Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2011 Day 4

Day Four: 31st March. Where are they now?
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'm not so sure about today's post.  I tend to gift nearly everything I make and I don't really get a ton of feedback on the items.  Instead I'll just post new photos of my niece wearing her latest gifts and totally cop out today..... 

 April Hat

 March Hat

Easter Dress, Easter Sweater, April Hat

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2011 Day 3 (2KCBWDAY3)

Day Three: 30th March. Tidy mind, tidy stitches.
How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised 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 organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

Well, I hope today is NOT the day that Bry chooses to check in on the blog.  I fear that he will be overwhelmed by how much yarn is hidden in our apartment.... Since we are still living in an apartment with no options to renovate or paint, I have been left to daydream about what my future craft room will be like.  Here are some of my top picks:
Alicia Paulson's Craft Room is to die for.  She has many blog posts about the renovations that led to the creation of this space which are very interesting to read.  I am in love with her design aesthetic and style.

Rebeka Lambert's Artsy-Crafty Room was also just re-done.  Drool.  She has inspired me to dabble into sewing more - although I have yet to try her embroidery projects.  Embroidery is yet another thing-that-my-mom-did-so-I-avoid-it, although her designs and projects are almost enough to make me pick it up.

Until we buy a house that will have both a Man Cave and a Craft Room - we are stuck with finding clever ways to display/organize my craft supplies.  Before this knitting craze set in I was a pretty die-hard scrapbooker.  And I still enjoy scrap book weekends - in fact I really NEED one to finish my wedding album (only 10 pages left!!).  So I have both a scrapbooking cabinet and now a new yarn/craft/sewing bookshelf.  This is a new purchase from IKEA, specifically for this post.

As I have other hobbies in addition - scrapbooking, dabbling in sewing - this space makes room for these as well.  Our household was also in great need of a desk so this has been arranged.  One thing that I do like is that all of my craft things are in the main living area - I can spend time with my husband and watch tv while doing whatever.  It makes it so that my hobbies don't detract from the little time Bry and I get together.

Happy crafting!

Leave the name of your blog in your comment so I can be sure to check it out - it's overwhelming how many people are participating in this Blog Week!  I am having so much fun visiting new sites and checking out new blogs to follow.  Feel free to FOLLOW me too!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2011 Day 2 (2KCBWDAY2)

If you want to read about more Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011 just click HERE.

Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP
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?

Wow.  Seeing as I've only been knitting for a total of 14 months this one is pretty easy.  However, I realized that I haven't ever posted photos of the VERY FIRST knitting project I did.  So this seems like a perfect time.  My Honey Mustard Scarf was the first adventure in knitting.  I was on a vacation month and just felt like I needed to do something with my hands.  I found a free pattern from Lion Brand in a booklet near where I found the Lion Brand Wool-Ease Yarn.

Free Knitting Pattern: Berry Ridge Hat And Scarf

Lion Brand® Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick®
Pattern #: L0068

Rating: *****5.0 (based on 1 review)
Most current review /
Write a review SKILL LEVEL:  Easy
SIZE: One Size
Hat: 21 in. (53.5 cm) circumference, will stretch to fit a range of sizes
Scarf: 7 x 48 in. (18 x 122 cm)

       CORRECTIONS: None

I read the pattern instructions to figure out how to cast on.  I knitted and purled over and over - checking the internet when I couldn't figure it out.  I couldn't tell the difference between knit and purl stitches, and I made some mistakes.  I didn't care.  I figured out how to join new yarn in.  When I got to the end (7 FEET later!) I didn't know how to cast off.  Bry watched and laughed at me as I watched a YouTube video while I cast off.

Since I finished this scarf I haven't stopped knitting.  I jumped in head over heels - and fell in love.  I knit ALL the time - anytime I can.  Things that used to annoy me (long car trips, long lectures, downtime at work) don't now because I always bring along knitting.  I have come pretty far in 14 months - and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.  Check out my Knitting page to see how far I've come!
Here are some of my most advanced items:
Beaded Hat
Pattern: Bead Scarf and Hat by Amanda Blair Brown from Knit Simple Holiday Issue
Yarn: Can't remember.  It was a sport weight wool
Beads: From Micheal's Crafts. Glass beads.  Entirely too small for this yarn!
This took me the entire month of December 2010 to finish.  I was painful, since my hats normally take only 2-3 hours to do.  I am not sure that I will ever be repeating this pattern, but I do get tons of compliments on it.

Pattern: Habitat by Jared Flood
Yarn: Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed
I bought the yarn and the pattern at Knit Purl in Portland, OR.  I finished the hat on the plane ride back to Milwaukee.  It knit up pretty quickly, and I even figured out how to cable WITHOUT a cable needle during the pattern.  The chart was easy to follow - and I just hung it up on the plane seat in front of me.  I have another skein of yarn to knit this again for myself since this was supposed to be for Bry (I steal it....a lot.)

These are my finished socks.  This makes a whole new TYPE of garment that I've knitted.  So far I have made:

And I don't plan to stop!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2011 Day 1

Day One: 28th March. A Tale of Two Yarns.
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.

