Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

Yarn Bombing in Sioux Falls

I’m back! The last couple weeks have been crazy busy for me, I had a library conference down in Sioux Falls, SD and then an SCA event this past weekend, with homework in between. While I didn’t find much time to work on fiber things, I did discover some great yarn bombing at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.

The Washington Pavilion seems to have a Dr. Seuss exhibit going on, and I think the yarn bombing is part of that. There’s all kinds of great sleeves on the trees in front of the building and the light poles in a courtyard off to the side. There was also this great yarn spider-web in one of the trees, it was really neat. So here are the pictures!

We’ll call it a progress report

I was in Wyoming last week for my cousin’s wedding, we got back to town Wednesday, and that’s totally my excuse for not posting sooner. Then I got home and got lazy, *sigh* sometimes I just feel like being a lazy bum. But now I’m going to post! Cause I need to clean off my dining room table so I can do more crafting, and if I tell you guys I’m gonna clean, then I’ll probably do it! Anyway, I did some fiber stuff on my trip, and got some new fiber and fibery things, to tell you about. And then I have an update on the Dreambird project I’ve been working on!

First, my fiber acquisitions.

On the way to Wyoming we made a stop at this great fabric store in Billings, MT, called Fiberworks. They had some of the neatest fabrics I’ve seen, and definitely the best collection of animal print fabrics I’ve ever seen at a store, along with lots of cool patterns. That’s where we got the penguin pattern. My cousin Colleen wants me to make a penguin for her, and I’m thinking I may start playing with colorful penguins… sometimes I’m a bit too ambitious I think, we’ll see how that goes. I also got the blue felt there, which I plan to use as the background for a couple pieces I’m doing for another show with the Designing Quilters, called Beauty and the Breast. It should be an interesting show, and those pieces are what I want to work on when I finally get the table cleared off. We also went to a fabric store in Wyoming which is where I got the plaid fabric. I just loved the colors, and it was on sale, so we got it for me to use to make an apron dress for SCA stuff. It is cotton, which isn’t exactly accurate for the time period and location, but it’s so pretty! And I figure it will be nice to have a somewhat lighter-weight apron dress.

The quilt blocks have a fun story behind them. I like to geocache, which is like a worldwide treasure hunt where people hide little containers (called caches), sometimes with little knick knacks in them, sometimes with just logs, and then post the GPS coordinates to the cache online and other people try to find them. It’s lots of fun actually, although when I first heard about it I thought it sounded strange and boring, but it’s not! The point is, there was a quilting themed geocache in the town where we were staying! I got my mom and my aunt to come with and find that cache which is where we found the quilt blocks, and then left a few buttons in exchange, because the rules are that if you take something you leave something of equal value. I’m not totally sure what I’ll do with the quilt blocks, but my mom suggested making them into a box of sorts to store/display the stuff I find from geocaches, and I like that idea. Then, on our last day in Wyoming, we stopped at a thrift store in town, which had great prices, which is where we found the pattern for the cute little sheep (I want to say it’s a counted cross-stitch pattern). It was actually a kit, but it looks like it’s missing the thread at least, unless it came with almost no thread, but it’s cute and it still has the directions and chart, so I’ll have to try it one of these days. Counted cross-stitch is one of those techniques I’ve never tried, and only been marginally interested in trying.

And now, the dreambird shawl!

I’ve been moving almost painfully slowly on it. I’m not quite sure why, cause it always feels like I’m making great progress as I work on it, and then it just feels like I stall out and suddenly it’s taking me a couple hours for each feather. And I can’t quite pinpoint a certain section that’s taking extra time, cause each section separately seems to go quite quickly and easily. Maybe I just have a weird sense of time when I’m working on it, although there is the saying that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. So maybe extra time is just disappearing… yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either. But I think I’m almost half done with the shawl, so maybe just another month or so, I hope.

