knitters


I finally did that thing that every other knitter does when they are learning to knit

megasock

Behold the glory that is Mega-Sock

For so many people a knitted cotton dishcloth was their first project. but me, I’m special. I sort of skipped all that rite of passage. My first project was actually a sock. Not a pair of socks, just one sock. I had this idea in my head that if I could knit a sock I could knit anything so that is what I started with, which in retrospect was not a super brilliant choice. For one, I had no sense of gauge (just bought size 4US DPNs without any particular reason or explanation other than that they “looked good”), no sense of appropriate yarn (I used dishcloth cotton yarn, mostly because it was cheap and pretty colours), and basically had no idea what the hell I was doing. I did finish the sock, which my husband calls “Mega Sock” because it is MASSIVE. It was good I suppose because I did learn to knit on the round using DPNs, and hey, I made a SOCK. Yes, I knew it was an utterly ridiculous and terminally flawed sock, but it was a SOCK. I had a whole lot of pride over the fact that my first project was a sock rather than a silly dishcloth or boring scarf. And since I “successfully” made a sock I felt comfortable having my second project be something more complicated and challenging, so as it turned out I never actually made a dishcloth.

Until now.

On Sunday I made not one but THREE dishcloths! 20150531_171600I did each one a different way, just trying out different techniques. I like them all, but I think I like the k2p2 checker board one the most. And boy, those dishcloths resemble mega-sock, eh? Yep! I used my leftover yarn from my first project to finally make what perhaps SHOULD have been my first project! Ha! Oh, how these things work out. Circle of life and all that.

Anyway, I did three. One is a simple knit purl type checkerboard, one is more traditional diagonally knit with eyelets around the edge, and one is in a pseudo log-cabin type thing that I sorta winged. I actually winged all of them, just guessed at how they should be made, and they all turned out okay.. ish. The diagonal one pretty crappy if I’m going to be honest, but hey! It was my first dishcloth! Your first dishcloth isn’t supposed to be perfect. 🙂


Knitted purses done right

As the warmer weather approaches I have been looking towards projects that aren’t so focused on keeping me warm. I have long wanted to make a knitted purse that I could use every day but I feel like this is a tricky project, and not because they are hard to make.

The problem with knitted purses is that they can end up looking really tacky.

There. I said it. I said the thing you aren’t supposed to say, but it is true! Weird Al is the only person who could pull off a lot of the knitted purses out there. (Sidenote: man do I love Weird Al! Going to his concert later this year! YEAH!) I love to knit and love the look of most knitted things, but I am fully and completely aware that it is very easy to make very tacky, kitschy, dare I say ugly knitted things. VERY easy. I am also prepared to admit that some of the things I have made are ugly. (Cabled Leg Warmers, I’m looking at you…) Knitting is already regarded as being a dorky hobby, no need to compound that by knitting tacky ugly things. I am far from being a slave to fashion, but I do think that how you look and present yourself to the world has an effect on how you are treated. Maybe it isn’t fair or right, but it is just how it is. Plus, I am a civil servant and (unfortunately) have the expectation upon me to look more or less professional and civil servant-y (whatever the hell that means) most of the time.

My other problem is that I have a long history of atrocious taste in purses. I LOVE purses and often end up buying the ugliest purses on the planet. I have literally had strangers come up to me and insult my purse. I have learned to approach purses very cautiously.

So, how do I do the knitted purse while still looking fashionable? There are a TON of patterns out there for knitted purses in every shape and style imaginable, so first I look for knitted purse patterns that have elements I like in the purses I would buy!

  1. Not too big but able to carry what I need without over-stuffing
  2. good pocket placement
  3. comfortable strap at a good length
  4. structured
  5. not overly detailed or fussy

Then I take out the ones that have knitted elements that I find tacky, like the use of novelty yarn. To me, novelty yarn is NEVER the right option. Never ever. (Except maybe in this cute hedgehog pattern…) I also assess whether I think a non-knitter would be likely to wear the purse. If not, well,… maybe it isn’t the best choice.

So what does that leave me with? A surprising amount actually! I think I have narrowed it down to the following patterns.

For purses on the more simple side of things, I love this Braided Cable Handle Tote by Amanda Silveira. (Free pattern) Uncomplicated but still interesting thanks to the cables. And it is felted, and we all know how much I like felting!

For something a little more detailed, the Bee’s Knees purse by Andre Sue is pretty fantasic. Love the pockes and the stitch patten, the straps are nice and wide, and a fun liner fabric can do a huge amount to make it extra exciting and fun (while still being fashionable and untacky). The only think I’m not in love with is the garter stitch for the handle, but that is easily changed.

This DROPS design Bag with cable pattern (free pattern) is pretty simple and I think could be nice if done in a solid colour. It is a pattern I keep coming back to but for some reason I just don’t think it is right for me personally. Maybe it is the shape.

