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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Seamed Socks, Part 2

Well, they are done!!

I love them, and they were quite easy to make, but a few things I learned in the process:

1)  I should have done the ribbing for the ankle part with a smaller needle so that it would have been a little tighter and more rib-y looking.

2)  I did "two at a time" by using 2 of the 4 needles that came in the set for each sock.  I would follow an instruction for one sock, then go and follow the same instruction for the other sock, before moving on to another instruction.  There was a time when I needed 3 needles for one sock, so I finished up that part for one sock using the spare needle from the other sock, then went to the other sock and did that part with the third needle.  I'm so glad I alternated between making both socks at the same time because I was able to have the pair finished together, and I think it helped me ensure that both socks were getting made in the same way.

3)  The mattress stitch is challenging!  Thankfully, Purl Soho has a link to instructions built in to the pattern.  I had to fuss with lining up the two pieces to seam a few times, but it did actually work!  Oh, and thanks to YouTube and Purl Soho, everything I needed to learn to make the socks was pretty easy to find and follow.

4)  I want to learn how to do a short-row heel.  The heel for these socks wasn't that hard, but I don't think I like the look as much as a short-row heel.  I think I got a preview of what short rows will be like as part of decreasing the heel on this project, so I'm looking forward to giving it a try.  One thing I've heard many knitters say about short rows is "just follow the instructions, don't think, don't question, just follow the instructions, and you'll get it done."  Sounds interesting...

5)  There are more socks in my future, and I think I'm going to try from the toe up in a tube.  Let the adventure continue!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Seamed Socks, Part 1

Well, look what turned up in my inbox from Purl Soho -- a free pattern for seamed socks.

As you will recall, socks are definitely on my knitting bucket list, and this pattern could be a great way to learn about sock construction and sock making techniques and check it off my list, though I bet I will still want to make a proper pair nevertheless. 

I bought this beautiful sock yarn a few Metro Yarn Crawls ago, so I'm pulling it out for this project. It's a hand-painted fingering weight, 100% merino wool from Claudia and Co. in Strawberry Latte.  

I also got this inexpensive set of long double pointed needles (note:  we are an Amazon affiliate, so we'd appreciate your using our link if you decide to purchase :-) for the so far disastrous brioche learning. I made a swatch and ended up using 2.25 mm needles.  So I think I'm ready to go!

Now, what size should I make?  Mm, maybe some foot measuring is in order. Plus, you know I'm not going to make it exactly as instructed ;-).  I want little ankle-length footies because I know that's what I tend to wear around the house.

First order of business, what's m1r?  "Make 1 right", ok.  This video makes it so clear!

Ok, so come back on Tuesday to see how this little project is going...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Corner-to-Corner Baby Blanket

I do love the crochet and knit demonstrations on Facebook!  A few weeks ago, I came across a wonderful technique demonstrated by the Crochet Crowd called the Corner-to-Corner Afghan Project. 

It showed up right in time because I recently found out that a friend of mine is expecting baby number 2!  This one's going to be a boy (the first baby is a girl, and she got this baby blanket and still carries it around :-), and the nursery theme is safari.  So, off to A.C. Moore I went before Blizzard 2016 (now, yarnies, don't judge!  Acrylic yarns these days are pretty decent, and, for a baby, the wash-ability and allergy-free nature of the yarn is key) and found "Camouflage" by Red Heart (that's another thing, there were no safari-like or camouflage yarns at fibre space or Looped).

It did not take long to get to this point with this worsted weight yarn and an H hook:

I ended up having 18 "boxes" across and 22 for the length.  I probably should have tried to have 24, but I was running out of yarn (the main body took just one skein) and didn't want to chance it.

Now, I'm putting on a double crochet black border and am thinking about experimenting with adding a row of beige/camel in there too.  I'll be posting a better photo of the final project soon (she's coming to visit at the beginning of February!) with more details if you want to give it a try as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Blogging Schedule?

Ah, yes, the blogging "schedule".  I felt the need to use quotes since there is NO schedule right now!  But, that's just got to change.  As I said in my first post of the year, I don't want to post just for the heck of it; I want to create blog posts that are worthwhile and meaningful.  That needs to be done, however, on a reasonable timetable; if you're like me, you take comfort in certain things popping up in your email at certain times :-).  Too much, though, and it's overwhelming; too little, and you wonder what's going on...

I'm going to try to be better at linking and coordinating posts with other social media outlets also because I know everyone's got different favorite sources for information, and each platform has its own benefits and burdens too. 

But now, dear reader, I need YOUR help!!  Sometimes it feels like I'm blogging and posting into a black hole.  I hope I'm writing about matters of interest to you, and I respect those of you who just want the information and no interaction -- I do it myself all the time too.  But, I've recently gotten more interactive on Facebook with others' posts, and I'm finding more enjoyment and community as a result.  I'd love to have and need your feedback because I'd like to create that feeling here (and on my Facebook page) too.  So please leave a message with your thoughts and ideas...

My aim had been to have a techniques post on Tuesdays and a random topic discussion (fiber and/or small business related) on Fridays.  Should I try to go back to that or try something different??  One thing I do want to weave in is my progress on the Crochet/Knit Bucket List -- I'm hoping my experiences and musings on the process will be interesting and relate-able :-).

Well, I hope others are getting to enjoy a 3-day weekend in honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. 

Happy crocheting and knitting!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Hello 2016!

