Sunday, April 29, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 7

3KCBWWC Wildcard: Perfect Craft Day

Plan your fantasy day with your craft, It might just take up one hour of your day or be the entire focus of the day, but tell your readers where you'd love to craft, whether you'd craft alone or with friends, knitting or crocheting something simple or spending a day learning new skills

My perfect day would be to get up have breakfast then knit for a while, stop for a coffee break and a read a few of my quilt magazines. then knit a while more. I have a bunch of Masterpiece Theater episodes on the DVR that I haven't had time to watch so I'd watch one of those while I knit. After a lunch break, I'd sew on a quilt for a while then knit again in the evening after dinner.

Where I craft:

I keep a basket by my recliner and it holds my WIP, patterns, and various knitting tools. The chest with all the drawers was given to my mom by her dad when she was in 7th-8th grade to hold her sewing supplies. She'd just taken home ec and loved it (she taught me to knit and sew). It has funny drawers that don't slide in and out you just stick them back in. Each drawer held spools of thread of a similar color. I've taken over a few of the drawers but the rest I've left as is to remind me of my my mom sewing when she was young.

Here is a picture of my dining room table where I sew - I pop the leaf up when I need more room for a big quilt:

My townhouse is built on the side of a hill with a deck off the back.

My dining room (and kitchen) face a walking trail and I love to watch people walk by as I sew, cook etc. Here is a picture of the view out my dining room window:

If the weather is nice I like to sit out on the deck and knit for a bit. This is the view:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 6

3KCBWDAY6 Improving your Skill Set

How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.

I've made a few Snowflake Hats:

and I would like to make a Fair Isle sweater some day. I've even bought yarn (Classic Elite Yarns Portland Tweed in Espresso and Barely There Lilac) to make Stilwell by Jared Flood but have yet to attempt it. Maybe this year!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 5

3KCBWDAY5 Something A Bit Different

This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog. 

The Life of a Piece of Peace Fleece Yarn*

I was born as a tuft of wool on a sheep on a farm near Laku Sarat, Romania on June 5th, 2008.

It is a very large farm (900 ewes, rams and sheep!) so I had plenty of friends to play with. It rains a lot here and I got so tired of being wet. One morning I woke up and there was buzz of excitement in the air and a flurry of activity. A very nice man herded us from our lovely fields where we'd been hanging out and eating grass to a small building. I wondered what would happen next! I heard a loud buzzing sound so started to feel uneasy but it didn't hurt a bit! Suddenly I was separated from my sheep and thrown into a pile! Thankfully it was a warm day so the sheep I had just left would not be left cold without her coat. I had no idea what awaited me next!

I was packed in a canvas bag with a bunch of other fleece that was sewn shut. Then all of the bags were put onto an airplane and we flew for a very long time. I heard from others that we landed in Porter, Maine. I'm not too homesick because it's so beautiful here and it reminds me a little bit of Romania.

All of the bags were put into a barn and my bag sat and sat and sat, while others were taken one at time. Finally it was our turn! We were put into a VERY hot soapy bath, then rinsed several times. I don't think I've ever been this clean! Then we were laid in the sun to dry and that felt so nice. Next I was combed then twisted and spun into a long piece of yarn. I'd heard from my parents I'd grow up to be a beautiful piece of yarn and it finally happened. 

I was would into a skein then left alone for what seemed like days. I'd seen several of my friends go off and come back in many different colors. I wondered what color I'd be. At last it was my turn. I was dipped and prodded then hung to dry. As I was returned to the barn we passed by a mirror and I saw that I was a beautiful brick red with bits of black and brown. I heard one of the men say that I was named after a wonderful man who gave my owner in Maine mushrooms in the village of Sheplova, Russia. I was so proud! 

I sat for a few weeks wondering what would happen next. I was packed up again and took another airplane ride and I heard the pilot say we were in Durham, North Carolina. A very nice lady opened the box and she squealed when she saw me so I knew that I had a found a good home. 

Several of my brothers and sisters also came me with me, Latvian Lavender, Lauren's Coral, and Negotiation Gray, so I was not lonely. 

