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Hanging by a Yarny Tale

When you are planning go to another country as a tourist, what are the things you do?

-Look up on the net about the country/city, may be consult Lonely Planet or Frommer’s,

-Make a list of the places to be seen,

-Read up about the history, art and culture of the place

-Plan an itinerary within the time you’ll spend there

-Check weather conditions and plan the clothes to be taken

-Also check if there is anything worth buying there, if so, where?

Well, a yarn-lover does all this, plus

– secretly (lest it gets shot down right at inception by the family members) looks up the locations of yarn-shops (thanks to Google)

-Checks up what all kinds of yarn is available there

-Get inputs from fellow Ravellers

-Checks and rechecks the secret stash of euros or whatever be the currency, which will be the key to owning the yarn

-And does not breathe a word about it to anyone.

So you see a yarn-lover/crazy person has much more to plan and prepare before she travels!

Since I was to visit Rome, Florence, Venice and Barcelona, my print out of shops ran into a few pages. After discussing with fellow Ravellers and reading up, the shops were star-marked with one, two or three stars. The schedule was tight so I have to read and re-read addresses and check up whether these were located near any of our other destinations.

Armed with all these inputs, when I landed in Rome and started my touristy tour, I realised that it is going to be a difficult thing to snatch away time to go to a yarn shop as there was so much to see, so much to imbibe and of course so much to enjoy. Despite that, one day while walking from Piazza Navona to another destination, we saw this yarn shop at the corner and yes, it was one of the listed ones! Daughter did not object much when she looked at my face. But unfortunately, language proved to be a barrier for communication. Asking for cotton/cotton blends in our rudimentary Italian, resulted in bringing out oh-so-familiar Anchor knitting cotton balls and nothing else. The shop had a good stock of wool and wool-blends but I picked up two balls of sockyarn and two lady-bug buttons and came out. So that’s the end of my yarn-sob-story in Rome!

Florence, our next destination, held more promise. The list of shops was long, with a few highly acclaimed ones. And every source spoke about the reasonable price. So I was more hopeful. In the train travelling to Florence, the-ever-so-hopeful-me gathered some courage and showed the list of yarn shops to daughter and she burst out laughing, “Ma, you can’t think of anything else!!” was the only comment and that definitely stoked the fire of yarn-purchase-hopefulness in me!

On the first day after visiting Duomo, Ufizzi Gallery and a walk on the Ponte Vecchio when we returned to the hotel, which was luckily very near Duomo, we were resting our tired legs and planning next day’s itinerary. It was then that my daughter said, there is a small slot of time after visiting Accademia available to us and may be that is the time we can go to your yarn shop. She, the navigator, looked up the map and stated it’s on the backside of Duomo and we can easily walk down to the place. It was a very happy sleep that I had that night with the dreams of sheep and fleece and colourful, soft yarn and what not!

After ogling at David for an appropriate but  always-so-insufficient time and being awestruck at the genius of Michelangelo and marvelling the other objects of art in the Accademia, we walked towards the yarn-shop. The walk was accompanied by constant reminder from my daughter that, I should be quick with my purchases and should remember about the luggage restrictions and also the fact that, we are not visiting Florence solely to buy yarn.

Then we finally reached the doors of Campolmi Roberto Filati. The door itself was interesting enough to make one rush inside.

And the next moment my jaw was touching the floor! The shop was a fairly large sized one, in L-shape and there was cartons overflowing with yarns of all variety, colour and thickness in addition to the ones arranged on shelves on the wall. And there was a whole lot which was on sale for 2 euros a ball of 100 gms as prominently displayed. I almost felt like picking up whole lot of them in all the lovely colours, but then the constraints of luggage weight and your not being born in the Medici family, always pulls you back to to reality.

A further walk into the long arm of the L showed the display of lovely variegated yarn with knitted samples on display. The knitted scarves etc actually showed how the variegation will show up once knitted. What a lovely idea!

Then there was this whole shelf full of lovely mohair in yummmmy colours and at unbelievable price. By this time my daughter was equally taken up with the amazing array and helped me to pick some mohair for scarves for herself and her sister.

Thankfully in this shop there was this young girl who could manage to speak some English and we could communicate comfortably. She was indeed very helpful. What I really loved here was that all shop assistants were knitting sample pieces with different yarns. There was a constant flow of customers and they were being helped promptly too. With the happy smiles and chattering and the one or two balls that they picked up matching them with samples, one could make out that they were the regulars.

The young shop assistant confirmed that they have cotton yarn meant for knitting and then bought out a folder in which she had samples of undyed cotton yarn in different weights and ply and twists and she had a colour card with about 30 colours and said that each of the weights of yarn are available in each of the shades. That made my selecting difficult as I was liking almost all the colours but then my daughter stepped in and I purchased a deep red in sport weight.

After picking up some and taking out some a few times, we zeroed on our final purchase and the bill was made and paid.

I came out of the shop very happy yet with a heavy heart

-knowing that I’ll perhaps never visit this lovely shop again, and

-wishing that I had a LYS like this!!

