I’ve been busy busy busy actually knitting things since my last post. I finished the Daisy Socks and completely revamped the pattern. The task of editing that pattern was a little daunting and took me several days to finish, though the actually knitting went quite quickly. It made me very aware of how much I’ve actually learned and accomplished in the last two years of writing patterns and has reignited my excitement with the whole design process. I’ve got about ten more patterns that could use an update which will hopefully be a good use of my time during the “slow season” of knitting.
I’m also working on a new pattern for a pair of socks I just finished last night. I managed, with the grace of the knitting gods, to finish them in five days. I’m not sure if it was because I knit them one at a time (which I haven’t done in at least three years) or because they’re only one color, but whatever it was -they just flew off of my needles. They’re hanging up to dry as I’m typing this, and I’ve got the pattern mostly written up in another window. I’m currently debating hanging onto this pattern for a few months and maybe releasing it with a few others closer to the fall. I’ve got a few ideas brewing that would make a nice set with this pattern, but I’m also very impatient and know the pattern will burn a hole in my pocket? computer? while it’s waiting to be published.
My basket is plugging along nicely and is actually starting to resemble a vessel instead of a “floppy weird frisbee” as K called it. I like working on it, though I have to take frequent breaks from it because it’s murder on my hands, wrists, and shoulder. After two nights of steadily working on it I ended up with a kink in my neck that last for several days and the fun shoot-y kind of pain in my left arm. The process is so repetitive and takes a lot of hand muscle to keep everything pulled taught all the while getting heavier and harder to hang onto. I’ve got so many ideas about how to finish it, except it’s only a couple of inches tall and I’ve got many more to go before it’s ready for a decorative element. I really enjoy how meditative the process is, and it’s given me lots of ideas for more baskets, but it takes so long to make any progress towards a finished product that it’s hard to motivate my monkey brain to finish it. I think it’s going to end up being a long term project that I pull out between all the other things I want to do.
Nothing like 80 degree weather to make a girl feel like knitting again… I hadn’t really felt like knitting since finishing my sweater back in March but last week I felt the call of the needles again. I’m working on editing my Daisy Socks pattern, the first socks I designed almost two years ago now. I’ve learned so much about construction and pattern writing since then that I figured it couldn’t hurt to update the pattern a little bit. I’ve already changed the toe construction and I figured I would give an afterthought heel a try.
Turning heels is actually one of my favorite things about knitting socks. There’s something endlessly satisfying about how a handful of short rows can completely change the shape of something. It always feels a bit like mathematical witchcraft to me. But one of the things that’s kept me interested in knitting all these years is that there’s always more techniques to learn, and afterthought heels seem to make a lot of sense with colorwork socks. When I got to my foot length I knit in my waste yarn and then kept on zipping along through the leg. I spent most of last night knitting away and if I do the same tonight I’ll probably finish the leg. This way seems like there’s a lot less counting stitches and making sure my pattern is lined up properly, and saving the best part for last is certainly motivating.
I haven’t been excited about knitting lately but I have been revisiting some old ideas and techniques. In high school I got really into making things with plastic bag yarn, or plarn, which is really such a dumb word. I crocheted a backpack for myself and it surprisingly held up for most of my junior year – and I had a lot of books. After that I crocheted a human spine out of bags for my art class and then haven’t used plastic yarn since.
I decided to revisit plastic yarn after seeing a picture someone posted to pinterest of a plastic bag laundry basket they made. As most people do these days, I have an absurd amount of grocery bags stuffed in a bin, and every week there’s more and more. My hoarder brain says they could be useful eventually but there’s only so much cat litter to take out. Anyways, into the plarn universe I delve.
I started by cutting thin strips of bags, stretching them out, and then spinning the strips on my drop spindle to make thread. This process was incredible satisfying and I could probably do it forever. It’s also a really easy way to practice using a drop spindle if anyone is interested in trying that out. The plastic isn’t going to break easily and it’s also free so there’s really no risk. Once I had a good amount of thread made I cut a few bags into thicker strips. By holding 4 strips together I got to my desired thickness and used the thread I made to start coiling. I’ve made a pretty large dent in the pile of plastic bags already and I’m only about halfway through the bottom of my soon to be basket.
