Saturday, September 30, 2006

Crochet in a Day

Yesterday I ended up taking the intro crochet class at the Knitting Room that I has previously mentioned that I wanted to do. It was great! I picked it up fairly quickly and managed 2 simple shapes in the 2 hour class. Obviously the photo was taken yesterday, when there was still sun in the Boston area.

So now I am looking for something to try my new found skill. I was thinking of A Maiden's Glory from The Anticraft (specifically I like the choker for myself, but maybe I will try the headdress for my daughter to wear), which I had been dying to make since it came out. I may start simpler and try to do my first granny square though. I could always send it as a square for Grandmother Purl. Any thoughts from crocheters out there about which would be a better starting project?


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hot Playground Cashmere Tip

Also I got a got a playground tip last week thatI meant to share. I was knitting while my daughter was playing on the playground (actually specifically I was working on the brown Dulaan hat to give you an idea of when this happened). I ended up sitting in a sunny spot near another mom who was knitting a top down hat (note to self: neat! I want to try that) from some of the most luscious cashmere.

She said that if you order the sample pack from Colourmart that they throw in a small skein of cashmere in too. I have not yet tested this by ordering any yet, but the principle seems both economically sound and mildly like a drug dealer. Dude, here have some cashmere. Sure the first skein is free (well with puchase of a sample pack). Anyways looks interesting. I seriously need to use up some of my stash due to storage issues right now though.

Hand Dyed Child's Raglan

Hey look a sweater! Ok I am cheating. This is not a recent FO. Actually I finished it in June having worked on it for most of the Boston Pride Parade. Of course immediately there after it was much to warm to wear a wool sweater.Plus I didn't have a blog to share it with you all then. So here it is, just in time for the rather chilly mornings we have been getting in the early hours before school. The yarn was a recycled 100% wool cabled sweater. Actually that sweater was also the source of the beet dyeing I did recently.

We dyed the yarn with grape koolaid, and I learned a lot of neat things about the relative reaction rates of red and blue food dyes. I actually purposefully greated a dye gradient by folding the skeins of yarn in the dye pot so that each was equally on the top and bottom. Then I sprinkled the koolaid on the surface of the already warm water and wool, occassionally poking with a pair of chopsticks.

If you look on the back of a package of Koolaid, you will discover that it has both red and blue dye to make the purple color we know of as grape. What I discovered was that the red reacted almost immediatedly on the surface, with only a small amount being able to diffuse to the center layer and then react. The blue on the otherhand had such a relatively slow reaction time that diffusion was dominate, to the point where in the end I actually had leftover light blue that had not reacted.

This resulted in a red purple at the top, a light purple in the center and a light blue towards white at the bottom. I had really pictured a variegared purple in my head though. In order to get this finished product, I ended up taking the yarn at this point out of the bath, mixing a homogenous mixture of 2 more packets, and then dumping the yarn back in. The results... well you can see for yourself.

I am pretty happy with how both the color and the knitted object turned out, even if there was some pooling happening. The pattern was just a bottom up raglan sweater. Theoretically it was for a size 10 (plus an extra inch in length for her long torso) because I wanted my daughter to have some time before she outgrew it. It looks like another sweater is in order though, since I don't think this one will fit past this winter.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Young Knitters

On the top of my bloglines this morning I saw that Carole posted about the Boston Knit Out '06. And look who you can see right in the front sitting on the green!

I took some photos as well. Very early in the day I saw a little girl and her mom Christene (who I had met previously at a great class at Mind's Eye Yarns), and I pointed out to Tab that they were the same age. So she ran off (under supervision) to go knit with her new friend.

I watched from the Blogger Table as she knit with her new friend and Christene nearby on the green. I was really surprised by how well long she stayed focused. They must have knit together for hours before running to play for a bit at the end.

