Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Yarn Review: Cascade Yarns Eco +

Yarn: Cascade Yarns, Eco +
Shade: 7098 - Merlot
Material: 100% Peruvian Highland Wool
Weight: 12 ply / Bulky
Price per gram: 8.8 cents

Sadebruce on Ravelry

This is the highest quality yarn I've purchased to date. It comes in a hank versus a center-pull skein, which means rolling the yarn into a ball is required prior to working with it. It's important to only do this once you're ready to work with the yarn, because storing yarn in a ball for long periods of time can stretch it out.

This beautiful burgundy color is exactly what I was looking for to obtain a fantastic fall and winter look. The pure wool is quite bulky and a bit on the fuzzy side, but being Peruvian* wool it shouldn't pill and fuzz as quickly as Merino* wool. You do lose a share of the softness compared to Merino wool, so save this special yarn for adult items, but as long as your skin isn't too sensitive it's still fairly soft. You don't really want to use expensive yarn on clothing that will be outgrown in six months anyways.

I've already made myself a pair of mittens which I'll have modeled and photographed to be listed for sale on Etsy soon. I absolutely loved how quickly this bulky yarn worked up compared to my usual worsted or lighter weight yarns, but there is a note on Ravelry that mentions this bulky yarn is considered by some to be a light bulky or aran weight.

Since this is a natural fiber and not acrylic, the yarn and anything you make with it should be hand washed in cold water and laid flat to dry.

I purchased this yarn at a local yarn store in Ottawa.

My Canadian friends can search for local stores by province on this list on the Estelle Yarns website. My U.S. friends can find local stores that likely stock this yarn by searching on this map directly on the Cascade Yarns website. (Cascade Yarns is a subsidiary of Estelle Yarns.)

Xoxo, Kate

* What is Peruvian and Merino wool? These wools are named after their sheep counter parts. The Merino sheep is bred for the softness of its wool, but it's also fragile and has a tendency to pill and fuzz quickly, not to mention stretch. The Peruvian sheep is a cross breed between Merino sheep and Corriedale sheep in order to combine the softness of the Merino wool with the durability of the Corriedale wool.

Peruvian Highland Sheep, courtesy of Michell.

1. Corriedale. Wikipedia. Accessed 25 October 2014. Link.
2. Merino. Wikipedia. Accessed 25 October 2014. Link.
3. Wool Production Basics. Penn State. Accessed 25 October 2014. Link.
4. Wool of the Andes Worsted Yarn. Knit Picks. Accessed 25 October 2014. Link.
5. Peruvian Highland Wool. Michell. Accessed 28 October 2014. Link.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oops, I Hooked My Boyfriend on Crochet

There's only three days left! Like my photo to help me win the I Love Yarn Day contest.


I posted my first ever video a few weeks ago, Crochet for Absolute Beginners. I went through the process of teaching someone who is brand new to crochet, how to pick a hook, hold their yarn, make a slip knot, then make chain stitches and single crochets, as well as two different styles of turning your work and a simple finish.

I also went through the important process of practicing with a guinea pig, seeing where a new person had questions because I wasn't clear enough with my explanation - or maybe I didn't think to explain it at all because it comes naturally to me now. This guinea pig was my ever helpful boyfriend. I thanked him for his time and we went merrily on our ways. Okay, he went merrily on his way, I went to figure out how to edit video on a laptop with no screen that continually overheats.

A few days later, I was scrolling through Pinterest, where I of course pinned the adorable Little Pumpkin amigurumi from my Halloween round-up post, when my boyfriend looks over.

"Wait, you can make things in 3-D??"

We went to the store to pick up yarn and I gave him two of my extra hooks, and the rest is history.

I had to help him with the magic circles and figuring out how sc2tog work, but everything else he figured out from what I had taught using the same information from my beginner's tutorial above.

I don't know about you, but when I first picked up a crochet hook I couldn't even make an even square using single crochets. Have you ever taught someone who was just a natural? Tell me about it in the comments!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Second Year of Projects: Update 3

A Ravelry Group

The most exciting part of my week was being nominated to compete in the top ten of the #FiberFavorites contest on Facebook for I Love Yarn Day! Vote for my boot cuffs by liking them to help me win.

This week involved a lot of travel crochet. My traveling companion couldn't help but sleep on the five hour train ride home, so I did a little light reading and a lot of crocheting.

I love crocheting while I'm traveling. I'm already relaxed because I'm essentially on vacation, plus I get to feel productive instead of like I'm wasting my time.

I spent my time making two cabled headbands from my midnight and baby blue worsted weight yarn.



Once I returned home from vacation, I attached the buttons.

