Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wants, Needs and New Yarn

I'd wager good money that everyone has that one thing they can't resist: coffee, chocolate, shoes, music, books. For me, there are two things--sitting on my tuchus watching television and yarn. Yarn may be something the "average" person doesn't understand. (I use "average" as euphemism for anyone that isn't a knitter/crocheter/weaver yet.)

Things I've heard said about yarn:
It's just string.
Can't you buy socks?
Wool is itchy.
That looks boring.
Are you a grandma? (um, obviously, I have all the wrong parts to be a grandmother of any kind, even a rock and roll granny.)
What I say about yarn:
I want.
I want.
I need.
I want.
I have.
I had.
I need.

Wants generally outnumber needs. No one *needs* chocolate but you may want so desperately it becomes a need.

Why all the thoughts about wants/needs in my head today? Because of this blog post from yarn company Quince & Co. I want it. I've used other yarns from Quince & Co. and haven't be disappointed yet. It feels just, well, real. Real is the only word I can use for it. Wool yarns that are wool-y, not rustic but very refined. Owl, a blend of alpaca and wool, is currently available in seven colors. Three are on their way to me right now: sokoke (gray), chamomile (yellow) and cerulean (blue).

I want all of these.
 What's planned for these three yarns? You'll see, but you can bet it'll be stripes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

More Stripes

Is there such a thing as too many stripes? Maybe.

Found on Etsy at Some Velvet Vintage

Also - those are crazy sunglasses. I might never understand fashion.

I'm still experimenting with stripes and solids but in a more subdued color pairing using Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport. I think the colors are Bordeaux and Butterscotch. The next question is: regular scarf, infinity scarf or cowl.

Why do I like odd color combinations like off-green and brown-red?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Morning Swatching

Wait. You mean you don't wake up early on a Saturday morning and grab the nearest skeins of yarn and needles and start swatching the ideas in your head? Okay, probably not.

And I can't take credit for this idea. A knitting friend showed me a picture of a scarf she found on a website and it started the wheeling turning. I grabbed two balls of +Knit Picks Palette (Marine Heather and Coastal Heather, I think), cast on and started trying out a new pattern.

I'm pleased with the idea, but it definitely needs some refining.

Sneak peak? Sure!

Next plan: try again but using Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport. It's one of my favorite yarns for it's just plain wooliness. (That's a real word.)

Random Songs In My iPhone, Part I

I have a crazy weird mix of songs on my phone. I might as well share. A couple days ago while driving, my phone played these songs one after the other. I definitely wasn't complaining.

Mungo Jerry, "In the Summertime"

I'm glad I was born at the end of the 70s. I'm not sure I could pull off that crazy kind of facial hair. Or fur boots. But the song has a great beat. Always in rotation for summertime driving with the windows down. Maybe it's a bit "on the nose."

Doris Day, "Everybody Loves a Lover"

I can't find a video on YouTube of Doris Day singing ths song but I did discover an awesome version with ukulele and kazoo. Crazy! I feel like this song exemplifies how a person in love thinks everyone around them is also in love with them being in love. Still, it's catchy and I adore Ms. Day.

Gloria Estefan, "Conga"

Tap your toes, wiggle your derrière and try to keep up with the Latin songstress singing "somethingsomethingsomething conga somethingsomethingsomething." Just pure joy.

Wild Cherry, "Play That Funky Music"

I dare you to sit still and not sing along to the refrain of "Play that funky music, white boy." Another great song that doesn't get enough love.

Any other suggestions? I'm always in need of new music. Or old music to rediscover. Just don't suggest "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Already got it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Estonian Stitch Swatching

A fellow knitter wore a crocheted scarf to the yarn shop on Saturday and it looked so cozy and warm. Except I'm not great at crochet and one of the other knitters asked if there would be a way to make something similar but knitted instead.

I didn't think to snap a picture of the crocheted scarf but I kept thinking about the Estonian star stitch and decided to experiment with it. I might be in love. (Knitting nerd alert)

I grabbed a spare ball of +Knit Picks Palette yarn in color Mist and size 4 needles. The fabric was super nice, tight but with pleasant drape. I would love it for an afghan. Unfortunately, it wasn't much like the crocheted scarf. I switched to #9 needles and felt like, tada! perfect. Nice drape, lace-like but incredible interesting texture. You can see it in the picture. There also doesn't seem to be much curling.

