Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Basket full of curliques!

Over the past couple of months, I've been crocheting the heck out of a pattern by Vanna White called "curlique" or "potato chip" scarves.  I found the design in a little pattern book that I bought at Michael's on how to crochet a scarf and then discovered several renditions of it at the Vanna's Choice site on the Lion Brand yarn web site.  All I can say is that I LOVE making this scarf!  It stitches up very quickly and is super easy to do - if you can chain and double crochet, you've got it covered!

Generally, I can whip up the spiral crochet scarf in one night, which is about 2-3 hours of watching television while crocheting.  On a rainy weekend after errands are ran, I can usually do 2 or 3 scarves. If nothing else, this scarf makes you feel productive!

Although I like Vanna's Choice yarn, I find myself moving toward the Loops & Threads Impeccable.  It's a bit firmer yarn, and for the price, it is a better value.  The Vanna's Choice solids are 170 yards where as the Impeccable is 268 yards - almost 100 yards more!  Usually, they run about the same price, depending upon what type of sale is going on, but the Impeccable is distributed by Michael's, so I don't think you would find it at WalMart or JoAnne's as you can the Vanna's Choice.

So far, I've made 8 scarves using this crochet scarf pattern and will probably make many more.  I wear one alone, but the nice thing is you can wear two that coordinate in color together.  The spirals wrap within each other giving a really nice look.  When I make more, I plan to experiment with the length - 143 stitches is not really long, although I am able to tie mine in a loose knot and being 5'2", it still works for me. For someone taller or with a longer torso, it might be too short.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Perfecting the Puff Stitch

 Last weekend I took a hiatus from needlework as I had the chance to go to the Computer Using Educator's Conference (CUE) in Palm Springs.  Although I took a project with me, there was just too much going on to work on it. If you're an educator that uses technology in your classroom, you will want to check out this conference next March!  It is worth it! If you can't make the Palm Springs one, there is a Fall conference in Napa in October.

When I returned, I was able to finish it - an ivory colored crochet scarf that uses the dreaded "puff" stitch!  I say "dreaded" because I've always heard that the puff stitch is a difficult one to do - time consuming, at the very least.  But, I actually enjoyed doing it, probably because I really liked how the stitch looks.

The pattern for the crochet scarf that I used was from the label of a skein of Loops & Threads Impeccable.  I thought the crocheted scarf was pretty and a different design from what I've been doing, so I grabbed my hook and Aran colored yarn and off I went.  It wasn't until I read the fine print (and believe me, the print on the backs of these labels is tiny!!) that I realized it incorporated the puff stitch.  Rather than throwing in the towel, I decided to give it a try and really enjoyed making this scarf. The crochet pattern was easy to follow and worked the same row repeatedly, so it was quick to get into a sequence.

The only thing that I don't care for about the scarf is that it isn't completely "square", meaning that the left side curves slightly to the left and the right side follows, but seems more straight.  I am not sure if I just missed a very important stitch, or if this is how it is supposed to be.  It's hard to tell from the photo since it is actually being warn by a model.  Regardless, I like it and may get around to doing some more of these, if nothing else than to test to see if it's the crochet pattern or if it's me. For now, I will probably wear it instead of adding it to my inventory, at least until I have time to do another, and I will revisit an afghan pattern that I really like that uses the puff stitch.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ta-da! My first knitting project

Last night, I finished my first knitting project using the knit stitch.  I made a knit scarf using Loops & Threads Charisma yarn in Charcoal and size 11 knitting needles.  This was going to be an actual knit scarf, but when I came to the end of my first skein of yarn, I realized that I did not have a second skein with a matching dye lot, so my regular scarf became a knit infinity scarf or knit cowl.

Although it might look halfway decent (yes, as I predicted, there are some mistakes!), this was made after numerous restarts!  I was on a roll a couple of nights ago and had about 6 inches with NO mistakes, when I went to look at something on the iPad that my son was showing me and I dropped a stitch off the end of my needle.  Trying not to panic, I attempted to recover the stitch, but wasn't able to and decided to tear it out and start over!  This happened a lot, thus a lot of restarts!

All in all, I think I'm getting the hang of knitting and do enjoy it as much as crocheting!  Looking forward to my next class where I'll learn the purl stitch and how to change color (although I did YouTube this last night when I thought I had a second skein to continue with!).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Knitting Class

"Tweed stitch" by AnnaKika at
Yesterday I took my first knitting class at my local Michael's. The instructor, Lorna, was extremely patient and very knowledgeable.  I've come to several conclusions:  knitting is much harder than crochet; it is going to take me forever to finish my first project (a hat for my son), and my first project is going to be riddled with mistakes!

Of the four of us in the class, I actually seemed to pick it up more quickly than the others, but for some reason, I kept adding a stitch and I have no idea how.  My 9 stitches resulted in 14 and what was supposed to be a nice square actually looked like an asymmetrical pancake. I practiced again at home on smaller needles and found that I only added 1 stitch after about 30 minutes of knitting.  Not sure what I am doing wrong, but Lorna mentioned something about my adding a stitch when I ended a row (I think that is what they're called).  Luckily, the cast on and binding weren't too hard, so I at least know how to start and how to end!  I will practice and practice until I get it down - it sucks being a perfectionist when you're learning something new!

My next class I learn the purl stitch, which my mom said is the opposite of the knit (or garter) stitch - whatever that means!!  If I actually accomplish something with the knit stitch, I will be sure to post!

Happy knitting!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Off and Running

nike baby shoes
Image is titled “nike baby shoes” from
kosabe at
Well, here it is.  My first blog post.  I read that your first post is by far your worst post, so I am just going to do my best to get through it.  I am hoping to get better as we go as blogging as a participant is new to me.  Sure, I've read lots of blogs, mostly for work, and have even trained teachers and school administrators on how to create their own blog using Edublogs.  But, I've never created a "real" blog on my own, mainly because I had absolutely nothing I cared to share and no time to share something that was so unimportant.  Maybe it's age, maybe it's global warming (yeah, right), maybe it's that our world seems to be going through so much turmoil with no end in sight, for whatever reason, I decided to start blogging. I am not going to fill the screen with my rantings about political or current world affairs, I think we have enough of that everywhere we look.  Instead, I am going to share one of the things I enjoy - working with fabric arts, whether it be yarn, floss, fabric, or paper, I always seem to have a project or 10 going on. Just ask my kids how much closet space they each have - they're young, they don't need their closets, yet!

So, this is my blog and this is my first post.  I will probably look back later and cringe, but you gotta start somewhere!  Welcome and happy reading!