A Mascot Project (4KCBWDAY2)

Day Two (Tuesday April 23rd): A Mascot Project.
Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house.

As I wrote about yesterday, I am a bee. What sort of project embodies a bee? Something colorful, something you could pick up and put down, and look forward to picking up again when you need it. I already have a Beekeeper’s Quilt in progress, and I expect it will be in progress for a long time.  A project that I very nearly got swept up with back in January, and am still thinking about, is a Temperature Scarf.  For this scarf (or wrap, or blanket, whatever) you assign a temperature range to a color, then you work the temperature of the day as one row in that particular color.  I like that this organized and contained, but also it appeals to “There will be something different tomorrow”.

My version  would include:

  • Using the day’s high and low temperature (instead of just an average)
  • Maybe using crochet stitches to reference the amount of daylight – so single crochet for the winter months (shorter stitches, the least amount of daylight), double crochet for spring and autumn (or maybe half-double crochet) and triple crochet for the summer.
  • Maybe granny squares are the way to go? I like this project – you could do the high / low temperatures as the inside / outside color.
  • I can be honest and I know I would be horrible at doing this project starting for the year on January 1. I propose that I would work with the weather information for my first year – June 20, 1978 – June 20, 1979 and then for my upcoming 35th year: 2013-2014. There would be plenty of data to make a fairly decent sized whatever.
  • I may have most of the yarn I would need in my stash if I add a few more colors, but it’s fingering weight and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
  • I also have briefly thought about how interesting it would be to make a Beekeeper’s Quilt with this sort of theme – one side of the hexi could be the high temp and the other side the low temperature. Or stripes. I still am mulling this over.

So there you go. Organized yet distracted.  A very busy project requiring an industrious spirit. A project to pick up and put down as needed.  Hm.

My first instinct when I read the prompt for today was to scour pinterest.  I focused on bees for that board and found several great things, I think. Take a look!

Click here to discover more bloggers writing about this same topic, or search for the tag 4KCBWDAY2 using your favorite search engine.

The House Cup (KCBWDAY1)

Day One (Monday April 22nd): The House Cup.
A bit like Harry Potter, but not quite, this year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is split into 4 houses. Don your favourite knitted or crocheted hat and let it guide you to which house you will be in.

The House of Bee: Bees are busy and industrious, but can flit from one interesting project to the next as bright and shiny things capture their interest.

This surprises me not one bit. I believe I could make a home for myself in any one of the “houses” but we shall be true to what defines us. My interesting projects I’m flitting between now include: assorted toys, a set of custom crochet owls, a sweater, two cross stitch projects, two different sock patterns, baby shoes, and several amigurumi. My Ravelry queue is 33 pages long, with just under 1,000 projects I would love to make. Seriously.  I know some people who get overwhelmed by their queue, but not me. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t focus on one project from start to finish without being distracted. I will admit to feeling frustrated though, especially this past weekend – I tried to work on several different projects. I didn’t have the right size crochet hook for one, the next worked out way to big and I’ll be ripping it out, the next I just didn’t feel like working on, etc etc! I want to move out of the “I’m so excited to make all the things” stage to the “Look at all the things I’ve made!” stage. So I need to follow the example of the bees and get a bit more organized with how I approach projects.  Wish me luck!

Click here to discover more bloggers writing about this same topic, or search for the tag 4KCBWDAY1 using your favourite search engine.

Where are they now? 2KCBWDAY4

Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

There are a lot of different aspects to look at when looking back at a knitting project and it can make for interesting blogging, as much of the time we blog about items recently completed, new and freshly completed. It is not so often that we look back at what has happened to these items after they have been around for a while.

How has one of your past knits lived up to wear. Maybe an item has become lost. Maybe you spent weeks knitting your giant-footed dad a pair of socks in bright pink and green stripes which the then ‘lost’. If you have knit items to donate to a good cause, you could reflect on the was in which you hope that item is still doing good for it’s owner or the cause it was made to support.

I have knit many gifts and I have often thought about them – I hope they are doing well. I hope they are being used. I hope that the recipients like them. I have knit a few items for charity and while I will never know where in the world they end up, I certainly hope that they bring a little bit of comfort and sunshine with them.

