National Craft Month is here!

During National Craft Month two years ago I explored two new hobby areas I’d always wanted to learn more about. The first was photography, as in photography with a REAL camera (remember those?). I watched Rick Allred’s Basics of Digital Photography class on Craftsy, tried to learn and practice a few things to make it all stick, and wrote about it. I certainly learned a lot, and I think you can see the difference in my photographs here and on social media.

The second hobby I wanted to learn more about was jewelry. as I’d mucked around a bit with jump rings and bead cones and the like but wanted to know if I’d “done it right.” For this I turned to Craftsy again, and Candie Cooper’s class on Beading with Wire, Chain, and Leather. Candie has a great upbeat attitude, and some nice projects that I WILL get to some day. I’ve used what I learned  in some of my newer knotting projects. You can read about my experience with that class here.

All Craftsy Classes Under $20 at Craftsy.com 3/8-3/11/18.

In addition to writing about what I was learning, I wrote a series of craft blog posts to share what I know. The first covered making single-row stripes in my usual medium, knitting. The second contained a tutorial on tying a braid knot with different elements (yarn itself, knit I-cord, cast-on bind-off cord, and slip-stitch crochet cord). In the third, I detailed how to make a small cardboard loom and do some basic weaving moves (I was obsessed with this at the time—need to get back to it soon!). And the final post of the series showed how to use herringbone stitch, an embroidery technique, on a bandana scarf I had made but didn’t wear as it didn’t seem *finished*.


So what am I doing this year for National Craft Month? Next post I want to talk about knotting, something I’ve been dabbling in for a few years and the “K” in my KLITCH class (going to STITCHES United in Hartford, CT? I’ll be teaching it there!). What can you do with an overhand knot, besides make the first stitch of a cast-on? Hmmm… :-)

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Check the (Stitch) Map!

Photo of Hayle Cowl and Creative Knitting Winter 2014
Hayle Cowl and Stitch Maps article from Creative Knitting Winter 2014

It’s always exciting when a design or article I worked on months ago is published: I can finally talk about it! The Hayle Cowl returned home after its long journey through the publishing process; it was nice to see it again.

This project was sooo much fun to work on: I got to write about JC Briar’s baby, Stitch Maps, work with 3 of my favorite people (JC, Edie Eckman and Myra Wood) to develop the chapter proposal for the folks at Creative Knitting, and then come up with my own pattern to illustrate Stitch Maps’ virtues (adding my own KLITCH-y element of weaving crochet chain ties throughout).

She's So Edgy Collar
She’s So Edgy, Creative Knitting, Spring 2014

If you’ve worked with standard knitting charts, you know they provide a graphic representation of your knitting instructions. The resulting fabric doesn’t always look like the chart: stitch manipulations can pull fabric in and out in ways that delight, and 2-dimensional paper can’t begin to show us what those fabrics will look like. Stitch Maps give us a better visual representation of the fabric produced.

Since the article was written, JC has added a slew of exciting new features to Stitch Maps: you can now include cast on and bind off stitches, cross cables, add bobbles, drop stitches, place beads, and twist stitches. Whew, that’s a lot! For fun, I entered the bottom edging for my She’s So Edgy collar into Stitch Maps (take a look). Here are the instructions for the standalone version of the edging:

Row 1 (RS): Sl1 wyib, yo, p2tog, k1, yo, k2.
Row 2:K2, (k1, yo, k1) in next st, k1, yo, p2tog, k1.
Rows 3 and 5:Sl1 wyib, yo, p2tog, k6.
Row 4:K6, yo, p2tog, k1.
Row 6: BO 3 sts, k2, yo, p2tog, k1.

And below, a quick standard chart and the Stitch Map. The square chart view, with its square, gray no-stitch boxes, can’t compare to Stitch Maps’ representation of the final fabric appearance. Like everything else new, it may take you a while to get used to entering and working off a Stitch Map, but it is time and energy well-spent. Thanks for coding it for us, JC!

shes-so-edgy-edging-01shes-so-edgy-edging-02

The glory of words

Humpty Dumpty on the meaning of words
From Through the Looking Glass

Like a small child loves playing with sand, I love playing with words. Which isn’t the same as having those words say what I mean. As such, this is one of my favorite quotes. Would that we all had Humpty Dumpty’s ability to make a word mean exactly, precisely and only just what we choose, all the time. Most of us are just not as gifted as that cantankerous and contrary old egg.

I’ve had occasion to think of this quote several times in the last few weeks.

Continue reading → The glory of words