Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Shawls in balls

Recently, Lion Brand Yarns ran a sale on their Shawl in a Ball yarns. Normally, they're about $10 per ball, but the sale was 5 balls for $10 + shipping cost. Not that I needed more yarn, but it was a sale I could not resist. Rather than just add the yarn to my stash, I decided I needed the knitting motivation that comes when I have a specific recipient in mind. I asked my sister, daughter, sister-in-law, and niece to choose one of the balls I'd bought, and I would make them each a shawl. So far, I've finished 2 of the 4 shawls. Please note that I haven't washed and blocked them yet so they are more scrunched up than they will be when they are given out.

My Sister's Shawl

The colorway is "Reflective Crystal." The pattern, "Sedona Triangle Shawl", is a free pattern from Lion Brand specifically designed for the Shawl in a Ball yarns. It's an easy pattern made up of  alternating rows of stockinette and garter stitches. Below is a closeup.

My Daughter's Shawl

My daughter wanted a rectangular wrap with greens and browns. The colorway she chose is "Graceful Green." Sorry, but the photo does not do it justice. The free pattern is  "Nova Lace Pattern Wrap" from Tahki Yarns. It's knit lengthwise. I cast on fewer stitches than the pattern called for so I could have a bit more height than length in the final piece. It's a super-easy pattern with yarn-overs added on one row and dropped on the next to provide a lacy effect which will be more pronounced once I block the piece

Getting Ready for the 2019 NC State Fair

Registration deadline for entries to the North Carolina State Fair is coming up fast so I'm now working on several projects that, up to now, had just been vague ideas. So far, I'm finishing up (1) a knitted baby sweater, (2) a tatted edging for a pillowcase, and (3) a crocheted edging for a tea towel. I have ideas for a few other items but I will need to give them some more thought. I won't post photos of any pieces until they are actually entered in the fair in October. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 4, 2019

This Summer's Charity Knitting

Although I've been pretty inactive on the blog this summer, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy crafting. One of the projects I've been working on is making items to donate to the local charity Note in the Pocket. Their mission: "We provide clothing to impoverished and homeless schoolchildren in Wake County [NC] with dignity and love. Note in the Pocket believes that it is unacceptable that children are limited in their educational and social development because they do not have appropriate clothes for school.

This is the latest batch I've finished: 2 scarves and 34 hats. I've gone through so much of my stash of acrylic yarn that I've had to buy more to continue making the hats. The majority were knitted using a simple pattern that I modified from one I found in my library of knitting books. The pattern works up very fast so that I can make a hat in just a few hours of knitting.

Here's the pattern that I used for the majority of the hats:

Child's Simple Knitted Hat
Hat body
1.       Cast on 80 stitches on 16" circular needle.
2.       Join & place marker.
3.       Work K2 P2 rib for 8 rows.
4.       Continue in stockinette stitch for 28 rounds.
Crown Shaping Decreases
Change to double-pointed needles when there are too few stitches to fix on the circular needle.
1.       (K8, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
2.       K next round -- 72 stitches
3.       (K7, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
4.       K next round -- 64 stitches
5.       (K6, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
6.       K next round -- 56 stitches
7.       (K5, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
8.       K next round -- 48 stitches
9.       (K4, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
10.   K next round -- 40 stitches
11.   (K3, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
12.   K next round -- 32 stitches
13.   (K2, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
14.   K next round -- 24 stitches
15.   (K1, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
16.   K next round -- 16 stitches
17.   K2tog 8 times -- 8 stitches

Cut yarn leaving 8" tail & thread through the remaining stitches.
Pull together tightly & secure end.
Weave in any loose ends.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tatting Resources

I just compiled this list of links to resources for tatters for a tatter who I met on my recent trip to Scotland. Perhaps others who read this blog may find the information useful, too.

Social media site for tatters. Lots of patterns, discussions, library. Free membership.

Facebook Groups

Local groups that I belong to:
·         Tri-Tatters -- the Triangle-area group of tatters. Monthly meetings in Raleigh. Membership is free.

·         NCRL - North Carolina Regional Lacers
-- this group is out of Raleigh, but we have members from western part of Virginia and all over North Carolina. A lot of bobbin lace members, but we tatters are a growing in membership. Also supports other forms of lace making: knitted, crochet, needle lace. NCRL has a Spring Lace Day in Chapel Hill each year. Membership is $15/year, but membership is not required to attend the Lace Day vendor area.

Other tatting Facebook groups that I belong to:
·         Tatting
·         Tatting-Frivolite-Orecchini
·         Tatting lovers---amanti del chiacchierino!
·         Frivoliteter är ett fantastiskt handarbete!
·         Lacemakers
·         Frivoliteras
·         Tatting ayşemekik 2
·         Tatting Shuttle Addicts....
·         Just-Tatting
·         Tatters of Lace

The Palmetto Tatters Guild in South Carolina sponsors an annual Tat Days in Toccoa, Georgia in September. You can get info on the event on their website:

Other groups that sponsor tatting conventions:
·         Finger Lakes Tatting Group in Hector, NY
·         Shuttlebirds Tatting Guild in Spokane, WA
·         Fringe Element Tatters in Ontario, Canada

Sources of tatting threads, shuttles, books, and other supplies: 
·         Handy Hands
Online only
Quarterly newsletter for $5/year, subscription entitles you to discounts on purchases

Online only
Free monthly newsletter with tatting pattern
·         Tatting Corner
Online and physical store in Indiana

·         DS9Design
Online only

·         Snowgoose Lace
Online only

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I'm Baaak! And I've Been Very Busy

Although I have not posted anything on this blog since March, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. I'm going to catch up with photos of all my recent projects so that I'll have the old projects recorded before I post photos of my 2018 North Carolina State Fair entries.

