You’re listening to YarnCraft. [music]
Zontee: Welcome to YarnCraft. It’s episode 67 on May 25, 2010. Thanks for joining us today. I’m Zontee.
Liz: And this is Liz. And we’re the hosts of YarnCraft.
Zontee: Stop by YarnCraft.LionBrand.com for more information about the patterns and products that we talk about on today’s episode. And while you’re there you can also leave your comments or give us a call and leave us a voicemail at 774‑452‑YARN, that’s 9276. We always love sharing your stories, questions, and comments on the show.
Liz: As usual, we’re here at the Lion Brand Design Center in New York City. Today is an episode is dedicated to all the Dad’s out there, as well as the grandfathers, uncles, and important men in our lives. We’ll be talking about great gift ideas and more.
Zontee: And on today’s “Stash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life”, we’re going to be talking about five ideas to combat startitis as well as ideas for smart stashing.
Liz: So stay tuned for your tips and great men’s projects, next on YarnCraft. [music]
Zontee: As usual, we’re starting off our episode with what we’re currently working on. And, of course, as usual, we want to hear what you are working on so don’t forget to leave a comment on the blog, or on Ravelry, or leave a voicemail for us and share your current projects.
Liz: So what are you working on Zontee? Zontee just moved recently, but have you settled in enough to break out the hooks or needles yet?
Zontee: Well, you know, I was able to unpack all my yarn and what not, which was good. I found some new baskets to kind of organize them in, which is good. I like to use yarn as part of my decor, because I find it a really good way of displaying yarn, and also keeping it in your line of sight, so that you remember that you have yarn lying around, is to put it in vases, or baskets, or decorative bags. There’s a lot of yarn.
Anyway, I have had a little bit of time–we just went on a business trip–so I brought a project with me on the airplane and used it as entertainment, as I flew across the country.
Liz: Some of our long time listeners might remember that I’m a big fan of sock knitting. But, more recent listeners may have noticed that you haven’t really heard me talking about knitting socks in a while because I have kind of been moving on to other projects for a while; all these babies popping up in my life that are so much fun to craft for. But, two weekends ago, I was super excited because I got to take Cat Bordhi’s workshop on innovative sock knitting techniques, through our studio. I was on the wait list, but fortunately I got in. It’s not like we get first dibs or anything. We’re out there in the pool of possible attendees, just like everyone else.
But, I am so glad that I was able to get in. It was so much fun. And it has just gotten me so jazzed to work on some new socks. So, I was playing around with all sorts of techniques on the plane and in my hotel room during a trip. Hopefully, I will have a pair of finished socks soon.
Zontee: That’s great. And you know what? You’re just in time because Sock‑Ease just came out with seven new solid colors. So, you’ve got a lot more options to play with.
Liz: I’m still kind of partial to the multicolors, but, we’ll see. I’ll try them all.
Zontee: What I really like about the fact that we’ve got solids is that you can mix and match them. So, you could do socks that are one color in the body, and the toe and heel, and even the cuff could be a different color. You could kind of mix and match. You could make them one in one color combination and then the reverse in the other sock. Think how about how fun that could be, mismatched socks.
Liz: I think that’s a great technique, especially for kids, I think. Just don’t make matched socks. Make them all in coordinating colors, but all different. Because they’re all going to get jumbled up anyway, and no one wants to spend time sorting socks.
Zontee: I agree. If you use the same heel and cuff color for all of them, but you did the bodies in different colors; that could be really cute.
Zontee: I like this idea already.
Zontee: If I made socks, I would do this.
Liz: Do you not make socks, Zontee?
Zontee: I’m not really partial to the sock knitting.
Liz: We’re going to have to work on that.
Zontee: [laughs] That’s my secret. I don’t like to work on the socks. Oh, now everyone knows.
Liz: [laughs] It’s OK. No, everyone’s allowed to like the kinds of projects they like. We’re all different crafters. That’s what makes the yarn crafting community so great. [music]
Liz: It’s just about a month until Father’s Day, so right now is a great time to start thinking about those projects you can make for your dad, your grandfather, your uncle, or any special guy in your life that you want to show your appreciation for this Father’s Day.
