Monthly Archives: January 2009

People do strange things with their cats

It’s too early to post Friday funnies, but I needed a good laugh this week. This has nothing to do with fiber craft, but… I saw this last week at a friends house and I nearly died laughing at the part that  is about 2 1/2 minutes into the video. Poor little kitties.  There’s one that looks particularly sad with his paws pointing down.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUWcgQxH0lI]

I went on a “youtangent” and started viewing more videos with “stupid pet tricks.” There must be a thousand videos of people talking to their cats (or insisting that their cats know how to talk). I even found one with subtitles. Here’s a frightening thought… what would happen if through our attempts to entertain ourselves with cat-chatter… we actually did teach cats how to talk and they taught each other?

“Oh Don Piano!”

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONmhQJy1ViA]

Poor thing sounds like he’s having a cat-seizure

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tRWRSfcDuQ]

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Knitted Brain

What a way to remember all the parts of the brain!

http://schoolofeverything.com/blog/knitting-brain

Can you figure out the construction of the different parts?

Can you figure out the construction of the different parts?

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Crochet isn’t just for Granny anymore

Not your average crochet (Amazing aran cardigan by JRoKnits

Not your average crochet (Amazing aran cardigan by JRoKnits

Edit 1/25/09 – Please note I linked to the wrong pattern book for the Dusty Miller sweater pictured above.  The correct book is Crochet Aran Sweaters by the same author. Sadly it looks like Amazon doesn’t have this book.  It may be out of print.

Let me confess here. I once had a very low opinion of crochet. Crochet was for Christmas themed toilet roll cozies and Grandma crafts that included walnut critters with googly eyes. Don’t get me wrong I wax nostalgic for anything with googly eyes, but about 10 years ago when I re-discovered knitting, I was determined to pick up knitting again because I didn’t want to crochet. Crochet reminded me of orthopedic shoes and support hose.*

Gorgeous Crochet Gown by OutsaPop Trashion

Gorgeous Crochet Gown by OutsaPop Trashion

Crochet wasn’t sexy.

Now let me apologize to all the crochetiers and crochet afficionados out there by saying “I WAS WRONG.”  More than a year ago I was introduced to the idea of Crochet being for all sorts of gorgeous garments in one of Brenda Dayne’s Cast On podcasts. This podcast along with the work in Interweave Crochet magazine gradually transformed my opinion of crochet.

I discovered that crochet can be used to make aesthetically pleasing garments of not just lace but well structured and sturdy articles of clothing.  It can be used to make stylish and fashionable accessories and household objects. I ran a quick search on Flickr and I found many wonderful examples.

But crochet also sparks the imagination and fancy in a way that knitting does not. In the Flickr search I found wonderful objects and creatures that are not easy to find among knitted toys.  I’ve made knitted objects before. I’ve knit and shaped the muzzle of  a bear and the steps you take (increases, decreases and short rows) felt more like following a mystery puzzle than a pattern. A while back I took a class on how to make Amigurumi, and a sparks shot off in my head.  Crochet made more sense to me ‘geometrically’ than knitting. There are different possibilities with crochet because you can structure and shape three dimensional objects easily with strategic increases and decreases. You can build spheres, cylinders, tubes, even cubical objects easily and these structures are pretty sturdy and can stand up on their own when crocheted with certain fibers.

This year I’m teaching a few crochet classes at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop.  My first class “Learn to Crochet” starts next week.   I’m incredibly excited to share my  new found love of this fiber art with others.  Through swatching, and experimentation with stitches and textures, I’m hoping to guide my students through the basics and help each of them pick a beginner project . I think there are three people currently in the course and there is more space left.

If you’re interested (and live in the Portland Metro Area) I”m also teaching a course on Amigurumi toys. All the information is listed in the link below.

Resources:

Crochet Cactus by Nadia308

*Please note… I didn’t hate crochet back then… I just had some erroneous preconceptions based me associating it with senior ladies.  Like most youth… I didn’t want to be associated with ‘older people’ and their sense of style. Though this doesn’t explain my love of Big Band as an adolescent. To be truthful, I do also have some very fond memories of crochet. The woman who was our babysitter and caregiver was an avid crocheter… she taught me how to make my first object… a hat that looked more like a sausage.

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Filed under Amigurumi, Craft, Crochet, Pattern Links, Patterns, Portland, Portland Crocheters

Say it isn’t so… Rmmmrghph!

spike

How are they going to get that hair on Ted?

Keanu to Play Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop

Isn’t Keanu Reeves a bit too old to be playing Spike Spiegel, the bounty hunter?  Rggggh~@#!!!  Okay, so here I’ll admit that I once had a cartoon crush on Spike from Cowboy Bebop. After him came Jin from Samurai Champloo. It’s not just sacrilege to cast Reeves… it’s just wrong.

Here’s where the crotchety gen-x anime fan in me screams… LEAVE IT THE %$#$! ALONE ALREADY!!!!

