2010 – A Yarn Odessy

Here I am a few days into 2010 and trying to fulfill one of my New Year’s Resolutions–namely, to update my blog every week.  We will see how well I’ll pull this off.

January should be a good testing ground to see if I can master the time management skills needed to stay on top of submitting design proposals, swatching for new designs,  and meeting deadlines for designs that have sold.  And these are  just the work related items on my to-do list.

A piile of various Big Box and LYS yarns from my stash
A few skeins from the Stash

Another personal resolution is related to the quantity of yarn that is slowly taking over every corner of my home.  Thus the Yarn Odessy title of this post.

The yarn stash needs to be inventoried.  I have a bad habit of purchasing yarn because I have no idea what I actually have on hand.  Then there are the times when the “Oh Shiny!” reaction kicks in and I have to adopt at least one ball of that yarn.

The yarn stash needs to be sorted into storage containers and matched with the inventory.  I have attempted this  numerous times in the past with minimal success….Okay truth be told, it only stayed manageable for about 3 weeks…then it all started to unravel (and the stash  has never been matched with any sort of inventory).

The yarn stash needs to be sorted by usage-Free Form projects, design swatching, and project completion.  This is the point where I completely lose momentum, even when I make progress with the other 2 ideas.

It’s a faulty system.  Digging thru the yarn to decide its ultimate destination becomes far too seductive.  All I really want to do is start playing with the yarn.  Before I know it, the 2 hours I scheduled to sort are past and it is time to make dinner for the family.

Well, now you see why I call this an Odessy.  Ulysses had better luck with Homer than I likely will have with my Yarn.  At least I will have a great time.

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Happy Hooks – or Why I’ve been ignoring the Blog

Approximately a month ago I purchased a set of Etimo hooks.  You may have heard of these wonderful hooks when Doris Chan blogged about them this past summer, or read about them recently on the CLF group at Ravelry.  They are from the Tulip Company out of Japan.

They are a lovely light weight and very comfortable in my hand for hours of happy crocheting.

I had purchased 3 of them at Chain Link in August and have really loved them.  In fact, I had been kicking myself for not purchasing a complete set when I had the opportunity.  So when MissJulep tweeted that she had sets for sell at her Etsy shop I was on it!

A few days later my package arrived.  It was like Christmas coming early!

The set is in a lovely carry case that neatly and compactly holds the full set of hooks (plus 2 of my extras), and comes with small scissors, 2 yarn needles (large and medium size) and a 4 1/2 inch ruler.  I added a few of my Clover locking stitch markers and now have a great go-anywhere crochet kit.

Instead of keeping my blog updated I have been a crocheting whirlwind with these lovely hooks.  I hope to soon have lots of new crochet projects to show you,  if I can tear myself away from crocheting long enough to take some pictures!

Lace Fingerless Mitts

Coats Photo
"Heart and Sole" Mellow Stripes color

Hooray! My pattern for Crochet Lace Fingerless Mitts is available on the Coats Website now.

This is a fun intermediate project that is also quick to stitch up.  Red Heart “Heart and Sole” yarn makes for a colorful pair of mitts.  The yarn is available in 14 different color combos as well as 3 solid colors, so you can find the perfect match to any outfit or mood.

I love fingerless mitts.  Living on a mountain it can be quite chilly, yet having my fingers free while I am typing or crocheting is also handy.  Fingerless mitts are the answer for me.

Sometimes making a pair of anything is a challenge for me.  Seems like I get the first one done and then it takes a very long time for me to even start the second one.  I’ve heard this malady referred to as “Second Sock Syndrome” and the usual solution is to work both socks (or mitts) at the same time.  It’s more unusual to see 2-at-a-time in crochet, but I have managed to do it.

Stay tuned to this blog for my directions on working the two mitts at once!

The Continental Divide

This past Saturday I attempted to learn how to knit continental style. 

