Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Prairie Wind Cowl

As you can see, I have changed the name of my blog and Etsy shop. Yarn of a Tail and 1 Yarn of a Tail (Etsy) is much more inclusive. I didn't think that I would design anything knit. I love knitting I just felt like there was some sort of a block and I wasn't able to design in knit. But something struck and what do you know, two knit items of my own design popped off of my needles!

I have also developed a fondness for wood needles. Funny how your taste can change. I just love them! I used to think they were slow but now I don't. Maybe my knitting has sped up I don't know. I think they work great and I like the bit of hold they have. I also like that they are natural. I started thinking about the fact that I hold these things for extended amounts of time. Some people have reactions to nickel and aluminum is not good for your brain (Alzheimer link). So, I thought I would give wood a try again and it feels and glides perfect! I am planning a trip to the Yarn Barn this weekend for more wood needles! I have even toyed with the thought of making my own from dowel rods. We'll see.

But, as of right now I have a new crochet cowl pattern that I am releasing in the new shop today! Here is a picture of the Prairie Wind Cowl!

I wanted to make a cowl to help really keep me warm through the cold Kansas winter. This one can hang down a bit too. I didn't want it to be uncomfortably tight but as you can see, it also sits easily around your neck so that it can look cute and do it's job. It is very simple and quick with just single and double crochets. It does use the popcorn stitch which I have provided instructions for (but it is only a bunch of double crochets together, easy peasy).

Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Leaves Bracelet

  Here is my latest pattern! Perfect for October...Autumn Leaves Bracelet! I love the colors of the changing leaves and I have always loved charm bracelets. So, I came up with this little design. It is very quick to make and only uses a small amount of yarn/thread. One of the best things about this pattern is that you don't have to worry about gauge. I am not a fan of having to get gauge. So, I am working on patterns that are made to your measurements. That way you can use whatever yarn and hook you would like! The bigger the yarn and hook, the bulkier the bracelet. Mine was crocheted with size 20 thread. Blog readers can get a discount in my Etsy shop for 50% off until 11/6/14. Just type in the code AUTUMN6 at checkout!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kid Crochet!

My son turned 4 earlier this month. His 6 year old sister wanted to make him a gift for his birthday. She loves to crochet like mommy so, we went to her book, Way to Crochet, and picked out the perfect little gift. He needed a little wallet for birthday money and those special quarters that 4 year olds love! So, we sat down together while he napped and crocheted a wallet. Since she is new to crocheting,  here is what I did to really help teach her actual crochet and not just playing around with the hook and yarn (we do this too at other times). She made the beginning chain and I worked the first row into it since that is usually the toughest row to work. We pulled out my row counter and she would click it at the end of each row. She knew how many stitches to make so she would count as she did her row. I would then do the next row to make sure everything was going smooth and to help the project not seem to daunting for her. We had a great time and I found that method to work perfect. It kept her attention and didn't overwhelm her. In no time we had a cute blue wallet. She went to the button jar and picked out the perfect button. I sewed this in place and then we put the little surprise in a gift bag. When birthday party time came he was tickled with his wallet. And, Clara (6 year old) felt great about the gift she made!

We love the book Way to Crochet. It has 20 super kid friendly projects. They are all quick and easy. It starts with very simple things like chain shoe strings and builds up to (simple) back packs and such. I highly recommend it for teaching your kids crochet.

 For the wallet we used Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed. This is a great durable yarn. It is a wool/ cotton blend. We have made toys with this before too. I will post some photos below!

Friday, September 5, 2014


My Cap Sleeve top is finished and currently being blocked! I didn't quite have enough yarn to do the lace on the sleeves. But, it was just one row and not a big deal to leave out. What was most important to me was the lace around the bottom edge. A nice feature on this top is that the neck edge has beading elastic running through a row of single crochets so that you can easily adjust the neck to fit. What a great idea!

