Sunday, September 27, 2015

The joy of crafting with others

There is something wonderful about crafting with others, getting out of your house and enjoying the fellowship of other gentle yarny folk. My first experience of this was back in Bristol in the UK in the winter of 2011. My local pub, the Victoria, a short stroll from my house, hosted a first Sunday of the month "Knit and Natter". The kids, younger then, were in bed and my husband happily watching Top Gear. There were eight of us knitting and I realized at that first meeting that I had been crafting in a silo up until then. We sat in the railway tunnel part of the pub (maybe it actually was a disused railway tunnel) - from a silo to a tunnel - and I enjoyed a pint of cider as you do in the West Country while we chattered about nothing in particular while our fingers were busy. Bliss.

And then shortly after moving to Houston in the spring of 2012 I signed my kids up to swimming lessons and was delighted to discover a fellow knitter doing her stuff in public with children occupied at the same time as mine. And so an impromptu group began of four of us knitting together and it was the BEST part of my week. But after a year or so the children's activities changed and our happy yarny meet ups ended.

Fulfilling the thirty hours of teaching crochet for my two certificates led to more communal crafting. For several months I carried my hooks and yarn everywhere looking for willing guinea pigs among my friends. Pictured above several victims learning while camping at a Texas State Park! Asking the yarn store owner if I could teach on her comfy sofa led to my current job running their Friday knitting and crochet workshop.

My master teacher asked me during my assessment if I was crafting with a group (the workshop doesn't count) and encouraged me to find one. Well now I have Yarn People at my public library each week (following my original knitting swim mom), a fortnightly craft group at church which has just started and my own monthly Yak and Yarn meet up at a local cafĂ© which I started after attending a day long craft retreat in January this year. That's probably more than sufficient. 



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Laphans for Yak and Yarn

Our Yak and Yarn group which only began in March this year has been having so much fun making lapghans together for local charity Angela House as our first joint project. And if my calculations are correct we are putting together number 14 currently. Yay!

I have been taking photos of each one before delivery to the ladies but I lost photos clearing my cellphone so I am missing some. I thought they were on the cloud but alas no. I lost photos of the two quilts made of fantastic African material by one of our talented Y&Y members. Technology can be a tad annoying at times!

Anyway, here are the photos I managed to salvage of early lapghans and the most recent beauties we have made. We made single crochet 5 inch squares using a cardboard template and for the majority of the lapghans added an edging of single crochet and single crochet joined the squares together.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Craftivism lecture by Betsy Greer

I attended a lecture by Betsy Greer, the "Godmother of Craftivism", last month at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Betsy gave a slide show with an explanation of craftivism followed by a number of diverse global examples, large and small, and then gave suggestions of how to find a way that we could practice craftivism too. Here is Betsy's super website if you haven't already been there.

I first found out about craftivism, the movement that Betsy started 12 years ago, in Houston's main public library downtown picking up her book of the same title on the "new and notable in 700s" display stand. Since reading the book I have recommended and bought it for several friends. I have paid attention to other crafters with #craftivism in their tweets, subscribed to her newsletter, contributed to the manifesto and reflected on how I could make a difference through my love of craft. 
Her lecture was on the final day of the Crafting a Continuum show which contained many thought-provoking exhibits. My absolute favorite was by Mark Newport ( a knitted superhero costume that questions gender roles and masculinity in contemporary culture. I was delighted to see his work featured on the show flyer and found an immensely amusing video on YouTube of Mark knitting dressed in one of his hand-made suits:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Log Cabin blanket

I am a huge fan of Lucy from Attic24. She is a fellow Brit, has an amazing eye for combining just the right uplifting colors and has such a sweet voice on her blog.

I have made two of her blankets: the neat ripple and the cosy which I am immensely pleased with. This summer I found "boyish" colors of Ella Rae in sufficient quantities in the sale bin at work so started her coast blanket for my son. However, the ripples were looking a little feminine and I'd been warned not to embarass him. (I fully intend for him to take this blanket to college). So a geometric design came to mind and because I am somewhat scarred by six months of joining charity blanket squares it has to be in the round.

I didn't find a pattern I liked so I made it up as I went along.  Was absolutely delighted to find out on Facebook this week that Lucy's next CAL (crochet along) will be a log cabin too. Of course it looks totally different from mine!! It's oh so cute, the colors are totally Lucy and there is a granny square flower in the middle. Gorgeous!

I have just reread my published post on what I did and they make no sense whatsoever. I do apologize. Please just skip the next paragraph and carry on reading at "I may well...."
Squares: My starting square is 30 stitches wide by 24 hdc rows tall. Edging the square with single crochet: Once I finished a color I put hdc, 2 sc in the corner and carried on around the corner with one sc stitches per row  for two rows then two sc in the third row so that I had an even 30 sc for my next color block. Then I rejoined the yarn to the opposite side and followed the same pattern one sc per row for two rows then two sc in the third row then 3 sc in the corner and sc all along the top.
Joining the new color yarn: Once I got to the end I did 3 sc in the corner and then joined the new yarn color for a new block at right angles to the last. I started one stitch in and stopped one stitch from the end so that I had space for the edging to go all the way around.


I may well get around to writing out the pattern properly once I figure out how I make it into a rectangle rather than a square but I'm one color block away from making a decision on that. I'm thinking seven block wide one block high rectangles at the moment above and below the main rotating pattern but will see what I think up!

Here is the blanket so far. I am enjoy this so much and the hdc are extremely relaxing - an easy watching-TV-with-my-husband kind of project.