Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Over-ambitious



I decided today, December 19, to crochet socks for my coworker. I was going to buy her something crochet-related, as she's joined the company of the crocheters, but then thought it would be more fun to make her something. However, at 12:20am with (most of) one sock finished, I'm both laughing at my ambitious ambition and determined to get them done in time. I'll at least give her the one sock before we close on Thursday.

I do hope this is a future of making lots of socks, but I think I'll switch to knitting. The Knit Picks sock yarns (this is their Simple Stripes) are just too lovely not to work up!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Knit + Crochet = Pretty


This is a pattern out of the recent Family Circle Easy Crochet magazine. The feature was called "DreamWeavers" -- a few projects that weave in both knitting and crochet. Perfect for this girl, I thought.

This poncho will be a gift for a friend. I'm loving making it because it incorporated the things I like best about yarn craft just the way I like them:

(1) Challenge and learning new things, in the knitting. (My first decreases! And my first time sewing knitted fabric together.
(2) Total comfort & relaxation. The crochet part is detailed, but I find even complicated crochet restful at this point.

And it was perfect that I could first work through figuring out the knitting and then relax into the crochet.

And, it's cute. I'm thinking I might make one for myself in black.. but I'll probably make it a short capelet, as seen here, rather than finishing for a full length poncho (as I'm working toward).

P.S. I just always have to laugh at the mirror pictures. When I see them on other people's blogs, I laugh knowingly. But I actually laugh while I'm taking them. So silly. Ah, the lengths we go to to share our crochet...

"Quick Holiday Gifts!!!"



I'm amused by the yarn companies' e-mails this week pushing easy-to-complete projects. The cheaper yarns' designs tend not to be my style, but I had to give this one special attention because of its caption:

Hip "New York" knit purse in Patons® Pebbles for your
jet-setting cousin.

*I'm* that New York jet-setting cousin. Too bad none of my cousins knit. :)

(I'm having trouble posting the link out of the e-mail, but if you are interested in the bag, I'm sure you can find it on Paton's website!)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Scarf Season ... #2: Guilty Acrylic Yarn Pleasures




I hate Homespun yarn.
But I kind of like it, too.

It splits. It's soft. It's hard to see the stitches. Some of the colors are really pretty.
I recognize that among the "serious crochet/knitting" community, Homespun is not exactly popular. At least not in public. But, you gotta admit, that pink scarf on the left is just pretty. I love the color.

I picked up the second skein, in "Prairie," this weekend, after thinking of the warm earthy color combos for my mom. I have decided, on skein 2 of Homespun, that crochet is clearly a superior craft. The pink scarf took me a matter of hours. I've got a good 5 hours in the garter stitch Prairie scarf, and am only 1/3 of the way done. Clearly, I'm a faster crocheter - and the pink scarf is narrower - but I just like the crochet look better anyway.

I'll chalk it up as practice for the Stitch 'n' Bitch sweater(s) I'm going to make over Christmas. Plus, Mom (kind of) knits, so it will be inspiration for her!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Lace yarn is really thin

Ever since I bought this yarn to "play" with, I've been fantasizing about trying this scarf pattern from Interweave.



A quiet Saturday was the perfect time for it. I'm going to get more colors of the yarn and actually complete the scarf. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and the yarn (Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud) is lovely. Really soft.

There's still something in me, though, that sees lace yarn as nothing but a barrier between me and instant gratification. I'll have to work through that.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The perils of crochet in a small apartment

On some levels, crochet is the perfect hobby for a small apartment. Dancing, for example, would be tough. Crochet requires little surface space. Just enough room for me and, oh, say, an afghan. But there are some instances in which a little more room would be beneficial, most of which I've discovered with this shawl.

Example #1: Small mirrors in small bathrooms make for bad self-portraits of modeling a completed project:



And I'm usually pretty clever at taking a photo of myself:



Example #2: Blocking in a studio is hard. It would be harder, I suppose, if I had roommates who would be upset at the fact that I'm covering the only walkway from the front door to the rest of the house with a wet wool shawl that absolutely cannot be moved for two days.



