Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Knit 1 Crochet 1

This is my latest knit project. I just made the pattern up ~ knit 1 purl 1, till it looks long enough, and yet leaves you enough yarn leftover to make some fringe. Easy-squeezy. It is a 6 ft shawl that I knitted out of Sensations Rainbow Boucle. Although the color is lovely, the fabric is soft, and the shawl is warm, I have to say, I DETEST this yarn! I probably will never buy it again.
It could be that I am just a very novice knitter, and used too small of needles ~ it could be that my gauge was too tight, and therefore frustrating, or it could just be that this stuff snags on a ANYthing ~ probably right up to and including a bare baby's bottom. All right, all right, I have to admit it, I didn't put it next to any bare baby bottoms, HOWEVER, it snagged on everything else. I thought I might die of frustration. Luckily, for posterity's sake ( I guess, heheh) I barely managed to eek out an existance. In fact, this yarn was so annoying, it gets its very own haiku.

Sensations Rainbow
Boucle yarn snags forever
as I curse once more

And I have also noticed that once it is made up, the purled side snags on everything I wear, picks up the slightest hint of lint, stray hairs, and anything else within a 10 ft radius so that by the end of the day, although you are toasty warm and look quite nice, you seem to have developed an odd lumpiness underneath the shawl. I think it resembles fat rolls in a way, and so I will call it Shawl Cellulose Lumps. Yes. It definitely creates a severe case of SCL.

So I don't really reccomend this yarn for knitting. Or crochet, for that matter. Because the other side of this story is that I tried to crochet this yarn before I knitted it. And ~ ah was like to die!! ~ In fact, this stuff is so grabby that I could barely rip out the snasty crochet sample, and just decided to bag it and chuck the whole thing rather than deal with it.

All right ~ I have gotten a little worked up ~ breeeaaaattthhee ~ hmmmm ~ huuuu ~ uuuhhhh ~ Flushing Water ~ Child pose ~ Stand up ~ reach for the sunshine.

Ok ~ I can go on. ;-D

This is a crochet project I just finished. I mostly used the pattern from a ~ Best Of Terry Kimbrough Baby Afghans ~ book. ( which, by the way, is an absolutely BEAUTIFULLY done book of heirloom quality baby afghans. You'll want to use your nice yarn for these. I only wish she had diagrams!!) I say mostly, because I seem to have a difficult time following a written pattern. I was doing great ( because the picture of the afghan in the book showed the stitches on the body & some of the border well enough) until I hit that last part of the border. I just couldn't tell what the heck they were up too, so I improvised.

I don't like the improv as well as the picture in the book, but I consoled myself with the fact that I don't really like the color scheme that much either, and this was really more of a test to see if I could make a complicated baby afghan without wasting expensive yarn, and I was using leftover materials, so I didn't have enough of any one color for the whole dealio, sooooo ( breathe... just breaaathheee..) I used up a bunch of baby weight scraps.

Perhaps my sister will have a little girl, though, and she will use it as a floor blanky or some such.

As for the yarn, I used Bernat Softee Baby yarn, which, although it is as acrylic as all get-out, is actually not so bad to work with. Although, I will say this, the white seems to have a little more substance than the pink or or the variagate. So it makes up just a little thicker. But for a nice soft, cheap, washable baby yarn ~ not too shabby.

My next project is a pair of socks. I am going to crochet one set & knit another. I think crochet is going to be the easier of the two, but knitting may prove more comfortable to wear. So I am going to try both.

Sadly, I have not yet dyed the final two colors for my Japanese baby granny, so I am still waiting to start that. ( I am trying to decide how to go about dying a very light cream color... if any of you know how to do that, please let me know. I managed all of the other soft colors, but cream is escaping me for the moment.) I DID, however, get all the rest of the yarn for that project balled, which is quite a little chore in itself.

