My Favorite: Yarns

I’m a big fan of yarns that I can purchase from my local craft stores, or local yarn shops, because I can squish and feel the yarn before it comes home with me. I don’t like to purchase yarn online without feeling it in person first, but I’ve also been known to splurge and just go for the pretty colors too.

Here are my top 5 favorite yarns in no particular order:

Caron Simply Soft

I enjoy working with Simply Soft because of how soft and squishy it is. It comes in so many colors. I designed my Winter Hills Coffee Cozie and my upcoming Winter Blues Scarf using Simply Soft.

A downfall to it is that it can be a little difficult to work with because the strands of the yarn tend to pull apart. I’ve been using it for years and have gotten used to it.

Another issue is that it tends to fuzz after a few washes. If you have a project that is very textured and want to show the stitch definition then Simply Soft probably isn’t the best choice.

I used Caron Simply Soft for my Winter Hills Coffee Cozie

Loops & Threads Joy DK

One of my favorite yarns for garments is Joy Dk, by Loops & Threads, available at Michael’s. It is really sturdy and the finished item drapes beautifully. It works great for a light weight sweater to help you get through the cool mornings and warm afternoons of spring.

I used Joy Dk for many of the patterns that I tested for Two Brothers Blankets, including the Sarasota Cardi.

Sarasota Cardi by Two Brothers Blankets using Joy DK

Knit Picks – Brava Sport

Another great yarn for garments is Brava Sport, available through Knit Picks. I really enjoy working with this yarn. I don’t think its as sturdy as Joy Dk but is just as soft. The price for Brava is great too, currently $2.00 for approximately 273 yards. Its available in over 40 colors.

When I made the Calgary Cold Shoulder Top for Two Brothers Blankets using Brava Sport.

I made my Calgary Cold Shoulder Top by Two Brothers Blankets in Brava Sport

Loops & Threads Woolike

A great yarn to use that is super soft is Woolike by Loops & Threads. I originally designed my Amethyst Scarf using this yarn. This is probably my new favorite yarn too.

Its really light and has AMAZING drape, perfect for scarves and garments. It is a great substitute for fingering weight yarn that you would get from your local independent yarn dyer.

Amethyst Scarf completed in Woolike – Project and Photo by Rhune.co

Loops & Threads Charisma

Charisma is my go-to yarn when I have a thick and warm project. Years ago, before my son was born, I made a twin sized blanket using Charisma for my daughter. The blanket is so heavy but so nice and warm, perfect for the seemingly never-ending winters here in New England.

My C2C blanket that I made using Charisma.

New pattern release scheduled for March 4th!

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Amethyst Scarf

Birthstone Collection

The Amethyst Scarf is the second pattern available in the “Birthstone Collection.” The collection is the theme of 2020, where each month I have a cowl, scarf, or shawl pattern the color of that month’s birthstone.

Other patterns available in the Birthstone Collection:
Garnet Cowl

The Yarn

The amethyst stone, in my opinion, is the best one. Can you guess why? Yes, it is my birthstone. It’s probably why my favorite color is purple too. There are so many shades of purple and violet within the stones, and depending on how they are cut, they can reflect shades of pink.

In December of 2019, I went to SOWA Winter Festival in Boston. SOWA is a whole art district within the city of Boston. Local artisans have their studios and shops within the converted mills. I was completely overwhelmed with how all these artisans took their medium and expressed themselves in such a way that made them so individually unique. Click here to find out more about SOWA.

One of the artists at SOWA was Mary Mandarino, a weaver who hand-dyes yarn for her scarves, ponchos, and shawls. She had many of her completed pieces for sale and they were GORGEOUS!!!

But since I’m a yarn addict, I had to have this yarn. The blends of purples and pinks was just calling to me. It didn’t help that my cousin Madison was whispering in my ear “Treat Yo self,” so the beautiful yarn came home with me.

Supplies

– Approximately 800 yards of fingering/superfine weight yarn Loops and Threads Woolike or Red Heart It’s a Wrap
– E/4 (3.5 mm) crochet hook
– Measuring tape
– Scissors
– Yarn needle
– Blocking materials (optional)

The Pattern

I wanted a simple yet elegant scarf that could help showcase the colors within the yarn. This yarn isn’t just yarn, its more like thread so I was out of wheelhouse working with something so thin.

