Finished Spinning Project: Stormborn 2ply Yarn

Stormborn Handspun YarnLast week I completed a simple spinning project that had been on the wheel for a while. This basic, 2-ply yarn started out as two gradient batts that the seller (JustADaydream on Etsy) had named ‘Storm’.
The finished yarn then got the nickname Stormborn, after my favourite character from Game Of Thrones, because a geek is a geek.

The yarn is 98% merino and 2% angelina, which adds a bit of sparkle.
Stormborn handspun yarnThe fibre was for the most part an enjoyable spin, though as seems to be the case with many dark dyed fibres, I did find that the darkest two shades contained in the blended fibres to be quite matted. One area of the black fibre was so matted that I had to pull free a lump the size of a large coin embedded within one of the batts and just throw it away.
I think I might also have preferred if the angelina was spread evenly throughout the batts. The fibre seems to have four main shades – white, a pale blue, teal and black. The white and black areas contained none of the angelina, which was instead distributed only through the middle range shades, where it often appeared so dense that I felt at times that I was spinning areas only of angelina and no merino. I think I would like to have had the sparkle run throughout the yarn, especially into the white fibre where I think it would have looked quite ethereal.
The finished skein is 510m (560 yards) in length and a light fingering weight, roughly equivalent to a commercial 3-ply weight. I’d love to have had a third batt to have spun up a slightly rounder, more substantial batt and to have retained the colour sequence, but I think that this skein shall make a wonderful shawl, perhaps with a bit of beading to compliment the angelina, though plans for the knitting will have to wait for a future day!

Post Tags for the 5th Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, 2014

Below you will find the post tags for Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2014. As usual, this part of Blog Week deserves a post of its own because it is always the part that raises the most questions. Those of you who have blogged along in past years will understand how and why these are a fantastic thing already, but for new participants this year and for anyone who needs a refresher, read on…
Blog tags have been part of Knitting And Crochet Blog Week since the first outing in 2010 and have proven to be a fantastic way of discovering new blogs and getting your blog discovered.
They work by creating a string of characters that have never before been used on the internet. The word ‘yarn’, for example, yields about 652,000,000 results when used to perform a google search. The string of characters ‘y12a23r34n45′ however, yields none (though it should actually link back to this page once this page has been indexed by Google) – and that is precisely how the Post Tags work.
I have created eight strings of characters (which we shall call ‘post tags’) that have never been used before on the internet. Each tag related to a different blogging topic for Knitting and Crochet blog week. You can see these tags below:
knitting and crochet blog week

Please note that I have very specifically published these tags in the form of an image rather than typed them onto my page, as otherwise these would then be indexed by Google and make the whole exercise pointless. For this reason I ask you to do the same thing. If you would like to display the post tags on your site before Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, please feel free to use the above graphic, but do not type the codes directly onto your blog posts.

When And How To Use The Post Tags
On the day that you write your first blog post for Knitting And Crochet Blog Week, use the appropriate  post tag in your post. You can put this tag either somewhere in your post (usually at the beginning or end) or you can add it using the post tags feature if your blog has one (called ‘labels’ in Blogger). Make sure that you are using the correct post tag for that day’s topic.
 Why Post Tags Are Great

Using these post tags is a fantastic way to find new blogs and gain new readership. For people who enjoy reading blogs all they have to do is enter that day’s post tag into a search engine such as Google and it will display a long list of all the posts that have included that post tag (as an example, here is a Google search for one of the blog tags used last year). For bloggers it has the additional benefit of bringing your blog posts to a new audience of bloggers and readers who are using the post tags to search for what other bloggers are writing about and so helps to build new readership.

Do I Have to Use The Post Tags?
Not at all, they are just a fun and handy extra tool, and an idea that has proved very popular over the past few years. If they are not for you, however, feel free to ignore them.

OK, that hopefully answers most questions about the blog tags. Agin, one thing I do ask is that nobody uses them on their blogs before Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, and if anybody does want to share the Post Tag information on their site (either for translation purposes or just to spread the word) that they please do so by using the graphic above).

I have had a few questions about Knitting & Crochet Blog Week over the last few days. Let me quickly use this opportunity to answer a few of those…

How Do People Find My Blog? How Do I Find Other Bloggers Taking Part In Knitting & Crochet Blog Week? Is There A Central Index Of All Blogs Taking Part?
Hopefully the post above answers most of these. There is no central index as it makes the blog week appealing to spammers wanting to push their dodgy wares. However, if you use the post tags above Google (or a search engine of your choice) becomes your index.

