Archive for November 2010

It’s kind of like the opposite of an aerial view

November 15, 2010

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Pattern: Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dyed (75% merino, 25% nylon), colorway Auburn
Needles: U.S. 1 1/2 40″ Options nickel fixed circulars

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During my trip to Atlanta, I needed two things from my knitting. I needed to be able to make progress on the hats project for Conway Cradle Care. And I needed fingering weight yarn so the hat wouldn’t be done in a matter of hours.

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Enter this skein of Essential (the sock yarn Knit Picks has now rebranded as Stroll), bought on clearance this past March as the site was getting rid of its 100g skeins under the old label. And enter a simple ribbing-and-stockinette floppy hat that uses upwards of 350 yards of it. Simple enough to knit in a meeting or a conference session. Slow enough to last the whole trip.

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In the skein you could barely see any color variation — a point that many buyers complained about when purchasing yarn marketed as “kettle dyed,” since that process normally results in randomly placed darker and lighter shades of the base color. But knit up, the variations are just noticeable. I didn’t know how they’d photograph, but take a hard look at the two close-ups above. Subtle, but just enough to give the simple stitch and shape depth and interest.

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Perfectly fashionable, perfectly light, perfectly warm, and perfect for the knitting I needed to do. Everybody wins!

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Fate steps in and sees you through

November 13, 2010

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Pattern: EZ Earflaps by Jeannie Kubricht
Yarns: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (100% acrylic), colorway Navy; Vanna’s Choice Baby (100% acrylic), colorway Sweet Pea; TLC Baby Amore Solid (100% acrylic), colorway Yellow; Baby Amore Multi (100% acrylic), colorway Seaspray
Hook: I-9/5.5mm

Over the past week, I’ve been working my way through the 43 pages (and counting) of the long-running Ravelry thread “Best Examples of Acrylic Awesomeness.” In post after post, knitters and crocheters pointed out that much-maligned acrylic yarn — basically plastic yarn — has its uses, especially when it comes to kids, charity, and gifts.

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The acrylic advantage cannot be denied when it comes to my class’s service learning project for Conway Cradle Care. We are crafting for teen parents and their babies. What we make — especially for the kids — needs to be machine washable and dryable on any heat setting. It needs to be no-thought-required care-free, because these young families don’t have the time or luxury to baby their clothes. They’re too busy babying their babies and trying to grow up fast enough to make it all work at once.

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There’s no local yarn store in my town stocking shelves full of natural fibers. My students don’t have the money to splurge on fancy yarn even if there were. That leaves the big box yarn sections, full of acrylic and acrylic blends. Luckily for us, that’s just what the project calls for. I admit that I got so excited about the colors and prices — and the ability to make hat after hat with materials perfectly apropos and right at hand — that I picked up another bag of the stuff last weekend so I could just keep going after my leftovers were used up. Above are the week’s worth of crochet baby hats, made out of scraps from Cady Gray’s Stripey Secret Book and my Woven Ribbons Blanket. Sizes from top to bottom: 0-3 months, 6-12 months, and gauge-and-stitch-count-got-away-from-me 12-24 months and beyond.

Acrylic awesomeness? I’ll let others be the judge. Acrylic aptness? Without a doubt.

In shock they stare and cue fanfare

November 8, 2010

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Pattern: Stripey Secret Book by Lucinda Guy, from Kids Learn To Knit
Yarn: Vanna’s Choice (100% acrylic), colorways Navy and Colonial Blue; Vanna’s Choice Baby (100% acrylic), colorway Sweet Pea)
Needles: U.S. 8 bamboo straights
Knitter: Cady Gray

Thirty stitches. One hundred twenty rows. Six-year-old hands on bamboo needles. A lot of smoothies and frappucinos.

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Three colors of yarn. four stripes. Joy when it came time to change them. Much discussion of harmony and contrast. Color you could feel. Color you could almost taste.

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A secret shared between knitters. Whispers whenever non-knitters were around. Felt pages stitched into a book to hold all the secrets of a childhood. Pins, notes, feathers. Whatever a girl might want to keep safe.

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Two buttons.  Two button loops.  Pride in a crafting accomplishment. A little girl polishes off her fourth finished object, and by far her largest. Now the secret can be told, and all the stripey goodness can be lavishly admired.