Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Six – Something to Aspire To

Day Six! πŸ™‚

Today’s prompt:

Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make but can admire the result of those that have.

Oh, this is easy! I want to learn Hairpin Lace. I’ve done it once, back when I was a teenager and learning how to crochet for the first time. I tried a little bit of everything back then. But I either had trouble getting it or there just weren’t a lot of cool patterns in hairpin lace, so it didn’t stick as something I wanted to do.

I wanted to take the class at the Knit and Crochet Show in 2009, but I had other classes that won out that were offered around the same time. Last year I taught so I didn’t take any classes (and I don’t think it was offered). Same thing with this year (too busy with 12 hours of classes to even think of taking anything). BTW, class listing went live on Thursday, so you should go check it out!

I bought a book and hairpin lace tool a few months ago. It’s on my list of the things to do (as is to design something in hairpin lace). It’s just about finding time to sit down and learn it. I will do it before the end of this year. *nods*

I think there are some really cool designs out there that use hairpin lace. In fact, I have some of those patterns in my pattern “stash”. Again, though, finding time to sit down and crochet for me is difficult.

But it is something I’m going to make time for this year.

What about you? What’s a skill you want to learn? Make a plan to find time to do it this year!

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY6. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Five – And now for something completely different

Day Five!

This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.
There are no rules of a topic to blog about (though some suggestions are given below) but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog. This can take one of many forms, but here a few suggestions:
Wordless, photographic post
This is the one I’m doing!

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY5. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Four – Where are they now?

Day Four! πŸ™‚

Today’s question:

Whatever happened to your __________?
Write about the fate of a past knitting crochet 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.

I started looking back through my blog the other night. I decided to talk about my first Ravelympics project. Here’s the post from when I crossed the finish line back in August of 2008. Oh, and here’s the picture of it:

The details, for those interested, are as follows:

Yarn: Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (80% Acrylic, 16% Wool, 4% Rayon), 7 skeins
Pattern: Coziest Sweater by Mari Lynn Patrick as found in Crochet Today, Nov/Dec 2007
Start Date: August 8, 2008
Finish Date: August 23, 2008

Okay, so what happened with that sweater? Well, it’s in my “cold weather” space bag. I think I’ve worn it once.

It looks fabulous on me, the colors are great, the fit is perfect, it’s a long tunic sweater which looks great over jeans.

Two problems:

1) The yarn turned the lightweight camisole I had on underneath into a fuzzy blue monster (in other words, it sheds like crazy). But, the stitches are just open enough that I’m not comfortable wearing it without something underneath it. Also, see #2.

2) I live in Florida. FLORIDA. The only time it gets cold enough to wear this sweater, everyone is running the heat inside buildings. So, I can only wear this thing if I’m going to be outside all day long and not go inside. Because going from 40 outside (which we consider very cold, thank you) to 78-80 inside, makes me cranky when I’m wearing wool (even if it is only 16% wool, that’s apparently more than enough). Taking off the sweater once I’m inside is not a possibility because see #1.

Vicious cycle I find myself in. Ugh. I keep it, because I do love it. And I keep hoping the day will come when I’ll be up north in the winter and can wear it over jeans with some comfy and cute boots on and be totally comfortable out in the snow. πŸ™‚

This was the second real sweater I’ve ever made. And it was the last. There’s just no point here. I have lightweight sweaters (store bought) that I use to layer when it does get cold and I’m going to be outside.

Sorry for the short post today, but we’re surrounded by tornado warnings today (my sister had one cross by her house a few miles away). So, quick posting between storm bands and then I’m going back to watching the pretty weather maps.

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY4. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Three – Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches

It’s Day Three!

Here’s today’s prompt:

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised?

Ah, funny you should ask this today! Tomorrow the Knit and Crochet Show will release the info about the classes for the summer show before registration opens on April 7th. Why am I mentioning this? Because, I’m teaching a class on organizing your space at the summer show! I hope you’ll come out and take the class, we’re going to have lots of fun. I’ve been gathering all kinds of cool info to share.

Anyway, how do I organize my yarn?

As you may have read back in my designing series, I live in a 225 square foot room in my parents’ home. It was the old family room, so it does not have closets. Let me go fix a cup of coffee while that sinks in for you: I live in a tiny room with no closets and I’m a designer.

Ok, I’m back, have you processed that? Yeah. I won’t even discuss the fact that this house was built in the 70s so I only have one outlet on each wall. πŸ™‚

Anyway, for new readers, in this tiny little room I have bedroom stuff, living room stuff, and a full studio. 225 square feet. I’m not a math person by any means, but I can tell you that’s too much stuff and not a lot of room.

