Sunday, April 29, 2012

Balance

Let's talk about crafting balance. I would say a good majority of all knitters I know can crochet and a minority of crocheters I know know how to knit. I have found that many crocheters I have talked to about knitting just don't have the patience for it and knitters find knitting much more relaxing and intuitive. Weird, isn't it? Not exactly a scientific study as a guesstimate, really. :) How do you fit in to my imaginary findings?

I do both. Well, I know how to do both. I'm definitely a knitter. I only really crochet stuffed toys, edgings, and provisional cast-ons (I'm really good at the crocheted provisional cast-on!). I've seen some stunning Tunisian crocheted shawls that make me wish I were a little better at crocheting, but I haven't run out to get Tunisian hooks or anything.

I'm very happy to just knit. I find that the internet is infinitely resourceful for the few crochet patterns I pick up (I can only remember two or three crochet stitches), but I don't see myself ever becoming an expert crocheter. I'm all about the relaxation of knitting. Crocheting often makes me very tense and forceful. I'll just say I know enough to be enough for me. :)

That's it for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012! Thanks so much for stopping by to read our humble little blog. We hope you stick around, but if not, see you next year!

Special thanks again to Eskimimi, who did a splendid job organizing and executing this event yet again!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Skills

Today's prompt was hard for me last year, too. I'm supposed to tell you about my knitting skills: where I think I am and where I'd like to be. I think I'm quite skilled. I can't say that I've ever run into anything that I couldn't figure out or ever thought, "No, I just can't do that yet." I don't think that makes me an expert or anything. Like I said last year, I can't do anything that no one else can do. Knitting is knitting and purling and minor variations on the two. You just have to give certain things a shot and keep trying if they don't work out perfectly the first time.

Last year I said I'd like more practice with fair isle knitting. I'm getting it this year and I see that I sorely need it. I have a terrible time with the stranding. Tacking is fine and causes me no trouble. Switching colors is fine. It's the stranding. I think it's only when I do it on dpns, though. It's always the corners that have the goofy pucker. It's something I'm going to have to keep a very close eye on as I knit a giant blanket, though.

In other realms, I could say the same thing. I know how to do a lot of stuff, but I don't typically take the precious time to do it by the book or try it more than once. Intarsia is a fine example. Tried it once or twice, hated it, but didn't try very hard to make sure I was doing it 100% correctly. I have discovered, however, that two skills I lack entirely and may benefit from learning are brioche and knit-one-below. I am told these are two different things with similar results. I thought they were the same thing. I have no idea how to do either.

As knitting continues to evolve, there will be more and more skills I should learn or try at least once or maybe even just read about to figure out. In that way, no one can claim to be a knitting expert, so don't let new skills scare you off.

Let me take this brief bit of space to tell you again, how much fun I'm having this week and how thankful I am for all of your comments and the time you take to read my posts. I really appreciate it! Tell me about a skill you're too afraid to do but want to try this year.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Exclusive Interview


Exclusive Interview from Inside the Iron Cage - Spike

Q: We hear some rumors of a bunny revolution that may or may not be led by you.  Care to comment?
Spike:  Obviously I cannot confirm or deny anything but I think everyone knows I am 100% in favor of rabbit freedom.  In fact, since being imprisoned in this supermax facility it is all I think about, besides food and sleeping and my disdain of humans. 

He only looks innocent
Q: Let’s talk about this disdain.  Why are you such an angry rabbit?
Spike: It’s not that I’m angry, it’s just that humans need to go.  I’m not saying anything different from generations of bunnies, all I’m doing is reflecting the common goal of rabbit-kind going back a long way.  My “anger” is a righteous indignation that a creature as silly as humans are able to rule over….hey what are you doing?

Q: Tickling you! You’re so cute when you’re angry!  Hey everyone, look at the cute bunny!
Spike.  This is exactly my point.  If I could turn into a bunny Hulk right now and destroy you I would.  Unfortunately I can’t. 

