Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Owl Saga

I'm making an Owlet. This is slightly insane because I've only made one other knit sweater (which had horrible mistakes) and I've never done any cabling. But I'm doing it.

I've had minor issues the whole time. The sweater looks huge and will probably have to wait to be worn for an entire year. I had to redo one sleeve when I got ahead of myself. But then this weekend I made the HUGE mistake.

I was watching a Scream marathon with the mommies of the giftee, so I didn't want to show the pattern. I would sneak glimpses of it to make sure I was doing things right. I finished the second sleeve during Scream 1. By Scream 2 I was connecting the sleeves to the body & feeling pretty good about myself. During (the horrendously awful) Scream 3 I started the short rows on the back. Then, as per the pattern, I switched to my smaller needles and.... wait... start the ribbing? That didn't make any sense. Where are the owls??

The instruction "Here come the owls! Follow the chart for 19 rows!" is in bold at the top of a page. But it's the only line above a huge photo, so when I snuck a peek at my pattern and stuffed it back in my bag before the mommies could see I totally looked past it to the decrease rows. When I got home I seriously considered frogging the entire sweater, but it's Comfy & it tends to shed.. so I frogged only back to the main body. Only...

(Click to enlarge)

I ripped back an extra row in the front of the sweater somehow, so I had this long loop of yarn connected to each armpit. Afraid to further screw things up I decided to try to work from here.

You can see here, on the right you have the yarn I'm supposed to be working the next row with, but on the left in the same stitch is the yarn for the row I shouldn't have ripped out! I have no idea if what I did is right, but here was my process:

Knit one with left side yarn
slip stitch back to left needle
knit one with right side yarn
repeat across until I got to the end of the accidentally ripped row

It was fairly easy. I'm not sure it saved me any time, but it felt safer than ripping back another half row when clearly I'd already screwed up.

I'm on to the cables now and it's not too bad. Hopefully I'll have a final product to show before the week is out!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Internets Are My Friends

Someone on the Ravelry forums recently asked how social media has influenced our craft-lives. First, I found it hilarious that many early posters claimed they don't consider Rav "social media". I think SM gets a bad rap. People think it's only myspace, facebook & twitter... and that none of those sites have any real value.

So my answer? My answer was that:
  • I read blogs (SM1) that inspire my creativity
  • I finally taught myself to knit using youtube videos (SM2) I found on Lunch (SM3)
  • I use Rav (SM4) for inspiration, guidance, venting & sharing
  • I share my projects through facebook (SM5)& have discovered other crafty kindred spirits amongst my friends
  • I find & share inspiration on pinterest (SM6)
I'm sure if I thought about it more I'd find even more ways.

Here's my current issue: I'm wondering if all this inspiration is to my detriment. You already know I'm totally failing at the whole "don't buy more yarn" bit. As you can see in my side-bar over there, I'm also totally failing at the whole "finish your WIPs" thing, too. The problem is that I see new projects and HAVE TO make them NOW. So I buy the yarn & it sits in my stash.

I current have 6 WIPs-- 4 of which I could finish up rather quickly if I just stuck to my guns. I've decided to take next week off from Ravelry in an attempt to use my stitching time for actual stitching instead of browsing. We'll see if this helps!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm a Knitter Now

I'm definitely NOT saying I'm giving up crochet. Crochet is my first love and still what I turn to when I want to make something quickly and have full confidence that it will work out the first time. However, having finally gotten the hang of knitting, I've gone ahead and made a couple major purchases.

After getting a "try it set" of Knit Picks Interchangables a couple months back I confirmed my original hypothesis that I'd like the Harmony Wood tips the most. Am I sorry I shelled out the $20 for the try it set? No. I would have driven myself crazy thinking I'd made the wrong choice otherwise. Besides, I have a crazed need to switch back and forth between projects, so having more than one set of the most commonly used tips isn't a bad thing.

So... I purchased a full set of Harmony Interchangeable needles, as well as an extra, longer cable (I have visions of knit blankets dancing in my head) and a couple of the smaller sized fixed circulars since the interchangeables only go down to size 4. I also purchased a full set of 6 inch dpns (sized 0-3). Honestly, I think I should have gotten the 5 inch or even maybe the 4s... but oh well. It's done. Along with a few extra little things for my on-the-go knit kit and here's what you have:

And you didn't think I could order from Knit Picks and NOT get any yarn, right? Yes... I continue to fail at the yarn diet just as miserably as I do on any food diet. Behold my shame:

To my credit: none of this is "stash" yarn. It all has a very specific purpose.

