Tuesday, 29 March 2011

KCBW: Days 1 and 2 Combined

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011 is such a great idea, and I couldn't' resist taking part! Although I'm not usually one for blogging every day, I think all the questions are really interesting and relevant, so I'll double up on some of the days.

Question 1: A Tale of Two Yarns
"Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. 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."

Love: Mirasol Sulka
Knits in Question: Shoulder Warmer, Ravelympic Pullover, Mini Cardi.

Mirasol Sulka Yarn
What I Love: 
Oh, what don't I love about this yarn?? it's wonderfully soft, the colours are all richly heathered and prismatic, it's a dream to knit with, wears wonderfully, and the Mirasol yarn company does great work in helping disadvantaged, rural communities that tend to alpaca herds in the region. They have made great inroads in building a school, establishing a clean water supply, focusing on nutrition and education (illiteracy is extremely high in the region) for the children who work in this industry. Indeed, the company is named for a little girl in the area that was tending 3,000 alpacas when they started.

Loathe: Valley Yarns Huntington
Knit in question: My folded pullover.
 What went wrong: I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn. It was so soft and lovely and knit up like a dream. But when I went to wet block.... disaster. The dye bled, and the sweater grew to enormous proportions, so I put it in a tumble dryer to help get it down to a smaller size again, and it got all pill-y and fuzzy and old looking, right away. I know the photos don't show it- the lighting was fantastic that day and made everything look a lot more flawless than it really was. Yarns that grow immensely in the blocking stage just cheese me off in general. So does dye that bleeds.

Question 2:  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?"

I've expanded my world of cast ons and bind offs this year. The i-cord cast on was a new one for me, and the super stretchy bind off has pretty much rocked my world. I also have been using Kitchener stitch a fair bit, even though it's not my favourite, but I find this tutorial so helpful, and it's really not that bad. I also tried short row shaping for sleeve caps (for top down sleeves) and I'm a big fan of that. I'd like to advance my crochet skills- hopefully this is the year! This blog post is the big draw for me.


Tanis said...

That crocheted blanket it the exact thing that motivated me to learn to crochet! It's gorgeous! I've got to get back to work on mine...

Ashley said...

That crocheted blanket is beautiful! I've been seeing so many lovely crochet patterns these past few weeks and it's really inspiring me to learn. I need to work on learning new basics (cast ons, bind offs, non-ugly grafting, etc) this year. I do love my cable cast on, though.

Anonymous said...

What a great discovery that blog is! Thank you!

Alexandra said...

The Mirasol yarn does look lovely! What an interesting story, I had no idea the company does so much for the community.

I learned Kitchener stitch from the same tutorial, it's great! Short row sleeves are on my list of things to try, I don't like sewing in sleeves :D

Jacey said...

I've never used the Mirasol yarn, but your FOs in it are so lovely. When my yarn stashpact ends, I'll definitely have to try some!

Crochet is definitely on my list for 2011 as well. There are so many great creations we're missing out on!

Kasia said...

I should definitely try out Mirasol Sulka. It looks great! I've only knitted wit Mirasol Hacho (in love).

So glad you're participating in KCBW too!

Happy knitting and blogging,

A Playful Day said...

Argh, I nearly bought some Sulk in beautiful chocolate in the sale last week and decided to be a good girl and continue with the stashdown


Knit 1 LA said...

I have to thank you for turning me on to the super stretchy bind off, I use it so much now! What a difference! Have you done a kitchener cast on or bind off for ribbing? Once you do it you'll never be able to do ribbing without it, such a polished look.

Siga said...

I just checked out the video for the super stretchy bind-off. I have to try that one on my current project. It looks so easy, but if it works, I'm so in for it!

Voie de Vie said...

Thanks for this post - a lot of skill enhancement has to do with inspiration - and that's what I wrote about too, today. :)

Love the cowl design, btw - it's queued ... getting to it? Ah, that's another matter entirely.

Dana S said...

Hi everyone!

A few years ago I made a list of basic crochet tutorial links.
Some have videos, some have step by step photos and I really recommend each one of them (This is how I learned to crochet...)

You can find the list here:

Have fun knitting and crocheting!

Ursa said...

I LOVE Mirasol Sulka too! Wonderfully soft :-)

kingshearte said...

The super-stretchy bind-off is genius. I'm so happy I learned that.

Maryse said...

I love to read BCBW posts! And I always enjoy visiting your page! I've already learned about quite a few nice yarns that I've never knit with! Mirasol looks wonderful! Have a great blogging week!

yoel said...

The mirasol looks soo squishy and yummy! I'll have to look out for it here, I don't think I've seen it in the US.

CanarySanctuary said...

What great questions! I love your answers, too. I echo your feelings about Mirasol. Your pieces with it are gorgeous!

jawsie said...

Did you know that there is a Ravelry group for this type of crochet blankie, and more detailed, easier to follow instructions on it? The links are in the community...it's http://www.ravelry.com/groups/african-flower-swap
This makes me want to get into crocheting too!