We have been moving things around in our house in anticipation of setting up a baby room and getting the Lorax a true big kid bed. I uncovered a blanket that one of my great aunts made for me way way back – I am not sure if this was for when I was a baby or when I was a kid, but it has been around for as long as I can remember. It is acrylic and weighs a ton (heavy duty acrylic no doubt).
photo.JPG
What strikes me about this blanket now is the tag.
photo.JPG
(quick low-quality iphone photos, apologies)
To me this is like inscribing a book before you give it as a gift – I can never get rid of this blanket now (not that I would want to), but when I do get books from the library or the used book shop and I see an inscription “To Andy, Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to read a story with you! Love, Aunt Mae” I feel for the book, as odd as that sounds.

Anyway, this makes me think I should try to “label” the larger knit gifts I work up – I just gave a baby blanket this past weekend – will my new cousin hold on to that blanket for a long time? Will her parents keep it for her until she has kids of her own? I have no idea.

For my own reference and ideas, I have been tucking these ideas away…
Label for a quilt, but I love that it is a bit more personalized that just “Original by Becca”.
No-itch version, Fabric labels tutorial, Tips to DIY. Do you have labels for your handknits?

Tidy mind, tidy stitches. 2KCBWDAY3

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organized? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organization exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organized at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organized, blog about an aspect of that organization process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organized stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

Organization is my ultimate WIP.
IMG_2148
Circular needles are tricky for me. I like this round box to store them in better than any other holder I have seen or tried. The problem comes when you try to untangle the needle you want from the rest.

I am lucky to have a “yarn room” – it is a guest bedroom and I have taken over the closet / dresser / under the bed for the yarn, in a rather loose organization by yarn type.
IMG_2149
Sock leftovers in the basket, some cotton in the small box. Yarns I’m thinking about trading and / or want to see frequently to try and figure out what to do with them.

IMG_2150
The closet – bins of wool, superwash wool, an acrylic bin, fancier lace yarns and nicer blends. And a box of cotton. And a box of yarn that needs to be sorted.

IMG_2152
Under the bed – solid sock yarns, nicer cottons.

IMG_2151
Under the bed – variegated sock yarns.

IMG_2154
Odd shot of the space between the couch and my computer desk where my knitting bags with assorted projects in process live – there is baby blanket, a turtle project (somewhat failed – won’t be as originally intended, but rather reworked), a blanket for lorelai, my current contract knitting…

I would love to make a corkboard display of some of the fancy stitch markers I own instead of having them hang out in the bottom of my notions bag. And I saw a great idea on Ravelry – a knitter took a snippet of each of the yarn she used in a given year and popped it into a clear globe ornament (there are pictures on Rav here). So simple and yet so clever! I also love what Vivere Nel Colore shared here with the “Spring Board”. I have a corkboard sitting in the basement – maybe it’s time to bring it upstairs and put it to good use.

Skill + 1UP – 2KCBWDAY2

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

In the knitting hours since the end of March, 2010, my needles have been quite busy. I believe I have gotten more efficient in my knitting. I am much better at swatching – thanks in part to several knitting “jobs” (for yarn and for pay). I wish I could show the one I am working on now – it has to be the most intense swatch I have ever done, not for stitch pattern or anything like that, but because it involves each step of the final design construction. I am quite pleased with myself and how my knitting resume has grown in the last year – I knit for CookieA, Lorna’s Laces, Schaefer Yarn Co, and Y2Knit, all with great feedback.

I feel a lot more confident when it comes to crochet – I feel I have the basics down there. I am still hoping to work up amigurumis in the future, but having a hook in hand is not as awkward as it once was.
Caution - I'm crafty!

I have come up with a system that really works for me when it comes to chartwork. I have mentioned before how I knit left-handed (my stitches start on the right needle and move to the left) – generally this makes no difference with most patterns, but when there are cables / charts / lace, it throws me for a loop. I do like to work with charts (I can “see” how it works now) – and I don’t mind a few extra steps to modify them (printing them as a mirror image, color coding stitches and writing numbers on the chart all help me) to end up with an object that looks as intended, like “Centrino”.
Centrino

I have also figured out how to fix a mis-crossed cable on “Cloud Chaser” by unraveling the cable down to the mistake instead of ripping back rows and rows of knitting.
Cloud Chaser sample

For the next year I hope to continue to set my standards high and push myself when needed. I am never done learning!

