Good afternoon, Dear Readers, including those stopping by as part of the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011. The blog week is actually on Day 5. Day 5's topic is an open-ended, experimental one, basically, anything you want to do. I'm not feeling the creative mojo for that kind of post and, since I've only done a couple of the topics so far this week, I'm going to go back in time and write on Day 2's topic:
Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP
Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?
So what have I done, fiber-wise, since this time last year? I typically photograph my projects so I'll peruse my pictures to remind myself of what's been going on.
My First Shawl - I was very pleased by how the Multnomah Shawl I made for my dear friend Stephanie turned out. It helped that the pattern is the outrageously popular and newbie-friendly Multnomah Shawl by Hello Knitty.
My First Sock - Ugh. Then there was another first, a sock. Pictures say a thousand words, but pictures of my first sock say the same word a thousand times over: fugly, fugly, fugly, fugly,....
Happily, one of my favorite things about knitting -- relatively quick improvement -- kicked in and there was...
...My Second Sock - The second sock (not a mate to the first, which I frogged) is going swimmingly. I'm quite a bit further along than you see in the picture below; just about to start toe decreases; might even work on that today.
Improved Seams - It's been a real pleasure to see my seaming skills improve. I cannot stress to newbie and/or stressed knitters enough that practice, practice, practice is the key to improved knitting. And sometimes it's just practice, practice and you already start to see improvement. In the post about the vest I knit for niece Kristen, I crowed about my side seams. I hadn't seamed many things before and I knew that the seams I had done before were not particularly well done. So I was very happy to see that the vest's side seams showed improvement.
New Stitch Techniques - I enjoy knitting dishcloths for a variety of reasons. 1) They're quick so I get the gratification of actually finishing something relatively quickly. Other projects, e.g., blankets, go on and on. 2) They're small so they're easy to tote around. 3) The stitch patterns are relatively easy to remember, or at least easy to 'read' from what you've knit so far, so you needn't continually refer to a pattern. 4) It allows one to try out and gain experience with new stitch patterns in a small piece. The dishcloths in this post all taught me something new (even the classic Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth); all I had to do was pay attention.
I haven't blogged about these dishcloths/patterns yet, but two of three stitch patterns were new to me.
E.g., I don't know that I'd done much seed stitch before, but the dishcloth on top has seed stitch in it. Previously, I had thought it would be tiresome, but I actually enjoyed it. The dishcloth offered a small project in which to practice getting a rhythm and regularity to seed stitching.
Blocking - I have discovered blocking and I love it. I invested in a large, folding blocking board and I love that, too (see the first picture above where the shawl is blocking). It is a bit awkward to store, compared to the interlocking floor mats some use, but I've found a few places where I can slip it behind something (e.g., a china hutch) and the cats won't fuss with it. That's the main storage concern; otherwise, I'd just leave it out against a wall. The cats do occasionally scratch the bottom of it (not the blocking side) if I leave it out.
Anyway, I will block anything. Feeling down and disheveled? Come on over and I'll block you into shape. I block pieces before seaming. It seems to make it easier for me to see the edge stitches and also get an idea of how the pieces will fit together in the final analysis. I block pieces again after seaming to make them look as nice as possible before giving them away.
Crochet - This might be stretching it a bit, but, technically speaking, I have started crocheting. I've crocheted some round cat toys, but there really wasn't much to them. Last night at Needlecraft Club, Jennie -- a dear fellow Clubber and such a patient teacher -- helped me get started on practicing the stitch pattern for the Crochet Clusters Afghan (free pattern from Michaels). I'm using the suggested yarn, Loops & Threads Country Loom. It's a bit fuzzy and it was difficult to see what I was doing so we switched over to a worsted yarn just for practice. I'm undecided as to whether or not I'll do the afghan in the suggested yarn because I'm finding it very hard to differentiate stitches. I may end up doing the pattern, just in a different, unfuzzy yarn -- maybe a chunky? -- so I can see what I'm doing. Progress so far is uninspiring:
To see posts by other bloggers about their improved skills, click here.