Happenings

Christmas Crunch

Christmas Crunch

When blessings meet “curses!”

christmas crunch

Welcome to my holiday love affair with insanity, what I like to call the Christmas Crunch. This time of year, I’m reflecting on the year ending and planning the year coming, as well as baking like a madwoman. I’ve got about seven different kinds of cookies to make, a gingerbread cake, a blanket to finish before Santa comes, a pair of socks to knit that I haven’t even started yet….. Pour me a bourbon, okay? I don’t drink anymore, but I’m starting to rethink it.

 Wanna see what the 2019 Christmas Crunch is looking like? Let’s start with the blessings, since it’s so important to remember just how lucky we all are.

A gift from a new friend

wecrochet gift

I might be the luckiest person alive right now. A new friend decided to send me a Christmas present, but when she was asking for my address, she made it sound like it was just a ball of yarn. Therefore, I didn’t think the great big box that arrived yesterday was mine. I had already received all the yarn I had ordered this year, and thought this must be a mistake. Imagine my surprise (and happy tears!)

Inside, I found 4 skeins of the brand new sock yarn from WeCrochet called “Muse,” seven balls of the new Dishie Twist that I have been eyeing enviously since they released it, a bunch of solid Dishie to go with it, and four balls of the super-exclusive Felici colorway “Present.” You can only get Present with a $75 purchase, so this is HUGE! There was also an amazing WeCrochet project bag, a copy of their new magazine (the samples I crocheted for them are in it!) and Sparkles the Unicorn enamel pin. I have never been so overwhelmed with gratitude, and I am so thankful for this chick I can’t even find the words to express myself ♥

Planning a new class

With the new 2020 year on the horizon, there is so much planning to do! One of the more exciting things coming up is thanks to the lovely Melissa at Green Heart Awakening. GHA and R&R have partnered up to offer local crochet classes! These classes are one-on-one, one day available per month, and all materials are included. Each day we do them, there will be 4 slots available on a first come, first served, basis. The class is 90 minutes long, with an optional follow-up and lifetime email support. If you or someone you know is interested in learning to crochet and are local to the Pendleton, SC area, please check out the class listing here.

learn to crochet class

And now, the curse

Well well well, whatdoyaknow? I have a hooking injury, right in the middle of allllllll this yarn I need to work up. This could not have come at a worse time. Two Christmas presents still to do, the Felici On The Double cowl rage going strong, and I’m laid up with a hurt wrist. How will I get all of this stuff accomplished? I wonder if I can learn to hook with my feet… Oh well, what can you do? I guess I’m just going to try to laugh it off as my luck and have faith that it’ll all work out. There may be a couple of New Year’s presents coming up if they don’t get done before Christmas, but that’s okay. It’ll have to be.

Christmas Crunch will pass

Just like it does every year. This is such a fun and exciting time, and never without it’s wrenches thrown into the gears. I should be used to it by now. I’m going to go fix a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and a candy cane, take a few deep breaths, and remind myself just how fortunate I am to be able to do this at all. Working from home, for myself and not a boss, homeschooling my kids, enjoying my home and pets, and looking forward to emerging from hibernation in about a month to rejoin the world and all of my wonderful friends. Thank you all so much for being here ♥

Spun In The Grease

Spun In The Grease

Prepping Greasy handspun yarn

handspun

Not too long ago, my dearest friend and fellow yarnie Sarah sent me home with some handspun yarn. Wool, for sure, but what kind is anyone’s guess. She had gotten it from a friend who had gotten it from someone else, and apparently nobody knew what to do with it. Therefore, it was passed on down the line, ending with me. This yarn is lovely, spun by someone who clearly knew what they were doing. There was one little problem… It was spun in the grease.

Now that’s not ALWAYS a problem; plenty of spinners choose to spin in the grease. In fact, I’ve done it once myself (and hated every minute, haha.) I knew when she handed it over and I felt it, that I was going to have to do some serious cleaning up of this yarn before I could use it for anything. So now, since I’m in the middle of my annual psycho-creative period,  you get to follow along with me on a mini-adventure where we learn what it means for a yarn to be spun in the grease, how to clean it up, and why. While we’re at it, we’re also going to measure and reskein this lovely sheepy stuff as it came with no tags and I need to know what we’re working with. 

What does it mean to be spun in the grease?

handspun

As we all know, wool comes from sheep. Sheep produce lanolin, a waxy coating that keeps their wool water resistant. This is why wool diaper covers are usually lanolized: lanolin is added to the diaper cover so that it doesn’t leak.

Sometimes, when a sheep is sheered and the fleece is skirted, it is then  spun without being washed first. This is called “spinning in the grease.” I’ve done it one time and one time only, and I hated every minute! My hands felt like they had had a spa treatment, sure, but the experience was a weird mixture of gooey/creamy/crunchy. Not to mention that raw lanolin has a very strong scent. Not bad, exactly, but STRONG!