I will use the left-overs from this for a little matching granny square jumper dress, and perhaps some booties & a cap or hat in a solid as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

That Yarn thing I do

Do you love yarn? Admit it, you DO! Come on, you wouldn't be reading this entry otherwise. Just seeing the play of color, the flow of fiber, that bit of shimmer... makes you want to touch it, doesn't it? Oh ..hehehe.. better yet... it makes you want to OWN it..... doesn't it? Add it to your ~Stash~?

I feel your pain, sister, I DO. It's an addiction....we're in this thing together.

Ok, So my Blurtyness today ( this week, this month...lol... ok, so... uh.. the last 3 or 4 months...) deals with my yarn fetish. That's right, among all the other things I have OCD'D on, yarn ( well, to be quite honest I must include fabric here as well, but that would be an entire other post) has to be the most prevelant, and certainly is the most recent.

Here is where it all started ~ as most of you know, I have indulged in chickenry for the last 2 yrs, and have really enjoyed that most helpful & lovely website called BackYard Chickens. And 2 Christmas's ago, I found a gal named Queen Scoot on there selling some quite cute little crocheted hats.

Enter some of the funniest Japanese Knit/Crochet Haiku I have ever read. It also is rather fitting. (All of the haiku in BOLD come from that website.)

Praising her work, I mumble to myself "I can do it, too."

So I bought a hat for each of my daughters & even one for my son, and then........and then... well, see the above haiku.

I pulled out my old crochet project ( it was an ambitious project, a quilt that required 3 times more yarn than I had purchased, and 5 times more work than I had anticipated.. and thus it sat, lo these many 25 yrs.) from when I was oh.... about 15, and thought ~ "I could re-visit this. Yes, I could. I bet I can remember the things that sweet little old lady in my ward so patiently taught me about crochet. Yes, I could do it, too."

(My first ever attempt to knit on circular needles ~ It was too tight, & ended up too short in the body, so I crocheted an edge for it. Also, I was uncertain as to how to finish off the crown, so I crocheted off the needles & just decreased in a spiral to the very center. It actually turned out ok!)

(One of my first crocheted hats, it was a mohair & silk/rayon blend. I liked it, but it didn't jump up & shout YEAH! So naturally I had to try a few more ideas!)

So I did. And then I made another. ANd yet another..... until I had almost an entire BOX full of hats. And then....

(An alpaca wool & Lion Brand chunky yarn Tibetan earflaps hat. Still one of my favorites)

( A few more of the hats in that ~box full of hats~, I actually gave about 20 hats away for Christmas this year, and sold probably 50 hats at the Farmer's Market, so this little box is just the remnants & some newbie design ideas.....yah, I never really make the same hat twice...in fact, I don't even use a pattern, I just crochet or knit till a hat appears.)

Autumn winds always drift me into yarn shops
And that's a dangerous pastime ~ especially for a woman who really & truly owns WAAAYY TOOO much yarn anyway. And most of it is specialty, NOT acrylic ~ yah, it's a problem.
"Hello, my name is Yarn Lady, and I buy/sell/dye/use yarn... every day... I'm a yarnaholic.."

How many people have touched with their cheeks on this soft yarn skein?

(Some cotton/rayon blends as well as a wool/ acrylic blends ~ SOOO soft, and they took the dye so VERY nicely!)

Yes, it's true, my stinkin' OCD took over..... and I began to acquire ~The Stash~. Now, most ALL of You Who Knit/Crochet KNOW what ~The Stash~ is. It is a giant towering mountain of guilt,
WIPs, $$$$, & some of the most lovely project potential indulgences you can have.

Yes, I DO indulge. You know, yarn can never make you fat, it can only make your craft room bulge. ;-D
Hmmm. that sounds like a haiku ~ hehe ~ here is one from me:

~ There is no fat-guilt
in yarn, only bulging crates
of color in the end. ~

(This is my latest run, just a few days ago, of 100% Egyptian cotton, looks & feels about like Sugar & Cream. I needed a certain look of soft muted pastels with a yellow undertone for a project in one of my Japanese baby crochet books)

And so, I did indeed begin to acquire. Only, specialty yarns weren't quite enough, oh no, I decided that COLOR was a something I had to control. And so.......
( yes, that's 4 gi-nor-mous toters of raw/natural yarns, already wound, ready to dye. They run the gamut from rayon chenille to wool, silk, cotton, and blends of all of the above. Believe me, I ran into a deal I just couldn't pass up on eBay. It was to DYE for... literally...heheheh)

Yes, it's true, I had to acquire a LOT of ~natural~ yarn, and dyes... so that I could make the colors that I wanted. And so I did.

