Friday, April 30, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010: Day 5

Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

I certainly don't mind taking my crafting out in public. I ride the bus to work, so I've knitted/crocheted at the bus station and on the bus (never anything too complicated, though). I craft in the car if my husband is driving. I once took my knitting on a bus from Vermont to Boston, though it was too dark to knit on the bus to Rhode Island. I've knitted on the shore of a reservoir and dragged a chair outside on my little deck to enjoy some sunshine and crafting.

Inside the house, I have a separate room set aside for crafting.


It's arranged differently now, but you get the drift.

My mother bought me a chair for Christmas that she hoped I would knit in. It's very comfy!


See Mom, I do use it.

Honestly, as long as I can be comfy and pay the necessary attention, I don't mind where I'm crafting. I do currently draw the line at crafting in the bathroom. It just seems like a bad idea all around.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010: Day 4

Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

Perhaps the easiest place to start is the Knitter's Geek Code. I tried to muddle through it once, but I guess I'm not enough of a geek. However, it's a good way to see what you have and haven't done.

For example, the first part of the code asks if you knit English or Continental. I knit English, but I've sort of taught myself Continental so I can do stranded colorwork more often. (I guess this isn't a helpful example of something I'd like to learn.)

Ooh, there's something I haven't done: entrelac. I wasn't really a fan of entrelac until I saw a piece that was blocked properly. I've also seen some gorgeous pieces made with Noro yarn that have made me consider it. I'd like to add this to my knitting arsenal. I've also never done intarsia. Never Magic-Looped either.

While it's not on the knitter's geek code, I'd also love to learn wheel spinning, if you haven't figured that out already! Eventually I'd even like to break out into quilting. Just what I need, another hobby.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010: Day 3

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

Well, I can't write about just one person, because sometimes I hate following the prompt! (This may be part of why I was an English major. Creativity!) I have a few knitting blogs that I follow on my Google Reader, which has become my new best friend for reading blogs. In strictly alphabetical order, a random sampling:

Ann Budd Knits -- Oh boy, does she ever. I love Ann Budd's pattern books and as soon as I found out she had a blog, I followed it faster than you can say "knitting superstar". I've even posted a few comments. I'm such a fangirl, but shh! Don't tell her.

Brooklyn Tweed -- Yes, I read the Tweed. (Hee.) His photography skills are just stunning, and he makes lovely patterns too.

cosmicpluto knits! -- Yep, another designer blog. I also like her patterns and photography.

Eclectic Chica -- Lest you think that I only read big-big-name blogs, I present Eclectic Chica. I stumbled across her blog looking for pictures of that washcloth that I apparently never wrote a blog post about? Hmm. Anyway, I went there for a blog post that never happened and now I follow her. Says something, don't it?

Jill's Chat -- Jill's the designer of my favorite crochet bag pattern, Rust Goes Green. She has two hilarious cats and I quite enjoy reading about her life.

Terri's KnitBlog -- I don't remember how I ran across Terri's blog, but I'm sure it involved Ravelry and her lovely work. Her two adorable greyhounds don't hurt either.

I read more blogs, but these are the ones that update the most. I also have a bad tendency to friend people who have awesome projects on Ravelry. I do send them a little gushing note first, so hopefully they're not too weirded out. Some awesome people on Ravelry with a lot more talent than I have are: bluestgirl, dorkydi, FiberphileYarns, hpnyknits, and spinnvill. I highly suggest you check them out.

I'd like to acknowledge these people even though I might not always comment on their projects or blog posts. You are inspirations, all of you!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010: Day 2

Wouldja look at that, I appear to actually be keeping up with something.

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

Oh man, I have so much to learn. I just started socks, and yarn overs. I mean, I'm like the kindergartner watching the high school kids through the window and dreaming about their life.

I have a lot of things saved in my Ravelry favorites that I never for one second dreamed I'd actually be able to do. Like this Kauni baby blanket (Rav link only), or the Phoenix Cardigan from Meg Swansen's Knitting (Rav link; the book is out of print). A sister pattern, Weeping Sun/Moon is purchasable and just as lovely. This Celtic Spirals sweater (Rav link only).

Or, if you want to get away from the sweaters/colorwork, any one of a million shawls. (Never worn a shawl in my life, by the way.) The Gail shawl (Rav link only). The Woodland shawl. The Chinook shawl.

I could keep going, but then I wouldn't have anything to post on IWTMT Sundays.

I do consider a lot of these projects out of my reach as a knitter for right now. I'm taking baby steps with stranded knitting and lace, and I may never work up the nerve to steek something or wear a shawl in public.