If your are new to crochet/knitting, you might be wondering what I mean by blocking. When you finish your project, your stitches sit kind of...wonky. Jasmin on the Knitmore Girls put it well when she said that it looks like a cow chewed on it. The way you tame your stitches and get them to lay beautifully is by blocking them. You take T pins (I ordered mine from knitpicks) and pin your finished object in the desired shape to a foam mat. I use these exercise mats. Then, take your iron and hold it just above (not touching) your object. Move it around steaming the whole thing. The stitches will immediately begin looking better. Let it set pinned to the foam until it dries completely. You will now have perfectly tame stitches!

 Another little idea, although I am sure many out there do this already, is to use your leftover bits of yarn to make a blanket. I got this idea from my mom. Thanks mom! I used the bit from this to make my foundation chain. I am going to keep it simple. This blanket will be made up of double crochets in the back loop only. It will be fun to see how it looks with all of the different sized yarns and textures. This way I make use of my scraps and I will have a blanket full of memories of each thing I made with those yarns. Here is my chain ;) It's a start!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Golding Pattern!

 Introducing Golding the Bouncy Fish! This is a very special little amigurumi because he is filled with a tennis ball! He is very easy to crochet. The pattern uses single and double crochet. The only "more advanced technique" would be the adjustable ring/loop. This technique is not at all tricky and leaves your amigurumi with no holes where your circle begins. Here is a link teaching the adjustable ring/ loop technique. I am offering a special coupon to blog readers for 50% off of Golding's pattern until 9/9/14! Just enter Golding50 at checkout and your pattern will only be $1.50!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek of my first amigurumi pattern! This little fishy has a surprise....he's bouncy! I hope to release the pattern this coming week. Keep an eye out because blog readers and Ravelers will get special discount!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Post About a Lot of Things

Okay, here goes all of the projects that have been keeping my hands busy.

I made my own drop spindle. I love it. I have spun on many wonderful drop spindles but they have been lacking in one department or another for me. I like the rim weighted Bossies and Goldings but I like the bottom whorl Anne Grouts. The only thing is I don't like a hook at the top of my shaft. I also like to be able to spin supported like a Russian spindle so I can sit comfortably if I feel like it. All of the spindles I named are excellent spindles but I decided to make one to fit all of my needs/desires. Feeling inspired by the hardworking, simple tools of the spinners in the Andes, I used some polymer clay and shaped my own whorl. It is not perfectly balanced because it is done completely by hand but, it is pretty close. Once your cop of yarn builds up it balances well anyway. It is rim weighted and spins for a very long time. I used a 1/4" dowel cut to 9 " long for the shaft. I put the bottom end in a pencil sharpener and sanded it to get that nice point for spinning supported. I love my new spindle!

  Update on the cap sleeve top. Finished front and halfway done with the back. Can't wait to wear it!

   If you knit too, I casted on for the Anne Shirley Puff Sleeve - Top from Literary Knits by Nikol Lohr. Yep, same gal I rented the Mad Battr' from! (Got all of my batts done by the way!) I love this book. It is full of tastefully designed clothing for men, women and children. I have wanted to make this sweater for a long time. It is top down and seamless.

  And, here is the sock that I have started in the Sock Ease I bought at Tuesday Mornings. It is alright. It splits quite often though when I am inserting my hook. I got it for super cheap so, it's worth it.

  Those are current projects but so much more is going on. We are getting a new angora goat on the farm tomorrow! If you aren't familiar, angoras give us mohair. She is a light brown, our first one with color! I will post pictures of her this weekend.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

MAD BATTR' !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Do you remember my earlier post about renting the Mad Battr' from my friend Nikol Lohr? Well, it is here! I have to be honest with you. I love fiber arts but I have not loved the prep of a raw fleece. I don't mind washing but carding has never been a part of the process that I love. Until now. I can't believe this thing! It is the most amazing carder ever! I had an old carder a few years ago and the process of getting the fleece through it was... painful. This carder can handle whatever you throw at it, it is chain driven and easy to crank, and it turns out beautiful batts! Each time I pulled one off, I couldn't believe I made that soft, beautiful batt! I can't wait to experiment with it. Nikol taught me how to make roving with the drum carder as well! I never would have thought of that! I will see if I can record and post some how to videos for carding with the Mad Battr'. When I watched her give me a demo, I couldn't believe how quick and smooth everything went. I wondered if I was going to get it home and want one. I do! Here is a picture of the Mad Battr' at my carding station.

