Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

selfie game weak

March 20, 2014

So, I tried to take some shots of myself wearing my latest finished object.  (Lucy in the Sky Cardigan in Cascade Yarns Longwood, zinfindel color, which is best in first photo).

lucypicsmtumblr lucypicsmback

My self-shots are weak.  Here’s the process:

Find camera.

Realize only mirror of adequate size is in the bathroom.  Find clean part of wall.  Try to take picture.  Contort until you get something reasonable in mirror.  Realize you’re too short for whole sweater to be in mirror.  Find footstool.

Try again.  Realize you don’t know where the button to actually take the photo is.  Turn camera so you can reach button.  Flick wristband out of way, which moves whole image.

Try again.  Take photo.  Swear when you realize you still have the flash on and it whites out whole image.  Turn flash off.  Contort some more.  Take photo.  Look briefly at image.  Feel bad about horrible fluorescent eco-friendly lighting.  Take a couple more shots.  Realize ancient bathrobe on back of bathroom door is in image.  Realize you have big pimple on forehead.  Figure you’ll crop that unflattering stuff out.

Find camera cable.  Upload photos.  Start editing images.  Realize that  mirror is dirty and current t-shirt looks terrible under sweater.  The sweater, which, after all, is the focus of the whole thing.  Swear some more.

Go back, change t-shirt, clean mirror.  Take opportunity to take down ancient bathrobe.  Do whole selfie thing again.

Look at second set of photos on computer.  Notice that second set of photos is bad – infinitely worse than the images with the dirty mirror.  Give up and load those anyway because people are only going to care about the sweater.

I do not know how other people do it, with all the self-consciousness going on and all the life-editing that must be applied.  Anyway, I’m thinking those are people are much better at this than I am, or their places are super clean, or that I care too much.  Either way, I’m probably just going to be placing finished item on the floor next time I want to take a picture.  (That is, after I finish mopping it clean.)



March 6, 2014

I knit my first intarsia project a while ago.  It’s hideous.  I’m kind of embarrassed by it.  I called it the Sad Penguin.  Such a mess.

Here is an in-progress picture.  (I am apparently incapable of not sharing my shame, however powerful.)


If you turned it inside out, you’d notice where I cut the white yarn and knotted it to the other bits of the hat in a mistaken bid to try make it go better as I knit circularly.  I was 2/3 up the white before I realized I didn’t need to cut it, I could just sort of wrap it around the blue yarn and knit onward.   No wonder this pattern was designed to be knitted flat.  *HEADDESK*

I had invested too much time in this not to finish.  (Beside, I had a good amount of white yarn in that breast/tummy area of the penguin that couldn’t be used for anything else because I’d cut them like a fool. )  I thought I would keep the hat and wear it in desperation one day when all other hats were unavailable or something equally self-flagellating.

Last month my daughter found the hat and is wearing it pretty happily.  She loves it.

All’s well that end’s well.  Lesson here is that I should stop being so self-judgemental and if stuff doesn’t turn out, I should think that would still be okay.  And also that kids like stuff that might be sort of not perfect.  That’s okay, too.  (I mean, we’re all redeemed by other people’s kindness and love.  Why not this terrible-looking hat and my feelings towards it?)

aww, no

December 19, 2013

I just got an email about tax software.

This compounded with having returned from the UK after being overseas for five months, unpacking, jetlag, getting the kids up and going to school, getting and planning food from an empty cupboard, changing my insurance, sorting through the seasonal clothing, laundry, holiday shopping and plans, cleaning a house that’s been empty for five months, and a really, really bad cold.

Forget this.  I’m going to knit.

Clapotis progress

November 11, 2013

So I’ve been knitting away on the scarf.  (And to take a break from the scarf, I’ve knit a hat.  But that’s not what’s important here.  I just needed a gift for someone and I liked the pattern.)

I’ve been scared to death of making this scarf.  I ripped back a couple of times already.  I was more than half-way done and I was contemplating yet another rip back.  There are important, serious reasons for it.  I made one edge a bit too tight.  I consulted with a couple of other knitters and they assure me that it’s hardly noticeable and if it bothers me by the time I finish knitting it, it will probably block out.  Blocking out, as anybody knows, is a lie.  It’s just that when people say that, they mean that when you finish knitting it, you’ve got a finished product and even if the urge is still with you, you won’t have the heart to rip that sucker out.  They’re probably right, at least for me.  (It’s negative knitting.  It rips out the heart as well.)

But the reasons why I’ve been so hesitant about this project (I hate ripping out, but I have no problems with it here) is because I want it to be perfect.  I’ve just never had an item that mattered to me like this – most of the time, I’ve knit and been done with it.

Part if it has been that the yarn is among the most expensive I’ve ever bought.  (It’s pretty good yarn.)   I’ve been thinking and longing for this scarf since I saw it, months, maybe years before I actually started knitting seriously.  I’ve got a facebook post about it.  (I just checked, dating October 2012, a month before I took that knitting class.)  It’s almost as if all the knitting I have done up to this point has been to gear up for making this scarf.

