Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Episode 7: Exciting Yarny Goodness

My first scarf for Operation Gratitude is complete, my triangle scarf is still in progress, and there is lots to share about woolly yarn goodness!

Finished Objects

 What’s in my bag?

  • Midsummer’s night triangle scarf

    [caption id="attachment_91" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Malabrigo Rios... so yummy!"][/caption]

What’s new my library?

  • [amazon_link id="0307352161" target="_blank" ]The Knitter’s Book of Yarn[/amazon_link] by Clara Parkes

What’s in my ears?

 What’s new in my stash?

Other wonderful news:

A big thanks to everyone who has commented on Ravelry, Twitter and on the blog; it’s so awesome to interact with all of you!

Thanks so much for joining me for Episode 7. Feel free to send me an email at shortyssutures@gmail.com, find me on Facebook, Twitter or in the ShortysSutures Ravelry group.

Until next time, keep those hands stitchin’!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Stitching

Alas, the weekend is almost here and I couldn't be happier! It's been a week of exhaustion around my house... Hubby and I working too much and not getting enough rest, and my son's week included theback to school with football practice on top of that. We can't wait for Saturday and Sunday!

One of the things I'm looking forward to the most this weekend is stitching with  a new (to me) group of knitters and crocheters on Sunday. I found a group that meets weekly and the meeting times work with my schedule. I'll also continue working on my current projects (the triangle scarf and gratitude scarf) as well as put together the next episode of the podcast.

Stay tuned... lots of stitchery and chit chat is yet to come!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So Grateful for Operation Gratitude

My friend Alexis at Magnum Boots, USA sent me a link through Twitter last week to a site called Operation Gratitude. They are kicking off their fall and winter scarf drive where they need help from any knitter and crocheter who would like to participate.

[caption id="attachment_85" align="alignright" width="223" caption="Tunisian scarf in progress"][/caption]

This project helps support our troops who are fighting for our freedom by providing them with a handmade scarf that's been crocheted or knitted by one of us back home. There are some specific guidelines to be followed with regard to color and size, but I thought this was a very easy way to combine my hobby with a bit of giving back to those who are putting themselves on the line for me and my freedom.

As I've mentioned in past episodes of my podcast we have a connection to the United States military in my household, and my husband does what he can to support our troops around the world personally and through his business. I was so excited when Alexis led me to this project because I felt like it was a perfect match for me and what I could do to help the troops, too.

The only thing I'm struggling with is that I can't crochet fast enough! I'm using Tunisian crochet knit and purl stitches to create the scarf I'm currently working on and I must admit it's a slow process. Slower than regular crocheting. But, I absolutely love the texture and look of the fabric that's coming together by using the Tunisian stitch combination so I'm dedicated to making more that look like this. Maybe I'll get faster as I keep going.

[caption id="attachment_86" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Continuing the progress"][/caption]

Are you interested in learning Tunisian crochet? I took a wonderful class from Mary Beth Temple of Getting Loopy back in April, but if a class is not in your immediate future you can find some great videos on YouTube that will help get you started. Here's a link to Stitch Diva's channel where you'll find several Tunisian related videos. And, just in case you're wondering where I got the yarn for this project, I visited The Knitting Fairy in Grand Prairie, Texas on Saturday and purchase my yarn there. What a wonderful shop full of inspiring yarns and a cozy, inviting atmosphere.

How are you keeping those hand stitchin' this week?


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project Update: Triangle Scarf Relief

I am so happy this project is coming along well! After the frustration I was feeling from my three attempts at the DROPS pattern I started with I was trying not to be discouraged. I am really looking forward to having a triangle scarf to adorn myself with in a couple of weeks, so successful completion of this project is critical! (OK, not life or death critical, but you understand where I'm coming from, right?)

[caption id="attachment_81" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Triangle Scarf in Action!"][/caption]

Since the Midsummer's Night Shawl pattern is new and unfamiliar to me I'm finding that I have a repetitive question about following the diagram in specific spots throughout the pattern.

[caption id="attachment_83" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Blank Spaces between diagram stitches"]Blank Spaces between diagram stitches[/caption]

My main question is what to do when I get to the large blank areas where no chain stitches or connections are referenced. I'm still a newbie when it comes to following stitch diagrams, and this is the first time I've encountered this type of spacing between stitches. I'm guessing that I just need to allow a bit of looseness in my yarn in order to reach the spot where the next stitch needs to be placed.

If anyone is familiar with this type of spacing in a stitch diagram please let me know if I'm understanding the pattern properly. I've tried Googling the Internet for more details but I haven't found where anyone discusses this specific topic. When I reference all of the original pattern pictures shown on Ravelry I can't get a close enough look to see what the seemingly disconnected areas of the pattern look like on the shawl.

The way my stitches are looking to me right now I may have to rip back and leave a bit more distance between the cluster stitches in some areas, but I'm going to keep progressing until I can get a better idea of how the scarf will block out.

What projects are you currently working on? Feel free to share links in the comments section to your Ravelry or blog postings so we can see what beautiful stitchery you've got your hand's on.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The State of This Union

I thought I would give you a quick chuckle at how the progress of my current project is going.

[caption id="attachment_78" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The sad state of my cardboard tube wrapped center-pull ball, which isn't center-pull after all."][/caption]

As you can see, my center-pull-wound ball on a cardboard tube has fallen out of shape rather quickly. Sadly for me, the yarn is not even able to be pulled from the center.