But, all in all, I'd never give up the yarn, the apartment (which was a miracle dropped out of heaven!), or the fabulous city in which we all reside. I love the little challenges that New Yorkers live with. I once tried to get these home on the subway. And now I'm covering my studio with towels and yarn. Yesterday my super had to crawl in my window because my exterminator broke my lock.

I love New York.
(No, really. That's not cynicism. Just a happy Friday night expression of gratitude.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Scarf Season ... #1



There are more where this came from. I didn't manage to take a final photo of this because I was so excited to wrap it (see below) and give it away, but it was made with Karabella's Aurora 8 in a modification of a pattern out of Interweave Crochet's 2005 magazine. I loved the yarn and the colors. And lacking proper wrapping supplies, I sewed a flower to the first paper shopping bag I could find, a presentation I think I'll adopt more frequently:

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Stuff


(That's a euphemism expressing frustration for those of you who haven't heard me throw it around or don't know any Aussies.)

See how this started off as a lovely triangle?

See how I managed to go for a whole ball of yarn without realizing that I was skipping a loop in each row, and my shawl had ceased to be a triangle?

Stuff.

All for the joy of the process.
:)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Yummy


That's all I can think of to say about this yarn. It's a Blue Heron hand-dyed cotton & rayon boucle that I got at Seaport Yarn in New York (which is pretty yummy itself -- more on that later in a planned 'all you need to know about yarn/knitting/crochet in New York City' post.)

It was even on sale - 150 yards of a bulky yarn for $20. Saturday was a happy yarn day, indeed.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Unfinished business


Please find pictured several of the in-progress projects I'm working on. No, not all fo them -- just many of them. There are also two crocheted scarves crying out for fringe and one half-done on my new knitting needles. Hmm.

I think part of the problem is an excitement to try new things. I didn't know how to make a mitten until I made that one; so now I know how to make a mitten, and I want to make a shawl. Etc. That's also why knitting has become so interesting to me lately, as I feel comfortable with crochet and am enjoying a new challenge.

Crochet has also opened a whole new creative window for me, a person who has often doubted her creativity, even as a working writer. ("But I'm just writing other people's messages," I say.) I don't doubt that I am creative when it comes to creating with yarn. I see color in a new way, I see people on the streets of the city in a new way, as I analyze their knitted garments for ideas. As my faith increases that I am, indeed, the creative being God made me to be, that creativity flows out and infuses everything I do; I've even felt more creative in writing "other people's messages" at work. And I'm using this blog to write creatively about my creative process via crochet. Brilliant.

So I suppose the reason I have so much "unfinished business" on my hooks and needles is because to me it represents unlimited possibility. The interdependence of life is amazing.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wow, I can knit




I'd almost given up on knitting in favor of much-more-comfortable-because-I-know-what-I'm-doing crochet. But I got inspired tonight. I started fresh on a ball of Lily Sugar 'n' Cream yarn, varigated in neon blue/yellow/green, and did 6 rows each of stockinette stitch, seed stitch, and a 1x1 rib, repeating the 6 rows of St st in between sections of seed and the rib. I edged it* with Lion Cotton neon orange in crochet, and sewed on what may be the first button I've ever sewed on anything.



(But I didn't have any thread, so I used alpaca lace yarn!)

*"It," by the way, is a cell phone cozy. It's also, I guess, my first original design. Sort of. :)

Very pleased with my little creation!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rock and Roll Crochet



I don't even know what to say.

But I like clicking on the link over and over again, because it makes me laugh.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Uh-oh.



As if the crochet habit weren't enough...

I tried to knit for the first time when I was eight or so. I got really good at knitting, no purling, which I now know is called the garter stitch, and of which I wasn't too fond.

Six months of crochet work has made learning to knit much easier. It still feels a little awkward in my hands, but I've become comfortable with stockinette stitch in 2 days. It took me nearly a month to feel like I knew what I was doing with single crochet.

I've also learned I love the challenge of learning something new. I have several crochet projects in progress (or on the Christmas gift to-do list), but it's fun to try to teach my hands to do something more.

Crochet remains my first (yarn-related) love, but part of the reason I was so drawn to it was the ability it provided to connect with people. At present, knitting seems to strike more of that than crochet. I hope to introduce knitting people to the joys of crochet. Wish me luck.