Well, here we are again, at the beginning of a new year!  I try to look at the upcoming 12 months optimistically, a whole new clean slate on which to do whatever it is you want to do.  Of course, it's bittersweet because I always go back to the first post of the previous year to see what I did, and did not, accomplish.  The two blog posts a week plan sure didn't get done; I did participate more on Facebook, and I've discovered I really enjoy the interaction and some of the new tools that have been added; and I have been much better about actually starting and finishing projects -- you all just haven't heard about them... yet!

So, for 2016, here are my three goals:

1)  a realistic and meaningful blog post schedule

As much as I read about the importance of consistency in posting, I think, or at least am hoping, that you all will appreciate fewer but more meaningful posts.  I really don't want to slap something up here for the sake of posting and not have it be worthwhile for the reader.  Now, I know, don't let perfection get in the way of progress, and I won't/can't, but this year is really going to be about meaningfulness.  Quality above quantity and meeting crocheters' needs.

2)  a focus on techniques and projects

"Give a pattern to a crocheter, and she's (or he) got one project; teach a new technique to a crocheter, and she's got a lifetime of possibilities."  Or something like that ;-).  I really want to approach this new year in learning and teaching mode.  Don't get me wrong, I too love just picking up a pattern and knowing/hoping that I can follow it and end up with a wonderful finished item.  I've actually been doing that a lot this past year, and I think it's going to make me an even better pattern writer.  But, there are times when the pattern isn't just the way I want it, and I think it's important to stray from the directions and add my own touches.  I really want to empower other crocheters to feel comfortable doing the same.  Not everyone's got a local yarn store where they can get assistance and build community.  That's the beauty of the Internet, we can do it right here!

3)  explore the "crochet/knit lifestyle"

I hinted last year at my observation that crocheting (and knitting) are more than just hobbies; they really are important aspects of life itself.  You know what I mean -- you start crocheting or knitting, and you just get this feeling.  Not just about the particular project you are making but about the process you're engaging in as well as about your surroundings.  I really want to spend this year exploring and conveying specifically what this means.  Again, due to modern life, we don't have the communities and kinships that we used to, but I have noticed on Facebook in particular and the Internet in general, that like-minded souls do seem to find each other :-).  And, I'm sure you've noticed my references to knitting as well.  I really want to incorporate more knitting into my projects because, let's face it, there are certain knitting techniques that work better than crochet for certain aspects of a project (think ribbing!).  I also get a different feeling when I knit than when I crochet (maybe because I haven't been knitting for as long), and I think that phenomenon will be worth exploring as well.

So, perhaps loftier goals for 2016, but hopefully ones you will want to explore with me!  Happy New Year everyone, here's to making it a great one!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Writer's Block

I can't believe how long it's been since I've blogged.  I can't seem to find the words to express where I'm at.  I came up with my bucket list of crochet and knit items, then proceeded to go right off track!  I've been bit by the knitting bug again, so I decided to try brioche knitting.  Despite finding a great video on YouTube and practicing with two colors, I just wasn't getting the results I wanted.  So, I decided that I had better go back and maintain and build some knitting skills. 

I found the Garden View Shawlette by Tracey Withanee that looked like I could handle it but be challenged as well.  I've learned to ssk and sl1k1psso!  The leaves are so fun to make.  But, I ended up turning the project into a scarf because I got within 10 rows of finishing the shawl and ran out of yarn!  Grrr.  But, it was good to start over and re-do because I caught a lot of mistakes and I really want the finished scarf to do justice to the beautiful alpaca yarn that I'm using.  My BIL got it for me when he was up in Frederick, MD, from the Whispering Meadows Alpaca Breeders.  It's just so soft, and it's so fun to work with.  I had no idea about the wonderful properties of alpaca yarn and look forward to using more of it in future projects (remember that alpaca yarn I got in Houston too?)

So, feast on these pix, and I'll be back with more news soon (and an end to writer's block too I hope!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

8 Projects on My Crochet/Knit Bucket List

I talk (and pin) a lot of projects I want to make and techniques I want to learn, but it's really time to get serious!  So, I decided if I made a list, I'd be more likely to give each item a try; plus, it'll give me some good blog posts in the future :-).

So, here goes:

1)  Socks

Let's face it, knit socks have more stretch and flexibility than do crocheted ones.  I'd love to learn how to knit socks.

2)  Cables

I think cables look great in both knit and crochet, so it'll be fun exploring cabling techniques.

3)  Brioche Knit

I'm fascinated by the look of brioche -- the knitting technique, not the luscious French pastry bread.  I'd like to try it in two colors for a fun, reversible look.

4)  Charted Crochet

I'm pretty good at following written patterns, but there are some lovely Japanese and Russian crochet patterns out there that, thankfully, are charted.  I'd really like to explore crochet symbols more and get "Global Crochet" really launched!

5)  A Sweater

I love the idea of crocheting or (and?) knitting a chunky mod sweater or coat for myself.  I've seen and pinned some great versions on Pinterest, so I think it might be time to go through the patterns and pick one or two to make.

6)  A Skirt

While I'm at it, I probably should try a skirt too!

7)  Stuffed Toys

I have to admit, some of the amigurumi animals and stuffed toys out there are just too cute for words!  Especially the sheep ;-)

8)  Pillow Covers

Some of the cushions on the couch are looking a little worn, so I think it might be time to whip up some pillow covers in chunky yarns -- they should be quick, easy but designer looking.

Well, this list so far should keep me plenty busy for the foreseeable future, so I'll stop here.  But, I'd love to add your desires to the list as well; please connect with me on Facebook and add on!