I was reading about ways to remove the logos and how to “dye” the plastic different colors, but for now I like the way the logos create little pops of color.
Working, working, working on this sweater. I finished the sleeves earlier in the week and have attached them to the body. I’ve got enough decreases worked that it’s starting to resemble and actual sweater and I JUST WANT TO BE DONE WITH IT. I thought starting from the bottom would make the process seem a bit faster since the parts are more broken up and I don’t have to do the sleeves last, but endless gray stockinette has become a chore.
What I have realized while working on this sweater is that I rarely make something only for myself anymore, and definitely not anything quite so big. I’m either making something as a gift, or making something as a design sample, or testing for someone and I really do love all of those things but I can barely remember the last time I just knit for the sake of knitting or to make something just for me that then doesn’t need to be edited or photographed or published.
I started this sweater as a pallet cleanser and maybe it’s reshaping my thinking along the way; Knitting doesn’t always have to be work.
Oh and that Ravelry/charts in the photo business has resolved itself without fiasco. The woman removed the photo’s without issue and I was able to answer a few questions she had about the pattern. So thank you everyone for the encouragement and advice! 🙂
Things have been pretty slow around here. Trying to stay caught up on laundry, trying to cook healthier meals which means more dishes, and trying to sleep on a consistent schedule. Spent some time last week knitting away on my shawl and I started to notice my right wrist hurting. Decided to take a break on the shawl, you know, to rest my joints. Me being me, I couldn’t sit still and not knit anything for a day or two to feel better so I made a pair of mittens in about two and a half days. Now my wrists AND hands hurt. I’m shocked too…
Anyways mittens are finished and blocking, and now I just need to motivate myself to write up the pattern. The chart is pretty much done, it just needs a little tweak here and there to look nice. The writing part is what kills me, and I know that’s a shock to you all as well since I’m SO GOOD at blogging consistently these days. Once I get started it goes pretty quickly, and I know that, but for some reason it takes me forever to start writing. Somewhere in my brain I think that I need to have a pattern title and images before writing up the pattern, which is pretty illogical, those are the easiest things to add or change in a pattern. I guess I did start playing around with a few titles but they feel pretentious and also kind of lame. Finding titles I’m happy with is always such a struggle for me – it’s hard to come up with something original and memorable and on brand without being floofy or overly descriptive and boring. Are there professional title givers? I’m totally open to suggestions if you have a good one!
Hopefully I can talk K into going out sometime this week to help me take pictures, but he’s got a head cold, and I’ve got some kind of stomach thing so I won’t hold my breath. I’m hoping whatever bugs we’ve got go away quickly and I find some motivation to write out this pattern before the weekend. If I wait any longer by the time I get all the tech editing and test knitting done it won’t even be winter anymore.
It’s been so cold the last week or so that K and I have barely left the house to run errands. We’ve stayed snuggled up under blankets switching between Netflix and video games. Since we’ve been couch dwelling, I’ve managed to make a lot of progress on my shawl. I’ve got about 5 more pattern repeats to go before I have to cut the steek and figure out what kind of edging I want to add. I was considering doing more colorwork as and edging but I would have to work each side of the triangle back and fourth separately instead of in the round since it’ll be too large for my needles to handle. I’m thinking a basic icord edge or a rolled hem might be simple enough since the shawl body is already quite a lot. We shall see.
Another perk of freezing temperatures and not leaving the house is spending more time baking. I made a loaf of bread and some homemade butter in my kitchenaid mixer. I remember making butter in a baby food jar when I was a girl scout. Making it in the mixer is a lot messier but much easier. I’m honestly surprised at how different it tastes, it might just be worth the extra effort. I need to find a better way to remove all the water from the finished butter, but buying a butter press seems a little extravagant at this point. I have enough cream to make another batch, so I think maybe some honey butter or herbed butter (or both) is in order. I also saved the buttermilk to make waffles one of these days.
