Monday, February 27, 2012

MOCP Day 25 - When You Craft

I work nine to five, 25 km from home.

I am divorced single parent to first-grader who brings homework every day.

I craft when I have time; at night, after work, after homework check, after workout session and after everything is prepared for school, bed made and tomorrow's lunch planned I sit in bed and talk with my offspringess about a movie or anime episode we are currently watching and I craft.

During my lunch-break I sometimes have time to search for a project or information to include into project I already have in my mind. In my mind, I craft all the time, because I have so little time to actually work on things I have to have good head-start.

On weekends I sometimes carry my knitting with me to social gatherings but there are not many people who tolerate knitting on social gatherings.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

MOCP Day 24 - Up Close

Intarsia braid on long cardigan coat.

I made this coat while I stayed at home with my daughter during her first year.

It never ceases to amaze me how well I made the yarn twists and how tidy it looks.

When I was first designing the coat I wanted a detail that would stand out, one that would add fire - almost aggression - to the coat and I thought of something like dragon spine ridges.

It came out as red braid in the middle of back panel and it really looks like dragon spine ridges.

It is a beautiful coat and when I wear it a lot of people ask about it and admire it. But they do so cautiously. Speaking to their friends and commenting to themselves, not asking me about it. When I wear it only people that know me well stop me in the hallway to have a chat.

Seems some things are quite easy to foresee.

MOCP Day 23 - Inspiration From Clothes

This is my winter coat topped with Bleach cowl hanging in my hallway.

Cowl kinda looks like a funky hat.

Do I need a hat like that one?

Maybe something like skotthúfa. That looks fun.

I regard clothes, all clothes, as costumes. I wear different costumes for different tasks, for different people, for different image frames. Sometimes I am inspired by tasks or people or by image frames or by desired effect but sometimes clothes inspire back. Well made, interesting pumps or a funny hat make for lovely start-up of another story.

Monogatari wa hajimaru :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MOCP Day 22 - Contrasts

This is my favorite scarf.

I crocheted it about 2 years ago using two laceweight yarns I bought on cones, for rediculosly low price of 40kn/kg (7$ per kg).

Maroon (#800000) and Silver (#C0C0C0) colored yarn, different by feel and hazyness but both very nice to touch and all items I made from them wash and keep shape famously. I already made silver only dress, maroon only pullover and vest and using both yarns I made this scarf changing color every two rows and vest/sweater holding both yarns together - and there is still more yarn on both cones.

But in the shop... they did not feel like a pair.

They never seeemed nor felt like they should be put together and they did not leave an impression of yarns destined to forge their path as one.

Maroon is always clear and well defined and silver hazy, on verge of pilling. Maroon too firm, almost weed-like to the touch, like there was grass left in the wild wool before spinning and Silver squishy, soft, flimsy like it would just fall apart as spiderweb does when someone goes through it.

Not something you would imagine paired.

Until they were put together, and tried, and made to work.

And they make beautiful, durable things.

MOCP Day 21 - Crafting Accompaniments

As Urahara Kisuke here could tell you, these days most of my crafting is accompanied by Bleach.

It brings together pleasant and useful - spoken colloquial Japanese and just enough concentration so it settles right in: reading and writing Japanese lessons I have more trouble pushing myself to make time for and wonderful, inspired story I never tire from.

There are many garments I made while watching and listening to Ichigo and friends and there are some toys and clothes directly inspired by it.

Intricate mesh of love and devotion.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MOCP Day 20 - Finishing

Fresh from the needles: bottom-up socks.

I have just beggining and end thread to weave in.

These are simple warm and lacy socks for my lovely aunt that has trouble with finding right socks for her acutely arthritic feet. They will be a surprise. I hope she likes them.

There's one more thing there in the picture: young, yellow, eagerly awaited spring sunrise sun. It was warm enough for me to go take picture on my balcony this morning and my heart sang with the birds from a nearby forrest patch. There was smell of melting frost and nature's hope to begin opening pregnant buds of local trees and shrubs in the air.

This weekend I saw snowdrops. Cats have gone love-hunting. All is well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

MOCP day 19 - Supplies

Most of my supplies come from eBay.

The possibility to shop there has turned my creative existence upside down.

