basket full of yarn & crochet update

Marian ParsonsArtistic Endeavors, crafts81 Comments

So, I have fully embraced the crocheting thing!  I made three trips to the craft store last week, which is no small thing because I couldn’t drive.  I had to ask someone to take me and witness me exploring this new world of yarn.  I’ve actually always been drawn to yarn and have found excuses to buy some here and there for projects, but what makes good yarn for pom-poms and garlands doesn’t necessarily make good yarn for a crochet project.  I learned that as I made the most ridiculously thick and heavy hat that I ended up turning into a thick and heavy scarf that’s only a little less ridiculous.

I love learning, finding new creatives to follow, and having an excuse to buy some new supplies!  I know yarn can really add up, but crocheting is a pretty thrifty endeavor, especially if you buy yarn on sale.  I even ordered some water-resistant Icelandic wool from a specialty store online and it was $5.00 for a skein, which seems reasonable to me if I can get a hat out of it.

So, instead of making the same hat over and over again, I’m exploring new stitches and patterns to try to expand my crochet vocabulary and keep my creativity engaged.  One reader suggested making dishcloths to practice a new stitch I learned and I loved that idea.  Someone gave me a hand-crocheted dishcloth for a wedding gift and I’ve always admired it.  It’s stayed with me for 20+ years, so that says a lot.

So, I bought a large roll of 4-ply cotton yarn to use for that.  It looks like a good dishcloth yarn, but I might be totally off base on that!

I’m also using it to make little practice swatches as I play around with stitches.  It’s a project I’ve been tucking in my purse to take with me when I might be waiting.

As far as other yarn goes, I am trying different weights and raw materials.  I have mostly gone for wool, cotton, alpaca, and some blends.  I expect this experience to be a lot like learning oil paints.  It takes working with the product to find your “palette” and preferred brands.

For those who are interested, the super bulky cream yarn is Jumbolicious by Yarn Bee.  The mustard, white, and cream cotton yarn (that looks a little squiggly) is Cotton XXL.  The chunky charcoal and dark blue are the Effortless Bulky yarn.  This is the yarn I used for the first hat I made and it was a good weight and forgiving.  I haven’t tried the other ones, yet, but I’ll let you know.

I can already tell that I’m going to have a good time testing it all out.

Until I put them to use, I enjoy having them tucked in a big, antique basket.  Doesn’t it look homey and inviting?  In my project queue is a beret, a pair of mittens, a couple of hats, and I’d like to learn a few variations of granny squares.  Some readers have asked me for a hat or to give away a hat…well, I’m open to that, but I am still learning!  You can certainly buy a more proficiently-made hat from Etsy!  I want to practice, so I’ll make more and offer them up.  It is a part of my therapy, after all.

In my basket, I also keep a zipper pouch with my needles and scissors.

I ordered a set of larger needles for the super bulky yarn I bought, but after playing with it, I realized the yarn is just too thick.  I could make a chunky throw, but I just don’t think that’s my thing.  I’d rather make a more traditional throw with granny squares.  But, I’m still playing with some ideas…

I was able to buy the rest of the needles off the shelf from Hobby Lobby.  I like the birch hooks, but that is completely based on how they look!  Well, I do like the feel of them and they do the job, but time will tell if they are really winners.

I also picked up a little wooden needle keeper to hold large needles for weaving in ends.  I didn’t even know those existed, but I was excited to find it.  It’s handy to keep these needles from getting lost at the bottom of the pouch.

I also keep a small pair of scissors for trimming ends in the pouch.  I like this pair because I can lock and cover the blades and prevent being poked when digging for the scissors.

In addition to the hats I shared in my last post about crocheting, I made another hat, a pair of mittens, a scarf, and the dishcloth showed at the beginning of the post.  I was excited to make a mustard hat and matching mittens to go with my black and cream plaid winter coat and they turned out pretty well!

I need to give the mittens another try, though.  The yarn I was using (the XXL Cotton) was much thicker than the pattern called for, I made adjustments and I need to tweak those numbers.  One glove also ended up a little larger than the other somehow!!  All a part of learning.  They are wearable, even if the thumbs are a bit wide and squat!

Despite the imperfections, I’m pretty pleased that I produced a pair of mittens!

And here is the dishcloth I made…

I think I’ll end up with a whole stack of these as I practice different stitches.

