Silver Threads

a knitting blog with occasional side trips


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2015 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week—Day 7: Your Time, Your Place

Where and how do you take time out to knit and/or crochet? Maybe you don’t take time out at all and instead have your needles twirling as you try to juggle a multitude of other tasks with no ‘spare’ time to think of. Maybe you enjoy nothing more than to crochet whilst winding down from a yoga session, chatting with some friends in a nearby cafe.

Whether social or solitary, tell readers about your crafting time and space, and where you either most enjoy (or can simply find a few snatched moments) to turn yarn into something even more beautiful.

I started out my crochet and knitting life as a solitary crafter. This had less to do with my personal style and more to do with being in elementary school (not a lot of knitters my age) and it being the 1970s, when not all that many people were knitting or crocheting, period. I’d knit in my bedroom in that space between coming home from school and having dinner, or while watching TV, or as something to do when I had to sit with adults but wasn’t old enough to care what they were talking about.

calendar excerpt

Now the situation is almost completely reversed. I do most of my knitting and crochet with others, and it’s marked in my calendar, the same as a medical appointment or a business meeting. I have a weekly knitting group that meets at a nearby Starbucks. We used to meet at a LYS, but that fell through a few years ago, and even though that LYS has resurrected their knit night, we’ve gotten too used to readily-available drinks and free WiFi to go back. The other two groups I get together with are monthly. One is a small group of friends; we bring treats, settle in at one person’s house for a Saturday afternoon, and craft and talk. The other group is a loose association of acquaintances that happens to meet at the same time as my weekly group—but it’s good to shake up the routine every now and then. This group meets at a member’s home, usually the same place, but sometimes it works better if a different person hosts. The people who come aren’t necessarily knitters or crocheters: I’ve watched people bead, write poetry, do repair sewing on their clothes, sew bags for prayer beads, and make posters for a protest. One person who comes occasionally makes exquisite hardanger table runners and pillowtops featuring NSFW words and phrases. 😀

I still do craft on my own, usually while watching TV, same as when I was a kid. But now I have so many other things to do that that doesn’t happen much. Usually I’m doing something else I enjoy, like reading a book or doing the astrology or divination I’ve mentioned in earlier posts this week, so I don’t miss the solo crafting all that much—it’s all wonderful!

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2015 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week—Day 6: Polls Apart

Almost every blogging platform offers a way to easily put together and host a poll, and polls, surveys and questionnaires can be a great way of engaging with your audience and readership. There are times when readers do not feel that they want or have time to think, compose and post an answer or response to a post, but short polls can often be completed with just a few clicks.

Importantly, survey findings and poll results can give bloggers an absolutely wonderful source of information to blog about. Whether you are looking at basic statistics of the percentage of knitters, crocheters and those who enjoy both or the results of a more opinion-led set of questions, you will be gathering a greater understanding of your readers and may find out some surprising results.

Think of a knitting or crochet related question (it can be literally anything from favourite yarn weight or colour to which month readers believe they complete most projects) and host a simple survey. Hopefully once Knitting And Crochet Blog Week is over this year you’ll have that information as inspiration for yet another blog post when you are ready to write about your findings.

No inspiration, none whatsoever for the Day 5 topic. Sure, I could come up with a different format, but I couldn’t think of a topic. Phooey. So I skipped it, and here we are at Day 6.

We’ll keep this simple. I know you have a lot of polls to visit (and respond to!) today. No, it’s not Day 7 yet, but I’m not closing the poll for a few days. Or maybe you just know you loved one of the earlier days.

(Ironically, since I’ve never put a poll on any of my blogs before, this would’ve qualified for my Day 5 post.)


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2015 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week—Day 4: Bags of Fun

Time to delve into that most treasured collection of tools, notions and oddments as you are asked to spill the contents of your knitting or crochet bag, caddy or other method of organisation and put your crafting unmentionables on display.

You may wish to talk about your bag of crocheting tools as a whole, or delve deep into the contents of your knitting caddy and talk about the contents each in turn. Good, clear photography can help readers familiarise with your tools, and you might just help someone find a new item for their wish-list if they are awe-struck by your pom-pom maker.

knitting-tools-2

I’m a little nervous about completely emptying my notions bag: I may never get everything back inside.