Q: OK I’ll stop. Outline an average day in the life of a bunny for us.
Spike: Well, when I wake up I expect food.  When I don’t get it immediately I get grumpy.  Later, I’m grumpy for no reason.  After that, say around 6:00, I turn judgmental and pretty much stay in that mode until I go to sleep.

Q: Why are you such a grumpy bunny?
Spike = Hulk
Spike: I don’t know, maybe it’s because you don’t serve me well enough.

Q: You are fairly hostile to people aren’t you?
Spike: It’s true.

Q: I’m quite glad you’re on the other side of the bars.
Spike: Yes you are.

Q: All right, until next time, let’s call this a night.
Spike: You better hope I don’t get out of this prison because there will be no next time for you.

Q: *tickle tickle* SO CUTE when you’re grumpy!
Spike: *sigh* Just scratch my ears and I won’t bite you…this time.

Wind and Breeze are Not the Same

It's really windy and cold out today, so you get photos of a white sweater on a white background (and it doesn't help that I over-exposed them). :P

Slow Motion


Pattern: Breezy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Yarn: MalabrigoYarn Lace in Natural
Needles: US 4, 5, 6
Project Page

Surprising but true, this sweater took me nine or ten months from start to finish. That's a long time for me. I put it down in the fall to make Christmas gifts and decided not to pick it back up until it would be warm enough for me to wear. While I was working on it, it was a pretty quick knit, even with lace on small needles.

The Malabrigo Lace is incredible. It's so soft and surprisingly strong. I love love love it! The only downside is that it's single-ply. When picking up stitches around the collar I found that the edge stitches had already felted together from being bumped around in my bag or something. I hope I can get some good time out of this garment before it's felted to death. On the upside, it's deceptively warm. Not warm enough to leave the house without a jacket today, but maybe tomorrow. :)

The pattern is also pretty great. There's one mistake that's still in the Knitbot Essentials version. When you decrease the sleeves, you should add one extra decrease so that you can do k 2 p 2 ribbing without 4 ks in a row. I modified the sleeve length because I have a couple Gap shirts with half or three-quarter sleeves that I really love the length on. I think I knit them to 11.5" before starting the ribbing.

I named it for a Patrick Wolf song. :)

For more FO Friday posts, visit Tami's Amis. I hope we'll have a special Knitting and Crochet Blog Week post a little later, but no promises.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Seasonal Knitting

I pondered this very prompt last month and still have not come to the decision whether I am or can be a seasonal knitter. Consensus was generally that you guys like to knit whatever you want, whenever you want. I am finding this year, at least, that I don't really buy yarn in the summer. It's kind of weird. I just...kinda don't want to. The yarn in my stash becomes a bit more appealing as the weather warms too, but whether it's because I have a lot of cotton that wants to be worn this summer or because a few random skeins want to become small projects, I don't know.

In any case, leaving that all aside, I thought the best way to talk about seasonal knits is to show you what I pull out of storage  to wear in spring and summer. I can't really tell you why I store them except that I don't have enough shelf-space to keep all of my knits out all year long. Really I could wear these in the cold, too.










Those last three are oldies! These are mostly light-weight yarns or planty fibers which keep me cool or light and/or lacy layering pieces. Tomorrow, I'll have an new addition to this list I can show you (with a special interview for Friday's prompt, I think)!

Do you store your heavy knits when the weather gets warmer? Do you knit in anticipation of a coming season or are you like the majority of my blog readers and you just knit what you feel like knitting when you feel like knitting it? Do you wear that heavy aran sweater as soon as you finish it in August? Gosh, I hope not for long!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's a Happy Sadness

Today's work-in-progress is Friday's finished object: Rams and Ewes. Remember I told you I had finally gotten all the colors I needed to start it? Well, I think I need one more, but that's beside the point. Now's the time to swatch (I have to because I'm doing it as a Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup OWL project)!