 

Now, I need to go clean off my dining room table. It’s where I take most of my pictures and I seem to just pile up the stuff I’m taking pictures of all over the table. And the sewing machine is set up there. The poor table is just not that big, so I need to do something about the mess. And now, because I’ve told you that I’m going to clean, I might actually do it!

messy, messy table

messy, messy table

Abq FAF Mixed Media and Knitting Exhibits

The mixed media exhibit is the first one I saw when we walked in, and at that point I was a bit confused and thought it was the only exhibit. Anyway, I think this was my favorite exhibit out of all of them, even the knitting exhibit. Maybe it’s because there isn’t really a “traditional” way to do mixed media pieces, but I’ve always found them to be much more consistently unique and personally expressive than other genres of fiber work. Some of the pictures are quite blurry, I apologize, but these ones were all taken with my phone and some are the very first ones I took with my phone, before I figured out how to get the best pictures out of it.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the knitting exhibit as well, of course. I say knitting exhibit but this is actually theĀ hand knitting exhibit, there was also a machine knitting exhibit which I didn’t look at very closely or take pictures of. I don’t dislike machine knitting but it just doesn’t interest me, and the finished pieces just never seem as complex, at least the ones I’ve seen. There were two or three more beautiful lace shawls in the exhibit that I took pictures of but I haven’t posted them because they came out so blurry that even I won’t Ā make you look at them. Which is a shame really, cause they’re beautiful pieces.

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I’ve really only got one exhibit left that I have many pictures of, and that’s the quilt exhibit. I also have a few pictures of the sewn garments exhibit and the youth exhibit, but that’s a total of about 6 pieces combined on those two. So those exhibits will be what’s coming up next, and then I’ll have to start actually putting work into my posts again! šŸ˜‰

I think I may have a problem…

Hello, my name is Anna and I’m a yarn-aholic.

I went a bit crazy at the yarn store this week, but I have an excuse! It was a sale! So Thursday I went to check things out and found a yarn called Poems. Of course I had to get that, I write poetry! Then I saw this wonderfully soft merino/llama/bamboo yarn that was only like 4 dollars and totally gave in. And I almost made it through the sale with less than $30 in yarn… until I saw the Dreambird shawl they had on a mannequin. I asked about it and the woman told me it was for a knit-along that they’re doing and she showed me the yarn it was made with. I didn’t have much time then, so I left without getting more yarn, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do the knit-along.

So, I went back today to sign up for the knit-along and get the yarn for it, and of course the sale was still going on. But I was smart about the yarn for the knit-along. The yarn that the teacher made the sample with was $25-30 a ball and I would need two balls, and there was no way I could spend that on yarn on a whim. So I asked the woman at the shop to suggest other options and we found one that was on sale and a seriously good deal. I got 5 balls of the other stuff, enough for the shawl, for less than one ball of the other stuff. If you can’t tell, I’m a bit proud of myself. Anyway, the knit-along starts this Tuesday so I’ll post about it soon.

Now, back to the yarn Poems. I was trying to think of a pattern it would work with, and I decided I’m going to try to create my own pattern. I was thinking some sort of loosely knit shawl, or wide scarf, with a texture to make it look like writing. Then, when I showed the yarn to my dad, he asked if I was gonna write a poem with it, which for some reason reminded me of Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities, and how she kept a record of people to be killed by knitting in a code. And then it occurred to me, I could try knitting in Morse code! So I’m going to be doing some experimenting to see what I can come up with for a somewhat loose-knit shawl with a stitch pattern that is Morse code. The biggest challenge there, I think, will be to get that stitch pattern to be visually pleasing and not just look like a random mess. I will, of course, update when I’ve got some work done on that, and any suggestions you have would be great.

So I may have a yarn problem, but I should be good for a while now. Hopefully. I was going to say I have no reason to go back to the yarn store for a while, but I’ve gotta go back for the knit-along, so hopefully I’ll be too absorbed in knitting to notice any more yarns!

Gauge swatch

On day 2 of Knit and Crochet Blog Week I introduced you to a pattern that I was planning to knit, and now I have started it! And I have pictures. Well, I haven’t exactly started it yet, but I have done a gauge swatch and have the needles I need. I’m not so big on gauge swatches, and therefore don’t have much experience in using them to adjust gauge, which is why I mainly knit toys and novelty stuff where the gauge isn’t all that essential. Mostly it’s an impatience thing, when I’m all ready to start a project and I’ve got the yarn and the needles I just want to knit already! Who has time for knitting some little square and then measuring and counting and possibly changing needle sizes and doing it all over again? And until a few years ago I didn’t really understand how to correctly use swatches to check my gauge and adjust it, and I have a better knowledge of the theory now, even though I don’t have much practice. But this piece needs to fit because the yarn was expensive and it’s going to be a lot of work and I want the end product to be usable, dang it! So I made myself do a gauge swatch.

