I do so want to try
But it's easier to sit and lie
On the bed, on the floor
Or head on out the door
There's a pattern to write
It will take me all night
Not to finish, but to start
And right now I don't have the heart.
Lucy, from Attic 24 is one of my most favorite bloggers ever. Her happiness and appreciation of the life she has is infectious and I check her blog every day to see what sort of wonderful thing she has her eye on. She crochets like a mad woman, bakes, hikes and keeps a beautiful, colorful, cozy home. Without a speck of pretension!
Lucy crochets, crochets, crochets. SHe has a great pattern for flowers that I have used to make a dozen or two happy blooms that I just leave lying around the house, always happy when they catch my eye. One of her many great projects is her crocheted bag. I started making this last May and could. not. put. it. down. I hooked my happy little heart out. I used my go-to cotton, Tahki Cotton Classic. This is a great mercerized cotton that is crisp, sturdy and intensely dyed. It's great for crochet. There are a zillion colors and while I have a healthy stash of it, I was on ravelry setting up trades to get even more so I could have just the right colors.
And what colors! The only color I don't love in this is the red, it's a little too zingy next to that hot pink but we learn as we go, eh? My straps are longer than the original pattern, about 20 inches long. I have them knotted so they sit nice and securely on my shoulder. I hate holding a bag in my hand, I need my hands for important things like coffee and my phone. I stitched the handles using the same color yarn as the stripes they intersect, helping to keep the stitching hidden.
This was a great project and I will be hooking hooking hooking again. I started crocheting about 2 years ago so I could make the Babette blanket. I never edged that because I have always intended to make it bigger, it's really a tiny little thing. I have been a knitter now 4+ years and while that's my first love, I think crocheting is a very happy complement. Really any excuse to go yarn shopping works for me!
Next up I am going to write my very first pattern. I crocheted a great scarf out Sirdar Snuggly Bamboo DK. The weight and drape of this yarn is wonderful for a warm weather scarf. Or when I'm freezing my badunkadunk off at work in the Artic. I actually work in a office but you wouldn't know it by how cold they pump the air! 74F people. 74F is ideal. Or 23C for my hordes of international readers.
It's late in the evening and I have to go brew up some homemade laundry soap. Yeah you heard right, I make my own laundry soap. There are sulfate sensitivities in the house and when I make my own laundry soap the skin irritations seem to subside slightly. Plus I feel like I'm sticking it to the man when I make my own. Screw you Tide!
I was inspired by Erika at Red Shirt Knitting which is another favorite blog of mine. She's a tech type of person who lives in a little cabin in the wood in the Pacific Northwest. She's extremely self sufficient and thrifty. She even has chickens! But I'm digressing. After googling how to make laundry soap this is my very unscientific method:
Grate one bar of ivory soap
Add it to about 4-6 cups of water on the stove. Boil until the soap is dissolved.
I let it cool a bit before I add to a gallon bucket with about a cup each of Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, not baking soda (got it at the grocery store).
I then add enough water to fill the bucket, stir it up little darling, and boom! Laundry detergent. It's kind of gloppy and lumpy but with a quick stir a ladelful does a load of clothes.
All right, innernets, I have work to do!
I know blogs are supposed to have pictures but I have some interesting details about my swatch experiment.
My suspicions were correct!
Poorly done chart via OpenOffice Calc and Microsoft Paint. yeah for free software!
Yeah, I went all fancified when I didn't take a picture of the swatches themselves. We're looking for data here anyways. As the chart above illustrates, my tension is 1.5 stitches per inch different between knitting flat and in the round. And since I don't like metal DPNs and I almost never ever knit with straights (except a great pair of rosewood 7s I got on Amazon) the difference between the Addis and the bamboo DPNs is pretty significant for me.
Previous entries were showing up with different numbers, these numbers are after a quicky steam block with the iron. I end all my FO's with a steam so this is really representative of how my knits will be treated.
While swatching is kind of a pain and I don't really enjoy it I'm glad I learned a little about myself and my technique. All knitters are individuals so I'm glad to have a little clearer insight about how I can expect yarn to behave in my hands. I'm not one to get too caught up in minutiae often, so I will use this info as a general guideline - I'm not about about to double 40 row/40 stitch swatches out of all my yarns!
I have a theory that I will get different gauge on the same yarn with different needles and different methods of knitting - circular vs flat, bamboo vs metal. I'm not one to swatch, I'm too impatient. But I have a healthy stash of Cascade 220 superwash and I bought the 60 Quick Knits for Cascade 220 that Grumperina reviewed. Her reviews always sell me.
So I was thinking that since there were a number of projects I would like to make from this book I decided that doing a number of swatches would satisfy a couple of purposes. I would like to find out if I have different gauge for different needles and methods (something I suspect with no evidence to support this suspicion), I would like to have a concrete knowledge of this yarn before I begin a mess of projects and I also want to find out if I'm a loose or a tight knitter.
Another good reason for this experiment is that this is my new blog and I needed something useful to write about to get me started. Onward with the specs.
The swatch above was knitted on Addi Turbos Size 6 which happens to be a needle I reach for often. I love Addi Turbos and size 6 was great for the large number of ball band dishcloths I made in my knitting history. My gauge, knitting flat in garter and stockinette, is 5 stitches per inch. Cascade 220 is recommended to be knit on size 7 for 5 stitches per inch (spi) so here I am a little loose. Their website states that size 6 needles will yield 5.5 spi. I cast on 40 stitches and did 20 rows of garter, 28 rows of stockinette and ended with 5 rows of garter. I wanted a big enough swatch to measure my gauge across a few inches for accuracy's sake.
The next swatch is 40 stitches on bamboo DPNs. Stay tuned for the next swatch!