blog · knitting life · life

Knittering #7

So, crochet…

The skills needed to do crochet have long eluded me. I can make a simple square or perhaps scarf (if I really tried), but my tension is so TIGHT that after awhile I can no longer even get my hook through the stitches to continue working on the project.

Me + Crochet = Strangulation!

Honestly, my inability to figure out tension while crocheting is probably the reason that I gave up the hooks and went with needles instead. Of course, this also gave me the opportunity to really dig into knitting as a craft… I went from barely being able to hold my needles to knitting up wearable pieces, baby blankets and Baby Yoda!

Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

Why did I pick up the hook again?

Well, my sister (enabler that she is) gifted me with two craft magazines (one for knitting and the other for crochet) which included kind of a beginner’s project complete with yarn and little, plastic hook. I struggled for way to long trying to follow the pattern using the included hook and yarn before deciding that perhaps better quality materials were called for.

bit of a work in progress here, but I did manage to make the stitches uniform!

Purchasing better yarn DID indeed help and I used the size E 3.5mm Boye hook I had from previous crochet attempts.

However, no matter how closely I followed the pattern or how many tutorials I watched, what I was creating looked NOTHING like the picture!

…turns out that the US has different terms for crochet techniques than, say, the UK and the double crochet I was trying to make was actually a triple crochet!

Once I figured that snafu out, things seemed to progress pretty quickly. My stitches were super uniform and I was able to crochet the head in no time at all! It’s also nice that this yarn is so soft, because it meant I was looked forward to working with it. πŸ™‚

As the project continued, I was having a surprising amount of discomfort, from bruised fingers to stiff/sore joints, so I made the decision to splurge a little and upgrade my crochet hook from a regular Boye one to an ergonomic Clover one from the Amour line… and it is amazing! Truly, from the first stitch, I was hooked! …unintentional pun, lol.

I finished little Miss Kitty here soon thereafter, working on her skirt, limbs, and accessories while watching YouTube or winding down before bed and before I knew it, she was ready for her photo shoot!

Many thanks to my sister, who was kind enough to take pictures for me, since mine always seem to be super boring and she seems to have an eye for these things, lol.

As I don’t really have a need for handmade, stuffed animals, I will be giving Miss Kitty a new home where she will (hopefully) live a long, happy life.

Of note, I live streamed my attempts to learn crochet while working on this ballet cat and one of my viewers asked if I took commissions! I’d never taken a commission before, but they were very kind, explaining that a family of three cats would make a wonderful Christmas present for their children.

Before I agreed to take the commission, I thought long and hard about the request… did I want to make money from a hobby? Or did I want to keep things chill? Ultimately, I did agree to take the commission, mostly because I think it’s a sweet idea to have matching gifts for siblings and because I would have loved getting something that someone made just for me! In fact, I have received handmade gifts and they are some of my most cherished.

Believe it or not, at the time of writing this blog post, I have the one commission for three cats (2 ballet girl cats and 1 boy cat) as well as another commission from a good friend for an elephant and an owl!

Time will only tell, but making stuffed animals might just be my niche in the crochet world, lol.


Is there some craft or hobby that eludes you?

blog · knitting life · life

A Quiz About Gifting

With the holiday season right around the corner, it seems appropriate that NothingButKnit has shared a quiz about gifting… She always has the most interesting quizzes and, since it had been awhile since I did one, I thought it a perfect fit.

Now, let’s get to answering these questions!

1. Do you gift your handmade items?

I do! Most of the items I make are gifts, from the finger-less gloves I made for my sister (that she’s only just now getting to use) to the stuffed Baby Yoda’s (that continue to be mailed out) to a sweater for my mom (that I will finish even if it’s the death of me!) and the micro-preemie socks that I knit and donate… lots of gifts indeed!

In fact, I think there is only one item that I knit for myself, lol.

2. Do you have limits around who you gift to or what you gift?

Limits? Not really, now that I think about it. If someone asks if I can make something I’ve never tried before, I look at it as an opportunity to learn a new pattern, stitch, or skill.

3. What type of things do you like to make and gift?

I love to make micro-preemie socks and can have a pair finished and ready to go in just an afternoon! These are donated to a local NICU in fishbowl-sized batches, since a fishbowl was all I had to store them in, lol.

4. Have you received handmade items?

My mother used to crochet us hats and scarves and mittens and I wish that I still had some of those, but they would be too small for me to wear nowadays. Oh! And her oldest sister, my aunt, gifted me with a crocheted blanket that I use year-round.

5. Have you ever asked for a gift back?

I do not, mostly because the people that I gift items to already know about and want the item being made for them.

6. Do you gift handmade items for holidays?

Not as a general rule, but if something is finished close to the holidays then I will gift it.