Zontee: Yeah, I’m really excited to see that we got some comments on Ravelry, sharing some of the projects that out listeners are making for the fathers, and grandfathers, and men in their lives. KnittingDreams, who’s written in a couple of times, writes in to say, “I generally make pullovers for men, and I have not had one that the recipient didn’t like. For Father’s Day, cotton would be in order. My grandfather, rest in peace, loved handknit socks, according to my mother. And I only wished that I’d had the chance to make him a pair. I often think I will make a pair for my dad and my husband down the road. Slippers have also been on the list of men’s gifts, but probably not for Father’s Day. I also have a scarf in the works for my husband for his birthday this coming November.”
So she’s got a lot of different ideas that I think are really valid. I definitely agree that cotton is really good for project that you want to be able use this season. But, I think, one thing that you want to keep in mind is that the guys in your life are going to appreciate a gift that they can use any season. So, it may be that you start something now that you won’t necessarily be able to use until a little bit later on in the season. Or, of you’re in the southern hemisphere, you’re set because it’s already cool over there, so a lot of things to play with.
Liz: Absolutely. Going along with the sweater idea for gifts, spitfire snc or spitfires nc whichever one it is, however you pronounce your Ravelry username, says that she’s making her Dad the “Wash Sweater” from Firefly out of the Fisherman’s Wool. She’s very excited because she’s having a bit of a cold snap right now where she is, so she’s hoping to have it done quick, before it gets too hot to work with wool.
Zontee: I know that in New York, we’ve had a bit of a cold spell in the last couple of weeks, so I can definitely see that, depending on where you are, you may still be wearing sweaters. It totally makes sense that you would want to put one in the works. And the other thing that I really like about her comment was that previously, when we were in our favorites episode, we talked about how it seems like we have a lot of the sci‑fi listeners, so clearly the “Wash Sweater” from Firefly, another Joss Whedon fan here, so very cool.
Liz: Yeah, I want to know, so, is it that you really like Firefly, and you just think your dad will like the sweater? Or does just your dad like Firefly, or are you both really in it together? I’m intrigued. I was a big Firefly fan. Very sad it was only 13 episodes.
Zontee: I agree. I actually got to the last episode and thought to myself, “I can’t wait for the–Oh…”
Liz: There’s the movie, the movie was good.
Zontee: I know, and the movie wrapped up some of the ends but it also made you feel like, “I can’t wait for the,” [in unison] “Oh.”
Liz: Yeah, there’s that.
Zontee: All over again.
Liz: Let’s take off on some of ideas and talk about some great sweater options. One idea I really like is taking a pattern like our Vanna’s Choice Kids’ to Adult Hoodie and making one for the father figure in your life, but also maybe making one for yourself or if you’re making your husband a Father’s Day gift, making him a sweater, and then one for your child, or children as well because that way it’s matching for the whole family.
Zontee: I think that really cute. We even did a family of Cabled Sweaters where we shot it like that and we had one for the son, and the daughter, and the mom, and the dad. And they were all wearing Cabled Sweaters together.
Liz: Yeah, those are all Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. And that’s a really nice sweater pattern. We also have a set of Hooded Patterns in Homespun as well. So, you can really pick which ever yarn you want to use so we’ve got that concept available.
Zontee: What I love about this one in the Vanna’s Choice, is that it’s a really classic sweatshirt/pullover-style with a little kangaroo pocket, which I think is really cute and appealing. It has that really causal ease that I think make it a project that will really get a lot of wear, day to day, on weekends. You can throw it over your outfit at a sports event to keep warm. It’s really, really, just versatile. I think that it’s an un‑sweater. It’s more like a sweatshirt.
Zontee: It’s like a sweater that’s more like a sweatshirt.
Liz: I’m trying to picture what an un‑sweater is, and I just picture yarn, still in balls.
Liz: [laughs] That’s what the opposite of a sweater is to me. [laughs] But, I agree. I really like the kangaroo pocket. I think that’s just, who doesn’t like a kangaroo pocket? It keeps your hands warm. Good for storage.