We had started some knitting instruction last year, but only within the last few weeks has she been interested in doing it on her own. She has taken to packing it in her backpack and pulling it out when she is idle (whether or not I am there). As an example, Lucy helped me take a picture of her when she had on her own stopped during set up to take a quick knit break. I have also found her doing it when she is over a friend's house, and they were both crafting.

Originally I had given her some solid colored acrylic for easy stitch recognition, but she never really took to it. She is now working on some self striping wool (brand?) that she picked out at Mind's Eye Yarns. She says it is going to be a scarf for her toy dog.

It isn't perfect. You may notice that it gets a bit wider at first, but it seems to have settled at about this width. I already plan to keep an eye on it, and when she tires of it, I will tuck it away until she is older. Who knows, someday she may have her own young knitter that she will want to share it with.


Monday, September 25, 2006

The Beginning of Fall

Ok I promise this is not going to become a foodie blog, but I was really struck about a month ago when I listened to the Creative Mom Podcast and Amy was talking about being struck by color. This week that really happened to me, and where I might usually have just brushed aside the thought, I found myself really reflecting on it today.

Although Sunday was gorgeous for the Boston KOAC, it turned cold and stormy afterwards. So I went home and used a bunch of our share to make some beef stew. Normally I am not so struck by food in this way. Look at the color! And you will have to take my word for it that the earthiness of the potatoes, carrots and beets (yes beets) balanced wonderfully with the sweetness of the corn and beans, for a warming taste of the coming colder weather.

The days are getting shorter now, as we pasted the equinox this weekend. With the change of the seasons, I am thinking a little differently about food. Gone is the overabundance of greens that characterized the early parts of the season. For the past few weeks we have been busy canning, freezing and generally preserving as much of our CSA share as we can.

Suddenly, though, as I was walking past our pantry today I had one of those moments that can only be described as being struck by color. So here for you is a selection of my current color pallette this fall. I realized that these colors have been influencing a lot of my color choices recently.

I am drawn to the more subdued greens that will survive the winter. I love the oranges and reds that sadly seem like they will be somewhat lacking in our foliage this year. I crave the depth of color and intensity, as opposed to the garish colors of summer that had suited me until quite recently. The groundedness of the earth tones suits my mood, as I put away some of my summer flexibility for the routine that that September brings. And so I see myself changing with the seasons.

Cotton is stored for another time. Wool, which was present all year, is now making a stronger showing. Alpaca and mohair, which seemed unthinkable previously, have once again been tempting me.

I am thinking about winter holiday gifts and the love which is providing warmth to those you care for. Hats and mittens for school are in queue, despite the knowledge they will probably be lost before it gets warm again. Snuggly socks are in the works. For a select few, given my lessened free time, I am thinking about the perfect patterns for sweaters. I love sweaters or shawls as the perfect things to throw on to cut the chill during the chilly mornings in the house.

I feel like this moment is just a culmination of the preparations that I have been getting ready to make for winter in NewEngland, in everything from color to fiber. It has crept into my conscious thoughts and the more intuitive aspects of my craft. And yet I find myself ready. I am not dreading what is to come. I feel like embrasing the color and crispness of this moment.

As each season comes, I find myself sighing with relief "finally". I think I need this change to keep my creativity fresh. The changes in palettes and mediums that follows the seasons keeps things interesting. So goodbye summer. I will miss you, but not too much. I know you will be back, and in the meantime I can rediscover fall all over again.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

KOAC Postscript

I talked to a bunch of people about various things that I said I would mention in my blog for future reference. So in the order I jotted things down on my sticky note:

1. Knit Pro 2.0 is a website where you can upload a photo or image, and it will convert the image to a chart for either cross stitch or knitting. If you are going to use it for knitting then you should first stretch the image to compensate for your row versus "column" guage, unless of course they are square.

2. I buy my citric acid for dyeing wool frm Mountain Rose Herbs. I have been exceedingly happy with both their prices and customer service. They carry cosmetic ingredients, teas, herbs, and essential oils.

