Join me as I share my crafty journey with you. I continue to expand my repertoire of hobbies. I knit, sew, crochet, bead and probably most importantly am a lover of science fiction. Occasionally I even pick up a book. I play Nerd Wars for Team Stargate Command which consumes most of my time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Summer of Dishcloths

     This summer is turning out to be the "Summer of Dishcloths".  So far I cant complain too much.  I've found I have to pace myself because of the cotton.  Some brands bother me more than others.  I've found that Pisgah Peaches and Cream is soft enough I can just knit to my heart's desire.  New Spinrite Peaches and Cream and Sugar and Cream, I have to be more careful with.  It does make sense as the old P&C is a different type of cotton.  The cotton fibres themselves are longer, that's why old P&C is softer and doesn't shed when being knit.  It was also made right here in the US, in Pisgah North Carolina (or maybe South I can never remember)  After the mill closed over a year ago, I made sure to snap up as much of the real P&C while I still could.  The rights to the name Peaches and Cream was retained by the new mill, Spinrite, which bought out Pisgah.  Spinrite is a Canadian mill that manufactures Bernat and Patons.  They make Bernat Handicrafter Cotton and Lily Sugar and Cream.  I believe that Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton is still made by a separate company.  As I knit dishcloths quite avidly I made it my business to know such things about the yarn I use.  In the long run, cotton is cotton and the dishcloths are still going to wash dishes.  My personal opinion is that Pisgah P&C was softer, prettier and just plain funner, yup funner.  I do horde my Pisgah stash for myself and my closest relatives, as I cant replace that.  Okay enough about the politics of cotton yarn.

    I've submitted two more project challenges to Nerd Wars.  I dare you to guess what they were.... Yup, dishcloths.  I told you this was the summer of dishcloths.  For the Camouflage challenge I made a Scalloped Brioche Dishcloth.  It is not my finest dishcloth by any means.  The designer suggested trying a simpler brioche pattern first if one had no experience with brioche stitch.  I, of course, ignored such advise and jumped right in.  I think the outcome is plain to see...
     For the purposes of the challenge, it looks pretty good.  We were tasked with using animal camouflage as our inspiration.  I tried to mimic the splotchyness of frogs.  I think the pooling is what made this work for me.  I'm on the fence about trying this one again down the road.  Perhaps after I try some simpler brioche work, it will make a bit more sense, we'll see.  The other challenge I finished was the Music challenge.  We were required to pick a song buy a geeky artist and craft something inspired by they song.  I chose, "Science is Real" by They Might Be Giants.  I had heard of this band awhile back.  They aren't what I normally listen to, but being a scientist on occasion I connected to this song.  The particular line that struck me was ...from Astrophysics to Biology... Science is Real.  Samantha Carter is what immediately comes to mind when I think of Astrophysics.  Include Biology in that and I tend to think of Dr. Frasier.  I wanted to make something that either Sam or Janet would appreciate, so I decided to combine Astrophysics and Biology in one object, its corny, I took it literally.... I made a Starfish.  Star-Fish...  I know its a horrible play on words but there you have it.  I used Starfish Cloth a pattern I've knit before.  I made it in girly colors so I could "give it" to either Sam or Janet.  I really enjoy this pattern, it does come out large compare to the dishcloths I normally knit, but I know people like the larger ones, plus its just plain cute.
     I've finished up a couple other cloths too.  At the beginning of July I finished my pink versions of Tricolour:

     I cant repeat enough how much I enjoy this pattern.  It is super simple and yields a really great looking cloth with a good amount of scrubby nobbles.  I plan to keep going through the color wheel on this one.  The possibilities are nearly endless, and its great for using up scraps.  I also did a couple more Grandmother's Favorite.  I've made so many of these, I lost count years ago.  I've never, however, put any on my Ravelry projects page.  So I fixed that.  I also used the same color I made my very first one it, when I re-taught myself to knit about 2 years ago.  I do remember which color, as blue it my favorite color.

