Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Might Not Be A Spinner

This summer I took a spinning class with a friend.  It's the second time I've tried so in the spirit of the Knitmore Girls 3 Bites I've still got one more chance.  But here's the thing.  I love to spin the yarn.  It's relaxing, fun and as a friend put it, a different kind of zen than knitting is.  But somehow I thought the yarn was going to be different, special, better and I really feel it's nice but not incredible and I don't know what to do with it.
Here's the headband I made with my very first yarn - not suprisingly a thick/thin yarn.
This is my favorite yarn so far of the 3 I've produced. Even though it was a bit felty and hard to spin I really liked the product and I was pretty pumped up on the spinning.

Next I did a multi-color thing.  I know all you excellent spinners could have placed the yarn so the colors didn't all run together and get muddy like mine did but I'm not that skilled yet and I just wanted to practice spinning.  I didn't get much but I liked the thickness of it so I made this cowl.

Yeah, boring stockinette stitch cowl and a crappy picture but I wanted my pretty handspun to show and I'm going to add something to the edges to liven it up.  But you know what?  I don't like the yarn very much.  Yeah - it's okay.  I might have bought it on sale but I'm not that keen on it really.

Soooo - 
For my next endeavor I went back to a solid color.  I've got a beautiful dark orange color coming out thinner and more evenly which will be fabulous for fall.  I understand you kind of can't help but get thinner and more even although I prefer making the bulky and thick and thin so I don't have to pay an arm and a leg for it in the stores.

That leaves me kind of on the fence about the whole spinning thing.  My wheel rental ends September 7th and school is starting so I'll be done for now and again, in the spirit of the 3 Bites, I'll try it again before too long but for right now, I might not be a spinner.

Monday, August 8, 2011

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Yesterday I realized I've got a baby shower coming up at the end of the month and for this family I wanted to do something extra special so I needed to start now, not a day before the shower as I sometimes do.  I can whip up a baby hat and bootees quickly and I love to give that as a gift but when I have the time and foresight my favorite baby pattern is Phazelia's Baby Sweater.  Here's a picture of the one I made for my niece out of sock yarn scraps.
This particular Phazelia is quite colorful but I've seen them more subdued.  Here's what I love about this pattern.

  • Sock Yarn - lightweight and washable and in baby sweater size it's doable
  • One Piece Construction
  • Interesting Construction
  • I-Cord - because I'm an I-Cord phanatic and put I-Cord edgings on everything I can from Baktus 1 and Baktus 2 to my Antipodes.  In fact, I-Cord edging is one of my favorite things! But I digress, (tip of the hat here to Miss Kalendar of the Brass Needles podcast - another of my favorite things).
  • The great way you can play with color.
  • The non-symmetry of it - if you're into that.  You could make it symmetrical if you wanted.
  • The fittability for a baby.  With the tie front it's easy to get onto baby and gives room for growing.

Actually, I was very surprised there weren't 1,000s of projects showing on the pattern page for this sweater.  So get out there folks and make a Phazelia's Baby Sweater for your next baby gift.  You'll be glad you did!

This blog is in no way affiliated with the Phazelia brand and has not been paid to endorse the Phazelia Baby Sweater.  Knit it at your own risk.  Please be aware that knitting can be a highly addictive sport and should be taken up only by those who would like to have fun creating beautiful items in a relaxed manner within a warm and fuzzy community or by themselves, whichever floats your boat.  No socks were harmed in the knitting of this sweater.  All quotes from the Knitstress are valid for 30 days following the date of email transmission. Our company accepts no liability for the content of this blog as my favorite thing might be different after 30 days except that I'll still love this sweater, i-cord, Brass Needles and fresh berries.  (Oh, did I say that out loud? Fresh Berries?)Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.  What company?  I don't know, pick a company, any company, and I don't represent it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crafts old and new

I've been knitting and while I've been knitting old crafts have been gifted to me and new crafts have been discovered by my 8 year old.  You've got to love summer!  

In older crafts check out the beautiful bag my Dad brought to me.  He found it when he was cleaning out his garage last week.  He had a couple of boxes of his mom's things and this was one of the treasures in the boxes.  

I'm sure she made the simple bag.  It's a velvet material with a cord drawstring.  But the most special part for me is the stenciling which she was a professional at - as you can see from the closeup of the front of the bag.  She did it all free hand and even wrote several books about it.  And the back side has a nice little miniature.  I absolutely love it and it will become a special treasure for me.  Here's to you Grandma Coffin.

In newer crafts my daughter has discovered duct tape crafting.  First she made herself a couple of prototype wallets and then this double-pointed knitting needle holder.
Which I also absolutely love and which will become a special treasure for me.

But she moves quickly, my daughter, and finished this excellent woven duct tape wallet.

Now my husband and son and I want woven duct tape wallets too!  That'll keep her busy tomorrow.  After that ? . . . .

What have you been crafting?

Monday, August 1, 2011


I've just begun Stephen West's Chadwick from Westknits Book One and I am enthralled already.  I didn't skimp on the yarn for this one and that always helps make the knitting a more enjoyable experience.  I'm using Malabrigo Sock in the velvet grape colorway and Periwinkle Sheep in the avocado colorway.

Unfortunately the photo doesn't show the strand of silver going through the green but when I get to the large patches of green I hope they'll sparkle a little.  Fun colors!

While I was at the yarn shop I was also considering a light purple to go with the Malabrigo but in the spirit of Stephen West's vision for the Chadwick, "Clean lines and asymmetric sections accent beautiful yarns and high contract color choices," I went with the high contrast.  This is also my first time knitting with Malabrigo and yes, it's as soft as they say.  

And this leads me to the conversation we had at the yarn shop about Stephen West.  We were wondering at how we were all interested in knitting at least half of the patterns in each of his books.  As we looked at them we were trying to figure out exactly what Stephen West does that makes his patterns so appealing.  

The patterns themselves aren't so very complicated and yet they are not boring.  Certainly Mr. West has a color sense that's unique to him.  One of the best examples of that for me is his Piece Out hat.
I love this hat and I can't wait to cast on for it!  Such a simple idea, the addition of a bright, happy color into a smart looking hat.  Not too hard to knit, not too easy and it looks great on!  Really I think this is one of the things that makes a Stephen West pattern uniquely his own and so much fun.  Color, but not too much, in just the right places.

While Mr. West uses wonderful yarns in his patterns one of the nice things about his snatches of color here and there are that these patterns are great stashbusters!  I've got some yummy little bits of yarn that I haven't wanted to part with and now I've got a beautiful vehicle to use them.

During our conversation in the yarn store we also remarked that most of the patterns are accessories.  That was another of the things that we decided make the patterns so appealing.  We really could think of knitting half of the patterns in the book because  they won't take months to complete.  So many of them can be completed in a week or even a weekend!

The shop owner summed it up as Knittability.  Stephen West's patterns are very, very knittable.  I would add to that creative.  Creative Knittability!  Check out his books if you haven't yet.  You could get hooked too.