I love having this option of buying good stuff from people halfway around the globe and just waiting a bit for mailman to surprise me with wonderful gifts.

I have no bad experiences with online shopping. Even stuff that did not find its way to my mailbox was later received - after I contacted sellers thay were more than willing to help me and to re-send things if they did not come first time around.

Other things I buy in hobby and yarn shops in Zagreb, like this Pazinka yarn in the photo. Sadly Pazinka factory has gone under not managing to survive privatization turmoil during 1990s but some of their stuff still manages to come afloat somehwere to be snatched in an instant.

It's funny how politics determines even the smallest details of our lives. There is really no merit to ignoring the world around us since it definitely does not ignore us back.

MOCP Day 18 - Craft Books

Some of my craft books.

On the top of the pile here are my newest books - gifts to myself from a source I just recently discovered: Book Depository - online bookstore with free shipping anywhere in the world (including Croatia!!!) They are truly great: organized in a simple, intuitive manner, accept paypal, send information promptly but do not spam, ship books extremely quick and pack it well so it arrives safely. They have even sent me a small gift - beautiful bookmark with cooking conversions.

On the bottom of the pile there is one borrowed book "Folk jewelry of Croatia" and some knitting books my family owns for 30-something years. They are very good and have served as a portal from basic skill my nana tought me to skill refinement efforts I had to propel by myself and in which I still persist.

Perculiary absent crochet books are visiting at my aunt's. They will be back shortly when she returns from mineral springs hospital where she is recovering from arthritis.

Friday, February 17, 2012

MOCP Day 17 - Last FO You Used

100% wollen Ringwood Gloves.

We had lots of snow last few days so I had a chance to finally use my woolen Ringwoods.

Usually they are too warm and I don't like having my fingers completely covered so I wear my other pair of gloves with short fingers but now they were perfect. I shoveled snow, cleaned my car, dried them on radiator in my room - and they look and feel great! And to think they were free pattern!

Internet is such a wonderful tool for improving oneself.

See other Month of Craft Photos in this flickr pool.

MOCP Day 16 - Texture

The thing in the photo is crocheted Christmas bauble.

Bottom of it. The Beggining. In blue mercerised cotton thread (2mm crochet hook).

Red thing seen through chains is tiny air filled ballloon (2-3'' across).

I wanted my baubles to be as light as possible so I used tiny balloons as support for crocheting baubles and then to starch them and leave them to dry as blocked. In the end just remove balloon puncturing it and you're left with lacy bauble.

They are very nice and delicate. I like how it all turned out well.

MOCP Day 15 - A New Skill

Newest skill I acquired seems to be grafting.

Sometime during last year fall I made a pile of Ysolda's wonderful Garter Stitch Mitts so I got a chance to work on my short row and grafting techniques.

I dabbled with grafting before but it didn't quite set in as I feel it now. Now I have confidence to use it not only on small, invisible places, but also on bigger pieces and in plain sight. I like how it feels like my skill is growing in considerable "jumps" now, all because I give it time and effort - so later I can use all that skill with as little time and effort as possible and with results showing all the work that went into building the skill.

It is pure joy to see foreseeable mechanics at work.

Investment returning as profit. Wonderful.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

MOCP Day 14 - Where I Craft

This is my crafting nook.

As I have just one room I try my best to fit everything in it.

Books, knitting and crocheting doohickeys and stash, computers, jewelry supplies, sewing stuff, felting stuff, writing and drawing stuff, small handyman repair stuff. I designed cupboards, shelves and closets to cater to my needs. I put stuff into hobby boxes.

I love being ready to work on anything that I happen to need right away. That is why I call this my lair.

It takes a bit of planning ahead but it pays off nicely. I'm almost always ready for last-minute gift making, urgent repairs on styling, unique accessories. That pleases me immensly.

It creates a sense of security I do not have in other areas of my life.

MOCP Day 13 - Inspiration Indoors

To look at and to see so often mean very different things.

So I try to see more.

Like this lovely paper cup with few different shades of beige and brown. I have one beige WIP just now - maybe it would benefit from some brown adornment?

Also, I found some pearly seed beads and paired them with red ones for another crocheted necklace.

Come to think of it, it would work well as a zipper pendant also - there are some upcoming projects that still need some fine tweaking.

It could also work well instead of an i-cord leash or tying string.