3. About the "Stained Glass" double knit hat pattern: It is knit in Koigu KPPPM P113 and Gems Opal sock yarn in black. I was thinking about it on the way home, and I am not sure if I want to try submitting such a pattern to someplace like Knitty or Magnknits or something. If not I will definately post the pattern here. If so I will still need test knitters, so let me know if you were really interested in the pattern.

Labels: ,

Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too 2006

My daughter and I just got back from the KOAC, and we had a blast! We both showed up for set up, although I was slightly concerned about how much she could help. I had nothing to fear though, as she really was very helpful and earned her consumption of coconut munchkins.

Early on around noon, it was a bit sleepy and slow, perhaps because of the expected forcast. (Rain, rain and more rain.) The one exception to this was the great doorprize line. The picture here is not even as quite its longest length. See that little red tent on the left? That was where people were picking up tickets. I admit I didn't actually figure out how they were doing the doorprizes this year until after it was too late, so I didn't get to participate.

T also met another little girl her age, and they spent the pretty much the whole day knitting and playing together. I was really amazed at the level of concentration and maintaining focus she showed. I don't think that I have ever seen her stay at it for such a long sitting.

Sitting at the Blogger Cafe, I met a ton of interesting people. I also got to hang out with Kimberly, Guido, and and Chris. I have a bunch of new blogs I just added to Bloglines this evening, of which of course Rose Knitted Glasses is the only one I can think of off hand now.** Towards the end Lucy even got to sit for a bit and talk too.

I was a bit suprised that I had one person I did not know say to me "Oh you are Omly. I have read your blog." I guess a part of me assumed that all of the people who read this are just people who know me outside of blogland, especially as it is so new. I had a lot of comments on my double knit had I am designing/knitting right now too. I really should take in progress pictures in the near future.

I got a bunch of swag and discount coupons. (Arg I just ordered a bunch of cones from Webs too, and they had one for free shipping.) One afghan square got finished, while another languished at home, forgotten in the mad rush to get out of the house on time. Please excuse my quick washed out picture I took before running off to deliver it lest the charity table finish packing up first.

With T's new found friend and her mom (blogless?), we went to Windsor Button. I found the perfect boyfriend sock yarn, some gorgeous solid Cherry Tree Hill in teal, and enough pistashio Cotton Ease (all one dye lot) for a cabled sweater for my daughter.*

I am a bit tired, but I feel better than I have all week. I feel motived again and yet also relaxed. Actually I sent off a bunch of emails and was quite productive in general when I got home. Here is to hoping that this continues this week, since it plans to be a stressful and busy one at work.

*Note if you are in the Boston area and really liked the discontinued Cotton Ease line, Windsor Button has a good amount of red, orange, bright yellow, a softer yellow, and pistashio left. Once it is gone it is gone, so if you are interested definately call or email them.

**I have no idea how I forgot Pigbook and Sitcomgirl. It was great to meet you both.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Creative Mom Podcast Artist Trading Cards Exchange

If anyone else is interested in swapping Artist Trading Cards, the deadline of September 31st is coming up quickly. You can see the Amy's post on this exchange for more details.


FOs: Dulaan Hat #1 & 2

Woohoo, two hats done so far even before the end of September!

Dulaan Hat #1 (left)
Yarn: Lamb's Pride
Color: M-89 Roasted Coffee
Fiber Content: 85% wool, 15% mohair
Supplier: Lakeside Fibers
Pattern: Neetlebeetle's Seaman's Cap
Needles: Addi Turbo 40" US Size 8

Cast on with only 72 stitches and followed instructions accordingly.

Mohair fuzzies! In my eye! No really... I am really happy that these will be warm items, but the mohair fluff is driving me a bit batty. This is also my first time knitting a commercial single ply, and I am not sure if I like it. I am happy with the hat in general, but I don't know that I would want to regularly wear something like this myself due to the way the sinlge ply makes the stitches apear to be listing to one side. I can see this yarn being a favorite for felting though.

