31 March 2011

Day four: Where are they now?

Day four already! This week is flying by and it's still interesting to read all those topics!

Oh, and it might please all of you who encouraged me to pick up a knitting project to know that I got my yarn and needles out yesterday and started on that knitting kit from the last photo in yesterday's post.


Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project.

I decided to dedicate today's post to one of the projects I have been most pleased about in the past year that was given to a very special lady for her birthday.

The grannies for my granny-pillow.
This project started as so many of my projects do: as a distraction from home/housework. I started crocheting granny squares until I had a big pile of the things and had to decide what to do with them.

Apart from sewing in the ends, of course.

So I decided to turn it into a pillow case. I tried making one big granny for the back at first, but I ran out of yarn and ended up using an old sweater for the back.

Then my mother asked if I was coming to my grandmother's birthday. I decided on the spot to give the pillow to my grandmother because I was certain she would love it.

(here it is, pinned out to block on a towel, before I realised it wasn't big enough and had to add two rounds to make it fit)

I went over to her house to celebrate her birthday and she was very surprised to see me, since my mother forgot to call ahead to tell her we were coming too. She was even more surprised when I gave her the present! Being the experienced knitter and crocheter that she is, she immediately inspected the thing thoroughly and then told me very proudly that she couldn't find a single flaw in my stitches.

It didn't leave her side that whole day. Due to unforseen circumstances, my parents arrived over an hour after we left, but according to my mother, she was still showing the pillow to everyone while proudly declaring that I had made that for her.

We call eachother every once in a while, and she still gives me updates on the pillow. How, for instance, the cat once jumped on it when she wasn't looking and got a claw caught in a few stitches and almost pulled a hole in it, and how since then, she turns the pillow over whenever she leaves the room. It's one of her most treasured possessions, according to my mother. And that makes me happy.

30 March 2011

Day three: Tidy Mind, tidy stitches

Thank you once again for the comments on yesterday's post, I saw some very useful hints and tips to improve my knitting!

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.

Well, the answer truly was 'it's really not organised at all'! So I took the dare. I will show you where my yarn and needles are stashed away. Prepare to be horrified! (I apologise in advance for the horrribly lit pictures, the weather today is truly depressing so I couldn't get any light on most of these spots)

Spot #1. Here's where I stash larger projects that would be in the way on my desk. Usually, these are knitting projects that are on the needles or old things that I haven't frogged yet. The bag is one of the first things I crocheted that wasn't an amigurumi and is made from the stiff acrylic yarn that I got from a friend once (and complained heavily about on this blog before) as a very specific stashbust-project. Or rather, a project to bust the stash of that particular yarn. I was getting rather sick of finding little sprigs of red-blue-yellow plastic throughout my good (or at least, better) stash because holymotherofwhoa was that yarn horrific! I ended up with strands of hard plastic cutting my fingers so often that I think there's still a bloodstain on this bag from it.

Spot #2. There is actually only one little spool of yarn on my desk at the moment, and it's rather neatly tucked away in a spot that I wasn't using anyway. But this picture was not to show you my yarn stash. Or to shock you with my terribly messy desk (which, I admit, really needs a reorganisation. Pronto.) This, ladies and gentlemen, is where most of my hooks are usually kept. Somewhere.

I do a lot of crocheting at this desk because it's truly a form of stress release for me, so I grab hook and yarn in breaks from school work or when I'm sick of doing things behind the computer but still want to listen to music, or when I'm not in the mood for computer-things but want to keep my boyfriend company (whose desk is facing mine, so he's behind that big screen to the left).
I'm just terrible at keeping hooks and needles in one place, though, so as I type this I can spot three crochet hooks and one sewing needle within an arms length.

Spot #3. This is behind the chair in the previous picture. See the pencil case with the frogs in the back? That is where my hooks, needles, loose buttons, pieces of felt and other crafty things are when they're not strewn across my desk. Here, there are three balls of yarn that I've recently used: the orange-ey, skin-coloured one to the left was from making my Mini-Me, the blue and red one is one of the first balls of sock yarn I've ever bought because I liked the colours (they remind me of bricks) and still hadn't used yet so I thought I'd try my hand at a simple knitted project: the Lacy Baktus. After ripping it out so often I lost count, I just rammed the needles into the ball and threw it aside. The purple ball of merino in the back is one I got in a swap last year and still haven't used because I haven't found the right project for it!

Spot #4. Ah, here we go. Finally, a stash that looks somewhat organised. Here is where I keep most of my yarn, tucked away in plastic bins or bags (or cardboard box, because I couldn't fit that in the bins or bags anymore). It's slowly starting to take over what little space i had left for books, so I'm afraid we'll have to move soon for lack of shelfspace.
I haven't really organised this in any way other than 'this fits in this space, right there...' 'and this can go here...' 'and if I put this here, then the box can still close.'

