Goldi's Locks of Yarn

My place to discuss my raging obsession with yarn and crochet along with happenings in my life and the world at large

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Catching up (or trying to)

I haven't been in a real chatty mood lately (in case anyone has noticed) and all indications are that this will continue for awhile. But I thought I would at least post an update on my crafting ventures with some pics just so you know I'm still alive and kicking. So far, anyway!

I started to write up one of my usual long-winded posts describing the visit I had with my best friend skater. As happens too often lately, I ran out of juice and drafted the thing, which remains in limbo. Knowing me, I will probably never get back to it, but that's no reason for me not to at least share the pics of the items I made her, now is it?

The first item was just a dishcloth, but I had been wanting to make her something for her "new" house for a couple of years (hence the quotes on "new"). This dishcloth is only the first of several items I have in mind to make for her for the house (whenever I can get to it), and it did turn out quite nice though pretty large because I made it with a larger hook - the pattern I used called for a G, I used a J because the yarn seemed too thick and hard to work with on the G, and I didn't want it to be stiff. I ended up using most of a large ball of Sugar n Cream cotton in variegated yellow and white for this dishcloth, and it took 4 separate attempts before I landed on a pattern that I found satisfying for it. This one is #94 from the Leisure Arts book The Big Book of Dishcloths.

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The main gift I chose to make for her was one I spent most of my time and energies on because I really wanted it to be special, and I think I succeeded! I wanted to make her a nice scarf, and it had to be primarily blue - because she loves scarves and blue is her favorite color. Because of where she lives, it needed to be a summer-weight material, such as cotton thread. I had some Caron's Gramma's Best #10 cotton thread in my stash in a lovely shade of medium blue, and it just so happened to match up perfectly with a special variegated rayon thread I'd bought a large quantity of from an ebay seller at the beginning of the year. This rayon thread is very very thin yet textured, almost like a thin boucle, and is in rich jeweltone shades of blue, turquoise, red and yellow. The blue in the rayon thread was an exact match for the #10 cotton thread I had, and so I had my materials. Now I needed a pattern!

I wanted something that was going to be lacy but still have some body to it, and so I went digging through my Harmony Guides books of crochet stitches and found the perfect stitch pattern to use in the second book. It is a 10 row pattern repeat, which I worked up using a size F hook.

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A closeup, with a better color representation:
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I am happy to report that she loved her gifts and was particularly thrilled with the scarf! It's always gratifying to know your work is well-received.

I've already posted pics of the pineapple shawl which followed the above projects. It may be a while before I can get a modeled shot of it, will post as soon as I can once I do.

A short segue now, because I wanted to share this picture:
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We spent skater's last few hours in Milwaukee at one of the local art museums, and this particular painting just grabbed me. This picture of it just doesn't do it justice, lemme tell you! I didn't have the foresight to write down the artist's name and naturally can't remember it, or the age of the painting. All I remember is that it is Dutch. And gorgeous!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled crafty chatter...

Since then, and mainly due to other factors which I'm not going to get into here, I've been struggling to seriously land on another major project. Not that there aren't a bazillion of them vying for my attention, nor is it due to lack of materials on hand to make them. I just can't seem to find my focus lately. While I browsed my stash and pattern library, I opted to start another dishcloth and completed it last night - it only took me a week to get it done! Not that I'm THAT slow, but I couldn't sit still with it long enough to reach the finishing line any sooner. It is a nice one, though, another one from the above-mentioned book of dishcloth patterns, and on this one I used the recommended hook size (G). I showed it to Phil yesterday and his eyes lit up when he saw it - I think he likes it! I haven't decided what I will do with this one yet, though, but I know I'd have at least one happy recipient if it comes down to that, lol! Here's a shot:

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This is definitely a "guy" kind of dishcloth, I think, not too frilly and fancy yet still not plain. My plan is to continue making these as well as some other small projects along with my larger planned ones, mainly to keep me going when I have trouble staying focused. If I can build up enough of these things, I may try to sell some of them. No guarantees on anything at this stage, however. My life is in too much of a state of flux with the future unknown for me to be able to plan that far ahead yet. Anyway...

