It has been since I last bought yarn!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Still Here

Just thought I'd drop a quick note to say I'm still around-- and will hopefully have some lovely knitting quips in the next few days here. (My friends were in town last week and my internet time was very scarce.)

Not to worry. Still knitting obsessively.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

So Much Going On

Now that Tasha has seen her blanket, I am finally able to post pictures of it here on the blog so that you may all admire it's hip-ness. What I love about the current baby blanket I'm knitting, (see that? I'm trying to tell myself that I LOVE baby blanket knitting and I'm not sick of it at ALL!), is the colors. The colors aren't traditional baby pastel colors... they're bold, they're vibrant, they're cheery and well... they remind me of watermelon bubble gum.

Behold... the latest baby blanket incarnation:

(Excuse the shadowy pictures... I'm too lazy to wait later in the day for the shadows to move... besides I'm certain there will eventually be more pictures of this bad boy in progress.)

Oh? You wanted to see it in ALL it's glory? I got you covered!

Pictured here is ten inches of completed baby blanket goodness. (I have until mid June to finish... and then I've promised myself 4 months of baby blanket hiatus... with, of course, allowing for a break in that should another friend call me with "news".) I traditionally make my blankets 40" in length... so we I've got a fair bit of ground to cover here.

And... since there's been a few trips to NYC this past week, I also managed to do some hard core train knitting.

Behold! The Candy Necklace Sock Part Deux!

I'm loving the yarn I'm using for this sock. Both the Koigu (CAUTION: only click on this link if you're strong enough to resist the beauty and wonder that is Koigu!) and Claudia's Hand Painted Yarn have this delightful sprongy feel to them- both yarns are simply wonderful to knit with. I'm trying to fight the urge to horde the Koigu. I am. Really. I've promised myself that I could not buy yarn, except for my class {more on that in a bit}, until my mother in law visits and we make our sojurn to WEBS. I cannot tell you how hard it's been-- I was in a yarn shop the other day and found a GORGEOUS Koigu in purple that I held in my hands for 20 minutes before I remembered my little rule. *sigh* It does not help that I'll be in NYC this week for a little yarn shopping and will, again, be tempted by the luscious Koigu.

What's also been distracting me lately is my continued interest in dying my own sock yarn. (I see a rather large Knitpicks "naked" yarn order in my future...) I'm still working on getting the color of the yarn just right... and you can see two sample skeins here. I've decided that I'm using entirely too much yellow- as I want the dominant color to be the blue color over the yellow.

Behold! I am crafty!

Pictured on the left is what happens when you fear using too much color. While it's very pretty- it's too light for what I want. (Although husband tells me he prefers this since the colors seem to blend better.) On the right I got the colors brighter, but still feel like it's too yellowy... BLUE.... BLUE.... BLUE. There is another sample planned for this evening. (It is currently soaking in the vinegar solution.) I will keep you posted on these developments.

In other knitting related developments- I had my first "Knitting for Pleasure" class on Thursday. Thankfully it was the class I was supposed to be in and not like the disaster I had last Saturday. There were a lot of "alum" from my certified knitting class and it was nice to see some familiar faces. I'm bummed because I'm going to miss two of the six classes, the two at the very end, due to the husband's graduation, and just hearing everything that Arnetta plans on covering, I'm sad I'm going to miss out. But, I will focus on being greatful for having an opportunity to take a class that should really answer a lot of my questions about knitwear design.

My homework this week is to sketch out a pattern (EEK! I may be crafty, but I assure you I have no abilities to draw whatsoever) and buy the yarn necessary for my garmet and knit a swatch. (And no pansy swatches either-- a big ole more than 4 inches swatch!)

