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Nadia Goes on a Yarn Hop

Nadia Goes on a Yarn Hop

With my move to a new city, much of my free time is spent exploring my new home. Nate has lived here for almost 10 years and as familiar as he is with this area, there are a lot of places in our city that I have discovered that he wasn’t aware even existed! One of the first places I wanted to scout out was the area yarn shops. Because it would be a travesty if my husband didn’t know where the yarn is!

You may recall in previous blogs how much I enjoy the quaintness and feel of a local yarn store. I love to support small businesses, and I will do my best to try to frequent them as often as I can. Fortunately for me, my city has a few in and around the area! Insert a visual of wide-eyed Nadia looking like a kid in a candy store each time she enters one of these shops running around squeezing all the yarn balls!

Last week, I popped into one of the local shops, Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop here in La Crosse, WI and found out they were having a Yarn Loop! Squeeee! How did they know I needed that in my life right now? What it entailed was a 200 mile route through three states, hopping from yarn shop to yarn shop along the route. Six shops in total were part of this event! You have no idea that I could hardly sleep the night before!! I was THAT excited.

The first thing I did when I found out there was a Yarn Loop was call my mom. Who better to join me on this adventure than my crafty partner in crime?? I was hoping she would be able to come the night before to have a pre-yarn-hop slumber party where we would stay up all night and plot out our plan and get an early start, but she was so busy she couldn’t make it until early that morning. She had over a two hour drive to get to my house, and of course I insisted we be ready to go by 8am. Even though the shops didn’t open til 9!

She was at my house by 8am the morning of the yarn hop and by 9 we were walking into the first shop! Our first stop was Unwound located right in Downtown La Crosse. I love their shop and how welcoming the staff is! The minute you walk in is a burst of warmth and color. Here we were given our “passport” to have stamped at each of the shops participating. Each shop was giving away some door prize swag, there were great deals and sales on yarn, and some had additional prizes and giveaways. Unwound had a nifty needle measure as their giveaway. I also scored some great purchases. I bought some wonderful yarn by Abacus Dyeworks. Along with fabulous fibers, I found some patches to add to my yarn bag. All in all it was a great start, despite the fact that as soon as we stepped out of the shop it was a torrential downpour! Meh, no rainstorm would dampen my spirit when 5 more shops await!

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Check out their Instagram here!!

Next was Fitting Knit Shop, another store in downtown La Crosse. We arrived and had our passport stamped first thing. They were giving away free knitting patterns and I grabbed a couple skeins of Bamtastic Bamboo Yarn. I plan on trying my hand at knitting to see how I do. One really special point about this stop was the history of this little yarn store! It was established in 1946! They are still in business today. What a remarkable claim to be able to make! In the days of internet, it is pretty cool to see a business like this survive through so many decades.

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We were quickly on our way to Viroqua, WI to Ewetopia Fiber Shop. I love this shop! With wall to wall fiber and lots of fun products that go beyond the yarn, I felt my excitement rising! What made Ewetopia stand out was the fact that they farm their own woolly animals that provide them their own AMAZING yarn! You all know me, I had to try THAT yarn! I purchased their own yarn which was 100% Blue Faced Leicester Wool. How incredible to have a sustainable farm to provide your own wool and fibers to their customers as well as stocking additional fabulous fibers! The staff at the shop was so endearing and wonderful. I had my passport stamped and I met some friends along the way! They gave out stitch markers for free, and of course I had to purchase some of the other fun items they had in their shop! I can’t wait to go back!

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My mom and I were now off to Decorah, Iowa to our fourth stop of the day. By this time it was closing in on lunch, but we decided to wait until we arrived in Decorah, made our stop at the yarn shop Blue Heron Knittery, before stopping for lunch. Oh. My. Gosh! What a wonderful city Decorah is! This was my very first time visiting and right away we noticed the strong Scandinavian heritage of the area! It was wonderful. What was even more delightful is the yarn store had a wonderful selection of yarns that were specific to Norway and Denmark. We marked our passports to make note that we found our way to the fourth place on our route. I picked up some Kauni 100% wool and some Rauma Finullgarn. The shop had some fun swag giveaways and I walked away with a cute notepad with sticky notes and a pen.  A cute stash bag also caught my eye and I had to have it!

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By now we were starving and the Blue Heron Knittery shop staff recommended us to Ede’s Angry Pickle! Yes you read that right! It is a little sandwich shop right across the street a bit from the yarn shop. You can follow them on Facebook here! What a delightful diner! We had artisan sandwiches with fresh lemonade and it hit the spot! We even left a little bit of art behind to commemorate the day! My mom drew Pickle Art for the wall inside the diner which was filled with the art of past patrons.


