Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Confession and Current Prodge

I'm a yarn snob.

There. I've said it.

Some knitters say they are knitting snobs, some crocheters say they are crochet snobs, having personal preferences and seeing knitting as the best way to interlace yarn, or crocheting as the best way to interlace yarn. I don't have any prejudice there and I like both knit and crochet.

Me, I'm a yarn snob. I have a hard time buying average yarn, mass-produced yarn, the yarn that is sold at Walmart and Michaels and ACMoore, for example. I can't help it.

I go nutty for handspun yarn and hand-dyed yarn, local-made or made by an artisan or a community of artisans or a small company that sees to high quality and the beauty of natural fibers. Companies like Blue Sky or Malabrigo or Manos del Uruguay and the unnameable, numerous small companies that produce wonderful yarns from natural fibers.

I go to local yarn shops (LYS) - privately owned - the equivalent of mom and pop shops where you get the best service, knowledgeable and caring attendants, and top-notch products. The LYS's are where you find the best yarns. It is almost always more expensive as far as money goes, but the quality of whatever you are making and the luxury of handling such good yarn while you are making it pays off endlessly. Quality beats quantity. Plus, you know you are helping to support the crafting community all the while.

That being said, now I will get off my soapbox and show you my current project. I will use the term "prodge" for "project" from now on, because it is silly and makes me giggle.

This is my first excursion into the daisy/star stitch in crochet. I really like how it looks, although this is not the best type of yarn to see the design. This yarn was chosen by the recipient of this scarf. I, being a yarn snob, would be hard pressed to choose yarn like this. It has acrylic and poly in it. Metallic threads are often itchy although they look pretty. Ok, enough snobbery.

Pretty colors.

See the pattern of stars?

Soft n Fuzzie Cowl

Originally this had been a scarf. It is a skein of angora and a skein of ribbon. I now wish I had a before/after picture. I had made it for my mother before I started this blog. The scarf was made on large-ish needles and the ribbon would snag during every-day activities so I had her give it back to me so I could take a good look at it and see if it could be frogged.

You know how these natural fibers can felt/full naturally from friction sometimes so I wasn't sure if it would frog easily. It did - well, fairly easily- so here it is. I turned it into a cowl on smaller needles - (well, size 10's are small for me!). It turned into a beautiful, soft and squishy and stretch, incredibly warm cowl which can be also worn as a hat.

I did the binding off for the first time in a different way to maintain maximum stretch. The typical bind-off was not stretchy enough so I pulled it back and did a search in my books for an alternate bind-off. I found it in "Teach Yourself Knitting" which has been a very helpful book.

1. knit two together (k2tog) through the back of the stitches.
2. slip this stitch you just made back to the left needle.
3. repeat.
4. continue until one stitch remains, then cut your yarn and pull it through the last stitch to secure it just like you normally would for the universal bind-off.

At first I was like "huh?" and it seemed so weird, but after a few tries it made sense and it left my bind-off with equal elasticity as my cast-on, which made it a perfectly symmetrical cowl. Very pleased am I and my mother loves it!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter

What could this be....

Why, it's Lil' Miss Bunny!

From "Knitted Animals" by Anne-Dorthe Grigaff

It's still a bit chilly so she needed a scarf.

But Spring is right around the corner so she needed a flower for her ear.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lil' Kerchief

I set out to make a beanie/skully for a young daughter of a friend of mine but the yarn I had did not work with the pattern very well so I knitted a little kerchief for her instead.

The pattern was straightforward, from Debbie Stoller's first Stitch'n Bitch book. I wanted to girlie up the edges so I did a crochet picot around the sides. It amazes me what a difference a little decorative edging makes.

Sans picot:

Avec picot:

I debated on using the picot across the top as well but it didn't seem like the right thing to do so I decided against it.

I used Blue Sky Alpaca's Silk which is 50% alpaca and 50% silk. Very nice drape and indeed silky to the touch. Color is Guava #145.

Kerchiefs are so darn cute. I hope she likes it!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bebeh Hat!

Stuffie kitty will have to demonstrate. I think square hats are so cute. Oh baby is going to look so adorable in this!!

I love these colors. Mirasol Cotanani 60% Cotton/40% Merino Wool. Lovely yarn to work with. I made this baby hat for my good friend's little boy. I followed the "Dots" pattern in "Itty Bitty Hats" by Susan B. Anderson but I did a little improvising and made stripes. I did this on straight needles and then stitched up the seams on the sides. I have learned a lot from this little hat. I will never make a square hat this way again - next time I will make it in the round. That way the only seam to stitch is the crown. Much easier and possibly more comfortable to the wearer.

I even like the WS, which I usually don't like that first row where the next color is added on. I think it is because these colors are so beautiful together. There are 4 different colors I chose.

The edge is seed stitch, which i so much love.

Beautiful colors!! Have I mentioned how beautiful the colors are? Have I? Have I??

BTW, I also saw in the bookstore Susan B. Anderson's other book, "Itty-Bitty Nursery", and oh lordie there are so many adorable patterns in it that I nearly keeled over.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Love at First Swift

I finally broke down, after years of winding skeins by hand on the backs of chairs, and I bought a skein winder. This is a luxury item, folks, and it has taken me forever to justify buying one.

The effects were immediate. I have been winding like a...well...winding fiend. And it has been so easy. Watching it wind slowly (I cannot justify buying a ball winder) is wonderfully hypnotizing, especially on a cold windy night by the fireplace.

This swift is terrific and I found it so reasonably priced at This seller was great and I received it within a few days after ordering. I highly recommend him if you are on the prowl for a modestly-priced swift.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

World's Biggest Ball of Yarn

I had made a shawl ages ago with my gargantuan size 50 knitting needles and although I loved all the yarns I had combined (I used a different yarn every row), I didn't like the end result. I can't even say why, I just didn't. So last night I frogged it. That was awful lots of fun.

I tied the ends together loosely so I could make a ball - I'll just watch ahead so I can weave in the ends as I go. I'm making (drum roll please) another scarf, yes, but this will be a Springtime Scarf! Most of the yarn is light in weight. I have no idea how this is going to turn out. This should be interesting. Those are size 10 needles.

All greens and pinks - one of my favorite color combinations. There is a bunch of different textures deeper within the ball. I'll take shots as I go...