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.