Let's get this stuff clean!

This yarn is very heavily greasy, so I knew it was going to take more than a quick wash to get all this lanolin out. I filled my plastic tub with hot water and a big squirt of original Palmolive dish soap. I was only able to comfortably fit two skeins at a time, so everything I did, I had to do again. Let me tell you, this was no easy washing. I had to fill the tub with hot water and dish soap TWICE and then rinse in clear hot water for both sets of skeins. 

After the final rinse, I squeezed out as much water as I could, and then took them out onto the deck and gave them a good twirling to spin out the rest of the water. They were then hung on hangers to dry in the laundry room. The yarn still felt a bit waxy, but at this point I’m thinking they should be clean enough to knit or crochet with. I can always wash the finished product really, really well before blocking, and the wool wash I use on finished objects is amazing. It really gets everything super clean! So this will be good enough for now.

washing handspun

And now we have a problem...

After roughly 48 hours, this gorgeous yarn was dry and ready to be measured and reskeined. I got out the swift, ball winder, and my yardage counter so that I could find out how much yarn I’m working with.

OMG

 

damnit

This yarn is so coarse, so thick, and still so loaded with lanolin (after TWO dish soap washes HOW???) that it BROKE MY FREAKING COUNTER! Okay, so it’s a cheap-ass counter anyway and I’ve been telling myself I need to get another one. But I don’t HAVE another one right now. Ugh.

Feeling somewhat disgusted right now. That’s okay, gonna keep going. I finally got all four skeins wound into balls, and decided to just leave them as is to save myself the hassle of reskeining. Furthermore, I can knit or crochet directly from the center-pull balls so reskeining would actually be hurting me anyway. At this point, I’m finished. And I need a new (and better) yarn meter, so off to make a purchase. Now I get to try to figure out what this yarn wants to be. Mitts, maybe? I’m thinking yes because if worn on the hands, the lanolin in this still-greasy yarn will offer a built-in spa treatment, and who wouldn’t want that?

finished winding

Spread the word!

Did you enjoy this post? Did you learn anything new? Got some questions, or maybe feedback. Let’s hear it! You can always get me through the contact form on the website, or through comments here on the post. If you feel so inclined, I’d be eternally grateful for a facebook share, pin, tweet, or IG of this post. Every little action you takes helps R&R to grow ♥

Felici On The Double Cowl

Felici On The Double Cowl

FREE crochet pattern!

Felici cowl

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am giving you all this Felici On The Double Cowl crochet pattern I wrote, for free. I am so thankful for you! If you don’t know about Felici, this is a Knit Picks Special Reserve yarn that only stocks twice a year, and is much loved and coveted by Felici lovers such as myself. In fact, we tend to be known for never using it, in fear that no pattern we choose will do it justice. In my humble opinion, this pattern does! If you decide to crochet this cowl, please hit the “favorite” button and create a project page on Ravelry. There are precious few crochet patterns written specifically for Felici, and I’m hoping to remedy that. On to the pattern!

Get your printable .pdf copy of this pattern for just $1.99 and help support my little business!

**Find the matching hat pattern HERE **

Felici On The Double Cowl

Crochet Cowl

Materials:    Hook size I/5.5mm, 2 balls of Felici (can be same or different colorways)

Before you get started:

~ This pattern is written for two strands of yarn held together at the same time.

~ There is a strangeish stitch here where you work a DC2tog decrease over 3 sts instead of two. Basically you will skip the middle of the 3 sts completely, working your decrease into the 1st and 3rd sts.

~ The ch 2 at the beginning of each row does NOT count as a stitch.

Gauge is not important, just know that you may have to stop a row early if you use a bigger hook or get a bigger gauge. No big deal 🙂 For more on why gauge IS usually important, check out this post.

My finished cowl was 8″ wide by 28″ circumference. Your size may vary, and this is okay! This pattern is meant to be laid back and stress free, so don’t overthink it!

 

felici cowl

Time to get hookin'!

