Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Squared

I did something last week that I have never done before.  I always thought that it was hard, annoying and looked awful.  Bur then, as I learned, I came to understand the reason why so many people do it. 

What am I talking about?


Granny Squares!

Ok, laugh away. Until last week I had NEVER made a Granny Square.  Partially because I really do think they look tacky and annoying and partially because I just never had a reason to. But then our knitting guild was asked to yarn bomb some light poles for a local art fair in April (I'll share more about that when it happens!) and several of the other ladies were whipping out granny squares for it like crazy. 

It took a lot of patience from two of my fellow knitters before I finally got the hang of it - you should have seen my first attempt.  But after doing some diagram sketches and thinking of ways to memorize it in my head, I finally caught on.


For someone who rarely crochets and even more rarely crochets in the round, picking up this new skill took a lot of baby steps and several "maybe I should just stick to knitting" before it was finally mastered.  I will say, they are easier than I ever thought and I completely get the hype behind them now, especially for yarn bombing.  But will I be making millions and millions? Probably not.  After this yarn bomb project is over I'll likely retire the hook and crappy yarn for awhile, and forget how to even make them once again.

----

Have you made any granny squares in you day? Do you like them? Why?  Tell me what you think :)

Have a fabulous week!

~Lisa

Monday, March 13, 2017

On the Needles - March

We're midway through March already, and it's Spring Break for many schools down here in Texas, mine included.  As for my plans, well there will be lots of knitting, spinning and painting happening in my downtime.  After all why not use the extra time to the fullest?

I figured it was about time for an "On the Needles" update, so today I am sharing with you all the projects I am currently working on.


First up is my March socks - which I am calling "Lucky Stripes".  March is for St.Patrick's Day and St. Patrick's is known for green.  So I found the most green yarn I had and decided to make my socks with it.  The yarn is called Rico Design Superba Poems and came from the UK via a traveling relative a few years back.  The stripes are long, even longer than Zauberball, so I decided to stripe it within itself by dividing up the yarn and switching between two balls every ten rows.


The second project is one that has been on my list for awhile, Sev[en] Circle, with is a simple necklace type project that involves stockinette stitch rolling upon itself to create coils.  I loved this when I saw a friend wearing one last fall and knew that I wanted to make it many many time, although this will be the first one for me.  The yarn is some leftover Vinni's color, which was (ironically) given to me by the same relative as the sock yarn, this time from Africa.  I'm pretty sure I don't have enough for all seven circles, but the patterns is written to where I can stop when needed.


The lunch ladies at the school found out I know how to knit and have asked me to make them some converse booties for their children.  While most of the patterns are crochet, I was lucky to find one for knitting that I think is working.  Once I finished the first, the rest will be smooth sailing, as it's a pretty easy pattern.  The yarn? My standby - Caron Simply Soft.


The final thing on my needles won't be done for awhile, as our knitting guild is doing a year long Mystery Knit Along.  With one part of the pattern being released each month, it's a slow go.  The pattern is one that is already on Ravelry and I had the honor of picking it as and dividing it up.  So technically I know what it is, but I'm not going to tell.  And if you recognize it ever, don't tell either! ;) ;)

The yarn I chose was given to me in a swap - Merino Cashmere Fingering by Skein. It is so soft and scrumptious, that I knew it had to be something other than socks. 

---

Any new projects on the needles for March? Any knit alongs happening? Any major projects you fear will never be complete? Share away my friends and have a great week!

~Lisa



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spinning Stories

On top of knitting, painting and teaching, there are several other hobbies that I thoroughly enjoy.  One of those things is spinning yarn.  I will admit that I don't spin as much as I knit or create, but my wheel isn't the most portable thing on the planet.


Gifted to me almost two years ago, this vintage handmade wheel was passed on to my by a lady in my knitting group who had received it from someone else.  Apparently it's had three or four different owners.  Given than I have never owned a wheel (due to expenses), I felt so honored to be trusted with this gem.


My first skein on the wheel was a bit loosely spun, but still a nice beauty.  This was a 2 ply with blue merino from my stash paired with a bat of orange/blue with sparkle.  I really like the color on this one and for a first try it turned out nice.



Probably my most successful to date is these two skeins of handdyed BFL from my LYS.  I loved how the colors pooled and slowly changed.  It plyed up really nice too.  Something I've learned from wheel spinning is that I definitely prefer BFL - or any animal with a long staple - over Merino. 

This yarn is also the first wheel spun I've knitted into something, for it became one of my favorite shawls - gnarled oysters - which I wear on a weekly basis. 


A nice thing about wheel spinning is that (I believe) it's easier to try out new techniques.  One of those for me was Navajo Plying.  I had never tried it before but the rainbow stripes on this BFL made me want to preserve that.  The result was a yarn that ended up a bit tight and springy, but still very fun. 


This last skein was a total experiment for me.  1-ply is a dyed purple alpaca, which spun up very nice.  The second ply is some matching solid deep purple merino which I held with some sparkle thread throughout.  The end result is a lofty 2-ply yarn that really shines in the light.  I haven't decided what to make with this, but I know I want to make something soon.



This past weekend I pulled out my wheel, oiled her up and started another spinning project.  I'm taking the leftover blue and violet merinos from some of the above skeins and holding them together to create the first ply.  Once all the singles are done I'll likely just ply it back on itself.  It's spinning up really nice, so I hope that I do it justice in the end. 

-----

I hope you enjoyed this journey with me.  Spinning is something I wish I could do more. Are you a spinner? Or maybe some other fiber craft besides knitting?  Share below, I'd love to hear your stories!
Have a fabulous week :)

~Lisa