Monday, July 27, 2015

stitch n pitch 2015

SciFi Chris here, with another post.

Stitch N Pitch is an annual event that gives crafters a group rate for a MLB baseball game.   In addition to the group rate for the ticket, the price includes a $10 vendor card and a goodie bag with yarn, patterns, and knitting needles.  (yeah, knitting needles.  There continues to be a dearth of crochet items in the goodie bags and raffle prizes.)  Three Rivers Crochet has been going for a few years now.  This year and last year, Nicole has been the awesome person that organized getting our tickets.  At this year's game, Nicole threw out the first pitch!  Several of us wore our summer crochet along hats, made from the free Star Sun Hat pattern.    It was the perfect day for a baseball game, sunny with an occasionally cooling breeze.  The Pirates even won!

Great job Nicole on organizing our trip to Stitch N Pitch and throwing out the first pitch!

Our summer crochet along project Star Sun Hats got a lot of positive attention and kept the sun off of our heads.  Its always interesting to see how the same pattern ends up looking so different when made by different folks.

Here's the goodie bag and the list of folks who sponsored the event.

There was a free raffle.  Diane and I both won knitting pattern books.  Since neither of us knit, that means our friends Theresa and Rebecca are getting new knitting pattern books.

Finally, here's photos of 3RC folks enjoying the game and a few of the Pirates game itself. 

Pierogi Race!  It was Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and T. Roosevelt against the Pittsburgh Pierogis in an exciting relay race.  It was a close finish, but the Pierogis narrowly beat out the Presidents.

Pirates beat the Nationals, 3 to 1.  w00t!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hiya!  SciFi Chris with another 3RC blog post.

Puzzle balls, from what I can gather from a quick Google search, started out being made from fabric.  It seems up for debate if they are actually ‘Amish’ or it’s just a name that has been given to them because they are a toy which can be found in Amish communities or sold by the Amish. They are sometimes sewed together to make a ball that can’t be taken apart, but the puzzle ball that has become popular with crafters now days is made of three separate elements that are fitted together in a ball shape which can be taken apart.  Even though the original puzzle ball patterns were made from fabric, of course yarn folks adapted the pattern to crochet.

After seeing a couple puzzle balls made by other 3RC folks, I decided to give it a try.  I found a pattern on Ravelry.   The same person that wrote the pattern I used, Dedri Uys, also wrote a book Amigurumi Amish Puzzle Balls which takes the basic puzzle ball and turns them into fun amigurumi animal shapes.  Another 3RC member, Marissa, already bought the book and is making the elephant.  I’m planning on picking up a copy of it and make the dragon. 

The pattern is not difficult.  It’s just single crochet, increase and decrease.  Since you have to make 12 of the same cones, then 3 of the same set of lids, it’s easy to learn the pattern itself.  The most difficult part was keeping track of what row I was on, because each row changes.  This is a pattern you have to pay attention to because of that.  I used an 8 sided dice to help me remember what row I was on.

I was tempted to make the cones in the round, but decided to (shockingly) follow the pattern.  The cones are a half circle that is single crocheted together.  The pattern suggests putting the ridge created by the single crochet on the outside to help the pieces grip together.  The way that the pieces fit together hides the seams, so it doesn’t make a difference visually.  I didn’t make a puzzle ball with the seam on the inside, I don’t know if it makes a difference gripping.  Overstuffing the cones seems to keep everything together just fine, so it might just be an aesthetic choice.

The toy is primarily for toddlers, so make it with kid friendly fiber.  I used Red Heart, because its machine washable, comes in many great colors, I had it in my stash, and has a stiff quality that is great for amigurumi. 

I handed the puzzle balls over to my nephews and nieces, ages 7 to 16.  The older ones quickly lost interest, especially after being told they couldn’t throw the balls in the house.  The younger ones enjoyed pulling them apart, putting them back together in a variety of ways to form new shapes, challenging each other to put them together, and tossing them to each other despite the previous instruction of not throwing balls in the house.  

I'm looking forward to making the animal shaped puzzle balls.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hiya everyone!  SciFi Chris posting again. 

First up is a reminder that the Steel City Yarn Crawl is quickly approaching.  The yarn crawl will be from July 31 to August 9.  Its expanded this year to include eleven yarn stores, up from the 7 shops that participated last year.  Most are in Allegheny county, but a few are as far out as Beaver, Harmony, Grove City, and Ligonier.  This year’s passport includes all the addresses, store hours, and a handy map showing the locations of the shops in relation to each other.

The cost of the Steel City Yarn Crawl is $10.  That gets you the passport, 11 raffle tickets, and a tote bag.  You can get additional raffle tickets at participating stores by buying things there.  If you manage to complete the entire crawl, you turn in your passport for an additional prize drawing.  Register at any of the participating shops, which are listed in the picture below.

The passport isn’t the only thing that has improved.  The tote bag is heavy canvas and has very spiffy orange accents.  Much nicer than last year’s basic canvas bag.

Here’s a link about the Yarn Crawl on Facebook  and on Ravelry
Here’s a link to my post about last year’s Yarn Crawl

Three Rivers Crochet is doing a summer crochet along!  Our last crochet along was in October, making skull shawls.   Since it’s a summer crochet along making sun hats seemed like a good idea.  After some discussion at the Knit and Crochet in Public day, we settled on the pattern Star Sun Hat by Jessie Rayot.  Its available for free on Ravelry, although the link I’m giving is direct to her site.  She also has a variation on her pattern for kid’s sizes.  

Notes on the pattern: 
First, it calls for nylon wire called brimlock.  I couldn’t find any, so I went with 20 gauge jewelry wire from Joann’s.  It comes in a wide range of colors and seems to work in getting the brim to hold its shape.  Also, the pattern just says 3 skeins.  The pattern is for three colors.  Making the yellow hat, I discovered that one 4 oz skein of Sugar n Cream super size is enough for the main color, if you are doing the accent colors.  The accent colors use much less than one skein each.  For the purple hat, which has almost no accent colors, it takes more. I'm sorry I can't tell you exactly how much because I got one of the 'one pounders' of cotton yarn for it.  My guess would be about 6 oz, but no guarantee on that, its just an estimate.   

The only row of the pattern that I had trouble with was round 27.  It took a few rereading and examining the photo to figure out that it wants you to basically make a “W” in the same stitch (tc, ch 1, tc, ch 1, tc) then make four “V” (tc, ch 1, tc) in the same stitch, repeating that pattern for the entire round.  

The hat took me about five hours total to complete.  Your time will of course vary depending on how fast or slow you crochet. 

Finally, here’s a photo from this year’s Knit and Crochet in Public day.  Although 3RC knits and crochets in public every week at our Saturday meetings at Panera Bread near Magee Hospital (from 2pm to 5pm), we change it up on KCIP day and head to Schenley Park in Oakland.