Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Yarn Dyeing

I've been keeping at my yarn dyeing for a couple months or so now. I have progressively gotten better and learned where I was making errors and how to stop it from happening again. Here are some of my favorite completed yarns:
The top one I called "Antique". The middle one is "Walking With Strangers". And the bottom one is "Truffle". The first two have been sold, and the bottom one - as of this writing - is for sale in my Etsy shop.

I feel my progress has been quite good, and am very satisfied with the finished products I've created. I think they're about as nice as anything you find that's been commercially produced. It's difficult to part with them sometimes, because I would love to work up some socks in these colorways. But they weren't made to stay with me. So I eventually will be saying goodbye to them all.

Still, I will likely dye some for myself at some point. One can never have enough sock yarn!

If you're interested in "Truffle" or want to see some of my other finished yarns, please drop in and take a look at my Etsy shop!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My adventures in yarn dyeing

I've decided to pick up yet another yarn related hobby: yarn dyeing. I figure, it's cheaper and easier for me to get the yarn in the colors that I want if I just do the dyeing myself. Heck, maybe I can get good enough at this to make a little extra income on it, even!

Unlike when I started knitting and crocheting, my first attempts were not as... presentable. I started with 2 skeins of 100% wool fingering weight yarn I'd intended to use as socks. The very first one I dyed a sunny yellow. It was a pretty, happy yellow. I'm not normally a fan of that color, but this was pleasant. Sadly, the skein was so tangled up and felted that it was not usable. The second skein was a cobalt blue, which came out much better. Here it is drying a day or so after being dyed:

I was skeptical about it while it was drying. It looked like it was going to turn out too frizzy. But, after drying all the way, it smoothed out. Now here it is rolled into a hank:

Muuuch nicer looking, as you can see! Looks like the kinda stuff you might find at a festival booth, maybe. And, as it turns out, it's very soft! I'm currently knitting it into a pair of socks.

I had 3 skeins of 100% wool to begin with, but after it's used up, I don't think I'll be working with it anymore. I have some wool/nylon that seems softer and just a nicer quality than this was. So I may just continue to use that yarn instead if the results turn out favorable.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Ratings Systems" and the Bullies That Abuse Them

This kind of does and kind of doesn't have anything to do with knitting or crocheting.

I know this isn't just me. I know this because I've heard complaints from others and have seen these things with my own eyes in action. I don't know if it has something to with how a person can be "anonymous" on the internet, and therefore can act like a complete jerk and get away with it. In other words, a bully.

As a member of Crochetville, I see it a lot more in the moderators than in the members of the community. They seem to have their heads up their butts about copyright when they have no idea what they're talking about. I even had one of them once tell me she lunched with her lawyers quite regularly just to talk about the website. WHY would you even waste money on something like that, if it were the truth? It's a website. Red Heart, Caron, or whatever yarn company isn't going to waste time and money putting people on the internet to go looking for websites that "violate their copyrights". They wouldn't bother putting up all the money and effort to sue some stupid little webpage for some minor little crap because it isn't worth it to them. And their approach to their members is, frankly, horrible. I never see them saying anything, anywhere, unless it's to scold somebody for something stupid. That's one of the reasons I don't bother with that place so much now.

I tried other crochet communities and even attempted once to make my own. But, as I've seen with a lot of older communities, people are not willing to leave for something better. Even when they're not happy with the current state of the community they're in. WHY this is, I will never know.

I'd joined with Ravelry at some point in 2007, if I remember right. And I'd basically let the account sit, poking at it once in a while. Then someone from Crochetville told me how much more polite and helpful people there were. So, I decided to go dig around and see what there was to be seen. And, really, when I first started to get involved, it WAS very friendly and nice. However, as the sad state of everything seems to be, it got worse and worse and worse.

On their forums, Ravelry has a system. On each post, you can click a button to say you find it educational, interesting, agree with it, disagree with it, or give love. WHY on earth would they institute such a system? Over and over and over and over again I've watched systems like this turn otherwise nice people into complete jackasses and the entire thing ends up crashing and burning at some point or another. There are, for whatever reason, people who will hit that disagree button just for the hell of doing it. They don't disagree, they just want to be a jerk. Or they've decided they don't like the poster, and so they hit the disagree button to "punish" that person. Therefore, the people who get bullied by such ones end up leaving because they feel their words mean nothing to no one and all that remains are those very bullies, who only end up fighting amongst each other. In the end, the community is ruined and no one wants to participate.

After so many years on the internet and seeing so much of this, I can't help but be jaded. It makes me feel so much less interested in participating. How unfortunate.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crochet verses Knitting - My thoughts on the rivalry

This subject has been going around for ages. Heck, Debbie Stoller even talked about it in her Happy Hooker Stitch N Bitch book!

