I’m not the type of crocheter (or knitter) who feels the need to complete every project I start. Sometimes I start a project for stress relief, other times I make a bad yarn choice, and then there are times when the project just isn’t really something I want to work on anymore.
Today, I’m celebrating all those creations that actually made it as far as into my Ravelry projects but were later unraveled. While I actually unraveled 12 projects in 2012 (freaky, huh?), I’m just going to talk about the three most significant ones today.
I started these during the Ravellenic Games, hoping that would be the push I needed to actually get excited about making knitted socks. I love looking at other people’s knit socks and I love wearing hand-knit socks, but something about actually knitting socks never seemed all that appealing to me.
I think I’ll stick with crochet socks. I’m not all that comfortable knitting with small needles or with lightweight yarn and I just don’t feel committed to spending the amount of time needed to knit a single pair of socks.
Let’s just say that the combination of not so great quality acrylic yarn, watching a movie while crocheting, and slip stitches is not a good one. I decided to unravel this, along with a Christmas stocking I made last year (in red wool)…
…and give slip stitch crochet another try in wool in 2013.
I think the addition of this hook I found at a shop near my job, which looks like a pjoning hook, will also help to make the stitches more even.
Several students in my crochet class were working on it, and I decided to start one, too. I don’t usually work on projects with my students (besides a little swatch I make in class), and this experience hasn’t encouraged me to make it a habit.
I inherited this yarn from my grandmother and I eventually want to make it into something special for my mom. So far, the perfect project for this yarn hasn’t revealed itself.
Do you unravel projects, do you always finish what you start, or do you abandon projects that aren’t working out?
I designed the Twisted Cable Hat because I love the look of mini cables and twisted stitches. My version was made with just over one skein of Patons Classic Wool in Leaf Green. It is super warm and thick because of the way it is crocheted. I haven’t decided yet when I’ll offer a PDF version of this pattern.
The Lattice Shell Tunic is available as a free pattern on their website. (Side note: The schematic hasn’t been uploaded yet, so if you’re getting started on the project, let me know and I can email it to you.) The small is a great one skein project using a jumbo skein of Kollabora’s Nora’s Pantry yarn, which is a soft alpaca.
It’s always fun to see your designs published, but there was other great news this week…
Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival
I’ll be teaching two classes at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival in March, and my mom and I have decided to make it a weekend road trip! I’m really looking forward to spending a few days out of town with my mom. I booked the hotel this week and am already thinking about what to pack. (Can you tell I don’t travel much??) I’ve been wanting to check out Pittsburgh for a while, so this is a great opportunity. And, since my mom is driving us up, we’ll have a car to get around town with, too.
If you’re in the area (or are planning a road trip, like me), I’d love to see you at either of my classes: Knitting Cables 101 on Saturday morning or the Bruges Lace Basics Stitch Sampler on Sunday afternoon. Also, if you have any Pittsburgh tourist suggestions, let me know!
When I won the award last year, I was thrilled, but this year I’m even more excited. It may not be evident, but I put a lot of work into my interviews – probably more time than for any other type of post. But (even without these two awesome awards!!) it is completely worth it because I learn so much from the interviewees and I’ve been able to “meet” some of my crochet heroes by contacting them for an interview.
When I started blogging, I naively thought interviews would be a good way to have content on days when I didn’t know what to blog about. You know how they say that ignorance is bliss? If I would have known then what I know now about interviewing, I might have never started ;). About half of the people I contact may never respond while others may be interested but aren’t available to answer the questions for months because their schedules are so tight. Each interview can require hours of research before I even write the questions – everything from reading the interviewee’s books to searching the web for information about their background. Once the interview answers are returned, taking the time to organize the pictures and links for the posts, as well as editing out typos and adding in my own comments, adds in another hour or two. I feel so honored that Kathryn would highlight my interviews again this year, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed them. You can find all my interviews here. (I’m also planning a recap of my favorite interviews from this year later this month.)
