Amy Artisan

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Fiber Fun…

That was the subject line of an email I sent to my friends Jen & Kristy on Friday suggesting a Sunday outing and it pretty much sums up my weekend activities.

I discovered on Friday morning that Debbie Stoller was coming to Arcadia Knitting on Sunday afternoon to sign books & talk about SnB: The Happy Hooker. The afternoon was a lot of fun – we all managed to pick up some yarn – I picked up some yarn for a current secret project as well as some Lorna’s Laces “Glory” that was on sale & also the HH book.

Debbie’s talk about crochet (& a bit of knitting) was very fun & we all enjoyed the modeling & passing around of some of the items from the HH book. Afterwards I had her sign my copy of the first SnB as well as the HH – on our way home I realized that she signed HH to the name of the woman ahead of me, oh well.

When my grandma gave me her stash of knitting needles several years ago she also gave me her crochet hooks – they have just sat unused since then. Over the next couple of months I want to learn some of the crochet basics & then maybe make a few of the items from HH – the one skein scarf looks fun. Of course, any adventures in crochet will be chronicled here.

After the yarn store we all came back to my place for an evening of knitting, dinner from our favorite Thai place & watching Sense & Sensibility. I got both of them started on knitting in the round & we are all now working on our first felted bag projects. Kristy is doing the clutch from One Skein, I’m doing a bag based on the tote from One Skein & Jen is working on a bag based on a couple of felted patterns. I also got started on the secret project with the yarn I picked up in the afternoon.

    Help Please: Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with attaching circular bamboo handles to felted bags? It dawned on me this morning that we might have crossed bag concepts when we were yarn shopping a few months ago…maybe the circulars were when we were thinking non-felted bag & then when we moved to felted bag mode we didn’t ‘drop’ the handles. Any insights will be greatly appreciated!

In other Fiber Fun this weekend…

Yarn Organization – Saturday afternoon included a bit of time working on the stash & getting yarn organized. All partial skeins have now been wound into balls, similar yarns are all grouped together in ziploc bags & I now have a better handle on what I have on hand & what projects I want to make with them.

The Clara Pearl Afghan – Over the weekend I also finished up the lap afghan for my Aunt – this weekend I will give it to her for her 70th birthday.
Clara Pearl's Lap Afghan

The Knit Details: Lion Brand Homespun WATERFALL; about 2 ¼ skeins of yarn; size 17 circular needles; it is 70 stitches wide in celebration of her 70th birthday.

I love the way that the Homespun colorways reveal themselves as you knit and the end result feels so soft and cuddly. However, the actual process of knitting with this yarn has to be one of my least favorite. Why? The kinks & fluffs that develop as you go.
Homespun Kinks & Fluffs
You know what I’m talking about – the yarn bunches up all tight ahead of your needle & as much energy is spent relaxing the yarn before it goes into stitches as is spent on the actual knitting. I had several instances where the yarn got so bunched that when I tried to loosen it the center string just snapped & I had to cut the yarn & restart it. As for the fluffs, the tail ends of the yarn become a pile of fluff & can be hard to sew/weave into your work. Any suggestions for how you handle these ‘issues’ with this yarn?

Monthly Dishcloth KAL – I got a late start on the mid-April Monthly Dishcloth KAL & I have to admit that I don’t know when I will finish it. The pattern is fun; however, in the practical kitchen use category I think it is scoring low.
April Mid-Month KAL
Since I make dishcloths to actually be used (vs. “oh, they are too pretty to use, I’ll just look at it”) and have a lot of other projects to be working on in the coming weeks I won’t be rushing to get this off the needles. The yarn loops that form the “bow ties” seem like they are in a prime position to get snagged or cut when in the water actually washing dishes & especially utensils.

Socks – While at Arcadia yesterday I signed up for a 2 session sock class “Sock on Two Circular Needles” in early May. I took a sock class there (um, 3 years ago) & never finished the 2nd sock – since being in knit blogland I’ve loved seeing all the socks being made, have picked up some pretty sock yarn & decided that this year I would get going with socks again. For this class I’m to bring my favorite sock pattern – I think right now a simple sock pattern is in order. To my sock knitting friends – what pattern would you suggest as a good “reintroduction” to socks? This class comes at a great time for me – there is a possibility of work related travel in the coming weeks & months – socks seem to be a great travel project.


  1. Hi Amy, sounds like you had a great time at the book signing. Crocheting is a lot of fun also! Your afghan is lovely and the 70 stitches is a great idea 🙂 I use the homespum to make prayer shawls and I have found that if I concentrate on letting the yarn run through my fingers as loosely as possible, I have less bunching – it really is a pain in the neck – but you are right, the colorways work up incredibly pretty.

    When I reintroduced myself to socks, I used Karen Baumer’s pattern (it’s free). It’s done with a heavier yarn and bigger needles, they make great winter socks or house socks. I’ve also used the pattern with sock yarn. If you’d like the pattern, I can send you the link, just let me know 🙂

    Have a great day!

  2. I’m only 2-days into the dishcloth myself. I agree, it will probably snag easy…But I’m going to give mine to my mom as part of her mother’s day gift, so she can deal with it. 😉

    I vote for the Go With The Flow socks by Evelyn A. Clark (from Summer 2005 IK). They were the first cuff-down and patterned socks I did, and were so easy! Actually, any Evelyn A. Clark pattern is probably good…I like how easy her patterns are, and they are written nicely.

  3. I didn’t know Debbie Stoller was in town this weekend – how cool that you got to meet her!

  4. Oh Homespun… yep, I know that whole process pretty well! I have worked with Homespun on a number of occasions (the beauty of the colorways always pulls me in) but it often ends up with the fluff and the pulls, and the tight areas… however, it is perfect for afghans. I think that is so cool how you did the 70 stitches!

    Very cool about meeting Debbie Stoller. She has been to my area several times, but I have not caught her. I have the Happy Hooker book, and I too want to take on some crochet. I just need the time to devote to it!

    Best wishes, Amy!

  5. I’m attempting to learn crochet as well. Should be a fun journey!

  6. The first socks I ever knit were the Dublin Bay socks. The pattern is free on the internet. The pattern is really straightforward and easy to follow. They’re stockinette stitch socks with a small, easy lace pattern down each side. Simple for a first pair but interesting enough to hold my attention! The turned out great and my mother in law wears them often.

    Happy sock knitting and crocheting too!

  7. I just finished my dishcloth last night and decided it was better suited as a washcloth. I agree that the bows wouldn’t work well with dishes.

    I love’s free toe-up sock pattern. If you want to do something summery, right now I’m making the ankle socks from the Blue Blog. The heel was a different technique, but it’s any easy sock.

  8. Wow! The lap blanket looks great! I have the same problems with homespun as you do. I have a UFO just sitting there because I really, really hate dealing with the yarn. The easiest socks I have found are the ones I’m currently doing from my brother. They are from the book Holiday Knits (which also has the adorable baby fisherman-style hat I like so much). It’s alot like the free pattern with Opal sock yarn, but the ribbing goes all the way down the leg portion.
    As you already knew, I am contemplating starting socks on 2 circs. I hope it goes well for both of us.

  9. I’ve got some Homespun in my stash that Sheri gave me, but now I don’t think I’ll be pulling it out anytime soon.

    The lap blanket looks beautiful! And cuddly, which is what all lap blankets long to be.

  10. Your blanket is beauitful! I love how the color changes! 70 sts for 70 years! Awesome idea! : D
    Very Cool meeting Debbie Stoller! hmmm… easy socks? My easy socks are simple stockenette from one of Anne Budd’s books. They fit the best! : D

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