If you live in a very warm climate and you do want a sweater that you can wear right now, you might want to check out our Ribbed Sweater in Cotton‑Ease. That’s a very relaxed Rib pattern. So it’s nice and textural. But it’s not going to be too warm. So it’s still very useful this time of year.
Zontee: Yeah, I agree. Clearly that goes right back to KnittingDreams’ point about cotton this time of year. Cotton‑Ease is a great yarn; it has some great pop color choices. So I think that’ll be really nice. You can go anywhere from neutrals for the more demure men to the bright red for the guys who like a real punch.
We also have a great Classic Pullover pattern that’s just really great because it’s a simple, boxy silhouette with a crew neck, ribbing at the bottom of the sweater, as well as at the wrists. I think it’s just a really simple classic design that any guy will like. We’ve done it in the Wool‑Ease in the Natural Heather. But you could do it in any color. This is the kind of pattern where you can have a lot of fun with it and really get personal. Add some stripes to the chest or strips on the arms. I think those are great details. You could duplicate stitch on initials or maybe favorite sports teams. Use colors that he really likes.
Again, this is an item that because it’s made in the Wool‑Ease, will give you that warmth, ease of care, and also be light enough so I think you can still use it now in the spring or on cool evenings. We’ve talked so many times about how there are climates where it’s just cool even in the summer, especially at night. So you’re going to really want a sweater.
I know when I go on vacation, I often go to the far northeast, and it’s pretty darn chilly, especially when I get up into Canada. It is really cold no matter what time of year it is, just saying.
Liz: I know this is a problem we talked about for women where sure, it’s hot outside, but inside your office, they’re blasting the air conditioning and you’re freezing. So depending on the colors you choose, I could see this working in a lot of business casual offices, this sweater. So, think about that as a gift option.
Zontee: I like it.
Liz: I don’t know if men have that problem, maybe they are not ever freezing in the air conditioning, but I sure am.
Zontee: They must be cold, as well. I believe that. For our male listeners, you can always try and let us know if these things are, in fact, true.
Liz: Yeah, please clue us in. We’re clearly, clearly in the dark on some of these important crucial issues. Then kind of segueing from the sweater category to the other category, there are certain products that are sold on television that you may be familiar with that combine the great features of a blanket with the great features of a sleeved sweater for your ultimate relaxing television watching comfort.
Zontee: I believe you’ve mentioned that your husband has something like this.
Liz: He may have stolen it from my father at Christmas. My dad’s friend gave it to him as a gag gift. My dad had it sitting there unopened, and my husband was like, “That’s a great idea! I’m going to take this.” [laughs] Now, it’s at our house.
Zontee: [laughs] Well, in case your husband, dad, or whoever doesn’t already have one of these guys…
Liz: Or you want to replace the zebra print one, and I’m not joking… [laughter]
Liz: …with a more tasteful option, perhaps you’d want to check out the Knit Sweater Blanket. I believe we also have a Crochet Sweater Blanket available, as well.
Zontee: Yes, that’s correct.
Liz: Because they’re done on our Speed Hook or our Speed Stix, you can really pick any combination of yarns that you want. This particular knit one is done with two strands of Wool‑Ease, one strand of Homespun and one strand of Wool‑Ease. But you can get very creative. Pick four strands if you’re using chunkier yarns. Maybe even six or seven if you’re using some of our category-4 yarns. Just follow the general shaping instructions, very quick gift.
Zontee: Definitely. It is the kind of gift that will probably get a lot of play if the man in your life is the kind of person who likes a little relaxation in front of the television or just being cozy while snuggled up with a book.
Liz: I’ve heard that it’s great for playing video games in your cold and drafty apartment.
Zontee: [laughs] Wonder where you heard that one from.
Liz: It’s just a rumor I heard going around. [laughs]
Zontee: Moving on from the Sweater Blanket, of course there are a lot of great accessories that are really wonderful for men. Again, like I said before, you don’t necessarily have to make something that’s appropriate for use right away. If you’re thinking about just gifts that will be really appreciated and be useful for the rest of the year, I think you can still feel free to go into the classic scarves and hats.
