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Something To Aspire To – 2KCBWDAY6

“Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make but can admire the result of those that have.”

Since I’ve been only knitting/crocheting for little over a year, there are TONS of skills and types of knitting that I’ve yet to try and conquer! Some of them are quite are very intimidating, while others I’m not as interested in. One of the main reasons I got into crafting in the first place was to take something that I loved from the geeky world of video games, anime, cartoons, and comics and make them into something with crafts. I wanted to learn amigurumi, mochimochi, and sewing dolls. So far I’ve learned to read and follow patterns of other people’s design, but now I want to make my own.

There were so any instances that I would get ideas of how a something from my geeky interests would be cool if it was made into a cloth-type doll or figure. I would see people post things on the internet of their creations and homage to a video game character, the various Sackboy creations from Little Big Planet, and anything created from the Super Mario Universe.

Now, that I’ve learned the basic skills, I’ve decided to start creating. With the various books from the picture, I’m going to use them as aides in figuring out how to make my first mochimochi pattern. My goal is to make a Bitey doll from the video game CreaVures by Muse Games.

I have a friend or two that works for Muse Games. They are an indie video game developer that makes games you can play through your browser or with Steam. The game came out recently and from watching the previews, it looked right up my alley. After I started playing the game, barely a few minutes in I became enamored with Bitey. I immediately thought about how awesome it would be to have a mochimochi doll of him; how it would be cool if I made him; also how difficult it would be to make it. A new challenge has arrived. I want to make Bitey. The funny and sad thing is that I was in the mood to play video games and as soon as I started, I became more interested to go back to knitting! I really need to go back to playing the game sometime.

Look at him! Isn’t he adorable!? Now of course there are many questions to how to make him: Will I incorporate his fluorescent colors? How will I add the different colors into the work? How will I make the eyes? These are all very tough and important questions that I face, but am ready and willing to take on. Let’s hope I can accomplish this task.

Wish me luck!

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And Now For Something Completely Different (Sorta) – 2KCBWDAY5

“This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create. There are no rules of a topic to blog about, but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog.”

This topic was a bit of a challenge to me. I honestly had no idea what to do for this post until yesterday. This post isn’t as creative as one would hope, but it shows a different part of my creativity with crafts and making things. I’ve actually been meaning to post these projects for a while now, so it actually turned out to be prefect. Before the knitting and crocheting, there was the sewing.

It all started with me finding this book: Cute Stuff by Aranzi Aronzo. It’s a creative book filled with so many cute designs of dolls, crafts, and other appliques that required the skill of sewing. So I bought a Singer sewing machine on sale along with several yards of different color fleece and various fabric quarters of vibrant colors and designs and started creating!

One of my first creations was this bear scarf that I made as a Christmas present for a friend. It was a pretty simple design that required me to learn how to use a sewing machine. After reading through the manual and watching several videos on YouTube, using a sewing machine was a cinch. I also learned about that there are things called cutting mats and rotary cutters. They are quite handy when having to cut long pieces of fabric.

One of the next scarves I made out of fleece and felt was the Rose Crescent from the Ohtori Academy from the anime Revolutionary Girl Utena. I made it for a host of a podcast called Geek Nights. He’s a big fan of the series and the scarf seemed fitting. The Rose Crescent is made out of felt and was hand sewn onto the scarf. I really like how you can just cut fleece it doesn’t fray and looks nice and neat.

These are the final two scarves I made out of fleece and felt. The one on the left is a black and white Dutch Bunny scarf. I made it for a friend who adores bunny rabbits. It was actually a very fun and challenging scarf to make because of the different colors. The pink nose and mouth was a tad bit difficult to sew on, but with the help of glue it worked out. I also had to hand sew on the white stripe on the face. My sewing machine skills weren’t that great to be able to do a curved line.

The final scarf is the Battlestar Galactica logo I made as a Secret Santa gift. The logo is made out of felt and has hand sewn on completely. It was a lot of work to get the logo cut out in individual felt pieces as well as sewn together. I don’t think I ever want to do another scarf like that again. I know it looks really cool, but too it’s not as fun as knitting.

Well those are some of the projects that I’ve made before knitting. It’s funny that I have yet to complete a scarf from knitting. I do have that Longcat scarf I could finish, but if I were to knit a scarf, I would probably start with another one. I have a few ideas of what I would want for a scarf, but that’s a project that I don’t plan on working on until later in the Summer or perhaps Fall.