Instructions:

  • ch 33, with both strands held together
  • Foundation row: 2DC in 2nd ch from hook, *DC in next 3 chs, DC2tog over next 3 chs skipping middle one, DC in next 3 chs, 3DC in next ch** repeat * to ** to end, ending with only 2DC in last ch. Turn. = 31 sts
  • Ch 2, 2DC in first st, *DC in next 3 sts, DC2tog over next 3 sts skipping middle st, DC in next 3 sts, 3DC in next st** repeat * to ** to end, ending with only 2 DC in last st. Turn. = 33 sts

Repeat previous row until almost out of yarn (I got 48 rows.) Then, line up ends and sl st together to form the cowl. Weave in ends. Was this the easiest thing ever?

felici cowl

I can’t wait to see your color combos! Post your finished object on facebook or instagram with the hashtag #FeliciOnTheDouble so we can all be inspired!
I hope you enjoy this Felici On The Double Cowl FREE crochet pattern. Writing patterns is time-consuming and labor intensive, so I don’t often offer them for free. Please, if you love this pattern, share this post! Share on facebook, link from your blog, or share in Ravelry forums. We need more Felici crochet patterns, so let’s help get this one out there! ♥

I have uploaded a .pdf version of this pattern to Ravelry to make it easier to print and take with you. For the month of January (2020) you can get it free using the code CAL when you check out. Otherwise, it’s just $1.99 like all my patterns. Thanks for your support! Get it here

Playing With Yarn

Playing With Yarn

My annual explosion of creativity

pile of yarn

Warm Fuzzies has come and gone. The customs list is closed for the year. All the stocking stuffers are finished and shipped, and there are a few things left in the shop. Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of free yarn time… Indeed, playing with yarn has never felt so glorious as when there are no deadlines to meet, no parameters, no expectations. Just creativity. Just art.

Every year, I look forward to having free time to create for myself and my family. Rows and Roses always closes down for December, and this year, December came a week early! From now until the start of 2020, I will be spinning, dying, knitting, crocheting, and weaving all of things I’ve been thinking about all year long. In addition to all of these items that will hopefully be falling off my hook and needles and loom, I will also be writing a pattern or two, and making big plans for the Grand Reopen 2020. Wanna see some of the things I’m working on?

Playing with yarn, Felici style!

crochet felici

If you are familiar with Knit Pick’s Felici, then you know this yarn is not to be trifled with. A special reserve self-striping sock yarn, Felici is only stocked twice a year, and it FLIES off the shelves! Felici hoarders are known as a special breed of yarnie: we stalk the website when it’s supposed to stock, and then it’s a free for all, grabbing all we can. Once we receive our packages of the stripy string, we tend to be too afraid to use it, worrying that no pattern will do it justice. So we just take it out and pet it, impatiently waiting for the next stocking 6 months later.

Not this little hooker! I decided to dive deep into my Felici stash and came out with Soft Serve, to go with my more newly acquired Coffee Break. I’m holding the two together to create a crocheted marled scarf of my original design. Although, the yardage may actually turn this into a cowl instead. We shall see! So far, I am absolutely loving the way this looks.

The Neverending Sweater

Way back in….. June? Maybe? I bought a value pack of Hawthorne called Dark Mood. It came with 6 skeins of yarn in dark burgundy, red, greys, and black. All very pretty individually, but together… WOWZA! I had to have it. Of course, I had no idea what I was going to use it for. As I was browsing on Ravelry, I came across a knit sweater pattern called Ink. This sweater, as I recall, seemed to me to be an absolute marvel. A cabled monstrosity! Ink would be difficult, possibly a trial and tribulation, that would either send me home crying or greatly raise my skill level. You know me, I had to at least try. Furthermore, I had to put my own spin on it by making the fade sequence exactly what I wanted in a sweater. Here is my progress so far ——>

I’m not gonna lie, it’s tedious and tiresome at times. Boy I am really learning a lot from it though, and I can’t wait to wear it! So I’m trudging along, eating this elephant one bite at a time….. I sure hope it’s finished by next fall.

Weaverly Marsh is back at it!

weaverly marsh

Sometimes, I just have to get off the couch, drop the hook and needles, and do something else. Weaverly Marsh, my new(ish) rigid heddle loom, saves the day! After my Blue Willow kitchen set came off, Isaiah and I decided that playing with the new Dishie colors was the perfect thing to do next.

We settled on the new Flower Girl multi, along with Jalapeno and Swan. I am seriously loving how these colors are playing together. I am a slow weaver as all the standing hurts my back, so I have to do it in short bursts. Headway is being made, however! I’m convinced that Weaverly Marsh is just what R&R needed, and I can see weaving becoming a staple here at Rows and Roses for a long time to come.

And the playing with yarn continues...

Besides everything I’ve shared here, there are so many more things going on! Like my daughter’s crocheted blanket I’m trying to finish up for Christmas, and the crazy folded hat pattern I found. Not to mention my son’s socks that he asked for, and all of the planning for the coming year. And did I tell you about all the bare yarn and new dyes I got? Or the hand-dyed pencil roving that’s coming from Kim Dye’s Yarn? Hang out with me this winter, here and in the facebook group, and you’ll see it all! What are you working on this winter? Leave a comment and let me know! And as always, if you found value in this post, please share. Every action you take helps my little yarn business grow ♥

Handmade Holidays

Handmade Holidays

Handmade Holidays = Happiness!