Liz: I think that’s especially true if you use a really special yarn or stitch pattern and you’re making a really kind of standout scarf. Like if you use our LB Collection Cashmere to make our Easy Tweed Scarf that is going to be appreciated, any time of year.
Zontee: I agree. It’s just so soft and luxurious, it feels great. And it’s a really long scarf. So I think it looks really substantial. It’s a great menswear scarf.
Liz: It might be a good hook for those of us who have scarf‑resistant men in our lives who always complain about being cold, but never remember to bring a scarf. Maybe if we make it out of super-soft cashmere, they’ll get the idea.
Zontee: It’s true. At the very least, they won’t be able to resist it, right?
Zontee: Another really beautiful and striking yarn that you might want to try is our Amazing, which is a color change, self‑striping yarn. And our Striking Hat and Scarf Set is a great, really easy pattern for knitters, just simple garter stitch. We have a really similar crochet scarf that’s basically all just one stitch as well in Amazing, and you can look at that online.
Liz: We have some lively debates with the men who work at LionBrand about which colors of Amazing are truly male‑approved. The Olympia seems to be hands down a universal favorite. It’s the greens and the blues.
Zontee: I think Rainforest is a good one, too, it’s shades of green.
Liz: Yes. It’s a little controversial with some of our more conservative people, but…
Zontee: Shades of green are very masculine.
Liz: Hey, don’t talk to me, talk to David. He’s not really a greens guy; he’s more in to the blues and purples. I think he just is so into the Olympia, he doesn’t like to venture further.
Zontee: For a bolder guy, we still have colors all the way into Mesa, which I think is still really beautiful, and I think still gender‑neutral because it’s shades of orange and yellow. And I actually feel like, you know, if you’re a styling kind of metro kind of guy, you can get away with it.
Liz: And another way to get a great wow is with an awesome stitch pattern like our Covetable Cable Scarf, which we’ve shown in the Oatmeal and Barley Tweed colors of Vanna’s Choice. So it’s going to be very soft and the Tweed colors are universally male‑approved.
Zontee: Oh, definitely.
Liz: By our official, our highly scientific polls inside our office. [laughter]
Zontee: And what I really like about this again, really easy care. This is a great gift for the guy you know is never going to pay attention to care instructions; this thing, just throw in the wash anytime, throw it in the dryer, anytime, and you’ll be just fine.
Liz: It will look good as good as new.
Zontee: Moving onto hats, something that I would really liked was our Lake District Hat, which was made out of Sock‑Ease. I think that it’s really fun to take something like Sock‑Ease, which is the fingering‑weight yarn, meant for socks, but in really fun colors, and use it for a different kind of project. So in this case we’ve taken Taffy, which is a really great, self‑striping blue and brown combination, and turned it into a hat with a great cuff.
Liz: Something that is really rustic and rugged looking is our Chance of Flurries Hat, in Alpine Wool. It’s a very simple stranded Fair Isle technique, where you have light colored flecks on a darker background and all of the colors in Alpine wool are very gender‑neutral. So very any two you pick are going to make a really striking hat.
Zontee: That’s really true. There’s some great blues in that collection, as well as a really classic red, that really beautiful wine red.
Liz: A nice olive green, a nice rust.
Zontee: Yes, definitely a great collection for men’s projects. Another project for a hat that I really liked was our Key Lime Hat. This is a crochet pattern in our Hometown USA, which is full of such bright colors. It makes it really fun, and also it’s another great yarn for sports team colors. If your man is a die‑hard fan of any particular team this is a great one, because what you could do is the body of the hat in one color, and then do the pompom on top in a totally different color.
Liz: That would be very cute, but in a manly way.
Zontee: Exactly. And I think that that would be a really fun project. You could even add one stripe at the bottom in that alternate color so that you get a little bit more contrast. You can definitely personalize this one.
Liz: Go team.