I can't wait to get these on a model so I can list them on Etsy.

I think these would be great with a bulky yarn. Then again, I think everything would be great with a bulky yarn. I need to go to my favorite local yarn store before it gets too chilly!

YoP List Updates

Most recent changes are highlighted

Accessories 3/8
Fingerless Gloves 0/1
Miomi Slouch Hat 0/1
Silk & Lace Purse 0/1
Mittens (Pattern One, Pattern Two) 0.5/2
Bailey Boot Cuffs 1/1
Headbands 2/2

Objects Started: 6
Objects Finished: 5
Objects on Original List: 14
Objects on Current List: 19

Saturday, October 18, 2014

#FiberFavorites Contest Top 10 Nomination

Just before I left Toronto to head back home, I got a Facebook notification that I Love Yarn Day commented on my photo.

Eek! I've been nominated!

I've never even entered a contest before this one, and the lovely individuals over at I Love Yarn Day nominated my boot cuffs as one of the top ten projects submitted in this contest. It's up to everyone else to like the photos to vote for the winner.

It would mean the world to me if you vote for my cute little boot cuffs!

The top ten nominations already win a membership to Creativebug, a site in the same vein as Craftsy, and a copy of Crochet with One Sheepish Girl. Okay, I am head over heels because I LOVE One Sheepish Girl. She's probably the biggest reason I decided I wanted to make a crochet blog, because I loved the way her photos brought everything to life.

I digress.

The photo with the most likes also wins the grand prize: A Lion Brand bag filled with twenty (20!) balls of yarn. My fellow yarn lovers, you understand why I need your help winning this contest. Please, vote for my boot cuffs - think of the glorious yarn!

I can only imagine how much fun I would have crafting new items for my shop and to share yarn reviews on my blog. Thank you guys so much for your support. I'll leave a button at the top of my sidebar so you can continue to find the link to my contest photo until the contest ends, which is on Friday, October 24th.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Shipped! First Order to Celebrate I Love Yarn Day

Happy I Love Yarn Day! I think most of us love yarn every day, but it's so fun to see everyone celebrating yarn at the same time. I was really itching to buy new yarn today but I was good and held off. Once I get paid for my first order, I'm going to go find some pretty burgundy. Maybe I'll go exploring in Toronto while I'm on vacation.

Speaking of vacation, my Etsy shop is on hold so I'm not accepting any more orders until next Thursday since I won't be able to mail anything out until the next week.

I have completed my first order on Etsy. The order was for a pair of boot cuffs in "Desert Sand" acrylic yarn.

Following my shop's handmade theme, both the wrapping paper and the thank you card were hand made as well.

I hope she loves them! I can't wait to start my next order, but until then, I've got a few new items in the works to put in my shop. Watch for my Year of Projects post on Monday to get a sneak peek!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Walking Dead Crochet Roundup

The season five premiere is on Sunday! I am SO excited. It's been years since I've had real TV channels and it's only in my adult life that I've grown to appreciate television series. The Walking Dead is one of my all-time favorites thus far, so here is my crochet round up of some of my favorite Walking Dead inspired items!

Amigurumi Characters

LilKillerCuties on Etsy

KnerdlyKnits on Etsy

LilKillerCuties on Etsy

There are lots and lots of Amigurumi versions of The Walking Dead characters on Etsy. These are just a few of my favorites. I'd talk about favorite characters but pretty much everyone other than The Governor is good in my books. Seriously, I need to try my hand at Amigurumi, I've already got quite a few tiny hooks laying around.

Poster Graphs

StitchtasticDesigns on Etsy creates these detailed color graphs you can use to create flat works in crochet. Each square represents a stitch, so your final product could be a giant afghan or even a scarf if you use the right yarn and hook, and then change the edges to suit your needs. You can see with the Daryl graph pictured above, it would be very easy to extend the white space into a rectangle for a scarf if you were working with a lighter weight yarn.

The Knitting Dead Yarn

These yarn colors are all inspired by characters from The Walking Dead. Just follow the link to read the creator's vision in how they link to each character - it's very impressive! I'm also partial to them as they are hand dyed in my home state, Minnesota. The colorway comes in two weights: 3-ply fingering and 4-ply worsted, and both merino and wool blends.

Hand Made Stitch Markers

SeeJayneKnitYarns on Etsy
I still haven't invested in any stitch markers yet, but these are really cool. My two requirements for my future stitch markers is that they be super awesome and/or cute looking, and that they use a crab claw clasp. Then again, I could probably just get the clasps separate and attach them myself.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Second Year of Projects: Update 2

Ravelry Group

Apologies in advance for the lighting in some of these pictures. I wanted to finish my Year of Projects update in the evening, so bright and early Monday morning I can focus on getting final photos and posting new items into my Etsy shop.

