Thursday, March 24, 2011

How many is too many?

How many crafts to I need to learn? How many do I want to master?

My gut response is to answer "all of them" to both questions. Not very realistic I know. With my limited time available and my obsession to master my skills I fear that I do need to limit what I should be involved in. I don't use the word "dabble" because I tend to jump in too deep for that.

My latest delve into something new - weaving. Granted it was only a Schacht Cricket Loom I purchased but I did stay up late in the night watching Youtube videos of rigid heddle loom play and I completed the recommended first project the next day as soon as assembly was completed.

So what are some crafts have I indulged in during my lifetime?
  • Knitting - I'm sure I have the requisite 10,000 hrs under my belt with this craft
  • Crochet - perhaps 4000 hrs
  • Sewing - I made all my clothes for my Gr. 9 wardrobe. I've sewn for my children and household. I took sewing in Home Ec and Dressmaking all through high school. I have not made a lined tailored suit jacket for myself though.
  • Quiting - is that a separate craft? I've made a handful of quilts, some queen sized and some wall hanging sized, including 2 wedding gifts (of my own design) and one tribute quilt to a retiring school teacher. I've also designed quilted wallhangings as baby shower gifts - these have pockets for toys, etc. with appliqued lettering.
  • Hardanger embroidery - I've made two tablecloths (one a wedding present) as well as placemats. I had found it difficult to find sufficient counted thread material (this was in the 90s) but I probably could find plentiful supply online now.
  • Gift ribbon making - I make my own ribbons (my own design) for gifts - even going so far as to teach a class on it, a single class :). I also bought the ribbon making tool kit (the one that shreds).
  • Spinning - I purchased a spinning wheel (the Ashford Kiwi with extra bulky and high speed flyers). I haven't spun as much yardage as I intended to at first. I do not do novelty yarns - my aim is always to spin the finest singles possible to maximize yardage.
  • Needle felting - just started this one so have yet to see where this leads
  • Weaving - as mentioned above
I hope my quest for learning will continue the rest of my life. May it keep me sane and in good health and provide pleasure and enjoyment both to me and to the recipients of my handiwork.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dreaming a Dream

So, trying to keep up with my 2011 Intentions.

Finished my Greenfield Cardi except for the buttons. I have to go shopping for some since I don't like anything that I have. I also found that my gauge knitting the leaf insets was larger so the leaves kind of puckered. I tried to fix it with blocking, I guess it's okay. The sweater knit up quite large, I think my gauge was slightly larger than when I did my swatch - will count this sweater as a loose-fitting casual one. I also used all six skeins of my Berrocco Ultra Alpaca. I was worried about running out so I finished the front edging before I started my sleeves. I weighed my remaining yarn, divided it in half and worked my sleeves two at a time on two circs - which I much prefer over magic loop. This way I can keep track of the start of my rounds and I don't have to slide my cable around as much. I just need two needles of the same size, luckily I had an addi circ as well as my Knitpicks options (my favourite needles).

I finished all the knitting on my Twisty Turns shawl. I didn't have the proper amount of yarn so I just thought I would knit until I was starting to run out. I stopped on a RS row when I thought it was long enough and thought I would count my finished rows just to see - I needed 301 rows ending with a WS row. What do you think my row count was - 300! If that is not fortune smiling on this project, I don't know what is! I happily knit the final row and bound off. I just need to seam the whole thing together:)

Found an awesome free audiobook on iTunes. It's called Fashionably Undead and is about supermodel zombies set in the world of high fashion. They use actual current celebrities and other topical references - a highly entertaining listen!

I'm also obsessed with my quest to knit even faster. Unfortunately I was unable to get time off to attend this year's Madrona Winter Retreat so missed the Yarn Harlot's class on Speed Knitting. She does Irish Cottage or Lever Knitting - a technique I have found very little information on. I have to try to catch her class next year if she will be at Madrona again. By switching to Continental from English knitting, I have attained speeds of 50 - 60 sts/min but the dazzling accomplishment of 80 sts/min is a tantalizing fantasy. However, I'll have to relearn how to hold my yarn in my right hand again.

I'm trying my hand at needle felting - made a couple of cute little creatures. My two youngest sons tried it a little also. Hope to churn out a few toys for my next craft sale (not until November - but I'm trying to plan ahead). I have a lot of fibre to work with - including a pound of Polworth that is unsuitable for spinning. I also have the cleaned fleece that we got from a first lamb's shearing at last year's Sheep to Shawl event in Surrey. I don't have carding equipment so needle felting it shoudl work great. (That reminds me that I still have the remainder of that extremely dirty fleece to clean. I hope my kids will be willing to help again). At least it was cheap - $20 for about 8 lbs in the grease - a Romney mixed with some other breed I can't remember - not the greatest for spinning anyway.

Been stewing about a pattern for a project bag. I've almost got the details clear in my head - just need to buy the appropriate fabric and thread up my sewing machine. I'll post pix as soon as I'm happy with the design - this is another craft sale project in the works.

Well, time for bed. This latest switch to Daylight Savings time will kill me. My shifts at work started at 10 am all last week and tomorrow (or rather today I start at 7 am, and then the day after that we fly to Toronto and I'll have to wake up 3 hours earlier, ugh!!)

Sounds and melodies of Les Mis are in my head - was watching the 25th Anniversary Special on PBS tonight - still missed the beginning of it so will have to catch it at a later airing, if they show it again. I missed Lea Salonga's I Dreamed a Dream.