Lacking Motivation

de80c55b-4e01-411b-88c8-473fcaf1977fMy sleep schedule has bee absolute garbage for like two weeks now. I’ve been getting like four hours at a time and I’ve just been falling asleep at random times and not being able to wake up. It’s making motivation to do anything rather difficult, but here’s a little WIP for Wednesday (it is Wednesday, right?) I spent all of Monday trying to stay awake and managed to knit all the way to the heels on a set of socks. My needle is just a smidge to small for two at a time mens socks, so it’s taking a little extra hand power and after about 20 hours of pretty much straight knitting my hands are not pleased.

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 25

Do you have a knitting book or a place where you keep patterns, ideas, size measurements? Post a picture of it!

I really should have a knitting book. I have a book for just about everything else. I have a quilting book, I’ve been keeping a bullet journal, and I have one for notes for my tech knitting course, but not one single place to keep knitting things. It would probably make my life a lot easier. I mostly just have hundreds of random sticky notes all over the place. Nothing is labeled, they’s usually only half of the information I could want on them and I lose them constantly. It’s a pretty dumb system for someone who writes knitting patterns but so far it seems to work. I’m pretty good at reading my own knitting and have a weird sensory memory when it comes to patterns. I can pretty much see in my brain what I’ve done which helps when writing things out later. It would however make things much simpler to write everything down as I’m actually doing it. Maybe I’ll get a new book in January and start keeping everything in the same place…

A Year of Making

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 24

Have you ever made your own pattern or dyed your own yarn? How did it turn out?

About three years ago I started to get bored with making other people’s patterns. I think it came about from having mostly weird sized yarn and not very much money to buy more. I designed a few mitten patterns for holiday gifts and just kind of whipped them together. Over the next few years I started making a few socks and baby sweaters just based on gauge and measurement standards.daisy_sock_medium2 Nothing too fancy, just the basics. Then in the summer of 2016 I made these Daisy Socks and the rest, as they say, was history.

I got a lot of positive feedback on instagram and tumblr so I figured why not write up a pattern for them, how hard could it be? I already had the charts and the construction really isn’t that difficult to explain. I even found someone who wanted to test knit them (it only took her like five months to get around to finishing). I didn’t publish this pattern yet because I was hoping my test knitter would finish knitting, but in the mean time I was already working on another pattern. I ended up publishing two different patterns that October and decided to just go for it and publish the daisy socks without the test knitter in November.

It’s been about a year since I started and I now have 13 patterns available on Ravelry. I honestly can hardly believe it- people I don’t even know making things that came directly out of my jumbled brain garbage. There are definitely aspects I need to improve on this year as I take designing into a more and more professional realm, but I’m learning things with each pattern and always working to get better.

Once I make it through the holiday knitting rush I’ll have time and hopefully be bored enough of vanilla-ass socks to start designing patterns for next year. I also have every intention of maybe getting an etsy shop up and running. Lucky for you guys, you’ll probably be the first to know all the new things.

 

Long Weekend

I sorta fell off the face of the earth for a few days there, sorry everyone. I’m back now. I switched my sleep schedule back to normal for the holiday and that tends to result in both K and I passing out on the couch at 7:30 pm and waking up at 2 am with sore necks. I’ve been struggling a bit with staying up all night lately, I’m trying to decide if the benefits are worth the troubles. Anyways, hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, or regular ol’ weekend for any readers not in America (as most of you are not).

It was in the 50s on Friday which is unseasonably warm but a most welcome reprieve. K had some secret Black Friday/Birthday shopping to do so I stayed home to rake all the leaves out of the front yard. Not an entirely un-enjoyable task, at least the weather was nice, but my hands hurt so bad from rake. Even now, three days later, the bones in my hands feel like they’re bruised. That didn’t stop me from knitting though. I knit an entire pair of socks these past few days – all that’s left is the kitchener toe and to weave in the ends. It’s my first of five (???) holiday gifts this year.

I also got to see my best friend and her family this weekend. My town is situated conveniently between her Husband’s family in Illinois and her family in Wisconsin. We were able to meet up for breakfast in between baby naps and catch up. Saturday we took a lovely little hike at Glacial Park. I basically spent the weekend trying to soak up as much sunlight as I can for the last couple weeks of Autumn.

I’ll go back the knitting posts tomorrow and finish those off over the next few days.

The No Knit List

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 22

Have you ever stricken someone off your to-knit-for list because they didn’t appreciate/take care of your last knitted gift to them?

I’ve definitely learned my lesson knitting for lots of people over the years. I have minimized my list dramatically mostly due to the stress of knitting for like ten people. It’s too much for my hands and it’s a lot of time to not be designing new patterns for my shop. The year I made socks for a bunch of my friends a lot of them seemed uncomfortable to be getting socks and a few didn’t even thank me. I’ve had a few people ask me to knit something for them “and they’ll even pay me” but balked when I told them a ballpark range of how much their item would actually cost or they simply never paid me. That’s the fastest way to the no knit list. I’ve limited my list to mostly family at this point. They understand how much labor a hand knit item takes and I know they’ll appreciate it. I actually went to buy my Christmas gift yarn haul this morning so now I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ve got five items to whip out before the holidays.

