Crochet

/Crochet

Inspiration and Frogging

Happy Wednesday!

This week I am having craft ups and downs. While the pattern for Journey sweater is still brewing in my computer (I am the slowest pattern writer ever!), I started swatching for a second project with Moeke. By the way, you should definitely check #Journeysweater hashtag on Instagram (if you don’t have one just click the link) – Josh and Saskia are posting so many photos of their progress! Can’t wait to see their Journeys!

moeke-yarns-17-5-14-2

Swatching part is always such a challenge for me – I am inspired by so many stitch combinations that narrowing down the choice to just a couple of them is the hardest thing in the world! Elena yarn is inspiring to work with… It’s so different from all yarns I have ever used and I am curious to see how that or this stitch will appear.

moeke-yarns-17-5-14-3

My crochet project is unfortunately not doing so well. The pattern doesn’t have anything to do with it, I am using it more like a guideline than the instructions. My first problem was the gauge that kept changing on me, I restarted the whole thing 4 times because of that! Then I realized that I cannot just crochet straight without shaping as the pattern suggests, because the yarn I chose (2 threads of mercerized cotton) is creating a very firm and stiff fabric and the cardigan will pucker without shaping. With this kind of fabric, it has to be pretty fitting. So, I restarted for the 5th or 6th time. Still, no luck – to taper the cardigan perfectly I would have to decrease every second row and this is what it creates:

crochet-17-5-14-2

Do you see how the fabric puckers on the sides? It happens when the decreases are stuck up too close to each other in a very stiff fabric like this one, but it also puckers if I don’t decrease, because of a big difference between the hips and the waist 🙁 So, after struggling and struggling with it for weeks, I have to admit my defeat. Frogging. Yes, I am frogging it. This is the first project in 2 years that I am frogging. I can’t stand frogging. I love the yarn, but it is just not suitable for this project. I have to choose something soft and woolly for it to wrap myself in this wonderful cardigan. But not now, I have to take a break from it.

Things to learn from this experience:

  1. Don’t try to make yarn into something that it is not.
  2. Don’t crochet hip length tapered garments in a stiff fabric.
  3. Know when to stop. (I had a feeling I had to give up on it after the 4th ripping out, but I loved this relaxing crochet rhythm and deceived myself).

crochet-17-5-14-1

I hope you are having only great experience with your projects! See you at Yarn Along.


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By | 2016-05-18T06:18:39+00:00 May 18th, 2016|Crochet, Knitting, Work in Progress|18 Comments

Craft and Road Trip

Happy Wednesday!

The last week was absolutely crazy for me and I just needed to get out of town and into the wild. 10 minute drive from us there is a beautiful botanical garden where you can get lost in nature and have a quiet peaceful time.

Knitting and travel

There are very few people out there and you can enjoy walking along the canyon, read a book, knit/crochet and just be silent for a awhile…

Knitting and travel

I spent some blissful time with “The Catcher in the Rye“… It is so nice to get away sometimes, even if it is just for a few hours.

Knitting and travel

As for crafting, I started a new machine knitting project – Sand Sweater, right after finishing my Bamboo Drape. Yes, I can’t keep my machine empty for a long time! I am calling it Sand, because of the color of yarn and it reminds me of the pattern created by waves on the sand. I am using 100% mercerized cotton from my stash. I still don’t have a very clear idea what it will become, but in my mind it will be a light summer sweater I can throw on with jeans.

Machine Knitting Sweater

My goal for this year was to learn as many new machine knitting techniques as possible. This time I am experimenting with my machine knitting tools to create texture. My machine is very simple, so all the patterns have  to be created manually transferring the stitches. It takes much more time than the stockinette, but this stitch pattern is so worth it!

Machine Knitting Sweater

It is called “Tuck Stitch” and it is created by holding loops on the needles for several rows before knitting them all together. It is similar to slip stitch technique in hand knitting. I had the instructions for this stitch in my manual for the machine and I have no idea why on earth I didn’t try it before! Maybe I was intimidated by the complexity of it, but it turned out not so bad! I am much more familiar with the mechanism of the machine now and understand better how the stitches are formed.

Machine Knitting Sweater

My crochet cardigan WIP is causing me a lot of trouble. I think I will have to rip it out for the third time, first I ripped out because of my miscalculated stitch count (my gauge is significantly different from the one indicated in the pattern, so I am modifying). Now I think the fabric looks a little bit on the loose side, so I am thinking to go down with the hook size. I know it will be worth it in the end – crocheting is very relaxing and I will get a very wearable garment in the end.

