Saturday, September 12, 2020

Happy Birthday Month! LIBRA Follower De-stash Giveaway! Deadline: Oct 2, 2020.

by Mary Lou 'LuLu' Haynes  

Photo above is an example of a book that you could make with these mixed media supplies.


LUCKY LIBRA LADY FOLLOWER - BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY!

September is my birthday month and I'm celebrating with my Followers by offering a giveaway! 

So if you are a Libra lady celebrating your birthday on Sep 27th or celebrating your birthday on Sting's birthday Oct 2nd, indicate that in your comment and you could win!

I'll put together some HAPPY MAIL / de-stash items for one lucky Libra birthday girl! 


ELIGIBILITY

Any LIBRA lady FOLLOWER in continental USA is eligible over 18 years of age. If your birthdate is Sep 27th or Oct 2nd you could be the winner! You must have an email address.


WHAT IF MY  LIBRA BRITHDAY IS NOT YOUR'S OR STING'S?

A birthdate on, or closest to, either of these 2 dates will be the lucky winner! Up to two winners - one lady born Sep 27th and/or one lady born Oct 2.


WHAT IS INCLUDED WITH THE GIVEAWAY?

Giveaway de-stash items will be a grab bag of new and gently used mixed media supplies selected from my various studios. These supplies are ideal for creating junk journals / smash books / glue books / flow-ish journals / bullet journals / art journals.

Giveaway Includes:
    • 1 journal (A5 or A6 size) partially prepped by me, 
    • book pages (vintage, old, foreign, dictionary, etc.)
    • cold connections, 
    • deli paper, 
    • embellishments, 
    • envelopes, 
    • fabric scraps,
    • gelli print papers, 
    • junk mail, 
    • misc. materials.
    • tools, 
    • misc. papers,
    • ribbons,
    • scrapbooking papers, 
    • yarn, 
    • washi tape sample cards, 
    • other misc. goodies,
    • plus complimentary shipping.

HOW TO ENTER GIVEAWAY

To enter, leave a comment on this post only with your name and birth date - birth year not needed.


WHEN IS DEADLINE?

Deadline is midnight CT on Oct 2, 2020.


WINNER'S EMAIL NEEDED AFTER ANNOUNCEMENT

I'll announce winner's name during the week of Oct 5th on this blog in a new blog post. The winner must then email me  with her email address, ID (see below), and her snail mail address. 


COPY of ID NEEDED FROM WINNER

To claim your prize winner must email me a photo copy (in body of email - not as an attachment) of your ID clearly showing your name and your birthdate. ID copy can be your state D/L, your real ID, or your passport. No exceptions.


WHEN WILL WINNER GET PRIZE?

I'm planning to ship the Winner's prize with tracking number to arrive before Hallowe'en (Oct 31, 2020).




Photo of previous giveaway items. Items shown are not included. 
This is an example - not exactly what will be included in 2020 Giveaway.

Thanks for stopping by - Happy Birthday and GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

'Office / Studio Tour: Bullet Journal Supplies and my Work Desk'

by Mary Lou 'LuLu' Haynes

Howdy and Welcome!

On this stormy and steamy Sunday morning in Chicago, I'd like you to have a peek at my upstairs office.  This is where I do bullet journaling, bible journaling, and online tasks.

