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Archive for the ‘yarn’ Category

Well… maybe not vengeance, per se, but I’m definitely back!

I wish I could tell you that ninjas kidnapped me from my dorm room one night and spirited me away under cover of darkness, only to be discovered escaping by a band of wayward pirates, and as morning’s first light crept across the bow of the ship an epic battle was waged between the crew of the Scarlet Temptress and the clan of the White Order like none had seen before nor ever will again, leaving only one who could lay claim to my soul…

But  sadly there were no ninjas (though there were some pirates), and my soul is still safely housed inside my body. Just kidding. We all know gingers have no soul. Instead, life got in the way (as it usually does), and I often found myself either at a loss for words, or with far too many and no time to type them all up.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been crafting though! Hoo boy have I been crafting! I did my best to take pictures when I could, and in the coming weeks/days/etc. I will be updating this blog with evidence of my crafty nature, so that my readers (all 4 of you) can see what I’ve been up to in my absence.

In the meantime, here are a few things I’ve done recently to tide you over:

Thing One:

A couple months ago I began seeing a therapist again for the first time in years. She quickly discovered that I love to create things and am a creative person in general, and therefore has been coaching me to use this as a means of working through/with my various issues. One of the things she asked me to do was to “visualize” my depression, and eventually I was able to describe it as sort of a rorschach test, made up of varying shades of reds, oranges, and yellows flowing through an inky blackness. Once this description was established, she asked me somehow create this visual, using any type of media I desired.

Depression

I chose to paint it, since I figured that would be the easiest way to get the textures I wanted, and since in my mind the image I described is so large it encompasses my entire field of vision, giving you the sense of feeling surrounded, I hunted for the largest “canvas” I could find. This wound up being a piece of plywood about 2 feet by 3 feet in size, and it weighs a friggin’ ton*. I used black spray paint for the base coat, then worked with various brush sizes to splotch on the colors in three separate layers. I then sprayed a final coat of black spray paint over the top of everything to give it a sort of blurry, cloudy look.

Thing Two:

Early last week I got a message from a friend asking me if I wanted to go a “country event” on Saturday. I said yes, not really knowing what I was getting into, and Saturday morning said friend showed up at my door with a costume in hand for me to wear. It turned out that “country event” actually meant 1870’s Frontier Era Reenactment event, which is completely different than what I had in mind.

Me doing my best to look like an 1870's rancher/housewife.

While we were wandering about the little town, I discovered a group of spinners working in one of the buildings near our camp. Since I’d had the foresight to grab a basket of knitting supplies (including my drop spindle), I seized the opportunity to re-learn how to use a drop spindle and spin my own yarn from the kind ladies who were willing to teach me.

Drop Spindle with Blue Wool

I probably spent a good hour or so being coached and getting helpful tips on how to get just the right amount of twist on the fiber, how to pull from the bundle, etc. It was a ton of fun and I made sure to get some contact information on their spinning group, which means now I have someone I can run crying to when I mess up get help from when I need it.

And of course, because they were crack dealers lovely ladies who want to share their knowledge and art with others, they gave me this when I left:

Lots and LOTS of future yarn!

I look forward to finishing this skein of wool, and then knitting something nifty with it when I’m done. If I can keep up this skill well enough to actually produce the occasional skein here and there, then I will get to knit more with actual, honest to gods, hand-spun WOOL, which would be a beautiful thing.

Thing Three:

A couple days ago I discovered a link to instructions on how to make your own Star Wars snowflakes on several of my friends Twitter feeds. After making the appropriately nerdy excited “OMG!!!” noise, I decided to try making a set for myself.

Boba Fett/Clone Trooper and Darth Vader Snowflakes

I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, though I do wish my Vaders looked a little more “Vader-y”. As a Generic Winter Holiday treat for you all, here are the directions!

Star Wars Paper Snowflakes

Be sure and watch the Star Wars Holiday Special while you make these, for an added sense of festivity.** Enjoy!

*1 friggin’ ton = approx. 10lbs multiplied by exaggeration

** Do not EVER, under any circumstances watch this. You have been warned.

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Not long ago I met a lovely couple through a mutual friend, right after they’d had their first child. I got to see the little one a mere week or two after she first came home, and she is absolutely gorgeous. In fact, she is so adorable that my first instinct upon seeing her was “I must knit her tiny things!!!”. And thus, the saga of Baby Bear began.

I have a pattern for teddy bears that I actually really like, because it’s simple and produces cute little bears. It’s actually the pattern from the Mother Bear Project, which is a wonderful charity that EVERYONE should support. Their goal is to provide support and comfort to children affected by HIV/Aids in emerging nations. One of the ways they do this is by asking people to send them hand-knit bears, which they then give to a needy child.