This thinking is stupid.  The scarf is not that hard to make.  It’s a bit of an exercise in patience, because it is a long scarf/shawl/stole, but it’s nothing like an entire outfit of colorwork in skinny yarn with teeny-tiny needles.  It’s just in my own head.  There’s a new-to-me technique of dealing with alternating multiple balls of yarn (because, hello expensive hand-painted yarn that is only related to each other skein in the same colorway like I’m related to my second cousins) which is sort of a pain.  The idea was terribly intimidating.  I’m over it now, though.  (I’ve got 3 on the go at once, but can’t figure out how to do a fourth.)


If you’re wondering, the scarf is turning out pretty well, otherwise.  I’m really enjoying the knitting and the yarn is lovely.   I’m trying to get into the headspace of letting the process go on and not getting in the way.  If the product doesn’t turn out well, it’ll be fine.  Nothing in the world will be much different.  I might go ahead and buy more of this yarn to make another one.  That would be it.  The sky will not fall, my children will be the same, and I will have a finished scarf that is slightly below my dreams but as good as I could have done at the time.

I’m dealing with the force of my own expectations here.  I don’t know where I get off expecting so much.  I’m working on it as I’m working on this scarf.   Think kindly of the crazy lady in the red scarf, please.

follow-ups everywhere

July 17, 2013

You know how in long-running series in various forms of media, you’re given call-backs to previous episodes (often long-ago) whether it’s characters, or particular themes?

So, in the interest of the 2 people who read my blog, (none of whom knits) I give you follow-ups.

I made some insect/arthropod  dishcloths for a wedding.  This turned out very well, astonishingly well, given that I see the groom once every couple of years and I’ve never met the bride.  They had fossils on the serving table and the happy couple had a bee/trilobite going on with their attire.  Yay!  (In the interest of maintaining their privacy, I can’t say what.  But I will say it wasn’t human-sized bee/trilobite suits.  It was more bee/trilobite accents.)

I re-knit/fixed a couple of things.

1.  I made socks for W a while back.  He thought they were cushy, but never wore them because they were cutting off his circulation, especially in one leg.


(I think my gauge here was fairly different between the two socks.  I was trying out a couple of different ways of holding the yarn and tensioning.)  They were also too short, especially to wear to work.  (Ribbing drives me crazy.  It’s annoying.  Give me twice the length of stockinette any day.)  I want these things to be more than artifacts to my hobby, so I fixed them.  I unpicked the bindings on both legs and added a couple of inches, and also a couple of stitches in each row.  This made the ribbing look wonky, but he was much happier and he’ll actually wear the socks now, which makes me happy.  (Even if he doesn’t wear them t work.)  Everybody’s happy.


2.  I knit this hat.  (I don’t have a picture on the blog previously, but I feel it’s important to mention, because that hat sucked my will to do anything else for a while and I simultaneously loved that hat and hated making it.)  I flubbed the top because I don’t think I was paying enough attention because I was SICK of making the hat and wanted to get back to my life.   I guess literacy isn’t everything – you have to care that you’re also reading it correctly.  (This is a lesson I’ve been trying to teach my son.  But, hey, like parent like child.)  If the image is clear enough, you’ll see the little bit of white that crosses over the dark blue in the very center – that shouldn’t be there.


I fixed it within a couple of hours.  Much happier.  It’s a little like having a brand new finished object without actually having gone through the pain of working on it.  (I have mostly forgotten how much I was annoyed by the stranding, because I am thinking about maybe, someday, doing something similar.)


May you have a happy day where it feels like you’ve done something great, but only really did a minimal amount of work!

day dreams

July 12, 2013

So I got an invitation to subscribe to a knitting magazine.

It contained the usual sorts of things you’d expect: descriptions of the amount I’d save by subscribing, the awesomeness of their patterns (from beginning to advanced), knitwear designers, ways to improve your skills, reviews on products.  Then came:   “Inspiring photography that invites you into a yarn-filled daydream.”

Cue image of me with a thought bubble, and the only thing in the bubble is a skein of yarn on some grass, somewhere in the Hebrides or a fjord or something.   (I don’t need cute animals or attractive people in scanty knitwear – I just want yarn on a lovely landscape.)

Knitting magazine, my hat’s off to you.  You really know your audience.

(Conclusion, I didn’t subscribe.  But you definitely got my attention.)


May 31, 2013

I have  decided to keep the amount of knitting stuff down to a minimum.  Ish.  I have a set of short dpn, longer dpn’s, crochet hooks, interchangeable circular needles, and a bin of yarn.  (Which seems like too much already, but it all seems kind of necessary.  At least, to me.  Don’t talk to W about it.)  In a token nod to keeping the amount of stuff I do own down,  I don’t have a swift, nor a ball-winder, nor a yarn bowl.  (I found a local purveyor of yarn bowls, who told me that it is dishwasher and microwave and oven safe, which seems super durable, but kind of “what are you expecting me to do with a bowl full of yarn?”)