And... if all that wasn't enough going on with me- I'm currently can't stop thinking about the latest Vogue Knitting pattern, (the dress that pops up in the link)- that little knit dress is so pretty! So very, very pretty. I really want to make this. Really... REALLY.... but I don't even know if I could. (It's like, for me, probably the Everest of Knitting) Plus- I just priced out the yarn-- approx $200. *sigh* I've been scouring the internet looking for possible yarn substitutes- but even they are pretty pricey. (And, as I've learned so much already, spending the money on a quality yarn not only assures that you'll be happy with the finished product, but you'll probably wear it also!)

Oh? Did I mention I also have no idea what to design? I didn't. Nothing. Inspiration has left me a weak and withered, helpless woman. I'm hoping for a late hour- panic, inspiration!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baby Blankets... A Year (and a bit) in Review

Last year, furthmore known as BB... (Before Blog) my friends decided to procreate at the rate of rabbits, forcing me to knit baby blankets like a fiend. I've decided to recap the baby blanket knitting EXTRAVAGANZA here to record for posterity.

I almost hate to say this... but once the current baby blanket I'm working on is out of the way- I'm done.... finished... kaput for babies on the way. (Which, by virtue of having said this, 12 people will call me tomorrow to say that they are pregnant.) I'm still planning on knitting two more, a boy and girl blanket to have on hand for those last minute, "oh by the way I'm 9 months pregnant types" who like to spring surprises on me. (You want gifts? Tell me early!)
Most blankets, took about a month of hardcore knitting, except for the hearts, which took 2 and the blue and white checked blanket which also took 2. All of these blankets have been knit with Bernat Baby Softee, which if you ask me, (what's that you didn't? Too bad), garners the best result baby blanket wise- both washable and soft... a PRIMO baby combination.

Are ya ready? (obviously these are the close up shots only)

#1- The Blanket That Started It All. I knit this because I didn't have a baby to knit for, but thought it would make a nice gift if one were eventually born. Two days after I cast this bad boy on TWO people called to tell us they were pregnant.

#2- Summer Knitting- I knit this while spending my summer in Calgary- this pattern is cute, and mindless and while it's a bit slower to knit, (miss those yarn overs!), I didn't hate this pattern when I was finished. (So much so that I'm doing this exact pattern again for Tasha's blanket, only in different colors.)

3. The Mother-In Law Challenge. My MIL found this pattern on line and we both got stars in our eyes when we found the perfect yarn for it. This pattern was a PAIN to start, and I frogged a couple of times before I started for good, and I'm pretty sure my MIL does not want me to tell you how many times she frogged her version. Once you get into this pattern and get used to it, it's fine- but neither of us are "chomping at the bit" to knit this bad boy again.

4- Mother-In-Law Challenge Part Deux! (MIL finds the best patterns) In this case I coveted her finished blanket so much that I knit my own. What she failed to mention is that the pattern is rather MIND.NUMBINGLY.BORING. to knit and I thought I was literally going to die from boredom before I finished.

5. This blanket sits alone in the "More Than I Can/Could Chew" category. Yes. It's beautiful. Yes. It's cute as anything you've likely seen. No. I will never make another. I knit this with FIFTEEN mini yarn balls at a time. FIFTEEN. And don't even get me started on the sheer hell it was to sew in the ends. H.E.Double Hockey Sticks. This blanket is a testament to my sheer will, tenacity and love of knitting. This blanket, despite my rather weak baby aspirations, is the only blanket I've ever knit that I couldn't actually part with. I will keep this one forever and most likely request to be burried with it.

#6- OH MY GOD I'M STILL KNITTING BABY BLANKETS?!!! (What's sick is I've got another one on the needles right now that needs to get done before June!) This, as you may recognize, is the most recently finished, and shipped off baby blanket. Getting through this blanket was a bit of a slag... as you can probably guess... I'm kind of sick of baby blankets... but I also feel like I've set the standard for baby gifts and need to maintain. Thankfully this pattern knit up fast... (I yarn overs)-- but it curls, so knit it with something that will block flat!

Um yeah... that is a lot of blankets. I'm not really quite sure how I maintained my sanity through it all. On the upside... it makes for a colorful blog post.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I Feel So Stupid

So, today was the big day of my "Knitwear and Sweater Design" class and I was really excited.

