Sunday, May 18, 2014

Looking Forward: 5LCBWDAY7

Since I did not participate in the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week last year, I have no project aspirations to look back upon. But I have plenty of things the look forward to!

My hope is that in a year from now, I will be a much more accomplished knitter. I hope I will continue taking risks and trying new techniques. I also hope that in a few months, I will be able to say that I have completed (since I have even yet to start) the Christmas stocking for my first child. I want to knit one for each of our kiddos.

For crocheting, and I do hope this gets done sooner than one year from now, I'd like to finish my Hexagon blanket. Because really, it's been over two years since I started it, and that's just sad. It's so pretty, and it's be nice to have it done, so that I never have to do it again. Hahah. I wish I were joking. So many ends to weave in!!!!

Additionally, since this blog is partially about my etsy shop, I'd like to have more consistent new-creations for the shop. I love the challenge of making new things and writing new patterns, and I really want to keep the items in the shop fresh. New stuff is fun stuff.

Some other projects I'd like to have under my belt:

-More knitted socks! I want to feel comfortable making them. Like, "oh I'll just make some socks no big deal" comfortable. Not "oh I'll make some socks and freak out half way through the first sock and have a nervous breakdown about the type of heel I'm going to put on it." That's where I'm at right now.

-A knitted sweater for me. I don't know what kind. I don't know when. I just feel like it is something that ought to happen.

-And I am certain that my babu will inspire me in ways I cannot predict, so hopefully in a year from now, I'll be telling you all about the things I made that my 8-month-old gets the most use out of.

As far as blogging goes, I have absolutely no goals for my blog. I have no idea where my life will take me in this next year: whether blogging will still be a welcome output for creative ramblings, or it will have become more of a chore than a joy. I don't want to plan and push and set limits and goals for this derpy blog, I'd rather see what it becomes as time goes on.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Views of Others, Views of Self: 5KCBWDAY6

"Write about another knitter or crocheter that you admire."

For some reason, this topic has become very tricky for me to write about. Perhaps I'm overthinking it. I mean, there are a ton of knitters and crocheters I admire. There is my Grandma, who taught me how to crochet. Her mountain stitch afghans are the works of art that first sparked my interest in yarny creations. And what about my mother? My mom who more than just humored me when I was an enthusiastic little child learning to crochet. My mom who took me shopping for yarn, and praised me when I challenged my self with new patterns. And then there's my sister, who showed me that crochet can be intricate, as well as playful, when she took up doily making. Or what about my aunt? Her meticulous color choices and dedicated project planning abilities are constantly inspiring me to focus, and make the details count. All of their enthusiasm for the craft continuously inspiring and re-inspiring me. Challenging me. Pushing me. How on earth could I choose just one member of my fiber-loving flock of a family to admire?

And what about the crafters outside of my family? What about +Lise Engdal who taught me to knit the right way Norwegian way via webcam one weekend? What all the school friends who gave in to my begging and let me teach them to crochet? What about the bloggers and pattern writers and photographers who keep publishing such delightful material? They all certainly deserve my admiration.

I have always felt that thing that makes knitting and crocheting so wonderful is the bond it creates between so many people. I'm not just talking about weekly knitting clubs or sisters who crochet together, I'm talking about a historical bond between our modern times and a bygone era. A time when making things by hand was not a luxury, it was a daily fact of life. And though so little time was available after all the other chores of the day were done, our ancestors still found time to make little extra touches on the most humble of garments. A rose bud on a shirt cuff, the name and date on the edge of a scarf. Little flourishes that prove even though it was perhaps a chore, knitting and crocheting were still means of self-expression. A way of physically creating a representation of your care for another person.

In my experience as a crafter, there is one particular experience that really stands out in my mind as the perfect representation of how making something by hand creates a meaningful connection between the maker and the wearer. I became good friends with the teaching assistant for my Russian class in college. She was from Russia, teaching in the US as part of her language study program to get her Masters degree. When the semester was over, I wanted to send her home with something handmade. I decided on a scarf.