Dulaan Hat #2 (right)
Yarn: Bernat Softee yarn
Color: mint
Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic
Supplier: stash/Michael’s?
Pattern: bottom-up raglan decreased hat (own pattern)
Needles: Susan Bates 8" US 4 DPNs

Comments: I had finished a raglan sweater for my daughter (entry coming) and wanted to play with using the same decreases in a hat. I know I have seen a pattern around suing this idea, which I totally used as conceptual inspiration, but I can't find it now.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dulaan Project

You may notice that I have a new banner in my sidebar. I am going to be a first time contributor to the Dulaan Project. R and I were just talking about a possible trip to China/Russia this year, and now I am thinking a lot about Mongolia.

Robbyn has started a Dulaan Kick-off Contest for those who might want to get to an early start. The goal is to have at least 2 items finished by October 31st. I can do that! In fact I have one acrylic hat that just needs ends woven in and another hat in Lamb's Pride already on the needles. (We will just breeze over the fact I am starting another hat without weaving ends in on the first. I will do it at the Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too.)

I also have a ton of fleece in my fabric stash. I used to make nap blankets for a friend who taught at a poor inner city preschool, and I would buy it whenever I could find it at a deep discount. Since my friend has moved on to another job, I had been wondering what I could do with all this fleece. I also have a ton of alpaca in my stash from a recycled sweater. After using some of it in a project I decided I wasn't crazy about how halo-y it was, but it makes an amazingly warm fabric.

The more I think about this, the more this seems really doable. It also seems a great way for me to destash prefectly good materials that I otherwise didn't know what to do with. I wonder how many items I could do before July 1st...

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Beet Dyeing

Sunday we canned beets (mmm must resist eating newly canned items). One of the by-products of this process is the liquid from initially cooking the beets. Given its great color and amazing staining power, that got me to thinking. How well would this dye yarn?

So I tossed a hank of pre-washed, recycled white (superwash?) wool in to the liquid and added some (food grade) citric acid. (No exact measuments here, about 2 generous teaspoons.) Could you use vinegar? Absolutely, but I don't care for wool smelling like it, and I had the citric acid around anyways for making bathbombs. Although I did have some alum in the house, I didn't use it. This skein was unmordanted other than the acid.

Notice the great gradiation in color. I started with a homogenous initial liquid. The pot that this was done in however was for the most part unagitated. (No CSTR here.) The orangey-tan bits were closest to the heat source, while the more brick colored bits were closer to the surface. The picture here was after several rinsings in sudsy water. Some of the red came out, but what is there still seems to be fairly permenant. I have read that the red from beets is water soluble though.


Monday, September 18, 2006

50 Non-crafty Facts

To continue with my 50 Crafty Facts for a total of 100 things about me:

1. I am a member of a CSA.

2. I was a triple major as an undergraduate (chemistry, math and physics).

3. My favorite vegetable is zuchini. I think I could live on just steamed zuchini with a little bit of freshly cracked black pepper other than that whole nutrition thing.

4. I do research that may someday contribute to you using fuel cells.

5. I have 3 step brothers, 1 half sister, and 1 full sister.

6. We have a pet African Fat Tailed Gecko named Cupric.

7. I like the flavor of onions but can't stand the texture.

8. I don't like horror movies with the exception of vampire flicks.

9. We don't have a tv, and I like it that way.

10. I am routinely asked if my daugher is my sister. The really distrubing part of this is that I actually have a sister who is younger than my daughter.

11. I am 5' 2.5". At my height you fight for that last half inch.

12. I love camping and hiking.

13. I jointly own a tandem kayak.

14. I freckle especially across my arms and shoulders.

15. I was in vocal music programs in school for 6 years.

16. I really wanted to be a boyscout when I was little. I didn't understand why my dad wouldn't let me, but it was obvious that the girlscouts was not equivalent.