This Pleats Purse I by Josephine Woo (paid pattern) is pretty, felted, and interesting with the pleats. I also LOVE the mustard colour of the purse in the project photos and it is possible I’m responding more to the colour than I am to the purse design.

One pattern I keep coming back to is The Cinch by Nora J. Bellows. Part of me thinks it is too big and bulbous, but man… I just love how it looks. The belted detail adds so much and would be well worth the hassle of having to buy the hardware and do the extra work to finish it. The pattern is a bit pricey at $8.50, but very possibly may be worth it for me.

 

But then I think, hey, a purse is just a big pocket with some straps… maybe I can design my own! And that may very well be what I end up doing. I do like all the above options (especially Bee’s Knees), so maybe I can take the different elements I like from the different patterns and create a brand new design that exactly matches what I want in a purse. It isn’t like designing a sweater where fit matters. Its just a purse, after all. And this is knitting. If it ends up ugly I can always frog. 🙂

 

I am always open to suggestions so please leave in the comments any other patterns or ideas!

 

Links to all the patterns mentioned in this post:


I’m taking a knitcation.

Today is my birthday. I love birthdays. I’m one of those people who thinks everyone should have an awesome birthday day and normally this would be a day where I am all sunshine and daisies and obnoxiously happy. Not this year. No, it has been a trying 12 hours. Why?? Well….

I drew what I think the animal my kid was imitating must look like. My art skills leave something to be desired, but you get the idea. It is Godzilla with an ambulance for a head.

  • Horrible night’s sleep for various reasons such as randomly waking up for no thinking its morning (hate when that happens),  being too hot, having bad dreams, my husband snoring, and (by far the worst) my husband farting and the stink being so bad that it woke me up. (He CLAIMS it wasn’t him, or at least that I can’t prove it was him, but come on… He is the farter in this marriage.)
  • Out of nowhere and with no warning my hair dryer went all Klingon and decided that perhaps today is a good day to die. I am stuck with two french braids today. I look like a (very grumpy) adult Heidi.
  • My kid decided to spend the morning making loud ”WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-UGGGGGGNNNNNNN” noises repeatedly. It is hard describe, but if you imagine a mix of Godzilla’s scream and an ambulance siren, interpreted by an eight year old with a cold, you’d at least have the gist of it. Possibly the most annoying sound in the world. That noise, over and over and over. When I told him to stop he looked at me as though I was making a truly unreasonable request of him, like what he was doing was totally un-annoying. Yes, clearly I am the crazy one in this situation…
  • During a small close-quarters meeting a work a guy farted FOUR TIMES. This was a 20 minute meeting. That is a fart every five minutes. During a business meeting. In a small meeting room. I get the sense that the guy probably couldn’t help it, but that doesn’t make it not unpleasant.

This, so far, is how I have spent my birthday.

So basically, I give up. There is only so much a girl can take, and for all this to be on my birthday… It is all just ridiculous. In order to not resort to outright weeping or going on some sort of manic killing spree I have decided to use one of my precious vacations days so that I have something to look forward to. I am making this weekend a long one, I’m going to be taking Monday off to spend the day at home, relaxing, and knitting. No one else, just me, my needles, some tea, and some Stampy Cat (stampylonghead) and Squid Nugget (iBallisticSquid) to amuse me. Yes, I am 33 and enjoy youtube videos meant for kids. I’m not embarrassed or apologizing for it. Those two are properly entertaining no matter how old you are. And it is harmless, good-natured, non-violent, and just plain funny. Stampy and Squid are my favourite things to watch while I knit (with Iron Chef Japan coming in second).

Sweet sweet mindless entertainment… Ahhhhh 🙂

So that is my plan for Monday. I’m taking a big fat Knitcation.

  • knitting
  • all-day jammies
  • hot cups of tea
  • Stampy and Squid
  • possibly taking a nap (!!!)

The amount that I am looking forward to this cannot be measured or described in words, and (aside from Stampy and Squid) I think my plan for Monday would appeal to a lot of knitters. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I never seem to have as much time as I want to do my knitting, so taking a whole day is stupendously luxurious and thrilling.

I do hope the rest of today goes better but if it doesn’t, well, I still have Monday. 🙂

 


I like knitting useless projects

Anyone else make projects that you know full well you have no use for? This is something I do from time to time. I’ve knit shawls because they were fun and pretty, but knew right from the off that shawls aren’t really something I wear or use. I have knit hats for myself when I already have a lot of hats. And now, I am knitting a blanket when I have no use and no space for a blanket. My husband has asked me more than once what I am going to do with the blanket once it is done, where it is going to go, etc. and my answer is usually something along the lines of “I dunno, you can’t have too many blankets…”. But I understand his issue. To him I am spending hundreds of hours on something that he feels won’t be used and therefore he is concerned I am wasting my time.