And in other news, I'm about to start completely over on this project. I'm attempting to acclimate my brain to the directional style of this diagram, which looks more like piece of Navajo art than the diagrams I'm used to. I've reprinted the diagrams with the key symbols plainly visible in hopes of understanding it better with a new perspective.

You may remember that I mentioned in the last podcast episode that there were videos to help me (and anyone else) get through the pattern. Alas, the videos will only help with instruction for basic crochet stitches, not keeping your project's right and wrong sides in the proper direction. The directional aspect of the project has been the hardest part so far. Flipping from the right to the wrong side without understanding the diagrams is proving to be quite a challenge.

This little flower pattern is a lovely concept, and I am hoping I can make this triangle scarf a successful project. Wish me luck at Attempt #2!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Episode 6: Trivets, Squares and Triangles... Oh My!

The vintage trivet plan turned to mush, but alas cutesy dishcloths were born and more exciting projects are on the horizon!

Finished Objects

  • Kitchen dishcloths

What’s in my bag?

 What’s new my library?

 What’s in my ears?

Questions for Episode 6 listeners: What are some great garment-making resources that you have in your library? Have you overcome a fear of making something either in crochet, knitting or sewing? Please share your response either here on the blog in the ShortysSutures Ravelry group.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on Ravelry and on the blog, and a special thanks to Artsyjo and Crochetr for being the first to type up a review on iTunes of the ShortysSutures podcast! That helps the podcast become more searchable to anyone looking for crochet content.

Thanks so much for joining me for Episode 6. Feel free to send me an email at shortyssutures@gmail.com, find me on Twitter or in the ShortysSutures Ravelry group.

Until next time, keep those hands stitchin’!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stretchy Yarn: A Success Story

I'm excited to report I've made progress with my wonky aqua yarn I wrote about in the last post! You may remember that I began using GGH Samoa yarn with the intention of making a vintage-looking trivet for my kitchen. The yarn is a 50% acrylic/50% cotton blend that felt really great in my hands and called my name through its pretty aquamarine colorway. Despite all of my positive mojo with this yarn in the beginning, it has been very challenging for me to work with.

Considering I'm an impatient crocheter the difficulty of working with this yarn is not making me to want to use it again in the future.

What's making it difficult? There is a definite stretch factor that I just don't know how to compensate well enough for. The stitches that I began making included clusters (in the trivet), then later bobbles (in my first dishcloth attempt), and those types of stitches seem to be pulling the yarn differently than when I make the surrounding chains and single crochets.

My first thought after three failed trivet attempts was to donate the yarn all together. I changed my mind and decided to give it one more try by ditching the beautiful trivet pattern and going to basic stitches to make a dishcloth. I used a single crochet stitch for the body of the dishcloth then picked an edging to add for decoration and contrast. I pulled out my handy dandy stitch dictionary for edging inspiration and began my foundation row in yellow.

I realized that the edging pattern didn't quite match up mathematically with the stitch count on my single crochet square. As I mentioned, I'm impatient and this project had already begun to drive me a bit insane, so I just wanted to power through and see what the outcome would be.

As you can see my scalloped edging is not perfect in the corners and could use further work. I have three more single crochet squares that need edging added, so I'm going to pull another book with a stitch dictionary from my library and see what edging patterns may already have the correct stitch count for what I need. If I can't find a perfect fit, then I will experiment a bit more so that I can create a more shapely cloth.

What are you working on this week and how is your project coming along?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Trivet WIP

I mentioned in Episode 5 that I was starting on a vintage-looking trivet pattern from Crochet Adorned. Part of my excitement about this project, in addition to really being drawn to the pattern, was the aqua colored yarn that I am getting to play with while I complete the project. It's a cotton/acrylic blend that I really thought would be a great match for the pattern.

I started working on it Sunday afternoon with a size G hook, but switched to an F, then to an H. All of this switching is due to the yarn and the look I'm getting when I work with it.

Now the trivet is too large and a bit unshapely. I'm confident the distorted shape is due to an added stitch or two that I've inadvertently placed along the sixth and or seventh row.

So, I must begin again, but before I take that step I need to consider more than just my stitches. I need to analyze my yarn selection.

I'm bummed because I'm not only questioning my handiwork but the yarn I've selected. I was hoping since it was 50% cotton I wouldn't have the splitting I've had with other acrylic yarns. But, splitting is there sometimes if I have to rip back or if my hook gets a little wonky.

I've linked to the project on Ravelry, and noticed that when I was completing the details in my projects page the yarn automatically pulled up as an Aran weight. This detail wasn't on my yarn label, so I had looked at the needle size reference on the label instead to pick my crochet hook from. I should've consulted the chart.

I had it in my mind that the weight of yarn I'd chosen from my stash would work well for the sizes of hooks I mentioned in the beginning of this post. Now I see I've been working with the wrong tool! I should have an I, J or K hook instead. But, that will make my trivet way too large.

It looks like I may need to return to my yarn stash and pick a finer weight of yarn. The pattern calls for Worsted/Aran yarn and a G hook, however I'm not getting a good result with what I've picked. Could it be the cotton/acrylic combination? Maybe it's just the way I crochet? Or perhaps it's just this yarn?

Either way, more experimentation is required. Stay tuned for how my project comes together... as I keep these hands stitchin'!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where'd She Go?

I'm over here.... www.shortyssutures.com. Come and see me! And listen to Episode 5 of my podcast while you're there. I'd be most appreciative...