The biggest and most exciting thing this week was getting a washing machine! Our house is fairly small and does not have laundry hook ups, but we really hate going to the laundromat every week (okay, when neither of us have clean underwear left). We found a portable washing machine online and decided that instead of big gifts for christmas we would buy one. It arrived this afternoon and it’s already occupying most of the bathroom. So far, I’m super impressed with it. It’s a lot smaller than a normal machine, but I was able to get a few loads done before I ran out of room on the drying rack. It might have to live in the kitchen from now on since there’s barely enough room in the bathroom to close the door, but this thing is going to get a lot of use.
Knitting Blog Challenge Day 19
Do you watch movies and/or listen to podcasts while knitting? What are your favorite things to knit to?
I actually really really hate knitting without something else to pay attention to. I end up getting trapped in my own brain and that’s not often a happy or productive place so I pretty much always watch or listen to something while I’m working.
I work a lot faster when I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. It makes sense, there’s nothing for my eyes to be distracted by and I can look at what I’m working on. I am more inclined to do this while I’m quilting or weaving since both of these things require much more visual attention. For a while I was really into audio books; I listened to all of the Outlander Series, Game of Thrones, Anna Karenina, The Stormlight Archives (<- highly recommend Brandon Sanderson), and a bunch of others. Most of these books are between 700 and 1200 pages so I clocked a lot of hours working on stuff.
I “Netflix and knit” so frequently that I actually have a hard time just watching a show or movie without knitting. It makes me antsy and I have a hard time focusing on what I’m watching, I don’t even like going to the theater for movies because it’s usually too dark in there to knit. I tend to watch shows because it saves me from finding something else to watch every two hours. K and I have worked our way through the Marvel shows on Netflix and we’re currently catching up on The Walking Dead. This show is so intense I’ve barely gotten any work done. And I’ve been blowing through the old Will and Grace seasons when he’s busy (I really love 90/early 2000s network tv – ER anyone?).
I don’t really know how to explain this but I’ve noticed basically like flashbacks of what I was knitting to when I’m working on bigger projects. It’s like the memory of what I was listening to or watching is now imbedded in my work – which explains why I can hardly remember what happened on a show within hours of watching it, it’s been trapped into my knitting.
I skipped yesterdays blog prompt. I just didn’t have the energy to write anything and the topic seemed a bit redundant and needlessly negative. I feel the same about today’s so I’m going to skip this one too.
The mice are back. We woke up last Friday to the struggles of a not dead but very trapped mouse trying to crawl back down the hole with the trap. Not exactly a pleasant wake up. Thankfully K was able to deal with it. There’s another one in there tonight trying to eat our left over french fries. It does’t seem to be bothered for very long when I bang on the cabinet. I’ve taped the doors shut because the cat is very capable of opening the doors but maybe not so capable of doing the deed. It can enjoy some cold fries for it’s last supper and I’ll put our last trap under the sink tomorrow. It looks like someone had tried to cover the hole with foaming caulk of some sort but it’s obviously been chewed threw since then. We need to come up with a more permanent solution. I don’t like being responsible for all these mouse corpses.
I’ve been busy knitting away. I finished the snowflake socks and plan on making a matching hat, much like the tree set if you’ve been following along. I wrote a pattern for the tree set and published it a little over a week ago. Happy Trees is available HERE and HERE if you’re interested. I’ve been struggling to take halfway decent photo’s in this house. My parent’s have a nice weathered deck that worked really well for me in the past. I have dingy carpet, wood-like but not nearly floors, and weird colored walls. Outside is old blacktop and a crumbling but not aesthetically so concrete front porch. I’ve been considering building some sort of set to stage my garments because I just can’t get decent images. Another contributing issue is the fact that I’m rarely awake for any significant amount of day light. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually, but for now it’s really frustrating me.
I also was finally able to publish a sock pattern I’ve been working on for months. This pattern was the subject of my very first #WIPWEDNESDAY. This one took a bit of finagling to get right. I decided to have it professionally tech edited which was incredibly nerve wracking but ultimately a good decision. Getting my files back all marked up was like getting a final paper back in college, only somehow worse. After that was all through I had test knitters work on it. This is something I’ve been doing for a while and I’ve been having a string of really bad luck with getting them to finish on deadline – or even at all. This batch was very helpful and gave me lots of feedback though. But anyways, Get a Room is available along with the rest of my patterns on Ravelry and I’d love for you to go check them out. A lot of hands (and feet – haha) went into this one and I’m really proud of it.
