Anti-social Knitters Club

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 26

Have you ever been a part, or wanted to be a part of a knit-a-long? What was it? If not, why?

I have never done a knit-a-long. I’ve seen them around but they never really interested me, especially the mystery knit-a-longs. I like to know what I’m making before I start making it. I can see where the group deadline dynamic would be helpful for some people, but I don’t often need motivation to knit. I also don’t see myself enjoying ‘knit nights’ or stitch and bitches. I just have too much social anxiety to enjoy that kind of a situation, especially going into it cold. I don’t really hang out with any other knitters. I use knitting as a way to check out most of the time – putting myself in those situations would basically have the opposite effect I’m going for.

Are Anti-Social Knitting Clubs a thing? Can we make it a thing? Like we all just binge watch the same season of something at the same time from the comfort and safety of our beds and couches?

Short one today, but I’m almost through all of the prompts. I can’t believe that tomorrow is already December (and also my birthday…). I’m really not a birthday kind of person, in fact I rather dread them.

Lacking Motivation

de80c55b-4e01-411b-88c8-473fcaf1977fMy sleep schedule has bee absolute garbage for like two weeks now. I’ve been getting like four hours at a time and I’ve just been falling asleep at random times and not being able to wake up. It’s making motivation to do anything rather difficult, but here’s a little WIP for Wednesday (it is Wednesday, right?) I spent all of Monday trying to stay awake and managed to knit all the way to the heels on a set of socks. My needle is just a smidge to small for two at a time mens socks, so it’s taking a little extra hand power and after about 20 hours of pretty much straight knitting my hands are not pleased.

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 25

Do you have a knitting book or a place where you keep patterns, ideas, size measurements? Post a picture of it!

I really should have a knitting book. I have a book for just about everything else. I have a quilting book, I’ve been keeping a bullet journal, and I have one for notes for my tech knitting course, but not one single place to keep knitting things. It would probably make my life a lot easier. I mostly just have hundreds of random sticky notes all over the place. Nothing is labeled, they’s usually only half of the information I could want on them and I lose them constantly. It’s a pretty dumb system for someone who writes knitting patterns but so far it seems to work. I’m pretty good at reading my own knitting and have a weird sensory memory when it comes to patterns. I can pretty much see in my brain what I’ve done which helps when writing things out later. It would however make things much simpler to write everything down as I’m actually doing it. Maybe I’ll get a new book in January and start keeping everything in the same place…

A Year of Making

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 24

Have you ever made your own pattern or dyed your own yarn? How did it turn out?

About three years ago I started to get bored with making other people’s patterns. I think it came about from having mostly weird sized yarn and not very much money to buy more. I designed a few mitten patterns for holiday gifts and just kind of whipped them together. Over the next few years I started making a few socks and baby sweaters just based on gauge and measurement standards.daisy_sock_medium2 Nothing too fancy, just the basics. Then in the summer of 2016 I made these Daisy Socks and the rest, as they say, was history.

I got a lot of positive feedback on instagram and tumblr so I figured why not write up a pattern for them, how hard could it be? I already had the charts and the construction really isn’t that difficult to explain. I even found someone who wanted to test knit them (it only took her like five months to get around to finishing). I didn’t publish this pattern yet because I was hoping my test knitter would finish knitting, but in the mean time I was already working on another pattern. I ended up publishing two different patterns that October and decided to just go for it and publish the daisy socks without the test knitter in November.

It’s been about a year since I started and I now have 13 patterns available on Ravelry. I honestly can hardly believe it- people I don’t even know making things that came directly out of my jumbled brain garbage. There are definitely aspects I need to improve on this year as I take designing into a more and more professional realm, but I’m learning things with each pattern and always working to get better.

Once I make it through the holiday knitting rush I’ll have time and hopefully be bored enough of vanilla-ass socks to start designing patterns for next year. I also have every intention of maybe getting an etsy shop up and running. Lucky for you guys, you’ll probably be the first to know all the new things.

 

Long Weekend

I sorta fell off the face of the earth for a few days there, sorry everyone. I’m back now. I switched my sleep schedule back to normal for the holiday and that tends to result in both K and I passing out on the couch at 7:30 pm and waking up at 2 am with sore necks. I’ve been struggling a bit with staying up all night lately, I’m trying to decide if the benefits are worth the troubles. Anyways, hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, or regular ol’ weekend for any readers not in America (as most of you are not).

It was in the 50s on Friday which is unseasonably warm but a most welcome reprieve. K had some secret Black Friday/Birthday shopping to do so I stayed home to rake all the leaves out of the front yard. Not an entirely un-enjoyable task, at least the weather was nice, but my hands hurt so bad from rake. Even now, three days later, the bones in my hands feel like they’re bruised. That didn’t stop me from knitting though. I knit an entire pair of socks these past few days – all that’s left is the kitchener toe and to weave in the ends. It’s my first of five (???) holiday gifts this year.