I had to wake up at the unholy hour of 6:20, so that I could be out the door by 7:05, to catch my train to the city at 7:32. (On a weekend, any hour prior to 11 am is unholy.) I was a little groggy, a little sleepy, but all in all, I made it out the door and was on time and I happily knit my sock all the way to the city.

I got to the class about 10 minutes early, I was about the 4th to arrive and I'll admit, something just didn't seem right. The girls in the class room didn't seem like knitters. I know that's a pretty general comment to be making since ANYONE can be knitters... but here was just this vibe, you know? When I went to my Certified Instructor course, I walked into a room of people knitting... in this room, no one had anything other than paper and a pen.I remained calm though- knowing that a lot of times I get really nervous for no apparent reason and then I get all hypersensitive. I chalked it up to insecurity and braved through.

Sure enough, the istructor walks in and she starts putting out different types of yarn on the desk- and she tells us that yes, the other instructor is ARNETTA... whom I have deemed the "Knitting Goddess" from my Certified course. At this point I breathe a sigh of relief. I am in the right class. I am over-reacting. I am reading into a room without knowing the history.

When the class finally starts we are asked to go around the room introducing ourselves and our background. This is when I knew I was in trouble... BIG trouble. I was nearly the last person to introduce myself- so I had to sit through the rest of the introductions. (Thankfully there were only 10 people in the class.) Everyone in that room was a designer for a major label, (Cole Haan, Eileen Fisher, Kenneth Cole, NYC and Company etc) or coming up with their own line. EVERYONE in the room had been to fashion school. They were there to learn about machine knitting and mass produced industry garmets, they were using terminology that I didn't even know, asking about jersey material and machines that I have never even heard of.

Imagine my horror when I introduce myself "Hi, I'm Jen, and I'm a hand knitter-- and I'm hear to learn about the finer details of creating and modifying patterns as well as more details about different kinds of yarns." Both instuctors kind of looked at me like "What?" And, Arnetta even asked me if I was sure this was the class I wanted, and I said "Yes", thinking positively that it was still going to cover both aspects, hand knit and machine knit.

And then the lecture starts and I realize how truely screwed I was. The whole class is about dealing with the manufacturer, the process the manufacturer uses and I sat there for 3 hours, willing the lunch break to come so I could make my hasty retreat. The class wasn't about DESIGNING A PATTERN and Yarn/Wool information, it was designing for a label, and using the very fine fabrics and knitting machines and making mass orders. I got NOTHING out those 3 hours. Nothing.

So, finally the lunch break comes and I have to make the very embarressing walk up to the front of the class and explain to the instructors that I am very mistaken about what I thought I was taking and that I'm totally out of my league. Arnetta is very kind and I tell her that I'll see her on Thursday and she assures me we can cover my desire to learn pattern designing aspects then. I then explain that there's no point my sitting in the class for the afternoon and we all agree I should attempt at getting a refund.

IF I get a refund... which I'm very scared I'm not goinng to get. (*sigh $185)Honestly the description in the course calendar is a little vague and it COULD be mis-read: This intensive workshop is for industry professionals and highly experienced knitters seeking knowledge about how to design sweaters. The program concentrates on all of the steps necessary to becoming a knitwear designer. Using both lecture and demonstration, fiber basics and stitch fundamentals are covered. How to present designs from concept to production is included along with a look at some of the current computer-aided design programs available. This is why I clarified with the person when I registered. I remember specifically asking "IS THIS A HAND KNIT CLASS and NOT AN INDUSTRY CLASS" and she assured me that it was in fact for hand knitters. I will be pushing that point hard... because I ASKED and was given misleading information.