Knitting Blog Challenge Day 3
Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)?
In my last post I mentioned I usually like to stick to one project. But that pretty much only applies to knitting.
I tend to keep a lot of creating things in my brain, in my studio, on the floor, on the coffee table, in my purse. They’re everywhere. I’ll just talk about some of the big things though.
I’m going to include this one as a giant kick in the butt to work on it. I honestly kind of forgot about it until now. My best friend got married in 2015 and I decided to make them a quilt as a wedding gift. I of course never finished it because I’m a garbage human and shitty friend and I never finish anything on time. I mean actually there were some major problems like a lot of white fabric being mislabeled so half of it was a slightly different color white, resulting in tearing out a lot of very meticulous seams. Then I got overwhelmed by a new very stressful job and my mother wanting her dinning room table back. So no it’s in a giant bucket in my studio. Maybe I’ll do something with it.
Earlier this week I started a Bullet Journal. I don’t even know why besides I had a dot paper notebook and a bunch of cool pens. I almost never keep up with a sketchbook or an actual written journal. But I’m kind of obsessed with the stupid thing. It’s basically like data collection porn to me and I can’t stop. I’ve filled like 20 pages in only a few days. There’s something satisfying about feeling more productive than I actually am.
The most exciting (for me) thing I’m working on is a Tech Editing course. I realized that Tech Editing for knitters is like an actual real job a few months ago and something clicked in my brain. It’s literally the perfect job for me. I won’t have to have children screaming at me or kicking me. I won’t have to come home covered in nasty coffee shop syrups. I can make my own hours, which works out great for my newly adopted third shift sleeping schedule, and I can do something I genuinely would be good at and give a shit about. I should be ready to start taking clients by the new year so stay tuned!
Day 2: What is currently on your needles?
I’ve actually got three projects cast on right now. I almost never have more than one knitting project in my basket (on the table, on the floor, on the couch for K and or the cat to sit on), but by some weird turn of events I’ve got three.
Project 1: Sunstone Shawl
This is kind of my never ending forever project at this point. It’s one of those projects that I can pick up when I don’t know what else to knit but knowing it’s going to take me forever to finish it makes me not want to work on it. For some reason I decided to use US 0.5 needles and super fine yarn to make a very large shawl. I mean this thing is going to be stupid beautiful whenever it gets done- but it’s not going to be finished anytime soon.
Project 2: Snowflake Socks
I was super excited about this when I started them. I was going to have a few different pairs and release a set of patterns right around now. I ran our of yarn halfway through the first heel. It took a few days to make it to the store to get another skein and by then I decided that I needed to knit a sweater for myself. So on that trip to the store for one little skein of yarn I ended up being seven other skeins for a sweater.. The yarn I needed is still at the bottom of the shopping bag and the socks are still on my desk in my studio where I left them.
Project 3: The Sweater
After a few days of searching for a sweater pattern I decided on an old classic. I’ve already knit this sweater for my sister several years ago and I’m not sure if the pattern has been updated or I’ve just learned a whole bunch about knitting in the last few years but this pattern kind of sucks. First of all, it’s seamed. I hate purling, like a lot. I’m also not a huge fan of seaming. Knitting in the round is the way to go – no rowing out, less purling, no seams. I also really hate dropped sleeves. I looked at a lot of project pages for this sweater and I read a lot of other peoples notes. The consensus was that the sleeves are way too big and create a bat wing effect. I’m planning on doing some raglan decreases instead which also means I don’t have to pick up any stitches for the sleeves and extra bonus I won’t look like a child in my grandfathers sweater. It’s knitting up pretty fast by I forgot how much my hands ache when I knit with large yarn and needles. My fingers are actually swollen and my tendons are kinda twitchy but I, of course, won’t take a break from knitting, so…
Anyways, I’d love to hear what you guys are working on! Check out my previous post to see Day 1 of this challenge and for the full list if you want to follow along this challenge with me.