But which of us would she pick up first. Latvian thought it would be her but Lauren thought she was the favorite, but to all of our surprise she picked me! I heard her debate about what to do with me. Should she make something called Central Park Hoodie? She debated about it though because she did not want a sweater with a hood. Finally she saw something on a website called Ravelry (whatever that is) that someone else made the sweater with a collar not a hood so she was set. She placed me on a thing that felt like a merry-go-round and I was wound into a ball of yarn. That was fun!

I'd heard from my grandparents how they were turned from a piece of yarn into a beautiful garment and at last it was going to happen to me! She picked me up and with beautiful nickel plated needles over and over she pulled loops of yarn through existing loops. It look a very long time. Days, weeks, months went by then at last she said "Hooray all of the parts are done"! I thought I was done taking baths but nope we took another one, then she pinned us to a board and we were left to dry.

Then she took a long piece of yarn and sewed all of the pieces together.  Then she sewed some beautiful buttons on: I could scarcely believe it - I was a sweater! She wasn't able to wear it though because I heard her complain about how hot it was - 105 degrees! I was so excited to be a sweater that I didn't care.

I kept hearing her talk about a mysterious place called Scotland and how she hoped it would be cold when she visited so she could wear me. It turns out it was fairly warm but she was able to wear me to a very famous place: The Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews Golf Course. It was very windy so she was very glad to have me on!

Now I'm just hanging out on shelf in the closet awaiting my next adventure!

*This post is a work of fiction and may not accurately reflect how Peace Fleece Yarn is made.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 4

3KCBWDAY4 A Knitter for All Seasons

As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

I live in North Carolina where in general, the winter is much more mild than anything you find in the NE, Midwest, Mountain West, etc. The big thing about the winters in central NC is that they can be wildly different from week to week over the course of the Dec-March time period. Some winters are colder than others. Some weeks don't feel like winter at all and other weeks can have snow and 70 degree weather in the same week.

My FO reflects the variable climate:

-I made one sweater for really cold days: Central Park Hoodie (without the hood) made out of Peace Fleece yarn. It's freakishly warm so it has to be realllly cold to wear it.

-I have a sweater for somewhat cool days: Peasy made with Rowan Felted Tweed DK

-And one for spring/fall: Hey Teach made with Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed

-My building is a ~5 min from my parking deck so a hat is a must! I usually wear this Snowflake hat

My WIP vary as well:

-I have one project for summer on the needles: Allegoro

-One for spring: Alexandria

-One for fall: Perfect Sweater

-A couple for winter: Dark and Stormy and Vodka Gimlet

I tend to work on projects that match the current season which makes no sense because by the time I finish them it's no longer the appropriate season to wear them! Although the summers here are brutal so I'm not inclined to have a pile of wool on my lap when it's 105 out. . .

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 3

3KCBWDAY3 Knitting Hero

Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger.

I've chosen the designer Kate Davies. She lives in one of my favorite places, Edinburgh, and I was fortunate to take a trip there in 2010:

While she is recovering from a serious stroke, she never ceases to amaze me with her resilience and fortitude. Her blog is always fun to read as she has beautiful photos from her walks and travels around Scotland, as well as interesting topics, such as one about a recent trip to the Donegal Yarn mill or a fascinating post about how women washed and dried their clothes in the nineteenth century.

She has so many beautiful patterns: two of my favorites are Hazelhurst and BorealI'd love to make either one but my fair isle skills aren't there yet!

WIP Wednesday: Inspired

Last Thursday evening I attended a lecture at my LQS given by Annie Smith entitled "Help! My Stash is Growing and I Can't Make it Stop!". She showed photos of several of her friends stashes which made me feel quite a bit better about the size of as mine as it paled in comparison. She also brought several of her beautiful quilts. I came away inspired to work on mine and as a result I now have a near finished quilt top! All it needs now are the borders - I wait until the top is assembled before deciding on what fabric to use for the borders.

Over the weekend I sewed all of the X block sections together:

I cut and sewed the strips for the Plain blocks:

I assembled the Plain blocks:

I laid it out and it wasn't love at first sight. It didn't come out quite the way I had envisioned it in my head. Isn't that the way it always is?  It felt like the red and green were "fighting" with each other too much. 