I can’t end the story without this post-script!

When we reached Venice, I had realised I can not do any more yarn shopping as I may find it difficult to fit in all in my suitcases while returning to India (which did happen, part of my stuff had to be left with my daughter. Yes, you guessed right, mostly clothes and none of the yarn!). So the list was left in the confines of the suitcase in the hotel.

On the second day we were walking in the narrow one-of-their-kind lanes near Realto and soaking in the aroma of coffee and food coming from the numerous cheerful little cafes, the buzz and laughter of the tourists, the dazzle of the shops and what do we see……..a yarn shop tucked in between two souvenir shops! My daughter smiled and asked, do you want to go in? And I said, not really. The look of disbelief was clear in her eyes. I took out my camera to take a photo of the shop and exactly at that moment this lady was walking in to the shop. She said something to her companion perhaps daughter and the exasperated look of oh-no-not-again was written all over the young girls face!

I looked at my daughter and we exchanged a knowing smile! 🙂



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Hootie Rings

With their wise round eyes and the know-all look, the owls are a gem of a subject to be crafted. So when it was decided to make a bunch of key-rings with critters/fruits as a gift idea, I looked up and searched, but did not get a suitable owl to hang on to a key-ring, so I decided to create one of my own. And so came the Hootie-rings.

It should be good as a quick small gift idea.

Let me admit and acknowledge that  I was highly impressed and influenced by Owlets
By Brigitte Read.

-Some length of DK acrylic yarn from your stash
(I was about to add, in suitable owl-colours!! Then just stopped myself. Look at my colourful Hooties! What stops us from making them colourful!! I know the green owls are the most handsome ones, the orange ones most intelligent, we have a great dancer in the blue one, and of course the pink one is a beauty……and so on! You may ask,” how do you know?” I know!! Because, I made them)
-So go as colourful as you want in selecting from your stash, but just keep some serious colour handy for the top, as all owls are very serious thinkers! I chose brown.
-Some length of white DK acrylic yarn
-Small length of laceweight acrylic in white/ white sewing thread.
-2.5 mm crochet hook. To get a tight and pore-less fabric, so that the innards do not show.
– Fibrefill small quantity, to stuff it tight, to make them look healthy and well-fed.
– Two black beads of appropriate size. (You can use safety eyes too).
-Darning needle
– Stitch marker/safety pin.
– A key ring
– A jump ring to attach the Hootie with the keyring.

Stitches/ Abbreviations used (US terms)

Ch – Chain

SC – Single crochet

Sl St – Slip Stitch

St/Sts – Stitch/Stitches

FO – Fasten Off


You will be working in continuous circles without joining at the end of the round. Please mark your first st of each round from Round 2 onwards with a St. Marker/ safety pin.

With your chosen colour of DK weight yarn and 2.5 mm crochet hook,

Rnd 1 – Make 6 SCs in a magic ring. Tighten the loop.

Rnd 2 – 2 SC in each st around (12 sts)

Rnd 3 – *SC 1, 2 SC in next st* rep 6 times (18 sts)

Rnd 4 – *SC 2, 2 SC in next st* rep 6 times (24 sts)

Rnd 5 and 6 – SC in each st (24 sts)

On the last SC of Rnd 6 when two loops are still on the hook, join in the brown/sober/serious colour. Cut off the brighter colour yarn keeping a 2” tail and tie a knot at the back with the brown yarn. The knot will ensure that ends do not slip out and it can not be seen once the body is stuffed with fibrefill.
For changing colour in crochet the following tutorials may be helpful.

Rnds 7 to 8 – SC in each st with brown. ( 24 sts)

Rnd 9 – SC in first 6 stitches, ch 7, SC in rest of the 18 stitches. ( the Ch 7 will become the ring, which will be attached to the key-ring).

FO keeping a long tail for sewing.

With white DK acrylic yarn and 2.5 mm crochet hook.

Eyes (make 2)

Rnd 1 – Make 7 SCs in a magic ring. Tighten the loop. Sl st into the first SC. FO with a short tail.

Weave in the ends with the help of darning needle, so that you get two flat disc-lets.

Flatten the body with your fingers in a way so that you have the yarn tail left for joining, at right top corner.

Place one of the eye discs covering the 2nd to 4th sitcht from right, in a way that the central line of the disc gets aligned with the line of change of colour in the body. Basically the eye is to be placed half on the coloured part and half on the brown part of the body.
With the darning needle and the white lace-weight/sewing thread, fix/position the disc to the body with a small stitch. Attach the black bead at the centre of the white disc. Now fix the edge of the disc to the body with small invisible stitches around.
Repeat the same with the left eye, placing the disc covering the 2nd to 4th sitcht from the left.

Fill the body with fibrefill tightly. Start joining the top with the long tail left for the purpose. Stitch the corner in a triangle a couple of times using small running sts to create the right ear. Join across the top of the head ensuring the 7 Ch ring remains outside. At the end repeat the process as done for the right ear to create the left ear.