Zontee: Finally, we’re going to move into some smaller projects that may be for those of us who just want something a little bit smaller and faster.
Liz: And managable…
Zontee: Let’s start over on the left over here, with some felted slippers.
Liz: Yes, as KnittingDreams suggested, slippers are great. I think guys love slippers. I think everyone loves slippers. But I remember we would always give my grandpa slippers for Father’s Day because that’s always what he would want, and he would’ve really liked these Felted Slip‑ons with a Fishermen’s Wool base and then a Wool‑Ease cuff that you then knit all together and then felt. So the Fishermen Felt makes a sturdy sole, but the stretchy cuff you can still get on and off easily.
Zontee: You know, my friend Chappy mentioned to me that she made a matching pair for her and her husband. She dyed her Fishermen’s Wool so her pair is pink. But she said that she really loved that stretchy cuff. It’s just a really great project that’s really wearable for every day. She has one of those husbands who’s definitely a keeper. So I think he really deserves those great slippers.
Liz: Totally different, but equally great felted project is our School Colors Laptop Sleeve. It’s done in the Lion Wool. But if you’re looking for different colors, you could also try dying the Fishermen’s Wool. Fishermen’s Wool is great to dye with Kool‑Aid or with food coloring. Really, we’ve given you some general dimensions, but the great thing about Felting is you’re really just making rectangles that you can plan out according to the size of your device. So maybe if your dad is someone special and getting an iPad for Father’s Day, unlike my dad who bought himself his own already — Thanks Dad, then I don’t have to buy one for you! — you could make an iPad case.
Zontee: I think that’s a great idea. Again, this is so flexible you could make it for someone who has a big laptop; even a Kindle case would be good. What’s great about felt is that it is thicker and protective, so you’re going to feel really good about that. Also, it’s a surface that you could then add needle felted designs onto so that you could make it like a freeform pattern.
Liz: Or going back to the embroidery, you could always embroider before felting some initials.
Zontee: Yeah, definitely. That reminds me. Before when we were talking about video games as something that guys enjoy, and I was thinking that it might be fun, having seen a lot of inspiration in this area on Ravelry, to do some video game characters or like a classic Super Mario Mushroom or something like that.
Liz: The Mushroom is very popular.
Zontee: I love that Mushroom. It’s adorable. It’s got a little red cap, it’s cute.
Liz: We really are getting into the generation where Dad grew up playing these video games.
Zontee: It’s true. You could add one of those, embroider it on, or you could duplicate stitch it on. Then, you’ve got a sure fire winner when it comes to laptop sleeves or electronic sleeves.
Liz: Yeah. That would be pretty spectacular. You’d win Father’s Day for sure. We’re all about the competitive yarn crafting gift giving here on this podcast. At least I am. I know it’s weird.
Zontee: At least we joke about it.
Zontee: So listeners, if you come up with something that’s spectacular, please send in your photos because we want to see.
Zontee: Other things that are always a surefire hit if your father happens to be a golfer, I think that the golf clubs that we already have on the website have been really popular, and we’ve added two more that are jaunty and have pom‑poms on top. They are cabled to give it a lot of texture. It’s a really unique look. These guys are just great golf club covers. I think you could make a whole matching set of these to cover all of your irons and woods and whatnots. That would be a very good gift.
Liz: We’ve shown this particular pattern in Lion Wool, but you may want to go with Vanna’s Choice for a more machine-washable option.
Zontee: I agree.
Liz: Also. That’s going to give you a bigger color range. This is where my real lack of golf is going to show, but I believe all of the different clubs are for different purposes, so you can color code the different ones. So you know without having to take the cover off which one you’re going to grab.
Zontee: But, will it be too difficult to remember what color matches which club?
Liz: You’ll learn, but it’ll just…osmosis.
Zontee: Just as a quick suggestion, it may be simpler to just embroider a number on each one so that you can tell right away.
Liz: Well sure, if you want to be literal about it. [laughter]
Zontee: For that dad who really enjoys a coffee or tea in the morning, maybe a good project for him to bring to work or bring into the car is a cozy for his morning coffee. We’ve got the Supremo Cozy, which is in some great blues and greens and yellows. But, of course, you could mix that up and use any colors you wish. We’ve done it in the Vanna’s Choice, so again you have that big palette.