I'm mostly embarressed about this- because I'm sure everyone was wondering "What the hell is she doing here?" I'm also sure everyone in there thought I was a complete idiot because how could I NOT know that this class was for industry types. Honestly people- I thought I did know.... I am confident that I'm an advanced knitter, I was ready for the next step. I'm also embarressed because a LOT of my friends and family knew I was going to take this course and now I have to tell them about this mis-communication and I'm going to sound like a complete idiot. Also, I feel bad because my husband was so sweet about me taking this class, and being proud of me and telling people that it was something I was doing... and now.. nothing. He's not angry at me, (in fact he's been very sweet trying to cheer me up and tell me it's not my fault), but it felt good to be doing something that he was bragging to HIS friends about, instead of me just bragging about him all the time.

I'm also extremely disappointed. I really wanted to take a class like this. I was really looking forward to it and I was so excited when I got up on the train this morning. I'm trying to be positive, and look on the bright side that I'm still going to get this instruction, but I'm just feeling let down at the moment and really, REALLY stupid. Ugh. I know I shouldn't let this bother me... nor should I let it deter me from still getting out there and trying things, despite the risks. But right now... I'm just feeling like a big fat idiot... and need to vent.

Also- as an aside note, when I walked out of the room I felt like shouting "I KNEW you weren't knitters!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Guess What I Did Today?

Three guesses...

1) Pink hands...

2) Lots of pretty colors (and a seriously potential for disaster should that at all spill)

3) Samples!

I feel like I'm the last person on earth to finally get around to attempting to hand dye some of my own yarn, but the yarn gods smiled upon me today and I finally decided it was now or never. Just this last week I've received my Knit Picks "Bare" superwash sock yarn. (I'm not going to risk felting on my first attempt at this.) And I've been doing a lot of reading on the internet about just how the heck I want to dye this stuff.

I figured I'd attempt Kool-Aid dyeing first, since it seemed like the easiest process. It turns out Kool-Aid dyeing is unbelievably hard these days... given that Kool Aid has decided to go with "Invisible" flavors.... meaning no colorful flavor crystals. I went to THREE grocery stores, TWO dollar stores and a WALMART and was only able to find the invisible variety of Kool Aid. YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE KOOL AID!! Thankfully, I also remembered reading a little bit about Wilton Food Coloring dyeing, and decided to buy a kit for that instead. (Funny story-- I had a 40% one item in Joannes and was able to get the 8 color kit from Wilton for $4.)

Anyways, I got home, and got back to the internet to find out as much as I can about Wilton dyeing. It turns out there isn't a tonne out there... so when I do feel ready to dye my first skein, I'll be sure to capture it all for posterity!

I decided to start out with the Red dye... curious to see how it would look. (Mental note- a little goes a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way with the dyes... I'll probably never need to buy this dye again.) It turns out that red is a pretty ellusive color to get. My first red attempt is actually the orange skein you see here. I'm also guessing that despite taking this picture in florescent light you can't really see that essentially ALL of these "red" skeins are more orange. Anyone got suggestions on how to get a true red color?
I actually really like the light orange shade here-- it reminds me of creamsicles.

(I didn't actually do these colors in order... but I've decided to just stick to the color wheel.) Yellow was great-- I actually preferred the less saturated yellow skein. I'm also in love with the kelly green, (the one right next to the yellow) skein-- I mixed a very low concentration of green dye with several drops of high concentration yellow dye. It's a unique color.

I'm not terribly fond of the green colors-- only because I was trying for a more tealy, subtle green color and couldn't seem to achieve quite what I was attempting. Perhaps more practice in that department will achieve a better color to my taste.

Oh the blues! I love the blues! Every since color of the blues I LOVE... so pretty, so bright... you're going to be seeing skeins with blue... I can tell you that right away. Thank heavens I was warned on the Knitty board about purple or violet, it doesn't seem to take very well to the yarn- otherwise I would have been very disappointed. The violet yarn comes out bluey and you can see redish hues throughout- it's not a very uniform purple color. The lighter purple color is one I mixed myself, using a small amount of blue concentrate with a high amount of red concentrate and a touch of pink. I'd say mixing the colors myself made things slightly better, but still, overally disappointed by it's ability to blend.