Thanks for all of the encouragement from other crochet/knit lovers out there.  It’s a whole new craft and community that I’m really enjoying during this season of life.

Today, I went to the 6-week follow-up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon.  The x-ray and incisions looked great and I am completely free of my sling now!  My arm feels like a heavy noodle and there is still a lot of swelling, but I know it’ll get stronger each day.  I have a few months of therapy in front of me (starting tomorrow), so I have a feeling I’ll be doing lots of crocheting!

A sweet moment happened, though, while I was waiting for Jeff to pick me up from my appointment.  I was waiting in the “pick-up waiting area” at the main Mayo Clinic building and an older gentleman came and sat next to me.  I was working on a dishcloth and he watched me for a few minutes and then leaned over.  Softly, he said, “You must’ve learned that from your grandmother.  I haven’t seen anyone doing that in a while.”  I told him that a friend taught me, but my great-grandmother did beautiful crochet work and she would love that I’m crocheting now.  He smiled and nodded in approval.

I must admit that I was a little selfconscious about crocheting in public, which is totally dumb.  His comment made me feel like I was doing something good…being a very small part of carrying on a tradition of productively passing time that’s been around longer than the iPhone.

basket full of yarn & crochet update

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81 Comments on “basket full of yarn & crochet update”

  1. Who won the arhaus giveaway? Didn’t you say it would be announced yesterday? Was there even a winner?

  2. I’m so pleased to read of your enthusiasm for crochet. It’s a skill that you’ll enjoy forever, and It has opened a new door that you have stepped through to create an even wider range of useful items. I ‘ve been smiling as I’ve read your words. You will be glad to get back to the painting when you are able, but your accomplishments in the meantime will mean a lot to you. Years ago, I even crocheted a small rug and stool seat cover for our bathroom, which I enjoyed for years.

  3. I agree with every word Anita said; I was smiling too while reading your enthusiastic account of the fun you are having mastering a new skill! I dabbled in crocheting & knitting when I was a teen & again a little later but never got too far along. I’ve been an avid needlepointer for 30+ years but may have try crocheting again! The cotton dishcloths are the best kind around – use it, you will love them!

    1. I’m wondering if I could pick it up again 🙂
      I adore the washcloths. My grandmother, who was a beautiful knitter and my mom made them. I always buy one or two when I rein across them at art fairs.
      I’m glad you’re healing well!

  4. I also agree with Anita.. I have crocheted all my life and I also knit. As you grow old (love me) you will have something you can do and still feel productive. One suggestion is try crocheting with smaller yarn and hooks. I recommend warn weight no 4. I crocheted the hat you made with chunky yarn and it was huge! I also thought it was more difficult using chunky yarn and big hooks. Try the weight I recommended. By the way, there are hundreds of free dishcloth patterns on Ravelry. Have fun!

    1. Like your crocheting in public…..someone commented on the fact that I was reading a real book while waiting for my husband at the hospital. They were delighted to see it.

  5. Yes, I love seeing people doing handwork in public and I always comment to them. Someone has to keep these traditions going!

  6. Oh Marianne! I love all things yarn and crafty! One of my favorite yarn suppliers is Quince and Co. They have the most gorgeous yarns and are so lovely to work with.

    While knitting is my favorite, I am actually making three hats for my boys for Christmas with crochet. I made some for a previous Christmas but my boys have grown too big for them. So, they need some new ones!

  7. Your needlework is lovely! I do very little crocheting but a lot of knitting, and have for 50 years. One cannot eat while knitting so it is an excellent diversion.

    My go-to hostess/birthday/stocking stuffer gift is dishcloths. I loved the first pattern I tried and have never done another, while my sister has never done the same pattern twice. I buy the large cone cotton yarn, complete one a night, and store them until needed. I have had as many as 75 in storage, but they go quickly as gifts and people always appreciate a new one. You are smart to have started making them!

  8. I love your enthusiasm. I crochet every day. For the past 50 years and now I crochet for homeless shelters. One thing to make and my friends appreciate are headbands or earwarmers. Anything yarn left over from scarves I make into headbands. The shelters appreciate them. Keep at it.

  9. I think it is all beautiful and love that you are doing this. I am always amazed at your talents and you have added another. Keep a going! and that GREEN in the basket just pops! Swoon!

    I love that Miss Mustard Seed has Mustard Mittens!

