My Stash Busting Projects

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One thing I love about being into crafts is finding ways to use what you have to be creative. I love looking up creative ways to upcycle. I also enjoy reading about projects that use ordinary household objects to make something creative and interesting. In that vein, I want to write a small series on using up scrap yarn. This week I will talk about my experiences with stash busting.

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 In my stash, I have 2 bags of small amounts of yarn that are leftover from other projects or from projects I unraveled. I also have several skeins of leftover yarn. I can’t bear to throw out any of it no matter how small the amount. I keep thinking I could find a use for it. Originally, I kept all the odd bits of yarn because I wanted to learn freeform crochet and I kept thinking that I could use it in that technique.

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I haven’t done much freeform crochet but I have used up scarp yarn in other ways. Periodically, I like to go through my stash and and find ways to use up odd bits of yarn. I made the bag in the middle picture to use up scrap yarn. I recently made these slippers to use up an odd skein of bulky weight yarn. I also made a hat and several scarves to use up odd bits of my stash. Some of the projects work better than others on stash busting. I will start a project to use up scrap yarn and end up buying more to finish it. I started the scarf in the top picture to use up some purple and pink yarn I had but ended up buying 2 skeins to finish it. I bought the grey to add a neutral color and I ran out of the purple and had to buy more. I wrote about the scarf project here. With the blanket in the bottom picture, I drastically underestimated how much yarn it would take and had to buy a lot more yarn than I was originally trying to use up.

Ravelry’s 10th Anniversary

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May 2nd was Ravelry’s 10 anniversary. I thought I would take a moment and write about what the site means to me. Ravelry is an amazing place. It is a an online community for knitters, crocheters and spinners. It has a database where you can look up patterns and yarn. It also has a place to list the projects you have made and a queue to list the patterns you want to make. Plus there are a large number of forums where you can interact with other fiber types. You can look up a yarn and see what others have made with that yarn You also can look up a pattern and read what others have to say about the pattern and see what it looks like when it is finished.

Thanks to Ravelry, I found out about Elizabeth Zimmerman, freeform crochet, yarn bombing and a lot of my favorite designers. I also received countless tips on how to expand my skills. I learned about art projects that asked knitters and/or crocheters to help out and make stuff for the exhibits. I have made pieces for 2 projects. Here is a link to one of the projects. I also participated in the Mandalas for Marinke project. Here is a blog post showing the Mandalas I made for the project. Ravelry has even helped with non fiber related things. I have found out about some of my favorite books from a book group I joined on Ravelry.

 One of my goals is to design and publish my own patterns. Without Ravelry, I wouldn’t know that this option exists. Plus there are 2 groups on Ravelry that are incredibly useful if you want to design patterns.They are Designers and budding designers. Both groups have amazing resource pages. Thanks to those pages, I found out about 2 Craftsy classes and a lot of books I could read on knitwear design.The Ravelry forums have been a lifeline for me at various times. Just about any knitting or crochet question you have could be answered on the forums. Recently, I went on the forums to find out how to try on a top down sweater before it is finished and found out about some tools I didn’t know about before. In short is an amazing community.

My Favorite Podcasts

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I love podcasts and one of my favorite ways to relax is to knit and/or crochet while listening to a podcast. In this post I list some of  my favorites. Are you a fan of podcasts? Then let me know in the comments what some of your favorites are.

You Must Remember This

This is a podcast about the history of  Hollywood’s first century. I am intrigued by Old Hollywood and Karina Longworth is such a good story teller. The lives of these people are so compelling. Listening to this podcast makes me want to watch more movies from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. From this podcast, I have become fascinated by Joan Crawford and I want to watch some of her movies.

Big Magic

This podcast is hosted by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Big Magic. This podcast expands on ideas from the book of the same name. She interviews and tries to help people who are struggling creatively. Then she interviews a successful artist to get their take on the same problem. I find this podcast inspiring and it has some good advice.

