Category Archives: knitting

Fiber Arts Party debrief

Word Lily knitsWord Lily spinsSo, I had this party. I had the idea for a fiber arts party for my birthday this year, but I wanted all these people to come. And with a February birthday, I didn’t think asking people to drive and drive was a good idea. They’d end up not able to come — or stuck — and I’d end up disappointed. Instead of throwing away my plans, we just decided to move it to a time of year that usually has better, more drivable weather.

The party finally happened last weekend.

Not everyone I wanted to attend was able to make it, but we still had a really good time (as far as I can tell; I said afterward that I wasn’t able to step back and get a good perspective on everyone’s experience or the party as a whole because I was running around the entire time). Since I never took a step back from the action, though — and because the decorations didn’t really finish going up until after the party started — I don’t have good photos of all the things we did. Living in the moment, friends!

The set up /slash/ overview

I invited friends and family from near and far. All the moms were allowed to bring their children (After all, I’d have A with me!). I figured there were a few activities the older kids could do, and we’d bring toys to hopefully keep the littler ones occupied.

We had several stations with different activities. The pompom-making station was in use nearly all day. (The party went from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

I demonstrated wet felting, and quite a few people took a turn or two at the towels positioned in front of containers of hot and cold water.

A few of the girls were brave enough to attempt spinning on a drop spindle after my demonstration. My wheel got at least a small workout, but only from me.

One person learned to knit, a few others tried their hands at crochet for the first time.

We ate lunch and later had cake.

My fabulous husband made a set of giant knitting needles out of larger-than-a-broomstick dowels, and there was some rope on hand to knit with them. He also made the cake — chocolate with a peanut butter cookie layer in the middle, graced by peanut butter cream cheese frosting. It was yummy and pretty.

The decorations

Way back in January, when I started thinking of this party, I started pinning decoration ideas. Partly I was browsing for ideas, but a few of them came to me and then I found a pin to represent that.

We made a chandelier, except upon installation it changed to more of a waterfall.

chandelier, from below

The yarn … bubbles? hang from the 12-foot ceiling.

This was super messy to make. And practically required two people. You might want to wear and apron. And remove your rings. Also, we made up about 15 balloons, and we used a full two bottles of glue. So be prepared. It took awhile to get a system worked out for how to get the yarn through the paste and then out without it getting all knotted. And the instructions didn’t mention any starting points for how much yarn to use per balloon. I ended up with a range from 12 to 25 yards, I think. (And: yarn weight matters. Fingering weight yarn takes more yardage to give a similar visual coverage that can be achieved with fewer yards of a heavier yarn. It sounds like common sense, but it wasn’t included in the directions.) The first few balloons we made, we had cut too short of a yarn length.

We worked in a variety of shades of white, including creams and off-whites and winter whites and even a taupe or two. I thought the more subdued color palette would work, since the space where we hung it has bright walls.

I made pompoms, anchored them to chopsticks and stuck them in vases.

Pompom flowers of various sizes.

Pompom flowers of various sizes.

DSC_0048There are tons of pompom tutorials out there, but all the ones that used the poms as flowers seemed to require hot gluing the pom to the stem. I wanted to use our gigantic supply of plastic chopsticks, and I didn’t want to use glue, since I figured this was a more temporary installation than the chandelier/waterfall.

Instead, I left the strings I’d used to tie the pompoms long. I inserted the tip of a chopstick (thought about using bamboo skewers, too, which might have worked better on the smaller pompoms) into the center of a pom and used the long ends to firmly criss-cross down the stem a ways and ended with a knot. I just left the yarn ends, as a nod to leaves.

Also, I used little balls of yarn I had around in the bottoms of the vases to help situate the stems and give them a bit more height (the vases were taller than my stems, oops). And hey, more color!

I hung garlands of shawls on two walls.

Sarah knits plus garland of shawls

My sister learned to knit! Also, this is the best photo I have of the garlands of shawls. We were apparently having too much fun to remember to take photos.

I saw this photo of shawls on a clothesline, blowing in the breeze, in an online magazine. They were using it to showcase/introduce a knitting pattern. I thought it would be fun to replicate it with shawls I’ve made as decorations for the party. We ended up with two lines, on opposite walls, filled with shawls of all shapes, sizes and colors. (I like knitting shawls.)