Desk - Long shot (left, center, right)
Desk view - lower Left


Desk view - upper Right

Desk view - upper Left 

Desk view - Center


My BUJO must have supplies are (in alphabetical order):
  • ·         Cling stamps and stamp pads
  • ·         Erasers
  •    o   Eraser – artist gum
  •    o   Eraser – Frixion
  • ·         Gesso – white
  • ·         Glue stick – Elmer’s All Purpose
  • ·         Highlighters
  •    o   Highlighter- Permanent – Sharpie (all colors)
  •    o   Highlighters - Erasable Highlighters - Frixion highlighters (all colors)
  • ·         Journals  - hardcover, pockets, elastic (dot or ruled) not  LT1917
  • ·         Markers
  •    o   Marker – Brush – Wink of Stella (clear)
  •    o   Marker – Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball – Extra Fine (black)
  •    o   Markers – Brush – zig Clean Color Real Brush (set)
  •    o   Markers - Crayola Pip Squeaks (set)
  •    o   Markers – Fineline Pen 0.38mm (set)
  •    o   Markers – Mildliners dual tip (all color sets)
  •    o   Markers – Sakura Pigma Micron  01 (brown)
  •    o   Markers – Stabilo OHPen Universal F (set) - waterproof
  •    o   Markers – Tombow Twintone - dual tip (set)
  • ·         Pens
  •    o   Pen - Erasable Pens - Frixion pens (all colors) + refills
  •    o   Pen - Fountain pens (various brands, inks, and nib sizes)
  •    o   Pen – Gel – PaperMate Ink Joy 1.0mm (set)
  •    o   Pen – Gel- PaperMate Gel 0.7
  •    o   Pen – Sakura Gel Glaze (black)
  •    o   Pen - Ballpoint pens – Staples (black, red, blue)
  • ·         Pencils
  •    o   Pencil – colored pencils (various brands)
  •    o   Pencil – No. 2 with eraser
  • ·         Post Its – 3 sizes and colors (blank and ruled)
  • ·         Ribbons - 3/8”W ribbons cut to 8”L (as bookmarks)
  • ·         Ruler – 6”
  • ·         Stickers (Faith, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, Minions)
  • ·         Tabs – DIY or Staples
  • ·         Tapes
  •    o   Tape - Correction tape ‘ Mr. Pen’ (set)
  •    o   Tape - Skinny washi tapes
  •    o   Tape – Removable tapes (one-sided & double-sided)
  •    o   Tape – Permanent tapes (Scotch Magic & double-sided)
  • ·         Templates - Plastic shape templates (flowchart and circles)
  • ·         Boards – Dash & Writing (DIY from Dollar Tree cutting mat)


Do you BuJo? What are your must have supplies? 
I'd love for you to comment!

Thanks for visiting!

Peace,
LuLu

Saturday, July 18, 2020

'Want to learn Crochet in 2020? Beginner Crochet FAQs!'

by Mary Lou 'LuLu' Haynes

Howdy!
I've been gone a very long time. And now, during the covid-19 pandemic, I'm back - for a hot minute. I do a lot of crochet - and saw some questionable crochet info online.

This post contains comprehensive information!

My grandmother taught me to crochet as a young child. I have been crocheting for decades, have taught crochet, and had crochet (and knit) commissions.

Here's my 2 cents...

WHAT A COMPLETE BEGINNER NEEDS TO KNOW TO CROCHET A SCARF


'OOAK - Two color unisex gift scarf'
 2016 by mlh1

Here are answers to questions you may have if you want to take up the satisfying hobby of crochet.

The most basic info for a complete beginner to know is:

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KNIT AND CROCHET

·         CROCHET (pronounced ‘crow – shay’ – thought to be from the French word ‘croche’ meaning ‘small hook’):
o   One HOOK is used in crochet. Hook is held in dominant hand, working yarn in non-dominant hand.
o   uses more yarn than knitting. Usually makes more decorative, lacy type items.
·     
            KNIT (pronounced ’nit’ – thought to be from the Dutch word  ‘knutten’ meaning ‘to knot’)
o   Two NEEDLES (or more) are used in knitting. Each hand holds 1 needle (or more).
o   Working yarn is held in any number of methods, it’s your choice. Each method has a name. For example, Continental vs English vs Portuguese, etc...
o   uses less yarn and is suited to creating garments. Usually makes more utilitarian items.
o   Knitting can also be done on a loom, but hand-knitting is portable - useful for nomadic and non-agrarian societies.
o   Has a longer history than crochet. For more knitting info, visit: https://knitlikegranny.com/knitting-history/

WHY WOULD I WANT TO LEARN CROCHET VS KNIT?  

 CROCHET
  • ·         Can be faster than knitting to create a scarf.
  • ·         Easier and quicker to ‘rip’ out loops and fix mistakes.
  • ·         Easier to keep track of just the one hook.
  • ·         Can be more creative with more thinking and  decision-making.
  •        Can be less structured with more freedom.
  • ·         Crochet items tend to have more texture – even using the thinnest yarn and simplest stitch.
  • ·         Items can not be crocheted by machine – only handmade – may have originated in  18th C.