I'm using fingering weight (sock yarn) and #9 needles.

Cast on multiple of 8 + 3
Row 1: *k1, (k3tog, yo, k3tog) all in next three stitches, repeat from * to last three, k3
Row 2: p
Row 3: k3, *(k3tog, yo, k3tog) all in next three stitches, k1, repeat from * to end of row
Row 4: p

That's it! The hardest part is k3tog, don't slip stitches off needle, yo, and k3tog again

That last few near the needle I changed the k3tog maneuver to "sl1, (k2tog, yo, k2tog) in next two stitches, pass slipped stitch over all 3". I like the difference but it's a little more cranky.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Defining a Purpose

I'm not a trained writer even if I like to pretend I am. Actually, if I'm perfectly honest, I'm not really "amazing" at anything except I do have an odd ability to knit really good -- well -- good -- whichever one, like I said, I'm not a writer.
So why do I have a blog? I had one before and it wasn't a great success.
All that non-success was my own fault because I just stopped posting. And also, I was younger and very angst-y then. And angry. New meds are fantastic!
I want to try to be a writer so why not just practice. The best part of the internet is anyone can write anything they want and no one has to read it.
I'm also going to use the blog as a way to document some of my knitting -- obviously, the "Knits" part -- including my maybe-delusional attempt to become a world famous, total domination knit pattern designer. Join the knitvolution.
And then there's just the cool things I come across that I want to share:

  • things I bought/want to buy
  • places I've been
  • art/artist I think are amazing or just cool or do things I wish I could do
  • books/movies/plays/television shows/songs I'm obsessed with, whether they're awesome or horrible
In the spirit of things I'm enjoying, here's a video by local band Coyotes in Boxes I've been playing off and on while cleaning up around the apartment. Happy Sunday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things I Think About

What is creativity?
Can you teach creativity? (Yes, still thinking about it.)
What is art?
Is art different from craft?
Is there a difference between craft and crafty?
What is the difference between artisan and craftsman? (Or whatever the non-gender based term would be)
What makes an artist?
If I call an object art, does that make it true? If a museum calls it art, is that automatically true?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Knitting Too Long

Would anyone believe I've been knitting since before there was Microsoft Windows? (I looked it up: it was invented in 1985, I started knitting in '84. Windows 3.0 didn't arrive until 1990. I love to learn new things I should already know.) Oh, and I'm the same age as the original Star Wars.

This picture isn't me but it would have been me if I'd been born before WWII.


I don't know much about creativity. I do know that I very much appreciate creativity in others and I'm often envious of the creativity I see, especially when it relates to then visual arts. (I also sometimes struggle with what some people consider "art" but that's for another discussion.)

The thing I'm curious about is can creativity be taught and learned, or is it something innate that can only be fostered and unleashed?

The trouble with creativity is first defining creativity itself. What makes something "creative" in the first place? Is it creative to build upon someone else's idea, refining and modifying the design to make it your own and, hopefully, "better"; or, is that just a variation of copycat? How much modification is required until its a fresh and new design?

Take, for example, knitwear design, since that's the area I'm most interested in at this point. A sweater has already been invented--two arms, a neck hole, the basic shape of a human torso. Everything else is variations on that design: cables or ribbing, fair isle or Bill Cosby colorwork, turtleneck or crew neck. Those variations are without a doubt creative.

But a plain sweater is not creative. It's been done a million times. And then once more.

For the record, I think creativity is anytime you do something that someone else hadn't thought of or better than someone else. Building on someone else's designs is par for the course.

Pardon the ramblings; this is an evolving idea in my head and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Try Something New

Incomplete lists, subject to change:

New crafts I want to try:
  • tapestry/needlepoint
  • hand quilting
  • rug hooking
  • pottery
  • stained glass
  • blacksmithing, or would it be called forging? I'm sure it's not forgery.
Crafts I've tried before but want to experience more:
  • weaving, rigid heddle and "standard" loom
  • macramé
  • dying, wool or fabric
  • machine knitting
Any other suggestions?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sample Knitting

Market Shawl using Brooks Farm Duet, a 50/50 blend of mohair and fine wool. It feels great and the mohair catches the light, especially in the garter ridges.

Pattern coming soon!