Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yarn Swap, Round Two

My friend O and I enjoyed our yarn swap so much that we're doing it again! This round, I sent her some of my handspun and she sent me a custom blend yarn from Yarnia in Portland.

The yarn is made up of a number of cotton strands that have been wound together on the cone. It's not like a normal yarn, as there isn't any twist holding these strands together, but it should knit up pretty well. I especially like the colors my friend chose for this yarn; it has some color depth that's hard to capture in this photo. Now that I have the yarn in hand, it's on to planning what to make for my friend!

2012-07-03 Edited to Add:
And here is my friend O's post about the yarn swap, complete with better photos of both yarns.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It's been a fun week for getting together with knitters, starting in Chicago where I was at a conference for 4 days. My roommate for the trip and fellow conference attendee, Abby, was someone I'd met through Ravelry and messaged several times but never actually met in person. I know this sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it ended up being wonderful and by the end of the trip we were finishing each other's sentences.

The Chicago crew. Image courtesy of Abby, the knitter on the far left. Thanks Abby!

While in Chicago, Abby and I also got together with some members of the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup group from Ravelry. We started a Loopy Yarns (where I convinced Abby to knit her first Ysolda pattern, an Ishbel) and ended up eating Thai food and knitting together. It was wonderful to see everyone and catch up.

The Madison gathering. Image courtesy of Judith.

Once back in Madison, I met up with more knitters from the House Cup. (What can I say? We like get-togethers.) It's amazing how easy it to transition from hanging out with all of these people virtually to spending time together in person. I always enjoy it.

Russian Join in Progress

While at the Madison gathering, someone taught me how to Russian Join (a technique that joins two yarn ends together). How did I not know how to do this before?! You simply weave the yarn ends back into the working yarn, which creates a pair of loops that can be used to connect the two strands. In my opinion, Russian Joining is right up there with spit-splicing in miraculous-knitting-techniques-everyone-should-know and techniques-that-save-you-from-weaving-in-ends. I anticipate using Russian Joins extensively in my future knitting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I would love to take a millinery course, partly because making hats seems interesting and partly because I love hats and wish they would come back into fashion. The appeal of a formal course is due to the fact that I find millinery a little intimidating; it uses such different tools and techniques from anything I've worked with before. While I'm still waiting to take my formal course, I do have a less intimidating method for making hats in the meantime: sewing.

I recently picked up the book Hat Shop, which contains 25 patterns for making hats. Most all of the hats can be constructed with a sewing machine, though one hat requires blocking and traditional hat making materials. The patterns themselves range from classic sunhats and baseball caps to cute kid's hats (there's a chicken hat!) and fascinators; there are also several great hat patterns for men. I definitely see myself making lots of different hats from this book.

While I love the range of hats in this book, I do have a couple issues with the book's format. The book is obviously a compilation of patterns from many different designers and I wish there had been a little more editing done to the individual patterns. There's very little consistency between patterns on things like seam allowances and the some of the photographs that accompany the instructions are downright terrible. So while the final stylized photos of each hat are adorable, I'm going to proceed with a little caution when it comes to the instructions in this book.

I have already made one pattern from the book, The Classic Sun Hat; this is the project I was working on in my last blog post. The hat came together fairly easily and quickly, but I’m not super happy with the results. The brim is much too deep, which obstructs my vision, and the circumference of the inner brim is too small both to fit the cap portion of the hat and my head. I’ll definitely be tweaking this pattern before I make this hat again with my second set of fabric.

See what I mean about the brim? I don’t want to say that I’m disappointed by this hat, but rather that it will fit me better (both in dimensions and in style) after a little pattern editing. I'm hoping that the other patterns in the book turn out better than this one because I am very excited to start making hats!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Settling In

I'm settling into my new apartment and have already taken over the front room as my crafting area. It's amazing how little time it takes to cover every surface with yarn and fiber. I've commandeered the only table in the apartment for my sewing area. It makes it difficult to have a nice sit-down dinner, but gosh darn it I'm going to be able to sew!

I'll talk more about what I'm currently sewing in the next post when it's more than just 3 seams, but I will show off the fabric selection here. I'm not sure how the fit of this pattern will turn out so I'm going to make a model using the fabric pair below (the floral should look a little familiar) and then make adjustments to the second version, which will use the fabrics in the last photo.

I had a lot of fun at the store picking these prints out. It's so enjoyable to play with colors and patterns and find two bold and interesting fabrics that actually go well together. I'm particularly in love with the paisley print and its partner, below.

I'm so glad that moving didn't take my crafting out of commission for too long. It helped that I moved into a furnish apartment, so it's simply been a matter of unpacking a few boxes of clothes and some craft stuff. Now that I'm settled in, I have lots of crafty things I want to accomplish in my new space!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


We're in the middle of moving this week; I'm moving to a furnished apartment 2 blocks down and the husband is moving in with a friend in Milwaukee so he can start his new job there. This is a temporary situation while I finish up my classwork, and I'm looking forward to moving to Milwaukee myself at the end of the year.

(These tubs are just my yarn and fabric. Let's not talk about the other craft supplies I have packed.)

The hardest part about this move has been deciding what to take with me, as most everything else is going to Milwaukee to sit in boxes for six months. I'm obviously keeping all of my clothing, and I don't want my yarn to sit in boxes in a basement for 6 months, but it's less obvious what to keep of the books and the other craft supplies. After several rounds of deliberation, final books selection has been whittled down to the following:

I'm keeping my two favorite cooking books (How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and How to be a Domestic Goddess), a couple sewing books (Everyday Handmade and Sew What! Skirts), my go-to book on crochet (Stitch'n Bitch Crochet), and my favorite knitting books (The Opinionated Knitter and Whimsical Little Knits), in addition to a couple other books I've been meaning to read for a while. I guess I now know what books I'd take with me if I am ever stuck on a deserted island!

Hopefully, I'll get settled into my new apartment quickly so that I can get back to crafting and telling you all about it. Wish me luck!