Monday, July 26, 2010

Clutch VS Reticule

Sock yarn is so very adaptable, isn't it?  One need not even make socks with the stuff.  What's more, one can find a nice pattern, make it or adapt it, and not even use it as intended.  This whole stick and string thing responds very well to the whim of the weilder!

This is my new clutch purse.  Made of stash sock stuff and using a slightly adapted pattern from Berroco.     The pattern is free - so click away and enjoy.  I love how the moss/seed stitch breaks up what should be horizontal patterning of the yarn.  

For this clutch purse, I wanted sturdy structure.  So it has a double lining with stays inset for the bottom fold line, sides and top fold line.  It all worked out perfectly and, once I settle on the proper closure, it will be ready for use as just a clutch or as a wonderful travel companion that slips easily into a larger bag or suitcase.  

Funny thing about sock yarn.  There is a lot of it - way more than is needed to make a small clutch purse.  So, I used the left over part to make this.

When I started crocheting with a little circle and no pattern, folks were asking the eternal bothersome question Whatcha makin'?  In a former life as the Queen of Sarcasm, I would have replied, "A circle."  But no more.  I am working very hard to refrain from sarcasm and politely (yes, surely I was polite each time my mouth opened) indicated that my intent was to make a reticule.

Reticule.   That one word sparked all manner of questions and explanations.  Never in my wildest imagination did it occur that I might be the last remaining person  that knows the word reticule and its proper usage.   As all manner of folks know the meaning of the word circle, perhaps that obvious answer would have been better.  (oops, is even that statement a bit of my old ways sneaking in?)

So, I took my little crochet project as an opportunity to educate all who came within my sphere of influence and explained the reticule.  Indeed, we had such fun with this new found knowledge that the bag has become known to a few chosen friends as the Ridiculous Reticule.  But I digress.  The point here is the totally different pattern that resulted from crocheting rounds of the sock yarn.  Swirls of color march up the bag and offer an almost jaunty look.  

Once completed, I put the clutch and reticule side by side just to appreciate the differences.   Knit vs crochet.  Moss vs. double.  Stable vs collapsible.  Lined vs unlined.  

I remain captivated that the same yarn can produce such variety depending on how it is used.    The only remaining issue is what to do with the still left over sock yarn!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

With Sugar 'n Cream

Do you give much thought to the interplay of intended use/wear and appropriate yarn?  It is a simple question that is worthy of entire tomes to fully explore the issue.  Indeed, many a writer has tackled what to use when, many a blog post has offered an opinion and a multitude of chat posts have ranted about why something can't be used as proposed.

Will a cotton skirt sag where you don't want your saggy bits to be emphasized?

Will alpaca be too hot for an airy summer tank?

Will baby develop a rash if the blankie has a mere 25% wool?

Will a yarn prone to pilling create a mess on the under arm area?

Ad infinitum. . . . .

My current mood is such that the simple and time tested solution is my choice.  A new bath accessory is needed.  I'll take mine with Sugar 'n Cream, please.

 No muss.

No fuss.





Totally functional. 

That's right, I'll take my coffee black and my functionality with Sugar 'n Cream.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Got the Blues

They say that wet blocking is a good thing.

They say to soak the wool.


I should have known that the blue finger marks were prologue.   Look at that water!  At first, and here I refer to the first tip of wool touching the wetness, it looked like boiling water hitting that childhood tablet of Easter Egg dye.  An immediate and not quite positive experience.  As they also say -  in for a pound!  I dunked it all and then as quickly as possible moved the whole mass of twisted string to one side.

Possibly this was just a trick of the fiber reflecting off the wonderful white porcelain and fooling my eye.  

Possibly it was fear manifesting itself in illusion.  

Possibly it was left over lack of cleaning from Easter!


It really was blue water.

It really was not reflection.

It really was not illusion.

It really was not from lack of prior cleaning.

I have decided, as a sanity saving twist of logic, that this is just manifestation of Blue Blooded Wool - of which I am worthy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Color Color Everywhere

I love color.  Those who know me well might think I only love teal, jade & merlot shades.  But I am also very fond of a rich brown, soft grey and bold black.  And at this very moment I am bedecked in olive and salmon.  Shades of olive and salmon (even though someone in the room thinks I am wearing pink).  Surely olive and salmon upon the person means that I can and do branch away from teal, jade and merlot.  

