March 25, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I ACTUALLY finished a crochet project! During my mandatory knitcation, I needed something to keep me busy, especially after I hurt my neck. I decided to work on one of my 12in11 projects, the Broomstick and Lace Hat from Crochet So Fine by Kristin Omdahl
The pattern was fun, and a great learning experience. I feel that if I had more experience with crochet, the project would have been a bit more successful, but hey, I’ve gotta start somewhere. I made a few changes as I went:
- I eliminated the “cable” on the band for two reasons: I couldn’t figure out the instructions, AND to be honest, I think that a crochet cable looks a little sloppy compared to a knit one, so it was easy for me to let it go.
- I have more rounds of the broomstick lace than in the pattern. Perhaps my gauge was off, but from my other experiences with knitting hats, I could see that the number of rounds specified in the pattern just wouldn’t be sufficient to fit my head.
- My hat measured 20.5 inches as the pattern indicated, though, I feel it is rather snug. Maybe my large brains require a larger hat, and maybe my brains are too small, and I measured wrong.
- I added a lavender edging to the bottom, which I think is cute, and makes up for the lack of cables
I used Blue Sky Alpacas, Alpaca Silk in White, and Lavender. Holy cow I love this yarn, and can’t wait to use it for another project.
The whimsical and playful lace in this hat was fun to create, and I even got to use my new size 17 circular knitting needle as a stitch holder. Bonus. Would I do it again? Probably not, because I’d like to try something different, but the pattern itself was fun, and I certainly learned a lot! Would I try another pattern from this book? Absolutely! Beautiful garments that make you think twice about what you can accomplish with crochet!
While I do still appreciate knitting more than crochet—only because I have so much more experience with knitting—I can say that I have come to really appreciate being able to go back one stitch at a time, without having to worry about dropped stitches, or entire rows being lost. Much easier to keep count, and fix mistakes. Though, I will also say, that I miss being able to look up. With knitting I can read a book, watch a movie, engage in a conversation. With the crochet, I must watch ever step I take. It can get a little tedious. Though the unique stitches, and ability to just create shapes does help make up for it
March 13, 2011 § 3 Comments
Stitches West. Ok, ok, so it was a month ago, but I at least I am finally getting to it. With a neck that isn’t functioning, and my mandatory knitcation, I finally have time to get up to date.
So, before I proceed, I’d like to define two terms that I have created in my wooly webbed world.
1. to Yarn (verb): the act of working with, or playing with yarn of any type. Ex. As I wrote an email to each of my sisters, I was unaware that my cat was yarning with 183 yards of fingerling weight superwash merino wool, and then I had to spend 45 minutes sorting, collecting, and re-winding it.
2. Yarnie (noun): A person, or creature, who yarns. Ex. Me, both of my cats, but primarily the fat one, and anyone who knits, crochets, spins, or weaves.
I understand that Yarnies sounds a lot like Carnies, you know, the fine, weird folk from the Carnival. It is not meant to be insulting, but, lets be honest here, yarn people, much including myself, tend a little more to be the black sheep of the flock. I have called people who yarn, Yarnies, for quite some time, but never in public, as I haven’t wanted to offend anyone. However, at the Ravelry.com Happy Hour, just after the market preview, I did meet a woman with a beard gloating over her yarn purchases before the flocks of yarnies could rush the market hall during general admission the following day.
I did meet some great folks at the happy hour. Though, in traditional Yarnie fashion, the happy hour happened from 8–9:30 pm, which, in my book, is a weeeee bit late for happy hour, and more like, well, dinner time.
The following day I had a strict plan of previewing, making notes, taking pictures, and gathering information to bring home, dwell on for the evening, then return the following day to make my purchase. Well, we all knew that my plan had only a chance in hell of being fulfilled, but I lied to myself to try to make it through. Overall, I did really well, only purchasing a few small things that day, and I did, in fact, ruminate over my notes and ideas on Friday evening, and returned on Saturday to make my well thought out purchases.