 KNIT
  • ·         Can be slower than crochet to create a scarf.,
  • ·         Harder and slower to ‘rip’ out and fix mistakes.
  • ·         Harder to keep track of two needles – if one needle is lost, you’re in trouble.
  • ·         Can be more structured with less thinking and decision-making.
  •        Can be less creative with less freedom.
  • ·         Knit items tend to appear flatter.
  • ·         Items can also be knit by machine - since 1589. 

However, both CROCHET and KNIT can be done using ‘free-form’ techniques.

WHICH IS MORE POPULAR?
CROCHET - as of 2020 online searches, per trend.Google.com.
In 2014, knitting was the more frequently searched term of the two.

WHAT IS THE EASIEST ITEM FOR A COMPLETELY NEW BEGINNER TO LEARN?
A long scarf - or short headband.

WHAT LENGTH SHOULD I MAKE MY SCARF OR HEADBAND?
  • ·         Scarf = 6’ (adult)
  • ·         Headband = 22” (adult).


HOW MUCH YARN DO I NEED TO CROCHET MY SCARF?
More than you think...
I always buy 2 skeins for one 6' long scarf (no fringe) - or more. Dye lots change. If you don't buy more  yarn than what you need (per the pattern), if you run out before finishing, when you go to buy more yarn, it usually won't match. (You can always use any leftover yarn for smaller projects, free-form crochet, or practicing stitches.)

WHAT SIZE/THICKNESS/# OF YARN DO I BUY?
As a beginner, buy the size yarn indicated in your pattern. 

But, if you are adventurous, you can change the yarn size in the pattern.
The complete beginner needs to know that, in general, if you change the size of the yarn in a published pattern (e.g. #4/medium to #5/bulky), you should also change to a compatible size hook. That is:
·         Thinner yarn uses smaller hook, thicker yarn uses larger hook.

Similarly, when you change the size of the hook, change the size of the yarn. That is:
·         Smaller hook uses thinner yarn, larger hook uses thicker yarn.

VERY IMPORTANT:  If you change the yarn size  without changing the hook or change the hook without changing the yarn size, your finished scarf will not look like or be the same size as the published pattern.

WHAT TYPE YARN FIBER SHOULD I USE?
A complete beginner should probably start with acrylic (synthetic) yarns to practice. 

When you are more proficient in crochet, wool yarns are ideal for a winter scarf. Although most wool yarns are hand wash only, there are also machine washable wool yarns and wool-blend yarns. A wool or wool-blend scarf would make a nice gift. 

Wool blended with bamboo is a soft and warm blend. Mohair wool yarns or cashmere wool yarns are the ultimate yarns - soft and luxurious. If you can find mohair or cashmere blended with silk, buy up as much as you can afford! (And let me know where you found them, too).

If you want to give the gift of an acrylic scarf, find a soft acrylic or acrylic blend. But I prefer to use acrylic yarn only for practice, not for gifts.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE THE EXACT SIZE YARN BUT I DO HAVE CORRECT SIZE HOOK?
A good thing for a complete beginner to know is that if you don't have the size yarn required in the published pattern (size #4 yarn, for example), sometimes you can hold ‘two-as-one' of size #3 yarn which may result in the same look as the published pattern.
And you can still use the required size hook – for example, a 10mm hook.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE YARN SKEIN I JUST BOUGHT? HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Before you start your project, unless you plan to ‘arm crochet, if your yarn is not already wound into a ball, you should prep the skein (pronounced  'skayne') aka 'hank'. (Yarn also now comes in a 'cake' which does not need to be wound into a ball - unless you prefer to wind it).

Prepping involves unwinding the skein/hank (either by hand or by using a ‘yarn swift’) while simultaneously rewinding it into a ball. You can use a large, smooth, deep bowl or other container to hold the re-wound ball(s) from the skein/hank. I’ve used bowls. Now I prefer to use a regular-size paper shopping bag on the floor, with the working yarn threaded through one of the handles. You can buy specific wooden or ceramic bowls - with a hole or a slit - made for yarn. But I find the bowls are too small for my projects, so I use the paper shopping bag to contain/store my balled yarn.

