Monday, June 26, 2017

Everyday Things

Recently I had reason to travel by plane.  This is not going to be a rant about the airlines,  planes, or the TSA.  Instead this is a positive post about what can be done  with everyday objects in your knitting and crocheting.   I knew before going that there would be limitations.   Yes knitting needles and crochet hooks are allowed on the plane.  They are allowed through security for the most part, unless the security person who is checking you is having a bad day or determines that such implements are maybe weapons. Space to work is also at a premium.

Due to a misunderstanding of the rules about what I could bring on the plane,  I knew I had to pack lightly and the things I did take needed to do double duty.   I had a very large tote bag for clothes and my knitting and crocheting as well as the normal purse stuff and stuff for designing.  So what did I take?

I was working on something for loom knitting.  But I couldn't take a loom and the yarn for the project.  I did take a very large wide toothed comb and used that as a loom.  A knitting loom uses super bulky weight yarn and is bulky to use in and of itself, especially for on a plane.  So everyday object number 1 that can do double duty is a wide toothed comb.    

I took a bunch of different colored pens along with sheets of graph paper.  Those work for designing charts.  The pens did another duty to help me with the loom knitting on the comb by pulling the loops up and over using one of the new pens that still had the plastic tip on. This prevented the ink from staining the yarn. 

I had a small make up bag with office supplies.  Paper clips held together theknitting for your  sheets of graph paper.  But they do more by being stitch markers and by marking rows on both the pattern and the project. The clips also hold on to the end of the yarn in the ball.

So with a comb and some paper clips and pens, I can knit.......

Friday, June 9, 2017

Desserted Island

A very odd title for a post on a blog about knitting and crocheting. I freely admit that.  But I recently read an article about what motivates people.  Specifically the motivation behind Gilligan's Island,  what caused it to be, Sherwood Schwartz in college was intrigued by the politics of how people get along with each other and wondered what might happen in a confined space  or on a desserted island.  This sparked a thought of naked and afraid and what I could bring to the table in a situation something along those lines.  Then the thoughts turned to.....if I was on a dessered island what would I want with me?

I suppose it would be futile to want a boat to get off said island. So if I could have only a foot locker full of yarns and tools, what might it be?  I know right now that list would change over time.

I think if the island is tropical, I would appreciate linen, cotton, hemp in dk weight and finer. 

I would want a couple of Barbara G. Walker's stitch dictionaries. I think Ann Budd's book of patterns for any size yarn would be great.  I would want a complete set of circular needles and a complete set of crochet hooks.  I would have to have 2 crochet stitch dictionaries of comparable quality.  I would also want a comparable book of crochet patterns like Ann Budd's for knitting.  I don't know if these exist. But these are what I want.   With basic pattern templates and stitch dictionaries,  you can usually create anything.

In another time I might do this with a different climate.  I know I can come up with a boatload of ideas

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sock Yarn v. Fingering weight yarn:: What are the differences? What are the similarities?

Recently when I was in a yarn shop with students, I was corrected by the owner.  We had been discussing yarns to make a lace cowl.  I had been suggesting a sock yarn could be paired with a lace weight to make the finished look desired as well as give the lace weight some heft since some were not used to working with something so fine.  What I was corrected on was the fact that the yarn she saw me pointing to was in fact fingering weight and not sock yarn.  I carried on with the lesson on yarns and the shop owner gave input where needed.  She after all should know her stock.

But besides the fact that we were both right (angle of perception has a great deal to do with what you see and think you see), it gave me pause to consider.  Am I shortchanging students in knowledge?  Better still, does anyone care?  I figure yes we do care.  Possibly this discussion is suitable for intermediate students though,

Sock yarn is yarn that is used to knit or crochet socks.  That is the base answer and while true is also untrue.  Sock yarn should be slightly stretchy.  It has very definite crimp in the fiber allowing for a lot of twist in the spin, thus allowing a lot of twist in the plying.  Sock yarn, if they are to be worn in shoes, is almost always fingering weight or a light fingering weight.  Much more and shoes won't fit over the foot and sock.  But is the goal for boot socks?  Then heavier weight yarn can be used.  Is the goal for bed socks or house socks?  Still heavier yarn can be used.

Fingering weight yarn on the other hand is any yarn that has 19 - 22 wraps per inch (how many times the yarn wraps around a ruler or pencil or any even object in an inch)  and knits up at a gauge of 7 - 8 stitches per inch.  It is fairly fine but not thread like.  The fiber may or may not have a lot of crimp.  The yarn may or may not be highly twisted.  The plying will match the twist.

On the surface, they seem to be one in the same.  But consider this.  All the sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, you name it don't have near the friction  that a sock does inside a shoe, or even just being worn.  We don't walk on sweaters or shawls or hats.  This means that all that extra twist is more surface area for the yarn to wear evenly.   You won't get a wear hole in the sock nearly as fast as a yarn that doesn't have all that twist.  This is an important thing to consider. 

The shawl that is done in fingering weight yarn will usually have a lot of drape.  Fiber and gauge have a lot to do with this, but so does the amount of twist in the fiber as well as the amount of twist in the plying.  The shawl done in sock yarn but the same gauge and fiber won't drape as much.

