Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yarns-part 1

How do you chose the yarn for a project?
Do you go with whatever the pattern uses?
What if you aren't using a pattern?
Do you prefer costly or inexpensive?
Does it depend on the project?
Or who it's for?

I mentally separate projects into 2 categories: 1. Warrants expensive yarn, and 2. Doesn't warrant expensive yarn. I'm carefully avoiding the word, "cheap", because I have some great quality yarn that didn't cost much.

I'll tackle category #2, inexpensive, in this post, and the costlier yarns in my next post.

I have a couple of go-to solutions. The first is Knit Picks DK Swish.

It's merino wool, it comes in lots of colors, it's soft, it's machine washable AND machine dryable, and the price is great. I love it. I have a ton of it. I use it for most of my "experiments", even ones I know I should use worsted for. Knit Picks does have worsted wool in the same colorways, I just feel like I should use up some of my DK before I buy more.

I've made a lot of things with it, including my pillow-in-progress:

  This hat:

And this baby blanket:

The second is Lion Brand Yarn, which I often don't like that much. However, their store is right near where I work, and I just can't stop myself from walking in there. It offers the immediate gratification I can't get from an online site like Knit Picks. It also gives me the opportunity to touch the yarn before I buy it. I've made some nice things with their yarn.

This bag:

was made with Lion Brand microspun in "sterling". It works up slightly shiny, which is just right for an evening bag. But it tends to separate a lot when you crochet with it.

I've also used some yarns from Red Heart. I made this baby blanket with their Soft Yarn:

It's nice and soft, but it lacks the specialness of wool.

And I made this throw:

with their Super Saver yarn. The fabric it creates has a nice feel to it, but I hated working with it, because it's quite rough-I found it uncomfortable for my hands.

That's it for today. Next time: Costly Yarns

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Pillow


This is my attempt at a throw pillow. I had a little, unrefined pillow from Ikea, just waiting to be put to good use, 
a bunch of yarn in different colors leftover from my niece's baby blanket, 
and my in-laws were coming to visit. Thus, a crocheted pillow.

First, I made up a pattern for the hexagon.

Then, I got bored with the color combination I was using, so I decided to make each side of the pillow different.

Then, I couldn't decide how to attach the hexagons, so I did that differently on each side, too. 
On the purple side, I wove the individual pieces together after they were all finished. 

On the pink side, I attached the hexagons as I made them.


Now, I'm in the process of weaving in the loose ends-my least favorite part of crocheting.

The pillow was inspired by a beautiful pillow I saw on flickr, with lovely cable stitching between hexagons, and some contrast color edging.

Here's my current dilemma: 
I need to figure out how to attach the top and bottom parts. Should I continue in the light blue color, or change colors? What kind of stitching should I use? Should I include edging? And finally, should I have a button closure, so the pillow can be removed, or should I just close the whole thing up, since the yarn can be machine washed and dried anyway?

Any suggestions would be welcome. Also, I'd love to hear about similar conundrums.