Knitting Groups: Have You Joined One?

knitxmidwest project
I’ve never belonged to a regular knitting/crocheting group. I used to get together with a group of friends to work on various types of craft projects (mostly scrapbooking), but we drifted apart when, well, life intervened. I also hang out with crafty family members, which is so much fun.

But I do feel a little disconnected from the fiber crafters in my area, and it seems like a missed opportunity. I’d love other chances to meet others in the area who love yarn as much as I do! Apart from special events (which I haven’t attended for a long time) and the instances mentioned above, most of my crafting time happens with the husband, Netflix and the cat (when she deigns to grace us with her presence) for company.

Some crafters I know have to really concentrate on their projects when they’re working on them, and it can be tough for them to carry on a conversation. I can relate to this on some projects, so I think I’d have to pick something fairly simple/repetitive for a group meet up.

This is really just a long-winded, rambling way to ask: What has your experience been like with your local knitting or crocheting group?

In My Stash: Knit Picks Curio (Tea Rose and Ice Lily)

I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper – in fact, I had most of my Christmas gift shopping done well in advance of it. I’ve been making a more concerted effort to buy gifts throughout the year while I’m shopping (“Hey, I bet _____ would like that!) instead of just making a mental note and immediately forgetting. Still need to work on that, though.

The only sale I was really excited about was this one that’s still happening at Knit Picks. It’s an awesome time to stock up on my favorites. With my preference for thread crochet, it’s a no-brainer to grab some more Curio thread. It’s hard to beat $2 per 721-yard ball!

Curio

These photos were taken a while ago (green trees, I miss you), and I’ve used up a lot of this thread already. I have a few more colors on the way and can’t wait to see them. Knit Picks hasn’t released any new colors since introducing Curio, and while I love the ones they have, I’d be happy to see more.

curiotearose1

I love the Tea Rose color way – it’s easily the prettiest shade of pink thread I’ve been able to find. It appears a lot darker in person than it does on my screen – it’s actually pretty close to the next darkest color (Victorian), which I’ve also used.

curiotearose3

The light purple shade, Ice Lily, was also a lot darker than I expected. Here’s a comparison of Ice Lily and Tea Rose.

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I’ve used Comfrey (a darker purple color – not pictured), and Ice Lily is closer to the shade that I expected from Comfrey.

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I just finished up all of my Ice Lily…

curioicelily2

…you can see a peek at the centerpiece project I used it for here:

Mother's Day Centerpiece

I also used a bit of Tea Rose for, appropriately enough, the accent roses. The leaves are the Sagebrush color way (also shown in the first photo in this post), and the off-white sections are leftover Aunt Lydia’s in Natural.

Sparkly Broomstick Lace Cowl

Now that the weather is getting cooler, I can break out some of the scarf projects I’ve made over the past year. Including my first (and so far only) attempt at broomstick lace.

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I made this sparkly broomstick lace cowl using this helpful tutorial. The yarn is Feza Jewel in Plum from my stash (two skeins). Wish I’d had a little more yarn to use so I could have made a longer infinity scarf.

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I’d also use a larger “broomstick” next time. I ended up using a jumbo knitting needle, but it didn’t make holes that were as large as I would have liked. The tutorial at the link above offers some good suggestions, and you can also buy broomstick lace pins that seem like they would work well. It was a fun and mostly stress-free project – a good one to try if you’re looking for a project that doesn’t require constant pattern-checking.

broomsticklace1

In My Stash: Feza Jewel

I hope autumn is going well for you so far – mine is flying by! I haven’t had as much craft time as usual, since I’ve been focused on a busy work schedule and on my other hobbies. I’m happy to get back into the habit!

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, ;) but I love sparkly yarn. A lot. So when I saw this rich, deep shade of purple yarn, it was an easy pick.

Feza Jewel Yarn

I actually got this Feza Jewel yarn in St. Louis – it’s not available at my LYS. (Although I have seen some Viva Glitz locally and it caught my attention as well.)

Feza Jewel Yarn

The yarn is fairly soft – which is always a concern with yarn that contains metallic strands. I have fairly sensitive skin, but the cowl I made from this yarn (pics to come) doesn’t bother me.

Feza Jewel Yarn

Apparently That Actually Happens

Last night, the husband and I were hanging out in our living room and watching TV. I was pretty tired, having just got off the plane from a business trip. Enter, stage right, our cat, with something in her mouth.

Let me pause for a moment to set the scene a bit. This is an indoor-only, small-boned (but perhaps a teeny bit plump) pampered princess of a feline. Although she does have a particular knack for bug-catching, as far as we knew that was where her hunting prowess ended.

Assuming it was a toy or a ball of dryer fuzz she’d found somewhere, we walked toward her. Nope, it was very much an actual (though apparently dead?) mouse. The husband made her drop it. The “dead” mouse immediately started running across the living room. And then I did something that I assumed only happened in cartoons. I screamed in a pitch I didn’t know I was capable of, and jumped up on a chair.

It was a proud moment.

Understandably, this freaked out the cat, who, after managing to catch the mouse again with impressive speed, ran upstairs and straight to her go-to hiding spot: under our bed.

For what seemed like an eternity, the husband and I stared at each other and wondered what we were going to do. Then we went upstairs and pulled the bed away from the wall to get to the cat. (Evidently I did not help matters by wanting to sit on the bed to keep away from the mouse. Whatever.)

Finally, our cat dropped the mouse, which had been dispatched by this point. The husband got rid of it, and the cat proceeded to strut around smugly.

It’s good to be home.

Snowflake Ornaments

I’ve started seeing Christmas projects popping up on Pinterest and other blogs (in fact, I’m months behind by craft store standards) so I thought it was time to share a few ornaments that I made for the contest this year.

Crochet snowflake ornaments

The contest rules for this category specify that you have to enter a group of three. Last year, I made three identical angel ornaments in different colors. This year, I opted to use three different patterns (all by the same designer – Deborah Atkinson) and give them the same color scheme.

The first one (pictured below) is called the 3D Crystal Snowflake for Mom. I think this one is my favorite.

3D Crystal Snowflake Ornament

The second one is called Mother’s Day Snowflake. I got points knocked off for less-than-stellar blocking during the contest judging, and looking back I agree with the judges’ critique.

Mother's Day Snowflake Ornament

The third snowflake ornament is the Water Lily Snowflake. I wasn’t sure how well this pattern would work in my color scheme, but I like it.

Water Lily Snowflake Ornament

After completing the ornaments, I soaked them in a mixture of water and craft glue. Then I blocked them on my foam mats, with a layer of plastic wrap in between to keep the glue off of my boards. (Sorry for the horrible photo and lighting – it’s the only shot I got.)

Blocking Snowflake Ornaments

The thread is Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Cotton, size 10 in natural, and Knit Picks Curio in Victorian. To hang them, I just use the simple wire ornament hooks that are available (one billion to a pack) in the holiday decoration aisles. Overall, these got third place in their contest category.

Crochet Snowflake Ornaments

Try, Try Again

As much as I’d like to share a post about a successful project that’s DONE (on the heels of my failed attempt to salvage an old project), here’s another cautionary tale. This time, it’s about the importance of counting your stitches when working crochet in the round… even when your pattern doesn’t provide a stitch/chain space count for a particular round. Especially when the pattern doesn’t provide a count. Do the math. Count the stitches.

If you zone out during a simultaneous Netflix/crochet session (ahem), you’ll make a rookie-level mistake that costs you hours and hours of effort. See that out-of-focus loop in the center of this (terribly blurry, so sorry) snapshot? Yep, that’s one skipped stitch that completely wrecked the tension and counts on every subsequent round.

Skipped Crochet Stitch

Which means all of the off-white stitches in the photo below have now been frogged – a process that took twenty minutes in itself. It’s times like these that it’s important to remember that the process, not the finished product, is what I really enjoy. :) So help me feel better about this – what frustrating crochet/knitting mistakes have you made?

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