     As a goofy side note.  All of the cloths I've shown, except for Tricolour are made from original Peaches and Cream.  I know, there is really no way to tell in pictures, but I bet money if I placed a skein of P P&C in one hand and one of S P&C in the other, most people would be able to tell them apart.  In defence of Tricolour, that one is made of three different brands of yarn.  The white is from a bag of Millends, which I believe is Hobby Lobby I Love this Cotton, the solid pink is Sugar and Cream and the lighter heathered pink is New Peaches and Cream Scents.  Its Rose Garden and it actually smells like roses.  There I go again, way too much detail...
     I have been actively working on another Oven Mitt.  I'm really really hoping to get the chance to felt that before the 28th.  I don't know if that's going to happen.  I still need to work on my submission for the TUP.  I realized yesterday I still hadn't done mine, and I'm nearly positive the TUP was my suggestion this round.  I'm quite stumped on Giving Geeks.  I may be able to pull something out, proverbially, but motivation has been sorely lacking in my life of late.  The humidity gets to me, and I've been picking up some overtime.  My birthday is coming up and I am very much hoping to pick out some nice yarn, or maybe a scale.....  As a random side note for my regular readers, remember the mug cozy I chatted about in my last post.  It lasted on my mug for about a week.  I noticed today that it had migrated to another mug.... guess I'll be making another one soon :)
Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Celtic Cables and Coffee

     How do Celtic cables and coffee go together do you ask?  I'll show you. 
I give you my first project of Round 2.  I made this for the Sheep in History challenge.  Here are the challenge details:
Ever since somebody first looked at a sheep and said, “Why is that sheep warm and I’m not?” humans have been fascinated by fiber and what they can do with it. Your challenge is to make something that consciously reflects, replicates, and/or adapts a historical technique or pattern from a Rav-sanctioned craft, providing visual documentation* of your inspiration. (For the purposes of this challenge, “history” is anything that happened at least fifty years ago, and “fiber” is anything that can be spun, woven, knit or crocheted. We’re easy.)

I drew my inspiration from traditional Aran Sweaters.  The lore surrounding these sweaters is pretty nifty, in my book.  According to Wikipedia most of the lore is unsubstantiated but I like it just the same.  Aran sweaters come from the Aran Island off the West coast of Ireland.  They are also known as Ganseys.  The lore I speak of is that these sweaters were used to identify the fisherman who wore them in case they drown and washed up on shore several weeks later.  It is true that each clan had a unique cable design on the sweater and that these designs were passed down through the families, generation after generation.  I used just one cable motif for the coffee cozy, a motif that was/is commonly found on these Ganseys.  I really enjoy learning new cable patterns.  I find it less daunting to practice them on small items such a coffee cozies.  I brought this one to work with me today.  One of "the boys" (the guys I used to work with on weekends) keeps taking my other coffee cozy for himself, as a joke.  So, I decided that two can play this game and just put this new one on my mug.  I'm sure this one will be moved too, I'll just keep making more 'til he runs out of mugs ;)
Here is the link to my actual submission post:  Cabled Coffee Cozy

     I have finished another challenge project but I have yet to weave in the ends and take pictures.  I made the Scalloped Brioche Dishcloth.  It is a modified double brioche pattern.  It looks much like snake skin or fish scales, I'll be using it for the Hide and Seek challenge.  I didn't care for the pattern, I made many, many mistakes.  To the author's credit she did suggest starting with something easier if one had not forayed into brioche stitch before, which I haven't.  I'll try something easier and then try it again sometime.  Despite the mistakes, I still got the look I was going for.  The yarn pooled for me which really helps the cloth look more like an animal.  I have ideas for almost all the other challenges, including our Team Unity.  I'm just really stumped on the music challenge.  I guess I just need to spend sometime listening to some nerdy music, perhaps then I'll be inspired. 

     Team Unity this round is to craft something for or in homage to our favorite "baddie" or their home world.  At this point I'm thinking of going with the Unas both Goa'uld infested and natural Unas, since there is a pretty big difference.  Its probably going to be a bit of a stretch but I'm hoping if I explain the crap out of the metaphor I plan to use, it'll fly.

