Thursday, April 25, 2013

4KCBWDAY4 - colour review

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What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal - do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway - if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

Part 1: The colours I think I use, according to my brain.

When knitting for myself I use lots of cool colours. Blue, green, purple, and variations thereupon. These are my favourite colours to wear, so it makes sense that I am always drawn to them in yarn. That said, I also love using colours that I don't wear - golden yellow and neon green, for example. I can't wear yellow near my face, but I can certainly wear it on my feet. Yay for yellow socks! I don't use many neutrals, even though I have made a few brownish things over the years.

Part 2: The colours I actually use, according to Ravelry

I've organised my project photos by year, and have made screenshots for the last few years just to make a good comparison, since I didn't finish that many things last year.

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In 2013 so far I have knitted with yellow-orange, blue, teal, gray, and Noro (which is a colour in itself). What the screenshot doesn't show you is that there is purple in my Colour Affection as well.

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In 2012 I used teal, purple, red, forest green, forest green, light minty blue, undyed/white, and green.

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And in 2011 I used yellow-orange and blue, magenta, neon green, blue and purple, red, green, brown, blue, green, brownish-gray.

What this exercise tells me is, I forgot about red! How could I forget red? Red is a colour I have only developed a fondness for in the last few years. The red hat I made last year for my grandmother was the brightest red I've ever used - I wouldn't have chosen the colour for myself before, but now I actually want a bright red hat of my own. I also apparently use more neutrals than I thought. I kind of forgot about undyed yarn being neutral.

2011 was my most varied year in terms of colour use. I wonder if this is because I was unemployed and mostly buying yarn on sale. For the sake of being cheap, I took some colour risks. The magenta yarn I used for my Honeybee cardigan was incredibly cheap, and I definitely wouldn't have chosen that colour if choosing full price yarn. Similarly, the brown yarn I used for my lace-yoked cardigan was on sale. I quite like that shade of brown, but I'm not sure I would have bought a cardigan's worth at full price.

Part 3: Stash
I haven't made any screenshots of my stash, but you can look at it here. The photos aren't entirely representative of the stash, since I haven't taken pictures of some of the old stuff... and some of the stuff on the list I no longer have. But never mind. For the sake of unscientific analysis, here is the breakdown:

Total stash entries: 21
Red: 1
Blue: 4
Green: 6
Teal/blue-green: 2
Purple: 4
Natural/undyed: 2
Brown: 1
Gray: 1

Green wins! Blue and purple tie for second place! I think my current stash is pretty representative of my current colour tendencies, actually.

Part 4: Relate back to my knitting house
Well, since deciding the Hebridean sheep was my knitting spirit animal, I'm a bit stuck for representative colour. These sheep are blackish. As I have mentioned previously, I hardly ever use black yarn, although I do wear black. I'm totally willing to try it, though. Especially if it comes from a badass multi-horned sheep.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

4KCBWDAY2 - the ultimate project

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Yesterday I decided to go off-message and declare the Hebridean sheep to be my knitting spirit animal. It follows that my mascot project should involve yarn made from Hebridean sheep's wool. This yarn tends to be blackish, which is a departure for me - I almost never knit with blackish yarn, preferring bright and deep colours. For this project, however, I will embrace the wool's naturally occurring shade. What should I make in black(ish)?

Given my admiration for this sheep's resilience as detailed in my post yesterday, I though some sort of outerwear would be appropriate. I have no desire to knit with fine gauge black yarn, so I set my minimum yarn weight to Worsted. I am forever queuing jackets and coats on ravelry, though I have yet to make one. So, a black woolly jacket! I started by looking at my Ravelry queue and favourites, and then did some more searching supplemented by my memory of various jackets I've admired in the past and somehow forgotten to put in favourites.

Here is the shortlist, as captured from my pinterest board.

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From right to left, Red Oak by Julia Trice; Katrine Cardigan by Cecily Glowik MacDonald; and Everybody Knows by Ann Weaver.

Red Oak drops off because if I make it, I'd prefer it not to be black - those leaves should stand out. Both Katrine and EK are simple and the pattern wouldn't get lost in black. They both would be excellent canvases for fun buttons, also - showing my peacock side, a little? Everybody Knows happens to be an excellent Leonard Cohen song, which is always a bonus. I also think the yarn might suit it better - I've found several options for worsted/aran weight Hebridean yarn. (Not all examples on that list actually contain fibre from the Hebridean sheep, but you get the idea). I would probably lose the drop stitch details because I don't want too many vents to let in the wind. However, I'm kind of drawn to Katrine, despite the fact that it calls for bulky yarn and I haven't found much Hebridean wool at that gauge. I figure I can do some maths, maybe hold some yarn double, and make it work. I like that it has different textures represented: stockinette and seed stitch. The high neck / collar would be warm, but not too tight. I might not want it right neck to my neck due to scratchiness, but it looks roomy enough for a softer scarf/cowl to fit underneath.

