A Blob of Yarn

Some of my projects, when photographed, just look like blobs of yarn – like I unwound an entire ball, wrapped them around my needles, and photographed them.  Then, I post them here and ask ‘What do you think?” as though I’m testing your ability to discern the stitches and lace amongst the fibery chaos.

This is no test, but it is one of those pictures.  Esjan is flowing off the needles, I just have to remember to work on a lot of other things while I’m trying to complete this before it gets too cold.

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I’m kind of in love with it though.  I wasn’t sure how I would like the colors when I started, since everything has been pulled from my stash and I have a million shades of green, but not much (or enough) of other colors.  I actually unraveled another WIP that I wasn’t happy with to get the variegated garter stitch start to this project.  I may not have enough of this particular shade of green (although, according to the amounts Mr. West says are necessary, I should have more than enough).  I’m thinking I might do the next lace section in the same variegated as the top, and the last lace section in the remainder of the green.  It will all be edged by that delicious chocolate brown for a stark division of the sections.  Thoughts?

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I Knit On

For some reason, messing up on that hat launched me into a deep reverie about my life and the lessons I am continuously learning.  Last night, fortified by a beer and music in an otherwise empty house, I pulled out the needles and started frogging the offensive hat.  And I thought about it.  There have been many times when I realized an error in a project, and without hesitation pulled out my needles and started ripping back to fix the mistake.  Usually, anyone near me at the time (read: non-knitters), gasp and ask me how I could stand to pull out all of that beautiful work, isn’t there some way to fix it without pulling out yards and yards of yarn?

And, usually, the answer is no.  Ripping back is necessary. Believe me, when there is a quick and easy fix for a mistake, I’m going to take it.  I’ll tink back a row or even two to fix a stitch, and just recently I dropped four stitches off my needles and let them unravel – on purpose(!) – so that I could fix a miscrossed cable two inches down.  But the question these people are usually implying is ‘How can I handle it? How is it so easy for me to rip out hours of labor?’

Frankly, it’s not.  I didn’t look at this hat for 48 hours after realizing my error.  It was in serious time out for it’s offense.  I didn’t want to touch anything at that point, because I was frustrated with knitting as a whole.  I actually picked up a crochet project, an idea I had been tossing around.  Because I was feeling noncommittal, I had no problem ripping out my work a few times before settling on something (I may still rip it out if I don’t like the end product).  When I am committed to a project, however, finding errors in my work is like forgetting your partner’s birthday or losing your grandmother’s heirloom necklace.  I feel like a failure.  But the nice thing about knitting is that, after a few moments of self-pity, doubt, and possibly anger, I can fix it.  The stitches are not absolute.  And that’s what I did, pulled out the stitches and tried again.  This time, I got it right (knock on wood) and I’m almost back to the point where I realized my error.  It didn’t take long at all, and I feel much better having corrected the mistake instead ignoring it or covering it up.  There are no short roads for me.

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And then, I thought about what’s been going on in my world lately – all of the bumps and disappointments.  Things that have been out of my control or seemingly impossible to resolve.  Maybe I can’t go back an undo what has happened, but I can look back, pinpoint the problem, and find a solution – whether it means slogging through the painful memories or sucking up the disappointment and finding a different path.  I don’t have control over everything, but I do have control over my response to it, and I can still transform the situations into meaningful lessons.

 

(PS – Pattern is Windschief by Stephen West, yarn is Madeline Tosh – I forget the colorway.)

How to Not Knit a Hat

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter F and the number 2.

F is the 6th letter in the English alphabet (I actually had to use my fingers to figure that one out). 

F is for Flounder, Flop, Flunk, Fail, and a really bad word not suitable for children’s ears that I seem to have been saying a lot in the past 24 hours.

The number 2 is a rather elusive prime number that I CANNOT COUNT TO!!  WHO CAN’T COUNT TO TWO?  1…..2…. See? Done.

Except when you start knitting a hat and the pattern says “Repeat rounds 1 & 2 until piece measures 5 inches” and I diligently repeat only round 2 for 5 slogging inches.

Considering how the past couple weeks have been going, blow after blow to the point where I’m super bummed, exhausted, and scatterbrained, I thought a hat would be simple enough.  I picked out Windschief by Stephen West – what I thought would be a simple, masculine hat fit for a holiday gift.  My first cast on was a failed attempt.  It was too tight, and I knit 3 inches, held it up and said to the ladies at knit night – “This is way to small for a man’s head” which they all agreed to, and proceeded to frog it.  I cast on the medium size and went up a needle size, worked for 5 inches, wondering if maybe it was a little too wide now (people assured me it wasn’t), and why it had this weird curve to the brim, until I got the point of decreasing for the crown.   I referred back to the pattern and saw my mistake. I wasn’t counting right.

I think I nearly cried.  I’m so out of it, I can’t even count to two.

Tonight will be brought to you by the letter W for Whiskey and the number who-gives-a-crap-I-can’t-count-to-it-anyway.

The Great Reveal

It’s DONE!  I finished the bind-off on Saturday and squealed happily, showing everyone within sight and wrapping myself inside of it.  I wove in ends while it was wrapped around me.

