Thursday, September 16, 2021


I was so excited this past weekend because I attended the annual New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival in Lambertville, NJ. I went on Saturday and had a blast. I was hesitant to go at first but then I decided to go. I was concerned because when I got there, I was at first the only one that was wearing a mask. But I wore my mask and kept going.

At our New Jersey festival it is set up with four barns. Two have the vendors set up and there is a barn for all the sheep and another barn for competitions of the different breeds of sheep.

I was meeting another friend there, but I was so glad I got there early because I got my animal fix. The sheep of different breeds were so beautiful to see, and I was in my glory just to be able to pet all those that wanted a little extra lovin. The pictures are mostly those that I got to enjoy upfront and personal. Not all the sheep wanted to be loved. Their wool was so thick, but they just enjoyed the attention, and I enjoyed the time with them. I didn’t want to leave that area. But I did have some shopping to do.

Every year they always have things going on. There are weaving and spinning demonstrations, sheep shearing, angora rabbits and as usual they have the dog and sheep gathering show. This is where the dog would show you how he gathers the sheep. I guess they didn't want the crowds to gather so they had no special time just continuous ongoing all day. I love to see how excited the dog gets to be able to do his job. He sure gets a lot of exercise.

I was pleasantly surprised to see so many vendors to choose from. I did a little damage in buying yarn and beads. It was good for the vendors and there was a good crowd that grew as the day went on. The very first vendor I came to had yarn that I wanted to make the Snefald shawl. This will be my first steeking project which I am excited to make. The picture on Revelry showed it in brown tones with a gold pop of color and that is what I wanted. So, they had those colors and that was my first purchase. Oh, but I wasn't finished. I continued right to the next booth, and she had a sale going on. Well, I couldn't pass up a sale now could I. So that is where I purchased the Light Brown Hare yarn. That's the name of the company and I've gotten that yarn before. I purchased three hanks, each was 100% superwash Merino in fingering weight and 400 yards. Two will be for another shawl and one I just don't know what I will do with that one. What is the famous sentence - it is so pretty so I gotta have it.

Then, I found my favorite booth. It had all that I wanted. That is where I got the mini hanks and medium hanks for dying yarn. This is Highland wool. I also got one hank of a yak/silk/merino blend. I always wanted to try and knit with yak. They also had Highland wool zebra stripe in fingering weight. This has over 400 yards. I purchased only two because it had a lot of yardage. But then after showing someone the yarn they pointed out that I could have gotten more and over-dyed it with another color. Oh my goodness, now that will be something else to look out for in my future purchases. The prices at this booth were great so I wish I would have gotten more. Oh well, you live and you learn.

A picture of all my goodies

I am about to venture into another part of the craft world - spinning. Yes, I decided to do that next. I had tried drop spindle spinning and just didn't put enough time into learning how to do it. I even purchased a beautiful hand carved drop spindle which has been sitting for years. Maybe once I get the hang of spinning, I will be able to understand how to do the drop spindle. So one of my craft buddies in Australia showed me her electric one and she loves it. So there you go, I was convinced. I will be sharing more about this in future posts. There is no bordom my way, just not enough time. So, to prepare myself for that I purchased some roving.

I said I purchased beads. I forgot that there was a vendor there usually with beads and there is one for buttons. I had to get some beads but unless I had a pattern I don’t know if I have enough. I got two colors with over 1,000 beads each, so I think I can find a project to add those to. Or, I can make jewelry with them. Only time will tell.

There is only a couple of vendors for food. I usually go for the 4H Club that is usually there. They sell hamburgers, hotdogs, butternut squash soup, chili and deserts. But one thing they had which was simply heavenly was fresh sweet ears of corn. Oh, my goodness, it was so good. The best corn I've ever had. Well, of course because you are surrounded by cornfields, so it came from one of those and it tasted like it was picked right off the vine. All I can say it was a far cry from what you would get at the supermarket. There was no comparison. It needed nothing on it, cooked to perfection. Next year, I will need to bring something to wrap some up to bring home or ask them where there is a local farm that I can buy some at. The ones from the 4H Club are young but they are so nice and helpful. There was one young girl that I had to tell her how much I appreciate her inviting smile and just how she carried herself. Someone is teaching them the right thing.

I was glad I went to the festival even though there was hardly any mask wearing. It is a small festival, and I got my animal fix and yarn purchases that can last me through the winter. But it got me excited to think of next year and going again to see what treasures I can find.