4 skeins Comfy Bulky in Arbor: For an Owlet for A&O's bun in the oven. A is one of my oldest friends and she LOVES owls, dark green and anything handmade. This is one of approximately 5 gagillion projects I have in mind for this baby. I've already cast-on for this. :)

3 skeins Wool of the Andes in Winter's Night: For a pair of the ever-so-popular French Pressed Slippers for myself. This is really a test-knit for Christmas. I've never felted anything before. If these go well I hope to make several pair for presents this winter. 3 skeins of WotA makes a large pair. At $1.99 a skein for many colors, this is a super cute uber cheap present!

2 skeins Chroma Worsted in Midwinter and Mix Tape: For a Noro Striped Scarf. Honestly, I researched the way different colorways worked together forEVER and then at the last minute made a completely random choice and now I'm not so sure about it. We'll see how they work out. If it doesn't I love this yarn enough to get two more skeins that work better and make two scarves!

And finally, because you aren't sick of looking at the million ways I spend money yet... here's the whole list o' goodies I purchased:

Have you made any fun fiber purchases lately? Or do you have any recommendations on how I can stop buying every yarn that catches my eye? Seriously... I have a problem!

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Class Schedule

My new classes have officially been approved by LA Harbor College Extension! Check out my "Classes & Events" page for detailed information. Feel free to contact me at liacreates [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions. To sign up, please follow the link to the Extension program website.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pardon My Rant

Have you noticed sort of a sibling riverly between crocheters and knitters? I've seen it a lot on Ravelry but never experienced it in my personal life until last week. I went to a local yarn shop for the first time on Thursday. When I walked in I had my crocodile clutch (which has been my constant companion since I finished it) and as has happened every time I've gone out with it in public- a lady at the shop asked about it. She was a customer working on a knitting project. I could tell she was a relatively new knitter. She asked if it was easy to make. I replied it was actually pretty easy if you knew how to crochet. She asked the shop owner if she had a pattern that was similar and that's when it happened.... The owner replied "No. We're a knitting shop." Um. Ok. She turned around to me and said "Of course, crocheters are welcome, but we just don't sell any crochet patterns.... or supplies.... and we don't teach it." Yeah. Was that supposed to make me feel better about it? I honestly felt like leaving, but I thought that would seem petty or something. I ended up buying a few little odds & ends for a swap I'm in this month and at the last minute asked about the "ongoing free sock class" I had read about on their website. The owner said she had a pattern that used Malabrigo Worsted & size 6 dpns, so it was easier to learn before moving down to sock weight yarn and spaghetti-thin needles. I ended up spending quite a bit there once I paid for the dpns (size 8s for me and my apparently tight knitting), the yarn and the pattern. In the meantime I chatted with the other customer about Ravelry and gave her my email address if she wanted to learn to crochet. I was also kind of miffed about the pattern. The owner admitted it was written as though you were in a class. This probably explains why I got confused on the heel once I was home. It uses short rows, but didn't say that, so I just thought the stitch count was off. So for a not-totally-clear pattern the $6.50 price I paid seemed REALLY high. Maybe I'm spoiled by all the free patterns available, but that seemed really steep. So imagine my annoyance when I logged the pattern into Ravelry & saw that the download is only $4 there! STILL too high, if you ask me, but that's almost 40% less! Are they charging me that much for the 3 pieces of paper and the sheet protector? I didn't need that! What's MORE annoying is that we had been talking about Rav, so she really could have just showed me how to do a circular join & start me on my ribbing and then give me the option to go on Rav to buy the pattern. I had dpns full of worsted weight yarn- what else was I going to do with it? I would HAVE TO download her pattern. Now I'm perplexed. The shop has some great yarns at reasonable prices. They have a weekly knitting night, which I'd LOVE to join. It's relatively close, there's drive-through Starbucks on the way & it's near the cemetary so I can visit mom and kill two birds with one stone. But the anti-crochet attitude and the weird pattern issue really bother me. I can't decide how I feel about the shop. I'm thinking of maybe scoping out some other local shops and seeing if one's a better fit. What would you do?