Tag Archive | crochet

Weekend Knitting

I don’t have as much progress to show as I should; my knitting was hampered a couple of times the last few days. Part of it was my fault, part of it wasn’t. I had my day-long computer course on Friday, and it was fun to learn stuff again but a lot of the info was review, and the class moved a lot more slowly than I would have liked, so I picked up my hat knitting after I’d finished the exercise, or while we watched short videos. By the end of lunch, I’d made it to the end of the knitting I’d brought. Once again, I was not thinking like a good knitter, and I have now learned to bring much more knitting than you think you need!

That brings us to yesterday. The boy had a marching band competition in a small town about 40 minutes away, and we were going to be spectating for at least two hours, maybe three. I brought three projects. I was ready! I was prepared! I was…COLD. It was sunny and 60 out, so I wore a short-sleeved tee and a hoodie, not realizing that the wind was super blustery and chilly. I was too cold to keep my hands out and knit. The husband was even kind enough to go to the nearby Walmart to get us a blanket, and that helped, but still, I would have needed my nice wool fingerless gloves to be able to knit. Sigh. The best laid plans and all that jazz. Still, with some knitting here and there, I’ve gotten my sock project into the gusset. Plus, we stopped at an antique mall on the way and I found these awesome handmade crochet hooks for $6!

I’m also very close to the end of my first hat commission. I’m on hat four of four, and I’m onto the easy section of plain stockinette in the round. This one will get finished either today or tomorrow, and the hats will be delivered and out of my hands! These are my pombe yeast hats for some friends at work, and you can check out the Ravelry page if you want more info.

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My other hat commission isn’t going as well, and it’s totally my fault because I’m so stubborn about not checking gauge. As always, I got overconfident because almost every time I’ve checked gauge for a hat, knitting or crochet, it’s the same as the designer’s. So I started this project without checking, and got about halfway through and realized it was too big. Frogged and started over with a smaller hook. Got a little farther and it still seemed a little big. I could either go down yet another hook size, or adjust the stitch count. Since I like the density of the fabric, I decided to drop my stitch count and omit the last increase round, which meant frogging back about half my progress. This is the current state of this hat.

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You might think it’s frustrating, but crochet goes so quickly that it’s not painful to frog back that much and start over. And I’d forgotten how much I enjoy crocheting, so it’s been fun to let my hands settle into that rhythm again. Plus the yarn (Expression Fiber Arts Pearlescent Worsted, with SILK!) is heavenly, so I don’t mind spending more time with it! Still, I’m hoping to get this project finished in the next few days too. I’ve got too many other projects waiting in the wings!

 

Back to School

I’m going back to college! Okay, so it’s just one day-long course, but it’s a class and it’s at a college, so it counts. I’m taking a course in Microsoft Access Fundamentals, and it’s for work. Like they encouraged me to take it and paid for it, and I love that they’re eager and willing to support the growth of their members. And I’m kind of a nerd who likes learning new things so I’m looking forward to it a lot.

I have thought about going back to college though, maybe for a Communications or Marketing degree. Actually, what sounds the most intriguing is Graphic Design, and I could do that through a local community college. But with a college freshman, a high school sophomore, and a fixer upper with a big project looming, it’s not in the cards at the moment. Still, I’m keeping the idea in my pocket for when/if it becomes more feasible. Have any of you gone back to school as grownup? Is it scary? Overwhelming?

I do plan to have a project with me just in case I have some time to knit. Or maybe crochet! I have another hat commission, this one using some gorgeous silk yarn from Expression Fiber Arts. Color is Russian Blue.

That’s a Scat Mat it’s lying on, and yes, there’s my foot. Not all photos can be a masterpiece, you know!

Giveaway: Appalachian Baby Organic Cotton

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review some U.S. Organic Cotton from Appalachian Baby. I love that it’s grown organically in the U.S. and processed by small family companies, plus it’s pretty cool that they use earth-friendly dye processes. You can learn more here, if you like. Mostly, I love pretty yarn! I got to choose from 3 color combinations, and I selected Indigo, Natural, and Doe. When it arrived, it was a delightful surprise to see the beautiful organza gift bag holding the yarn. I also liked the brown paper labels; they fit the brand perfectly.

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Each ball was 194 yards of sport weight yarn, giving me a total of 582 yards. Sport weight isn’t one I use often, and it took me forever to decide what to make with my kit. I don’t have any little babies in my life, and selfishly, I wanted to make something I could use. Finally, I decided on the Diamonds in the Rough cowl, a pattern that’s been in my Ravelry queue for ages. Since it was designed for two colors and I had three, I chose to do the main seed stitch section in stripes. At first I was going to switch to stockinette, but then I remembered the dreaded stockinette curl and decided to stick with seed stitch after all. After refreshing my memory of the provisional cast on, I got started, choosing 4-row stripes so I could easily carry the yarn up the side and avoid weaving in fifty million ends. This project took a month, giving me a finished cotton cowl in plenty of time for early fall.

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I really enjoyed this yarn. The colors were rich and earthy, and the yarn was soft in my hand, with the subtle crispness that you get with cotton. It made for a lovely squishy fabric in the seed stitch, airy and breathable but still with some substance. Given that it’s cotton, it was a little splitty, but I think I (unintentionally) made it worse by choosing the pointiest metal needles I’ve got. Still, I knit easily and quickly, a good thing since I had 30″ of seed stitch to knit! I have to say, I did get tired of it for a bit after about 20″ of neutral-colored seed stitch, but that’s no fault of the yarn, just my own wandering brain. Still, the indigo was my favorite. It’s a deep dark blue, but not hard to knit with like black is.

