Jan 17, 2011

Paying it Forward 2011

Scattered around Facebook are posts about passing along our crafty goodness.  Called Pay It Forward 2011, folks like me have committed to making handcrafted items for the first five people who respond to my post.  Each person in turn is supposed to post her/his commitment to make handcrafted items for the first five people who respond to their post, and so forth and so forth.  What a great way to work off our bloated stashes.  I committed to six (don't ask) projects, five of which will hopefully will eat away at my yarn stash.  What I love about this commitment is that I get to choose the yarn and the project.

Just today, I completed the second of six handcrafted items which have eaten up two skeins in my stash.  Both completed projects are hats crocheted from the Garnstudio's Drops Delight, a 75% soft superwash wool/polyamid blend that features long yet smooth color transitions.  Nice yarn with great stitch definition and a slight tendency to split when knit, but I was crocheting.  Both hats use my Sun Ray Slouch pattern, slightly modified for a fingering weight yarn.  The first hat followed the pattern with few modifications.  For kicks, I decided to knit a ribbed brim to the second beret.  Easier said than done.  

Without thinking, I dove into my US 5 [3.75 mm] 30 inch circular needles and quickly picked up the horizontal bar created by the half double crochet stitches I used to make the body of the hat.  As I struggled with the first row of knit stitches, it dawned on me that I needed shorter circular needles.  I moved on to my US 3 [3.25 mm] 24 inch circular needles and managed to work a few rows of k2p2 ribbing before I had to move down to my Addi Turbo US 2 [2.75 mm] 12 inch circulars.  Picking up stitches was smooth and fast.  However, I realized that the ribbing I was knitting would fit a preemie rather than the intended adult recipient.   Stupidly, I had not taken into account that knitting stitches are skinnier than crochet stitches and so had forgotten to add stitches when I first cast on!  I frogged back to the last crocheted row and added a stitch for every four I was picking up.  Working from a base of five stitches, I chose a k3p2 ribbing.  One inch later, the ribbing still looked a bit smallish.  Time to take gauge.  Several measurements later, I found I should have added a stitch for every two I picked up.  I frogged again and bought a set of Hiya Hiya US 3 [3.25 mm] 16 inch circular needles before beginning anew with a k2p2 rib.

As they say, the third time's the charm.   The yarn ran out, the stitches bound off, but the hat fit.  It was tough going [7 hours to work a two-inch ribbed brim!] but I am happy with the results.   My neck is killing me.

All of this effort reminded me of the recent furor over crochet/knit combo patterns.  When the Fall 2010 Interweave Crochet (IC)  issue hit newsstands, the inclusion of seven knit-crochet combination patterns (out of 24 total patterns) created quite a stir.  Some dedicated crocheters announced they would cancel their subscription.  Others were pissed that they their subscription included the primarily knit with crochet embellishment patterns while the crochet-laden special IC Accessories Issue was not included in the basic subscription.  Most felt betrayed by the publishers of Interweave Crochet.

My complaint was less about the inclusion of knit/crochet combo patterns but more with the fact that the beautiful patterns were better suited to a knitting magazine showing how crochet can embellish knitting.  A crochet magazine should illustrate how knitting can embellish crochet, which is exactly what a cross-over pattern generally means for a crocheter. For a knitter, crossover is about how crochet can embellish knitting. Instead, what we got were patterns that showcased knit patterns (many of them at the intermediate or advance level) with a bit of crochet thrown in.

I knit a little but crochet a lot.  Although I prefer crochet, I would still like to practice my knitting skills. For me, given the demands on my time, adding knit to my crochet would help enhance my skills.  Unfortunately, there are few patterns that are primarily crochet with some knitting. However, encouraging the development of such patterns is what the intention of such a special section should have been. If crochet traditionally has been an embellishment for knit, let’s turn the tables. For example:

  • knit ribbing on a crochet sweater/tank/hat/socks
  • knit i-cord and other embellishments for a crochet tote/drawstring bag/etc.
  • knit lace sleeves on a crochet sweater
After this weekend, I could have used a few educational articles about (1) how best to pick up crochet stitches to begin knitting (perhaps it is better to knit first and then pick up stitches to crochet), (2) tips to better seam crochet and knit pieces, and (3) how to choose the right hooks and needles to work in combination with a yarn (we know that crochet stitches are wider than knit ones using the same mm hook/needle).

Next time I attempt to embellish my crochet with a bit of knit I hope to be better prepared.  BTW, pay it forward has hit the blogosphere as well.  So, I repeat my my 2011 pledge here:

"I promise to make something handmade for the first five people who comment to this post.  Each must in turn post this pledge on their blog and make something for the first five who comment on their status.  The rules are simple:  all items must be handmade by the poster, and they must be received before 2011 ends."

So, if this sounds like something that you'd like to be a part of:
  • Be one of the first five to comment to this post.
  • Please leave your e-mail address so I can contact you directly.
  • Be sure to repost this pledge to your own blog if you do comment, since that is the whole point of Paying It Forward! :)

Help me to bust some stash.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

I knit a lot and crochet a bit, your work is lovely as I well know.