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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Test knits and a dye job

Recently, I test knit a design for a fellow Raveler. It's now up on Ravelry, and Andrew did such a good job photographing the legwarmers I knit, that his photographs are featured on the project page. Check it out here.

I had a lot of fun knitting these legwarmers. They were super easy and portable--the good qualities of socks, except without the annoying heel turning and picking up for gusset blah-blah (OK sue me, I hate sock knitting and only do it because I have enough love in my heart to give them out as gifts). Additionally, they're really stretchy and work over jeans and just on your skin without stupidly falling down (is that some sort of "look" now with legwarmers?). I had realized I needed a pair though, because that's about my only non-sufficiently-covered area when it's super cold (leggings under pants are a start, but not woolen).

Also, I finished working on the Colonnade Shawl in a fingering yarn. I really thought I could figure out a way to make the colorway not look as gross as it did, but I failed. You can see what the colorway looks like here. I had no choice but to resort to grape Kool-Aid. Here's the result of my first venture in dyeing.

This is two parts red Kool-Aid one part purple. The yarn is Serenity Sock which is 50% merino, 25% bamboo and 25% nylon. After doing some research, I found Kool-Aid dyeing doesn't work with synthetics, but nylon is the one exception. It doesn't work on bamboo, but since the bamboo content was low compared to the rest of the materials, I decided to go for it. I like the result a loooot more than the original colors. Serenity sock is quite cheap and feels pretty nice, but damn if those colorways aren't ugly. The good news is that it takes dye well.

This image, I think, makes it look more pinky-purple, whereas it's almost got a copper tinge to it (more like the first photo). Either way though...WAY better than that pink-green vomit mess.

I also realized I hadn't uploaded a picture of my Multnomah. Count 'em--2 finished shawls in fingering weight yarn. I'm a friggin' champ.

1. Check out that hair on me, eh?

2. This is another yarn that's difficult to photograph. This is Malabrigo Sock (probably my favorite yarn, ever, for the colors) in Abril. It's more purple in real life (like the one where I'm wearing it) but for some reason the blue really pops when it's photographed. Either way, we all know I'm a total whore for blues and purples, so there you go.

My dog is so cute.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Common sense

Common sense is not the strong point of Minnesotans. This is a lesson I learned incredibly early on in my time here. When confronted with an issue, if a solution is not smacking-them-in-the-face obvious, Minnesotans are likely to become paralyzed with an inability to act. They think the situation is simply unchangeable.

I think this comes from their roots as a mostly Scandinavian culture. You may find this shocking, considering the novelty of Scandinavian knitting. However, I believe there is an inherent inability to adapt. Unlike, say, the Somali population of Minneapolis. Talk about adaptation there. War-torn north African "country" with requisite weather, to America's icebox, Minnesota, home of the "Minnesota nice" never-offend mentality. And yet, all the Somalis I've met seem to just be carrying on with it.

Scandinavians, however, when confronted with the possibility of emigrating, did what? Chose the part of the country that is exactly like their homeland. No judgment or anything. But I'm just saying that's not exactly a creative choice.

Anyway, for an example, even just today, I walked into Andrew hand washing clothes in the bathtub. He was continuously dunking a deoderant-stained shirt into the water, pathetically repetitively plunging it in and out of the water, as though it would suddenly remove the stain or exposure to air would smooth the process along. I noted, "You need to scrub that off."

"With what, though?? I don't have anything." See? No immediate solution (as in, nothing sitting directly next to him that would have accomplished the task) followed by immediate paralysis of action. I walked into the kitchen, grabbed a new sponge and handed it to him. Presto! Stain gone.

This, unfortunately, is so culturally embedded, that even a no-nonsense, blue-collar 'get it done' type of girl like me can occasionally be afflicted. I spent way too much time on Ravelry today, admiring a cropped cardigan pattern I liked. I seriously contemplated what yarn I could use and then wanted to download the pattern. It was $6.50. As I'm trying to be frugal, this was not going to work. I spent about 20 minutes mentally reconstructing it in my head. "Oh, I could do that if I find the stitch pattern online..."

Then, hours later, I realized, "Hey, Krista, you're super into the idea of a cropped cardigan right now. And you're actually considering (un)designing one. Don't you um...have a half finished cropped cardigan in your stash?"

Oh yes, that's right. My featherweight. Common sense. I'm losing it. Help.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An open letter to crochet.

Dear Crochet,

I have been extremely proud of myself over the past year and half, for being bi-crafty. I shunned discussions which pitted knitting versus crochet. True, I had learned knitting first, and it was my first love. But, I found knowledge of only one way of manipulating yarn to be unsatisfactory. I was practically entirely self taught in crochet; that's how eager I was to learn.

Granted, I never did as *much* crocheting as I did knitting. I always assumed this was due to taking a class which required us to knit, on top of the larger quantities of patterns available for knitting garments as opposed to crochet.

Still, I made my mother a lovely scarf out of crochet, and was amazed at how fast it went. I know, I'm a slow knitter and could really stand to work on my technique, but crochet! So fast! So easy! Soon, I was even making a crocheted purse. A purse! This is something I still haven't done with knitting (though some lovely patterns have caught my eye). And then, shockingly, my first garment was a crocheted shirt, which I still wear (though I should have seen the warning signs coming when the sleeves were fussy).

I also should have maybe allowed the unconscious thoughts I was having--man most crocheted things look really tacky, or wow this hook is just not doing it for me like needles--to come to the forefront, but I was hell-bent on not being discriminatory.

Crochet, you are supposed to be here for me after all that. When I need a last minute gift, I need you there to help me whip up something pretty in no time. Knitting is labor and time intensive. You have that on it. Stand proud!

So why, oh why, is this hat taking me for-fucking-ever? This birthday was weeeeeks ago. I have never entered a black hole of crochet; that's reserved for knitting.

And then today, I come back to it, thinking I'll finish it off. I even reflected on how pretty the Mulberry Merino looked in double crochet...I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. My gauge is off, but it's crocheting smaller than the original pattern. Should be fine. And the pattern calls for "Less than 3 oz of worsted weight yarn" and I have two skeins of 1.76 oz each. Perfect.


Now I not only look like a terrible friend, but you've knotted up some expensive yarn for fucking nothing. Good job, crochet, good job. Oh, and you're taking forever on top of that.

That's it. I'm done. Crocheting looks completely tacky 99.9% of the time, and it's not worth it for that .01% of the time. Know why? BECAUSE I COULD JUST FUCKING KNIT IT AND HAVE IT LOOK JUST AS GOOD OR BETTER!

I said it. I'm a knitter. Fuck crochet.

I'm out.