Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crafting Balance 3KCBWDAY7

~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)?~

My crafting started with crocheting. I’ve been crocheting for some 29 years now. Then eight years ago I got tired of seeing patterns that I liked but, was unable to do. Solution, I taught myself to knit.

Balancing the two is non-existent for they are both fickle lovers and need my constant attention. Therefore, I have multiple projects going at once, stashed in various locations around the house. I do have affairs with one over the other for periods of time, while the other whispers, “come back we have better more beautiful projects.” This is why I have multiple projects. I am easily seduced from one to the other.

Some of my FO's hiding behind my couch.

I come from a family of people who like to work with their hands. My grandmother is a painter, my mother a seamstress/fiber artist/jewelry maker, and my grandfather is a woodwork/basket maker. Someone is always making something. And it is rare to see any of us without a small craft bag in tow wherever we go. It just came naturally to pick up some kind of craft (or more) and get my hands busy.

A miniature rocking chair my grandfather made for my daughter.
And now the next generation is taking up the call. Every time I turn around Daughter is making something. So, far she has learned to cross-stitch on plastic canvas and single crochet. But, her first love is drawing and scrapbooking isn't far behind. Son is also getting the crafting bug and likes to sculpt with model clay and paper art. Husband has joined my family's madness and has taken up woodworking. Many an evening he hides in the dungeon (basement) to play with his wood :p

I've enjoyed the 3rd annual Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week and I hope that everyone else has too!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Improving Your Skillset 3KCBWDAY6

~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.~

Not tooting my own horn but, I believe that I am fairly knowledgeable in my craft and am confident in my skills. Though, there is always something I can improve upon. I am always looking for a new technic to try to further my knowledge.

Currently, I am learning how to knit two socks at a time toe-up on one needle. I’m using Toe-Up-2-at-Time Melissa Morgan-Oakes to learn this new skill. She has a great starter pair of socks to make that is a simple pattern to follow that I breezed through it quickly, finishing my first pair in two days.

I’m planning on making a second to go with the first so I have matching socks to donate to my local charity.
Also, I am learning about Irish Crochet and the traditional technics used in this craft. Interweave Crochet has been having a great tutorial on it in their magazines to follow along with.

Amongst my goals for 2012 is to learn Tunisian crochet. I’ve picked up Get Hooked Tunisian Crochet by Sheryl Thies to help me along with this. And also, I would like to learn how to build a sweater from scratch. Luckily, I just won Custom Crocheted Sweaters, Make Garments That Really Fit by Dora Ohrenstein from a Knit Picks contest.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Something a Bit Different 3KCBWDAY5

~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. ~

 My hands, an Artist’s hands, irreplaceable tools. They are callused, hard, scarred, cracked, and banged up.

My cuticles are dry and split, nails chipped and broken.

Nail salons cringe upon looking at them and scold me for the ill treatment of my hands.

But, they are my greatest beauty. Without them I couldn’t caress soft fibers or run yarn through my fingers.

Without my hands I couldn’t create my dreams.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Knitter or Crochet for all Seasons 3KCBWDAY4

~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?~

Looking through my FO’s reveals that I don’t stick to any real pattern when it comes to the seasons or anything else really. Mostly, though I do work on a lot of baby items. This is due to the fact that there are lots of babies being born in my circle of friends and family these last few years that needed cuties baby items. And, of course, I come across adorable patterns or design my own that I make extra to sale in my store, KnitPurlHooked.
Knit baby blanket and hat
 There is one seasonal item that I don’t like working on in the summer months and that is blankets. The only way I’ll work on one is if it is made in sections. Like a Granny Square blanket.
Celtic Crochet blanket that was worked in separate pieces then connected together.
Crochet Motif for a blanket I'm currently working on.
 And then, I don’t like putting it together until the weather cools down. It is not fun sweltering under masses of worsted yarn in the summer heat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Your Knitting or Crochet Hero 3KCBWDAY3

~Blog about someone in the fiber crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person's pictures.~

This may come off as corny and cheesy but, my fiber craft heroes are my mom and maternal grandmother. Both of these lovely ladies are always striving to learn and try something new; always improving on their skills. Can’t isn’t even in their vocabulary, which makes them awesome role models in the crafting world.