Lore

I am fascinated by myths, the paranormal and creepy stories. I highly recommend this podcast if you have similar interests. In each episode, the host Aaron Mahnke will talk about a myth, creepy stories from history, or how a haunting, or story in a specific area affected that area. For example he did a episode on a specific incident during the Salem witch trials and about a waterway near the Vancouver Sea in Canada where a lot of ships crash; people have said they have seen a haunted ship in the area .

Craft-ish by Vickie Howell

This podcast is a series where the host interviews and has a conversation with various creative types and entrepreneurs. She is a good interviewer and I enjoy hearing the stories of creative people that I admire.

Woolful

In this podcast, the host, Ashley Yousling talks to a wide variety of people in the fiber industry. She has interviewed designers, yarn dyers, farmers, and spinners, weavers and more. The podcast focuses on one person and their personal journey to doing what they do now in the fiber industry. The tone is casual like two people having a conversation and the host’s passion for fiber arts comes through in every episode.

The Initiate Knit Design Challenge

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Recently, I took part in the Initiate Knit Design Challenge that Francoise Danoy from Aroha Knits hosted. I didn’t finish it but I learned a lot and figured out how to use an odd skein of yarn I had in my stash. I wanted to do this challenge because I have wanted to design my own patterns for a while. I felt like I needed a push to start working on my design ideas. In the last couple of years, I have been working more and more without a pattern and being more creative with yarn. However, I had written down very few of my ideas and wasn’t anywhere near being ready to publish any of them. I wanted to do this challenge to push myself to move forward with my design ideas. Even though I didn’t finish, I learned a lot and finished the lessons on my own time.

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 The challenge consisted of 5 email lessons that were sent over 10 days. She also did a daily  video lesson on Facebook live in her Facebook group. The challenge had 5 lessons. Part one was inspiration, part 2 was sketching, part 3 was swatching, part 4 was about math and part 5 is writing the pattern. I got as far as part 3 during the challenge. It took me a long time to figure out what to do, I couldn’t decide what stitch to use. In step one, I learned about using vision boards and I like using them. I definitely want to do more with that. I also learned you can look up knitting stitches on Pinterest. For the challenge, I was trying to make a narrow scarf. I wanted to use up an odd skein of yarn in my stash. I looked up stitches in a stitch dictionary by Barbara Walker and found so many beautiful stitches. I struggled with swatching; it took me a long time because I didn’t have enough yarn do both a swatch and make a scarf. I ended up using another similar yarn to swatch even though that was not encouraged in the challenge. I eventually did find a stitch pattern that I really like after the challenge was over. The top photos shows the stitch I chose and  the progress I have made so far. I love the stitch and am really enjoying making this scarf. I watched and read the lessons for part 4 and 5 on my own and found out about some very useful online calculators. In addition to doing the project for the challenge, I also found a lace stitch that should work well for some yarn that I love but didn’t know how to use. I also got an idea for a shawl design. For that reason alone it was worth my time because it helped me come up with  ideas for new projects that I am excited to start. 

Stephen West’s Craftsy Class

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I recently completed a shawl class by Stephen West. I was hoping it would give me the knowledge I needed to design shawl patterns. After the class,  I felt a lot more familiar with basic shawl shapes and the techniques used most often in Shawl making. For one of my next knitting projects, I want to design a triangle shawl and this class gave me more confidence that could design my own. It made me want to knit his shawl patterns. When I had finished the class, I put several of his shawls into my Ravelry queue. I found out about his Herbavore Shawl Pattern from this class and I started knitting it. 

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 Before I started the class, I had already done a garter tab cast on and made a triangle shawl. The first part of the class covered the garter tab cast on, the triangle shawl shape, make one increases, and yarn over increases. That part was a review for me. Then he went over how to use increases to make new shapes and how to distribute increases. The last part of the class covered binding off, blocking and color and texture.  I learned some new cast off methods and new ways to increase and decrease to get different shapes. Stephen West is so upbeat that watching these videos brightened my day.  I could tell that he is incredibly creative. When he was talking about how he designed the Herbavore shawl, he said that he was doing a triangle shawl and got bored so he added new increase sections. Overall, I enjoyed the class and learned something. 

