Feb 022007

Apparently there’s a group of nuns in hiding after their knitting business went bust; they are even said to have mortgaged a monastery to finance their efforts to keep up with the latest fashions in knitting design. More on the story in Nuns on the Run (link from whip up).

On first reading it’s funny; then I found it sad that their attempt to (I assume) give the monastery a sound financial footing went so astray. So often these attempts by monasteries to finance themselves by selling wine, beer, or other comestibles is lauded to the hilt – were these women pressured to replicate those successes? It’s no surprise if monastery businesses fail just like other businesses do, of course, but somehow I suspect the consequences are different.

Dec 042006

I was chatting with Eve about crochet patterns that are worth making, and found out she didn’t know about Priscilla’s crochet. Priscilla’s website was off the air for what seemed like ages (maybe a year?) but is now back again; it has lots of crochet patterns for afghans and bookmarks and potholders and that sort of thing. I’ve made a few of the patterns and not had any problems with them. The site is a little clunky and old-fashioned, and has a couple of links that look weird, but don’t let that put you off the patterns themselves.

I’m fairly old-fashioned in what I like to crochet – mostly Christmas decorations, coasters, doilies, bookmarks, hats. I tend to crochet things and then put them away and not use them as I don’t really have the right spots to show them off. Except for the coasters, which the cats seem to think I made for them to play with. I don’t usually like the look of crocheted clothing although some light, breezy summer tops look good. Not that I’ve ever made one, my list of things to knit and crochet is long enough already!

Other pattern links I have found include Free Patterns; you have to register at the site but I haven’t got any spam from it that I know of. They have all sorts of patterns, not just for crochet and knitting. There’s CrochetMe, which claims to have “contemporary, cool, hip, fashionable crochet.” There aren’t a lot of patterns there that interest me personally, but then there aren’t a lot of patterns (yet), so I’ll probably look again in a few months time and see what’s there. In the pay-for category, some of the patterns at Stitch Diva look good, at least for warmer days or a warmer climate. So many ideas, so little time…

Aug 292006

I was a few months pregnant when Tim asked when I was going to knit some bootees (aka booties) for the baby. I wondered why he hadn’t asked for the first child, he answered that he hadn’t known I could knit back then. Fair enough.

So I got some yarn in time for the trip to Hawaii, thinking it would be a good chance to get some knitting in. I tried two patterns, one from a book of my great-aunt’s, and one on the web; I preferred the web pattern (they’re the bootees on the right). Once the baby arrived of course, we rediscovered why we hadn’t used the bootees we had with our first child; they don’t stay on the feet! Socks or outfits with feet built-in are much more practical. Although I did discover that if you put socks on first, the bootees do stay on longer.

The results of the Hawaii knitting are here, showcased on a tablecloth I got in Hawaii… Baby's jacket and bootees

The jacket is a seamless cabled jacket, knitted in Baby Soft by Lana Gatto from a pattern that’s no longer available. The only slightly tricky bit was making the increases work into the cable pattern properly, that required a piece of paper and a certain amount of calculating. Other than that, a reasonably easy knit and the yarn is lovely and soft. I just hope she spends as much (or more) time wearing it as I did knitting it!

May 022006

Some time ago I promised our son that I would knit him a sweater. He picked the pattern, and the yarn, picking something (of course) in a fine yarn that took seemingly forever to finish. However, finish it I did, eventually.

The pattern is Alice Starmore’s Fife, from the Fishermen’s Sweaters book. It comes in one size only, for an eight-year-old, so it’s a little big on him right now, but won’t be by next winter. There’s a picture at the virtual yarns web site, which is a show case for the Starmore designs (and sells kits and yarn). I knitted my version in Cleckheaton Machine Wash 5-ply Crepe, which I got in Australia last time we were there. They don’t seem to have the same colour any more for that yarn, it’s colour 2181 (pictured in a different yarn). For once in my life I got perfect gauge on the recommended needles! Both stitch and row gauges matched, which made knitting a lot easier – no calculating changes in increases and decreases to match a differing row gauge.

So here’s the sweater, nicely laid out on my new wooly board (great for drying knitted sweaters), photographed on a nice spring day in our back yard.

Fife sweater

Feb 212006

When you’ve almost come to the end of the current list of craft projects (something that will probably apply to me in about, oh, the year 2012 or so if I’m lucky), and you’re looking around for ideas, here are a couple of web sites you might enjoy. Actually, look at them before you get to the end of that list, as you’re unlikely to want to make anything featured here. Warning: be careful with your coffee when you start looking at these.

Item 1 is even called What Not to Crochet (link thanks to Tim) and features all sorts of items that make you wonder who would put any time at all into buying the yarn for them, let alone actually making them. There are even designers out there using crochet as a base for modern art (about which I am obviously a philistine and have no appreciation of the finer points) – check out the bunny suit as an example of that, and then the complete website from the designer.

Item 2 (not sure how I stumbled across this): Threadbared has some delightfully snarky comments on old sewing, knitting, and crochet patterns. Some of the items themselves are actually ok (unlike almost all from the What Not to Crochet link), but the set shots haven’t worn well (and most of them were probably ridiculous even when brand new).

Dec 052005

I had to laugh at Eve’s link to the story of the weenie who was scared of knitting needles (while admitting I first saw the link at whump dot com from following XML 2005 Aggregator links). I have a better story than mere knitting needles or even needlework needles, since all of those have really blunt ends.

When the TSA directives first came out after September 11, banning knitting needles, I, along with a lot of other people, was struck by the arbitrariness of the bans. No knives, but forks were still allowed, and so were glasses made of glass. Personally I’d rather have someone come at me with a blunt knife that’s not capable of cutting anything than a broken glass. So I read the list of banned items and noticed that crochet hooks weren’t on the list. Given that in terms of crafts I bounce between knitting, needlework, crochet, and lots of others, I have a good supply of crochet hooks. I picked one out to take on my next set of flights. Not just any crochet hook though, one of my fine 1.25 mm crochet hooks that at the time I was using for filet crochet. So this is a hook, with what can only be described as a barb on one end, with a total diameter of 1.25 mm (I have smaller, but had two of the 1.25 mm hooks so could easily risk losing one).

The first security person checked the hook, looked worried, asked her supervisor, the supervisor said “crochet hooks are allowed”. And that was it. On board I went, with my filet crochet and my crochet hook. These days knitting needles are expressly allowed, as are crochet hooks (although the TSA calls them “crochet needles”) so I will still be able to carry around my filet crochet hooks and scare unsuspecting knitting needle phobics (yes, there is such a thing as a needle phobia; most people who suffer from it have phobias about vaccination and blood test-type needles, not knitting needles, although the phobia is apparently bad enough in some people to be set off by any needle-type object).

So if you see someone with what looks like a viciously thin, barbed object and thin yarn, just remember the TSA permits it. Mind you, reading that list does raise other questions, such as “if you can’t smoke on board, why do you need a cigar cutter?” and “why are toy transformer robots expressly permitted but not other toys?” but that’s just me being picky.

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