Saturday, October 27, 2012

State of the Crafting (part 1)

Goodness, it's been a while since I've been around these parts!  Since I've made some new friends who found this blog and declared an interest, I thought it was time I got around to posting.  I've finished a few things and started a few things since the last time I posted, so I thought it would simply be easiest to do an overview of the general state of my crafting.  Part 1, which you're reading right now, will cover all the things I've finished since the last time I posted.  So, without further ado, lets get started!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's pattern time!

So, there's this anime that I am absolutely in love with.  It's called Natsume Yuujinchou  (夏目友人帳 or Natsume's Book of Friends, as the manga is published in the US), and it's about a boy named Takashi Natsume who can see mysterious creatures most others can't.  Along the way, he acquires a guardian who spent many years trapped in a lucky cat statue and thus usually takes the form of a very fat calico cat. He goes by the name Nyanko-sensei.  I've slowly been getting all of my friends who enjoy anime hooked on it.  The first to fall was my friend Rae, with whom I practically share a brain.  One day, she made an offhand comment that she wanted a Nyanko of her own to squish the way one of the other characters does.  Not long after, a challenge appeared in the House Cup to secretly make something for another Cupper that they would like, and send it to them.  Of course I knew what I had to do!

Some of our other friends were in on the plan, and wanted patterns, so I recorded everything I did and now I'm finally writing it up.  Check it out after the jump!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tutorial time!

Hey everyone!  I don't know if I have any readers who I don't know personally yet, but if I do I'd like to apologize for the unannounced hiatus.  I was working a job that ate my soul over the holiday season and somehow two months slipped by without my posting anything.  Sorry!  I'll try not to let it happen again.

Now that I've got that over with, it's time for a tutorial!  Today I'm going to show you how to do a crochet technique called the "magic loop" or "magic ring" (not to be confused with the knitting magic loop, which is something completely unrelated).  There's lots of pics, so I'm gonna go ahead and put the rest behind a jump.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Journey of a Skein

Some skeins of yarn are perfect when you buy them-exactly the right color for exactly the right project, and all is good.  Other skeins. . .end up needing a bit of help.  They're not quite the right color, or they can't find a project, or there's just something about them and they don't get a lot of love.  This is the tale of one such skein.

This unfortunate skein started out its life destined not to be loved for what it was, for I purchased it about a year ago with the intent to use it in some tea dying experiments.  My hope was that by experimenting with different colors of tea, I would end up with different colors of yarn.

Here you can see my experimentation in progress-I had high hopes in particular that the peppermint tea, on the far left, would produce a pale green, and that the hibiscus-based tea, third from the right, would produce a pink or mauve sort of shade.  Unfortunately, as you can see in the swatches pictured here with the original un-dyed skein, they all ended up some variation on pale brown-ish.

I decided on a blend of the two teas I liked best, and ended up with a reasonably pleasant but not overly lovable cafe-au-lait color

This was promptly balled and used to start a pair of beaded, cabled fingerless mitts.  I got about an inch into them, decided I wasn't tremendously satisfied, and set them aside.  They languished in the bag with the rest of my hibernating WIPs for a couple of months until I admitted to myself that I probably wouldn't finish them and frogged.  They didn't even get photographed, so you'll just have to use your imaginations.

The yarn sat in a ball in my stash, unloved, until a couple of weeks ago.  One of the October prompts for the Cup (see my post on the cowl a couple back for an explanation of the cup if you don't already know what that is) involved Tunisian crochet, and I had just the pattern.  This ball was the only thing in my stash that had about the right yardage, was about the right weight, and was not something I'd rather save for something else.  I didn't feel like I'd get any use out of a cafe-au-lait scarf, though, so I decided to once again experiment with dying-this time with koolade.

Armed with a tutorial from Knitty, several packets of powdered drink mix, and a microwave, I set to work.  I wanted to end up with a deep, rich burgundy sort of color, so I used three packets of Black Cherry and one of Grape (looking back at my previous posts and thinking ahead to the next one I have planned, I realize deep reds seem to be somewhat of a trend, but really I do craft in other colors.  The only deep red project I have going right now is my gloves.  There will be other colors soon, really!).  An hour and one strongly-grape-scented apartment later, I had this

Not deep, rich burgundy in the least.  More of a rusted dusty rose sort of color.  On the other hand, unlike the cafe-au-lait, though my experiments didn't provide the result I wanted, they did provide one I was happy with, so I set out to learn Tunisian crochet (did I mention this is the first time I've tried it?)

I crocheted.  And crocheted.  And crocheted.  After a bit of "why won't this thing end" and "I swear this skein was almost gone a foot and a half of scarf ago" I weighed what I had left on the ball-nearly a quarter of it.  I decided I was done, and cast off.

Finally, the poor skein of yarn had been made into something lovable!  Not only do I have a new skill and a nice scarf

It also makes a rather nice belt!

And the skein lived happily ever after.  Or something like that.

Yarn and pattern details can be found on my ravelry project page here


Ok, ok, so it's way to early to declare a success.  A glove and a half too early, to be exact.