Turns out my gauge on the suggested needles is a little off, but I have decided that rather than try bigger needles, because based on the number of rows I should use bigger needles but for number of stitches I need smaller, I think :-/, I am just going to stick with the needles I’m using. The gauge is off but extremely close (it’s off by like 1 stitch in 4 inches) so I’ve decided to actually make the medium size of the pattern rather than the large. The size decision was difficult in general because my measurements are just like half an inch larger than the measurements given for the medium size, which means they’re like 6 inches smaller than the large size, so I just wasn’t sure and decided to buy enough yarn for the bigger size. With the slightly large gauge I have decided to try the medium size because I’m thinking my piece will end upĀ slightly wider than the pattern because of the slight gauge difference. And basically I’m hoping I’m not just making this up and it all turns out.

Now I just need to cast on and get knitting. I intended to cast on today and get started but I spent ridiculous amounts of time looking for a book I have that I justĀ cannot find, which is frustrating me to no end. But I did get the needles for the project today which gave me the excuse to get my favorite Addi Turbo needles in two new sizes! Yay! Hopefully I will still have the energy and patience to cast on tomorrow after work.

I will, of course, keep you updated on my progress, and in the mean time, while I’m making that progress, I will try to post about a few things I already have finished, so you don’t get bored, including the written tutorial for needle felting a cat that you got a preview of in the “something a bit different” post last week (I’m thinking the all pictures post generally doesn’t work for me, I need to type, I’m far too verbose for just pictures).

KaCBW Day 6: A Tool to Covet

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KaCBW Day 4: Colour Review

The prompt for today: “What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.” I think I tend toward two different sets of colors when I’m just buying yarn because it’s pretty and when I’m making a project. (I think I’ll leave needle felting out of consideration for this one cause the colors I use in needle felting tend to be based on the colors of objects in the real world, not my own choices.) When I’m just buying yarn because it’s pretty, which is most of my stash, I think I tend to go with mostly blues and greens, and the occasional bright red or yellow, if it jumps out at me. Blue is the color I wear most, so I think that affects my yarn buying because there’s always that rationalizing voice in the back of my head saying something like I could make a hat out of this, orĀ this would be great for that mitten pattern I found on Ravelry. Not that the theoretical projects get made very often.

So now I’m supposed to go look at my stash and see if I was right! *five minutes later* Ha! Just as I thought, mostly blues, although a surprising number of oranges, and lots of random single or pairs of balls of a big range of colors. There are especially a lot of partial balls of various jewel tones from the Hedgehogs.

Now in colors for projects, I think there’s a much bigger variation. Very few of my projects are clothing items, and of those even fewer are for myself, so I can be more adventurous and indulge my love of color. I really do enjoy bright colors, and will gladly put together a set of colors that make your eyes water but I think looks good, but I prefer not to call attention to myself so I don’t wear many bright colors. That just means I have to use all the bright colors in non-clothing items! Now let’s take a look at some of my projects and see if I’m right.

I’d say there’s a pretty good range of color there. The bright colors are mostly in the hedgehogs I guess, maybe that’s why I like them so much, but there’s even lots of colors in my first quilt! Yay for lifelong consistency!

So there you are, my color preferences, and a nice little review of my projects in the bargain.

KaCBW Day 3: Infographic

 

 

Today’s challenge is to create and post an infographic. Man did I have a hard time coming up with something for this one. I went with just a graph rather than a big fancy infographic, like some awesome ones I’ve already seen for today’s post, because I just can’t think of anything to make a full infographic about. Also I seem to have no drawing programs on my computer other than paint, I need to find a free one to download somewhere. Below is my graph/infographic, you can pretty much ignore the numbers, the program I was using to make the graph had to have them and I couldn’t make it not label the y-axis. The important part is the proportions of the bars to each other.
graph

 

As you can see, I’m a bit yarn obsessed, but slow to knit. Needle felting however, I’m very quick at and do a lot more of. But the yarn is just so pretty, and cuddly, and pet-able…shut up, I don’t have a problem. Okay, maybe I do, but I control my yarn buying, it doesn’t control me. I really mean that, I’m not just trying to justify, until I bought the yarn specifically for the sweater in my post yesterday, which I bought partially with a gift certificate remember, I hadn’t bought myself any new yarn in years. Although I may have occasionally weaseled one of my parents into buying a pretty yarn for me… šŸ˜€

Anyway, there’s my infographic. I don’t think I’ll be using infographics a lot on here, but it was interesting to play with.