I Wish I Could Take Part, But I Blog In Dutch/French/Mandarin!
Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is an international event and all are free to join. We often have a very healthy French language participation. Some people blog only in French and some in dual languages, and I discovered a few very cool and inspiring Norwegian blogs through last year’s event. It doesn’t matter what language your blog in. If you join in then hopefully it will encourage more blogs of the same language to join in next year.  If anyone has made a translation of the blogging topics on their blog please let me know so that I can link to it and encourage bloggers from all corners of the globe. It only took one French Blogger a few years ago and now Knitting & Crochet Blog Week is much looked forward to by many French Bloggers. You could be the next ambassador!

Topics Announced for the 5th Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, 2014.

These are the post topics for the 5th Annual Knitting And Crochet Blog Week. This year we will have a great time focusing on finding creative and inventive ways to enjoy writing fresh content for knitting And Crochet Blogs and also explore a few ways of adding to that other important area of a blog – the photography!

Further information about Knitting And Crochet Blog Week is available if you wish to take part. Have a read of the topics below and get those creative blog ideas flowing.

Day One (Monday 12th May): A Day In The Life.
Describe a day in the life of a project that you have made, or are in the process of making.

You can choose to handle this topic in a number of different ways, but a few points to consider might be the following:

  • First-person or third-person account? Will you write from the point of view of the garment/finished object, or as a wearer or observer?
  • Finished project or WIP? Will this be an account of the creative process and what the object goes through, or it’s ‘life’ after creation?
  • Fact or fiction? Will your account describe the wear and tear, love and compliments all experienced by a crocheted hat on a rainy day, or will you write the fantastical account of what a knitted trilobite gets up to on its adventures once the door is shut and nobody is looking?

Day Two (Tuesday 13th May): Dating Profile.
Write a dating profile for one of your past finished projects.

This topic is designed to get bloggers exploring different ways in which they can write descriptive posts of finished knitted and crocheted projects. Many bloggers will be used to writing adjective-rich accounts of finished items along with an account of how the item was made, but it can be fun to play with this format. Usually a dating profile would be written in the first person, so you should imagine that you are the cardigan/socks/hat writing the piece. You might think of including some or all of these elements in your dating profile:

  • An introduction: where you were knitted/crocheted, how old you are.
  • A physical description – keep it fun and intriguing but honest.
  • A photograph.
  • Your interests: Are you a crocheted sun-hat that enjoys long walks on the beach, a paper cup cosy that loves meeting friends in the local coffee shop or a thermal pair of socks that loves going on skiing holidays?
  • Things that you do not like: Do you avoid moments of friction because it brings you out in pills? How do you feel about moths? Are you a little orange cardigan that just simply cannot get on with a fuchsia blouse?
  • Your thoughts for the future – do you have any ambitions – where do you think you will be in 1, 5, 10 years time?

Day Three (Wednesday 14th May): Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers.
Every Year Knitting & Crochet Blog Week tries to feature at least one day where photography takes a key role, because it has been proven many times that what captures reader’s attention for the first few seconds to hopefully hold them long enough to invest the time to read your words is your pictures.

It is easy enough to fall into a routine of photographing your finished projects as is – clearly displayed, maybe from a few varying angles, and for a large part of the time these are what blog readers will expect to see, but every now and again it is good to throw in a picture that causes people to linger.

Refresh your skills at creating attention-grabbing pictures. Take your own creativity and run to your camera with your own ideas, or use these few easy ideas as a starting point:

Use a few background props – you will be amazed at what you can find around the house if you just pick a few items up without thinking too hard about it. These can be props that either add to the ‘story’ of the photograph or just chime well with the colours and style of the finished object.
You can take this one step further by creating a ‘picture’ with your project, materials, WIP, etc.


Alternatively, you may wish to experiment with past photographs. One way of doing this is to use various filters and photo-editing software.  With the prevalence of smart-phones many people now have access to many free and inexpensive apps that can change the look of their photography. There are also a number of websites such as Pixlr and BigHugeLabs that let you edit and manipulate your photos for free.

