Tag Archive | crochet

Knitting Injury

Let’s start with the good news: the long holiday weekend gave me so much knitting time that I was able to complete two socks! It was very satisfying, as I’m sure you can imagine. One is a plain vanilla sock in KnitPicks’ Felici Spaceman, and the other is a Strutting Peacock in KnitPicks’ Chroma in Lakefront.img_5260-1img_5261-1Sadly, last night I noticed that the middle finger on my left hand was hurting, especially when I closed my fist. I picked up another sock project to see how I hold my fingers while I knit, and discovered that I keep that finger bent when I knit socks on little DPNs. So it would seem that I need to take a break from knitting. I’m hoping that if I rest it this week, I’ll be good to go on Saturday. We’ll be on a day-long road trip for the girl, for All-State Band Auditions, and I need to be able to knit that day, otherwise I might actually go crazy. For this week, then, my lunch break project is crochet, an Artfully Simple Angled Scarf in Zauberball. I chose it mostly so I could use my new Furls crochet hook.img_5262-1Give me some hope: who else has had minor knitting injuries that healed quickly?

 

 

Gloves and Flowers

As expected, I finished the blue and gray fingerless gloves yesterday during our drive to the band competition. With an hour and a half, I even had time to weave in all the ends, so they’re ready to go to their new owner today. The base pattern is the 75 Yard Malabrigo Mitts, but I added the design element of the Twinkly Lights Cowl.

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It was a good thing I finished them before I got there, too, because once we got there, I didn’t really want to be distracted. The girl is a senior, you see, and this was her last marching band competition. She was a featured soloist in their show, a siren standing atop a pirate ship, and I’m always amazed and proud of her, but last night the finality hit me a little hard. Of course I’m so excited for the next part of her journey, but I can’t help but be sad that this part is almost over. I wasn’t a band geek in high school; I was a theatre geek. They’re actually pretty similar crowds, and I love the collaboration and camaraderie and commitment that I’ve seen in her bands. They’re good kids. She’s a good kid. Plus, I’ve discovered I love band music. I love watching marching band shows. Thank goodness I still have three years to watch the boy in marching band! Anyway, it was a lovely, emotional night, and the band did well, winning lots of awards, including Grand Champions in the field show category.

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With the gloves done, I wanted to finish up another small project before returning to my bigger WIPs. The knitting group at work makes bouquets of flowers for friends who have lost loved ones, and we had a couple to make recently. They’re a beautiful variety of flowers: some people make felt flowers, some ribbon flowers. I chose my favorite crochet flower pattern, added a green pipe cleaner, wrapped the stems with floral tape, and finished each one off with a pretty button. I think they’ll make a nice addition to the bouquet.

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Now that I’ve finished two projects for others, I think I’m justified in going back to some selfish knitting today. I was clever and did the grocery shopping yesterday, so today I can relax with my tea and yarn. Happy Sunday, friends!

Furls Purple Odyssey

I feel like I have progressed to a new level of crafter: I purchased a Furls crochet hook! I’ve coveted their hooks for ages, those gorgeous colored Candy Shop hooks and the striking black and silver Odyssey hooks, but never gave in to temptation. Partly because of cost, but mostly because once I learned to knit, I wasn’t much of a crocheter anymore. If I didn’t crochet often, why buy a $30 hook when that money could go toward yarn?

Well. That all changed when I saw the ad for the pre-order of the new purple Odyssey hooks. I ordered one immediately and started counting down the days until it would ship. Lucky me, it shipped sooner than I expected, and I finally got to open it last night. It’s so pretty! It’s a darker purple than it looks here, but just as shimmery and beautiful. I pulled out some scraps to make flowers to test it, and found that it’s heavier than I expected, but not unpleasantly so. The shape was definitely comfortable in my hand. The only thing I didn’t love was that there’s no thumb rest, so when I picked up the hook I had to make sure I was holding it right to get the hook positioned, and sometimes as I worked, it would turn ever so slightly in my hand, putting the hook in a less-efficient position. I’m eager to try it on a bigger project and give myself time to get used to it. 

Anyone else use Furls hooks?

Nerd Girl Field Trip

I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic indie dyer only thirty minutes away: Nerd Girl Yarns. Her colorways are exactly what you’d expect (Doctor Who, Harry Potter, superheroes, and much more), the colors are gorgeous, and the yarn is always a treat to knit with. In the recent past, she’s been primarily an online seller, without a brick and mortar retail location, but she’s in a new space now and had a Grand Opening this weekend. Of course I had to go, and I haven’t gotten to hang out much with Knitting SIL lately, so she joined me. We weren’t disappointed: the new location was beautiful!

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The wood glass-fronted cabinets are stunning, especially filled with yarn. She also carries a bit of tea, so we saw tea accessories too. When you first go in, you see a cabinet full of crystal teacups and flasks, each holding yarn.

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But as pretty as it all was, we were there mainly for one thing: yarn!

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Her selection of already-dyed yarn is limited, but it’s all tempting. There was pima cotton in bright pinks and oranges and yellows, plus plenty of merino in a variety of colors. There were also tie-dyed sock knitting bags, which I resisted (It was hard), and dyed wool for spinning. (Is that called roving? I don’t know.)

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There was plenty more bare yarn, and if I dyed my own yarn, this would be the place to go, since she had all different weights, plus some with sparkle!

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So what did I get?? This was my little impulse purchase, rainbow scissors up by the register. Love them!

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This is merino worsted in a color called Too English to Say Anything. I think I want to look for a solid or two to go with it.

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Originally my goal was to only buy one skein. But then I found this one, a fingering weight called Queen of the Amazons, and of course it had to come home with me.

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It was a fun little field trip in an otherwise busy weekend. I’m glad we were able to squeeze it in!