Why Handmade Holidays? That’s easy. Here at Rows and Roses, I hold to the belief that quality handmade items are the best items. Whether you’re stopping by the local boutique, or buying online from a friend’s shop, your dollar is helping support a family, and not just a corporation. Piano lessons, school supplies, birthday presents, and gas in the car, are all made possible for small business owners by their much-appreciated clientele. 

Today, I’d like to round up a few small businesses for your handmade holidays shopping pleasure. No matter if you’re buying for a child, your mother, your best friend, or your boss, you can certainly find everything you’re looking for right here. Items of the highest quality, at prices you can afford. Furthermore, you can rest easy knowing you are helping a family make a better life, rather than helping a CEO buy another sports car.

Green Heart Awakening

First up, Green Heart Awakening. Located in the heart of Pendleton, SC,  Green Heart Awakening offers nature-inspired wellness for mind, body, and spirit. In Melissa’s store, there are more than 100 organic bulk herbs, spices, and teas as well as a variety of goods for natural health and natural living, including essential oils, CBD oil, and incense. Items are sourced locally whenever possible. (SPOILER: Rows & Roses is sold here!)

In the studio, you’ll find yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, herbal education, plant-based cooking classes, and more. Free monthly gatherings include a La Leche League meeting, a family music night, and a women’s moon circle.

Tea pots, tumblers, and infusers make great gifts! And if you’re in the mood for something a little more personal, why not buy bulk herbs and build your own teas? You can gift them in a Mason jar tied with a bow. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive such a thoughtful present?

In addition to her website, you can also find her on facebook and instagram. If you’re in the Pendleton area, why not stop in for a cup of tea and chat?

Our Budding Life

Our Budding Life is the perfect candidate for our Handmade Holidays post! Owned and operated by herbalist Kristy, Our Budding Life offers classes, workshops & walks for those that want to learn more about wild plants that are edible & medicinal. The new herbal product line, Whimsical WhatsIts has offerings for whole body wellness with elderberry syrups, nourishing balms, first-aid kits & so much more.

As a wild plant enthusiast and herbalist, Kristy of Our Budding Life has a special love for teaching and sharing her knowledge about plants through classes & workshops. Her unique products make great additions to gift baskets for the natural, health-conscious loved one on your list!

 

You can find all of Kristy’s creations on the web, on facebook, and on Instagram.

Kim Dyes Yarn

I am so excited to introduce this next awesome business to you. You may remember her from a woolies coop we collaborated in a few years back in the facebook group. This is Kim Dyes Yarn, the most awesome indie dyer I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Kim Dyes Yarn is a one woman indie dyer business from Virginia, in business since 2010, specializing in fantastic colorways on high quality yarns and fibers. 
 
Kim says:
“I am a lifelong knitter and learner, and know the important roles dyeing techniques and color theory play in ensuring your finished projects turn out beautifully. My passion is gorgeous color, conceived of in my mind’s eye and translated into dye on wool. Inspirations are nature, art, favorite books, and movies.”
 
Be sure to check out her shop and pick up a very special gift or gift certificate for the yarny on your list. You can find her on facebook and Instagram, and if you’re lucky enough to be in the area, she will be at the Holiday Market event in Vienna, VA this year!
 

Rows & Roses

Y’all don’t forget about me! Rows and Roses has been in business since 2011. In the years between, it has morphed from just crochet, into a well-rounded yarn and fiberworks business. I now offer knitted items, hand-dyed yarns and fibers, and handspun yarn, in addition to crochet.

Besides my handmade items, you may also purchase a gift certificate from me, good for a one-on-one learn to crochet class! Just ask me how, and I’ll get you the details!

In my shop, you will find everything you need for all of your most gift-worthy people. From washable wool soap savers (kids love these for working up a great lather!) to catnip fishies for your sweet kitties, to a gorgeous skein of ice-dyed fingering weight yarn for your crafty friend, it’s all right here. 

Holiday pre-orders close this Friday, so be sure to get your orders in before then! 

Enjoy your Handmade Holidays!

I hope this post has been a great jumping-off point for all of your Handmade Holidays needs. Shopping small is so important, now more than ever, in a world run by major corporations. Therefore, make your dollar count this year, and every year! If you’ve found value in this post, please consider sharing. Let’s spread the word and help support families and communities ♥

Learning to Ice Dye Yarn

Learning to Ice Dye Yarn

Learning to Ice Dye Yarn: Another adventure in fiber crafts 

Acid dyes for dying yarn

Today I’m learning to ice dye yarn. This is something I had heard about a while back, but never had the time to try to figure out. I’ve dyed yarn in the past, both hand-painted and kettle dyed, but ice dying is something new to me. Seeing as how I’m on day 2 of a five day streak of staying at home, it looks like today will be the perfect day! No time like the present, am I right?

