twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

How do they do it? October 20, 2015

Beautiful Madelintosh Merino Light in Byzantine colorway. Sigh.

Beautiful Madelintosh Merino Light in Byzantine colorway. Sigh.

Seriously–how does a person knit a long, lacy sweater in just a couple of weeks?

C’mon, I know I’m not the only one who notices a fellow Ravelry knitter’s gorgeous project, and then trolls through all of their projects, flabbergasted to find that many of this person’s complicated sweater projects are done in a mere 2 or 3 weeks. Wha–?

Now I’m not going to call anyone out on that. But if you’re on Ravelry, you’ve surely seen folks who knit that fast and have hundreds of projects.

Actually I have to chuckle. Whenever I see something like “437 projects” in someone’s profile, they usually fit into one of four categories: Knits Like The Wind, Can’t Resist Casting On Another Project, Knits Accessories/Toys, and, Local Yarn Store Owner.

I could certainly put myself into that “Can’t Resist…Project” category (although I only have 150ish projects). I admit to having a short attention span when knitting a cardigan. I rationalize that a quick little shawl or pair of hand warmers will be easy to cart around and will make a little dent into the sock yarn stash (Oh that prodigious sock yarn stash). It doesn’t help that I enjoy making sweaters in one piece, top down or bottom up. At some point the thing is impossible to take around with me because it’s just too large. Though that in itself should be a good reason for me to stick to my diet, haha. So I cast on something new, something small fairly often.

I also can’t resist knitting gifts–some which don’t even make it into my Projects List because I finish it and give it before I remember to take a photo.

Still, this category always manages to make me smile, especially when the knitter has nearly as many WIPs (works in progress) as finished objects.

The “Knits Accessories/Toys” category is an interesting one. Even though I myself knit lots of accessories (mitts, shawls, and hats, mainly), I also knit many sweaters. But then there’s toy knitting. Don’t get me wrong–I love knitted toys! They’re adorable. But now that Bug’s nearly old enough to go to college, I don’t bother much with them, though frankly I have quite a few “I’ll knit these someday” toy patterns. Still, there are many knitters who mainly knit toys. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that they have many little ones–kids or grandkids–who’ll enjoy them.

The LYS owner with their dozens of WIPs always makes me wonder if these poor folks ever have time to enjoy finishing a project. Of course I see lots of these projects around their shops, so they must finish them. Guess they’re just too busy to update their Project pages, which is, IMO a good thing. If my LYS is too busy, that means business is good, and that means I’ll have someplace to lurk and pet yarn. 😉

It’s those who Knit Like The Wind that make me feel both in awe and inadequate.

This is "Darling Emma" by a favorite designer, Joji Locatelli. Love this so much. So pretty on and well worth the wait and hard work.

This is “Darling Emma” by a favorite designer, Joji Locatelli. Love this so much. So pretty on and well worth the wait and hard work.

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, I decided to pick up an old WIP that I really loved and “finish the dang thing already.” There wasn’t anything wrong with it; I loved the pattern, adored the yarn, and had been steadily working on it–for about 2 years! I just couldn’t seem to find a chunk of uninterrupted time to make substantial progress. Seriously, sometimes slow and steady doesn’t win the race. You’re just slow. I think it requires steady focus to finish the race.

And because I wanted to wear the sweater to a wedding (two and a half weeks from then), and it was only 30 percent finished, I certainly had a reason to focus.

What I really needed was uninterrupted time. Ha. Ha.

I worked on that puppy every single chance I got, mostly ignoring the housework and barely feeding my family. And though at times I wondered if it actually would be possible to finish, I did it!

Which lead me to the very unscientific conclusion that someone who can knit a huge, and/or complicated sweater or shawl in just a couple of weeks has either a housekeeper and cook, or is just plain fast as hell. Mad Skills!

This little cutie shawl's been climbing up the list in my Queue, and finally just popped into my knitting bag...;)

This little cutie shawl’s been climbing up the list in my Queue, and finally just popped into my knitting bag…;)

 

To Rip…or Not To Rip? September 11, 2013

Filed under: knitting — kathy @ 1:43 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

We’ve all been there: you’ve been toiling over a very special project, however at some point you realize something isn’t quite right about how it’s turning out. You must decide if the problem with the (insert project of your choice–knitting, sewing, drawing, novel-writing, wood-working, heck, even cooking can be a project) can be ignored, or—gasp, groan—if it requires a complete “do-over.” It depends on what the project is, I guess.  If your hollandaise breaks, maybe you can save it with an ice cube. No one will know. On the other hand, if the deck you just finished has more of a slope than you intended, you could always claim you did it so rainwater would roll away from the house. You could, as long as Great Aunt June’s wheelchair or your Weber grill don’t roll off. If you goober up part of a cardigan’s knitted edge, perhaps you can hide it be draping the front, just so.

