Changing habits and accepting the compliment

I was perusing Pinterest a few weeks ago, as one does, and this meme caught my eye:

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Naturally, it made me laugh because of how accurate it is. I don’t know about you, but this is certainly a habit I’m guilty of. I’m not comfortable merely accepting the compliment with a simple thank you, but I always feel like I have to follow it up with something.

Person: Wow, those are great socks!
Me: Thanks, the yarn is self patterning. It makes it look fancier than it actually is.

Person: Wow, I love that shawl.
Me: Thank you, the yarn is ___________. The colour is lovely.

Person: I really like that hat.
Me: Thanks, the pattern is ___________, you should check it out.

Person: What a great sweater.
Me: Thanks, but I messed up here and here, and I would have done ________ differently.

These are fairly standard responses I know I have given in the past. Why do we do this? A knitted object can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 months (or more) to complete. Time is spent choosing the yarn, knitting the object, and finishing it to the specifications. A knitting object is truly a labour of love, and yet I will constantly downplay the work that I have put into it. I’m sure I’m not alone in this habit.  It’s time to change my attitude and accept the compliment. After all, I made the thing. I’m inwardly proud of the thing. Time to accept the love of the thing.

The Mixed Wave Cowl, or the ongoing ramblings of how it was made

February 14, 2017

Made my way to LYS and purchased the Yarn Challenge kit. The yarns are lovely: red, taupe and beige. Now comes the hard part, what to make with it.

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February 15, 2017
4:30pm

Awesome! I’m so glad I found the Mixed Wave Cowl pattern on Ravelry. It’s perfect for this yarn, a fantastic way to truly highlight the three yarns of the Yarn Challenge.  I have the yarn, the needles, the pattern; I’m ready to cast on!

4:45pm

Okay, we’re cast on! Let me just read the pattern… oh… huh. Well, this is… huh. Okay, so it’s not written like other patterns. This designer’s put a lot of thought (and math) in this pattern. I’m impressed. Cool. I can do this… I think…

4:55pm

Gah, so that didn’t go as planned. Here’s a tip, Lisa. Read the whole pattern. Like, all details.  Let the frogging commence.

5:12pm

Frogging complete. Cast on complete. First row knit. Now onto short rows… wait… huh… I still can’t visualize what to do here. I get the general idea – you’re using short rows and alternate colours to create this really interesting and unique striped pattern. That I get. These instructions, though… Maybe it’s just because I’m not comfortable with the wrap and turn method. Yeah that’s it.

5:14pm

I still don’t get it. There are over 100 people who have this in their Ravelry projects. What do their notes say…

5:18pm

So many of these project notes say “Just do it.” “Trust the designer.” “It all makes sense once you get going.” Yeah, I’m not buying it… Maybe this will be clearer after dinner… mmm… food…

6:03pm

Just do it, huh… okay, here goes… Wrap and turn abandoned, going with German Short Row method instead, a tried, tested and understood method. Maybe that will help…

7:54pm

Well whaddya know? Those Ravelers and the designer were right… just do it. I’m doing it, and a few repeats in and it looks like it’s supposed to look! Maybe all that math the designer did actually makes sense… almost foiled by math once again, but not this time!

February 17, 2017

A day off work and four hour car ride = lots of knitting time. Mixed Wave Cowl, let’s do this. I’m actually feeling so confident with this pattern, a pattern that only a few short days ago I had no faith in, that I’m now able to work it without referring to the written directions. Lesson learned: read all instructions. Trust the designer. Trust other Ravelers.

February 20, 2017

Mixed Wave Cowl grows, both in length and in my overall love for it.

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March 6, 2017

And grows…

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March 7, 2017

4:40pm

Couch, knitting, Law and Order. I see you, Mixed Wave Cowl.

6:35pm

Break out the measuring tape. 55cm! I’m at the right place in my pattern to justify casting off. It is 5cm shorter than the recommended length but it’ll stretch.

6:42pm

Stupid provisional cast on. Grumble grumble.

7:55pm

So this happened:

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Why yes, that is the cowl, grafted, ends woven, and blocking!

I’m sorry I ever doubted you, designer. The initial frustrations I felt three weeks ago was worth pushing through to get this as the final result.

March 8, 2017

4:34pm

Just trying it on for good measure. Yup, still in love with the final result. So much cowl love.

Works in Progress

Why hello.  Good to see you all again. Although I last posted mid-February, I feel like I have been absent from the blogisphere.  I’m trying to catch up and read all of your lovely posts (great job, everyone), and I’m trying to get a few posts out of the ‘draft’ phase into the published phase (stay tuned, they’ll be worth the wait).

