Sunday, June 29

Of thoughtful knitting (day 3)

This post has been forming for awhile now and since I didn't get a chance to knit it seems perfect time wise. :)

Back in Feb. when I started the Master's Handknitting course I gathered my supplies and cranked out my first few swatches as fast as I could. I wasn't thinking or learning/researching. I was just cranking out squares based off what I already do. Not what I know but what I do on a regular basis. My default. I had about 3 or 4 swatches done andw as loading them into a binder when the 1x1 ribbing on one started bugging me. It looked sloppy and twisted. I tend to avoid 1x1 ribbing because of that. I knew it was a tension issue but it was something else too. I didn't have the issue on any other type of ribbing. I posted about it and someone suggested learning how to do a norweigan purl. I figured it couldn't hurt. I went to and learned the technique. I debated with myself over frogging the swatch and redoing it. It just seemed like so much work. After ignoring it for a bit and doing more swatches (with more consideration at this point to what I was doing) I decided to at least do a second one of the swatch and then decide which one looked better. In the end I kept the second one.

All that was a long way of saying be aware of what you are doing! The difference between my two swatches was so huge that even the non knitting spouse of mine could see it. The Master's course has made me aware of what I'm doing and have been doing. Mydefault cast on does not always work. My default bind off tends to look sloppy a good portion of the time because I don't care and bind off on the wrong side (not neccessarily the wrong side of the ending fabric but also the patterning). My increases are not always placed well. My decreases look like crap because I'm too stuck on one way of doing them and not doing them correctly. So what right? No big deal? As long as the item gets finished? That was my thinking. Last year I did something like 37 projects. I was thrilled. Look at me! I can crank out high numbers of hand knit items! Not that cool when they weren't done well. If you're going to do something do it right the first time right?

I'm a knitter and I take pride in what I make. I enjoy showing it off to people. I enjoy gifting it. I enjoy the actual process of it. It doesn't make sense, to me, to take pride in an item done sloppy. It doesn't bring me joy to gift something when I'm going to worry they will see the flaws I knowingly chose not to correct. I don't enjoy the process of it knowing that in the end it looks like I didn't take the time to do it well.

This year I havenn't knitted nearly as many things. And I'm ok with that. Happy even. Not because I was needing to slow down but because I'm thinking about it. I'm considering whether a ssk or k2tog will look better. I'm taking time to make my cast on and bind off show up on the same side of the item. I'm taking the time to make it look good. I'd rather have a couple excellent hats than a hundred flawed ones. Knitting, for me, isn't about quantity. It's about quality. Knitting is my meditation. On days when I am needing a break from life it is nice to know I can go sit down and just knit. I guess not thinking about it (and I don't mean mindless knitting) would be the equivalent to sitting down and really meditating with a radio blasting and a jackhammer going. Not the most condusive to real relaxation you know.

I've learned quite a bit from the course so far and I'm so excited about that. It's neat, to me, that I can look at something and pick it apart now and not just from an arrogant standpoint. My view on it all has certainly changed a bit in the last little bit and I like to think it's because I, myself, have grown up a bit. I'm not meaning for this post to be all self reflective but it seems to be going that way. When I say I've grown up I don't just mean in the physical sense. Various things have occured that I no longer see everything through rose colored glasses. I don't irrationally lash out/react in a way driven by pure, uncontrolled emotion. And as cheesy as that sounds I no longer do that in regards to my knitting anymore. It takes discipline (for lack of a better word) to consider all the aspects of something before making a decision and I'd like to think that I have finally reached some level of that.

Will I always view my knitting like this? Probably not. I'm sure in time the thinking portion will just become my default and that it won't seem as smart to me, as genius to me. Heck, I may even get back in quantity mode. But for now I'm content to sit here and think and ponder and learn from my knitting.

As it stands, the Feb. Lady Sweater is sitting on my dresser. I'm avoiding it. There are 297 stitches waiting to be gartered. It's a bit...ummm.....monotonous.

Saturday, June 28

Day 2

I got a chance to work on WIP 3 last night. The kids were asleep and I was not. I stayed up until just before 4 am and almost got the entire yoke done. I continued to have issues with my stitch count and I think it was on the times I had to do a button hole. I'm not horribly impressed with mine but I suppose they will work. I was able to get all the way to my last increase set before I decided I should go to bed. A couple rows and then I section off the arms!! I am a bit worried about the fit/size. I am doing the smallest size since I've read that they run big. The difference between the smallest and the next size up is shoulder width. I picked the smallest since I have smaller shoulders but I don't know. It just looks small! I'd rather have something be a tad on the tight side than on the loose but I also don't want to look stupid. I'm going to do my next few rows and then split the stitches between needles since they are crammed on one currently. Maybe that will give me a better idea.

I didn't swatch. I know, I know. A bit too late for that (well I suppose I could squish my stitches down and grab another skein and do a quickie) but now I'm paranoid. Maybe my possible fit issues are because my row gauge is off. It looks short. I think it's just my recent luck of having projects go wrong due to not swatching that has me nervous about it. I don't know. I am very tempted to do one though. It just seems like such a waste of time, especially now that I'm as far in as I am. Oh well. I'm sure splitting them to check it out will help. Hopefully.