Now, before you do anything else, may I suggest checking out NothingButKnit’s post and reading all of the fun and interesting answers she and others have shared!

blog · knitting life · life

Knitting In the Wild

knitting socks on break at work

Over the last few months, I’ve had a number of projects that one might consider ‘knitting in the wild’ or knitting in a public space. I remember hearing once that there was some kind of stigma about knitting or crocheting in public, but I have not personally experienced this.

Most of the time, when I’m working on something while in public, I’ll catch the odd interested glance from an adult or the awestruck stare from a child or teen. They all appear to think my chosen form of craft is pretty darn cool!

Knitting in public has been a great conversation starter with strangers in the airport, the park, a parking lot, the grocery store and more! People just really want to know what you’re making and they all seem to think it’s magic.

I’ll let you in on a secret… knitting IS, in fact, magic. πŸ˜‰

One of the first difficult projects I attempted was a stuffed facehugger from the Alien movies that I was knitting up as a gift for a friend. I cast on while on a flight to Pittsburgh in 2019 and worked on it a little as I had spare time during the trip. Turns out that as soon as you finish knitting up the body, you need to stuff it! And I had no stuffing.

After scouring a number of gift shops in the terminal, I came across a stuffed pumpkin in a candy store that was in the discount bin because it had gotten chocolate spilled on him. Poor thing! And his story was only going to get worse… I purchased that cute little pumpkin and then immediately tore him open to get to the stuffing inside!

I’ve since used up all his stuffing, but I turned him inside out and sent him through the wash so that I keep using him as a handy stuffing container when I’m knitting out and about. πŸ˜€

Since the day I started carrying my knitting with me, I’ve worked on a number of different projects, but I’ve discovered that the easiest things to knit in public are socks and washcloths. They knit up pretty quickly and aren’t too complicated, if I need to pause mid-project, and they are small enough to tote around.

Do you knit in public?
What’s your favorite project to take with you?

blog · knitting life · life

Knittering #5 | First Adult Socks

NothingButKnit’s shared one of her sock projects in her Sock It To Me Monday post and they looked so good that I knew I had to attempt adult-sized socks… again.

I’ve been trying to knit my sister a pair of socks for nearly a year now, but I just can’t seem to get the patter to jive in my brain. It’s the Toe Up Socks pattern by Haalu and… I just can’t knit them. Maybe it’s the pattern, maybe it’s the yarn I bought, but it’s definitely been relegated to the unfinished projects bin.

Now, the Slip-It Simple Socks on the other hand have been an absolute breeze! They are knit cuff down, like my Micro-Preemie socks, and it’s easy to get into a rhythm when working on them. I knit these socks mostly while doing other things, like being in meetings or watching movies/television.

This pattern is SO easy to follow!

As for the yarn? Well, it’s a vacation yarn, which is to say that I purchased a skein of this amazingly soft, light grey yarn while on a trip back home to Wisconsin. It was really easy to work with and only occasionally did I have trouble with the strands wanting to unwind themselves (is that the right term?).

Sock number one…


Sock number two…


And, here we have the completed pair. Apologies for the subpar picture of them, I have not been able to find a sock blocker that I like… it’s on my list. πŸ˜€

One completed pair of socks, ready to be gifted to whoever’s feet fit them… Cinderella style!


Supplies:

Pattern: Slip It Simple Sock by Christine Long Derks
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock Yarn in a discontinued color 5697. This yarn was purchased at the Brownstone Centre in Bayfield, WI in November 2019.
Needles: Loops & Threads Size 1 – 7″ double points & Signature Needle Arts Size 1 – 9″ circular needles

blog · knitting life · life

Knittering #4 | National Craft Month

I learned this year that March is National Craft Month, which I think is pretty cool. Started back in 1994 to encourage people to learn new crafts and get back into crafting as a hobby, National Craft Month can be celebrated in any way that you like!

I chose to celebrate by knitting. Yes, yes, I know you’re surprised to hear that, lol, but here are the projects that I worked on for #NationalCraftMonth

One franken-micro-sock, because I ran out of one yarn and finished with another. I really loved working with the grey yarn and might need to see if I can buy another skein or two. πŸ˜›

Baby blanket, completed, blocked and delivered to recipient.

Washcloths, as part of a mystery knit-along on Facebook. I ended up making four of them, the pattern was so easy and relaxing!

Knit a pair of socks for my mother, my first adult-sized socks, and turns out I made them too small. Guess that guarantees that I’ll get to work on at least one more pair, lol.

I’ve actually got an entire post coming, dedicated to my first venture into sock knitting, so keep an eye out for that!

Finished some finger-less gloves for my sister. She picked out the yarn and, of course, it was full of purples!

blog · knitting life · life

Knittering #3 | Artist’s glove

A friend of mine is an artist and asked if there was any way that I could make a glove for his pinky that would help with his work.

So, I went digging…

It took a fair bit of my Google-fu, because I had no idea what such a thing was called, but I eventually discovered a free pattern for an “artist’s glove” on Ravelry.