I also got to see my best friend and her family this weekend. My town is situated conveniently between her Husband’s family in Illinois and her family in Wisconsin. We were able to meet up for breakfast in between baby naps and catch up. Saturday we took a lovely little hike at Glacial Park. I basically spent the weekend trying to soak up as much sunlight as I can for the last couple weeks of Autumn.

I’ll go back the knitting posts tomorrow and finish those off over the next few days.

Dream Projects vs. Reality Projects

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 23

If you had the supplies (and patience) for it, what project would you start today?

This one! This one! This one! I’ve definitely talked about this pattern in a POST before but it’s Persian Dreams by Jenise Hope. It’s been in my queue for a while. It seems like such an extreme project to take on but it’s so stinking beautiful and would be so fun for me to knit. Picking a color-way is probably the biggest obstacle to starting this project. I love how fun the original is (image on the right) but the more monochromatic ones suit my style and taste a little better and would probably get more use. I also think the budget for this project would run rather high – If I’m going to put this much effort into something like this I would like the yarn to be a rather high quality. I think wool obviously, but I would opt for super wash since having this thing felt up and shrink down would be a major disappointment. And then… there is my cat who would probably knead the final project into shreds.

502fa634-ed02-40f1-82b2-5fa0634d7b19But alas, it’s not time for starting fun new projects. It’s Thanksgiving here, which means I can no longer procrastinate on the gift knitting. I went and bought all the yarn I needed for my gift projects yesterday (except for K’s because he was with me and I still don’t know what the hell I’m going to make him… ). I ended up only needing to go to one store much to the relief of K. I started the first pair of socks yesterday evening and immediately remembered why I don’t like those variegated yarns – especially not for socks. As you can kind of see in the picture, I had to pull out yards and yards from either end of the skeins in order to find the color repeat so I can make matching socks. I found one set so far and I’m not entirely convinced that they’ll stay matching. It kind of seems like this yarn is made by just dumping a bunch of colors into an industrial spinner and hoping for the best. It looks great and enticing in the skein – which is why I somehow keep buying them – and then they turn into a giant jumbley pain in the ass to knit up. But that’s how it goes – maybe the blue ones will be easier since there’s a little more contrast. Time for me to get off the computer and get to knitting.

The No Knit List

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 22

Have you ever stricken someone off your to-knit-for list because they didn’t appreciate/take care of your last knitted gift to them?

I’ve definitely learned my lesson knitting for lots of people over the years. I have minimized my list dramatically mostly due to the stress of knitting for like ten people. It’s too much for my hands and it’s a lot of time to not be designing new patterns for my shop. The year I made socks for a bunch of my friends a lot of them seemed uncomfortable to be getting socks and a few didn’t even thank me. I’ve had a few people ask me to knit something for them “and they’ll even pay me” but balked when I told them a ballpark range of how much their item would actually cost or they simply never paid me. That’s the fastest way to the no knit list. I’ve limited my list to mostly family at this point. They understand how much labor a hand knit item takes and I know they’ll appreciate it. I actually went to buy my Christmas gift yarn haul this morning so now I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ve got five items to whip out before the holidays.

Holiday Knitting Rant

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 21

Do you knit gifts for friends and family for the holidays or birthdays?

I used to do this a lot more than I do now. One year I think I made like ten things as gifts and I don’t think I bothered to start until at least Thanksgiving. I’ve cut down a bunch in the past years for various reason’s that I’ll probably get more into tomorrow, but mainly it ends up being so stressful that it takes the fun out of it. There are certain people that I’ll happily knit gifts for. I know they’re going to appreciate them and I know that they’re going to take care of whatever I give them.

I knit a few things for my best friend when she announced she was pregnant. I love making baby items – they’re so fast and they’re just so stinking cute. Knitting baby items is basically like making sample sizes. I can experiment with new techniques or make dumb adorable stitch patterns with a lot less time and a lot less yarn. She loved the little things I gave her, and sent me pictures of her little guy wearing them which is basically the greatest thank you I could ask for. She then told me that anything else I make for them she’s insisting on paying for. At first I was a little hurt by this but she explained to me that what I make is worth a lot more than I give myself credit for. This has kind of been simmering in the back of my head for the past year or so. Yes, knitting is my hobby, but it’s also my passion and I’ve worked really hard to become very good at it. It goes back to discussions my studio had over and over again about the value of “art” and “craft” practices and how they’re both perceived by people in the art world and everyone else. I’ve always felt like the craft world is highly undervalued by most people and I know there’s conversations all over the internet that basically boil down to people expecting crafters to make things for free or for material costs – like it’s something we’re going to do anyways so we should be overjoyed that someone is willing to buy us yarn.

Sorry for ranting but this is where my brain is at as the looming holiday deadline approaches and I internally debate what and for whom I should be knitting. I know most of my readers are knitters and crocheters and crafters in general, what are your thoughts on all this? Do you knit for everyone or just a select few?

Woman Knits in the Wild

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 20

Do you knit in public? Was anyone offended/incredibly happy/curious that you were doing so?