And I let myself be inspired.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MOCP Day 12 - A Crafty Gift

My niece's christening cardi.

This was part of set (cardigan and bonnet) made according to instructions from Free Vintage Knitting.

I made it for my niece a bit more than two years ago.

It is finest, soft pink cotton yarn, has silk thread crocheted edges and is adorned with satin ribbon.

I consider it the loveliest thing I ever made. 

My niece never wore it. I suppose her mama did not like it.

See other Month of Craft Photos in this flickr pool

MOCP Day 11 - A WIP

This is one VIP WIP :)

Bleach shihakusho coat my offspringess wished for for carnival season.

I based it loosely on kimono look. It is top-down raglan coat made with black and white Jelka (Tovarna volnenih izdelkov Majšperk; 28% wool, 72% Acryl) using 3mm needles for body (circulars) and sleeves (dpns) and 2,5mm for white stripe on front and neck edge.

Belt made on 2mm needles, using linen stitch. It is so beautifully firm and lovely textured I love it to tears.

Bottom end for body and sleeves features white edging turned over deeeep into wrong side. My offspringes squealed from happiness when she saw it first: "It is just like the one Nozomi Kujo wore!"

MOCP Day 10 - Your Craft Bag

My Craft Bag.

This summer, while I was teaching myself to hold yarn differently I made a bunch of Lion Brand Yarn's Living Green Totes - some according to instructions, some on smaller needles, with lighter yarns. The one in the photo is 10 inch + handle tall, on 3mm needles.

I kinda liked how the knitting looked when lugged somewhere in a rustic bag.

I stuff small things, notions and needles, into zip-lock bags of various sizes. I usually carry one big zip-lock bag with me everywhere so I can keep yarn in it at all times - I do not like my yarn strolling naked on the floor.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

MOCP Day 9 - Your Hands

My hands.

They are a bit over-lighted here, but my hands really are like a membrane stretched over a drum. They're criss-crossed with gazillion lines but all lines disappear if I harden and spread my fingers. And they always sparkle, even when they are really dry, just like there are tiniest sequins just under the skin.

I had to teach myself to hold yarn differently this summer.

I used to hold yarn entirely with my left index finger, pulling it through cramped nook under middle knuckle. It worked well for winter yarns, but it was un-plying cotton threads. And my right, working hand, hurt from all the effort I shoveled into knitting trying not to un-ply cotton.

So one day I decided to break the habit so I forced myself to hold yarn differently.

I was slow.

My stitches were uneven.

I frogged as much as I knitted.

I made some really winky and loopy objects but after a month my hands stopped hurting and my stitches are now much more beautiful than before. Same tension on knit and purl side. No noticeable uneven rows between putting down knitting and taking it up again the next day.

To reign over myself - it fills me with such pride.

See other Month of Craft Photos in this flickr pool.

MOCP Day 8 - Challenging

My biggest challenge is to finish things I work on - to make them wearable. There have been many sweaters/gloves/vests/shawls almost finished, that just needed some final sewing or weaving in ends, that waited not days but years at the time. I'm working on this, trying to become more focused on entire process, including finishing and - oh no!!! - adorning.

Awkward stuff on the photo is two fronts for an experiment I endeavored upon.

Laceweight yarn spiderweb cardigan worked on 10mm needles.

I made all parts.

I even concocted a way to have all parts strengthened for assembly without added weight.

Just haven't come around to do it yet.

MOCP Day 7 - Materials

Crocheted tablecloth.

I made this while I was pregnant. Got this pattern from a girl who I shared my hospital room with.

Oh, it was so long ago...

whole marriage, kindergarten, divorce, custody battle, preschool, start of school, civil lawsuit for my belongings ago

...yet it feels like it was just yesterday I made this lovely tablecloth.

Crochet hook was so tiny - 0,75mm

And white mercerised cotton thread No.50 I think.

I remember sitting on my terrace, when I got out of hospital, with my belly as big as an aircraft carrier and crocheting summer afternoon away.

Monday, February 6, 2012

MOCP Day 6 - Colors

This one photo I actually took intending it to be Day 4 photo - inspiration outdoors - but, strictly speaking, this is no outdoors regardless of my world division to "home" and "not home".