Look at the Hootie giving you the wise look!!
Attach Hootie with a jump ring to the key-ring through the 7 ch loop.
He’s going to ensure you keys are safe!!!

In case some error is noticed or any part of the pattern is not clear or difficult to understand, please let me know.

This pattern is free for non-profitable/personal use and gifting purposes only. And not for commercial use. Please do give credit for this pattern, whenever you use it – linking it  to my post and/or blog.


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Spikes Strike

Spike Stitch looks lovely and there are a number of lovely patterns using the stitch.

The shape of my bag is not unique and there are tons of lovely bags in this shape.

I just put the two together and created my own projects bag.

This bag is basically a concept or a recipe and you can customise the yarn, the size, the colours as per your wish and make the spikes strike in your own way.

The top edging of the bag is tubular to make the top sturdier.


You can use any DK/WW yarn.

And to strengthen the bottom, crochet thread in cotton has been used along with the yarn.

I used unbranded acrylic yarn in DK weight in seven colours viz. red, pink, light green, leaf green, light yellow, light blue, dark blue.

However here I’ll describe the colours as B, G Y, R, P for ease of understanding.

And Anchor knitting cotton thread in red, which is light fingering (#3 or #5 in thread thickness).

You can use any leftover yarn from your stash and make it more colourful.

The finished bag weighs exactly 150 gms.

Finished Size

13” X 13”

The straps are 14” long. This again can be as per your requirement.


I wanted the base to be firm and strong, so used a 4 mm hook.

For the body a 4.5 mm hook was used.

Again the hooks will be as per your choice of yarn.

Two st markers in two different colours.

Spike stitch is sc done in the rows below.

It has been explained beautifully in the following link.



It is done in the round, not joining with the first sc of the previous round. The end sts at both ends will be marked with st markers, which moves up the rounds as you crochet on, marking the end sts for you.

Taking the red yarn and red thread together with 4 mm hook

Ch 31

Round 1

-Sc in the second ch from the hook, sc in every ch till end. (30 sc). Mark the last sc with st marker A.

-Do not turn.

Move to the other side of the initial ch string and sc in each of the ch. (60sc). Mark the last sc with st marker B.

Remove St marker A, sc in the sc, place marker, 2 sc in next st, sc in all sc till the st before st marker B. 2 sc in sc before st marker B, remove marker, sc in sc, place marker. 2 sc in next sc. Sc in all sc till the st before st marker A, 2 sc in the sc.

Basically you are doing 2 scs in the scs on both sides of the st markers and sc in the rest of the stitches.

Repeat Round 2 till you have 114 scs.

Last Round – Remove St marker A, 2 sc in the marked sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc in each st till one st before st marker B, 2 sc in the st before the marked st, 2 sc in the marked st, 2 sc in next st, sc in all sc till the st before st marker A. 2 sc in last sc. (120 sc)

In the last round, in addition to doing the 2 scs as in previous rounds in sts on either side of the st markers, you have made 2 sc in the marked sts as well.

The idea is to get the final number of sts divisible by 6. So if you want to make the base bigger or smaller, go ahead, it will work fine as long as the sts at the end of the base rounds is divisible by 6.


Body is also crocheted in the round, without joining at the end of the round, but first st in the beginning of the round is needed to be marked with a st marker, moving it up with each round.

Change to 5 mm hook.

Attach colour B (next colour of your choice).

Round 1 to Round 6 – With B sc into each sc.

Change to B (next colour of your choice).

Round 7 – *sc in the first sc. Spike st 2 into next sc, Spike st 3 into next sc, Spike st 4 into next sc, Spike st 5 into next sc, Spike st 6 into next sc* repeat * to * 19 times more.

Round 8 to Round 12 – sc into each sc.

Rounds 7 to 12 done with Y, form the basic pattern for the body.

Change to the colours in sequence of your choice after every 6 rounds and continue in pattern till the bag is one inch short of desired length.

Attach the last colour of your choice and do the Spike st round followed but 3 rounds of sc.

Top tubular edge

Round 5 – sc into back loop only in every sc .

Round 6 – sc with the front loop of previous row and front loop of the present row.

Round 7 – Remove st marker. sc with back loop of present row and back loop of the previous row.

These three rows will give a tubular edging to the top edge of the bag making it stronger.


Make a ch string of the desired length of the strap.

I did 131 chs with R.

Row 1 – Sc into second ch from the hook. Sc in each ch till end. Fasten off.

Row 2 – Attach next colour at the beginning of the strap, sc into each till end. Fasten off.

Keep adding new colours in the sequence you prefer and repeat Row 2. till you get the desired width of the strap. I did seven rows.

Make another identical strap.

Mark the places on the bag where you want to attach the straps. Join the straps at the marked places with whip stitch, ensuring that the stitches do not show on the outside.

You may line the bag if you wish.

And your Spikes Strike is ready to be filled with yarn and notions and ready to be used.

In case some error is noticed or any part of the pattern is not clear or difficult to understand, please let me know.

This pattern is free for non-profitable/personal use and gifting purposes only. And not for commercial use. Please do give credit for this pattern – link to my post and/or blog.


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