Follow along with me here today if you’re interested in learning to ice dye yarn yourself. Not that my newbie self can probably teach you anything other than what NOT to do… but hey, it’ll be fun I bet. Let’s get started trying to figure this thing out.

Yarn prepped for dying

What is ice dying?

From what I understand, dying yarn using the ice dye method is supposed to be super simple. Ice dying fabric is also a thing, and I’ve seen some gorgeous ice dyed bamboo velour, but since I’m into yarn and not fabric, let’s just stick with the yarn for now, mkay?

Apparently, the gist of it is that you mix up your dye and pour it into ice cube trays. You then freeze it, bust up the cubes (or leave them whole, but not us!) and sprinkle them onto your prepped yarn. Once you have the ice the way you want it, simply bake the yarn in the oven to set it. I’m excited to see if it’s really THAT easy!

 

The Process

(otherwise known as the adventure)

This is it! The start of our epic adventure. Picking out the dyes is always fun. Since I wanted to do a speckly green, so I went with Jacquard acid dyes in Emerald, Chartreuse, Turquoise, a diluted Sky Blue/Yellow Sun mix, and then as an afterthought, I added Jet Black. I used a 1/8 teaspoon to measure out some dyes into each jar, then added a splash of vinegar, along with some water. Craft sticks make perfect stirrers for something like this. Do you think I made a mess? I mean….. of course.

My yarn has been soaking in a tub of hot water with vinegar all morning, so it should be ready to go. After pouring dye into my one and only ice cube tray, I put it in the freezer to set up. Waiting is going to be the hardest part, for sure! 

Patience: not my virtue

Ice takes a long time to freeze. Like, I was kinda aware of that, but not as aware as I am now. I waited all damn day for this dye to set up and let me tell you, it was the longest day of my life! Knitting happened while waiting. Hanging out with the kids. A friend came by and brought Isaiah his old drum kit, which was awesome. Lots of fun was had while waiting, but still……. waiting sucks. 

Considering I was going to have to wait for as long as it decided to take for the dye to freeze anyway, I decided to go ahead and get ready for the pounding. Oh yeah. Demolition’s my THANG! Even if it’s just ice cubes.

73186829_2508892869231490_4604495779317415936_n

And now, we dye

From here on, we’re really getting into our project. After squeezing out a good bit of the water, I spread out my skein of yarn into a roasting pan with parchment laid in it. I want to be able to continue to use this pan with food at some point, and I don’t want to take a chance that the metal may react with the dye. I preheated the oven to 250 degrees. You know I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, right? The ice cubes were dumped into thick freezer bags, after which I smashed them with a hammer. Lots of big pieces, small pieces, and tiny pieces seem just about perfect for what we’re doing, don’t you think?

Smashing is my favorite, so I savored that little task. Then, after making sure all the yarn was spread as thinly as possible without causing a tangled mess, I scattered the ice, one color at a time, in a random fashion over the yarn. Isn’t it so pretty??

Yarn spread out
Ice cubes scattered

Wakey Wakey, yarn gets bakey!

Into the oven it went, much like the witch from Hansel and Gretel. But not as roughly. I was careful. Baking at 250 for about 30 minutes seems right (remember I have no idea what I’m doing, k?) Back to waiting…

Ding!

Oh my very goodness. Looks like all that patience really paid off. This yarn is gorgeous! The greens and blues speckled with the black is exactly what I was thinking when I started on this today. This is my dream yarn, y’all! I can’t believe how amazing it looks. But… what is that? Is that ORANGE? Where did THAT come from?! I wonder if perhaps some of that Sun Yellow didn’t dissolve well. It’s actually quite nice. An unexpected surprise, yes, but I dig it!

Ice dyed yarn
Orange speckles

Learning to ice dye yarn has been such a fun adventure! I’m so glad we decided to do this, aren’t you? This gorgeous yarn will be listed in my shop soon (if I don’t decide to use it first.) It’s a fingering weight, single-ply wool and will be absolutely perfect for a crocheted shawl. Wanna learn about fingering weight, and all the other weights of yarn? Check out my post here.

Thank you all so much for joining me today. Gorgeous yarn never gets old, does it? If you like what you see, or found value in this post, please share it! There’s lots more to come ♥

What’s UP Sunday…

What’s UP Sunday…

Sharing our week, Fall Back edition.

Just look at that sky!

Sharing our week

Happy Sunday! I’m so glad to be sharing our week with you! Have you had a good week? This whole week has been filled with “things,” including gymnastics on Monday, Halloween, a baking day with a new friend, and an amazing concert where we took the kids to see Slayer, Pantera(ish) and Ministry! I’ve been taking my yarn along to most things, of course. Can’t do things without yarn… 

THIS IS HALLOWEEN THIS IS HALLOWEEN

First of all, can I just say, Halloween is awesome. We always get so excited to dress up and be scary, eat candy, and just be festive. This year, Isaiah wanted to be Jason and Rose wanted to be Sumara (if you’ve never seen The Ring, don’t. You’ll never sleep well again!) We visited the grandparents, and then checked out an amazingly decorated house and got tons of candy there. After we came home, Brock and the kids decorated a cake to look like Jason’s mask, then we all piled on the bed and watched Hocus Pocus. Best Halloween ever!