Holiday Knitting Rant

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 21

Do you knit gifts for friends and family for the holidays or birthdays?

I used to do this a lot more than I do now. One year I think I made like ten things as gifts and I don’t think I bothered to start until at least Thanksgiving. I’ve cut down a bunch in the past years for various reason’s that I’ll probably get more into tomorrow, but mainly it ends up being so stressful that it takes the fun out of it. There are certain people that I’ll happily knit gifts for. I know they’re going to appreciate them and I know that they’re going to take care of whatever I give them.

I knit a few things for my best friend when she announced she was pregnant. I love making baby items – they’re so fast and they’re just so stinking cute. Knitting baby items is basically like making sample sizes. I can experiment with new techniques or make dumb adorable stitch patterns with a lot less time and a lot less yarn. She loved the little things I gave her, and sent me pictures of her little guy wearing them which is basically the greatest thank you I could ask for. She then told me that anything else I make for them she’s insisting on paying for. At first I was a little hurt by this but she explained to me that what I make is worth a lot more than I give myself credit for. This has kind of been simmering in the back of my head for the past year or so. Yes, knitting is my hobby, but it’s also my passion and I’ve worked really hard to become very good at it. It goes back to discussions my studio had over and over again about the value of “art” and “craft” practices and how they’re both perceived by people in the art world and everyone else. I’ve always felt like the craft world is highly undervalued by most people and I know there’s conversations all over the internet that basically boil down to people expecting crafters to make things for free or for material costs – like it’s something we’re going to do anyways so we should be overjoyed that someone is willing to buy us yarn.

Sorry for ranting but this is where my brain is at as the looming holiday deadline approaches and I internally debate what and for whom I should be knitting. I know most of my readers are knitters and crocheters and crafters in general, what are your thoughts on all this? Do you knit for everyone or just a select few?

Woman Knits in the Wild

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 20

Do you knit in public? Was anyone offended/incredibly happy/curious that you were doing so?

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For how often I knit in public, this seems to be the only good image. My friend Mel caught me knitting in the wild. We were watching a bunch of our friends make fools of themselves playing a very intense game of beach frisbee one morning.

I take knitting with me wherever I know I’ll be sitting or bored. I’ve taken knitting to family gatherings. I used to take knitting for my 20 minute lunch break. I knit through a history through film class in college (not an unusual thing to do in art school, also see previous post).  I take knitting on planes and have never had trouble getting through security. I once knit an entire baby sweater on a train ride to visit my friend in Michigan. I knit on long car trips. I knit at coffeeshops if I need to be there for any amount of time. I knit in bars.

Most people don’t seem to have any sort of reaction when I’ve knit in public. I’m sure I’ve gotten weird looks but I’ve never noticed since I was in my own little knitting world, which is kind of the point isn’t it? Occasionally someone will ask me what I’m making but usually don’t linger for a chat. This past summer while at my favorite traveling beer garden I was knitting and chatting and drinking my beer like any normal 20-something. The sky ripped open and it started pouring. We weren’t finished drinking so we made our way to the little shelter where the polka band was playing. In the true beer garden spirit, everyone who stayed crammed onto the few tables and started chatting with strangers *gasp*. I kept knitting because I was in a groove. An older lady asked me about the socks I was working on and then talked to my mother about how her mother used to crochet or something (beer garden memories tend to be a little fuzzy) but then left me alone. It’s been my experience that most older people who see me knitting will talk to my mom (if I’m with her) instead of me about knitting or crocheting. For the record she hasn’t made anything with yarn since the 70’s and likes talking to strangers about as much as I do.

While it’s much easier to dick around on my phone for those ‘sitting and waiting’ times, I just find knitting to be a more relaxing and productive use of my time. I don’t think it’s any different than picking up a magazine or bringing a book. It’s definitely not as common anymore but that shouldn’t stop anyone!

No Pain, No Gain

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 16

Have you ever had a knitting related injury?

Hoooooo boy have I ever. I have been absolutely plagued by hand and wrist problems since I started knitting. When it first started happening in 2011 I thought it was Rheumatoid Arthritis. I went to see specialists and they basically told me I was too young for that kind of problem, gave me ibuprofen and told me to stop using my hands. This wasn’t really an option for several reasons – namely I was in school for a degree in textiles and as a general rule, you need to use your hands to make them. I’ve since given up on doctors.

The worst it’s ever been was 2013/2014. I was working wayyyy too intensely. I was in constant pain, I was having a really hard time doing simple tasks like buttoning shirts or holding a toothbrush. I would get shooting pain up to my elbows if I turned my wrist a certain way. I could no longer hold a pen to write more than a few words- which makes taking notes fairly difficult when a lot of professors didn’t want computers in their classrooms. My hands were also randomly spasming and I would drop whatever I was holding- which was often at the coffee shop I worked at- let’s just say my shoes smelled permanently like PSL.