I'm a member of a large crochet community as well as knitting communities online. Truth be told, I've not seen knitters in those communities put crocheters down. To the contrary, I've seen crocheters putting knitters down. This is opposite of what I've always heard, in which it was presented that knitters can't stand crocheters and will put them down at any opportunity.

There is, of course, something on the knitters' side that I HAVE seen, which is what's referred to as "yarn snobbery". And, in a lot of ways, I have to agree with where that's coming from.

Those who know me know I began as a crocheter first. I learned to crochet in the summer of 2005. I had to teach myself, despite being involved in a local crochet club. The members of the club didn't seem to believe I would pick up on things as fast as I did. They didn't give me any credit, and therefore only had me doing chains when I was more than ready for single crochet. And then only single crochet when I was way past ready for double and triple crochet. I took a book, taught myself what I needed to know, and then showed up to one of the meets wearing a beret I'd crocheted in one night. They were floored.

But what does that have to do with being a yarn snob?

As a crocheter, I was encouraged to use a lot of cheap acrylic yarns rather than nicer wools or cottons. I think that this is because most crocheters use those kinds of yarn exclusively. They seem stuck on just making afghans or baby items, rather than using the skill to create beautiful clothing articles for adults. That's been an acceptable norm for decades, from what I can tell. And, honestly, it's what turned me away from crocheting...

For years and years I made afghan after afghan. I made a few shawls, too, but it was almost all about the blankets. In an effort to break away from the monotony, I tried crocheted dolls. However, I was trying to switch to that at a time in which "amigurumi" was becoming very popular. In ways, that was good. There were loads of patterns everywhere for crocheted toys. In another way, it was bad. I don't like being part of a fad. I wanted to make the toys as something unique and fun. When I made a few and was accused of stealing patterns because my designs looked like other people's creations, I was fed up.

That was when I turned to knitting.

I wanted to make something functional. I wanted clothing! At the time, crocheted clothing patterns seemed difficult to find. And in a lot of ways, I like the look of knitted clothing items more than crocheted clothing items. Namely, scarves. I like knit scarves. Not crocheted ones. And I was now living in a cold weather environment, so I needed nice warm sweaters. It was definitely time for a change, and knitting seemed the right way to go. I checked out some books from the local library, learned what I needed to make a ribbed scarf in about 4 hours, and I never looked back.

I knit 99% more than I crochet as of that day in October 2008. But that doesn't mean I gave crocheting up.

My honest view on it is that I think crocheting needs a "face lift". I think the focus needs to shift away from blankets and baby stuff to adult clothing and functional items. The craft may receive more respect if this were the case, as knitting is seen as a practical skill. From my experience, hardly anybody appreciates a handmade afghan as a present anymore, but they'd adore you if you made them a pair of wool knit socks.

Both skills have their place. That will always be the case. But, for me personally, I'd take knitting over crocheting. But not entirely.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Make me this! Make me that!

This is a recent development. I'm completely at a loss for how to handle these situations because... it just has never happened to me before.

And, don't get me wrong! I love it when I receive compliments about my projects, whether it's artwork or knit/crochet items. Compliments help boost my self esteem, which motivates me to work on more.

Recently one of my coworkers has been quite demanding about having me make a hat for her. Granted, this would be a very simple project. In fact, this is the hat in question:

As you can see, it's just a simple beanie style cap. Nothing at all special about it. But somehow, my coworker was very taken with it.

4 days prior to Christmas, she called out to me, "Make me a hat like that for Christmas!" I thought she was kidding until she started naming off the colors she wanted it to be. I said nothing. I was taken by surprise by the demand and couldn't think of what I should say. I thought she was joking, as a matter of fact. But then she demanded yet again on Christmas Eve. And then I posted a photo of a tam hat I had finished to my Facebook and she once again demanded I make her a hat.

She's not the only one to do this. Just the most persistent.

I've had SO many coworkers make requests for things from me. One girl saw a photo of Beyonce in a magazine wearing a beret. She asked me if I could make a hat like that, and I said I could because I CAN. She then told me she wanted me to make her one. I informed her that the yarn alone would cost about $12 for something like that if she wanted quality materials, plus I'd need some payment for my time. I never heard anything more from her about it. Yet another cowork offered me a whopping sum of $5 for a scarf. That would barely pay for cheap acrylic yarn for such a thing...

This goes beyond my coworkers, though I get most of this from them. The worst of this comes from my very own mother!

My mom used to know how to crochet. She hasn't done it because she complains of pain in her shoulders for several years now, so I don't know that she'd remember how anymore. She's straight up said I'm going to make pairs of socks for her, or sweater coats, or whatever. She never asks me. She just points at it and tells me she wants it. I'm not a Sears catalog! I don't make custom clothing items magically appear!

I don't understand why people do this. And I do understand I'm not the only one. I've heard many, many stories to this effect. That doesn't make it any less frustrating...