Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to fix lace mistakes

I have been knitting outdoors boy scout camping in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country and drinking earl grey tea from my charity store enamel tea cup and saucer. It has been a very busy week and I really needed it. Ah bliss!

I am really enjoying this pattern Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander. It's made up of alternating sections of garter stitch and charted lace. The yarn feels good and the tones are pleasing. It's Cascade Heritage 150 Paints - sale yarn purchased in the summer in Yarn Durango, Colorado.
I thought I could manage the lace sections without stitch markers. I'll just wing it I thought. I can do it. I often go without a stitch marker in crochet, the one that you usually put in at the beginning of a row when working in the round. I like a little challenge.
However, I messed up A LOT. So in went the stitch markers. And then even with these little handy guides sitting on my needles at 9 stitch pattern repeat intervals I messed up. I'd forget a yarn over or not make a note of my row when I put my work down. And then I'd have to go back. But as you may well know, taking back a lace pattern is not straightforward!
I worked out that it's easier to take back a little section between stitch markers, turning the work to it's wrong side to see the stitches more clearly. But there must be online guidance for this. Ta dah - I just found an amazing resource on The Twist Collective A knitter's guide to fixing mistakes. Part 1 is Minor Blunders with a whole load of useful info. Part 2 is Average Gaffes dealing with mistakes in cable and colorwork.

And then I found an excellent video on the Craftsy blog with Laura Nelkin How to fix lace knitting mistakes showing how to make a missing yarn over and work a forgotten decrease on the next row.
Obviously the easiest way to fix a mistake is not to make it in the first place and here is a great article from Poststitchbox with five ways to count your rows when knitting. I'm a fan of pink highlighter tape personally. What's your preferred method of keeping track?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Knit or Crochet Texan [Part 2 of 3]

I'm continuing with my series of blog posts on Knit or Crochet Texan. Here's a link to Part 1 if you missed it! I am really having A LOT of fun researching local yarn industry folk to include.

Local indie dyer: Little Monkeys Stitch n’ Spin
I ordered a kit last week from Little Monkeys using a Christmas Etsy gift card.  Don't you love it when your family buy you a yarn-related gift!? Dena is Houston-based and specializes in hand-spun yarn, custom crochet and supplies for fiber artists. I found Dena on Etsy using the handy shop location option at the bottom left hand side where you can refine your search. The kit has arrived. It looks amazing and I am being very strong and not starting it before finishing at least one or two of my current WIPs (works in progress). I have put the cute stitch markers to use straight away though on a scarf that I am knitting but that doesn't count as starting a project obviously.


Local designer: The Crochet Dude Drew Emborsky
On his Instagram profile Drew writes "A couple of years ago I started a blog and now I'm really busy." which I find rather amusing. When I've been teaching boys I tell them all about the Crochet Dude. He really is super famous. He has his own yarn line and his tools are available nationwide. I do actually own a set of his hooks. I've just lost myself on his website for the last half an hour and I think I have a new project. What do you think of this free crochet purse pattern: Chic on the Halfshell. Don't we always need a new purse?

Local podcast: Kitchen Stitches
I do love my podcasts. I wrote about five pleasing podcasts back in February. I included Kitchen Stitches which features three crafty ladies who I have actually met and crafted with in person: Somer, Katie and Darcy. They are long podcasts, over an hour, but there is a lot of content in there. They talk about current and finished projects and casting on soon, acquisitions, local events and what they are reading and watching and what's in the kitchen!! I have not listened to the last two episodes so I better bring this post to an end, get out my current project and catch up.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April is the month to #stitchawaystress

Interrupting my knit or crochet Texan series to tell you that April is Stitch Away Stress month. I must actually get around to scheduling these sorts of events into my calendar rather than realizing it's happening a few days into the month!! Maybe I'll get more organized next year or maybe not!

In observance of National Stress Awareness Month, the Craft Yarn Council have created the #StitchAwayStress campaign with knitting and crochet. All this month on their Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter pages, there are fun and unique ways to use these crafts to unwind, learn more about their stress reducing and mood boosting effects. There are also giveaways and more. Yay!

They recommend unwinding by stitching and squeezing away stress with an adorable Lemon Stress Ball pattern from one of my favorite all time designers Twinkie Chan. There are pdf patterns of crochet and knit lemons and a video tutorial here on the Craft Yarn Council Website. How handy! Here is a crochet lemon I made earlier. The pattern was excellent of course!


In New York City on April 18 the Craft Yarn Council will drop over 2,000 lemons made by knitting and crochet guilds across the country on people filing their taxes at the James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan.  Pam McKenzie in My Central Jersey writes

"Personally, I'm not sure I'd appreciate being pelted with knitted lemons at any time, but especially if I am filing my taxes. I find taxes incredibly stressful as it is. If someone handed me a knitted lemon, though, it might make me smile."

I love the campaign. I'm going to be following the hashtag #stitchawaystress for sure. I'm feeling motivated to get hooking so I can join in the pelting fun!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Knit or Crochet Texan [Part 1 of 3]

I really admire the mission of the Knit British podcast which is to Love Local Wool. I'd love to buy only British yarn but it would be a little tricky living in Texas although I do buy British when visiting friends and family on our summer jaunt to the UK.  But what if I wanted to knit or indeed crochet Texan? I think this topic is worthy of a series so this will be the first of three blog posts devoted to yarn industry folk local to me.

Local indie dyer: Inner Loop Dyeworks
My first thought is of local indie dyer Beth Bowers based right here in Houston. The store where I teach stocks her gorgeously vibrant skeins and I made a wonderful crochet shawlette from one of her exquisitely hand dyed yarns purchased in last year's trunk show. The yarn is called Heights and the colorway is Jewel Box. The pattern is the Rowan Berry Shawlette by Laurinda Reddig.

Local event: Houston Fiber Fest June 24-25
Where better to find local yarn folk than at a local event? This annual event takes place in June rather than July this year so I'm going to be able to attend. Hurrah! I took a little gander at the vendors list from last year. And there are so many I can include in my Knit or Crochet Texan series!

Local ranch: Bluebonnet Hills Alpaca Ranch
This caught my eye because the bluebonnets abound right now and I am more than a little obsessed with alpacas. Did you see my post entitled dreams of an alpaca farm? The ranch is around an hour from Houston, in Navasota, and they actually sell alpacas and run events too. On April 16th they have a Bluebonnet fiber tour which includes a visit to the alpacas and a yarn dying class. Just my kind of thing!

I'll pick out some more Texan yarn industry notables next week for you!