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.

#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! 🙂

 

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.

 

#WIP WEDNESDAY

Things have been pretty slow around here. Trying to stay caught up on laundry, trying to cook healthier meals which means more dishes, and trying to sleep on a consistent schedule. Spent some time last week knitting away on my shawl and I started to notice my right wrist hurting. Decided to take a break on the shawl, you know, to rest my joints. Me being me, I couldn’t sit still and not knit anything for a day or two to feel better so I made a pair of mittens in about two and a half days. Now my wrists AND hands hurt. I’m shocked too…

Anyways mittens are finished and blocking, and now I just need to motivate myself to write up the pattern. The chart is pretty much done, it just needs a little tweak here and there to look nice. The writing part is what kills me, and I know that’s a shock to you all as well since I’m SO GOOD at blogging consistently these days. Once I get started it goes pretty quickly, and I know that, but for some reason it takes me forever to start writing. Somewhere in my brain I think that I need to have a pattern title and images before writing up the pattern, which is pretty illogical, those are the easiest things to add or change in a pattern. I guess I did start playing around with a few titles but they feel pretentious and also kind of lame. Finding titles I’m happy with is always such a struggle for me – it’s hard to come up with something original and memorable and on brand without being floofy or overly descriptive and boring. Are there professional title givers? I’m totally open to suggestions if you have a good one!

Hopefully I can talk K into going out sometime this week to help me take pictures, but he’s got a head cold, and I’ve got some kind of stomach thing so I won’t hold my breath. I’m hoping whatever bugs we’ve got go away quickly and I find some motivation to write out this pattern before the weekend. If I wait any longer by the time I get all the tech editing and test knitting done it won’t even be winter anymore.

#WIP WEDNESDAY and NEW PATTERN!

Turning thoughts into things! Turns out it’s pretty cool to re-knit old things you’ve made. It’s crazy what a few years of experience will do. I remade that little santa stocking I talked about here and turned it into a little pattern. The new ones look way better than the old one if I do say so myself. My yarn choice/needle size is more effective and I used a duplicate stitch for the buckle instead of trying to knit it straight into the pattern. The pattern is available in my Ravelry Store if you’re looking for a quick little stash busting project. Also a great last minute gift for those people on your list who aren’t exactly knit-worthy but aren’t quite on your no-knit list this year.

Now my brain is buzzing with other little ornaments I could make which hopefully don’t involve a trip to the yarn store… We’ll see what I can come up with tonight!

FOs and WIPS

I got sucked into video games this week. There’s something so inviting about a dumb little digital world where everything makes sense and little creatures tell you what to do with your time.

ab3154b3-c0de-48f1-b857-480c00f4b54cI also managed to finish another pair of socks for the holidays. Halfway through knitting I ran out of yarn which is more annoying when you’re using variegated yarn. Out of three skeins, I now have about 40 grams broken up into 6 stupid little bundles of yarn trying to get both socks to match. They look pretty close now that they’re off the needles – enough that no one would really notice, but the pattern repeat was about two and a half rows off when I was knitting (which drove me up the wall). I spent a good amount of time matching up the yarn and starting the cast on from exactly the same point on each sock. I don’t know why it shifted. They’re identical mathematically, I would assume they have the same gauge – I’m not sure how they wouldn’t because I knit them both at the same time. Besides the shifted colors, these knit up pretty quickly because I was excited to see what the next color section was, which is I guess why people like self striping yarns.

f1616cc5-996f-40b2-bdbb-9d7b3012ff67I also started working on an infinity scarf for my sister. I asked her if she had any requests for a gift this year because I’ve knit her quite a few things over the years and she’s pretty particular (read: picky). She told me a “basic-ass infinity scarf” that she could wear to work – something that would go with most of her outfits – so gray. I found a lightly spun, lustrous gray yarn that’s once again variegated. I’m using needles that are two sizes larger than recommended so the texture stitch is coming out a bit lacy and has a nice drape. This one is very mindless knit so it’s going pretty quickly.

 

Anybody else feeling the gifting deadlines yet? It’s getting to the point where I feel like I have to be knitting, not that I get to be knitting.

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…

Kristina McGrath, Knitting Tech Editor

Working with each designer's unique voice, for clear patterns and happy knitters.

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