Friday, July 16, 2010

My new book!!!!

No, I didn't write a book or anything. I don't know if the stuff I know is unique enough for one of the many publishers to want to publish something by me. Plus there are so many designers out there that are much more popular, so I'm not holding me breath. :-) :-)

I did want to brag about the new book that I just got in the mail today. :-) :-) :-) Since I don't read Japanese I don't know exactly what the title is, but it is a book on one of my favorite, and still not practiced, forms of lace - Turkish lace. Lacis calls this book by Kou Nanami "Oyas: Turkish Elegance". But I got my copy from a site called Bargain Yarns and they called it "Tig Oyalari". It's the same book - at least I think it's the same. They have the exact same cover. :-)

So, you're probably thinking: "Pinka, what the heck are you doing buying a book in Japanese when you don't read it?" Well, yes, that is true that I do not read Japanese. Not even the Japanese exchange student that we had living with us was able to help me there, but one thing that I know for sure about these books is that they have awesome pictures on their step by step instructions! Who needs to read when the pictures say it all. :-)

Most of the projects in this book are for jewelry, but there are a few really cute edgings and of course, the main reason that I got this book, bead crochet!!! :-) :-)

I've only seen a glimpse of this mysterious Turkish lace. Once at a shop in CA (just can't remember exactly where it was so long ago), and the second time a couple years ago when my good friend Prudence Mapstone was in AZ. She had a wonderful sampling of this beautiful lace and I was so jealous of it! :-) I've been patiently waiting for some of the prices on these books to become affordable and when this one popped up, I pounced on it. :-)

There are some other books on Turkish lace that I'd love to get, but I'd have to win the lottery first. As it is, I was able to get this book for about $23, but have found it on ebay and other places for no less than $50. Check out Lacis! They have so many awesome books that I'd love to have, but $50 for a book is just way too much for me - and I don't care how free the shipping is. :-) :-)

I was able to get my hands on a whole bunch of lace weight 10/2 thread from SWTC called Xie that has been screaming for a delicate lace project like this. I've been using it for bead crochet with much success - I LOVE the drape! - but with all of the colors I have, I really need to show it off with a super, uber delicate project like this. :-) :-)

Okay, I'm teaching a beaded knitting class tomorrow, have a garment to finish and a couple bead projects that have been started. I think I can get all of that done and out of the way in the next couple of weeks. So, by the time Caeden goes back to school on the 26th, I should be ready to start! :-) You may be stuck hearing all about it! :-) :-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The tools really make a difference

Yes, yes... everyone always says the same thing. Knitting needles and crochet hooks can really make a difference in the quality of your knitting or crocheting. I've known that - that is why I only use bamboo needles for working with sock yarn. But recently I've discovered that cotton yarn, specifically the one that I'm working with right now - I don't remember the brand, but it feels very much like Tahki Cotton Classic - is super sensitive to the kind of needle that I use with it.

I've done the swatch a few times with no problems, but once I cast on the number of stitches needed for the back of the garment, my fabric suddenly looks like a beginner or a person that is all thumbs made it. Loose stitches here and there, super tight stitches over in this other area. The ends look even worse and I'm just not happy with the result. I used a needle that is super slick and works very much like the Addi Turbos and I've used these on multiple projects with no problem - until now. :-) :-) I've had suicidal stitches jump off the needles as I adjust the fabric because these needles just feel a bit too slippery.

I wouldn't consider myself a master knitter, but I'm definitely not a beginner either. I've made hundreds of projects and know enough about the craft to design my own stuff pretty well. But these needles just created a few more gray hairs!!!

Okay, so giving up on the slippery needles I move to the next one in my little stash of 4mm needles - a bamboo needle that is wonderful with acrylics and acrylics blends. I can even make wool just fly on these needles because they've been worn so smooth with all of the use they've received. :-) But when I switched to the bamboo needles, all of the sudden I'm struggling with sticky yarn not wanting to move on the needle nor the cable. Grrr... this was just annoying as heck and to make matters worse, the stress of forcing these gosh darn stitches to move started to hurt my elbow. Not a good thing when I've been having such a good summer so far.

So finally, I move on to the next set of needles. A pair of cheap circulars that I somehow inherited or got from one of those ebay de-stashing sales. The joins are horrible and I've hardly used them because it seems like everything gets snagged on those joins. The needles don't feel smooth or even comfortable, especially when I have to fight with the yarn so much to make it work. I wanted to give it a try before totally giving up and breaking down to buy another 4mm circular needle. Well, to my surprise, this cotton yarn just started flowing smoothly on the needles and those blasted joins that I've called every name in the book, actually didn't snag the yarn or make my blood pressure go up! I've worked about 10 rows now and haven't had one single problem with these needles. Apparently the needles really like the yarn because I've never completed anything with these needles and it looks like I just may have to keep them after all.

So, the moral of my story is... if you feel like you have a gazillion needles and hooks and don't think you need all of them, don't be too surprised if you all of the sudden find yourself going down your inventory of tools for that one little yarn or thread that does not want to get along with the rest of your tools. You just never know - so don't get rid of it! :-) :-)

I haven't taken apart the fabric yet for my garment. I'm not sure I will. It's only the bottom back and I don't think that awful fabric will be that visible. :-) The rest of the fabric should looks like it should so I'm not too worried. It's a personal project and not one that will be photographed or travel to shows. So, when it's all done, it may turn out that I may be the only one that will know about this little adventure with my needles. :-) :-)