Liz: And if you have a dad like mine who’s beverage of choice in the morning is one or 20 Diet Pepsis, you can get our drink cozy pattern that is more shaped for cans, again, in the Vanna’s Choice. We show you how to do some great embroidery on there to make it say “Dad” or whatever else you might want to personalize it with.
Zontee: Yeah. Those are great quick and easy projects. That’s something that you can do especially with your kids who may be learning some of the basics of crochet. This is a really easy, single crochet project. Just one of them has a little bit of shaping, but the other one is just straight all the way around. So, it is definitely a great way to get them involved in the process.
Liz: If you have some younger children who maybe aren’t quite ready to get involved in crochet, you might want to checkout some of our great projects that involve wrapping. We have our “Dad’s Desk Organizer, ” which is just cans of various shapes that you have recycled and wrapped in yarn in coordinating colors to hold pencils, and paperclips, and everything. I know I made my dad a yarn covered, orange juice can, pencil holder. I don’t remember ever making it, so I must have been really little. It has a picture of me on it, and he still has it on his dresser, which is hilarious, because I am old now. [laughter]
Liz: It is an old crafting project that he still has on his dresser.
Zontee: [laughs] I think that is a great idea, because I know that I’m the kind of person who has so many pens and pencils and markers all the time. So, it would be great to be able to organize them, and I am sure that your dad would love it as well.
Liz: We’re going to wrap up with something that is a little bit of a gag gift for dad on Father’s Day, but one he may use and appreciate nevertheless, and that is our “Wired Dad Remote Caddy, ” which is a little knit set of pockets that you hang over the arm of your chair, and put your remote controls or your TV Guides. I know my dad has about seven remote controls that operate his home theater setup.
Zontee: [laughs] So, you may need to make him multiples of this, and he can hang it all along the arm.
Liz: I really would need to, yes.
Zontee: Yeah. I think that is one of those things that sounds kind of funny, but the truth is, don’t we all lose our remote controls? Wouldn’t it be great if they were just hanging off the arm of your chair? That would actually be kind of beneficial.
Liz: Yeah. Every time we go to watch TV, we have to hunt down the remotes, because we have to use at least two at our house.
Zontee: I hear you. So, these are just some of our quick ideas for Father’s Day, but of course we would love to hear from you, our listeners, especially our guy listeners, about suggestions that you have and that you really appreciate. And as usual, we always appreciate your hints and tips on our blog, on our Ravelry page, or on our voicemail line. [music]
Liz: On today’s “Stash This: Ideas for Your Crafting Life, ” we got inspired by a great comment we got on our blog. We’re going to talk about two things you may encounter over the summer, especially if you take a yarn crafting vacation like we recommended last episode, and that is the two issues of “start-itis” and “stash enhancement.” “Start-itis” is that urge I think a lot of yarn crafters sometimes get. If you ever experienced it, you know, where every time you turn around, you see another great idea or for a new project you want to start that you have to cast‑on, or start the foundation chain for it immediately.
Zontee: And then after maybe a couple of rows you say, “Oh, I am going to put his down for a minute, knitting, doing something else, ” and then you turn around and you go, “Oh, a project!” and you pick something else up.
Liz: Yeah, and all the while you’ve got that three quarters of the way finished sweater or 95 percent finished shawl, just sitting right over there, that just needs a little attention to get all the way done, but instead you are scattering about all of these like two inch long projects.
Zontee: I used to have a real problem with this, where I would definitely have one big project going on, and that I could not finish because I was so busy doing other things. But this year for me, has been the year of curbing the “start-itis”, so I feel pretty good. So, we’ll be talking definitely about that. Shannon, who wrote on our blog, had a really great suggestion when it came to the issue of “start-itis.“
Liz: She says that to control her “Start-itis,” when she has that itch to start something new, she asks herself, “What is it about the pattern that is really urging me to cast‑on or start crocheting? Is it something in the pattern? Is it the stitch pattern or the construction technique, or is it the yarn itself? Is that what has really got me excited is doing the yarn?” She says once she has figured that out, if it is the yarn, she will buy one ball, and do a very plain 12″ x 12″ square. If it is something in the pattern like the pattern stitch, she will get a ball from her stash, and again make a 12″ x 12″ square using that pattern stitch or technique.
