1.20.2013

Knitting and This and That

I’ve had to travel to my Dad’s house due to some of his health issues. Thanks to everyone that has expressed concern, he doesn’t have internet access and am sorry if I’ve not gotten back to you. I’ll be traveling back and forth in the days to come, just wish I could knit in the car, I could get so much done!

Was at my Dad’s house and he looked out the windows and we saw this beautiful sunset. Had to try and capture it. Of course this is about 30 snaps in, love digital cameras!

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I don’t know about you but I love to listen to knitting podcasts! Especially since my car cd/radio is broken! My favorite’s right now are Knitmore Girls, Stash and Burn, and a new one I heard about Jane and Jen KnitFunny (I really enjoy listening to these girls!) Of course there is Cast On (my classic). Please let me know if there are some that you listen to and enjoy, I have lots of driving time to fill!

Now on to knitting. Over the years I’ve discovered I like to have 3 types of projects going (at least) a mindless (potato chip knitting) for work or TV or stressed out, I can’t concentrate on anything mode. A sweater, to make me feel like a real knitter, ha (and I don’t do complicated sweaters, just basic something that I can wear, classic type ones), Then something a little more complicated with a stitch or color pattern project like lace or cables, but not too large, maybe shawl or socks. I need to get that other crap out of my head and just think pattern.

In addition to the Dummy Clap Shawl and the Zuma Tunic, more on those later. I just cast on the LaLa scarf from the book Greetings From The Knit Cafe. It is an easy lace repeat I’m knitting on #6 needles, because that is what I had with me when I started it. The yarn is lace weight Patons in the color way wood rose, not what I originally intended to do with this yarn,  (the color changes go from dark brown or maroon to white and pink, I’m a bit apprehensive about how that will look), but I just needed to cast on something.*snort*

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The moon is going to be close to Jupiter the 21st, I tried to get some good photos of it, not close enough yet, but this is what I have so far. Hopefully when I moves closer to the moon I’ll be able to get something.

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Clear sky today, lots of sunshine, got a snap of the moon.

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1.06.2013

Knitting Patterns, taking the headaches out of understanding them

It is so disappointing to pick out a knitting pattern, agonize over the yarn choice. And then complete the sometimes long process of swatching for gauge. Only to discover that you are so confused by the pattern that you give up.

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I’m sure this has happened to many of us for many reasons. Skill level of the knitter, and skill level of the pattern author, may be the foremost. Pattern writing is not easy, nor is understanding patterns.

On the knitters side of things, I’ve found a good resource to help understand what the pattern is telling us to do, take a look at Dummies.com Understanding Knitting Patterns and Techniques. It covers abbreviations and knitting terms, common phrases and how to follow written stitch patterns, and also charts. This and your local yarn store, (along with Ravelry, I like to look there and see if everyone that is knitting the pattern is having any trouble or it is just me), will help you discover your way. Don’t forget to Google and print out the errata page for your pattern!

Many problems come down to basic communication.  The pattern designer knows how to knit it, but communicating that in a written form can be difficult. Understanding the pattern also may come down to difference in language.  Knitting a pattern in a new style of knitting is usually difficult, the next time it gets easier. Blindly following a pattern, I’m especially guilty of this, happily knitting along and then two days later realizing I have to frog back to xxxxx, due to a “what the heck is happening situation”. Not understanding the next step, getting to that point in the pattern that says, knit into the back of the stitch two rows below on the wrong side of every 4th row, beginning 4 inches after reaching the bust. What? This usually results in project hibernation.

Syd says “let’s look at that closer”

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For those of us that knitting a pattern that is not well written, the best advice is going to our local yarn store or asking a knitting friend to take a look at it. I’ve found certain knitting designers are easier to follow than others. When I discover someone I have trouble understanding a designer, I usually steer clear of them after the 2nd pattern. Or I get used to the fact that I can get creative and use their pattern as a “suggestion”. Sometimes this is a great learning tool, if you can forge ahead and end up with a wearable item. A creative leap can make an ah ha moment, or a goodwill sweater.

Best tips I can give for patterns are:
1-Gauge, please, please, please, this will eliminate headaches later
2-Pattern or technique you have never tried? Practice this first, Google it, watch some YouTube videos of it.
3-Buy some decent yarn, a sweater that you spent 1000+ hours on but only spent $20.00 on the yarn is still a $20 sweater.
4-Needles, if they are diving you crazy, buy a different pair, your going to have them in your hands for many hours. This has made an impossible knit, pleasant by switching from wood to steel needles or straight to circular. Experiment.
5-Check Ravelry for other knitters experiences, also if the pattern has bad reviews all from one knitter, maybe it is not the pattern. Or if every one that knitted it had problems, it is the pattern.
6-Familiarize yourself with all of the patterns abbreviations, and techniques to be used.  Don’t understand them? Proceed to your local LYS
7-Don’t be afraid to try beyond your knitting experience, it is only yarn. This is how we all grow and get better, or discover we hate entralac or lace knitting. Have fun and don’t take it too seriously.

May your knitting needles fly as fast as Dragonflies….glittery-animated-dragonfly-insects

1.05.2013

New Year Of Knitting

Finished up my Christmas trees, have a pink one and a white one. Pattern is from Helen Free, it is a fun and fast pattern. I would recommend it.

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White Christmas Tree, no ornaments yet, I’ll pick those out next year.

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I used snowflake buttons and some sparkly glass beads for this tree.

I’ve been listening to Stash and Burn podcast while driving back and forth to my Dad’s house, which is about a 4 hour drive one way. I’m getting inspired to get knitting and am going to keep track of the yardage of yarn I knit up this year. *grin* see the KnitMeter.com, on my side bar, this tool is available for crochet, spinning and knitting, you can add it to your ravelry page and any blogs. Have fun and keep track of how much you knit with me this year!

Now that I’m done with the holiday projects, I’m ready to start working on my Zuma tunic from Wendy Bernard’s Custom Knits 2 book. I’ve gotten to just below the arms, and I’m ready to get going on it again.

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Zuma tunic is a top down knit in the round sweater, I’m knitting it from some of my hand dyed yarns. Trying to mix and mingle about 6 similar skeins into it for a interesting (hopefully!) pattern.

Keep knitting…