A Tale of Two Yarns – 2KCBWDAY1


It’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day One, 2011!

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

There are so many yarns and just not enough time in which to even begin knitting them all. In the spirit of fairness, I have taken a good look over yarns I have used, lusted after, stashed and tossed, in order to answer today’s prompt.

I would have to start any discussion of yarns I love with Malabrigo.
Silky Malabrigo in progress
An early love affair, I have always been taken in by the softness and color options. When they expanded their yarn line to include sock weight and lace weight I was over the moon. Interestingly though I don’t constantly knit with Malabrigo (wish I could!) I have not knit even a whole lot with Malabrigo – a cowl, a scarf, a girl’s dress (test knit for the company!), longies, and a shawl… otherwise I have taken to collecting it here and there. Malabrigo was also the reason I met a whole bunch of knitters at Webs – we’re all part of the “Malabrigo Junkies” group on Ravelry! Recently my malabrigo mojo was reignited when I test knit Anansi – since then I have also worked up a headband and over the weekend I have finished a shawl, Chandra (it needs a block, but the heart-ish picture is Chandra when I was beginning). Malabrigo has further expanded their yarn options – I am looking forward to trying them all!

A “go-to” yarn is for my second choice for a yarn I love. I really adore the Encore line from Plymouth, especially the Colorspun. It is a wool-acrylic blend with an impressive amount of color choices and really reasonably priced. Makes great washable baby / kid things that I have made for my own kids and as gifts. It is soft and not squeaky. I do have those projects up on Ravelry – check out Lorelai’s Blanket (in progress), Babysquared blanket, Willie sweater, and Presto Change-o.

I have been fed up with plenty of yarns in certain projects (too splitty, to fuzzy). I have adored many yarns when they just clicked with the project into which they were being knit (Cascade 220, Cascade 220 Superwash, Tahki Cotton Classic come to mind right away). And then there are yarns I am so curious about – Wollemeise, Bugga, Shelter, Madelinetosh, Quince & Co…. And then there are yarns you loved when you bought them, but they have only sat in the stash since then and you still don’t know what to do with them. I do know this though, life is too short to knit with yarn you don’t like!

What a Yarn!

There’s one love that we all share: yarn. Blog about a particular yarn you have used in the past or own in your stash, or perhaps one that you covet from afar. If it is a yarn you have used you could show the project that you used it for, perhaps writing a mini ‘review’. Perhaps, instead, you pine for the feel of the almost mythical qiviut? You could explore and research the raw material and manufacturing process if you were feeling investigative.

Yarn. I’ve got a whole closet full of it. And several drawers of a dresser. And a few bags scattered around the house. I have lusted after yarn. Yarn has taunted me. And yet, when I try to think about one particular yarn, my brain immediately says, “Well, it depends on the project!”. True enough. I’d prefer to look at this on a project by project basis.

Baby stuff – Right now I’m really loving Berroco Comfort – it’s an acrylic / nylon blend, but oh so soft to knit with. Great colors, great value, and I love that it comes in several weights. Also, machine washable? Perfect. I used this yarn to make a Tiger Stamped hat by Kate Oates
Paw1
I live in UCONN territory, so for me, this hat is all about “Husky Love”.

Socks My sock mojo has been hibernating for a while. I am working on a sample sock for Lorna’s Laces using their Shepherd Sock (a superwash merino / nylon blend) in a top-secret colorway and I think I can feel my sock mojo returning. I have used this yarn once before to make my Neon Socks (Rav link) back in 2006 and I am proud to say that I still have and wear them! It’s a great yarn, great colors and wears extremely well. Did you Vote for the new Lorna’s Laces yarn line? And while you’re on their blog, read up on the new colorway that Ysolda (yes, Ysolda!) helped envision!

Sweaters There are so many great choices for this, but in a heartbeat I would tell you to go invest in some Cascade 220. It’s a worsted weight, workhorse wool yarn. Shows cables wonderfully. I fell in love with this yarn making my Central Park Hoodie. It was wonderful to knit with, is warm but not heavy or itchy. It is piling a little bit under the arms, but I wear it a lot and I am not gentle with it either.