Yarn Love
This is actually pretty difficult - I'm sure most of the other bloggers will agree that there are many, many yarns that they like to work with.  I have come across a TON of yarns that I really enjoy - and I don't have any problem spending money in a yarn store........  So I will be picking one that I don't think other people may have tried.  It's not a "specialty" yarn - in fact it's one of my "go-to's" when I have a Joann Fabric's coupon.  Yep, you can buy it at Joann's.  It is Debbie Stoller's Stitch Nation Alpaca Love.  Now all three of the Debbie Stoller Yarns are nice to work with - Bamboo Ewe and Full 'o' Sheep are the other two.  Alpaca love is a worsted weight yarn.  It is a pleasure to knit with because it is soft, and the fabric it creates is super cushy and just plain lovely.

Alpaca Love™ is a plush blend of wool with a touch of soft alpaca that is available in a rich range of  hues. It feels and looks wonderful, adding a bit of luxury to everything from hats and scarves to sweaters.
80% Wool, 20% Alpaca
131 yd (121 m) per 3 oz (85 g)
Gauge: 4" = 16 stitches/21 rows on size 8 needles
Suggested Crochet Hook: I-9
Hand wash gently in cold water. Lay flat to dry. Do not bleach. Do not iron. May be dry cleaned.This yarn will felt if machine washed.
3920 Ruby

  3650 Lotus

3580 Dusk

 3620 Fern

 3810 Lake

                      3520 Peacock Feather

                 3350 Espresso Bean

                    3420 Cobblestone
There are plenty of yarn snobs out there - and I find myself turning into one whenever a skein of 100% acrylic is near.......but GIVE THIS ONE A TRY!  Not every sweater you make has to cost $100000 dollars.  I love that this yarn is kid friendly and comes in a ton of lovely colors too.  I am currently working on some really cool boots (suede sole) for my cousin, Heide, and am using their Lotus, Dusk, Fern and Cobblestone colorways.  Pictures to follow.

Yarn Hate
Now this was tougher.  As stated above, I kinda like the stuff.  (Severe, severe addiction, possibly leading to financial difficulties might be a better definition).  Nonetheless, there was ONE yarn that I really didn't dig - at all.  It was given to me by a friend who was giving up knitting for Neurosurgery.  (Thanks, Carolyn!)  And I knit a cute scarf project for another friend.  I actually have fond memories of the knitting because I did it during my last class of medical school (Preparing for Internship) and a bunch of my other friends were also knitting - good times.

Not to be a hater - but this yarn DROVE ME UP THE WALL.  It was super difficult to work with because my needles always got stuck in it.  It had no give, so it was hard to slip it from needle to needle.  I did a simple pattern of garter stitch and drop stitch to make a scarf - the end result was actually gorgeous - and the receiver loved it.  But the struggle of knitting with this yarn made me want to never try this again.  This one gets a big thumbs down from me.
Weight Category: 6 -   Super Bulky: Bulky, Roving Yarn
1.75 oz./50 g (110 yd/100 m)
100% nylon

Knit: 10 stitches x 16 rows = 4" (10cm) on size 15 (10mm) needles
Crochet: 8 sc and 10 rows = 4" (10cm) with size P-15 (10mm) hook

Product Care Instructions: Items made from this yarn may be laundered through the use of water, detergent or soap and gentle hand manipulation. A machine dryer may not be used.

Incredible<SUP>® </SUP>

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three Days Off

Well I just finished 3 days off - in a row!  I had a lot of projects and am sad to see this streak end.  However, I still have most of the day tomorrow since I don't start work until 9pm.  Then I have a three night streak - but we're going to fit in some visits with friends/family and a birthday party for Bry too.

So what was I up to?  Here's a few photos:
This is my thrift store shopping spree haul.  Here's what I did with it:

Found this sweater.  Really liked the yarn and the button.  So I "frogged" it - ripped it apart and saved the yarn and the button.  My hands were a little sore after all of this - it was cotton, and I'm not sure how many more times I'll be doing this.  I tried again with another sweater but the yarn wasn't worth all the work so I just trashed it.

I made this purse from a free pattern at Artsy Crafty Babe's blog.  My stitching is not the best, but I think it's cute and functional.  The fabric was a vintage pillow case (50 cents) and a vintage sheet ($2.08).  The magnetic button cost the most at $5 with a 40% off coupon so about $2.75.  I was IN LOVE with it - until I realized I put the strap on backwards on one side.  Oh well, I still will use it.  It's not quite big enough to be my everyday purse but it will work nicely for side trips.

Burp Cloth Tutorial
I thought these vintage sheets would make really cute burp cloths. I cut them into 7"x18" strips.  Random numbers that I came up with.

 I bought flannel (above) and terry cloth (below) at Joann's to use for the opposite side.  I used the terry cloth first. It wasn't as soft as I wanted - might have to look into buying some more expensive stuff for next time.

 Pin the WRONG sides of the fabric and terry cloth together.  Stitch around the edges with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Leave an opening to turn the piece inside out.

 Turn inside out and press.  Now right sides are facing.

 Top stitch around the edges - this will close the gap you left to turn it inside out.
Cute and finished!

Here's the other project I've been working on....... I'll tell you the story later - after Bry gets home.....