Monday, April 23, 2007

Miter Update

My mitering has been on hold for more than a week. Last weekend, as I neared the end of my third miter, I realized there were too many stitches on the needle, so something wasn't right. Even after frogging back a bit, I couldn't figure out the problem, so I decided to take it with me to the Oops Class I would be attending the following Saturday at Main Street Yarns in Watkinsville, Georgia.

Well, the Oops Class was this past Saturday, and it was great! I feel so much more confident as a knitter now. I learned how to recognize and to fix a number of mistakes and how to prevent them in the first place. In addition, my instructor had knitted her own mitered square blanket last summer, so I was able to confer with an expert on the problem with my miter.

We thought we figured out the problem, and we frogged back several sections, but when I got to the end again as I knitted on the (three hour) drive home, the stitch count still wasn't right. It's okay though, because I decided just to frog the square in the interest of my new plan.

After checking out the Cotton Classic at the yarn shop, I decided that I prefer knitting with the Mission Falls 1824 Wool. Since I can't afford to purchase a blanket's supply of 1824 Wool at one time, I'm going to pick up balls in colors I like as I can afford them and accumlulate miters over time until I have enough to make a throw. Above is a photo of the colors I bought on Saturday. I can't wait to cast on for a miter using the blue and brown yarn!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

First Foray into Thread Crochet

I made my first attempt to crochet with thread last weekend, and it turned out pretty well, I think. I used Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet Thread and an F hook to crochet the "Eastern Star" in the Spring 2007 Interweave Crochet. The pattern is included for embellishing a sweater, and while I have no interest in crocheting the sweater featured, it occured to me that I could crochet the flowers and leaves and applique them to the plain, inexpensive jean jacket I use in the spring and summer for when I get too cold from the air conditioning.

I have had virtually no interest in thread crochet up until now. And I still can't imagine enjoying working with materials smaller than size three thread and an F hook. However, the idea of adorning pillowcases and towels with pretty crocheted trims is beginning to appeal to me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Rippling Along

I joined The No End in Sight Ripple Along. I have been a fan of rippling for some time. I crochetd my first baby ripple afgan (white and blue) more than a year ago, and I made another (light blue and navy blue) last summer. Both were made using Bernat Softee Chunky, and I used the open ripple pattern and the closed ripple pattern, respectively, from Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet.

I have another ripple afgan in progress that has been put aside for now. It is the Classic Ripple Blanket from Cozy Crochet. I'm using the Wool Ease Thick & Quick called for, but I'm using different colors. More on this with photos when I resume working on it.

I am currently crocheting a soft waves (from 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns) ripple baby afgan for my brother's new baby using Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton. The orange (Poppy) and blue (Indigo) colors were selected becuase my brother is a basketball coach, and these are his team colors. I didn't think about it until later, but his team is the tigers, which makes the ripple stripes especially appropriate.

When I finish the "Baby Tiger Ripple," I want to begin working on a more colorful, full-size afgan. I've especially admired the ones I've seen made from Caron Simply Soft Brites. Of course, I'd also like to try a round ripple. Decisions. Decisions.

On Dishcloths

My appreciation of dishcloths came some months into my fiber hobbies. In fact, I used to be quite a snob, thinking why in the world would anyone want to crochet or knit a dishcloth? Several months into my new crocheting hobby, I had reached a point where I was discouraged because I had not had any recent successes, so I posted to that effect at Crochetville. I remember only one response. Someone suggested I crochet a dishcloth. I dismissed the suggestion immediately, and moved on.

Many moths later, after learning to knit, I became familiar with Mason-Dixon Knitting and I acquired their book. I had read enough to know that a scarf was not necessarily the best project to begin knitting, and these ballband dishcloths seemed to be all the rage, so why not? My first two knitted items were MDK ballband dishcloths. I finally got it. Quick, easy, almost instant gratification, not to mention useful. What's not to like?

I have since crocheted several dishcloths, and I actually prefer crocheting them, as it doesn't seem to be as hard on my hands as knitting with cotton "string," as my friend, AL, calls it. Pictured above are three dishcloths crocheted from leftover Peaches and Creme cotton that I made for AL. Below is a photo of my MDK ballband dishcloths.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Flower Power

I went on a crocheted flower binge recently. One evening, I printed a bunch of flower patterns from Crochet Pattern Central and the Lion Brand web site. Then a few days later, I started with the flower pattern in Cozy Crochet, and then I worked through the stack of patterns I had printed. The photo above displays some of my efforts.

I used scrap yarn, and interestingly, even when crocheting flowers, yarn quality affected the enjoyment factor and the outcome for me. My favorite flowers are the ones I made with Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes and Dyed Cotton and Missions Falls 1824 Wool.