Then again, there's a somewhat cheesy saying I remember from a poster in sixth grade, and it's stayed with me for over a decade: reach for the moon. If you miss, you'll still land among the stars. I've got some bright and beautiful moons to reach for!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010: Day 1

Yesterday I was looking through random blogs when one particular post caught my eye. It was about Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2009. This seemed exciting, and I hoped it was going on again this year, so I quickly Googled it. It starts today, by the way. Good timing! I'm going to try to participate for the whole week.

Starting Out

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I think I've mentioned this before, but I'm more than happy to re-hash my crafting beginnings.

I first picked up knitting in college in the fall of 2004. A friend that I'd gone to high school had decided to withdraw and was trying to get rid of as much stuff as possible since she couldn't bring it all with her. I bought a basket of things off her, including some yarn, crochet hooks, and embroidery floss. Since I had no idea how to knit, I basically taught myself from websites since YouTube wasn't around yet. Stitchy Women was my local yarn store, but I didn't go very often. My grandmother knits, but she never taught me and no one else in my family knows how (to my knowledge).

While the basket of crafty goodness contained crochet hooks, I never could figure any of it out. I was having such a blast knitting I didn't really see a reason to, either. Then my half-brother died unexpectedly the week after I graduated in May of 2008. I turned 22 the week after that. I was fresh out of college, jobless, supposed to be planning for my wedding and all of a sudden the world had turned upside down. I stayed up until dawn because I was afraid to sleep. I couldn't even fathom conducting job interviews. I'd brought my knitting needles and a huge cone of cotton yarn with me when we were attending to everything post-death, so even knitting had negative connotations.

I needed distraction, and I needed it bad. I bought the Klutz learn-to-crochet book in late June, about a month later, and threw myself into learning a new craft. It was extremely therapeutic, and now I can say that I know how to knit AND crochet.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

IWTMT: Mitered Square Blanket

I'm on a Mason-Dixon kick these days, it seems. Since we've started packing, I've had to choose which books get boxed up and which books get to stay out until the last minute, and the first Mason-Dixon book is currently hanging out on my nightstand. With the move creeping closer, I'm having all these homey thoughts about dishcloths and blankets. Blankets I can even leave out for public viewing, unlike the Crapghan.

Fun fact: I've never made a mitered square. And wouldja look at that, there's a whole blanket full of 'em. While the pattern for the Mitered Square Blanket (Rav link) isn't available outside of the book, well ... it's a mitered square. I don't think that's been patented. (Or should that be copywritten? Copywrited? Protected legally!)

I have a distaste for finishing, but I have lovely visions of a navy-and-white version in my beach house. So nautical! Oh, I don't have a beach house? Can I have this one?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

IWTMT: Ballband Dishcloth

I am a big fan of the mighty washcloth. My desire to knit socks may have been the main reason I started this blog, but washcloths are the reason I got back into knitting. It was January of 2008 and my mom and dad had just purchased a second house. I decided I wanted to knit her washcloths as a housewarming present, so I went to the store, bought some Lion Cotton and Kitchen Bright Dishcloths by Leisure Arts and made two cloths. Fun fact: I had never knitted and purled on the same row before, and I did with the Valentine Hearts cloth. It was harder than it should have been.

Anyway, the reason for the preamble is to show you how much I love washcloths. In fact, I don't even really like to call them dishcloths, because they're far more multi-purposeful than that and I just made up a word there! Everybody and their brother has probably made the Ballband Dishcloth (Rav link) popularized by the first Mason-Dixon book, but the pattern is offered free. I have the book, but I asked for it for Christmas. The nubby texture of this cloth should be great for scrubbing (and exfoliating!) and it also seems like a great way to stashbust and play with color. That's a trifecta of win, if you ask me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crafting Lottery

This has been a pretty good week. I picked up knitting again after a break from it and started the Butterfly Moebius on Saturday. I'd had a tough couple of days and thought making something with some pretty yarn might cheer me up. Hubs and I went to the Chittenden Reservoir. He fished; I knitted. It was cold, but the moebius is what got me back into knitting, and I'm very thankful for that. It's currently sitting in time-out because there was a knot in the skein and I wanted to try a Russian Join but I apparently have no idea what I'm doing. Here's my progress so far:


On Tuesday I went up to my LYS and met up with a friend who was willing to do some one-on-one with me to help me with my drop spindle. The personal help was invaluable. I feel a lot more confident with it, and my yarn looks better too. My first yarn looked like this. I call the new stuff my "second first" yarn. It looks like this.


