Hooking with ribbon (yarn)…

This past year I discovered a new kind of yarn. Well, it was new to me, it turns out I was a little late to the ribbon yarn party. But late or not, I was very intrigued and bought several balls of this yarn to see what I could do with it. I started crocheting using Red Heart Super Saver yarns and expanded a bit when I began making dishcloths to small balls of kitchen cotton. Then I began experimenting with Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball and Scarfie yarn. All of these are similar in that they could all be considered string. Ribbon yarn is different. It is nylon fabric ribbon that was created to be used in crochet and knitting projects! My first question was how would it work on the hook? As a hooker I need to make sure I’m using the proper hook for the proper yarn. It turns out that ribbon yarn not only works well with the hook size recommended on the packaging (who would have thought to look there!?), but it creates beautiful stitches with a unique texture.

Now, my least favorite part of crocheting something is sewing in the ends. It is tedious, time consuming, and downright boring. My solution to this has been to look for projects that only require one ball or skein of yarn, and when I must use more (for a larger blanket or afghan) I try to “sew as I go” by working ends into the stitches so all the finishing entails is a few quick snips with my scissors. I did the same thing with the ribbon yarn. I came across several lovely patterns for ponchos and shawls, but these all required several balls each. I eventually came across this pattern:


I made a few of the scarves and named them Scarfettes. Initially, I wasn’t really sure what to do with them, so I took a few to my office and showed a friend to get her opinion. She took one look and said, I think I want to buy it from you!  And that is how I came to introduce the Scarfette as the fashion accessory of the season.

To truly make it a one ball project I cut the fringe first and then use the rest of the ball to make the scarf. I personally wear a black and silver Scarfette as well as a copper and turquoise. My husband also has the black and silver. Other friends and family have purchased or been gifted a variety of colors and I will be making more this year as it comes time for the craft fairs to pick back up.

After the Scarfettes were ready to go I decided to see what else I could hook with ribbon yarn. I used some of the copper to crochet an accent corner to a deep blue shawl. The bright metallic ribbon looks fantastic when contrasted with the deep blue wools.

I also used it as an accent stripe in a wool shrug/cowl that I made. Using complimentary colors of wool made the ribbon yarn really pop as the center of three stripes.

Who knows what else I will make with it this year!

Keep on hooking!

We shawl overcome…

These past two mornings as I make my way to the bus stop I encountered a sign of the turning season – the cooler temperature and darker skies. All summer the morning commute has been in full daylight and upper seventies with varying humidity. This is now coming to an end. A transition has begun from the hot and heavy summer days to the unknown and uncertain weather of the fall, or autumn. As a part of the Midwest, Chicago does have four seasons. The problem is that in these transitional weeks those four seasons can all happen in one day…  While this can be disconcerting and frustrating for those who commute, it can also be an inspiration for those who create. Transitional seasons are perfect for layers. Layers are perfect for hookers.

Last night as we went to bed my husband noted that he had been chilly and pulled out his shawl. I made us matching shawls to wear around the house for those moments when short sleeves aren’t enough, but a sweatshirt is too much. I thought back to last year’s craft fair and Etsy offerings and realized that while I did make some nice shawls and wraps to sell, none had been of this variety. I found the pattern for our shawls at the following website:


The shawl works up quickly and when using the Caron Cakes yarn it becomes a very warm shawl. I will be hooking a few of these to put up on Etsy, and possibly some as gifts. So, when you notice the weather is a bit cooler, don’t panic and fret about the forthcoming winter. Pull out your hook and whip up a C2C Warm Shawl, and you too shawl overcome the cold.

Keep on hooking!

I still have to look…

It seems that everyone who finds out that I crochet has encountered someone that could hold a conversation while hooking the scarf, afghan, sweater, et cetera. This person is usually revered for their seemingly uncanny ability to create perfect stitches, row-by-row, without having to look. It is interesting to watch people’s excitement as they recall this memory and then wonder, sometimes aloud and sometimes with a glance, if I can crochet blankets as well and as fast as their revered person. The answer is, I cannot. I have also not encountered anyone in my life who can crochet with such skill. When I was growing up my grandmother who taught me to crochet wasn’t an avid hooker herself. She had moved on to needlepoint and watercolor and other artistic endeavors. Teaching me to crochet was a way for her to bond with a 9-year old boy over something artistic that wasn’t messy.

While I still have to look at my projects as I crochet away an evening or a train ride, I am pretty fast once I get into the rhythm of a pattern. Personally, double crochet is my favorite stitch. I can do a row of double crochet much faster than single, or even slip stitches. But in the end it all comes down to the rhythm of the pattern. After a few repeats have been completed it is usually smooth sailing from that point and after an hour or two a scarf or a shawl or a few dishcloths have appeared on the couch next to me. I will probably never reach that uncanny level of mastery and be able to whip up granny squares without so much as a glance at my hook. But maybe someday, years from now, someone who watched me crochet will tell a friend that they once knew a guy who could crochet and carry on a conversation with ease. That dishcloths and scarves flowed from his hook with seemingly little effort. And the person listening will think, “Yeah right. No one can crochet like that!”

Keep on hooking!

Poop Everywhere

An elderly cat, a middle-aged cat and a 15-week old puppy live in my house. The puppy was seven weeks when we brought her home. And that is what these furry little companions do….poop everywhere! We went from a two litter box home to four. This in an attempt to stop the elderly cat from using the bathtub as a private litter box. The puppy is a chewer and a swallower and we had a scare recently where we thought she had swallowed something. So, per the vet, we switched her to chicken and rice and spent five days thoroughly investigating each and every soft poop… She has since been cleared to move back to kibble and we were all very pleased to find that her last two poops were well-formed, solid enough to pick up easily, and soft enough that we know they were healthy. Hopefully this means we are at the end of the poop everywhere phase, but only time will tell.