Saturday, September 28, 2013

Catching Up, Part 2

Missouri.  Land of endless farms, cattle, and Walmarts?

Shopping at YarnsOfItaly's warehouse
During my visit to Missouri this summer I enjoyed time with my cousins, getting to know the new neighbors, and, going back to visit the Yarns Of Italy warehouse.  I even began offering driving lessons to my Mini~Dee!

As I stated yesterday, I am a non-supporter of Walmart.  Because the nearest town, Springfield, had no more local yarn shops, I was forced to make a choice between Hobby Lobby and Walmart to get my yarn fix.  Fortunately, I did a little leg work prior to my visit -- I contacted and arranged for them to let me visit them again!!
New yarn love, Lunare, pictured with one of my
Graydog crochet hooks.

Oh the yummy yarns that came home with me!!  Last year I discovered their Lunare cotton and came home with some to try. I had, prior to that time, to find a cotton yarn that I couldn't resist.  This past December I sampled it by crocheting up some potholders  (using the tapestry crochet method) to gift to my favorite chef, Mr Dee. By the time I was done with that project I knew I found a cotton yarn worthy of adding to my list of "yarn loves."  So this year, I bought more. Much more. LOL

I also ventured into trying a new-to-me-yarn they had:  Urubu' by Mofil.  This is a multi-colored yarn, wool/acrylic blend, that sorta self-stripes.  There were no swatches of this yarn at the warehouse, so I bought it on pure impulse.  My thought at the time is that if it looked good balled up, it will look good worked up.  Boy! Was I in for a lesson!

 When I got back to the farm I grabbed one of my crochet hooks and worked up a crochet swatch.  I did not like what I was seeing. I tried again, and again, and again, changing the stitches, changing the hooks. No matter what I did I did not like the swatches.  I thought, and I don't state this lightly, that the work looked dirty, and the chunky color pools just did not look good at all.  For the record, I have never stated such a thing about a yarn before!  So what to do?

It took me a few months of looking at the yarn and wondering that very question.  Ultimately I decided to try knitting with it.  The yarn was just too yummy (in feel) to pass up on working with!   Currently this is what I have worked up on the needles...  while I no longer feel that the work still looks "dirty," it still has that chunky color change which I'm not so fond of.  I'm hoping by the time I'm done with this project that I will change my mind and like the yarn over all.  After all, the yarn does have an incredible feel to it.

The lesson I learned is just because a yarn looks good raw, doesn't mean it will when it's finished.  Asking to see a swatch is a good habit to have. ;)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Catching Up...

So where did we last leave off?  July, I believe.  What has happened since that time?  Quite a bit actually.

Crocheting a Vacation Souvenir
For the remainder of the month of July I took the kids out west to spend time at my father's farm in Missouri.  We were there for three weeks.  In that time I discovered in Springfield had sadly closed its doors.  Yarn lovers in the area had two choices (that I knew of): Hobby Lobby and Walmart.  As a non-supporter of Walmart, I decided to check out the local Hobby Lobby.  They actually have two!! locations in Springfield.  Admittedly I was jealous because back home the nearest one to me is a 45+ minute drive away. 

I wanted a project "exclusive to Missouri" -- kinda like a souvineer project.  After roaming the store for (from my kids perspective) forever, I was saddened to find that they really didn't offer much in books for crochet.  Or knit.  But I did find the latest issue of Interweave Crochet magazine, and while flipping through the pages I found the pictures of Vashti Braha's "Electra Wrap" to be inspiring.  I went to the yarn department and found a skein of Paton's "Lace" mohair/acrylic/wool yarn that self stripes.  I also treated myself to a new crochet hook by Yarnology (a line exclusive to the Hobby Lobby franchise).

Mini~Dee modeling my finished Electra Wrap
I didn't finish the project until just a few weeks ago when I decided to enter it into the Eastern States Exposition for judging.  The main reason was because I had misplaced the magazine when I was unpacking. Oy!  Although I did not follow Vashti's pattern *exactly*, I did fall in love with the loftiness of the finished project.  Will I make another?  Yes.  And maybe next time I'll follow her pattern to get the softer edging look rather than the straight edging I went with.

Electra Wrap is awarded a
Blue Ribbon at The Big E

And how did my project fair at The Big E?  Quite well, actually.  First, because someone else entered a knitted project using the same yarn, in the same colorway, it gave a great representation of what one could do with the yarn in crochet.  And second, it seems the judges liked it too.  They gave it a Blue Ribbon. 

What else happened while in Missouri?  You'll need to come back tomorrow to find out.  :)