Intarsia: A Tale of Two Hearts

This past Friday I bought a book, which inspired me to learn intarsia.  So, Sunday I grabbed some straight 8’s and two colors of worsted weight yarn and dug in with minimal research. 
I thought I had this figured out.  Nah, I’ll just skim over another book and see what they have to say, and I think I’ve got it, I thought to myself.  Turns out, I had the right idea, but the wrong technique.  Ever happen to you?
Exhibit A
As I went along, it was apparent that maybe I wasn’t doing something right.  For example, I thought that each color change was done with a separate strand of yarn.  I managed to get a pink blob, as you can see from Exhibit A, that somewhat resembled a heart.  It took FOREVER to knit, and I had a hojillion ends to weave in, which took about as long to do as knitting the darn thing.  I figured this was OK for a first attempt, but I was going to do more research the next day.  One thing I DID do right was read the chart correctly.  I’ll give myself credit for that.

Exhibit B
Monday came and I did a little search on intarsia knitting tutorials.  Knit Picks had a good one, and I’ve used theirs before, so I figured I give their instructions a try.  I read them.  One point I missed:  use yarn bobbins to knit sections of color.  OH!  Another:  Carry the new yarn you are using INBETWEEN the old one and the fabric.  OH!  The proverbial light bulb went off in my brain and the technique clicked.
That evening I got the same supplies I had before, plus some newly purchased yarn bobs. I cast on and followed the tutorial.  Ding!  I got it!  See Exhibit B?  It actually resembles a heart!  There are mistakes in it, mostly because I was tired when I was finishing the pink part.  What’s important, I learned something new.  I can do this!
The moral of the story:  Always read your directions fully and completely.  If you’re still not sure, do more research.
I can’t wait to do more intarsia.  This has opened a whole new world of knitting for me.  Fair Isle, you’re next!

Wingspan Scarf: Completed

Yay!  My Wingspan scarf is finally complete!  I actually finished it last week, but I’m still proud of it. 
Project details?  Here they are:
·         Size 7 24’’ circular needle
·         DK Weight Yarn, Noro Shiraito, about two skeins
·         Skills needed:  knitting and short rows, slipping stitches purlwise
Pretty basic stuff, and if you want to learn short rows, this is a good project to give it a try.  If you’ve made this scarf, I’d love to see your FO’s.  Link them in the comments!

Needle Felting

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, I got a needle felting kit.  Included in the kit was cookie cutter in the shape of a butterfly, two felting needles, a block of foam, and instructions.  I also got to choose three small bags of roving to felt with.  The price was only $11.00, and I figured that was a good deal to start a new craft.
I got home after the festival, and dug right into the kit.  The directions were clear and succinct, and very clear to mention that felting needles are pointy and sharp.  I started to make a butterfly, as you can see here.  It turned out kinda nice.  I’m pleased with it.
Why did I pick up needle felting?  It’s an excellent way to embellish knitting projects, especially felted ones.  There were some beautifully knitted then felted projects at this booth that had needle felting embellishments. 
Soon, I’ll experiment with felting/needle felting again with the ugly Paton’s Wool yarn I just bought. (When it comes to felting your knitting, the uglier the yarn, the cooler the felted result). 
I also want to try 3-D needle felting, that is, making little figures, animals, people, etc.  That’s down the road, but first I’m going to decorate my knitting with felted patterns.  I’ll definitely share my results with you.
Check The Wool Garden and their Karakul sheep.  They were the fine trio of women whom I bought the needle felting kit from. 

The Kutztown Folk Festival

Living in the heart of PA Dutch country has some benefits.  Besides our starchy foods, funny “Dutchy” sayings, and farming culture, southeast Pennsylvania has a great crafting heritage.  At the heart of the heritage is the Kutztown Folk Festival in Kutztown, PA.  The festival itself started on June 30, when I went, and runs to July 8.  If you live in the area or can travel there, GO. 

My friend Joan works for a public access television station and received free tickets to the festival.  Knowing I’m a sucker for crafts, she invited me along.  I gladly accepted. 

This is a huge festival.  There are tents and buildings full of artisans and crafters.  There is a ton of PA German food and drink to be found, my favorite being red cream soda.  The festival is full of demonstrations, activities for kids, and many beautiful things for sale. 

 
Having a German degree that I do absolutely nothing with, it was interesting to look at all the signs written in Pennsylvania German, which is its own dialect.  It was fun, in a nerdy, linguistic sort of way. 
Anyway, Joan and I got to the festival and she introduced me to a few craftsmen that she knows.  It was nice getting to talk to others about what they do, shows, and to view their work.  Connections and networking, people!
Included here I have a few photos of some of the wares and workers at the festival.  One booth caught my eye.  Three guesses as to what they featured and the first two don’t count.  Ok, I’ll tell you…..YARN! 

The yarn booth had beautiful handknit items there.  Gorgeous, yet accessible.  They also sold hand-dyed and handspun yarn (a bunch of local 4H-er’s were there spinning), as well kits for you to knit.  One such kit was a needle felting kit, which I looked at with a little interest, at which at that point, the needle felting artisan there swept down on me and talked to me about the joys of needle felting.  I looked at the needle felted stuff there and how it was used to decorate and embellish knitted item. I told her I’d think about it.  I thought about it, and bought a kit as before we left.

Again, go to this festival if you have the chance.  Below are some links for you, including more photos of the festival itself.

My Flickr Photoset

Crafting Overload Weekend

I say that like it’s a bad thing, but it really isn’t. 

I had a busy crafting weekend, and I’m going to tell you all about it throughout the week.  Ok, I’ll tell you a little bit. 

On Saturday, I found myself awake at 4am.  I tried to fall back asleep for an hour, but got up round 5am, and went downstairs.  Sleep wasn’t happening.  I popped on the TV to BBCA, hunkered down with my needles and started on a sleeve to a sweater.  I got a lot done that morning.  Then, it was off with Joan to the Kutztown Folk Festival (which if you are in or near Berks County, PA….GO), which I will tell you all about either tomorrow or Tuesday.  Oh, and I picked up a new craft on Saturday, too, also influenced by the festival.

With that being said, exciting stuff in on the horizon.  And to my Canadian neighbors, Happy Canada Day!