Dyeing with Stuff in My Kitchen (and Backyard)
My end goal is to develop a palette of colors I like that I can grow, tend, collect in my own home. With a little internet research, there were three things I readily had on hand that I could start my dyeing experiments with in earnest. Those things were coffee, onion skins, and acorns. I will say, it was a lot of fun, but I definitely need to refine my technique when using these super raw and natural dyes. I'll take you on the pictorial journey first.
I feel delightfully like a witch with a cauldron when I'm trying out these experiments with wool and dye. This is not a tutorial page, so I will not bore you with too many details, but I will share some of the most notable discoveries I had. Also, I made sure to soak all of my fiber in a vinegar or citric acid bath prior to dyeing. I used heat with all of the dyes and with the acorns and onion skins I made what I like to think of as a "dye tea" by boiling the materials in water, then straining off the solid bits before adding my wool.
First, my coffee needs to be stronger. Also, we make cold brew and I had a bunch on hand that I used in my crock pot, but I think I need to go more of the hot steeped coffee for this one. I am not sure if it will make a difference, but I thought about it after I dyed my wool- cold brew has lower acidity than its hot counterpart. Worth investigating. I left the wool draped in the coffee for a gradient affect, which worked, but not as well as I wanted. More coffee, too? Not sure, but I'll do this one again and find out.
I need more onion peels. I realize I don't have a picture of my onion wool, and for that I am sorry. But I can tell you it was a very pale peachy color. It's nice in its own way, but I want more of the vibrant golden brown I know onion peels can produce. I exhausted the dye bath, so I worked what I had, but the color was not deep or golden. So...more onion peels.
Acorns by themselves seemed to produce an awful brown color. I like brown. Brown is nice. This brown was not nice. Then I read that adding iron oxide will get you the promised black color from acorns. So, halfway through the process, I tossed a rusty wrench in my pot. What did I have to lose? Not super precise, but I just wanted to see what would happen. Sure enough, it went black! Or dark grey, let's not exaggerate. I left my wool in the nearly boiling bath for a total of two hours. My Merino felted. Oops. Perhaps I agitated the water too much, especially after adding that wrench. However, the Corriedale seemed to make it out okay.
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I also purchased a starter kit of Greener Shades dyes. (I am trying to be responsible with my dyeing, though I know the process is not footprint free.) These were tons of fun and way easier than the dyes I was extracting from my own stuff. But that makes sense, right? Who would buy a dye kit that kinda sorta worked on your first try? Those Greener Shades people know what they're doing, though. I really loved how vibrant the colors turned out. Gives me something to strive for with my homemade dyes. (I do realize I have a long way to go.)
I tried a tonal green affect, which turned out great. And then I hand painted some wool with pleasing results. I haven't gotten to it yet, but next I will try a solid colorway. I am trying to keep meticulous notes, so recreation of these rovings is also a goal.
Needless to say, I am having a lot of fun tinkering with dyes. I've begun spinning some of my dyed wool, too, which I'm really excited to share with you. I want to keep improving with my home dyes, but I am very pleased with the results from the commercial dyes, too. The vibrancy is really great. So, until I get myself up to snuff with acorns and flowers, I will probably continue to use both.
I received my last YarnBox Luxe in September and it contained the beautiful thick and thin handspun yarn from Knit Collage. How perfect, right? I am currently obsessed with spinning and my last box of surprise luxury yarn is handspun! It made me smile in a way that only yarn can. Oh, squishy goodness, how I love you.
With this beautiful new yarn and some size US 15 needles, I got right to work making something. It was a great pleasure that I was designing what I was making, too. It is an ambition of mine to get serious about designing knitwear. I have all of these ideas bouncing around in my head and I know I can do it. (Whether anyone likes it is another issue, but I'm going to tackle one thing at a time here.) I started dabbling with design before my first son was born- but then loud, obnoxious screeching breaks were put on that I'm just starting to realize were a little (not completely, let's be fair) self-imposed. Granted, two toddlers do not leave a lot of time for anybody or anything else, but there are plenty of people with limited time that chase dreams. And part of this whole thing is because I love fiber and part of this is because I want to build a little something for myself that is not necessarily connected with me being a mother. I love being a stay-at-home mom, I feel lucky in many respects, but it is not a career. Eventually my children will grow up and start their own journeys away from the nest following their own interests. I want to start building something now that will sustain me and give me satisfaction and purpose beyond rearing children.
