archives: crafts

crocheted neon cowl

Every time I wear this cowl when around people who know me, I get a surprised reaction. People say things like “It’s just not very . . . you.” When strangers see me in it, however, they go out of their way to compliment me and say they love the colors! I stepped far out of my comfort zone with these colors, and it’s been pretty rewarding.

neon cowl

Neon has been a trend lately, and though I’m not one to clamor to follow trends (my trend-following is mostly subconscious, which yeah, I know), for the magazine we highlighted neons recently. And we put some Manos—to me, a traditionally rustic, wooly yarn—in screaming neons on the cover. Which meant I had a skein each of a bunch of highlighter shades. Last summer when I was in Wisconsin, I threw the yarn and a crochet hook in my bag and started on a long chevron scarf. I finished it soon after the trip and started wearing it this past fall, but never got any pictures of it.

neon cowl and chihuly

I confess I now have no idea what I did exactly but it was nothing special or outlandish as far as chevrons go. I wanted a pretty shallow zig zag, and I worked it in the round. I rotated through the three colors until it seemed tall enough. I might have made it taller. It’s long enough to double up, but it’s not snug to my neck so it’s best worn on transitional weather days, like I’m having while on a trip to the Pacific Northwest. I wore it while sightseeing in Seattle this week—and I have loads of pictures to share with you of all I’ve seen here!

honeycomb hat for jason

honeycomb toque

A long while ago, I knit Jason a hat in a simple rib in a charcoal Cascade 220 to match the first scarf I knit him. But it tuns out he wants his ears COMPLETELY covered by hats, so it was slightly too small, and I set it aside to redo. I finally unearthed that project recently and decided he deserved a better pattern than a boring rib. Enter the Tweedy Honeycomb Toque.

honeycomb toque

I have a newish sweater from the Gap with a honeycomb pattern on the front that immediately became my favorite sweater of the year (I wear it at least 2 times a week). So I was perfectly happy to make him a hat that matches, ha. The pattern is fine but the resulting hat is too small for a man—I actually increased the stitch pattern part by 16 stitches in order to get it to fit him. This meant some finagling in the decreases, and they’re not quite as neat as the written directions, but it works! I cast on 96 stitches, increased to 112 (k5, kf/b), and went from there. I knit it in a few hours on a Sunday (I’d knit it as written in a few hours on Saturday, and then we realized we’d made a hat that fit ME perfectly).

honeycomb toque

Knitting someone a hat in March might normally seem like past the season, but this winter… I think he’ll still get plenty of use out of it!

knitterly retreat

This long weekend, my best knitter friends and I met up at a former barn-turned-meditation-center-now-airbnb-rental in rural Connecticut—it is our ninth such get together in six years! We played in the picture-perfect snow a little, but we mostly sat in our claimed spots on the couches, knit, and watched the Olympics. Oh, and we ate our weight in cheese and homemade bread. It was nothing short of perfect, except half of our group couldn’t make it this time.

knitting with friends

snowscape

follow your arrow shawl

icicles

photo shoot

silos

diana and specs

happy!

I knit on my Frankenshawl—I mean, my Follow Your Arrow. I finished Clue 4 but had forgotten to bring another ball of the yarn along. We also shot a quilt I finished and brought with me, but I can’t show you that yet!

wip wednesday

crochet

I’ve been crocheting. I have no idea where this project came from, really. Years ago (in 2010!) I loved my friend Diana’s Frida skirt. I had knit several skirts and bought the same yarn as her to make my own. In a khaki color. That is not dissimilar from my own skin tone. In truth, I know what I was thinking: I have a khaki skirt that I practically lived in for years each summer until holes finally separated the waistband from the body of the skirt, and I thought to knit myself a staple that I’d wear just as much. I knit nearly the entire thing before getting up to the waist and worrying that it wouldn’t fit. Apparently instead of really trying it on and making a decision, I shoved it in a bag and hid it at the back of the yarn shelf.

Last week in a fit of pique I decided to straighten up the bookcase I use for a few yarns, ones that haven’t been packed up and stored in the closet properly. The piles were meant to artfully mimic those in a yarn store, but what I was ending up with was a waterfall of yarn that threatened to spill over any time I touched it. Some cleanup was in order. And lo and behold I found a few nearly finished projects languishing at the back, complete with needles in the stitches. One was this skirt, which I pulled off the needles and tried on. And it was terrible. The color looked horrendous on me, and while the waist was definitely destined to fit OK, I knew I would just never wear it. So I plopped down and ripped the whole thing out.

But what to do with such a yarn? No garment would make sense, as I do not want to wear that color on my body. Maybe a sophisticated baby blanket. Yes, that’s an idea. The yarn is lusciously soft and buttery so despite being cotton I think it would make a nice blanket. So I flipped through some crochet books and settled on a motif in Edie Eckman’s Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs. I happened to pick a square one, ha. It’s easy to memorize, I can bang out a half-dozen in an evening, and I feel pretty empowered to make a whole (baby) blanket (something I’ve never done before). We’ll see how long I last before I bore of the squares!

a woven scarf for dad

plain weave scarf

Last October, I browsed the halls of Rhinebeck with nothing in particular in mind. I wasn’t really knitting too much, so I mostly went to spend a day with friends and see some sheep. But then we passed through Oasis Farm Fiber Mill‘s booth and petted their yarn and came to a screeching halt. It was so so soft, despite its rustic appearance, and we all wanted it. I decided it would make a lovely gift for Dad for Christmas. So I called my mom and asked her if Dad is allergic to angora and what color she thought he’d like in a scarf. I debated among their colors for a time before settling on a pretty heathered blue. The yarn doesn’t have labels so I truly have no idea which yarn I bought, but I think it’s the “Classic Bunny” (because I don’t recall picking one with silk content, but who knows).

There was no way I would knit something up in time, nor could I be sure my hands could handle it, so I brought out my little 10-inch Cricket and got to work the week before the holiday. I worried about warping it with this yarn, as it felt delicate, but I didn’t know how to resolve that issue so I just barreled ahead and crossed my fingers—I realize that I’m lucky it held up just fine. I know just enough about yarn to be concerned, but not enough about how weaving works best nor what my personal preferences are to know what kind of fix would be right. (Obviously, choose a stronger yarn for the warp, but how would I find one in just the right color? Would I want warp and weft in different colors? There were just too many variables.) I know confidence and knowledge will come with time, so for now each foray into weaving is another experiment, and blind luck and a hopeful attitude makes up for actual planning. (I could never imagine approaching knitting this way! Egads.)

plain weave scarf

As I say, my weaving experience is very limited so of course my skills are, well, in need of practice, but I think I did okay. I tried not to beat the weft down too hard (which is my instinct) in order to keep the gauge relatively even in both directions. Truth is, a different-dent reed was probably in order but I only have the one. The edges are not exact but they’re not drastically bad, either! I think dad liked it a lot, and he immediately donned it when we exchanged Christmas presents a few weeks ago. I only wish I’d bought more of this yarn to weave a scarf for myself, too.

plain weave scarf