Archive for March, 2011

Skill +1 Up

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. 

These kinds of questions are always a bit tricky for me. I’ve tried my first cashmere shawl, and I suppose I’ve learned a bit specifically about knitting with cashmere, and had a harsh reinforcement about lifelines. More than that, however, I’ve gotten more practice with improvising and changing projects as I go on. I’m more willing to frog back when things don’t work (excepting for that cashmere shawl, which is still hibernating in my freezer…) I’d have to say that I have improved a little in skill, and a lot in confidence, over the past year.

Blog Contest News

I did not win the Sylphia Shawl giveaway at Sunset Cat. Nor did I win Vegan Craftastic’s minimalist knitting pattern, but she has one for Twig and Leaf Botanicals which I entered (closes April 4). There’s another giveaway for Quince and Company yarn and pattern at Knitting Pipeline.

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“Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.”

2011 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Today I’m going to talk about two of the three yarns I’m using for the “H” in the “You Are Chosen” yarn square. These are yarns which I’m holding together and knitting in garter stitch, and all three of them together match the gauge of the Lion Brand Jiffy I’m using for the background. Both of these yarns have come from my stash, and both were sitting around for a long time, waiting for an appropriate project. They were both picked up ‘on spec’, because they were cheap and intriguing. Other than that, they don’t have much in common.

Yarn 1

I picked up this ball of Lion Brand Trellis long enough ago that I can’t recall which chain store I bought it from, probably before I joined Ravelry even.  I remember that it was a good sale, and I grabbed a couple of yarns just because they were really cheap.  I chose this one because of the ‘shiny’. It’s pretty, but to be honest it’s not really something I’m likely to wear.  So I’ve used it here and there for a bit of trim on something, and the only issue I’ve had with it is that my needle occasionally catches in the ladder.  Not a show stopper by any stretch of the imagination, but it slows knitting down just a tad. I picked it for this project because I wanted to add a little bit of ‘bling’ to the letter, and am happy with it. I expect there will be enough left over that I’ll keep using it for contrast. I wouldn’t mind picking up another ball sometime, but only if I had a specific project for it.

Yarn 2

This is a bit of mystery yarn I got about two years ago at a church fundraiser.  I was looking for something to round out my days buying (I’d gotten an adorable handbag, but thought I should contribute a little bit more), and didn’t find anything I really wanted.  It seemed like a nice, innocuous half ball of some unknown yarn.  I thought the nice, quiet gray would work well in something, and it was soft, and fuzzy, and pleasant enough.  I took it home and did a little bit of research on how to identify “mystery yarn”. I thought (and think) that it is probably an animal fiber, but really didn’t want to chance the ‘burn test’ if it might be synthetic. I mean, I’ve smelled burnt plastic before, I don’t have to do that again. So I put it aside, I figured I’d get to it eventually. Finally, I picked it up to try a swatch… and found that it had been cut into little lengths. As in a large part of the ball had been cut into snippets of less than a foot. Pretty useless, really. But I didn’t want to trash it, so I just tossed it back into the stash bin. I pulled it out for this project thinking that it will be a small enough bit of work I can stand joining yarn every few rows for just a while. I figured that sooner or later I’d get to the end of the chopped up portion, so I pulled out lengths and wrapped them together. Now I’m down to the actually ‘balled’ portion of the yarn, and, although there is nothing else wrong with this yarn I’m just hoping I’ll use it all up in this project.

Blog Contest News

I’ve entered a drawing for a mystery prize from Royal by Grace (deadline April 1) and Dolce Handknits from Knit a While (deadline April 2). I did not win the Knit 1 Blog 1 sock yarn.

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I love the Creative Commons license. It means that an artist can give permission for others to use, modify, whatever an image, and still get credit for it.

For example, I took parts from three other artists (hover over or click the picture to see who made what) and put them together (using the freeware Gimp program) to create something new. If someone wants to use this picture, they can, as long as they give credit to me and to all the other artists.

What Smythe Saw

It’s my rendition of a scene which took place in the Lost Worlds game that I run. I am very, very pleased with it.

Blog contest news. I didn’t win Sandra Singh’s shawl kit giveaway, and don’t have any new ones to announce.

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I’m working on the tea cozy today, going very cautiously (because I’ve ripped out the decrease rows twice). I’m thinking putting an extra garter stitch ridge between them is worth a go. I am trying to document all my modifications on the project’s Ravelry Page. So I’m afraid to knit it anywhere not next to the computer. I’m also waffling on how many in progress pictures to take. I guess one per color added should be OK, then maybe one with both sides completed, and a seaming photo, then the completed piece. Once I decide on the pom pom question. The pattern gives a (much better looking) alternative, but the one I’m knitting it in tribute to has a HUGE pom-pom. I’d have to make my own form, because there’s no way the Clover maker could do it justice.

