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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!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I"m Back!

Hard to believe my "little break" turned into the whole summer!  And more than half of September is already gone as well.  But, no mind, we're up and running again.

Let's see, anything new to report?  A few things:  

1) Next year's NatCroMo celebration is going to be bigger and better than ever before!  I think Crochetville is going to outdo previous years by gathering not only crochet designers but indie yarn makers and shop owners to participate as well.  Even though NatCroMo isn't until March, I don't think it's too early to start planning.  I'll probably be giving some hints about my March 10th submission here and there as they develop, and I hope to add to last year's Tiny Squares project.

2)  I've been using this time off to make a few baby gifts and learn some new techniques, which I plan on sharing in future posts.  I've really been thinking a lot about how to combine crochet with knitting in different but easy ways, so I have a feeling you'll be hearing a lot more about that as well.

3)  And speaking of thinking, I've got my friend Charlene helping me with a little bit of strategic planning and niche building, so I'm sure I'll be sharing some of the ups (and inevitable downs) about that too.

So, I think these Fall and Winter seasons will bring some fresh and fun things to this blog, please join me on this adventure!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Metro Yarn Crawl 2015!

Hard to believe another yarn crawl has come and gone!  Two friends and I headed to Virginia last Tuesday and visited Nature's Yarn, Aylin's Woolgatherer, and Uniquities.

The first stop was Nature's Yarn.  I couldn't believe that the store has been open for 7 years, and I've never heard of it.  But they did say that this was the first year they were participating in the crawl, so why else would I have heard of it since I think of Fairfax, VA, as the edge of the earth ;-).  I didn't actually buy any yarn at this store (even though they had a lot of great fibers), but scored some Knit Blockers and this beautiful shawl pin by Jul.

Then it was on to Aylin's.  It's a little tricky to find since it's actually on the third floor of an office building wedged between the Loehmann's and the Giant grocery store.  I love this store because it still carries the Catania yarn by Schachenmayr that's so impossible to find.  With 20 percent off, I loaded up on some beautiful colors and think I've found the perfect project for it (which of course will be in another post).

We were starved, so after a quick South American chicken lunch, we were back on the road to Uniquities.  This is such a great shop and totally worth the trip out there to Vienna, VA, even when it's not crawl time.  I managed to not buy anything after breaking the bank at Aylin's, but there was some hand dyed sock yarn that I've got my eye on!  It was definitely Mary's favorite, and she scored some wonderful sock yarn and a yarn bowl at an awesome price.

So, after our Virginia adventure, we made it back to civilization (aka the District limits) by 4, just in time for me to drool a bit more over my purchases and take a nap!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pink, Orange, and Color Theory

I've been thinking a lot about colors and color theory lately because a few weeks ago, there was a great article in the Washington Post's Local Living section (here) about the pink-orange combo, which you know I just love.  And I've been seeing a lot of pink in stores lately (actually scored a lovely dusty pink jacket for the spring/summer). Having just received the shipment of Petunia's wool, this year I'm really toying with the idea of dying some of it (even though its natural color is so beautiful).

I also came across a wonderful blog post about color theory by Tanis Gray on TanisKnits.  I really appreciated her first bit of advice to BE BRAVE in your color combinations while knitting (or crocheting of course).  It's frustrating, though, when you find colors you like and, when you go to buy more, you discover that they are discontinued because they are not "in."

For example, Pantone has decreed that Marsala is the color for 2015.  While I think it's a beautiful color, I lean more toward the "cool" colors, like a burgundy that has a bluish undertone (rather than the warmer colors with yellowish undertones).  Remember when discovering "your colors" was all the rage and whether you were a "winter" or a "summer" resulted in banishing certain colors from your wardrobe and makeup palette forever?!  I guess there's a part of me that still clings on to the concept :-)

I've also discovered that Dragonfly Fibers is actually just up the road from me!  Great article about the owner in a recent Washington Post article:

And you know how much I love the colors and yarns offered by Wandering Wool.  Mmmm, I think an internship in dying is in my future!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2015

I have finally gotten to go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!!  Every year it seemed there was some reason why I couldn't go, but this year was perfect.  The weather was beautiful, and a friend's husband volunteered to drive us there.  We went early on Sunday morning, so it took us only about an hour to get there.  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but if you've ever been to an outdoor crafts festival, it's pretty much the same but with mainly yarn and live animals.  Oh, and food, lots ... of... FOOD.  Mainly of the lamb variety, which still bothers me a bit considering, but I got over it enough when I came across a lamb sausage wrapped in puff pastry and Moroccan mint tea :-)

Along the path to the fairgrounds (it was held at the Howard Co. fairgrounds), a local group did a wonderful yarn bombing.

Then, how could I not visit with the sheep!


And these sheep were pretty awesome too by local artist Liz Printz (check out her page here for other examples of her beautiful work!)

(photo with permission from Ms. Printz)

Yarn, yarn everywhere.  These hanks by Sea Colors were tantalizing!

Even took home a little sheep of my own :-)  The Bees Folks had yummy honey, hand lotion, and these little candle gems

Hope to make it back next year!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crochet, Coral Reefs, and TED

Watching 60 Minutes tonight and the segment on TED Talks reminded me of one of the first TED Talks I saw back in 2009 -- "The Beautiful Math of Coral" by Margaret Wertheim.  She's the science writer who, along with her sister Christine, founded the Institute for Figuring (the IFF), an organization dedicated to the aesthetic appreciation of science, mathematics, and engineering.  She's the one who started the crocheted coral reef project to draw attention to the dangers facing coral reefs around the world as well as the ability of only crochet to model hyperbolic planes and space (though I think now with 3D imaging on computers, that might not be a wholly true statement anymore).  And exactly what is a hyperbolic space?  Think lettuce and kelp -- they are natural examples of hyperbolic geometry - which is also found in the anatomical frills of sea slugs, flatworms and other underwater life found in coral reefs.  And what's really cool is that it was Dr. Daina Taimina, a mathematician, who discovered in 1997 how to make physical models of hyperbolic space using crochet; previously, many mathematicians did not believe it was possible for humans to construct such forms in the physical world. Sadly I missed the opportunity to help create the crochet reef that was on exhibit at the Smithsonian in 2010-2011, but you can see some photos from my 2011 blog post about the exhibit and a list of the contributors to the exhibit here.