15 December 2013

Commute Socks of Temporary Disappointment

What happens when I have three six-day work weeks in a row? I find myself scrambling for more brainless commute knitting and ignore everything else. Alas, brainless projects sometimes still need planning.

1. Finish knitting cowl for co-worker at a knitting party. Cast on for Commute Socks 3. Needles: US size 2, 60 sts. (Yarn: Online Supersocke 100 Comedy Color, in color no. 1282.)

2. Realize 30 minutes into 1.5-hours-each-way commute that resulting fabric isn't tight enough for hard-wearing socks.

3. Decide that socks that wear well over time is not hard to achieve with this yarn, so knitting them at a loose gauge would just be silly.

4. Ponder how personal gauge has changed over time and how the brainlessness of vanilla socks are now up in the air.

5. Decide to frog sock and restart at home on US 1 needles. Put sock away.

6. Look around train helplessly, not knowing how to occupy self on rest of commute, dreading the trip home. Play sudoku on phone in defeat.

7. Tell co-workers at work about knitting problems, and receive awkward nods in response. Remain uncertain if sock problem has been explained adequately.

8. Sit next to fellow knitter/co-worker-from-another-department/acquaintance on bus. Talk about knitting. Explain sock problem to someone who understands!

9. On train, ponder working on sock for comfort, despite frogging plans.

10. Take out sock; continue knitting.

11. Say goodbye to fellow knitter. 

12. Have stunning realization that cuffs can be obnoxiously long and loose without compromising integrity of sock.

13. At home, finish purple stripe of cuff.

14. Switch to smaller needles and increase to 76 sts.

15. Knit away.

10 December 2013

Mad Infinity: At Least the Mistake Stitch Rib is Error-Free

Life has been obnoxiously busy recently, but I keep making tiny bits of progress in balancing household chores with my knitting life. I let myself relax for most of the evening, and I've really been enjoying cranking out a cowl design that's a commission from a coworker.

It's a sideways-knit cowl with reversible cables and lots of texture, worked in Cascade Ecological Wool held double. It's super squishy, and I'm so pumped to get this off the needles, because I've heard people (or at least Gigi of the Knitmore Girls) talk about how much this yarn fluffs up. My coworker is going to be so happy to have this, and I'm going to be so happy to make myself one out of my Rocky Coast leftovers.

However: As I said, life has been obnoxiously busy recently. So of course, what with my brain having been in high gear for a while now, now it's time to end an evening of productive knitting by dropping a cable back seven inches to fix a silly mistake.

I'm usually confident about dropping a section down several inches, but I'm a little less sure this time. 

Points of consideration:

1. This cable is along the edge, and I'm a little less sure about what goes on mechanically at the edge of my knitting. This process of dropping down and laddering back up is harder, but... 

2. I will learn something if I do it.

3. The mistake is small: the yarn is wrapped weirdly around a correctly-crossed cable. Non-dropping fixes include: duplicate-stitch over the mistake (if I was that kind of person) and snipping the yarn and darning to prevent a hole from forming.

4. Will fixing this take longer than frogging and re-knitting? (Probably not, but you never know.)

The answer is obvious, thanks to my perfectionist tendencies. I can't duplicate stitch (because the mistake would still be there, hiding), and I don't want to darn it (weaving in more ends? NOPE/I'm already worried about having enough yardage). 

So, for the rest of the night, I'll be fixing my cable the hard way and dreaming of a January where my brain is well-rested and restricts its mistakes to fiber-free realms.

29 November 2013

In which I talk about refocusing, and show three projects in varying states of completion

It comes in fits and starts. I find myself bursting with ideas and beginnings and yarns and excitement, and somehow life cools me down, and four weeks later, I find myself looking about disappointedly, hardly having finished anything, still a little bit excited, but stagnant.

I need to give myself a break. I'm not going to instantly become someone who updates a blog on a regular basis. I'm not going to suddenly be completing patterns every month. My brain just doesn't respond to time constraints the way it did when I was still in school. Post every Friday? I'll find a reason not to. Get all the old patterns updated by the end of November? I'll find something more compelling to work on. It's good and grounding to live in the moment, right?

So, how can I make my working style work to my advantage?

I single out things I want to work on, things I want to change. I need to be focusing on the work and the process more than the deadlines, because, to be honest, I'm going to ignore the deadlines anyway. Less 'spend x amount of time on x task per week' and more 'how much time can you spend doing x task this week'?

I'm also trying to change the way I exist online. The passive-ness and endlessness of Facebook is getting to me. Blogging might be a resource in this change, or I might find myself using Twitter or Instagram more. Or just getting super into Ravelry!

So bear with me, because I'm still figuring this all out. What I can say for sure is that I have many exciting new patterns (as well as the less-interesting-but-seemingly-necessary-more-professional-republishing-of-old-patterns) and excitement and ideas to share. 

When, I don't know, but I'll share them as they come along.

- - - 

On a more physical and less ponderous note, here are three interesting things: 

(1) A finished shawl design! Due to the timing of the year, I'll probably focus more on getting wintery things out soon and this will likely be put off until spring begins its approach.

