Seems like I only mess around with embroidery once a year when a bad heat wave hits and I can't stand the feeling of yarn in my hands. Last summer I prepped new handkerchiefs for Dollar and just finished two this past weekend:
The cloths were really stiff but a machine wash/dry really softened them.
I did some more iron-ons (a speaker, a cassette tape, flames and a metal guitar) and I'm trying some stitches: french knots (finally "got it" on how to do these), satin stitch, split stitch, blanket stitch.
Had a nice weekend. The weather was great. I spent a few back-breaking hours on Friday in the sun with my mom picking young fern bracken to make a popular Korean side dish called Gosari-namul. We have a secret location and arrived at just the right time- the ferns were still young and curled tight. We filled up five large paper shopping bags. I hauled all the bags back down to the car at once and said, "I... think... we... picked... like... fifty pounds." My mom said, "I think we picked more." For real, we cleared the entire side of a hill.
Saturday, as Dollar was getting ready to go to the dump, I said I wanted to come along. Everyone seems so happy and relaxed at the dump for some reason. Then we went to Best Buy because he needed a new pair of headphones. I had been wanting a new TV and Blue-ray player for a while and decided to get it. A sweet new 40" tv, Blue-ray player and home theater sound system. It is... ah-may-zing.
I tried making breakfast pizza both Saturday and Sunday. I still haven't got it quite right but my attempts were still tasty- just a thin-crust pizza with a small amount of tomato, cheese, bacon, egg, and drizzled with a tiny bit of maple syrup when it's done.
Rock and Roll Summer kicks off this weekend! Dollar and I are going to Cleveland for a couple nights to check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We're also going to see a couple big shows later this summer as well. Plus, we're taking next week off work to kick around the house with the 'Face. I've been eyeing my loom, wondering if I should try weaving again...
This flower is technically unfinished but I like it as is.
I tried to make this Gehäkelter Topflappen but I don't read/speak German (besides "Sprechen sie Englisch?" and "Ein Hefeweizen, bitte.")
For those of us who don't sprechen sie deutsche, someone posted a very nice photo tutorial on how to make the flowers.
Using her pictures as a guide, I made the flower okay but I could not get the contrasting color for the border to chain down between the petals correctly.
Bernat has a similar pattern called Chrysanthemum Dishcloth (rav link- pattern is free at Bernat but you need to join to the free patterns) but it doesn't look quite that same to me... it seems more frilly and they do the tips of the petals in the contrasting color. BUT... it IS in English so that good.
I did order some Elann Sonata recently and I think the smooth, mercerized cotton, chain plied, dk-weight will be better suited to this pattern. I think I may have made a mistake using my cotton workhorse: sugar 'n cream. Besides the Tunisian crochet dishcloths that I just did, I haven't had much luck crocheting with sugar 'n cream- I think it's better suited to knitting.
I had a skein of Malabrigo that I wanted to use. It has many pretty colors in it but I know that this yarn tends to pool (i.e. colors clump up- which I very strongly dislike). I cast on for a ribbed cowl- easy, mindless knitting. I saw some examples on Ravelry where people had knit this yarn in a twisted rib and it broke up the colors and minimize pooling...
I cast on 106 stitches and *k1 through the back of the loop, p1*. Repeat between * until you use the whole skein. I think the cowl is 14 - 16 inches long. Long enough to fold over a bit:
Working on this got to be tedious as hell (now I know why I don't see patterns for entire sweaters knit in twisted rib) but the resulting cowl is texturally interesting. One side has prominent ridges from the twisted knit stitches while the other side has nice, wide, smooth knit stitches. The yarn really is buttery soft. The colors are good and the pooling is barely noticeable.
Every now and then I find a pattern that I get obsessed about. Usually it's fast, easy and uses up all kinds of yarn in my stash. I cast on for this Tunisian Short Row Dishcloth and fell in love. (The scary, Fatal Attraction, never-leave-me-or-I'll-kill-you love.)
First, let me say that I'm no Tunisian crochet expert. I tried it out a bit when I first started messing around with knitting and crochet 5+ years ago. Tunisian crochet is interesting in that it's kind of like a mix of both- you're hooking one loop at a time, but keeping those loops on a long, smooth hook. Here's some basic instructions. You do need a special Tunisian/Afghan hook for this.
