Crafting Withdrawal

Well, all of my everything is now moved to the new place! But not, unfortunately, unpacked or organized in any logical fashion. In addition to the continued chaos of me having way too much stuff, I’ve also got the last month of the semester to wrangle with still – all of this has resulted in me not really crafting a damn thing since spring break. I’ve practically got the DT’s from this, I’m serious.

On the bright side, I happen to have had a big mindless knit project laying around, on which I could squeak in a few rows here and there in between moving and cleaning and class to relieve stress. So that no one got mysteriously disemboweled with craft scissors. Somehow.

DSCN7890

Full story on this thing is still to come, once I (finally) finish it. I’ve had it laying around for over a year, gradually consuming and assimilating various scrap yarns. However, it came out YUGE. Like, thrice as big as I meant it to – used up the scrap yarn thrice as fast of course, which is good, because I have this whole bag full of it:

DSCN7891Still, I need to adjust it somewhat before presenting it in all its massive glory.

But first, writing papers and unpacking. Cringe.

-MF

 

Advertisements

Skinny Scrappy Scarf!

My lovely friends have often shown up at gatherings exclaiming “I have yarn for you!” – and this is a situation to be thoroughly enjoyed. However, I can’t always find a use for every single one of these yarns, among them long-forgotten cheap acrylics from granny’s attics, abandoned yarn sale yarn, and other orphaned skeins.

Some of these yarns have a lot more merit than others – and I try to use everything I can possibly use, because it is a rare occasion that I can bring myself to evict the yarn from the Sad Yarn Orphanarium.

However, I finally said goodbye to a huge bag full of old yarn that I just knew I wasn’t ever going to use (and actually most of it was stuff that I had bought :P) It’s slated to go to Goodwill, where it might be just the thing some other stitchmaster needs.

As a result, my yarn wall looks a lot less scary. This has virtually nothing to do with the following project. I’m just proud of myself.

dscn6859

I cheated. I still have a lot of yarn that isn’t on that wall. BUT, at least I no longer fear an avalanche.

Okay, it’s not totally unrelated, because while I was cleaning I rediscovered some old handspun and some other bits and pieces that would look nice together and got inspired to create a scrap-buster project!

This little skinny scarf combines beading, crocheting, and knitting to create a unique artsy accessory that’s great for using up small lengths of yarn.

dscn6881

Skinny Scrappy Scarf

Materials Needed:
20 g packet of 6/0 seed beads
1 beading needle
#10 cotton crochet thread
2.10 mm steel crochet hook
12.5 mm knitting needles
An assortment of yarn scraps, preferably 15-20+ yards each

  1. First, grab your beading needle, crochet thread, and half of your packet of beads (set the other half aside). Your amount doesn’t have to be exact. String the beads on your crochet thread.
    dscn6861
  2. With your 2.10 hook, start chaining the crochet thread. Every 15-20 chains (again, we’re not worried about exact numbers here) grab a bead and include it in your stitch.

    Continue beading & chaining until you run out of your first half of beads and you have a nice little beaded strand ball. Cut the thread and tie it off. You can go ahead and make a second ball from the other half of your beads now, or (if you are sick of chaining like I was) you can wait until you’re ready for it later.
    dscn6876
  3. Using your beaded strand and two other yarns, CO 6 sts to your 12.5 mm knitting needles using three strands.
    dscn6880
  4. Using all three strands, knit the next row. Purl the next row. Repeat, alternating knitting and purling and tying in new yarn strands whenever you run out of one.
    dscn6878
  5. Once you have your scarf almost the length you’d like (for me this was about 60″), replace one of your strands with the second beaded yarn ball and continue knitting until you run out of beaded cord. Bind off and weave in all of your ends.

I like the beaded cord because it gives the ends a nice swing-y weight! These also make pretty good handmade gifts, since they don’t take a ton of time to make.

Here in the midwest it’s getting pretty nippy outside… maybe a nice free cowl pattern is more weather appropriate for you?

-MF

 

Bernie Beanies, etc…

Right, so, this is the type of post where I picture-dump some of the projects I have been working on lately but haven’t had time to talk about individually. I’ve been creakily trying to finish up some of the colder-weather projects that had remained in limbo before I switch gears and everything turns all bright and cotton and mandala-y!