This has been an amazing week for me, and I hope yours has gone just as well!
I made this ripple scarf entirely from scrap yarn, too. I got a lot of crafting done last week since I was at home from work for three days due to the storm, and then had a four hour round trip commute on Thursday and Friday.
Now I seem to be back on track with my holiday crafting, and hopefully I can keep up the momentum. I’m hopeful about completing the rest of my holiday projects before my personal deadline of November 18. I also bought larger cards for my snowflake project, so I hope to have a few cards ready in time for the winter holidays.
11) Christmas stocking for grandpa – lots and lots of white and red yarn – 193 yards from stash and 113 yards of Craft Smart Value Solids bought from Michaels for this project – I used this pattern for assembly and 17 different hexagon designs
1) My Uncle M – A hat. Since I made my dad’s partner a scarf, the yarn I was planning to use for the hat is available to make something for my uncle.
The Maybe List
1) CG, my BFF from high school - I’m not as worried about time for this one, since we usually don’t meet until after the holidays anyway. I would still like to make something with this yarn that I bought with her in mind.
2-3 ) My sister and my mom - I’m at the point where I may not make anything for these lovely ladies. I made my sister a bedspread last year (ok, I finished it in March, but it was for Christmas, 2011!) and I’m working on a bedspread for my mom’s birthday in February. If I have time, I think I’ll make house slippers or finish this shawl for my mom.
3) MC, my special guy – If I have time, I’ll make him a pair of house slippers or a new hat since he has pretty well worn out the one I made him a few years ago.
How is your holiday crafting going? Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!
(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting. You can read more details here.)
I’ve reached the point in life where I’m feeling overwhelmed by stuff. This might be due to the fact that we’re living in a one-bedroom apartment in New York City, or it might be because I’ve been trying to live more minimally. Although I’ve reduced my stash by one full 60 quart plastic tub so far this year, I still have quite a few yarns with no intended purpose that I’m putting into the maybe list for gifts.
Several small balls of 100% wool yarns that I’ve dyed using Kool Aid or cake dyes.
I also found a pair of Slipper Soles in my sister’s size. Since I have fewer skeins that I’d like to use for holiday gifts than people on my gift list, I’m sure I will end up buying yarn at some point. But for now, this will give me a great start.
I read a great post by FreshStitches yesterday about using the stash feature on Ravelry, so my plan for the next week is to try and link up some of these yarns with patterns and project ideas.
I will mention here that I had a super awesome post written, but I lost everything. This is the best re-write I could muster after midnight.
Tell us all about the yarns you plan to use or buy for the Holiday Stashdown Challenge in the comments, and share links to your posts with us!
If you need some inspiration for a Holiday Stashdown Challenge post for next week, here’s the prompt for Tuesday, 5/29:
Now that you’ve sized up the yarn in your stash and the people on your gift list, what types of projects do you plan to make? Are you making the same type of (or the same exact) project for multiple people, or does everyone get something unique? Do you have lofty project goals for everyone on your list, or do you make small gifts with love? Tell us more about your project ideas!
I’ve never been a “morning person” – yes, even as a kid, my parents struggled to drag me out of bed in time for school – and I’ve been known to be downright annoying when I’m running late for work, but I still have to find “that yarn” before I leave in order to have something to do on the subway ride.
I’ll also confess that while I’m still in the middle of what seems to be the world’s largest blanket project, the idea of other – shorter – projects is quite appealing. Last night, I started imagining my own yarn stash club, and here is my first set of ideas for kits.
Yoga Socks/Pilates Peds by Pam Daley, available from KnitPicksas a gift for my mom or sister. (Heck, if I like the pattern, I’ll probably make a pair for each of them.) But I haven’t chosen the yarn yet – my sock yarn is a bit deeper in the stash and I need to pick a skein with the right amount of yardage.