If used intelligently, filters can sometimes be used to highlight specific elements of a project. Using the filter below, for example, highlights the pop of colour that the bright buttons have against the neutral background and what this adds to the design in comparison to the desaturated areas of the photograph.

Another way to add a new element to your photographs is to overlay them with text or doodles. This can be purely decorative, or to serve as a graphic ‘post title image’, or it can contain helpful information, particularly useful when making things such as tutorials:

Day Four (Thursday 15th May): Conversations Between Workers.
Start by writing a few short paragraphs from the point of view of one of the tools you use for your craft. this might be a spinning wheel, crochet hook, pair of scissors or your knitting bag. These first few lines should include a description of this tool’s task and usage. If you are feeling particularly in tune with this item you might assign it feelings.

Then, write a dialogue between yourself and this item. It might describe your relationships, the annoyances that you have felt for this item at some point (or could it have possible ever have felt annoyances with you) and the wonderful work that you have created together.

Day Five (Friday 16th May): Something A Bit Different
It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post, a beautiful infographic or write in verse. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There’s not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be.

Day Six (Saturday 17th May): Views Of Others, Views Of Yourself.
Write about another knitter or crocheter that you admire. This could be someone you know or used to know – an aunt that taught you to crochet or the school-teacher that used to run the after-school learn-to-knit club, or someone who you are aware of because of blogging or other areas of social media. Write about your feelings either for their work or what they bring to you as a knitter or crocheter. Reminiscences of the sound of your mother’s metal needles, or the description your grandad gave of what he’d knit as he sat on his bunk below deck in his sailor’s days are as precious as sharing the enjoyment of the work of a new indie designer or dyer. Spread your enjoyment to your readers.

Next, think about if anyone has ever told you how they feel about your knitting, positive or negative. Have you delighted strangers who have enjoyed telling you how they would sit with their grandmother who loved to crochet doilies, or have you had to withstand a little brother telling you repeatedly that knitting is for grandmas?

Day Seven (Sunday 18th May): Looking Back, Looking Forward
If you took part in last year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, look back on your Day Seven post. Did any of the techniques, ideas and hopes for the last 12 months that you wrote about at that time ever make it onto the hook or needles? Did anyone cast on and complete the project researched in last year’s Day 2 post?

And there is also time to look forward again: One year from now, when the 6th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried? Do you have any wishes for your blogging that you’d like to follow?

Post Tags
Information relating to the all-important post tags will be coming soon. If anyone has any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to answer any queries at the same time as when I post the Tagging information.

More Information
If you’ve got an appetite for even more information of this great event, there is plenty more information on Launch Of The 5th Annual Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2014 and instructions on how to take part.

Launch Of The 5th Annual Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2014!

5th Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 launched on Eskimimi Makes

This post officially marks the launch of Knitting And Crochet Blog Week 2014, the 5th outing of this annual celebration of fibre arts and the blogs that share the love of and promote them. Today is a brief but (hopefully) comprehensive overview of what Knitting And Crochet Blog Week is all about, and over the coming days the blogging topics will be announced.

What is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?
Once a year knitters and crocheters that blog are invited from all over the world to take part in a community blog week in which they are presented with a number of topics to blog about over the period of seven days. The topics are very flexible and can be interpreted in many ways, so there is a good deal of variety in the posts that this inspires, which then provide wonderful reading for anyone who enjoys reading the blogs that it inspires.

What Do Bloggers Get Out Of It?
The blog week was originally intended as a week in which inspiration for new and interesting blog posts and ways of blogging could be shared by the fibre arts and blogging community to find new ideas and ways of keeping blogging fresh and interesting. The other benefits that participants soon saw were an increase in the number of visitors and comments that they received over the course of blog week and also the many new blogs that they discovered by taking part. It is also great fun and a good way of shaking of any writers’ cobwebs by inspiring a fresh approach to blogging.

How Do I Sign Up?
In order to keep blog week as simple as possible there are no official sign-ups – you simply take part. There are ways that you can help spread the word about blog week to help increase interest in the event in general as well as your own posts, but this is by no means compulsory. If possible it would be nice if bloggers could make a short post to say that they are taking part (for which a few graphics are provided at the end of this post) with a link back to this page so any other bloggers reading your blog can find out all about what is happening (the more people that take part in this event the better, both in terms of attracting readers to your posts and all the wonderful blogs you’ll likely visit and discover during the week), so if you have the time please do spread the word on your blog/Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest and any other social media sites you enjoy.