Their bear pattern is free on their website, and while I have knit a couple and sent them in to the charity, I also really love the pattern as a gift for people, and therefore have used it to make bears for friends as well. When I set out to make a bear for the newborn, I realized that the standard size bear it produces would be far too big for her tiny hands to hold. So I decided to try to modify the pattern to make a smaller bear.

Baby Bear with too many limbs!

Once I thought the process out in my head, I began to knit the bear with a reduced number of stitches. She knit up pretty quick and I was pretty pleased with how well she turned out at this point.

Trimmed yarn and added skirt!

Once I trimmed her up so I could see what I was doing, I picked up stitches on the front and back and added her skirt. Once I put her all together with stuffing and all, I figured out a better way of doing this so that the skirt turns out more skirt-like and looks less oddly shaped.

Completed Baby Bear!

Yes her skirt is a little weird, but I think for my first time modifying a pattern on my own she’s not too bad. And for once the face I gave her doesn’t look terribly creepy (I’ve never been too good at embroidery)! Baby Bear is made of Homespun yarn and stuffed with hypo-allergenic filling, and she is entirely washer safe. Which is probably a good thing, knowing wee ones and what inevitably happens to their little toys.

Here’s hoping the little one likes it!

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Every now and again I get a friend who commissions me to make them a hat, or five. Whenever they do, I have a simple knit beanie pattern that I like to default to. I’ve made it several times over now, and I love the versatility it gives me with color and yarn.

This hat in particular is a trade for a service provided by a friend. She asked for a hat done in blues and purples, with a little pompom on top. I borrowed the pompom method from the Jayne Hat pattern, and defaulted to Ellen’s knit cap pattern for the hat itself. The yarn for the body of the hat is Vanna’s Choice Solid in Sapphire, Lavender, and Navy, and the deep purple on the brim is Paton’s 100% wool. Because I used both real wool and acrylic in this hat, the brim pulls a little differently than the main body of the cap, but I think it’ll look cute on my friend when she gets it.

Blue and Purple Striped Hat with Pompom

Here’s hoping she likes it!

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I realize it’s been a bit too long since my last update, but unfortunately Life got in the way and jealously took away all the time I had for crafting!

Not to worry though, as I’m now back in the swing of things and crafting my way through this new year.

And what’s even better, the Yarn Gods have smiled upon their humble servant and delivered unto me two skeins of this, the Missing Color:

Wool Ease Thick n' Quick Butterscotch

Which means that after many months of searching for just the right color, the answer to my prayers came in the form of the Lion Brand section at a Joann’s Superstore. The moment I saw it I knew I had to buy at least a couple skeins, as I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. So happily, I left the store that day with much more than I came in for, finding myself one step closer to completing the project which I so yearned for.

And less than twenty four hours later, I had indeed completed that project of projects:

The Jayne Hat

Oh yes. I am now the proud owner and wearer of the infamous Jayne Hat. Loved and laughed at by Firefly fans everywhere. The pattern is simple enough to do, and (thanks to the lovely Heather Hill) free for you to use, as long as you don’t intend to sell or profit off the end result. And why would you? Why would anyone sell such a glorious hat when they can instead declare themselves to the world as a person who loves ridiculous hats, and just plain ole ain’t afraid of anything!

Or at least that’s what I like to believe.

Pretty cunning, don'tcha think?

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Last night I found myself perusing the yarn bins at my local Michaels, hoping to find something interesting before the end of their annual holiday sale. Much to my surprise, I discovered two of the three colors of Wool Ease that I’ve been trying to find for ages. Unfortunately, in following the pattern established by all of my other trips to yarn suppliers, they did not have the third color I need on hand. Still, hopeful that I’d be able to locate the third color either at another store or online, I purchased a skein each of Spice and Pumpkin and headed for home.

This morning I jumped online in the hopes of finding a store that carries the elusive third color, so that I might start my project as soon as possible. Apparently, this was a mistake.

You see, I logged onto the Lion Brand website in order to pinpoint the exact color I need. Soon, I discovered that out of the 53 colors they boast on their website for Wool Ease, they apparently no longer make/carry the color I need: Butterscotch. Though this color is still featured on both Michaels’ and Joann’s websites, apparently NONE of the stores within driving distance of me have this color in stock.

Which means I now need to figure out a good substitute color for this project, but unfortunately I haven’t seen enough of it to make a good call in terms of an online order. Anyone have any suggestions as to a good shade of yellow for the fabled Jayne hat? Preferably a yellow Wool Ease that Lion Brand still makes?

Heather Hill's AMAZING Jayne hat!

And yes, the pattern I use for this project is in fact Heather’s famous pattern for Ma Cobb’s masterpiece.

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