When I couldn't settle on my next major project, I finally decided now might be a good time to temporarily set that hook aside and pick up some sticks. While at the library the other day, I had placed the new crochet Stitch n Bitch book on hold (both copies were, naturally, out - I'm a tad ticked, though, as they were both due back by now and both are now overdue from whoever has their sweaty greedy little paws on 'em! All I know is it's not me, yet! Hmmph!). While doing so, I noticed that her original SnB book on knitting was in-house so I decided to take it out, along with the book on crocheted socks that I'd been wanting (and still want - no way I can get to these projects that quickly and I can't keep the book forever, like those folks who have MY copy of the Happy Hooker hostage! Grumpy?! What - me?!!). After browsing the book a bit, I took a deep breath, grabbed a ball of acrylic (I know - anathema! But I'm not about to waste the precious stuff on my stumbling first steps!) and a pair of size 8 needles and cast on my first 20 stitches. Casting on was incredibly easy - at least this version which I believe is called a "long tail cast on"? I quickly determined that I would be much more comfortable using the Continental style and proceeded to knit my first 30 rows and bind them off per the book's instructions:

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I'm still totally unsure of myself as far as keeping an even tension goes, and I did also learn that I have to watch out for my needle splitting the yarn and not coming through cleanly - I have a few fuzzy spots in that swatch to show for it. I suppose I should have knit a scarf-length piece in garter next, to perfect my knitting technique, but I'm an impatient gal and there's a ton of lace patterns out there calling my name! LOL - yeah right, like I'll be ready for THOSE anytime soon! Not that I won't try, though, as soon as I think I've gotten enough of these techniques down well enough. I can be stubborn that way, refusing to stick with the (boring!) simple beginner (boring!) projects and diving straight into the expert (exciting!) stuff! Crazy? I've been accused of that...

So, I finished off my first ever (at least since I was a kid, back when the dinosaurs roamed) piece of knitting and proceeded to cast on yet again (this time with some of that precious wool, some leftover Galway from the felted tote project) to get that purl thing down. Oy! As this picture will show, I made it some goodly distance (struggling all the way and feeling clumsy as hell no matter which way I tried to do it) before I discovered that yes, it DOES make a difference which direction you wrap that yarn around the needle! I had opted for what felt more "natural", which was to wrap it clockwise around the tip of my right needle before pulling (or should I say "pushing"?) it through the loop. But my stockinette wasn't looking quite right, and I finally decided on a review with the (decidedly crappy) pictures of the technique in the book, and realized I should be doing the wrap in the other direction. Which put me back to square one, clumsy-wise, as I had finally started managing to make my stitches a bit more smoothly and quickly before I decided to try doing it the RIGHT way. And yes, Virginia - it really DOES make a difference! See?

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I don't doubt that somewhere along the line I'll learn that the way I was doing it is also used and incorporated into various stitch patterns, done on purpose in other words. But it's not the purl that creates the decidedly smooth fabric of the well-known stockinette stitch as my picture so clearly illustrates!

Since this is merely a practice sample, I decided not to frog the whole dang thing and start all over, my mistakes in this piece will serve as reminders of my learning process. So, I will continue on with it, working on becoming more comfortable with doing my purls (and knits) correctly and struggling to understand how even tension is maintained (whatever evenness I have so far achieved has definitely been accidental), and chomping at the bit to learn the next step and the next stitch
and then on to a lacy scarf or two, maybe a pair of socks, and then maybe actually make something I really really want to make - like that gorgeous Sonata Crest of the Wave tank top pattern I drooled so recently over at the Elann site (yes of COURSE I saved the pattern - whadya nuts?!), followed by a long list of other worthy lovely projects. But enough dreaming - I have yet to try changing colors, which needs to be incorporated along with my practice stockinette, to see if I can do it (I know I can I know I can!).

