Category Archives: Creativity

#knitchat 9/1: The Knitting Bucket List

Actually, the term “Bucket List” bothers me… just a little. This is perhaps because it is a reminder of our own mortality. Maybe I should think of this as more of my list of challenges I want to overcome while the rest of my life occurs. There I go candy-coating things again. On my “list” is knitting an incredibly intricate Estonian or Shetland lace shawl. On a larger scale, I’d like to knit some curtains.

Here are the #knitchat questions:

Q1) What skills (kniting, crochet or fibercraft-wise) are on your “Bucket List?” #knitchat

Q2) Any sweaters or projects on your Bucket List? Any epic dream projects? #knitchat

Q3) When you want to learn or accomplish a new skill what motivates you or keeps you going? #knitchat

 

DETAILS… DETAILS… If you want to know more about what #knitchat is and how it works

  • Where: Twitter (follow the #knitchat hashtag)
  • When: Thursdays on the date listed above at 6:30 PM PST/9:30 PM EST (1 hour)
  • Who: Me you and other Twitter Knitters/Crocheters & Fiber-crafters
  • How: Need a primer on Twitter Chat… check this out: What does this Twitter chat thing look like?
  • How: to post photos – 5 ways to share photos on Twitter
  • How: to shorten your links. Simply paste your link into the field in http://bit.ly/ and shorten it. Copy and paste this link into the twitter feed.

 

 

Crown Prince Shawl by Nancy Bush

 

 

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Filed under #knitchat, Challenge, Creativity, Crochet, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Lace

Episode 22 – Art for Fiber’s Sake

Somehow this episode became all about art inspired knitting or the other way around.

I talked about my current sweater projects and knitting a new skirt for myself. I also share about my first attempt at freeform crochet.

We’re available on both iTunes and Podcast Alley. Just check for “Cloudy with a chance of Fiber.”

Episode 22

My first attempt at freeform crochet

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Filed under Art, Challenge, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Knitting, Podcast, Stash, Stuff I made, Sweater, Techniques

I’ve discovered felting

Right, when the last thing I needed was another needle & fiber-craft. I took a two hour course on felting. I went in completely ignorant of how to shape wool fiber or roving into all sorts of forms, came out being able to put together cute little animals and creatures.

The ingredients needed for a successful felting are the following:

1.) Felting mat (usually made of a thick piece of foam or a wide flat brush with thick bristles).

2.) Wool roving or fiber (that is washed, combed and processed).

3.) Felting needle.

That’s it… no glue, no wires unless you’re creating an armature or skeleton to make your felted creation bendable and pose-able… though this sounds tricky & fiddly and perhaps a bit dangerous. Because essentially when you’re needle felting you’re taking the felting needle and jabbing it over and over again into the roving bits to shape them. For example in both the owl and the Totoro figures below, the body is simply just a rolled up wad of roving that has been poked and shaped into a body form. The ears on Totoro and the owls’ wings are smaller clumps of roving shaped into the appropriate form. I didn’t cut those pieces out. I basically poked and prodded at them until the wool took the shape I desired.

This is such a simple yet rewarding craft… even children (who are responsible and responsive to safety instructions) can master this skill within an hour or two.  It’s a great introduction into fiber-craft.  Looks like I may not have to knit or crochet everyone a present this year.

Want more ideas for felted cutestuff?

My 2nd Totoro - completed in less than 1 hour

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Filed under Craft, Creativity, Dolls, Felting, Fibers, Gifts, Kitsch, Needle Felting, Toys

Almost 25 Ways to Get Rid of my Sock Yarn

What do I do with all of this?

Two years ago, I didn’t buy loads of sock yarn at the Sock Summit, because I already had a serious butt load of sock yarn… including a bunch of Drops Fabel and Regia Sock Yarns which have become my fast favorites because of their durability and dependability (I sound like a commercial from the 50’s). I do sometimes struggle with making socks.  You can see the sweater most of the time… socks you’re the only one who knows you’re wearing a work of gorgeous Aran artistry and cablework. So I decided to use Ravelry and my websearching skills to compile a list of things I could possibly create with the multliple boxes of sock yarn I have stashed away. I’ll try to post more as I find them.

