Tuesday, April 24, 2018

My Knitting Bag & My Notions Bag

What do I have to have?  What do I actually have?  Why? How many do I Have?  Why?  The mysteries will be answered, hopefully.

First up the knitting or crocheting project bag.....

Yarn, hooks or needles, pattern.  These are the obvious suspects.  We all have these items with us in our project bag.  But what else might there be?  I have a notions container.  For this I use an old altoids tin or other plastic or metal candy container.  In this I keep a small snips, yarn needle, stitch markers, beads if needed for the project, a row counter, post it notes or a tablet plus a pen.  These all seem to be rather straight forward, I admit.  But there's more.....

I also keep a nail file or emery board, hand lotion, a travel container of antiacids/ibuprofen/cough drop or hard candies, eye drops, lip balm (in winter only or if a long cold) and tissues.  The file or emery board are for both my hands and needles/hooks.  One never knows when a nail or tool will develop a burr that snags yarn or finished fabric.  The lotion does the same for skin.  I can also use lotion on the tools to speed up the process.  The rest is for my comfort.  I suffer from headaches, indigestion, dry mouth and coughs as well as dry eyes.  Tissues come in handy for many things. 

I don't carry chocolates or other meltable items.  They can make a mess.  I never carry a drink unless it's water.  Water doesn't stain.  Wine, beer, tea, coffee, sodas, juices can all stain, especially the natural fibers.  

I never carry my keys in my bag.  I learned the hard way not to do this.  My keyring has a corkscrew which is bad for yarn.  My keyring has jagged sided keys, also bad for yarn.  Some of the rings are a clup type and those catches are bad for yarn.  

I don't allow Velcro in my bags, again this is bad for yarn and finished fabric.  The grippy side causes pulls.  If you have the adhesive type, that can also cause pulls.  When the adhesive comes off the backing, you will have a heck of a time getting it off the yarn.  depending on the yarn constructrion, you will tear out a lot of individual fibers creating thinner yarn.  Just say no to Velcro.  You might want to include zippers too.  They can catch yarn in the teeth.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

To join or not to join...a group that knits or crochets

Recently I saw this topic and I thought about the obvious benefits and detriments of joining a knitting group or a crocheting group.   Then the question of online or in person popped up.

The benefits are easy to see. 

1.  You get to talk to others about how they might proceed with a trouble spot,  color choice, stitch pattern....

2.  You have someone to knit or crochet with while solving the problems of the world or something more close to home.

3.  You might have a segment of time to learn something new

4.  You can find new friends of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels.

5.  You will see fabulous new patterns or yarns, or tools in action.

6.  You have people around you to commiserate about uncaring recipients.

7.  As you become closer to these people,  they can help if a tragedy befalls your family.

8.  The members might bring new charities to the attention of the group and ask for a donation to the charity.

Now for the detriments of joining a knitting group or a crocheting group.

1.  You will see many, many things that will tempt you to want to start many new projects. If you are a slower paced stitcher or work a full time job or have people to take care of,  you may be gaining a lot of ufos.

2.  The politicians don't solve the problems the way you worked out.

3.  Your bank account might suffer from purchasing fantastic but more expensive yarns.

Now the question of online or in person.

The above benefits and detriments mostly apply to both in person and online.

1.   Most online groups have no politics talk allowed. 

2.  Online groups will have many times more people than in person groups to entice you to want to purchase yarn, tools and patterns. 

3.  There are also more people to encourage you. 

4.  There are more ways thought of to work out a problem. They might not all meet the standards you have for your stitching.

5.  Online groups will probably have a wider age range and more different backgrounds.

6.  Online groups are mostly anonymous despite profile pictures and the sense of community.  You won't hear inflections in the written word.   In person groups allow you to get to know the members on a personal level and do things with them.  Mostly online groups will be further afield,  not allowing you to get together on a regular basis in person.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

My first fiber festival

I went to a local fiber festival. There were few if any classes but that wasn't my primary reason for going.  I wanted a taste of the experience. The festival was the Allentown fiber festival.  I went with a sister in law and we met up with a friend of mine there.

First thing I should have considered was travel.  This was an easy drive for us.  Unexpected road construction worked against us for arriving at our anticipated time.  All in all not terrible. 

Once we arrived and met up with the rest of our party, the real fun started.  Catching up is always great with friends you don't get to see often.  There were outside vendors.  Some were in open canopies. They were pretty smart. There were quite a few in the closed sided tent provided.  That was stifling in the heat.  But a lot of very interesting things were there.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Desert Island Crochet and Knit

We've all done the what if..... game.  Either when we were bored or couldn't sleep or maybe as part of a getting to know you exercise. Here is my adaptation of this.

If you were on a tropical deserted island,  what would you want to crochet? Knit?  Fiber, weight, type of item, specific pattern or designer.

What if you were on an arctic deserted island, what would you want to crochet and Knit? Fiber? Weight? Type of item?  Specific pattern or designer?

Would you need a book for This?  Name the book.

On the tropical island,  I would want to have cotton, linen and hemp in lingering weight to worsted weight yarn.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Swatch! Swatch! Swatch! What can I do with them all??

Again these are ideas for uses for ways to use the swatches.  We've covered many ideas for just a few for each article.  Let's try 5 or 6 swatches for each thing this month.  By summer, we should be up to the many and miscellaneous.  Or you have run out of swatches.