17. Even when it is really hot, I will still sleep with a sheet.

18. I learned to cook when I was 10 and my parents got divorced. As my mom didn't cook, it was that or live on tv dinners until I moved out.

19. I don't like to eat meat in the summer. It isn't for any particular reason; I just don't care for it then.

20. I started getting strands of silver at 16.

21. I am allergic to mold.

22. One of my favorite songs is "Rubby Ducky" by Blümchem, known by most people who have heard it as "that techno dance remix of Ernie (from Sesame Street) singing 'Rubber Ducky' in german".

23. I have never broken any bone in my body.

24. I learned to HTML code when I was in middle school with my dad.

25. My first computer was an Apple II GS.

26. I love unagi (bbq eel sushi).

27. My least favorite domestic chore is doing the dishes.

28. I hate guessing-games.

29. I have a completely irrational fear of deep sea fish that keeps me from going to the aquarium.

30. My first real job was as a produce clerk.

31. There are few things I like better than a really ripe pear.

32. All 4 of my wisdom teeth were impacted and thus removed.

33. I have never had my driver's liscence; driving reduces me to an anxious spazy mess.

34. Only a 0.6% of the populaion has my blood type (AB-).

35. I like the metric system.

36. I love Boston.

37. I do not follow any sports teams other than in the Olympics.

38. I am a bookcrosser.

39. I grew up just down the street from the ocean.

40. When I am stressed from overwork I forget to eat; when I am emotionally stressed I over eat.

41. My accent changes slightly depending on who I am talking to.

42. I still love cuddly stuffed animals.

43. I hate being late for things so much so that I am usually early if I can help it.

44. I have been told my handwriting is too neat for me to be an engineer.

45. I love the words persnickety and ostracize.

46. I really like BPAL, a company that makes really inspired essential oil blends.

47. I love taking baths. My newest bath obsession is Fantasy Bath (particularly their bath bombs).

48. I once worked developing toothpaste and as a result I have strong preferences on what I use.

49. My partner works for iRobot, and I have robots that both vaccum and scrub my floors.

50. I have found someone I hope to spend the rest of my life with.


50 Crafty Facts

I am a huge fan of The Creative Mom Podcast. So given that I had just started up this blog anyways, I was really energized when she gave the prompt this week to create a "100 list" about myself. What a great way to introduce myself! I wanted to see if I cool just do crafty, but in the end found that would be stretching myself pretty thin. Wow that was harder than I thought it would be! So instead I am going to list 50 Crafty Facts followed by a second post with just another 50 other facts about me.

So in no particular order:

1. I taught myself to knit using Debbie Stroller's Stich N Bitch the first winter break of graduate school. I am a firm believer in the idea that every graduate student should have a hobby they are passionate about.

2. When I was in elementary school, an adult neighbor MT with no children let me come over every sunday afternoon for "art lessons". I was always interested in art/making things, but I think she really cemented it as a way of life for me.

3. Despite the fact that MT was quite an accomplished crocheter, I never really picked up how to do it properly. This is something that still sort of bothers me, and I would like to learn how to do so correctly this year.

4. The first thing I ever knit was an approximately 6 inch square, which to this day is referred to as an eyeglass cloth despite the fact that no one in my house wears glasses. Yes I kept it.

5. My sister is quite accomplished both at quilting and scrapbooking. Despite interest, these are two crafts I haven't really done a lot of.

6. Since middleschool I have only taken one art class. It was an introduction to drawing class as an undergraduate where I discovered my love for charcoal drawing.

7. I find that I like to spin better than knitting during knitting podcasts. I am not sure why. On the otherhand I knit during more general crafty ones.

8. I, like many people, find my mind wanders/I doze off less during classes and seminars if I knit. I have only had one professor (in not so many words) tell me that they would rather I didn't.

