so that I can post the finished project here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tunisian Crochet with a size U Crochet Hook

This video was shared in a group that I belong to. I have never seen a hook this BIG or yarn this BULKY.

It looks like a lot of fun. So much yarn, so little time.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Teaching Young People to Crochet

Teaching kids to crochet is fun because they are so eager to learn. People of all ages learn best when they are having fun, so if you teach kids remember to make it fun, offer a lot of positive feedback, and don't be too critical if the chains and stitches aren't perfect.

Just the other day I had the opportunity to work with two fourth grades girls, they are best friends. The objectives for the class were to learn how to hold the yarn and hook, make a slip knot,  make chains, single crochet and finish off.

To illustrate how to make the slip knot I brought mini pretzels, they are great visuals, and they taste good too!

Next the girls learned how to make a chain. We made a very long chain and then folded it into a friendship bracelet. We also discussed other useful items you can make with just a chain, like shoe laces.

It is important to have success early, and by making the friendship bracelet, the girls where able to complete a fun project and  feel good about it,

The single crochet project was a squiggle bookmark. We started the bookmark, but ran out of time before it was complete. I'm including the instructions for the squiggle bookmark and the friendship bracelet.

After just one lesson they had completed a project and knew how to chain and single crochet. AND most important of all, they left excited about the art of crochet. 

When teaching kids to crochet, remember to keep it simple, keep it fun, plan for early success, be generous with positive feedback and encouragement, and don't worry about perfection. It will come in time.
I have no doubt that these two young ladies will continue to  crochet, and will be quite accomplished in just a few years.

Chain Bracelet
By Mary Riley Hunt

1 skein of worsted weight yarn
I or J crochet hook

Chain 60
Lay chain flat and loop back and forth to form 3 strands of chains. Slip stitch through end loops and finish off.
Slip stitch the other end and finish off.
Tie onto your wrist and enjoy

Squiggle Bookmark

By Mary Riley Hunt

Worsted weight yarn
I or J Hook

Chain 50
Row 1: 3 single crochet in the 2nd chain from the hook, 3 single crochet in each of the next 15 chains.
Finish off and weave in ends.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 New Years Resolutions

At the beginning of 2011 I resolved to "finish up my crochet projects that are currently in various stages of completion." The project that I really had in mind was a table cloth that I started sometime in the 1980s. YIKES. I still have the partially completed table cloth, I still have the pattern, I still have the thread, and it still is not finished.

So this year, I'm not going to resolve to complete that project. In 2011 I designed yoga socks and a wrap for my sister and I designed a baby afghan for my great great niece.  All of these gifts were given, however, the pattern instructions are still on spreadsheets and in notebooks.  So my 2012 New Years resolution is to get these 3 patterns typed and self published or published in a crochet magazine.  I think this may be a resolution that I might actually complete. Wish me luck.

Oh, and I resolve to lose weight and to get into shape, because I resolve to do that every year too!