I’ve also been keeping my hands busy and attention given to my works in progress.  I’ve figured out how to read and knit at the same time (thank you e-reader), and knitting and watching TV goes together just like peanut butter goes with jam, but I haven’t figured out how to write these blog posts while turning a heel on a sock.  If someone does figure that one out, please pass the secret along.

I’ve been feeling the time crunch for the Soper Creek Yarn Challenge, only have 10 days or so to finish my project (eek deadlines!!), and the constant need to start different projects, a need I wrote about earlier this year, hasn’t seemed to subside as I think I have more started projects on the go than ever before!

Just a glimpse at what has been keeping me busy, minus the yarn challenge, because, secrets guys. 

In this picture, there are three shawls, two sleeves, a scarf, a sock, and yes, another Sontag. Busy needles indeed! 

It truly has been good catching up with all of you. Let’s not wait so long between visits, shall we? 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some knitting to do. 

Tools of the Trade

What do you need when you first start knitting? The simple answer is two needles and yarn.  When I first started this addiction hobby, that’s all I needed. I had a project in mind (a simple cozy for my e-reader), so I bought a ball of Red Heart Super Saver (I know better now!), and two 6mm needles.

Almost six years later, my collection of knitting accoutrements has grown substantially, and there are a number of things I couldn’t do without. In my very humble opinion, these are a few tools every knitter should have.

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Row Counter

For my first project, I was improvising an e-reader cover. I was making a long rectangle which would be sewn together at the sides.  It was simple enough that I knew I would knit it as long as needed and then cast off.  Not all projects are this simple. I would be at a loss for lace patterns or cable patterns without a row counter. Row counters track where you are in your project.  They are especially handy when you have several detailed projects on the go. Didn’t touch that lace shawl for months? No worries! A quick glance at your row counter, and that bad boy is ready for knitting!

The best part: they are cheap! Don’t spend more than a few dollars on a row counter – I think I can get four in a pack from a LYS and it’s less than $10.


Measuring Tape

Again, another inexpensive tool any well stocked knitting bag shouldn’t be without. Many patterns tell you to ‘knit for ## of inches.’ Unless you have an extremely good eye for measurements, your measuring tape will become your knitting BFF.


Needle Cases

Needles, of varying sizes and types, may seem like obvious tools knitters need, so obvious that they don’t need including on this list. What becomes necessary after accumulating these assorted needles is a way to store and organize them. I have three needle cases: a roll for my straights, an expandable file (intended for receipt organization) for my circulars, and I use a pencil case to store my DPNs.


Knitting Bag

Once you’ve collected all the tools, bits, and bobs that will make your knitting life much simpler, you’ll need somewhere to keep it. I love my knitting bag, largely because the message on the front speaks so many truths, but also because it’s big enough to keep all my knitting accessories, plus a few different in-progress projects.  Find something that works for you: want to buy the biggest and best with pockets for everything you have and more? Great! Want to use one of those re-usable canvas bags that very quickly accumulate in a closet somewhere? That’s great too! Organization methods are very personal, just find something that suits what you need it for and ultimately something that makes you happy, because if it’s like my knitting bag, it will get a lot of use.


What knitting tools are your must-haves? 

A Few Finished Objects

Last week, I wrote how I had a major case of start-itis – symptoms of which include being unable to stop casting on new projects, despite how many WIPs a person has on the go. This start-itis isn’t showing signs of being cured, having started three new projects last week.  Seriously, I can’t stop finding new patterns and going through my stash to see what I can use.

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The good thing about so many projects on the go is that I was able to finish three objects last week.  The first were these Cableship socks.  I started them in October as a knit-a-long by KnitPurl Hunter.  The first sock was finished early November, but this second one was put into hibernation until after Christmas knitting was complete.  In the week after Christmas, I struggled my way through Judy’s Magic Cast-on and a few weeks later, I was able to wear the newly finished pair of socks.

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Also finished was a slouchy hat for my dad. Fun story -the wool is 100% Peruvian Alpaca, and we ventured to a local Alpaca farm to by the yarn. My goodness, alpacas must be some of the freaking cutest animals around. When we arrived at the farm, we were greeted by a herd (is that right, herd?) of Border Collies who were obviously working dogs, and we also got a peak at their pigs. They had to be the fattest pigs I’ve ever seen in my life. So that’s the story of they yarn for this hat.  Dad received it yesterday. It fits and he’s happy.

