05 September 2006

A lot of crafting has been getting done around here lately. Well, not much has actually been finished, but I have a lot of active WIPs. I have 3 knit WIPs, and 2.5 crochet WIPs. Yes, you heard that right.. crochet. I taught myself to crochet about 2 and a half years ago, and while I enjoyed it, I always liked the look of knitted garments better. So after finishing Jaden's blanket last summer, I put down my hook and taught myself to knit. This involved a lot of cursing. And other than to pick up dropped stitches once in awhile, I haven't picked up that hook since. I started out knitting a horribly, ugly, garter stitch scarf that I hated every second of and frogged. I then moved on to a watermelon colored shortrow scarf that I overdyed and eventually frogged. I liked it, but I screwed up a row, and tinking back shortrows wasn't my strong point on my second project. Then I made a horrible drop stitch scarf out of some ugly ribbon yarn, immediately hid it, and decided "That's it. No more scarves." And even in that bad scarf period, crochet never (re)appealed to me. A couple of weeks ago, however, I picked up a hook randomly and made a granny square. I hated granny squares when I actively crocheted, cause I sucked at them. But this granny square made me happy. So happy that I decided to make another, and another, and another. I think I made 9 6-inch granny squares that day. And I realized that I was ready to embrace crochet again, but only granny squares I told myself. They were meditative, and quick.. instant satisfaction. So, I took some leftover handspun in complimentary colors, and made a square for the craftster blanket.


Then I grabbed some acrylic and started a huge granny square afghan.

giant granny

And as if that wasn't enough, I grabbed all my handspun scraps and started another ongoing square.

scrap granny

I hadn't broken the "only granny squares" rule, and I was still focused on my knitting. I had finished one trekking xxl sock, and am doing the gusset decreases on the second. Those handspun scraps in that last square? Those came from this handspun log cabin blanket.


Oh, and I'm tackling another sweater. A wool/acrylic blend top down raglan:

topdown raglan

I knit a sock for my DS Lite with Sugar N Cream cotton.


Oh, and here's the felted clutch from One Skein I promised a pic of. I really thought it would get a lot of use when I firt finished it, but honestly, I've only used it once. I'll probably reclaim my dangling stitch markers.


But then, I was trying to decide what to do with some special yarn. See, a couple weeks ago, just a few days before Jaden left to go back to his mom's, I started dying some roving.. the first time I'd done that when he's been here. Of course, as a four year old, he wanted to help. So I got out another strip and let him pick colors, helped him mix them, let him put the dye on the roving, then let him watch as I wrapped it, steamed it, and rinsed it. He was delighted during the whole process, continually referring to the wool happily as "my colors." So a few days after he left, I decided to spin it. I wish I had taken a picture of the roving before spinning, as the spinning process really muted the colors. Lately I've been spinning relatively even, light worsted weight, 2-ply yarn. But this, I decided, I would spin as a bulky thick and thin single. So I spun it, and was a bit disappointed when it wasn't bulky enough, and I only had 40 yards. I had been hoping to make a beanie. And so I thought about my options. I didn't want to dye another batch, as I wanted all the colors in this yarn to be Jaden's. I could ply it, but I didn't have any yarn "special" enough to ply it with. But then, when I decided to go ahead and wind it into a ball, I saw it. A center pull ball of my first, undyed, handspun yarn. Jaden's first dyed wool, and my first handspun, plyed together. It was perfect. This, unfortunately, dulled the colors even more and only yielded 35 yards, but I still loved the yarn. What on earth was I going to make with 35 yards? Certainly not the beanie I had envisioned. But I wanted something that I would get a lot of use out of, but wouldn't be harsh on the yarn. I also didn't want to use a pattern, because I wanted it to be mine and Jaden's creation only. Then I remembered a neckwarmer that an etsy buddy had crocheted out of some of my handspun that had turned out beautifully. I'd have just enough yarn, and it would be simple enough to wing it without a pattern. And so, this special neckwarmer was born:


And the "only granny squares" rule was broken. And once it's broken, there's no turning back. I started this scarf last night with some leftover Merino Frappe. Quick, simple, and lusciously soft.

merino frappe scarf

I've rediscovered crochet, as a fun, relaxing craft, and my new rule is that it has to stay that way. No crocheting from a pattern. I don't want to learn new stitches, or become a great crocheter. I can crochet simple, beautiful things using only single-crochet and double-crochet and be entirely happy doing it. I've also felt that way about knitting a bit lately. I don't want a pattern, or complicated stitches.. just stockinette in the round with a few increases or decreases thrown in occasionally (or garter as seen in my log cabin blanket.) One thing I've noticed is that when I get even a bit frustrated with my knitting, my face gets flushed and I'm suddenly uncomfortably hot. And I don't like it. I just want to sit there, relax, and not have to think about what I'm doing. I want to let my thoughts wander, and put my hands on cruise control. And that's what I've been doing for the past month, and I'm much happier with my crafts, and I've been devoting a lot more time to them since. Every one of my projects in relaxation knitting. My socks, blankets, sweater. And I'm loving every one of them. Maybe, in the future, I'll want to challenge myself more, but for now, I'm just sticking with the things I know, the things my hands know. I'll let the yarn and simple stitches create the beauty.