9. My first knit along type activity was the YarnHarlot's Knitting Olympics.

10. I am one of those people who would rather give away a flawed item than keep it. (There is definately a school of thought that would be horrified at the idea though.)

11. This time last year, I had a big sewing effort to keep my heat bill low. We made a huge tapestry/quilt/curtain for our double glass sliding doors and draft stoppers for all of the doors in the house. I figure we need to use them for at least 2 years to recoup the cost of making these. (But it was fun!)

12. I have never made an article of clothing by sewing.

13. Despite having tons of cross stitching patterns, I have never finished a large piece.

14. I do not really care for cross stitched samplers.

15. I don't like to use markers in my art.

16. I really like Cray pas but almost never use them.

17. My first charity knitting was for an afghan on the BPAL forums.

18. Although I read Craftster, I rarely post.

19. I think the total worth of my unused stash as calculated by CraftMemo definately is motivation to destash (and scares my SO at times).

20. I went 6 months (from February to August) destashing/without buying yarn. Like any diet, this resulted in binging afterwards (in this case with sock yarn).

21. I went to my first SnB, because of a knitter I met on a MBTA bus.

22. I never really got the hang of drafting on a drop spindle until I worked on a spinning wheel.

23. I have never filled a paper journal. Despite this I am desperately tempted to try art journaling.

24. I have been known to mutter about relative differences in diffusion and reaction rates when dyeing with food dye in a gradient.

25. Socks on magic loop are the perfect bus knitting.

26. Everytime I show my daughter (age 7) how to knit, I need to reteach her when we next sit down to do it. This does not impress upon me my skills as a teacher.

27. I am drawn to blue fiber/yarn, but I don't wear it more than any other color.

28. I am a tight knitter.

29. Although I really like Addi Turbos in general, I have recenly found that the points on Inox needles rock for socks.

30. I am not usually good about doing gauge squares.

31. I have owned watercolor crayons for years but have only used them for face paint. (They are non-toxic and wash off easily later.)

32. Often even if I think I know who a project is going to go to, the project sometimes decides differently.

33. I am a social knitter.

34. Knitting both relaxes and focuses me. These sound like they should cancel each other, but they don't.

35. I am a process knitter.

36. I don't feel confident to draw something I can't see, even if I have seen it before.

37. My family has a lot of artistic and creative people, but neither of my parents are among them.

38. My step mother, on the other hand, is.

39. A good deal of my creativity extends outside of crafting to cooking. I am definately in the "food is love" and am always looking for new colorful, inviting and nutritious things to make for my friends and family.

40. I have dyed wool with both food dye (Wilson's and Koolaid) and acid dyes (Jacquard).

41. Koolaid is a great way that my daughter and I personalize items for her. She gets complete control over what colors in what combination will be there.

42. I haven't done much natural dyeing but am interested in doing so.

43. I am an avid reader, and that extends to my crafting as well. I not only collect books for patterns or how-to instructions. I also have books just for imagery that I like and/or inspiration.

44. The first thing I ever made with papier-mache was a Miss Piggie mask, that I wore in a parade. (We have a photo of it, but I don't remember what the parade was for.)

45. I recycle yarn.

46. My spinning wheel is an old Ashford Tradition that we had shipped from New Zealand.

47. I really like getting and sending mail. A favorite crafty projects is to create custom stationary using washes and sketches.

48. I don't cross stitch "correctly", making each "x" go the same direction. I discovered this halfway through a large project.

49. When drawing with pencils, I tend towards the softer (B) ones. The harder ones almost always go unused.

50. Altough I have knit several sweaters at this point, all of them have been for children or babies. I have not yet completed an adult sweater.


WIP: Peacock Majesty

This summer I have really been facinated with images of peacocks. So I dug out a kit for TW Design's Peacock Majesty (sadly discontinued) out of my stash early this summer. It isn't getting worked on quite as much as I would like. For the most part it just gets lengthy work only on flights/long car trips and on vacation. It is moving along well though I think.