However, I have gut checks with everyone who comes in my room and other than a tiny little spot against the wall that holds luggage totes, nothing looks too cluttered. I also declutter every week because I’ve watched too many episodes of Hoarders. If you can watch that show and not go and declutter something in your house, you’re a stronger person than me.

My room is divided into zones. Unfortunately, when I got my comfy chair I had to move my zones around a bit. So, my divider wall that I used to have by my table is now against the wall by my bed. It works there, I use the top half for a bookcase and the bins for holding swatches and projects.

My yarn, though, my yarn lives under my table. Here, let me show you it:

This is an older photo, and I’ve added a few since then (but there’s not a lot of light in here right now, so no new photos). I use plastic bins and at some point I will buy all matching ones (since it will make it easier to stack them). My yarn is divided mostly by fiber:

Big plastic bin: Acrylic (mostly Red Heart, TLC, etc)
Skinny plastic bin: Simply Soft & other Caron yarns (I’ve just always kept them separate)
Brown bin: Cottons
Green bin: Misc yarns I either need soon for swatching or yarns I can’t figure out where to put them (this bin doesn’t have a lid, so it becomes my “Gotta refile that yarn” bin and every week or so I go through and put yarn away)
Big clear bin: Thread….holy cow do I have a lot of thread
Skinny plastic bin: Wools
Little plastic bin: Lace weight yarns

Over in my storage unit there is a special cloth bin for sock yarn because that is holy and should be treated with respect. Amen.

Every few months I go through and take a hard look at my yarn and destash a lot of it. Last time I did this I gave away a huge black garbage bag full of yarn. And I’m still left with bins that are stuffed full. And it just keeps coming in (as I stare at a stack of yarn I just got for a project).

Organizing is an ongoing process. It’s not something you do and then you’re done. Unless you don’t interact with the stuff you’ve just organized. Otherwise, you have to constantly go back through things and see what’s working and what’s not. The reason my yarn got reorganized was because it wasn’t working for me anymore. It’ll probably get reorganized again once I go through to destash a second time.

So, a bit of a shorter post today (I can’t give away all my secrets that I’ll be teaching about!), but I hope it helped you. Until tomorrow!

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY3. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Two – Skill + 1UP

Today’s question:

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?

This one is easy.

You know this design?

Photo copyright Interweave and used with permission

A year ago, the only Tunisian crochet I’d done were small swatches. I’d played with it, doing little squares to make sure I understood the process. But that was it. I even taught my crochet group at the time how to do the little squares. We did the three main stitches and that was it. But I was scared to actually do a project.

At the holidays that year (2009) I got a set of Tunisian hooks to play with. It’s this set from Amazon. I love them, by the way. Such a great range of sizes.

Anyway, I figured it was time to do something in Tunisian. So in January 2010, I put together my proposal for Interweave. And I did my swatch in Tunisian. As I worked it, I realized that it made the construction a lot easier because the edges look like crochet stitches, too.

When it was accepted, I realized that I now had to put it together. I was nervous, I’m not ashamed to admit that. But, sometimes I learn best by diving in with a deadline.

So I did. It was a lot easier than I thought it was, which is why I think the wrap is a great first Tunisian project. If I can do it, so can you!

There’s still skills I want to learn (but I won’t go into that now…that’s a later post this week), but I’m going to try to learn them on my own without submitting designs for them first. πŸ™‚

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY2. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day One – A Tale of Two Yarns

Hooray! It’s time for Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week!

Today’s question:

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.

I’m going to do a tale of four yarns (gotta do things differently) only because I want to talk about two mass market yarns and two yarn shop yarns. Also, I’m going to talk about yarns that I love. πŸ™‚

Mass Market Yarns

I have many favorite mass market yarns. I think this happened because I don’t have a local yarn shop really local to me. And when I started crocheting in full force I didn’t know there were shops that were dedicated to just yarn.

Okay, the first yarn that is my go-to yarn in my stash for most gifts (especially if they’re afghans) is Red Heart Super Saver. I know, many people hate it. I don’t. Is it scratchy sometimes when working it up? Sure. But a quick wash in the machine with some fabric softener and it’s awesome. I’ve made every single blanket I’ve made for my niece out of this yarn. And all of them have held up. Even the ones she dragged behind her as a little kid. The color range is awesome. And I’m always amazed at the new colors that come out each year.