I have to admit that I was disappointed not to see many of the big yarn manufactures there. In fact, I only saw a few. Cascade Yarns was one of them, and I made good friends, but no Plymouth, no Malibrigo, no Berocco, and well, really no one else. There were many small manufactures there, which was great. Fun to get to see and touch unique fibers and colors that you really can’t find anywhere else. I was also disappointed to see many signs saying “No Photography,” which meant that I lugged my 5lb Nikon D200 around all day as an exercise weight. I guess the yarnie vendors are worried about you seeing a knit garment/blanket/accessory/what-have-you and taking a picture and re-creating. But really, no pictures of a hank of yarn? Really? Bummertown. Thus, all of the pictures in this post, the few that there are, are crappy sneaky/hidden iPhone pics. Bummertown about the quality, sorry.
One of my favorite was Tess Designer Yarns. Such luxurious yarns and amazing colorways. I couldn’t keep my paws off of them. I made one impulse buy from Tess, and another for a specific project. I resisted the cashmere that I really, really wanted, as I felt that $225 pre tax was more than someone who is unemployed should be spending on a sweater.
Caption: Impulse buy baby blanket. No, I know I don’t have a baby, but it was just so beautiful that I bought the yarn to make one. It will be waiting for the day, but in my yarn-stash none-the-less.
At the Ravelry dinner-time happy hour I heard stories about The Sanguine Gryphon and made my way over to the booth, which, sadly was hidden sort of near the back. The gals working the booth were dressed in ren-faire costume, and the yarns and samples at the booth were even more impressive than the yarn wenches. After some bad experiences I am trying to stay away from variegated yarns, and even though The Sanguine Gryphon had some of the greets variegated colorways I have seen yet, I only bought a solid color, enough to do a cute, lightweight sweater.
Caption: Not the yarn I bought, but a notable yarnie item at the Sanguine Gryphon booth.
Then, around 4 o’clock on Friday, it hit me. I had over-yarned. I found myself just wandering through the market halls, glassy-eyed and parched. I forgot to bring water, even though I did remember my glut ten free sandwich and a yogurt. The yarnies running Stitches West weren’t accommodating an audience with a glutten allergy, so I was glad I planned ahead. Knowing it was time to go, I left, arriving back at home in a heap, unable to review my notes until after getting dinner, and a margarita.
In addition to the many yarn vendor booths, there were also some vendors of other varieties, though most all related to yarn. Looks like I am not the only one who has trouble with their cats yarning.
All in all it was a great event, and I was so happy that I learned about it in January, so that I was able to attend. During the Happy Hour, I a yarnie—not the one with the beard—tried for about 20 minutes to convince me that Stitches West is unlike any trade-show I had ever been to before, though she never really stated why, just “You’ll see! You’ll see.” I have to disagree with her assessment. I have been to enough trade-shows in enough different segments of the consumer world to know that they are all the same, just the goods change, and the genders/ages/weights/general demographics of the die-hard enthusiasts at the show.
So, in total:
Bearded Ladies: 1
Dogs in Knit Handbags: 2
Booths for removal of cat hair from yarn projects: 1
People who stopped me to comment on my Subway Hat: 50+
Great yarn: too much to count.
Days until the next Stitches West: 325, give or take.
March 12, 2011 § 4 Comments
So I have been working like a mad-lady trying to get these two dressed designed, patterned, sewn and photographed to submit for a competition, and while I finished one, the second one, I realized only at the very last moment, just wasn’t meant to be. With the production rush I have been very, very bad about not posting, but what can I say.
Last weekend, Ramon and I traveled up to my mom’s house to hang out. So funny and so cute, my mom had called a few days before we arrived stating that, “Since you are having so much fun with your yarn, I want to try to take up crochet, again. Can you give me a lesson.” Happy to oblige and after a trip to Walmart to buy cheap, big yarn, and big crocheting needles, she is now off and running, able to 1. identify mistakes and more importantly 2. go back and fix them.
Also on our little northern voyage, we took a 22 mile drive out to see Lamborghini. And while, sadly for us, it was raining, Lambo didn’t let that stop her from a Triscut feast. With sheering time only weeks away, I tried to make good friends with Lambo, as I will be super lucky to acquire her goods after the woolly event, which I will hopefully be able to watch, and maybe even participate it.
Now to the bad news.