And I love fiber.
Lately, I've kicked my little butt in gear and I'm excited to start sharing with you some of what I've been doing. Like really excited. I have a lot that I'm working on to fulfill this ambition of mine and I'm loving it. I have to remind myself it is a slow simmer, and that's okay, as long as I'm still moving forward.
This was a nice confidence building project. It knit up quickly, it was funky, chunky and fun. I was able to write up the pattern, take some pictures (with the help of my littlest...perhaps I should invest in a tripod. I could put my tiny helper in charge of some other aspect of my project, one that is a little less dropable) and put together a completely finished product that I was proud of without feeling overwhelmed, drained, or defeated. All good things. I especially like the name of the cowl: "Through Thick and Thin." Yes, it's supposed to be punny, but it is also a good description of my relationship with fiber crafts. They get me through a lot. And now that this is done, I'm looking at my swatches and beginnings of other designs and a little voice in my head is saying; "You can do this," with a little more confidence. I've begun submitting ideas, too. I know there is a lot of rejection ahead of me. I can handle rejection, I just can't handle defeat. And for the past couple of years, I have been defeating myself just a bit. That's no example to set for my children.
So, tally-ho! Off I go. Chasing a dream, trying to build something and excited to see where it goes.
Confession time: I have entered into a new long-term relationship. It's all happened so fast. It's exhilarating, it's intense, it's scary at times but always fun. I have fallen deeply, passionately in love with...spinning. I just can't get enough of it. I feel it has deepened my understanding of my other fiber crafts and that it is elevating me as a fiber artist and, in a weird zen-like way, as a person. Intense, right?
Whew, it feels good to get that out there in the open.
Anyway, yes, I find that I enjoy spinning. A lot.
Oh, there's more. After this, I got some polworth combed top and tried a short-forward pinch and release. (I don't know if that is the official way to describe it, but that is what I did, so that is what I'm typing.) Then, just for kicks, I tried a chain-ply. I didn't actually produce a lot of yardage from this endeavor, so I thought a small project would be best. (Turns out chain-plying sucks up your singles like whoa.) I haven't started them, but this darling number is going to be woven into little mug-rugs with the help of my rigid heddle and some other yarn I have in my stash.
The amount of knowledge I have crammed into my brain in the last few months about fiber has surprised me. I never knew how significant fiber preparation was or that your drafting technique can affect the shine, drape, warmth and strength of your yarn. And then there is the art of balance. Who knew that was a thing? And then there is art yarn. Slow down there, Champ. I honestly am never going to be able to look at yarn the same way again...and that's okay. Yarn has become even more beautiful to me, if you can believe that's possible. I think I might be slowly inching my way into the "weirdo" category, so I will stop while I'm ahead and just give you the summary.
Summary: I like spinning.
I am on a mission to learn more about the mechanics of weaving. I really want to understand how weaving works as I am making a project. With this mission in mind, I am really enjoying Patty Graver's book, Next Steps in Weaving, which I reviewed in a post here. The first section in this book is on twill, so I thought: "Hey, that's a good place to start." I decided I wanted to sample some twill. There is no rule I know about that says you cannot make a functional sampler, so while each sample was rather large, I decided to sample different manipulations of the warp/weft relationship to make kitchen towels. I grabbed a piece of paper and Deborah Chandler's book, Learning to Weave. With her equations, I worked out how much warp I needed to make four reasonably sized kitchen towels. Without diving into the math, which perhaps would make a lovely post at a later time, I worked out that I needed five yards of warp and 288 ends to make four 20"x30" kitchen towels. I adjusted the 288 to accommodate the rosepath twill I wanted to play with, so my final end count was 285 ends. This was roughly 1,425 yards for the warp, which required about 8 balls of Knit Picks Dishie. (While typically a knitting yarn, this cotton yarn seemed perfect for a kitchen towel AND I happened to have a lot of it on hand.)