I knew I wanted a triangle scarf, but the thing I dislike about triangle scarves is that they are so bulky around the neck if you want it to sit a certain way. So I decided to just get rid of the middle neck section altogether and start with a large v-shape. After a few rows my hook just started flying and the results are SPECTACULAR!!!!

Model wearing the Amethyst Scarf
Add that touch of elegance to your wardrobe with the Amethyst Scarf

I hope you enjoy this design as much as I do!

The “Amethyst Scarf” is now available to purchase on
Etsy & Ravelry.


In May 2020, the kids and I dyed our own yarn using Kool-Aid. You can read how we did it HERE. I made my Amethyst Scarf using the yarn that we dyed. As you can see below, the results are gorgeous!

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Crochetpreneur Business Academy – CBA

***** contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase from the links below, I will get a small percentage of the sales at no additional cost to you *****

If you haven’t read it the few times I’ve mentioned it, I’m a proud member of the Crochetpreneur Business Academy. I’ve learned so much about myself and where I see my business since I joined.

I initially joined CBA because I wanted to start a crochet business and had no idea where to even start. I know that I don’t want to do craft fairs because it takes away from family time on the weekends. I did know that I wanted to start designing patterns and selling the patterns.

While everyone is going to have a different experience than I do, I want to let you know what I’ve gained from joining this great community.

Why?

As much as I love to crochet, I wanted to see if I could turn my hobby into successful business as a designer instead of just a maker. What do I really have to lose? The membership is only $30/month; so what, I can’t go get expensive coffee every week or I can’t buy yarn I’m never going to use. You find a way to save money when you want to.

I saw what many of my favorite designers had joined and that they’ve recommended joining. I thought “Hey, if its working for them maybe it will work for me.” And it has been working for me.

Since joining CBA, I’ve learned so many things about myself and that has helped in where I want my business to go. I learned what my strengths and weaknesses are, and how I can use them to build a business.

One thing I learned is that I accomplish more when I set a deadline on something. When testing patterns for designers, I needed to have the item finished, photographed, and have feedback sent back to them by a certain date. I ALWAYS had it done on time. If I can do it for other people why can’t I get it done for my own business?!?!

How

I began setting deadlines for myself. In fall of 2019, I laid out my plan. The plan was; January 2020, I’m going to officially register as business, start a website, etsy shop, ravelry storefront, and keep up on social media for my business.

GUESS WHAT?! I AM!!!!

You want to know what else I’ve been doing? Stepping out of my comfort zone completely. Today I did my first live video ever! Because we all need a starting point that isn’t going to ridicule us, I did it in our CBA community group.

I had to do it, how am I going to be able to reach my audience if I don’t practice? There isn’t a better community or family than CBA. This amazing group of people are so supportive. We’re there to walk beside you in the journey, push you when needed, and help you gain your footing if you’ve fallen.

Who

In CBA we have members that are:
Blogger
Makers
Designers
All of the above and everything in between.

Click here to learn the “7 Secrets Every Profitable Crochetpreneur Knows

You have so much to gain, just by joining us. Pam Grise, The Crochetprenuer, just redid all the lessons within the academy. She decided to tweak a lot of the courses to make it more streamlined and easier to follow. What you get you get out of CBA is completely up to you but you can really SOAR with all that CBA has to offer you within the journey.

I hope I’ve convinced you enough to at the very least research CBA. I’d love to see what you can do with your crochet business!

Pam also has other courses for you to look into if you’re not quite sold on the CBA. Click here for the list.

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My Favorite: Crochet Hooks

We all have our favorites, and sometimes you don’t even realize the types of items we choose. I have my favorite coffee cup, burner on the stove (welcome to adulthood, you now have a favorite spot to cook your food), seat on the couch, and many more. Today I’m going to let you know about my favorite crochet hooks and what other designers use.

Hooks

You can’t crochet without a hook; you could use a traditional crochet hook, a Tunisian style, or just your finger if you wanted to.

There are two basic styles of traditional crochet hooks. These styles are inline and tapered. The only difference between the two is the hook part itself, the handles or the bodies are the same.

You can see in the picture below the slight differences. On the left is an inline hook, while on the right is a tapered style hook.

Inline vs tapered crochet hooks.  Inline on the left and tapered on the right.
Susan Bates Crochet Hook (inline style) on left. Boye Crochet Hook (tapered style) on the right.

The inline style hook allows you to carry the yarn through the stitches a little easier than the tapered hook. But the tapered hook allows you to get into tighter spots. You won’t know which one you prefer until you use both.

