Objects in the mirror may be closer than they seem.
Fixing the blog up! :)
Objects in the mirror may be closer than they seem.
Fixing the blog up! :)
Look, crochet! I have achieved slight dominion over that damn hook, thanks to the lovely ladies at Make Do Mend, whose class at the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green last week got me over the hump of frustration.
I’m still working on edges as if I’m not crocheting in the round – things go a bit trapezoid! But, after falling into John Lewis (perilously close to work) with one of my fellow librarians – also a beginner crocheter – to purchase some more yarn one lunch time, consulting a few videos about starting the round off, I have become a lean, mean granny square making machine.
I’m not sure what they’ll become yet but I’m enjoying seeing the improvement in shape and tension with each one – perhaps I’ll turn them into some sort of cushion or lap blanket!
Oops! I meant to start the knitting and crochet week yesterday, along with everyone else but, yeah, that clearly didn’t happen. But never mind, I shall combine today and yesterday’s topic into one!
How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda? TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo1
My mom and her mother have always done something with yarn and I grew up with crocheted or knitted blankets – known in my family as Joseph blankets, due to their multicoloured nature – but oddly enough, I never learnt to knit or crochet from my mom or gran. I learnt to knit at Brownies in South Africa for my craft badge but never really got on with it as a kid. I picked it up again when I was about 13 and living in Ireland and knitted a few misshapen garter stitch bag-like things and scarves with random holes in them and then put it down again. Fast forward to age 22, when I moved from Manchester to the Czech Republic for a three month internship. Jam (the silent half of this blog…) had been talking about her knitting and got me interested again, so before I moved, I picked up Stitch & Bitch, some terrible acrylic yarn and some needles and started back down the route of relearning things like casting on in an actual usable fashion.
The first thing to come out of that was a two colour Garter Stitch scarf, which I no longer own and once I’d moved to Prague, I started cheerfully working my way through all the scarf patterns in SnB, particularly because my internship required spending three days a week in a town outside of Prague called Beroun, which meant a commute to knit on in the mornings. I got quite good at knitting related Czech and my knitting grew to involve hats, all done on straight needles because I couldn’t work out circs.
When I came back to Manchester, I kept knitting and moved on to shrugs, wristwarmers and socks and pretty much haven’t looked back since! My gran knitted blanket squares up to her death, although the squares from the year before she passed away show the ravages of dementia more and more and my mom tends to make crochet edged Joseph blankets for members of the family out of the many bags of squares my gran knitted before her death, which I assist with when I go home by sewing up the edged squares into strips.
A selection of early projects:
Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so! TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo2
A skill I aspire to is crochet – as I mentioned above, my mom makes Joseph blankets for the family by doing crochet edging around the squares my gran knitted and sewing them together with one big crochet border and I would like to join her in that endeavour because I like the idea of creating things that have a connection to my mom and gran and my family at large. I’ve just never got anywhere with crochet!
But, I am grasping the bull by the horns and have signed up for a beginner’s crochet class in a couple weeks! I will no doubt report back about that once it has happened.
Work and my life got really busy for a while there and updating this here blog kind of fell off the radar for a bit. But it’s spring and I’ve spent the bank holiday weekend starting a huge organisation of my stuffs, including going to Ikea with my other half and throwing a lot of stuff out.
I’ve been puttering along with my stash bust though. I’m currently knitting a Prairie Rose Shawl in some Malabrigo sock yarn in Botticelli as my commute knitting project and I’ve knitted Ysolda’s Ripley hat (I did the garter band with the closer fitting hat) in some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino aran & chunky for the gift box and a snood out of the remaining aran yarn (although, no photos of that one yet).
I’ve also finished my sewing class and the skirt that I was working on, although I need to trim the threads, wash and iron that before I can take photos. It was really good, actually to just have that safety net of someone else who knows what they’re doing being there. I’m already plotting my next skirt as my flatmate picked up an Amy Butler skirt pattern that is crying out to be made in some accidentally purchased floral cotton. I’m also planning to do some fabric buttons and a new belt for my spring mac.
And today, I started unearthing my rusty embroidery skills by making this feltcraft owl cushion. It took me about an afternoon to finish and some of that was spent youtubing things I couldn’t remember, like, uh, backstitch. My tension was also all out of wack with basket stitch so I ended up finishing the cushion off with a whip stitch.
I have a fairly ridiculous collection of beads and bits and bobs and I have decided that this year, aside from knitting my stash, I also need to sit down and sort through my collection, work out what I am going to use and what I’m not and then actually do something with them.
So, while I haven’t sorted them out yet, I did make something. It was a rather belated birthday present for a fellow crafty librarian, the lovely Jennie Law.
It’s a kilt/shawl pin, with vintage pearls and silver findings. I also busted out some embroidery thread and did some paper embroidery, using a modified image from What Katie Does‘s tutorial but didn’t think to take a photo of that, alas!
