Friday, September 25, 2015

Blocking Trouble

I have so much trouble blocking my projects. No it is not because I don't know what I am doing but it's that little fellow in the picture. I don't have that extra room to put my projects on the floor to dry.

This is Shadow my baby boy. I've had him for three years. I found him outside and he was about 6 months old. I was not looking for another cat after I put my two other babies down but he was out there with some bad weather coming and I just couldn't see him staying out there. He is the perfect cat. I have no trouble with him even with my yarn - really how much more can I ask for.

Of course with most cats if you put something new down and it could be a piece of paper they sniff it and lay down as if to say, "Look what mommy gave me, something new to lay down on." So with blocking items it is impossible to block it in peace. But I think I found a place I could put it. There is a spot that is hidden that he does not go around. I forgot about that and I tried that spot and for the first blocking it worked. I will see if he discovers my new find.

Not everything needs to be blocked. Like this red shawl. It's called Definitely Diagonal Scarf a free pattern found on Ravelry. I like the natural way the stitches flow. I don't want to stretch them out. But this other shawl from the Knit Simple magazine Spring/Summer 2015 called Short-row Shawl needed blocking. Look at the difference. The shawl looks all shriveled up but you bring it to life with blocking. I really loved the construction of both shawls.

Blocking opens and defines the stitches, especially when you are using lacy stitch pattern and it shapes it better. I love seeing the end result of a good blocking. There are several different ways to block. I used the complete emerge in water blocking because I wanted the water to soak through the whole thing and then stretch it out. You have to be careful not to wring it out but squeeze out gently the excess water. Then with a dry towel I placed the shawl on it and let the towel soak up more water. Then comes laying it out, pinning it down and checking the measurements you want or from the pattern. Let it dry and if you need to change the towel do so then let it completely dry.

Friday, September 18, 2015

21st Annual Sheep & Fiber Festival

Saturday and Sunday, September 12th - 13th was the Annual Sheep & Fiber Festival in Lambertville, NJ. It is a smaller festival and that is what makes it great for those that can't walk a lot and have never been to a festival before. It's like the Turtle Back zoo in New Jersey I use to volunteer at. It was big enough to get a taste of a zoo especially for really young kids without traveling to New York to the Bronx Zoo which is huge. So for those that live in NJ this is great. Start small then go big.

I really looked forward to going to the festival and I always get a kick out of one of the events there the sheep dogs gathering the sheep show. The dogs are so dedicated to their job and almost don't want to listen to command because they don't want to take their eyes off of the sheep. The dog they had stood like a statue. He actually didn't move for a long time but he finally laid down.

I went with a former student of mine that has never been to a festival before. She has been purchasing wool and it was good that she could see parts of the process including how yarn is spun and sheared. She was fascinated over how the spinner could get the proper weight of the yarn. Skill is needed since I tried hand spinning, in fact at this festival several years ago. I quickly put it down on my bucket list when I find more time to work with it. We both really enjoyed the road trip. Now she knows what to expect when the larger festival comes in October.

And of course you look forward to seeing what vendors will be here. I'm sure there are those that look forward to their favorite vendors to see what they have.

It only rained once which was a downpour but only lasted a few minutes. We had just finished watching the dog and sheep herding show so that was great timing. This festival has four barns that are closely connected to each other which makes it good for rainy days.

When it came to purchases I was very good. I got one hank of hand-dyed DK weight 100% superwash merino wool from the vendor Traveller. It is a beautiful green variegated yarn which has an appropriate name - Moss Man. And there was a vendor Lynchings modern neck wear there that weaves scarves and I loved the colors and had to get this one that has speckles of colors throughout. And for some reason I think I will have time to get into the needle felting so I brought three bags of roving. But as you can see they are very small because you only need small amounts of it for facial things on stuffed projects like animals and you need eyes or a mouth. Yes I keep dreaming and hopefully I will be able to do it one day. But I knew that Rhinebeck was right around the corner in October so I needed to be good. And I still work at the yarn shop and there is still Michael's. Oh and I forgot about the ball made out of felt with a bell inside I purchased for my baby Shadow (my cat).

Here are a few pictures from our trip.

We had a good time and now we are looking forward to another road trip to Rhinebeck in October.

Friday, September 11, 2015

What My Craft Does For Me

I love having my knitting and crochet in my life. Especially when I am waiting somewhere and I need something to occupy my time.

I was to Motor Vehicles the other day and when I got there it was crowded. I mean the line was long. I've never had to wait in line like that. I went to one that I've never went to before because the one I use to go to closed down. Well, as you can imagine when the guard said that even though you are in line it has been so busy all day you might still not get in. We were all standing in line outside the building and the inside was packed.

Long story short I didn't get in but no time was wasted. I had a large bag of goodies. No I'm not talking about cookies or candy, I'm talking about my knitting and crochet. I got comfortable on the stoop and started in. I worked on a couple of projects and took care of some of those pesky yarn ends. Two projects in particular was this Beret hat from the Knitting Today magazine from an earlier issue of 2011 and BLT Scarf from Ravelry.

I even finally got to read the articles from a newspaper that a student of mine gave me and I had not read them yet. They were from the Home News Tribune and a knitter Pamela MacKenzie writes the articles. I'm glad because she posted some patterns for chemo hats I want to make for donation.

I felt so accomplished but yet I still have to go back for the reason I was there - renewal of my license and registration. I get so excited when I have time I didn't expect to work on. But I was so glad I had my bag of goodies and especially when I see all those other people waiting in line with nothing to do. I don't know how they do it because I would go crazy. I tell people I can wait anywhere and for any amount of time as long as I have my bag full of goodies. I get in my zone and I'm good.

I've been called a bag lady but I was such a happy bag lady. And really what knitter or crocheter that is truly into their art is not a bag lady/man.

Enjoy doing what makes you happy.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Working With Scrap Yarns

In previous posts I talk about how I love using my scrap yarns for projects. Below are a couple of projects I made with my scrap yarns. But I was going through that pile of UFO's and wanted to continue with this project - Bavarian Crochet.

This technique stitch pattern gives you the opportunity to do so much with colors but you can start out using scrap yarns. Yes - start out because after you get further into the project if it is not at last a half of a skein of (regular size) yarn you will not finish a round. This is a yarn eating project for sure. Well, a lot of crochet projects use more yarn than knitting does.

My pattern of colors I chose to do was using variegated yarn for one round then taking two colors out of the variegated yarn for the next two rounds. Then take a different variegated yarn and do the same thing. I am at that point that I used all of my half skeins of yarn and I need to go out and buy. What is great about this project is that I could determine the size but what is not so great is that I have to figure out how many skeins I will need for each round when it gets bigger. I want to make sure I get the right dye lot. But with this project if there is a color difference it really won't show. Lovin that. Working with different colors is a lot of fun and exciting just waiting to see the end result.

I have one more variegated yarn left and two that go well with it so after that a trip to Michael's I go after I figure out what color I want next. I will show my progress.