This is my first project where I have used gridding. I have found that it is really helpful with a larger project such as this. I haven't done any parking yet, but I think that technique would be particularly helpful in the leafy branches in the upper corners.

Despite sorting the floss at the beginning of the project, I am somewhat at a loss to sort the golds greys and browns. As far as I can tell, I do not have as many as I need. Fortunately this kit comes with the DMC numbers for each shade, so I plan to pick up a skein of each of the offending colors to figure it all out.


Friday, September 15, 2006

FOs: Toddler Socks & Bishlette Sweater

Hey look the sun is almost out in the Boston area. Nope, just kidding. But in the interest of getting these items in the mail, I am taking pictures today anyways. Other than buttons and weaving in ends, these both were done before I left for my Wisconsin trip.

Toddler Socks

Yarn: Lion Brand Magic Stripes
Color: "purple" (really a grey, white, blue and purple self patterning yarn)
Fiber Content: 75% wool, 25% nylon
Supplier: small vendor at Arisia
Pattern: cuff down socks with heel flap and standard toe, smallest standard dimensions mentioned in Sensational Knitted Socks (great book!)
Needles: US Size 1 40" addi turbos (magic loop, 2 at a time)
Gauge: 9 stsX11rows/1"X1",

Comments: This yarn was left over from making my daughter a pair of socks during the Knitting Olympics. Despite being from Lion Brand, I find this yarn isn't too bad. It washes really well too, as I discovered when T's socks accidently got tossed in the washing machine. As a mom, this is a trait I value highly in baby/child items.

Bishlette Sweater
Yarn: Bernat Softee yarn
Color: mint
Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic
Supplier: stash/Michael’s?
Buttons source: 6 0.5” buttons from the button bin at Windsor Buttons
Pattern: No Seam Baby Raglan Sweater
Needles: US Size 4 circular and dpns
Gauge: 13 stsX19rows/2"X2",

Modifications: A seed stitch was used to replace the ribbed edges. Also I increased the dimensions slightly since I wanted it to fit a little longer.

Comments: This sweater was made for a friend on both LJ and bookcrossing. This top down baby raglan was a super fast knit. I love baby sweaters; they are so instant gratification! This one gets extra points for being made from stash yarn and for a baby I am really excited about. Acrylic isn't my favorite thing ever, and I am aware of the hotly debated subject of weither you should put it on children. For something that is likely to be spit up on a lot though, washable (as mentioned above) is key.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Upcoming Classes

If only there was unlimited time and money to invest in crafting, I would definately take more classes than I have. In fact so far I have only take an Advanced Sock Making class at Mind's Eye Yarn's (which was really good).

Crochet in a Day at The Knitting Room
Learn the basics of crochet in this beginner-level class. You'll learn both single and double crochet, and get started on a basic project of your choice.
1 Saturday, 11:00am-1:00pm. Meets September 30. Fee: $25.

I learned to crochet when I was little, but I must have learned incorrectly. Not only did I never learn to read a printed pattern (just the basics here), but my finished fabric has a lot more texture than it really should. I think I am putting an extra half twist in or something. Not only would I like to know how to crochet to just make things with it, I would really love to have this skill to compliment my knitting. There are so many great patterns out there that use both skills. I also would really like the full day instruction period.

Stitch N’ Stretch with Jan Larivee, Licensed Massage Therapist at The Knitting Room
If you’re a knitter or crocheter who has had some pain or injury in your hands or wrists caused by overuse, this class will teach you the best ways to stay healthy while enjoying your hobby. You’ll learn preventive stretches, strengthening exercises, and self-massage techniques that will keep you knitting happily for years to come.
1 Wednesday, 6:30-7:45pm. Meets November 8. Fee: $15.

My sister (also a LMT) showed me some good stetches for when I was experiencing pain associated with my knitting. The idea of preventative stetching really appeals though. The information might very well be good for all the computer/typing work I do too. This class is definately a steal at $15.

