Posts Tagged ‘2kcbw’

2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week (and an FO)

I missed a day.  Just one day.  With mi vida loca, I am surprised I was able to participate at all.

First of all, thank you to everyone that stopped by my blog during 2KCBW…I truly appreciate it.  I hope you will stick around so we can get to know each other better!

I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I got to correspond with many other knitters through this project, and I really, really liked it.  It also got several people over here visiting me, and I think up until now my blog was all but unread.  So this is exciting for me.  I have been trying so hard to keep the blog up (and really enjoying it) but finding time even now is sometimes hard because there are so many other things to be done (like knit!)

I also have a new FO, and 2 new WIPs.  My FO is a pair of socks out of Regia Bamboo…I think these will be hereon out called my psycho 70’s socks because they are bright, and one of them looks really tie-dyed the way the pooling did it’s thing.  But they are super comfortable, and my FIRST pair of socks for MYSELF!  So of course, what did I do as soon as I cast off?  Cast on for 2 more pairs of socks.  I am part of a knit-a-long that has a challenge for April to knit socks that have interesting construction.  I picked Smoking Hot Socks, which have toe-up construction.  I have only ever knitted cuff-down.  I am excited about these socks, I am knitting them in some Soja that are to me kind of easter colors…peach, yellow, light blue, pink…it should be an interesting knit.  The other pair are my 2nd attempt at Hedera.  The first time my poor feet were SWIMMING in them, so I am going down a needle size.  If you would have told me a year ago I would be knitting 2 pairs of socks at the same time on size 1 needles, I would have laughed my ass off.  No, serious.  I almost cried when I first saw how small they are, and now I own a pair of 0’s?  What the hell am I doing?  I would say over the past 4 months, my needles size 1-3 have gotten the most action.  Reflecting back to this time last year, I would say 7-10’s were getting the most action.  Now those suckers are collecting dust!  So I will ride this sock wave for as long as I can…I am enjoying it and want to make my son at least 2 new pair this year, which I think I will have done in the next few months.  We’ll see.

Hasta la Vista, Baby.

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My knitting time.

Where do I knit?  Let me count the places.  I knit in the grocery line (and many other lines), I knit at doctors offices, knit in traffic jams…

I always have a knitting project in my purse, and have no qualms about knitting in public.  I do knit a lot at home, too.  If I am watching TV, I can’t just sit there and watch.  I always have a knitting project close by when watching a movie or TV show.  I will knit on the bus while listening to podcasts.  I knit at lunch break (when I am gainfully employed).  I have no shame.  I knit at church!  I knit on picnics!  I knit at the BEACH.

I just love knitting, love how it relaxes me, love the process and the finished piece, whatever it may be.  And when I am working it doesn’t seem like I have a whole lot of time to knit – get off of work, pick the kiddo up, go home and make dinner, help said kiddo with homework, get him bathed and in bed.  If I don’t crash on the couch while waiting for a show to come on, I am usually to bed when I put my little guy to bed because I am plum beat.  So I am taking full advantage of being unemployed and knitting as much as possible; I think there will be withdrawals when I get back to work.  I am enjoying this time while I can…

I jokingly say I knit so I don’t kill people, but it really is, besides working out, one of the few things in my life I can do to let off steam since punching walls doesn’t seem appropriate and just too painful to express my feelings.  I imagine fixing those holes would be spendy too – I would rather spend that money on YARN!

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Something to aspire to.

OK, I am fired – I missed yesterday…life happened.  I figured my 6 year old needed me more than the 2 people who read this blog, so there you go!

There are several techniques that I would like to learn in the next year.  I would like to learn entrelac, toe-up socks (which I am attempting right now!), and to make a lace shawlette.  Shawlette because I know I don’t have the patience for a full shawl.  I have been on a huge toe kick lately, and that makes me want to learn different heels, different toes, just different sock construction in general.

The last is that I finally want to finish losing the weight I want to, and get going on some sweaters!  I have about 8 sweaters’ worth of yarn waiting to be knit up.  I have a Hey Teach that has just sleeves that need to be knitted, then it needs to be pieced together.  It doesn’t fit me now, so I haven’t had the motivation, but it is the biggest UFO that I have, and I want to get that completed so my UFO box nears empty.