I tried four different combinations with the rosepath warp. The first towel, the green one, was the traditional rosepath. I think it looks lovely. Twill is a common weaving technique in which you have a staggered overlap of weft over warp threads. In the case of a 4-shaft loom, a balanced twill would have 2/2 twill, or rather two weft threads crossing (or floating) over two warp threads. With the way my loom was warped, I was also able to do the extended pointed twill (or a zigzag) in a balanced 2/2 twill. That is the pink towel. It is actually my favorite. Both of these towels feel really thick there is really a nice balance to the pattern. No float is too long and there is a nice diagonal flow to the twill. I used almost the entire ball of Knit Picks for each of these towels, meaning each towel took a little less than 190 yards of weft thread. This yardage includes a hemstitch. In the photographs below, you can see each of these towels, front and back. And interesting feature of the twill is that if the pattern is more weft facing on the front, it will be warp facing on the back. This means if you are using different colors for the warp and weft, the back will be the inverse color pattern of the front. This was more noticeable in the rosepath twill than the extended point twill. (The front of the towel is in the top of the photograph, the back is on the bottom.)
After these two balanced twills, I decided to go crazy and do an unbalanced twill. I did a 1/3 twill where 1 weft covered three warp threads at a time. This is the brown towel. The result was charming. It is a more symmetric version of the rosepath twill in green. While the green towel had two different diamonds that emerged, the unbalanced twill had only one diamond. This towel does not feel quite as nice as the balanced twill, the threads feel a little looser, but it does not impede the usefulness of the towel. It still feels nice and thick, just maybe a little less durable. The warp/weft inversion is much more noticeable on this towel than the previous two. The front of the towel is weft facing, the back warp facing- the difference is striking.
My last towel was the reddish one. It is awful. It is almost a broken twill, but not quite. A broken twill would be if I switched the zigzag every two weft picks. I, however, decided to completely eliminate the overlap of the wefts, which left a very loose, rather ugly cloth. I would have been better to try the broken twill on this one. Also, while all of my other towels allowed one ball of Dishie to give me a towel approximately 28" in length, I used significantly less weft thread on this towel and ended up with a goofy long towel. There was very little vertical draw in for this towel. To keep this towel functional, I did not make a fringe but rather hemmed the edges rather drastically. I must say, though, this is a towel I might hide away or keep for particularly messy kitchen adventures. The pattern itself is not terrible, but the feel of the cloth is very thin. It just feels a little off. The back and the front of the towel are indiscernible, but I think it is because it is really not, by definition, a twill and does not have the same warp/weft relationship.
I am very happy with this adventure. I learned a lot about twill in this project and am definitely going to explore it more. I also learned a lot of general odds and ends about my looms functionality. Like I skipped a dent in my reed when sleying and had this lovely gap running up my weaving for all of my projects. I was using a rather thick thread (probably the upper limit) for my 12-dent reed, so it was noticeable. However, the gap has all but disappeared in the first washing of the towels. With some use and a few more washings, it will be gone completely. I also learned that I need to pay attention to my pattern. Skipping a pick is easy to do and very noticeable in the finished projects. If you catch it in time, definitely unweave and fix it. I did not notice my mistake until I took my towels off the loom, so it will have to stay. (Check it out up close in the photograph below.) I also learned I might need to leave a little more space between my towels if a plan on doing a knotted fringe, even if it's short. All's well that ends well, though, and I am very pleased with my towels.
by Joni Coniglio
Available on Interweave for $6.50
(Worth the money to buy the issue of Interweave Knits Winter 2017 where it was first published. It's not much more than the pattern by itself and there are a lot of lovely men's sweaters in that issue.)
