A Room of Her Own: A Tour of My Little Crochet Room and What it Means to Me

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I was an Oprah Winfrey disciple from 1986 until her show went off the air in 2011. Every afternoon at 4:00 was my time and I rarely let anything get in the way. I became a mother in 1995 and Oprah became my respite. We added children to our family in 1997, 1999, and 2002 and Oprah continued to be a little slice of sanity carved out just for me.

In 1997 Oprah featured the interior designer, Chris Madden, who discussed the importance for women to have a space of her own, and she even wrote a book about it. During that time, with two little girls and a small home, I couldn’t image such luxury but I longed for the day when that could become a reality.

A Room of Her Own: Women’s Personal Spaces

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Fast forward twenty-one years and I now have that space. With two grown daughters out of the house I found myself with an extra bedroom! It certainly needed to double as a place for guests, but for most of the year it sat empty.

It was a fairly easy process to make this my little crochet room since most of the girls’ belongings  had already been either taken to their new destinations or packed away for safe keeping. It was just a matter of looking at the space, rearranging some furniture and deciding the best way to use the space for my crochet accoutrement.

The space is quite small. It’s just big enough for a full sized bed and the additional furniture is really too large for the room, but is useful. Since I only use the room for guests a few weeks a year, it works for my purposes.

Having a space dedicated to my dreams, my creations, and my creativity is a luxury I could only have dreamed of. When all four of my children were young I didn’t have the time or energy for anything creative. I barely had time to breathe. I tried my hand at a few crafts during those years but the effort was more than I could muster. I would look at women who were creative and artistic and feel a pang of jealousy. I just wanted a moment and a space to call all my own.

Now when I step into the room I feel inspired. This is my space, a place that encourages my creativity.

I hope you enjoy this little tour of my humble space, and my heart’s desire is for you to have a place to call your own one day as well!

I also love using pieces and things I already have around the house and repurposing them! The little black alligator tote below used to be a makeup caddy. It was stored in the basement and once I found it, I knew it would be the perfect spot to store crochet hooks, yarn needles, embroidery floss, etc.

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This little set of cubbies once held teenage girl DVDs, books, and beauty products. Now it is a place for my yarn. I divide them between fiber type and weight. Currently my wool blend and worsted weight bins are full to bursting!

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This little piece also serves as a nice little spot to display my certificate and pin from the Craft Yarn Council. (Here’s a link in case you’re interested in reading more about the Certified Instructor Program – Why You Might Want to Become a Certified Crochet Instructor Even if You Never Plan on Teaching)

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I decided early on that I needed a way to organize patterns that aren’t in books. I used an old bankers box that I already had, and I love the bright yellow color! Each pattern has its very own file folder.

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I use Post-It notes to label each file for easy finding later!

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I love keeping my blocking mats and spray bottle out at all times. It is so convenient not having to hunt for them or find a place to lay them out. (Link to blocking mats – Hephaestus Crafts Blocking Mats for Knitting – Pack of 9 GRAY Blocking Boards with Grids for Needlepoint or Crochet. 150 T-pins)

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I have my Simply Crochet magazines out at all times for inspiration and their bright colors make me so happy! I also use mason jars to store scraps of pretty ribbon and embroidery floss.

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I began keeping my yarn labels in order to be able to identify the color and all information about the yarn. I add a scrap of yarn to each label, which makes it very easy for ordering later. IMG_5901

I keep them all in a little turquoise bin!

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The room is not grand, or big, or unique, but it is so very special to me. Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for how you like to organize your creative clutter!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no cost to you, I will earn a teeny, tiny commission if you decide to purchase them from Amazon. These are products that I know, love, and trust. I have and will continue to recommend them regardless of my affiliate relationship with Amazon. Thank you for supporting Le Petit Saint Crochet!

