Helpful Organizations

As a designer, I’m very interested in being involved in the fiber industry beyond just a fun social stitching group. Plus, I’m one of those perfectionist sorts who likes to make sure I’m doing things “right”. Knitting and crocheting don’t really have “rights” or “wrongs” as long as you’re happy with the end result. However, if you need some reassurance now and then or if you’re looking for sizing information or want to take your crafting to the next level, it does help to have some sort of standard to compare yourself to. I’ve been compiling a list of organizations that I refer to, and wanted share, in case anyone else would find it helpful.

  1. Craft Yarn Council – let’s just call them a one-stop shop for pretty much anything!
  2. The Knitting and Crochet Guilds of America – check them out if you’re looking to start a group or for masters programs.
  3. Ravelry – if I need to explain why you should be on Ravelry, then you’re in trouble! :)
  4. National Association of Independent Artists – for those of you interested in joining the craft show circuit and turning your craft into an art form.
  5. And for all my generous, big-hearted charity crafters – you already had a blog post all to yourselves. :)

If anyone knows of other organizations that you think should be on this list, please don’t be shy about sharing! We crafters are a good bunch – I’m very happy, proud, and fulfilled to be part of the community. Happy Friday to all of you!


Making Time

The writer of this blog calls it minimalism. I call it making more time for the things you truly love to do. Regardless of label, I seem to be feeling a theme this week in terms of wanting routine, organization and simplification. I thought this site was so soothing to browse, plus I love the ideas in the 30-day challenge and couldn’t resist sharing. The wardrobe and styling ideas are also indepth and worth the read, especially considering that us crafty types spend so much time making special pieces for ourselves. If you’re feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed, perhaps it will speak to you as it did to me.


Fun Studio Updates

I occasionally get in moods where I want to switch up my studio. The truth is, I’m not an overly organized person, and when I’m working, I’m very messy. I have books and yarn and supplies out everywhere, not to mention notebooks and sketchbooks because I take extensive notes about everything I do when I’m writing patterns. It doesn’t bother me when I’m working, but when I stop and look around me, I get the urge to reorganize and clear the decks. I love those magazine photos of artists’ studios in which there are pretty displays of markers and pencils, stacks of neatly folded and color-coordinated fabrics, and shelves of yarn that look as beautiful as a yarn store. A girl can dream, yes?

My problem, which is a problem for many others too, is that I don’t have dedicated studio space. I work in my living room, which must be shared with the whole family. So when I buy things for my “studio”, I have to be mindful that they are fun for me, but still suitable for a living room. If you are looking for some fun little updates, check out this site and do a search for one or all of these terms: yarn, crochet, knitting and have fun choosing. You can thank me later. :)


Set-In Sleeve Tips

I am currently designing a sweater/coat, meaning it’s a cardigan shape, but I wanted extra ease so I could throw it over jeans and a top like a jacket. It has been a very long, involved project because it involves color charts which I developed completely from scratch based on my inspiration photos. (More on all that later.) As you can imagine, I’m feeling lots of project fatigue at this point

As usual, the sleeves are the last part to be done. Unfortunately, I completed one entire sleeve only to realize upon bindoff that there was no way it would ever fit into the armhole. My efforts to incorporate added ease resulted in it being entirely too large altogether. But since failure is the opportunity to learn, I took the opportunity to evaluate what I missed in my calculations. Happily, I now have a much more promising-looking sleeve in the works. Below are my top three important factors to consider when you’re doing set-in sleeves – whether you’re adjusting an existing pattern or designing your own.

  1. Sleeve Length – you need to know the measurements from where you want the sleeve to end to where you want it to stop under the arm, as well as all the way to where it will be stitched at the shoulder. Of course, if you’re making a garment, you should swatch anyway, but this is extremely important for sleeves! Also, after you knit the swatch, WASH IT! Let it dry, and recheck your gauge. I made another sweater in which my gauge was consistent and accurate, but when I blocked the sweater, the sleeves ended up way too long because the fabric stretched by several inches.
  2. Cap Length – This length is calculated on a number of measurements, but it’s vital that you are accurate! (See Shirley Paden’s book to get in-depth information on calculations.) Essentially, the cap is what will extend past the under arm and cover the appropriate section of your upper arm and shoulder. It should be a curved, bell-shape and must fit the armhole of the main body of the sweater.
  3. Match Bindoffs - For a set-in sleeve to fit perfectly into the armhole, you need to match the armhole bindoffs. This is easily done, as you can simply refer back to what you did at the armhole bindoffs of the front and back of the sweater.

This is by no means a comprehensive guide to making sleeves, but if you are having trouble with set-in sleeves, perhaps a check of these three things will help you sort out your problem. I’m always happy if I can help someone avoid the same mistakes I made!


Black Bunny Fun

Stories of people who tire of their high pressure jobs and leave to go start a farm or retire to some creative utopia seem to resonate with lots of people. There are numerous books written around this theme which become bestsellers. I admit, when I used to work in corporate America, I dreamed about it too. I’m much happier with my job now, but I still enjoy reading about people who make a big change and meet with success. Bonus points when it involves the fiber industry! Black Bunny Fibers has such a backstory, plus just plain great product! I hope you enjoy browsing around on her site and blog as much as I did. I plan to go back from time to time, and do some shopping when I finally allow myself to start buying yarn again.


Crochet Innovation and Tradition

Sorry my posts have been a bit sparse, but I am finally getting recuperated and back to work. Many of you have asked me to recommend crochet artists and designers. I just read about this guy in Vogue Knitting, and I hope you’ll agree with me that his work was worth the search! He does tapestry crochet and truly turns it into art. I have never done tapestry crochet, but after seeing Diego’s work, I am inspired to learn. I hope those of you who have been searching for something innovative with crochet will find your inspiration here. Of course, the best innovation often happens with a new twist on an old tradition, which is the case with this work. Enjoy!


Reading Material

Reading-Material

In keeping with flu season, I am sick, and today is the fifth day I have a fever and pretty much have to stay in bed. I know it really is time to rest in bed when I’m too sick to even crochet or knit, as there is usually never a day that goes by I don’t pick up a project to work on. However, no matter how sick I am, I can’t sleep round the clock, so for me, reading is the next best thing. Here is my reading list, all of which is light reading, easily picked up again if you doze off in the middle. Take care of yourselves, and if you’re not sick, I think you will enjoy these anyway! Happy, and I hope, healthy reading!

Tory Burch: In Color – Lots and lots of gorgeous photos and color inspiration. Bonus for sick people – not a whole lot of reading, but beautiful browsing!

The Gentle Art of Domesticity – One of my absolute favorite books ever! Read a chapter, read it cover to cover, or again, just browse all the beautiful photography! The best word I can think of to describe this book is “soothing”.

The Knitter’s Life List – This book could also be interesting for crocheters – alot of the ideas about exploring the world of fiber apply to crochet as well. When you’re out of commission in bed, this book will help you dream up new projects to start when you are back on your feet.

Pom Pom Quarterly – I have my boss to thank for introducing me to this lovely little British publication. It covers knitting, crocheting, as well as a variety of related interests, and is a magazine I always look forward to receiving and reading from cover to cover.

 


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