The Aalto Basket & Me

Ah Betta Knit. If you follow me on social media you know I'm such a fan of their product and company. I mean I just love their squishy yarn and friendly service! So when they wanted to send me a kit to review & host a giveaway as part of March Maker Madness I was beyond stoked.

Now when the Aalto Basket Kit arrived I was a little taken aback. I mean it is designed by crochet design ICON Molla Mills AND is calling for tapestry crochet! TAPESTRY CROCHET??? A little intimidating but also, "I don't KNOW tapestry crochet" I thought loudly. A quick google and video and I was good to go - and realized I did in fact know Tapestry Crochet just not what it was called. Ok now I'm definitely in!

The Kit comes with their Fettuccine yarn, which was also new to me. At first was thinking, this is quite wide and strange and, well, yes reminds me of Fettuccine - now I'm hungry. Anyway... I had to fight the natural urge to want to keep flattening the yarn but once I got over that my swatch worked up quickly and I really liked the texture. I also like that it is 100% cotton. It works up super easy. Like I said, it takes a minute or two to get used to for sure but by the time the base of the basket was done I was well on my way.

The pattern instructions are easy to follow and they come with an awesome chart to know exactly which color should be worked where. Even a Tapestry Crochet newbie like me had no problem sorting out the pattern to follow along.  My basket was done in no time once I got the rhythm of tapestry and comfortable carrying the extra yarn across.

Truly - this kit is a great afternoon project!

I absolutely LOVE how the finished basket came out. I added an extra finishing row to the top just to suit my own style and added my branding tag as well. Now I'm hooked (pun intended) and expect you will see lots more tapestry crochet baskets from me in the future. 

If you've wanted to try tapestry crochet or already a pro at it, I think you will love this kit. You can grab one here and use code 144XBK for 20% off and, as part of March Maker Madness, you can enter below to WIN an Aalto Basket Kit!!!

 

 

 

Disclosure: Betta Knit sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review & collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review content are completely my own.

The Holiday Bear Project

A little known fact about me is that I used to be the Prop Master for Sesame Street Live World Tour. It was beyond amazing traveling the world building and maintaining props. It was also incredibly fun to explore supplies and techniques all over the world. I must say I found some amazing finds in little known corners of the world.

The experience kept my creative juices flowing in full effect. Building giant toys and painting and basically playing super-sized arts and crafts all day was a dream job.

So when I was recently commissioned to create the accessories for the Winter Wonderland at the Javits Center in NYC I was both humbled and thrilled. I mean it was perfect bringing my current creative world full circle back to my supersized prop creating past.

Let's do it!  I selected Lion Brand Wool Ease thick & Quick yarn for two main reasons: it works up great and is chunky enough to be both cozy looking and proportional for the garments I was making. It also came in the perfect shade of blue and fisherman ivory for the Winter Wonderland scene.

 

Now for the patterns. The key character is a 8 ft tall winter bear. The bear's head has a circumference of 58". I am about 61" tall so that is a reference point for you for size: he has a BIG head. The scarf needed to be 16 FEET long, with fringe and wide enough to be proportional. The client was very clear about the look they wanted: Cozy, winter and hip. I had two patterns that i just knew could easily be modified for this giant bear perfectly. I also chose to both crochet AND knit for a nice texture variety. The bear should be fashionable after all.

For the Hat I chose to knit for the texture and modified my Birmingham Hat pattern to be super sized. I used Premier Yarns size 19 15mm 47" circular needles. I love how these feel in my hands and normally use them for my Harbour Cowl but they worked perfectly for this giant hat too. Since my normal cast on for this hat is 40 and fits an average 21" head I just tripled the cast on. Then I knit... and knit.. and knit some more. Then I kept knitting. Eventually I had to start decreasing and create the peak. I altered my decrease from the pattern to be more beanie than slouchy and knew the pom pom weight would add slouch. I made 4 pom poms using the Clover Giant Pom Pom maker and then tied them together.

For the scarf I chose an to do an oversized variation of my Roma Traveller Scarf. Then I added fringe. Lots and lots of fringe. The scarf itself ended up being 14' long and with fringe hit just over 16 feet. The fringe needed to proportional in bulk and length. It always comes back to math lol.

I chose to go back and forth between knitting the hat and crocheting the scarf to give my hands a break and also keep the project lively and interesting. I could not be more pleased with the result and the client loved it. I took a minute to have some fun with the giant scarf before shipping it off to New York city and you can see the complete Winter Wonderland scene below.

Get Organized: Hooks & Needles

As a new knitter, I've quickly started collecting a variety of knitting needles and supplies. I've been trying my best to keep organized and shop smart so as not to amass a pile of things I won't use for the long run. But I know I needed a better way to store it all than using a vase on my yarn shelf. Especially since I travel so much. The vase won't travel well 😉

Since I have two crochet hook cases that I love from Atelier de Soyun on Etsy,  I decided to go back and see if she could make me a knitting needle case. She had some in her shop but I wanted something that would hold all my gak in one case. I sent Soyun a description of the supplies I had and some of my needles are F-A-T, some others are loooooong and I explained that I wanted to make sure they would all fit into a single case. I was so excited when she said it could easily be done. YES!

Well, I could not be more thrilled with this purchase.

My knitting needle case is perfect!  Yup... She nailed it. Every needle fits, even my F-A-T ones and long ones. She even added pockets for my shorter hat making needle sets as well as pockets for my circular needles. Every needle has its place and that makes my heart happy. I've got my needles all organized and ready for when I need them or when I travel.

While I was browsing her shop I noticed her lovely project bags so I also got myself one for my on the go days.  The project bag is so amazingly well crafted and has inside pockets for organizing my supplies and notions. It's the exact size I needed and holds enough yarn and supplies for projects on the go. I am particularly happy with the drawstring close for when I toss that bag in the backseat (come on, we've all done it then cried when the yarn spilled out). I am now ready for travel!

This is my third case from Soyun and I cannot recommend this shop high enough. How do you stay organized with your hooks, needles & notions? Share in the comments below.

The Chalet Neck Cozy

The Chalet Neck Cozy
The Chalet Neck Cozy

I love neck cozies but I don't find them in many stores. So, of course, I found that as an opportunity to design & create my own!

Some days I don't want the bulk of a full scarf but I need the warmth. Enter the Chalet Neck Cozy.  They are also ideal for on the slopes. They keep me snuggle up warm but without all the bulk.

This was made with a faux ribbing stitch using chunky Lion Brand Hometown USA 100% Acrylic yarn and is available on my site here.

The pattern will soon be available in my pattern shop on Etsy.