A Stitch in Time, Saves Nine

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 29 & 30

What’s your name on Ravelry? If you don’t have a Ravelry account, why?

I’m lumping these two together and then the list is finished! I am mcglarin on Ravelry, where you can creep on all of my projects. This is actually a good spot to see if there’s an upcoming pattern I’m designing because I use the project page to keep track of a lot of info. If you’re interested in the patterns I’ve designed and have available for purchase I am Kristen McLaren Designs on Ravelry as well.

Do you have any tips, or things that you’ve learned from knitting?

There’s so much stuff to learn when it comes to knitting. There’s about 10 different ways to accomplish the same thing and what you do mostly depends on who you learned it from. I’m not going to go into technical things right here, I’ll save them for a future blog post maybe, but here’s a few things I’ve learned in my years of knitting:

WRITE IT DOWN 

I can’t even tell you how many times I wish I kept better notes about something. I always assume I’m going to remember exactly what I’ve done. Part of my brain knows I won’t which is precisely why I knit most things two-at-a-time because at least they’ll match even if the next pair won’t. I’m going to work on getting better at this though because it tends to make more work for me when I’m trying to publish a pattern later and I can’t remember which way I started the heel or something.

STAY ORGANIZED

This kind of goes along with writing everything down but it more applies to yarn. I recently re-balled, weighed out, and bagged up most of my knitting stash. Everything is labeled now and protected from any hungry moth creatures. I’ve also tried to be diligent about adding my new yarn to the stash page on Ravelry and also adding yardage and yarn info to projects so that it automatically updates my stash page (SO HELPFUL). This way I know pretty much exactly what I have and if I’m out shopping I can easily pick up more of something or I can remember which yarns I really didn’t like working with and to find something different for next time.

DON’T SKIP THE SWATCH

This is something I begrudgingly started doing after too many projects ended up being a let down due to size. It seems like such a bother when you want to jump right into a project but as they say ” A stitch in time saves nine.” Not only is swatching just good for checking that your gauge is correct, it’s also good to practice the stitch pattern and to check that you like the drape or feel of the fabric it makes. Knitting those four inches seems like such a pain, but it’s a lot less painful than ripping out half a sweater that you already know isn’t going to fit.

EMBRACE THE FROG

I am a notorious ripper-outer. If I don’t like how something is going I will rip that shit out. Part of this is perfectionism but why wouldn’t I want something I made to be perfect? I’ve ripped out entire projects in front of other people and the sheer horror in their eyes brings me a secret joy. Basically my philosophy on the subject is: if I know I’m not going to like it why would I finish it? Spending 40 hours making something you’re not going to wear is way worse, in my opinion, than frogging a project half way through and then spending 60 or 80 hours re-making it knowing you’re going to love it.

Yarn, Yarn, and more Yarn

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 27

How do you acquire most of yarn? Online retailers, local yarn shops, swaps, or large chain craft stores? What’s your favorite?

IMG_0446I spent a solid twenty minutes digging up this photo. This is my weaving stash in the summer of 2014.. I started collecting yarn out of the yarn closet at school. There was a lot of junky yarn in that closet, most of it was donated by old ladies or mill companies sending us mill ends or discontinued items. I spent quite a bit of time in that closet going through all the yarn and picking out the good stuff. I sort of had a knack for it.

Since then I’ve mostly gotten my yarn from box stores. It’s what’s available, it’s what’s affordable, and I’ve been able to make a lot of it work. I like supporting LYS or indie dyers but its just not financially sustainable considering how much I knit. If I’m in a good rhythm I can usually finish most projects in a weeks time. I’ve ordered some yarn from online retailers but I really do like to be able to touch everything and match up the colors in person before I buy it. For more of my thoughts on yarn check out this post from a few weeks ago.

I do miss dying my own yarn. I’ve been toying with the idea of finding a sock yarn I can purchase in bulk and dying my own skeins. I don’t have any wool dyes left (besides the stash of vegetable matter clogging up my mother’s freezer) and I would need to buy a big kettle designated as a dye pot, but otherwise it’s sounding like a better and better idea. The ability to make any color I want is a skill I sorely miss taking advantage of.

 

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 hoarding if it’s organized, right?

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 12

Where do you keep your stash? Post pictures!

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I had every intention of cleaning up my studio and making it look pinterest worthy by now. But I didn’t. I’d love to be able to beautifully display my stash on beautiful shelves, maybe one day; but for now I’ve got everything bagged up and weighed out and labeled with sticky notes. I’m kind of terrified of getting infested with moths – I found a few holes in a baby sweater I never put buttons on and after that I rewound a bunch of skeins, washed a few that were especially dusty and bagged everything separately incase I missed something it at least won’t contaminate all of my yarn. I’ve also got three big bins in my parent’s basement that I’ll move once I have space for my loom.

To make up for the sterility, I went through and tried to digitally organize my stash. I’ve added photo’s to most of my stash on Ravelry and have been trying to keep the yardage updated the best I can. I’ve got a lot of half used up skeins and it’s hard to find projects I like for using it all up. I do like that I can search through all my yarn without making a giant mess. And if I’m out buying yarn and need to see if I already have some/have enough I can pull out my phone and look it up.