The problem is,  if you are a perfectionist (here, sir), there is little you can do to convince yourself that the mistake won’t be noticeable, because frankly, you’ll always notice it  yourself and it’ll make you pig-slop crazy every time you look at the  damn  darn old thing.

The Good Side

The Good Side

Which is what happened to me just the other night.

I’d been working the past few evenings on my Ollalieberry Girl Cardigan, trying finish it up before I start another shawl knitalong (more on that next post). And I’d been making good progress on the piece, despite the fact the top half is all seed stitch with a crazy knitted lace edge that I can’t seem to memorize no matter what I do.  Well, I’d finally finished the seed stitch bodice and was happily working the “twisted moss ribbing.” Even better, I was complimenting myself on being nearly finished with the current ball of yarn, and was fantasizing about adding a new ball the next morning. Sometime around 11pm on Monday night, I spread out my work to admire it (you know it’s important to do that), and crappers darn it, the ribbing on the two fronts didn’t match. Sigh. Worse, the back ribbing was all wrong, too. 😦  On one side, all the ribbing had cooperated, aligning itself into gradual mountain peaks and valleys of yarn. On the bad, naughty side and the back, the ribbing had arranged itself into tidy rows of “garter rib.” It looked okay, but it didn’t match the other side, and was certainly not what was specified in the pattern. Poop.

 

 

The Bad Side

The Bad Side

I hemmed, I hawed. I looked at the offending project from many angles and with different light sources.

I pulled up the project page on Ravelry and poured over the photos. Was there another person who’d had this problem? If so, did they just ignore it and go with it?

No, and no.

But it was now 11:30 and I had an early morning the next day (don’t we all?) So I balled the thing up, took two Tylenol, and went to bed.

As I my head hit the pillow, I sorted through the reasons why I could’ve screwed up and what I could do about it now. Obviously I must’ve been off by a single stitch in each of the sections where I’d messed up, and while it didn’t look bad, it was wrong. Worse, I knew it was wrong.

 

 

All woven through and ready to rip!

All woven through and ready to rip!

That meant there was only one thing I could do: I’d have to rip. But I hate ripping. I mean I really, really hate to rip. Even though I’ve said it before, the prospect of ripping hasn’t changed in my mind. I hate it. Probably because to me it represents hours of work being obliterated, hours I chose to spend knitting instead of writing, drawing, making jewelry…you name it. Hours and hours thrown away like so much cat litter.

On this project, I was especially resistant since I had to rip back to the last row of seed stitch. A drop stitch disaster in waiting. Add to that columns of lace. I shuddered to think of it. If it had been a total “frogging” of the cardigan, it wouldn’t have mattered as much since it would all wind up as balls of yarn and I wouldn’t have to worry about dropping stitches or losing my place in the lace pattern. Still, I couldn’t justify leaving the sweater the way it was; I knew it’d bother me forever and I would never wear the stupid thing. It was here that I decided there was no other choice, and I’d tackle it in the morning when the light was good and strong.

 

All good now!

All good now!

The next day, after a couple of strong cups of coffee, I picked up a nice long sharp circular needle a size or two smaller than what I was working with and began the tedious task of weaving the needle through the seed stitches and the lace. It took a while, and I did a bit of picking up through the wrong row. But with patience—argh, I hate having to be patient—I made it all the way through and ripped, fixing any dropped or wrongly picked up stitches as I went.

I also found that I’d been correct about having a missing stitch in each of the wrong sections, so after the ripping was finished and the stitch counts rectified, I started ribbing again, and voila! By the time I went to bed last night, I’d nearly regained the ground I’d lost in the morning after ripping.

I could torture myself that I’d have been completely finished with the ribbing if I hadn’t screwed it up to begin with. But I’m sure there will be something else in this darling project to make me nuts. Just wait. 😉

 

 

Falling in love again October 3, 2010

Yes, friends. It’s happened again I’m afraid.

