Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week- Day 4

Day 4
Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

Lately I've really been lusting after fair isle. During my visit to Loop & Leaf in Santa Barbara I chatted with a regular about it and she swore it's not as hard as it seems. "If you can do a garter stitch, you can do that". Yeah well... I can technically do a garter stitch... it just takes too long. :)

But when I see things like these mittens that look like you could make something amazing with just two types of yarn I think maybe, just maybe, I can do it.

Check out the others participating in knitcroblo4- the 4th day of the Knit & Crochet Blog Along.

Knit & Crochet Blog Along- Day 3

Day 3
Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

Ok so since I'm more of a crocheter, I'm going to tell you about my crochet idols.

I've been really into amigurumi lately, so of course Planet June is at the top of the list. Not only does she do beautiful work, but she contributes so much to the crochet community by giving many adorable patterns for free!

Since all the patterns I like on Lion Brand's website seem to be by Tamie Snow, I have to point you to her website Roxy Craft

Really, thanks to Ravelry I have a million people who inspire and challenge me. That's the beauty of social networking, isn't it?

Who inspires and challenges you? How has online community building and social networking influenced you?

Check out others participating in knitcroblo3 - the third day of the Knit & Crochet Blog Along!

Knit & Crochet Blog Along- Day 2

Day 2
What pattern or project do you aspire to? Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft.

Oh geez. I came across this forum on Ravelry yesterday and I think I'm just going to hang up my hooks and die. There are SO many beautiful projects!

Basically, I'm going to have to say any knitted garment is what I aspire to. I just learned to knit a few months ago and am still working on the same ribbed scarf that I swear is never going to end. While I'm sure it's just a matter of getting used to it so I'm quicker and learning a bit more, I am equally in love with and intimidated by any cable knit sweater.

One day... one day...

See other blogs participating in knitcroblo2- the second day of the Knit & Crochet Blog Along!

Knit & Crochet Blog Week- Day 1

Missie over at Crafting with Cat Hair is playing catch-up in a blog along this week. I decided to join the party too! :) I'm posting the first three days today and will continue posting throughout the week!

Day 1 - Starting Out
How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I've mentioned this already, but my maternal grandmother (who I called Nana) taught me to crochet. We had a great relationship. My mom, who was a teacher, knew most of the staff at a school that was a lot closer to Nana's house than ours, so I went there K-4th grade and went over to Nana's pretty much every day after school. I actually have much clearer memories of weekdays at her house than my own.

Nana passed away the summer before my freshman year of high school. If I ever completed a project before she passed, I don't remember it. The skill stuck with me, though. A few years ago I was crocheting a baby blanket while visiting my mom at the hospital. My uncle came in and made a comment that Nana would be really proud watching me crochet something so pretty. I still cry thinking about that. We were so close and I've felt her absence at every major event in my life.

I also always feel a little guilty when I talk about Nana around my sister. My sister is 9 years younger than me, so she was just 5 when Nana passed and barely remembers her. A couple weeks ago my sister was watching me crochet and asked me to teach her. We only sat for a few minutes but she basically got the hang of the single crochet. Then she ran off to party with her friends and I haven't seen my "H" hook or her progress since. I don't want to push her, but I hope she comes back for more. It made me feel like I was giving her some of Nana back.

I've been making baby clothes all week for no good reason. I plan to try and copy this amazing little dress Nana made. I think it's incredible.

Check out all those who posted for knitcroblo1, the first day of Knitting and Crochet week.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mastering the Basketweave- in memoriam

Do you sleep with the window open or a fan on? I do. I like to sleep in a cold room under a lot of blankets. Is that weird? It makes me feel more cozy, I think.

On my bed now I have sheets, a fleece blanket, a comforter and a yellow basketweave blanket my grandmother crocheted for me when I was a child. I love this blanket. I have several she made me but at queen-size this is the biggest(although she made my parents one that generously covers their Cal-King bed). It's also the warmest thanks to the doubled-up nature of the stitch. My mother once told me she remembers grandma making this blanket and how it took her FOREVER. I've always looked at it and wondered how on earth she did it. The stitch looks INSANE to me with the rows seeming to go over and under each other. Then, while making the fingerless mittens I learned the "frontpost double crochet" (or fpdc) and realized that HAD to be part of the basketweave. I did a search on ravelry and found a little dishcloth with the pattern. Sure enough, it's a series of fpdc and it's sibling, backpost double crochet (bpdc). Just to appreciate the massive amount of work that went into my beloved blanket I went ahead and made it.