The blankets I made for my niece and step-niece

Photo of Spectrum Afghan made for Coats and Clark

In fact, I’m busting through my stash of it right now working on the 63 Cable Stitches book to make myself a long overdue afghan. See, it’s summer right now (yes, I’m aware it’s almost April, but this is Florida) and working on the bigger scrap afghan I was working on has to be put away until winter. It’s just too hot to have an afghan on my lap. So, an afghan out of squares is perfect.

Photo of my WIP of the 63 Cable Stitches pattern

Anyway, I also love to “kill” Red Heart Super Saver. That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? What I mean by that, is that my favorite way to block Super Saver is with steam. I pin the item to measurements (perfect with motifs) and then hit it with steam from my garment steamer. I love watching it relax. Now, I wouldn’t do this for everything, but for things like afghans, I love having it relax and get a bit more drape.

Josalynne’s Garden Afghan from Crochet World, first afghan I “killed” the motifs on to help them relax

My other favorite mass market yarn is Naturally Caron Spa. This bamboo blend yarn is just sumptuous. It holds up well to wear (I have a pullover out of it) and can be washed in the machine (love that). The one thing that would make me love it more? More colors! Oh, and maybe a fingering weight, but that’s the designer in me talking.

Spa is super soft, though, and holds up really well while crocheting with it. It’s also very lightweight, something that’s great here in Florida. I haven’t done many things with it because I just haven’t had the time. But, I did design and make this pullover in it:

My design, not written down yet, I need to make another one since I can’t read my notes

Local Yarn Shop Yarns

I fell in love with Rowan Calmer when I got it as a gift. Helps that it was in purple (y’all might detect a theme there). πŸ™‚ It’s a cotton and acrylic blend. It was so soft and luxurious to work with. I immediately started crocheting up a Doris Chan pattern and this has become one of my favorite crocheted tops. It even ranks higher than my own designed pullover. It has held up well since I crocheted the top in 2009.

Runaround pattern from Doris Chan’s book Everyday Crochet

My other new favorite local yarn shop yarn is Zitron Noblesse. It’s a Merino and silk blend tonal yarn. I received it to make the sample for the Red Rocks Wrap that was in Interweave Winter. When I opened the box I gasped. When I opened the bag the yarn was in, I was in love. This yarn is so soft and yummy and the tonal shifts are amazing. If I could have kept the extra yarn, I would have. So luxurious. It was fabulous to crochet with. I’m still convinced that it was the yarn that took this design from cool to absolutely amazing.

Photo copyright Interweave and used with permission

By no means are the yarns I listed here my only favorites. I have a ton of other yarns I love and will use for various projects. And while there are yarns I don’t like, for the most part it’s not that I don’t like the yarn itself…it’s that the yarn is hard to work with here in Florida (looking at you bulky weight yarns). πŸ™‚

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY1. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Announcement!

Knitting and Crocheting Blog week 2011

I’m going to participate in the Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week this year (I just heard about it, so spread the word to your favorite bloggers!). So, from March 28 to April 3, you’re going to get a post a day from me. I know, shocking! πŸ™‚

You can click on the link below the photo above to find out more information. Let me know if you’re going to participate, too! I hope you’ll come back to check out what I’m going to blog about. πŸ™‚

Since I don’t have time to post…

…here’s the link to Brianna’s recap of the Fiber-In with pictures of me teaching my demo and learning to spin.

Thanks Brianna for posting and for taking the pics!

Florida Fiber-In by Brianna of The Crochet Side

Me? Drowning in yarn and trying to stay ahead of the deadlines. Two projects out the door, two more to do for October (one due mid month, the other due end of month), plus a submission proposal. Eek.

No pictures, but a sneak peek nonetheless

So today I’ve worked some more on the broomstick lace wrap. I’m on the second half and have 7 more repeats to do before the edging. I think it will just get a simple edging as the beauty of it is in the stitches themselves. I’m hoping that I can finish it tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow…tomorrow I will post a “Day in the Life” post. I’ve been keeping track all day. I’ve been inspired by Crochet by Faye and her post about her day in the life. I always love hearing these kinds of things so I figured there might be someone out there who would like to read about mine. Not that it’s all that exciting, but we’ll see. I’ve been keeping track all day in Notepad and will post it tomorrow morning.

Okay, so I’m off for tonight. I need to take Midnight out for his last walk and then start dinner. John should be leaving work in a few minutes. Then I’m hoping to finish up the afghan tonight.

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