Saturday, March 9, 2013

simple work

Why would anyone ever work the plain garter stitch xxx?  Why would anyone just make a simple crochet block all the same?  There is nothing wrong with plain and simple.  For beginners it is all about practicing the new and that is great.  We all need to practice the new.  It's how we get better at what we are learning.

It also holds the power to soothe a troubled person.  Recently, my family had a minor tragedy occur.  Everyone is fine as in not in a hospital. Everyone is not fine in the respect that we carry on as before.  We see this all the time when major tragedy hit our country in 2001, when loved ones are lost, when tragedies strike whole communities.

Simple garter stitch, plain granny squares, double crochet squares, garter and ribbed slippers, all these are quick to craft but more importantly, they hold the rhythm that lulls us into not feeling overwhelmed, kind of like a rocking chair for some, back rubs for others.  They give the rest we sometimes need and can't get watching television or cleaning or any of the things we have to do to get through our days.

What has helped me?  Garter stitch dish cloths.  I now have quite a few and these don't wear out nearly as fast as those I bought.

Here is the pattern I prefer to use.  I don't have to think for any of it.

Materials needed:  worsted weight cotton yarn.  I use Lily Sugar & Cream and Peaches & Creme.  They are affordable and easily found in my area on store shelves.  Mid sized needles, with my favorites being US size 6 - 8.  Use whatever size gets you the density you desire.  When I'm stressed, I have been known to go up to size 11 or 13 to get a gauge that doesn't result in cardboard.

Cast on 3.
Row 1: knit1, yo, knit 1, yo, knit 1.  (5 stitches now.  This will increase by 1 stitch every row)
Row 2 - 35 -50:  knit 2, yo, knit to the end of the row.  
Next Row:  knit 2, yo, knit 2 together, knit 2 together, knit to the end of the row.  (The yarn over keeps the pattern the same on the decrease side.   The first knit 2 together keeps the stitch count the same.  The second decreases by 1.  This row will decrease you back down to about 4 or 5 stitches.)
You decide when it's big enough.  Want a blanket instead?  Keep increasing.  Then continue down the other side.  For a blanket I would use something soft and easy to use that doesn't have a lot of "stuff" for me to think about.  But that is just me.  On better times, I might use a novelty yarn with an easy pattern.  I'm on familiar ground but still get something that looks different and unique.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Simple Shapes

I've been giving a lot of thought to simple shapes.  You know the kind, square, rectangle, triangle, circle.  There has been some small controversy over some projects offered for demos and classes and the like.  Some things are boring.  This could be true.  But then again, it might not.

As I've been going about my daily routines, my mind has been free to think on this.  The basic drop shoulder sweater is 4 rectangles (front, back, and both sleeves).  Kitchen linens are rectangles or squares.  Bath linens are rectangles or squares.  Basic fingerless mitts are rectangles.  Scarves are really really long rectangles or a series of squares or small rectangles.  Simple hats can be wide and short rectangles.  Long stocking caps are very long, thin triangles.  Coasters can be any shape to protect your furniture or floors.  Socks in their most basic profile are two rectangles with a square.  Skirts are usually rectangles but could be squares, depending on length.  Purses, bags and most other mundane things are rectangles or squares.  Circles can be almost anything but hats (tams) and skirts (circle with a hole in the middle) come to mind first with purses a close third.  Trapezoids, or triangles with one point cut off straight across, are great for A-line skirts and more importantly sleeves.

The purpose for these is making straight sides and ends, or if your aesthetic is asymmetrical, a straight slant that is consistent (but that is not a simple shape).  The real artistry lies in the patterns you choose to execute, the stitch pattern you choose to use once you have the basics and the embellishments you add to your projects.  Everyone starts with the same basics when learning to knit, crochet, quilt, sew.  It just needs broken down no matter what skill we are learning.  Sewing requires accurate cutting, straight seams and even hems to avoid the homemade look as opposed to a handmade look.  Quilting needs consistent seaming and straight cuts.  Knitting and crochet work need to have straight lines so you know that you are not increasing in unexpected places or a "perfect" circle so you know you are consistently increasing.

 How many shapes that are simple can you see in your life?