Monday, April 25, 2011

Am I losing my mind?

Let me tell you, I've had a crazy (re: bordering on psycho) last 18 hours.  All because of my Rose Lace Stole.  It started yesterday sometime around 6 pm when I noticed that the second half of my Rose Lace stole wasn't really matching up with the first half.  I hadn't got to the geometric lace part yet, so the only part that wasn't really matching up was the sides.  One edge had the yarn over in the right spot and the other edge did not - it was off.  

Well, luckily (or so I thought at the time) I hadn't taken out the yarn that held my provisional cast on.  It was basically down hill from there.  I ripped back to that lifeline and tried to restart... I spent the next three and a half hours trying to figure out how to get it right.  This involved a lot of patience and utter misery on my part as I tried to figure it out.  At multiple points I just stopped and put my head in my hands and just sat there trying to figure out what was going on.  I mean, it got to the point where I thought I was crazy and just wondering what in the heck as I doing??? 

When I finally went to bed, I had picked up stitches and knit two rows.  It looked okay, but I had a couple of extra stitches that would still need to be removed.  When I got up today, I fixed the stitch count problem with some decreases and continued knitting.  The sides look(ed) okay now with only one minor issue that is visible from the extra decreases.  I've started the geometric lace and it looks like it lines up okay with the first half.  I don't think it lines up perfectly, but it's very very close.

I have honestly never felt this "psycho" about my knitting.  Normally if I make a mistake or am off in stitch count, then I just fix it and move on.  Often times I can't even find the errors in the knitting item once I'm done.  I really don't know what came over me last night.  I'm not even sure anymore if there was a problem to begin with because I'm not sure how perfectly it is suppose to line up.  I don't know if the problem was with my provisional cast on (perhaps I got that wrong??) or if the problem was my idea/vision of how it was all going to line up.

Words of wisdom from Mr. SpiderKate: "It's going to be okay. It's not going to effect the overall function of the item."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On to the next one!

It's official.  I ditched the shawl pattern I was desperately trying to make work.  I should have walked away from it earlier, but apparently I like banging my head against the wall.  I've since moved on to a new design that I've swatched not once, but twice.  The first swatch was good, but the second swatch is even better.  My swatches were done in two different weights of yarn (DK and fingering) and I'm not sure which one I like better.  I might even contemplate using a lace weight for this shawl, but I'm not too worried about figuring that part out yet.  I'm just really happy right now and it has given me a sense of peace, if that makes sense.  I think that is from finally throwing in the towel on the original pattern and finding success with something else.

This design is Arthur approved
I've also decided that I dislike rectangular swatching for shawls because it doesn't give me a good enough idea of what the triangle shawl is going to look like.  I could love the rectangular swatch, but hate the triangle swatch.  And I mean hate.  The triangle swatch is just such a different beast from the rectangular swatch.  For one, you have to deal with the increases and are there enough of them and if not what are you going to do.  Those increases are a pesky thing - necessary but also create headache (at least for me).  The increases almost always seems to create these patches of stockinette stitch, which I tend not to like.  Then there is the figuring out how to change that and so on.  This is why I don't like the rectangular swatches - you don't get an idea of how it is going to really look.  Sure, the rectangular swatch give you an idea of how stitches patterns are going to look and how they are going to flow together, but I can get that idea from a triangle swatch as well.  Okay, enough about that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh the tangled web I weave

A quick post.

1.  I finished the border on the first half of Rose Lace Stole.  

2.  I picked up the stitches on the provisional cast for the other half of Rose Lace Stole.

3.  I have yet to verify the number of the stitches and beginning knitting the second half.

4.  I've made good progress on my GAP-tastic cowl (since it became my go-to easy project for the time being.

5.  My new shawl design is somewhat figured out.  It only took knitting it and charting it at the same time to make it work.

6.  I'm not entirely sure it is worth all the effort, but surely it will build character.

7.  At the very least it will clear the design out of my head and I'll be able to start with a clean slate for my next design.

8.  I'm not ready to say that designing is my job (I'm not even close to that level right now), but working from home on it is hard.  (See next on list to understand why)

9.  While it is sometimes hard to start working on the shawl design, but it is even harder to stop working on it once I start.  It is like my brain can't rest until I figure it out.

