Wintery Weekend Projects

I spent most of this weekend trying to stay warm. If I needed any proof that winter is here, I definitely got it when I left work on Friday. This is the view out the windshield as I waited for my car to warm up enough to scrape. And yet another reason why it’s good to have a portable hobby such as knitting or crochet. 🙂 Do you usually carry a WIP in your purse/bag?

ice and yarn

As you can see, I’m working on a project with my Rowan Angora Haze. It’s so fluffy! I decided to make the Judy Beret, my first knit hat. Wish me luck! I’ve already frogged it at least three times. It seems slouchy, but my gauge is pretty accurate so it must just be the design. Does anybody know how easy it would be to shrink it a little if it comes out too loose for my liking?

I just wish my skin wasn’t sensitive to this fiber. It’s not unbearable, but I don’t know that I will be able to keep the project for myself, and I don’t see myself working with angora any time soon. But.. I won the yarn, and it was just too pretty to resist. What can I say, I suffer for my art. 🙂

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I’m Just So Busy… and Other Terrible Excuses for Putting Your Hobbies on Hold

Sunburst Pineapple Crochet Hooks

I’m not sure what causes the innate desire to “justify” our personal time, but I know I’m guilty of it. At times, especially when I’m extremely busy (as I have been the past few weeks), I feel like the time I spend on hobbies is somehow wasteful.

This feeling often occurs on an unconscious level, and it’s only upon later reflection that I realize I didn’t enjoy my already limited crafting time as much as I could have – because I was worrying about all of the other things I was “supposed” to be doing. How unfortunate! The truth is that those things could wait. If the task needed to be a priority, then I wouldn’t have been working on my hobbies in the first place.

I know that personal time is important, and that having my own hobbies is rewarding. Here are the main reasons that, for me, using some of my free time for them is worthwhile:

  • Working on my hobby is personally satisfying. I love the feeling of turning skeins of yarn into beautiful knit or crocheted items. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride in my abilities – especially when I have learned a new technique.
  • It allows me a chance to relax. Anyone who has a creative hobby knows that it isn’t always relaxing. Just ask me how my closed-loop cable-knit scarf is going. 🙂 But most of the time, knitting or crocheting (or scrapbooking or blogging or…) help me clear my mind. And that refreshes me for when it’s time to get back to necessary errands or tasks around the house.
  • I have a new opportunity to connect with others. I’m always amazed by the interesting conversations that get started when I mention my hobbies. More often than not, the person I am talking to has either tried knitting or crocheting or knows someone who has. They may even begin talking about a loved one who has passed on, sharing fond memories of how that person enjoyed the hobby. In any case, it’s an opportunity to learn things about a person I might never have discovered. This goes for online interactions, too – how fantastic to have online social channels on which to share projects and advice!

Those are just a few of the many reasons why I find taking time for my own pursuits so important. I do have to be careful not to add my craft projects to my “to-do” list, letting each one become just another thing I have to get done. These activities are supposed to be fun, and if I need to take a night off to just relax in front of the TV or surf the internet, I know that’s okay too!

What are your main reasons for spending your valuable spare time on your hobbies?

A Tale of Two Harunis

Hot on the heels of my Chroma Lollipop Haruni project wrapup, here is the other Haruni shawl that I made soon after. This one was made with my Knit Picks Comfy in Sea Foam.

knit picks comfy yarn haruni shawl

I’m still not too sure about this one. Because the yarn doesn’t have the “halo” that the Chroma has, it seems less forgiving of my uneven stitches.

knit picks comfy yarn haruni shawl

When it’s flat, like it is in the photos, it looks great. But drape it over anything… like, oh, say, shoulders… and it doesn’t seem to hang quite right. I do love the color, though, and it was nice to use a solid shade to give more emphasis to the pattern. Another thing I like? The fact that I went with the crocheted edging on this one rather than the I-cord option (which I used on my Chroma version).

knit picks comfy yarn haruni shawl

In any case, I was very pleased to make this lovely pattern again! I rarely repeat patterns, but I wouldn’t mind creating several more Haruni shawls.

Pssst… I went on a little weekend getaway and yes, it involved a yarn-store stop. Can’t wait to share the details and my haul. 🙂

To see this project on Ravelry, click here.

In My Stash: Yarn Bee Soft Secret

Here’s another acrylic yarn, because, let’s face it – not every yarn purchase can be a splurge. In this exciting episode, I once again prove that I have a problematic addiction to anything the turquoise/teal family. 🙂 This particular manifestation? Yarn Bee Soft Secret in Teal.

Yarn Bee Soft Secret

This yarn has a noticeable sheen to it, and is also very smooth to the touch. It is similar to Caron SimplySoft, which some people don’t like because it feels too “plastic-y.”

Yarn Bee Soft Secret

I personally really like this “shiny” characteristic, however. Soft Secret comes many jewel-tone shades that beckon from the Hobby Lobby shelf…

Yarn Bee Soft Secret

I have five or six skeins of this colorway. I keep changing my mind about what pattern I want to use it for – any thoughts?

There’s No Crying in Casting On

Learning a new skill is incredibly humbling. I have crocheted for a long time, and feel fairly confident in my abilities when I start a new pattern. Knitting, though? A whole different story. I think it’s good to be put back in the position of a beginner – it makes you appreciate how far you have come!

I have no problem admitting that getting started (using a garter stitch tab) on my Haruni shawl was difficult for me. (If you recall, I had some Chroma in my stash that I wanted to use for this project.) Ironically, I used the crochet provisional cast-on method to get started – and that’s the part that gave me trouble!

haruni shawl in progress

In hindsight, I have no idea why creating a garter stitch tab was so darn tough. I just kept trying, frogging, and trying again. Finally, I watched the video below for help. It was incredibly useful. What did we ever do before YouTube? Oh, but it’s important to note (as the video’s creator does in the comments) that at the end, she should have placed the last three stitches on her left needle, then knitted them onto her right. Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense right now – all will be revealed when you watch. 🙂

I’m happy to report that I finally made a garter stitch tab that I am satisfied with, and the Haruni shawl is done! Update to come.