Pink! The less of the pink coloring I used, and the more diluted the solution got, the more I liked the final pink results. Actually looking at that pink and purple sitting next to each other, I may have to attempt that at some point huh? So pretty! Also pictured here is brown, which I was more curious to see, but "meh"-- I'm not a brown person. Pictured next to the brown is the alpaca, (a leftover skein I had) without any dyes... just so you get an idea of the color graduations here.

Look! I'm practically Purl Soho!!

My last dyeing experiment of the day was also the most perilous. I decided to attempt a mini skein, to get an idea about what I'll have to do for the main skein. First of all I learned to MAKE SURE YOUR STEAM WATER DISH IS CLEAN... there was a little pink dye that must have seeped out of the saran wrap while it baked and it got a little pink in some parts. I also learned that the kelly green and soft yellow, put close together, look essentially the same, so I may have to re-think that color combo. And, lesson #3 don't color all the way to the end, as the dye will bleed enough in the baking process to fill in the remaining white space.

Viola... the blue is cute, the green and yellow need a little help.

If anything today was VERY informative and very fun! I'm planning on attempting another sample skein tomorrow, after soaking the wool in a vinegar solution over night-- hopefully by this Sunday, I'll be feeling confident enough to dye my actual main skein! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Flash Your Stash!

I missed the great "Flash your stash" day, but I thought it was such a great idea that I am only catching up now. The stash is growing at an alarming rate-- my husband may even suggest that I have a problem. I guess the first step to resolving a problem, is admitting it's there... so let's begin the healing process shall we?

My stash kind of splits off into three very different groups:

There's Group 1- The Stash That I Am Not Ashamed Of
Much of what you see here was purchased on sale, and REALLY it doesn't look that alarming in the grand scheme of things. This stash is mostly wool in it's many varieties and mostly sock yarn. There is also some silk thrown in there which I am sitll completely clueless with what to do with it. This is the "natural fibers" collection/portion of the stash that I have stroked lovingly in a store, or had dreams about while I waited for my online order to come in. (The bright and hideous pink and red stuff, as well as the glowing orange- were Mystical Creations Yarn disasters. Sadly, what is seen on the retailer's site is NOT what you get for real. You've been warned.)
There's Group 2- Leftover's That I Cannot Part With

When you spend as much on yarn as I do- it's really hard to tell yourself to just throw it out when you're finished, especially when it's a natural fiber and especially, in case of the blue yarn pictured above, when you have so much of it leftover. My problem that I understand here, is that I over-order, gripped with the fear of running out of yarn. (Because you KNOW that will happen if I don't order more than I need.) Even though I still have not come up with a plan, (and I'm not as crazy as this woman who made a blanket with left over sock yarn), I cannot bring myself to part with this stuff. I remain hopeful that someday, the leftovers will speak to me in such a way that I will know what the heck I'm supposed to do with it.

Then there's Group 3. I don't want to show you group 3. Group 3 is not for the faint of heart and certainly not for anyone who considers themselves a "yarn snob". Group 3 is not composed of natural fibers. Group 3 is The Acrylic Group of Shame.

Group 3 is also the biggest. When I first learned how to knit, I didn't want to spend the money-- and so I bought acrylics. Don't get me wrong- acrylics aren't the devil that some knitters will tell you they are, I still knit all of my baby blankets with it, simply because I like it's durability and washable status. But, they also don't carry the same thrill for me as knitting with a shiny soft silk, or an unbelievably cuddly merio or, be still my heart, Koigu. Yes, stashed in that corner is some cotton, (which again, purchased on SALE), that makes a very lovely Mason Dixon Ballband Dish Cloth, but doesn't really do much otherwise. Much of this stash is leftovers, (again with the over-buying) from baby blankets or purchased (colum 3 with the bright blue) for my Certified Knitters class. I will admit a special weakness in my heart for Bernat Satin acrylic... because that stuff is the closest thing you can come to knitting and pleasure for acrylic. I don't think I'll ever stop knitting with acrylics completely-- but I do admit that a lot of this stuff was purchased over a year ago... waiting for my yarn snobbery to disappear.