I am knitting from my stash this year. After hauling out my yarn boxes and sorting through them, so I could add photos of the ones I didn’t have to my Rav stash, I came to the realisation that I Must Knit The Stash before, well, it knits me. So there we are, the main goal for 2010 is that, along with learning to crochet and to finish some WIP.
I started the stashbust with a Calorimetry, which used up the remains of some Artesano Aran in green and maroon. It’s a little big and I didn’t think the colour change out too well, so there’s no photo for the blog, but you can see it on its Rav project page. I am mostly just happy with something that keeps my ears warm and used up some odds and ends.
It originally started life off as a Hemlock Ring Blanket but I stuffed up the feather and fan and decided to just frog the whole thing. I only had the one colour with me because I was working on it at my parents’ this Christmas, so it became a single colour hap. I absolutely love it! It did get a little awkward to knit once the edging was started but the end result is large enough, delightfully warm (I am sitting under it as I type) and used up a significant chunk of my stash, consisting as it does, of 7.5 balls of DROPS Alaska. It’s definitely on my list to knit again, this time with a contrasting colour.
And excitingly and also, more on the WIP finishing resolution than the stashbusting, I finally stopped sulking about the sleeves on my Cherry – er, round about August I knitted them and discovered that one was about an inch and a half shorter than the other, cue some knitterly sulking and the project being stuffed in a bag – cast on for sleeve attempt number three (the return of the electric boogaloo…) and ended up with a matching pair. Now all I need to do is sew it up, pick up the buttonband and collar and I might actually get to wear the damn thing for this spring/summer! Miracles may never cease, I tell you.
So, so far, so good and I’m determined to carry on with my stash knitting. So, here is a short list of things I am going to knit and the yarn from the stash that matches. (all links are Ravelry)
This is not the full list of course but I’m slowly working through my queue and rearranging/assigning yarns. I’m looking forward to making a dent in both the stash and my long list of queued patterns.
I started 2010 with a bang. That’s the costume I made for the New Year’s party I attended. And when I say made, I mean, I sewed that skirt! Oh yes! The week before Christmas saw me back with my family, hunched over my mom’s elderly sewing machine making the occasional squawky noise and being watched by my mother. But in the end there it was, a skirt in taffeta with channels for ruching up one side with ribbon, a zip and the the most annoying to make but awesome once attached ruffle.
I also made the fascinator and the goggles I wore and my ray gun. The one I’m holding in the photo was made for me by my other half for Christmas and is amazing but not something I wanted to take out on a evening, so I spent an entertaining afternoon sticking masking tape on a water pistol and then there was fun times with spray paint. In fact, masking tape featured heavily as my goggles involved heavy amounts of it as well.
2010 is the year I do far more sewing. My sewing class starts next week and I’m rather looking forward to it. The other plan for 2010 is to knit my damn stash. I fear it slightly but there we are, it must be done. I’m going to do another post about what I have knitted in 2009, what I have to knit and what patterns I want to knit in 2010.
One of my fellow librarians, one I know on twitter is about to have her first baby and there is nothing I like more than knitting for tiny people, so I knitted up a pair of Saartje Knit’s baby booties in some of the leftover yarn from my Spring leaves socks and popped them into the post and crossed my fingers that they’d make it through the postal strikes.
Thankfully they did and Maria has kindly let me use the photo of one of her kitties (George) providing scale to the tiny, tiny shoes. I can’t wait to see the wee one in them as soon as they decide they’re ready to appear!
Otherwise, it’s mostly baby knitting at the moment and secret baby knitting at that. It’s kind of amazing how many people I know are pregnant at the moment!
I went for a wander today, down to the V&A, which is my favourite of the London museums and I’m very lucky to live close to it. I was mostly hunting for presents for a couple upcoming birthdays because the V&A store has so many lovely and unusual things in it. I managed to find both the presents and some items that had strangely attached themselves to my shopping. I just had to take them home, of course and tip them into a jar.
I’m particularly fond of the sewing themed buttons and the crayon buttons but the teeny, tiny buttons are also high up there.
The rest of my afternoon was taken up with a walk through Hyde Park, the purchasing of an ironing board (haaaaaaaa!), which required me to walk home with it clutched under one arm and then some time spent at my sewing machine, getting some more practice in, particularly in regards to seams and the straightness thereof. I have signed up for a sewing course in January, so I want to be far more comfortable with sewing by then than I am now.
Out of my practising came a useful item though. It’s a pincushion, the pattern (in so much that there is one) comes from Diana Rupp’s Sew Everything, which Jam brought me awhile ago. It’s a very helpful book and I am looking forward to making quite a few of the patterns with my shiny new pincushion by my side!
Knitting wise, I am alllllmoooost finished my Cherry (by Anna Bell), just one and bit sleeves and the ribbing to go. I have also signed up for the Knitting Goddess’ sock club after Sadie linked to it (I am so weeeaaaaak!), so I am looking forward to getting squashy parcels through the post soon.
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