And a picture of a small batt (a little over 2 oz.) and a large batt (over 5 oz.) Also, this is the fleece that I washed using the FSM method.
 And on the crochet side of things, my Cap Sleeve Top is coming along. The front is complete and I am now working on the back. I try to do at least 2 rows a day. Slow and steady wins the race! I also have a pair of socks that I am working on in Sock Ease. Found it in a nice color at Tuesday Mornings. I will put up a post about these soon. And.... my first amigurumi pattern is almost finished!!!!!!!!! More on that later ;)


Monday, August 4, 2014

Yarn Giveaway Winner and Hook Review

I would like to thank everyone that stopped by and left your kind comments! And, thanks to everyone who subscribed. Now to announce the winner of the yarn giveaway.... congratulations Anne! I will send you an email to get your address and the yarn will be on the way! I plan on doing a lot more giveaways on the blog so, keep an eye out!

 And now for a crochet hook review. I recently purchased a set of Tulip Etimos from another member of Ravelry. The set I purchased usually sells for around the $100 mark. I was able to get them used but in perfect condition on Ravelry for $70. No, this isn't the cheapest set in the world but let me tell you, they are worth every penny. I will start with the case.

 The case is very classy and very practical. The people that designed this case made very good use of space. Closed the case is about 6 1/2" x 3 1/2".  I am selling my Namaste Better Buddy (which is a nice case for your stitch markers, scissors, etc.) simply because I no longer need it due to the efficiency of the Tulip Etimo case. Here is an inside picture.

All of the hooks with the gray ergonomic handles are the Tulip Etimos. This set came with sizes D, E, F, G, 7, H, I, and J. The handles are nice and soft but not too squishy. They are very comfortable to crochet with. I put my Clover Amour sizes B and C on the end. This way I have a full range. You can purchase Etimos separately but I already own the Amours. The set also came with very nice Italian scissors, stitch markers, a ruler, and needles. I took them out for the photo but they all fit with room to spare in the zipper pouch area that they are setting on top of for the shot. Now for the part that makes or breaks a hook for me.

The hook tapers perfect for me. I like it to have a bit of a point and not to be too rounded. These are not sharp points, just enough to glide through your yarn with ease. My favorite part, the super smooth finish on the Etimos. These hooks have the slickest finish over any other hook I have used. The Etimos and the Amours are almost neck and neck for me. The Amours are more affordable. And don't get me wrong these too have a nice and smooth finish. They are a great hook! But, the Etimo finish is the smoothest. I am really enjoying crocheting with these and thrilled with my Ravelry find! Hope this review helps and enables :)

Friday, August 1, 2014


I wanted to thank everyone for stopping in and looking at my new crochet blog. What better way to say thanks than with a yarn giveaway! I am giving away a hank of my hand dyed sock yarn!!!!!! I searched many different yarns from various mills before choosing which one I wanted for my hand dyed line of yarns. There are many wonderful yarns out there but the one I felt was the most luxurious is spun at a British Mill. This yarn is sooo soft and very high quality. I dye using natural dyes with no heavy metals. The colors are always rich. The hank that I am offering for the giveaway is dyed with colors that remind me of Americana Folk Art. Red and blue but muted in a soft eye pleasing manner. The hank is 80% SW Merino and 20% Nylon sock yarn, 400 yds./100 gr. To enter, simply leave me a comment below and include your email address. I will pick a winner on Monday Aug.4. I will notify you through email and I will announce the winner on the blog! Now for pictures!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Test Cardigan

Remember the cardigan that I was testing for a crochet designer? It is all finished! It went great, quick and easy. I used my Melissa's Mohair and More hand dyed yarn for the top section of the bodice and then for the skirt and edging I used Berlini Merino Xtra. I made my own buttons for this cardigan. It was a lot fun! I will post a close up of these below. I couldn't use natural light (pouring down rain) so it isn't the clearest picture. I put little pink roses on the chocolate colored buttons. (Love it!) Oh yes, and most importantly it fits Allison (12-18 mo. size) perfect. I will take a shot of her wearing it soon, she is teething right now and not in the mood for her picture to be taken ;P
I posted a link to my Etsy shop but right now it is empty. Not for long though. I just received a shipment of the luxury sock yarn that I dye. This is super soft yarn spun at a British Mill. It takes dye beautifully. I will be dyeing some self striping yarn with long wide sections of color, so that people who crochet their socks, get nice solid stripes too!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