While sorting through this yarn for it's photographic debut-- I also managed to come up with another group... Group 4- Garbage.

This was balls of unused yarn from "back in the early days" of my very first project. This is crap- that has no chance of ever becoming anything over than a colorful space occupier. And, so with all the strength that I could muster, I purged. I can't seem to bring myself to toss an unused skein of something that I won't use- but bits and pieces of skeins don't seem to bug me-- so it was very freeing to at least rid myself of some of the stash.

Cataloguing the stash here leaves me with a strong desire to "stash bust". I'm looking for any suggestions, especially for group 3, to use it up and get it out of my stash. I'm not going on a yarn diet yet, (although the budget in a few days may dictate that), but I'm definately on an acrylic diet-- or better, acrylic anorexia.

*sigh* Let the stash healing begin...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Miracle

As mentioned yesterday, I finally finished two items that have been haunting my guilty conscience for some time.
A) Dad's Socks:
Pattern: Boyfriend Sock (Which I modified)
Yarn: Baby Ull (Grey 0007)
Needles: US size 2
Pictured above are the socks lying down- below are the socks on, where you can really see the pattern and how nicely it expands.
The problem I've encountered here is that I knit these really tightly. (It's a problem I'm trying to resolve.) Like reeeeeeeeeally tightly- and while I'm certain they'll fit my dad's foot, I have concerns about the legs fitting. I'm hoping that he still has skinny man legs. (Don't work out your legs dad!)

Thoughts on the yarn- this yarn was kind of "meh" for me. Perhaps it was the grey color, but I just got bored with it. I could see myself enjoying a fair isle project with this yarn though- and so I might attempt a Dale of Norway ski hat down the line, but that's a while off.

B) Baby Blanket
Pattern: Filatura Di Crosa...Baby...bebe...bambini Blanket #6
Yarn: Lion Brand Baby Soft in Twinkle Print
Needles: US size 6
Dimentions: 31" wide by 40" long
Thoughts on the Pattern: **WARNING** (mostly to my Mother-in-law who also has this book) there is a pattern correction that you need to note on the website before you begin to knit this- or you are not going to get the pattern right. However, once this pattern started knitting up, it went really fast... when I was actually knitting it. It's the perfect little project if you want to whip up a baby blanket pronto. (Although it does curl a bit, so be sure to knit it with something that will actually block flat.

Thoughts on the Yarn: ugh. Ugh about sums it up. I usually knit blankets with Bernat Baby Softee, but I thought I'd try the Lion Brand. Bernat's Baby Softee is much, much, much MUCH softer. M.U.C.H. The blanket isn't as soft as I'd like it to be- but it's not exactly sandpaper either.

**Stay tuned tomorrow, where I finally come to terms with the stash

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Good Sunday

Religiously speaking, Easter Sunday is a day for remembering miracles.

We need to add another TWO to the list today:

I FINISHED MY DAD'S SOCKS AND THE WHITE BLANKET. Both. On the same day. Together. Finito.

It is like a weight has been liften, and I'm free to knit whatever I'd like. (OH MY GOODNESS.... I am soooooooooooooooo casting on the second candy necklace after I finish typing this) This is also perfect timing since my sweater design, (more on that later this week), class begins on Saturday and I really need to order up some yarn and get some inspiration for a pattern and some ideas planned out in prep for that.

There will be pictures of the the miracle finishes... as soon as the sunlight is right and the blanket finishes blocking. (It's a little curly. It's acrylic and nylon, hoping that nylon assists with the lying flat thing.) I keep looking over to where the blanket is blocking and smiling... enjoying the feeling of having that PAINFUL blanket finished.

Happy! Happy! Happy!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Cheating on the White Blanket


Okay... so you know how I said I wasn't going to work on anything else until I finished the white blanket and my dad's socks?

