Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New Yarns

Quickly, because I'm supposed to be writing Chapter 4 now... A little while ago I went to Artfibers' knit and crochet show. I was a little disappointed by the dearth of crochet showings. Isn't that always the way? But there was a gorgeous cardigan made of linked double crochet--the inspiration for the waist band on the Sweet sweater. I bought three balls of Ming and asked them to wind some extra balls from their last cone.

Also got Trendsetter's Granita--a soft bulky one-ply--from Article Pract to make a cloche for my friend. Poor thing got into a car accident and had some stitches in her scalp. She now needs to wear hats while her hair grows out.

The swatch is in a textured stitch, from a cloche pattern in SweaterBabe.com's Fabulous and Flirty Crochet.

Completed Felting Projects

I learned how to felt crocheted items this summer. Love Patons Classic Merino and Knitpicks wool yarns (Wool of the Andes and Merino Style)! They're really affordable too.

The first project, I adapted from a large messenger bag pattern in Hip to Crochet. Instead of having raw edges on the outside I turned them inward. The bag measures about 8.5" x 11" x 2.5" with a strap long enough to wear across the body. Gave it to my friend Scott for his b-day. He loves it. We all call it a "man-purse."

Materials: Patons Class Merino (worsted), 2 balls Royal Purple, 1 ball Leaf Green, 1 ball Grey Mix, and 1 ball Aran. Also tossed in some leftovers: Knitpicks Merino Style (DK) in Cream and in Storm.

Made another man-purse exclusively with Knitpicks Merino Style for my spouse, will post the picture later.

This one I made for myself. It's about 13" wide and 11" tall. Long straps. Stuff tends to get lost in it so I need to make a lining with pockets.

My own improvised design, with three pieces sewn together. The bottom of the bag is a long oval crocheted in the round. The two sides have with tapered shoulder straps. Mostly single crochet, except the diamond effect with 5-dc shells. I wound up with small gaps between shells, though the bag is perfectly functional.

Materials: Patons Classic Merino, 2 balls Leaf Green, 1 ball Royal Purple, and 1 ball Aran (actually, leftovers from the previous bag).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sweet - Finished (or almost?)

My first sweater!

Frogged the last version back up to the v-neck join, where I tied it off and joined anew at one of the armpits. Then I crocheted in the round, reversing direction after each row to keep the pattern regular. Did sc in back, then transitioned to hdc then dc (and then back to hdc and sc) in front for about three rows to simulate sideways darts for boobs.

The waist band: alternate one row of linked double crochet, right side facing, with one row of: sc/dc/dc in one stitch, skip two stitches, repeat. (For how-to on linked Dc, see "linked treble crochet" directions.) Then half double crochet in one direction to hem, with dart inc

Finishing: Bordered the neckline in single crochet with red to draw the eye upward. I'm wondering whether to add sleeves, either in the same color as the body or in red. My husband is rooting for the cap sleeves, but it's getting cold.

This was a beta version so I used Soft by Red Heart, which has great shine and stitch definition but turned out not to bounce back when stretched. Lesson learned: look for yarn with some elasticity for fitted items.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Affordable yarn

I'm a grad student and don't have a lot of money for yarn. But I love natural fibers. So I spend a lot of time hunting through the web for good deals.

My favorite so far is Knitpicks which contract manufactures its own lines of yarn. You can get 100% wool yarn, reasonably soft (Wool of the Andes), for as low as two bucks a ball in really intense colors. Or go for a really soft DK weight merino wool (Merino Style) for $2.49. Both are awesome for felting projects. My favorite is Elegance, a soft, sheeny silk/alpaca blend at $4.29 a ball. They have pretty low shipping charges and color cards for almost all their yarns.

I've also ordered discount yarn from Elann. But you really have to know what it is you're ordering. Spend $20 and you'll get color samples of several yarns each month that are going to go on special.

If you want to splurge on sumptuous yarn, I recommend Artifibers. They also manufacture all their own (very original) yarns. I think the prices are reasonable considering the incredible design quality--rich variegated colors, interesting textures and fiber combinations. At their showroom in downtown San Francisco, you can knit or crochet swatches for free and have a nice conversationwith their staff, especially Kira the manager who tries to keep up with crochet trends. In fact, they're having an urban crochet fashion exhibit Sunday October 8 and I am so going.