I want every possible knitting/crochet tool with me at all times. I also want to be able to carry my knitting bag without causing back or shoulder strain, so yes, there’s a conflict here. But into a bag that measures roughly 7¾” x 5¾” (197 x 146 mm), I have managed to cram the following:

  • Double ended crochet hooks: When I crochet, I use a normal hook with a comfortable handle. But these are fine for repairing dropped stitches, and I only have to carry four of them instead of eight regular hooks. Yes, there are four in the set. I didn’t realize the fourth one was missing until I started writing this post. Guess how thrilled I am about that discovery. 😡
  • Cable needle: Despite the fact that I usually don’t use it even when I’m working on a project with cables. But not every cable out there is amenable to being worked without one.
  • Tape measure and 6″ ruler: Which already had their moment of glory in one of last year’s posts. 🙂
  • Row counter: The kind that can hang from a circular needle. When I use it, it usually takes the place of a stitch marker.
  • Needle sizer: Because we have the technology to make circular needles from wood, metal, plastic, and carbon fiber, but still can’t permanently mark what size they are.
  • Folding scissors: Good quality ones. I’ve had it with the cheap ones: the blades never go together well enough to cut anything without a struggle.
  • Sewing needles and point protectors: Boring to list, but necessary.
  • Mangled paper clip: For tightening and loosening interchangeable circular needles. Because why would I carry any of the tighteners they include with the interchangeable needle sets?
  • Stitch markers: An unreasonable quantity of them. I love the ones with cute dangly things on them, but the cute dangly things get tangled in my yarn and add weight to the project. So it’s plain, or nearly plain, rings from now on. The locking stitch markers are useful as all get-out, but I must admit they don’t do much for me aesthetically.
  • Digital pocket scale: The newest addition to the bag, acquired after I saw it in action during the last knitting retreat. I was miles from home when I was confronted by the following instruction in my pattern: “When I knit the Twisted Fiber Art Catnip sample I had 48 grams (~106 yds) remaining in the ball at this point. I recommend using this as a guide for checking your own remaining yardage if you’re working with a limited about [sic].” And no, I hadn’t brought my kitchen scale to the retreat. But the woman I was sitting next to had this little gem with her, and so I was able to find out that I had 49 grams of yarn left and could continue knitting my cowl without anxiety.

knitting-tools-1


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2015 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week—Day 3: Experimental Photography and Image Handling for Bloggers

Every year Knitting & Crochet Blog Week tries to feature at least one day where photography takes a key role, because it has been proven many times that what captures reader’s attention for the first few seconds to hopefully hold them long enough to invest the time to read your words is your pictures, and so this topic crops up each year, but every year it yields such different results!

It is easy enough to fall into a routine of photographing your finished projects as is – clearly displayed, maybe from a few varying angles, and for a large part of the time these are what blog readers will expect to see, but every now and again it is good to throw in a picture that causes people to linger.

knitting-scene

Sources:


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2015 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week—Day 2: It’s All About You

Cast your hooks and needles aside!

This year you are challenged with one of those tasks that some bloggers can find quite daunting: but there’s never a better time then when we’re all in it together, so let’s shift the focus and turn the attention from the things we make to the things that make us.

The important thing here is to remember that you don’t have to go into great personal detail and certainly do not have to reveal anything too personal. You can be as candid or as private as you like, but you can also give your readers a feel for those things that you like to do outside of your crafting.

Knitting-And-crochet-Blog-Week-6-Eskimimi-Makes

The short version: glance down the side of this blog (or wherever the widgets appear on your device) and find the other two blogs I have. It seems that if I have a strong enough interest in something, eventually a blog comes out of it. From which you may conclude that I enjoy blogging, but you suspected that already, right?

Blog #1, Fine Print, represents my love of books and reading. For fiction, I mainly read fantasy novels. I used to say my favorite genres were science fiction and fantasy, but it’s finally sunk in that I don’t actually read  a lot of SF. Watch it, yes: there are great SF TV shows and movies out there, but for whatever reason, I don’t read it often. Possibly because when I’m reading fiction, I’m likely to be reading fantasy.

I’ve managed to pull my love of books over into my professional life: I work at a library. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t give me a lot of opportunities to read, but it does let me organize things a lot, which is a mini-passion of mine. (That Ravelry lets me sort and categorize my projects, future projects, and stash is only one of the reasons I love it, but it’s a major one.)

My nonfiction reads are less restricted. I most often read books on philosophy/spirituality/religion, astrology, and divination, but every now and then, something completely not like any of those grabs my attention. These topics, though, are the focus of Blog #2, The Cottage Upstairs. Astrology and divination (a catch-all term for things like reading tarot cards, consulting the I Ching, throwing the runes, etc.) have interested me since childhood. They’ll never pay the bills any more than knitting will, but I enjoy doing them. And let me assure you, books on these topics can fill up a home just as fast as a stash can!


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2015 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week—Day 1: If You Were Yarn

If you were a type or brand of yarn, which would you be? Are you a classic pure wool? Is there extra tension but a bit of bounce in you because of your high twist? Would you be more like a high-maintainance, strictly hand-wash fluffy angora or a ‘bring it on’ acrylic, bravely heading into the world of possible baby-sick laundering disasters knowing that you will always come out bright and unharmed?