I totally lied to you... and myself.

I was good there for a while... working quickly away at the blanket, measuring to see how much progress I'd made, anxious for the magic number of 40 inches to appear, prompting me to cast that bad boy off. But, today, taking advantage of the yarn sale at AC Moore and Joanne's (yarn snobs look away... I still buy acrylic for baby blankets), I bought the pretty, cheerful colors for my friend's baby blanket and I could not resist it's siren call.

I suffer from 30 inch syndrome when making baby blankets. To begin with, I like my blankets to be 40 inches tall... it's a good length and makes the blanket useable for a much longer time. (And, I like to tell myself that someday that kid will look at it as their "blankie"- as I still have mine from when I was a baby that I don't have the heart to part with.)

The first 10 inches knit up really fast. I'm always excited to start a new pattern and I usually am just beginning to memorize a stitch pattern. Once I see how quickly those 10 inches came to be, I'm energized thinking "this isn't going to take me long at all!", and so I knit another 8 inches or so and then my brain starts asking... "how much do we have?" and then the measuring starts. I know I'm in trouble when I start measuring. Measuring means one thing- How Much Farther Do I Have to Knit This? How much more of this stitch pattern do I have to bore myself with? I manage to keep going... to keep plugging away.

And then it hits- 30 inch syndrome. Once I hit 30 inches I stop making progress. I will knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and only get an inch. I'm sick of the pattern, sick of the yarn and quite frankly I start resenting the happy couple for having the audacity to "spawn" in the first place. I cannot think of anything but other projects that will prove to be more challenging or more interesting. I dream up patterns of such exsquisite beauty that people will literally swoon when they see them. Yet- these patterns will never come to be, because I am not convinced that I will never accomplish the last ten inches of the stupid blanket.

This is when I begin bargaining... first it starts with measuring... I'm now chronically measuring a blanket every 4 or 5 stitches to see how much progress I've made. I start telling myself that I can't measure until I get two or three or even four pattern repeats done-- since it's so demoralizing to see little progress. Bargaining doesn't last long though... I move on to the ADD stage- where I start something else and tell myself I will only work on it a little, just to take the edge off the dullness of the exsisting blanket hell. The problem here is that I am so excited and so energized and so happy to be working on the new project, that I will immediately start whipping it up, before I know it time has passed by in a blur, and I have a completely finished sweater and blanket that still requires 6 more inches before it's finished.

I used to be one of those people who knit one thing only and finished that one thing completely before casting on a project. (I also used to be a person who only bought the yarn she needed in that moment, whereas now I am compelled to stock pile yarn whenever I share a room with it.) I am not that person anymore... which is why I knit with guilt. There's always a "I should be working on this other item first" guilty feeling lingering over me, reminding me that I'm a naughty little knitter.

My goal is to finish the white blanket by Monday. By Monday it needs to be at blocking stage. I know I can do this. I KNOW I CAN. But can I make my heart listen to my head in this scenario?

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Knit One, Scream Two

You know you're obsessed with knitting when you dream about it, or in my case, have nightmares about it.

Ever since I began my first project I've been plagued with random knitting nightmares. I usually dream that an item that I'm working on some how goes awry and I'm unable to fix it, so I'm forced to frog the whole thing. In my dreams I tend to frog items that took a long time and many stitches to create.

The problem with these nightmares, is that I express myself rather loudly, and crassly. Simply put, I swear out loud- A LOT when I have knitting nightmares. Take last night for example- I somehow dreamt that the Candy Necklace Sock #2 was half complete and when I began knitting the picked up stitches, I accidently dropped 5 stitches, unravelling some cable work. Now, I should probably note that this kind of thing has happened before- I can fix a dropped stitch, but somehow, in my sub-conscious this becomes an error that I cannot, under any circumstances fix- and I have to stare helplessly as the thing unravels and unravels. And then begins the swearing. I'm not a huge swearing person, when I get really mad or really stressed out, the swearing does come out every now and again, but for the most part, I'm not a person who screams out obscenities. In my nightmares however, it is perfectly acceptable for me to use four letter words frequently. As I watched those stitches drop in my dream, I unleashed a torrent of curse words-- and tossed and turned and freaked out because the sock was completely un-fixable.

