Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FO Post Backlog: First Knooking Success

I finished this way back in October 2012 but only got around to taking photos two Sundays ago.  Being a bit of a chronology nut, I have to admit I feel rather uneasy putting this up just now, but anyway:

Started: September 15 ; Completed: October 4

It's based on Sho-sho, which can be downloaded for free on Ravelry.  Thanks to this lovely pattern, I managed to conquer:
  1. My fear of the stockinette stitch
  2. My fear of joining in the round
  3. My fear of picking up stitches
  4. My fear of knitting (knooking) in general

I've also learned:
  1. A no-seam shrug construction.  I changed construction up a bit to avoid having to graft seams.  Instead of knitting a rectangle, seaming the sides and picking up for the ribbing, I started in the middle of the back portion, worked flat for a bit, joined in the round at the sleeve, cast off at the cuff, then pulled out the provisional cast on to work the other side in the same way.  There are other construction sequences that would have allowed me to avoid seams but I wanted to work the right and left sleeves the exact same way to ensure mystitches came out even
  2. Loose knits may be more susceptible to gravity.  I intended for the shrug to have three-quarter sleeves but they've stretched to a full arm's length.
  3. Ribbed shawl collars seem to demand extremely stretchy bind-offs and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff was what did the trick for me.  
but have yet to master:
  1. Knooking jogless garter stripes  in the round
  2. Maintaining tension when joining in the round. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Deep breath, deep breath

They've just posted a preview of some of the patterns in the March 2013 issue of Inside Crochet and my very first crochet design is out!  It's my first time to see the official photos and I couldn't be more pleased.  I'd repost all of them here except I'm not sure if it's okay to do that so I suppose I'd have to settle with just one (please excuse that horrible run-on sentence!) :

It's called 'Beatriz Shrug' after my mom :)

And here's another photo, taken before the shrug was shipped all the way to the UK:

Lastly, here's the Ravelry pattern page for it.

(If you're wondering why the shrug in my photo looks a bit different from the one the model has on, it's because it can be worn either side up and the look of the hem and the collar changes depending on how it's put on.)

I'm so giddy and gleeful I can't stop smiling.  Thank you, Inside Crochet, for accepting my design into your lovely magazine!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To an Austere, Productive Year

I've been itching to buy yarn the past two weeks but the four-foot pillar in the corner of my room has been making it hard to justify a new purchase.

To be fair, the containers are pretty bulky and inexact so the yarn balls would probably come up to just half the apparent height if I gathered them into a pile by themselves.  I'm tempted to go on here about other excuses factual details like how I didn't buy all of them anyway (etcetera, etcetera) but then, that would get me veering off the path of reason onto the downward, slippery slope of greed. And since experience has taught me that the quickest path from digression to brevity is a bullet list, I shall use one in order to make my point quickly and easily.  So here goes:

  • To some extent, I'm always wanting new yarn but I've realized that the wanting begins to rear a compulsive head whenever I enter into a state of craft-related anxiety.  In fact, I could probably trace all my yarn purchases to one or combinations of the following: 
    • Indecision over which project to work on next
    • Work-in-progress hurdles, detours and dead-ends (emphasis on dead-ends)
    • Stubbornly vague design ideas
    • Unproductive attempts to write a blog entry
  • My very first yarn splurge* may have been excusable on grounds of ignorant enthusiasm but it's not like I waited until I'd gone through that first batch before I bought the next one.  But the buying must stop because I probably have at least two years' worth of material by now and that's not counting my hoard of thrifted clothes (which I intend to repurpose into bags once I'm able to get myself a sewing machine).
  • And now the hard part: how to enforce this yarn freeze.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, I've been working to stave off an urge to buy yarn for a couple of weeks now; I've so far been successful and these methods are the ones that have helped me the most.  (It's probably premature to be sharing this so early on but oh well).
    1. Using the yarn I have on hand as criteria for choosing a pattern, instead of the other way around.
    2. Crocheting motifs. More on motifs (the ones I've been trying and why I love them in general) on my next post next month week.
    3. Recycling sweaters. I bought five sweaters for the express purpose of recycling them into yarn. Two from this set, I turned into my yellow bell bag but I'm determined (and quite excited too because winding yarn into balls is fun!) to frog the rest into new-old yarn. I'm actually almost done with one of them:

Now, if all three fail, I resolve to take out and reorganize all my threads in a last-ditch attempt to deter me from hitting a "Buy Now" button on some yarn site somewhere. So if I ever put up photos of my yarns all piled up in a heap, you'll know what made me do it.

- - - - - - - 
* My very first yarn splurge amounted to 35 balls of Cannon thread: 12 maroon, 12 dark red, 6 gray, 9 pink  -- remember this, Mimi?