Top 3 ways to wind a centre-pull ball by hand

I’ve hand wound centre-pull balls for years now. Well, just 4 years really. Nevertheless, a recovering-perfectionist is never happy with just learning one method in case there is a better one out there. I am now ready to share with you the top 3 ways I’ve found to wind a tip-top ball of yarn.

#3: This method by Ariadne requires that you have a strong thumb and good surrounding muscle support. But it does the job well.

Ball winding by Ariadne

#2: Knitting Help videos are amazing. They turned my knitting around and was the first place that taught me how to wind a centre-pull ball. This video is a slight variation of the method above and I found it easier to learn from. These are my small centre-pull balls using this method.

Centre-pull balls 2

#1: Recently I’ve learnt a new way to wind a centre-pull ball of yarn by hand. This tutorial by Slamskatkitten (via Knitted Bliss) uses a simple winding tool – a toilet roll! This method is by far my new favourite and my number one choice. Saves my thumb and the earth too! Yay!

Ball winding

I was especially impressed that this method can be used even with very small amount of yarn.

Centre-pull balls

So is my search for the best way to wind a centre-pull ball over? Nope.

Do you have another method to share with me?

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Alligator bag?

I know knitters and crocheters are very talented. Some can pretty much knit or crochet whatever that comes to their mind. But I’m wondering what kind of mind would suddenly go, “That’s it! I’ll make an alligator bag!”

I was surprised to discover that not one, but two minds thought this was a great idea!

Knitting pattern: Alligator bag by A Morehouse Merino Original
Knitted Alligator Bag
© Nancynovember via Flickr

Crochet Pattern: Crocheted Alligator Handbag by Marleen Hartog
Crocheted Alligator Handbag
© Marleen Hartog via Ravelry

So instead of writing a knee-jerk response on why you should NOT make one of these, I’ve got an even better idea…

5 reasons why you NEED your very own alligator handbag:

  1. It’s fun! You gotta admit that life can be pretty dull at times. But not if you’re carrying an alligator bag! Imagine all the interesting conversations you’ll strike up with one of these on your lap in the bus or train. Your commute will never be boring again.
  2. Make a statement at an anti-fur/ anti-leather/ vegetarian event or protest. You don’t have to get naked to make your point.
  3. At the next Halloween party, you can come as an alligator farmer’s wife! Wear your alligator scarf (pattern) to complete your eye-catching outfit. You can be assured that NO ONE else would have the same costume as you.
  4. Deter purse snatchers! Can you imagine someone wanting to steal your alligator bag off your arm when you’re on your overseas holiday? I’ll give you a minute to really soak this up…

    A thief grabs your bag, running as fast as he can down the street. You yell, “Stop the man carrying the alligator head!” The whole street turns and watches him run. They laugh and start pointing at him. The thief doesn’t see what’s so funny. Puzzled, he quickly hides in the alleyway and looks down at the purse he just stole. He smacks himself on the head, cursing. Hoping that there’ll be a fat wallet to compensate for his loss of face, he finds nothing but a ball of yarn and a pair of knitting needles!

    Hah! Sucker!

  5. The last reason is courtesy of my husband, Richard. You need an alligator bag to stop the magpies from swooping down and attacking you on your morning walk. You probably need to balance the alligator bag on your head to be effective but it’ll be a good core muscle exercise.

Hey, I did say I’ll give you 5 reasons why you need an alligator bag. I didn’t say they were going to be GOOD reasons! So if you’ve had a lousy Monday or suffering the Monday blues, maybe all you need is an alligator bag. 😉

Bye bye now!

P.S. Clearance sale at my shop. Cute things needing a new home.

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My Creative Space

My creative space has been filled with …

… arm lengths of knitted i-cord,
Tutorial coming soon
(tutorial coming soon)

… shades of lofty violet cotton going round and round,
Forever Blanket WIP
(my “forever” blanket wip)

… and the click clack of excited knitting needles.
Cabled Vest WIP
(a cabled vest for me)

Life’s good. 😉

Pop over to Kootoyoo to see all the other creative spaces playing this week.

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Abracadabra! The pear is now a frog!

Cristi waved her magical crochet hook on my Pear Tawashi crochet pattern and turned it into a frog! I think it’s just brilliant and doesn’t the frog look adorable? I just want to give the cute fella a squeeze and a hug!

Frog plush toy

Cristi shared her interesting and informative journey of the pear transformation with me. Here is what she has to say:

Hi Cristi! So how long have you been crocheting?
I have been crocheting steadily for about 2 years now. I started when my Gramma died. She sent me her knitting needles and a bunch of yarn. She had tried to teach me to knit, but i was only 12 and lived in another state, and to be honest, I was not really very interested. When she died, I started crocheting because I thought it was easier and it made me feel connected to her. I still want to learn to knit, but I am having a lot of fun with crochet right now. I know she just wanted me to learn the joy of making things, which I have and it’s addictive!

Why were you looking to crochet a frog? Who is the frog for?
Ok, so this is a bit convoluted. I was without a job and wanted to make Christmas presents for my family. I thought of making those microwavable heating pads for my boy relatives, but I know my brother and knew he would be much more likely to use/enjoy something unique and not plain looking, but not cutsie. So I thought of crocheting a lizard or something as a cover for a heating pad. I found a couple of patterns I liked, but nothing clicked as “right”.