Instead of a swift, I have this:  windingballs

(It’s the side of my drying rack.)

And instead of a ballwinder, I have the cardboard tube from the center of a roll of paper towels.  (Idea courtesy of here.)

This, I feel, is progress.  I had been using a variety of different systems, from chairs to my neck to my knees.   Protip: the neck is not good for this.  Not if you intend to use your neck at all.

AU of my life

May 15, 2013

As I ripped back most of the hat I was making, I realized that in an alternate universe, I would never have to rip back a top-down hat.  I would make it fit perfectly, the first time.  (I have ripped back a lot since I began knitting – so if you really calculate it out, I have probably actually near close to twice the yardage that is present on my Ravelry page.   That’s a heap o’ knitting.)

And in that alternate universe, I would never make a mistake.  Never make things too long or too big or too small.  I would never yell at my children.  My kitchen would always be perfectly clean.  My laundry always done, always neatly folded.

Then I realized something.  That other me would probably have an enormous head for all of this perfection and I would probably hate her.

It’s for the best that I will continue to mess up, just so I can still relate to myself.

A Game of Yarn

May 9, 2013

Great big balls of yarn!  I just placed an order of yarn and now I have to use up some stash to justify the purchase!

Here’s a random fact about me (you’ll see how it ties in later): my feet are pretty small, and I like my socks short.

A while ago, I weighed some leftover balls of yarn, just to see what these scraps (mostly sock weight) might be good for.  I don’t have a super-fancy scientific scale, but I do have one that can handle grams (it was originally for cooking).  And it tells me something I’m just starting to get a grip on.  Fact is, I have a lot more yarn than I thought I did.  I re-weighed a bunch of it this evening just to make sure.

There are a couple of solutions, of course.  I can start making socks for other people with bigger feet who also like longer lengths of sock leg, but that is a longer term solution.  Right now, I can make nearly twice the amount of socks the average pattern would suggest, or I can find something entirely different to use up the sock yarn.

Here’s the thing.  I am sort of tapped out of ideas and I’m a bit tired of the yarn, as I’ve looked at it for a while already  making the original project it was intended for.  I kind of don’t want to start something right now.  I have nothing on the needles right now.  I have whatever is the opposite of start-itis.  (Maybe that’s just plain laziness.)  I like looking at pictures of other people’s projects, I genuinely enjoy watching a project develop as I knit,  I love listening to knitting podcasts, I love all the yarn, but I truly dislike starting a project.  The idea of casting on and counting and messing up like I always do is a pain.  I dislike committing.  I try to keep my commitments small.  (Never mind the whole family and marriage thing.)  But casting on means I’m committed.


But I’d best get on it.  To paraphrase: “Yarn is coming!”


May 8, 2013

So there was that yarn I was trying to make a shawl from – and for some reason, it didn’t want to be a shawl.  Nor did it want to be socks.  It didn’t want to be mitts – at least the first pattern I picked.  So, in frustration, after I had practically rubbed the beginning couple of feet raw, I went for a simple mitt.  And then it worked.

I didn’t really get the concept of things not working until this.  Between my inexperience and lack of technique and trying to develop enough of a ‘bank’ of the different sizes of needles and yarn and being lucky to pick projects that worked – this one was a bear to figure out.  But I wanted a couple of things coming out of this – I wanted to make something useful, something relatively quick, and something that would totally, absolutely, use up this yarn that I was quickly starting to hate.  (I don’t think I was alone.  I bought this yarn on ebay, and when I got it, it looked like somebody else had started it as well, and then unraveled it.)

I couldn’t blame the needles – I’d gotten gauge, I’d had other needles at the ready, but nope.  That part did work.  The pattern was good – lots of people had used the same pattern to lovely ends.  I was learning the new cast-on (tubular).   It wasn’t looking right – felt bad – felt too hard to get anywhere.  (You know what I mean?)

So, in some form of desperation, I dived into Ravelry and just looked up projects for that kind of  yarn.  And there it was.  Simple mitt.  The yarn didn’t need anything complicated going on at all.  Plus, needles one size larger, and suddenly, ZOOM.  Project was well under way.  It was a relief that it was so easy.  (I’m not scorning simple patterns – somedays, they’re all that work, especially for me – maybe I am annoyed at myself that it took so long to figure out what was going on.)

I made two pairs, one for me, one for a friend.


Then another friend saw them and admired them.  I am helpless in the face of admiration so I gave her my pair, even though it had the dreaded bit of rubbed-raw yarn.  I had some yarn left over, so I made a third pair.  And I had a little bit of yarn left.  A tiny, tiny ball.  It’s sort of funny.  I want to keep it just to point out how tiny the ball is.


(Safety pin/stitch holder for scale.  See how big the safety pin is?)