Many people do not prep their yarn and crochet (and knit) directly from strands pulled from the skein/hank. That has been problematic at times for me, with skein yarn getting tangled while working with it on a project. So I always prep my yarn by winding into balls. I tape the outside end down with washi tape or painter’s tape (don’t use masking tape – it’s too sticky). 

You can wind yarn into a ball by hand - or buy a 'ball winder' online. I prefer to use the 'ball winder'.

HOW IS A SLIPKNOT INVOLVED IN CROCHET?
All crochet projects start with a slipknot tied onto the hook. If you don’t already know how to tie a
slipknot, it is easy to find a tutorial online.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO FINSIH MY CROCHET SCARF?
Depends, on:
·         Size of hook
·         Thickness of yarn
·         Complexity of pattern
·         Your own rate of crocheting
·         How often you work on your scarf project

In my experience, the majority of published crochet scarf/hat patterns use 5mm or 6mm hook with #3 yarn. In my opinion, these projects take too long to complete – weeks, if not months.

I prefer to finish quick crochet projects – in hours, or a few days. So I use a 9mm or 10mm hook - or larger - with thick yarn (#4/medium, #5/bulky, #6/super-bulky). I often hold ‘two-as-one’ of these thicker yarns while using a jumbo ‘J’ or ‘K’ hook for a fast project with super ‘chunky’ result. 

There are even larger hooks that crochet faster scarves and projects! Some people even use their arms/hands as crochet hooks. Research ‘arm crochet’.

For a SUPER FAST, SUPER EASY SCARF, try this:
  1.        HOOK – largest hook you can find (or your ARM)
  2.        YARN # – one color of the thickest yarn you can find – usually #6/super-bulky
  3.        YARN STRAND (optional) – Double your yarn thickness by holding ‘two-as-one’ (if you         can still manipulate both with the hook)
  4.        STITCH – use Slip Stitch only.
  5.        WHEN – work on crochet scarf over 3 consecutive nights or 3 consecutive days

WHAT MORE DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOOKS?
BASIC - a basic crochet hook usually has three names:
1.       ‘mm’ size,
2.       US/American letter,
3.       UK letter.

CHARTS - Charts can be easily found online for  differentiating hook sizes/names. I prefer to use the ‘mm’ name size - with 10mm being my preferred size of basic crochet hook (and knitting needles, too).

STYLES - Also, there a several types of crochet hooks based on the style of crochet you are working. Other styles with their own version of hooks are Tunisian crochet, Pjoning crochet, Bosnian crochet, etc.

WHAT ABOUT STITCH MARKERS?
Stitch markers help to keep your place in a crochet pattern (and in a knit pattern), that requires 'counting'.

There are two basic types of stich markers - round and lockable. I prefer the lockable stitch marker for crochet (and I use both for knitting).


WHY USE A DARNING NEEDLE?
A darning needle is a needle with very large eye. It is used at the end of a project to weave in all the yarn ends aka ‘tails'.


WHEN IS THE BEST SEASON TO CROCHET?
I crochet / knit projects in the winter. If I plan to make Christmas gifts, I start around  October 1st.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 'STITCH' AND A 'PATTERN'?
  • A 'stitch' is one complete movement of the hook through the loop(s) - which can be one or more 'loops'.
  • A 'pattern' is a combination of one or more 'stitches'.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STITCH NAMES LIKE ‘SINGLE’ & ‘DOUBLE’, etc.?
A complete beginner needs to know that crochet stitches are named because of their height.
(And also that the names change based on geographic location - American vs UK)!

From shortest to tallest, ‘American’ crochet stitch names (and their abbreviations) are:
·         CH – Chain stitch
·         SS or SL ST – Slip stitch (there are different slip-stitch techniques, e.g. Bosnian)
·         SC – Single Crochet
·         HDC -  Half Double Crochet
·         DC – Double Crochet
·         TR – Triple Crochet
·         DTR – Double Triple Crochet
·         TTR – Triple Triple Crochet

Look online for charts with comparable ‘UK’ named stitches.