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Finally, on Friday, I bought yarn and cast on a Pussyhat.  Have you heard of this? If not, I HIGHLY recommend heading over to their website and reading more about this movement. In a nutshell, there will be a women’s march on Washington on January 21, and marchers are encouraged to wear these knit hats, the name taken as both a play on on the word pussycat and as reference to how the US President-Elect brags about sexually assaulting women. As stated on their Ravelry page:

The PussyHat Project aims to:

  1. Provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard.
  2. Provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent them- selves and support women’s rights.

A Facebook friend of my sister’s asked for a hat to be made, and I happily obliged.  It knit up VERY quickly; I cast on Friday evening and by Sunday I had it finished and ready for my sister to give to the recipient.

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Please visit their website and read more about this initiative.

 

Knit all the projects!

I have a major case of start-itis.  I can’t stop casting on. This is very unusual for me, because as a product knitter, I usually have no more than three projects on the go, determined to see them through to the end. But after the holidays ended, I can’t stop looking at patterns and starting new projects.


Considering all things, I was fairly on top of my holiday knitting this year.  I made three things for three recipients, the first was a sweater for my mother, which was finished early October.  Grandma received a Sontag, and this was finished early November. The knitting crunch hit in late November when I decided to make my Grandad a pair of socks.  I made the Harvest Festival pattern which created this lovely pattern texture to the fabric, but it was certainly more fiddly than a pair of vanilla socks. For just shy of a month, my knitting energy was dedicated exclusively to these socks.  I hit my goal and finished them three days before Christmas.

Perhaps these socks are the reason for my knitting enthusiasm.  Most of December was spent on one pair of socks, so now I’m itching to try new patterns, to use yarn that’s been stashed for months and newly purchased yarn (because it was just so pretty and wanted to come home with me). Despite having six projects actively on the go, I can’t stop thinking of other patterns, looking for the right one to use on my new Manos del Uruguay or my stashed IndigoDragonfly. I also want to make new gloves for me and gloves as a gift (because it’s Canada, and ’tis the season), and I know a few people who are expecting little ones this year and who doesn’t love knitting for babies! Long story short, I want to knit all the things. A few rows here, an odd round there, and sure enough they’ll all get done.

The 2017 Knit List

Happy New Year!! How is it possible that it’s 2017 already? My goodness! This year is going to be a busy one as my work is celebrating an anniversary, and as many of you know, I’m Canadian, and it’s a big year for us here, being the 150th anniversary of Confederation.  It’s hard to think about the year and not associate it with this milestone.  I’m sure 2017 will bring many good memories and celebrations.

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Now that Christmas knitting is complete, my thoughts can turn selfish again and I can start thinking of what I’ve been itching to make. I’ve bought all the needed yarn and purchased the pattern, so I think the first selfish thing I’ll make is Madewell cardigan by Joji Locatelli.  Call me crazy for wanting to make a cardi with fingering weight yarn, but I’ve been in love with this design since I first found it on Ravelry.  The whimsical elbow patches just add to the love of this pattern, and the hard part will be deciding what colours to make them with!

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Madewell by Joji Locatelli; image © Joji Locatelli

I’ve also purchased the materials I need to complete KnitPurl Hunter’s Scoreboard Scarf. This project is planned in my head, I know for what team and what season I’ll be making, but in case this is read by its intended recipient, I won’t say much more than that for now…

In 2016, I completed 6 pairs of socks.  Socks are such an ideal project for carrying around and picking up whenever I have a spare moment.  I’m not going to set a goal for myself for how many pairs I’ll make this year, as I don’t want any self-inflicted pressure on my knitting habits, but I’m sure I’ll crank out a few pairs, and I’m sure one of which will be designed by Erica Lueder.  I’m surprised that I haven’t written yet about how much I love her patterns, their designs and the thought that she puts into them. I’ve knit three and a half pairs of her socks, and I’m sure I’ll be adding to the collection.

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Erica Lueder socks, L-R: Hermione’s Every Day Sock, Weasley Rib, and Devil’s Snare

Also kicking around my Ravelry queue for some time is another historic pattern, Godey’s Woolen Chemisette from 1857. I’d love to knit this pattern and write a corresponding blog post on the history of this article of clothing.  There’s no time deadline for when this chemisette needs to be complete, but it’s been a while since I’ve muddled my way through a historic pattern, and I’d like to make at least one next year.

So between socks, fingering weight cardigans, and a pattern from the 1850s, I’ll have enough to keep me busy in the early part of 2017.

What’s on your knit list for this year?