Hats I think I would go with the Cascade 220 here as well. Maybe Brown Sheep. I’ve made a bunch of hats (I group baby hats with baby stuff, so here I’m talking about grown up hats) and don’t feel particularly attached. I think it’s because you really can use just about anything to make a hat and the end result will still usually (if you’ve knit it correctly) keep your head warm. Not a big investment of time or money (and if you did, I think it would be a bit foolish. One exception. The Shedir I blogged about earlier. That took a long time. Cables.)

Scarves / Cowls Yarn is an important choice here. You want something soft and warm but don’t want to sweat or be eating bits of fiber fluff. I’ve made Dan a scarf out of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande and man does that stuff call out to me whenever I see it. So soft. It’s time I had a scarf of my own made with that yarn.

Lace I don’t do a whole lot with lace, but I am looking forward to working with the lace I picked up at the CT Sheep and Wool festival from Mocha’s fiber Connections and the lovely skein of MadelineTosh laceweight (a yarn that taunted me for weeks!).

I think that covers the basic areas that I knit. I will also tell you that in doing sample knitting for some yarn companies, and sometimes designers, I am incredibly lucky to get to try out new yarns before the general public. I just finished a wee item for Schaefer Yarn Company in a yarn that was so fabulous to work with I wish I could share some with each knitter I meet. And that new color from Lorna’s Laces? You’re going to love it!

TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo7

Revist a past FOo

Bring the fortune and life of a past finished project up to the present. Document the current state and use of an object you have knitted or crocheted, whether it is the hat your sister wears to school almost every day, or a pair of socks you wore until they were full of hole. Or maybe that jumper that your did just didn’t like that much…

Meet Patrick, the Penguin.
Patrick1

bunny2

I made Patrick for Dan way back in 2005. I think that the pattern was from The World of Knitted Toys – I think. When we went to Hawaii on our honeymoon, there were penguins at the resort! The keepers told us about how the penguins find a mate and stick with that mate. So, for my new mate, I thought it was appropriate to knit a penguin. I started knitting Patrick on the sly – when I first started going to a knitting group at a local starbucks. But, it got to a point where I had to start seaming and I had to do that at home, in front of Dan. So I told him what I was making. He was still surprised! Patrick currently resides in my kitchen and keeps an eye on us.

knitcroblo6

Location, Location, Location – 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 have knit in a variety of places. Planes, trains and automobiles. Restaurants (one was quite nice – we sat in the lounge / bar area for a weekly SNB – it was the only place open on a Monday night! The bartender was great and would turn up the lights so we could see!), hotels, Broadway plays, my local hardware store, coffee shops, hospitals (as a patient in labor and waiting while my dad was a patient), waiting rooms, parks… I am not nervous in the least about pulling out my knitting and working on a few stitches anywhere. I wish I could knit a bit easier while outside with Lorelai, but she still needs an extra hand and a close eye – she’s coordinated, but often wobbly and usually sticky, so that’s not a great combination. I tend to have 2 favorite places to knit. One is on the couch at home – it’s the end spot, next to a lamp and side table. I knit in that spot every morning while watching Elmo’s World with Lorelai and each evening with Dan. I know he gets annoyed that I always have a light on, but I’m at the point now where I can no longer sit still without my knitting in my hands. My second spot to do most of my knitting is at a table with the ladies of SnB – the same one Wife, Mom, Knitter shared – I’m actually in that photo too, on the right, in the brown sweater!

TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo5

A New Skill – Day 4

(Want to blog along?)

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.

There are two skills I would love to devote some time to – crochet and colorwork. I have the basics of crochet down and I’m working on it. I even joined a potholder swap to make myself work on it more. The amigurumi calls to me – oh the cuteness. And the times I have done some crochet (basic squares, stitches or chains) I always feel like you make progress so quickly. Some times in knitting it feels like you work on the same inch for days! Colorwork I also have the basics of, but the projects where I have used it have been in a worsted weight – so many adorable knits are there in a smaller yarn weight. Someday. Right now I’m in it for the “I know what I can do well and do quickly efficiently.”
TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo4