Crafting plans/goals/dreams in 2010

I've been thinking a lot about what exactly it is I want to accomplish with my knitting/crafting. I'm always planning new projects. In fact, I think I spend more time planning new projects than I do working on them! But recently I've decided to take a more focused approach and make a game plan for what I would like to accomplish in the next year and beyond.

1) Continue to make awesome stuff and (more importantly) complete my projects in a timely manner. My next :

2) Continue to amass an awesome library of reference books and patterns (but not blow too much cash)

3) Brush up on crochet. I've only ever made one full object in crochet, and I think its time I had a bit more practice. The plan is to make crocheted cotton washcloths for everyone I know. There, you have now all been warned...

4) Figure out what else I can do with my loom.

5) Spin enough yarn to make something and then make it.

6) Next fall, if I feel confident enough I have decided to start level on of the Knitting Guild's Master's Program. Wish me luck. (Crouching Tiger Knitting Dragon, wha?! :P )

7) I want to publish a pattern. As soon as possible. AND get paid for it.

8) Also in the next decade I would like to develop at least have a working knowledge of the following:
a) Embroidery. In particular I would like to attempt an antique all over pattern, something crazy, complex and awesome.
b) Bobbin Lace. This has got to be the least useful craft ever. Yet it is awesome.
c) Sewing. YUCK! My least favorite thing.

Ok, thats it for now. Or at least that all I can think of. New stuff soon! :D

Mermaid's Tail Scarf!

WOW! Two projects finished in the same day! The Blizzard scarf is almost dry and I just finished weaving in the ends on my Mermaids Tail Scarf! Here are some pics:

The yarn is Noro Kochoran. 50% Wool 30% Angora 20% Silk. I used almost 2 skeins for this and the mini version with size 9 needles.

I know I've got quite a poker face (you should see my passport...) but I felt silly smiling for the camera alone at 9am. :P

The pattern is alternating Moss stitch and k3p3 ribbing. There are 4 panels of ribbing and 3 panels of moss. The ends are k5p5 welting.

Its so cozy and soft. The yarn has really fluffed up after being handled.

Blizzard scarf finally complete!

Last night I finally finished the Blizzard scarf from the Nov/Dec 09 Piecework. I just pinned it down for blocking, but here are a few pics. Notice how sad and deflated my skein looks. It is amazing though that there is more than enough yardage in one of those babies for a whole scarf!

Kromski Harp

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I got a Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom for Xmas last year. I asked for it because I am interested in weaving, and the Harp is a nice compact little loom, in the "affordable" range of prices for looms (which is still stupidly expensive). However, it is also a full on loom, not a mini project maker like the Weavette, so it takes some serious skill to use.

Which explains why it has sat in my house, unused, until now...

There are several things that make weaving different from knitting or crocheting. One, is speed. Because you create your piece row by row as opposed to stitch by stitch, the project grows very quickly. The second major difference, however, is the time an effort required to prep the loom for weaving, which is called "warping" the loom. It is a serious pain in the arse.

Warping the loom requires two people, so Sunday morning I took advantage of the fact that I had a friend staying over and asked him to give me a hand. (Thanks Eli!) It took us about an hour, not counting the prep work I had done (measuring the warp on the warping board) earlier in the week.

Since then I have woven about 25-30 inches of a thin scarf. Today one of my warp threads broke. More on that later. :/

Sexy new camera, a growing stash and more...

Nearly 5 years ago, while living in Paris I bought my first digital camera. It was an inexpensive Pentax, but it served me well. If you are a regular reader of my blog you would know that last spring it started giving me trouble, working only when it felt like it. Then in July, during my big trip to Morocco, it gave up the ghost mid stride. :(

But now finally, thanks to my wonderful family, I was able to purchase a new one with my combined X-mas booty. :D

I chose the Cannon Powershot S90, the Lamborghini of compact point and shoot digital cameras. Its got a bigger light sensor than the G11, plus image stabilization, making it AWESOME in low light. It also has all kinds of fun features I havent even begun to play with!

But to get to the point, tonight I tried it out for the first time, shooting some pics of my latest projects. Enjoy!

"Mermaid's Tail" Scarf

The first project I'm going to talk about began in one of my evening classes at Hunter. I was reading Mary Thomas's Knitting Book and was very inspired by what I was learning about how stitch patterns alter the shape and size of knitted fabric. While in class I would doodle little designs, one of which was the "mermaid's tail scarf." Many months later while visiting my mom in Kilmarnock, VA I bought some beautiful yarn from a shop called the Bay Window with plans to finally start the scarf. Later that month (while waiting to be called for jury duty) I made a swatch, essentially a mini version of the scarf.

This is my baby brother wearing his version of my scarf, which began as a swatch. :)

Mine isn't quite done yet, as you can see, but its coming along. This has been a really fun project, though I think the end result is a little on the goofy side. I think I want to try knitting this design again in the round, but tassels on the ends in imitation of a miser's purse.

Happy Purchases and an Unexpected Gift

I've been helping a good friend of mine re-learn to knit over the past few months. We're running partners and we cool down with a cup of tea and our needles after every session. To thank me for my help, she bought me this lovely skein of hand dyed merino from Catskill Merino Sheep Farm. :D

Beautiful, isnt it! She knows grey is my favorite color, and its oh so soft...

The next few images are of yarns I bought while I was out in Denver, CO for the X-mas holiday. They were bought at a place called the Lamb Shoppe. The pink one is earmarked for a snood pattern from Vogue knitting magazine, so more on that later. The other too I just couldnt resist and so, they came home to my stash. I bought 5 skeins of the brick-red and two of the blue.

The Blizzard Scarf

This project, taken from a pattern in Piecework Magazine, is my pride and joy. Its my first major lace work and it has been a wonderful experience to knit. It is also an over-due Christmas present... *sigh*

The yarn is Alpaca and Im using size 3 needles. There are 9 pattern repeats at either side of the small central patter (4 more to go! yay!) and now that I'm so far in I really dont find it difficult at all. I am glad that I went ahead and used lifelines, inserting them after every patter repeat. That saved my behind several times and also made it easy for my to count my repeats.

The recipient of the scarf is my step-mother, and I hope to get it done, blocked and over to her with in the next week or so. ;)

Finally, I just want to say that now that I have a camera again, you can expect more (and better!) posts! Feels great to be back! :)