  10. Awesome. Great job. Guess you know about Ravelry. Lots of pattern their. I have been knitting and spinning my own yarn for years. It so much fun playing with fiber. Thanks for sharing and love your hat.

  11. I love knitting! I’ve tried to crochet but I can’t get the hang of the tension. I’ve knitted scarves and baby blankets and love learning new stitches! I found a pattern for a gingham baby blanket for crochet and knitting that give the impression of granny squares but are not that I’d like to make. Have fun with it!!!!! By the way, where did you get your needle holder? I need one for my yarn needles as I have a tendency to lose them…

  12. Do not know how you stand those little stubby hooks….i need a hook that at least spans the width of my palm in length….the Clover hooks and Tulip hooks are lovely…as are the Furls….and then there is a guy in England that hand turns his custom hooks from the most beautiful and exotic woods I have ever seen. You can find hooks at every price point. I am so glad you are enjoying this….crochet has saved my psyche many times over. Keep on keeping on….practice makes perfect….or at least better and better.

  13. I always carry a bag with me when I expect to have to wait somewhere. Quilting, crochet and ribbon work. However I don’t seem to ever be caught up! Happy crocheting!

  14. Just from experience i can tell you that sometimes what we crochet looks great and other times….well not so good. I enjoyed reading your crochet experience and am glad you are having a good time, because that is what it is all about enjoying what we do, have a wonderful day.

  15. Where did you find the cute grain sack zippered pouch? Or did you make that too? 😁
    You are doing a great job at crocheting! I enjoy knitting more. I guess I like the look of the knit stitches versus crochet. That and I find the 1 hook more difficult to manage versus 2 needles.
    I find knitting in the evening is very relaxing and something to keep my hands busy while watching TV. I feel more productive.
    Keep practicing and you will be surprised at how quickly your stitches and etc. improve.

  16. So glad you are “hooked” on crochet!!!…me too!!! Your hats and mittens are very impressive…..EVEN adjusting patterns!!!…WOW!!!
    One suggestion is, you might try getting some plastic “weaving in” needles. They are much easier to use and will not have the risk of splitting your yarn. Of course, they probably won’t fit in your pretty wooden needle holder.
    If you look on Ebay or Etsey you will find some beautiful antique hooks and even some made out of abalone and mother of pearl. I have a sterling silver “J” hook that is my absolute favorite to use. I call it my “silver bullet” as it just glides so smoothly and is the perfect weight.
    I can see another trip to Europe to hunt down antique hooks in your future.

    1. I did a search and this reminded me that I have an antique hook. I believe it’s a button hook, though. Anyway, I’ll have to explore the world of antique hooks. I’ll try the plastic needles, too.

  17. Oh my Marian…I used to crochet all the time in my early 20s til about my early 30s. When I was first married, I had several friends from High School (who also had just gotten married) and we used to get together weekly and we’d crochet, Chat…teach each other…do crewel work (my fave – I absolutely adored Erica Wilson), even crocheted rag rugs…and our kids would all play together as we all did our crafts. I loved that time and I wound up doing craft classes in my house for a little extra money. I taught macrame, crewel work, crocheting – I loved it. My first husband hated it. Why, I don’t know. He never liked anything I did that was remotely entrepreneurial. So, several years later – we called it quits. I went on to create several companies on my own. Was it those craft klatches that gave me the impetus…maybe!

    I love that you are doing this and bringing this back!!

    Now I want to go find my old crochet needles!

    1. What a shame that your first husband wasn’t supportive of you. I’m glad that you were able to find an outlet for your creativity.

  18. When my husband had bypass surgery at 41 I I sat in the waiting room with a woman who knitted scarves as her business. Her knitting needles were huge and custom made. She completed a very long chunky scarf while waiting for her dad to get out of heart surgery. I felt like it was the only kind of knitting I could do because it went fast. I never did get around to it. You have so much talent that really shows when you just learn something and are already making hats and mittens. My brother got the creative genes in our family. I just have to accept it! Ugh😉😄

      1. Marian: I wanted to tell you about crochet pot holders that a friend gave me. You use an H hook and cotton yarn. It is all single crochet. As you crochet th e ends curl up and eventually come together. They really turn out pretty and they are double thickness. I will send the pattern if you like

  19. My great grandmother crocheted and my grandmother knitted, I have throws from both of them. One thing they did was have labels made that they sewed into each one with their name “ lovingly made by” I cherish those afghans to this day. Great hobby, love all the yarn. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  20. Hi,
    Seeing those cute mittens reminded me of the Ukrainian folk tale The Mitten by Jan Brett. 2 different size mittens figures into the tale. You probably know of this story having 2 sons, but take another look. Her illustrations are so terrific. I even the look of the basket of yarn.

