Day 2: A Mascot Project


Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature. You do not have to make this project! It is simply an exercise in blogging about how you come to decide upon what projects to make. Try and blog about the journey which inspiration and investigating patterns, yarns, stitches, (etc) can often guide you through. You may wish to make a collage or 'mood board' to present several ideas, or even sketch out your own design.

I find myself pulled in two different directions on this topic, one is to embrace the animal of the Monkey and the other is to follow the path of what I see the House of Monkey as representing, challenge.

Mascot Project - Literal

The first path is the monkey itself.  In the fall I got back into Craftsy classes (mostly after they launched an iPad app that makes them much more enjoyable to view in my opinion) and I got hooked on the idea of making Amigurumi.  If you aren't familiar, amigurumi are crocheted or knitted toys. The style (and term) originated in Japan and are quite popular.  I enjoy crocheting but I don't love the fabric for garments and a person really doesn't need that many afghans so amigurumi were a great choice for me.


A couple of weeks ago I finished up another piece of amigurumi, a really cute whale and gave it to my boss who has been having a pretty rough go of it.  I asked her what her son's favorite animal is and it turns out that it is a ... monkey (I know, you're shocked).

So my first mascot project is Owen the Monkey by Stacy Trock of FreshStitches.


I will be making it as my next amigurumi, the little boy it's intended for could use a a stuffed version of his favorite creature.

Mascot Project - Figurative

Following the spirit of the monkey rather than a literal monkey, my mascot project is one that challenges me and forces me to expand my skills.  To me there are two potential mascot projects, one is a stranded colorwork project and the other is a design project.

Endpaper Mitts

Stranded colorwork is something that I have done but I don't feel confident in it and it's not something I do easily or very well.  So I should probably find a stranded project to do to re-build me confidence in the area, maybe a pair of fingerless mitts.  I wear my Endpaper Mitts all the time and they hardly show any wear.  I know that many moons ago I had queued and favorited other charts that looked fantastic on that mitt pattern.  Maybe that is my project, it would require some of my own design work and a part of knitting that I struggle with.

Or maybe its going to be knuckling down and figuring out and writing down the pattern for a cowl I dreamt up a month or so ago.  This isn't the greatest shot of the pattern, mostly because this was the only yarn in bulky weight I had on hand when inspiration struck.


It is without a doubt a fashion cowl rather than a warmth cowl, but I'm pretty impressed with myself.   So this is the other option on the other path.  I can see all these being feesible projects for over the next few months, as long as I can stay on top of my sock knitting (I've learned I always need to have a pair of "fancy" socks on the needles) and the wedding shawls I need to make for my sister's wedding in October.

Day 1: The House Cup

A bit like Harry Potter, but not quite, this year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is split into 4 houses. Don your favourite knitted or crocheted hat and let it guide you to which house you will be in. So choose your house. You may be a combination of more than one of these noble beasts, but think about which house best embodies your qualities and declare your place. You can use one of the graphics above to display your house crest, if you like (though this is totally optional).

Post about your crafting outlook/style and why you chose this house. The descriptions have been purposefully written to seem quite vague, but that's really because they are only the merest starting point to prompt bloggers to write about in which ways they identify themselves within their craft(s).

Kniting and crochet blog week house of monkey

This year's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week has a different flavor than in past years.  This year we must first sort ourselves into houses and for me it was a pretty clear choice to be in the House of Monkey.

I'm a process knitter, while I like having finished objects to wear, for me knitting (and crocheting, and spinning and weaving) are an activity in itself.  I like ramping up the skill level, I like learning new techniques and skills and I do go out of my way to select patterns that use new (to me) stitch patterns, or exotic shaping.

This is part of why I have continued to add crafts, in June I'm taking a table weaving workshop with a borrowed loom because I want to learn more things.

The challenge for me these days is that I'm getting quite comfortable and confident in many of the techniques that I'm finding it tough to find "new" skills (at least in knitting).  I think the next big challenge for me is designing.  I have a few ideas and am getting the hang of improving/adapting patterns to suit my needs so I think I'm on track for the next stage.

To see more of the projects I have finished over the past couple of years you can check out Ravelry (sign-up required) or here on the blog.

Day 7 - Crafting Balance

Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?

If we are talking about just knitting and crochet I am pretty well committed to knitting.  I enjoyed my crochet projects from last year and I am eager to try more in the future, but the motion of crochet isn't quite as comfortable as knitting for me and I don't find myself as inspired by the current selection of crochet patterns as I am by the knitting patterns.

I would like to become more talented at crochet but when times get tough I flee back to knitting, I like the rhythm of knitting, it is like coming home.

Although my neutral position on crochet may be swayed if I started to use higher quality materials in my crochet projects. Cotton/Acrylic from KnitPicks is not exactly MCN or MCS (Merino Cashmere Silk ie. Madelinetosh Pashmina).

Now, if I look beyond just crochet and knitting, I am much more of a balanced crafter.  When you balance knitting and crochet against spinning and weaving, I am still a knitter first and foremost, I'm a brand new but dedicated weaver and an intermittent spinner.  Because I can take my knitting anywhere it is my go-to activity, but spinning calms me in a way that nothing else does and weaving is still quite challenging although it has a nice balance of rhythm and interest that I think could become a popular part of my fiber repertoire.

Maybe it is because my mother always said that there is enough love in one mother for many children, I love each craft fully and differently but each with my whole heart, although as my aunt has been known to say sometimes, I love them but they make it very hard for me to like them.

Day 6 - Improving Your Skillset

How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.

For me, my learning is never done, there is always a new skill or technique to try to master. I often times seek out patterns that force me try something new.  When I don't learn something new in

That said there are a few techniques I have shied away from, like double pointed needles.  I tried them back in the old days before I discovered that there are meh needles, there are good needles and their are great needles.  It may be time to try again with good needles.

Also I have tried double knitting and the colors were too close so I frogged the projects (I tried, twice, to get the colors right) and I haven't found a project again I want to do in double knit, although I may need to spend some time checking out, Extreme Double Knitting for inspiration.  Same with intarsia, I have tried it, the project wasn't working, I frogged and haven't found a pattern in intarsia I have really wanted to do.

I am not averse to trying most knitting techniques but I need a reason to do so, I am not one to make a sampler to try techniques but rather I would like to have a pattern that incorporates that technique.

I did set myself some goals for the year, but I really need to read my copy of the Knitter's Life List, which I picked up a month ago.  I think that will set me out some really neat and concrete goals to meet, because I don't really want my knitting to get stagnant, because that would take the joy out of it for me.

Day 5 - Something a Little Bit Different

It's back, and this time it has the most amazing of prizes (look for the prize for 'most creative post'). This was a massive success last year, and for many it was the highlight of the Blog Week, so this year you are challenged, again, to find a new way of blogging.This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog.

For something different I have created a GIF of me knitting.  In an endless loop that never gets me anywhere.

I have been a big fan of GIFs since learning their potential on the decidedly non-fiber website, Jezebel, where the commentors will often use a clip from a TV or of a famous person to denote excitement or displeasure with the content or just have GIF Parties.  Because they are short windows of time (about 4-10 frames long) they loop intefinately so that leaves much potential for accidental GIFs (ie clips from TV shows and cable news) and designed GIFs like the James Van Der Memes site (which if you are a fan of the internet and were a fan or watcher of Dawson's Creek during adolescence you will love).