Month in Review: April 2012

One more month done, one month closer to my trip to Paris. In real life, April was down more than it was up, but there were good times with friends and other highlights. May will probably be more of the same, but hopefully with just as much knitting and hanging out.

I haven’t blogged about these first two projects yet, but I finished them at the end of this month.

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I knit another panda. It’s living in my bookcase right now, since I can’t seem to meet up with the friend who is to take possession of him.

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I also knit two shawlettes for friends, a Leaf Peeper and a Live Oak. I’m hoping to mail these this week—I should have time to get to the post office!

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And earlier this month, I got to hang out with some awesome crafty types in NYC!

No yarn was purchased this month, go me.

Peace out, April. I’m gonna go swatch for Folded, to see if I think I can stand to knit a fingering weight sweater in May and June.

Kickstart: Glen Hansard

I took a mental health day from work today, because I really needed one. I wasn’t going to make any plans, but then a friend I haven’t seen in a while invited me over to see her and her new baby, so of course I was all over that. But then those plans fell through, and it’s just one more example of how this month is full of Fail. (I’m not upset with my friend, I’m just upset, period, and wishing this period of “nothing will ever go quite right” would be over already.)

So things that make me happy, in general, include the music of Glen Hansard in all it’s incarnations. As the frontman for The Frames and one-half of the Swell Season (until they roped in the rest of the Frames for their last album, that is), the music captures the ups and downs of life in beautiful melodies and heart-wrenching turns of phrase. He’s putting out a solo album in June, and the first single is called “Philander.”

While it may not be something to get you up and dancing around on a Monday morning, its somber, dark tone matches my mood at this moment in time, so I’m going with it.

And then, when I’ve had my five-minute sulk, I’ll listen to this cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and all will be right again. For a time, anyway.

Hope your Monday is treating you well.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day 7

Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?

I’m pretty much a monoga-crafter. I can crochet (and weave) but I am constantly drawn more to knitting than anything else. I have to be diligent about picking up other crafts. That’s why I have an fabric stash that hasn’t been touched in years, though I do hope to get some sewing done this year as well.

There have been times when I was burned out on knitting, and I turned to crochet (I didn’t weave at that time). I haven’t had one of those periods of burn out recently—I’ve been pretty good about pacing myself and just saying “eh” when I don’t feel like knitting.

At the beginning of this year, I had big plans for getting a lot of knitting done while also making time for other crafts. But then this became the Year of the Babies, and I love crafting for babies, so I’ve been doing a lot of baby knitting—Thursday night, I cast on for another baby sweater that I’m designing (kind of as I go, so that’s going to end really well), and I need to knit up another baby blanket square, and a baby toy, before mid-May. I mean, I don’t have to. I’d just like to. But I also know that if not all of that gets done before the baby shower, it will be okay.

That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last few years: the Art of Letting Go. Babies, especially those in utero, don’t really care if you get something done “on time.” Outlining your priorities, in any task, be it crafting or your professional life, and understanding and accepting that other things are going to have to slide, has been incredibly liberating. There’s not really anything I do in a day-to-day basis that is life or death. I could even skip feeding myself for a day and be okay (cranky, but okay).

This sort of veered away from the original prompt, but you know what? That’s okay, too.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day 6

How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how’s your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you’d like to have tried them by.

To answer the questions in the prompt, magic circle=yes, double-knitting=not yet, intarsia=quite good, though not frequently practiced.

To expand…
I’d love to explore some more traditional techniques, such as twined knitting from Scandinavia. I’m determined to try out steeking this year—possibly in the next two months, so I can combine my “Cut Your Knitting” badge with the “Bonus Colorwork Yardage Out” challenge at Yarn Snobs (yes, I did just create Girl Scout-type badges for knitting; I’m sure I’m not the first). I have plans to knit Elinor Brown’s Pod of Cetaceans for a friend’s young son, and it involves steeking the front opening.


Image © Elinor Brown, via the Pod of Cetaceans pattern page

I also have plans to try out double-knitting this year. I’ve been looking at this pattern from Cascade as inspiration, but I want to do a double-sided houndstooth pattern. Or maybe houndstooth on one side and herringbone on the other side. Obviously I’m still working this out.


Image © Cascade Yarns

I would consider myself an advanced-intermediate knitter. There are skills I have yet to try or would like to improve, but I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to trying out new techniques. Yes, I would be sad and upset if I screwed something up, but at the end of the day… it’s just yarn. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Except, perhaps, stabbing yourself in the eye with a DPN.

Friday Finds

Two posts, one Friday, what is the world coming to?!

I think I forgot to mention it here on the blog, but remember the Amy Christoffers Knitalong as part of the Sweater Odyssey group on Ravelry? We’re doing another designer knitalong, this time featuring Veera Välimäki’s designs! Official cast-on date is May 1, and it runs through July 1, so feel free to join in if you’re interested! Me, I’m contemplating knitting her Folded cardigan, but I need to see if the yarn I have in mind and in my stash will work. SWATCHING, HO!

Apparently I have shawls on my mind this week.

  • First up on this last Friday of April, Memoria ($4) by Deborah Frank is a lovely triangular shawlette with a columnar lace pattern flowing into a simple edging.

  • Corinne Ouillon’s Violettes et Muscaris Printemps (free) is a large lace shawl. I am in love with the way the center stitches flow out and gently undulate to the edge. So beautiful.

  • Yet another shawl for this week, Spring King (€2) by beerentoene is a different take on the crescent shawl, with the lace portion only taking up the middle “wedge,” if you will. Plus, this yellow color is so cheerful.

  • Megan Goodacre’s Paravel Wrap ($5) is a luscious rectangular stole with a classic lace pattern along one edge. Bonus points for the name “Paravel.”

  • Another large shawl pattern, Rue ($6) by Bristol Ivy is knit in Quince and Co’s Sparrow and features a stitch pattern that looks a breeze to knit.

  • And finally, Hannah Cuviello’s Phoenxi Shawl ($3) is wonderful in two colors (as shown here), but be sure to look at the version in the single yarn as well–looks fantastic in two semi-solids and variegated yarns.


    Photo from Abundant Yarn

    All photos are from Ravelry pattern pages unless otherwise noted.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day 5

This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog.

BE KIND, PEOPLE, BE KIND.

The yarns:
• Sweet Georgia Yarns Superwash Worsted in Riptide
Fresh from the Cauldron in Cheshire Cat
Apothecary Yarns in Strychnine

Friday Finds will be up later today!

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day 4

As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

I am… really not sure how to answer this! Let’s look at the facts:

  1. I’ve primarily knitted smaller things throughout my knitting career—socks and shawls are perennial favorites. Those can be knit at any time of year, and indeed usually are. I don’t wear many socks or shawls during the warmer months, but I still knit them. And I have knitted a couple of tanks, but I’m finding that cotton, which I used to knit both tanks, gets stupidly heavy and hot when there’s a lot of it, so I haven’t worn the tanks nearly as much as I would like. I think I need to try some a linen-blend or something, but I really love wool.
  2. In July of 2010, I crocheted myself an afghan. Because 30 squares of crocheted wool in your lap in the summer with no air-conditioning is a good plan. /not

I will say that my knitting used to be more informed by my location, rather than the seasons. In Florida, one does not need a knitted anything as it only ever gets cold enough for warm garments for maybe three days out of the year. This did not stop me from becoming a sock knitting addict, far from it, but the one garment that I knit while I lived there has been rarely worn (it needs some doctoring, one of the many things I plan to do this summer).

Maybe if I primarily knit more garments, I’d see more of a trend, but I feel as though I simply knit what I feel like knitting, when I feel like knitting it.