Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday and Fiber Revival

Saturday, August 16th, Katie and I went to the Fiber Revival. It was awesome. I love the NH Sheep and Wool Festival and the Wool Tour, but this was just to sit and spin and knit (or crochet, in my case--I've been doing a lot of that lately) and relax with cool people. Kate Gilbert was there (it doesn't get any cooler than that) and Julia and Alison, who all happen to be connected with the amazing Twist Collective, which I am kind of obsessed with. There were so many other cool people there but I'm forgetting names now.

There were a few vendors there, which is really nice because I fulfilled my need to buy yarn without feeling overwhelmed or spending the whole time shopping. I bought the Bird in Hand mittens from a vendor whose name I can't remember, and these two skeins of fabulous sock yarn from Spunky Eclectic:

The one on the left is "Dinah" and the one on the right is "Watery Melon." One is supposed to be a present (knitted into socks) for someone, and if they weren't so special I would be very tempted to keep the yarn for myself. I've long admired the offerings of Spunky Eclectic (the spinning thread on Craftster is full of her hand-dyed loveliness spun by others) on the web, but after seeing it in person it's impossible to resist.

I turned 23 a couple of weeks ago and my friends and family spoiled me with wonderful craft stuff. Katie got me Intertwined, which I cannot rave about enough. If you think your spinning isn't beautiful, this book will change your mind. It has great projects for chunky funky yarns as well as cool spinning ideas. My mom got me Uncommon Crochet, which I also am in love with...this crochet obsession is threatening to take over. Most of the ideas in this book are really unique. She also bought me the novel The Knitting Circle, which looks sad but really good. My brother gave me Son of Stitch'n'Bitch, and I have to say I want to make most of those things for myself! I love that it's got both knitting and crochet patterns.

Last but certainly not least, I met my friends Susan and Alice for dinner and Mamma Mia! (holy ABBA goodness!) and Susan gave me this beautiful skein of yarn from a farm in Plymouth, NH (where I went to college) from Plymouth's new yarn shop. Even better, Susan knows the woman who raises the sheep! I love getting yarn like this. It's so warm and personal. Also, Blue Garter's last post has made me think more about my yarn and where it comes from (notice the new button?), so I'm happy to use yarn from New Hampshire sheep that supports a New Hampshire farm.

So, a big thank-you to everyone who made my birthday wonderful!!!

Next up: the garments I've been making and haven't shown you because I have a hard time taking pictures of myself...

Friday, August 22, 2008

How this...

becomes a bag:

(Does this answer your question, Katie?) (She watched me work on it at the Fiber Revival (post on that t0 come) last Saturday and wasn't sure how it would turn into a bag--see first photo. I had my doubts as well, but it turned out great!)

Pattern: Cocoon Bag by Cecily Keim from Crochet Me (the book)
Yarn: Lana Knits, All Hemp 3; 3 skeins deep sea #16
Source: kpixie (part of my Christmas present order)
Hook: Clover Soft Touch Size G/7
Modifications: None
Close-up of the flower stitch pattern:
I have to say I'm especially proud of myself, since this is given a difficulty level of 4 (out of 4, with 1 being the easiest), and I'm not the most experienced crocheter. If I had noticed that I might not have attempted it. It did take some concentration at times, but it wasn't awful. I'm excited to try more projects in the book now that I know I can handle it (I may already have one on the hook...)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Granny Square Afghan

Almost a year to the day after my first post about these granny squares, I give you the completed granny square afghan:

One of the best compliments I received while working on the squares was from my friend Trina:
"That looks like something from my Polish grandmother's house."
I totally rock the grandma style.

Pattern: Um, just granny squares (instructions gleaned from The Purl Bee's excellent tutorial and the way the previous squares looked--the project was passed on to me by my aunt, who had made a couple of squares). Towards the end I looked at a granny square afghan pattern that I got from my great-grandmother for layout and finishing ideas.

Yarn: Original gangster '70s acrylic in green, yellow, and gold (no idea how many skeins, but there is a lot of yellow and gold left over, and only about two yards of green). I have the labels but I didn't recognize the brand--I'll check when I get home.

Source: My Aunt Nancy (thanks!)

Modifications/Details: I made 42 granny squares (luckily, I wove in the ends as I made them). I made six strips of seven squares each by sewing them, and then joined the strips with single crochet. I then single-crocheted around the entire afghan--two rows of yellow and one row of gold.

Why I felt compelled to finish an afghan in August is beyond me, but it wasn't that uncomfortable. I'm currently kind of obsessed with blankets now...I'm desperate to make the Pinwheel Blanket (Ravelry link) from Knitalong next.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Old School Crafty

It's been a little quiet around since I finished the summer semester of graduate school (I'm beyond thrilled that I never have to do that again) and then I spent a week in Plymouth doing this:

"This" would be letterpress. I set each individual letter and symbol (even the lines around the "Ex Libris") and put them on a press and made these pretty things. With the help of two stellar professors, of course. I made several other things but some have to wait since they are Christmas presents for people who may or may not read the blog.
Outside of class I stayed with the fabulously crafty Beth and we ate junk food and watched Audrey Hepburn movies and even went to a concert. When she brought me back on Saturday we stopped at Fabric Fix where I bought this strange green knit fabric, some grey knit fabric for an Infinity dress, and look! A great jumper pattern! I'm getting ready for my last back-to-school (ever. I am so done with academia), and I rocked jumpers all through elementary school, so I want to make one for myself.

Also, Katie and I went to the Knit and Crochet Show a couple of weeks ago and I scored 1200 yards of deliciously soft tweedy alpaca. I'm thinking some sort of cardigan, although it will probably have to be cropped and/or three-quarter sleeves. I really should have bought that third skein...

I have been very busy and I have lots of exciting FOs to show off. Soon, I promise!