Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On Novelty Yarns

7.1.13 Edit: This has been linked with my Yarn Review Monday posts. 
Yarn: Bernat Boa, found at JoAnn's for $5/skein. 1.75 oz=50g, 71 yards. Soft mink color way.

I've only recently used novelty yarn for the first time a couple months ago. The first thing I ever used it for was my first Need A Hug Bear.
The eyelash yarn was so soft and luxurious in the skein. It looks fantastic now that it's a bear. But knitting with it was tedious, to put it nicely. If you've never used this yarn before, here's what you're missing:
What your stitches look like after spreading out on the needle.

Knitting with it.

You definitely want a row counter for this yarn.
Doesn't even look like there's 22 rows there.

Can you see my dropped stitch? Yeah... Neither can I.
I was working on my second bear tonight, and began sewing the head together, when my yarn ripped. Well, separated really, which is why I generally avoid roving at all costs. It was just too soft and perfect for this bear though, that I caved and bought a skein.
Isn't that fantastic:
If I ever have the opportunity to learn how to spin, you can bet I will never make roving.

I did a lot of complaining in this post but I do think the end results are definitely worth the trouble.
Happy knitting!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Day Seven (Sunday April 28th): Looking Forward

"One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?
This could be anything from mastering a technique (broomstick lace, entrelac, etc), trying a new yarn or skill, or a long term wish to crochet only from your stash, or knit every stitch in one of the Harmony Guides. Maybe you have no desire or plans for your craft at all, no new element of knitting or crochet that you dream of mastering, in which case write about why that might be. In a year's time participants will be asked to look back to see if they achieved any goals, no matter how general, and see which house conquered the art of looking forward." 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day Five (Friday April 26th): Something A Bit Different

"It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post or write in verse. You've already stretched your wings with an infographic, now it's time to freestyle. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There's not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be. Bonus points if you manage to work your house animal in somehow."

I didn't think I was going to have something related to my house animal today because I've been thinking about doing a how to video on knitting with beads and incorporating beading into your work. This did not pan out... I had no time to sit and film myself knitting and talking and I know this doesn't count, but I didn't have time to get creative for this post:

I have never done FO Friday since I usually end up putting my FOs into my WIP Wednesday posts (why wait when I can brag sooner?) So I am sharing in FO Friday for my different post. Yes, I know it probably doesn't count but I like comfort (Manatee House!) and haven't thoughtl of something more exciting for this post yet.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day Four (Thursday April 25th): Colour Review

"What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.
Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal - do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway - if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?"I get a lot of yarn from generous friends and family who find themselves with large stashes they don't know how to use. However, I do a substantial amount of boy knitting and as a result, I think my stash has a lot more feminine colors since I don't use them as much. My go-to boy colors involve a lot of browns, but I also use a lot of blue, green, and red, and various shades of those colors. The stash I've been working out of definitely follows this tend, although the yarn my friend recently gave me has a much larger color selection.

I think that, true to the Manatee House characteristics, my color choices stay pretty tame. I like dark, rich colors on both adults and children, although when you look at my FO pages the knitting I do for myself tends to end up in pastels and turquoise. I'm not big on pinks and when I do make the occasional little girl's garment, it's purple. I have a lot of pastels in my stash as well, also due to the fact that the yarn was given to me and I don't generally use those colors.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Just A Quick One This Week

For WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along this week:
My second Need A Hug Bear:
Beginning of his body. I'm a lot further since the photo was taken.

And I've just begun Silas Marner: Weaver of Raveloe.
Happy Knitting!

Day Three (Wednesday April 24th): Infographic

"There are many ways of conveying information on a blog; text and images being the two most widely used. Many infographics combine both these elements to provide a visual way of presenting text information.

Make your own infogaphic (no fancy imaging software needed, you can draw it on paper and photograph it if you want) to convey any element of your craft(s). It can be just for fun or a thoroughly researched presentation of an idea/finding. Here is a very quick example that I made just for fun, which took me under three minutes.

