Monday, May 30, 2011

Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Completed!

I am pleased to be able to share my completed Magical Wave Stole today! I finished it up this morning and it has already been washed and blocked.

Washing this project was definitely a must. I love the look and feel of the yarn I used, but the red turned my hands pink as I crocheted. I've actually gone around for a couple weeks now with a pink, diagonal line across my left forefinger where the working yarn passed across my hand. My palms and the tips of other fingers have also been stained pink. I guess that's red for you. I rinsed and rinsed my
finished stole until finally the water ceased to color. Then I laid it out on some towels in the sun to dry. It's such a gorgeous day, that it only took an hour to be thoroughly dry and ready to have it's picture taken.

It's been a while since I've made a project this big. The stole measures about 30 inches from the neck to the waist and is 6 feet long. It's also been a while since I've followed a pattern. Typically I spend more time designing patterns of my own. It's been a good experience to make someone else's pattern. It feels like exercising brain muscles I haven't used for a while. It also takes a sort of discipline. I found myself continually wanting to go off on my own ideas. I had to tell myself to complete this project first and then I could go back to my designing ways.

Now I'm enjoying that lovely sense of accomplishment that comes at the end of a project. I'm going to Europe this summer and I can already picture myself wrapped in my Magical Wave Stole, sipping on wine at an Italian cafe. Ah, I like that picture!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Cont..

My project is coming right along. Yesterday I finished attaching the top row to the two middle rows. It's that straight line of tape running between the waves. I'm currently working on the bottom row which mirrors the top. I do like the reversible aspect of this stole. Once it's complete, there really won't be a top or a bottom, a right or a wrong side. It will be nice to be able to just throw it over my shoulders and go.

I'm going to have to figure out a good way to photograph it when it's done. The pictures I've been posting only show a couple feet of the entire stole. The whole piece is about 6 feet long. I'm getting excited now that I'm on the last row. The final step will be to define the scallops around the outer edge by crocheting around the unworked loops. Then it will be ready to wear!

Related Posts:
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Cont.
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Cont..
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Completed!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crochet Community Service ~ 1

Every once in a while, an opportunity presents itself and you just know it's meant for you. This very thing happened a couple of weeks ago when I opened up an email. Within my community, an organization is setting up workshops to teach crochet and other crafts to homeless and at risk members, with the goal of ultimately creating marketable products.

It may not seem like crochet and community service have much in common, but I think it's inspired. Creativity is a powerful, powerful thing. It's about opening yourself up to new possibilities. It's about finding the beauty in chaos. It's about connection and letting go. To riff off a lecture I recently listened to, it's about not just being, but becoming. When you create, you are an active participant in the world around you.

In short, I'm excited to join up with a group of volunteers who will be sharing their own talents and perhaps sparking a creative light in others. I've always enjoyed teaching my craft. It's a special joy to see someone's face light up as they grasp something new. It's wonderful to witness that pride of accomplishment and the enthusiasm to learn more. If I can be even a small part of helping another person feel good about themselves, then I'm in!

So the only thing I'm sad about is that I'm going to be out of town for most of the first workshop. I had to content myself with donating a bunch of yarn and hooks to help them get started, but I really wish I could be there. This project has been so on my mind that I started to think I should keep a journal of the experience. That's when I had my "duh" moment. Hello, I write a blog! I really don't know how the project will go and what will ultimately come as a result, but I'd like to share it all with you. I even created a special photo for my posts on the subject and whenever I have stories to tell, I'll tell them here.

Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Cont.

Okay, I know this photo is very reminiscent of my last post, but it's actually a little different. I've completed the middle rows of my Magical Wave Stole and now I have the top and bottom rows to make. This picture is part of the top row.

I am falling in love with crocheted Bruges lace. I just think it's so cool what one continuous thread can do. I mean really, look at this winding ribbon of crochet. This is all done without any cuts or loose ends. It's so fun to join the loops and make the chains and then you look back at the wonderful design you've created.

I'm almost done with this row and then I'll be connecting it to my two center rows. Afterwards, I'll basically repeat the process for the bottom and I'll be all done. It's a lot of crocheting, but it moves along quickly. I also like that once you have the stitches in your head, you can stop referring to the pattern and just sit back and crochet!

Related Posts:
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Cont.
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Cont..
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Completed!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole

Hi. I thought I'd share one of my projects with you today. I'm working on the Reversible Magical Wave Stole from the book Crochet Master Class.

This project is part of my continuing education goal. I'm spending this year doing projects that involve styles of crochet with which I haven't worked. Crocheted Bruges lace falls into that category.

So far I've really been enjoying the Bruges lace. As I crochet this stole, I keep getting design ideas of my own. When I'm done with my stole, I'm looking forward to experimenting further with different shapes and how to bring them together.