I try to be ergonomic as possible when I’m working but I also tend to knit for long periods of time without very many breaks. Things aren’t nearly as bad as they were but every so often it hurts too bad to knit and I try and take a break for a few days. I’ve learned to deal with it and have found that if I knit at least a little bit every day, especially when I just wake up, my hands tend to be less stiff and hurt a little less over all.

Lonely yarn seeking project

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 13

Do you have yarn that you love but can’t find a project for?

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My best friend gave me this yarn as a bridesmaid’s gift almost three years ago. I like the colors and I love how it feels, I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT. I’ve mentioned before, fancy yarns hold me up. I also have no idea what to do with variegated yarns. For someone who primarily does colorwork I don’t like not being in control of wear the colors go. I’m afraid of color pooling or weird awkward stripes. I don’t want to waste this yarn on something I’ll never wear or just give away to someone because I didn’t like how it ended up. Even though it’s sock yarn it feels too precious for just socks. I’ve considered buying a another skein or two of a solid color and doing some colorwork with it, but nothing ever jumps out at me when I look online. If you’ve got the perfect pattern for this yarn leave me a comment and let me know!

It’s not a waste of yarn if you’ve learned something

Life is really weird when you stay up all night and sleep during the day. That seems like an obvious statement but trying to plan things for say a Wednesday evening is really hard to wrap my head around. It’s hard for my brain to conceptualize time right now. Like right now, Tuesday at 6 am is basically Monday night. Dinner is breakfast, breakfast is dinner. I don’t know when to shower or when to eat lunch. I’m getting used to it, but it’s weird.

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 7

What is your least favorite piece that you’ve knit?

Going through my Ravelry page today trying to figure out what my least favorite project is. I don’t know that I could pick one specific project out. Sure I’ve had my fair share of failed projects but I’ve also learned something from each of them. Scrolling through I can remember making most of them. I remember what the yarn felt like. I remember who I gave the project to. And I remember what things didn’t work with each one. There are things that I definitely don’t need to make again and there are things I would make differently if I made them again. I picked out two projects that should have been made differently.

IMAG0529_mediumThis first one is a lace hat I made for my mom. I remember buying the yarn and I think my first pair of bamboo needles. The yarn is so silky and has such a nice drape which is exactly what went wrong with this hat. It’s way too floppy, even for a slouchy hat. The pattern called for wool which would definitely hold up a little better and actually be warm. On the other hand, this was the first project I knit that incorporated short row shaping – so I learned something. And my mom stills wears it even though I think it sucks. tumblr_nk16u9ojC41qhxvzyo1_540_small2

 

 

 

 

 

The second project I found is this pair of socks. I had been coveting a mitts pattern for a while but at the time I didn’t want to make mitts. I tried to make mittens with this lace pattern which did not work after several tries. I decided to try and make them into socks. Things I didn’t understand at the time of this project were ankle shaping and negative ease. The picture really makes them look a lot better than they are and it was not an easy picture to take. Besides the obvious mix ups in the lace, these are super slouchy and end up making my legs seem much bulkier than they are. I don’t hate the idea of frogging them and starting over. I would probably use the yarn to make the mitts as they were intended in the first place since the wool is really quite scratchy. If I made socks like this again I would use the sock yarns I’ve been using for my other projects and change needle sizes down the leg for shaping since I think adding stitches into the calf would be rather obvious in these.

It is pretty cool to look back at the things you’ve made and see their merit even though they’re not up to your current standards. Having real physical evidence of things you’ve learned is really encouraging and I hope in a few years I can look at the projects I’m working on now and see how much I’ve learned since.

Do you guys have knitting duds? What do you do with them?

I wish it were cold enough to wear these all the time

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 6

What is your favorite piece that you’ve knit?

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If anyone has followed any of my other social medias you’ll know that these mittens are my absolute favorite thing I’ve ever knit, and possibly ever made. I worked at developing this pattern for like three years. I tried a bunch of different yarns and cuffs and thumb shapes. I think I made five different mittens until I landed on these. I am so so so proud of them and I love wearing them.

I finished knitting them right before Valentine’s Day last year. K took me to the Wisconsin Dells for a little getaway that weekend and IT WASN’T EVEN COLD ENOUGH TO WEAR THEM. We went on a hike around Devil’s Lake that weekend, there were people all over the ice fishing and hanging out, but it was warm enough for actual living mutant mosquitos to be swarming around. It was a great weekend, but I digress.. I wore these guys on the hike anyways so I could have him take some photos for me since it’s pretty hard to take photos using your own hands as models.

Not only is this my favorite pattern, but it seems to be everyone else’s favorite of all the patterns I’ve published. If you’re interested in make a pair for yourself (or your mother-sister-daughter-grandma-girlfriend-bestfriend because the holidays are eminent) my Russian Flower Mittens pattern is available on Ravelry and theres also a matching hat pattern!