Crochet Cardigan

I hope your week is treating you well and you are enjoying your projects!

Hope to see you at Yarn Along.


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Making and Memories

I was recently asked by Alexis on Instagram “What making means to you?” and this weekend I realized that making has completely taken over my world. When you wake up at dawn on Sunday to get extra time with your projects, it means you are obsessed, right? 🙂 I invest a lot of time in making, but it seems so natural to me, that I’ve never given it much thought… But this question and my current projects got me thinking. I realized that the main reason for investing so much time in making is the gratitude for the opportunity to create.

Crochet - Machine Knitting - Hand Knitting

This blog is called “The Gift of Knitting” and it is my way to say thank you to this craft that brought so much joy in my life. I have my craft dreams, but my ultimate goal and dream would be to preserve this excitement about learning new things, about starting a new project and trying new fiber. So, making means to me first of all the opportunity to grow and to learn and this alone makes me happy.

This weekend I started planning a new crochet project. Whenever I start crochet, I take this book – “1000 Crochet Patterns”. This is my first craft book and it will be exactly 16 years old next month. It looks so beaten up, but it still travels everywhere with me wherever I go.

Machine Knitting

It was a gift from my Granny when I was 10 or 11 years old and I remember how excited I was looking through all the patterns there and imagining how I would crochet all of them. I stopped crafting as a teenager and didn’t come back to it until my university graduation. But I have so many memories when I look at it. When I was a child, the country was going through some big changes and it was financially challenging for so many families. I would never even imagine buying yarn for crafting at that time. We would spend hours with my Granny unraveling old sweaters to get scratchy and coarse yarn so I could work with it. I was even crocheting with plastic bags at that time! Can you imagine? My Granny didn’t like to throw anything away, so she would keep all her shopping bags and we would cut them in narrow stripes and I would crochet plastic rugs with it. It was actually very handy for wet weather! This experience made me really appreciate all the fiber opportunities that I have right now!

Well, back to my crochet project. I want to make a white crochet dress! It was awhile since my last crochet dress project (Wildflower Dress) and I decided it was time to challenge myself again. It will take awhile of course, but I am not rushing it, I will just enjoy the process.

CrochetMy Bamboo sweater is on the machine and slowly, but steadily growing. I might even finish it by next week, if I have enough time during the weekend.

Machine Knitting

I am joining Yarn Along to see how making has taken over other crafters’ lives!


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By | 2016-04-06T07:31:13+00:00 April 6th, 2016|Crochet, Machine Knitting, Work in Progress|32 Comments

WIPs – Crochet and Moeke

Happy Wednesday!

WIPs:

Crochet. This weekend I stayed home to catch up on my craft projects. I am making an embarrassingly slow progress on Kram Cardi. My gauge is significantly different from the one in the pattern, as I am using a different weight yarn and a different hook size. So I spent most of the time adjusting numbers for it than actually making it. After making a 162 stitches chain and finishing a couple of rows it seems like it is way too big, so I am ripping back and starting all over again with a fewer number. I love the fabric these two colors create!

crochet-cardigan-29-3-16-1

Knitting. As promised I’ll try to keep you updated on my Moeke yarn project progress. I spend most of my free time now winding these precious skeins into yarn balls. I think it is such a great way to know the yarn better!

moeke-yarn-29-3-16-1

The most important (at least for me) stage of the design process is swatching. Dozens of swatches with basic and fancy stitches, different needle sizes and tension. My bedroom looks like something exploded here – scraps of yarn, yarn balls and countless small knit pieces of all kinds of geometrical shapes are covering my desk, table with the knitting machine (yes, I keep my knitting machine in the bedroom, my husband hates it 🙂 ), night table and bed. Gosh, I love it!

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I am experimenting with the basics first to see how the yarn behaves and to thoroughly enjoy every inch of this incredible fiber! What I found out so far, blocking makes a huge difference with Elena yarn – the fabric opens up and just blooms after a good soak!
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Off to Yarn Along to see what you are working on!


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By | 2016-03-30T08:02:16+00:00 March 30th, 2016|Crochet, Knitting, Work in Progress|30 Comments

WIP Mix – Dream Yarn, Crochet Texture and Knit Lace

I am joining Yarn Along for a traditional “craft party”.

