Sunday, November 29, 2009

Craft Fail

Today we're going to have a pictureless, whiny post in the spirit of keeping me blogging. Just what you wanted to read, right?

I've been sitting here thinking about all the projects I have going on, and those I want to start, and it's a little overwhelming!

1. Araucania Azapa scarves -- I started the first one with the remains of the second skein leftover from the second hat, then had to wait for a third skein to keep going. Then I started to run out of that one, so I went to the store and bought 2 more skeins to start the second scarf to get it up to where the first scarf is. I just measured them both and the second scarf is about a hundred rows behind the first and I'll definitely need the fifth skein! (Did you follow all that?) Once I catch the second one up, I'll divide the leftovers and finish each scarf with its own mini-ball. Oh man, these need to be done now.

2. Charity hat -- I knit a few rows when I get a chance. Turns out I misread the ribbing instructions and did it in a 2x2 rib, which I think is cute but is a little loose -- this hat is the 21" size and fits on my 22" head. Oops. Once I finish the top, I'll probably frog the rib and knit it on a smaller needle size. Maybe I'll even go for a smaller needle and 1x1 rib. Sigh. English major's reading skills for the lose.

3. Hubs' binary scarf -- Poor hubs. He puts up with me so well. He bought me a spinning kit for Valentine's Day this year and I bought him the yarn to make the Binary Scarf. It's been in my Ravelry queue since January 27th. I keep getting distracted by things like summer and Noro Striped Scarves and making stuff for other people. But I've promised him once I'm done with these Azapa scarves, his is the next project I start.

4. Socks. One day.

5. Lace. Maybe the next day.

6. My project binder. Actually, I've been keeping up with this, putting swatches in and stuff. I even bought hole protectors for it, but I can't find my hole puncher. The universe is laughing at me.

7. Mother-in-law's present. The math on this went wonky and while I'm sure I can figure it out very easily, I have a hissy fit when I'm in the same room as math.

8. Holiday presents. Let's just say no one's getting them. I had a goal of making one of my work colleague's a coffee cozy, but then I decided all the ones I found wouldn't work so I started brainstorming and am now in the process of designing one. She'll probably just get a gift card to Dunkin' Donuts or something, but I do plan on actually writing up a pattern and offering it at some point. After I finish my husband's scarf. Maybe. I love you, honey.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Language of the Craft

I've always loved language: loved learning bits and pieces of new languages, loved figuring out my native tongue. I've taken Spanish, Italian and Chinese in a school setting, and tried to teach myself French and Welsh. I have degrees in English and writing. I love language.

But what I especially love is what I call regional dialect -- what people call things and how they pronounce them. I'm from Connecticut, born and raised in the same house for the first eighteen years of my life. It wasn't until I was in college that I met people who called soda "pop" and sneakers "tennis shoes". As it is, I married a Massachusetts-Vermont-Michigan hybrid who calls a water fountain a "water bubbler" and chocolate sprinkles "jimmies". (But at least he still calls it soft-serve!)

Until I started crafting, I didn't realize that there were other ways to pronounce words I thought were pretty clear to say. I'm still not entirely sure what the difference between a hank and a skein is. One of my pet peeves is people calling yarn wool -- up until I posted this on a Ravelry thread, I had no idea yarn was called wool in other countries! To me, wool is a specific fiber. I can go into a store and say "I'm looking for the wool" and the associate can lead me straight to it, Merino to Icelandic and all the kinds in between. How does one differentiate this in another country? Obviously "I'm looking for the acrylic" is still pretty easy to say and understand, but do you have to say "wool wool" when looking for sheep product? Fascinating! (And I have no idea what the answer is.)

If you crochet, you probably already know that the terminology is a bit different across the pond. This article takes a quick and interesting look at the differences: for example, what I would call a slip stitch is a single crochet in UK notation. There do tend to be standard symbols for charts, but I don't tend to work from charts, so knowing your terminology is helpful!

However, possibly my favorite crafting term is worsted. Worsted. Oh, worsted. I think it's no mistake you have the word "worst" tucked away in there.

First, an interesting fact, and entirely not the reason I have a love-hate relationship with the word: did you know that worsted can refer to the way a yarn is spun? Had no idea! I read about it in one of Clara Parkes' books.

When I think of worsted yarn, I think of worsted-weight: that nice, kinda middle-of-the-road stuff that knits up pretty quick without having to use broomsticks for needles. It's probably my favorite yarn weight, and I know I'm not alone. In fact, plenty of people I know go on and on about their woostered-weight yarn.

Wait a second, hold the phone. Woostered? Well, if you moved the r and added a few extra vowels, I guess I can see how you get that. There's actually a linguistics term for this switching of syllables: metathesis. If you've ever heard a little kid call spaghetti "psketti", or the infamous "nuculer", that's metathesis.

It makes me wonder. Is woostered an example of metathesis, or is it accent-based? After all, there's Worcester Massachusetts, which to me should be pronounced "wor-chest-er" but is actually pronounced "wooster". I have no idea why. (Then again, I lived in Kuh-neh-ti-cut!) Is woostered a regional thing?

It's times like this I think about what a great paper topic this would have made. :)

(EDIT: I spelled Worcester with an "h". Oops!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crazy for Crochet

I did learn how to knit first, and generally prefer the look of a knitted garment, but let's face it: crochet can certainly be faster and easier! (And it can be a great way to eat up stash.) The other day I was taking pictures in the craft room and decided to try to document past and present projects. Today I'll share 3 projects in various stages.

WARNING: There will be a project in the shape of some female internal organs, but I'll put that one last.

#1: DSC03435

As usual, I have to be careful with what I say about #1 because it's a gift and the possibility exists that the recipient may stumble upon this blog! I need to get cracking on this one. I will say that I love working with a yarn that has so many colors in it!

#2: DSC03444

Ah, #2. This one's been on hiatus for a while. This is the Liquid Gold Chain Mesh Scarf designed by Kathy North. I thought it would make a great holiday scarf, but for whatever reason I had to go up like 4 hook sizes to get gauge, so I'm probably not doing it right. I'll probably rip it out soon since I would like to have it for winter -- it's so sparkly!

WARNING! You're about to see a crocheted uterus. :) Scroll no further, ye faint of heart!

#3: DSC03454

#3 is the Uterus Menstrual Cup Cozy Pattern designed by kelguen. I'm not going to get much into menstrual cups or alternative menstrual products here, but if that's something you're interested in learning more about, I'm going to refer you to the Wikipedia page on them and also the DivaCup & Lunapads websites.

It's basically a cute little drawstring bag in the shape of the uterus. :D You can use it to carry menstrual products, loose change, or whatever your heart (or uterus) desires. A quick & cute project that I would make again.

So that's all for today! I hope you've enjoyed a look at some of my crochet projects!