Baking is my favorite!

Friday was a super fun day. A new friend invited us over to bake with her and play with her kids. The kids of course did the eating, but not the baking, haha. I made pumpkin cheesecake bars, and Stephanie wanted to make a cake and teach me how to decorate. Cake decorating has never been something for me (I make ugly cakes, y’all) so I was excited to learn. We picked out a cake that was supposed to look like a crocheted hat, but then….. well, let’s just say we had WAY too much fun (and coffee) and basically destroyed her kitchen with icing. The cake tasted amazing, but did not look much like a hat. Oh well, next time!

Maybe some yarn?

On a yarn note, I finished up a whole bunch of little things this week. I have two packages ready to go with two more really close. Look at that capelet, y’all! This was a project I really enjoyed. A dear friend and customer of mine sent me the link for this pattern and asked me to make it for her, and I am so glad she did. It calls for Loops and Threads Charisma in “Ashes” It was a lot of fun to see how the colors shift and change throughout, and I’m really digging some short rows right about now.

Finally...

The highlight of our week happened last night in Asheville. We went to see some of our favorite talent in the world, SLAYER!! Phil Anselmo was there with the Illegals, doing a Pantera set which was absolutely amazing since I never got a chance to see Pantera live. Ministry was there, as well, and they kicked all kinds of ass. Isaiah’s a seasoned veteran of metal shows by now, but this was Rose’s very first show ever. She was over the moon to get to see Slayer before they retire. Oddly enough, Isaiah’s first metal show was also Slayer, when they toured with Lamb of God. This means that now, both of my kids have fond first-show memories of SLAYER! That’s how you do that parenting thing, in case you didn’t know.

Now I leave you with some really crappy concert pics I took with my phone last night. Enjoy!

As an aside, just so you know, I did put up a bunch of preorders in my shop for stocking-stuffer type things, such as soap savers and citrus scrubbies. The holidays are FAST approaching, so if you’re wanting to up your gift basket game, be sure to order as soon as you can!

I’d love to know how your week went. Drop a comment and tell us all what went on in your neck of the woods!

THROWBACK: Candy Corn Sack

THROWBACK: Candy Corn Sack

**FREE CROCHET PATTERN**

In honor of my very favorite time of year, I decided to move my free crochet pattern for this Candy Corn Sack over to the new blog, for your hooking pleasure 🙂 This was hugely popular when I first released it. If you haven’t made one yet, you still have time before Halloween! If you love this, please share ♥

(Original post from 2017)

Here at Rows and Roses, we’re all so excited for cooler weather and scary good times. I created this pattern for Halloween this year, for my kids and for a round of Halloween specials that just recently closed in my group. You know I never publish free patterns, so I thought I’d spread a little spooky fun and share it with you 🙂

One thing, though: please make sure that if you choose to share this pattern with your friends (and I sure hope you will!) that you only provide a link to this blog or to the pattern on Ravelry. Writing a pattern takes a long time and always makes me want to cry a little, so please never claim a pattern as your own or copy & paste any part of it. Always link!

Alright, let’s have it:

Candy Corn Sack

Free crochet pattern

Materials:(1) skein I Love This Yarn (Hobby Lobby brand) in “Ivory” (40 yards)

(1) skein I Love This Yarn in “Desert Glaze” (75 yards)
(1) skein I Love This Yarn in “Yellow” (90 yards)
Hook- size 7 (gauge isn’t important, so whatever makes a good fabric for you)

Stitches Used:
Chain (ch)
Single crochet (sc) 
Slip stitch (sl st)
Increase (inc) two sc in next st
Decrease (dec) pull up a loop in each of the next 2 sts, yo and pull through all 3 loops on hook
Half double crochet (hdc) In this pattern, these are only worked INTO THE                                              STITCH BELOW the stitch you would normally work into. This is to create a thick, sturdy, reinforced handle.

The way I work up this bag is by putting 2 increases, an equal distance apart, into every round. This forms a nice, slow flare, making the triangle shape not too deep and not too shallow. I work in a spiral, so no joining rounds (until close to the end.) I use a stitch marker near the beginning of the rounds just so I know where I am. 

Let’s get started!