So here’s the third Bohemian Fringe Poncho, worked with an alternative yarn to Bernat Roving, to great success…

This one, like the other two ponchos I made while designing the pattern, are for sale in my Etsy shop!

Next up is a rare thing on this blog… a finished knitting project. I love knitting, but I am woefully neglectful of my knitting projects since I am always so busy with crochet / spinning / dyeing. But since this one was a commission, I was obliged to finish it in a timely manner.

I was stoked on this project when it was requested, because I support Bernie for President, because I am pretty obviously a liberal hippie feminist pinko commie who hates The Man. TRAMPLE THE PATRIARCHY.

Whew, okay. I also made this blanket over Winter Break.

My notes can be found on the Ravelry project page for this! I used 8 different colorways of variegated yarn, 15 skeins total. It was mega fun.

The weather here was great today, continuing the tradition of a mid-January Indiana warm-up to really mess with our sunshine-starved heads before it dumps more snow out of the sky. I took advantage of the mild temps to do a photoshoot for my upcoming pattern.

Which is going to rule.

But you’ll just have to wait and see.

-MF

Tidbits Linen Stitch Bag

Remember Tidbits Linen Stitch? That was only my second post, from what seems like a million years ago (but was only 6 months). Well, that delightful diversion remained hanging from the knitting needle at the very bottom of my WIP basket since I posted that little tutorial. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been cleaning up old hangers-on and scribbling their names out of my project notebook. In the case of this little swath of linen stitching, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it… it was just a matter of getting it done.

TidbitsBag2

A simple envelope style bag. The ultra-bright colors and the woven look-alike stitch reminded me of the beautiful textiles of South America. The use of various yarn weights and russian joining (which produces some frayed ends poking out here and there) adds to the folksy, rural feel of this piece (aka – messy looking), which I accentuated by adding little tassels made from my handspun, Andean-plied Targhee sample and finishing with an I-cord strap, from the same handspun.

Andean plied Targhee

Andean plied Targhee

The awesome thing about this bag is that it is made exclusively from yarn bits that were under 20 yards in length. I love projects that challenge me to use things that are otherwise doomed to non-usefulness.

TidbitsBag

As with my last finished WIP, I am really tempted to start another of these right away!  Watching different colors blend together using linen stitch is fun, with the added advantage of a simplistic stitch pattern to zone out on. Linen stitch creates a right side (the woven looking side) and a wrong side (the bumpy garter stitch looking side), so a fold-over bag like this is a great way to use the fabric so that the right side is featured and the wrong side stays hidden.

 

-MF

Pattern Gallery: Scarves for Spring

Spring Scarves Gallery

Maybe you live in a place where the changing climate has already settled into a warm, sunny paradise of April breezes and bright flowers and days stretched out in the sun. Congratulations. I live in Indiana where ‘spring’ is normally a three month long epic battle between Cold and Hot that always dumps you on the other side of May, sweltering and wishing you could crawl inside your air conditioning unit. We still need scarves ’round here.

Although I’ve picked this collection for their springtime look, many are also great for autumn if you live in the southern hemisphere!

atlantic-lace-shawl-034

Atlantic Lace Shawl from Make My Day Creative – I happen to be working on this one right now, and it’s a fantastic pattern – looks super fancy but with a relaxing repetitive stitch pattern. And it’s FREE!

mountainscowl5

Mountains Cowl from Gleeful Things – Fringe is so in style right now that we might have already outpaced the 70’s. Also FREE!

bloomingvine

Blooming Vine by Yumiko Alexander on Ravelry – Gorgeous concept for a scarf that makes a statement rather than just sits on around your neck in boring rectangle form. 6.50 USD.

Lesmiserables

Les Miserables by Cynthia Parker on Ravelry – One for the ambi-crafters. This FREE knitting pattern is a fantastic, gritty urban detour from the usual flowery lacy spring shawl fare.

sundayshawl

Sunday Shawl by The Little Bee ~ Alia Bland on Ravelry – I love the bright colors on the version of the shawl pictured, but it would look just as nice in sleek neutral tones. Awesome spring wrap, especially if you make it in a cotton blend. 6.50 NZD.

crystalchandelier

Crystal Chandelier Shawl by Maria Magnusson on Ravelry – Sweet lace knitting pattern so airy it goes right on into summer. Only 4.00 USD!

cascadefree

Alpine Shawl from Cascade Yarns – FREE crochet pattern, nestled amid a bunch of other free patterns on the Cascade page. Get in on the forest-y, elf-y style with this sweet leafy green shawl.