     I've gotten another dishcloth order from a co-worker.  I think I'm just below 20 now for dishcloth requests.  That's not including the non-dishcloth requests as well.  I'm working on one such now as I figured out how I could use it for Nerd Wars.  I'm making another Out of the Frying Pan.  I'm reversing the color scheme this time, I may omit the stripe all together depending on how much yarn I have.  Alright that's it for this time.  Happy Crafting!
As always links to the patterns:
Cabled Mug Cozy
Scalloped Brioche Dishcloth
Out of the Frying Pan

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Playing Catch-up

     I was looking through a couple of my older blogs and realized that I glossed right over a couple projects.  I felted that oven mitt back at the beginning of June.  My Husbands grandmother passed away at the very end of May, the funeral was June 4th, the day before our 8th anniversary.  We traveled home the day before the funeral, it was in that time that I was able to felt the oven mitt.  I put it in with three towels and put the washing machine on the hottest setting.  I tried not to peak every five seconds but since it was my first felting experience I was a bit nervous.  The oven mitt sank to the bottom, under the towels, so I couldn't really check it, so I let it go for one complete agitation cycle.  Once I heard the basin refilling I dug the mitt from the bottom of the washer to see.  I couldn't believe how much it had changed in just a few minutes of agitation.  The pattern stated that no stitch definition should remain so I sent in for another agitation round, since I could still make out the stitches.  I also tried it on to make sure it wasn't too small already.  The second cycle didn't shrink it much more so I stopped after the second cycle.  After that I just let it air dry instead of blocking it like I should have.  Its still quite pointy at the top, which is why I think it needs some blocking.  It fits both myself and my husband which was the intention.  The hubbs made the comment that if I did that with a pair of gloves he would actually wear them.  He really likes the dense fabric.  All in all I found it to be a fun and educational experience.  I have enough yarn left over to do another one, which was the original intention since I have a co-worker who asked me to make him one.  (I have alot of orders right now and I'm trying to fit them into Nerd Wars.)  So pictures:
There's Before which you have seen already.  Here is After:
I used the same spool of tape to show the size difference.  I'm not 100% sold on the stripe I put in but it beaks up the colors a bit I guess.  I really like the fact that felting stops stockinette from rolling. 

     I've been doing alot of dishcloths lately.  I took my pile to work to sell and I think I wound up with more orders to make more than what I sold.  I'm not complaining, I just have to figure out when to make all this.  I was churning them out pretty nicely, then I got a pinched nerve in my right shoulder.  That took me out of the knitting game for a little over a week.  I'm back to it now, but I have to be careful.  I got one order done before the shoulder problem.  My boss wanted four cloths.  I made her two Elvish Leaves, a Crocus and Lily.  I've shown Elvish Leaves and Crocus before, so I'll show you how Lily turned out:
I really liked this pattern.  I used some of the "new" Peaches and Cream Scents.  This is Rose Garden.  The patten used a bit over half the skein, so I've been using the rest in pink themed Tricolour Dishcloths.  I don't have pictures of those, but I've finished two.

     In non-knitting news, we just got back from our min-vacation around July 4th.  On Tuesday July 3rd I was able to attend Sewing Circle.  Its held the first Tuesday of every month at my Mom's church.  I used to go as a kid and I have fond memories.  Both my grandmothers attend so I get to catch up a little bit too.  I like to tie quilts and my Mom is the quilt chairman so throughout the day I help her set up more quilts as we finish others.  I have some pictures:

We tied 8 quilts that day, which is about average.  I wont name names in the pictures (to protect the innocent) but pretty much each person is a close relative.  I was the one in purple.  Some of the women sew baby layettes, finish the tied quilts and sort through donated clothing, so not all of us tie.  I should have gotten better pictures of the back room...  Once finished these quilts and other items go to Mennonite Central Committee in PA, from there everything is shipped oversea to whichever county(ies) MCC is currently active in.  MCC responds to natural disasters all over the world, they supply quilts, fresh drinking water, school supplies, sewing kits, hygiene kits and they teach people skills so they will be self sufficient once MCC leaves.

     It was a nice mini-vacation.  Hubbs did some grilling and we spent three days in/by the pool.  I'll have more news soon.  I've just submitted my first Nerd Wars project of round two.  Happy Crafting!

As always liks to the patterns mentioned:
Lily Dishcloth
Out of the Frying Pan