Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Of course, the yarn (and lesson 1)

Hello everyone!

* Note: Huge, intensive photo post ahead! Proceed with caution *

Now that we have the needles, let's talk about yarn. Without the yarn, it is not knitting now is it?

So here is my small (but growing) yarn collection. At the moment I have some Patons Classic wool. It is nothing special but it is one of the very few things that is 100% wool in Joann's. (Yes I have yet to discover the local yarn store, will have to find it later.)

At the moment I am using only pure 100% wool because I want to get used to the feel of normal wool, as opposed to the super good stuff or the really bad stuff. 100% wool from the craft store is probably a good metric for that.

I think when I was in Joanns trying to buy yarn I already found "the really bad stuff." I have a habit of touching everything in front of me before I buy anything, from fruits and veggies to fabric and I guess yarn now. I just do not like the feel of acrylic, which is in a lot of the yarn there. I guess I do not like a mix of rayon AND acrylic at the same either. I am sure blends have their purposes, but for a beginner who is TRYING to knit swatches and simple things I don't think so.

Quickie lesson: winding yarn balls

Anyway, you would notice that all my yarn is in tidy little balls already. I had to do it because the resident doggies would take the skein and run off with it if you are not careful. With them in balls in a bag inside my bedroom the doggies would not have a chance to go "get" them as a chew toy and scatter yarn around the house.

Small back story: This is actually one of the first things I learned to cope with what happened to my father-in-law. Both my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law craft with yarn. Since I cannot enter their house without damaging my lungs, I learned how to wind yarn balls quick to pass the time besides watching them move things around.

Here I have one Lion's 100% Fisherman's Wool. Geez, what would I do without the Internet? It does look like a giant sausage does it? Ya...

Now take the wrapper off (and keep the wrapper! Not all yarns have the same composition) and take the lone strand out.

I usually wrap this lone strand around my left hand at least 10 times. Then, I start to wrap the strands in the middle of the small bundle I created. Eventually this would turn into a ball, a crude ball but nevertheless a ball.

Continue winding the ball, moving the ball in different directions to wrap in different directions until well... the skein disappears. Now you have a giant yarn ball.

Special thanks to my mother-in-law for helping with the photos.

I hope this will help glimpse at what I am up to!

P.S. Here is my first little doll candy: my new key chain Robin the raccoon! The literal meaning of kireizukin is either pretty hood or clean hood. You will see more of Robin later on. I am rather addicted to Robin's cuteness at the moment.

Apparently, according to the san-x's website, a kireizukin is:

Irresponsible raccoon “Mar”, he is usually lazy but he changes his attitude whenever he wears hood on his head. He rarely cleans up the room before wearing the hood, but after wearing the hood on his head, like personality changes, he become an expert on smarten up and clean up the room, also he can be called “Kireizukin”.

Here is a little video I found for kireizukin Nintendo DS video game:

The second "candy" for me anyway is my new pepper spray with the ultraviolet dye. Unfortunately, it is pink because it is for a Breast Cancer campaign (sweet irony?) I have not used it once, and hopefully will never use it, but when I need it, it is right next to Robin the raccoon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

First stop: the tools

The first stop of knitting is well, the needles.

I am a tool nut, but I have to admit that the knitting needles are my first impulse buy. I did not do much research on which ones are the best, but rather which ones are the most colorful ones.

I currently own Susan Bates knitting needles and crochet hooks.

I got them because:

1) They are the only thing being sold in Joann and Michaels (even less at Michaels, they mostly have crochet hooks at the local one.)
2) Susan Bates' Silvalume® brand has the same colors (almost) on their needle sizes for double point, single point, and crochet hooks, which helps me when I am in a bind.

When I said almost the same colors on their stuff, I mean it. Most of them are pretty dead on, like their size 8 line up (5.0mm). I got the blue crochet hook and blue needles (single and double point.) These are all 5.0mm so if I am knitting something up, I can switch back and forth on these.

However, some of them does not match at all. This is an example of 3.25mm single point knitting needles, double points, and crochet hook. As you can see (or not see quite right in this picture), the single point (darker light blue), double point (lighter light blue), and the crochet hook (gray) are all different.

At the moment, I currently own size 000 (1.5mm in diameter) to size 8 (5.0mm in diameter.) When I get single points I try to get them as LONG as possible. I am lazy that way.

I store my knitting needles like pencils. I grab them and use them. When I am done, I just put it back in the tupperware. I do not have a fancy knitting bag. I do have some kind of organization. I keep my double points in a ziploc bag and try to remember the colors for sizes.

If not, well I do have my gauge ruler.

I do not currently have any circular needles yet. That is on my dream list.

Overall, I do like these needles. They do the job and they are wonderful to look at. However, their single points in my opinion wears out too fast for my liking and goes blunt. I also discovered when they go blunt that I hate blunt needles. For me, pointy needles are my friends.

P.S. Can someone ID these needles? My mother gave me these needles a long time ago. They are long double point needles that are gray and really long. I really like these extra long double points but I don't know who made them. Any clues?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Untangling myself

Hello everyone!

If you do not know me already, my name is Betty.

I am an artist for most of my life. Until recently, I was a miniature clay artist. Due to many different life circumstances happening at the same time it was simply time to change my art into something else, something that is not as equipment and space intensive. It was hard but I had to do it not only because of space constraints but also for my own emotional and mental being.

Unlike my other journeys that I have started on a blog, this journey is completely uncharted. At least with Live Mini (which I am still maintaining), I was working with clay for quite some years before I started blogging about it. I am no expert of polymer clay, but I know a few things before getting into it.

Betty Candy is completely different. It is mostly me being excited, frustrated, and experimentative towards learning and working with clothing design. You are literally reading about me learning new things every single day and building up skills that would lead to me being more expressive than I was before.

So what is Betty Candy about? It is about candy of all sorts: eye candy, tool candy, web candy, candy candy? There are also doll candy involved, but that will have to come later.

My first step towards my goal is to learn how to knit, which until now I have no clue how. Later on when I have the space I want to learn how to machine sew and serge with pretty machines that are far too complex for me for now. For now I am content with knitting because it is portable and you do not need a lot of space except to store the yarn.

This should be interesting ride. Buckle up kids because we are going places, and I don't know where. You will just have to hang on.