Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Super stash-busting extravaganza

A few weeks ago I taught a beginning crochet class at River Colors, and my student caught onto things so quickly that we had time to get into some of the more advanced topics, like changing colors and making granny squares.  One of the projects I used as an example of how she could use these skills was the standard stash-buster blanket ... which I've never actually made.  It's been on my radar for a couple of years now, and the stash of leftover sock yarn has been growing and growing, but I could never decide on a pattern I liked enough to commit the time and energy to make.

But I was inspired by my student to give it a try, so I hauled out the jar of sock yarn scraps and started organizing them.  I like the look of a scrappy blanket ... as long as it's not too scrappy.  I want the colors to sort of flow into each other, not look like I made the thing in the dark while blindfolded.  Kind of hard when half of my yarn is boring husband/in-law yarn and the other half is whackadoo Lazy Mama/Kid yarn.

So far, so good!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lever knitting sample, or, how to fix your tension in one fell swoop

My regular style of knitting (yarn in the left hand, otherwise known as "picking") is fast, but my tension is so loose I often have to go down FOUR needle sizes to get the right gauge (or, more frequently, just redo all the math in the pattern to match my gauge).  I wasn't expecting to "fix" this when I took Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's class on knitting for speed and efficiency at Squam ... but amazing things happened when I switched to her lever knitting technique:
 The top and bottom rows of the piece were done in my usual style, and the middle section was done using lever knitting.  Same number of stitches, same needles, vastly different gauge.  Wanna see it closer?

Now Stephanie told us that whatever tension problems we had when initially learning to knit in our original style would be duplicated when learning the lever knitting, and I was an insanely tight knitter when I learned several years ago, so I guess the tighter tension shouldn't come as that much of a surprise.  But it's still really cool to see, and I thought I'd share it with the class :)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Pass it on!

Took a class in block printing from Lizzie House while I was at Squam this year, and as soon as I got home I decided I needed to share my New Favorite Hobby with Lazy Kid.  She took to it like a duck to water:

She's six years old, and yes, that's a sharp linoleum knife she's using, and yes, I did spent like 20 minutes going through all the hideous things that would happen if her hands got anywhere near the sharp end of the blade.  I've got her trained to the point where all I have to do is whisper "hospital" and she stops what she's doing and moves her hands back to where they're supposed to be.

She's really good at removing the background stuff around the main design, but I do the detail work for her.  That keeps her fingers well back, and prevents the "oops, the knife slipped and I ruined my block" meltdown that would inevitably occur otherwise.  But she's got a good eye for design, so she draws 'em, I outline 'em, she carves out the bulky stuff, and we both print 'em.  Great division of labor, I think!

Sunday, June 05, 2011