Crafting Withdrawal

Well, all of my everything is now moved to the new place! But not, unfortunately, unpacked or organized in any logical fashion. In addition to the continued chaos of me having way too much stuff, I’ve also got the last month of the semester to wrangle with still – all of this has resulted in me not really crafting a damn thing since spring break. I’ve practically got the DT’s from this, I’m serious.

On the bright side, I happen to have had a big mindless knit project laying around, on which I could squeak in a few rows here and there in between moving and cleaning and class to relieve stress. So that no one got mysteriously disemboweled with craft scissors. Somehow.

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Full story on this thing is still to come, once I (finally) finish it. I’ve had it laying around for over a year, gradually consuming and assimilating various scrap yarns. However, it came out YUGE. Like, thrice as big as I meant it to – used up the scrap yarn thrice as fast of course, which is good, because I have this whole bag full of it:

DSCN7891Still, I need to adjust it somewhat before presenting it in all its massive glory.

But first, writing papers and unpacking. Cringe.

-MF

 

Skinny Scrappy Scarf!

My lovely friends have often shown up at gatherings exclaiming “I have yarn for you!” – and this is a situation to be thoroughly enjoyed. However, I can’t always find a use for every single one of these yarns, among them long-forgotten cheap acrylics from granny’s attics, abandoned yarn sale yarn, and other orphaned skeins.

Some of these yarns have a lot more merit than others – and I try to use everything I can possibly use, because it is a rare occasion that I can bring myself to evict the yarn from the Sad Yarn Orphanarium.

However, I finally said goodbye to a huge bag full of old yarn that I just knew I wasn’t ever going to use (and actually most of it was stuff that I had bought :P) It’s slated to go to Goodwill, where it might be just the thing some other stitchmaster needs.

As a result, my yarn wall looks a lot less scary. This has virtually nothing to do with the following project. I’m just proud of myself.

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I cheated. I still have a lot of yarn that isn’t on that wall. BUT, at least I no longer fear an avalanche.

Okay, it’s not totally unrelated, because while I was cleaning I rediscovered some old handspun and some other bits and pieces that would look nice together and got inspired to create a scrap-buster project!

This little skinny scarf combines beading, crocheting, and knitting to create a unique artsy accessory that’s great for using up small lengths of yarn.

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Skinny Scrappy Scarf

Materials Needed:
20 g packet of 6/0 seed beads
1 beading needle
#10 cotton crochet thread
2.10 mm steel crochet hook
12.5 mm knitting needles
An assortment of yarn scraps, preferably 15-20+ yards each

  1. First, grab your beading needle, crochet thread, and half of your packet of beads (set the other half aside). Your amount doesn’t have to be exact. String the beads on your crochet thread.
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  2. With your 2.10 hook, start chaining the crochet thread. Every 15-20 chains (again, we’re not worried about exact numbers here) grab a bead and include it in your stitch.

    Continue beading & chaining until you run out of your first half of beads and you have a nice little beaded strand ball. Cut the thread and tie it off. You can go ahead and make a second ball from the other half of your beads now, or (if you are sick of chaining like I was) you can wait until you’re ready for it later.
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  3. Using your beaded strand and two other yarns, CO 6 sts to your 12.5 mm knitting needles using three strands.
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  4. Using all three strands, knit the next row. Purl the next row. Repeat, alternating knitting and purling and tying in new yarn strands whenever you run out of one.
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  5. Once you have your scarf almost the length you’d like (for me this was about 60″), replace one of your strands with the second beaded yarn ball and continue knitting until you run out of beaded cord. Bind off and weave in all of your ends.

I like the beaded cord because it gives the ends a nice swing-y weight! These also make pretty good handmade gifts, since they don’t take a ton of time to make.

Here in the midwest it’s getting pretty nippy outside… maybe a nice free cowl pattern is more weather appropriate for you?

-MF

 

Bernie Beanies, etc…

Right, so, this is the type of post where I picture-dump some of the projects I have been working on lately but haven’t had time to talk about individually. I’ve been creakily trying to finish up some of the colder-weather projects that had remained in limbo before I switch gears and everything turns all bright and cotton and mandala-y!

So here’s the third Bohemian Fringe Poncho, worked with an alternative yarn to Bernat Roving, to great success…

This one, like the other two ponchos I made while designing the pattern, are for sale in my Etsy shop!

Next up is a rare thing on this blog… a finished knitting project. I love knitting, but I am woefully neglectful of my knitting projects since I am always so busy with crochet / spinning / dyeing. But since this one was a commission, I was obliged to finish it in a timely manner.

I was stoked on this project when it was requested, because I support Bernie for President, because I am pretty obviously a liberal hippie feminist pinko commie who hates The Man. TRAMPLE THE PATRIARCHY.

Whew, okay. I also made this blanket over Winter Break.

My notes can be found on the Ravelry project page for this! I used 8 different colorways of variegated yarn, 15 skeins total. It was mega fun.

The weather here was great today, continuing the tradition of a mid-January Indiana warm-up to really mess with our sunshine-starved heads before it dumps more snow out of the sky. I took advantage of the mild temps to do a photoshoot for my upcoming pattern.

Which is going to rule.

But you’ll just have to wait and see.

-MF

Doing All the Things!

