Tag Archives: Ravelry

I’m still alive

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Hampton Twists Peaches & Creme

Hampton Twists Peaches & Creme

 

I’ve been sick for an insanely long time.  And now it is March, the time when the sun starts to come out and blind everyone that isn’t used to it – Migraine Season.  I have always loved this time of year because of the sunshine but the last several years I’ve been getting a lot of migraines during March.  It took a long time before one of my doctors figured out that it was the sun (bright light) triggering it.  I have my movie star sunglasses with polarized lenses that I always wear when I go out but somehow I still get migraines.  So, while the weather is warming up and it is a beautiful sun-shiny day, I am sitting inside with the drapes all drawn like a vampire.  I vant to suck yer blood ah ah ah ah!  Okay, not really.  I like things more well done than rare.

Anyway, I think I’ve been sick for a good two whole months at least.  That really sucks but the one thing that keeps me going is crafts.  I always knit or crochet something though I usually drop the more complicated projects and start something more simple.  For some reason I like something that requires me to count stitches when I don’t feel well or when I have a migraine.  If not I end up counting anyway.  It must be a distraction tactic.

Right now I’m making a reusable grocery bag I found FREE on this blog and on Ravelry.  I’m using the new “Twists” yarn by Peaches & Creme.  The color is called Hampton Twists and has burgundy, white, and neutral strands twisted together.   The effect is very cool but a bit difficult on the eyes when working on it.  I’m working the bottom of this bag which is done in a spiral of single crochet and my eyes just can’t seem to keep track of the stitches with all the stripes.  I think it will be cool though.

The pattern says to use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round but because of this crazy stripped yarn I’m using 4 stitch markers.  This would also be a great way for beginners to do this pattern.  The bottom is an oval spiral – so basically a rectangle with a half circle at each end.  The rectangle is 39 single crochets long and after rounding the corner you go back down and work 39 single crochet in the back side of the chain stitches.  So I marked the first and last stitch of the 39 stitches on both sides.  3 of my stitch markers are one color and the one that also marks the beginning of the next round is a different color.  This makes it easier to know when you get to those stitches that require increases.  You know exactly where they are because they are between the two markers on the short sides.  If you don’t mark them it can be difficult to know where those stitches actually begin and end.  The first time around I noticed my piece wasn’t looking quite right and I knew I had gotten mixed up somewhere.  So this is my 2nd attempt.

I found a sneaky little trick to crochet in my stitch markers since I find it a little fiddly getting mine to slip into these tight single crochet stitches.  They just aren’t stiff enough and they are rubbery so they want to stick to the cotton and refuse to go through.  They are the Boye ones that come in the cute little box.  I normally love them so it must be the cotton.  Anyway, when you get to the spot where you want to add the marker – just before that stitch – close the marker and then slide it on the back end of the crochet hook.  Then push it down and over the loop of yarn and then off the hook end (keeping the yarn on the hook).  That puts the marker around the part of the stitch that will end up being the top.  Then you just work the stitch like normal and it will already be in place.

I’m still working on the bottom but you can see my progress by clicking here.  I’ll take a picture once I get the bottom finished.

Apply Yourself!

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WordPress Daily Blog Prompt: Apply Yourself

Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.

I am actually doing this right now.  I enjoy knitting but I tend to do what is easy.  This year I have been trying to improve on my knitting skills.  I actually started in December when I made a lacy dishcloth pattern I saw on ravelry.  That was challenging for me and I ripped it out and started over several times.  I even researched and learned how to do a new cast on and how to kitchener (weave) the ends together so there was no obvious seam.  After I was finished with that I was so pleased with myself and hungry to learn more.

It helps to be part of a group that is doing the same thing.  They might not all be knitting something challenging but there are always people more seasoned than you are that can offer a learning challenge.  My group is a dishcloth group on ravelry called Dishcloth Weekly Knitalong.  They are not just a knitting group though.  They also have crochet patterns and there are several crocheters that participate.  Each week they post a crochet pattern and a knit pattern and each person can choose which to work on.  Many people do both patterns.  

Now a dishcloth group may not seem like the ideal group to learn new things and it wasn’t the obvious choice for me but after joining I learned the advantages of learning on a small scale.  I am learning more challenging techniques but I don’t get so overwhelmed because the project is so small.  If I had started out trying to make a lacy shawl instead of the lacy dishcloth above I might not have stuck with it long enough to finish.

I am currently learning Intarsia knitting.  This is a technique where you are adding blocks of color within larger areas of color without carrying yarn across the back.  The pattern is a simple pattern with staggered blocks of one color on a different colored background.  I have 10 bobbins of colored yarn dangling from my washcloth so the difficulty is not in the knitting but in keeping yourself from getting all tangled up.  I am SO VERY GLAD I do not have a cat!  Oh and I am using these bobbins that I printed free online from Wild Olive.  I just adhered them to the side of a cereal box with Elmer’s spray adhesive and cut them out.  I like the spray adhesive because I don’t have to worry about the layers of paper separating as I use them.  They work great and they are really cute!  She also has smaller bobbins for thread on her website.

I printed mine on pink cardstock and made some others on blue cardstock so I have boys and girls.

I printed mine on pink cardstock and made some others on blue cardstock so I have boys and girls.

Learning Intarsia knitting
I started out with my bobbins lined up all neatly in a row but that didn’t last long.  At first I fought with them constantly tying to keep them all untangled.  I finally just gave up and concentrated on knitting until I finished that section and then snipped them off leaving the ends to weave in later.  It is so much easier if you just try to forget about the tangled mess and just knit but I’m a little OCD so it makes my blood pressure go up.