With Ivory:
Ch 4. Join with sl st to form a ring. 
6 sc in center of ring. DO NOT JOIN, here and throughout until instructed.
*Inc in next st, sc in each of next 2 sts* twice. = 8sc
*Inc in next st, sc in each of next 3 sts* twice. = 10sc
*Inc in next st, sc in each of next 4 sts* twice. = 12sc

Continue in this manner until you have 50 sc around, or, as I prefer to count my sections separately, 25 sc from one inc to the next.

Change to Desert Glaze in last st.

With Desert Glaze:
*Inc in next st, sc in each of the next 24 sts* twice. = 52sc
*Inc in next st, sc in each of the next 25 sts* twice. = 54sc

Continue in this manner, remembering to move your stitch marker each time it starts to shift too much, until you have 90 sc, or 45 sc from one inc to the next.

Change to Yellow in last st.

With Yellow:
*Inc in the next st, sc in each of the next 44 sts* twice. = 92sc
*Inc in the next st, sc in each of the next 45 sts* twice. = 94sc

Continue for 3 more rounds, until you have 100 sc around, or 50 sc from one inc to the next.

NOW YOU WILL JOIN by slipping into the next st (which would be the first st of the next round.)
Ch 1.
Now you’re starting the even, joined rounds.
*sc around. Join with sl st. Ch 1.* 5 times altogether. You now have 5 even joined rounds of 100 sc.

Time to start the handles!
Still with Yellow:
  sc 15, ch 28, skip 20 sts, sc 30, ch 28, skip 20 sts, sc in 15. Join.

Now we will work 3 rounds of sc, while decreasing at the places where the handles “join” the bag.

*sc in each st to 1 sc before ch, dec in next sc and 1st ch, sc in each ch to last ch, dec in next ch and 1st sc after ch* twice, sc in remaining sts. Join. = 112sc

*sc in each st until 1 sc before dec, dec in next sc and dec, sc in each st to dec, dec in dec and next sc* twice, sc in remaining sts. Join. = 108sc

Repeat previous round. = 104sc

To finish up, we’re going to work a final round of hdc, working into the stitches one row below. THESE ARE THE STITCHES YOU JUST WORKED INTO ON THE PREVIOUS ROUND. This creates a thick reinforced ridge at the top of the handles.

hdc in each st BELOW, all the way around, skipping the decreases altogether. (You will see where the decreases from the previous row are, there will be 3 “holes” in which you can place a stitch. You will hdc into the first “hole,” skip the second, and hdc into the third. If reading this doesn’t make much sense, it will once you’re actually doing it. Don’t worry, keep going <3 )  = 104hdc

That’s it! You’re all finished! Grab a yarn needle and weave in your ends, then go collect as much candy as possible <3

If you like this free crochet pattern, please leave a comment here, on Rav, favorite it, queue it, Pin it, pass it on, visit my facebook page, join my group, or drop me an email.

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Is Gauge Important?

Is Gauge Important?

Have you had trouble getting gauge with knit and crochet? Is getting gauge with knit and crochet even important? Read on and let me help!

An adventure in swatching- Getting Gauge with knit and crochet

The short answer: Yes. Getting gauge in knit and crochet *IS* important. This is true especially if you are unsure about sizing, or the pattern uses a technique that is new to you. Doubly so if your math skills are not up to snuff, or you have a specific amount of yarn with which to work. Basically, there are many good reasons why you’ll want to pay attention to gauge. Read on and see how you can make gauge work for you.

These swatches are all the exact same yarn, worked with different sized hooks.

Gauge? Huh?

So what is gauge, exactly? Well, to put it simply, gauge is how many stitches and/or rows you have per unit of measurement, usually 1″ or 4″ squared. If you’re looking at a pattern and it tells you that gauge is 20 sts x 24 rows = 4″ then you know two things. First, that 20 stitches needs to be 4″ across. Which also mean you’ll need 24 rows to be 4″ tall. Here’s where you need to swatch.

A gauge swatch is simply knitting or crocheting a small, square piece of fabric using the yarn and hook or needles specified in the pattern. Work your swatch before you do anything else so that you can see how close (or far off) you are from the intended gauge. If you’re getting less stitches per inch than the pattern calls for (for example you only get 12 stitches in 4″,) then you’ll need to go down a hook or needle size and try again. Same goes the other direction: if you’re getting too many stitches in your measured section, then your hook or needles are too small and you’ll need to go up a size.

Tell me why!

What happens if your gauge is close but not quite? What happens if you decide not to swatch and just hope for the best? Well…. maybe everything will be okay, but more than likely, you’re going to deal a with a good bit of frogging (rip-it, rip-it) and a whole lot of wasted time. Here’s why:

Say your gauge is too small, but not by much. Maybe you’re supposed to get 10 stitches per inch, but you’re  getting 11. Seems like not a huge deal, so you just go with it. Close enough is close enough, right? Well, maybe. If you’re just making a washcloth, or a scarf, then you may not mind one bit if it’s just slightly wider or longer that the pattern says it will be. In fact, you may never even notice! 

