Monday, May 28, 2012

Being fancy is hard work; or, how to go from determination to despair in 16 easy steps

  1. Decide you are going to learn to knit. For real this time. No, really for real.
  2. Solicit opinions on Ravelry. Choose Hitchhiker as your first real knitting pattern.
  3. Buy the pattern, buy the needles.
  4. Stare at it for awhile.
  5. Decide that the best way to convince yourself to learn to knit is to bribe yourself with really pretty hand-dyed yarn.
  6. Buy some. Realize you can't knit with it (not very well plied, too splitty), but can probably crochet with it.
  7. Buy some more. It is gorgeous, a fingering-weight silk-linen blend in shades of sand and aqua.
  8. Begin mentally preparing yourself to actually learn to knit. For real this time. No, really. This will probably take at least a week of staring at your pretty yarn and your scary circular needles. That's okay. You have time.
  9. Congratulations! You've psyched yourself up. Grab the pretty yarn, the scary circular needles, and the pattern.
  10. By this time, your skein has been untwisted from the nice hank it arrived in and is now just a very large loop. This is your fault, because you couldn't stop touching it and also maybe you wanted to drape it around your neck like a very pretty silk/linen necklace. It doesn't matter. No one's judging you. (Are they?) The point is, you can't knit from that. You don't have a swift , a ball winder, a nostepinne, or really anything except a very large knitting needle. This internet assures you that this is okay.
  11. This is not okay.
  12. Drape your big loop of yarn around the back of the chair, which the internet assures you is an acceptable substitute for a swift.
  13. This is not an acceptable substitute for a swift. Tangles may result.
  14. Tangles do result.
  15. Cast up a silent prayer of thanksgiving that it's the cats' naptime and all four of them are totally unaware that there are Yarn Things happening.
  16. Blog about it. Or cry. Or both?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Month of Craft Photos: Days 2 - 7

You can find Day 1 in its own post here.

Day 2: My favorite drink. That's home-brewed blood orange hefeweizen in that thrift-store mug. Oh yes.

Day 3: Something new--a knitting loom.

Day 4: Inspiration. I love raw materials, notions, and supplies. Too often I get so overwhelmed by what they could be that they never actually become anything. But I'm working on that.

Day 5: Craft envy. 'Nuff said.

Day 6: My feet. I wish the argyle socks were hand-knit, but no...they're from Target.
Day 7: Traditional. A thread crochet bedspread made by my grandmother. It's huge (covers a full-sized bed) and beautiful.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Month of Craft Photos: Day 1, a WIP

I first saw the "Month of Craft Photos" challenge at Untangling Knots last month, but by then the month was nearly over and I thought I'd lost my chance. Luckily, it's happening again--there's a Flickr group and everything, so it must be official!

In celebration of my newly cleaned-off, far more photogenic workspace, and in an effort to take better photos and post more, I'm jumping in.

Here's day 1, a work in progress:

A white and aqua potholder? NO WAY.
 After today, I'll post these in a once-weekly "digest" rather than one by one each day, but I wanted to kick things off on the right note. (Also, I think I'm already a day behind, but the once-a-week schedule will fix that too. Onward!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Home is where you are"

This is the pattern that first led me to Urban Threads, now one of my favorite sources for embroidery patterns. I just loved the swooping, retro-cool type, and of the course the message went straight to my secretly-sappy heart. I stitched it up in my new favorite color combo of teal, purple, and gray, and only realized after I finished that it goes perfectly with my granny square afghan.

I made this last January, and it was my first really ambitious embroidery project, or at least my biggest, with the most colors. I'm generally pleased with the way it turned out, although I'm sure I could do it better now. Still, I'm happy to hang it in our dining room, across from a display of family wedding photos (soon to include one of our wedding photos!).

And, of course, it was a nice little ego boost when Urban Threads described my rendition of the pattern as "heartmelty" on their Facebook page. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Afghans on the brain

1 down, 27 to go...
I don't know why, but I've been on an afghan kick lately. Maybe it's the season (winter demands an afghan on every chair and at the end of every bed), maybe it's because I haven't made one in a year and boy, are there some good patterns out there. Unfortunately, because afghans take so long, being on an afghan "kick" really just means I'm daydreaming about a dozen and praying that I have the stamina to finish just one.

I'm making this rose throw from the March/April 2010 Crochet Today. It's my first "pieced" afghan, made up of individual blocks that have to be sewn together. This method is a lot more time consuming than an afghan worked in one piece, but also easier to work on in the interim (more portable), and with way more design possibilities. Right now I have all of the center rosettes done, and 9 of the 28 blocks fully stitched. I imagine it'll be another month or so, at least, before the whole thing is complete and festooning the back of my couch.

In the meantime, I'm dreaming of other afghans. I have two weddings coming up for which I'd like to make afghans, so I've been browsing and bookmarking other patterns. For your stitching pleasure, here are a few I've collected, all free:

  • Blackberry Salad striped baby blanket from Moogly. I LOVE the bobbles and the bright colors. I've never been a huge fan of pastels, even for babies, and the colors she chose are just so pretty and fun. And of course the color and striping possibilities are endless.
  • The Lazy Hobbyhopper combines two of my favorite things by demonstrating how to crochet a granny ripple. I don't think I've ever seen that done before, but I love the effect. I can't wait to try it out on a project of my own.
  • This isn't quite an afghan tutorial on its own, but Eggbird's springtime hexagon pattern would make a stunning pieced afghan.
  • Lion Brand's website has a ton of free patterns, including dozens (hundreds?) of afghans and throws. I've had this sampler throw bookmarked for quite awhile. In the bright colors they use, it's cheerful and modern; in a more subdued palette (perhaps all one color), it becomes an elegant heirloom piece (like this sampler throw). My parents actually have a similar afghan crocheted by one of my grandmothers. It's a nicely worked sampler piece; unfortunately, it was made entirely in shades of orange. Ahh, the seventies...
  • Speaking of heirloom pieces, what about this stunning Magnolia afghan? That center panel is just beautiful. Normally I'm not a big fan of variegated yarn, but I think it works nicely here.
I haven't even began to browse Ravelry's afghan patterns; I'm afraid if I do that, I'll spend the rest of my life stitching blankets and nothing else.

What have you been making lately? Anybody else out there with afghan fever?