I'm really excited! But, that means I have to unwind these gorgeous hanks of LOFT and wind them up into cakes. That part makes me sad. They are so pretty piled up as hanks in my knitting basket! Oh well. Eyes on the prize. The blanket will be stunning!


I'm also still working on my Tops, Tanks, and Tees project. This is the second half. It's flying too and I didn't have any trouble like I did with the first half (lessons learned).

That's all I've got. I should shove it all aside and get going on some homework and grading. :S

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go see Tami! For more Tops, Tanks, and Tees posts, go see luvinthemommyhood!

My Heroes

Today's topic is to write about my knitting hero. This is a hard one. I think when I first glanced over the prompts a couple weeks ago, I thought immediately of designers I love, but now that I've arrived at the moment where I need to tell you why they are my heroes, I wonder now what the definition of a "knitting hero" is.

I think a knitting hero is someone who inspires me to knit various projects with various colors and various techniques--some which I don't even like--and to do it better than I know I can, to improve my skills and push myself. Therefore, my answer to the question about who my knitting hero might be is: my Ravelry friends.

This is just a random page of some of their gorgeous projects:


I want to cast on some lace and fair isle projects right now! It may be a chicken and egg question, however. A lot of the people I friend on Ravelry I friend because they are inspiring.That isn't to say that the people I know or who friend me first aren't equally inspiring, though!

I work during what we call Knit and Wine, a sit-and-knit with wine mixed in. :) We pass around finished projects, show off works-in-progress, help one another pick projects to knit, and help with new techniques and skills. Seeing what everyone else is doing always inspires me to think differently about what I typically knit and how I can expand my horizons. I'm currently heavily inspired by friends who spin. I wish I had the time and space to start! After I get my Ph.D., I think....

I'll be back in a little bit with a WIP Wednesday post. For now, enjoy more inspiration here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some Photos


I recently caught sight of this guy on a blog I like to read and had to have one! I mean, we're a bunnies and bettas (and angelfish) household! Unfortunately, he only comes in white. John's solution is to paint him, but why not liven him up some other way?

Some bettas are flashy.


Some are variegated.


And some just like to be plain. But plain doesn't mean not interesting!


He's going to be a very happy fish here! He almost makes me want to start doing and keeping gauge swatches so I can use them to dress him. Almost....

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Love Color

Welcome to the Third Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week here on Bunnies and Bettas! (That sounded so official!)

I had a blast participating last year, so I know this week will be loads of fun too! Thanks to Eskimimi for all the work she has put into organizing this again!

Now for today's topic: color. No doubt if you've even glanced at one of my posts once or come across my Ravelry page, you've noticed, I'm not one to shy from color. I've spoken recently about my new, unintentional draw to purple (and grey, and both together, but I don't think I mentioned that) and maybe about how I think last year's fling was anything in the spectrum between green and blue, but I haven't mentioned my Big Color Secret.

If you've ever had a color conversation with me (we're all crafters, it's not that weird, is it?), you doubtless know that I despise the colors red and pink. I once accidentally bought a red MP3 player and had to go to 3 Walmarts in order to swap it for a black one. I hate red. But, since January I have had to consciously fight the urge to buy deep red yarn! We have some Alpaca with a Twist Fino at the shop in a very pretty apple red that I pet every time I work. But I won't buy it!

Now, I haven't actually bought any red. The secret is that I've been pining for and buying the lesser of two evils: pink! And not the lesser of two pink evils (pale, baby pink), but bright pink! Oh no! But now that I think about it, I have bought some red yarn in the last three or four months!


Oh, it is soooooooo pretty!!! It makes me like red! But, can you blame me? :) I guess I'm not a red-hater anymore after all.

What about you? Has knitting or crocheting changed your mind about a color? What "color phases" have you or are you going through? We all have a grey phase, right? :) Some just last longer than others!