Shown here in Malabrigo Mecha
Teal Feather and Natural (I used 1.25 skeins of each color)
Skills required: knit, simple color changes, slip stitch, grafting
I am so glad to be posting a finished knit project again! I feel like it's been a really long time, and looking back, I am not wrong. I have so many projects on needles around the house, it's a little ridiculous. I feel like every time I finish something, I give myself permission to start two new things. The result is something of a mess. I knit and I knit and nothing gets done. That is until now. (insert maniacal laugh here.) I finished the first of my planned holiday gifts. This cowl is for my mother-in-law. She picked it out as something she liked when we were looking at sweater patterns for my husband. I thought it would be a nice surprise if I knit it for her. She is one of those people that even if the end product turned out like a monstrous yarny blob, she would still wear it proudly and boast to everyone it is handmade and someone made it for her. She is every handmade gift-giver's dream. Luckily, this cowl does not look like a monstrous blob...always a plus.
The cowl is knit flat and then grafted. The bulky weight yarn knits up very quickly and, in combination with the stitch pattern, makes for a very squishy and comfy cowl. I decided that I would block my cowl before I grafted it together, the thought being that it is much easier to block something flat instead of something round. It worked out great! I just left the cowl on my circular needles and used the chord of the circular needles as a handy place to pin the top of the cowl. (I did make sure to keep my needles out of the water soak and dried any residual water before I pinned.) I pinned and left the cowl to its own devices for two days.
The garter stitch graft was very straight forward. I wasn't paying attention and I actually knit two rows of color A at the end of the cowl, which I shouldn't have because the grafting makes the two rows of color A. The result was that one stripe on the cowl is a little wider than all the rest. I asked myself if it mattered and my answer was "no." You can't tell, especially when wearing the cowl. But, if you make this scarf, make sure you stop on color B even though you would typically stop on color A. It is clearly written in the pattern, I just wasn't paying attention.
I will say, once I unpinned the cowl, there was still slightly more draw-in where the patterned stitching is than with the garter stitching. While blocking fixed most of the size discrepancy between the two styles of stitch, it relaxed and there is a slight undulation to the sides of my cowl. Again, it is not something that is noticeable except if you lay it out flat and stare at it. It is completely invisible when the cowl is being worn.
I used a single-ply yarn with lots of air and fluff to it, so the cowl is very cozy and should be warm. It was a joy to knit with the Malabrigo Mecha. (So many fun colors to choose from, too.) I think my mother-in-law will be very pleased with how this cowl turned out, though I know she would never say otherwise. I guess it is more fair to say that I am pleased with how this cowl turned out...and that it is July and I've already finished something for the holiday rush!
Project Summary: This is a great pattern. Its simple yet unique stitch is really easy to do and does not require a lot of focus or counting past the number three. It's a great project to pack along with you on an outing because it is very easy to pick up right where you left off and know what you were doing. The bulky yarn and simple stitches make it a really quick project, too. There is grafting, which scares some knitters, but the pattern is clear and makes easy work of the graft.
I have seen many SAORI projects, and while many of them are not to my particular taste, there are quite a few that really catch my eye as something special. I mean, there is something truly wonderful in a 100% unique fabric. No two SAORI-styled weaves can ever look the same. I tend to be a rule follower. I like things organized. I like directions. I like to kind of know how something will turn out before I start. It seemed like maybe it was time I turned my habits on their head and tried something WAY outside my comfort zone. You know, let my spirit free. I decided I would use three ArtYarn skeins I had from a Yarnbox Luxe in addition to a special yarn (that clearly was not as "nice" as the ArtYarns but equally special to me) that I had picked up with my mom while on vacation. The "add-on" yarn had these fun sequins throughout that I really enjoyed but had no intention of trying to knit into anything. It's strange I even bought the yarn, I'm not usually one for bling, but that made it even more appropriate for this project.
The four yarns I was using were all very different: a merino, a mohair, a silk blend and...um...sequins. Ready, set, go! I warped my loom as free-spirited as I could, making stripes of each of my yarns as I felt, none of them the same size and in no particular order. Be free, my spirit, be free! Part of me felt a little guilty I was using such expensive yarn for this experiment, but I hushed that voice and assured myself this was a good project worth the yarn I was using. My spirit deserves nice yarn, right? With the loom warped, I made myself two makeshift cardboard stick shuttles to accompany my Schacht shuttles to accommodate all four of my yarns and I was ready to go.