One of my crafty activities this summer was to take a 2-session class on brioche knitting. This technique has always intrigued and eluded me. After the first class with Rachel at Downtown Knits in Apex, NC, I saw why I needed professional instruction. When you skip or drop a stitch in brioche knitting, it is hellishly hard for a beginner to find and fix the mistake. Fortunately, Rachel made herself available between classes when she was staffing the store. I came and sat to work on the class project and if I had a problem, I would run to her between her taking care of customers.

Our class project was "Worsted Brioche Bandana Cowl" by Lavanya Patricella Designs available for purchase on Ravelry. The yarn in the photo below is not the yarn I purchased at the yarn shop for the class. I actually got so frustrated with the project that I made the cowl out of worsted that I had in my stash so I wouldn't wear out the more expensive yarn by constant frogging. The yarn I used for this cowl is Plymouth Encore Worsted in colorway 146 Natural and an Encore Worsted in colorway 1001 Merry, a twist of green and red.

As you can see, with brioche knitting you have a double-sided garment with each side reversing the dominant color of the other side.

Here's the cowl I finally made with the yarn I bought for the class. It's pretty much the same as the one above, but I omitted the bandana point on this one since I didn't personally care for it. The yarn is worsted weight wool, but I've no idea what it was since I've mislaid the skein label (I'll update the post if I ever figure it out).

 After I felt more competent with the technique, I made a scarf with Plymouth Encore worsted and various colors of yarn leftovers. The pattern is Nancy Marchant's "BEBEB (Best Ever Beautifully Edged Brioche) Scarf." The pattern is free and a good one for brioche beginners.

Also made this hat using Plymouth Encore worsted in colorway 146 Natural and Plymouth Encore Colorspun in colorway 8004 Rainbow. The free pattern is Marilynn Blacketer's "Brioche Basic Beanie."

Now that I've mastered the basics I hope to move on to more complicated patterns. To inspire me I recently purchased Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant which definitely takes the technique to a higher level of complexity. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2018 Carolina Fiber Fest Stash Acquisitions

In addition to participating in the Tri-Tatters display/demo at this year's Carolina Fiber Fest in Raleigh, NC, I did a bit of shopping in the vendor area. I feel I was quite restrained this year with only 4 purchases.

Last year I almost bought a ball of this colorway ("Deep Sea"), but when I came back to the vendor's booth, the yarn was gone. This year, I saw that one ball was left on the rack so I snapped it up before I missed out a second year. The yarn is approximately 560 yards of superwash merino. I don't know what I'll make with it, but I love the colors too much not to add it to my stash.

I bought this skein at the Claudia Hand Painted Yarns booth. It's 270 yards of 100% sport-weight linen in a colorway called "Almost Pink." It's actually more of a fuschia shade. I was looking at the pale pinks on the rack when I spotted this dramatic color. "Oh, too flashy for me," I thought and walked on. Then later I returned and said to myself, "Go for it!" I wear a lot of black so this color would really stand out around my neck and shoulders. So far, the only thing I've made from linen is a shopping bag so I was concerned about how soft it would be as a garment. The vendor showed me that a skirt knitted out of the same fiber had softened up after washing so I think whatever I make with it will be comfortable to wear.

Here's another 100% linen purchase, this one from Ellyn Cooper's Yarn Sonnets. It's hand-dyed Normandy 16/2 linen (a number which will probably mean more to weavers, than knitters or crocheters). The 200 yards of lace weight yarn is in colorway "Sunset Blush" and the photograph does not do it justice. This thin yarn is about equivalent to size 20 tatting thread and is so smooth that I am planning to see how well it will tat. So far, I've only tried tatting with linen sewing thread, but this has tempted me to try something heavier.

This skein of sock-weight yarn is from Iria Yarn Company. Last year I bought yarn from their booth (and actually finished a project with it!). (Again, I was attracted to something, left without buying it, and then later returned and bought it. I think that if I find myself attracted to a yarn enough to consider it second time, then I probably should go ahead and buy it.) The yarn is called "Sparkle Sock" in colorway "Steel Gray." It's 436 yards of 75% superwash merino, 20% nylon, and 5% Stellina (the sparkly bits). I think it will make a nice little shawl...someday.

Was I tempted by other yarns at the event? Hell, yes! But sanity prevailed. Two passed-up possibilities come to mind. Both I judged were two expensive to possibly languish in my stash for years. I love the feel of silk and at last year's Fiber Fest there was almost no silk yarn to be had. This year there was a lot more, both blended with wool or other fibers or as 100% silk. The stuff I had my eyes and hands on was around $55 per skein in lace weight. Beautiful, but I resisted. Since I had no idea what to make with it, I think I was wise to pass it up.

Walking back to our tatting display area, I felt a lovely yarn in passing. Oh, my, it was soft and squishy. No wonder, it was angora yarn. I could imagine the luxurious feeling as my neck was wrapped in its soft fuzziness. But the price tag of $60 for one skein brought me back to my senses and I walked on.

If this event wasn't sufficient for yarny goodness, the local Spring Yarn Crawl starts in 2 weeks. This year 12 yarn shops will be participating. Not sure I can keep from going to at least 2 or 3 of them.