By 3pm, we were on our last leg of the trip headed towards Minnesota. A little tired from all the day’s activity, we were determined to finish the yarn hop. The next stop was Just Stitch It Meisch Upholstery in Caledonia, Minnesota. As soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted by wonderful staff in a small shop inside what looks like a home. It was a combined fabric and fiber shop that was very cozy! They handed us wonderful pouches of swag as a sweet giveaway and had us register for a special giveaway of a bag, magazine and ball of yarn. A few days after the Yarn Loop was over, I received a phone call from this shop that I won their giveaway! They had some wonderful yarn selections and I was able to purchase their pattern selection they had featured which used Schoppel yarns. We wrapped up our visit and were on our way to the LAST stop of the day!

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Winona, Minnesota was the next city on the map for our fabulous Yarn Loop Day. Yarnology was the last shop and last stop for us! And what a way to end the day!!!!! Yarnology was packed full of fun and fabulous products! I scored myself some Universal Yarns Bamboo Bloom Handpaints in the color Kanji and the swag they gave away was AWESOME!! They handed us gift bags upon arrival filled with lots of fun do-dads! One big highlight of the day was meeting Lisa who is the owner of Abacus Dyeworks! Remember, I bought that yarn from Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop from our first stop?! How awesome was it to meet the dyer of the yarn I purchased earlier in the day!! I also discovered the product SOAK Wash! You can learn more about SOAK and how awesome it is by following them on Facebook here! I absolutely loved this store, the atmosphere, the staff…the list goes on. It was THE PERFECT way to end this hop.

Follow Yarnology on Facebook

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Follow Abacus Dyeworks on Instagram

Follow Soak Wash on Facebook

My mom and I had such a great adventure as we always do, and a yarn hop was the best way to spend a Friday. We met so many friendly and welcoming people. We enjoyed driving through the countryside, and when the rain cleared, the scenery was breathtaking. We found new places to go back to and explore. A special thank you to all of the participants in this 1st annual Driftless Loop Yarn Shop Hop! It was a blast! And I found out Yarn Hopping is as fun as it is exhausting! Until next year everybody! Share your yarn hop adventures in the comment section! I would love to hear from you!

~Nadia

 

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It’s All in the Details: Crochet Wedding Flowers

It’s All in the Details: Crochet Wedding Flowers

When planning a wedding, one of the very first things you consider is the type of wedding you want and the budget to go along with your dream. It isn’t always easy to have those two things come together seamlessly unless you have all the resources available without the concern of finances. That’s why DIY (or do-it-yourself) is a great way to cut costs and bring some of those wedding expenses down – and dreams to life – using your own creativity. Be aware – there’s a cost to that too, just not always in dollars.

It Starts With YES!

When Nate proposed, we were in Amsterdam, Netherlands on a high – figuratively not literally. (read about it here) Excited from the thrill of getting engaged on this European trip, planning a wedding in that moment was not on the forefront of our minds. We hadn’t even chosen a date for our wedding until weeks following our engagement. I am such a planner, so I needed time to organize our wedding with guests from overseas, so we decided on March 17, 2018, St. Patrick’s Day. This was the perfect day to have our Pakistani/Irish fusion wedding. I wanted the Pakistani features and Nate is Irish, so he wanted to incorporate some Irish elements into our special day.

Looking a year ahead gave us much needed time to sort out details for this fusion wedding and put finances on paper. Thankfully, our parents were able to help, but how much would this all cost?

We visited vendors which was exciting and full of promise. Yet, when we started to talk dollars and cents, we began to realize that we needed to scale down considerably on some of our “wants.”  Our budget was limited. One of the more shocking realizations was finding out that for flowers; personal flowers such as bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages along with centerpiece arrangements and other floral décor, would cost over $2000 USD. As much as I LOVE fresh flowers, spending $2000 on that one detail was out of the question.

Famous Last Words

Ideas began to formulate. I knew I wanted to incorporate elements of crochet into my wedding, and the more I considered it, the more it made sense for me to make all of the flowers. I knew it would be a lofty goal. Hand crocheting 200+ flowers for all my floral elements, as well as 200 place card meal flowers, was no easy task. But spending $2000 on bouquets and arrangement fresh flowers, which will wilt and be discarded was hard to contemplate. I could save a huge chunk of money if I did these myself. So, it was decided almost a year ahead of time, I would crochet the flowers. I had plenty of time, right?

