I have a confession. I’ve never finished a knit sweater. I have started two vintage patterns, probably a dozen pet sweaters, and have completed the Heliopath – Luna’s vest from the Harry Potter Knitting book, but never actually successfully knitted something that wasn’t an accessory.
At any rate – I saw a Knitterly ad on Facebook for this sweater when I was in Iowa in May – I LOVED IT. I quickly found Drea Renee’s website and now am a cult fan. I’m probably in 30 hours on this sweater in total. I have 2 inches of ribbing on the body, 7 inches on each sleeve, and then the neck ribbing to complete. I’m guessing another 5-10 hours.
loved the in-pattern commentary about color changing and tips for success
love the texture of the sleeves being garter stitch
I did have a confusion point on the sleeves, as written in the pattern I felt they were not symmetrical – but decided to make the sleeve location on the body symmetrical and feel that was the right thing. It probably was what the pattern had meant, but of course I interpreted differently as there were no corrections online regarding this.
Drea Renee – available I reached out to her about the sleeves (albeit not helpful in my description!) but she replied.
Yay! It’s time for Yarn Along the Rockies here in Colorado. Yarn Along the Rockies is a yarn crawl that takes place all over the front range here from Boulder down to Colorado Springs. There are a total of 23 shops on the map and at each shop there is a special pattern to celebrate! At each stop you also get a ‘passport’ stamped which shows where you have been. At every 6 shops (and the final 23rd shop) you receive a really cool stitch marker. It’s a great way to see some shops you normally would not go to, as well as connect with lots of knitters from all over the front range.
Lois, my Aunt Lori, and I hit the road on opening day and hit 13 out the 23 shops on the yarn crawl. The highlights for me were a wonderful shop in Boulder called Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins and also LambShoppe and Fabric Bliss (which had some embroidery thangs as well as a lot of fabric).
Here we are in the HUGE Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins. I really loved that shop because they had such a variety of yarns – every price range Patons to local artisan blah blah blah. Plus, the women working there were just so nice and took the time to chat with us and help us even though it was extremely busy.
Here is a silly little cat face from Mew Mew’s Yarn Shop in Lafayette. That shop has some really interesting yarn art.
Here we are outside of Tea for Ewe in the Tennyson neighborhood (which used to be total dump so I’m still shocked it’s like hipsters in paradise up there now).
It was a fun day! We bought some awesome yarns. I have to say I was really stunned at how much the yarn and knitting/croche/fiber arts scene has grown in Colorado. It makes me happy to see so many people joining such a fun community. However, I’m also pretty much over the whole ‘custom/hand dyed/hand held/kissed/bathed with’ whatever the hell people are doing to justify $30-$50 for a skein of yarn. Here’s my point of view… So you spend let’s say ~$100+ on any kind of garment – worse is when you spend ~$50 on a goddamn cowl! Then okay so if you keep your knitted item you live in fear of wearing it, washing it, or even looking at it because 1. you just spent a month making this damn thing, 2. it’s made of $100+ yarn that could be ruined with any daring coffee sip, and 3. let’s face it you can really only wear most of these things for a select time of the year. Wow! that sounded like a major hater here, but I’m over it. I know buying big brands like Lion Brand, Red Heart, Patons and even the queen of gameshows Vanna White’s brands might not be the ‘snob-tastic’ way to knit/crochet – but goddamnit it’s the only way you can actually partake in this expensive ass hobby/lifestyle and not have credit card debt or eat the cat food you buy for your cats to save money.
I don’t know I’m just over spending ~$80 on average for supplies for usually an accessory when most often the person you are making this gift for does not even know how to take care of the item. (I will reference when someone machine washes something totally ignoring the tag – or when the hand made item is wadded up in the bottom of the closet – GEE I’M SO GLAD I SPENT 40 HOURS MAKING THAT FOR YOU!!)
Okay rant over, here is my perspective. I am very happy that so many people are interested in my same hobbies – it makes for a much more rich and interesting community to try things out it, look at other people’s successes, and generally have a wonderful selection to begin in terms of yarns, patterns, and tools. HOWEVER, I do not support the knitting snobs – not at all. I was so lucky in Chicago to find a group of crafters that were in love with crafting and not the labels. Those women inspired me more than any posh knitting store yarn circle would. And I guess I’m just at a point where I LOVE the hobby and I don’t need to quantify my skill, my love, or my productivity with how much money I spent on fiber.
Also, I think we can all agree that we knit/crochet/sew because we enjoy it. I hope that as this community hopefully grows even larger we can all share that love of the hobby itself instead of trying to one up each other in terms of labels.