10.  Mr. SpiderKate is good about getting me to "call it night" when it comes to designing the shawl.  It's a good thing he is around.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Something easy

I need something easy to knit.  All my current projects are too complicated to take with me to knitting groups. Well, except for one project, but I'm not loving that project right now.  I thought that the Rose Lace Stole would be my easy project, but I'm at the lace edging and I doubt I could knit that while talking.  Though, would it be that crazy if I thought that I could knit the lace while talking??  The lace pattern is "simple" enough and easy enough to tell what stitches should be where.  I could probably catch a mistake quickly and fix it...hmmmm.  The border is going quickly, but anything seems quicker after having to knit 124 rows!

I am really loving the yellow for this stole.  You can't really see it in the picture and it doesn't help that I am not a photographer, but the subtle variations in the yellow are just stunning.  Sometimes I just sit and look at it in awe.  Knitting this just makes me happy.  Now, I have no idea when/how I will wear this, but that's a problem for another day.

My mail stalking finally paid off yesterday.  I received my Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 5 - Lace Knitting and my skein of Crafty Dinger Sock from The Asylum for Wayward Yarn!  I'd looked though this book at a Barnes & Noble and found THE stitch pattern that I'd been trying to come up with for my next shawl.  Well, I didn't pick it up then, but I told Mr. SpiderKate about it.  Being the awesome husband that he is, he went on amazon a couple of days later and ordered it for me!  I looked through the book again yesterday and am really happy that I now own it.  I know it isn't going to be as awesome as the Barber Walker books, but for the time being this book has a lot of good stitch patterns in it and I can see it being useful for years to come.  I've already seen a couple (stitch patterns) that I'm interested in and looking forward to putting together.  The funny thing is that while waiting for thing book to come, I was able to figure out my stitch pattern - as I posted about the other day.  I haven't compared them directly yet, but I think they are very similar (the book and what I came up).

And the yarn.  I. Love. the. Yarn!  Love love love.  I've never been much of a purple knitter - at least that is what I tell myself, a quick look at past projects might say otherwise.  Purple just isn't typically one of those colors that I gravitate towards in the yarn shops.  I'm mostly enthralled with the blues, greens, and deep reds.  But, this purple and love of purple has been sneaking up and getting a strong hold on me and I'm not the only one.  I'm seeing it more when I'm watching morning shows - like the today show - and other programs.  I might even have heard or read somewhere someone saying "purple is the new black."  Except, they might have been saying it more like "purple is the new black?"  Either way, I've fallen in love with purple for the time being.  This yarn will be used for the Crafty Diversions KAL that I'm going to be participating in.  I've already wound the skein up and can't wait to start working with it.

Oh!  Before I forget.  It was brought to my attention that there is an error in Chart A - Set up for my Chincoteague Shawl.  Essentially I haven't shown the garter stitch border correctly, so I will be fixing that chart and sending out an update.  I don't think I know of anyone knitting it strictly from the charts and hopefully the mistake is minor enough that the knitter should be able to see that the first and last three stitches of the row should always be knit (on both the WS and RS) in order to get the garter stitch edge.  The written directions for Chart A - Set up are correct.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Giveaway winner and it's me!

On Saturday I came home to a package in my mailbox!  I recently entered and won a giveaway on Apple Blossom & More's website.  The package consisted of 3 bars of Goats Milk Soap and bath salts along with some gum!  Since then I've had a chance to try out the soap and it is awesome!  The sent is subtle and perfect in every way.  A big thank you to Sarah at Apple Blossom!!!

In other good news, I think I've finally had a break through for my next shawl pattern.  The week before last, I spent a lot of time swatching out different combinations of patterns, but I wasn't very happy with how any of them were turning out.  You see, I've had this one design stuck in my brain, but I previously could not get it to work out and moving on to different patterns obviously wasn't doing the trick either.  Today I went back to the original idea and suddenly it just came to me!  I don't have any other way of explaining it.  I've definitely got the stitch pattern right for the rectangular swatch and now I'm just working on adjusting the pattern for the triangle swatch.  I'm feeling really good about it and hope that I can just keep the momentum going!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I've been MIA the last couple of days, but that doesn't mean I haven't been knitting!  My MIL is in town this week, so that gives me ample knitting time but not necessary blogging time.  I also had my local Knitting Guild meeting this past Monday followed up with my library knitting group that meets on Tuesdays.  This month's Knitting Guild was along the lines of Love your Knits - Wear what you knit.  We learned about how to knit garments that will fit and how to figure out what would (and would not) look good on your specific body type.  It was really good and I feel like I've learned a lot.  One of the big messages was that you have to be realistic about what you look like.  Most people don't look like the model in the knitting magazine, so you have to make the decision for you if that type of garment will be flattering on your body type.  Also, almost every garment you knit is going to need to be adapted in some way.  These aren't major adaptations, just things like length either in the arms or the body.