I think I remember vaguely in the fog of my over-zealous wedding-muddled mind, Nate saying to me,

“Are you sure you want to do that? I don’t want you to get too stressed out…..” Brides and stress? Phfft…

Oh, how prophetic that conversation would be.

My flip response was something on the lines of,

“No worries, I won’t get stressed. It’s a year away. I have plenty of time.” Eye-roll please…

The Best Laid Plans…

Eleven months in advance may seem like plenty of time to take on a project like this. That is if you have NOTHING to do BUT this. I started out pretty well. I decided on using Red Heart Yarns Aunt Lydia’s Thread in the colors of my bridesmaids’ dresses for their bouquets and a throw bouquet. I would pair the groomsmen’s boutonnieres in coordinating colors. My bouquet would be shades of red and Nate would have a matching flower to mine. I could get a jump start on place card flowers once I decided on the coinciding meal. I would crochet similar coordinating flowers to use for my table centerpieces. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Puhll-eeaaazzze…I got this!

I mapped out the year. I could crochet three flowers a day which would put me on a course to finish in plenty of time for the wedding. It would give me an ample time-frame to make bouquets, plan those centerpieces, decide on any other arrangements, and color code all the seating place cards. The only thing is, I had to stay on task. One missed day meant the next day I had to make six flowers. One missed week meant making 21 flowers to catch up. Do you get my drift? Don’t even ask what it required to catch up on a lost month. There are no words…

Fast forward to six weeks before the wedding and my fingers felt like they were falling off due to the insane flower making schedule I had going on. Every plan and deadline shot to hell. I even sliced my hand with that tiny 1mm crochet hook I was using! Haha! I remember at 2 a.m one morning, my eyes going crossed and mind delirious, thinking up curse words while miscounting my stitches, and repeating over and over that I will NEVER crochet with thread or make another flower in MY LIFE ever again. I must have asked myself a hundred times…WHY!? Why did I decide to do this?!

Honestly….This is why….

This Is What Dreams Are Made Of

I am such a detail person. It comes from my mama. And just like my mama, I believe those tiny details matter. Every single one of these details mattered to me. I would not have done it otherwise. Looking back, I know I complained, I may have even cried, but the results of all the hard work and late nights paid off. Each detail, each flower, each element came together in perfect harmony on our wedding day and it was so worth it! So, so worth it! Details, details, details….

The bouquets I designed consisted of 12-14 crochet flowers in the final assembly. I accented the burst of color using gold beads, gold tulle, gold ribbon, and gold jewels to wrap the handle of the bouquet holders I chose. I crocheted roses for my bridal bouquet and crocheted an assortment of handmade flowers for the bridesmaids and the throw bouquet. My sister-in-law/maid-of-honor and I still have the scars from the blisters burned on our hands from the hot glue! Bouquet assembly was not easy!

Each boutonniere consisted of a coordinating crocheted single flower attached to a stem and leaf. For Nate’s two younger brother’s, I created a trio of crocheted small flowers as an alternate look since they were our ushers and groomsmen! Even our little ring bearer had his own!


The wrist corsages for my mom and Nate’s Grandma were a single flower crocheted in gold thread and fastened to gold glitter elastic wrist bands.

Each centerpiece was a combination of Moroccan Lanterns alternating with floating candles on opposite tables. Small votive candles accented each table, along with the gold framed table number we added Salal Lemon Leaf and Evergreen Huckleberry for a splash of deep green on our black table cloth linens. I accented the leaves with a combination of three crochet flowers on one side and an accent flower on the opposite side of the arrangement for a splash of crochet color and balance.

For the last table detail, we added small place card holders that were tiny replicas of brass oil lamps. Each name card was paired with a tiny crochet flower detail indicating the meal choice of each guest and inserted into the place card holder. I had four meal options, and each option had a color coordinated flower that matched the meal choice of each guest. Each place card was printed with our guests’ names, and I attached a tiny flower on the end with a gold brad using a paper hole-punch. This tiny, but impressive, element was a huge hit with our guests!

 

It Doesn’t Stop There

Aside from the details that adorned our tables, we had a couple other crochet specifics that I incorporated into our wedding day. Since it was a Pakistani/Irish Fusion wedding a few live flower arrangements had elements of plants indigenous to Ireland. Bells of Ireland mixed with Fringe Cups, Burdock, Thistle, Ladies Mantle, Clover and an assortment of other greens decorated our reception room. I decided to add crochet Calla Lilies to this greenery mix! I found an amazing pattern by Happy Patty and purchased it from her Etsy Shop! I fell in love with these Irish fused greenery arrangements even more with this added detail. Bittersweet Florist was fun to work with and loved the idea of adding crochet Callas. They had never seen crochet lilies before!

