Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week #3

Ok, I got my days mixed up, this was supposed to be yesterday's post. Oh well, I blame it on too many hours at work. LOL

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

Right now I'm tired so I'm not thinking real clear. I think the one thing I would love to do right now is finish a great sweater or shawl with some of my handspun. I have been spinning yarn like a madwoman the past coulple of months, the knitting/crochet mojo has left the building.  I would really love to knit some amazing pattern with some of it. Something like this....
I am still amazed that I finished this Lace Cardigan. It was a challenge but came out so nice. I believe it is the nicest thing I have knit so far.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week #2

This was todays topic for Knit & Crochet Blog Week...

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

That's a tough one! There are so many wonderful knitters, crocheters, designers out there. Check out my queue on Ravelry if you want to see the many styles & patterns that I'd love to try some day. I have 788 patterns queued, I'll never get to them all in my lifetime. :)  And I'm positive I'll hit 800 soon.

If I had to pick just one, I'll go with Sue Schaefer of Harvest Moon Designs. I have purchased many, many dishcloth patterns from Sue. She has a neverending supply of wonderful, creative & pretty patterns for cloths. I really enjoy knitting dishcloths/washcloths. They are fairly quick projects, they are functional, & they make wonderful gifts. I have no idea how she comes up with so many different patterns, but I sure am glad that she does! :) And she is a very sweet lady, always a real pleasure & a blessing.

Knit & Crochet Blog Week

I saw this on Chan's blog this evening & thought I'd join in.

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I know my Grandmother (Mom's mother) taught me to crochet when I was little. I made long chains & some single crochet, but that was about it. I decided to pick it up again about 14 years ago, all I remember is that I wanted to make an afghan. That was somewhere around the time that my wonderful Grandmother passed away, I think in a way I wanted to honor her by continuing her craft. I remember helping my Mom clean out Mawmaw's home, there was a closet full of afghans that she crocheted. Probably about 40 of them! Enough for everyone in the family to get one. And I can say that I received the very last one that she finished, I had asked her if she would make one just for me & she made me a lovely sunny yellow afghan, she gifted it to me about a month before she passed. I cherish it to this day & always will.

So, with a need to learn I called on my other Grandmother (Dad's mom, I was blessed with two wonderful women as Grandmothers. Actually 3 if you count the hubby's dear one.) to teach me. This is "SO" my Mawmaw! She showed me how to make a chain again & showed me twice how to make a single & double crochet. Then she gave me a book from the 70's (you can imagine the patterns! LOL) that had printed instructions on the stitches, a crochet hook, & then sent me on my way. She expected me to basically teach myself, I was a smart girl she said. ha ha! I just love that woman to pieces!

Well, I did teach myself! I proceeded to crochet 11 afghans in the next 2 years as Christmas presents for family & friends. I was so proud & happy the day I gave my Mawmaw her afghan that I crocheted. :)

I then went on to have several original patterns published in magazines & books. I really should try to get my designing mojo going again, it's been a while.

To make a looooong story a bit shorter, one of the afghan's that I designed won the Juvenile division of the Herrschner's afghan contest. I headed to WI for the awards & tour... the Knit division winner talked me into purchasing my first knitting needles. Knitting always mystified me, one too many needles! Well, I got home with my new knitting needles, went online for some instructions, purchased some books.... the rest is history. I've even had a few small knit patterns published.

Even though spinning isn't part of this topic I thought that was worth mentioning too, for those that don't know that story. My pal Chan was taking a class on spinning. Spinning yarn? Why would you spin yarn when you can buy it? Famous last words! I watched & read about Chan's experience, I got curious, purchased a spindle, wasn't long before I bought my spinning wheel. Now my spinning fiber stash rivals my yarn stash! LOL

I have been blessed with wonderful family & friends who have helped & encouraged my creativity through the years. Thank you to all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spinning My Wheels... In more ways than one

Well, I haven't gotten much accomplished lately... I feel as if I'm just spinning my wheels, going nowhere. Super busy at work, which means lots of long hours. A short vacation that left us feeling as if we should have stayed home instead. Tax time stress, bill paying stress, messy house & yard stress, not enough hours in the day to do it all.

Anyhoo... last week I did get a chance to play with my new toy. Ron at Fancy Kitty had a little contest on our Ravelry group & I won! And I won BIG! I won a motor kit for my drum carder! I couldn't believe it, still can't. What an awesome prize. Ron has wonderful handcrafted products, all of them that I've used so far. I have a collection of his smoothie crochet hooks & my kitty drum carder. Truly superior quality & craftsmanship. And I just can't tell you how awesome the motor for my drum carder is. What a difference! I can put batts together much more quickly, & do other stuff while batt creating if I want. :)

These are the first batts that I created with the motor going. First I blended some purple mystery wool with some purple bamboo, and the same thing with the green, mystery wool & bamboo to match. Once I got those through the carder twice, just to make sure it was blended really well... I then sent it through the carder one more time to make the blended purple to green batts. The purple blends into the green, so I am hoping to get a nice graduated yarn. And I'm really curious to see how the bamboo/wool blend spins. I found that I'm not too crazy about spinning 100% bamboo, I'm hoping this will be much better.
And here are the last batts that I created before the motor arrived. These are a mystery wool, silver sparklies & a little bit of white milk fiber.
I have been spinning some roving lately, hope to finish that up & have some photos soon. In the meantime I'll show you some gorgeous merino rovings that I got from Steph at WC Merchantile. This is some lovely, soft, squishy fiber. If it wouldn't ruin it I'd use this stuff for a pillow to sleep on! LOL

I also purchased something recently & after using it for a few weeks I have to say it's a wonderful thing! After seeing a similar item that Jessi purchased a while back I went to check it out. And I found this little Litter Locker at the Dr's Foster and Smith website.
This is perfect for a family who has one or two cats! Think "Diaper Genie" for your cat litter box. This is an awesome product! And not a bad price either. I can put at least 2 weeks worth of used litter in there before I have to empty the bag. Each bag refill is supposed to last at least 2 months. I haven't used all of the first one yet & it's been 3 weeks so far.

Speaking of litter. Jazzy is trying a new one. Worlds Best Cat Litter. It's made from corn. She just started using it yesterday, but so far we both like it very much. It's a little more expensive than the regular clumping litter we've been using but it's supposed to last longer because it clumps better. One bag should last a month for one cat using it. I can tell you that it's much less dusty, it does clump really good, & we haven't had any unpleasant odors at all, even when scooping it out. That's a really good thing!
And speaking of Jasmine... here are a couple of cute photos of her playing fish with her daddy. We tied one of her toys to the end of some fishing line on a Spiderman fishing pole (you know, the kind you get for kids), Daddy tosses it around the house for her to chase. She loves that. :) And she was having so much fun she didn't even mind when Mommy got the camera out & snapped a few photos.
Just look at this adorable face! How could you not want to just smooch her? LOL  She loves that too, ha ha. Well, maybe I love that part more.
Hope everyone has a good week!