I want to tell you it was a wonderful, zen-filled experience weaving this scarf. That it was a peaceful journey where I listened to my soul as I painted with yarn. I want to tell you that, but I can't. Don't get me wrong, I actually love the end result and the journey was enlightening, but this was probably one of the most stressful weaving projects to date. I don't even know where to start. Mohair is sticky. Different yarns have different elasticity. Sequins do not fit through the holes of a 12-dent rigid heddle reed very well. Abrasion is a thing. Consistent tension is a bitch. The list is longer, but I think you get the idea.
Like I said, though, the journey was enlightening. Imperfection is okay and even beautiful. I leaned so much from this project I have certainly become a better weaver for it. It will probably be a good long while before I let my spirit go again, but I am glad I did it. Even if I had to cut each sequin off the yarn on the warp thread as I went, this scarf really reminds me that you live and learn and you should always dream big. Because I wove this after the kiddos were in bed, and to remind me of the journey, I have decided to call this scarf "Midnight Meandering." One of the best parts of this project was unrolling the cloth from my front roller on my loom. It was great seeing how my weaving turned out. I had an idea of what it was going to look like, but I did not really know how it would all look together. I am not gifting this scarf to anyone, I am going to keep it. It is mine...my self expression despite frustration and a reminder that sometimes we just need to let go, even if it doesn't always work out the way we want or expect-it can still be beautiful. (And every journey really is one of a kind.)
I had never heard of this event until this year, but apparently it is because I sometimes live with my head in a hole. The Tour de Fleece has been an annual event for at least a decade, as far as I can tell, with many participants all over the world. As you might guess by the name, it is meant to take place concurrently with the Tour de France...get it? Spinning/spinning? Well, it made me laugh and think it was such a clever and cute idea, I wanted to learn to spin something just so I could participate. The idea is that you take time out of every day to spin some fiber. You may only have ten minutes to spare, but that is completely okay. There is a group on Ravelry for the event as well as competitions, so if that's your dish, you're in luck. Also, just like in the bicycling Tour de France, you can join spinning teams. It is really quite amazing. I, however, just wanted to participate quietly on my own, especially since I am just learning and I am not even using a wheel. I went the spindling route. (Much cheaper and seemed like a logical place to start my handspun adventures.) I get the impression, however, that the Tour de Fleece is a come-as-you-like type event, I feel like everyone is welcome however they spin.
I had a pile of fluff and a simple spindle I got in a goodie bag from a folk-fest, but I went ahead a bought myself a Louet bottom whorl spindle and some Blue Faced Leicester from The Woolery because it came recommended in the class I purchased on Craftsy. (It is a great class called "Spindling: From Fluff to Stuff;" I feel like it really gave me a solid foundation to explore spindling. I have linked it here in case you'd like to check it out.) My supplies cost less than $40 and I got my spindling class for $20, though if you are a beginner like me and not ready to spend a combined $60, there are a whole host of YouTube videos and DIY spindles that could make this an even cheaper place to start spinning.
Let me just say, the Tour de Fleece has been so much fun so far! I am really digging this whole spindling thing. I'm still not very good, but that will come with practice, I'm sure. But there is just something so peaceful and zen about the whole process. It helps clear my mind and relax me, even when I only try spindling for five minutes. And it is so easy to tote about, I can follow my kids around and still enjoy spinning. They think it's fun to watch, too. Bonus! They don't mind at all that their crazy fiber loving mother has found another thing to play with.
If there is a spinning bug, I think I've caught it. I want to spin up enough of this mixed top to ply the yarn and maybe make a fisherman's cap. That would be awesome. So, this is going to be my first post on spinning- we will see where this Tour de Fleece takes me and what awaits beyond the July finish line.