What I don't really enjoy is color upon my body that I did not purposely place on this person.  Confused?  Look closely at this photo. 

That there is color transfer from working a current project.  Just look at that!  At first I thought that I was simply holding the yarn too tightly for it to slide easily.  So, I moved the position to another pristine finger section and the same thing happened.  The color made another lovely blue stripe.  

I was slightly put off.  Perturbed is more the truth of it.  OK - quite perturbed and not happy and almost driven to say bad words.  Then I thought about this whole thing.  My love for dark shades of yarn is bound to have some fallout.  Light pink tints hold no charm; sunny yellow is absent from the stash.  I like color - not pretend light blushes of color.  In fact, I've been known to throw black prominently into the little boy blue just to get meaning into the impact.

So, in order to work with the dark intense shades that I love, a bit of color transfer is bound to happen when using certain fibers.  After all, there must be enough dye in the wool to hold up for the washing and wearing and over time itself.  Oh, it sort of looks like a tattoo ring -  a stupidly placed ring to be sure.  That's fine.  It is the future that grabs my focus.  Thus,  I will endure a bit of color transfer in the making so that the color stays with me for the wearing.  

Maybe this is what is meant by suffing for my art.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What? Another Shawlette

Yes, another bit of crochet; another shawlette.  This time in glorious and festive red.  You will note that this version, like the first, is worked sans trim rows as specified in the pattern (aka South Bay Shawlette from Lion Brand).  

Check out the pattern and you will discover that it is designed for silk mohair.  Just not my style for this size of a little shawl.  And it is summer.  And I live in a desert!  No mohair in July for moi.

But red.  Oh yes, wonderful red.  I shall be shawlin' on Labor Day, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Memorial Day and even the next time that July 4th rolls around.  This is my holiday shawlette and it will receive lots of wear simply because of the color.  Compliments not necessary - but appreciated.

I do think this bit of crochet looks most fabulous made with string - like my first summer shawlette last seen here.  This red version is made from katia soda which wants to be sport weight.  And it looks fine still - just not so delicate.  Do note that in this heftier yarn (well, all is relative, don't you know)  a very nice size was accomplished with a total of 28 rows.  

Katia Soda is 44% cotton, 44% viscose and 12% nylon wispy bits.  Just enough wispy bits to capture the eye, but not so much as to cause the wearer to look like a giant fluff ball.

You might be fretting that folks in my social milieu will get plain sick and tired of seeing me in the same handwork on so many festive occasions.  I've got it covered.  Any perception that I always wear the same old thing will result in this shawlette magically transforming into a home decor item.  Voila! 

Won't this look absolutely joyous with a gleaming white LED fake candle?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Obsession

It is too late.  I am obsessed with this crochet shawlette.  Dear people.  Two days to hook my way through the pattern.  One day for wet blocking & drying. 


It looks wonderful tossed over a chair

It looks wonderful spread over a table

It looks thrilling and appropriate with a 1030s radio

And it looks smashing upon moi

How joyous this obsession has made me in less than seventy-two hours!

I am certain that there is more stash that wants to be a crochet shawl.  So, let the obsession begin and stay awhile.

Blocked Crochet

The crochet shawlette is blocked and almost dry.  With a blast of the hairdryer, this one will be ready for tonight!

That's it.  

Not a whole lot to say about watching string dry.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Fascination With Shawlettes

Exactly what is this fascination with the shawlette?  Oh, for sure, a regular size shawl is still quite popular.  And some enjoy making multiple shawls for occasions and for gifting.  But the shawlette size seems to have taken over and become quite the rage.  I am thinking that this is because  the smaller sized shawl-ette is more functional year round.  It is quite enough for a summer evening, still functions over a sweater as autumn comes around, is an added layer all winter long, and stays useful while spring decides when to spring.

It can be said that I am on a shawlette kick.  The reason that I am enjoying making this petite wrap is because the making is so quick!  A lovely afternoon, a glass of minted green tea and some string.  This is the latest version a quick knit.  Only this time it is a quick crochet.  Two days and playing with a cotton/linen mystery blend and the work is complete.

Mind you, I did not go looking for a crochet pattern.  Rather I was reading the blog of a yarn friend and became jealous of her latest creations.  Check out this post.  I just had to make one!  "One" being the South Bay Shawlette which is a free pattern from Lion Brand.