It all comes down to gauge.  Gauge gauge gauge.  Gauge is something that I like to ignore when I knit.  For shawls and scarves this has been okay for me.  But for garments I know that isn't going to be okay.  The gauge really tells you a lot.  In that respect, the knitting guild said to do some math and check your gauge against the number of cast on stitches and the number of stitches at the widest parts of your measurements.  Simply, this is doing math to make sure your gauge and measurements align with the size you are knitting.  These all seem like very simple things and obvious things to check when knitting a garment, but they are not things I've thought about before.  It was very eye opening and I learned a lot!  I might even tackle knitting a sweater or shirt now.  Perhaps first though I should finished my Einstein coat that I started YEARS ago.  Have I mentioned my Einstein coat before? Stay tuned for more details on that (hibernating) project!

P.S. I've made good progress on the Rose Lace Stole!  I'm almost to the lace edging!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 7: My knitting time

This post is the final post for Knitting & Crochet Blog Week.  Before I get to the post, I want to say that it's been fun being a part of this blog week.  Posting everyday is not always easy, but I'm glad that I was able to make time for it and complete everyday!  One thing I really enjoyed about the topics is that it gave me a chance to talk about knitting projects that I've long since completed.  It's been nice to able to look back at those and see what I've accomplished and what I've learned from them.  Anyhow, on to today's topic: reflecting on my knitting time i.e. when are you most likely to knit or is there anything special involved.
Knitting essentials: tea and water
There are mainly two types of knitting that I do: alone and in a group.  Now, I'm sure that most people have this answer.  My group knitting is probably very typical of most group knitting.  I go to two different knitting groups - one is held at the local library and the other is part of the local knitting guild.  Oh, and of course there is the get together knitting date with one of my knitting friends.

The alone knitting I do is almost always with some sort of background sound.  Most commonly I knit while listening to a replay of my favorite morning show - Kidd Kraddick.  I started listening to this show a couple of years ago when I lived in RI.  Back then I only got to hear parts of it while on the way to work, but now I can listen to the whole show while getting my knit on.  If I'm not listening to Kidd Kraddick, then I am watching a movie or TV shows.  The most common TV shows that I knit through are: General Hospital, Biggest Loser, and The Bachelor.  Oh! Also, it doesn't hurt if I have some sort of beverage by my side.  Popular beverages are: ice tea/coffee and regular tea/coffee.  Though, if the beverage is hot, it usually ends up with several trips to the microwave for reheating since it will sit neglected for too long while I knit.

One place I cannot knit is in the a (moving) car.  I'm very jealous of knitters who have mastered this because car time sounds like a great time to get knitting done.  I've tried it once and felt ill.  Bleh!  I also can't read while in the car - so I guess I shouldn't be that surprised that I can't knit there either.  Part of me hopes that it might be possible one day, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 6: What do you have left to learn?

Today's blog should be pretty easy.  The topic per the site - Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make bu can admire the result of those that have.

I have a ton more to learn about knitting!  This year so far has been a blockbuster of a year of learning, even if I don't learn anything else the rest of this year - though that isn't likely!  I think that my biggest knitting weakness has to do with garments - both the knitting of and the understanding of fit.  I have knit one sweater and let's just say that I've never worn it.  It was a really fun knit, but the fit just didn't turn out right.  It was young in my knitting career and I just thought, well I will knit it as written and it will turn out perfectly!  Wrong!  The fit is close, but it's just not right.  I am truly in awe of people who can knit garments that actually fit AND look good. 

One of the problems I had is that I didn't try on the sweater enough during the knitting process.  Another problem is that I just didn't understand taking proper measurements.  I still don't think I understand proper measurements, but it is something that I'd like to learn/understand.  My interested in knitting garments really waned after that experience, but I'm beginning to catch the bug again.  Luckily for me, the topic for this month's Knitting Guild is about understanding fit in knitting as related to garments! I'm really looking forward to this learning experience!

It has also been brought to my attention that one can really learn a lot about knitting by reading books about knitting.  You mean, I'm not just suppose to buy them and let them sit on my shelf like pretty decorations??! Who knew! Okay, maybe I knew on some level.  I'm going to set a goal for myself to read my knitting books.  What's the worse that could happen?  I learn a thing or two (or three or four)?! That sounds pretty awesome to me.  

My first hat with cables - also first time doing cables