  1. Table runner:  Seam 5 or 6 large swatches (10-12 inches square) into one long piece.  Line or not with coordinating fabric as desired.
  2. Place mats:  Seam 6 together in a 2 x 3 grid.  Each swatch should be 4 - 6 inches.  Line or not as desired.
  3. Cowl:  Seam 5 or 6 together as for a runner, then complete the ring.  The size of each swatch should be 8 inches or so.  Use fibers that feel nice.  Line with fleece or not.  Wear with pride
  4. Beanie:  Seam 4 swatches 5" each in a long piece then complete the ring.  Add a 5th 5" swatch at the 5th side (like the ceiling in a 4 walled room).  This should fit an adult.  You can crochet around the bottom edge to give it a finished edge.
  5. Scarf:  Seam 5 or 6 together just like for the table runner.  Use fibers that feel nice.  Wear with pride.
  6. Hand towel/Dish towel:  Sew 6 6 inch swatches in a 2 x 3 configuration.  Add trim as desired.  Use cotton for the absorbency.
  7. Baby block toy:  Seam 6 into a block and stuff before the last seam is sewn.  I like to add a jingle bell (with the X squeezed tighter to prevent the ball clapper from being potentially swallowed) in the center of the stuffing.  Use pattern stitches that are not lace like or otherwise open.
  8. Diaper cover:  This is more cute than functional for keeping the baby's surroundings dry.  Seam 5 in the shape of a T.  For this two pieces of 1 x 1 inch Velcro will be helpful by being sewn on the ends of the arms of the T.  The other side of the Velcro gets sewn to the edges of the foot of the T.  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Knit Popcorn, Bobbles, Nupps, and Puff stiches

What are the differences between popcorns, bobbles, nupps or puffs?  Is there a difference?  Yes, there is a difference.  Let's see what they look like. Let’s see how they are worked. There is one thing that you need to be sure of when working with them.  Be watchful where they are placed.  Many a garment has been ruined by misplaced bobbles and popcorns, not so much nupps and puffs.  These textural details can be used in columns to separate other stitch patterns, to replicate a charted design, in rows to separate other stitch patterns, and most dangerously as an allover detail.

If the above seems familiar, you are not wrong. It's nearly word for word from the Crochet Popcorn, Bobbles, and Clusters.  Why??  I'm not that lazy.  The information applies whether we are working with knitting or crocheting.

Let's start with Bobbles.....

This is the largest of all the textural bumps.  Start by knitting to the point in the pattern where a bobble is to be made or where you determine a bobble should be. In the stitch, you k, yo, k, yo, k.  Five to nine stitches are the norm for a bobble.  Turn the work, purl back, turn.  K5tog.  Continue with the rest of the row.  If you use seven stitches, add another k row and p row before knitting all the stitches together.  If you use nine stitches, add two more rows of stockinette stitch before k9tog.  This keeps it symmetrical.  If you don't like this look, you can make them wide and short or slender and tall.  Experiment to see what you like.  Nine is about the most you want to use.  Beyond that it becomes unwieldy.

Let's look at popcorn and nupp next.  One is a one row "bump".  The other is a two row application.  Do you know the difference?  The popcorn is one row.  Popcorn is four to seven stitches.  Kfbfb.  Sl the 2nd st of the four over the first (count from the left to the right).  Sl the 3rd st of the four over the first.  Sl the 4th of the four over the first.  Continue with the rest of the row.  

Now the nupp.  This is an Estonian technique.  It's pronounced like soup.  I learned about this from the Knitmore Girls Podcast Interview with Galina Khmeleva.  Nupps are always seven stitches as I understand.  Nupps are a two row operation.  Kfbfbfbf.  Continue with the pattern or as desired.  On the return row,  p7tog.  This will be challenging.  Don't work the knit stitches on the right side tightly.  And that is the nupp.  

The knit puff stitch is an anomaly.  There is no increasing or decreasing.  It is a series of short rows worked over 5 stitches.  It is a 10 stitch repeat plus 4.  It is worked over a  whole fabric or in a panel that meets this requirement.  Let's cast on 24 sts.  Knit a row, purl a row.  Repeat these two rows.  

***k 7, *turn p 5, turn, k5 *. Rep from * to * 3 or 4 more times.
k7,  rep from * to *.
k7,  rep from * to *, ending with a k 2.
P a row, k a row, p a row.***
Rep *** to *** for desired length.

What do you think of these?

The crochet bobble, popcorn, puffs and clusters plus the knit popcorn, bobbles, nupps and puff stitch will take our year of stitches from week 11 to week 15 which is the week after Easter on April 1.
See you April 15 with the next installment of A Year of Stitches




Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review :: Learn Crochet Quickly

There are many different accessories, clothes, embellishments, stitches, tips and even a section about Tunisian crochet.  Each section has many patterns.  Each pattern links to a YouTube video.  These videos are done by many different people.  Most are good at what they are teaching.

As you tap a section to see what lovely morsels are there, you get an ad.  When you tap the pattern or tip or technique, you are whisked away to YouTube and an ad will play for at least 5 seconds before you can start the video.  You can usually stop the video after 5 seconds by pressing the skip ad button.

All in all I wouldn't download this app.  It's a directory rather than a how to.  I'd prefer to save the space on my device for patterns and such and search YouTube for the desired pattern, tip, tutorial, teacher.