Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rarely Worn Sweaters

I cleaned out my closet a few weeks ago and sent a bunch of clothes I don't wear to the local charity shop. I was very thorough with this process, sorting through my shoes, sweaters, and books as well as my clothing. This lead me to the dilemma of what to do with the handknit sweaters that I never wear.

My pile of rarely worn handknit sweaters is embarrassingly large. While I love all of these knits, their main problem is that they're not very flattering styles for my figure. After consulting with some friends on Ravelry, I've decided that these sweaters should be frogged and reknit into things that I will actually wear and enjoy. While my plans for all this yarn are not yet formed, I do think that my February Lady sweater is destined to become a stylish Beatnik sweater.

In addition to sending some sweaters to the frog pond, I've also set my Coraline sweater aside for some much-needed alterations; I will be lengthening the sleeves and moving the closure to a more flattering location. Thank goodness I knit the sleeves from the top down, so this won't be a terribly difficult process.

I hope to avoid this rarely-worn-sweater problem in the future by being more careful about the sweater patterns I choose to knit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Falling Back in Love

In June, I wrote a blog post about how my desire to knit diminished after I defended my PhD and started a more regular job. At the time, I was happy enough to have time to read for pleasure and generally enjoy life after grad school to worry about my knitting. The ironic thing is that since I started my new grad program at the beginning of September, my desire to knit has gone back up!

Perhaps it's because my time is now much in demand that I force myself to carve out 20 minutes a day for pleasurable things like knitting. Either way, I'm proud to have knocked out this Snapdragon Tam in under two weeks. Even though it's not as slouchy as I would have liked, it at least proves that the knitting mojo has returned!

Also fueling my returned desire to craft is my recent acquisition of a Bosworth spindle. After hearing so many people rave about these spindles, I was not disappointed when I finally spun on one. I'm looking forward to putting a lot of yardage on this spindle to really get a feel for how it performs. I may be busy, but at least there are plenty of exciting things happening on the crafting-to-keep-me-sane front.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool 2011

I made the trip to Wisconsin Sheep & Wool again this year (see last year's post on Sheep & Wool). This festival is such a nice mixture of shopping, catching up with friends, and seeing a variety of sheep, that it always makes for a good time. Additionally, I went to the 'Unwind' afterparty, which boasted over a hundred Ravelry members and their friends. All in all, it was a great trip.

A few of the more interesting things I saw this year included dog whistle trials (above) and sheep judging. The dog trials were very entertaining to watch and I was amazed by how well some of the dog/owner pairs work together to herd a group of sheep. The sheep judging was also interesting, though much more sedate. I particularly enjoyed watching the judging of a 'family' category--a ram, a ewe, and their offspring lamb are judged as a group, with preference given to breeding that shows improvement in the younger sheep as compared to its parents. These are the type of events that I wish were at the Wisconsin State Fair.

I did come home with a very small amount of fiber: 4 oz of Tussah silk. I exercised a lot of restraint because I'm saving my money up to buy a Bosworth spindle. I'm really looking forward to trying this new-to-me fiber type on my brand new spindle.

And finally, I'm leaving you with the requisite silly picture of a sheep. This ram was quite a large gentleman (his head was at the level of my waist) and he had the most wonderful set of horns. We saw a lot of sheep at the festival, but this guy was the most impressive.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Tsumami Kanzashi Follow-Up

I had such a good response from my post about kanzashi that I wanted to update you on some new projects. First of all, let me say that a friend of mine who is familiar with Japanese culture informed me that the proper term for these flowers is 'tsumami'. Apparently kanzashi only refers to the hair ornaments, though it seems to be the term that most western crafters have adopted for these flowers. I will try to use the term tsumami from here on, so as to be correct as possible.

Since I posted last, I've been making more fabric flowers using the templates. I even took the templates to knitting night with friends, which went over well. I don't expect to get tired of these any time soon.

The other thing I've been working on is paper tsumami. This is particularly a way to deal with the junk mail we get every week, particularly those hated Shopper Stoppers. First of all, let me state that the templates do not work well with paper. Instead, I followed the folding instructions laid out in 'Kanzashi in Bloom' to make paper petals.

The only petals that seem to work well in paper are the rounded petals. The other petals are too flat because the paper creases so easily, though the rounded petals need a little manipulation by hand to get the final effect. Still, I really like how the flowers look, especially the small ones. Who would have guessed that these are made from sales fliers?