My Experiments with Bead Crochet Ropes

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Before I knitted or crocheted, I did a lot of beadwork and jewelry making. I have been making jewelry off and on since the early nineties. At one time, I even tried to sell my pieces on Etsy. I ended the shop a long time ago. In recent years I have been knitting and crocheting a lot and beading very little if at all. Last year, I realized that I missed doing beadwork and decided to carve out time to work on beading again. I had started several beading projects years ago and they had sat there and I hadn’t been working on them. I went through the projects and took apart the ones I didn’t want to work on anymore. I decided to keep a few projects and finish them. I am hoping to finish those projects at a later date. I had worked on bead crochet ropes before and thought that would be a good way to start getting back into beading since it incorporates both beading and crochet.

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I used this book as a reference. This  book on various beading techniques is another book that has a section on bead crochet ropes. Stacy Trock of Fresh Stitches made some bead crochet ropes. Here is a tutorial she wrote. She strongly recommends this book; I haven’t read it yet but I want to read it. With bead crochet you string the beads on the thread beforehand. I was aiming to make a bracelet. The first one I did came out too much short because I misread how much thread to use. That is the orange, red and grey one in the above picture. The second rope (the yellow and grey one in the picture) turned out better but still a little too short. I am on my 3rd attempt and so far so good. It is the project in the first picture. I have been using Jeans Stitch quilting thread, size 8 beads, and a size steel 10 hook. I am enjoying working on bead crochet ropes. It goes faster than knitting or crochet. This time I am hoping it will be long enough to wear as a bracelet. 

My Recent Knitting and Crochet Projects

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Since I recently wrote about the blanket I made, I wanted to write about other projects I have been making. I just finished making slipper socks. This pattern is the Ribby Slipper Socks pattern by Cathy Carron. I made this project because I needed a pair of slippers and was looking for an easy, relaxing knitting pattern. I decided to make slippers instead of buying them. I had some navy bulky weight yarn in my stash that I wasn’t sure how to use. I realized this pattern would be a good fit for the yarn. I rarely make the same pattern twice but this is the third time making these slippers. In the past, I had used this pattern to make my dad a pair of slippers for Christmas one year and I made myself a pair that wore out.

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I also just finished this string bag. I am hoping to use the bag when I visit to farmers markets. The yarn is Martha Stewart brand yarn I got on clearance one summer and never could figure out how to use. I finally decided to do this bag pattern. It is an easy pattern and a good use for this yarn. I am trying to decide if I want to make a second bag.

DSC_0011 (3)-1 As far as current works in progress, I am working on the blanket I wrote about earlier. I have also been working on the Herbavore shawl. I found out about it when I did Stephen West’s Craftsy class on shawl design. The pattern uses increases in a novel way and I wanted to see how he did it. I am using Manos del Uraguay Allegria yarn in the Atlantico colorway. The yarn was an impulse buy. I saw this yarn and had to buy it because I loved the colors. I have been trying to use up my older stash but I was excited about using this yarn with the pattern. Starting this pattern has been harder than I thought. I had to use several stitch markers to separate the increases and there is no resting purl row. I kept having to rip it out and start over I had to keep careful count of the stitches. Eventually saw how many stitches I needed to use between each set of stitch markers and was able to get the hang of it by carefully counting the stitches. I was about to give up when I got it. I love working with this yarn; I love the colors and once I got past the first few rows, the pattern isn’t that difficult.

My Favorite Knitting Books

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I both knit and crochet and since I wrote about crochet books last week it only seems fair to write about my favorite knitting books this week.