My Personal Favorites

I can use pretty much any crochet hook but prefer the most popular sizes. I tend to not use a hook smaller than US G/6 (4.00mm) and nothing larger than a US K/10.5 (6.5mm). My most used size hook is US I/9 (5.50mm).

My favorite hook at the moment is my Tulip Crochet Hook from LeitherCo. Santa delivered the hook this past Christmas and I’ve used it almost everyday since. Leither Co. handmakes the handles and are made to order. I just love how my hand is supported within the handle, it helps with any fatigue I might encounter while crocheting for hours.

Tulip Crochet Hook by Leither Co.

Before I had my beautiful Tulip hook, I used a set that my husband gifted me a few years ago. I have a set of 6 of these hooks from TooShayCrochet, and they are sized F-K.

My crochet hooks by TooShayCrochet

Did you know that depending on the type of project a certain style of hook is easier and better to work with?

Amigurumi

For Example with projects such as this Vincent The Dragon by Hooked By Kati and other amigurumi items.

A green amigurumi dragon designed by HookedByKati.
Vincent The Dragon designed by Hooked By Kati

Kati says “I prefer tapered [hooks] for amigurumi because it allows me to get slightly tighter stitches than the inline.”

Kati actually uses a Furls Crochet hook, its a hybrid of both an inline and tapered. I can’t wait to try them out for myself, like I need more crochet hooks.

Tighter stitches helps keep the shape of the items and leaves smaller gaps between the stitches for stuffing to come through. I have a hard time with amigurumi because my hands tend to hurt after a while with having to keep everything so tight.

Jewelry

Amber Bliss of BlissThis has many designs, but I know her to be the go-to jewelry guru. She recently released these heart earrings, the pattern is available to purchase on Ravelry.

Heart shaped crocheted earrings and necklace placed on a crocheted heart shaped placemat.
All Heart Earrings by Bliss This

Amber told me, “I always use tapered crochet hooks to create my crocheted jewelry. For one, I’ve never seen inline hooks that small; tapered seem to be what is available. Second, I want really tight stitches on my jewelry because they hold their shape better. That is the result I get with the tiny tapered metal hooks.”

Garments

With garments, it comes down to your personal preference on which style hook you should use, AS LONG AS YOU MEET GAUGE. Since garments tend to take a lot of time you want to pick a hook you’re comfortable with. You could always do a few different gauge swatches to see which hook and yarn work best too.

The last thing you want to do is pick a hook and that doesn’t meet gauge and your project coming out too big or too small.

We can cover gauge in another time, there is A LOT to cover on this topic. Until then…

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Garnet Cowl

Birthstone Collection

The Garnet Cowl is the first pattern available from the “Birthstone Collection.” The idea behind the collection is that I wanted a theme for some of my 2020 patterns.

I decided that a collection of cowls, scarves, and shawls would be perfect items to help bring the theme together. Each month I will release a pattern in the color of the month’s birthstone.

The Yarn

The garnet stone isn’t a simple solid red, it has hints of orange and yellow within it. Because of this I had a hard time finding the perfect shade. After searching all the yarn aisles of my local craft stores, I finally found the perfect color. Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in the colorway ‘Claret’ is the perfect color to help bring out the beauty of the garnet.

Supplies

– Approximately 180 yards of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and – Quick or similar weight/style yarn
– N/10.00 mm crochet hook
– Scissors
– Measuring tape
– Yarn needle

Stitches & Abbriviations

Ch – Chain
Dc – Double Crochet
Sc – Single Crochet
Sl St- Slip Stitch
St – Stitch

Design

Winters can be really cold here in Massachusetts. When designing this pattern I wanted something that would keep me nice and warm. I also wanted something that wasn’t really plain either. I’m a big fan of simple designs that pair well with the classic ‘jeans and t-shirt’ outfit.

The “Garnet Cowl” Pattern is available to purchase on Ravelry and Etsy.


Black and white photo of Girl wearing "Garnet Cowl'
She loves the dramatic effect of the black and white. What she doesn’t get is that it doesn’t showcase the beauty of the yarn. But as you can see, the Garnet Cowl is a great fit at any age.
Trista from Crochets By Trista modeling the "Garnet Cowl"
This is what happens when the lighting is perfect to show how the beautiful colors of the yarn but you’ve put zero effort into your appearance for the day.

I’d love to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to send me a private message or direct message on my social media accounts. Let me know what you’re working on or if there is a design you’re looking for.


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