Ribbed Kitchen Cloth

This is the first item I started this week and the first thing I finished. It's a modified version of a pattern from the Craftsy class Amazing Crochet Textures. It measures approximately 11.75 by 9.25". 

The goal is to make a small afghan out of squares by the end of this free mini-course, but I decided I wanted to break up the "squares" and turn them into something I could put in my Etsy shop.  I'll do a more in-depth review of this in a post about the entire Craftsy course.

Bailey Boot Cuffs

This is another free pattern which I got from Crochet Dreamz, but lacking in cute statement buttons I decided to forgo the button and decorative strap altogether.

They are super cute and I am looking forward to making these in multiple colors! I loved them so much I decided I'll be posting this item as "made to order" instead of made to ship, because I'm keeping the original pair.

The only down side is that I have a tendency to walk with my calves rubbing together, which stresses the wool yarn. I may have to switch to acrylic yarn, but then they will be machine washable and more user-friendly anyhow.

Coffee Cozies

These two coffee cozies are just a simple pattern I whipped up in the moment.

I made a chain based on the height I wanted the cozy to be, did a row of single crochets, and then repeatedly did rows of single crochets in back loops only until it was tall enough to wrap around a commercial coffee cup. I slip stitched the short sides together and did a round of single crochet on the top and bottom to prevent it from stretching too much.

YoP List Updates

Most recent changes are highlighted

Accessories 1/6
Fingerless Gloves 0/1
Miomi Slouch Hat 0/1
Silk & Lace Purse 0/1
Mittens (Pattern One, Pattern Two) 0.5/2
Bailey Boot Cuffs 1/1

Home Decor 3/6
Mustache Mug Cozy 0/1
Reusable Coffee Cozy 2/2
Set of Placemats 0/1
Wine Bottle Wrap 0/1
Kitchen Cloth 1/1

Objects Started: 4
Objects Finished: 3
Objects on Original List: 14
Objects on Current List: 17

Friday, October 3, 2014

Crochet Round-Up: Halloween

Halloween is less than four weeks away, so if you haven't started crocheting your Halloween items, it's time to get on it! Here are a few of my favorite crochet goodies I've seen lately for the holiday. 

"The Slutty Pumpkin" Self-Striping Sock Yarn

NomadicYarns on Etsy
I originally saw this yarn made into a pair of knitted socks. The vibrancy of the colors and the name caught me off guard. Who doesn't love a couple How I Met Your Mother references? But seriously, the series finale. I digress, but leave your thoughts below if you've seen it, I still have mixed emotions.

Halloween Bat Banner

plus 3 crochet
Plus 3 Crochet is making the cutest Halloween banners this year to help save up for a surgery. Knowing your money is going to a good cause is a great excuse to treat yourself to something this adorable. Hang it up for the kiddo's party during the day and then darken the place up with some creepy cobwebs and spiders.

Little Pumpkin Free Pattern

Petals to Picots

I confess, these little pumpkins have been sitting in my Pinterest account for a couple years now. They're too cute but I've never managed to buy pumpkin orange yarn! Please let me live vicariously through you and send me pictures (or a link to your post) of these little guys if you make any.

Spiders Climbing Walls Free Pattern

Red Heart
I want to make one of these spiders so badly! I would make the spiders even creepier by giving them small beady eyes instead of the silly giant ones pictured above.

Classy Casper Free Pattern

Ahooka Amigurumi

What Halloween would be complete without your friendly neighborhood ghost? This ghost is inspired by Casper, made classy with a red bow tie. As a kid I loved the 1995 movie Casper with Christina Ricci and was determined I would one day be nicknamed Kat. The nickname never quite stuck but I never lost my love for the movie or the ghost.

I am a huge fan of Halloween, always have been. I already picked out my costume for the year and I'm planning a pumpkin-carving party as soon as I return from my Canadian Thanksgiving vacation. Whether you love to be frightened and startled, or would rather chew off a leg before watching a horror movie, Halloween is just one of those seasons that has something for everyone.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stay Connected on Facebook and Twitter

Love crocheting but hate having to remember to check yet another site? You can connect with Crochet by Conroy across the web but if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you'll get a link to every important blog post in your daily feed as soon as they go live.

The Facebook page also has a shop tab so you can browse items from my Etsy shop without ever leaving Facebook until you're ready to make an order, and you can look directly at my Pinterest boards as well.

Crochet by Conroy is also on:
* New videos coming soon! Subscribe to see them first. *

Is there another social media site you'd like to see Crochet by Conroy on? Leave a comment below.