Friday, October 25, 2013

The Year Long Scarf

A co-worker, who is also a knitter, and I were in the kitchen at work heating up our lunches yesterday.  I noticed she had a project with her and we got to talking about what we are working on, what we bring to work and so forth while waiting for our food.  She mentioned that she had seen a project on Pintrest where a knitter had knit one row of a scarf a day to match the color of the sky.  We both thought this was an interesting idea for a project and then she said "or you could do a color to match your mood that day."

I think this is a brilliant idea.

Her birthday was yesterday and mine is in a couple of weeks so we both decided that we would start the scarf on our birthday and it would document this year in each of our lives.

Luckily, I have a little time to plan the color scheme (she was going home last night to see if it was even going to be possible).  I will predetermine what color corresponds to each emotion/mood and at the end of the day I will grab the appropriate color and knit.  However, unlike the project that inspired this idea, I think I will knit more than one row.  I haven't yet determined how many, it will probably depend on the weight of yarn and needle size I choose to use.  Maybe the number of rows will correspond to the intensity of the mood.  Well, I don't want to make it overly complicated.

Should be an interesting year.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Because One Crafty Obession is Never Enough

I blame the website Craftsy.

I was first introduced to the website with an e-mail about the online knitting classes.  It looked interesting so I signed up.  I "brought" a couple of free classes to see what it was like and loved the format. I've watched as the site offered more and more classes.  Then this past July they had a really good sale and some very interesting free classes available.

Its like the drug dealer that says the first one's free. . . I was hooked.  I grabbed a free class on sewing tote bags, and a drastically discounted class on how to design and make A-line skirts.

You see, my mom and aunt are quilters and have been sewers most of my life.  In fact, in my childhood my mother made most of the clothes. Both have tried a number of times to introduce this skill to me.  I've had an interest, but never enough to actually take the time to sit at a sewing machine and learn. 

It took Craftsy and Doctor Who to push me over the edge.

I have wanted to make something Doctor Who related and decided that a tote bag would be ideal.  I found great fabrics available at Spoonflower, but they are high quality and therefore fairly expensive.  Not ideal for a first project.

Enter Joann's Labor Day sale: 50% off most of the items I would need (my husband already had a sewing machine) and additional coupon for 15% off the entire order including the sale items.  I packed the husband and the daughter into the car and off we went.  I found very quickly that if not monitored I could spend hours looking through fabrics just the way I can with yarn. All the colors, patterns and textures were delicious even with the cheapest of fabrics.  After about an hour in the store I had everything I needed (and some extra) to make my first attempt at sewing.

The project was a reversible tote with boxed corners and a pocket.  Mostly just a lot of straight line sewing, which sounds easier than it it when you are just starting out. The results were far from perfect and that is fine with me, because I had fun. 

With my tablet and Craftsy class queued up, I took over the kitchen table (the only space in my house large enough to tackle even the smallest of sewing projects).  I cut the fabric and with a bit of trepidation, began sewing the pieces together.  The outside went together quickly and easily.  It was the reversible lining where I ran into issues.

Before sewing the two panels together, you have to sew the pocket together and then attach it to one of the panels.   The pocket gave me no issues other than not getting an even seam around all sides.  However, my first attempt at attaching it was a failure.  How could it be a failure?  Did it fall off?  Did I sew it closed? Nope . . .I sewed it to the wrong side of the fabric.

Out came the seam ripper.  This is where I discovered that I did an excellent job of back stitching and securing the pocket.  It took my husband's help to get the pocket off.  My next learning curve problem hit when I went to sew the two panels of the lining together.  I didn't have enough pins securing them together and the fabric slipped while I sewing the bottom causing about an inch different in how they lined up.  This was the second seam ripping, and much easier than the pocket.

The final moment of understanding came when I realized that the seam allowance on the outside was more than the seam allowance on the inside, which meant that the reversible tote was bigger on the inside.  As a Doctor Who fan this made me smile, as a someone trying to sew the lining in it made me frustrated.

I managed to make it work and completed the project in only 8 hours (which includes shopping and stopping to have dinner).  Not bad for a first attempt and good enough to get me hooked on the creative process of sewing.

Just to make sure my two crafting obsession get along . . .this tote is now housing the yarn and needles for an upcoming knitting project.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Knitting vs. Husband

The kids are gone for the weekend.  The house is quite.  It's overcast.  It feels like a lazy day.

My dog's version of a lazy day!

The husband and I talked about going out and doing something fun, and yet all I can think about is sitting and knitting.  It's not that I don't want to go out and have fun, I just feel the call of my projects sitting downstairs waiting for me.

Normally, I would just take a project with me, but there are a couple of reasons that doesn't work right now:

  1. The point of the husband and I going out without the kids is to spend time together, and generally I bring knitting along to have something to keep me amused/occupied while waiting in lines or watching the kids run around wildly.
  2. I don't really have any knitting projects on needles that don't require repeated attention to a pattern.  When I travel knit, I like the pattern to be one I have completely memorized.
Of course, it's early enough that I might be able to get in just enough knitting time before we go out to satisfy me until we get home. 

Sounds like a good plan!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How Many Projects Can I have Going at Once?

The answer to that is . . .a lot!

I know I am not alone in this as most knitters have multiple projects on needles at one time.  However, I was looking at my Ravelry project board and realizing that I have a lot of projects that have been languishing for many years.  I finally put some into official hibernation on the site.  I do have every intention of finishing them . . . just not right now.

That being said, I started yet another project.  This one uses a yarn dyed exclusively for my friend's business, Yarnover Truck.   It is Anzula Haiku in Minty Unicorn. So far I love this yarn.  It's so soft and slides easily through my fingers.  It also highlights the stitch pattern well.

I know, I just recently started the Seascape Stole, but I have come to find that project takes a lot of concentration and I needed one that didn't.   I needed some easy TV knitting.

Enter the Vicissitude Tank and Cowl by The Sexy Knitter.

This project is knit in the round and the first part of it is 14 repetitions of 7 simple rows.  I'm making the large which has 224 stitches in each round so it does take a while to get through (I'm not a very fast knitter), but that is kinda what I love about it.  Once I know the repeating pattern for the row, I can just keep going until my marker comes back to me.  I take a short break, memorize the next row and off I go again.

My husband was fascinated watching me knit in the round.  I realized I haven't knit many projects in the round, and never anything this large.  All the sock knitting I have done is either on double pointed or two circular . . . it just doesn't look the same to a non-knitter as knitting rounds on circular needles.

I've made a promise to myself that I will finish at least one of these recently started projects before starting any other knitting project.  Of course, that doesn't stop me from starting a sewing project.