So, the week before Thanksgiving Break was a little nutty, but I managed (with a little foresight and pre-planning) to still get my new Rhiannon Hooded Cowl pattern rolling AND conquer the papers and projects due before the mid-semester holiday.

Here’s a couple of other things I’ve finished up now that the craziness is on hold until the last stretch of the semester.

 

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Super-bulky knit headband! I confess I have been drooling over mega big knitting and wanting to make something rad and chunky, so that’s what I did, using this amazing free knitting pattern from Margo Knits.

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I used Martha Stewart Crafts Lofty Wool Blend from Lion Brand, and I just might have to make more. I love the bold oversize style mixed with the classic, simple cable lines in neutral tones that don’t overshadow the stitching.

It sort of reminds me of Swedish Christmas bread or Challah bread! But for your head. If you like this piece but don’t knit, the Braid Crown Earwarmer can be found in my Etsy Shop for a super decent price.

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I love this yarn so much I might never do anything with it except for pet it. This is my first “professional” yarn done on my wheel – professional as in having the colors and texture pre-planned as opposed to experimentally cobbling whatever wool was at hand.

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4 oz of solid color persimmon merino blend plied against 4 oz of variegated (blue,brown,yellow,orange) BFL blend from the LYS. These are the exact colors I saw all around IU and Bloomington during the long, mild October and early November we had here.

A mild autumn that’s come to an end! Freezing and snow are at hand for this weekend, and I’m planning a break that is crammed full of as much yarn and hearty vegetarian fare as I can manage.  Off to spin all the wool and eat all the gourds!

-MF

Shrooms ‘n’ Sales

A busy (but productive) Friday morning during my fall break means more shop listings and sales and fun stuff!

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First off there’s a SALE on my Painted Desert mega long scarf/wrap – $20 bucks OFF! It’s just too cozy and pretty to sit alone in my storage this autumn.

I also finally added a few of my favorite projects to the shop: mushroom medicine bags / lighter keepers. I’ve been making these for years and I just love them – they are perfect for holding your lighters, pocket money, or any other small items you like to keep handy.

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And those pretty falltones I was playing with turned into a very special pair of elbow-length fingerless gloves, the “Avalon Armwarmers.”

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As a young teenager I fell in love with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon and have re-read it several times since, as well as the subsequent novels in the series. These gloves have that silvery, ethereal quality I imagined her Isle of Avalon to have..

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I’ve also got yet another new pattern in the works, one that I developed out of necessity for my Halloween costume (which as usual I am doing DIY). But you’ll just have to wait and see!

-MF

Tidbits Linen Stitch Bag

Remember Tidbits Linen Stitch? That was only my second post, from what seems like a million years ago (but was only 6 months). Well, that delightful diversion remained hanging from the knitting needle at the very bottom of my WIP basket since I posted that little tutorial. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been cleaning up old hangers-on and scribbling their names out of my project notebook. In the case of this little swath of linen stitching, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it… it was just a matter of getting it done.

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A simple envelope style bag. The ultra-bright colors and the woven look-alike stitch reminded me of the beautiful textiles of South America. The use of various yarn weights and russian joining (which produces some frayed ends poking out here and there) adds to the folksy, rural feel of this piece (aka – messy looking), which I accentuated by adding little tassels made from my handspun, Andean-plied Targhee sample and finishing with an I-cord strap, from the same handspun.

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Andean plied Targhee

The awesome thing about this bag is that it is made exclusively from yarn bits that were under 20 yards in length. I love projects that challenge me to use things that are otherwise doomed to non-usefulness.

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As with my last finished WIP, I am really tempted to start another of these right away!  Watching different colors blend together using linen stitch is fun, with the added advantage of a simplistic stitch pattern to zone out on. Linen stitch creates a right side (the woven looking side) and a wrong side (the bumpy garter stitch looking side), so a fold-over bag like this is a great way to use the fabric so that the right side is featured and the wrong side stays hidden.

 

-MF

Extra Long Convertible Wrap – “Painted Desert”

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The debut of a piece I’ve had stuffed in my bin of finished projects for over a year! I was finally able to get out and photograph this thing the way it deserves – with help of course from the resident fashion assistant, Chaston. “Painted Desert” is a super long convertible wrap, knit in layers of variegated boucle yarn and recycled sweater yarn, with a gradation of colors designed after the gorgeous geology of the American southwest.

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This thing was so long when I knit it that I actually snapped a knitting needle in half trying to cram the stitches onto the needle (I didn’t own circular needles at the time). Granted, it was a vintage plastic needle, but still… It was a tense hour afterward trying to transfer all those stitches onto a different needle without dropping one!

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The structure is one loooooooong rectangle stitched into a giant loop, topped with six horn-shaped toggle fastenings on one side. This allows the wearer to adjust the piece to hang in a myriad of different ways – poncho style, belted shawl, infinity scarf, and more.

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Length: 91 inches laid flat

Width: 19 inches

Visit my Portfolio page for the full photo gallery for this piece.

Lately I’ve been turning my attention to documenting my backlog of projects, but I’ve got a few tutorials and new patterns in the works as well, so stay tuned. In the meantime you should check out my Pinterest boards for other awesome projects relating to knit, crochet, sewing, and refashioning ❤

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-MF