That's decided, then. Here's to Katrine as my mascot project. Who knows, maybe I'll even knit it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

4KCBWDAY1 - off to a bad start

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It's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week once again, and having missed last year's due to my wedding and honeymoon, I was excited to hear it was running again this year. Eskimimi has once again put a huge amount of work into this event, creating new topics and adorable graphics to support them... For which I say a huge thanks, and I apologise in advance for the absolute mess I am making of this first topic prompt.

See, I'm just not feeling this first topic. The basic premise is this: assign yourself to a knitting 'house,' symbolized by an animal. Maybe I'm just channeling in my inner teenager, but upon reading the topics I thought, "I don't want to be pigeon-holed! I will not submit to labels! I don't have a knitting spirit animal!" This is frankly ridiculous, because I do participate in many labeling exercises in my life. However, being sometimes a Bee, often a Peacock, occasionally a Monkey, and even at times a Manatee, I didn't feel like committing to one house. So I decided to stretch the topic to its extreme.

I started thinking, and realised that maybe I DO have a knitting spirit animal.

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Meet the Hebridean sheep. These particular ones I met at Woolfest last summer, and they are easily the wackiest-looking sheep I've ever seen. The reasons I have adopted the Hebridean sheep as my knitting mascot for the purposes of Blog Week are as follows:

1. Wool comes from sheep

Wool is my preferred fibre with which to knit, so I had to choose a sheep. I haven't knit with Hebridean wool yet, but I would like to try it. I quite enjoy using hardy, rustic wool yarn, since I know it will be sturdy and wear well. I also have a lot of sympathy for the rare native breeds that don't get much attention in light of merino's supremacy. Merino is great for some things, but there is certainly room in my knitting basket for other sheep breeds.

2. These sheep are resilient

Hebridean sheep can survive in difficult conditions, able to live outdoors even in the winter. Scotland is an excellent place to rely on wool for warmth. In the islands off the west coast of Scotland that give this breed its name, it doesn't get very warm - wikipedia (the font of all knowledge :P) gives an average temperature range of 6 C to 14 C. (edit: which may only refer to average maximum temperatures, so isn't exactly representative. But that's what I get for not fact-checking out of laziness.) Although I have not yet been there, given the Scottish weather I have experienced on the main land, I can only imagine how windy it might get on the islands. That gives me a lot of respect for creatures who can eke out an existence outdoors.

3. They are truly badass

Look at those horns! According to the Hebridean Sheep Society, male and female sheep are born with at least two horns. Moreover, the Wester Gladstone website shows sheep with up to 8 horns! Clearly in my brain, the more horns, the more badass. So correlation does not equal causation? Meh, I don't want to hear about it in this case.

Hebridean sheep don't represent me in any concrete sense. Although I consider myself to be a bit wacky, and I'm pretty awkward sometimes, I'm not particularly badass or resilient in many ways, nor do I sport any wicked horns. But I like them and they inspire me to be tougher and try some different things in my knitting life. I hereby commit to knitting something out of Hebridean wool this year, and I will report back on the experience.

Happy blog week, everyone!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Stuff and things

I've been meaning to write about all sorts of things lately, and just never getting around to it for no apparent reason. I will get around to it, though. Later. In the mean time, I am knitting - progress on my Colo(u)r Affection was stalled for a while when I encountered some epic yarn barf. I say encountered, but really, it started out as slightly twisted yarn, and I made it a lot worse by ignoring it and pretending it would go away on its own.

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All is now untangled, though I had to make several cuts in the yarn to do it. The good thing about knitting stripes is that I don't feel bad about having to join new yarn. The largest salvaged ball might see me through to the end of the project, though. We'll see.

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Also check out my awesome and delicious green smoothie. It's a bit chunky, but I don't mind. Smoothie above contains an apple, an orange, peanut butter, oats, ginger, spinach and water. It tasted very fresh. This seems like a good way to eat more green stuff - I love leafy greens in all sorts of forms, but somehow still don't eat enough of them, so why not try them in drinkable breakfast form? Mmmm probably the best smoothie in the world?