I absolutely adore looking at ornate shawls, lace throws…they all seem so time consuming like I said, but blocked they are just truly works of art.  And add beads to it?  I am blown away!  I will go on to Ravelry and just look at lace FO’s and drool.  I have no desire to make most of them (the thought makes me quake in my bobby socks) but I really, truly appreciate the skill that goes into lace.  So lace knitters out there?  Love your work, you are amazing!

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Where are they now?

Up to this point, most of the knitting I have done HAS been for other people. My first gifted item was for my Grandma.  Her neck and chin were always cold and I used Simply Soft (because that’s so warm and all) and knitted her some variation of a ribbed scarf.

I have gifted mostly hats and gloves, and I know that the matching beanie and fingerless gloves I made for my dad for Christmas 2 years ago hasn’t been worn once.  I appreciate that he knows all the work that goes into it, but dammit, WEAR IT, DADDY!

I have made my mom several hats and scarves and she wears them all the time instead of store-bought ones.  This last winter I made her a lacey pair of fingerless mitts and she adores those.  She is of the crafty persuasion also, so she really appreciates the time and effort that goes into knitting.  She also wears the heck outta her socks that I made her, that were the first socks I ever made.  She was honored to be the recipient of them.

The one gifted item that I think was the most appreciated were the socks I made for my son.  He loves them so much and wears them constantly and loves them so much.  He takes them off, bathes, and wants to put them right back on.  It blows me away that a 6 year old would love something like that so much, but oh man, he loooooves his socks.  There are definitely more in his future.

I have made numerous hats for my brother, winter gear for my son, they all get worn a lot.  I am lucky that my knitting is appreciated by the ones that receive them.  If they weren’t, I wouldn’t do it, of course.  I think 2011 is going to be the year of me, though.  I have many plans and am knitting my 3rd pair of socks, the first pair for me!


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Tidy mind, tidy stitches.

I am right in the middle of a huge organizational project.  My yarn is everywhere.  In bags, in drawers, in boxes, in crates…I am trying to get rid of some yarn, organize some others, but it’s everywhere.  It’s been like Christmas, honestly, because I have found some yarn buried that I forgot I had!  Pretty sad, hence the organizing project I started.  I have so far gotten a whole garbage bag of yarn I am donating to some organization or assisted living center, and I think by the time I am done, I will have another bag to get rid of.

My straights are in a narrow plastic drawer, with my circs in the drawer underneath.  My DPN’s are in a stacking pencil box, as well as all of my little tools and things.  I have a special narrow, tall bookshelf that holds all of my knitting books and graph paper and that is probably the only part that is really organized right now.  I have my magazines in binders, an accordion file for printed patterns.  All of my UFO’s are in a nice fancy box that I got in a set from Office Depot on clearance, and my sock yarn is one of those boxes, as well as sweaters worth of yarn.

Sorry if this post is a little scatterbrained…I hurt my back at the gym today and am not feeling great.  Hence no pictures of my organization project.

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Skill + 1UP

From what I remember from previous to this last year of knitting, I did tons of washcloths, and several socks. It appears I did my first pair of socks, too!  A few years ago I did make my son’s Halloween costume (he was Yoda).

This year I have really branched out though.

  • I have learned more about yarn.  Fibers, how they drape, what is good and bad about them, the pros and cons of certain blends and what fibers do what do a blend.  Also what fibers are best suited for what projects.  It has been a very fascinating learning process.
  • I have attempted and mastered short rows, a must for shaping, especially for curvy girls like me.  Bust darts, here I come!
  • I have learned how to seam garments.  This has been a huge step for me.  My biggest teacher of this was looking at sweater construction when I was taking thrifted sweaters apart!  I really learned a lot about it through reverse engineering, really.
  • I have learned much more about sock construction.  I can knit a plain sock without having to follow instructions to the T, or even at all.  I remember how to do the heel flap, the gusset without having to look it up.
  • I have mastered kitchener stitch.  This seaming stitch amazes me to know end, how putting a needle in and out knit and purl-wise can make a stockinette stitch-looking, unassuming seam.  I can’t even see them when I do them, even though because of toe decreases I know where it is!
  • I made my first pair of gloves.  I think my only pair of gloves.  Fingers are so fidgety, and I didn’t enjoy that part so much.  The recipient loved them in a huge way, so it was worth it, but it will be a while before I do it again.  I did learn alot about glove construction though, because doing fingers is much like doing socks…there are holes you need to avoid between the fingers, and figure out how to avoid them.