For more color posts from bloggers around the world, paste the silly-looking tag (the one beginning with "3") into your internet search engine of choice and they should all magically appear. Thanks for stopping by! I'll be back tomorrow if you will!

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Won't Be Quiet

This is probably the third or fourth week I haven't had anything to share on Friday. It makes me sad. But, instead of just being silent and sad, I thought I would write and tell you I'm sad.

I'm not really that sad. :) I promise. I'm soooooo clooooose to being done with Slow Motion (Breezy) that it will be done for next Friday. I have a band and a half to go and I'm going to work on it furiously tonight (after I've put in some time with my Latin paper).

I do kinda have an FO, though. I'll post a photo when I get home tonight, if I remember. If you've looked at my stash at all, you might notice I'm stashing Brooklyn Tweed LOFT like a crazyperson. I am a crazyperson. I want all the colors of LOFT! But I want all the neutral colors of LOFT first because I am going to start Kate Davies' Rams and Yowes blanket in May. I got the last two colors I needed (Woodsmoke and Soot) in the mail the other day and sat down to match up my LOFT colors with the Jamieson & Smith colors and I think I have them all! I'm going to order Nest to replace one color (Stormcloud is just too dark, I think) and then I'll be ready to go, pretty much! I'm super excited!

Do you have any giant projects you're planning? Does it make you hoard massive quantities of yarn too? Or maybe you just like to hoard massive quantities of yarn? That's fine too. :)

For some real FO Friday posts, head over to Tami's blog!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Halfway


Look! It's half a Tops, Tanks, and Tees top! It had to take a time-out so I can finish Slow Motion (which I'm thinking won't be done by Friday after all, but I'll try hard) and work on papers. Yep. It's that time of year again. I typically dread it, but I actually have some awesome topics this semester, so I'm anxious to get them going. The hardest part is starting. I have to make myself do it tomorrow. Just couldn't do it today. Well...maybe later. I have to get them out of the way so I can knit!

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go see Tami!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Loose Ends

I was avoiding homework this weekend and finally got around to my pile of "see to it" knits, which reminded me of all the things I've either said or promised myself I would update you guys on here. I'm finally getting around to it!

First: A nice, finished, with snaps photo of The (atrocious) City (I've replaced the original offending photos).


So much better! I'm sort of regretting the sweater now, but I think I'll wear it once or twice before I hide it away forever.

Second: Piratess, blocked and with the stripe-goofing ends re-woven.


I was hell-bent on redoing the arms to fix the armholes, but when I put it on for the shot, I decided I actually like it just fine! So this is a happy project now. :) I'm still wearing it, actually. It's too warm to be wearing, but I am.

Third: Indulgent Rikke after a block.


The top came undone a touch, but the slouch is great now.

Fourth: The button for Prairie Grass.


The button's been around since shortly after the post, but I'm lazy and/or forgetful, so you get to see it now. It's a good button. A perfect button, some may say. :)

Consider yourselves up-to-date! I should have a sweater to show you Friday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Purple

I've been knitting a lot of purple lately. Some may say too much? No way. Too much? Silly. The household has had a purple thing going recently, actually. Whenever we go shopping, John picks out something purple for himself and tells me I look good in purple and when I go yarn shopping, the first thing I touch is purple. I try to police myself by thinking of how many items I have in my wardrobe that color.


Maybe I should have thought about that before I bought this. Or not. :) Blue was a close second, though....

The Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL has begun! Come join us! Check out Tami's Amis for more WIP Wednesday posts!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Yarn Mail is the Best Mail

I got some yarny mail today!


First is Knitbot Essentials from Hannah Fettig and Quince & Co. I found my name in the back as a sample knitter! So exciting! I'm anxious to knit my own Wispy and an Effortless (just have to find the right colors). I picked my Breezy back up. I'll try to have it done by Friday, but I make no promises!