 Stitch’N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook

 This book by Debbie Stoller is a sentimental favorite. This is the book that made me want to knit in the first place. I learned to knit from this book and my first 3 projects I ever knit are from this book. When this book became big, a lot of knitting groups sprang up (they were called stich and bitch groups) and suddenly all these cool women were knitting and I wanted to be a part of it. That made me want to learn to knit. 

 Knitting Without Tears

The author of this book is Elizabeth Zimmerman and she is my favorite knitting writer. She really ecourages her readers to work without a pattern and not be afraid to try stuff. This book introduced me to the percentage system. She also writes a formula for making tams that I have used more than once

 Knits From a Painter’s Palate

 This book was written by Maie Landra the founder of Koigu yarn. This book has some lovely patterns that use the modular knitting technique. I really want to make this coat someday. The first part of the book explains the history of the company and her family history and it is an interesting story.

 The Knitter’s Book of Yarn

This book by Clara Parks is a must read. It changed how I pick yarns for projects. She goes over the different types of yarn, the characteristics of yarn and how it is made. The book also has selection of patterns that shows patterns that are a good match for different types of yarn.

 A Treasury of Knitting Patterns

If you want to get more creative with knitting, I would suggest getting a stitch dictionary or 2. Several knitters I admire recommended this stitch dictionary by Barbara Walker. I bought a copy with a gift card and love it. This book has so many lovely stitches. A Treasury of knitting patterns has 4 volumes and I just have volume one for now.

 

Rediscovering Pinterest

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As much as I love DIY and handmade you would think that I spend loads of time on Pinterest but I don’t. I have a personal Pinterest account that isn’t connected to this blog. I have friends who swear by it, and I have heard all the jokes about going into the Pinterest vortex. Until recently, I hadn’t logged into my account in several months if not years. I am not sure why I didn’t use it; I just never got around to it. However, I recently logged back in because a friend on Facebook who cooks a lot said that she uses Pinterest to find recipes. I have been bored with my cooking and looking for new recipes so I decided to dig up my password and log in. At first, I wasn’t sure how to use it anymore and the ads and recommended pins annoyed me. However I figured out how to use it again and found some new recipes to try.

This year I have been doing a basic bullet journal and have wanted to find some new ideas for it. I found out Pinterest is a good place to look at bullet journal ideas. Then I was taking a knit design challenge and I found out that you can use Pinterest to look up knit stitches. I am not sure why that never occurred to me but that is a game changer. Finding that out just made me realize that Pinterest can be insanely useful. I also want to change my hair, guess where I can get ideas on hair color? So I want to find new recipes, get ideas for my planner set up, change my hair and look up knitting and crochet stitches. I am late to this game but I am really seeing how useful Pinterest can be for gathering ideas and inspiration. I think I will log in to check on some of these things. I will see you in a couple of hours.

My Favorite Crochet Books

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Stitch’N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker

I learned to crochet from this book. It has a good overview of the basics and some cute patterns. It is also a sentimental favorite because the author’s first book Stitch’N Bitch is a big reason I wanted to learn to knit or crochet in the first place.

 Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet

 If I am not sure how to do a technique this book is the first place I look. It is a comprehensive guide of the basics and beyond. The second part of the book has a stitch dictionary that I use often.

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 Crochet Master Class

This is a great book if you want to go beyond the basics. It gives projects, instructions and background on several techniques including freeform crochet, irish crochet and hairpin lace.

 200 Crochet Blocks

 If you like to make blankets, I highly recommend this book. It has a lot of motif designs and it also has a section on how to design blankets.

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 The Finer Edge

The author of this book is Kristin Omdahl and I am a big fan of her designs. I think any serious crocheter should have a book of edgings. The edging in this book are lovely. The book also has a list of projects.

 Crocheting School a Complete Course

This is another good book to have if you want to get beyond the basics. It gives instructions on several techniques including broomstick lace and Irish lace.