I have decided warping a loom gets to be considered a project all on its own. Never mind I haven't actually made anything yet. I know as I gain experience the process will move faster, but this first (technically second) go at warping my 4-shaft loom was a Project with a capital "P." But it is done and it is glorious. The satisfaction I felt as I pulled each of the four shafts up and did not encounter any tangles and saw the beautiful shed created each time is beyond words. I know, I sound like a crazy lady. That is strangely okay with me.
I am making kitchen towels, in case you're wondering what all this warp is for. While I do consider warping a project, I intend to take this project further than just a beautifully warped loom. Though right now, I think it is a lovely show piece. Granted, I'm probably the only one in my house that thinks that. I think my husband would infinitely prefer kitchen towels.
I decided I would warp enough for four towels that are each (hopefully) 20x28 inch rectangles when all is said an done. I am making sure to keep copious notes as I go...they just happen to be on the back of an envelope right now. I have every intention of getting them onto something more permanent. The idea is that with each of the four towels, I can try something just a little different, so in a sense, I am making four samplers of this particular twill warping. But I am getting ahead of myself now.
Using the equations outlined in Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave book and the guidance of creating a project using the "rosepath" twill from Pattie Graver's Next Steps in Weaving, I measured out 5 yards of warp thread and ended up with 258 warp ends. The warp end count was a slight adjustment from my original 285 ends plan. Turns out I had to make a minor change to the rosepath pattern as it was written AND I ran out of white warp yarn. Luckily, all of these adjustments were made early in the process, so no great agonies of weaving have yet been experienced. I used a 12-dent reed with 12 ends per inch (no doubling up nonsense this go around.)
I found that I had an over abundance of KnitPick's "Dishie" cotton yarn in my stash, which is what led to this project in the first place. Because these skeins are designed for knitting and not weaving, I had to make quite a few bundles of warp threads as each ball ran out. This was a blessing in disguise, though. Having these smaller bundles allowed me to work in small batches as I sleyed the reed. This turned out to be crucial as it was inevitable that every time I decided to work on my loom, there was a toddler emergency that followed. Small bundles meant I did not have to worry about destroying my cross and tangling my warp threads. (This was my first time using my warp board my husband made for me. Until now, I had been using the direct warping method with a peg. Granted, this is not that terrible when you are just using a rigid heddle- I think overall the projects tend to be smaller. But, it turns out this warping board is crazy easy to use and much more conducive to small children and pets being about the place. I'm not sure I'll ever go back to the direct peg method.)
I am so excited to get to weaving on my loom. I really appreciate the labor of love it takes to even get to where weaving is possible. So far, so good. Let's keep our fingers crossed that once I start with the weft thread, things still work out as I intend. You know what they say about good intentions, though.
You know, I wasn't sure where to put this post because technically I haven't made this project. But I have decided to label my husband as an extension of myself in this regard, and since the project was done for me, I think it is fair to put it on my project page. Now that that has been cleared up to everyone's satisfaction, let me give you the tiny bit of back story that led up to this amazing project.
I want to get more into weaving as a craft. I have my rigid heddle, which I love and have by no means exhausted, but I also wanted to get involved in some larger projects with different pattern options. With this in mind, my husband and I started shopping around for a loom. It was not long before we discovered purchasing a loom is very expensive business. It was a fact we already had bouncing around in the backs of our heads, but the point wasn't driven home until we actually intended to buy one.
It makes sense they are expensive, in some respects, since many looms are really gorgeous pieces of handcrafted furniture that double as a crafting device. But it is hard to justify spending that much money on something I do not yet know if I will even enjoy in the long term. We don't have thousands of dollars to drop on something that might prove a passing fancy. (My mother is notorious for buying gobs of crafting gear only to find that it is not a craft she is passionate about. Needless to say, there is a lot of dusty stain glass equipment, ceramics gear, every cross stitch thread color imaginable, garment design aides...and none of it is going anywhere because she is adamant she loves it all. I think there was a valuable lesson for me in the craft hoarding.) Long story short, I sadly decided that perhaps a larger loom would just have to wait until it was realistically in our financial reach. It made me sad, but it felt like the responsible thing to do.