Sometimes I just wish they would leave animation as it is… forget the live action movie. The novelty of translating things into live action has long worn away into a thin excuse for Hollywood not having enough of it’s own new ideas.  I’m not sure I even relate to Reeves as the ‘action hero’ of my generation…. maybe the Mall Rat or Beach Bum of my generation. Perhaps it’s because the Matrix has become so overplayed or perhaps it was just a half-way decent story rammed into the ground by the needless sequels.

And this latest betrayal…Why am I surprised? Hollywood just lets one stinky cock-up right after the other.  Not sure what to expect from this, plus they’ve left me disillusioned with countless cartoon to live action remakes…. Speed Racer anyone? Sorry, I’m just being crochety.


Crew of the Bebop

Crew of the Bebop

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Scratch that… no, unravel it

In the previous post I mentioned that I would dye machine knit blanks of my cotton yarn, assuming that I would knit all of these up in the handy knitting machine I bought for making hats and things.  I tried making a long blank with three 109 yard skeins of cotton and discovered that this knitting machine abhors working with cotton. After picking up slipped stitches with a crochet hook over 2 dozen times, I said enough!

So I unraveled the long ugly tubey thing I spent the entire afternoon making and unwound it around two wooden chairs set about 12 feet apart.  I did this with two more skeins until I got bored and moved on to something else. 13 more skeins to go… sigh.  It occured to me that I could play something cheery and tongue in cheek as I walked around the chairs to wind the yarn. Maybe… some Lord Kitchener.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqWLwZIncec]

Knitting has taught me the value of endless patience. Dyeing seems to be gifting me with the lesson of careful preparation and planning.  Several months ago, if you asked me if I would go to this length to prepare fiber to knit a sweater, I’d flatly say… no.  I couldn’t see past my love of knitting.

A year later, and now I’m finding myself branching into other fiber related crafts. I actually want to spend more time investigating crochet in depth and improve my skill at shaping and building structures in crochet.  I spend a great deal of time making garments, maybe I need to investigate knitting and crocheting other objects including un-utilitarian ones.

It’s a little late, but here’s my short reflection/inventory of things learned and things I’d like to learn this year.

A few things I tried last year:

  • Knitting with metal and beads – fun but it hurts.
  • Spinning – I used a drop spindle to make my first single ply yarn. I think I’m going to continue investigating
  • Dyeing – I… am addicted. Sad when you get to the point where you’re looking through your stash for lightly colored or white yarns just to satisfy your need for a dyeing fix.

Things I still need to do or want to try:

  • Gansey knitting – I still need to finish my Lochniver sweater
  • Steeking
  • Crocheting a small blouse in a simple lace stitch
  • Color work/Fair Isle knitting
  • Design and knit a real Aran sweater (with cables)
  • Start a podcast- this is a difficult one for me. I often think that I haven’t started this yet becuase I get my “I need to talk about knitting/crafting” fix with the wonderful group over at my knit night at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop.

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Filed under About Me, Challenge, Community, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Fair Isle, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Portland Knitters, Reflection, Yarn

Experiment #3: Planning a colorway

Dyeing cotton fibers is such a pain. Not only do I want to make sure that the pain is worth it, I want to make sure I get it right the first time.  Not to mention, I’ll be using my precious Artfibers cotton (Rush), and I really don’t want to over-dye any of this stuff.

I’ve decided to knit up the skeins of blank cotton yarn I have with a knitting machine and then paint these long blanks by hand using a color combo of four (see below).

(clock wise from the top left) Black Cherry, Brazilnut, Dusty Rose, and Raspberry

Four colors of Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dye: (clock wise from the top left) Black Cherry, Brazilnut, Dusty Rose, and Raspberry

This may sound a bit geeky, and I’m sure there’s a better way to do this, but I used a graphics program to ‘plan’ out the color on the blanks.  I think I’ll actually dye a test blank in leftover dyes that I’m not crazy about using one of the patterns below. Pattern 1 will result in a graduated dye dispersal. Pattern 2 is a recipe for plain striping. Pattern three will create broad strips of color with blends of the dye colors in criss-cross patterns dispersed throughout the fabric.

I want to know what the color patterns will be like in a large panel of stockinette knitting (say for a sweater).  If only my math and programming skills were sharper, I could actually create a program that would help me estimate the staggering of the pattern based on the length and width of the knitting and the stitch gauge. Actually, I could probably do it if I had the time, but for now, I’m just going to have to rely on both my imagination and powers of estimation.

Pattern 1

Pattern 1

Pattern 2

Pattern 2

Pattern 3

Pattern 3

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Filed under Colors, Colorwork, Cotton, Creativity, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Knit, Knitting, Math, Project, Stockinette, Sweater, Techniques, Yarn

Friday Funny: Abe Lincoln Talks to His Press Agent

Now that we’re looking forward to Inauguration Day… I thought I’d share one of my favorite comedy bits from Bob Newhart, one of my all time favorite comedians.

Abe Lincoln talks to his press agent:

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FopDTIrZSU]

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