Monday, March 08, 2010

Waiting for Spring and Anticipating Summer

Subliminally, I must be tiring of winter. It's almost over here. We still have a fair bit of snow in our fields but every day it is warm, a little bit seeps into the earth. The sap is running and maple farmers are harvesting sap. The sugar houses that dot the countryside were all boiling sap this weekend and we took the ubiquitous trip to one this weekend where we all enjoyed a bit of the super sweet. Pancakes have never done it much for me and the syrup wreaks havoc with Julia's diabetes. But it's once a year that we go and then it is over until the next year. No matter how hard I try, I usually guess wrong with the amount of carbs to plug into the insulin pump.

For the past few weeks I've been playing with Lesley Stansfield's 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet. Man, is this a lot of fun. This book is so well done - lovely straight forward, simple photos where you can really see what you are knitting or crocheting. The instructions are fine and there is a lovely selection of all kinds of flowers. I have tried a few of them. I can't get real excited about knitting the flowers. The crocheted ones go so much faster and I think crochet naturally is a better medium for making flowers. I'm trying to stay open about knitted flowers but they just take longer! I'm an impatient person, I must say.

Here's a crocheted (sort-of) sunflower.

Makes me pine for these.

With the days getting longer, it's not going to be long before we have more than we can handle doing outside. I know in some parts of the northern hemisphere, things are growing like nuts but we're still a couple months off.

I have decided that I prefer a lot of the crocheted flowers I make to be felted. It just makes them softer looking. I love how the stitches disappear into the mass of fibers that develop in the washing machine. To me, the process of felting is very similar to loading up a kiln full of ceramics, turning the heat on and then waiting to see what the finished pots look like. There is such anticipation in waiting for that buzzer on the washing machine to ring.

Here's what the above pseudo sunflower looks like felted.

I think it would be great with a little embroidery added to the brown colored disc.

Have you tried crocheting flowers yet? If you are a knitter, is this something you might like to learn crochet for? I'm just wondering because as I develop patterns for my website, I worry about turning people off with added crochet bits to the patterns. Any help you can give me in this market research is very appreciated.


cjfinger said...

Hi Kristin,
I actually enjoy a bit of crochet here and there, and will admit that I recently crocheted a chunky fringe onto a knitted scarf rather than making i-cords, just for something different. Love the felted crocheted sunflower!

emeselle said...

I was a crocheter long before I was a knitter, and I had to give it up because of tendinitis. I like the crochet references, I think you're right about little items like flowers working up fast and I'm going to try my hand at crocheting some to felt for my knitted/felted slippers.

maureen said...

I am a die hard knitter but will always consider crocheting a border or decoration, it does not deter me as long as it is not all crochet.

Kevin Ford was here shearing today and mentioned your name, told him I am taking a workshop at Fiber Loft in a few weeks, hope it isn't canelled again

If it is are you doing Stitches East this year?

Megan said...

I'm a crocheter and like your blog and designs because of the colors and flowers and lovely embroidery, etc., so I'd love it if you added more crochet content. I have to admit that knitting's not been much fun for me when I've tried before, but I do covet the fair isle type designs I've seen of yours and on Ravelry, so I might have to try again to see if the products make the act of knitting worthwhile for me.

The Andersons said...

Hi Kristin,

I learned to knit first, never really liking the old look of crochet - cheap, acrylic yarn made into massive afghans or tacky, kitschy crafts were all I had seen. Then, I learned how to crochet because of a beautiful project I wanted to make. Now I'm so glad I can do both!

I think you would be doing a great service to a lot of people if you included crochet. With your beautiful work, I think many people would be inspired to learn.

knitterbeader said...

I just wanted to let you know that I received the assortment of your postcards and they are every bit as beautiful as shown on your website. My friends are envious, and I think some are ordering from you. Such a clever idea!

Anonymous said...

I used to crochet but it just doesn't keep my interest like knitting does. Although modern crochet has improved the look of finished garments I'm still not crazy about it. A crocheted garment tends to look a bit rudimentary to me compared to a knitted garment.

I can still crochet but it isn't as easy as it used to be due to hand & finger issues. If I have to I will crochet an edging, or an embellishment - maybe. Admittedly I usually find a way to do it with knitting instead. I'm also not really interested in seeing crochet patterns, or having lots of it added to knitting patterns. I wouldn't buy them unless the fundimental basis of the pattern were knit and only the extra's were crocheted, and assuming I could figure out a way to avoid using the crochet, or eliminating it.

That's my two cents. :D --elizaduckie

Amy S. said...

I don't have anything against crochet, and I can probably still do it (granny squared a whole afghan long ago when I was a kid), but I'm not confident in my crochet skills, so a project with even a little crochet tends to go to the end of my list.

I suppose I should get over it. . .

Vermont Designs said...

I agree, crocheted flowers are much easier to work than knitted ones. Altho my hand-dyed handspun knitted Maple leaves took on a new look when felted.

Leslie said...

I have rudimentary crochet skills but have found myself thinking of practicing (!) to improve them. I see there's a whole crochet movement on Ravelry and found instructions on how to repair that granny square afghan I found at a yard sale 20 years go - it's gotten a bit ragged.

So to answer your question, I think wouldn't deter me to find crocheted flowers and trim. I might not want to crochet an entire large project, but bits and pieces? Sure - bring it on! I am a knitter, see me grow :)

JDJPA1 said...

I love your approach to design. The bold colors and a certain simplicity give your projects an edge, keeping them from going all "granny". I wonder if adding crochet touches would detract from your style.

Marie-Andrée said...

For your sunflower, I will put some copper beads in the middle, but it is beautiful like this.
I love your blog

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with crochet in any amount,and I must say that crocheting a trim or ornaments like the flowers is much faster and easier than knitting them. But if you don't want to deter those fearful of crochet, perhaps your patterns could include options for knitting or crocheting special effects?
-- Gretchen

Joyce said...

I like crochet - I learned to crochet from my Grandma and liked it much more than knitting back then because I could fix my mistakes without starting over and my finished item didn't look flawed!

A few years ago, I decided to get over my knitting issues and really worked at learning to knit. Knitting challenges me in a different way and I love that.

I think knitting is superior for some uses and I still think crochet is better, easier and faster for other uses. I frequently combine both crochet and knitting.

One thing that I do love is the way crocheting is charted now. I will always pick a pattern with charts over one that is just written out.

Mama Urchin said...

I'm a knitter and I don't know how to crochet so honestly, I do avoid patterns if the crochet is what makes it a standout. Otherwise I would leave the crochet bit out of my project (I can do a crochet edging) or beg someone I know who can crochet to make the bits I need.

Francie O said...

I learned to crochet before learning to knit. I feel like I can do so much more with knitting. So I don't mind doing a little crocheting when it is called for. Your tutorial for your crocheted flowers and french knots was great. So, if you include a crocheted element in one of your designs, you could always include a simple tutorial on your site.