But this time it fits!  It's not way too small for my hand, and I thus won't be needing to frog back again and re-do the cuff to the largest size, and this is a Happy Thing.

(There really are cables there, I swear.  They even read in real life.  My camera just hates them, especially when it's after dark and there is thus no natural light to be had.

Also, for those who find the subtitle visible on my monitor in the background odd-it's from an anime called Baccano! and I promise it makes sense in context)

Yarn and pattern details can be found on my ravelry project page here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Conversations with myself

Starring my tempting side and my logical side

TS: So, winter is coming. . .

LS: Yes?

TS: It's supposed to be really cold this year. . .

LS: Yes?  Could we get on with it please?

TS: Well, it's been a few years since you've had a proper pair of gloves and I found this really neat pair in knitty

LS: Oh really? Lets take a look. . .

. . .wait, those are cables!

TS: yeeeeeeees?

LS: Didn't we decide we didn't like cabling after those socks we did back at the beginning of the year?

TS: Yes. . . .but these are so pretty!  Just look at them!

LS: Well. . .yes, I guess they are pretty.  But cables!  We hate doing cables!

TS: butbutbut, we learned to do them without a needle!  It's not that bad that way, remember?

LS: Well, I suppose, but-

TS: And gloves!  It'll be cold!  We can get nice yarn with that coupon from our birthday from the LYS and they'll be warm and pretty and-

LS: ALRIGHT! Alright, we can do the gloves!  Don't blame me if you end up hating it though.
So yeah, I started a pair of the oh-so-gorgeous Kingdom gloves last week.  Here's what I have so far:

. . .and here's the pile of kinky yarn from the, oh, half a glove or so that I frogged last night:

Can we talk about gauge here for a second?  Now, I admit that I tend to knit pretty tightly (probably as an artifact of the rather weird way in which I knit) but the recommended gauge and needle size here is kind of crazy.  The pattern calls for a gauge of 7.5 stitches to the inch in fingering weight yarn on a size 0 (2mm for any non-Americans out there reading this) needle.  This seems like absolute crazy talk to me, since I typically get 8 stitches to the inch on a size 2 (2.75mm), two full sizes larger.

Of course, being me, I didn't really bother to swatch before I bought the needle for this (I'm trying magic loop for the first time on these-the pattern calls for DPNs but I had a bit of a laddering fiasco on my last DPN project, so. . .).  Only after starting the cuff and getting to the end of the first chart did I realize that the size I was knitting wouldn't come near fitting around even my super-tiny wrists and think that checking the called-for gauge would be a good idea.  Since I liked the fabric I was getting and shouldn't be spending money on more needles didn't feel like buying another needle on which to magic loop, I decided to just knit a larger size, as I've done in the past.

So, I set out to knit the pattern as written for two sizes larger, and the cuff was perfect.  The hand, on the other hand, was. . .not, so much.  Of course, having a serious case of Knitter's Denial (otherwise known as "well, I'm sure it'll fit just fine after you block it!") I kept going, until I got to the end of the increases for the thumb gusset.  This thing barely fit on my hand-no way was it going to be comfortable once the thumb was separated out and everything was done.  So I frogged back to the cuff, and now I'm knitting three sizes larger than my actual hand.  I hope this fits, because if it's still too small I'm going to have to re-do the cuff this time too.

At least the cables are proving far less hateful this project around.

Yarn and pattern details can be found on my ravelry project page here

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What's to come?

"In terms of both snow and cold, this winter is expected to be the worst in Chicago."

I read the words on my screen with trepidation.  Several degrees colder than usual.  As much, if not more, snow than last year (the year in which Snowpocalypse dumped several feet on us in a single day, virtually shutting the city down).  It's times like these that make me glad I'm a yarncrafter, and prone to making warm fuzzy things for myself just because I can.  Things like this cowl:

It's soft.  It's fuzzy.  It's alpaca (one of my all time favorite fibers!).  I can pull it up over my ears, like this:

It's sure to be lovely and warm.  Right now, we're just coming down off of what will probably be the last stretch of nice weather for the year so it doesn't feel necessary just yet, but if the weather is anything like what's predicted for this winter, I have a feeling I'm going to be glad of it in a month or two.  Now pardon me, while I go back to hoarding the warm fuzzy yarn things like a squirrel hoards nuts...

Yarn and pattern details can be found on my ravelry project page here

Bonus for all my fellow geeks after the jump.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

So, this blog thing. . .

Hey, and welcome to Omnicraftual!  I decided to start a blog to document all my projects in one place and share them with my friends (and the rest of the world!).  You'll see finished projects, works in progress, planning, and a few other things too.

What you will definitely find here:
  • knitting
  • crocheting
  • sewing
  • dying
What you will probably find here:
  • millinery
  • bobbin lace
  • embroidery
  • tatting
  • recipes (cooking is a craft too!)
  • cultural commentary
  • nerdery
  • surprises
Keep your eyes peeled, and enjoy!