Finally! A new post and a project . . .

I’ve been neglecting this blog terribly.

Not only that, I’ve been neglecting my fiber craft work. Sigh.

In fact, during the preparation for the new windows getting put in, most of my yarn, etc., went into the storage unit I rented. And you know what? I really hated not having it in the apartment, even if I wasn’t using it. So I’m in the process of bringing it back.

I started a Cute Crocheting Project in lovely autumnal colors a few months back, when it looked like I would actually finish it in time for the colors to be relevant. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked. And then both yarn and instructions got sent to storage. Now, the yarn’s back, but the instructions . . .haven’t found them yet. Which is very frustrating, because I have the urge to crochet once again (hello, it’ll be hot soon and I want to work with yarn. Yeah, makes sense).

So, today, when I was at the store gathering some fronds to create a wreath for the front door so I can then hang my bagua mirror in the center because whatever they treated the new doors with won’t hold adhesive and said bagua keeps flying across the building — don’t ask, trust me, you’ll need serious cocktails by the first five sentences —

ANYWAY . . .I saw Bamboo yarn. In a lovely, soft, gray-green-silver that reminds me of artemesia leaves. So I bought three skeins of it, and I’ve already nearly crocheted up one of it.

I SHOULD be writing, I’m on DEADLINE, but we won’t go there . . .

It’s so lovely and soft to work with, and I’m delighted. The plan is to make a small blanket, lapquilt or travel-sized. Since the airlines have decided their obscene prices mean they don’t have to provide any customer service at all, and they can merely screw their clients even deeper, I’m making a travel blanket. The bamboo is lightweight, will travel well, and can fold up very small in the carry-on, and, at the same time, will provide both a physical warmth and the same kind of psychological warmth a toddler’s blankey provides.

So, yes, I’m crocheting my very own “blankey”.

And I’ll try to be more diligent about posting here. Because then I’ll do more — after all, I’ll need something to write about!

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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More Yarn, More Projects

I went to the store today to buy more yarn. Supposedly, it was to get additional yarn to finish the knitted squares for the blanket — the project that was supposed to get me back into knitting, but my mom got all enthusiastic about it, so now she’s doing it!

I wasn’t thrilled with the color choices in the same weight, but I found a nice green that will go well with the textured blue and the two shades of rose. I’d like to find one more color, and have it a five-color, but I won’t rush it.

I also picked up a lovely shimmery pale blue. I’m going to sketch a simple, long-sleeved V-neck sweater that I’d like in it, and that can be my mom’s next project!

I’d hoped to find a nice blue and white cotton I’d seen a few weeks ago –but of course it sold through. CROCHET WORLD had an interesting dress pattern I wanted to try. I’ll keep my eyes open and see if I can come across it.

I fell in love with a teal suede yarn — I’d love to do a simple crocheted jacket and skirt. The store didn’t have enough, so I might have to order the quantity online.

What’s your favorite online yarn store? I looked at several and haven’t yet made a decision. My friends who knit for Broadway and film swear by a company here in New York called School Products. Of course, they’re not carrying the teal suede right now — although I may order some cashmere from them!

As for my own work, I’m still crocheting away on the yellow cotton blanket. It’s nearly halfway done now, nice, even stitches.

I’m going to stick to crochet for the moment. Crochet relaxes me, while knitting still stresses me out. And with the additional stresses I have in my life right now, I want to use the crochet time as relaxation time.

I’ll go back to knitting when I have more breathing room in other areas of my life.

What are your summer projects?

Never Fear, I’m Still Crocheting!

In spite of not posting for a bit, I’m still working away on that yellow cotton blanket — with plenty of help from the cats! I catch a few minutes here and there between racing around on other projects, and, slowly but surely it’s growing.

The knitting’s going less than well. My mom got all excited about the blanket squares I worked on, and now she’s taken over! So I guess I’ll have to find another project on which to learn.

I don’t mind — how can I when she enjoys it so much? But I won’t learn unless I do it myself, right?

I’m reading a lovely book based in a knitting shop — A GOOD YARN by Debbie Macomber. I enjoy it, and it’s inspiring me to give the old knit thing another try.