My grandmother is the one who taught me to crochet. When I was 4 she handed me some yarn and proceeded to teach me how to finger chain. Once I mastered that she upgraded the lesson with showing me how to chain with a hook. By the time I was 8 I knew all the basics of crocheting and with a little help with reading patterns and charts was able to make my own FO’s. 

She doesn’t crochet much anymore, mostly focusing on her painting, but she still works on expanding her knowledge in her craft. My grandmother is a watercolor artist and recently she has informed me that she is taking up acrylics.
Two charcoal sketches my grandmother gave me.
 My mom is the type who has many, many (and I mean many) irons in the fire at once. Her first love is all things sewing. Embroidery, cross-stitch, plastic canvasing, etc. And when I was a child she taught me these same skills; including trying to teach me how to use a sewing machine. To me they are a necessary evil and I only use one when I can’t talk her into doing it for me.

Cross-stitch and crochet items my mother has given me.
The baby blanket my mother made for me 34 years ago. It fits a full size bed and I still use it.

She picked up crocheting again in my pre-teens and I remember how odd it was that she would ask for help from me from time to time when she would get stuck on a stitch or reading a pattern. Recently, my mom has decided to learn knitting. And again there are these moments when we are talking over a pattern that it strikes me how odd it is that I’m the teacher.

Also, I blame her for my penchant of having multiple projects going at once. Every time I talk to her she has some new endeavor she’s working on. Last month she was making feather and ribbon hair barrettes and now she is doing something with a laminating machine and peacock feathers (don’t ask, I don’t know). My mom has given me a sense of wonder at what I can accomplish if only I set my mind to doing it; there is nothing I can’t achieve. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photography Challenge Day! 3KCBWDAY2

~Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. One example of setting a scene would be to photograph a girl in a knitted red cape walking through the woodlands with a basket of goodies, as in the Red Riding Hood tale, or you might photograph a knitted gnome hiding among the flowers in your garden. Photo editing is permitted for competition photos. Here are a few examples of my own photographs to illustrate an imaginative use of photography, but you can do much better than these...~

                                       Spring Flowers

Monday, April 23, 2012

Color Lovers 3KCBWDAY1

~Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects - do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.~

COLORS! I love color. Lots and lots of color. Which is contradictory to the type of music I like listening to. I’m really into Heavy Metal, Emo, and Goth, but I don’t dress the part because I love color so much more.

Choosing what colors I’ll buy to knit/crochet with depends on the project, who the finished object is intended for, or what will catch my eye and scream, “buy me, buy me!”

My stash is a rainbow explosion of color. I have it organized by color in 20 quart bins stacked five deep on either side of my two dressers. Blue seems to be bulging at the seams, grey isn’t far behind. Variegated though is my favorite by far.

(I couldn't get a picture of the bins in my room because it is too dark in there. So, I offer you one of a basket full of yarn that sits on top of one of my dressers. They are there because I have not felt like putting them away yet :P)

The only stand out theme of my FO’s is that nothing matches the other and most is made with variegated yarn. So, yes, I guess, my FO’s represent my stash well. My stash in all over the spectrum. Neon green sits alongside taupe and blood red next to pastel pink.

Almost never will I make a project exactly as the original. I like making a project my own, putting a little twist to it, change it up a little. So, it stands out, not a copy and says, “I was made by Sarah.” Even if all I do is change the color. Plus, for me most projects that are found in mainstream look washed out and too neutral.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Blog Along #10

Hey, I'm back! Sorry it's been so long. March was nothing but one sickness after another. Coupled with Husband having a week off and then the kids having a week for Spring Break, I've just not had the energy for anything else but the day to day running of our household.

I'm more than half way through Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. Reading it was going so quickly, I was really gobbling it up. Now, I am making myself take sometime to enjoy it. I'm bad about reading books to fast and then missing the book once I've finished it.

And yes. I have a new WIP!

No, your eyes are to deceiving you and you are not having deja vu. Yes, yes, I am making another skull beanie. In the same colors as before. And same size. Why? You ask. Well our new dog has an appreciation for handmade knitted goods. As any good dog of a knitter/crocheter should :)

This happened on the third day we had him. Son wasn't too upset. And as all family members of a knitter/crocheter do, he turned to me and said "You can fix it." And he said this with not one ounce of doubt that his Mom could do this. But, after looking the hat over sadly I could not fix it. Son, of course, informed me that this was not a problem because I could just make him a new one. Of course.

For awesome knitters/crocheters hop on over to Tami's Amis and Small Things.