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We hung a photo poster in a frame, kind of.

This one did double duty: We had the photo up at A’s birthday party (since it’s a photo of him, after all), and then we hung it for this party, on a wall large enough to accomodate the giant frame, too. It didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. 🙂 (For reference: The photo is 16×20.)

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Conclusions?

I had a blast, despite the running around like crazy. (I knit and entire half a round on the sock project I brought with me.) We made a knitter and introduced a few people to crochet. Some current knitters hopefully gained some confidence in their abilities.

If you’re counting for #PinItDoIt, that’s four pins completed (in addition to the two from A’s party and the cookie one from my sign-up post, so, seven total).

There was talk of doing this again, maybe even regularly. Sounds like a good idea to me!

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Fiber Arts Friday: Catching up

Word Lily knitsSince I’ve spent the last feels-like-a-very-long while not blogging, I have some catching up to do. Although not all that much, because I wasn’t knitting hardly at all for most of that time.

But! Socks!

I made these quite awhile ago now, but I’m still smitten.

Silk Garden Socks

• Started and finished in December.
• Pattern: So Simple Silk Garden by Glenna C.
• Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock — apparently I didn’t jot down the colorway number.
• I worked the cables without a cable needle!
• (More details here.)
• I love Noro yarns. The long color changes, the single, everything. It reminds me of handspun, at least in some ways.

And these were made even longer ago, but I think I might love them more.

Hermione's Everyday Socks

• Started and finished in November.
• Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder
• Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks FX in Camelot Colors
• (More details here.)
• Yay, purple!
• I loved how not-just-a-plain-stockinette-sock this was, while still being very simple and straightforward. I will (and have) sought out more patterns like it.

Do you wear colorful socks?

Head over to FO Fridays and Fiber Arts Fridays to see what other people are up to in the fibery world today!

Swap hat received!

I talked previously about the hat swap I participated in with my due date group on Ravelry.

Well, the hat for A arrived this week, all the way from Germany! 😀

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I love it, it’s perfect. It’s soooo soft, the color is perfect, the buttons add the very best touch of whimsy. She (karulin on Rav) used the Woolly Wormhead Bubbles pattern.

Wanna see it modeled? Well, OK. If you insist.

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Oh, and the chocolate? Perfectly dark, with the greatest taste of orange. (And I don’t even usually like fruit in my chocolate.) I loved doing this swap.

Second verse, same as the first, a little bit longer …

Word Lily knitsAKA WIP Wednesday (I first talked about this blanket here not all that long ago, at least in number of posts.)

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Like I said yesterday, I should finish knitting the stripes themselves in the next week, hopefully sooner. But even when I get to that point, I’ll still have ends to weave in and a edging to add. I think I’ll decide how deep to make the border as I go. I’m hoping to counteract the curling at least a little. (I know I can’t eliminate it completely, and I’m OK with that.)

I’m still enjoying this blanket, but it’s pretty heavy on my lap (not a problem on snow days, of course) and I’m looking forward to being done with it at this point (I seem to always get to this point with projects). I do think I’ll love the finished product, though.

What are you working on today (crafty or otherwise)?

See other WIPs at Work In Progress Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday

Word Lily knitsI don’t often get around to posting about projects while they’re still in the works, probably because I usually knit in the basement, where the lighting’s bad for photography (but fine for knitting).

But this week, I hauled the current work in progress upstairs to the good, natural light and snapped a couple pics.

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Two-inch stripes, in a two-color stripe sequence which then switches to a different two colors, over and over. In this photo, the blanket-to-be is folded in half, it’s about 5 feet wide. It will, when it’s done, be about 8 feet long, I expect. So at this point, three weeks into the project, I’m about 1/3 done with the knitting. I’m planning to crochet a thin border when the knitting’s done. The colors in the photo aren’t completely accurate, but they’ll work for now.

Oh, I’m working in cotton, reclaimed from old sweaters.

If I keep up my current pace, I’ll be finished in about 2 months, but that’s a big question mark. And then there are all the ends to be woven in … So yeah, definitely a longer-term project for me.

What are you working on today (crafty or otherwise)?