Stupid Hat

I had plans for the weekend: I was going to go to Nerd Girl Yarns’ Grand Opening at her new studio. Then I was going to go to a band competition and out to dinner with the mother. In between all those things, I was going to finish a proofreading job. Well, I can make plans all I want, and then life happens.

I’m closing my Etsy shop, as I mentioned before, and have everything marked down to cost, basically, to clear stuff out. These are things that have been hanging around for a year or so, packed up in bags in my craft show supply tub. I sold a hat last week, and in a hurry before work one morning, I packed it up and sent it out. Last night, I heard from the buyer: the hat had a big hole in it. What?? So now I’m embarrassed that I didn’t check it, worried that either I didn’t do a good job finishing it or I have moths, and disappointed that I sent out an inferior product to a customer, regardless of the price. Of course I’m replacing it, but I don’t have more of that yarn, so that means an emergency trip to my LYS to get the yarn, and then emergency hat knitting to make a replacement hat. And all of that means I will probably lose money on that sale. (If you’re interested, check out what’s left here. Low prices and free shipping!)  BUT. It’s the right thing to do, and it doesn’t matter that I’m closing my shop, I’m still going to do the right thing. But. Sighhh. At least it’s a quick pattern in bulky yarn, and I do love to knit hats. This can be my band competition knitting tonight. Gotta look for the silver lining, right?

I’ve been doing some service projects instead of selfish knitting, so not too much knitting to show. I actually switched to crochet this week. We’re working on a Welcome Blanket at work, with several of us making squares that we’ll sew together into a blanket. The blankets will go on display for short time and then distributed to refugees. You can read more about the project here. I’ve got four squares done; our theme is black plus a bright color. Of course some of mine had to be purple!

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I’ll be sure to share a photo of the finished blanket! It’s due by November 4th, so we’re trying to work fast. What’s your favorite service project?

Thoughts on Creativity

It’s only within the last few years that I’ve been able to think of myself as a creative person. I always thought creative people were the artists, the clothing designers, published authors, the people who can bring things to life just from their mind. Me? I wrote stories that didn’t go anywhere. I made jewelry for a few years, then I scrapbooked for a few years. I knit and crochet, but I use other people’s yarns and other people’s patterns and just replicate them.

But guys, you know what? I AM creative. I write stories that haven’t been written before, about characters I make up. I have three complete manuscripts. Three full-length book-type things. Sure, they haven’t been published. Doesn’t mean they’re not creative. And it doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile. Maybe those were just the ones I needed to get out before writing The One.

I’m always struggling with self-worth as far as writing goes, swinging from “Yes! I’m a great writer!” to “Who do I think I am, thinking someone else will want to read this?” Because I’ve never published a book, I think I’m not a writer. Well. That’s dumb. And I just have to keep telling myself that. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’ve written short stories and novel-length stories and filled a dozen journals and I’ve kept this blog for three years now. I don’t write every day, but I keep coming back to writing. I am a writer.

Wow. It wasn’t until I wrote that, that I realized how true it is. I keep coming back to writing.

With my yarn, I put colors and textures and patterns together. I’m the one who chooses what will go with what. I don’t think I’ve ever used the recommended yarn for any pattern, and I don’t think I’ve ever even made a pattern in the same color(s) as the designer. I take their ideas and put my own spin on them. That IS creative.

And for a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out how to combine the yarn and the writing. I want to write a book where yarn/knitting is a focal point. I’ve tried, and it hasn’t worked yet. But I’m going to keep trying.

I don’t know why, but I am flush with creative energy right now, and it feels awesome. The focus has turned away from knitting and back toward writing, but that’s kind of typical for me. I tend to focus obsessively on one thing for a while, then move on. I’m not done with knitting, not at all! I spent three hours at a football game last night and was delighted to have the time to knit on the baby blanket. But in the evenings, or weekends like this, my brain is gravitating toward writing.

Not just writing, either. I’ve always wished I could draw well, and I always told myself I just couldn’t do it. Then a few days ago I was admiring a selection of drawing books and the husband said, “Why don’t you try it? You never know.” And for some reason, this time I agreed. Why not, indeed. I didn’t have to show anyone if I didn’t want to. I might not be great. But what if I could make pictures that pleased me? That would be pretty cool. So I might be heading to the library to check out some how-tos for beginners (if you have recommendations, please share!) and I’ve got a little sketch pad and a drawing pencil itching to be used. And because it’s uncomfortable and scary for me, I’m going to share my first attempt, a cube copied from a book.

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It’s not great. It’s a first attempt. I don’t think it’s going to come naturally to me the way it does for my kids, or the way writing does to me. I’m not going to be the next big artist, and that’s all right. For me, it’s okay that it’s recognizable, and it was fun.

I guess what I take from all of this is that I’m redefining what success means to me. Success is about the leap, the journey, the effort. And I don’t want to be afraid of success anymore.

Vintage Crochet

Last night we had dinner with my mother, and she gave me a few potholders made by her mother back when my mother was young. I knew my grandmother could crochet: I have a fluffy loop dog as well as an afghan from her. But I’d never seen these little treasures before!

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These three potholders are all two layers crocheted together, and I’m sure it was thread with steel hooks. The intricacy is amazing. I can’t imagine how long it took her to make each one. And these were definitely used; you can see the one in the top right is soiled. My mom remembers her dad cooking with one of these hanging out of his back pocket.

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But these beauties don’t look like they were used at all! Each one is a real dress (I guess so you could slide it over the pot handle?) and they’re all done with perfect precision. I’m in awe. While I know I have the skills to make these, I definitely don’t have the patience! If any of you are inclined, there are some neat patterns here.

I would love to get these cleaned before maybe framing them to hang in my craft room. Anyone have any tips or recommendations? Keep in mind they’re over 50 years old!