Adventures and exploits with yarn, knits, crochet and other crafts.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Warning: this post is not about yarn or stuff made with it but about...


Yesterday, I returned home from Philly to find the embroidery kit I ordered from Sublime Stitching had arrived. Needless to say I was super excited.

I thought embroidery would be a neat thing to have a go at. I'd like to make some wall art, personalize some of my stuff, and possibly start creating tags for all the knitted/crocheted items I make for other people. Plus venturing out of your craft zone is never a bad thing in my book.

The kit comes with all this snazzy stuff, like a five inch embroidery hoop, those fancy pink scissors, a reusable pattern, embroidery needle and embroidery floss, a scroll to embroider on, and instructions to boot.

I paid $30 for it, which may sound steep to some, but I get to support an independent business. If I had bought all of this stuff separately (most likely at michael's too), they probably would have run some where around $20-$25 and would lack all the personality this kit has.

In the center there is an old pillow case I cut up to practice on. I'm in the process of figuring out how to make my lines really crisp and neat, while experimenting with different thicknesses of floss.

I guess we'll see where this takes me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Minnesota State Fair

Yesterday I got the chance to go to the Minnesota State Fair on its first day. Naturally, my biggest motivation? Yarn. I got to see some other cool stuff, like baby pigs and 4-H kids' artwork (it took me back) but mostly the yarn was why I went.
My favorite yarn stop was the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers Association. One of the women who was selling yarn was there spinning, which only increased my unholy desire to get a spinning wheel and learn how to do it. (OK, that and the fact that raw wool is way cheaper than yarn). Here's her website. She's responsible for the handspun yarn on the far left. I'm not sure what the weight on it is, but I'm fairly certain it's in the DK range. It's 50% llama, 25% wool, and 25% mohair, and it's incredibly soft.

Next up we have some gorgeous merino from Fleecewood Farm, another local producer. It's undyed and also "DKish" in my opinion. Still need to do a wraps-per-inch test on it though.

Finally, there's another (I think) undyed, 100% shetland wool, which I'm pretty sure is worsted. It's from Honey Gold Acres.

Anyway, the excursion highlighted one of my favorite parts of knitting--knowing where the materials come from. Especially since these were very local yarns, I really enjoyed the connection with those around me (seeing the farmers, spinnres, etc). I've made it a goal of mine to stop buying fabrics/clothes that I don't know the source of. This should be easier once I get my sewing machine unpacked and working, but for now I have some fun yarns and cool future mittens/socks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When good knitting goes bad...and somehow comes back again

This project epitomizes my hit-and-run knitting style. When I got back into knitting again (shout out, WMNST 401) I had my eye on it for awhile, and screwed it up several times in a sport weight acrylic, before honing in my skills enough to take my new-found "can do" attitude to the yarn store to find a "nice" yarn for my special project. The goal was the Argyle Lace Hat.

I picked myself up two skeins of Ella Rae Bamboo silk thinking it was "sport weight-y enough" and paying attention only to the fact that it was pretty colored and probably (still) the nicest feeling yarn I have ever worked with. First mistake. Who takes a pattern for a hat made out of 100% alpaca, substitutes it with silk and bamboo, and thinks this will be ok? Particularly when the hat is meant to retain a shape, as obviously as this one does.

Pattern calls for sizes 2 1/2 and 4 needles. Not having the grandmother-stocked needle collection I do now, I think, "3 and 5 are close enough". Gauge swatch? I think not.

Everything was going well enough and I was enjoying the softness and sheen of the yarn, impressing myself with my first lace chart project (and not screwing it up) even knitting while in the car, because I was just so confident. I barely had to pay attention.

Fast forward to the crown decreases, the excitement for my opus-hat is building. Everything goes fine until genius me, in a fatigued state induced by cross-country RV-tripping, reads "SSK, knit across" as "SSK across". Oh boy. Suddenly my fears of not having enough yarn disappear as the crown decreases about 25 rows too early. Still thinking I could do no wrong, I carried on, finally binding off a few minutes later.

And this is what I came up with.

By all means this should be the worst looking hat in the world. It's definitely not what's pictured, but I added in those conveniently matching buttons my mother had found and given to me, and I think it looks great. I've gotten tons of compliments on it. And of course, I only managed to do 2 pattern repeats in the lace since I decreased so early. Oh well, Nambooge, learn from my mistakes!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Whoa baby

Right now I'm attempting to crochet a baby blanket for my cousin's 6-month-old, Maya. I started sometime yesterday. I'm on second skein right now.

I used the Car Seat Baby Blanket on ravelry for inspiration. I chose to make a more traditional baby blanket, but I really liked the stitch pattern. And the color in the sample picture matched the yarn I just bought.

Here's the progress so far:

I like how lacy it looks. I plan on crocheting some flowers for it and possibly stitching 'Maya' on it. And I want to crochet the border in gray off-white too.

I can't wait to finish it.