FSM Part 3

Well, I pulled my fleece out of the mix yesterday. The fleece is much cleaner so, the mix seems to have done it's job. The only stinker, sometime between now and last fall, someone dismantled my drying rack so I couldn't rinse the way I wanted to. That is okay though, because this was my first fleece going in, which means it is a heavy lanolin fleece. Which means I will be giving it a hot scour because most of it will go through a drum carder. Remember (MAD BATT'R!!!!!!!!!!!) I will post a couple of pictures of the fleece below after being pulled from the FSM and rinsed out a bit. All in all this is a great way to get a fleece clean without having to put much time or effort in. Even the hot scour is easier because the FSM did all of the heavy cleaning! Oh yes, one last thing,I didn't take a photo of the vat of FSM as I was pulling it out, I was a little wet and dirty at that time. If your water ain't pretty, you did it right ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cap-Sleeve Top

One of my current projects that I would like to share with you is the Cap-Sleeve Top by Melissa Jane Hall. It is one of the patterns in Crochet Now. First, the pattern. It is very easy to follow. It's an empire waist style top so the fit is easy and nothing to stress about. The entire top is made up of basic crochet stitches so it is an easy garment for someone who has never crocheted clothing before, or a nice relaxing pattern for an experienced crocheter. Okay, my computer is saying that crocheter isn't a word but I say it is ;) The top itself is light and feminine. Just my style. It is also quick to work up so you will have a new top in no time and the satisfaction of making it yourself. I was working on this when I was out the other day and I was already receiving compliments on it. If you haven't looked at crocheted clothing in years... look again. You will be amazed at how far crochet has come. Light and flowing clothing patterns are coming from brilliant designers everywhere. Now for the yarn! It is 100% cotton Desert Flower by Dark Horse Yarns. This is my first time using this line if yarn. Let me just say that I love it. It is a very soft cotton and the color really pops. It is working up beautifully with this pattern. You can find Dark Horse Yarns quite often in your local yarn shop. I bought mine in Topeka at Yak N' Yarn. Last, the book that the pattern is featured in. I am very happy with my purchase and this top is not the first thing that I have made from the book. I have also made the So Simple Baby Bib, Too Cute Doll and the Broomstick Lace Scarf. This book features 29 projects! They all have great pictures and instructions. A bonus with the book is a DVD that comes with it, showing some of the patterns from the book featured on episodes from Knit and Crochet Now. You can work along with an instructor for a few of the patterns! I will post a couple of pictures below!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Whole Fleece Time! (FSM)

Okay, here is part one of processing my Corriedale fleece (the whole fleece) using the FSM. It's simple... First, my supplies. I have a large plastic bin w/lid and a large mesh laundry bag. The bag makes it easier to lift the fleece out of the FSM.
Next, I shook my fleece to rid it of loose dirt and second cuts. Then, I placed my fleece inside of the mesh bag. I filled my bin with filtered water (remember, no tap water) and put the fleece in, gently pressing it down.
Last, pop the lid on! If you live in a Kansas 1890 farm house like me, you might have big old heavy rocks laying around to put on for extra security :) This lid doesn't have to be air tight. It helps to keep unwanted critters out. I found the rocks helpful because the water was pushing the sides of the bin way out making it difficult to get the lid to stay in place. Now... we wait!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Testing Pool

I am very excited to say that I am testing a new pattern for a crochet designer! You can visit her Etsy shop here. I thought this would be a good idea because as soon as my pattern is complete, I will need testers. I thought this would be a great way to jump in and get experience in the testing world. Now I will know what it is like from a testers point of view. I love raverly. It is such a help with everything fiber arts related. That is where I joined the testing pool group. Off to gather yarn and hook!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