Then when she is done, she kind of sorts those squares by machine washable, not machine washable. The machine washable ones she puts together into afghans for charity, and the specialty-care ones she puts together in afghans for herself.
Zontee: I think that’s a really great idea. First of all, it allows you to experiment with a lot of new yarns as well as a lot of new techniques, which I always think is good. Because it’s good to build that repertoire up so that you learn about what you like, and about what you don’t like, and what things work for you, and what doesn’t. I also think that it’s really great that she recognizes that not only do you have to sort them, so you’ve got like yarns together, so that they’re easier to care for; but also that she uses it as a way to give to charity and also just put her swatches to good use. Because I know we’ve talked a lot about saving your swatches or using them later on for different things; but this is the way where you know that every swatch is always the same size.
Liz: That’s an excellent strategy. I imagine it really does help keep down those extra projects. So, it got me thinking, what are some other ways to cope with this urge to start new projects. And I came up with some ideas that might work for you if the Afghan doesn’t strike you as how you want to go. There are lots of choices. One idea I thought was great, especially if you’re really into the stitches patterns and that’s your main driving focus. Why not consider picking up a lot of cotton yarn for your stash. Every time you want to try a new stitch pattern, make a dishcloth because it doesn’t have to, you don’t have to worry about it coming out to a standard size. As long as it’s roughly in the neighborhood of four inch to 12 inch roughly square, it’s going to be a great dishcloth.
Zontee: It’s true. And not only are dishcloths great, but if you just want to have a pile of washcloths in your bathroom, for guests and what not, very, very simple. You can just save them up. And then, of course, as we’ve talked about many times before, if you suddenly need a gift for somebody you just grab a couple throw a ribbon around them, stick a bar of fancy soap in and be like, “Hey, a gift.”
Liz: It’s just practical to have, really, when you think about it, to have that on hand but, what if you say, “I don’t really like dishcloths. Cotton’s not really my thing.” Or, “I really like wools or novelty yarns.” Well: hats. Hats are the answer there. It’s so easy to learn a basic hat recipe whether it’s knit or crocheted, flat and seamed or knit or crocheted in the round. You can learn a very straightforward beanie pattern very easily. As you make things you can either put them in a box that you are going to save for later for holiday gifts. You can donate them to charity depending on the yarn requirements. You can give them to family and friends as you go. Everyone loves a nice handmade hat.
Zontee: I agree. And if you’re looking for a basic recipe and you are looking for resources online, don’t forget that we have posted a basic knit and a basic crochet concept on our blog from way back. But, you can hop the YarnCraft blog and we’ll go ahead and link that for you.
Liz: Another type of project that is so easy to customize once you’ve learned the basic recipe, is socks. I think we’ve shown on our various patterns that socks can work in any gauge from Sock‑Ease size one yarn all the way up to Wool‑Ease Thick & Quick category-six. Really, pretty much any yarn you find you could put to use as some sort of sock, or slipper sock option.
Zontee: Oh, definitely. And if you happen to be in the New York area, don’t forget to check out the Studio schedule for their No‑Pattern Sock Class, because that is a great way to learn that basic formula.
Liz: My favorite idea was a takeoff on Sharon’s patchwork afghan, which for someone — if you’re like me, robably, what gets you most is yarns. I want to try a new yarn. So, I was thinking, “What if I just started a Log Cabin Afghan?” Which you can do in either knit or crochet. You just are building strips on the existing afghan. So every time you see a yarn you’d like to try, you can just buy one ball, and add it on, and make a strip until you’ve used up the whole ball. Eventually, you’ll have a beautiful kind of crazy quilt-looking afghan.