Well, my wonderful husband did not let the issue rest. He went on a search for something that was affordable for us. In his internet meanderings, he came across a book called Building a 4-shaft PVC Loom, by David Holly which I've linked to its webpage. (It is available as a $10.00 Nook Book.) My husband bought the book and built the loom for my birthday. How awesome is that?
Now, my birthday was Monday and I haven't yet had the chance to try out this neat table top loom, but this weekend has a nice chunk of time carved out for that purpose. (Plus we need to find a better place than the living room floor for this PVC creation.) It has all the functionality of a wooden table top loom, but only cost a little over $250 to make. I watched the whole process as my husband (aided by our two toddlers armed with toy hammers) put the loom together. I must say, it really has given me a deeper understanding of the mechanics behind this style loom and familiarized me with much of the terminology that I probably would have been lazy about learning had I just bought a manufactured loom. This is a 4-shaft jack style loom with pulls on the top. The only parts not purchased at our home improvement store were the reed, special rope and the heddles. (All of these parts were easily available from The Woolery. I think they are popular parts for loom restoration.) The weaving width is 24", which is a perfectly good place to start for me. It gives me almost ten additional inches over my rigid heddle.
My husband did say there were a few errors in the book. It is a self-published how-to, so keeping that in mind, it is still a wonderful resource and great that Mr. Holly shared is idea with the world. (However, if you plan to make one yourself, make sure you've packed some patience in your tool bag.) My husband also made some small modifications of his own. Working only on weekends and impeded frequently by the helping hands of our kids, this loom only took 2.5 weekends to make. I am so excited to get my first project warped and ready to go! What a special birthday present this was. I know it will keep my satisfied and learning tons for at least a few years. And maybe by then I'll have enough money squirreled away that I can buy whatever floor loom my heart desires. One can only hope. :-)
I do not crochet, unless I do. There are occasions that call for me to put down my needles and pick up a hook, and this little Yoshi was one such occasion. My son recently acquired the Nintendo game "Yoshi's Wooly World," which is a fiber inspired adventure of little knitted and crocheted creations. (Perhaps it makes me a bad parent, but it was the only way I could get him to sit on the potty long enough to poo. Now the opposite problem is true and I have to set a timer so he doesn't stay on the potty indefinitely.) My son, hands down, loves this game. Mostly because it is just a fun, well-made game. However, he also enjoys that it is yarn themed. Sometimes he leaps off the potty to run and show me some new yarn creature or puzzle he has found.
Well, now, how could I not find a pattern to make him his own yarn Yoshi? A quick search on Ravelry produced this gem. My son got to pick all of the colors for his own, custom Yoshi. He went with an orange body with blue and yellow shoes. I stuck with the traditional red shell and white accents. However, as it often happens when you want to do something fairly fast, the yarn colors he wanted were not available in the prescribed yarn weights...so I went up a size to worsted weight with a bulky weight white. My Yoshi probably sits about 4.5 inches instead of 2.5 inches in height. I was sort of bumbling around to figure out what hook size would then be appropriate, and I think I might have chosen wrong. I went with a 6.00 mm size J hook. This was right in the middle of the recommended hook sizes for the yarn I purchased.
While the Yoshi is still adorable, I think the crochet holes (I'm not sure what to call them) are a little big. If you look closely, you can see the stuffing. I think had I chosen a smaller hook, it would have tightened up the stitch and made a more solid Yoshi. This is good to know, my son wants more Yoshis in different colors now...I'm preparing to create a rainbow Yoshi army.
The project itself was very fast. I finished the Yoshi in two days with only evening, casual crochet sessions. This is pretty good, considering I do not crochet. This means if you do crochet, you could probably whip up this little guy in no time at all! I know there are mistakes on my Yoshi, but I think, by and large, it turned out really well. (Really well meaning you can tell he is Yoshi.)
Summary: This was a quick, cute crochet project with a solid set of written instructions. As I have said many times, I do not crochet, so if I could create this little cutie, you have to know the designer did a good job explaining how to put this Yoshi together. If you have a Nintendo fan in your family (or you yourself enjoy Yoshi) this is a great, fun project that is sure to make you smile.