WIP WEDNESDAY

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I’ve been busy busy busy actually knitting things since my last post. I finished the Daisy Socks and completely revamped the pattern. The task of editing that pattern was a little daunting and took me several days to finish, though the actually knitting went quite quickly. It made me very aware of how much I’ve actually learned and accomplished in the last two years of writing patterns and has reignited my excitement with the whole design process. I’ve got about ten more patterns that could use an update which will hopefully be a good use of my time during the “slow season” of knitting.

ac802268-f086-4f5c-a4ce-a5c0e7ab34d6I’m also working on a new pattern for a pair of socks I just finished last night. I managed, with the grace of the knitting gods, to finish them in five days. I’m not sure if it was because I knit them one at a time (which I haven’t done in at least three years) or because they’re only one color, but whatever it was -they just flew off of my needles. They’re hanging up to dry as I’m typing this, and I’ve got the pattern mostly written up in another window. I’m currently debating hanging onto this pattern for a few months and maybe releasing it with a few others closer to the fall. I’ve got a few ideas brewing that would make a nice set with this pattern, but I’m also very impatient and know the pattern will burn a hole in my pocket? computer? while it’s waiting to be published.

ec0fc04a-7f80-4600-aa83-e1f6e8c07fbaMy basket is plugging along nicely and is actually starting to resemble a vessel instead of a “floppy weird frisbee” as K called it. I like working on it, though I have to take frequent breaks from it because it’s murder on my hands, wrists, and shoulder. After two nights of steadily working on it I ended up with a kink in my neck that last for several days and the fun shoot-y kind of pain in my left arm. The process is so repetitive and takes a lot of hand muscle to keep everything pulled taught all the while getting heavier and harder to hang onto. I’ve got so many ideas about how to finish it, except it’s only a couple of inches tall and I’ve got many more to go before it’s ready for a decorative element. I really enjoy how meditative the process is, and it’s given me lots of ideas for more baskets, but it takes so long to make any progress towards a finished product that it’s hard to motivate my monkey brain to finish it. I think it’s going to end up being a long term project that I pull out between all the other things I want to do.

 

WIP WEDNESDAY: saving the best for last

Nothing like 80 degree weather to make a girl feel like knitting again… I hadn’t really felt like knitting since finishing my sweater back in March but last week I felt the call of the needles again. I’m working on editing my Daisy Socks pattern, the first socks I designed almost two years ago now. I’ve learned so much about construction and pattern writing since then that I figured it couldn’t hurt to update the pattern a little bit. I’ve already changed the toe construction and I figured I would give an afterthought heel a try.

Turning heels is actually one of my favorite things about knitting socks. There’s something endlessly satisfying about how a handful of short rows can completely change the shape of something. It always feels a bit like mathematical witchcraft to me. But one of the things that’s kept me interested in knitting all these years is that there’s always more techniques to learn, and afterthought heels seem to make a lot of sense with colorwork socks. When I got to my foot length I knit in my waste yarn and then kept on zipping along through the leg. I spent most of last night knitting away and if I do the same tonight I’ll probably finish the leg. This way seems like there’s a lot less counting stitches and making sure my pattern is lined up properly, and saving the best part for last is certainly motivating.

More stress and a little crafting.

I can’t believe I would ever be sick of laying down, but it sure happened. There are very few things one can do while laying in weird positions on the couch, but crafting is not really one of them. I ended up watching (read: sleeping through) a bunch of boring tv, reading a book I’ve had on my shelf for a few years, and playing some gameboy. I got the all clear from the doctor early last week, so I don’t have to go back every few days – and thank goodness because that was getting a little expensive. The pain subsided a few days after the last visit enough to actually sit comfortably on my couch so I’ve been steadily working on my basket. It’s a little over 9″ in diameter now and I’m hoping to get to about 18″ before I start going up the sides. I ran out of the wrapping thread so I spent the last two nights working on that. I’ve got 7 or 8 grocery bags worth of new thread on my spindle so I’m ready to start wrapping again. It kind of blows my mind how much yardage I’m getting even from one bag, but I wish I would have kept track of how many bags I’m actually going through. I have a feeling I’ll be using up all that we’ve accumulated and then have to wait a while to finish this project.

In other less fun news, we woke up Sunday to learn that K’s cousin had died in a horrible crash Saturday night. It was just one of those freak accidents that you hear about on the news but never think it’ll happen to people you know. She was on a motorcycle ride with her husband and club, several of them crashed and she ended up passing away in the ambulance. K grew up with her son and knows what it’s like to suddenly lose a parent so we ended up rushing over there pretty early in the morning and spent the day with his family. There were already so many people there supporting the family and making sure that they weren’t alone. It was really nice to see everyone come together like that and I’m so glad to be a part of a family like this.

Anyways, I’m going to go enjoy this thunderstorm, be safe, and please watch out for motorcycles.

