Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Finally Blocked My Shawl

This picture shows a shawl that I finished, a pattern someone gave me. Who I don't remember. This pattern is only a 4 row repeat which I love. It shows such a lovely open lace design. The name is Lacework Pattern. I used Fashion Toes by Filatura Lanarota, part of my stash from Smiley's yarn sale last year. It is sock yarn made up of 90% Superwash Merino Wool and 10% Nylon.

I love the shawl, but the only thing that I need to be conscience of is the length before blocking. I didn't quite think it through as to the measurements between making the shawl and blocking. It really blocks well. But I had changed the width and length from what the pattern called for so it is longer. I love it and that's all that counts. But if I was to pass along a tip it would be to think through your pattern. Don't be so excited that you don't think it all the way through. If you do not make a swatch and you don't take the time to block your swatch then skipping those steps can make a difference in the end result. After making your project and you need to block it, the blocking process can make a difference in how it looks and fits. For example, if you use the wet method then when the water soaks through the fibers and it relaxes those fibers this will affect your measurements. You need to think about the whole process.

As you can see, it is not a wide shawl but long and it took four of the blocking pads I used and a space to lay it out, which meant the kitchen for me. I did it. Blocking is one part of the whole process that I don't like to do. I don't know why. I think it is just the thought of laying it out, measuring and pinning and sitting on the floor. But for some reason a couple of days ago I said it's time. This shawl has been sitting here for a couple of months not completed and all that would complete it was blocking. So I didn't delay any further. I got my blocking wires out, my T pins, blocking pads, soaking pan, towels and started the blocking process to its completion.

I wish I could bottle up that spark of determination and use it when I don't feel like doing something. It would be great if it could come in a spray bottle and spray it on as needed or a pill that would just turn on your determination and excitement for the things we procrastinate on. OK, I'm waking up to reality.

You can see how it looks on my flikr page. If I can do it you can do it also. Get out that project that you need to finish and do it. It really feels good to see a finished garment completed.

Enjoy the whole process and see the difference with your end result.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm Not A Yarn Snob

Did you know that there are yarn snobs? Oh, sorry you might be one of them. But that's ok if you are, but because of the economy and maybe what people do not know about the world of yarn they tend to stick to what they know or what they can afford.

Now when it comes to yarn shops it can be a luxury for some and that includes me. I so believe in supporting the yarn shops because we want them to stick around. There is nothing like going into a store and being able to feel what you want to purchase and to see the color of what you want to buy. That up close and personal feeling nothing can take its place. And the variety of the different fibers of wool, cotton, linen, silk, and blends seem to be endless.

Because my budget is low and I have a goal this year, as I spoke of, to use what I have and limit what I bring in to the bare minimum, I am using what I have in my stash from the past. I have been able to hit sales at yarn shops and come out screaming with joy as to what I got to add to my stash and what new fibers I get to work with. My problem came in when I went to use the yarn. I found of course, that I didn't have enough for the projects I would have liked to make out of the yarn. So the dilemma started as to what will I make out of the yarn and how creative can I get. Sales are great but they can put you in the arena of stash, stash, and more stash without a permanent home in a project. I don't know about you but I want to see my luscious yarns used in a project. I want to show them off in something that I can make from them.

Going back to the snob thing, I do prefer how I am though. I can work with anything and there are no specific guidelines as to what I will or will not work with. There are always the favorites and those yarns that I truly don't like when worked up. That is just a personal choice. Of course being a yarn snob is a personal choice and should also be respected. Not being a yarn snob should be respected too. All in all at the end of the day the goal should be, in my opinion, to de-stress oneself and have fun with whatever you use. It's about being creative and enjoying the journey of the world of yarn, needles, and hooks.

I've from time to time have shown what I am working on. I don't usually talk about the yarn that I am using but I said that would be a good subject to talk about. Maybe it would open more people to want to go to a yarn shop and try something new. Even if it is for a small project, like a scarf or a pair of socks. Of course you have to refrain yourself from being hooked and reeled in to a whole new world as you see all the different colors, fibers, textures, and yarn companies.

Anyway, I want to show what I am working on and the yarn I am using. The first subject (and if you know me by now you know that this is not the only project I am working on), is a shawlette from the magazine Interweave Knits - Spring 2007 issue. The project name is Clementine Shawlette.

Sometimes your eyes can look across so many patterns that you want to make that you pass by something that later catches your eye when you are looking over your magazine stash. Yes, we have stashes of magazines also. I love the shape of this shawlette and when you start working on it you see the simplicity yet it works up with elegance.

I am working on this project and using yarn from a sale two years ago. I have five hanks of Rowan Summer Tweed. It is 70% Silk and 30% Cotton. Now I love blends because they work up so nicely giving the yarn in some cases more body, more drape, taking out some of the drape, and of course it depends upon what you are making. This yarn has more stiffness to it. It has more texture - a little knotty feel as tweed usually has. But I love the color and the tweed effect.

When I am done it will be in flickr and you can at any time click on where it says 'view finished projects on flickr' and see all my finished projects.

Be open to learn about what is out there which is sooooooo much. I feel each person can find their comfort in an area they can enjoy. But don't stay too comfortable because with all there is to learn you will be left behind even if we are just talking about the yarn choices.

Enjoy and have fun.