WHAT IS THE BEST PATTERN FOR A COMPLETE BEGINNER TO CROCHET?
For the complete beginner, I would advise EVERY row [after (foundation) chain] to be a Single crochet. OR a half-double crochet. OR if you get bored with those two, alternate rows between single crochet and half-double crochet until the scarf is complete.

I prefer to always end with the last row of Single crochet OR Slip Stitch.

For example, for 6’ scarf in Single Crochet stitch:

  • ·         CH until 6’.
  • ·         Row 1 : SC in each CH to end of row. CH 1, turn.
  • ·         Repeat Row 1 to desired width (e.g. 5” – 6”).
  • ·         SL last (border) row.
  •             SL to end.


For example, for 6’ scarf in Half-double Crochet stitch (one of my fave scarves):
  • ·         CH until 6’.
  • ·         Row 1 : HDC in each CH  to end of row. CH 1, turn.
  • ·         Repeat Row 1 to desired width (e.g. 5” – 6”).
  • ·         SL last (border) row.
  • ·         SL to end.


For example, for 6’ scarf in alternating rows of Single Crochet + Half-double Crochet stitch:
  • ·         CH until 6’.
  • ·         Row 1 : SC in each CH to end of row. CH 1, turn.
  • ·         Row 2 : HDC in each CH  to end of row. CH 1, turn.
  • ·         Repeat Row 1 and Row 2 until desired width is reached (e.g. 5” – 6”).
  • ·         SC last (border) row.
  • ·         SL to end.


These scarves have a lovely texture, are faster to make, require almost no thinking, so, no hassle. And when you get interrupted or need a break, it is easy to pick up where you left off.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CROCHET STITCH?
I have three fave crochet stitches, because they are quick with lovely texture.
  1. ·         SS
  2. ·         HDC
  3.        HDC in back loop (somewhat stretchy)


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PATTERN?
This may not be for a beginner, but my fave unisex scarf pattern is to alternate rows of HDC in Back Loop with a SL row between. For me, it’s fast and easy with interesting texture. 

If I use a large hook and thick yarn(s), I can crochet a one-color, 6’ scarf in an evening in front of the TV....

But, the all-time, easiest, and quickest unisex texture for a scarf pattern is using only rows of SS! J

WHAT ABOUT READING PATTERN CHARTS?
I prefer to design my own original, unique scarf and hat patterns – and not to read charts of other’s patterns. Early on I learned that many crochet items can be made without reading a pattern chart. 

You can make scarves, hats, shawls, throws, ponchos, afghans – all without reading a pattern chart. Use the crochet stitches above in different combinations to design your own patterns. Or watch YouTube videos. Makes notes of which patterns you like. 

HOW DO YOU STORE YARN?
For yarn that is not being used in current project, my preferred storage method is a large, clear plastic bin with lid for each color family. Within each bin, I further sort yarn by future project into 2.5 gallon Ziploc bags. 

Bins are stored on industrial shelving units at home on my 3-season, unheated porch. Works-in-progress are stored in their shopping bag. Finished small projects are stored in a re-purposed 5’ CD tower that has two columns of 6”square cubby holes in the room at home near my TV.

HOW TO STORE HOOKS/NEEDLES AND NOTIONS?
You can buy roll-up tool pouches online – or you can store hooks and needles in mugs and vases.

For my own stash, I designed and  sewed a roll-up, zip-top, tool pouch with multiple pockets to store my crochet hooks, scissors, markers, pins, pens, notions, notes, etc. I had inherited so many crochet hooks and knitting needles from my female ancestors that I needed a central place for them. 

Because they are much longer than the hooks, all the knitting needles are stored with the yarn for their respective projects.


WHAT ABOUT BOOKS ON CROCHET?
Books and pamphlets on crochet give me endless inspiration. My library has a few books on crochet (and knit) including a book I found about crocheting with wire. 

Many materials can be used as ‘yarn’ for crochet (and knit).

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE CROCHET HISTORY INFO?
  • "A Living Mystery, the International Art & History of Crochet,"
    Annie Louise Potter, A.J. Publishing International, 1990
  • "Crochet History & Technique,"
    Lis Paludan, Interweave Press, 1995

 If you make a crochet item after using these FAQs, I’d love for you to share it here!
Thanks for stopping by. I'd love for you to comment.

Peace,
LuLu

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