Stressful Week

Man, oh man. It’s been such a stressful week and a half for me. I don’t get sick very often, which I’m incredibly thankful for, but when I do it’s usually really bad.

I’m feeling much better now but if you’re not squeamish there’s more after the break.

 

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#WIP WEDNESDAY and the world of “Plarn”

I haven’t been excited about knitting lately but I have been revisiting some old ideas and techniques. In high school I got really into making things with plastic bag yarn, or plarn, which is really such a dumb word. I crocheted a backpack for myself and it surprisingly held up for most of my junior year – and I had a lot of books. After that I crocheted a human spine out of bags for my art class and then haven’t used plastic yarn since.

I decided to revisit plastic yarn after seeing a picture someone posted to pinterest of a plastic bag laundry basket they made. As most people do these days, I have an absurd amount of grocery bags stuffed in a bin, and every week there’s more and more. My hoarder brain says they could be useful eventually but there’s only so much cat litter to take out. Anyways, into the plarn universe I delve.

I started by cutting thin strips of bags, stretching them out, and then spinning the strips on my drop spindle to make thread. This process was incredible satisfying and I could probably do it forever. It’s also a really easy way to practice using a drop spindle if anyone is interested in trying that out. The plastic isn’t going to break easily and it’s also free so there’s really no risk. Once I had a good amount of thread made I cut a few bags into thicker strips. By holding 4 strips together I got to my desired thickness and used the thread I made to start coiling.  I’ve made a pretty large dent in the pile of plastic bags already and I’m only about halfway through the bottom of my soon to be basket.

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I was reading about ways to remove the logos and how to “dye” the plastic different colors, but for now I like the way the logos create little pops of color.

#WIPWEDNESDAY

Working, working, working on this sweater. I finished the sleeves earlier in the week and have attached them to the body. I’ve got enough decreases worked that it’s starting to resemble and actual sweater and I JUST WANT TO BE DONE WITH IT. I thought starting from the bottom would make the process seem a bit faster since the parts are more broken up and I don’t have to do the sleeves last, but endless gray stockinette has become a chore.

What I have realized while working on this sweater is that I rarely make something only for myself anymore, and definitely not anything quite so big. I’m either making something as a gift, or making something as a design sample, or testing for someone and I really do love all of those things but I can barely remember the last time I just knit for the sake of knitting or to make something just for me that then doesn’t need to be edited or photographed or published.

I started this sweater as a pallet cleanser and maybe it’s reshaping my thinking along the way; Knitting doesn’t always have to be work.

Oh and that Ravelry/charts in the photo business has resolved itself without fiasco. The woman removed the photo’s without issue and I was able to answer a few questions she had about the pattern. So thank you everyone for the encouragement and advice! 🙂

 

#FridayFavorites

It’s finally Friday! I got some pretty exciting ((baby!)) news from a very good friend of mine last week that is inspiring this Friday Favorites. I freaking love to knit baby things, which is a little odd because I find actual human babies to be slightly terrifying. I first started knitting baby sweaters because they’re a really great way to learn different construction methods and apply stitch patterns without a whole lot of commitment, but now instead of letting them sit in a pile, buttonless and sad, they get to be worn and loved and pooped on by tiny humans. So here’s a handful of some of my favorite baby patterns!

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Gingersnap by Kristen Rettig

I just think this is such a fun little sweater. I love the colors of the sample, but really the possibilities are endless with this pattern. The construction looks very simple making it a perfect project to knit on the go or for the inevitable Netflix binge.

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Baby Duck Booties by Maegan Anderson

These are one of my top favorites. They’re so charming and classic. I mean, shoes for babies is a pretty useless concept, but these are more like socks that look like shoes right? There’s a baby and a toddler version of this pattern and here’s hoping someone will figure out an adult version because I would 100% wear them.

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Colorwork Baby Pullover by Susan Mills

This sweater is so striking to me. I love the contrast between the traditional fairisle pattern and the fun, modern color pallet. It does use a lot of different colors, but you’d definitely have a lot of left over yarn to play with (gifts are my favorite way to justify buying more yarn).

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Seamless Baby Hooded Pullover by Maggie van Buiten

This is another one I would probably make for myself. It’s a casual classic and I can just imagine how cozy and snuggly a little one would be in this sweater. I love the seed stitch hem and cuff and the oversized buttons are so cute. There’s two sizes and the pattern is free!

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Baby Sweater Buffet Supplement by Allyson Dykhuizen

This isn’t a full pattern but I just couldn’t resist a snowsuit. I’m a sucker for stripes and onesies, what can I say?

 

Looking for a bit of advice

I have maybe a weird question and need a bit of advice. The other day I got a Ravelry notification that someone making one of my designs had added a photo. I was super excited because it seems that a lot of the people purchasing my patterns don’t really use Ravelry to keep track of projects. I went to look at the photos, which show the lovely beginnings of a project but the knitting chart is clearly visible in two photos.