When I gave it to her, she was so happy. I really can't put it into words. I've given people things I'd made before, but she told me that nobody had ever made her something before. No handcrafted gift. Ever. She wrote me once she got back home, and thanked me again fro the scarf. She said it reminded her of America, and all the wonderful experiences she had here. It was a physical representation of good memories, and good people. And it was the best thank-you for anything I've ever made.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Something a Bit Different: 5KCBWDAY5

Here's something quite different from my normal posting style for you: a video!! I thought it would be just loads of fun to take a video of myself knitting all afternoon and make you poor darlings watch it. But don't worry, I sped the footage up just a wee (1600%) bit. And I added some music. And sound effects. Because they are fun!! And I figured you didn't want to hear the Dr. Who episodes I was watching on Netflix in the background.

Just something different. I must say, getting my camera to cooperate and take the videos was certainly difficult. It's be going all fine, then my camera would be all, "Boop! Imma go to sleep mkay? Bye." No low battery, no lack of memory space...just bored of watching me knit, I guess. Oh well.

These are the"Easiest & Fastest Baby Booties Ever" by A La Sascha on ravelry. It's a free pattern! And as you can see, it is indeed easy and fast. I made a pair in under a minute! ;)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Conversation Between Workers: KCBWDAY4

"Psst. Hey. Bluey. Hey!"

"What, J Hook. What do you want?"

"Hey, I think she's writing something. A new pattern maybe."

"Who do ya think she'll pick??"

"-grumbling- I don't know. Probably H Boye."

"Hrmph. Ya think?"

"She always picks H Boye."

"That no good H. Always stealin' the glory and whatnot."

"They have a history, her and that hook."

"Still. Doesn't mean she couldn't use- SHH. She's coming!!"

"-whispering- I toldjya!!"

"Shadup she'll here you!!"

"Oh. Yeah."


"Well now, H Boye....are you ready to get to work?"


Was that a grunt?"


What's your deal?"

"Just look at me!!"

"And? What about you?"

"I'm the shabbiest hook you've got. And you keep picking me for everything. It's getting a bit ridiculous.""What do you mean?"

"Last week, you used me to work with Lion Brand Homespun. I may just be a crochet hook, but I know what bulky yarn is. I'm an H for crying out loud!!"

I wanted a denser hat! Using the J was giving me all kinds of holes and-"

"What about the Vinca?""What?"

"The JL Vinca. That yarn is obviously light fingering. And again, you used me."

I....wanted....something a little looser?"

"I think you have a problem."

What do you mean...problem?"

"Hook obsession. I'm old, I'm beat up. Get a new favorite hook! I saw you looking at the Caspian series by Knit Picks yesterday, don't deny it!! You need something else, and you know it."

Yeah, well, they are nice. Wooden hooks. But you can't use a wooden hook for everything!"

"You use a steel hook for everything."

.......Point taken."

"I'm begging you, move on, girl. You are writing patterns now! People will talk if you keep putting down H for the hook required for EVERY project.""But, I don't think you understand. For you, crocheting is a job. For me, it's so much more. It's relaxing, it's challenging, and it's very, very sentimental."

"I don't get it."

Do you remember who you worked with before me?"


My Grandma. The one who taught me to crochet. You were her hook. Her go-to hook. She let me use you when I was learning because she knew you were trusty and steadfast. Then she gave you to me! Ever since I was six, you have been my base-line, my ground zero, my starting point. I try you first for almost every project because you are the best. My favorite. We've been through a lot together."

"Yeah, we have, haven't we?"

Those first, wobbly stitches. Trying to read patterns. Making toys and hats and scarves and purses. You are losing all your color where the yarn rubs on you. There are some pretty horrific gouges on your back from that time I accidentally slammed you in my locker in junior high. Do you think a wooden hook would withstand that kind of abuse?"

"...I guess not."

No, it wouldn't. Every time I've lost you, you found your way back to me. People see your beat-up patina and know you are mine. You have some pretty remarkable accomplishments in those battle-scars. It helps me to remember all the things we've done."

"Gosh. I didn't realize you were such a sappy girl."

I am indeed."

"-sigh- Well, I guess...if I really am that great...we better get to work.""Wonderful! And just so you know, I'm still thinking about those Caspians."

"Good. Maybe I'll get a day off!!"

In your dreams."

