Monday, March 31, 2008

solid color freeform

new one

I've really enjoyed making these afghan squares. With one color, the approach is totally different than when I use lots of colors and textures of yarn. Here, it's all in the texture that I create. Making it interesting uses different freeform muscles! Also, I've noticed that people who tend to shy away from more flamboyant yarns and projects really seem to like these more subdued freeform pieces.

At any rate, they're finished, and I'll be turning them over to Devilkitty. She's heading up the project to turn these squares and other into a blanket for a friend of ours. Devilkitty, they'll be there soon!

old one

it's not really scarf season......

..........but I keep starting more scarves. I think it's because I'm doing a lot of knitting away from home these last few weeks, and scarves are wonderfully portable. Multi-yarn freeform work is not!

So, the first 2 pictures are of the same project, a freeform filet crochet scarf inspired by Myra Wood's book Creative Crochet Lace. "Funky Filet" is one of the 5 styles of freeform lace covered in the book, and it's one of the easiest. This scarf uses Colinette's Cadenza in the Summer Berries colorway. The color is more true in the photo above than the one below.

I started this freeform filet scarf Saturday in a bar(!) watching NCAA basketball, so that illustrates how little concentration it takes. Some of the other techniques in the book require more attention and a little planning. This style, though, let's you just crochet.

This little guy uses Cherry Tree Hill's Supersock Merino (the king of sheep!) and an E hook. Since I've got one of these going in fingering weight and one in sport weight, I'm considering trying some Chunky Malabrigo. It will not be delicate, but this type of design might be fun in a bulky weight yarn. We'll see.

Friday, March 28, 2008

random stuff

The crochet spiral purse is almost finished. Making the lining is the next step, but I need to get a short zipper first.

Last week's trip to Terre Haute included a trip to a local yarn store--Riverwools on Wabash Avenue. What a great shop! They have lots of everything, and a very friendly staff. One of the ladies was working on a sock knitted from an unusual sock yarn. The company, Conjoined Creations, takes a machine-knitted swatch of sock yarn, paints on colors, and sells it as a flat piece of knitting. The instructions say to unravel the swatch and knit the socks directly from the unraveled yarn. I can't decide it I will do it that way, or if I'll wind it and soak it first to get rid of the kinks. Normally I don't like knitting with freshly unraveled yarn because those kinks make gauge hard to figure. Plus, the socks look wonky until you wash and block them. I say why not do the washing and blocking beforehand? Yeah, I know it ruins the novelty of the product not to knit directly from the swatch, but I'm not sure I care!

Finally, a rare photo of humans on my blog! Yesterday I spent the entire day at Raleigh's RBC Center rehearsing for and playing in a Barry Manilow concert. He was nice enough to pose for a few pictures between the sound check and the show. Wish I knew how he stays so slim!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

road trip knitting

We just took a trip out to Indiana, and it was a great opportunity for some knitting! Because most of my current projects are freeform, they require lots of different balls of yarn. One of them is a purse that needs the lining made with a sewing machine. Not good for a road trip.

So I took this opportunity to start some new stuff. Always fun.

First, I did the afghan square above. It's for a group project (I'll give more details later) that has some requirements for yarn weight and fiber. Since my typical freeform stuff uses anything and everything, I knew I'd have to do something a little different if I wanted to make a freeform square. The single-color mitts I did earlier this year came to mind (see blog entry on February 20), and I decided to do a square in a similar manner. The square was finished by the time we got to Cinncinati.

Well, there was still more driving time before we hit Terre Haute, so I started another Boteh scarf. I know, I know, does anyone really need 4 of these? I'd have to say yes. I really do. This one uses Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. 100% merino, the King of Sheep.

It still needs to be blocked, but I decided to go ahead an photograph it in my Spring-y front yard. This purple is fantastic with the light green leaves on the gardenia!

afghan square in progress

In the previous post I forgot to mention that I finished the Boteh scarf while we were in Terre Haute. Needing another project, I looked in my knitting bag and noticed that there was plenty of yarn left over from the first green square to make another one. Away I went! There wasn't as much knitting time that day as the day before, so I just got started a little bit.

I'd been working on this square while I was the passenger yesterday coming home from Indiana. It wasn't going quite as quickly as the first, but I was pleased with the way the two spirals I started with had gone together. It's a little different from what I usually do with the spirals.

Soon, it was my turn to drive. I started somewhere in Ohio, and drove into Kentucky. Shortly after passing exits for the Kentucky Craft Center (crud, no time to stop!) in Morehead, KY, something felt weird about the way the car handled. 10 seconds later, I knew we'd blown out a tire. I was so lucky that there was not much traffic on I-64, and I pulled the car over as quickly as possible. An hour and 40 minutes later, we had a new tire on the right front and we were leaving Morehead KY feeling pretty good about the whole thing. But, the knitting mojo was gone. No more knitting on that trip. It just wasn't in me.

