Monday, May 17, 2010

Crochet goodness

Do you want to see some crochet goodness. Feast your eyes on these flickr groups:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

'New' fad

It's not exactly new (to me) but I've been bitten by the crochet bug. I mostly knit lately, but crochet once in a while. For an Icelander crocheting is not a craft on it's own, as much as another side of the coin for knitting. No one only crochets there, or at least no one I've every heard off. So I found it interesting that there were people in America that only crocheted and knitters that said they could only knit, not crochet. That's beside the point.

I'm crocheting now.

It started with crochet mittens.

My grandmother gave me a whole lot of Einband, in bright and beautiful colors for Christmas, and I've been wanting to make something out of it. Normally you would make shawls out of this yarn, but it has the potential for much more. It´s gained more and more popularity as a sweater yarn, and I've started a sweater (hoodie even) from this yarn (the never-ending-sleeves I've been working on since March 1st). This idea wasn't mine, I saw a similar project on Ravely, but I made a pattern of crochet mittens from Prjóniprjón, an Icelandic knitting book I bought (from one of the the author) the last time I was in Iceland.

I combined two threads of Einband, pink (1768) and magenta (9142), and used a 4.5 mm hook. I started off with 32 chains for the base and the only changes I did was to do a SC decrease but the pattern suggested to skip a SC for a decrease.

It's a quick and easy project and I basically just 'molded' the mittens to my hand (i.e. kept trying them on to see if the size was correct). They do have a potential for some cool embroidery too, but for now I'm not going to go that way.

Before I had even sewn in the ends for the mittens, I had my next crochet project started. One that I'm obsessed over. I'm making another blanket (what is it about blankets and me????) and it's made out of hexagons. I can't even describe how much joy I'm getting out of this project. I'm following directions from Attic24, which are just brilliant (Attic24 is brilliant too, especially at color - take a look at her blog and see for yourself). What is so genius about this pattern is that there is minimal finishing (I'm not too big on finishing). Each hexagon only ends up with one end to weave in, even if I use 4 colors for it! And that's not all. I don't even have to sew the hexagons together, but crochet them together as I go. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

The yarn I'm making the blanket with is Kambgarn. It's a sport weight yarn, dyed and distributed by Istex (Icelandic yarn maker). I was collecting this yarn, most of it I got gifted to me, but some I purchased last time I was in Iceland. I had intended it for multicolor mittens and hats, but never seemed to actually make these things. The yarn is perfect for the purpose of making a blanket, I have 22 50 gr skeins in 10 colors, thereof 8 in one color (moss green), which I can use for the main color of the blanket. The challenge is that the colors are a bit haphazard (three different shades of red and green), I would not have chosen exactly these colors if I had chosen them from scratch for the blanket, but they are not too dissimilar, so they will work.

I'm going to make the blanket as big as it will get with the yarn I have (or at least that is the plan to start of with). Each hexagon is quick (I haven't timed it yet), so it is a nice project to grab when I sit down and take a break on the weekend (I've only really worked on it over the weekend!) or any other time I'm not sitting down for extended period of time.

I don't know how long the honeymoon will last but at the moment I'm quite enamored by the little hexagons and want to continue with hexagon nr. 9, which I had just started before I started writing this post.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Latest FOs and soul searching

My latest FOs (finished objects) are all from March. That's how little I've been knitting lately. Not only have I knitted less, but I've also had less desire to knit. This is a new feeling for me, and partly it's because I've been busy and sometimes too tired at knit to knit, but also because knitting is no longer a way to save my sanity. In a way I am relieved because I'm more free (not as obsessed) and the creativity has more ways to flow, including work.

So back to the regular program. Here is a t-shirt I made for my younger daughter. She is sensitive to wool, but was drawn to this yarn from my stash. She'd obviously studied the stash quite well, since she was able to dive right in and get it. It's a mix of cotton, wool and nylon and is meant as sock yarn, which got for my birthday just over a year ago.

The pattern is Country Kiddie by Pixie Purls, which I adopted for a larger size. In reality it is very simple top-down raglan design, but I bought it originally to have the sizing for babies. That was before I decided to use this yarn to make a shirt for my 4 yo. daughter. I started this project a long time ago, in August 2009, but it was largely ignored until couple of months ago, when I started to knit it again. After the New Year I was very interested in knitting out of the stash and finishing projects I've already begun.

The size of the shirt can be decided as you go, because you can just keep knitting the raglan increases until it is big enough, and I wanted it to be on the bigger size, so my daughter could use it for a while. However, the larger size meant I needed more yarn, the 100 gr. skein of sock yarn wasn't enough, but I was visiting a yarn shop in Parekersburg, WV, when I saw yarn that looked identical! It was completely different brand of yarn, but it looked similar enough that you could never tell that the shirt is actually made out of two different yarns.

The original one was Plymouth Yarn - Sockotta (nr. 6065) and the other (the second one) was Marks & Kattens - Clown (color nr. 1907)

As excited the younger daughter was about the shirt I was making just for her, she wasn't as enthusiastic about wearing it, claiming it was too scratchy (what else is new), but here you can see a photo of her sister wearing it.

See, you can't see the difference in yarns, can you :)

Other than that, I've been knitting these tiny little socks for few unborn/newborn children, which are plentiful these days. A coworker, my brother and my sister-in-law have all been having babies lately. Here are two of the pairs (two out of three)

You have that matchbook in one of the picture to appreciate the small size of these socks. They are made out of leftover sock yarn (what a great way to use up small amount of yarn, which is leftover when you make adult socks (women size)) and take couple of evening to do. The pattern is called Spring Daffodil baby socks which I found on Ravelry (where else). The pattern really shows off the variegated socks nicely.

The only thing I've been knitting in April is more on sleeves I've been working on since beginning of March (still not done) and a cowl.