Second is this Francis kit from Knit Purl. I have spent so much money there since the beginning of the year that I'm sure Oleya knows me and my phone number by heart! I'm excited about this! I've had my eye on the pattern since before it was published and my fingers did some shopping without my brain. :) I'm going to knit it in participation with luvinthemommyhood's Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL. If you're planning on knitting a top soon, you should join too! Hurry, though, cast-on date is this Wednesday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Perfection

Bridgewater


Pattern: Bridgewater by Jared Flood
Yarn: Alpaca With a Twist Fino in Plum Wine
Needles: US 5
Project Page

I am so in love with this shawl! It's giant and alpaca, so I thought it might be too warm for our unseasonably warm spring, but it has been absolutely perfect for the ever-so-slight chill we've had yesterday and today. I hope I don't wear it out this year!

The pattern was simple (as all of Jared's are!) and not too thought-consuming, but quite time-consuming. The edging was the worst. It took me 47 repeats to figure memorize the 8-row repeat, but after that, I had it down, could read my mistakes, and zoomed through it pretty quickly. I had to read the corner instructions a few times in order to figure them out, but they turned out fine in the end.

The yarn is great. I think I had hyped it up in my mind a little bit. I expected it to be softer after a wash, but I have nothing to complain about. :) It's actually only the garter stitch section that's ever so slightly rough. Emphasis on ever so slightly. This thing is a cloudy dream! I have enough for another small shawl and I have Rock Island queued up for knitting soon (also in Fino). I'm turning into a shawl addict, but with Fino, who wouldn't!

For more FO Friday posts, go see Tami!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blogging Award!

Tecrin was super nice and gave me this kind award!


Thank you so much, Tecrin!

Now I have to tell 7 things about myself. Hmmm...

1. I watch a lot of TV. My favorite shows are reality shows like ghost hunting shows and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It's shameful, but so entertaining!
2. I have a scar on my right wrist where I was burned by a crimping iron when I was tiny.
3. My guy John runs marathons, so I thought I would take up running to do 5ks with him. I have never been athletic at all, but I'm actually not doing too bad. I can run a 12 minute mile without sounding like I'm dying now after 6 weeks. :)
4. I used to be a writer in junior high, high school, and part of college. I would jot down stories or parts of stories on every piece of paper I had on hand. Then I took a creative writing course and haven't written anything since.
5. I am also an artist and received a minor in studio art, but it is so time- and space-consuming, that I haven't had the opportunity to return to it. That's why I knit so much, I think. I can be creative when, where, and as long as I have yarn and needles in my purse.
6. I said purse, but I don't carry a purse. I carry a knitting bag that happens to have my wallet in it. :) I didn't carry anything before I got the knitting bag.
7. I share a birthday with Elvis! My mom loved Elvis, so it's only fitting. :)

Now I have to nominate 15 more blogs for this award. This makes me feel quite uneasy and a little spammy, but I know it will also serve as a great list of blogs for you guys to check out, so do!

1. A Wooden Nest
2. A Friend to Knit With
3. Baby Cocktails
4. Bricoleur Knits
5. Coco Knits
6. Constantly Evolving
7. Erin
8. Hey! Jen Renee
9. ifandany
10. Juneberry
11. Knitabulous
12. Lachesis and Co.
13. Yarn Poetry and Bliss
14. Useless Beauty Designs
15. Wayfaring Knitter

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm Alive!

I had a break last week and it turned into a blogging break too. Oops! I don't have any knitting to show you today(!), but I did work on reorganizing and documenting my stash. It was kind of fun but also a bit stressful. I have a few partial skeins that might not be suitable for anything, but I just can't decide! Most of my stash is odd or leftover skeins, so the projects will have to be pretty small. Who knows what it will become.

Watch it grow here!

Here are some bunnies:


Visit Tami's Amis for WIP Wednesday posts! I'll have Bridgewater for you Friday (if I can get it blocked in time)!