Thursday, November 29, 2007

A festival of finished objects (part 3)

Even though the some of the coffee stands on campus are now serving coffee in compostable cups and sleeves, there's always room for improvement. For example, you can reduce the use of cup sleeves with a new reusable crocheted cupwarmer!

This was a quickie! The pattern was published last year in Crochet today! and I remember intending to make one at the time. For some reason, I never got around to it. Other projects kept me busy. But when my friend Nora asked me recently if I could make her a reusable cup sleeve, I remembered the pattern and looked it up.

I set out (with Nora's help) to find a L (8.0 mm) hook. Not an easy task: my multiple LYS carried crochet hooks up to J or K, and then M/N (9.0 mm). But no L. Even JoAnn's didn't have any. I eventually found a L hook at Fred Meyer (go figure...).

I whipped out some yarn out of the stash (originally intended for a scarf, but I didn't have enough for a whole scarf and never found the right yarn to combine with it to make a scarf). The cupwarmer took about an hour to make, from start to finish, including multiple stops along the way to make sure it fit on an actual cup.

Pattern: Java Cozy, by Vashti Braha, from Crochet today! (Oct/Nov 2006)
- Foundation chain: ch 28 instead of ch 19
- Crocheted two additional rows with M hook at the top, to increase the length.
- Didn't do the slipstiched edging (top or bottom)
Yarn: Di.Ve Fiamma colorway 17017 (browns/purples/greens/red), about 1/3 skein (1 skein: 55 yards/50g)
Crochet hooks: L (8.0 mm) and M (9.0 mm)
Started: November 28, 2007
Finished: November 28, 2007

Isn't it nice? It's so easy to make and practical that I'm planning on making myself one, and maybe a few others as gifts... Save the planet with crochet!

A festival of finished objects (part 2)

Remember when I fell off the wagon? Well, I finished one of the kits I purchased that day: the Lu top, by Perl Grey, using Fleece Artist Scotian Silk.

It's a quick knit and the stitch pattern is easy to memorize. It's all knit in one piece from side to side (front-sleeve-back-sleeve-front), so there's no seaming involved. I did run into one problem. The pattern comes in two sizes: medium and large. I knit the whole thing in medium, only to realize that it was much too short for me (it did measure 12 inches as stated in the pattern, but it looked too short on me). The width was fine. I suspected it might stretch out a little when I blocked it, but I wasn't sure. The yarn is 35% silk, which isn't the stretchiest fiber...

So I unraveled the whole thing and started over, casting on the number of stitches suggested for the larger size (to increase the length) but sticking to the number of pattern repeats suggested for the medium size (to keep the width). It did stretch from 14 to 15 inches in length after blocking, and I think it's a much better length than before. It was worth knitting it twice...


Pattern: Lu, by Perl Grey
Yarn: Scotian Silk (65% wool, 35% silk) (375m/250g) by Fleece Artist in Jester(?)(I used a little less than one skein)
Needle: addi Turbo circular, US10/6mm
Started: October 2007
Finished: November 2007

The color is really difficult to capture on film. This is the best picture I could get of it on me:

I really like it! I wear a lot of red and it goes well over a long-sleeved t-shirt or a thin turtleneck. To keep it closed, I'm using a small tulip brooch I bought in the Netherlands years ago, in a town called Delft (best known for their porcelain). Because the color is so bright, I wanted something small and subtle... and tulips go well with red, don't they?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A festival of finished objects... (part 1)

I haven't posted in a while now, but that doesn't mean that there is no knitting going on... (although I hardly knit a stitch during a recent 10-day trip).
So, I have decided to make up for lost time and present finished objects from the last few weeks.

First and foremost, the Clapotis. Yes, I too have succumbed to the lure of the clapotis... like a zillion others. I started it in May using cotton yarn, thinking it would be done in time for summer. Of course, other projects became more pressing (baby gifts, anyone?) and my clapotis lay untouched for a good part of the spring and summer. I finally finished it in late October, right before leaving for a trip to San Diego.

I was slightly disappointed with the finished product, because it was a little too short for me to loop it around my neck. Fortunately, it stretched out during blocking and is now a perfect size. (It gained about 10 inches!)

Pattern: Clapotis, by the brilliant Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Tahki Tweedy Cotton Classic, colorway 268 (orange/teal/lime), purchased at Weaving Works
Started: May 2007
Finished: October 2007
Final size: 15 inches x 65 inches

I followed the pattern exactly. If I were to make another one, I would probably make it narrower and longer. I assume that cotton is more likely to stretch out during blocking than other fibers.

It's now a little cold in Seattle for a cotton scarf, but I'm sure I'll use it a lot when it warms up again. And I love the color: mostly a coral-salmon dark pink, with a little lime green and pale teal. It'll go with everything...

Coming up: other finished objects (the Lu cropped top, and a baby hat) and new works-in-progress (moss grid hand towel, Montego Bay scarf, and bamboo scarf).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Philosophical musings about the world's biggest stash...

I just stumbled upon these images of what might be the world's biggest stash. Clearly, my yarn stash is of amateur proportions compared to this.

My response to those images are an odd mixture of relief (I'm not that bad!), wonder (look at all that yarn!), and concern (am I at risk?). Now, I ask you: should a yarn stash of such proportions be a lifelong ambition or a cautionary tale? In other words, when does "a lot of yarn" become "too much yarn"?

What is the purpose of stash yarn? and when is a large stash a problem? Like any of life's big questions, isn't it all relative? If you have lots of room for it, you're not going broke buying it, and you live a functional life outside of your yarn stash (as it seems to be the case for this woman), it's probably just like any other hobby. Between you and me, it seems improbable that she'll ever actually use all this yarn. At some point, a transition probably occurs from buying yarn for knitting purposes to collecting yarn for its own sake, like others collect stamps or commemorative spoons.

I think it's still realistic for me to think that I'll knit (or crochet) all the yarn I now have in the stash, but how do you know when you cross that line? And what should you do when you get to that point? Stop buying yarn? That seems unlikely. Give some away? Sell it? Or be honest with yourself and admit that you're now a "yarn collector"?

p.s. I stumbled on this link on Annette Petavy's blog, who herself got it from Shannon Okey. I'm not the only one to question the size of my stash in response to those images. Annette Petavy has stopped using a stash counter. She says: "Les pelotes, c'est le bonheur. Et on ne peut jamais avoir trop de bonheur." In other words, "skeins are happiness. And you can never have too much happiness." What do you think?