I have been working on this sweater that I love, the cover sweater from Precious by Kim Hargreaves but really, why would you ever not do something top-down … Size three needles and some stress from the sewing extravaganza, my wrist really started hurting. After a week of hurting, I finally [made the mistake and] said something to Ramon. Now he has mandated a knitcation for 1-2 weeks, though please note, it is a vacation from, not for, knitting.
This was all fine and good, as I was able to sew, until a few nights ago, when I had a very bad muscle spasm in my neck.
Basically unable to move my neck at all, it took 5 hours yesterday to get to the art store to buy illustration board to mount the pictures I had already taken of my sewing competition entries, get the pictures mounted to the board (a task I have done hundreds, if not thousands of times), and get it down to FedEx. I already had all of the forms filled out, pictures touched-up and printed, but FIVE HOURS!!! This was followed by a two hour nap, then a margarita, then sleep. Ugh.
Today my neck is still very stiff, but since I can’t knit, I feel like a bump on a log, and totally worthless. With nothing else left to turn to, I have started to crochet the Broomstick and Lace hat from my 12in11 list. Making good progress, and I love the Blue Sky Alpacas: Alpaca Silk Yarn in 120 White that I am using, though I still feel like crochet is much more difficult than knitting.
So now slowly I go, trying to get back to normal, whatever that is.
January 6, 2011 § 8 Comments
Yesterday, sifting through the Ravelry.com forums, I came across a group titled 12in11. Participants of the group are to select twelve projects to complete in 2011. Of course these are all yarn projects, be it knitting, crochet, spinning, dying, etc.
So my readers, I thought I’d pose the same challenge to you! Why not make 2011 a little more creative, and inspiring than last year? 12 projects isn’t that hard, it could be 12 different complicated dinners to make, on per month. 12 5k marathons to run. 12 food festivals to go to.
For my 12 projects, on Ravelry.com I have selected a number of items I have already ordered yarn for, or have started, frogged, and haven’t finished. Because I have so many projects on my plate, I didn’t want to go, well, overboard. I have a tendency for doing this … I doubt anyone has noticed.
Here is my ravelry.com, knitting & crochet, 12in11 list, not necessarily in order:
1. Selbu Modern
3. Annie Hat
4. Subway Hat
6. Museum Tunic
11. Lace Panel Tunic
And, I am sneaking this one in here, for January. Like I said, I am not trying to go overboard, and this one is legitimate even though it is my pattern, and I finished it yesterday.
12. Diamond Slouchy Beret
What is your 12in11 list?
October 28, 2010 § Leave a Comment
So, I have decided to become a baseball fan. No, not a fair weather fan, but an all weather fan. Of course, yes, I am deciding this now that my local team is in the World Series. I actually put a lot of thought into this. Over the summer some of Ramon’s friends gave him tickets to a game, as they are season ticket holders and couldn’t make it to that game. Well, I had the best time every. Other than our cross-country road-trip it was the summer highlight. Riding on the feeling, I did consider that I might want to become a fan of a team with colors that suited me better than orange and black, but because I had such a fun time at that game at AT&T park I decided to stick with the Giants.
So, last night I watched the game, and worked on my crochet monkey. I finished the body, the cape, and the fez.
Tonight I re-did, and completed Ramon’s Halloween hat, with the exception of the red ball that goes on top.
So, half a monkey and a bit-sized jacket and fez versus a whole hat. I am so tired of everyone saying that crochet is so much easier than knitting. I can get through an entire sweater in a week and a half, but a weee monkey?
Ok, ok. I remember how it was when i first started knitting. It took me a month to get through a scarf. Sometimes it is hard to remember and to respect the learning curve. I can see that crochet *will* be easier. In-fact, I even crochet closed Ramon’s Halloween hat instead of knitting it, because the hole was so small, and you don’t drop stitches in crochet like you do in knitting. So, patience my little monkey. I need to remember that it will take time to feel the same way about my ability to crochet as my ability to knit.
Luckily, with Ramon’s hat (almost) done, I am one step closer to Halloween costume success. With our Halloween party only two days away, and with my all day Bernina class on Saturday, I have some really serious Halloween costume finishing to get done tomorrow. OMG! I know I can get it all done but … I want to get the houndstooth skirt done tomorrow, and the hallway pictures done, too! I am also trying to get my blue McQueen Sweater Dress done before we head off to Kentucky for the Breeder’s Cup next week. I think that Thunder, the grey kitten, I am pretty sure will love the ball that will go on Ramon’s hat. I wonder, with her joy for playing fetch, will Ramon’s hat stay intact long enough to celebrate the main event?