I had never crochetd a flower before, and I can't remember what inspired me, but crocheting flowers is a great instant gratification project. Plus, after I crocheted the flowers, it occured to me that I had a couple of hats that could use adornment. Then green one was an early crochet project that I had set aside because it lacked something. With the big pink flower, I love it! The read hat is a simple K2P2 hat I knitted for my son that turned out to be too small. However, with the addition of a crocheted flower, it is perfect for my little girl.

I now have a big glass jar for yarn scraps and crocheted flowers. I'm thinking of eventally making a wreath for my daughter's room.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Miter Town

My friend, AL, said that we appear to be headed to Miter Town. Here is evidence of the early stages of the trip, per Cara's request.

While I am becoming more adventurous with color in my middle age, I am still somewhat reserved, and my decision as to how to design my first square (four miters) was limited by the yarn I had on hand: four balls of Mission Falls 1824 Wool, two in Crocus and two in Aster. My original plan was to accumulate more 1824 Wool and make a baby blanket or throw. However, I am now considering making a simple pillow out of my first square, and following the leader. If all goes as planned, I will be having a mother's day off tomorrow, and I am headed on a 90 mile trek to the yarn store, where my intention is to begin accumulating Cotton Classic for miters. Cara's post yesterday has inspired me to be more adventurous.

Technical note: I am using size 8 needles, but I probably could have used size 9s.

Update 6/29/07: The trip to Miter Town ended prematurely. It initally stalled when I had to frog miter number three not once but twice. This prompted me to put the project aside, which gave me some time to think about it, and I concluded that I do not have the time, financial resources, or wherewithal to continue this project in my current phase of life. It is a blessing to realize one's limitations and to act accordingly.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

