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My New Blocking Station Product Review

My New Blocking Station Product Review

I’ve always wanted a blocking unit for my crochet pieces. For someone like me having a handy tool like this makes my work a little easier. Recently, I received The BlocksAll Station from Chetnanigans. Chetnanigans has an Etsy Shop and is definitely worth the look. Today, I had the opportunity to give this product a try. Here is my assessment of this fun tool.

If you are like me, you have practiced many tricks when you are blocking your items. My tried and true way is to spritz a little water on my finished piece, shape it and pin it down on a towel using stick pins or stack my squares on skewers stuck in a Styrofoam block. Then, I leave my piece to dry overnight and wake up the next day to my item blocked, hopefully in the correct form I want. For larger projects this is still the best way I have found to achieve a decent result. However, there are times when making granny square items such as my G.G. Cardigan, my New Beginnings Afghan Block, or we all remember my colossal project the 365 Days of Granny Squares, when blocking single squares become necessary for the best appearance of an overall project. Not everything crochets up as neat and tidy as we hope. That is when the BlocksAll is great option to achieve these results. I set out to give this a test run and was not disappointed!

First, when the item arrived and I opened it, I was very happy to see how well this was packaged. Included were the board, a stand, stainless steel pins, and instructions, all neatly packed and secure on arrival. Seeing it for the first time was thrilling! I always get that excited feeling when a new crochet or craft item arrives at my doorstep. I am like a little child when I see the delivery driver pull up! Once it was opened, I was eager to give it a try!

I decided to give it a test run blocking some squares that I am making for a baby blanket. I sprayed my squares lightly with a bit of water before placing each square on the block. Although I blocked individual squares, you can stack them on the pins and do multiples at the same time. I think approximately 3-5 squares would fit stacked up. There are 50 stainless steel pins included in this set and there are a series of holes on the block. This is important as the placement of the holes make it easy to block items in a variety of sizes! The pins do not rust so if your item is damp, there will be no risk of rust getting on your pieces. It was a bit tough to insert the pins on the first try, but being as this is brand new, I suspect this will become easier the more I use this item. By the same token, the pins were a bit tough to remove once I was finished blocking. Again, with repeated use, this should rectify.

 

The BlocksAll is very sturdy, durable, and it has some weight to it. The stand has rubber grips for anti-slip if you want to stand it up while blocking your pieces. This is a nice feature when you need to apply a bit of force to either push the pins in or pull them out. Otherwise, there is felt on the back side of the BlocksAll station if you wish to lay it on a flat surface to do your blocking. One detail to point out that many will appreciate as I do, is that the pins are NOT sharp. I can’t tell you how many times when blocking my crochet items the standard way that I jabbed a stick pin into my fingertip or thumb and drew blood! It gives new meaning to putting blood, sweat, and tears into a project and hopefully, having this new item will take those elements out of the equation! There is no risk of that happening while using the BlocksAll pins! Another observation, you will want to store the pins in a small case. Because of the amount of pins included in this set (50), it will be a good idea to have a storage container for these small but important parts.

 

Once my pieces were blocked overnight, they came out perfectly shaped for my project!! The size of this board allows for pieces up to 12 inches x 12 inches to be blocked easily. I was so happy with the results of each square and they look perfect with the clean straight edge achieved from using this handy device! I love the look and they stack up nicely in piles waiting for me to sew them together! This is exciting stuff!
I love this wonderful gizmo and working with the Chetnanigans crew was a pleasure! Be sure to check out their Etsy site and all the great items they have for knitters and crocheters!! These would make a great gift for any crafter on your list–including yourself!

Also, be sure to use coupon code YARN15 to get a 15% discount on your purchase!!!  The discount code is only available until November 19th, 2017 so place your orders soon!! That is an AWESOME deal! You won’t be disappointed! Now back to making more squares and playing with my new toy!

~Nadia

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My New Craft Room

My New Craft Room

When Nate and I bought our house this past July, one of the bedrooms was in pretty rough shape. It had a behemoth wall cabinet built around a bed that fit into the center. I remember Nate’s dad remarking that it looked like the drawers in a wall at a morgue, and my first thought was this thing had to go!

Behind the bed was exposed wall and mortar. We even discovered a small hole where we could see light from outside! We found little critter poo in the area behind where the previous owner had their bed. I had total heebie-jeebies following that discovery! The first step was to ensure that there were no openings to the outside where critters can enter, so my dad filled the cracks and holes both inside and out. That went a LONG way to giving me peace of mind!

Where to start?

The room was poorly painted in a funky celery green color that was dirtied with age, with patches of the former paint peeking through. Our first inclination was to tear everything out and gut that insanely HUGE cabinet. After careful consideration, we decided to repair everything, repaint the room a soft gray with white accents, and try to work with the massive shelving (that was actually very well constructed). The previous owner had built the cabinet by hand out of solid oak, so the quality and construction was excellent. We all felt it would be a shame to completely destroy it. But what to do??!