"Wishful thinking."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Experimental Photography and Image Handling: 5KCBWDAY3

For today's topic, I challenged myself to take photos that would explain the entire process of bleaching cotton yarn and require as few words of explanation as possible. This is a particularly tricky challenge for me because, a) I love to talk, and b) I love to talk. I spent a lot of time thinking about some of the picture tutorials I have seen on the internet recently: a lot of them require almost no words at all!! Why then, should I not try and challenge myself to make a similar tutorial? No reason at all.

I've made tutorials and patterns in the past, but they all seem to end up a bit wordy. I really had to flip my perspective for this challenge and think about how I as a crafter use tutorials and patterns. Essentially, I use them like a framework. A skeleton of ideas from which I can develop my own techniques and strategies. I know there are plenty of people out there who love to know exactly which stitch goes where, and exactly how long the yarn needs to soak in the beach water, but this is a different sort of tutorial. The sort that says: You decide! You are smart! You are crafty! Get to it! I believe in you! Just make sure you don't try and dilute the bleach with ammonia and you should be fine!!

And let me tell you, it was hard for me to wrap my mind around making a tutorial this way. But that's the joy of Knit and Crochet Blog Week, right? Challenging ourselves to see our favorite craft and blog techniques differently; to give them new light not only to ourselves but to other knitters and crocheters and bloggers. I am loving it so far. Hope you all are too!!!

Happy crafting!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Day in the Life of Hedgie : 5KCBWDAY1

"Alone at last!"

"Poor Hedgie..."

"You must be so bored when I leave you here alone!"

Knit your own Hedgehog Pattern: free!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New Pattern: Mini Platypus Amigurumi

Last in Line Shop: Platypus Pattern $3 on Etsy
Last in Line Shop: Platypus Pattern $3 on Etsy

In order to take my mind off the the big project I'm working on finishing up as a written pattern, I took a little break last week to derp about and make a simple little amigurumi platypus. It turned out so well, I thought: "Hey, why don't I type up this pattern too?" Which I did. Because finding excuses to not work on a bigger project by making more work for yourself is always logical.
Last in Line Shop: Platypus Pattern $3 on Etsy

But, come on! Look at that face! It is so worth writing the pattern down so that I can make a bazillion lil platys. Don't argue, I know I'm right.

Last in Line Shop: Platypus Pattern $3 on Etsy

Want to make some of your own? They are super fast, super cute, and only take a little bit of yarn. A great instant gratification project for when you don't want to work on something else. The Mini Platypus Amigurumi is available as an instant download at the Last in Line Shop. Easy peasy!!

Happy Tuesday! Hope you all are doing well. I'm still exhausted from a festive weekend of shopping for clothes that actually fit my belly.

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's a Girl!! or How to Tell What Secrets I am Keeping via Ravelry

I have mentioned this before and I'll say it again: I am not very good at keeping secrets. I can't make up a "likely reason" to keep someone off the trail of a surprise I have for them. I have my moments of brilliance where I blame the internet or Google for "knowing what you search for a lot, that's why that shirt keeps popping up. Not because I bought it for you."But those moments are few and far between.

Plus, I'm impatient.

If I'm excited about something, I want EVERYONE to know. Which is why there was absolutely no way I was going to even attempt to keep it a secret when we found out what gender Baby Z is. Well, there are a lot of reasons why we didn't want to keep it a secret, but the primary one is I'm a loud mouth and see no point in struggling to be silent for 4.5 more months. Plus, my sister would have tortured it out of me. You don't mess with that girl when it comes to babies.

But, for a moment, let's pretend I were going to keep the baby's gender a secret. Okay, fine. But since I know what the baby is, I'd want to make stuff. And If I want to make stuff, I probably want to document it. And if I want to document it, I can't do it in a place that my friends and family will be looking. Because, come on, one look at what's on the top of my Ravelry queue currently and you know what's up:

", I was just. Those are know."

No. It wouldn't work.

Me and secrets about babies do not mix. Especially when the secret is something like, "WE'RE HAVING A BABY GIRL!!!" and is going to require a ton of crafting in the next 4 months. Short term secrets are a bit better, but when it comes to my baby, I'm going to be doing a lot of shouting with joy.