We had backtracked to the west to get the new tire, so we ended up driving by the scene of the blowout again. Looking through the windshield, see the dark track veering off to the right? That would be the pathetic remains of my former tire.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

fun with bullions

These are close ups of some random freeform work. The bullions take a little longer to make, but they look so great! They're worth the time...........

blocking lace

Hmmm. I'm not a lace person, so I have no experience blocking this stuff. I've pinned some of it, but I don't like the little points that are going to show up where the pins are stuck in. So, this is a test run. I'm blocking part of the scarf pinned and part of it just spread out. When it's dry, I'll see which part looks best and proceed accordingly!

Friday, March 14, 2008

scrumbles ready for the mail

I'll be mailing these 3 scrumbles to Australia today where they'll be stitched together with pieces from many, many knitters and crocheters. Prudence Mapstone's pink project is a way for freeform enthusiasts all over the world to work together on one project. She'll assemble the pieces into some type of garment(s), filling in with her own pieces where they're needed. The finished garments will be put up for auction as a fundraiser for breast cancer research. When the project is finished, I'll post pictures or links.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

quick update

Oh what a yummy yarn you are, Malabrigo Lace Weight! I'm actually knitting on this project a little more, and it's really growing.

The Giotto seed stitch scarf is growing quickly, too, but it should. It's on size 11's. Emily and I are knitting these, and we're looking forward to choosing fringe yarns. Really, it's just an excuse to paw through stash yarns. And that's OK.

The little spiral purse is looking quite nice today since I took care of all of it's loose ends last night. Next step: crochet around the small spirals to round out the shape. The step after that: find a nice fabric for the lining and make said lining. Then it's smooth sailing to the end.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Pink Project

These scrumbles are going to go to Prudence's house--she's collecting them for a big group project that will be auctioned at some point for a breast cancer fundraiser. There's a group on Ravelry called The Pink Project, and lots of people are sending these in. When Prudence assembles everything and posts pictures of the final product (a coat? shawl? who knows!) it will be fun to see if I can pick out my scrumbles.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

new freeform style: crocheted lace

I've admired the freeform crochet lace on Myra Wood's site (see side bar for link) for a long time, and when I heard that she was writing a book about it, I was excited. Finally, I got the book, but it was right in the middle of all those spiral pillows. Since I knew I really wanted to get those pillows finished, I put the book in my knitting bag so I could look at it occasionally, but I didn't actually try out any of the techniques in it. It took great restraint.

Now, there's no huge project to stop me, and I've been doodling a little bit with some La Luz by Fiesta. I learned form the freeform mitts that I like working with just one yarn: it makes for a very portable project, and it makes me focus more on textures than color.

I'm enjoying doing this freeform lace so much! Since one ball of La Luz has a generous 210 yards, I've decided to make a scarf with these scrumbles eventually. For now, I'm just experimenting with the ideas in Myra's book.

It's really fun to go through crochet stitch books and start out with traditional motifs or stitch patterns, then let them morph into something else. It's also great for those days when you just don't have much attention span since things are constantly changing!

My biggest challenge will be when it's time to join the pieces together in a way that creates the illusion that the lace is continuous. Oh well, I'm saving that part for later..........

small spirals work up quickly!

After doing 16 inch pillows covered in spirals, working on an 8 inch purse seems almost miniature! In some ways it is more difficult, because there are not as many opportunities to include lots of colors and yarns. I'm having to choose carefully when I make the small spirals so that they don't all look the same. Getting a balance is more of an effort. But the reward is that these things just don't take that long to make.

Friday, March 7, 2008

new purse project

Not the greatest pictures, but here's the start of a new purse. Sort of a miniature version of the pillows! I'm looking forward to doing the lining on this one, because I've just found a new book that has lots of information on purse linings called Carry Alongs, by Carrie A. Sullivan. I'm not sure I'll do the actual purse projects in the book since I like to design my own, but the information on linings looks really good.
3-color spiral for the back of the purse, unembellished.

Monday, March 3, 2008

a set of 6

I finished the last pillow Friday afternoon, but was too busy over the weekend to post anything! It's so fun to have the set completed. Hmmm, one of these things is not like the others. Can you tell which one was finished a long time ago and has been smushed by someone's ample behind at the dinner table already?
Since I worked on the pillows so much in the pit this last week, I took some pit pictures, but I had the camera set to take big pictures by accident. They're a little large to load comfortably on Blogger, so I posted them over at Ravelry. If you're on Ravelry, you can see them on my page, stringamajig. If you're not on Ravelry, you can see the pictures on my Flickr page,