Oh, just consider me a classic worsted weight wool except that I would be one of those yarns with a sparkly metallic ply spun in. Mostly traditional, mostly reliable, a little more high-maintenance than plain acrylic (but worth the effort), and mostly what the world expects. But then there’s that little extra that does make me more of an individual, but also keeps me from completely fitting into the most conventional situations. Oops. Which is how I both work in a traditional “mundane” field (librarianship) while maintaining strong interests in fantasy, science fiction, and New Age-type pursuits like astrology and tarot.

ball of yarn

Selfie!


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2014 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week—Day 7: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Day Seven (Sunday 18th May): Looking Back, Looking Forward
If you took part in last year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, look back on your Day Seven post. Did any of the techniques, ideas and hopes for the last 12 months that you wrote about at that time ever make it onto the hook or needles? Did anyone cast on and complete the project researched in last year’s Day 2 post?

And there is also time to look forward again: One year from now, when the 6th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried? Do you have any wishes for your blogging that you’d like to follow?

Wedge Pullover: collar

Wedge Pullover: collar

None of last year’s goals worked out as hoped. I dropped out of the Year of the Stash when I realized I wasn’t having any fun. I did finish 18 projects though, which was a noticeable increase from the year before, and I’m thrilled. Also last year, I said that I wanted to redesign and knit the Wedge Pullover. The redesign has been working out. I changed it from a V-neck pullover with drop sleeves to a crewneck pullover with modified drop sleeves. But in knitting it, I wasn’t thrilled with the results. The fabric was unpleasantly loose and the short rows had distorted some of the stitches. I didn’t like what I’d knitted, but I didn’t really want to reknit it either, so the pieces ended up abandoned in my closet. I pulled them out recently when I realized that Knitting and Crochet Blog Week was coming up. While I was ignoring it, I think the yarn relaxed a bit, as it had in the gauge swatch. The fabric feels fuller, which I like. As for the misshapen stitches, I’m planning on finishing the sweater and then washing it right away. I think that will even out the stitches better than steam blocking alone did. So I’ve sewn the shoulder seams and knitted the collar, and the next step is to cast on the sleeves.

My goals for the next year are a mite vague. I want to knit at least one sweater, and not just an endless succession of scarves, cowls, and shawlettes. Tackling a Fair Isle sweater would make a dent in my stash, I bet, but I’m not committing myself to that. I still want to do more crochet, although there aren’t any more crochet projects in my queue than last year. (Oops.) As for this blog, I want to improve it, but I’m not sure how, which makes for a vague goal. Next year, if I think I’ve made it better (in some yet-to-be-determined way), I’ll be sure to tell you!


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2014 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week—Day 6: Views of Others, Views of Yourself

Day Six (Saturday 17th May): Views Of Others, Views Of Yourself.
Write about another knitter or crocheter that you admire. This could be someone you know or used to know – an aunt that taught you to crochet or the school-teacher that used to run the after-school learn-to-knit club, or someone who you are aware of because of blogging or other areas of social media. Write about your feelings either for their work or what they bring to you as a knitter or crocheter. Reminiscences of the sound of your mother’s metal needles, or the description your grandad gave of what he’d knit as he sat on his bunk below deck in his sailor’s days are as precious as sharing the enjoyment of the work of a new indie designer or dyer. Spread your enjoyment to your readers.

Next, think about if anyone has ever told you how they feel about your knitting, positive or negative. Have you delighted strangers who have enjoyed telling you how they would sit with their grandmother who loved to crochet doilies, or have you had to withstand a little brother telling you repeatedly that knitting is for grandmas?

Knitters’ Lib

This prompt seems to be much like the Day 3 prompt from 2012: “Your Knitting or Crochet Hero.” I found that prompt challenging back then, and I haven’t got a better answer now. But I do have a story about having someone tell me what they felt about my knitting!

About ten years ago, on a nice summer afternoon, I was alone at a bus stop, and I’d gotten there early enough to get some knitting in. After a while, I was joined by a man in a wheelchair. I was mostly paying attention to the knitting,  looking up every now and then to see if the bus was coming and not really aware of him at first. So I nearly dropped my knitting when he burst into a full-blown rant: You’re knitting! I thought you women’s libbers were all emancipated, that you weren’t going to do that women’s stuff! He barely paused for breath. Why are you knitting?! You women’s libbers were all going to get jobs, so why are you knitting?!

Graphic of woman icon and knitting needles causing anger.