  21. Can I just get a basketful of yarn balls because I love the color and texture- I’m not one for small dexterous endeavors but that might just be the reason to try again.

  22. In addition to knitting, I use balls of yarn as DECOR items! That way I get to enjoy the colors, the textures, etc. You can use balls of yarn a zillion different ways for décor. That will encourage you to buy whatever yarn you like, even if you don’t want to actually MAKE something with it. Just enjoy that ball of yarn!

  23. It would be extra special if you could share the beret pattern. I admire your new craft, want to learn too. You’ve encouraged me. Thanks.

  24. Same question as Edith…I was wondering where you got the great furry pom pom. Sweet! If the mittens don’t turn out, you could still use them as oven mitts! tee hee! How sweet of the older gentleman to comment on your craft. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing this in public. I’d rather see this than what I usually see.

  25. You’ve inspired me to get out the hooks and get to work!

    Can you tell us where you found the zipper pouch?

    Thanks!

  26. I am self taught so l hold the hook ‘wrong’ but have made quite a few Afghans. I found a pattern when I was a teenager I liked. The photo was black and white. My grandmother bought the yarn and it was a beautiful purple with pink 3d flowers and green leaves. My mother and I used that pattern to make all the females in our family an Afghan in their color choice. I never advanced to hats and mittens. You are doing a great job as a beginner with a broken wing. You will quickly advance with the skill you already have.

    1. I am self taught. Being left handed I learned right handed………….And I too hold the hook wrong. I grab itunder my hand. my mother said it was the German way.

    2. Oh, I’m sure I’m doing it wrong! I’m holding the hook fairly still and am wrapping and pulling with my left hand, since my right arm/hand is still not working properly. I wonder if I’ll keep doing it that way!

  27. As if you aren’t creative enough! Your crochet is beautiful. I love the idea of trying new stitches out by making dishclothes. Yours turned out great. I haven’t crocheted in years. Taught myself when I was pregnant with our daughter. Keep up the good work and prayers during therapy.

  28. So glad you are loving crochet. I knit and have been an owner of a yarn store. I encourage you to find one (or more) in your area. They are usually small businesses owned by people who have a passion for the fiber crafts. You can find classes and help as well as a gorgeous selection of yarn and tools. I believe in working with the best you can afford.

    1. Oh, I wish we had a yarn store! I looked and there isn’t one right in Rochester. I did order some from a shop in Minneapolis, though, that specializes in Nordic yarns. that was a fun box to get in the mail!

  29. I was a late bloomer as far as knitting and crocheting. When you do it in public people think you are a rocket scientist. One of my favorite knit scarf pattern came from a lady in an airport. She wrote it down on a piece of scrap paper,
    A store owner said to me once that you learn the most from the person sitting next to you
    Welcome to my world of knitting and crocheting. Some 30 years ago someone asked me if I wanted three bags of yarn. I said yes and I was thinking of three little grocery bags. Well it was actually three big garbage bags of very lovely yarn. She had moved on to quilting.

    1. Ha, so funny. Rocket scientist! 🙂 And yes, I am so thankful for that class and for YouTube videos. The patterns don’t make any sense to me at this point, so I need to watch someone do it to learn from them.

  30. Do not be embarrassed by crocheting in public. My dearest friend crochets everywhere she goes. It is soothing and productive. Enjoy your new found hobby.

    1. I think it’s just because people comment on it. I don’t get comments when I’m writing, sketching, reading, or looking at my phone, but just about every time I’ve crocheted (4-5 times now) someone makes a comment. I’m getting over it, though!

  31. You are doing a really great job! Maybe it’s time to try knitting…you seem to be up for a challenge!

  32. Yes, that is one inviting basket! My grandmother (who passed away when I was in 4th grade) often crocheted. We have the four stockings she made our family and they are absolute treasures to me. Perhaps you can add Christmas stockings to your list! There’s no wrong size with those!