Yeah, that's about 10 million times better. It's a lot more even and the twist is holding better too. My friend let me use some of her fiber, which was from a Shetland named Elmer. Elmer, you make a good fiber. I appreciate it.

Tuesday night was the Marble Valley Knitting Guild meeting. Everyone was supposed to have worked on their toe-up socks and do the afterthought heel that night, but of course I hadn't even tried to start mine. I brought the yarn and needles though, and the guild president was super-nice and sat on the floor and helped me with the directions.

So guys, this is really important and exciting and probably why I made this blog: socks. And I'm really making one. Granted, all I'm doing right now is knitting around the foot, but it's still a sock. I made a toe. Seriously.


I've smartened up since the last time I tried to make socks and have added a lifeline just in case. You can never be too careful.

The best part about this for me is that this is the yarn I bought over two years ago when I first wanted to make socks. It looked like this before I ripped it all out. For a while I thought about making a charity hat with the yarn just to get it out of my stash, but it's really nice that it's finally being used for its intended purpose. I know socks aren't all that special, but I feel like I hit the crafting lottery this week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fiber Daddy

My LYS will be carrying spinning wheels. Despite deciding that I didn't want a wheel for Christmas, I think I want a wheel now. No, I still don't know how to use my drop spindle. That's okay.

I've crunched some numbers and I think this is doable. The wheels themselves are going to be about $800, give or take. Then factor in tax, and I guess I'm looking at about $860. That's not too bad. I get some fun money each paycheck, and I've got a good $30 I can put to it right now. So that's only $830. At this rate of savings, that will take me ... oh, like a year. Well, that's no good. Then again, I have a birthday coming up, and maybe someone will give me money. And if that doesn't pan out, there's always Christmas.

But I'll need practice fiber. Lots and lots of practice fiber. And lessons would probably be good. And maybe a niddy noddy.

Have you ever heard of a sugar daddy? I need a fiber daddy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

IWTMT: Medallion Travel Bag

Ah, yes, as usual I'm slipping in under the wire today. In my defense, today I went hiking and knitted. I haven't knitted in over a week, so that's been good. (And let's just say I'm knocking another IWTMT out!)

You may remember that I worked at my LYS for a while. The store had just opened, and so we had plenty of work to do organizing things like the pattern binders. I've seen a lot of awesome patterns and some patterns I couldn't believe existed. (Flip-flop thong covers. In Fun Fur. No joke.) One of my favorite binders to go through was the Noni felting binder.

(The last time I tried to felt something, by the way, was college. In the bathroom sink. It didn't end well, and I'm too terrified to use the laundromat for this purpose in case I mess up their machine. I imagine myself being thrown out on my ear, though I think it's more likely they'd call the cops or something.)

Since I'm moving, and I'll have my own washer and dryer, I'm finding a new love for felted patterns. There was one Noni pattern I adored, and I wish I'd bought it. I'll find a way to get it, though. You'll see.

This week's IWTMT is #121 Medallion Travel Bag (Rav link). To see it on the website, click on products, products again, then click on (mostly) bag patterns and scroll down. Actually, why don't you just look at all the patterns? I won't tell. Call your local store to see if this pattern is available, because it's so worth it. I'm a sucker for huge bags, and this one doesn't disappoint. To see a completed bag in the wild, please check out Passing Down Crazy.

How long until I move in?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Exciting News

So blog, I have some exciting news, as you may have guessed from my entry header here. I'm moving!

(Why yes, this will be the third place I've lived since I started blogging, why do you ask?)

Moving is, of course, exciting, but not normally blog-worthy, especially since it's still 2 months off. In this case, however, it is.

I will have a dishwasher. I have never had a dishwasher in all my life. I hear you can sanitize knit dishcloths in dishwashers. This is exciting.

More exciting is the presence of not only a washer, but a dryer too.

Blog ... I can felt.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

IWTMT: Baby's ABC Afghan

You thought I forgot about IWTMT, didn't you? It's okay. I almost just let this week pass without one, but it's silly to create a weekly blog prompt for myself and not follow through with it.

As usual when warmer temperatures are near, ladies are popping up pregnant here and there. If you crochet and you're looking for an intriguing baby blanket pattern, may I suggest the Baby's ABC Afghan (Rav link) from Caron? This super-cute blanket uses the puff stitch to make the grid and alphabet. I love this blanket because it's large (a baby won't outgrow it any time soon!) and it's educational. In fact, I totally planned on making this for my friend's shower until I wussed out and made her the Basketweave Blanket instead. But one day ...