If anyone else is working on this particular pattern, I found that the instructions for the beginning of Part 1 were a little off. I actually got off to a slow start because I had to figure out how it should read and feel certain of my corrections before going forward. I'd like to save anyone else the trouble, so in Part 1 of this pattern, I believe the rows should read:

Rows 18-23
Row 24
Rows 25 and 26
Rows 27 and 28
Rows 29-34
Repeat Rows 13-34 for pattern

I checked and double checked this, so I hope I'm not misleading anyone. It also says you will have 20 sc joining rows on one side and 10 on the other. That "10" should read 19. I make these corrections humbly as I know how easy it is to miss things when pattern writing.

I'm also working with Tapping Tootsees Done Roving Yarn for the first time. The color I have chosen is called Cardinals In The Pine. It's a 60/30/10 blend of Merino, Bamboo and Nylon and I'm really liking the feel of it. It lays nice and it's very easy to work with. I love the painted colors and I also like the fact that it comes in large skeins. It's put up in 434 yard/4oz hanks.

So that's my latest. It's moving pretty fast, so I'm hoping I'll have time to finish it over the next week. Then maybe I'll go back to my hairpin lace project which I find a little more boring, but I think it will be a pretty sweater when it's finished.

Related Posts:
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Cont.
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Cont..
Crocheted Bruges Lace ~ Magical Wave Stole Completed!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Designing a Tatted Neck Scarf

The other day I said I would show you the tatting project I'm working on. I think of it as a necklace because it's meant to be ornamental rather than warm, but it will be worn more like a scarf. That's why I went with "Neck Scarf" in the title of this post.

I realize that this is a rough sketch. I just thought some people might find the process interesting. Basically, I get an idea and then I sketch it out. In this case it's a tatted chain which will have flowers and leaves attached like charms coming down to a tassel of tatted flowers on each end. It will be light and whimsical and hopefully a fun accessory to pair with all sorts of outfits.

Part of my motivation for this project is my ongoing desire to design fiber accessories that are appropriate for warmer climates or warmer seasons. I've been a bit fixated on this since moving to the southwest from Virginia. Here, where the winters are so mild, there are very few days when you'll long for a woolen scarf, but I love working with wool and other warm fibers too. The challenge I have created for myself is to create accessories from the materials I love that are warm climate friendly. I figure if you can wear them here in the desert, you can wear them anywhere!

Right now I'm in production mode. I'm basically making 5 different shapes in multiple colors. I'll need probably 6 or 7 of each color before I can start my layout. I'm also making some free-form shapes for the tassels.

Once I feel satisfied with my inventory of pieces, I'll start to lay them out and design my neck scarf. I haven't decided which colors or how many different colors I'll use yet. I just want to have plenty to choose from.

Well, that's my latest tatting project. I'm getting to a point where I have almost too many projects going at once. I have a hairpin lace sweater, a Bruges crochet lace shawl that I'm working on too. I'm glad summer is coming. Maybe I'll have more time to create!

Monday, May 16, 2011

My 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf ~ I finished!

The last time I posted about my 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf, things weren't going so well. My lacy handspun yarn was making the project a challenge and it didn't help that I was reading one row of the pattern wrong at first. I was getting frustrated with myself.

Not long after that post, things clicked into place and I was able to navigate through the pattern with much less of a furrowed brow. No I can happily show you my finished Infinity Scarf. I haven't blocked it yet, but I just couldn't wait any longer to take a picture.

My light and lacy version is much more appropriate for the climate in which I live, however, if I make another, I'll reduce the length by a couple feet. It's a six foot scarf which means it easily wraps around my neck three times. I think I'd prefer something closer to four feet. Of course it hardly matters. I'm just happy to celebrate the completion of my third knitting project.

One of my goals in choosing the Infinity Scarf was to get comfortable with circular needles. The first pair I bought was made by Clover and the stiffness of the plastic cord really bothered me. Then I happened to do some shopping on Amazon. One pair of Clover needles at Michaels cost $8.99, but I noticed I could buy a whole set by StichBerry for $19.99. I just linked you to the 40" set so you can check them out, but they come in different lengths.

With this great a price difference, I knew that I was taking a risk. Perhaps these needles would be hopelessly inferior in some way, but for $20, I was willing to try. I have to tell you, it was a risk worth taking. I love my circs from StitchBerry. They are still bamboo needles and they are each marked with their sizes. The main difference was a more relaxed plastic cord. Hooray! They are just what I was hoping for. My collection didn't come with every size, but to get 15 sets for $20 and like them better than the one pair I bought for $9 says it all. I'm a happy shopper!