(2) An in-progress mitt design! This is the swatch. The first one has been made. Pattern and mate forthcoming.

(3) The first specimen in my new method of knitting organization. Commute socks! Always ready to be knit, not too complicated, and requiring minimal elbow movement to pacify my CTA neighbors.

13 October 2013

FO Friday: The Sunday 'Things my Couch is Eating' Edition

It took stepping back to take before photos of my living room (for general housekeeping encouragement) to realize how much my knitting sprawls all over the place. It appears to be growing appendages.

I knit and mostly camp out in the corner of my couch. The cushions along the back of the couch are separate, and when correctly positioned, provide a ridiculously convenient little shelf. When jostled out of position, things fall behind the cushions. Currently, the couch is holding two t-shirts, a sweater, a sweatshirt, two shawls, a monster, a project bag, and a hat. This is after I removed the plaid shirt I'm now wearing, the lap blanket covering my legs, a ball of yarn and a stitch dictionary.

There's even more needles, books, yarn and stitch markers on the coffee table, in baskets and bins on the floor, and sprawled across my makeshift desk under the window. (And there's the boxes of yarn in front of the TV, but let's ignore those for a bit longer, shall we?)

Amoeba and I are a few days away from starting our second year in this apartment, and I remember so well what life was like a year ago. I was proud of myself for being so (relatively) on top of packing and unpacking, and there was a point last fall when our place was oh-so-charming and tidy. I'd like to get back there, and I'm really trying. 

This means that amid all of my knitting and design efforts, I'm also taking time to work on housekeeping and organization. It's getting in the way of the finishing projects, which is part of why there's been no progress on my UFO pile.

I did, however, finish my Westknits Mystery Knit-a-long Shawl, and it has received many complements, from knitters and elsefolk alike.

Pattern: Color Craving, by Stephen West
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in
Hoppy Blonde (gold), Arroyo (brown)
and Woodland (green)

It's my first finished object with my souvenir yarn from Seattle. (These particular skeins came from the Fiber Gallery, which was an amaaazing place.) It feels good to have finished something, and I look forward to more productivity, housework- and knitting-wise, soon!

01 October 2013

Weekend Highlights: Duluth

Despite a bit of a hectic past week, I've managed a bit of progress on my UFO pile - one languishing FO bound off and finished, and a handful of ends woven in on other projects. However, those projects are not the ones I really want to talk about. Instead, I give you the ones that joined Amoeba and I on our weekend trip to Duluth.

First, Duluth and us in it. As much as I love Chicago, I have such a fondness for certain parts of Minnesota - it is an amazing place, particularly because a few hours' drive brings you here:

It's worth noting that there were many, many photographs taken near the lift bridge, but I spared you the pipes and lichens. If pipes and lichens (but mostly pipes) are things that you are interested in seeing, let me know, but I'm assuming I'm fairly alone in this fascination. But bridges! I'll always show you the bridges.

On to the knitting:

As soon as we got into town we plunked ourselves down in a Caribou Coffee so Amoeba could finish their sweater. (Coffee was an important step, too, but the Caribou stop was really all about the sweater.)

Pattern: Beagle, by Nora Gaughan; Yarn: Berroco Vintage in the color Chana Dal.
Post-coffee, we wandered out to do a little photo shoot for Amoeba's sweater and my newest completed design, which is currently-but-maybe-not-foreverly named Dovetail. Here's more of Beagle, and a glimpse of the behemoth that is Dovetail:

Pattern: Dovetail, by fecknom (unreleased); Yarn: Berroco Vintage.
I'm on a mission to post more frequently, both to hold myself accountable to taming that obnoxious UFO pile, and to generally flail about projects, new designs, and yarn. I hope you'll read along.

19 September 2013

Defining 'Finished'

Due to reasons that are what they are, there is so much yarn in my life right now and it is absolutely amazing. I'm trying really hard to not be overwhelmed and I think it's working! I've been bursting at the seams with ideas and I can't knit fast enough. People keep observing that I'm such a fast knitter, and it is not fast enough. Must. Knit. Faster. 

There's simply too much excitement that's been going on in my brain that I'm going to have to break it down into smaller posts. Today, I going to talk about what might be my most obnoxious habit: not finishing projects and pretending I did.

Cory Ellen has brought to my attention this radical idea that WIPs aren't really finished until they're, you know, actually finished. As a result of my process-knitter tendencies, my love of lace and my masculine-leaning sense of style (if I can go so far as to say I have a sense of style)... I don't block my shawls or weave in the ends.

Pictured are 13 lace shawls/scarves, 3 non-lace shawls/scarves and 2 hats. All of these projects need ends woven in, and most need blocking. A couple have been blocked already, and a couple more may have been blocked, but I honestly can't remember, and if they were, they could use another round.

I'm not even including the pair of socks whose ends have felted into the sock at the toes and dangle hopelessly at the cuff. 

This pile is a good starting point. I've set a goal to finish one per week and should have one knocked out by tomorrow!

(note: I apologize for the photo placement making this post less legible. I've been fighting with Blogger about this for over an hour and am considering cutting ties. Suggestions or advice on working with photos in Blogger or on abandoning their platform altogether?)