100 Things About Me

  1. I live in a small town in the Southeastern United States.
  2. The nearest yarn store is ninety miles away.
  3. I have been married for nearly 12 years.
  4. I have a six year old son and a three year old daughter.
  5. I am a stay-at-home mom.
  6. I am a former business woman and college business instructor.
  7. I have an MBA.
  8. I spent 36 years looking for a hobby before I discovered yarn. (Well, maybe not quite 36, but you get the idea.)
  9. Knitting and crocheting meet my need for creativity and achievement.
  10. And I like being able to give handmade gifts.
  11. I taught myself to crochet in the summer of 2005.
  12. I learned to crochet primarily from the Internet and from Crocheting for Dummies.
  13. I taught myself to knit in the winter and spring of 2006.
  14. I learned to knit primarily from Knitting for Dummies and from The Art of Knitting DVD.
  15. I also referred often to Maran’s Illustrated Knitting and Crocheting. The photographs were very helpful.
  16. Then I found the videos on
  17. I have had some knitting instruction, but I have had no crochet instruction.
  18. With crocheting, I dove in and made a scarf right away.
  19. With knitting, I swatched for months before I attempted to knit anything.
  20. My first knitted FO was a Mason-Dixon Ballband Dishcloth.
  21. I was inspired to finally make something after months of swatching thanks to the Mason-Dixon Knitting book. I looked through it over and over again.
  22. My first crochet projects were primarily from Lion Brand patterns and yarns.
  23. I crocheted many, many things in Homespun before I learned it doesn’t hold up well to machine drying.
  24. When I first started crocheting, I was addicted to Crochetville.
  25. I learned a lot from Crochetville.
  26. However, after several catty comments were made in response to one of my posts, I lost interest.
  27. I have an account at the Knitter’s Review Forum, but so far, I’ve never posted.
  28. After I began knitting, I learned to appreciate quality yarn, and more specifically, wool.
  29. Right now, my favorite yarn is Mission Falls 1824 Wool.
  30. A close second is Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes.
  31. I love Blue Sky Dyed Cotton too.
  32. I do not like textured yarns or novelty yarns.
  33. I am currently knitting mitered squares using 1824 wool.
  34. I was inspired by Cara to knit miters.
  35. I LOVE knitting miters.
  36. I am also knitting my first sock using Cascade 220 and the “Starter Stockinette” pattern from Knit Socks!.
  37. Before I completed my first dishcloth, I attempted to knit a sock on two size 1 circulars using fingering weight yarn.
  38. I gave up pretty quickly.
  39. Another WIP I have had going for some months is the Hello Yarn Irish Hiking Scarf, which I am knitting in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.
  40. I love the scraf, and I get lots of compliments on it, but I don’t think I’ll be knitting many scarves. It takes too long.
  41. I am also crocheting a rippled baby blanket using Blue Sky Dyed Cotton.
  42. I’m using the Soft Waves pattern from 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns.
  43. This will be my third rippled baby blanket.
  44. I really enjoy rippling.
  45. I subscribe to the following magazines: Interweave Knits, Knit Simple, and Crochet Today.
  46. I have signed up to be a charter subscriber to Interweave Crochet.
  47. I rarely buy Vogue Knitting.
  48. I usually buy the BHG and Family Circle crochet and knitting mags.
  49. I have already accumulated quite a library of crochet and knitting books and magazines.
  50. I love books in general. The only disadvantage of my new fiber hobbies is that they have taken away from my reading time.
  51. My husband may be able to come up with other disadvantages such as financial ones.
  52. So far, my best online yarn ordering experience has been with KPixie.
  53. I also had a very good experience with The Loopy Ewe.
  54. I order online a lot since I live so far away from a yarn store.
  55. Therefore, I have my own swift and ball winder.
  56. My favorite yarn stores so far are: Main Street Yarns, Creative Yarns, and Knitch. (This gives you a clue as to which state I live in.)
  57. Thus far in my knitting experience, I have not gotten on well with circular needles. I much prefer DPNs.
  58. This is perhaps due to the quality of the circular needles I have used. In my next attempt, I will use Addis.
  59. After knitting two ballband dishcloths for my first two projects, I proceeded to knit a hat in the round on DPNs.
  60. I have since knitted four more hats and one Fetching mit.
  61. The mit is too short for my long fingers, and I ended up with a hole in the thumb area. I know I picked up the correct number of stitches!
  62. I knit this hat to learn cabling.
  63. It turned out newborn size. I have NO IDEA what happened.
  64. My favorite straight needles are Clover Takumi bamboo. (I don’t own any Lantern Moon straights…yet.)
  65. My favorite DPNs are my Lantern Moon size 7s.
  66. I also like Brittany Birch DPNs.
  67. I use Brittany Birch cable needles. I’m too risk averse to cable without a cable needle. In fact, I LIKE using the cable needle.
  68. I have yet to find the perfect knitting bag.
  69. I currently use a nylon tote bag with my husband’s bank's logo on it.
  70. I also have a small fabric bag for my sock.
  71. I cannot begin to count how many projects I have begun and frogged in the past year since I have been knitting.
  72. I am a perfectionist. Therefore, I am a very slow knitter.
  73. I think crochet is much easier than knitting, especially as it is much easier to fix mistakes.
  74. When I get frustrated knitting, I often go back to crocheting.
  75. But most of the time, I do one or the other as the mood strikes.
  76. I am willing to crochet with yarns I wouldn’t consider knitting with.
  77. I have crocheted several baby blankets using Bernat Softee Chunky, and they turned out very well. (One MUST be able to machine wash and dry a baby blanket.)
  78. I also like to crochet using Peaches and Crème cotton...
  79. ...and Wool Ease Thick and Quick.
  80. However, I hate knitting with Wool Ease (worsted weight). Go figure.
  81. For a long time, I didn’t really know anyone else locally who knitted or crocheted, but last fall, I made friends with a more experienced knitter (AL), and it has been a great blessing.
  82. AL is actually the local knitting instructor. GREAT blessing.
  83. Most of my friends (non-knitters) think I’m a little different, but they seem to love me anyway.
  84. There are a handful of us in our area who knit, and we meet once a month at a local coffee shop for a “knit-in.”
  85. AL and I seem to be the only “hard core” knitters in our group.
  86. My husband and I went to NYC for our anniversary in September 2005, a few months after I started crocheting. I went to Purl, and I didn’t buy a thing! I didn’t know enough about yarn yet to know what to buy.
  87. Since I began my fiber hobbies, I am much more drawn to color. I’ve started incorporating more color both into my wardrobe and in my home decor.
  88. I like to read knitting blogs, but I rarely comment.
  89. This is probably because, up until now, I did not have a blog.
  90. My stash is pretty modest based on what I usually see and read about in the blogs.
  91. I tend to buy yarn for specific projects.
  92. Sometimes my plans change. For instance, I originally bought the yarn I’m using for the Irish Hiking Scarf to make a baby jacket.
  93. I decided not to make the baby jacket because it is in garter stitch, and I have decided that I do not like garter stitch.
  94. I would, however, like to try log cabin knitting.
  95. At this point, I have no interest in intarsia or enterlac. There are too many simpler beautiful things to knit.
  96. I need to knit things that I can pick up and put down rather easily since I have two small children.
  97. I have yet to felt anything.
  98. I used to hate casting on because I used the knitted cast on.
  99. Then AL taught me the long tail cast on. That was a happy day for me.
  100. AL says that I am the neatest knitter she knows. (Remember what I said about being slow?)