I consulted my mom and a couple of friends and they said it was beautiful and to keep going. At one point I was going to scrap the whole thing! My sister pointed out that my friend would like to have it sooner rather than later and my mom said that quilts that you make for others that aren't in "your" colors tend to feel a bit "off". And my sweet husband said that adding the borders and the quilting will change the look of it too.

So I carried on and last night sewed the blocks into rows then the rows together:

Today I'm off to buy fabric for the borders. I'll try and learn from the lecture and not add too much to my stash :)

Be sure to check our more WIP at: 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 2

3KCBWDAY2  Photography Challenge

Photography Challenge Day:
Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. 

Something Old, Something New, 
Something Borrowed, Something Blue

old: my grandmother's handkerchief
new: wedding dress
borrowed: my aunt's garter
blue: Vodka Gimlet*

*Note: I got married on February 18th, 2012 but my actual blue was an earring that belonged to my groom's late mother. I carried it in the small pocket of the garter along with a six pence. I'd hoped to have Vodka Gimlet done in time so I could wear it the morning of the wedding as I was getting ready but I didn't. But as it turned out it was a really warm day :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 1

  3KCBWDAY1  Colour Lovers

Welcome to the Third Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! This is my first time participating in this spectacular event and I've enjoyed preparing blog entries for it.

Today's Topic: Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects - do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

I looked through my Stash/WIP/FO discovered a lot of soft blues, purples, and pinks:

Dream in Color Some Summer Sky and Peace Fleece Latvian Lavender:

Vodka Gimlet made with Shepherd's Wool Baby Blue
Dark and Stormy made with Cascade 220 Montmartre
Shawl That Jazz  made with Blue Fiber Arts Blue Moonstone
Alexandria Cardigan made with Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3 plyRose

Bulky Shrug made with Araucania Limari in 502
Peasy made with Rowan Felted Tweed in Duck Egg

I also have some reds and browns:

Peace Fleece Lauren's Coral

Perfect Sweater made with Rowan Felted Tweed Pebble

Central Park Hoodie made with Peace Fleece Sheplova Mushroom
Hey Teach made with Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed Nebraska Wheat
V Neck Down Cardigan made with Berroco Ultra Alapaca Cardinal

This was a fun exercise as I realized that I don't have any greens, yellows or neutrals. Something to consider for future projects!

You can find more blogs participating in the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week by googling  3KCBWDAY1. If you have come here as part of the blog week, thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Momentum

It was hard to get going again on Something Blue after realizing I would have to reknit the entire collar. . .  but the designer was very kind and gave me advice on how to fix it: pick up less stitches and move the short rows up ~ 6 inches. I wasn't up for more ribbing but didn't want to lose the momentum on this thing so decided to knit the sleeve next. It's easy knitting which is a nice change.

I'm participating in Eskimimi's 3rd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week so stayed tuned!

And check out more WIP at Tami's Amis

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Collared

You know that feeling you get when you're knitting along that something is not quite right but you just ignore it thinking "well once it's off the needles it will look ok" but then when you are done you think "Man I wished I'd listened to that little voice inside my head". That's what's happened with my Something Blue collar. I kept thinking the bands at the bottom of the sweater looked too narrow and there was an odd wave to the middle. I picked up more stitches than directed (based on advice of a few ravelers but they used different yarn so it's not their fault). I also put more waist shaping in than the pattern called for so I'm not sure if that's part of the reason.

I saw one pattern on rav where the bands were the same width all the way around so I may try that (after picking up the correct number of stitches) or I may move the short rows higher up the front since my waist shaping detail is lower than the pattern called for because I'm long-waisted. I'd appreciate any advice on how to fix it!

But before redoing the collar, I'm going to knit up one sleeve first so that 

a) I get a break from 2 x 2 rib 

b) I won't run out of yarn for the sleeves because I made the collar too wide.

Sorry for the poor photo quality - I finished the bind off late last night so it was dark when I took the photos.

On a positive note: I cut the strips for the "X" block of the triple irish chain quilt and I like how it's coming together:

For more WIP be sure to check out Tami's Amis blog!