Day 2: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

Tips: Don’t be abashed at admitting your own skill and progress. If possible, include pictures of projects that you gained new skills from.

I am a knitting prodigy.

Fine, not really. I did not actually achieve knitting greatness in the last twelve months. I have, however, been knitting seriously for only 19 months, so I think it’s fair to say that relatively speaking, I have some mad skillz.

In the last (just over) twelve months, I’ve:

  • learned to knit socks;
  • learned to pick up stitches;
  • practiced knitting from a chart;
  • taught myself how to knit continental; and
  • taught myself how to knit cables.

Stay tuned for later in the week when I tell you what my knitting goals are.

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When I need a break from work, I have taken to perusing the DIY and Crafts tags on tumblr. (Not to mention all of the crafty blogs in my google reader.) And this has caused me to have an ever-growing list of all the things.

A lot of all the things are whole house kind of projects. Like I want to re-do a kitchen with dark gray cabinets and a yellow tiled backsplash.

But I don’t have a house. I could buy a house, if I found a new job. (I haven’t heard anything from that interview last week.) I spent a weekend in the neighborhood where I will buy, if I buy, and it’s a really sweet neighborhood. All the houses were built in the 50s-ish, all ranchers. Lots of friends who live there already. A synagogue that is big but that has room to breathe and an appropriate sized coat room. Quiet. Affordable.

Still… this morning as I walked to the metro (which isn’t do-able from this neighborhood), I passed beautiful old buildings, blooming magnolias, embassies. The city really is amazing. Why would I want to leave it?

That’s not the only problem with wanting to make all the things. My style (though you’d never know it from the clutter in my life) is pretty modern, clean lines, geometrics. But what are all the things I want to make? A wall made of wood from scrap pallets. A reading nook from scrap pallets. (I need to find this link, I think it’s on ashleyannphotography.) A pegboard wall in my kitchen. A book wall (I guess this one could fall into the modern category). Undershelf jar storage. Quilts. (Though quilts can be made in the modern-looking vein.)

Is it any wonder that I feel conflicted?


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Day 1: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

Day One: 28th March. A Tale of Two Yarns.
Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

Tips: It is a good idea, if possible, to choose a yarn that you adore and a yarn that just didn’t work for you. You do not need to be critical of any yarn if you do not feel comfortable in doing so, but perhaps you came to realise that one yarn wasn’t suitable for a particular project, if possible you could blog about what you have come to learn about choosing the right yarn, or your love of experimenting with fibres.

Ah, yarn. I learned to knit with acrylic and made my first two big projects out of cotton, so when I came back to knitting oh-so-many years later, I didn’t really “get it” when I heard people complaining about those two fibers.

And then I knit with wool, real honest-to-goodness wool, wool from a sheep, and I understood.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still happily knit with acrylic even though I’ve become a total yarn snob and think “how could I possibly buy this 75% acrylic yarn?” But it’s okay. I have SO MUCH acrylic from my days of needing to knit everything but not yet knowing all the people that I can make hats and scarves for an entire elementary school without buying more.

And I’ll knit with cotton and linen and other vegetable fibers that bother other people’s hands. Which brings me to the less-favored yarn part of the prompt. First of all, there isn’t really any yarn I’ve worked with that I’ve thrown to the floor and stomped on in a fit of rage brought on by its loathesome nature. And second, I don’t want to trash talk any yarn.

I made a shell out of a cotton-linen yarn from, but of course I don’t have that information in ravelry and I’m not at a place where I could look for the ball band. The shell involved some crossed stitches. And, well, that wasn’t so fun with plant-based yarn. I’m glad I wasn’t using it for cables. But once I got the hang of it, it wasn’t too bad. I just had to make sure that I didn’t switch back to anything with wool until I was done, or my fingers would be sorely disappointed.