Okay, I know this post is starting to sound like a product endorsement, but when you find a good deal, it's hard not to share. So what's next for me and knitting? Well, I want to make a little baby something of some kind because I have a friend with a little boy on the way. Aside from that, I kind of want to finish up a tatting project I have in the works. I'll have to tell you all about it in my next post. Bye for now...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tatted Rosette Pendant Necklace

I made this necklace a couple months ago and I'm just getting around to listing it in my shop. This is a needle tatted Rosette Pendant and chain made from recycled cotton. All the sizing details are on the listing, so if you would like to learn more, click the link or the photograph. I love fiber jewelry and I think this cotton necklace is a wonderful, summery piece.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Knitting Do Over & Over & Over...

I haven't posted in the past couple of days because I've had nothing to show for myself. If you're new to my blog, I've been teaching myself how to knit and my latest project is this lovely 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf. This is my first time working with circular needles and only my third knitting pattern.

I had to take a close-up of my handspun yarn that I'm using because I don't have much of a scarf yet. In fact, I'm on row 2... again! I have started over with this project, um... well it's got to be at least three times. Who knew that what would keep me from being a knitting success is my ability, or lack thereof, to count! So maddening! It feels utterly ridiculous to lose count and I've only made things harder on myself by using a lace weight rather than a worsted. The thread is fine enough that sometimes I mistake two stitches for one and I have to keep going back to correct myself.

If that weren't bad enough, yesterday afternoon I realized that I've been misreading one of the rows and therefore have been doing the pattern wrong all along. So here I am, starting all over again! My stubborn nature won't allow me to switch to a thicker yarn because I think this yarn is going to be really pretty if I ever manage to make it happen.

You can see I've resorted to using multiple, colorful stitch markers. lol! I'll do anything to at this point to get myself back on track. So that's what I've been up to. I like to keep it real here on my blog. It's more fun to post about my successes than my frustrations, but it feels cathartic to let them out. Hopefully, by sharing my challenges, I can bond with my fellow beginners. Solidarity!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mixed Up Merino ~ Rainbow

Last night I made one more Mixed Up Merino blend. To tell you the truth, I think I was putting off starting my next knitting project, but I'll write more on that in a second. First let me tell you about this Mixed Up Rainbow. Pretty fun huh? it's a blend of hand painted merino in a rainbow of colors to which I added extra yellow an green to make it very bright. I also threw in some sparking green Firestar. I love the Firestar! I have just 4oz of this one and it should be loads of fun to spin or felt!

Let's get back to the subject of knitting. Now that my shawlette is done, the next thing on my knitting agenda is to get comfortable with circular needles. I have chosen the 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf by tentenknits. This pattern looks very pretty, but it also looks a little too warm for even the coldest days here in Phoenix. I'm thinking about using a lighter yarn and maybe the next size up needles just so its a little bit more of a loose knit. I'm also thinking 10" wide is more than I need. So with these few modest changes, I'm off to start my next knitting adventure!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Shawlette ~ It's Finished!

I'm very excited to share my first ever Continental style, knitting project! I finished it around 10:00pm last night and everyone in my house was already asleep so I didn't even get to share it with anyone. So sad! I actually put it on, went downstairs to show my husband, only to find him and my oldest son fast asleep on the couch. Very unsatisfying end to a project. Thank goodness for this blog!

Since I had no one with whom to share my shawlette, I ended up just playing in front of the mirror. The pattern basically creates a half circle, so I started to experiment with how many ways you can wear a half circle. Are you ready?

I even left a couple ways out. *giggle* I think my favorite style is the very first photo at the top of this post. I hope I'm not detracting too much from my project by using the world's silliest brooch. What can I say? That's just the sort of thing I have laying around. It says a lot about my jewelry collection, doesn't it?

Here's a little picture of the shawlette stretched out. It looks like a handspun rainbow. You can see how it bows a little at the final increase row. It's actually nice that it does that because when you wear it as a shawl, it adds a soft curve to the front.

After I completed knitting my shawlette and before I finished off the yarn, I switched over to a crochet hook and did a row of single crochet across the diameter or bottom edge of the half circle. When you bind off in knitting, the result is a stitch that looks just like single crochet, so by single crocheting across the end rows, I was able to give the whole shawlette a more polished look. That's one of the reasons I wanted to learn to knit. So I could enhance my crochet projects with knitting and my knitting projects with crochet.

I still have a lot to learn when it comes to knitting. There are so many tools compared to crochet and I have a new vocabulary list to learn as well. As a beginner, my plan is to pick projects that will help me to familiarize myself with new tools and new stitch patterns each time.

If you like this pattern, you can find it here: Storm Cloud Shawlette.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mixed Up Merino ~ Spruce/Natural/Bark

I promised myself I'd take a break 40 minutes ago, but then I made one more Mixed Up Merino instead. I think I may addicted to making these.