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It took a while, but I’m glad I used the picot bind off.  I like the way the colors ended up melding.  I like the size and shape.  I love how squishy the yarn is, and how soft against my skin (I’ve been wearing it all day and can’t fathom taking it off).

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It is knit in Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Flashdance and Grasshopper (The purple and green respectively), and in Mad Tosh Sock in Charcoal (the gray).  It’s bright without being crazy, and matches a good portion of my wardrobe.

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I keep looking at it and cheering.  It’s done! Finally!

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Now, how do I wear it?

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On to the rest of the holiday knitting before NaKniSweMo begins.

In Which the End is Near

Last night, the youngster and I packed up our bags and went to knit night, which we haven’t done in ages because of how crazy our world has been lately.  Traveling, working, traveling, resting, cleaning, traveling, etc.  There was very little desire to leave the house in between everything.  I’m glad I went, because the solid chunk of time for knitting with other people gave me a hefty push towards completion.  I didn’t feel like I was binding off a million stitches, I felt like I was keeping my hands busy in between laughter.  Before I knew it, I was done with one whole side of the triangle (the longest side), and a couple inches past the corner.  I put it down then, because more people showed up and I was no longer able to count to six, and picked up a different project: Windschief, by Stephen West.  This is more holiday knitting.  I made it a couple of inches in, then realized it was going to be too small, so I ripped it and started over.  Now, I wonder if it’s going to be too big, but don’t want to rip it out again.  The brim seems tight enough, so it may end up more of a slouch hat.

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Anyway, when I got home, I wasn’t quite ready to sleep.  It may have been the latte I had a craving for as we were walking to the train, or it may have been the eagerness to finish the shawl, or it may have been that there has been so much going on lately that I haven’t finished processing everything internally.  In either case, I trudged along diligently on the picot bind-off, and before my eyes started dropping, was pleased to discover that I had made it past the second side (the shortest side) and several inches into the last side.  I don’t want to think about how many stitches are left, or really think about how many I’ve made so far.  The delight of seeing the project sort-of flat has given me hope.

 

The end is near!

Cast on Three, Bind off Six

Cast on, Bind off, Cast on, Bind off.  It’s getting to me.  It was very subtle at first, but it has slowly become more and more difficult to stay on task.  My eyes keep glossing over and I think about other things I could be making.  All of that holiday knitting stretching out before me, my Ravelry queue that somehow gets longer and longer every day, my stash that tumbles across the room when I get ready in the morning.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very satisfied with the way the picot bind off is looking.  The squishiness of the yarn and the pleasing combination of colors makes me eager for the end result.  I find myself occasionally petting the project or laying it out as flatly as possible and admiring the juxtaposition of the colors.  It is simply that, after three days of bind off, I haven’t even finished one side of the triangle yet. And I keep losing count.  Cast on three, bind off six, cast on three, bind off six.  Wait, did I bind off five or six on this one? Crap, tink those stitches and try again.

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In an effort to keep my sanity, I have made a list of the projects I am working on and prioritize them as best as I can (granted, this fluctuates depending on my mood).  I map out times of the day when I can be working on different projects, so the monotony doesn’t destroy me, and I can look forward to something being completed soon.

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I worked on this little number a bit last night, in between cursing the picots.  It’s really close to being done.  I have one more strap to make, ends to weave in, eyes to attach to my little owls, and a lining to make.  This holiday purse will get crossed off the list!  I liked it so much that I think I am changing one of the other gifts into another owlie tote bag, only bigger than this one.

The Million Stitch Bind Off (In Other Words: HELP!)

Well, this is it.  Clue 4 of the Mystery Knit-Along was delivered in the evening on Thursday, and I packed up my shawl and took it with us apple picking so I could complete it over the weekend mini-escape.  Fat lot of good that did.  Between driving, eating, touring antique stores, and picking apples in the rain, I didn’t have much time for knitting.  Not to mention there are a whopping 800 stitches on my needles right now, which leaves each row taking up at least 30 minutes.  But, I am finally on the bind off, so the end is in sight!

 

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I waited a while before settling on the bind off method.  Mr. West gave us 3 options (not that we are limited to those three, I should call them more “suggestions”) for the bind off.  I was unsure how I wanted it to look, so I waited to see what others did and how it affected the appearance and drape of the finished garment.  For a while, I was leaning towards the I-Cord bind off, because I liked the clean lines of the shawl laying flat.  The picot-bind off seemed out of place with the clean geometric lines of the body.  Then, I saw the picot-bind off wrapped around shoulders, heads, and bundled close to faces, and I liked the ragged post-apocalyptic feel of the piece, and the contrast made sense.

The biggest problem with the picot bind off?  I have to add double the amount of stitches.  That means, I cast on three stitches, then decrease 6, then cast on 3, and decrease 6.  I should have read the notes before choosing this bind off – there are some for whom it took 3 to 5 hours.

It’s been so scrunched up for most of the knitting experience that, at this point, I am riding on faith that the end result will be amazing.  I am in love with the color combination – and even more so since I received clue 4, but there is a lot of yarn in my stash calling my name, and I really want to wrap this up before my hands begin to wander.

So, I suppose, what I am writing to say here is that I could use some words of encouragement.  Help me get through 1600 stitches of bind off!  A limerick? A proverb? An anecdote?  What do you have to keep my needles clicking?

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