I have been better at tracking my projects (thanks to Ravelry).  I know when I made things, and have a place to store pattern notes and pictures.  I was trying to do it in a notebook, but for me it’s just like keeping a journal/diary, it falls by the wayside.

I have endeavored to learn more.  To keep pushing myself as a knitter.  I want to learn more about construction of different items, to try many more new things, and I don’t think it will happen this year, but next year I want to be able to go to Stitches or Sock Summit.  I just want to completely immerse myself in this community.  I feel at home here more than anywhere else (in the knitting community), and there is still so much more to learn.  There will always be more to learn.

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A Tale of Two Yarns

Now, up until the last year or so I have not really had the joy of experiencing some nicer yarns.  I have knit mainly with cotton, Lion Brand Wool-Ease, and various acrylics and not so great wools.

But then it came to my attention that I live near Jimmy Beans Wool.  Oh, woe is me.  This is a double-edged sword.  I go there and tell myself I will just pet the yarn, but invariably I end up walking out with something(s).  Listening to all of the podcasts I do, I have heard many brand name yarns that are quite popular.  So on my first visit to JBW, I think I did a lot of internal squeeing, and possibly some squee that made it out of my mouth.  Malabrigo, Cascasde, Debbie Bliss, Handmaiden…I could go on and on.  And don’t even get me started on the SOCK YARN.  I was in major sensory overload and my fingers were itching to throw all the yarn in a pile in the middle of the floor and just roll around in it, curl up, and fall asleep in the soft, fluffiness that are these yarns.  Good thing for the staff of JBW I have a little self-control.  Good for me too, I guess, since I would have become acquainted with the local PD.

I also seem to have had a lot of luck with thrift stores and yarn purchases, too.  The biggest paydirt at a thrift store was 30 skeins of various yarn for $7.50.  Classic Elite BamBoo, Classic Elite Cotton, lots of various wool…

So…I was glad that I had only spent 25 cents on each of the 6 skeins of Classic Elite BamBoo that I purchased.  There were 3 colors:  Light, periwinkle blue, black, and white.  I made a beret out of some of it, but still have quite a bit left.  That yarn is so damn splitty it’s not even funny.  Now, I don’t know a lot about how a twist in yarn works, or if it’s even possible with bamboo yarn, but some twist would have really helped.  I felt like I was knitting with 10 strands of sewing thread held together.  The blunt bamboo needle I used for it helped, but looking at that beret I am not at all happy.  There are little strands that didn’t get picked up with the needle, and I was very disappointed.  I love the drape, it is heavenly soft, but damn…splitty=sucky knitting experience.

On the other hand, I got some Ultra Alpaca in a beautiful rusty orange that I got from a destashing raveler.  The minute I received it I tried to figure out what I was going to make with it, and cast on.  This yarn is heaven.  It is so soft, knits up beautifully, has such great stitch definition.  I whipped that hat out in no time, and wear it all the time.  I have since bought some Ultra Alpaca Light in a gorgeous light aqua color as a gift to myself for losing weight – it will be the prettiest, softest sweater that I have ever known.  Just a little more to go and I will be casting on for that.

The interesting thing is that people still think that they have to go to a big box store to get yarn because they are on a budget.  Heck, I am a single mom, and on a massive budget.  But I have gotten Wildfoote sock yarn at a thrift store for $3.00 for 2 skeins.  Knit Picks, Webs, destashing ravelers, and even your LYS or online yarn stores.  There are constant sales, constant discounts that you CAN try the nicer yarns without breaking the bank.  Now, granted, I have yet to even pet cashmere because I know I will want it and I can’t get it, but I have bought Malabrigo sock yarn on sale, Regia Silk sock yarn on sale…if you take the time to look, you do not have to sacrifice your pocketbook for a quality yarn.  I know that I feel tons better giving a gift made out of a nicely made, soft, lovely yarn than I would Red Heart.  And it is so much more enjoyable a process knitting it too, when you are knitting with a soft fiber that gives you joy just looking at it.  There is a time and place for Acrylics, and they have changed much over the years, but for me, personally, I won’t touch Red Heart again after the exposure I have received the last year to nicer fibers.

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