He was angry but he was keeping his distance, and the situation was more absurd than dangerous. I was being harangued by a misogynistic stranger with knitting issues, whose insults came straight out of the 1970’s. Really, you can’t make this stuff up. There was no way I could knit—or think—with this going on, so I just blinked at him in amazement.

Finally, finally, the bus arrived. The bus driver lowered the wheelchair ramp and the man got on, still spewing righteous indignation. See that woman? She’s knitting! Those women’s libbers said they were going to do men’s work now, so why is she knitting?! Did you see her knitting? The look of utter bewilderment on the young female driver’s face was probably exactly like mine.

—–

Woman icon from iconsdb.com. Graphic of needles and yarn from sweetclipart.com.


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2014 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week—Day 5: Something a Bit Different

Day Five (Friday, May 16): Something a Bit Different
It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post, a beautiful infographic or write in verse. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There’s not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be.

Poetry Corner

ancient enemy:
gleaming fangs, sinuous length
cat attacks knitting

a sock of beauty
perfect heel, kitchener toe
what—knit another?!

deep in knitting trance
directions pass unheeded—
the sound of frogging


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2014 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week—Day 4: Conversations Between Workers

Day Four (Thursday 15th May): Conversations Between Workers.
Start by writing a few short paragraphs from the point of view of one of the tools you use for your craft. this might be a spinning wheel, crochet hook, pair of scissors or your knitting bag. These first few lines should include a description of this tool’s task and usage. If you are feeling particularly in tune with this item you might assign it feelings.

Then, write a dialogue between yourself and this item. It might describe your relationships, the annoyances that you have felt for this item at some point (or could it have possible ever have felt annoyances with you) and the wonderful work that you have created together.

Needle gauge, tape measure, six-inch ruler.

The triumvirate of measuring tools.

6″ ruler: Hello? Am I supposed to talk now? I’m not sure what to say. Um, okay, I’m a 6″ ruler. My formal name is Singer Sewing & Knitting Gauge. I’m different from standard rulers because of the slider that can be set to mark a particular length. I was manufactured in the 1970’s, and was originally part of a learn to sew kit. Basically, well, I measure things. Knitting usually, sometimes crochet. I can’t measure the long pieces, of course, nothing over 6″, but I do a good job with smaller pieces. The work is pretty easy. I get taken out of the notions bag to measure things, maybe hang out on a table for a while, measure something else, eventually get put back in the notions bag.

Me: Hi. I’m the person who got that learn to sew kit way back when I was little. You’re a tie to my childhood. I hope you’ve enjoyed all the measuring.

6″ ruler: No complaints here. Really, when we first met, I figured you were going to be into sewing and that I’d be permanently fixed at ⅝”. Instead—oh, and you were still a little girl back then—you learned to crochet and knit, and you hardly ever sew nowadays.

Me: And you’re more or less fixed at 4″ (10 cm) instead. I hope that’s all right with you.

6″ ruler: 10 cm?

Me: Yeah, the metric equiv- you don’t know what that means, do you?

6″ ruler: I’ve heard about it from the tape measure, and the crochet hooks tell me they’re sized in millimeters. But I can’t do metric measurements myself. Metric wasn’t used much in the USA when I was made. By the way, 4″ is fine. I’m into the measuring itself—it doesn’t have to be a different distance each time. And there’s variety in the work. You were just measuring a 1″ collar a few days ago, for instance, and the bottom ribbings of your sweaters are all sorts of lengths. Plus, you still sew something every few years.

Me: Yeah. Drawstring bags, usually. So, any thoughts about the future?

6″ ruler: No, not really. I plan to just keep on measuring things. Oh, and the tape measure has offered to teach me metric. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to measure in it, but I’m hoping to at least understand it when I run into it, like when you said 10 cm. Maybe then I could at least tell those crochet hooks apart.

Me: By the way, how are you and the tape measure getting along? Is it like a familial relationship? I hope I’m not prying!

6″ ruler: No, no, it’s all right. We definitely have more in common with each other than either of us does with anything else in your notions bag. Well, except the needle sizer. It mostly speaks metric, being German and all, but it’s quite polite and precise. Since the tape measure was made in Germany as well, and is bilingual, it translates when we talk. That tape measure really is an impressive length. It’s too bad it’s so flexible. I mean, I don’t want to badmouth it—I know it does the best it can—but I think it may have fudged a few measurements. Not deliberately, of course…it’s just that it’s so pliable…

Me: I’ll keep that in mind. It does confirm some of my suspicions about problems I’ve had with some of my projects, like measuring armhole depths… You know, I should introduce you to my tape rule someday. I think the two of you would get along splendidly. It has a certain rigidity you’ll love. And if you thought the tape measure was impressive at 5′, well, the tape rule comes in at 12′. And that’s considered small for its type!

6″ ruler: [speechless in awe]