My heart immediately sank. My first thought was how to go about asking her to crop her photos or blur out the chart. But I’ve let it stew in my brain too long and now I’m not sure what to do. Knitting patterns are my primary income source, and I’d like to believe most people wouldn’t take her photos and try and use the chart, but I know some might – I probably would.

Is there a kind way to go about bringing this to her attention? It’s probably not an intentional thing, and they are lovely snapshots of her work. I would hate upset this person or lose business from people using her image in place of a purchased pattern. Or is this not a big deal at all?

Mindless Knitting

March is here like the lion that she is. I was all ready to pack up the winter woolens but I woke up to a little blizzard. I stepped outside and kind of shouted “what the fuck?” into the wind. I think I heard a neighbor snort in laughter at me as he shoveled his driveway.

I’m in a bit of a designer rut. Part of it is the changing season, part of it seems to be a slow-down of Ravelry interest causing lack of motivation. Most of the things I make are winter items so a seasonal slump seems natural. I haven’t made lace in quite some time but that seems to be the logical step for warm weather.

In the mean time I started, for the third? forth? time, a plain gray raglan sweater for myself. I’m hoping it serves as a little pallet cleanser between the constant design brain and gift making mayhem of fall and winter and spend some time making something just for myself.13584121_1165165216878127_1341519076_n_medium2

The yarn is recycled from a sweater I found cleaning out my grandpa’s closet. The original was an XXL gray crewneck with navy stripes. I’ve made this little baby cardigan with some of the yarn but there’s definitely enough left over for a me-sized sweater. I’ve restarted the sweater for myself at least three times now. I’d always get so far on it and just not liked how it fit. This time I’ve started from the bottom instead of the top and I’m almost finished with the body. It’s sort of nice to mindlessly knit in stockinette and not have follow a chart for a change.

I’m hoping third time’s the charm on this one, if not it might just end up being a pile of baby sweaters.

WIP WEDNESDAY: Weaving and Depression

Depression man. It’s something that I don’t actually talk about as much as I probably could. It’s definitely gone unwritten in most of my posts, but without looking for it it could easily be forgotten about. I don’t really have anything new or insightful to say on the subject but man am I feeling it. I’ve been listening to a few podcasts that talk about depression and they were helping me, until they weren’t.

There are certain things I know make it worse and there are certain things I could do to make it seem less big. Those usually involve conscious decisions which are difficult to make in the throws of it.

I’m currently in a depressive episode – maybe, hopefully, on the tail end of it. It rained for two straight days. Dishes piled up as I refused K’s help with them and beat myself up over not being able to do them. Yesterday may have been the worst of it when I decided I just didn’t even want to be awake and crawled into bed in the middle of doing laundry.

932a9d45-7b73-432c-9bc2-2a83b451211dI did finally grab my tiny loom from my parent’s basement. It was already warped from a project I barely started so I decided to just play around to get a feel for how this loom weaves. I’ve used a handful of different looms over the years and I’ve noticed that they all have a kind of personality. Maybe each loom takes on a bit of every person who uses them over the years, or a bit of every project. My floor loom, which is still in my parent’s basement, is a cranky old bear of a loom. My school sold it to me at a very low price because no one liked to use it. In my first weaving class I started on a dainty 4 harness Schact loom. Every time I beat the weft the whole things scooted a little closer to the wall until I had backed myself into the corner. It was a beautiful loom, but not the right loom for me. We did a round robin type thing for one project where everyone threaded a warp and we all took turns weaving a bit on each loom. This is where I fell in love with my loom. It’s giant, it’s loud, it’s stubborn, but there was just something about it that I really liked. Long story short, I’ve hauled this thing around for a few years but it just doesn’t fit in my house right now and I’m starting to miss it.

Anyways this little loom was given to me buy a woman who was running a gallery I showed some work at. It was just sitting in a pile of junk and probably had been for a few decades. If it was in better shape I would call it an antique, but it’s kind of just old. It was probably a children’s toy originally, but it still functions as a basic loom. When I got it most of the parts needed replacing, which I did as best I could. The heddles were made of cotton string and were pretty much disintegrated. I made new ones similar to the original – they’re functional but not exactly to my liking. I put in new lead sticks, but they might need to be readjusted. They reed is currently being held on by one random nail and a bobby pin, so that’ll need to be fixed. The whole thing could use a good sanding and some wax but for now it’ll get the job done.

I made a little weaving last night. Nothing special. I was just playing around with the warp that was already there and some wool that was already on a bobbin from a previous project. I don’t see a usefulness for this little weaving, aside from play and familiarizing myself with the process again. I’m trying to find the brain space that thinks play is use enough. I’m not really sure what I want make with this loom. I’m so used to doing giant projects that I feel pretty restricted by it’s size. It also only has two harnesses so plain-weave is all it can do unless I want to hand pick everything. My instinct for play and experimentation is out of practice, but I’m having trouble envisioning a useful object coming off this loom. Only time will tell.

 

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