What the hell am I thinking?

hob·by
ˈhäbē
noun
– an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.
synonyms: pastime, leisure activity, leisure pursuit;

Actually, I know what I am thinking. I am thinking that knitting is a hobby. I am thinking that I knit for fun, for enjoyment, to learn new things, to develop new skills, and to just have fun. Hobbies don’t always need to have a point. I don’t have to justify or validate my hobby by producing things that somehow improve our life. Hobbies don’t have to serve a purpose aside from just being fun. You don’t have to have something useful to show for the time you spent doing the hobby. Sometimes a hobby can just be about the hobby. Knitting (and other crafty and creative hobbies) have the trait that the hobby centers around making something, and it is natural to assume or expect that you are making it for a reason. And sometimes we are! Sometimes we knit a hat that is intended as a gift. Sometimes we knit a sweater for a specific person. But sometimes we knit something just because it is fun to knit. Sure, having a useful finished item is great and I personally get a lot of satisfaction using something that I have knit, but for a lot of us that is just a bonus.

The problem is that not everyone understands that. For people who don’t enjoy knitting it makes sense that the decision to knit something would be based upon the usefulness of the finished object, and it would not make sense to knit something that you have no use for. If you don’t enjoy knitting then the concept of knitting for the joy of it (vs. for the finished item) would probably be pretty confusing, especially since knitting is so centered around knitting specific objects.

Compare knitting to rock climbing. For me the only reason why I would ever go rock climbing would be because there was some spectacular view once I got to the top, but for people who enjoy rock climbing the joy comes not from the view at the top, but rather the act of climbing up the cliff. I’m sure they appreciate the view at the top as well, but that isn’t why they do it. They do it because they enjoy rock climbing. And for a lot of us knitters we do it because we simply enjoy knitting!

So I will continue to knit my away at my sock yarn blanket knowing full well it isn’t needed. And I will knit pretty pretty shawls just because they are pretty, not because I’ll wear them. And if someday I see cute baby cardigan maybe I’ll knit that too (after reassuring my husband that I am NOT pregnant). I knit for fun, and that is enough of a reason.


Where the hell did all this sock yarn come from?

017Work continues on my Sock Yarn Justification blanket. The little squares (31 stitch) are very satisfying to do and take very little time. I can do one small square in about twenty minutes. I’ve also started making big squares (61 stitches), in part because I wanted some variety, but also to try to better show off the longer colour shifts of some of my yarns. I still really don’t like the DROPS Delight that I have, I still think it is crap yarn, but I am hoping maybe done in larger blocks at least the colour shift will look better.

I dug a little deeper into my yarn stash and found some more sock yarns for the project. The yarns I have are:

  • Garnstudio DROPS Delight (ugh)
  • Patons Kroy Sock yarn
  • Lang Yarns Mille Colori Socks and Lace
  • Schachenmayr Regia Fluormania Colour
  • Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball
  • Mystery Self-striping sock yarn that I used in these socks but I can’t remember what make the yarn is
  • Neon Pink Fingering (leftover from Sonar Shawl)
  • Black Fingering (leftover from Sonar Shawl)

This is more than I thought I had. I’m pretty surprised at how much fingering yarn I have unearthed but it definitely isn’t enough to be able to complete the blanket. I do have the problem that pretty much all of the yarns are pink/red/purple/orange colour heavy with not a lot of blue or green, so  when I went and purchased some extra balls of Kroy sock yarn the other day at Michael’s  I made a point of having some be in more blues and greens.

Speaking of which, the selection of sock yarns here is beyond pathetic, and the few options there are cost a pretty ridiculous amount considering what you’re getting. I made a post on the Ravelry boards sending out a general call for any sock yarn people didn’t want and would be willing to donate to this project. I quite honestly didn’t expect to get any offers but damn if I didn’t get multiple offers! I’m floored! The first offer was from a woman in Wisconsin, IL, offering me ~12 different sock yarns that she would mail to me, no cost. She wouldn’t even let me pay for shipping, which is beyond generous. Such kindness and generosity is pretty refreshing and surprising, and I feel strongly that I want to pay it forward and do something like this for someone else some day.

Now, I know I had planned to knit all the individual squares separately and seam them together afterwards, with the thought that I would be able to get the most random and even colour distribution that way. This was a brilliant plan until last night I actually bothered seaming together 4 small squares to make 1 larger block. What a pain in the ass that was! So to hell with that idea, I am going to do the picking up stitches seam as you go technique laid out in the pattern. I did one square like that so far and it was pretty slick so I have continued in that way. I think it is going to be a pain in the ass as the blanket gets bigger, but probably still better than seaming everything after the fact.