Saturday, June 25, 2011

I guess I've been MIA for some time - sorry about that. Donna called to check in - which was very thoughtful - thanks, Donna. Not a whole lot going on really except that I seem to have been bitten by the reading bug and the crafting side of me has been lying dormant for a number of weeks. I guess that's not really unusual, I tend to go back and forth and since I am pretty limited in my free time, I end of having to choose one or the other.

So I've been reading a bunch and frequenting the libraries a lot. Today we went over to the Joliet Public Library on Black Road. Wow! The place is huge and very well used by its patrons. They even have a cafe inside - The Book and Bean. Have you ever?

Summer reading for me is usually mindless, beachy stuff or travelogues for the most part. Though I am currently reading "The Last Coyote" by Michael Connelly. Totally not my normal selection but a friend read it and mentioned that there was a scene in the book set at The Sandbar in Anna Maria Island. So I had to pick up a copy. Not a bad read - police detective stuff - but I am looking forward to getting back to my girlier selections.

And to that end, I have to say, I am somewhat bothered by the hugely disproportionate number of knitting novels that exist compared to their ugly stepsister - the crochet novel. If you look up 'knitting novel' on Amazon you get 15 pages of results - all stemming from the Kate Jacobs, Friday Night Knitting Club from a few years ago. The same search with 'crochet' results in zero entries, although it did return some novel written by Albert Crochet. Seriously. Since I am not a knitter, I feel slighted by the lack of crochet popularity in the world of fiction. The market is ripe for someone to write one - just sayin.

In the meantime, anyone read a good knitting novel that they want to recommend? Or for that matter, just a good novel?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Counting the Rows

by Kelly

I'm knitting a large shawl right now, and I needed something to count the rows. Not just to keep track of the pattern (a 5 row repeat), but also to count the number of rows, since I need to make two panels the same size.

Normally, I use a gadget like this. It slides onto a needle and all you have to do is click it to count one row. Unfortunately, I'm using huge size 13 needles, so that little counter doesn't fit on the needle. So I'm using my backup, which I normally use for crocheting.

 Which is fine, if a little bulky. And it counts up to 9,999 rows. Heaven forbid I should ever have to knit or crochet 10,000 rows of anything, but I could if I wanted to. And besides, as my husband pointed out, it's red and sporty, like my last two cars. And my cell phone. And my vacuum cleaner.

Actually, when we went to buy the vacuum, I pointed it out without looking at any specs and said, "I like that one.". My husband said, "Because it's red and sporty?" I just laughed. There was another couple looking at vacuums, carefully checking out features with a salesperson to help them, and they didn't seem to think we were funny.

But anyway, back to the counter, it's not exactly 'knitting friendly', since I have to put it down on a table nearby, and our cat (who is usually eyeing the ball of yarn while I knit) thinks that makes it fair game. This means that at some point I have to walk across the room and retrieve my counter from under a couch or chair.

Then I started thinking - what I really need is a bracelet or a necklace with beads on it, that would let me count the rows like an abacus. Something that would stay on me, and not get played with or misplaced. But how would I make such a thing? So I questioned the oracle (my new name for Google search) and lo and behold:

a tutorial from Knitting Help. Yes, that's a bracelet that helps you count the rows. And not bad looking, either.

Not surprisingly, there are lots of these available on Etsy. Have any of you used something like this?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Poll - What Else to Do While Crafting

By Kelly

What else do you do while knitting/crocheting/ etc.? I almost always watch TV. Mostly I watch the equivalent of junk food - old '80s videos, Star Trek reruns, things like that. Sometimes I'll lift my sights a little and watch Turner Classic Movies. But then I'll get sucked into the movie and forget what I'm doing, and drop a stitch or, if I'm crocheting, lose my way completely.

Stephanie says that she reads while crocheting.I just can't do that. Knitting is easier -  forty-three stitches on the needle, forty-three stitches to go. It's really hard to skip a stitch while knitting. Even so, I can't read at the same time.

What do you do while you're crafting? Fill out the poll in our sidebar (more than one answer is acceptable) or add a comment here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Frustrations of the Crochet World

So I am working on my Christmas blanket and am almost done when I realize I'm out of Christmas colored yarn (multi-color, red, green and white). I check my stash to see if I might have missed any additional skeins....which I hadn't. Next stop, my local Jo-ann's store. I stop by there today only to find that they have no more Christmas yarn. I figure, okay, maybe I can just order some online but while I was there I find that they are having a 30% off sale on books. Of course I have to get some. I found one that has a matching blanket for each of the birthstones of the year and one big book Cozy and Comfy Afghans.

I go home after this to check out the online sites only to find that Jo-Ann's doesn't sell the yarn I need online... Ugh!!! My next idea is just to make it one row smaller than what I originally decided. So I start SCing the squares together and notice that it really doesn't look like the picture. Which is when I realize that the squares are to be whip-stitched together rather than SC'ed together.....and I don't have a yarn needle. Double ugh!

Now what am I doing.....going through the two books that I found trying to find the next pattern to make because I have nothing else to work on until my American Flag blanket has been set aside for two weeks and I get a yarn needle for my Christmas blanket.

But the problem I'm having now is that I have so many patterns to choose from and a very limited color pallet available for making it right now without having to stop by the store or the other issue is that I have the colors needed for one blanket but not the right size hook.

Oh, the hard life we crocheter's lead. :)

Crafting for Pets - Bowties are Cool

by Kelly

So I made this knitted bowtie for our cat. I don't even know where I found the pattern. He looks very dashing in a bowtie, though - like a secret agent cat.

Agent 00Elebendy

But while in search of that pattern so that I could share it here, I stumbled onto this great blog called Spindles and Spices.

Spindles and Spices has many hats for cats. Pictures below are for patterns found on her blog here.

La Revolution

Ninja Kitteh

and of course, for all Dr. Who fans out there,

The Fez pattern is here. The only thing that stopped me from making this hat immediately is that this is a felted hat. I know, I know, I should get on board that felting train, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.
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