Well, that’s all for now. Keep enjoying what you love and stay safe.

Friday, September 3, 2021


I hope that this post can help new knitters and crocheters start to understand yarns. On my blog I want to help as many newbies to grow in the craft and make their experience more pleasurable. I don’t know who is looking at this blog whether it be new knitters/crocheters or ones from different countries. But we need to keep in mind that we all started at the beginning and felt lost in the world of terminology and techniques. If something at any time is not clear, please reach out so that I can explain further.

The world of yarn can bring a little struggle even for those like myself that has been working with the craft for years. So when you are starting out it is even more confusing. Because I attend several zoom sessions for knitting and crochet, sometimes we assume that all on the call knows the basics. But that is not always true. Depending upon who taught them or what level they are at they might not have been shown the most basic things.

There are so many yarns and yarn companies out there today, but three main packaging’s are usually used. And there are a couple of rules to follow so your experience will be a pleasant one.

Yarn is either wound in a:

1) ball

2) skein

3) hank

With a skein and ball there are two ways to use it.

1) Inside tail (called Center-pull)

2) Outside tail

Some skeins have it marked which side to pull out the center pull and others don’t.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t use the center pull, but you might have to dig inside the middle to find it. What can happen is when you try to find that tail in the middle, you can get a glob of yarn and you think it is knotted. So you might have the tendency to pull and pull just to make a bigger mess. To alleviate that problem, you must understand that it is not a knot but that the yarn has just tangled around each other, and it needs to be gently released and then it will work out fine. Also, when you are working with a skein of yarn and you get to a place where that it seems to be all tangled up, avoid the urge to pull until it is a knot. I shake the yarn and try to see where it is tangled around each other. Yes, I said shake. It won’t knot up but you can see where things are just wrapped around each other by taking the tine to really examine before getting agitated. That can loosen it up so you can work with freeing that little mess.

Even though it is so much nicer to work with the center pull, you don’t want to frustrate yourself with the process of trying to find the center yarn and potentially creating a mess. The easiest thing to do is work with the outside tail. Also, something to remember is there are larger skeins of yarn that gives you enough for a blanket, such as A Pound of Love by Lion Brand. This is a squishy soft yarn and I use that from the outside not the inside. When worked from the inside it could become a hot mess. It can collapse on you and then you would need to take time to untangle, and you don’t want to do that, I’m sure.

The next time you are either in a craft store or your LYS (Local Yarn Shop) look at the different yarns, sizes and feel the yarn for softness, roughness or scratchiness depending upon what it is made out of. Don't just be fixated on those pretty colors.

Now your LYS (Local Yarn Shop) has all three yarns usually (skein, ball, hank). The ball and skein you need not do anything with it but start your project. But the hank there is another step that needs to be done. Sometimes if someone comes in to purchase yarn and they buy a hank they might not always ask if you need it to be wound into a cake form for easy use. Using a hank without being wound is a true disaster that you really don’t want to experience and depending upon the yarn you purchased it can be costly. If you are into old movies of the 70’s and back you might remember seeing someone holding bent arms up as yarn is placed around those arms and another person is winding the yarn into a ball from it. Or you might remember your grandmother doing that using the back of a chair or some other sort to hold the yarn as it is wound in a ball. We don’t have to do that anymore. Some still do if they don't have the tools and that's fine. There are though two tools that are used called a swift and ball winder. My ball winder is a manual model. The yarn shop that I worked at there was an electric ball winder which really made it easy and fast.

To avoid frustration you always want to remember to ask for the hank to be wound and the yarn band to be included. You should keep one yarn band for each yarn you purchase. This has very important information on it, especially if you didn’t get enough yarn for your project and you need to get more. We can’t rely on our brains to remember all the details of our purchase. Because I work on multiple projects, one way I control my yarn for each project is cut a piece of the yarn and tape it on the yarn band and I include the name of the project. But this is for the future when you have more than one project going. Make it easy on yourself because it is going to get harder as we venture out and our yarn stash grows as well as our desire to make more projects. The excitement of pattern finding can be endless even when you are a beginner because there are so many resources. You have to learn tips and tricks from those that started out in controlling their yarn stash and projects. Because if you come to really enjoy your craft the words will come out: What happened, or I looked around one day and it just happened. No worries, you will figure it all out. Just keep having fun with what you love to do.