Because I’d never even seen this pattern before, this project took me about four hours to complete. From making a gauge to figuring out which of my needles worked best with this yarn to binding off, it was an adventure and a half.

Continue reading “Knittering #3 | Artist’s glove”
blog · life · q&a

Socks: A Quiz (a response)

Nothing But Knit has shared another fun quiz and this time it’s all about socks! Join me for “Socks: A Quiz

Do you knit/crochet socks?
Yes, I knit micro-preemie socks, but haven’t managed an adult sock yet.

If yes, how long have you been making them? If no, why not?
I think it’s been about six months to a year? Maybe?

What is your preferred method? Top down, toe up? Which needles? Do you have a preferred heel type?
My preferred method is top down, with a turned heel, with the tiniest of needles!

Have you gifted socks? Were they worn, loved and appreciated?
I’m currently filling up a fish bowl with micro-preemie socks. When it’s full, they will be donated to a local NICU for use.

Could you make nothing but socks for the rest of your life and be happy?
Probably not. It’s too much fun learning how to knit different things!

One of the most addictive things about sock knitting is the amazing selection of fingering weight yarn that is available. What is your favorite yarn for socks? Do you prefer solid or multi-color yarn? Do you have a fiber preference?
I prefer multi-color, fingering weight yarn, yes. I think my favorite so far was Patons Kroy Socks in Gentry Grey. It’s a super fine, wool/nylon blend… SO SOFT!

blog · knitting life · life

Knittering #2 | American made knitting needles

American made needles have been one of the most difficult things for me to find as a relatively new knitter.

It seems as if every one of the big name brands like ChiaoGoo (made in China), Lykke (made in Nepal), Knitter’s Pride (made in India), and HiyaHiya (which are also made in China, I believe) are made abroad. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it’s really quite nice to be able to find and support domestic products when you can.

Herein lies the problem: it is VERY difficult to find knitting supplies made in North America! Not a single one of the Local Yarn Stores that I’ve visited carries American-made knitting supplies, though I’m trying to order a set of needles… hoping they’ll be able to accommodate this request.

So I started researching, doing a little online sleuthing as it were, and here are five brands that I found. As of writing this blog post, I’m sad to say that I haven’t had the chance to purchase any of these, but I hope to get some in the future and share my experience with them.

Continue reading “Knittering #2 | American made knitting needles”
blog · knitting life · life

Knittering #1 | Micro-preemie socks

My mother is a Registered Nurse who works in a local Neonatal ICU as one of their Head Nurses. It is a very busy unit, one of the busiest in the hospital, and requires specialized care be given to the patients. About a year ago, she asked if I could make socks for the micro-preemie babies in the unit and I thought to myself, “Why not?” After all, you’re not really a knitter until you’ve knit a sock. πŸ˜›

What is a micro-preemie, you ask? Well, in my mom’s NICU, a micro-preemie is a baby born between 23 to 26.6 weeks gestational age. For reference, a full term pregnancy lasts 39 to 40+ weeks.

These premature infants are not able to regulate their own temperature. Their brains, eyes, lungs, and other vital organs are not developmentally mature. It takes a tremendous amount of skill and dedication by nurses and love from parents to help these infants be discharged home.

Continue reading “Knittering #1 | Micro-preemie socks”
blog · life · q&a

Knitting Quiz

Guess what? Yup, Nothing But Knit shared another fun quiz and I couldn’t resist joining in the fun… Here is the original post, if you also want to play.

  1. Share an image of a knitting pattern you love, but would probably never knit. There are a couple of nerdy patterns I’d love to make, but they are VERY intimidating.
  2. What is your favorite knitting technique? Um, I find that knitting rib stitch is very relaxing.
  3. Yarn: wool, alpaca, cotton, linen, help, silk, or acrylic? Wool or wool blend?
  4. Needles: wood, bamboo, metal, plastic, or casein? Some of my favorite needles are wood, but I’m also a fan of metal (bamboo, not so much)
  5. Would you go on a knitting vacation? Yes, in a heartbeat!
  6. Lace, fingering, sport, DK, worsted, or bulky? DK
  7. Do you eat while knitting? If so, what? Not really, no, I don’t want to get my yarn dirty.
  8. Speckled yarn: yes or no? Yes
  9. Favorite knitting slang word? Pretty sure Yarn Barf is my favorite, lol.
  10. Can you do anything else while knitting? I watch Netflix, hockey games, or hang out in party chat with my Destiny clan members while they play video games. πŸ˜›
  11. Favorite knitting pattern designer? Haven’t found a go-to designer.
  12. Favorite yarn brand? Don’t have one yet.
  13. Intentional felting: yes or no? I have no idea what this is, lol
  14. Who taught you to knit? A good friend was the first to teach me, while we were at a convention.
  15. What’s your next knit? I’ll be starting my mother’s sweater as soon as I’m done with the Alien Facehugger for a friend.