Spot #5. I think if I kept looking, I could find more little hideouts where there's yarn (I think there's still a ball of green and grey somewhere from when my vacuum tried to eat it and got it tangled up into eachother so badly I could call it variegated bulky yarn and be done with it which I haven't had the time or heart to try and untangle or throw away). This little bag is worth noting though, because it's the first yarn-related gift I have gotten from my friends. It's a knitting kit: 2 balls of bright green yarn, one set of 5.5 mm bamboo needles, a set of lucky charms and needles and thread, and a pattern for a little bag! I've still not gotten round to either making the thing or putting this away.

And there you have it! That's where I keep all my stuff!

28 March 2011

Day two: Skill +1UP

Thank you all for stopping by my blog on the first day of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! I love reading your comments and try to stop by your blogs too.

Now for day 2!

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

Last year, around the end of April, I decided to do more than just crocheting. I love crochet, and it's my go-to craft whenever I just want to do 'something' (when I'm not in the mood to head into the kitchen and bake, that is), but I've always been very much in love with knitting and the stitches look so much more cozy and neat than crochet stitches. So, knitting it was.

You may remember this. I was so optimistic about my newly-to-acquire skill! I got the book, I got the needles, I got the yarn, I got everything!

And, well, it didn't go as well as planned. I'll show you something adorable. Something that has been around my desk for this past year because I couldn't get rid of it.

My first bit of knitting.

Isn't it cute? Weird stitches, wobbly ends, and it's really nothing in particular. I was hopeful, though, that it would lead to gorgeous knitted sweaters and shawls and lace patterns in no-time, so I kept practicing. But after about 10 rows, my interest would often wane and I'd put the knitting needles aside and pick up my trusty hook whenever I wanted to create something because, well, crochet is fast. Unlike knitting. Especially my knitting.

I practiced more. This time even with stripes. I figured, if I can add colour, I can keep it interesting. Didn't work. These needles, along with the yarn and the swatch, disappeared in my stash.

But I figured I should stop giving up after a few rows and keep going. After all, look at those cute stitches! Knitting clearly is appealing, and it can't be hard to just keep going, right? So for a number of weeks, I had two big needles and two balls of black acrylic yarn lying next to the couch with an ever-growing project stashed in it.

I kept going, and produced... Eh.. This. A large, black, knitted something. It's about 50 cm. long. It's black. It's knitted. In all stockinette stitch. I think my original plan was to knit a warm, cozy scarf for my boyfriend.

Why did I call it quits this time? Well, as I said, it's all stockinette stitch. And you know what happens when you knit stockinette stitch without any type of shaping?

It curls up.

So I gave up and cast off. Also, I needed the black yarn for a quick project.

Crochet, of course.

I do think that I learned a lot from this year of experimenting with knitting and I think that this year, I should just pick up an actual project and finish it.

Day one: A Tale of two yarns

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I'm a weird crocheter. I think I've been crocheting for almost 3 years now, but the only fancy, expensive yarns in my stash were all gifts from either a swap or a family member and I've only ever used one of the fancier ones to make a hat, which turned out to be itchy because of the angora in the blend. I have a small stash of undefined yarn that I got from my grandmother that I'm afraid to dive into, mostly because I have no clue what it all is. (also because I used a small ball of yarn for a little project the other day and found out that my grandmother collected all the small bits and ends and wound them into the ball as well. I came across three ends before hitting what appeared to be the main ball.) So far, the only type of yarn that I have no trouble recognising is acrylics, and that has been the type of yarn I've been using the most for my projects. Most of which were amigurumi's or other types of toys, which makes it slightly less of an abomination.

My favourite yarn, the one I've used the most and keep coming back to?

Cotton. Simple, silly cotton. I like it for its ability to show stitches well, it's a natural, versatile yarn and it has a summer-vibe to it, even if you're making a shawl to use in the winter.

A yarn I truly would love to have in my stash, if only to cuddle and toy with until I find a project I can tackle without messing up the gorgeousness of it, is Madelinetosh Pure Silk. The colours! Oh, and the shine! And the softness, it just looks so rich and gorgeous! It's so expensive, though, as are most really gorgeous yarns, and that's something that is really holding me back from purchasing a skein of dreamy silky yarn. I mean, look at this.

(image from madelinetosh.com)


27 March 2011

Sunny sunday

Today... is about colours.

Spring colours.



Or yellow-green.

Or bright, violet-y blue.

Or, best of all, baby-pink and boyish blue.

I went on a little hike around the local lake to take some pictures and enjoy the sun, and with every step I took, I felt like running and playing and, well, kind of like this:

Only less adorable.