In contrast, I’ve knit once (only once, so sad for me) with a merino-cashmere-nylon (MCN) blend. It was like…big white puffy clouds in a clear blue sky while lying in the grass with your best friend in the whole world. The project I used that yarn for (from the Plucky Knitter! Not only was the yarn gloriously soft, it was richly beautiful) also involved crossed stitches. Gotta say…easier with the MCN.

Mmmm, daydreaming about my yarn now.

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Marketplace Mondays: Avoiding the marketplace

One of my (former) favorite websites is Vistaprint. I love ordering personalized stationery and mugs and pens and all sorts of goodies from them. And inexpensive! For Christmas I ordered personalized goodies for my foster daughter, who had never had anything personalized (at age 17) and whose name doesn’t exactly lend itself to mass production.

I get emails from Vistaprint every other day with deals. The problem? I still have about 57 notecards, 243 (of 250) business cards, bunches of matching magnets that I never successfully gifted…

And now I want to make my own.

So my apologies to you, Vistaprint, I will not be ordering my Rosh Hashanah* cards from you this year.

*Yes, Rosh Hashanah is more than 6 months away.

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Sunday Sewing: Bar Hopping Scarf

Now, I’m by no means a tee-totaler, but the fact that I made something that I call a bar hopping scarf is among the more uncharacteristic things I’ve done. (Hitchhiking is the MOST uncharacteristic thing I’ve ever done. And don’t worry, I will NEVER do it again.)

One of my favorite friends who lives in my computer was celebrating an anniversary of her 21st birthday, so I needed to make her an appropriate present. The first thing that came to me was a fabric scarf; I was feeling somewhat inspired by this and other tutorials like it, but thinking I’d use velvet (oooh, soft) for one side and a patchwork of purples (my friend’s favorite color. and mine) for the other.

And then it hit me. Add pockets for cell phone, keys, and ID/money.

Thus was born the bar hopping scarf, stylish and practical.

The execution was a bit flawed. My seams were nowhere near straight, I could have made the pockets better, I could have closed up the bottom by hand instead of just topstitching it, I could have used velvet on both sides. Next time.

Posted in Sewing Sunday | 7 Comments

Things to make Thursdays: Waiting for Paint to Dry

Waiting for paint to dry, not watching it. So not boring!

I can’t tell you quite yet just what it is that I’m making that inspired the purchase of paint at my favorite bix bog craft store–I’m spending Shabbat at the home of friends and what I’m making is a baby present for them. And just in case V reads this, well, I shouldn’t give away the surprise!

I will tell you this, though: the materials are 6 wood blocks, 6 clothespins, and 6 specific embellishments, along with paint and wood glue. Now, if you were making this present for someone whose name is Antonia Francheska (my favorite name on my family tree), you would need 17 wood blocks, 17 clothespins, and 17 specific embellishments.  You also could use an old set of alphabet blocks; I only have a new, unused set of alphabet blocks and didn’t want to break into them for a craft project.

Being without an appropriate level of foresight, I also have not been taking pictures throughout the process of making this gift.

I will take a picture when I finish, and post later including a link to the project that inspired me.

And now, back to the paint.

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Tchotchke Tuesday: Fabric flowers

I went shopping on Sunday. I had a job interview yesterday (not sure how it went; I definitely have a habit of focusing on the negative…and for me “there are other applicants” is enough of a negative for me to just assume that I won’t get the job) and I bought all of my suits 25 or 30 pounds ago. Wow that’s painful to admit.

Anyway, I tried to be very focused while at the mall, but did manage to get just distracted enough to discover that fabric flowers and rosettes and the like are not just frequent fixtures on all of the crafty blogs I read, but they are IN. Like, on factory-made clothes in. This is really a disaster.

Because with all my love to you fabulous crafty-bloggers out there, I think fabric flowers are terrible. So you won’t see any tutorials for them here. And I won’t be making them on Tuesdays or any other day.


(P.S. If you are looking for tutorials, check out this post from Skip to My Lou; not all of these are terrible.)

Posted in Tchotchke Tuesday | 3 Comments