Here's the first one I made:
Kinda lopsided (it's supposed to be a hexagon) and the seam where I closed it up is quite noticeable. But I like it! The colors don't pool, the cloth is dense and there's no turning the work!
I tried again:
Much better. I focused on loosening up my tension and the seam where I closed the cloth isn't as noticeable or messed up.
The size difference between my first and second cloth is kind of amazing. The second is on the left and the first is one the right:
It's the same yarn and the same hook. The difference is tension. My first attempt was tight. I was much more relaxed for my second one. Crazy, right?
After my second one, I wanted to try different sizes. Both the pink and green ones above were 15 stitches. What if I made a smaller one with just 11 stitches?
Well, that was fast. Only took about an hour to do. Again!
What if I made 2 11-stitch dishcloths and did a single crochet around the outside to join them? To made it double-thick? Here's both sides of that cloth (more like a pot holder when it's that thick):
How about larger ones again? I'm getting pretty fast at making these...
I had to stop myself so that I didn't hurt my right wrist and elbow. I made all of those in one week. The pattern used a lot of variegated cotton yarn in my stash. I still haven't washed them yet, so I'm not sure how they'll shrink or if they'll lose shape. But I love them.
Once I go through making these again, I'll try to take step-by-step pictures and post a tutorial.
This past Sunday my sister and I went down to Contoocook, NH for the 2010 New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival. We stopped by the gas station by my house before heading down and my sister chatted with the clerk a bit. So this morning I'm in there again and the clerk asks how our trip was.
"It was good," I automatically replied. Then I thought about it for a second and said, "Wait- no it wasn't. It was awful. It was so cold and we weren't dressed for the weather."
Yeah, it was ridiculously cold. But probably not as bad as I'm guessing Saturday was- when it was raining.
All the vendors were super nice and there was a lot of cool stuff to check out. Like all these lovely hand-crafted Golding spindles:
Almost makes me want to learn how to spin with a spindle. Almost. But going from wheel to spindle would feel like going from 100 miles and hour to 15 miles an hour.
We got lunch at the Buffalo vendor (who's kiosk looked like a covered wagon!):
I also got some bison jerky here to bring home to Dollar (he liked it). We ate at a picnic table, shivering. At one point I could see my sister's breath after she said something.
You know who else was cold? The newly shorn sheep and alpacas who were shivering in their stalls, poor things. The lucky ones either still had their fur or jackets on:
We caught some of a small sheep herding demonstration:
I guess it wasn't so bad (now that I've got feeling back in my everywhere). The vendors were nice and happy to chat. I saw some knitting friends. I didn't spend as crazy as I thought I would- I picked up a couple bits of fiber to spin, a couple small skeins of yarn and a ball... holder... dispenser... thingie. It's really cool and matches my Kromski spinning wheel and accessories. It's like a peg that spins and you can put your yarn ball on it (the cakes that you wind with a ball winder) and as you take the yarn from the outside, it smoothly rotates. It's hard to describe. I would offer to take a picture but it's pretty phallic in appearance.
Look at that shawl. I love that I can make something so pretty for less that $20 in materials. The pattern is really easy to memorize (only 2 rows to remember once you establish the main body).
The only modification I made was to make part of the bell/wedge of the border in garter stitch, rather than in stockinette as written. Stockinette edges roll up on me and I wanted the edge to stay flat:
I got the idea from the two heaven shawls I've made. Some people don't like the garter edge, but I do. This mod for Althea was a little tricky at first because I had to remember where to knit and where to purl in order to still keep that stockinette point that comes down. I knit the yarn-overs on the wrong side as well.
Anyway this is a good little shawl and it's gone- gifted to my mom for mother's day.
I'm leaving the free pattern testers group on Ravelry. The mods can be a little... uptight. They're only following the established rules but the whole thing was a little too tense for me. You need to finish by a certain date (I was the last to finish because that's how I roll) and give updates every week. If you don't give an update, you're called out... I don't know, I just felt hassled, man. I'd rather just knit what I want when the mood strikes.
Uh... Having said that... I still haven't finished my handspun fan shawl that I wanted to finish by the end of March. So... Yeah.
MF sleeping on a corner of the spare bed in the craft room:
I could hear some high-pitched snoring behind me while I was knitting at my desk and watching shows on Hulu. He was sleeping so soundly that he didn't wake up during any of the pictures and even when I pet him a little bit.