Only thing is, I’m having an awfully good time with this blanket, and then there are some very pretty projects in CROCHET TODAY that I’d like to try.

I’m sure all of you experience the same thing — so many projects, so little time!

This month is particularly busy — I covered the Triple Crown in horse racing — and I was thrilled that the filly Rags to Riches won. She had the pedigree (Secretariat’s her great-grandfather and AP Indy is her sire) and she was the best horse on that day. I’m also going to cover the NHL draft for the fifth year in a row, and I’m doing the prep work to cover the America’s Cup Challenge — which means I have to learn all about sailing.

To keep up, check out my blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee, and the articles over at the sports publication FemmeFan.

And I’ll just keep crocheting!

This is soothing?

I tried to practice knitting. Truly, I did.

I’m just plain bad at it.

I realize that it’s practice, and I just have to keep trying. But I’m discouraged with it.

I’m still having trouble casting on, and have shed many a tear and yelled at many a piece of yarn. Any idiot can cast on — except me. Once I get the first row done, I’m okay — not brilliant, but okay. But casting on –and binding off — are difficult.

I undid the garter stitch bit of scarf and started knitting stockinette squares. An acquaintance has a lovely throw made out of square in stockinette stitch, and I thought that would be useful as well as pretty. And I have enough scarves.

It’s frustrating. I got three squares done — they’re okay, but not great. Then my mom, who’s a knitter extraordinaire, got excited about it and started knitting squares herself.

And I went back to the yellow cotton blanket I started to crochet.

That, however, is coming along beautifully. In the next few days, I’ll photograph it and post it. I was going to do most of it single crochet with some double and half-double rows for pattern, but it looks better in the simple single crochet, so I took out the more openwork stitches, and I’m doing the entire thing in single crochet. It’s good practice — I’m surprised I can keep the stitches so even — and, most importantly, it’s soothing.

So — the knitting is NOT going well, but the crocheting is going well. Once I feel like I have a bit more equilibrium, I’m going to go back to knitting. A pair of pointy sticks and some yarn are NOT going to intimidate me! 😉

Well, not for long, anyway!

Naughty Knitter! ;)

No, this isn’t an X-rated post!  But I bet it drew a few of those types of hits!  😉

Thanks for all your kind comments.  Color-Strung — I tried to comment on your blog, but couldn’t.  A fiber artist friend of mine (who I’m sure I’ll interview on this site) is very committed to the philosophy of knitting in community.

This morning, I drove to Port Chester (not too far) to Michael’s, to take a look at supplies.

I found a beautiful yellow cotton yarn — and bought 1600 grams of it!  I want to make a summer blanket — my winter blankets are now too heavy, and it would be lovely to have a hand-crocheted cotton blanket for the summer, in a lovely, summery yellow.

And, of course, since I want to learn how to do a cable stitch, I bought the set of cable needles.  I know I had some somewhere, but they could be, well, anywhere, especially since I didn’t know what they were when someone gave them to me.

I passed on the purchase of bamboo knitting needles right now — I’m happy with my No. 6 metal needles for the garter stitch scarf.  I’ll buy the bamboo needles when I need them.

Although I was sorely tempted . . .

I bought a red size H crochet hook for the cotton yarn (since I don’t know where I packed any of my hooks — they MIGHT even be in storage, although I distinctly remember crocheting a beautiful shawl to go with a custom-made evening dress a few years ago.  I’ve worn the shawl often . . .but damned if I can find the hook!

And some ribbon yarn was on sale, so I bought two balls of that, enough for a small scarf.  I’m probably not advanced enough to deal with it, but it was pretty and on sale, and goes into the stash.

After all, the stash is very important . . .

And I bought yet another round hatbox to keep it all in — so that none of these supplies disappear into the black hole that is the apartment!

I spent more than I planned, but less than I could have, so it all worked out.

I’m going to keep working on the knitting practice, and also work on the crocheted blanket.  Because I’d really like to get it done THIS summer, rather than next!

Anita, yes, I will post photos of projects as I take them.  Never fear!

And thanks to all my visitors for your support and encouragement.  It means a lot.

I Hate Casting On!

So, I’m re-learning the basics so that I can move on and learn new things. I’ve always been more comfortable crocheting than knitting, so I figured it was time to move beyond my comfort zone.