So what is your preference?  Did you know there was a difference??

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy birthday Ravelry

May 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Ravelry.

I know it's hard to believe. It's grown steadily from tens of members in the beginning to millions today.

Their blog post about their birthday can be found here

Do you utilize ravelry? What are your favorite parts?

I utilize it, but definitely not to its fullest.  I hunt for patterns.  I might see how yarns are used by others.  I check other people's projects.

I don't use the project page to my benefit or its fullest. I have not even used the stash section.  I try to keep my library up to date and fail.

Stash Dash by TheKnitGirllls

Ever since I heard about this event,  I have thought it was a great idea.  The basic idea is not to run thru your stash of yarn. The basic idea IS to finish wips, ufos, and things that are hibernating.   Rules for the way they run it can be found here from last year. The main rules stay the same.  

Sadly I don't get a lot of time to participate. I have a huge commitment each July that takes many, many hours for my church.  So I make my own time frame rules. I don't declare how much distance I'm working towards.  If I do, life conspires against me.  If I don't,  I have a better chance of time being available all over.

Check my list of wips from earlier this year.  I already know I have no chance of whipping through these. I started crochet dolls for my granddaughters birthday at the end of the month.  The girls are Star Wars fans and I'm doing Chewbacca and Yoda. There are also "Little Golden" books  with Star Wars themes to accompany.   And now to get to work on them.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

My LYS

Where do you look for YOUR local yarn shop?  As a little girl,  there was one place.  The yellow pages of the phone book.  Sadly I no longer get a phone book.  I miss it but can see how it's been mafe obsolete.

Today there are a plethora of options.   A few years ago, we got a Garmin gps.  In the search parameters you can put in yarn shop or knit shop and will give a list of shops in an ever widening circle from your location. Side note: it made every road trip much more pleasant by eliminating arguments. I wholeheartedly suggest getting a Garmin,  rand McNally gps, Google maps or Apple's gps.

You can Google this information. A little less reliable but not by much. 
I found the knitmap app for Android devices.  It's backed up by a website for those who can't download the app.  This relies on shop owners and customers to keep it up to date.  This is just for yarn and possibly fiber.  It covers major international cities as well.

There's also needle travel.  Needle travel is almost exactly like knitmap.  The big differences?  Needle travel covers quilting,  needlepoint,  cross stitch,  weaving,  and spinning in addition to knit/crochet.  Another difference is that the people who put this together call each shop to be sure it's still operating.  It's also a book (reminding me of a AAA travel book) and a website.   There is no app, but you can

A quick look at any/all of these resources gives me this list of shops.  Within 2 hours of driving i have this rich abundance of yarn shops.  For those I've visited,  so far, everyone in those shops has been kind and knowledgeable.

Little owls knit shop               
2209 paxton church rd         
Harrisburg                          
4120900

Knitter's dream
2340 mockingbird rd
HArrisburg
5997665

Tucker yarn
950 Hamilton St.
Allentown
6104341846

Knitter's edge
1001 w. Broad street
Bethlehem
6104199276

Stormy hill criations
52 York Street
Gettysburg
717-818-9691 or 717-225-0780

Lancaster yarn shop
3519 Old Philadelphia Pike,
Kitchen Kettle Village
Intercourse, PA 17534
7688007

String theory yarn shop
829 state st.
Suite 2003
Lemoyne
7751618

Ewebiquitous
39 e. Main street
Lititz
5688890

Ball & skein
2 e. 28tg division hwy
Lititz
6254371

Kraemer yarn shop
240  s. Main street
Nazareth

I know from research that most people don't have this abundance.  These people rely on big box craft stores or just plain big box stores or online ordering from a variety of websites. For them, I'm sorry. A big part of the experience is to touch and smell and see in a variety of lights the true colors.

Where is your local yarn shop?  What do you think of the things it offers?  How are the people?  Are they friendly and knowledgeable?  Where do you go for help if not there?

The closer it gets the further away it is

As I typed this title,  strains of the song "the closer you get" by the group Alabama  flickered through my mind.  It has very little to actually do with this post though.

With a wedding one week away and counting,  I've been hunting for the little things that are needed.  I lost a camera and have been hunting high and low.  There's a good camera for stills, but I thought it would be great to have video of the exchange of vows.  The only camera we have that can do it was missing. I have found it.

I  also found several wips that I really want done.  One is a design of my own for a crocodile stitch shawl. The yarn is patons lace in cream.

Another one is a flower sweater. The yarn is ella rae chunky acrylic/ alpaca blend.  Instead of the blue/beige ombre in the pattern, I'm choosing a golden yellow with dark brown  and gingerbread. I have an affinity for sunflowers. The yarn in the pattern is a fine weight but I zipped it up to a bulky weight.

The last one i found is Cancun Boxy Lace Top.  The yarn i chose is Tahki Stacy Charles mercerized cotton dk weight in shades of blues and greens.  I'm also making it longer than indicated. 
So as you can see,  I am closer to having no wips by virtue of frogging and dismantling the kits i made but have changed my mind about.   But I'm further away because I added 3 more.