For such a small little thing it took a few hours. I can't believe my grandmother made me a queen sized blanket this way! While I've always really loved the many blankets she made for me and my sister, I have really started cherishing them since I took up crocheting seriously again. My grandmother taught me to crochet at the age of 7 and it's been something I've come back to over and again throughout my life. I hope the things I make end up keeping people warm and cozy for decades too!

Are there any crafts or activities that you do to remember your loved ones who have passed away? Who taught you your favorite craft?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

For the two readers out there who don't know me let me tell you something: I'm a big girl. AND I'm one of those big girls with a couple big girls sitting squarely on my chest. I "get away with" wearing full-coverage DDDs, but I really measure at a G.

So what on earth made me look at "Nell" and think I could make it for myself?

Seriously??? That maniquin doesn't have ANY boobs! I thought I could just increase the width, adding a couple motifs, and it would stretch across my chest. Well, yes, but that doesn't make it look like a bodice. It looks like a ribbon of crochet across my gigantic boobs!

GAH. I'm thinking about making it into a detail at the empire waist level of a dress perhaps? I don't know. Maybe I'll frog it altogether. Dammit! I was SO excited about making a shirt for myself!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yarn Binge

I took a long weekend trip up the coast to Santa Barbara last week. It was lovely and relaxing for the first couple days, then lovely and funny the next two. Why? Because the first two I was alone and basically just roamed around window shopping, did a lot of yarn buying and worked on some projects. Then on Saturday a whole lot of female relatives rolled into town and we ran around together. It was so fun.

When left to my own devices I hit the two yarn stores in town. The first was Loop & Leaf- a cute little shop that brands itself as a yarn/tea store. The tea seems to be really more of an after-thought. There's a small selection in a side room. The shop's real strength is wool & cashmere. I'm not a huge fan of wool and I don't have the budget for cashmere. Thus, I ended up with only a few skeins. Everything I bough here was on sale! YAY! Although, the "sale" incentive probably got me to buy things I normally wouldn't.

The Loop & Leaf Haul:
  • Cherry Tree Supersock DK in Country Garden

    Project: Fingerless mittens for Maybelle.... and other people too probably :)

  • Cherry Tree Supersock Select in Peacock

    No project... this is just stashed.

  • Frog Tree Pima Cotton in 630 (Green), 651 (Beige), and 652 (Brown/Slate)

    Project: Nothing specifically, but I thought they'd make nice amigurumi friends.

    Next I went to Knit & Pearl. This shop is probably less square footage than Loop & leaf but I think they had a larger selection. They definitely had far more of what I was interested in, namely cotton & bamboo. Please don't ask me how much money I spent here. I will tell you it was enough to not have the least bit of guilt over asking the owner to wind 8 balls for me even though she was the only person working the store and there were other customers.

    The Knit & Pearl Haul:
  • Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time Cotton in Red & Blue

    Project: I bought both colors because I loved the yarn so much, but I was drawn to this originally because Earth Day came up this week & marked 15 years since my best friend and I became friends! 2nd Time Cotton is 100% pre-consumer, reclaimed cotton. They all it "recycled" but really they take left over cotton from manufacturers and turn it into yarn rather than let it be thrown out. Full disclosure: I went back and bought two more skeins of each color. I know. I know. It's a good thing, though, as I used 3 + a little more of the red to make a scarf for the BFF. I have to say it came out pretty awesome & will get it's own post once I get pictures of it. I may make her some mitts with the rest of the skein if she's a good girl.

  • Knit One Crochet Too Babyboo in Hot Pink, Garnet & Cantalope

    Project: None necessarily. I bought it because it was a decent price on vibrant bamboo yarn. I friggin' love bamboo. This is the kind of stuff I might end up buying in every color. It was really REALLY hard to choose. Love it. LOVE. IT.

  • Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere in light blue

    Project: None. This is stashed for some baby project most likely. I bought it because it was on sale.