Still no word from Elegant Economy, but someone else won the Blueberry Boutique giveaway. However, I’ve found more. Sunsetcat is giving away a really beautiful cowl pattern (Deadline March 27). Knit1 Blog1 is giving away 100g of sock yarn (deadline March 27).

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I’m making slow progress on the “H is for tHe” square. Truth to tell, I’ve been putting more of my free time into writing up background for that game that I’ve been running than into knitting. I’ll keep pushing though, I don’t want to get anywhere near the deadline before I mail this.

Following up on the blog contests with a March 21st deadline, neither Elegant Economy nor The Blueberry Boutique has announced winners yet (so I still have a chance, right?). I did not win the Lobug Designs giveaway from Vegancraftastic, but she’s just announced one for a Minimalist Knitter pattern (ends March 28).

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Woke Up in Darkness

I woke up from a nightmare this morning, and was not too pleased to find myself in the dark. It’s only been a week since the clocks have ‘sprung forward’, but I’ve gotten used to morning sunshine. Here it is, the second ‘official’ day of spring, and I woke up to a world on the dusky side of twilight. Then there was silent lightning. Then the rain started. It’s daylight now, but April showers have gotten a head start on things. Ah, the joys of living somewhere that has weather and not just climate…

I did not get much crafting done yesterday, which is disappointing. I spent the day at a fantasy baseball draft with DH and DD#2 (DD#1 sent along instructions on how to draft her team, and went to a play rehearsal). I don’t play in the league, but neither did our host for the draft. I’d planned to spend the afternoon watching movies with him and knitting, but he had the room dark so as to better see the screen. So it was a fun, but not very productive afternoon. I got to introduce a friend to the magic of Ray Harryhausen, which was pretty cool in and of itself.

Retrobaby is giving away lots of things, like fabric, yarn, notions and red egg cups (drawing ends April 15th). The icon for this one was so cute I just had to add it to my flare (over on the right). KnitPurlGirl is hosting a series of March Madness Giveaways, I’ve entered the ones for two of Kim Werkers crochet books (signed by the author), my choice of patterns from Fiber Dreams and the Fish Doll Pattern (deadline April 4).

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I didn’t post here yesterday, because I spent the day running an RPG, something I haven’t done in a very long time. It’s not crafting, but it is one of my very favorite favorite creative outlets. There’s a shared, improvisational aspect to it which just works well for me. I’m also a sucker for world-building, and this particular format lets me do that as well. Follow the link (above) if you’re interested in an overview.

I think I’ve got a handle on the color balance of the camera now.

The picture’s not bad, and it’s nice seeing them be friendly with each other once in a while.

I did not win the Kama Suutra sock yarn, but they have two more giveaways for fiber. Since I have a lot of unspun fiber already I’m not entering, but you might want to hop over to Phat Fiber and check them out.

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Take a look at the sidebar, I’m joining the 2nd Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. Why not?

I entered a drawing for a Damask Shawl Kit at the Knitting With Sandra Singh blog (drawing ends March 24).

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The square is coming along very nicely.  I really like how the ‘grain’ of the stockinette background is contrasting with that of the garter stitch H.  I think the seed stitch border highlights the effect rather than confuses it.  In other words, working just as planned:

According to my WordPress stats, people are finding my blog through web searches for “Beholder Hat”.  This would be wonderful if I had a pattern for “Beholder Hat, but I don’t.(much as the idea tempts me). So  here are some close matches that I’ve found – Shoulder Beholder (from the Anti-Craft). The Eyeballs Beanie is being sold by Candypop Creations. The Brain Slug Baby Hat and From the Brain-Slug Planet. One could probably pick and choose parts of these various patterns and cobble something together… Again, I’m sorely tempted, but I’d better knit a conventional hat for DH before I start work on one of these…

In other blogs, Vegan Craftastic has another great giveaway, this one for vegan toiletries and perfumes (deadline March 23).  There are also two charitable knitting posts I’d like to direct you to.  There’s a raffle to benefit Sue Nelson’s cancer treatment (from XRX, the parent company of Knitters Magazine), and PDX Knitterati is donating the gross (not the net, the gross) from online sales of her Pacific Shawl.

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2 gingersI’m really pleased with how this picture came out.  First of all, I think I’ve got the color right this time (yes, her hair is really that red).  I managed to capture the personalities of all three of them.  I’m even happy with my own reflection (well, half reflection) in the glass door.  The only thing I could do without is the reflection of the white car.

It’s too early to have results from the previous blog giveaways and contests I entered, but I did find another pattern and yarn giveaway at Knitting Pipeline (one of the many podcasts I’m catching up with).  Once I’m up to date on all of the ones I’m following I’ll subscribe to another book or two on Podiobooks, because it’s nice to have a guaranteed podcast download every day.  I’m still waiting for the sequel to The Crown Conspiracy.  I’ll have to be patient, though, the author hasn’t even updated his website since October (hope everything is OK there…)

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