I read more about Jenny in Crochet Master Class but was dubious about creating my own woven plaid crochet project. Full disclosure: I was a plaid fanatic in high school (perhaps because I never wore a Catholic school uniform like my cousins? or maybe it was just the grunge years?), but I have never had much success with crocheting plaids – they always come out messy, or skimpy looking. I am also not down with fringe, so that fringe finish on crocheted plaids never really wowed me.
I was very excited to see that Jenny would be in New York City teaching, but even her pedigree as a designer didn’t completely convince me that she could actually teach me to make attractive and full looking crocheted plaids in three hours. Let’s be honest – some people are great designers and some people are great teachers, and only a few are both. Luckily for me, Jenny is one of those few!
Jenny opened the class by sharing some historical details about Scottish tartans. She has designed about 200 crochet patterns that feature the plaids of various clans. The project for the class was based on the Fire Department, City of New York (FDNY)Emerald Society Pipe Band plaid, which was a very nice local touch. Making the mesh base was simple enough, and Jenny provided me (and the rest of the class, of course) with a few tips for joining colors and keeping our ends tidy.
Jenny also has a great sense of humor. She kept the class lively by sharing anecdotes and tips. She also admonished us, “You have to check with Jenny before ripping out!” and “Don’t point out your mistakes!” She also told us that she has never made a gauge swatch (egads! It’s like designer sacrilege!).
Finally, with mesh complete, we were ready to start weaving.
Jenny introduced us to the Tartan Weaver, a great tool that makes weaving much easier and faster. Her method uses chains rather than strips of yarn for weaving, and she also shared quite a few tips for sizing and weaving the ends of the woven chains.
I left the class feeling pretty good. Finally, a plaid project that is neat looking and where the woven strips actually fit into the mesh! I decided to order two of Jenny’s books, The Tartan Rug and U.S.A. and Canadian Plaid Afghans, from her website. I’m particularly looking forward to the Black Watch pattern, since that has always been my favorite plaid.
I’ve made a bit of progress since class. I made another mesh and all of my green chains and my white chains.
After the two meshes are woven, I plan to join them and make a small, decorative pillow. Thanks, Jenny King, for teaching me how to make plaids that don’t suck!
I didn’t use the recommended Lion Brand yarns for my project. As I mentioned, I’ve cut back on buying acrylic yarn, and the Lion Brand Yarn Studio was out of Lion Wool when I bought the supplies for the class. I ended up using an old skein of Bernat Lana I had laying around the house and some Patons Classic Wool in the recommended colors purchased at Michaels.
I felt a bit guilty since I know that the main reason the Lion Brand Yarn Studio offers over 100 classes per month is to sell yarn. So I decided to go shopping in the store and spend about as much as I would have spent on buying the yarn there. I bought two skeins of LB Collection Superwash Merino.
Happy Friday everyone! I’ve been thinking for a while about how to celebrate I Love Yarn Day, since I first read about it on the Craft Yarn Council website. The CYC has several suggestions about what to do to celebrate (and several projects from famous designers, too!).
My post for today is a celebration of my favorite yarns and also about yarncrafting for charity. If you have been crocheting or knitting for any amount of time, you have probably found that we yarncrafters are a generous lot. I even have some Finished Objects to share, in the form of charity crochet projects.
Like most of the yarns on my list, I discovered this super soft yarn in my LYS, Knitty City. As the name implies, Cascade Eco Duo is an eco-friendly yarn made of undyed baby alpaca (70%) and undyed Merino wool (30%). Since it is undyed, it is offered in a relatively limited range of colors (mostly browns, blacks, whites – very gender neutral) and it is marled. The softness is incredible and it is really nice to work with. There is a kind of self-striping effect with most of the colors. The one drawback for me is that it isn’t machine washable, and since I hate handwashing, I only use this yarn for small accessories.
Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Alpaca Love
This is my favorite big box store yarn. Alpaca Love is also a wool (80%) and alpaca (20%) blend. I love the feel of the yarn – a great combination of softness with firmness. It comes in some very fun coordinated colors. This yarn is very affordable (especially when purchased at Michaels using a coupon!). The drawbacks for me are the handwashing issue again, and the limited color range. I usually get around the handwashing issue by felting projects made with this yarn :).