See other WIPs at Work In Progress Wednesday.

Swap hat

Word Lily knitsOne of my groups on Ravelry is having a hat swap for our babies, and my swap partner received the hat I made, so I can finally unveil this secret!

I made Leethal’s Wobble Bass hat.

Seen here modeled on my little guy.

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My project page on Ravelry.

I used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky in color Blue Flannel for the main color, and a little bit of my handspun (n-plied merino, hand-dyed by Hello Yarn, in a Yarn School colorway, I forget which one). (Man, I should really look that up.)

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This was a tough project for me, but I’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out, although it’s not without its flaws. I might have been pushing the envelope a bit, using super bulky yarn to make a baby/toddler-sized hat, but it still worked. The pattern is awesome, a very engaging (heh) knit and the finished object is pretty fun, if you ask me.

You can see my kitchener in garter stitch here, it didn't completely disappear. My tension must have been off.

You can see my kitchener in garter stitch here, it didn’t completely disappear. My tension must have been off.

Here are a couple more photos, just for grins.

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I’ve wanted to try my hand at Leethal’s patterns for quite a while, and this won’t be my only foray. But I might have to make this hat again first, so I don’t have to rely on (digital) photographs as proof of this summit conquered.

The recipient, elpalchica, posted about the hat today, too. I’m so glad she likes it!

Have you participated in swaps before?

Wanna see more? Check out FO Friday and Fiber Arts Friday.

Gift knits

Word Lily knitsSince I’m starting to get back in the swing of blogging, I guess I’ll finally tell you about the gifts I knit for Christmas. This was a pretty slow Christmas in terms of handcrafted gifts.

I made Mom a pair of socks. With yummy BFL yarn.
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Kind of boring to knit, but very work appropriate to wear. And the nice hand-dyed yarn helped.

I crocheted a pair of legwarmers (and a matching earwarmer [Calorimetry], not pictured) for a sister-in-law, based on her pinning the pattern (and others like it) on Pinterest.
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I whipped up a crown and a mask for a young niece.
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(Wow, I just realized that of those pictured here, half are crocheted and half are knit. If you count the Calorimetry, the list skews knit, though.)

Happy Fiber Arts Friday / Finished Object Friday / Friday! I’m looking forward to catching up on sharing all I’ve been making and reading soon.

Christmas socks

We’re getting ready for Christmas around here, and here are just a couple things I’ve made as part of the preparations.

Word Lily knitsI was planning to knit fancy colorwork stockings (one for each member of the family), so we’d have one for the little guy, but after getting nearly half done with the first one, I ripped it out because I wasn’t pleased with how it was turning out. I’ve since practiced my stranded colorwork skills a bit, and I might be ready to tackle that gorgeous stocking again, but there’s no way I could get it done in time, and I still needed a stocking for him for this year.

When I saw this pattern, worked in worsted weight and not horribly ugly (which it seemed all the other stocking patterns I’d found were), I decided to just knit one. I knew I wouldn’t be thrilled with anything I found to buy, either.

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(Rav project page) It benefitted greatly from blocking (duh), and I’m happy with my modifications (the contrasting heel and toe, the loop for hanging). I think I’ll be happy to have a spare stocking in the future, too.

I also, in my colorwork practice, ended up with an ornament to commemorate the babe’s first Christmas.

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I actually started, along with the aforementioned colorwork practice, to make Flakey Baby Socks as a pair of socks for Asa. Instead, I tried the first sock on him before beginning the second, and while it fit, getting it on him required a wrestling match (kinda tight). There certainly wasn’t room to grow. That paired (heh) with the frustration I experienced with the afterthought heel and, well. I decided to just use the first one as the ornament for his first Christmas. As an added bonus, we’ll be able to remember how big/little his feet were at this point in time.

From this view you can see the snowflakes.

From this view you can see the snowflakes.

I was much happier with how this turned out after I’d blocked it. I shouldn’t be surprised, but blocking really is a wonder-worker in the colorwork realm. My tension looks so much better after this little thing had a bath!

It’s quite different than the simple brass ornament that commemorated my first Christmas, but I think it’s fun. Do you have an ornament from your (or your child’s) first Christmas?