The idea of facing this DIY project was a bit daunting, yet, when we started to disassemble and remove the drawers my mom came up with the idea of using this as a yarn storage wall! That had me shifting into 5th gear with an excited, “YES, PLEASE!” So, Nate, myself, my mom, and dad reinvented this wall unit into a yarn storage and turned the bedroom into my new studio/craft-room! It’s a night and day difference, and I couldn’t be happier with the results!

 

 

A little hard work never hurt anyone. It can however make me scream.

We started with the carpets. We rented a Rug Doctor and shampooed the carpets several times over. Once the floors dried, my dad removed the remaining drawers and hardware, leaving empty openings in their place. He measured and cut the wood for each “shelf” that needed a bottom. Then, we inserted each shelf into its cubicle and secured them with nails. We had 23 to reconstruct. I left two of the bottom drawers intact for notions, crochet hooks, and other supplies.

We decided then to paint the room. Since this room eventually will be my filming studio, I could only choose from white, cream, or gray paint so the lighting didn’t cast a strange color on my videos. So, I chose the soft gray with white trim. What should have been a simple paint job, was a disaster. One, we had to wash years of grime off the existing walls. Two, it took more than 3 coats of the light gray to cover the green color beneath. Three, I stepped off the ladder and the can of gray paint tipped over spilling and splashing paint EVERYWHERE all over the carpet! I screamed!! What a mess to clean up!! It took two full days to finish painting this small room. I still have a bit of trim to fix, paint, and replace, but overall it looks 100 times better than it did!

The Fun Part

Now the task of filling those compartments of my wall unit was next. My mom and I unpacked boxes upon boxes of yarn and began organizing them into colors. That took hours and hours! I think I went up and down the step ladder a hundred times that day. My legs were burning by the end! But what a difference it made! It transformed from being this massive thing with cold, empty caverns, into a wonderful warm, colorful work of art (haha!). My excitement just grew by leaps and bounds!

My dad and Nate repaired the back wall and constructed the table where I will be filming. They custom built the table for me to work and do my tutorials. They also added lighting fixtures to illuminate my work area. Once that was complete, my mom and I began to add personal touches to the room. The first thing to be hung on the wall was my Silver Play Button I was awarded from YouTube for surpassing 100,000 subscribers. One of the last pieces to be done was changing the ceiling fan into a hanging light fixture. We also accented with a black room darkening curtain so we can eliminate light coming through the window while filming. Soon the room began to truly come to life.

 

 

Finishing touches

Over the course of the past few weeks, I added a big comfy chair and additional artwork to the room. Most of the items are second hand or gifts that add to that personal charm to make this space my own. It is one of the coziest and happiest places in our new home. It is the perfect place for me to spend most of my time!

I am still transitioning between homes as I still live with my parents until our wedding. In 5 months, I will be getting married and will be moving ALL my yarn to our home permanently and those shelves will be full! YARNutopia will have a new home with a new beginning! I am excited to make these changes not just in my personal life, but in the life of our online community! Lots of exciting things to come and I am so happy to share this journey with all of you!

We still have to add some finishing touches. I will be keep you updated on more changes to come as well as posting about the day we film our first tutorial in my NEW studio!! Thank you for joining me and sharing this adventure!

Let me know stories of your own home DIY projects! Have you remodeled a room? Share in the comments section!

This post contains affiliate links, which I may be compensated for when you make a purchase. That means if you click on any link and buy from the linked websites, I will receive a small percentage of the value of your order. The amount you pay is not changed. Thank you for all your support in clicking the links in my blog!! You all are so amazing!!

My dad will continue to be the videographer, editor, and photographer for our videos.
Support YARNutopia today so we can continue to bring you clear, quality crochet tutorials even after I move into my new home!
There will be an added expense of more travel and hopefully this won’t deter our ability to provide consistent videos on a weekly basis.

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Yarn-Shui: The art of organizing and not obsessing

I have a honeycomb metal shelf where I have color-coded my skeins of standard yarn.

I roll my scrap yarn into balls and have lovely wicker baskets with similar shaped yarn balls for various scrap projects.

I have bins labeled by brand and/or bulk for easy identification.

Lastly, my specialty yarn is stored on display in pretty ways on decorative shelving.

I have been told that I have a slight obsession with yarn and organization. Up until recently, it didn’t occur to me that this could be construed as “a problem.”

Today, I cut ends from a project and put them in a colorful bowl of yarn confetti that, yes, I am saving, because what if a bird needs bits of yarn to build a new nest? It occurred to me, that maybe I was quick to condemn anyone labeling me “obsessed.” I think even the word “yarn addiction” was tossed out at me a time or two. Does anyone else regard their fiber as such a precious commodity? How do you organize your yarn and scraps? Does anyone else save their scraps for “what if” projects?! I have even had dreams of luxurious fibers. Oh goodness, have I gone too far? Help!?

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Share your organizations tactics in the comments below!!
~Nadia