Tuesday, January 30, 2007

MS&W Festival

I've added a countdown ticker at the end of the blog for this year's Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Last year was my first trip to the event and oh! what a fabulous time I had!

The Queen came down from NYC and we had so much fun. Early in the morning, we were dropped off at the fairgrounds. Our first stop was the t-shirt line. It was a good call to get it out of the way first as the line was obscenely long all day. I snagged a t-shirt and the best tote bag ever. The bag has the following image on it:

As we were standing in line, I couldn't help but snap a few photos. One would expect the food selection to include all types of lamb and various fast foods, but fried twinkies??

And for some reason, I just couldn't stop laughing about this one:

In addition to random food and long lines for t-shirts, there is soooo much yarn and fiber and accessories. The best vendors can sell out within the first hour of the festival so it is best to scope out the vendor list and their web sites before you go.

There are also lots of - you guessed it - sheep. Sheep are groomed, shown, shaved and herded. There are alpaca, too and also a dog herding exhibition. More photos from last year:

But my info about the festival is shotty and incomplete. (Remember - I commute 4 hours a day so by the time I post, my brain is half asleep.) Head over to Knitter's Review for a more comprehensive review.

WARNING! If you go, you will spend LOTS of money!! Bring cash and an ATM card as a back up. Not all vendors take plastic and there will be so many, many things to purchase.

I am so looking forward to this year's festival now that I know what to expect, what to do, and what vendors to visit. The Queen will be making a repeat visit and will be bringing her Mom (one of my other Mom's) along. Oh, the yarn we will buy and the wine we will consume! Huzzah!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

From my earlier post, here is the documentary "Public Art, Private Parts" about Ming's crocheted work.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Shawl Madness

Here are two projects completed in 2006 and one current 2007 project.

I think I have mentioned before just how cold my office can get. There is a vortex of cold air that swirls beneath my desk and keeps my little cubicle 5-7 degrees colder than the rest of the office. So when I had some extra yarn and an easy pattern to follow, I decided to make a shawl.

Hook Size: N

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in
  • Sierra?
  • Bella Vista?
  • I'm not sure exactly what color the yarn is as it was from my stash o' yarn and did not have a label
Pattern: Easy Triangle Shawl

You'll notice that the original pattern has tons of fringe on the shawl. For the most part, I detest fringe. I hate it on a scarf, I hate it on a shawl, I avoid it at all costs. Therefore no fringe on my shawl. Instead I edged the two sides of the triangle with triplets of double crochet in every other row going down to the point.
  • at end of last hdc row, ch 2, 3 dc in space at end of row below, *ch 1, skip space, 3 dc in space, repeat from *
  • at point of shawl, 3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc, and repeat from * above
  • after the last 3 dc, ch 2 and join to third ch of the last row's turning chain; fasten off and weave in ends

When I was wearing this warm and cozy shawl at work, some coworkers noticed. I offered to make them one if they bought the yarn. One woman asked me to make mittens, but one did like the shawl idea. Like me, she's not into the fringe.

She loved the finished product:

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in
  • Windsor
Two down and one to go... Her 9 year old daughter said she would love a shawl of her own. Who am I to say no to another project? Especially when she's such a nice kid who is trying to learn to crochet. I hope this shawl keeps her warm and inspires her to make one herself (the pattern is sooooo easy). Didn't she pick out a fabulous green color? It's so bright and fun. I wonder if people on the train think it's a St. Patty's Day project.

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in
  • Florida Keys Green
This one should be done by next week as I've put Dax's Baby Blanket on hold. It seems I react to babies and baby blankets the same way - they are cute and fun and I thoroughly enjoy playing with/working on them. But after awhile, I need to take a break and come back to them/it when I find them/it interesting again.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Crocheted Twigs and Berries

No, no, no...I'm talking about 'twigs and berries' a la Austin Powers. And these crocheted bits and pieces made quite a stink in 2005 when some lawyers in DC didn't take kindly to the artistic display in their office building.

