Category Archives: Portland Crocheters

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

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