The Smile Of A 4 Year Old (or “Why I Crochet”)

When folks find out I crochet, I quite often get a smirk or even an audible “What?”.
I don’t think, these days, most people realize that guys crochet and knit and craft too.
As I said in the “About Me” page here on Wired Yarn, I grew up in a family of crocheters and quilters. I’ve crocheted since I was a kid. Crocheting, to me, is family. It ties me into my heritage and reminds me of those no longer with us.

This last November, though, I received the ultimate validation for my efforts in yarn.
I had spent several weeks, verging on months, working on an afghan for my niece’s 4th birthday. Her favorite colors are pink and purple, so I went with a simple straight double crochet, alternating colors every six rows. I thought it would never end!

However, all my frustration at how long it took the day of her birthday party, when she pulled her afghan out of the bag, said “I Love It.” and smiled.

 

How Tues…er Wednesday: Scrappy Squirrel

You caught me. I forgot to post my How-to yesterday. Considering I knew what I wanted to share, I have no excuse, other than Tuesday is NCIS day. I get very distracted by NCIS.

Last week Rick asked me what to do with scraps after cutting out a pattern. If you’re a crafter you know what I’m talking about.  Nowadays people buy fabric to color coordinate their quilts, but once upon a time, people used the scraps to make quilts. The quilt on the bed in DS3’s room is a scrap quilt that DH’s grandmother pieced. My mother-in-law recognized some of the pieces as we quilted it together.

Scrap quilt

When I hit the Google for some ideas, I ran across this quilt pattern that uses strips rather than squares. Great use for long, narrow pieces left after cutting out a sewing pattern. Fabric scrap banners are also another good use for those. I also found this link with ideas for using fabric scraps. The geek in me loves this idea to cover binder clips. If you wonder why you’d want to use a binder clip for anything other than clipping binders, just look here.

As a knitter, its just as hard to toss bits of yarn as it is for the sewer in me to toss bits of fabric. I’ve used them for:

Once again, hit the Google and see what kind of trouble you can get into. Now we just need storage ideas. How do you store your yarn or fabric scraps?

Feel Young Again.

I’m supposed to be writing about my projects. Like these really cool socks I’m working on for my March KAL.

Laurel Hurst sock  or how much I love the heel flap. Laurelhurst heel flap

But the literature geek in me is only thinking of 2 things.

   and  

It’s sad that I only started reading the Harry Potter books recently. I’m completely hooked, but part of me is already longing to move on to the Baroom books that John Carter was based on. If you haven’t seen John Carter, make a point of catching it before it leaves the theatres.

I know. I know what you’re thinking. It looks like a mash-up of a bunch of sci-fi movies you’ve already seen. What you may not know is that John Carter came before Star Wars, and Avatar, and Dune. It was written in 1917 by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the same man who brought us Tarzan. And fortunately for us, Burroughs seemed to enjoy writing stories about men in loincloths.

*blink*

When I came home from seeing the movie, I wanted two things. First, to have my sons with me so we could have one of our old-fashioned discussions about the merits of the film. I have no doubt we’d be discussing who stole what from Burroughs. Second, I knew I had to read the books. Reading would be the definitive way of identifying what parts inspired the stories that came after these books. Right away I saw Star Wars and Avatar had been influenced heavily by Burroughs’ Barsoom. Carter’s exploration of Barsoom (Mars) was in some ways very similar to Ransom’s exploration of Malacandra in C. S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet. Even more there is a very Braveheart moment and there are characters very similar to The Watchers in Fringe.

When I mentioned these things to my sons in the far-off lands of Texas, I was presented with this. “How John Carter Made Me Young Again.”  Yes, yes, yes. This is exactly how I felt about the movie. It’s a heroic tale. It’s a space epic. It’s…it’s…it’s just what I needed. See the movie. Read the book. Feel young again.

How Tuesday – Learning New Stitches

Gone are the days when you have to personally know someone to show you a new stitch for crotchet.

When I took back up crochet this last year, I needed a refresher on some basic stitches, but didn’t have my mom or aunts handy to show me the stitches as they did when I was younger.  So, …

I turned to YouTube.

There are MANY a video tutorial online for how to do many stitches, from the basic single crochet  – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqhaQQajt0U to many more detailed stitches (search to your heart’s content).

One thing to be aware of, when watching these videos, make sure the videos are shot from the perspective as though you were looking at your own piece of work or you will learn the stitch “backwards”.

And, for the knitters reading this, check out the videos at http://www.knittinghelp.com/

How A Sweater Becomes A Distraction

I started watching the US version of Being Human on the SyFy network about the same time I took crocheting back up.

My enjoyment of this show about three roommates in Boston, one a vampire, one a werewolf and the third, Sally, a ghost, took on a whole new level (let’s quietly call it an obsession) when I decided I would figure out how to crochet Sally’s sweater.

It’s a very casual sweater and looks very comfy and cozy. However, it, thus far in my searches, appears to be one-of-a-kind. I have searched high and low for another like it, even asking various boards (Ravelry is a wonderful thing!) if anyone knew of a pattern. There are several *close* look alikes, but none are the real deal.

So, it has become my latest moral imperative to recreate this sweater. I end up having to watch each new episode of Being Human several times because I will go through an entire scene and realize I’ve not heard a single word of dialogue focusing on the stitches in Sally’s sweater.

Sandy simply says, “You’re hooked.” (pun intended?) or “Yeah, you’ve got it bad.” but, this is a case of exactly why we started this blog.