There will be nobody checking on how accurate your infographics are. They may be just for fun (...though if I had taken the time, I could have worked out the rate at which I knit yarn by looking at how many metres of yarn I had knit over the last year, calculated the total amount of yarn in my stash in metres and used a calculation of the average life expectancy of a woman in the UK minus my current age to find an actual calculation... but as I said, this took three minutes.

The whole point of this topic is to experiment with infographics as a way of sharing facts, information and ideas, and to explore another tool in a blogger's arsenal of communication options."

For being crafty, I found myself feeling pretty un-creative for this post. However, after racking my brain for quite some time, I managed to come up with this (although it is more of a meme than an info graphic):

So as you could probably guess, I'm usually sleep-deprived.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day Two (Tuesday April 23rd): A Mascot Project

"Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature. You do not have to make this project! It is simply an exercise in blogging about how you come to decide upon what projects to make. Try and blog about the journey which inspiration and investigating patterns, yarns, stitches, (etc) can often guide you through. You may wish to make a collage or 'mood board' to present several ideas, or even sketch out your own design."

 In the spirit of loving classic designs and comfort, I've been doing a lot of browsing on Ravelry for a good first fair isle sweater. For myself, of course, since I have yet to make myself a sweater and I've already made my husband two of them. And besides the occasional gift, all my knitting is devoted to my boys.
The sweaters I'm debating between all appeal to me for many reasons. I love the styles for all of them. For the Nordic Cardi, I love the moose on the front and I don't have a lot of cardigans in my wardrobe. I love how classic and versatile the pattern in the DROPS sweater is...I could wear it anywhere. And the Roslin sweater appeals to me because it looks so comfy, and it is something I could snuggle in during the winter months here in Wisconsin. I also really like the large hood on it.

These are the patterns I'm trying to decide between for my first sweater for myself, all found on Ravelry:

Nordic Cardigan by Patons

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day One (Monday April 22nd): The House Cup

"A bit like Harry Potter, but not quite, this year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is split into 4 houses. Don your favourite knitted or crocheted hat and let it guide you to which house you will be in... You may be a combination of more than one of these noble beasts, but think about which house best embodies your qualities and declare your place. You can use one of the graphics above to display your house crest, if you like (though this is totally optional).

Post about your crafting outlook/style and why you chose this house. The descriptions have been purposefully written to seem quite vague, but that's really because they are only the merest starting point to prompt bloggers to write about in which ways they identify themselves within their craft(s).

Don't forget to drop by Eskimimi Makes later in the week and vote for which house you chose so we can see which houses crocheters and knitters most identified with.

You could of course decide that you are so unlike any of these creatures in your style of crafting that you set up a rival faction and adopt your own house, though whether you get invited to the end of term disco remains to be seen, you rebel."

I chose the manatee mostly for the part of the description about the projects I tend to focus on, which is comfort, relaxed, and "unflashy." I like to embellish with buttons and beading, and I love trying new techniques and trying elaborate patterns but when it comes right down to it, all of these elements still become something of comfort to wear around the house. I like more classic knits as well.

The House of Manatee: Manatees are gentle, calm and cuddly. Relaxed and unflashy they represent the comfort and soft side of knitting and crochet

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Odds and Ends

Firstly, I'm excited to say that I will be joining in the annual knit and crochet blog week this year. It starts on Monday, so if you plan to join click below to get info and see this year's writing topics.

It is hosted by Eskimimi Makes and you can click on the banner here for more information.

On to my knitting. I'm battling once again with my baby sister in law's coat. You can read my lamentations on it here. No need to do it twice, two posts in a row. To repeat myself, and sum up the post I linked to, This is just one of those projects everyone has to experience where every time it gets worked on, something goes wrong, but you're too far involved to turn and run from battle... The victory will be that much sweeter.

I'm just about finished with The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic and thanks to a book review last week, I downloaded Silas Marner, the Weaver of Raveloe by George Eliot and will be starting it this week.
Dynamic Catholic is about reinvigorating our faith and helping others do the same. Here are a couple snippets from the last "sign," evangelization:
"... you don't have to have all the answers to help someone else grow in the faith; you just have to be willing to help him or her find the answers to the questions you cannot answer."

