Thursday, 12 April 2012

Trying New Stuff

I made a decision last week to not kill myself to finish the cot quilt before visiting the new baby.  I knew the journey to Dorset would be long and painful and starting the journey tired and in pain would not have been very sensible.  Once that decision was made I had a panic as I wanted to take something handmade to the new baby.  I did an emergency Skinny Kitty.

Skinny Kitty 06

I used Sirdar Snuggly DK and used less than half a skein.  I did a really small and sweet face using 4 ply sock yarn.  It was well received and all the other children in the room, plus the new baby's mum, wanted one too!  I enjoyed making this little kitty so much I decided that it was time to get back to toy making.  I bought The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger.

Knitted Monsters Book.jpg

Then, as I was ordering one book, I decided to add another one to the package.  I bought Textured Stitches by Connie Chang Chinchio.

Textured Stitches Book.jpg

Both books are great and I'll talk about them soon.  While I was waiting for my books, I decided to take advantage of a special deal to purchase a course from Craftsy.  If you haven't heard of Craftsy, it's an interesting new site that sells online crafting courses and you can sell patterns of all craft types.  I've loaded my patterns onto the site, including my free sewing patterns.  The site isn't perfect yet, but the concept is very exciting, and they are working on improving things all the time.

The course I signed up for was Amigurumi Woodland Animals and the course is taught by Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches. I've been an avid reader of Stacey's blog for a while now and I love her cute amigurumi creations.  I particularly like that her designs are a decent size for squishing.  I loved the 4 patterns that you get free with the course and decided it was time to dip my toe in the Craftsy classes water.

I have to say this new way of teaching is great.  I've only just started working my way through the class and all I have to show for it are two wings for the Blue Bird pattern.

Teal Bird 01

It is recommended that worsted weight yarn is used but I wanted the bird to be bigger than 6" tall, so I've decided to use some bulky acrylic yarn from my stash.  This is no longer a blue bird but a Teal Bird.  I haven't crocheted in some time and I learnt originally from a book rather than a person, so this was another reason I bought the course.  I've already learnt some new tips on counting rounds and stitches which was really useful.  You can start and stop the video classes and add notes to find relevant bits again easily.  There is also a space to ask questions and other students, as well as Stacey, can join in the conversations.  All in all, it seems a really great course and the way it is set up is fantastic.  It is pretty much the only way I can get to craft classes now, so I can see myself signing up for more of these in the future.

I'm enjoying the crocheting for a change.  All my knitting seems to be either garter stitch or stocking stitch, in the round, and it is making my left index finger hurt.  I'm mixing things up by crocheting and casting on another project that involves purling.  I've treated myself to casting on my Manos Del Uruguay Merino Silk Blend DK and doing a really simple single rib scarf to keep my index finger moving more.

Blended Scarf 02

I decided to try a new cast on for this and did some research on how to get a nice ribbed cast on.  I discovered the Tubular Cast On.  Woolly Wormhead has a great tutorial on how to do it.  I love how it looks.

Blended Scarf 01

It's such a nice flexible edge and it will stop the cast on edge flaring out the way my last single rib scarf did.

Noro Striped Scar

See how much better it looks, doing it the new way.  I find single rib very very soothing, especially when it is knit in gorgeous yarn.  This Silk Blend yarn is delicious and I know I'm going to enjoy doing this scarf.  There is no deadline, it is decadent and self indulgent knitting, at it's best.  Nothing is better while I am recovering from my trip to Dorset.  I don't know, two days days away and I'm a wreck!  Single rib is all I can cope with at the moment.  Hopefully I'll get my mojo back soon and I'll be able to get back to finishing off some of my long standing projects, until then I'm enjoying playing with toys and scarves!


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