In 2005, the Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space, located in an office building on Pennsylvania Avenue, had an exhibit on knitted and crocheted artwork entitled “Not the Knitting You Know.” It was the work of one artist, Ming Yi Sung Zaleski, that caused some of the building's tenants to take offense. Lawyers from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, a big Philadelphia law firm whose DC office is in the building, found Ming's work to be offensive and demanded the naked crocheted pieces be removed. Ming, on the other hand, crocheted some fig leaves to cover her sculptures' genitalia. This seemed to appease the lawyers - I wonder if they supported Ashcroft, the former US Attorney General, who had his own issues with naked sculptures. It's funny that at the time the lawyers were having a snit about naked crocheted statues, the Justice Department statues were returned to their natural state.

Here is an image of the less-offensive-to-lawyers sculpture:

Here's an article by Jonathan Padget of the Washington Post on all the excitement back in 2005:
Crocheted Nudes Cause Brows to Knit

Good news is that Ming's work has made it back to DC. Her work will be on display at The Nevin Kelly Gallery through February 2, 2007.

The Nevin Kelly Gallery is located at:
1517 U Street NW in Washington DC
For hours and metro directions (Red and Green line accessible) click here for the web site.

Here are a couple of links from the NK Gallery blog where you can read the press release and see photos of Ming's work from the documentary.

Subversive crochet? C'mon! Who doesn't like some crocheted nipples and genitalia? And even if that's not your cup of tea, why is a crocheted sculpture so different from other forms of sculpture (clay, stone) that show the human form naked? Why is a stone penis different from a crocheted one? Perhaps someone needs to crochet a penis-cozy for the sculpture of David.

Friday, January 19, 2007

My First Mittens

I was nervous when a friend asked me to make her mittens. I had offered to make a shawl and she had counter-offered with mittens. She had been on the look out for good mittens at the store but had not been able to find any. Could I make her mittens?

I had never made mittens before and I thought that crocheted versus knitted mittens would be a bit too drafty. I consulted the Queen who said that as long as the stitches were small, it should be okay. So I accepted the challenge and said I would make mittens.

We searched the web for mitten patterns but didn't find too many good ones - crocheted ones, that is. She finally decided on this basic mittens pattern.

I will preface the rest of this post with a couple of details:
1 - I'm still new to reading patterns.
2 - I expect patterns to actually be complete and make sense.

Thus, I was tharted with this pattern. I didn't think the pattern was clear at all and the measurements for the women's small were WAAAAY too small - or I have abnormally large hands. I'll admit that maybe - just maybe - it was me and not the pattern...but I doubt it. If anyone has tried this particular pattern, leave a comment or send an email and let me know if it's just me.

Here's the finished product:

Hook Size: G

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in

  • Blue Mist
  • Dark Rose Heather
Pattern: Basic Mittens

I made quite a few adjustments to the pattern but I didn't write them down for posterity. I knew while working on it that it would be my LAST time using this particular pattern. Just because a pattern is for charity doesn't mean it has to suck. For a list of other crocheted mittens patterns, click here.

I don't have any more mittens on my to-do list right now, but I am hoping to make a pair of fingerless gloves for myself. My office gets really cold, especially where I sit. There's a vortex of cold air in my cube. Really - I'm not making this up. I'm in a cube by an interior wall and I'm no where near a window or a vent. Just a cold, cold vortex. Any good crochet fingerless glove patterns would be appreciated.

Button, Button ... Who's Got the Button?

In non-crocheting creativity, I've made a new graphic for the blog:

There is also a smaller version in case you'd like to link to this blog with a graphic:

(This smaller sized button will stay on the side bar, too)

Back to crocheting - The blanket is well on it's way again and I've passed the halfway mark. Huzzah! I'd a post a photo but it's nothing exciting yet. Instead I'm going to post some previously completed projects. Here's a list of what to look forward to - I know you're all waiting with baited breath! (By the way - I know we're just getting to know each other, but go get a mint or gum or something.)