    And that's my haul. I'm thinking most of the babyboo & the Debbie will be made into little tiny baby clothes. I don't have any little tiny babies to make things for at the moment (my tiniest cousins are approaching 2 years), but with two best friends married & baby-hungry and lots of cousins who are newly married, I imagine there'll be an onslaught of tiny creatures fairly soon. Since you know once you give one person something handmade you have to give EVERYONE something handmade, I really need to start stockpiling.
  • Thursday, April 15, 2010


    For those outside the online crafting community: WiPs = Work in Progress!

    This is what's in my WiP basket at the moment:

    Big Ol' Bear- I'm not sure who this will belong to eventually. It's gonna be BIG. I'm about half way through the height right now and including his little legs he's about a foot tall already. He's also rather heavy. This is a toddler gift at least... maybe an older child.

    Fingerless Mitts- LOVE this pattern. I made a "trial" pair for myself with my never ending stash of varigated Patons Decor yarn. I love them. I'm now making a "real" pair for my friend's great aunt Maybelle. I love hearing stories about Maybelle. The most recent was that her hands got cold during a visit and she put on latax gloves! Apparently regular gloves don't give her enough finger mobility. :) Hope she likes the fingerless ones.

    Granny Square Blanket- This project is eating my life. When I started out with the Patons Decor stash I decided to make a blanket. I picked colors that would match the varigated. Now I don't have enough of a coordinating color and have to buy more yarn. I refuse to calculate how much this damn thing is costing me- neither in time nor money. Ahhhh.... a work of love. Bastard better appreciate it.

    Grannies for Haiti- This project started yesterday and will be done this weekend. Click the link in the sidebar for more info. I plan to send at least 10 squares... maybe more if this weekend finds me sick of working on....

    The Soldier Scarf- Ok, this is actually ever in "the basket". It's always in some sort of project tote. It's so repeatative that it makes the perfect knit-while-visiting project. It's been busted out at many a Starbucks, several friends' homes, my car and in line at a film festival. It feels like it's NEVER going to be finished but it is growing slowly but surely.

    I also kind of started a little shrug for myself but I think I'm going to frog it. We'll see.

    Pics coming I swear!!

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    #TeamAndrewGarcia- Beatles

    It's a scary day for Team Andrew Garcia. The consensus among Idol bloggers seems to be that it's either Aaron Kelly or Andrew going home tonight. My love for Andrew aside, I have no idea why Aaron is still on the show. He's been consistently awful and has no appeal whatsoever. People say it's the "grandma vote" keeping him in. I hope, for Andrew's sake, the grandmas have scooted on over to Katie.

    I liked Andrew's performance of Can't Buy Me Love. It was fun. He didn't mess with it too much, but did put a little spin on it. The breakdown was fantastic. I do agree with the judges, though, that the band was just too much. He might have been better off with just a base and some drums. Overall I think performances that are more in keeping with his old youtube status have gone over better. Acoustic guitar, a little fun with the melody and timing... perfect.

    So is Andrew going home tonight? I sure hope not. I think he's gotten enough exposure that he'll get really far in the business regardless. Honestly- I'm being selfish. I want Andrew in the top 3 because then we get a parade. :) Nothing happens in this town and we're JUST FINALLY pulling together for Andrew. It would be a shame for him to be off the show at this point.

    In case you missed it, here's Andrew's performance and the judge's (as always) harsh critique:

    I watched this episode at Shakey's with Andrew's family, friends & supporters. It was kind of fun and everything is better with mojos :) Post-viewing I went home (illegally redialing to vote as I drove!) and logged in to BlogTV to watch AJ Rafael's "virtual voting party". This has become a weekly ritual. There's nothing worth watching on tv after Idol and AJ takes the time to chat with fans & play songs while everyone votes for the next 2 hours. There were some surprises in the chat last night. There's a veil of necessary secrecy but let me say two things: 1) Andrew Garcia loves his fans and 2) assuming Andrew survives this week, you should really get in on the voting party next week. Hope I see you there.

    Once voting had closed I posted I'd listen to AJ sing one song & go to bed. He let me make a request and then sang a really beautiful version of his original "My Soldier" for me. That's been my favorite song for a while but recently (and for obvious reason) it's become increasingly touching for me. It was very sweet of AJ to play it. He's such a great kid. :)