October 26, 2010 § 5 Comments
A number of months back a fellow that I knew tried to explain that the day that you took an action that you knew your mother would want you to do, but you did it for you, not her, was the day that you became an adult. Really, only then? And how come your mother was never “right” before? Well, I have been listening to my mom for years, decades even, and for one simple reason. Why learn from your own mistakes, when you can just do the right thing, instead? Mom is always right. We all know this. This truth has never been proven wrong, and will never foreseeably be wrong, so what happened? How could I so daringly and blatantly state that your mom isn’t always right????
“As soon as you cut it, put it through the serger. Depending on how the sequins are sewing the the fabric, they may just come flying off.”
Well, the only things that went flying off were the two tips of my serger needles upon plunging twice into my beautiful sequin fabric.
I guess I should back-up some. First off, I finished my Halloween costume in one day, as promised. In-fact, it only took half a day, but I still have the head-piece and shoes to go, so in the end it will equal one day. Started and finished that on Sunday. Then, I decided that since I have my fancy-new block pattern that I should get the sequins off my wall, and onto, well, me! This piece is so simple, yet so complicated. I had to distill the block down into a one-piece front bodice and skirt with no darts, and a super low cowl neck back/skirt piece, and sleeves. That is a lot of moving around of critical shaping elements. A few yards of muslin later, I felt pretty satisfied, but it wasn’t until the trip to the grocery store to pick-up ice-cream for my mom that I had a construction epiphany. I finished the pattern and lining last night, leaving the sequins for today. A good day. My mom was here, of-course, until I started sewing.
The cutting went well, I extended the seam-allowances from my pattern 1/8″ for additional room while serging. Well, I serged, and that ended quickly. I started thinking that I was really regretting getting the sequins.
Before she left, I gave my mom a tour of the new Bernina. “Wow, this is a real, adult sewing machine. I have been sewing forever, but I have never had an adult sewing machine.” Upon experiencing needle-bits from my serger flying around the room—I think I need protective eye-wear—she encouraged me to try sewing it on my trusted and true Bernina. Starting slowly, hand turning the needle for the first few inches, I found that her advice the second time around was spot on. Maybe I just needed to listen for the construction alternative instead of just accepting the first route. See, she was right!
Beautifully maneuvered over and threw sequins, my solid Bernina got the job done, and just at the moment I was ready to give-up on the entire project, especially as it isn’t even a McQueen project, even though it is a McQueen Bumster tribute. Fancier that I was originally imagining, I need to find somewhere fabulous to wear this dress. All done but the hem. Oh, how I love the finishing. Next time I get the d200 and tripod set-up to take hallway pictures, I’ll take some of this dress on me, too, as it looks better on then on my lumpy, crappy, old dress-form.
Now, my sewing room looks like an ice-skating competition exploded in it. All that aside, I never thought I’d learn so much through sewing sequins, but with the pattern being a delightful, and welcome challenge, and the fabric itself pushing me into new spaces, I had a great time with this quick project, but I think it may be time to give the Roomba a new, dedicated home.
Last week, while I was being bad, busy, and not updating, I finished the back-side of my sweater dress, and I am now almost half way through the front side, just getting to the waist shaping.
Additionally I am making tremendous progress on my first ever crochet project (or as Ramon calls it a “crotch-ette” project), which is appropriately a monkey, for so many reasons.
I made my cheapest ever trip to JoAnns today—yes, even cheaper than getting one invisible zipper—I bought felt, for the face, and googlie-eyes. My mom forced me to get them, sighting that they are far better, and easier to use than making them out of felt or what-have-you, though also indicating that she *still* has the same jar of them laying around from my sister and my Brownie days in Girl Scouts.
Though, as I know she is right, she always is, I got the googlie-eyes, and I know they won’t let me down. Perhaps they’ll help me keep my eyes, and ears open for the right answer the next time around.
Now I just need to find new serger needles. Mom, care to chime in?