  33. Both of my grandmothers knitted and crocheted. As a small girl I would ask for some yarn and a needle or hook and they would guide me as I struggled to make “doll clothes”. Such very fond memories were made! I’m now 67 years old and have made an Afghan, hats, mittens, sweaters stuffed animals and toys for each of my children and grandchildren. Hopefully, those items will be a reminder of me even after I’m long gone. I always tell them that each stitch was made with love!

  34. Love this post! It reminded me of the beautiful crocheted jar cozies you have that I believe you said your grandmother made. I’ve been looking for cozies like yours ever since with no luck. I bet you can duplicate those as well. Just lovely.

    1. Wynne, If you are still looking for and cozies, etc., look on Etsy! There are so many to choose from. 😊

    2. My great-grandmother made cozies (she called them socks) for glasses and we used them all the time growing up. I thought that socks were a staple of every house! She always made them in a single color with a white stripe. The cream cozies were ones I found at an antique store and I love them! I’m hoping to be able to figure out a similar pattern, so I can make them.

  35. Just lovely Marian! <3 I love the needles case. Going to look for one for my mother-in-law, who has recently taken up embroidery. She's always into something creative. I recently started refinishing some furniture pieces and purchased some of your products I'm using the 'Tough Coat Sealer,' on some recently finished pieces. So far so good. I'm working on my technique and enjoying every minute of it! Thanks!

  36. I admire the fact that you want to learn new things to keep busy even while recuperating. Have you thought about making a tree skirt? Or even mini round ones for small decorative trees on your shelves…happy holidays!

  37. I was never able to do needlework. My sister did everything! I think your chunky mittens, if not wearable, would be so cute holding Christmas greens!

    1. I got it in a set at Hobby Lobby. It was in the embroidery needle section in the cross-stitch aisle, I believe.

  38. I was just wondering………Well was there ever anything you tried that was just too much for you?

    1. I tried quilting years ago and that didn’t go very well! I also really dislike pastel painting at this point. I love the idea of both, but they just weren’t my thing.

  39. So wonderful that you’ve found crochet. It is a very therapeutic and fulfilling pastime. Have you worked out that the American crochet terminology is different to the UK/Australian terminology e.g. a US single crochet (Sc) is the same as a UK/Au double crochet (Dc), a US triple crochet is not the same as a UK/Au treble crochet etc. You can translate from one to the other with a comparison chart. Just a heads up to save any confusion. Wishing you all the best with your recovery.

  40. I cannot but could never master crocheting, My mom could crochet so easily but somehow I never understood the process. Enjoy

  41. Can anyone recommend a good yarn to use for a pom pom project? I bought a pom pom maker and would like try making a wreath. I saw one on Pinterest, but the yarn they used is discontinued.

  42. Wow! Another reason to be jealous! You paint and crochet!! Both my grandmother and mother-in-law tried to teach me but I just can’t seem to get it. My yarn/thread is either too loose or too tight and I am all thumbs! I love your color choices and they look great displayed. I would add some rusty red to the mix!! My bucket list includes owning an original Miss Mustard Seed art piece. Thanks for the inspiration.

  43. Love that you are crocheting. Looks like you are doing great. I’m a knitter and love yarn. I have antique baskets full. I used to work at a yarn shop so it’s embarrassing how much I have. I recently donated lots of “needles” to a school that teaches knitting to kids, yarn also. I live on an island and there is lots of local yarn I love it! Enjoy your yarn journey🐑

  44. So exciting to see you embracing yarn work, Marian! I’ve loved knitting and crochet for years, and just starting adding some patterns to my blog. I think it is a perfect fit with vintage and farmhouse style, and goes well with everything else you do. It’s nice to see artists trying various art forms. I’m cheering for you with this one!
    My yarn pieces are never 100% perfect, but it’s the process that is so relaxing and therapeutic. 🙂

  45. Marian, have you ever seen the T-shirt that reads, “Runs with scissors”? I suppose the phrase is supposed to indicate that the wearer is reckless/a rule-breaker. Well, I propose that you make a shirt that reads, “Crochets in public” and don’t worry about others watching you. (If any readers out there actually make such a shirt, I want royalties. You’re welcome:)
    You are an inspiration, thanks for sharing your creativity and heart!

  46. I love this post Marian. I’m a knitter but your photos make me want to take up crochet. So beautiful.
    Thank you for including the grain sack pouch, I love that your hooks fit perfectly inside!

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