KaCBW Day 2: Mascot Project

Today I am supposed to find a project that represents the House of the Monkey, either the animal itself or the characteristics. I considered finding a monkey project, I have always enjoyed sock monkeys, but decided that was too obvious and just not a challenging enough task for this monkey! We don’t have to actually make the pattern but really, it’s pretty easy to find a pattern online for a monkey or sock monkey, there’s just no challenge. So instead I am going to tell you about a pattern I do plan to make which is a challenge for me.

So I have the yarn for this pattern, but haven’t started it yet. I’m making a cardigan/sweater from the book Knit Kimono Too, which happens to be filled with lots of amazing looking patterns that I would love to make. I am specifically making the one called Tokai Tomoshibi, and even the name of the pattern is a challenge for me! Here’s the picture from the book.

It looks pretty simple from a distance but it has a fancy fan stitch that you can see better in the close-ups. The yarn I got for it is beautiful, pictures will be coming when I start swatching, and of course is hand-painted and ridiculously expensive. Luckily I had a gift card…which covered about a third of the cost :-/. Anyway, this will be the first project of this size I have ever made. Yes, you read that right, I have never made a sweater before. In fact the largest project I’ve ever made was a simple stockinette stitch afghan that ended up being about half the size originally planned and it useful for pretty much the top half of your legs. I’m just not good at sticking with a big project once it’s not challenging anymore. But I’m hoping the stitch pattern in this one will keep me interested enough to finish the piece, cause it’s a more complicated pattern than I’ve done before and should present a bit of a challenge.

This pattern is also interesting because it’s done completely in rectangles. All the patterns in the book are built that way, which just fascinates me. One reason I’ve been hesitant to try making a sweater is because they tend to be done at least partially in the round and with lots of increases and decreases, which won’t work if not done just right. And I’m just not precise enough in my knitting to trust that I would get the increases and decreases in just the right place, and I really hate pulling my work out, especially when I only want to pull it part way back. I just have so much trouble finding the right row to pull back to and then I tend to be lost in the pattern, and it’s all a mess. But rectangles I can do. Nice, simple back and forth, so the stitch pattern can be the tricky part, andĀ Ā I can be reasonably sure my finished piece will look right. So now I just need to start the gauge swatch so I can get the right needle size.

This post was supposed to also be about my process of choosing a project, and I think this was a pretty good example. Generally it’s pretty much random, I look at patterns online or in books and make the ones that jump out and grab me. Other times I see things in life, animals, space ships, chocolate, etc, and it just hits me that IĀ haveĀ to make that in fiber. Then I figure out which fiber technique it would work best with, although usually that ends up being needle felting because it’s what I’m most comfortable improvising in, and start finding every picture Ā of the object from every angle that I can. And then I just get working! Cause planning doesn’t really work for me when it comes to art stuff; once I have it planned it feels close enough to finished that I lose motivation.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

I discovered on one of the blogs I follow that it is Knitting and Crochet Blog week, where there is a theme/prompt for a post for each day this week, and I’ve decided to participate. You can find the details over at Eskemimi Makes, if you’re interested, or just read my posts this week and enjoy!

 

Today I am supposed to choose a house for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and explain my crafting style/outlook and why I chose that house. The choices are:

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

The House of Manatee:Ā Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet.

The House of Monkey:Ā Intelligent and with a fun loving side, Monkeys like to be challenged with every project presenting them with something new and interesting.

The House of Peacock:Ā Peacocks take something good and make it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details ā€“ like a Peacock’s Tail.

I had a hard time choosing between the House of the Bee, because I do tend to jump around between projects, and the house of the Monkey, because I love a challenge. But I decided on the House of the Monkey.

I went with the House of the Monkey because my favorite part of all the crafting I do is trying new things and giving myself challenges. I figure that’s actually why I jump between projects so much, one challenge gets boring, or easy because I’ve gotten good, and I move on to the next. I think that’s why I tend to do so many different crafting techniques as well; I get intrigued by the challenge and the newness and get excited to try it. But of course I refuse to admit that the only reason I’m trying something is because it’s new so I purposely get deep into it and stick with it, and inevitably discover more challenges in it. Of course sometimes I want easy and familiar so I start a simple project, but those are the projects that rarely get finished, or that take me years to finish.

Stick around all week for some fun, silly, and informative posts.

So how about you? What’s your crafting style?

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