Crochet:

  • Fingerless Mitts: Look quite warm and snuggly for your hands.
  • Chihuahua Sweater (double stranded):(though I’d have to make a lot of these just to get rid of my KP Imagination.
  • Vera (gorgeous shawl pattern that eats up to 2000 yards of sockyarn) –  I’m linking to a photo fo the pattern here to entice you. Vera Shawl by Katie Grady
  • Snowflake Christmas Ornaments: forgot about fabric stiffener. These look like great fun.
  • Reusable Tampon (Oy, not for the faint of heart) – I probably will abstain from making these… unless, of course civilization comes barrelling down around me and I can’t buy what I need from a store.
  • Eyeball with Nerve Endings: Make a bunch of these for your Halloween party. Then through them at your guests… then they can say they had the unique experience of being pelted with eyeballs.
  • Monkey (OMG this monkey is so cute)
  • Naalepuder (flower-shaped pincushions): Really cute especially with variegated or rainbow yarn. Original pattern in Danish. Floral Pincushions

Knitting:

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

Pirate Mittens (Available on Ravelry as a free download):

Pirate Mittens

Pirate Mittens

The Beanis (warning may offend… what is it? It rhymes with ‘beanis’… you figure it out. No I’m not posting photo here.)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pirate Eye-Patch for your cat. I couldn’t post because the pattern/website no longer exists. But one could easily use their imagination to create one of their own.

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Filed under Aran, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Fun Stuff, Gifts, Knit, Knitting, Pattern Links, Patterns, Project, Sock Summit, Socks, Stashbuster, Yarn

Explore the New “Black” in Craft Fashion – Crochet

Lily Chins gorgeous crochet lace dress

Lily Chin's gorgeous crochet lace dress

The image above ( Lily Chin designed lace crochet dress found in the first issue of Interweave Crochet – 2004 under “Lace Dress”) and many others inspires me to learn and make more crochet garments that are fashionable and practical. I will always be a knitter, but in the past two years I’ve developed a burgeoning love affair with the craft of crochet.

I’m again teaching beginning crochet at the Naked Sheep Knitshop in North Portland. I get more and more excited each time I teach this class. It simply seems that crochet designers are really challenging the stereotypes of crochet as being the clunky and less graceful of the fiber arts. Gorgeous designs from Lily Chin, Doris Chan, Kristin Omdahl, etc have proven that crochet can not just be couture gorgeous, it can take the form of practical fashion.

“Beginning Crochet” can help learning fiber crafters attain the skills needed to start exploring the fashion options in crochet. In the last class, after we learned all the basic stitches and how to increase, decrease, and crochet in the round. We learned how to make basic lace in crochet. The students were very interested in learning how to crochet hats and berets so I taught them how to calculate increases in the round and develop your basic hat and beret like this one:

Crochet Beret with the Puffy Stitch

Crochet Beret with the Puffy Stitch

I actually adjusted Pretty Puffs Slouchy Hat for smaller gauge yarn so I could use Elsebeth Lavold’s Cable Cotton. In the class the students learned how to ‘do the math’ to figure out how to adjust stitches in a pattern to match their sizes and the type and weight of yarn they were using.

You can read about the basic structure of the course in a previous post and view some pretty examples of crochet stitch patterns:

https://natknits.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/learn-to-crochet-starts-july-20/

Here are the class details which you can also view on the Naked Sheep’s Knitshop’s Website. Hope to see you there 🙂 :

Learn to Crochet- Starts September 15th
with Natalie
$55
If you want to learn to crochet or just need a refresher course, this class is for you! You’ll learn the basics in just 3 classes and get started on the project of your choice!

Tuesdays ( September 15, 22 and 29)
6:30-8:30pm

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Filed under Cotton, Craft, Creativity, Crochet

I’m full. I can’t possibly knit anymore

No, not really. I could actually keep knitting.

Yesterday I hosted a Yarntasting party in Overlook Park.

At least over twenty people showed up from the invitee list. It was such great fun!!!! Surprisingly, it was a bit chilly and windy early when we started but the sun eventually came out. Many people brought food and drink to snack on while we were knitting.  There was a bit of a mix up with the parks area because they double booked the spot.  A poor woman showed up around 12:00 puzzled because she’d booked the site from 9:00 to the end of the day.  The last hour of the Yarntasting was a bit rushed, but all in all it was great! And I got to meet a lot of wonderful Portland Knitters.

A few people did try to crochet their samples. Others like Puppydog knits created a sample mini scarf from their swatches.