Dream in Color Classy
Dream in Color Classy is another great yarn that I first tried out at Knitty City. This yarn has recently made several appearances on the blog (in my crocodile stitch project and my yarn haul post). Classy is a 100% superwash Merino wool yarn that is spun and hand dyed in the U.S. The colors are variegated and are really fabulous. The only drawback here for me is the cost, which means that I have to save it for slightly more special occasions. At least there are 250 yards in each skein, which makes me feel a little less guilty when splurging!
Patons Classic Wool
Patons Classic Wool is another big box store yarn. It is 100% wool and it is available in a great variety of colors, including both solids and ombres. (A few colors are also available as tweeds.) The solids have 210 yards in each skein and are reasonably priced. It isn’t the softest wool I’ve felt, but it isn’t scratchy, either. It is a great, firm, workhorse yarn which doesn’t split. The only real drawback for me is that it isn’t machine washable.
Spud and Chloe Sweater
Sweater is probably the yarn in this group that I’ve worked with the most. It is a blend of 55% superwash wool and 45% organic cotton. I also found it at Knitty City about a year ago. I first picked up a skein of Turtle for a design submission which wasn’t accepted. I loved the yarn so much that I submitted two more designs with it, which were both accepted. The first was my Sunshine Blanket, published in the August, 2011 issue of Inside Crochet. I am also in the middle of a top secret project using these colors for Cooperative Press‘s Fresh Designs Crochet (Kids) book, which should be published in 2012. I honestly can’t think of any drawbacks to this yarn: the colors are great, it is machine washable, and it feels nice :).
You may have noticed that all of these yarns are worsted weight – yes, I am one of those American yarncrafters that prefers a heavier weight yarn! You may have also noticed that all of these yarns are made with natural fibers. I am by no means a “yarn snob” – I work with Red Heart Super Saver, too. But recently, I have really tried to limit my purchasing of acrylic yarn. I just don’t feel comfortable buying a yarn made from crude oil anymore. This is my own personal choice as part of changes I’ve made in my life to be more environmentally conscious. On the other hand, I can’t just let the existing acrylic yarn in my stash go to waste (that’s not too eco-friendly either), and so that is where some of my charity crafting and experiments with freeform crochet come into play.
One great way to use up your stash while finding a home for some of your creations is through charity crafting. I especially like to make items for infants and pets (because they are fast and cute, and because my very own special cat was adopted from the Humane Society).
I was inspired by the phrase “Think globally. Act locally.” and decided to make up a list of local NYC charities that accept handmade donations. I checked in with all of these organizations, and the list is current as of October, 2011.
ASPCA, the first humane organization in the Western hemisphere, has a wishlist of donated items for their Manhattan adoption center which includes handmade bedding or toys. Items can be dropped off during regular adoption hours.
Bideawee, the oldest no-kill animal humane organization in the U.S., welcomes Snuggles in any size for cats and dogs in its adoption center. These can be delivered in person, or mailed to the attention of Lauren Bonanno at the Manhattan location.
S.A.V.E., a pet rescue organization in Queens, is looking for small or medium sized bedding. Email the organization at savepetNY@aol.com to arrange pick up.
Knits for Infants is looking for hats, booties, sweaters, and blankets in soft, machine washable yarns for newborns and infants being treated at the North Central Bronx Hospital. Having worked in the health care industry in the Bronx for years, I can say that families served by this hospital would really benefit from the donations. They also accept yarn donations (no novelty yarns or “scratchy” yarns like Red Heart Super Saver, please).
Today, I’m showing off some of the projects that I’m donating to charity for I Love Yarn Day.
My post yesterday was a reflection on my craft goals for the year, and I’m thinking that when I update them, I will add some charity crafting goals. I used to donate a lot of projects to charity, and I would like to make more crocheted donations in the coming months.
For more finished objects, don’t forget to stop by Tami’s Amis!