A bunch of other stores in the area are offering a series of courses, but it just turned out that the 2 I liked best were at the same shop. They are both really reasonably priced too. A class that meets several times but costs $65 total may end up being a better deal per class, but often on a graduate student budget the per class cost isn't as important as the overall cost.

Labels: ,

Seed Beads

Having read Fluffy Knitter Deb's Beading Made Easy post (thanks Lynne!), I picked up a US size 11 crochet hook on friday at The Knitting Room to explore incorporating beads into my knitting. Not only do I have no interest in prestringing hundreds of beads, but I like the way the beads seat themselves on the stitch better when done with a crochet hook.

Not having a ton of beading, though, I didn't realize that the seed beads are apparently not the right size. Apparently there is a lot to know about seed beads. I never knew there were so many kinds and sizes of something as modest as seed beads. As to the beads I have, I am unsure if they are Czech or Japanese seed beads (or something else!), but the tube only lists a weight, not a size.

From the articles above I think that I have 11/0 beads but want 6/0. I shall have to stop by Spark Crafts on my way home to see if they have anything more suitable.


Monday, September 11, 2006

FO: Snowflake Socks

Yarn: Artyarns Ultramerino 4
Color: 126, near solid lavendar
Fiber Content: 100% Merino Wool
Supplier: Loop Yarns
Pattern: Magknits Sept. 2006 Snowflake Lace Socks

I knit these socks toe-up with a gusset, heel turn and then heel flap. The toes were done as short row heels begun with a single crochet provisional cast on. The legs were significantly shortened, since these will be given to my mom, and they were bound off using the Elizabeth Zimmermann's Sewn Cast off.

The lace chart is backwards in the pattern and is designed to be read left to right. I found that recharting it made me less crazy. Also this was my first time using the sewn bind off, but I found that I greatly enjoyed it. Similar in many ways to the kitchener stitch, I did not find it difficult, and the results are great. You get a very stretchy bind off edge. And finally on a minor note, the "snowflakes" struck me more as daisies when this pattern was done in a colored yarn.

This yarn was bought as souvenir yarn. As we drove down to Virginia for our first real family vacation, we stopped in Philadelphia. We got out, stretched, saw the liberty bell, and of course stopped at Loop, which I had heard so much about. More about visiting yarn shops in an upcoming post.

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Future Project: Wedding Shawl

My sister is to be married next summer, and I had approached her about the idea of knitting her a wedding shawl. I already bought the white Jagerspun Zephyr (50% wool/50%silk) at Lakeside Fibers while I was still in Wisconsin with my research trip. She had been somewhat undecided about pattern though I had sent her a bunch. When she happened to see Ever Green Knit's wedding shawl today, though, she knew that this was the one. So I guess I will be starting Eunny's Print of the Wave Stole in the near future.


Saturday, September 09, 2006


So I joined the Black Bunny Hop Along. I have this fabulous superwash merino sock yarn in lapis that I got from the Black Bunny Fiber Etsy Shop.

I know that I want to make make a pair of socks for me out of it. Recently almost all of the projects I have made have been for people other than myself, and I really want a pair of great handknit socks to wear to the Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too 2006.


An Introduction

Don't you just hate first posts? I have been using an online journal for a while now, but I decided that I wanted a place to talk about my creative pursuits. I am an avid knitter, but I also draw, do watercolor, spin, cross stitch and a ton of other creative pursuits.

I think for many people these types of projects are a way to balance their work lives. I am a graduate student in chemical engineering, which can be incredibly exciting and rewarding, but it doesn't really give me an outlet to express a lot of my creativity.

I am also a mom of little 7 year old girl. Everyday I am amazed as I watch her learn new ways to develop her own artistry. As both the major person I knit for and a really creative person in her own right, I find she is one of my most common inspirations.