It may seem like an overwhelming amount of crochet flowers and crochet elements added to the wedding day. I did not want it to look like too many crocheted components pulled together, hoping it appeared as attractive as imagined when I started on this project.  When we put it all together, it wasn’t at all over the top or too much. It was just the right amount. I even added the Henna Inspired Mandala as a table top cover in our reception area. I used it under some Huckleberry leaves to accent our seating chart table. Subtle yet lovely…a tiny splash of crochet color made it just the perfect element to add in this one spot.

It’s All in the Details

It took a lot of planning, but that’s my thing. I love planning, and details can make all the difference. Like I mentioned, I am a detail oriented person and being a bride didn’t change any of this. In fact, it amped it up! Just be careful not to get caught up in too many little things. It can suck you in!  Doing all these crochet elements made this uniquely my own. It was such a wonderful feeling that I made each of these details come to life with crochet.

In the end, each guest had a small crochet take-away aside from their wedding favor. My bridesmaids, men of honor, groomsmen, ring bearer, and family, each had their flowers to have as a keepsake from our special day. One lucky guest caught the Throw Bouquet! Even the centerpiece flowers became souvenirs for some guests. We could not ask for more! This is what every bride should feel. I accomplished this incredible feat and brought a lot of joy not only to myself but to each guest who attended our wedding. It truly mattered in showing each person who attended how special they are and how much it meant to us that they were to celebrate our love.

In the end, I crocheted 140 centerpiece flowers, 70 bouquet flowers, 19 boutonniere flowers, 3 wrist corsages, 200 place card flowers, as well as the Calla Lilies to accent the greenery arrangement, the Henna Inspired Mandala and lastly, I did make each of my girls a special wedding shawl which I will share in a separate blog. I did this work all in the months leading up to our wedding. It wasn’t easy, but it was so very special. I saved more than $1,500.00 USD by doing this myself.

Do-It-Yourself: Lovely But Not Easy

My advice for anyone planning to take on the task of DIY projects for your wedding would be to plan it out, give yourself plenty of time to tackle a project of this magnitude, know the commitment you are making because it can overwhelm you, and it is ok to get frustrated. Just don’t take on a project that consumes you to the point that you lose the joy in the reason you started this in the first place. With the right frame of mind, in the end, you will have a wedding that has the special added touches that make it your unique day with elements that are talked about for years! Always remember: This is YOUR special day do what feels right for YOU. Have fun and enjoy it all!

A special thank you to the following:

Our amazing parents for supporting us and making all our dreams come true.

Our entire wedding party for helping us through this whole journey and being the best wedding party ever!!

All of our guests, you are so special to us, and we were so happy to celebrate our special day with each and every one of you!

Cook Photograph Company for the wonderful photos (See more of our wedding photos on their Facebook Page here)

Bittersweet Floral for the lovely Irish greens added to our reception hall

Nite Lights Entertainment for the AH-MAZING Music, Lighting, and Photo Booth! That was the best party I have ever been to!!

The Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern for such a great venue to celebrate our wedding at! Everything was so elegant and regal.

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!! ~Nadia

 

Crochet Tutorial: How to Crochet a Badger Hat

Enjoy making this Badger hat! I made this one an adult size (to fit myself), but if you click here, you can follow this link to the written pattern make smaller sizes. Share this video with your friends and leave a COMMENT on what your favorite animal is–I might make a video on how to crochet it!

Click this link to purchase this pattern for all 6 sizes.

Supplies:
H-5.00mm Hook

Red Heart Yarn in White, Black, Red, and Warm Brown

Teacher: Nadia Fuad
Video and Editing: Fuad Azmat

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Bucky Badger

As a Wisconsinite, I just HAD TO make a Bucky Badger hat to show my team pride! Here’s what I came up with. Click the photo if you are interested in more information. I hope to have the pattern available on my Etsy Shop soon!

On Wisconsin!

On Wisconsin!

Teacher: Nadia Fuad
Video and Editing: Fuad Azmat

Share your work on Facebook!

Shop Here

Add me on Snapchat: YARNutopia

Follow me on Instagram

Follow me on Twitter: @YARNutopia

Enjoy this video and subscribe to my channel on YouTube for more tutorials on how to crochet!
Leave a comment, and share with your friends!