Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Miniature Knitting Adventure

... no trick photography here folks.

I remember shortly after the movie Coraline came out, I saw a video on how all of her clothes were knitted. I had never heard of miniature knitting until then.

I knew then that one day I would try it. I had no idea what kind of needles to buy and even where to find them, and the idea quickly got lost.

A couple weekends ago, I attended the Black Sheep Gathering and found some needles for sale! I remembered I had wanted to try it and snatched up these needles. Size 7/0- .65mm!! I used 3 strands of DMC 6 strand embroidery floss. I wanted to knit something very simple. A square. But I also wanted it to have a bold color contrast. The Swiss flag seemed perfect.

Miniature knitting is crazy. My fingers felt HUGE and I felt like I was going to snap the needles. However, I definitely plan to do this again and with something a bit more complicated. A hat? A sock? We'll see. Stay tuned.

Swiss Flag: Gauge 19sts= 1 inch and 23 rows= 1 inch

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Daily Dose of Fiber

...because we could all benefit from more wool in our diet.

This last weekend, Eugene hosted the annual Black Sheep Gathering. A three day festival of all things fiber. Alpacas, sheep, angora rabbits. Spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting. Wool, cotton, silk, tencel, bamboo, banana fiber and even possum. Yes, possum.

This was my third or fourth time going and I went with Mary and it was her first time. It was fabulous. There was so much to look at. There was so much to feel! Signs everywhere exclaiming, Touch Me! And we did. So soft. The best stuff was at an exotic fibers booth. It was a silk/yak blend. It was a dream.

The textures were overwhelming, the colors even more so. Hand dyed roving and yarn everywhere. It was so hard to choose what to buy. Mary went home with some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in colorway Boobie 2. I got some undyed alpaca roving, some fabulous silk/merino roving from Capistrano Fiber Arts and lots and lots of silk/wool roving from Blue Moon. Many things to keep me busy.

Next year, I hope to be more prepared and sign up for a class or two. This year I was too late and really wanted to learn how to dye yarn and roving with mushrooms. So cool!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby

... right round like a spindle, baby

I recently bought a used spinning wheel from my friend Morgan. I have a drop spindle that I would say I'm adequate at best. Mostly I just haven't committed the time to it, thus creating super chunky sluggy yarn. However, over the excitement of a spinning wheel, I have devoted lots of time to it! So much fun! Morgan threw in some roving along with the wheel- check her shop, it's chalk full of awesome fiber.

I not only spun it, I plied as well!! My first time using the wheel and I have to say, I didn't do it half bad. I call this yarn Big Top because it reminds me of all the colors of a circus. It's a super bulky weight and just plain fun.

Next, I had to find a pattern for it. I came across this gem, Buttonhead on Knitty by a fellow Oregonian Lee Meredith. This hat is awesome. Trust me. I knit a lot of hats and this one rocks. First of all, the pattern is specifically made for handspun yarn. And you can use any weight of yarn. And you can make the hat slouchy, beret style or cloche fitted. AND since it uses a button closure, it can fit any size of head. Have I mentioned how much I love this pattern?? I ran out of my Big Top yarn right when it was time to do the hat band, so I used some left over pima cotton yarn I had used for a baby sunhat. It's perfect. Finished it off with sea shell buttons. I love my hat.

My next spinning endevor? SILK! My good friend Mary and I went to a little heaven on earth called the Eugene Textile Center. It was both of our first time there. What the heck were we waiting for??!! We came across silk roving and couldn't resist. It is fabulous. Feels like you're petting a cloud. I bought an ounce and spun it up. I found it more difficult to spin than wool, but I love it all the same. Since I only bought a small amount, I needed to find a project that 1- looked good with the silk and 2- was a small enough project to only require a bit of yarn.

I found Amelia by Erin Ruth on Ravelry and it's perfect. It only took me an hour to knit up, feels so good against my neck and is very flattering. It also didn't take all the silk yarn. I will definitely be making more of these collars and buying more silk. I love the color of the white silk, but I think next time I'll experiment with dyeing it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Alot of Fun

... and fur.

I'm part of an amazing knitting group on Ravelry called Knit Knack. A short while ago, they hosted a competition. Inspired by Allie Brosh who is the author of the blog Hyperbole and a Half. In April, Allie posted The Alot is Better Than You at Everything. We all laughed and raved about it and then set about to see who could create the best Alot. This was my entry and I was lucky enough to win! And now I'm sharing it with you. Please check out the other way awesome entries here and here!

I should mention that I've never written out a pattern for someone else's eyes. Usually, my own patterns are scribbled on the back of receipts and only make sense to me. That being said, if you find a mistake or need clarification on a step, please let me know. I'm new to this.

What skills do you need to make the Alot of Fun? Knitting in the round, magic loop, short rows, increases, decreases, kitchener stitch and just a wee bit of crocheting and embroidering.