Saturday, April 26, 2014

SciFi Chris with a blog post about a spur of the moment yarn tasting roadtrip.

On Thursday, I got an email from Doug.  There was a yarn tasting at the Flaming Ice Cube in Ohio on Saturday, was I interested in going?  He’d also managed to get a hold of a few other folks, on short notice, who could head out to Ohio early Saturday morning.

What’s a yarn tasting?  If you know, you can skip this paragraph.  If you don’t, then read on.  A yarn tasting is when a yarn shop offers short lengths of many different types of yarn to try out.  You can make up a small swatch of the yarn, finding out how it works up.  There’s usually a variety of fibers, textures, and weights.  Its nice to be able to try out a yarn that you might not normally have bought.  The idea is, of course, that you will then go and buy lots of yarn.   Which I typically do.

Doug was able to find three others to drive out with him:  Diane, Rebecca, and me.  We met up at the Camp Horne Giant Eagle and then set off for the wilds of Ohio.  We only made one stop along the way.  Doug, knowing that one day the machines will rise up against us, decided to check the map to make sure his GPS wasn’t leading us astray. 


We arrived at Flaming Ice Cube, finding the shop fairly easily.  The Flaming Ice Cube is a yarn shop and a vegan café.  There were tasty veggie wraps, snacks, and vegan muffins and cookies for us to munch on during the presentation, all from the café.  The shop is a nice size and has a good selection of yarn.  It has lots of knitting accessories and books, but very few crochet hooks or books.  Once the folks hosting the yarn tasting realized there were several crocheters present, I have to say that they did make an effort to be inclusive.  Even going so far as to get some crochet hooks with different types of handles for us to try out. 

There was an extensive selection of yarn samples for us to try out.  For several of the samples there were also items made out of the particular yarn.  Included was also a catalog showing the different colors some of the yarn was available in.   We ended up not sitting together, but in a way that worked out.  I enjoyed talking to the new people around me, comparing notes on what they thought of the yarns and hearing their comments on the ones that they had already made projects from.


At the end, there were door prizes.  I won a knitting needle gauge, which I handed over Rebecca, since I don’t knit.  I was amused that the only prize that was exclusively a knitting prize (the others were a mug, a journal, and a bag) went to one of the few non-knitters.  The Universe does enjoy its little ironies.  The prize did end up with someone who could use it, so its all good.

Presentation and playing with samples all done, we were turned loose on the store. 

We all managed to find some yarn we liked, and Diane bought a very colorful bag.  I got a less colorful bag, with a funny statement printed on it.  We can all use more project bags.  We decided that it was time to eat.  Since we’d had a light lunch from the vegan café, we decided to try some place else, as tasty as the food had been.  Out to the car we went and we fired up the smart phones and gps, looking for what was available.  We decided that a place called the Stonebridge Grille sounded good.  While Doug was pulling up the directions to it, Rebecca pointed to the building about 25 yards in front of us.  Yep, it was right across the parking lot from the Flaming Ice Cube. 

Diane was excited to discover that on the menu of Stonebridge Grille was a fried baloney sandwich.  Filled with childhood nostalgia, she ordered one.  Doug, who hadn’t even tried baloney until he went to college, was curious enough to order one, too.  Rebecca and I went the more traditional, and boring, route with burgers and fries.  Diane seemed a little disappointed that it was a thick slice of baloney, rather than thin deli-style slices, but she said it was still good.  Doug didn’t seem too impressed by the fried baloney, although he agreed that trying new experiences are part of a proper road trip.  The desserts were great.  Rebecca and Doug split a piece of a rich, Godiva chocolate cheesecake.  I had a peach cobbler that was far more peachy goodness than cobbler. 

With lots of new yarn and full stomachs, we headed back to Pittsburgh.  We all agreed that Doug’s idea of a spur of the moment yarn tasting road trip had been an excellent adventure.

Thanks to Doug for the photos of the inside of the shop.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SciFi Chris with more blankets created by 3RC folks.

First up is camera shy Theresa with a Seatles Seahawk afghan she is knitting for her nephew.  Isn't it amazing looking?  She designed it herself.  She had previously made a Steelers helmet afghan, which went into the annual charity sale and then went to my brother-in-law. 

Nicole found an afghan kit in a thrift store, full of this beautiful yarn.  She's making a corner to corner afghan for her grandmother.  The photo doesn't do the bright colors justice. 


Original Chris is making this star afghan.  Its not done and its not blocked, but you can see the lovely pattern.  The yarn is very soft and will be wonderful to cuddle up in, once its done.

Constance is working on a graduation present and was feverishly working on it to get it done in time.  I wish I'd gotten a close up of the varigated gray she is using.  

Rebecca is also working on a star afghan.  I love the way different yarns and different colors can make a similar pattern look so different.  This is another photo that doesn't do justice to the colors of the yarn.  

Another example of how different colors change the look of a pattern.  This is Carol with a corner to corner afghan.  I believe this one is also headed to Project Linus.  If you have donations for Project Linus (the requirements for making the afghans are on their website)  Carol is willing to collect them and deliever them to the Project Linus folks.  Just bring them to the weekly 3RC meeting at the Panera's Bread near Magee Women's hospital, Saturday 2 to 5.  


Before you can make an afghan, you need yarn.  Here's Rebecca and Karen wrapping yarn.  No, they aren't taking it off the swift, they are putting it on the swift.  They need to put the yarn in skeins so that they can dye it.  Once dyed, it will go up for sale by Amelia and Wiggles.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

SciFi Chris finally posting for 3RC.

Blankets are a mainstay of crochet.  The variety of stitch types in crochet results in an amazing diversity of afghans that can be made.  Here’s just a small sample of the many blankets made by 3RC folks. 

This is a ripple afghan that my grandmother made for me when I was born.  It’s a bit worn after more than 40 years of use, but its still one of my most treasured possession.  I learned to crochet from my grandmother and still use the old Boye hooks she gave me.  Although she passed away a few years ago, every time I pick up a crochet hook or snuggle in my old afghan, I feel a connection to her.


I’ve made lots of afghans over the years.  Lap blankets with school colors to keep folks warm during football and hockey games, blankets for family and friends, blankets to donate to various charities, and once I even made a blanket for myself.  These are photos of a basket weave afghan I made for my sister.


Some blankets are made especially for charity.  Here are two of the many afghans made by Carol for Project Linus 


I love the shell stitch.  I think it looks so elegant and its perfect for a blanket.  Here’s two examples of shell stitch blankets.  The beige one was made by Bea, the blue one by Roberta. 


Three Rivers Crochet also has members that knit.  Judy made a lovely knit log cabin blanket.  Here’s the story from Judy of how this blanket came to be:

“Our daughter in Alaska was expecting her third baby soon and Gramma here was looking for that oh-so-special blanket to knit. I fell in love with a pattern for a knitted log cabin blanket pattern from Cascade Yarns. This daughter reminded me that they don't want heavy blankets. They get upset that people think just because they live in Alaska they are always freezing. So I began a long search for a cotton blend yarn for the log cabin. I had already decided on the colors I wanted. Same daughter wants nothing to do with "baby" colors and themes. I wanted red, black, grey, beige and white. While in a yarn shop in Ligonier in the Fall I found colors similar to what I wanted but not in the right fiber. There was another customer looking at various yarns and I presented her with my idea for the blanket. How was I to know that she was a professional artist? She heartily approved of my color choices so upon my return home I put an order in with Knit Picks for their Shine Sport Pima Cotton/Modal yarn and the accompanying picture shows the blanket, flaws and all, that Blaise Michael born on Feb. 28 is snuggling with in Alaska!”