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For how often I knit in public, this seems to be the only good image. My friend Mel caught me knitting in the wild. We were watching a bunch of our friends make fools of themselves playing a very intense game of beach frisbee one morning.

I take knitting with me wherever I know I’ll be sitting or bored. I’ve taken knitting to family gatherings. I used to take knitting for my 20 minute lunch break. I knit through a history through film class in college (not an unusual thing to do in art school, also see previous post).  I take knitting on planes and have never had trouble getting through security. I once knit an entire baby sweater on a train ride to visit my friend in Michigan. I knit on long car trips. I knit at coffeeshops if I need to be there for any amount of time. I knit in bars.

Most people don’t seem to have any sort of reaction when I’ve knit in public. I’m sure I’ve gotten weird looks but I’ve never noticed since I was in my own little knitting world, which is kind of the point isn’t it? Occasionally someone will ask me what I’m making but usually don’t linger for a chat. This past summer while at my favorite traveling beer garden I was knitting and chatting and drinking my beer like any normal 20-something. The sky ripped open and it started pouring. We weren’t finished drinking so we made our way to the little shelter where the polka band was playing. In the true beer garden spirit, everyone who stayed crammed onto the few tables and started chatting with strangers *gasp*. I kept knitting because I was in a groove. An older lady asked me about the socks I was working on and then talked to my mother about how her mother used to crochet or something (beer garden memories tend to be a little fuzzy) but then left me alone. It’s been my experience that most older people who see me knitting will talk to my mom (if I’m with her) instead of me about knitting or crocheting. For the record she hasn’t made anything with yarn since the 70’s and likes talking to strangers about as much as I do.

While it’s much easier to dick around on my phone for those ‘sitting and waiting’ times, I just find knitting to be a more relaxing and productive use of my time. I don’t think it’s any different than picking up a magazine or bringing a book. It’s definitely not as common anymore but that shouldn’t stop anyone!

Netflix and Knit

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 19

Do you watch movies and/or listen to podcasts while knitting? What are your favorite things to knit to?

I actually really really hate knitting without something else to pay attention to. I end up getting trapped in my own brain and that’s not often a happy or productive place so I pretty much always watch or listen to something while I’m working.

I work a lot faster when I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. It makes sense, there’s nothing for my eyes to be distracted by and I can look at what I’m working on. I am more inclined to do this while I’m quilting or weaving since both of these things require much more visual attention. For a while I was really into audio books; I listened to all of the Outlander Series, Game of Thrones, Anna Karenina, The Stormlight Archives (<- highly recommend Brandon Sanderson), and a bunch of others. Most of these books are between 700 and 1200 pages so I clocked a lot of hours working on stuff.

I “Netflix and knit” so frequently that I actually have a hard time just watching a show or movie without knitting. It makes me antsy and I have a hard time focusing on what I’m watching, I don’t even like going to the theater for movies because it’s usually too dark in there to knit. I tend to watch shows because it saves me from finding something else to watch every two hours. K and I have worked our way through the Marvel shows on Netflix and we’re currently catching up on The Walking Dead. This show is so intense I’ve barely gotten any work done. And I’ve been blowing through the old Will and Grace seasons when he’s busy (I really love 90/early 2000s network tv – ER anyone?).

I don’t really know how to explain this but I’ve noticed basically like flashbacks of what I was knitting to when I’m working on bigger projects. It’s like the memory of what I was listening to or watching is now imbedded in my work – which explains why I can hardly remember what happened on a show within hours of watching it, it’s been trapped into my knitting.

 

English vs. Continental

Knitting Blog Challenge Day 18

Do you knit English or Continental?

I had to look up the differences to be sure of my answer for this one. I always get them mixed up. The short answer is that I knit English style, and the long answer is that I knit both ways.

When I first learned I was holding the yarn in my right and dominant hand. I don’t know if this was a conscious decision or it’s just what I was seeing in youtube videos. That’s the way that made sense to me, although they say continental is easier for crocheters to learn.

When I started stranded knitting I was throwing both yarns with my right hand and spent a lot of time detangling my yarn. The strands would twist every time I switched colors and after a few rows it was a giant mess. This method also took a lot longer and my tension was not very good. I don’t remember if someone told me or I saw a suggestion online, but I started holding one of my strands in my left hand and one of my strands in my right hand. It made knitting go a lot faster and my fabric ended up looking much neater. I have since learned that holding the background color strand in your dominant hand and the pattern color in your non-dominant hand makes colorwork patterns really pop. The slight difference in tension means that the pattern stitches are a little looser making the background recede.

In my quick google search today, I learned that a lot of people say continental is better for people with repetitive stress pains from knitting since picking the yarn requires slightly less movement. It takes me a lot longer to knit continental so I usually give up pretty quickly but it might be worth forcing myself to work a whole project that way and see if my joints feel better.

As a side note, I think it’s super interesting that there’s a regional based difference. I had a roommate who learned to knit continental from her mother. Her mother was from Germany where the continental style seems to originate. It would be an interesting history lesson to see which method people use – especially if they’ve learned from a family member. Which way do you use?

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