Artfibers Swatch Scarf

Artfibers Swatch Scarf by Puppydog Knits

Located outside of San Francisco in Pinole, California, Artfibers has been producing their uniquely gorgeous artisan yarns for over 15 years. At our Yarntasting there were about 180 different gorgeous fiber samples of 38 different yarn lines to choose from ranging from blends made from alpaca to yak. You can see all of the yarns (and more) we tried at this event on the Artfibers yarn page.

I’m going to try to keep a log of fibers I both tried and took smaller samples from. It was virtually impossible to try all of the them but my favorites on the spot were (I will post photos as soon as my camera battery is charged up and I can find my blasted USB cord for my camera):

  • Cassanova (Tussah Silk/ Mulberry Silk) – So beautiful I made swatches of two colors. Gorgeously soft with just the amount of sheen from the silk. It doesn’t hurt that the colors are absolutely gorgeous from a deep velvety teal to a pink and plum multi-color shown here.
  • Casanova 18 & Safa 12

    Casanova 18 & Safa 12

  • Bunnuit (53% Tussah Silk/40% Angora/7% Mulberry Silk) – I normally don’t like angora in such a large percentage in a yarn, but married with the silk it seems to work for me. The black angora bathes the rich multi-colored variation in this yarn in a halo of dark softness. The result is an amazingly rich texture and colorway. Did I mention that it’s super baby soft too?
  • Bunnuit 03

    Bunnuit 03

  • Chutney (100% Wild harvested silk bourette) – While Chutney isn’t as soft as the previous two yarns, I still love it because of how it shows off beautiful hand painted colorways.  Lately, I’ve learned to love the rawer silks because they produce lovely summer garments with a good deal of breathability and drape without skimping on the warmth coverage when you need it on those cool summer nights. I actually crocheted the swatch you see in the photo below. (Still need to take a photo).

Almost all the favorites I picked have silk in them. I suddenly realized that this was because Artfibers has mastered the secret of making truly fantastic soft and luxurious yarns using silk and silk blends.

Other yarntastees are posting their photos and pictures. I’ll be posting these up here as I find them.

Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.

Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.

Yarn1

The yarn samples

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Filed under Art, Colors, Community, Creativity, Dye, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Portland, Portland Crocheters, Portland Knitters, Yarn

My Fiber Ed at the Knit and Crochet Show

I attended the Knit and Crochet Show this week and was fortunate enough to take two classes.

Fine shaping in crochet with Lily Chin. I recommend taking this class to anyone who has felt frustrated or limited with construction and design options in crochet. Lily’s excellent class helped open doorways to understanding how to shape garments in crochet.

Part of our homework including making an eight inch swatch of a crochet stitch pattern of our choice and making several Xerox copies of the stitch. She showed us how to create a graph template using inch grid chart paper from any garment. She also demonstrated that we could carefully lay out the Xerox copies of our stitch pattern and estimate or plan out our design on the template.

Lily truly is a talented instructor and a storehouse of knowledge about her craft. She shared some of her design stories and swatches.  She told the story of her adventure of crafting a beautiful metallic thread crochet dress and the trial and error process she went through to make a stunning evening dress worn by Cindy Crawford. I scoured the Internet looking for an image of the dress but I could not find it. I honestly think this was one of the most helpful classes in fiber craft I’ve ever taken and I recommend this for anyone who’s itching to boost their skills in crochet and garment design. I can only imagine that her knitting classes are just as enlightening.

I went home and ordered a copy of Couture Crochet as soon as I got home.

Click the image to view the book at Interweave Press

Click the image to view the book at Interweave Press

Designer Day with Janet Szabo. I got a lot of important and useful information and insights on launching one’s own career in the world of fiber design. It was a really valuable class for anyone who is interested in becoming a designer of knit or crochet.

She was able to dispell some of the myths lodged in my brain about getting started as a designer and self-publishing. One of the most important lessons I learned: if you want to insure that your patterns are the best and secure a good reputation as a designer, hire a tech editor to check your patterns.

This class was a good start to understanding what it takes to launch a business as a designer but I would also encourage those who are interested to check SCORE or the SBA (Small Business Association) for classes. I took a class a year or so ago on writing business plans that was very helpful.

On another note, Janet has written two books that I’ve found indispensable:

I Hate to Finish Sweaters &

Aran Sweater Design

Click the image to view the book at Janets site.

Click the image to view the book at Janet's site.

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Filed under Aran, Challenge, Creativity, Crochet, Fashion, Garment Design, Knit