Combining our love of both fan/geekdoms and yarn.

Stay tuned for updates on Sally’s Sweater.

Oh no, not gauge!

It’s How-Tuesday, or as I like to call it, How-To’s Day. (Yes, I know it’s like The Oneders. Go with it.) My topic is…gasp…getting gauge.

I  know what you’re thinking. You either gauge nothing or everything. You have this wonderful yarn that your hands are itching to work into that amazing pattern. How could you be expected to wait while you check gauge? That is, of course, if you’re not one of those asking what is gauge anyway?

Gauge is simply how many stitches per inch in your project. The pattern will generally tell you how many stitches per inch you should have. Simply grab the yarn, grab your needles or hook, and cast on. Gauge is usually measured on a 4 inch square. I usually aim to make a 6 inch square, and, when knitting, I take it off my needle when I measure it since the needle can stretch your swatch. If the swatch is the wrong size, try the next size up or down in your hook or needle.

If you’re one of those who gauge everything, you probably learned the hard way that being off gauge one stitch (or even one quarter of a stitch) either way can mean your sweater doesn’t fit. Unless you use the same pattern, yarn, and needles every time, you need to check your gauge if fit is important. This is because the pattern, the yarn, and the needles all affect gauge. So does your mental attitude, distractions such as TV and kids, and even how much coffee (or wine) you’ve had.

So, what do you do if you can’t wait to start your project? Usually when I’m finishing up on one project and dreaming of the next, I’ll start a swatch when I can do some brainless knitting. I’ve swatched at ballgames, during TV shows (like NCIS) that put my regular knitting at risk of frogging, even at church. Making my gauge swatch before I’m ready to start the project usually prevents the temptation of starting without making a gauge swatch.

One reward of a swatch, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the yarn in your project, it gives you a chance to see how the yarn works up. Sometimes a yarn looks yummy in the skein, but when you knit it the drape is wrong, the colors pool oddly, or you just don’t like how it works out. Working a swatch gives you a chance to see a new yarn in action. It’s well worth the time you put in if it saves you from frogging a project later.

Magical Knitting

I’m usually someone who is ahead of the trend. I liked bluegrassy-folksy music before Mumford & Sons was a household word. My go-to wedding gift for many years was a hand-crocheted granny square afghan. So why am out of step with Harry Potter books? Because I had an attitude. I’d read the first one and wasn’t impressed, even though I’ve seen the movies. By about the time I’d seen third movie, I knew would eventually read them. Now that I have an e-reader, I’m playing catch up.

Of course, as a yarnie, there is a fascination with Harry Potter movies. Molly Weasley is my heroine. I envy her needles that knit themselves. I love the sweaters, hats, scarves, mitts, even those that are a little cheesy.That’s why when I saw this, I realized this might be the closest that I come.

Knitting Clock

Molly Weasley would be so proud

The coolness of this amazing clock is that over the course of a year it will knit a scarf. It’s like magic. Unfortunately, I’m not Molly. I’m going to have to knit things like Hermione’s sweater or a Sorting Hat under my own power. Meanwhile, Harry Potter and my day job have merged in my dreams. Last night I dreamed of the Quidditch World Cup in Goblet of Fire, but I was coding it with Javascript. Now if I could just knit in my sleep. I bet Molly Weasley can.

How Tuesday – Starting Your Chain

When picking up the crochet hooks again, after many years, one of the hardest thing for me to relearn was how to start the initial loop to start my chain. I attempted intricate knots, multiple wrapping of the yarn around the hook, etc. I knew it just had to be easier.

One day the end of the string was just laying on the table in such a way that a new way to start the chain struck me. (I have since learned that this is a common way).

Hopefully my sharing this little trick will save you some time and frustration –

Step 1 – Make a loop in the end of your yarn –

Step 2 – Bring the end of the yarn back under the loop you just created –

Step 3 – Put your crochet hook through the loop, yet under the center string

Step 4 – Grab both the end of the yarn and the main string of the yarn and pull the loop tight around your hook. (Note – this will create a slip knot. If you take the hook out and pull, the knot will come out)

Now you know!

National Crafting Month On Wired Yarn

It is March and that means it’s National Crafting Month!

That gets us going here at Wired Yarn! LOL

To celebrate this wonderful month, (an additional Christmas for all us crafters, right?) we will be adding a new line of posts to the blog.

How-Tuesdays

Every Tuesday this month, Wired Yarn will take  time to show you how to do a little something crafty and fun!

Also, Sandy and I are very excited to be hosting our first event this month! On March 15th, you just MUST come to Camelot Cellars Winery in Columbus’ Short North for Yarn Swap.

Whether you knit or crochet, we all have that skein or ball of yarn that we’ve had forever and just can’t
ever seem to find the right project for. It’s time to swap it!

The swap will happen like this:
– You bring that skein/ball of yarn you’ve had laying around forever and just can’t find the right project for to Camelot Cellars on March 15th.
– When you arrive, you place your ball in a bag and write the name of the color on the outside.
– On your way out, you can pick a new (to you) ball of yarn based on the color’s name. (& some new found inspiration for a next project)

The Yarn Swap will benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Bring in an already completed knitted or crocheted item to distribute to those in need.

There will be 3 raffle prizes. Bringing in your ball of yarn will get you one raffle ticket. A donation to Nationwide Children’s Hospital will get you another. The winners will be announced at 8PM. You must be present to win!

Let us know you’re coming by RSVPing on Facebook.

Invite your friends! Hope to see you there.