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Where Are They Now? – 2KCBWDAY4

“Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.”

Instead of a finished project, I decided to write about an unfinished project that continues to haunt me in shame. The Longcat Scarf was one of my first projects that I’ve started back in June 2010. It was also my first time dabbling with the technique of double knitting. Double knitting really isn’t as hard at it seems, just takes twice as long to complete a project since you’re knitting both sides at the same time. It just gets very tedious having to alternate between knit and purl stitches with every stitch. It also isn’t easy holding two different strands of yarn in one hand either.
They do have yarn guides that help with that, but I found that using the normal method of holding the working yarn to be fine.

I worked off and on the project for a few month and the stopped altogether. One of the main reasons why I stopped was there were other projects I found that I would rather do. I also discovered throughout those months that there was other types of yarn other than the Red Heart Super Saver Yarn. I realized that knitting with the 100% acrylic yarn was not as pleasant as knitting with merino wool. I best describe it as scraping fingernails on a chalkboard. The yarn is just so rough on the needles. However, it’s probably best to use that yarn for the scarf because the scarf is supposed to be over 6 feet long. That’s a lot of damn yarn to use.

After about knitting 5 feet, I put the scarf away in one of the many bags of project storage that I showed in the previous post. I just lost the desire to knit it. I had many other projects that piqued my interest that I did. Other wonderful skeins of fine fiber that elated my knitting experiences.

Perhaps soon, when I have the need the do some mindless knitting, I’ll pull this project back out to finish it. The project was originally intended for myself, but because I don’t like the fiber, my boyfriend said he would happily take the scarf. I just need to make it VERY LONG. Taller than he is and he’s 6’4″.

So be on the lookout for future FO posts. It might actually be this scarf that will be on there.

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Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches – 2KCBWDAY3

“How do you keep your yarn wrangling organized? It seems like an easy to answer question at first, but in fact organization exists on many levels. Maybe you are truly not organized at all, in which case I am personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are organized, blog about an aspect of that organization process, whether that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display of your crochet hooks, your organized stash or your project and stash pages on Ravelry.”

The topic is true to what is says, “…organization exists on many levels.” I would say that there is an organization to my disorganization of yarn, needles, and tools.

I’m slowly, but surely and finally uploading all my yarn to my yarn stash on Ravelry. So far, I’ve upload my favorite skeins to my stash. I still have many more to add. I am very particular when putting things up on Ravelry. I try to make sure everything is detailed as possible and the images are clear. It took me a day to upload what I have. I then realized it’s going to take me much longer to upload the rest. Doing this process has made me realize that I have A LOT of yarn, but you will all agree that there is nothing wrong with that. :3

All my yarn that is not being used in any projects are safely stock-piled in those 3-drawer roll-away cabinets. It makes it easier to transport to and from rooms. I recently purchased a second cabinet and hopefully I won’t need to purchase a third. I do have a third one, but that contains non-yarn items. I guess it will be my “just-in-case” cabinet.

I try to keep my skeins with similar skeins in each drawer. Certain drawers contain only Cascade Eco Wool, while others contain only Lion Brand Wool-Ease or Thick ‘N Quick. Even the bastard child Red Heart Super Saver yarn has a draw. It’s the bottom drawer though, out of sight and rarely to be opened.

In my apartment we have two couches: the full size and the love seat. The love seat is NEVER used, so it has now been deemed as the “Yarn Bag Couch”. I basically took it over and amassed my many bags that I’ve collected over the years and recently. They are filled with knitting supplies, tools, and current or hibernating projects. Yes, I have A LOT of bags, but at least they are cute and geeky! I can’t help it. Whenever I see a cute bag on sale, I immediately think it would make a perfect project bag and I purchase it.

These are the tools I always have with me: knitting instructions in sheet protectors on a clipboard; Knitpicks Harmony Wood Interchangeables; circular and crochet needles; handy-dandy notebook; and various tools like stitch markers, rulers, able needles, etc.. in clear bags. They are always in my current knitting project bag. I like how makeup bags make really great knitting containers as well as pill containers. Buying normal knitting storage supplies at the local craft store can be pricey so it’s always nice to find more frugal ways to store your tools. Perhaps in a future post, I’ll give a more in-depth look into how I store all my knitting notions and supplies.