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My only hiccup in this project was pairing this pattern with this yarn. If you’ve ever tried to p2tbl (purl 2 together through the back loop) with cotton, you know what I mean. Cotton tends to give less than wool, so I struggled a bit with manipulating multiple stitches. I tried to remember to knit as loosely as possible, and that helped. Anyway, cotton and complicated lace are just a trickier mix than I personally like, but I have to admit the end result is attractive. The yarn blocked wonderfully, opening up the lace pattern just enough.

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And the cowl even came out long enough to wear doubled!

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I enjoyed both the yarn and the pattern. This yarn, especially since it’s machine washable and dryable, would be fantastic for baby garments and blankets. I also think it would crochet wonderfully!  It comes in seven beautiful colors, or you can buy the 3-color set in one of 3 versions: Indigo like mine, Blush, and Woodland. They’re available for purchase here.

But one lucky person can get one for free! Appalachian Baby generously provided a set for me to give away, in the same colors I used. Would you like it to be yours?

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling me what you’d like to make with the 3-color set of Organic Cotton!

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 6 pm CST on Friday, July 13th. All entries must be submitted on this blog. Winner will be announced by 10 am CST on Saturday, July 14th. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. (You don’t have to put the address in the comment field for everyone to see, just make sure it’s in the email address field.) I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone. If winner does not respond within 7 days, I will draw a new winner. Shipping via USPS first class. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. US residents and APO/FPO only please.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Appalachian Baby Design, who sent me one 3 Pack U.S. Organic Cotton Yarn Set (retail $35) for free, as well as one to give away. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Knitting in Public

The boy had an orthodontist appointment this morning, and it was my turn to take him. I almost forgot my knitting, which would have been torturous, but I remembered at the last minute. So there I was knitting along on my sock using my size 1 DPNs, and when the doctor came to check on the boy, he immediately noticed what I was doing. He and the two techs standing by marveled that I was using four needles, and they were so tiny, which of course made me feel very clever even though I truly believe that just about anyone can learn to knit.

Anyway, then the nice doctor said something about how he’s heard about doctors doing that kind of thing (motioning toward me), like “crochet or needlework” to work on their fine motor skills. I laughed and said, “And knitting?” He nodded and kept talking but then one of the techs asked which I was doing, so I got to give a little lesson about the difference between crochet and knitting, and how one uses one hook and the other uses multiple needles. It was a good reminder that not everyone speaks this language called Yarn, and that I should take every opportunity to normalize it and make it accessible. Definitely a good argument for knitting in public!

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Diamonds in the Rough

I recently received a pretty bag of yarn in the mail, some organic cotton from Appalachian Baby. This is another review opportunity, and I got to choose my color palette of the 3-skein U.S. Organic Cotton set. I chose Indigo, Doe, and Natural.

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I had a heck of a time choosing a pattern. The yarn would be perfect for baby items, but I don’t have any babies in my life, so I finally chose a cowl pattern that’s been in my queue for months, Diamonds in the Rough. I’m going to modify it a bit to add stripes. I had some quiet time yesterday, so I took the opportunity to cast on. It calls for a provisional cast on, and it’s been so long since I crocheted that it took me a while to remember how to hold the hook and make stitches! But I figured it out and I’ve made a good little start. (The blue is the provisional cast-on.)

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It’ll be nice to have some cool cotton to balance out the wool in my other projects!

Whoa! Destash!

I got a whim today, a whim to go through my yarn and get rid of what doesn’t bring me joy. I’ve been pondering it for a while, but kept telling myself it wasn’t hurting anything to keep it all, and I had the space, so why not keep it just in case I ever needed it?

Well, I didn’t really have a good answer but I decided I needed to go through it all anyway. This is close to where I started. (This is an older photo. I’d added more yarn between this photo and today. So imagine this plus some.)

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I pulled out a LOT of acrylic, mostly stuff I’d bought back when I was making things to sell. Also, I tend to prefer natural fibers to acrylic now, so I only kept my very favorite acrylic blends. I pulled out a lot of cotton and blends. Even now in the heat, I don’t find myself wanting to work with the mercerized cotton. I don’t tend to wear the things I have made with it. I only kept kitchen cotton in the colors that are actually in my kitchen, and the cotton blends that are soft and drapey.

Then I moved into the good yarn, the wool and blends. If it was itchy, I pulled it out. A few yarns I pulled are gorgeous; I still loved the look of it. But I’d used some of it and didn’t like knitting with it or wearing it, so there was no point keeping it. If it was a color I would never use, or a weight I’d never use (like one skein of sport weight?), I pulled it. I was ruthless but it wasn’t painful at all. This was what I had in the end:

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That’s a LOT of yarn. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous when you see it all spread out like that! I’ll bag it up and see if I can sell it locally for a bit of money, and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy my newly organized stash. It’s gorgeous!

 

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Even looking at the shelves makes me happy! This is all yarn that I love, that I can see myself using. I even found a skein of Madtosh that I forgot I had! And that right there is a good reason to get rid of stuff I was keeping just for the heck of it: I can see what I have more easily, I can see the yarn I chose with intent, and I know that I could pick anything from my stash and be happy to knit with it.

p.s. yes I know it’s still a crazy big stash! I’m okay with that!

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?