The fiber arts are by nature solitary activities. Only one person can hold the needles/hook/roving at a time. Even if each person knit an arm of a sweater, it is unlikely that they would be the same in gauge, etc. That being said, one of the things that drew me in and continues to amaze and inspire me is the fiber arts community.
I got started on crochet when my friend Suruchi came over to my apartment around 2000 and showed me the basics. After showing me, she found an e-bay seller that had a bunch of random crochet hooks for cheap and got them for me. We made hats and scarfs for a while, then I put it down. Work, etc. were more pressing and at the time my main hobby was making miniature bears. These are just a few examples.
I did pick up the crochet hooks and yarn a few times to make a couple afghans for myself and Scott and a couple of scarves for christmas, but I also tried my hand at watercolor and took a stained glass class with Scott. In 2004 and 2005, we spent many hours working on glass projects, since northern California has perfect weather for outdoor glass work.
It wasn’t until we moved from CA to Texas and I wasn’t working, that I really started to get into crochet. It was too hot to do stained glass for very long outside ( and the mess is too much for an indoor project) and I spent a lot of time on the internet. By then finding patterns on the internet was easy, deciding what to make was the hard part. Since I had so much time that summer and fall, I started making afghans. I had gotten a book from Scott’s Grandma and tried a couple patterns from there. I made 4 afghans that fall, and though the warm fuzzies I got from giving my handmade gifts were fantastic, I was pretty exhausted with the big projects.
My family obviously knew I was hooked (pun intended) and my brother and girlfriend got me a Crochet Pattern-a-day calendar for Christmas. In there was a ThreadTeds pattern for a bear. This brought me right back to making bears.
At the same time, I found Flickr and started posting and browsing pictures. Through Flickr and blogs I learned about amigurumi and was particularly inspired by Elizabeth Doherty’s work. I started reading crochet blogs a lot, and finally started my own infrequently updated blog. I was happy with crochet and didn’t see the point in knitting, in fact some of the ladies at NASA tried to teach me to knit in 2003 for a co-worker’s baby, and I refused to learn. I crocheted a teddy bear instead. :)
In the fall of 2006, a confluence of events caused me to take a new look at knitting. I looked for a couple of books online and settled on the Stitch ‘n Bitch Handbook and Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Those two books got me into knitting. When I got Knitting Rules, I had never heard of the Yarn Harlot! I found her blog, read her book and never looked back.
After several years on my own, I had finally tapped into this huge community of witty, talented, inspiring people willing to share their experiences and funny stories. It was still a community tied together by links and web rings. There was no good way to find all those little blogs or people’s patterns unless someone had linked to them. Through that network, I found out about Ravelry. On July 3, two months after moving to New Jersey, I got my invitation to this amazing web community.
Using this awesome resource, I have found patterns I never knew existed, learned from others about yarn substitution and found a reason to blog more often. It is the warm fuzzy feeling I get when someone leaves a comment or “favorites” my project or pattern that inspires me to do more.
Being able to see that 42 people have “favorited” my Claude Pattern and that 18 people have it in their queue is such a great feeling. To think that my little warm fuzzy could generate so many warm fuzzies for me, is just amazing.
Speaking of warm fuzzies, I guess I should show you my most recent project.
This little lamb is a pattern by Barbara Prime at Fuzzymitten.com. The pattern is very well written and makes me rethink my previously held belief that crochet was the only way to make toys. It seems that if you know how to use knit stitches for shaping well enough, you can make very elegant patterns. I’m not at that level, but using someone else’s pattern was great fun. You do have to worry a little bit more about stuffing knit toys, since they tend to stretch a lot more than their crochet siblings.
The yarn for this project is Lion Brand Fisherman’s wool in Natural and Nature’s Brown. The sweater comes from the Natural Fisherman’s wool I dyed with Kool-Aid. I made the top down raglan cardigan for him on size US6 needles without a pattern. Garter stitch neck, button bands, bottom and cuffs, made it pretty simple to make. I used yo button holes so that the cardigan really can come off.
His eyes are hematite beads.
I’m so pleased with how he turned out, that I decided to keep him, rather than send him off as a gift. I have almost finished knitting a second lamb who will take the journey instead. :) This time I kept track of how long it took to make and after adding it all up, it took 5 hours to knit and assemble the lamb without accessories.
People are always asking how long it takes me to make something, so I have decided to start keeping better track of time. Obviously I don’t knit things because it is cost effective, but it is interesting to track.
I also made myself a summer hat. After looking around and not finding a pattern for a cotton cloche, I decided to make my own. I haven’t really settled on the hat band yet, so this one is not attached.
The hat is crocheted with two strands of King Tut Cotton I got from our Twisted Stitcher’s Yarn swap . I used a size I hook with the yarn doubled so that it has more structural integrity.
I have written the pattern in spreadsheet form here if anyone is interested.
The band is knit using the pattern for this lace headband, but I would definitely add a garter stitch edge if I made it again. It just curls too much, even after blocking. The flower is the Spring Daisy on this page.
The brim increases start just behind the ears and go out just beyond the edge of my glasses. I like the style of cloche hats and look forward to wearing it this summer. It is also easily stuffed in a bag, which is another requirement when I look for hats.