 

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Comparing Cotton and Wool for Amigurumi

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I find the difference in these two puffins absolutely fascinating. Both amigurumi are made from yarn by the same manufacturer, Paintbox Yarns. The puffin on the left is made from their Cotton DK and the one on the right is from their Aran Wool Mix. The colors, textures, and sizes of each puffin depend on which yarn is used, which may seem obvious to some, but for me it is an interesting experiment.

For more information about the puffin patterns by Yan Schenkel,                    check out my blog post, Book Review: Animal Friends of Pica Pau

I began making amigurumi with cotton yarn. I love the smooth texture it produces, but found that, by its nature, was causing problems with pain in my elbow. You can read more about that here: Saying Goodbye to my Beloved Cotton Yarn

This particular cotton DK produces a more muted tone puffin. His colors aren’t as bright but have a beautiful softness to them. The grey on the left puffin is a shade lighter than on the right, but the coral colors on the beaks and feet are almost identical. In contrast, this wool yarn achieves deep, rich hues.

The texture difference between cotton and wool is what stands out the most to me. The cotton has a knobby quality, but is very smooth at the same time. The wool puffin on the right has a slightly fuzzy consistency, which I think adds to his charm. I find that the wool mix yarn leaves very few holes if any in the stitches. But with the cotton it is easier to see each individual stitch.

The size is what surprised me the most. I thought that changing from a DK weight yarn to an Aran weight yarn would lead to a much bigger difference in dimensions. In reality the wool puffin is a heftier bird than his cotton cousin, but not by much. Even though I eliminated one small section of the color-work on the neck, the height difference is much less than I would have predicted.

I have used other cotton yarns like Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton, which is a mercerized fiber and is much richer in color. It has a slight sheen to it and I especially like using it for projects that could use a little luster. For the wool, I am currently using a wool blend labeled Berroco Vintage which comes in solids and heathers. It is really soft, affordable, and washable!

Cotton and wool mix yarns both make wonderful amigurumi. The choice between the two really comes down to preference and budget. I would recommend any of the yarns I already mentioned and think they will make magnificent animals.

Below are a list of my favorite cotton and wool yarns that I have personally used.

My recommendations for cotton:                                                                                              •Cascade Ultra Pima                                                                                                                        •Paintbox Yarns Cotton DK

My recommendations for wool:                                                                                            • Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran                                                                                                    •Berroco Vintage Yarn

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Saying Goodbye to my Beloved Cotton Yarn

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I am head-over-heels in love with cotton yarn. I love how it feels. I love how it works up. I love the colors. I love how smooth the texture is.

But it seems that cotton yarn doesn’t love me back.

I began having pain in my elbow approximately six months ago. The pain continued to get worse and worse. I finally went to an orthopedic doctor and he diagnosed me with Lateral Epicondylitis, also known as Tennis Elbow, due to repetitive motion from crochet. He gave me a cortisone shot right in the joint to relieve the pain and inflammation. OUCH! It definitely helped but I have since read that repeated cortisone shots could damage the joint long term so I will not be getting another one. The shot definitely helped the pain. It almost went away completely but within four weeks or so the pain was back and much worse.

I have taken a lot of time to research repetitive motion pain in knitters and crocheters. I have found that it’s more common than I thought! I have discovered, for myself, that making amigurumi is the culprit and that cotton yarn is the accomplice. Making amigurumi requires making single crochet stitches over and over again. There is very little variation which I believe is the problem.

While listening to a Bhooked podcast about how wool yarn is made, I heard something that I hadn’t heard before. Cotton yarn doesn’t stretch, which can cause problems with hands, elbows, or wrists for knitters and crocheters! NOOOOO!!! I knew that cotton didn’t have any stretch, which is why it’s really good for amigurumi! But it’s not good for my joints.

So now I am trying different fibers to see how they behave with amigurumi but also how my elbow feels with more stretch in the yarn. I am currently trying Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran, which is 50% wool and 50% acrylic.  It has a bit of a fuzzy texture when you look really really closely but other than that it looks fairly similar to the cotton yarn.

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I’m hoping that stretchier fibers will be the antidote to my tennis elbow but only time will tell.