So two days passed while I was rethinking this and whatayaknow: I found one better for outdoors and I have decided to keep this one for "colors".

I love its vitriolic green, come-hither silver, graininess and non-definition. These things I really do use when knitting and crafting.

I also use good music for inspiration knitting and crafting and I have been known to use an occasional streak of inspiration from manga and movies. It is a life of passion - and for passion to stay virile and potent it seems often necessary that one is able to hold mind images slightly out of focus.

MOCP Day 5 - Notions

So, I've been using my invasion army like crazy.

We have conquered laces and raglans, gloves and cowls.

See more of MOCP (Month of Craft Photos) in this Flickr Pool.

MOCP Day 4 - Inspiration Outdoors

Lately I've been eyeing few simple braids for a half baked idea I have and this morning I saw this combination of slush, snow and grit and this feels just like the thing I need for that misterious project.

Doesn't it just feel like a cable with bobbles, something acromatic, squishy, more a game of light and shadows than color changes? Would it be perfect in greyish cashmere blend I just got?

I like it.

We shall see what will come of it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

MOCP - Day 3 - An Old FO

This is my first ever knitted thing.

It is 28 years old and I made it when I was 6 years old.

My gran taught me how to knit and while I was making this scarf I took it to preschool one day to show it to my favorite teacher. She was so endeared with this experience she gave me a wonderful book "Koko u Parizu" that I also still have.

I love how the scarf has subtle pattern - geometric knit and purls - you can never go wrong with simple geometry motifs.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

MOCP - Day 2 - Craft Tools

I see now that this hideous light shows me and my craft tools collection in an interesting perspective - perspective of my lair.

I work long hours, with people, on a stress-propelled job - and coming home I just want to curl up in my nook, have everything I need at arms length, immerse myself in my work with no people, no live conversation and no requests of any kind.

I am pretty successful at what I do and I love my job very much.

But I also love peace of mind my crafting brings.

It looks like my two passions are stabilizing my life with their contrast.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Month of Craft Photos Challenge - Day 1

Andi of Untangling Knots blog has wonderful idea for crafty February which I've decided to join in:

So this is my photo for today - Day 1. You In Action

Shihakusho coming along quite nicely. First sleeve will be over tonight and second one will be done by Friday if everything goes as planned. Weekend for belt and weaving ends.

#0000FF hat and cowl set - free pattern

So this is my fast gratification cheering up reward on the photo above:

Blue mohair hat and cowl set.

Slouchy hat was made to accomodate my ginormous ponnytail and also to sit nicely on my head when I decide not to tie my hair up. I used 5.5 mm bamboo circulars for the body (brim to top) and dpns for crown decreases. Long tail cast on (72 stitches) was joined to work in the round and followed by 8 rows of 1x1 rib and then with 30 rows of seed stitch. Decreases were made in every other row on both ends of 12 stitch slices (72=6x12) until 6 stitches remained which were then nicely pulled together and stitched closed with daring needle. Following seed stitch pattern during decreases proved to be easier than I thought since it falls in quite nicely to decrease k2tog once on knit stitches (through back loop) and another time on purl stitches (through front loops, purl-wise). I used little less than 1 skein (70% acrilic, 30% mohair) stash yarn for the hat.

Cowl was made on 6 mm circular needle by casting on 120 stitches (long tail cast on) and then worked in the round in moss stitch using the rest of "hat skein" and 1 whole skein - about 50 rows - until all yarn was used up. It was loosely bound off and two ends were weaved in.

I found it nice to use simple, bumpy stitch patterns (like seed and moss) for mohair as it brings out the uneven-ness and bumpy-ness of yarn. Finished garments are fluffy and squishy and warm and very satisfying.


For less slouchy, more strechy hat cast on (long tail) 60 stitches onto 4,5mm circular needle and work 1x1 rib in the round for 12 rows. On 13th row start with seed stitch in the round on 5mm circulars and work for about 36 rows or until you feel has sits nicely on your head when you wear it. Decrease every other row on both ends of 10 stitch slices (60 stitches make 6 10 stitch slices - after 1st decrease they make 6 8 stitsh slices, after second decrease 6 6 sitch slices,...) until 6 stitches total remain. Then use daring needle to pick up remaining 6 sitches, pull them snugly together and weave end into wrong side of hat.