We will finish our crawl on Friday and I am very excited to see the remaining 10 shops as well as have a chance to enter into the grand prize drawing (hey, I didn’t say I am opposed to specialty yarns – I’m just over the yarn snob stigma).
Anyways, I hope this comes across as me being an advocate for everyone who enjoys fiber hobbies – I realize a huge part of this is also hand making the supplies that is wonderful also, but I am really tired of the stigma and the ‘prejudice’ that revolves around ‘artisan fiber’.
I’m sure it is obvious that I took a mini-break (cough eight months cough) from crafting during the move, job change, additional move and beginning of summer. Well, I have ended that break and I am very happy and exciting to be diving back into the craft-scene.
I crocheted an adorable baby afghan from Bernat and thought I would share:
Bernat® Baby Blanket™ Yarn: 4 skeins (MC) Peachy, 1 skein White (A)
Crochet hook size M/13 [9 mm] or size for gauge
36″x40″ [91.5 x 101.5 cm]
7 sc & 8 rows = 4″ [10 cm].
With MC, ch 89.
Row 1: (RS). Cluster in 6th ch from hook. *Ch 1. Skip next ch. 1 dc in next ch. Ch 1. Skip next ch. Cluster in next ch. Rep from * to last 2 ch. Skip next ch. 1 dc in last ch. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as dc. Ch 1). *1 dc in top of next cluster. Ch 1. Cluster in next dc. Ch 1. Rep from * to last Cluster. 1 dc in last Cluster. Ch 1. 1 dc in last dc. Turn.
Row 3: Ch 4 (counts as dc. Ch 1). *Cluster in next dc. Ch 1. 1 dc in top of next Cluster. Ch 1. Rep from * to last 2 dc. Cluster in next dc. Ch 1. 1 dc in last dc. Turn.
Rep Rows 2 & 3 until blanket measures 38″ [96.5 cm]. Fasten off.
BORDER: With RS facing, join A with sl st to top right corner. Ch 3 (counts as dc). Work 1 rnd of dc evenly around all side edges, having 3 dc in each corner. Join with sl st to top of ch 3. Fasten off.
Beg = Beginning
Ch = Chain(s)
Dc = Double crochet
Rep = Repeat(ing)
Rnd = Round(s)
Sc = Single crochet
Sl st = Slip stitch
Yoh = Yarn over hook
Cluster = (Yoh & draw up a loop in next st. Yoh & draw through 2 loops on hook) 5 times. Yoh & draw through all loops on hook. Ch 1.
With fall here and the holidays right around the corner, let me make your custom items/gifts! Pretty much anything you see knit/sewn/crochet I can make for you! My pricing is very affordable and I work hard to get you exactly what you dreamed!
I have done custom embroidery orders, scarf/cowl, baby bibs, kleenex coozies, crochet people/objects, dresses, skirts, blouses! Don’t forget about the pets either – I can make any costume idea or fun accessory for them too!
My epic knitting/crochet group StitchCraft met on Sunday at Loopy Yarns here in downtown Chicago. They have open knitting Sundays 12-5pm and so we organized four of us to meetup and chat/knit/crochet and shop. Beverly was so awesome to plan this for us!
Happy Wednesday! I’m quite excited today, because later tonight is my monthly craft night with my favorite ladies in StitchCraft! I found these lovely ladies on MeetUp.com which is a great social planner for people new to a city or just looking for new social events to attend. For a solo-crafter like myself I have so enjoyed meeting so many crafters, whether they are knitters, crocheters, wool spinners/dyers, seamstresses, quilters, paper artisans… the list literally could go on, because there are so many wonderful people doing AMAZING things out there now. I wanted to share briefly the things I have come across lately/am in LOVE with in the world of crafting.
I’m seriously getting that panicky feeling only other crafters know right now looking at those bolts. The ‘oh man, maybe I need to leave work right now and go buy them all because what if it sells out and what if I can’t add it to the already ENORMOUS pile of WIP fabrics I have at home… ANGST.” Joann’s is also offering an “American-made” fabric line that is stunning as well. With 27 different designs and patterns it is great to see such a large chain offer something that is important to the spirit of ‘locally-made’ and responsible crafting.
I know not everyone supports shopping at a large chain like Joann’s so please check out your local fabric and sewing stores, often the smaller local shops have the best quality and respond to consumer desires faster than a giant store. My local sewing spot is The Needle Shop on Addison and Lincoln in Chicago. They offer so many different styles of rotating apparel and upholstery fabrics. Every time I go in there I think I touch and look at each bolt for 5 minutes.