For some reason, I find casting on extremely hard. I’m not sure why. But it’s a major pain in the ass.

I’d practiced on some patches a few days ago, and thought I was ready for a checkerboard pattern — but there’s too much math involved for me right now, since I’m still struggling to get the basic stitches back.

Instead, I’m doing a couple of complete small projects in basic stitches. For instance, I’m doing a scarf in the basic garter stitch. And then I’ll do another small project in a stockinette stitch. And THEN, I’ll go back and try the checkerboard.

Baby steps, baby steps.

I’m working on the scarf in the garter stitch now — it’s a dark blue with one strand of lighter blue within the yarn, giving it a nice, textured effect.

Once I got the first few rows done (I had to cast on SIX times before I got it right), I got into the rhythm of it.

In fact, I find I can work out plot points as I knit (as long as there’s no counting involved).

It adds a useful new dimension to “multi-tasking”.

Oh, and Elsa, my tortoiseshell cat, “helped”.

Inspiring Books!

Two knitting books I ordered arrived last night:

Traditional Scandinavian Knitting

and

Traditional Fair Isle Knitting

both by Sheila McGregor

It’ll be months, if not YEARS before I’m ready to try it — but it’s something to which to aspire!

The Endless Re-cast

I re-read the Mary Frances book. For some reason, it made more sense when I was younger!

I re-learned how to cast today. For some reason, I find it difficult. Part of it is because I knit “continental” — since my mom taught me and she learned how to knit as a child in Europe. So what’s in the book and how it’s shown to me are two very different things.

After about a half a dozen times, I finally got it. My fingers don’t always keep the tension the way they should (of the yarn — the fingers are plenty tense). But I can do it.

I did a few sample blocks to remind myself about the knitting, the purling, the garter stitch, the stockinette. So that’s all sorted. I used to love the purl stitch, but, for some reason, I found it more difficult to get the rhythm for that one back.

I’m not happy with the needles I borrowed. I don’t know where I packed my own. The larger needles, especially, didn’t feel right — I think I was trying to use too large a needle for too thin a yarn. So I unravelled it for the twelfth or thirteenth time and I will try, when I’m refreshed, again with the right size needles. When I did my initial samples with a 6 needle, it worked. But using a 9 or a 10 with the same yarn was torture.

I think I want to invest in bamboo needles, or at least wood. I like the feel better.

That’s all for tonight. Tired, and the respiratory infection is worse.

Elsa and Violet loved the knitting time — it meant they could play with the yarn. Unfortunately, Elsa also climbed up on top of me and tried to chew on the metal needles — something I strongly discouraged.

More anon — when I recover . . .

Jane Eayre Fryer

Yet another egg-on-face moment for me!

Here, I thought Jane Eayre Fryer MUST be a pseudonym. Well, it turns out she was quite a literate and literary teacher.

For more information on her, go here.

It just goes to prove: Never assume!

I’m eager to re-read THE MARY FRANCES KNITTING AND CROCHETING BOOK.

Here I Go!

I know what you’re thinking. Why another blog?

Because none of the other blogs fit what I want to discuss here — namely my adventures into sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, etc.

I’m hardly an expert — more like a bumbler who really, really, REALLY enjoys textiles.

My recent trip to Iceland inspired me to re-learn knitting. I learned to knit and crochet as a teenager, from a book called The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book by Jane Eayre Fryer.

Jane EAYRE? Yes, I think that’s a pseudonym, but it’s something to research!

Traveling to Iceland didn’t make me want to buy any of the knitwear (I limited myself to a cap) — but it made me want to learn how to MAKE it.

I do love to quilt, although I don’t do as much as I’d like.

And I make some of my own clothes. In fact, I have a backlog of patterns and fabrics for a lovely spring and summer wardrobe.

So I better hop to it.

I won’t post every day — once or twice a week, probably. Will you go with me on the journey?

I hope you’ll also read my blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee;
the blog of poetry, Circadian Poems; the blog on books and book-buying adventures, called A Biblio Paradise; and the blog of tarot, Kemmryk.

Please join me. And point me towards other blogs of interest!