(A basket of wool, bamboo, cotton, rayon & acrylic waiting to be dyed.)

(A run of colors I dyed last summer ~ drip-drying under the tree-house. I fluff them later, in the dryer, & then either twist them back into hanks or wind them into center-pull skiens.)

Now then, if you are the loving but flustered husband of an OCD ~Stash Builder~, you sometimes have to be firm. And Wood Genius WAS firm. So I did what ALL OCD Stash Builders do when their loving husbands deny them any more yarn... I offered up the possibility that I could SELL some of my Stash. Yes, I COULD. And so I did. I took some of the lesser-loved skeins & colors and tromped them over to our local Farmer's Market, and started selling off my lovely hand-dyed hanks of cotton, wool, rayon, bamboo & blends.

( A fun lot of baby or fine cotton/ rayon blend pastels I called ~Berries & Cream~. These sold so fast, it was a good thing I had made plenty for me too ~ ;-D ~ )

But then.. well, yes, it DOES get worse. Because, you see, once I started selling yarn, people began asking me about knit & crochet needles, and classes and such, and so I HAD to acquire a few EXTRA sets of bamboo needles & hooks. And of course, once you use bamboo, well, the hard cold metal will just never compare. And the more often you use bamboo needles, (especially if you do a project in wool) the slicker & softer they become. Who can deny bamboo needles? Certainly not me!! ;-D

And then, patterns...... because so many folks ALSO wanted to MAKE the hats & scarves & such that looked like the ones I was making, etc, so I had to figure out patterns ( which can be fun or a drag... depends on your level of dedication that day ....... and soooooo......

One more stitch... One more row... Ah..? It's dawn

I hate all these 15 rows over the mistake.

And I began to talk to other folks who have similar knitty/ crochet-ish fetishes.
And we got together and had fun knitting and crocheting.

(A granny I sort of made up as I went. I got sick of doing the granny motif's about half-way through ~ just not inspiring anymore~ and so added on rows of crochet to fill out enough to make a twin-sized afghan.)

(This baby blanket was very fun, I found a vintage 80's sweater crocheted in thread with a whole plethora of stitches on it, and decided it would make a fun, quirky baby blanket design in these bright happy colors ~ but some of those stitches I had never tried before... so it was fun & challenging to figure out the next row of pattern stitches each time as well.)

And I finished lots of fun projects.
And of course started some more......

Secretly, I turned over your new hand knitted scarf. Did you know how I was happy when I found a brand-label on it?

Didn't you praise the botchy scarf knitted by the young girl? How can you give the cold to my paramount sweater?

(This is a ~use up your last bits of acrylic in the shades of green ~ afghan. Another quirky project, just right for the quirky daughter who recieved it. Plus, it's warm. ;-D)

It's strange really, what this most beguiling of fetishes can produce. I have come up with some very fun things... and a few that MUST be relegated to that most embarrassing of frogging categories : Ugliest Knitted Thang. Or Ugliest Crocheted Thang.

But, all in all, I have to say, crochet & knit outrank even my fabricholic-ism. And Why? Simply this ~ projects can be taken almost virtually ANYwhere. Crocheting In Public has become a favorite pastime, and every tote, purse and bag of mine seems to have sprouted its own little grouping of WIPs. (That's Work In Progress, by the way.)

And so it goes.

My latest crochet stint? Japanese baby pattern books. They have diagrams and show literally STEP-BY-STEP every single new stitch. They are fool-proof. And I don't even read Japanese!...yet..... ;-D
This is the project ~
and this is the yarn that I dyed to match. I have only the cream & light tan to to go.