I’m On Holiday/Busy/Otherwise Engaged During Those Dates.
Oh darn. That’s always a shame, but unfortunately inevitable with the number of people that usually take part. On a positive note the rules here are pretty relaxed, so as the topics are posted a few weeks in advance you can still take part if you would like to. Simply write your posts ahead of time and schedule them to post on the specific days for each topic. And if you happen to miss a day or two, or even all seven, you can always post them a few days, weeks or month later. One of the main aims of this blog week is to provide inspiration for new posts, and if that is helpful at some point in the future, then please post away.

Can I Help In Some Way?
Mostly by promoting the event. As always, it gets better and better the more people that take part. Also, if you blog in another language or dual/multiple languages, then translations of this and the Blogging Topics are always very much appreciated.

So What Are We All Blogging About This Year?
You’re keen, and that’s great as you can begin planning now that the seven daily Knitting & Crochet Blog Week topics have been announced.

Is There A Twitter/Instagram/Facebook Social Media Hashtag I Can Use?
Why not? #KCBW5 is available for all your hashtagging needs.

Keep up to date with all of the news and details of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 by joining the Eskimimi Makes Facebook Group and by following on Twitter!

facebook Eskimimi Makes on Facebook

twitter Eskimimi on Twitter

Talking Of Tags, Will Those Amazing Post Tags Be Back Again This Year?
Absolutely. They are summarised (for those who haven’t been introduced to the wonders of post tagging yet) and listed on the Knitting And Crochet Blog Week Tagging Guide page.


OK, Where Are Those Graphics?
You may have noticed at the very start of this post the official graphic for this year’s Blog Week. There are a few other graphics to choose from, in large and small formats, so hopefully you will find one to fit your post header, blog post or sidebar. All of these images can be used freely, and re-sized as needed.

Annual 2014 Knitting & Crochet Blog Week on Eskimimi Makes
5th Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2014 on Eskimimi Makes
2014 Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week on Eskimimi Makes

I Like This Event, Thanks For Organising It. Can I Buy You A Coffee?
If you live locally, yeah, why not. Otherwise, you know what costs about the same as a cheap coffee? A wonderful knitting or crochet pattern. Who wouldn’t want a beautiful shawl or a knitted trilobite? And if my patterns don’t particularly appeal to you, why not treat someone else and gift one via Ravelry, or buy from another independent designer and support the wonderful talent in the knitting and crochet communities for less than a single drink at Starbucks.

Wait – Is That It? But I Have So Many Questions!
It is indeed likely that I have forgotten something or not foreseen a query/area of confusion. If it is something relating to the topics or post tags, those will both be explained in the next post, but if it is something else please leave a comment below as well as a way of contacting you (an email address or link to your Ravelry profile if you have one is a very handy way to get in touch, but otherwise a blog link or some other way of getting a reply to you…) Or keep checking back and join the Eskimimi Makes group on Facebook for all of the updates.

Making With Trepidation

After managing to insta-shrink my brand new sweater at the moment of completion last week, I have approached the drive towards the completion of my sewing project (a woman’s shirt) with some trepidation. I will probably cut a big hole in the thing and set the collar on fire with my current success rate.

 

The shirt itself is probably about 70% complete, missing a sleeve, a bottom turned hem, a bit of topstitching and finishing with buttonholes and the like.

At the moment, however, the project is still stocking to the personally put together brief of ‘being something physically wearable’. As long as I can drape it around myself and it does the basic job of at least hiding my modesty, I am going to count it as at least a partial success.

Whether I ever wear the shirt (and I probably will, through sheer stubbornness as much as anything) I am quite proud of the way in which I have inserted the first sleeve, with no gathers or puckers, and have managed to work out what on earth the instructions for the collar meant. I am also quite surprised at the finish of the shirt. I know that I probably jumped over several better patterns to learn to sew on, but the collar of the shirt is exactly the same s I would expect to see on any ‘shop bought’ shirt, with no fewer steps or pieces to make the finished item easier for a home sewer. I don’t know why I would ever expect for it to be different in construction from other shirts, but the little rounded edge to the lower part of the collar that sits very the button band (this probably has a specific name, but I wouldn’t have a clue what it was) really makes me smile.

I still have quite a bit of work to do to finish the shirt; I just need another little injection of bravery and verve to finish those steps that remain.