As for projects, Ravelry is a great website for me to keep track of my projects and to share them. There are times where I procrastinate like a college student on updating complete projects. Eventually, I will get them up there and then eventually, I’ll make a blog post about it. If anything, Ravelry has been a great website for me to find wonderful patterns and be a bit more social with people who share my passion.

Hopefully one day, I’ll have all my yarn uploaded to the Ravelry Stash, I will have better containers and storage, and perhaps a room for all my crafting! For now, my comfy living room couches and roll-away cabinets will have to do.

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Skill +1UP – 2KCBWDAY2

“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?”

This topic is somewhat moot because it has been a little over a year since I started knitting and crocheting. Practically everything I’ve done over the entire year has been new to me in regards to skill and knowledge. It would be ridiculous to write about all the various things I’ve learned this past year as well as too much to read. I’ll just stick with a few specifics.

I think of all the things I’ve learned this past year, my favorite new skill would be crocheting amigurumi and knitting mochimochi.

My original intent of crafting began with wanting to cross-stitch various video game character and cute characters of the anime world. I wanted to also sew and create various stuffed plushy dolls. Everything I loved and adored with video games and anime, I longed to see it somehow created by my own hands. After a several months of knitting, I decided it was time to learn how to crochet and start doing amigurumi.

I’ve always heard that learning to crochet was a lot easier than knitting. They were right. It’s not that knitting is necessarily more difficult than crocheting, I feel that knitting needs a few extra skills. It’s like driving a manual car vs. an automatic. Once you learn how to drive a manual, driving a manual is a lot easier.

Like knitting, I used the wonderful world of the internet and it’s plethora of video tutorials to teach me the basics of crochet and amigurumi. The Amigurumi Tutorial on Hooks & Needles taught me most of what I needed to know on how to crochet for amigurumi. The video tutorials are most excellent and are highly recommended for those wanting to learn.

As you can see from the image, it’s an orange Cthulhu. It’s actually a prototype I made using the pattern from Cthulhu Crochet & Cousins. The prototype turned out quite nicely. I was amazed at how versatile and flexible crocheting can be in regards to creating various shapes for amigurumi. I also was impressed at making the tentacles for Cthulhu. It looked very difficult to do, but after following the instructions, it was easy-peasy.

Since knitting was now second nature and I tackled a few amigurumi projects, mochimochi was the obvious next step. Mochimochi is pretty much amigurumi, but with knitting instead of crochet. It’s can be more useful in certain projects vs. amigurumi. Most of the patterns I am working on, if not all, are from Mochimochi Land. I also purchased Anna Hrachovec’s book, Knitting Mochimochi. This book has beyond the most adorable tiny knitted toys. The next mochimochi project out of that book I plan on working on are the Squirrels on Wheels.

Mochimochi is also another hobby I really want to devote my future knitting project creations on. There as so many cute and adorable characters in video games and anime that I want to make mochimochi or amigurumi out of. I am currently working on a project of my very own on creating a mochimochi of a video game character that I became enamored with from the first moment I saw it. I actually stopped playing the game so I can start writing notes on how I wanted to make the mochimochi of it. Yes, it’s sad, but as a knitter, you know of what I speak!

There are many more skills I look forward to learning in the knitting and crochet world. I always try to incorporate something new to learn with each project I do. Several of my future projects include learning new things such as: sock knitting, blocking, treble crochet, and more mochimochi and amigurumi projects.

Learning something new will always keep my passion for crafting continue until my hands fall off! (Let’s hope that never really happens. ^^;;)

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A Tale of Two Yarns – 2KCBWDAY1

“Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.”

It’s been little over a year since I’ve been knitting and within that year I’ve practically turned into a yarn snob. I remember first starting off with the tried and somewhat true 100% Acrylic yarn of Red Heart Super Saver to where now I can no longer stand to use that yarn unless it was needed.

Now, there is nothing wrong with using inexpensive yarn nor is there really any true horrible yarn. Every yarn has their purpose and every knitter/crocheter has their preference in yarn. As for myself, I am no expert with the many variations of fiber, but I’m also no novice. I would say I’m an artisan. There are many different types of yarn that I have yet to have the pleasure of working with, e.g., bamboo, llama, mohair, and cotton. I look forward to eventually working with them.