ContinentalDivide-1
The Necessary Yarn

Now the word “Continental” inspires romantic visions of sophistication and elegance in my mind.  This could possibly be due to the fact that I was raised in the wilds of Kansas.  Continental knitting it turns out has nothing to do with elegance, at least not in my hands.

Knitting is not really my talent.  I can sort of knit using the English style, where one “throws” the yarn.  I generally need to have an illustrated knitting book open for prompting each step.

After a bit I am zipping along with basic knit and purl stitches (which is about the time I get in trouble with unintended increases or decreases). I have even been known to make a square that has a close resemblance to a flat four-sided object with 90 degree corners (sometimes by a judicious application of force to reshape the wonky).

I’ve been crocheting for nearly 40 years,  so it has been a very long while since I was at the “just learning” stage.  I am discovering in my knitting adventures that I am at the very beginning, in fact at times I wonder if I am in some twilight region that precedes the beginning.

Being I am a brave and adventurous soul I decided I wanted to get better at knitting.  Many knitters, that also crochet, had promised me that knitting continental style is much easier to learn since you hold the yarn similar to crochet.   This sounded good to me, though possibly I was simply delusional.

I made plans with a friend that I see at The Lamb Shoppe’s monthly Pajama Jam to teach me how to knit continental style.  My ambitious idea being that I would make a hat for another friend’s soon to arrive baby.

I had packed a few sizes of needles from my meager stash of knitting accoutrement into my project bag for the evening.  It was decided after a confab that I would use my Size 7 needles and worsted weight yarn knitted flat then seamed to construct the hat.

Being I did not have a yarn with me that would fit the bill, and was fortuitously in a yarn shop at the moment, it was time for yarn shopping.  For once I did not dilly dally at this most wonderful of errands and quickly decided on Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in the lovely Tropical Seas colorway.

I then cast-on using my crochet hook (I was informed that what I was doing was considered a provisional cast-on, but it would work) and began to knit my first ever swatch continental style.  It took a bit of time, but I eventually was working at a steady clip with knit stitches and accomplished a few rows of garter stitch.

Some of my friends at the table with me were highly entertained at my method of knitting.  One went so far to say that I was crocheting my knitting.  I replied that it was perfectly sensible that I would as I am a crochet designer.  I was beginning to feel fairly happy with my knitting progress, when I was told it was time to learn to purl.

Hmmmm, another word with mental picture issues.  In my mind (and experience) pearls are iridescent lovely gems, and though the word “purl” in knitting sounds similar this stitch is certainly no gem.  When my helper told me that purling isn’t anything to be afraid of I knew I was in serious trouble.

My rows of knit stitch had only taken me about 40 minutes. 2 hours after I had started my first row of purling I finally finished it. Let’s just say now that my friend’s baby is likely to be in kindergarten before I get a hat knit (I may be whipping up a crochet one just in case).

My 3 meager rows of Continental Knitting
My 3 meager rows of Continental Knitting

Ooooo…It is so Cute!

I didn’t blog last week because I was having a week long celebration of my birthday.  And look what I got!

HP Mini
HP Mini

My darling new little HP Mini. It will take me a while to get the hang of the smaller keyboard, but I think Mini and I are going to be very good friends.

It fits in my Project Bag
It fits in my Project Bag

What I really love is how well it fits into my project bag. I can take it with me when I am out and about running errands with my kiddos and anywhere there is WiFi available I have access to Ravelry.

It was already a big hit this past weekend while I was at The Lamb Shoppe for the monthly Pajamma Jam.  Had all kinds of fun looking up projects and profiles on Ravelry. Plus tweeted! I know I can do that on my phone, but I like keyboards.

Frost and Snow

Backyard Forest dressed for Winter
Backyard Forest dressed for Winter

This weather is definitely inspiring me to get out the warm fibers and make something cozy.  Was just thinking this morning that my youngest is outgrowing all his winter gear.  May be time to make up a fun felted mitten pattern.

Anyone else in the Northern Hemisphere feeling the pull to play with the yarn and make something warm?