Items I completed in 2006:
-> 1 baby blanket
-> 5 pairs of bunny slippers
-> 1 blanket
-> 2 shawls
-> 1 kid scarf
-> My first pair of mittens

Enjoy the trip through the past projects - and here's to a more productive 2007!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Blanket for Dax

Here is a photo of the aforementioned frogging incident. I had pulled it down to where you see in the photo; it previously had blue, yellow and pink above it. Yep - about 18 rows had to be frogged. Sad, just sad.

Lucky for me I saw the Momma-to-be and she's got a thing about receiving gifts prior to the birth. Turns out it's an Irish thing and a Jewish thing (another friend pointed out) and I'm sure there are many others who also shy away from pre-birth gifts. I'm glad to know it as it gives me more time to finish it and it allowed Momma-to-be to customize part of the blanket. She's requested a white border and what Momma wants, Momma gets.

Here are the details of this blanket:

Hook size: G

Bernat Baby Coordinates in
  • Soft Mauve (purple)
  • Iced Mint (green)
  • Soft Blue
  • Lemon Custard (yellow)
  • Baby Pink
  • White for border

Five rows of each color; Alternating 5 colors, half double crochet throughout (border TBD)

Dimensions so far:
Gauge - I just made it long enough for a baby blanket. I'm really bad at checking my gauge with anything.
Width of blanket - 31 inches
Width of 25 rows / five colors - 7.5 inches

Anticipating repeating pattern 4 times and adding a white border. Finished blanket will be approximately 32" x 32" (unless I beef up the border)

Baby Dax is due for her arrival in April. Plenty o' time to finish this one and the other one (nickname TBD) who is also due in April. The Dax name? You Star Trek fans will know this one already. Dax was a character on Deep Space Nine and actually, there was a second Dax on the show - yet there was just one. You see, the two Daxes were just vessels in which a trill symbiont lives. While the politically correct name is a symbiotic relationship, it really is more like a parasitic relationship, such as in - say it with me now - as in pregnancy. The kid takes all its nourishment from you and uses your body for a comfy incubator. Thus, my friend and her husband have nicknamed the baby Dax. I love it! Can't wait to see the little parasite baby in April.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Finally - a post!

The prompting of this post is not one I'm happy about. My current project - a baby blanket - is due tomorrow. Sadly today I found that I had skipped a stitch soooo very far from where I was.

The frogging - it was intense! Row after row disappeared...the ball of yarn it grew...

My motivation to finish the blanket - it became non-existent.

Thus - a post on this new blog!

Let's take a look at the projects currently on my plate for 2007. It appears that 2007 is the year of the babies!

1. The aforementioned baby blanket - due tomorrow (and it won't be finished)
2. Another baby blanket - due in April
3. Yet another baby blanket - due in July
4. Fingerless gloves/mittens - due before it's warm and I don't need them (though technically it hasn't been cold enough for them yet. WTF?)
5. SOMETHING with the yarn I got at last year's MS&W Festival - due before this year's MS&W otherwise I won't be able to justify another yarn splurge.

I've finished quite a few projects in 2006 which was quite remarkable considering I was busy in grad school, planning a wedding, buying a condo, and starting a prestigious internship. The time to crochet was found during my sometimes endless commute. You see, it takes me about 2 hours door-to-door to get to work.

  • Drive in the car to the train station - 10 minutes
  • The commuter train to DC - 30 minutes
  • The Metro out into Maryland - 30 minutes
  • The walk from Metro to my office - 20 minutes
  • Reverse it at night - 2 hours
Thus 4 hours a day is spent commuting. INSANE, I know.

Why don't I drive, you ask? Because this is DC and I'd be stuck with all the rest of the traffic. It would still take me 2 hours to get to and from work and I'd be stressed and full of road rage. Using public transportation is less stressful, less expensive than gas and wear-and-tear on the car, better for the environment, and I can do stuff while I commute - reading or crocheting. And if I'm going to be creating all these crocheted items, I might as well show off my skills. Thus - the Commuting Crocheter blog was born!

Since 2007 is off to a slow start, I'll begin by posting my projects from 2006 including photos and links to patterns or yarn. I'm hoping this blog will keep me motivated to create and try new patterns. (I'm also hoping to be motivated to actually post stuff, too.)