Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gloves for Mom


The other night I was out to dinner with my mom and she said, "You know that blue yarn you used to make my gloves?"  I thought back and remembered--it was a variegated wool that I picked up at the fancy yarn shop in town.

"Yeah," I said, "Why?"

"I lost one of my gloves so I was wondering if you could make me another." 

"I don't have any more of that yarn," I said, "But I could just make you a new pair..." 

And so I have a new project to motivate me to test-drive yet another pattern.  I'm using Debbie Stoller's magenta wool blend (love that yarn line!) which is the same yarn I used to make Mom a cowl at Christmas.  It's such a great color that my original plan to use the magenta and a purple yarn from the same line completely fell through, and I wound up using just the magenta for the project. 

I've started the pair and the pattern works (yay!) so I can add it to the collection of finished gloves.  Working on a bigger project based around my patterns, but shh--I'm not ready to talk about that yet ;-)

I also just finished a rapid crochet project to accomplish 2 goals: 1) get rid of some yarn! and 2) make a blanket for my boyfriend's freezing cold apartment.  It took me about a week and a half to do because I was very determined not to be cold anymore.  Haven't photographed the end result yet but I will--it's a striped number with some cream, black, grey, brown, red, and green shades to it.  That's right, I managed to use up a bunch of my yarn stock with this thing. 

Now I can finally go buy more yarn...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Substitution

Well hello.  Obviously it's been a while since I've posted.  This is not because I've stopped crafting, of course, but because I've been spread pretty thing lately.  Between the real job, the social life, the crafting, and the other hobbies, blogging has certainly taken a back seat--I mean, it's way more fun to do the stuff than to just sit and discuss the stuff, right?

And though I've been crafting, it's definitely been slow-going.  I was working on a pair of leg warmers (pictures at a later date...) whose second piece was a headache.  I'd started them because I've decided to try and knit (or crochet) up all the yarn in the house--no small feat--and I had these two almost-entire lovely rolls of soft grey acrylic yarn.
I'm not a fan of acrylic yarn.  It's fine when you're beginning, or if you're making something like a beer coozy or a phone case, but for clothing items it's mostly harsh.  Over the past few years, yarn producers have started coming out with some better blends of acrylics that maintain the low price of the standard bulk skeins but have a softer feel.  The yarn I had was Red Heart Soft in Charcoal, which I recommend as a better option for those beginners working on beer coozies.

I started the leg warmers in a Chevron stitch and they came out absolutely adorable, but as I neared the end of the second warmer I realized, "Oh, crap, I'm going to run out of yarn."  When the whole point of a project is to use up the yarn you already have, the last thing you want to do is create a situation where you need to buy more of that yarn.

But that's what I did.  And without even a bobbin of extra charcoal yarn in the house, I set out to try and find a third (argh!) skein.

What the hell, Red Heart?  Why did you discontinue this yarn?!  Or at least, why does it appear that way?  I went to the local stupid craft store (I call them stupid because they stock a lot of overpriced junk, and their yarn inventory always dip to near empty and stays that way for weeks before they re-stock anything) but I couldn't find the yarn even though that's where I bought it originally.  I thought.  I was pretty sure.

Pretty sure meant a trip to Walmart.  I know, right?  But they've recently started stocking yarn, and I go once a month to pick up a prescription and I thought, "Well, maybe that's where they have the yarn."  But no, they did not.

I even tried the local artisinal yarn shop on a long-shot, but as expected they only had fine Merinos and NoRo yarn or fancier acrylic blends.  No Red Heart anywhere on the shelves.

Over the weekend I toyed with the idea of dragging my boyfriend (who lives in the city) on a quick and painless (meaning one shop only, and only for that single skein of yarn) trip to another craft store, but quickly nixed the idea.  He's sweet to say he'll go with me, but who wants to do that to a someone who isn't into knitting or crafts?  I decided finally that even though it would mean waiting a little while longer, and paying shipping, I'd try to find it online.

But it is gone!  Gone, gone, gone.  No charcoal soft yarn anywhere in sight.  

Fellow crafters, I'm sure you can relate--nothing sucks like running out of a color and having to find a suitable substitute.  It means dragging your partially-finished project around in your purse and holding it up to potential candidates to see if it will be obvious that it wasn't your first choice.  I tried a Vanna White charcoal, but it had too sleek a look, and was just a shade too dark, and I knew that the last 2 inches of leg warmer would just scream "replacement yarn" if I went with it.  Eventually I settled on an odd choice: a grey yarn that was exactly the same shade as the original, only with the occasional weird fleck of cream or tan.  It's very weird--not your usual speckled yarn, which is why I chose it.  The base yarn was right, and the flecks were so few and far between, and so poorly woven into the grey, that they were easy to pull off.  I finished the leg warmer that night, after about 10 minutes of knitting, and sighed in relief.

And then I was on fire to finish all those crafts I'd left sitting in my craft space, untouched, for the past few months.  One of these was the Bulltrue Medal I'd started embroidering way back when I was blogging on the regular last summer.

That's right--it's finally finished!  And it came out pretty well.  The fabric was too dark to use my charcoal transfer paper on the front so I drew the image on the back, which meant I wound up free handing the last few bits of the grey diamond and you can totally tell when you compare the left side (thick) to the right side (skinny).  But I'm still happy with it, if only because it's finally finished.