By the way: that's the start of a cell phone cozy from Stitch 'n Bitch, using Lily Sugar 'n Cream and Lion Cotton. I actually have a new cell phone--the first in three years--en route, so perfect timing.

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's felted. It's sewn. It's done.

Finally. I'm very excited about this bag from CrochetMe.com, but it took me a long time to finish -- my on & off commitment to it was very much a contributing factor.



Since Alias was frequently on in the background while I was working on it (and happened to pop up in syndication when I was sewing on the straps), I thought it appropriate to picture the two dear things together.

Some notes, for the crochet-savvy gang:
(1) Unfortunately, laundromats don't allow one to stop their machines to avoid the spin cycle. Nonetheless, it felted pretty well. I just think it's a little floppy, which I suppose comes from the fact it was drier by the time I got it home to shape it.

(2) The flower is temporarily pinned on; I'm not sure how I feel about it. Thoughts?

(3) The body of the bag is Knit Picks yarn. I think it felted pretty nicely; didn't lose shape at all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Breakfast

To whomever invented the chocolate-chocolate chip muffin, allow me to extend my gratitude. Through a stroke of brilliance, you have made eating a brownie for breakfast acceptable, and I thank you.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The whole world in her hands



This may be the world's most beautiful yarn. Well, it may be one of many beautiful yarns, but I spent $12 on one hank of it, which is my most expensive purchase so far, so I feel a great affinity towards it. I'm still undecided on how I feel about the utility (or lack thereof) of fingerless gloves, but wrapping my hands in baby alpaca seems a good idea no matter the source.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

What a difference a day makes



Monday...
...I was on a beach in Kailua, on Oahu in Hawaii. It was one of three beaches I visited that day. I also ate shrimp from a roadside truck, preceded by a mid-morning shave ice. I wore a swimsuit all day.



Tuesday...
...back in New York. Speaks for itself.

The funny thing is, I find it all beautiful. Both are inspiring. New York has its relaxing moments. Hawaii had its stressful ones. I was thankful for the quiet on the beach. I'm thankful for the activity in the city. What a broad, diverse, beautiful world we live in. I'm in awe of the One who created it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The big, floppy, unfelted handbag


So, picture this at 70% of its current size, with the flowers sewn on, the second strap, with more leaves, more colorful flowers, pretty aqua blue contrast stitching, and "feltier." OR, you could just look here at the pattern from which I'm working. Um, but my bag will still be blue & black after I felt it.

I stayed up and (almost) finished this tonight while watching "Bowling for Columbine" (that's a whole other post) when I should have been packing for the eight-day vacation I'm about to take, which will prevent me from actually felting this for a couple of weeks.

Friday, September 02, 2005

North v. South

I found this interview with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin fascinating. Four years ago, when New York was in the midst of our own national tragedy, Rudy Giuliani -- though incredibly effective in ensuring the city's needs were met -- managed to capitalize on the attention to the point that he is still discussed as a possible presidential nominee for the party of the president who was doling out the aid.

Nagin, on the other hand, will probably not be invited for a photo op at the White House anytime soon. All judgments aside, truly. It's just interesting: things get done a little differently in different parts of the country, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Baby set, complete


Thanks to the brilliant pattern designer Julie at Crochet Me for the sweater.

I adapted the hat from a pattern at Lion Brand's website.


I've been reluctant to start a blog, since:
(a) "Everyone's doing it."
(b) I already waste enough time.
(c) The writing on them always seems self-conscious and self-indulgent, both of which I'm currently trying to avoid, and both of which I'm sure I'm falling into.

But, I decided to start one anyway, because:
(a) It seems the easiest way to post photos to share, which will support my crochet addiction. My recent digital camera purchase is another contributing factor.
(b) There's a fine line between "wasting time" and "taking a well-deserved mental break," and my writing job merits the latter.
(c) "Everyone's doing it." Perhaps that indicates that it actually has some value. PERHAPS it will encourage me to write something of interest rather than just read others' comments.

And, so, indeed, it begins. Enjoy.