As nutty as I am about learning this knit thing, I remain committed to my first love - crochet - and will be continuing to wield that hook with a vengeance, as long as my brain allows me to stay focused and my energy doesn't lag. I have a small mountain of patterns (with materials on hand) to dig into and get working on. I will have to corral my ADHD mind long enough to pick out which one to start first. Normally I do best working on only one thing at a time, following it to it's conclusion before starting another, but I am going to allow myself a bit more freedom to jump around for a bit and see if it helps me stay motivated to progress. Eventually, one of those items will end up grabbing me and insisting I pay attention only to it until the project is done, and I will go with it when that happens. I have a lot of light summer cardis/shrugs/boleros I'd like to make as well as a few summer tops, and I have managed to amass a pretty good collection of patterns for these. All that remains is to dive in! Hopefully I'll have update photos to share of my progress with these soon! As long as the other areas of my life don't interfere (always a possibility of late).

One last thing to share - after much waffling back and forth, I decided to gift my Iris Seraphina to mom for Mom's Day. I had made it shorter than I normally like for my own tastes, and I suspect that this was subconsciously on purpose, to help me make that final decision (I really really REALLY love that purple alpaca yarn!), and her reaction upon opening it was a major gratification, let me tell you! She's a very tiny gal, stands barely 4 foot ten and weighs about 80 pounds soaking wet, and the shawl fit her PERFECTLY, just the right length. Of course, I didn't have the foresight to bring my camera with me that day, so I have no pics of her wearing it - I'll have to try and remember next time I visit her. But here's a (reposted) pic of it:

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Since I still have a hank and a half of this yarn, I think I may hold onto it with plans for turning it into my very first knit lace scarf. I've got a few beginner lace scarf patterns that I've saved for that momentous occasion when I determine I will be ready for such an effort.

And here is a pic of her gift to me, a handmade tote bag which is perfect for carrying projects around. She loves making these bags, and I really like this one, it's very bright and cheerful!

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Well, that's all I have for now, folks - hope you've enjoyed your visit! Many thanks to those who have previously stopped by and left comments here! I wish I was better at responding to you all, but know that I REALLY appreciate your encouraging positive words - they help more than you can know!

8 Comments:

  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger Lucy said…

    I'm teaching myself knitting but, like you, remain totally committed to crochet! Some great pics you've posted.

     
  • At 10:40 PM, Blogger Norah said…

    That shawl is beautiful. And I love the bag your mom made for you--so cheerful!

     
  • At 1:34 AM, Blogger sara said…

    it's always nice to see you posting. i have knitted for years but never mastered the continental method...........i throw but it works for me. good luck. if you need a cheerleader just holler

     
  • At 10:53 PM, Blogger diane said…

    thats a beautiful scarf....i love the stitch pattern. now iknow where you are will visit more...was afraid you'd disappeared again!!!! glad you haven't

     
  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger Jana B said…

    I just finished a knitting class, and of course I was the ONLY one who liked Continental better LOL But, learning to purl using continental was harder than learning to knit. Not sure why... but after making a teddy bear sweater (our big project) and starting on a pillowcase that alternates knit & purl stitches here and there, I'm beginning to get the hang of switching in between. :)

     
  • At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Morgana said…

    Hi Goldi,
    Cool shawl and dishcloths and your knitting skills are happening!
    Haven't seen you post anywhere for awhile so I just wanted to drop in here and say hello and hope you are well,
    cheers,
    Morgana

     
  • At 11:53 PM, Blogger Mimi said…

    That scarf is really lovely, goldi! What a beautiful stitch pattern and yarn you used!
    And the shawl is just so gorgeous, I really like it!

     
  • At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    troy tobias 2014 with yahoo - - please contact me about Martha (Stargazer Crochet Links).

     

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