But what if it’s a sweater? Or mittens? You must remember that you’re not going to be just one stitch too many in the finished item, but rather one stitch PER INCH too many. If your item is supposed to be 10 inches long, then at 11 stitches per inch, it’s going to be 11 inches long. For a mitten, that’s a good bit more than you bargained for. What if your finished item is supposed to be 30 inches long? Now it’s going to be 33. 

Think about that. That’s a BIG difference, especially in something like sleeve length, or bust circumference! This is how being just slightly off in gauge can result in a hat or sweater that is completely unwearable. Look what happened when I tried to knit an adult hat and didn’t swatch:

Great, but is it ALWAYS necessary?

It is absolutely possible to turn this whole idea on its head though, if you’re good at math and know what you’re doing. One of my preferred methods of creating “my own” item out of someone else’s pattern is to swatch for fabric, rather than for gauge. Especially if the yarn contains any silk (swoooooon.) I will look at the recommended hook or needle size and start there, just to have a jumping-off point. Then I will make 3-4 swatches with hook/needle sizes close to the stated size .

For example, if a pattern calls for a 4mm hook, I may make swatches using 3.5, 4, 5, and maybe even 6. This is so that I can see how the fabric feels and drapes. I’ll pick the swatch that looks and feels the best to me, and then rework the math in the pattern to make it match my gauge. 

This is fairly time consuming, and math isn’t something I’m great at, only passable. Therefore, I tend not to do this for a customer’s order as it takes an ample amount of extra time and effort, and I have to charge extra for that. As I progress in my journey, I hope to one day be good enough at it to start making most of my items this way.

Show us your gauge!

I’d love to see your pictures of gauges gone wrong! Send them to Sati@rowsandroses.com or post them on the facebook page with hashtag #GaugeGoneWrong and share your horror story with the world. Show everyone why getting gauge with knit and crochet is so important! 

If you have any questions about what you’ve read, you can always contact me. And please, if you found value in this post, take just a second or two to hit some buttons for me. Like, tweet, pin, comment, and mostly SHARE SHARE SHARE!

What’s UP Sunday…

What’s UP Sunday…

Welcome back! I hope you’ve had a great week this week. We sure have. We went to Six Flags over Georgia on Monday (ghetto as all hell, not worth half the ticket price, would not recommend, but at least it was something…) the greatest Halloween party ever Friday night, and we’ve been enjoying tons of homemade desserts because it’s that time of year! And with only one more week of school left, we’re really living it up over here. I’m ready to get on with my glorious Sunday, so let’s have it.

MUSIC
What shall we listen to today? Sunday is a day full of music around here (really, everyday we have music, but Sundays are special.) While the little girl and I clean up the house and wait on the guys to get home from the grocery store, we like to rock out. I’m letting her pick today since I made her listen to Black Sabbath and Ozzy last Sunday (don’t let her lie to you, she liked it.) She looks to be settling on Ice Nine Kills and Melissa Etheridge. Sounds like an interesting combination, yeah? This girl always keeps me on my toes!

YARN
I cannot get enough of this Swish superwash Merino yarn today, y’all. I have been knitting a couple of cowls from the Warm Fuzzies buy that just recently closed, and this Marine Heather is the most stunning color! It’s a cross between Sapphire and Cornflower blue, but the heather is a lovely aqua that just barely peeks through in a soft sheen of fibers. It’s so soft and bouncy, and almost feels like velvet running through my fingers. When the sunlight streams through the window and hits it, it’s ethereal! I’ve long been a fan of Swish, but this particular color is really knocking me out. If you’re looking for machine-washable wool for you fall and winter crafting, click the pic and check it out! (Not an affiliate link, just sharing a great find.)

COFFEE
I can’t let another day go by without telling you what Isaiah and I found. It’s a coffee club called Atlas Coffee Club, and they send us coffees grown and roasted from around the world! These coffees are single-origin, meaning they haven’t been blended with cheap-ass filler coffee, and you can really taste the difference. The monthly subscription comes with an online passport that tells us all about the coffee we’re receiving that month, and lets us rate it after we’ve tried it. So far we’ve received Congo Kiniezire and El Salvador Chalatenango, and they have both been amazing! We get the lowest subscription they offer, which is $9/month and gets us a 9oz bag delivered every four weeks. It’s just enough for us to have Special Coffee Saturday three weeks out of the month with the fourth week giving us a chance to look forward to the next shipment! We’re really enjoying it and using it as part of our social studies ( #HomeschoolRocks ) If you’re interested in trying it out, clicking the picture above will get both YOU and me a $10 credit! (Yes, that is an affiliate link.)

So tell me, what are your plans for this day of rest? Is it rest? Or something else?

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