But anyhoo, back to the main subject at hand.

Lion Brand Homespun Yarn:

Soft, silky and beautiful! A uniquely textured yarn that works up quickly and easily. From shawls to sweaters to throws, this yarn can’t be beat for softness and sheer touch-ability. With solids, heathers, and beautiful self-striping “painterly” colors, Homespun comes in gorgeous shades you’ll love.

The description is genuine, but it also does not reveal its deep and dark secrets:

  • Can’t really see the stitches.
  • Complicated stitches and patterns would seem almost impossible or too difficult to use.
  • Needles get caught into the fiber strands easily.
  • Texture of the yarn limits the ease of movement and gets caught or stuck within itself.
  • Exposed ends become unraveled.

  • Now don’t get me wrong, there are several things that I did like with this yarn. It’s very soft and silky; the colors are vibrant; the twirly texture of the yarn enhances garter stitches; and the yarn gives a nice fuzzy look and feeling. The main thing with this yarn is that you have to pay attention in knitting your stitches to make sure your needle tip doesn’t go in-between the strands.

    The first time I used this yarn, I was using a complicated pattern where the stitches were getting caught amongst one another and there were loose strands everywhere. It was so frustrating that I just threw away the entire project along with the whole skein of yarn. I probably won’t ever be using this yarn again, but for those who can work with it, my hat is off to you.

    Now for another yarn, Berroco Pure Merino:

    Pure Merino is a cabled, multi-plied gourmet basic yarn that is spun from 100% extra fine merino. In a palette of 46 shades this washable wool is perfect for all members of the family including babies.

    I love merino yarn. Many of my special hand-dyed skeins of yarn are made out of merino. I especially adore superwash merino. The fiber works so well with any sort of knitting. The ease of each stitch is more enjoyable after the next.

    As you can see from the merino project above, the knit and purl stitches look so uniform. I always find it intriguing that the knit stitches don’t look like the normal “V” shape, but as alternating straight lines and slanted lines. The yarn also has a nice “smoosh” feel to it. You know that smooshy feeling to where you squeeze your project to get the feel of it and that bouncy feeling it give with every squeeze. I know I’m not the only knitter out there that does and think this.

    As for other fibers, I’d like to give a special shout out to the Cascade line of Peruvian Highland Wool and their Superwash line as well. Also to the Lion Brand Wool-Ease for being fairly inexpensive and easy to work with. And also any MCN (Merino Cashmere Nylon) skein of yarn. The skeins I have that are MCN are specially dyed by my friend, Nuri of Dyet Yarns. She does wonderful colorwork and chooses great fiber.

    (Woohoo! One post down, only 6 more to go. >___<)
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Mittens To Match The Cowl

It’s Spring now and what better way to celebrate by making mittens that I won’t be able to use until next Winter. >__>

Well, I’ve been wanting mittens for a while now to keep my fingers warm where my fingerless gloves couldn’t fulfill. As always I found the pattern on Ravelry. Now, don’t laugh, but these are the gloves that can be found in the Twilight movies that Bella wears. It’s a simple horseshoe cable pattern that is very easy to follow. It actually compliments my cabled eyelet cowl quite nicely.

I used the same Plymouth Baby Alpaca yarn that was used to make the cowl. I’m obsessed with green. It’s the best color. Also I wanted alpaca because it’s so soft and it keeps my hands hands warm. If it’s one thing that I really can’t handle is cold hands and fingers. Fellow knitters can understand this because you can’t knit if your fingers are chilled to the bone.

Anyhoo, it was a quick project. This was one of the first projects that I used Magic Loop Knitting. It’s quite possibly one of the best methods for knitting small projects in-the-round. It’s also convenient if you only own interchangeable needles and no DPNs. As much as I like using DPNs, I predict many of my future small circumference in-the-round projects will be done with the magic loop method vs. DPNs.

Don’t forget that next Monday is the launch of the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! The countdown has begun, and I’ve been diligently working on each topic. So keep posted, and you will see knitting/crochet bloggers from around the world post about our glorious passion/addiction to all things yarn. If I don’t live up to this goal, I will forever hide in shame!

Practicing my hiding in shame!

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