Tools for the Toolbox

Our family tends toward the creative.

Just last night, my husband came down the stairs.  He extended his hand to our son and me and said, “Congratulate me”.  We each shook his hand and said, “Congratulations!  hittinganAFor what?”.  “I just hit an A.  Several times.  Without injuring myself”.

Well done, dear.

You see, he is in a blues band and at the last practice, they tapped him to do the vocals on a song they’ve recently added to their line up.  This would involve hitting an A, something he had never thought he’d be able to manage.  But he did it.

I love adding new skills.  Whenever I do, I feel like a whole new world opens up for me.  Long ago I learned all the variations and textures that could be created with just knit and purl stitches.  Sometime later, someone taught me how to knit in the round.  Suddenly instead of only scarves and blankets, I could make cowls, then hats.

A couple of classes later, I could successfully make a pair of socks.  Since learning that, I have made colorful variegated socks and solid-colored socks with all kinds of texture patterns.

Now that I am adding (still refining) stranded colorwork to the toolbox I’m feeling that familiar thrill of the many new possibilities of what I might make.

I have completed a stranded colorwork project for the first time.  I made it entirely to practice the new skill.

 

ampersandThe edges look a bit uneven due to the pins placed randomly to hold it flat.  My end plan for this is to make a throw pillow with some coordinating fabric around the edges and back.

I decided when I had cast it off that I should have added extra stitches to either side of the chart for a bit more width.  Since this was an “I’m-learning-new-things” project anyway, I thought it was time to learn how to pick up stitches.  I’m not sure why exactly I have found learning this particular technique a pain.  I’ve always tried to avoid it (yay for the Fleegle heel,)  but I decided it’s a basic, necessary skill so after a couple of YouTube videos (as a crafter I LOVE the availability of finding tutorials on YouTube. LOVE) I got rolling.  To be fair, I can definitely tell I’m a newbie at this skill, but with time and practice, I’m sure I’ll smooth out the bumps.

I didn’t want to move on to completing the baby sweater I have been working on until I had successfully completed a full,  albeit small, project with stranding, since I need that skill to finish it. But now that I have, I am ready to pick that project up again.

In the meantime, I have been going through Pinterest to find all the colorwork project ideas I had pinned to knit “someday”.  I’ve been spending time on Ravelry, exploring the possibilities.  I borrowed Melissa Leapman’s Mastering Color Knitting from the library (something tells me this will be added to my personal collection before long) and have begun reading and dreaming.  Since I like to start knitting for cold weather gift giving around this time of year, I can start planning for both small and larger projects.  I’m getting a little giddy.

In between projects I have been building my granny stripe blanket made of the leftovers of socks, mini skeins from early dyeing experiments, and a few random bits I’ve been given.  Since I had both large and small amounts of yarn, I allowed it to be totally random.  It is a very motivating project.  As I start running out of remnants I get started on new projects as much for the leftover yarn as for the project itself.

Here’s where I am just now:

 

 

Right now, (as you can see) it is long but skinny, but by the time the cold weather comes again I hope to have enough done to drape over me even if I’m not finished yet. Looking at the length, it might actually be large enough for my bed.  We’ll see.


 

In the sewing skills toolbox, I have added: “how to cut on the bias”.  My attempts to finish the aforementioned Forager Vest stalled when I realized I needed to cut a strip on the bias.  Now, I’ve heard of this, and of course, I’ve purchased bias tape before.  But because I stick to very simple projects this was something I had simply never needed to do. So again with the YouTube tutorial, to grasp the concept.  This time I drafted my husband’s help.  Certain things I find tedious, like getting things lined up precisely.  I want it precise but certain steps can feel very fiddly to me.  He, on the other hand, finds those kinds of tasks both easy and enjoyable.  That’s a very nice trait to have in a partner.  So he cut strips and I sewed them together to the required length.  I learned enough to do it myself as well, but I was happy to let him have a bit of fun. Win-win.

As I was reading the pattern instructions to begin I discovered that there was at least one pattern piece that also should have been cut on the bias (note to self: read the instructions before beginning!), fortunately, I have enough leftover fabric to recut that piece.  At this early stage in my sewing journey, I like to overestimate a bit on fabric for just such a moment.  Also, there will be a patchwork quilt in my future once I’ve accumulated enough fabric.  I’m thinking that cutting out all the squares may be another project my partner gets drafted into.

 

I can’t close today without mentioning two podcasts I have been introduced to this week.  One is the Green Bean podcast by Katie Green. She has a very interesting and calming podcast in which she shares her creative pursuits of knitting, sewing, and drawing.  Her podcast includes shots of the beautiful nature and landscape in her part of the world and I find it a nice place to land when life is stressing me out.

Also, I have been watching the Hey BrownBerry Podcast. I must be in the mood for calm and relaxing because that is also the vibe I get from lovely Marceline.  I look forward to going back to previous episodes and getting to know her better. wish

But for now, to all my creative kindred, wherever you may be, may our days be filled with the material, inspiration, and the time we need.

Peace,

Jamye

 

7 thoughts on “Tools for the Toolbox

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