This one turned out so pretty, that I'm glad I kept working. I love the Spruce, Natural & Bark combination. I'm so enamored of this blend, that if it doesn't sell fast, it's sure to end up on my spinning wheel. Fair warning! :D

Mixed Up Merino ~ Soft Red/Copper Brown

I'm still mixing up Merino here at Wind Rose. It's always fun to see colors change as they are blended.

This time I used Soft Red & Copper Brown. I threw in just a touch of yellow and orange and also a little bronze Firestar.

My goal is to get a few Mixed Up Merino blends in stock to give you some choices. The Violet/Rainbow was such a hit that it already sold out, but I have enough roving left to make 4 more ounces. I'll try to get that done today.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Shawlette Project ~ An Update

Hi. I just wanted to share how my shawlette is coming along. It's been going really well and I'm getting exciting because I should have it done in just a couple more days.

If you look at the photo, you can see how the stitches double after the first few rows and then about half way up you can see more obviously where it doubles again from 49 stitches to 97. (I guess I should say nearly doubles.) If I were using circular needles, as the pattern suggests, I could splay out the fabric so you could see the half circle shape forming.

This leads me to a confession. I tried using circular needles and found them so annoying that I switched back to straight ones. I realize that I need to make peace with the circs at some point, so I have picked out a pattern from Ravelry and it's next in my cue. I'll be making the 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf by tentenknits and I will force myself to get comfortable with circular needles!

As for my Storm Cloud Shawlette, I think I'll be making the straight edge rather the the ruffled edge design. I like the ruffles, but they would mean doubling my stitches one more time and I don't really have room on my needles. If it looks too plain I can always crochet a scalloped or ruffled trim on later. I don't think I'll need to because my handspun yarn is textured and colorful and can probably stand on it's own.

Every row I knit, I'm becoming more and more confident. I really love learning something new. I've been having a great time looking through the free knitting patterns on Ravelry. It's like a new door has been opened and I'm ready to skip on through!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mixed Up Merino ~ Violet/Rainbow

Yesterday I introduced my Mixed Up Merino roving. Today I'm back with another new blend. This one is a mix of Violet & Rainbow.

Violet is the dominant color and it has been carded up with a rainbow dyed roving. I also added a little violet Firestar because I just can't resist a that sparkle.

The colors are soft, leaning toward pastel. They look so pretty all swirled together!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mixed Up Merino ~ It's New!

Today I'm introducing something new to Wind Rose Fiber Studio. It's soft, it's fluffy and it's all mixed up. It's Mixed Up Merino!

I loved providing solid colors so that people can find that perfect shade, but sometimes I feel the need to mix things up. Mixed Up Merino is the same, hand dyed Merino you've come to know at Wind Rose, only I've blended the colors together with my drum carder. Then I gently pull them into nice, soft rovings.

I'm still selling them in 1 ounce lots so you can buy how much or how little you need. So whether you're making a coat for a little felted field mouse, or creating a nuno felted scarf, you can find the right amount for your project. I will always try to make enough of each Mixed Up Merino blend for anyone with a larger project in mind. You may want to spin 1000 yards to knit a shawl.

I do need to warn however, that these mixes are not part of my staple inventory. If you see a color blend you like, you might want to snatch it up as you may not see it again. Yikes!

I'm starting things off with this Mixed Up Merino blend of Turquoise and Rust. I've added some Firestar in the same colors and a hint of Golden Yellow.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I'm Knitting a Shawlette ~ With Links to the Free Pattern

A couple days ago I was perusing the blogs I follow and stumbled upon a pretty knitting pattern. Two weeks ago, I wouldn't have paid much attention, but now that I have committed myself to learning to knit, I paused to take a closer look at the Storm Cloud Shawlette by Hanna Breetz. I'm finding that I'm much more likely to practice my knitting if I have a fun project. This shawlette seemed like a good way to get used to Continental knitting.

I'm getting more and more comfortable with picking instead of throwing. I love how efficient it is and even as a beginner, I'm working at a nice pace. I don't know if I have completely solved my tension issues. I'm starting to accept that a little less tension control may just be something with which I have to live. I've tried wrapping the yarn every possible way and have settled on the following: The yarn goes behind my index and middle fingers (I have found that as long as it's behind at least two fingers, I can still purl without dropping it), then it goes down between my middle and ring fingers, then back up between my ring and pinky fingers and finally, I loop it around my pinky once. By weaving it this way, I have gained a decent amount of control.

I'm pretty excited about this project. I think it's very pretty. It's also light enough to wear as an accessory here in the southwest. Well, maybe not in the summer, but definitely the winter season. The Storm Cloud Shawlette Pattern is also available as a free download on Ravelry.