2. Yarn/Crochet/Fiber Arts
I mean, I can’t even begin to share all the wonders I see daily regarding fiber arts. I’m continually inspired and awed at how crafters are able to dye/spin/manipulate and then create a gorgeous fiber item. A few of my favorite people/shops/stuff/events are:
knitxmidwest 2 – they are having a second one this year! you betchyer ass i already reserved 5 spots!
heyjenrenee – equal parts rad mom and epical knitter (plus rowan ambassador, GAPTASTIC Cowl Designer, knitxmidwest founder, the list goes on)
YarnBox – a monthly yarn delivery service that lets you sample and knit with 1/2 skeins of indie and small batch yarn producers. I seriously have LOVED being a YarnBox member. There is a wait list now, but it is worth it. Last month I got gorgeous yarn from Switzerland for christ’s sake!
Plus, because fiber arts are booming – so many people are creating top-notch patterns and even giving them away. Check out Ravelry before you ever buy a pattern chances are it is on there. But, if you into supporting indie pattern designers, there is no bad karma in donating or purchasing patterns from their websites/etsy.com stores/ravelry. Pay it forward my crafters!
What kind of things are inspiring you with the season change? Do you find that you change your craft entirely or just augment what you work on? Further, if anyone would like to share their thoughts and opinion about organic fabrics and/or large chain consumption I would love to hear you thoughts.
ALACAZAM! We have reached the end of the Heliopath Knit-Along road. Can you believe it? I have to say I am way impressed with everyone’s epic knitter-wizard skills. Seriously, talk about some effing talented crafters – I have never been so motivated and inspired by a group of knitters in my life!
So I’ll briefly breakdown my ‘finish’ of the Heliopath and then we can talk about the good stuff – THE PRIZES.
For the armholes, I had to keep trying my vest on – I know we still had to block, but I typically get nervous leaving the entire ‘fit’ up to blocking. I ended up knitting past the recommended 6″3/4 mark to almost 8″ and then did the three needle cast off for each side. Now instead of using DPNs and knitting the ribbing I chose to go totally out of order here and block now. Why did I do this? Well, for starters I was convinced this thing was not going to fit right. I know blocking can be a miracle-worker, but I spend the last two weeks in a wee-bit of a panic about if I had just spent ~$85 and over a month on something that will fit one of my petite friends not me. I even dropped an extra stitch under the arm because I was FREAKING OUT. Seriously, I kept stretching it (even considering the pattern ‘give’ measurements) and just getting more and more and more worried. Especially once I had opened up almost every stitch it was very worrisome and I ended up making the last minute decision to open up and extra stitch under the arm. Anyways, I digress… blocking before ribbing. Why else did I want to do this? Well I honestly wanted to crochet every finish on and i wanted it to not be ‘too tight’ or ‘too loose’ when it was all said and done. Plus, let’s be honest I can never just follow the damn pattern 100%. There I said it. So here it is.
So for the PRIZES! There is so much and we plan on picking the winners over the next few days as we make sure to tally and include everyone who participated. I will be sending messages out to the ones on Ravelry and Instagram who participated to confirm their entry. There is so much to win!
Well, I am a few day behind on this post – PLEASE FORGIVE ME! But I was using my time to actually knit the Heliopath Vest versus talking about it here. It’s hard to believe in a few short weeks we will have a new garment to wear! I’m right on track with 10 inches of the cable pattern knitted up – about 5-6 inches to go for me though. I have to admit it is taking much longer than I had imagined it would. I find it takes me anywhere from 2-3 hours to knit the 16 rows of pattern now that I no longer need the pattern reference. Overall, it is exciting to see it get bigger and bigger, but I don’t think I have ever done as many cables as I have on this – like ever. Honestly, I was thinking about it and of all my cables combined – the Heliopath blows them all out of the water. But the pattern is gorgeous and I’m really hoping once this part is finished, the arm shaping will really give it that amazing wow factor! Also I have been soooo impressed with all our KAL crew and their progress/projects. All the colors and beautiful work is so inspiring. I just am so happy so many great knitters have decided to join in!
Welp. I am one of those retro-crochet ladies now. I’m obsessed with the kitchy and the rather 50s-70s crochet patterns. I know loads of people actually hate crochet because of the toilet paper covers, the bathroom doilies, and the tissue box covers. Well sadly for those people, I am about to make a shit-load of that stuff.
Twinkie Chan really got the ball in motion for this new cult obsession and I think it will only get worse from here. There are coasters, covers, afghans, dustruffles, all sorts of things to crochet….
Anyways, here is my first attempt at the tissue box cover cake. Enjoy.