Friday, April 12, 2013

"Parisian Coat" Frustrations

And here we go. I frogged again on this stupid coat. I'm so frustrated. I originally decided it would get done faster if I picked up the stitches on the bottom of the bodice so that I wouldn't have to piece the skirt together later. I think children's knits are more durable the less pieces they involve. Especially where two year olds are concerned.
After taking a month long break from it, I took it out tonight and after 3/4 row, I knew the reason I hadn't touched it was because I knew deep down I'd just be ripping out more yarn. So the project frog count is 6 or 7 times, including partial and complete frogs on it.
Oh yeah, and right when I was in the middle of a row of picked up stitches last month, my scissor obsessed two year old decided to have fun with my yarn. Cue the freak out. Which is also why I stopped working on it. (This was the same afternoon he hacked up my nice yarn I used on the creeper. That was a bad day for me.)
At least I only had to rip out about four rows. My new strategy is still knitting the skirt in one piece, but from the bottom up like the pattern says and sewing it on at the end, also as pattern dictates.

Check out the bottom bodice edge. Yup. Ruined it picking up those stitches. At least the pattern calls for a velvet belt so I can cover that up when the knitting is finally done.

This is just one of those projects everyone has to experience where every time it gets worked on, something goes wrong, but you're too far involved to turn and run from battle... The victory will be that much sweeter.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Think I Have A New Best Friend

A very good friend and co- worker just gave me the biggest freaking bag of yarn on Sunday night between our shifts... I'm so happy. I think she doubled my stash. Not even exaggerating. And since I grew up in the '90s when having more than one "best friend" was okay I think I can add her to my list... Haha. I love her to death though, even before she restocked my stash. Check out that loot!
Yes, that is a full size couch, covered in yarn from one arm rest to the other.

I was hoping to finish my son's bear before today, stuffed and everything, and I actually succeeded. Don't let my photo fool you though... I need to sew all the parts together now, so I'll be doing most of that tomorrow. The head will not be done since I need to give him a nose so it will be a Sleepy Hollow bear for a while.

Still reading The Four Signs of A Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly (link to a free paperback copy, plus $5 shipping). It is way different than I expected, based on what the back cover says..."What four things did Mother Teresa, Francis of Assisi, John Paul 2, Therese of Lisieux, Ignatius of Loyola have in common? They all practiced the four signs." A bit vague but I was expecting more on the habits of those saints and the late Pope but so far there is nothing on that. Still worth reading though. It gives very easy advice to follow for growing your faith life, advice which can be applied to all Christians so it is still worth a read if you aren't Catholic.

More projects: Click below.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bear Update #3

Another exciting update! Hopefully the arms will be done before I go to bed tonight so that I can assemble tomorrow.

I am having huge nose issues. I'm not confident enough to knit one and the ones I bought ended up being way too small... I'm talking vanity mole on a teddy bear small. So I'll be able to assemble everything but his head.

At least I got to add his eyes! Can you see them?

See you all Wednesday!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Knit with Love for Little Boys

I have an FO!
My littlest son's onesie is complete and now I'm working primarily on his birthday teddy bear. I've taken a break from reading the Catechism since I don't think I'm getting very much out of it lately but I've been reading Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic instead.
And the lovely photos:
More photos of the onesie here.
I also have the ears done and I've started the first limb... A leg.

And just because I love Bob's Burgers and think this is too awkwardly funny not to share, here you go...

Check out more projects by clicking on the icons below:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Love Your Library: April Goals

I've finally got a LYL FO to show off by the end of the day today! It's about time! But as far as my goals for the month, I hope to pick up the Devan or the plum coat again. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "You still haven't finished that yet?!" To which I must answer you with a shameful yet resounding "No."

You can click below for this month's link up.

My Library challenge posts so far:
January Goals
January Wrap-up
February Goals
February Wrap-up
March Goals (No March wrap-up)