I’m getting there though and it is not as stressful now as it was when I started.  I am now about half way finished!

This is the first pattern I’ve ever worked that involved a chart.  So that is something new I’ve added to my repertoire already.  I now know how to read a charted knitting pattern, at least a simple one.

It really isn’t as hard as it seems.  It is just more awkward.  When you add in new threads it is very loose so you have to be careful of the tension.  As you end one color you just pull the next color yarn under the old one being dropped so they get twisted.  That prevents holes from forming in the knitted fabric.  Even though some of the stitches are lose in the beginning you can just tug the lose ends in the back to snug them up and the front will all look like one smooth fabric.  I love how it looks and even though this is a very simple pattern I can just imagine what could be possible!

I have already found another pattern for a potholder using intarsia knitting and it has cute little chickens and eggs.  I knew my sister would love it because she is crazy for chickens.  I don’t get it really but that’s her thing and I’d love to make something I know my sister would love!  I’m going to change the colors to match her kitchen.

That pattern is free by Drops and is called 0-626 Easter pot holder with pattern in ”Paris”

Here is my project at the halfway point.  Lookin’ good!

Learning Intarsia Knitting (half way now)

Learning Intarsia Knitting (half way now)

Here is a video I used to help me get started. It explains how to get started where most videos show you how to do it after it is about half way completed. When she first starts talking in the beginning it sounds really overly complicated. Don’t listen, just watch her do it and then go back and listen. It makes more sense after you’ve seen it being done.

Learning Something New

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It is always fun to learn something new so I can add some more “tools” to my creative toolbox.  I recently joined a group on ravelry that makes dishcloths every month.  It’s called “Dishcloth Weekly Knitalong” but they do some crochetalonging too.  I really enjoy being a part of this group and even though they just make dish/wash cloths I’m always learning something new!  I especially love that they offer a cloth pattern to crochet and one to knit so I can choose what I want to do.  There are plenty of people to offer help when I get stuck also.

In December I made this really pretty “double diamond dishcloth” for a friend as a Christmas gift.  That was very challenging for me but I learned some new things and it turned out great!  Now they are working on Intarsia knitting or crochet.  They even posted videos to help us get the idea.  I’ve decided to do the knit cloth and then I already have a more difficult project to make next.   The knit cloth isn’t anything exciting but if I can learn to make it than my world of patterns will become so much larger!

This video is one that they posted to help us see how intarsia is done.

She uses bobbins to keep things neat and I don’t have any for yarn.  I decided to look online to see if I could find something as a free printable.  I found these really cute bobbins and printed them on card stock.  I decided to print mine on pale pink card stock and they look so cute.  I wanted them to be stronger though so I used some Elmer’s spray adhesive and stuck them to the side of a cereal box.  I think they will last quite a long time now!

Knitting Escapades

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Double Diamond Circular Facecloth

This was a learning experience for me.  I taught myself to knit at least 5 years ago….hmmm maybe 7 but I never did anything challenging.  This was a huge challenge for me.  I ripped this out several times and my dog helped me rip it out once too.  I had to learn to relax so I could knit 2 and 3 stitches together in one which can be tricky.  I learned the provisional cast on which uses a scrap piece of yarn to hold stitches that can later be placed on a needle and knit in the other direction or you can kitchener two edges together (as above) and avoid leaving a seam.  So, that is another thing I learned – how to kitchener, or weave stitches together so it blends in with the rest of the knitting.  Mine is not perfect but is better than I thought I could do.  I’m very happy with it.  I made this face cloth for a Christmas gift and wrapped it up with some rose french milled soap.

The pattern is free on Ravelry.com 

I’m Thankful for Painkillers & Yarn

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As the temperature drops my pain increases.   I pop more pills, turn up some music,  and keep busy to keep my mind off it.  Today is one of those days.  I’ve been going through a lot of yarn and pills.

I went on Ravelry.com and looked for some things on my list to work on.  I even downloaded a nifty iphone app called Yarma that connects to ravelry.  It is a simple app that is solely for taking and uploading pictures.  There are a handful of effects with clever fiber-friendly terms like K2tog, top down, lace weight, granny square (which adds a simple frame)… and vanilla for none.  All are simple so they wont over-power the beauty of the handmade item.

The first thing I made was a simple dishcloth which I’m pretty sure is based on a vintage potholder pattern I’ve seen before.  I had to be different though so I improvised a bit.

Delightful Daisy dishcloth

The pattern has a bunch of rounded petals but I wanted mine to be pointed like a daisy.  With a little patience I finally got it to come out like I wanted.  I like it a lot better than the original pattern but I will probably make some without my adjustments too.  They are very cute and cheerful.

I made a more simple washcloth yesterday and loved how it turned out.  I used this super soft, “Moss” green yarn that I bought one time without a clue what I would use it for.  I just new I needed to make something with it because it made me so happy!  So this one is mine and I’ve already used it.

Mossy Green Spa Cloth

I talked to my big sister today.  She is always a good person for me to talk to when I don’t feel well.  I was trying hard to stay awake so I could get my sleep schedule straightened out.  Well she reminded me of this pineapple scarf pattern that she loves and so I started making one.  I have this ball of Bouclé yarn that I’ve been hanging onto, waiting for the right project for this kind of yarn.  It has a texture that makes it difficult to work with but it always comes out beautiful!  It kept getting tangled up on itself and if it gets too tangled you might as well just cut it off and start all over.  Well I have half of the pineapple scarf done and it looks fantastic!   I just love the jewel tones mixed with black.  

I am making it longer than the pattern says and I think I’ll add a tassel or fringe to the ends.