Zontee: I like that idea a lot. And I think that could be a really graphic look too. You can use any colors you want. It’ll be really fun.
Liz: And a really great record of yarns that you found that spoke to you at various times.
Zontee: Very true.
Liz: Which brings us to something that can happen as you’re traveling around over the summer and visiting new yarn shops or fiber festivals; and that’s stash enhancement.
Liz: I know when I was a new yarn crafter, I really just would, if I saw a yarn I liked and it was in my price range, I would get a ball or two, without any real plan for it. So, I would spend a lot of time looking at what I had and thinking, “How can I use any of this? What do I do with this random ball of Fun Fur, and this completely different colored lace-weight yarn?”
Zontee: It’s true.
Liz: When I don’t have enough of either to do anything.
Zontee: I agree, and I think that happens to everyone at some point. Which is why I definitely recommend that if you haven’t already checked out the yardage guide in our catalog or also available on LionBrand.com. You take a look at it. You may even want to print it out or rip it out and save it in your bag for when you’re going out to these shows. Because what you can do is take a look at the weight of yarn you’re looking at and see how many yards you would need for say, a scarf, or a hat, or a sweater, or an afghan. And say to yourself, “OK, now I know about how many balls I should be buying if I want to make this thing down the road. And that will give you a better guide of how many you should be buying so that you don’t go home and you go, “Oh, I only have enough for a small scarf, but this yarn would have been so great, had I thought of it, to use for something else.”
Liz: Exactly, and along with that, you may want to take a look at some of the one-ball patterns we have on our website. And the One Ball or One Skein series of book that are out there. Because you know if you have that as a resource, it maybe makes it easier to limit yourself to just one special ball of something.
Zontee: That’s true. I know a suggestion that is definitely appropriate for you, Liz, is, of course, sock yarn because there are a lot of great balls of sock yarn out there. Of course, you want to check yardage because sometimes when you are really making socks one ball will not be enough. You will want two balls for a pair. But if you are like me and have small feet, you may be able to get away with just one ball.
Liz: Exactly, I quickly learned to evolve my stashing strategy towards sock yarn. Because I was like, well at least I know that I can make, at the very least, socks out of it. Even if you don’t choose to make socks, one ball of sock yarn will usually make a very nicely sized, lacy scarf. Or as we said earlier in the episode, a great hat, so sock yarn, it’s a safe stashing choice. And also, going back to what we said about scratching the stored items itch safely, if you have an afghan that you’re building squares or strips for, or if you are combining a lot of your random yarns into a scarf. Maybe choose a color palette, and when you’re buying yarn, get a ball or two in colors that go with your general scheme. That will help these patchwork projects have a unified look.
Zontee: I like that idea a lot. I think that you can do a lot. It doesn’t have to be one color range. But, it could be that you know you want to use kind of citrus colors and browns or something. Pick something that is all in that range, and pick all of your shades that are yellows, and oranges, and browns, and that would look beautiful. Or, of course, you can go all shades of red and have lots and lots of different shades of red, ant that would be really beautiful as well.
Liz: Or if you’re really into neutrals, there’s nothing more beautiful than an all off‑white afghan, in a variety of textures. There’s something just always stunning about that.
Zontee: Very true.
Liz: So those are just some of our tips for you to stay sane with your project load and stash this summer. But we’d love to hear yours, so give us a line about how you deal with projects and stash. [music]
Zontee: We want to thank all of you for joining us today. And, as usual, we want to thank those who shared their tips, questions, and comments.
Liz: Join us again in two weeks, when we share interviews from the crafty folks at Maker Fair, which took place this past weekend in the San Francisco Bay area. Do you belong to a crafting group of some sort? Tell us about your experiences, what you’ve learned, made together, and even why you enjoy crafting with others. Leave a comment on our website, YarnCraft.LionBrand.com, on Ravelry, or via voicemail at 774‑452‑YARN. That’s 774‑452‑9276.
As usual, our music was “Boy with a Coin” by Iron and Wine from the PodSafe Music Network. [music]
For more information about the patterns, links, and products discussed on this episode, please see the episode guide.