Oh dear no; of course this has nothing to do with CR.

No, this has everything to do with finding a new book full of knitting patterns I adore. Oh, the possibilities.

The Global Cable Coat--will use up my Cascade Ecological Wool!

You see, around here we love our books. There are stacks of them everywhere. And even though I try to make regular donations of them to friends, the retirement home, and the local library, they just seem to multiply. It’s as if we see a bit of space on the bookshelves (or the floor beside the bed of couch) and think, “Hey, there something missing there—oh yes, a book!” And then the spot gets filled up.

It’s okay when the book comes off the bookshelves in the office. The trouble is, however, the place where my love of books intersects with my love of yarn and all things knitting. Sigh. Big problem.

To that end I decided a few years ago, that I would not buy any knitting books unless there were at the very least 3 patterns I adored and was planning to knit. And I’ve done really well in keeping that promise to myself. It’s easy especially since I have pals who often share their books, and I can go to the library to find patterns, and also because Ravelry allows many patterns to be purchased individually, which is in itself a great help in keeping the stash of books down.

But recently while perusing Amazon, I came across this:

Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman

http://www.amazon.com/Brave-New-Knits-Personalities-Blogosphere/dp/1605295906

Okay, to me, not the best title. It’s the subtitle that actually told me that the book featured patterns that came from some of my favorite knitting bloggers. And while I was unfamiliar with the author, Julie Turjoman, I was excited to see that all the lovely photography was by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed (love him, even though that soul-eating yet lovely Koolhaas Hat was the fruit of his evil ingenuity), and that there was a foreword by Jess Forbes of Ravelry.

The Silke Jacket--Be still my heart!

Flipping (virtually) through the pages, I felt my heart begin to race but firmly reminded myself that there had to be at least 3 patterns I Loved. Firmly because the last book I bought on Amazon, Modern Top-Down Knitting, http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Top-Down-Knitting-Accessories-Techniques/dp/1584798610/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c

was more than disappointing. I ordered it in a moment of weakness after a rather pissy day to cheer myself up, after all, it was top-down knitting—my favorite way to construct a sweater bar none. But after I went through that book several times, page by page, I must say that only one design piqued my interest, and I even was forcing it at that, so I am returning that book.

No, I had to find 3 designs I Loved.

To my surprise dear friends, there were not just 3, but at least 5 designs in this book I not only loved, but had to actually make come hell or high water. I “One-Clicked” and it was done.

And when the book finally arrived and I tore open the box, finally able to look at all the patterns and read their yarn and gauge requirements, my infatuation became a deep and abiding sort of love. Not just 5 designs spoke to me, but rather, at least 12 designs screamed my name. Further, it seems that I have yarn in my stash that would suffice to make each of the required sweaters. (alright, no snarky comments about my stash here. I am well aware that the stash is excessive. And frankly, I know there are those who have far more than I. At least I’m looking for ways to use it up)

Simply, this book is a intoxicating collection of  tempting ways to keep myself busy, use up my stash, and with any luck be sporting some swanky new sweaters over the next season or two. Sure there are a few I wouldn’t be caught dead in, or at the very least, caught spending $$ on for yarn. Still, this book’s going to see a lot of use from me.

The Milk Maiden Pullover!

In fact I can tell you that Brave New Knits (gee, I wish it had a better name) is going on my list of “Top Ten Knitting Books to Rescue in a Fire. That’s a companion list to my “Top Ten Cookbooks to Rescue in a Fire.”

Helix Socks How fun are these?

What about those WIPs and UFOs I mentioned over the last blog or two, you may ask? Well, Amelia’s coming along nicely. Halfway done with the first sleeve; the second sleeve should take just a few days, and then on to the yoke. If I keep at it, perhaps a week and a half of knitting. Oh I wish I could knit faster. The other two UFOs, the Lion Collar Cardigan, and the Composed Mitts are sitting patiently waiting for me to finish Amelia. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be putting a new cardigan on the needles before I finish them or not. I suppose I shouldn’t, they’ve been waiting there in the studio closet so patiently and all…

Why do I have this feeling I’m about to commit knitting adultery?

Yet another lovely shawl from Ysolda Teague... the Orchid Thief Shawlette

Foxgloves...the yarn is gorgeous!

 

 
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