I didn't work on anything else yesterday. I wanted to get past those damn increases and I did. That's all I cared about! In fact at about 3:30 in the morning the oldest chitlin came out to ask why I wasn't in bed and didn't I think I should work on it tomorrow. Sheesh! Go to bed! :)

Friday, June 27

Day 1- In which I make myself accountable

I sat here yesterday reading the various blogs I read daily and thought to myself I suck as a blogger. There for awhile I did really well and posted almost daily and with real knitting content and not some measly hey this is whats going on type nonesense. As I sat there wondering what happened and feeling lame as all get out I noticed the blogs I love to read update daily and post real content. Gee. Go figure. In an attempt to get back into the swing of things and start enjoying my blogging more I'm going to attempt to do 30 days of daily blogging. With real content. And maybe even pictures. The camera will soon be back in my hands as the husband is off retreiving it from our previous residence. When it gets here I have pictures to take off (such as the giant fish) and pictures to take. I'm going to do this damn it. :) As it is there are no pictures here today. :)

WIP 1- A WHW wrap for my sister. Her wee one has outgrown all her covers and is needing some new ones. We went camping this last weekend and I started on it the night before we left hoping to have it finished by the end of the weekend. I got close I suppose but it's still not done. In fact it's sitting n the back window of the car. I'm almost done with the increases and then the last few rows of ribbing. I'm doing it in some yarn I've used once before. The ribbing is in some Cascade 220 and the body is in some blue/green yarn that I got as a "donation". Turns out it was yarn my sister and I had dyed ourselves one night. Very fitting she ends up with it. :)

WIP 2- A Curly Purly soaker for us. Some leftover Cascade 220 from a pair of shorties I did a bit ago (with the picot trim). I've got the ribbing done and a little bit of the part after that. I've been slacking on this. I brought it camping as well but didn't touch it.

WIP 3- My favorite. I started the February Lady Sweater! You can do a quick google search (blogger is not wanting to let me put in links for some reason) for it but a quick cap of it is a lady on Ravelry wanted one for herself. As she says in her description of it: A swingy lace cardigan, made to fit a grown-ass woman, lovingly based on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s classic “Baby Sweater on Two Needles,” from Knitter’s Almanac. I started mine in some black Wool- Ease. I went out and bought new yarn for this (I have inadvertantly been stash knitting all year) and while it wasn't what I was going for my options were extremely limited and that's what I went with. I was wanting to do brown but I figured if I wanted to get maximum wear out of it it should match more of my clothing than brown would. Not that my clothes are odd colors or anything but more that I have many styles of tops in a wide range of colors. And if I want to be able to wear it certain tops I need more versatility. This is what I keep telling myself as I bitch while kknitting. Why bitch while knitting my current favorite WIP? It's black yarn. The stitches blend together into one long mass of black. Not horrible since it's done on size 8 needles but irritating none the less. Already I've had two mistakes due to counting (that has nothing to do with the black yarn). The way the increases are set up I do 8 total on one row: one on each side of a marked stitch, so technically four 2 increase sets. The first screw up I only did one increase on one set. Luckily I was able to count each section and figure out where I was missing the stitch. Again luckily it's all in garter right now so my mistake was easily hidden. Last night as I was chatting on IM to a friend and knitting we decided to see how long it took to do certain things. She was binding off over 500 stitches and I was doing a plain knit row of over 100 stitches. I finished up my last increase set and set about timing myself. I counted up my stitches and realzied, even with my craptastic math skills, I should not have that few. I recounted three times to make sure and then pulled out a calculator. Sure enough I was two stitches off. Once again though I was able to very easily find where they were missing though so I can insert them on the next row. Hopefully it doesn't screw with the shaping. I've never done an adult top. I've never done an Elizabeth Zimmerman design (or offshot thereof). I've never done raglan shaping/increasing. I'm very happy at this point it's in garter and in black. There is no way you can see my mistakes at this point. Ahhh...heaven. :)

I do have a couple non-official WIP's. Just socks though. When we moved we had to stay with a brother in law for the time being and so out of boredom I started an ankle sock. It's ok. It'll be frogged and I will re-start it using different numbers. As much as I enjoy sock knitting I have yet to find THE perfect formula for me and it's starting to bug me. I'm thinking I may have standards that are too high for a mere hand knit sock. :)

And with that this is the end of day 1. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 19

Once Upon A Time....

there was a blogger who blogged here. Every now and then she'd even post pictures!

Sorry about that. Things got a bit crazy there for a bit. Two birthdays and one move later and I think the dust has settled enough for me to come back.

Due to a very crazy move (sorry, no details) not all of our stuff is here which means for now you just get verbal blogging. The camera did not make it here but rest assured once it is there will be pictures! I suppose I could jsut use the husband's phone to take some but I really dislike it. I hate cell phone pictures and the one thing I notice about all the blogs I read and enjoy is picture quality. I'm aiminng for that here as well.

Since I was here last there has been a fish, two socks (not hey are not is an ankle sock and the other is calf length), a mystery design project (I'm designing! we'll see how long that lasts), some swatches for the Master Knitter program, and a soaker (working on that right now). I think that's it. Oh there was a headband (yes a headband....sorta...working on some dreads [or the courage to do them] and I wanted something to cover them with) which didn't work out and got frogged after many hours of knitting time. A neice has outgrown all her covers and I have been asked to supply some more so I'm thinking of casting on a wrap here in a bit.

So there you have my totally boring, pictureless update. I will be gone all weekend (camping! yay!) so don't think I've slipped back into not blogging when you don't hear from me. I swear, I wil be a better blogger!