A quick post for today, while waiting for my husband at the dentist office I finally finished my Houdini socks! These are knit. I think the Houdini socks give an excellent fit for knit socks. I used some Malabrigo yarn and it was a dream to work with! I plan to do a slip stitch crochet pair next. I crocheted a pair for my oldest daughter. They are so soft and comfy! And, they work up quickly.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fermented Suint Mix (FSM)

I washed a sample of my Corriedale using the FSM method. I placed a little bit of fleece down in a jar of filtered water (do not use tap water). I then covered the jar and wrapped a towel around it to block out light. I waited 8 days and then I pulled the wool out of the jar. At first, I wasn't sure if there was much of a difference but then I rinsed it. It became a nice clean white! I was soooo pleased! Washing this way is easy! This is a high lanolin fleece so I did a hot scour to remove the rest of the lanoin but that was no big deal. Pretty quick really, because the fleece was already clean at this point. Since this went so well I have decided to keep my fleeces here and process them myself. I have a picker and my friend Nikol Lohr has a bunch of NICE drum carders that you can rent! I will get to give the Mad Batt'r a try!!!!!!!!!! After this fleece I can wash my next one in the same mix. It is mohair so it shouldn't need the hot scour. I will keep this whole process updated on here! Posting some pictures below. Here is the wool in the jar.
Becoming beautiful in the rinse water!
FSM washed wool beside unwashed wool!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Picking Back Up

Hello! Well, there has obviously been a long break on the blog. A lot of new things are going on now and the fiber art side of things are picking back up around here. I have had our three angora goats sheared and I have a freshly sheared fleece from my mother-in-law's Corriedales. I am packing these up tonight to send off to Shepherd's Mill for processing. Once these return I will have yarn and roving for the Etsy shop! Planning on placing an order as well for some luxurious sock yarn to dye and post on Etsy as well. Also, I am very excited about some new patterns I am designing. My first ones will be free. As I post these I would love feedback on how easy they are to follow. I have a few special ones that I will affordably list on Etsy. They are a fun and special amigurumi. I will soon be looking for testers for these patterns. Other good news is that Yak & Yarn (local yarn shop) has sold out of my white mohair! Processing more of that now to bring in. She is a new yarn shop so the sales are very exciting for everyone! Hopefully I can get some up on Etsy too. ~Happy Crocheting~

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I just finished my Regency Handbag from AUSTENtatious Crochet. I love it! It is nice and roomy which is a must for me. Also the stitch pattern is beautiful but simple. I used Chroma worsted yarn in the discontinued color way of River Rock. Knit Picks still has many other wonderful colors in Chroma though. I really loved this yarn as well. It was my first time working with any Chroma. I know that line has a lot of fans and I can see why. It is a single but a nice strong single. I tried out a few hooks on this one. I ended with a Clover Amour that I liked very much. The tip is great with just the right taper and it has a comfortable grip. I used a Crochet Dude hook at one point which was a nice hook but I think I prefer the Amour. I am looking forward to a hook that I have ordered for some slip stitch crochet socks that I will be doing! It isn't just any hook. It's a ... how about a surprise?! Check back to see a review of what's coming! I think sometimes I will end these with cute kid pics (much to grandparents delight)!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014


 Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! I thought that I would begin by showing you the lovely Eloise Baby Sweater that I just finished for my one year old.

 This is a well written pattern and the sweater is a breeze to make. Crocheting only during nap time and a little in the evening I had this done in a little over a week. It was so much fun and she looked adorable in it! She wore it to a large get together with friends and family this weekend.

 I used Encore yarn for the light blue and pink. The edging is my own hand dyed from black walnuts. I was very pleased with the way these colors came together. But, I love blues and pinks with brown! One thing that is not pictured are the buttons.  I took this shot before sewing them on. My oldest son made some buttons from shed deer antlers. They are BEAUTIFUL. I placed two of these on the bodice. I made her sweater a little big (18 mos) so that it would fit next year too. So, instead of putting the buttons vertically on the bodice, I place them horizontal to help it fit around the neck. It works great!

 ~Happy Crocheting~