Knitting. I’ve been working on Ocean since December. I don’t want to rush through the lace part – I am learning so much! This is the first time when I modify lace chart written for the circular knitting to knit it flat and let me tell you – never try it 🙂 I am kidding, it’s not that bad as long as you understand the logic of stitches, increases and decreases and how to slant stitches to the direction you need on both sides. Also I am a visual person and never follow patterns word by word if there is a chart, so it makes things easier – all I have to do is to “translate” stitches that are supposed to be knit on the right side in circular knitting to knit them on the wrong side so they appear exactly as the chart shows. Did I give you a headache?

Machine knitting and hand knitting experiment

Crochet. With crochet, things are much easier. For weeks I’ve been looking at the cardigan swatch and finally decided what color scheme I want to work with – I chose two color gradient instead of three. I hope I won’t run out of yarn. Then I started making the actual gauge swatch.

crochet cardigan

The pattern recommends to crochet stitches through the front loop, I decided to check both options – one half of the swatch was made with crochet stitches through the back loop and the other half through front. As you can see, the back loop method gives you much more texture and pops out. It is great for decorative effect, but I don’t think I want my whole cardi to be covered in these ridges, it will look like a crocodile skin. Plus I am using mesmerized cotton and the fabric is a little bit stiff, so textured overload would be totally unnecessary. I am going with the through the front loop option.

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Yarn. I am sure we all have one-two skeins somewhere in the depths of the stash which are so precious that you are afraid to start any project with them for months, maybe even for years. I have one – 100% Tussah Silk by Madelinetosh.

Madelinetosh Silk Yarn

It is sooo soft, feels absolutely surreal. 1000 yards of lace weight need to be put in use this year! It was gifted to me one year ago and it is still waiting for a perfect project match. I am still not ready to let it go on a winder 🙂 But I am getting there, this spring I will make something out of it for sure!

Madelinetosh Silk Yarn

I hope your projects bring you a lot of joy!


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By | 2016-02-21T19:25:00+00:00 February 17th, 2016|Crochet, Knitting, Work in Progress|39 Comments

In Progress – Crochet Cardigan and Machine Knitting Dress

Happy Thursday!

I am sorry for missing my usual Wednesday post, our Internet company keeps cutting us off from the world 🙂 Anyway, the life goes on – working, walking and crafting of course.

For the past several months I’ve been pretty faithful to one project at a time from start to finish, but now it looks like I want to cast on and on. The main thing for me is to keep up with my craft goals that I set for myself.

Machine knitting challenge is right on the schedule. It doesn’t look like I am going to make it right in time for my birthday, it doesn’t really matter – I want to get on a long road trip and a hike, so I definitely won’t need a dress for this. But I am determined to have one machine knitting FO a month, so our home is filled with the sound of the carriage moving across the needle bed in the early morning hours… The math is done and the back is already on the machine.

machine knitting dress

I try to capture the real color of yarn with my camera, but it keeps slipping away. On all photos it looks closer to blue shade, but in reality it has more green “flavor” in it.

I wasn’t planning to cast anything new, but one pattern caught my attention and I just couldn’t resist. Kram Cardi crochet cardigan by Katy Petersen is a classic elegant and timeless knitwear piece! Katy was so generous to share it for free on her website. I am late for the CAL, but it will be still fun following all her posts! For those who prefer the usual standard downloadable PDF Katy offers it for just $1! What a deal, isn’t it?!

I got into my stash that is getting smaller and smaller and found fingering weight cotton skeins. It’s way too thin for the fabric suitable for the cardi, but I decided to crochet holding two strands together, that led me to the idea to add a little bit of gradient fun in the project.

crochet cardigan

The colors are so subtle that mixing them is a breeze! I am not sure if I want to try combination of three – grey+grey, then grey+ivory, then ivory+ivory; or just two –  grey+grey, then change to grey+ivory; or grey+ivory then ivory+ivory. Oh my, it looks like an equation 🙂 Anyway, I tried three combo on the swatch and now I know that I have to just put it on my coffee table and leave it there for awhile, then the decision will come on its own.

crochet cardigan

This is not the stitch pattern used in the pattern, I will switch to it when I decide on the color, but this swatch gives me more information how the colors will behave.

I also realized that this is the FIRST crochet pattern that I follow! I love experimenting with the great variety of crochet stitches and creating on the go without taking notes, but now I want to understand the logic behind the crochet pattern and how it flows. The practice is the best way to do it! I will try to hold myself and not sneak in way too many modifications 🙂 The project is Raveled here – Kram Cardi.

crochet cardigan

I hope you are having a great week!

See you soon!


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