25 March 2011

Sometimes, I just need distractions

I am starting to panic a bit, only a week before the deadline for my thesis and I'm beginning to worry about, well, everything. Whether I'm doing it right, whether I've done enough, whether it's not too much... And since my nature is to avoid those situations or push them away when I'm getting too stressed out to think straight, I chose to run away from my worries with a tiny project yesterday. Sometimes, I just need distractions.

My sister came over and spent the night Wednesday and, naturally, forgot something when she left for work Thursday morning: her arm warmers.

I'll try not to comment on the print, and will stick to the torn-down look of the things... 'That poor girl,' I thought, 'those things won't keep you warm! You're better off wrapping your arms in old newspapers! Only that wouldn't be as practical, because newspapers won't stay up properly.'

My mind wanders so easily.

Anyway, after a brief foray into designing a clothing line made out of old newspapers in my head, including a very uncomfortable-looking set of underwear (like I said, my mind wanders very easily) I decided that she deserved nice, toasty arms, and made her a new pair.

They're really simple, back-loop only dc's for 15 rows and stitched up while leaving a hole for the thumb, armwarmers with a cute little ribbon to adorn them with. And yes, that ribbon is fraying like whoa. They're also just weaved in and out between stitches so she can take them out if she wants (and, knowing my sister, she will). She was happy, I was distracted for a couple of hours, everybody wins!

Well, except my thesis, of course.

17 March 2011

Presenting... Mini-me!

Look at that, looking smart! Mini-me, the project that has been keeping me from my studies (okay, don't lie, one of the many projects that have been keeping me from my studies) is finally done! Standing a whole 30 centimeters tall, this feisty red thing is ready to get to work as my mascotte!

Work it, girl!

Okay, so, she's more of a caricature than an accurate representation of moi, but I think that's better for all parties involved anyway. She's got my red hair, my bright blue glasses, and my favourite outfit: just jeans, a cardi, and easy shoes!

It was fun to make, although I see a lot of mistakes and things that could have gone better had I worked out my plan before just plunging in with my hook raised, like the proportions of the legs and arms, or the body for that matter, and the attachment of limbs and head. Her arms can rotate now thanks to a nifty construction involving wire and spare buttons, but since I'm terrible with wire and wire-cutters, I ended up with scratches, cuts and, at one point, a piece of wire stuck in my finger. Now that I know this works, though, I can work around it, in stead of trying to add it to an almost-complete doll.

It was a nice experience to not work from any pattern and simply try to work it out by myself. I just need to remember that next time I do this, I need to make notes... Oh well, it's a learning curve, as they say.

Now all that's left is make my new website!

8 March 2011


Spring's knocking on the door and this week so far has been lovely and sunny and well, that always gives me the green-itch! My fingers turn green (and I don't mean from food colouring like last weekend), I can be found cuddling vegetables and talking to plants and pots... Usually, it doesn't stick too long and I can suppress the urges well enough to not be sent to the nuthouse. But I figured it was time for a bit of a picture-heavy green post anyway.


My little ones, peeking their heads out of the soil! I don't know about you, but I sort of squee'ed when I saw the first green sprig peeking out. Mainly because it meant that for once, I managed to keep something alive beyond the first days of hoping and wishing.

And I like to think it's because this came in such an adorable little pot.

Tomatoes! And not just tomatoes, but cute tomatoes! Awww....

His little buddy that's hiding in the back there is equally cute.

For the Dutch-impaired, it says 'Grow your own Bell Peppers!' and 'Colour me and grow me!' down there at the bottom. I haven't gotten round to colouring the thing, as you can clearly see. This one's a special little plant, because the package had been standing in my window sill for at least 4 weeks and nothing was happening. It wasn't until I got the tomato plant that I decided to throw it out because until then, it hadn't shown any signs of life. I had given up watering the thing three days before, and the soil was bone-dry, but when I picked it up and peeked inside, I saw this tiny little green bud poking its head out of the dirt! It's only one little plant, but I'm taking good care of it and hopefully, one day, it'll grow into this big bad boy that will give me lots of tasty bell peppers. One can hope, right?

The last green thing that has been demanding a lot of attention in the house is my tree. Remember him, the one I got for my birthday last year? Well, I hope he'll make it past the one-year-mark...

My baby's got a bald spot! He keeps dropping leaves! I don't get it, I'm watering him every other day, yet the last two weeks have been nothing but dead leaves and dry soil. Colour me confused.

Anyone have any suggestions how I can nurse it back to health?

Although I must add, I don't think he's dying. Not yet, anyway. All along the green branches, I've been spotting little sprigs and buds, like this one:

So hopefully, this is just a phase, or something. Maybe, my little tree's just hitting puberty.

*sob* they grow up so fast, don't they?