20 July 2006

Woooh! I see what people mean when they say felting is addictive. I just finished the felted cluth from One Skein. I was all set to kick the washer out of frustration from trying to felt for 2 hours with no success, after reading a few posts on craftster and the livejournal knitting community, but tihs bag felted fully in about 15 minutes. Then I had to decide how to embellish it. I didn't want buttons, cause the only ones I have are blue (which is the color of the bag, so won't show up) and hot pink (no). I suck at embroidery. So I took a couple of "fancy" dangly stitch markers that I received in a swap and er, sewed them on. So it has.. bling, or something. Yeah. It actually makes so sense, but it's knitting themed.. or something, yeah.

Anyway, I'll post pics tomorrow when it's all dry, and there's some sunlight out :)

19 July 2006

I'm baaaaack. Mwuahaha.

I think I've mentioned this before, but every 5 monthsish, there's one month where I knit less, read less, etc, etc, and am consumed by World of Warcraft. So between that, Jaden, and online classes.. I've not been doing much knitting. And when I'm not knitting much, I can't really blog about it on a knitting blog. But, inevitably, it got boring once again. I waited two weeks before announcing my return to make sure that World of Warcraft had officially released it's grip on me. I haven't logged in once since then. Yep, it's true.

I have, however, gotten some knitting done! Saturday, hubby and I went to my LYS. I picked up Nancy Bush's Knitting on The Road, and since they were having a buy 1, get 1 free sale on books, I took the opportunity to get One Skein, by Leigh Radford. I bought some Crystal Palace Iceland Wool for the asymmetrical cable hat, and knit it up immediately.

It went very quickly, and the pattern was very easy and intuitive. However, I had less than a yard left of yarn when I finished, and I knit the women's size. Had I knit the men's size, I would have been unable to finish. The men's size does fit my hubby however, so if anyone decides to knit this for a man, I think it'd be very safe to just knit the women's size.

I've also finished one trekking sock, which I won't have a photo of until I have a finished pair. And I've knit a couple of charity hats, which I won't have a photo of until I get ready to send a box off. I also purchased some Lamb's Pride Bulky for the felted clutch in One Skein and cast on for that last night.

In the next entry, I'll tell you about my new project, but I want to sort a couple of things out first, and keep this entry from being too rambly.

31 May 2006

Short Post

Originally uploaded by atla.
Short post, but I just wanted to show off some recent dyeing/spinning fun. I like it :)

24 May 2006

Shh.. quiet down. Can you hear that? Listen closely..

That's the sound of my socks soaring off the needles!

Pattern: Dublin Bay Socks (pdf)
Yarn: 2 skeins Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Hawaii, but overdyed

In the year that I've been knitting, this is probably the project that I'm happiest with. I enjoyed the pattern, the colors suit me, and they feel wonderful on my feet. These socks will definitely get the love and wear they deserve.

When I just just past the gusset decreases on sock number 2, I switched to my 2 Addi Turbo circs. The gauge changed just a wee bit, throwing the patterning off, but the sock seems to fit the same. Once I figured out how to keep the yarn from tangling with the circular needles, this method did actually seem much quicker and less fiddly than DPNs, so I think I'll stick with it in the future. The funny part is that I didn't even use the Cat Bordhi book that I purchased to learn the technique. I watched the video on knittinghelp.com on a whim last night, and switched immediately. I had no trouble picking up the technique. Very easy.

Anyhow, I'm off to work, wearing my gorgeous, comfy handknit socks! Hooray!

21 May 2006

We're back! A really long drive. I kept sane with sock-knitting and podcasts.

The most important thing we brought back is this!

It's a pure joy to have him with us.

While we were there, I found the opportunity to stop at Butler's Country Knit Shop. There was really tons of yarn. I have never seen so much yarn in one place. Photos can be found here. Everything was 10% off retail price. All yarns that is. Not a special sale.. not mill ends, or lone skeins from sold out colorways. Current, plentiful, beautiful yarns. Always 10% off. The owners were amazingly nice, and it was just a great experience. I'm looking forward to going back next year. Anyway, here's what I snagged:

Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi and two sets of size 1 addi turbo 24" circs. My first Addi Turbos.

And of course some sock yarn to play with. Trekking XXL, colorways 100 and 101.

I finished the leg and heel flap of Dublin Bay sock number 2 during the trip, so I'll finish that soon and post photos. Then I think I'll start on a pair of socks for Jaden. He's got such little feet that it'll be a really quick knit. Hooray!

18 May 2006

I finished sock #1 last night, and cast on for the second. I worked on it for quite a while yesterday, as I wanted to finish it before tomorrow morning. We're leaving for Pennsylvania (to pick up Jaden!) first thing tomorrow, and a 24 total hours of driving (/riding) deserves a fresh sock, no? That and lots of Brenda Dayne, Irie, Pixie Purls, and Guido on my iPod should suffice to amuse me.

I also found my damned AWOL bamboo sock needle. I was apparently using it as a bookmark in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks.

Tonight will be spent kid-proofing the house. Knitting needles, blocking pins, chemicals, aspirin.. all will be put out of reach. Tomorrow and Saturday, hours and hours of driving. Sunday, if all goes well, we should be here and resting.. and chasing a 3.5 year-old around.

See you guys next week!