So as I was browsing through my Evernote logs for inspiration I found the pattern I had saved from your website and decided to make a frog. I found a pattern I liked for the legs and started making them. Along the way, I realized this was too much work for heating pads (after I had made four or five). I just ended up making soft cotton covers for the heating pads which went over very well, except for my boyfriend’s father. He opened the present when I wasn’t looking and thought they were sand bags to use for support for his camera… LOL :lol:… He was a little embarrassed when I told him that they were just heating pads, but tried to make up for it by using one right away. I told him that I totally didn’t mind if he used it as a sand bag, as long as he liked it. He perked up after that!

Right before Christmas, I finally found a job as a nanny and wanted to make something sweet for the children. So I made the frog as a softie for the little boy and made a FreeSpirit Doll for the little girl. Both were extremely well received.

Crochet frog plush toy

Did you look for a frog pattern by googling or searching Ravelry?
I have some links I have saved as bookmarks that link to pages that store patterns, I also Googled, and searched Craftster. Though I am a member of Ravelry, I usually forget to check them out. I also use Evernote a lot to save interesting and inspiring things I find online so that I can find them again. There is so much neat stuff on the internet!

So what made you use the Pear Tawashi pattern for the body? Have you seen this pattern before the frog one?
I don’t know what made me think of using your pattern like that. I think it was one of those strange brain alchemy things where you mix alot of things together and something new comes out. It happens to me a lot.

Did you find my pattern easy to read and understand?
I did! it was very easy to understand, to make and modify. It was indeed well written and comprehensive. 🙂

PROJECT DETAILS OF TAWASHI FROG
Patterns:
Pear Tawashi pattern from Salihan Crafts and Frog Toy pattern from Caron.com
Yarn:
Green worsted I had from a vintage yarn score from Craigslist… epic story in and of itself!
Hook:
I believe I used G, im pretty sure, but I didn’t write it down (bad bad me) and H as the pattern calls for on the legs
Modifications:
I made the pattern with worsted yarn, but otherwise followed the patterns straight up. I made the “front” side first then when I finished making the “back” side, I single crochet all around the outside through BOTH edges. I turned them inside out as I found this made the frog thicker/taller. I put the eyes in then stuffed the frog through the “tail” and finished with single crochet to where I had started to single crochet around. I attached the legs amigurumi style to the sides of the body and to the corners where the body and the tail bent.

Playing with frog soft toy
All photos in this post are copyright of Cristi Nelson

Thank you Cristi for emailing me and sharing your project with us. I had fun reading all about it.

If you have made one of my patterns and would love to show it off here, please email me at contact@salihan.com. I would love to feature you, yes, YOU!

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“Forever” Blanket

I’ve wanted to crochet a blanket for a few years now. I want this blanket to stay with us forever. I want it made of the softest of soft yarn in the prettiest of pretty colours. However there were things holding me back, mostly money and time commitment. I started a hexagon blanket with scratchy, squeeky acrylic yarn last year but I didn’t finish it. It just wasn’t what I wanted and it felt like a compromise. I didn’t love the hexagon blanket like I hoped I would with my forever blanket.

In a twist of fate, I started working for Ecoyarns on a part-time basis a few months ago. One day, while I was preparing sample cards for the EcoOrganic Cotton range, an idea struck me.

Ecoyarns EcoOrganic Cotton

I could make a giant granny square blanket just like Joelle’s from Purl Bee! I’ll arrange the colours similar to the sample card and it will be a glorious blanket. Working at a yarn store has it’s other benefits too. Discounted staff prices. Woohoo!

I brought the yarn home and brainstormed the idea with Richard. He wasn’t too sure that I should take on such a big project but he could see I was desperate to do it. As soon as I showed him the yarn, he instantly fell in love with the colours and the softness of the organic cotton. He was now assured that it was not going to look like a typical nanna blanket. It’s important that he will love this blanket as much as I will. It is our forever blanket.

EcoOrganic Cotton Yarn

I spent that weekend winding the yarn into cakes, with the “help” of Olly. He was trying very hard not to attack the yarn as it whizzed past. It was truly impressive how well behaved he was. He eventually moved away and slept under the table instead. What a good cat!

Winding yarn

Just looking at the colours made me so happy! Look how pretty they are, all snuggled up close to each other.

Colours for my blanket

When I eventually started crocheting, I could not stop. The EcoOrganic Cotton yarn is a dream to work with! So soft and it didn’t split like other cotton I’ve worked with before. It’s like knitting with Malabrigo wool. Simply heavenly!

The blanket grew quickly as I crocheted every chance I got. It became my Australian Open companion. As the tennis players manipulated the ball with a twitch of the wrist, I did the same with mine on the blanket. Alas, the tennis is over and I’ve managed to crochet 5 of the 16 colours.

Granny square blanket WIP

Here it lays on the bed it is destined for.

Granny square blanket WIP

The blanket feels right. It’s what I imagined it would be. I think I’ve got my forever blanket.

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