In between family dinners, trips to airports, visits to wineries and lots of patio sitting,  I finished my version in no time.  The pattern is so easy to memorize and to work that I just might have to go stash surfing and make another.

This photo is obviously the shawl in its unblocked state.  We were just checking the final size.  I decided to add two extra rows and delete the edging.  Without the edging, it looks like this will block out with little points dancing down the sides.  

Already the model has her eye on the potential prize.  After all, the soft blue shade is a nice counterpoint to her eyes.  Or so I am told.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cardigan Wears Well

Yes, the summer cardigan is totally complete.  And a good thing too.  The June Gloom of soCal is holding on and the mornings and evenings here in Riverside are on the chill side of summer.  Fog, aka marine layer, reaches into this desert and brings delightful respite from the need to waste energy resources by turning on the air conditioner.  

As you know, I worked quite hard on the cardigan.    It was a labor of love and out of the box for me.  The color way is definitely not of within the teal/jade/merlot scheme that makes me glow.  But I trudged onward to completion and am happy with the result.

As it happens,  a friend was knitting sleeves for her cardi at the same time as my work on these sleeves was under way.  The pattern that she was struggling through indicated that the pattern was to be maintained as the knitting progressed outward and upward.  In other terms,  one was instructed to keep knitting in pattern and increasing through the entire under arm section.  Here I call your attention to the under arm section of the pattern I selected.  Note that the entire under arm increases are worked in stockinette.  No pattern futzing.  No fretting.  No wonky worries about yarn over and increase within two stitches. 

Let us give a huge shout out of glee for maintaining patterning on the top of the sleeve and increasing simply via a stockinette (or garter or short row) under area!   At any rate,  I win the competition with my knitting friend who is still struggling with increases in pattern, etc. etc. etc.

The new cardigan is a joy.   This photo is sans buttons, but the holes are there.  For sure, the Linares is  a bit splitty.  Well, a whole bunch of splitty is more the truth of it.  AH, the result - - a whole bunch of wonderful shimmery cotton blend.  Perfect for a summer that can't decide if it wants to be  hot or foggy.

A reminder - previous posts not withstanding.

Yarn:  Linares

Pattern:  Design 6.  Don't ask - I bought the pattern with the yarn.

Maker:  Moi!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Little Failure in the Knitting

June ended with a flop.  It should come as no great surprise that, once again, the math of knitting tripped up yours truly.  The project that is currently occupying my design mind is for a local competition.  Photos will not be included.  Just a story.

For one section of the competition project, I wanted a bit of color work.  Graphic color work.  And I found a nice design in a book of knit blocks.  It was perfect for the planned application which is actually a length of sideways knit.  You know the type where the horizontal knitting turns into a vertical pattern when rotated 90 degrees and inset into some other bit of knitting.  

So the pattern appeared to be a simple multiple of 3.  This is the level of math that never trips me up.  3 x 32 = 96 + 4 (edge stitches) = 100 stitches to cast on.  And off I went.  Knitting easily and working with two colors.  Two inches later it was apparent that the color pattern that was coming off of my needles bore absolutely no resemblance to the design in the book.  What could it be?  That math is absolutely spot on and correct.

I looked at the design again and read row by row.  Something mystical clicked and I noticed - finally - that no where did the block instructions indicate that the pattern was a multiple of 3 + edge stitches.  HMM.  Obviously some deep thought was required.  Could it be a multiple of 6 was the solution?  Let's see - 6 x 16 = 96 + 4 (edge stitches) = 100 stitches again!  I know - pure logic, but I had to try just in case math is tricky.  I was getting quite frustrated.  

Already one fourth of the competition project was completed and looking swell.  I wanted the next fourth (which, if memory from elementary school is right, equals one half!) to be done before the big holiday weekend and partying.  So I thought and counted and drew a quick little sketch.  Ah, math!  What appeared to be a multiple of 3 is actually a multiple of 6 + 3.  The three stitches are needed to offset a bit of color work and then the edge stitches are added.  
6 x 15 = 90 + 3 = 93 + 4 (those same edge stitches) = 97.   Ninety seven stitches cast on and twenty rows later I am happy.  What is on the needles looks just like the photo in the book.  Yeah for me.  Yeah for math.