-MF

Pattern Gallery: The Scoodie Collection

Some of my favorite things to make are patterns featuring creatures of all sorts… mythical, fantastical, or real life. Monsters of the deep, ancient lizard lords, beasts spotted or striped or maned. And hey, spring is a good time for small but still-warm accessories… soooooo here’s some animal scoodies for my first pattern collection.

Scoodie Pattern Collection

Cat Scoodie:

From the Grand Master Funk of crochet blogs herself! Free pattern from Tamara Kelly on Moogly.

Dino Scoodie:

ULTRA adorable Dino scoodie from Shelley Moore on Ravelry for $4.95 USD.

Bear Scoodie:

Free pattern from Niftynnifer – I’ve never seen this yarn before but I would love to get my hands on some.

Panda Scoodie:

Cute panda hood complete with pawprints from Ira Rott on Ravelry,  C$6.50

Kraken Scoofie:

Whatever a scoofie is, this one is FABULOUS. Check out Rhea Richardson’s badass kraken scoofie pattern on Ravelry for $6.00 USD!

Lamb Scoodie:

Because I’m an ambi-crafter, this one’s a knit from TwoofWandsShop on Etsy, available for $5.50 USD.

Patterns take a lot of time, planning, and focus, so please leave feedback to the artist if you enjoy their work!

-MF

Tidbits Linen Stitch

Tidbitscover

I hate throwing craft supplies away. Take, for example, the two dollar bag of scratchy vintage tapestry wool in the absolute nastiest colors in the universe that I purchased from a garage sale three years ago. Oh, and tapestry wool apparently means “chopped into little pieces for you already.”  Useless. Still, have I yet unburdened myself of this fibrous disaster? Of course not. I have an illness.

Ew.

Ew.

And eventually every crocheter or knitter ends up with a basket or bag or drawer or whatever filled with little yarny leftovers – and there are multitudes of patterns online for 100 yards or less. Honestly, though, most of them aren’t to my taste. That, and most of my scraps are MUCH less than 100 yards, further limiting my options for them.

ENTER THE RUSSIAN JOIN! (Tutorial here)

As soon as I learned about the Russian join the gears started turning with plans for my little leftover yarn-ball buddies. Scary plans involving Human Centipede style freak surgery, ending in this Frankenball.

Frankenball

Technically speaking, Russian join isn’t really any more time-saving than weaving in the ends on a finished piece, and it certainly isn’t prettier – you end up with small tufts and lumps during the color changes, but I had a specific plan for this Frankenball where that wouldn’t matter much. I needed a stitch that would create a soft transition from color to color, a gentle gradation that would camouflage the disparity in weight between the different yarns. I needed the Linen Stitch.

Linen stitch is a knit stitch with a right side and wrong side (it can be done in the round as well) that alternates between working a new stitch and slipping a stitch purlwise while simultaneously weaving your yarn from back to front. Slipping every other stitch carries color UP from your previous row, “mixing” it in with the current color and creating color blends as well as a firm woven-looking texture (without all that pain-in-the-ass loom warping).

It’s a lot easier than I just made it sound. Click here for a great tutorial on this stitch!

For those of you who just need a quick reminder, the linen stitch goes like this:

(Over an even number of stitches)

Row 1: Knit 1, yarn forward, slip one, yarn back. Repeat.

Row 2: Purl 1, yarn back, slip one, yarn forward. Repeat.

The slip ones in linen stitch are all done purlwise. And so you just repeat that, ad nauseam.

Color strategy is fairly important if you want the palette to come out looking streamlined. I recommend lining up your variegated yarn bits first, and then finding solids that match those tones to fit in between, using the variegated yarns as sort of a bridge between colors. Once you’ve got your tidbits lined up, start splicing! Lightning storm not required.

Linen Stitch

-MF