The problem is that the curse words don't just come out in my dream, they come out of my mouth, loudly... while my husband is sleeping next to me. Last night I woke us both up by shouting, very loudly, a big fat F bomb. That is in itself embarressing... especially because I woke both me and the husband up, and then when I was slightly more aware, I calmed down, realizing that I hadn't even started the second sock yet and all that stress and tension and cursing was for nothing.

What's most ridiculous about this little issue though is that my husband has gotten completely used to my knitting nightmares. Now, when I start cursing, and tossing and turning, he usually wakes up and calms me down by saying; "just put your knitting away Jen" and I usually respond to this by rolling over and stepping away from the knitting and changing my dream. The sick thing is that he keeps hoping that I have a loud knitting nightmare, including the turrets that go along with it, while I'm staying at my mother's house- because it makes him giggle to think how traumatized my mother would be to hear me say all those swears.

Even more disturbing about this, is nearly a year ago, during a knitting nightmare about a sweater that I had just finished, I got up and decided I needed to fix it... IN MY SLEEP. Thankfully the husband had not gone to bed yet and was wondering what I was doing rifling around my knitting bag. He caught me with SCISSORS in my hand, (you just gasped didn't you!) and I nearly had caused serious damage to a project. Nothing like that has happened since, but thankfully, despite his fear of a homemade gift of any kind, he's tried to prevent me from losing all sanity and destroying any more knitting.

These nightmares don't occur often, but when they do- they're so real to me. I genuinely feel like something is ruined or damaged or that I've made an error so large that I will never EVER be able to fix it. I begin panicking, wondering how long it's going to take to fix... it's awful!

Thankfully, as I mentioned, these aren't regular occurances, but they do occur enough that the husband has a patterned response to them and that I wake up remembering how awful it was. I suppose if these are the WORST of my nightmares, I really have nothing to complain about.

Here's hoping tonight's dream is an unlimited budget and a yarn store... to make up for last night!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Now I Can WEAR the Sweater

As you may recall, I posted pictures of my newly completed sweater, and it's the first object I've made that is 100% publicly wearable. (No, I shouldn't say that, a sweater vest I recently finished is also pretty good.) The only problem with the new sweater was with the buttons, that would not do a very good job of keeping the sides shut. While the buttons were very pretty, they also weren't very functional. I decided to pay Joann's Fabrics a visit and ended up picking out some wooden ones that actually DO THE JOB, and I'm still quite pleased that they look okay to boot.

Pictured here is a close up of the new buttons:

And here is a shot of the whole sweater with the new buttons. (I will spare you my "modeling" skills)

Not bad eh?
And, if you're still reading this... here's a little completed sock picture. I purposely took this picture on a busy background so that you couldn't easily see the details. I am so pleased that this turned out and can't wait to get working on sock #2.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Second Sock DESIRE?

Given the unbelievably slow progress I've made on my poor father's socks, I'm kind of surprised by this feeling I have at the moment. I just finished the Candy Necklace sock... and I WANT TO START THE NEXT ONE RIGHT NOW. (No pictures until sock #2 is done- I want to keep it a surprise.)

Maybe it's because I really liked knitting with the yarn, or because I'm excited about the pattern that I designed myself OR maybe it's because I really LOVE how they turned out... but my hands are practically itching to cast on sock 2.

Now, normally I'd advocate this kind of behavior, Second Sock Syndrom (SSS) is a serious disease and I suffer from it on most occaisons when it comes to sock knitting, and I think it's good to just jump into #2, since there's no turning back once it's on the needles. BUT- I've made a commitment not to work on the second sock until the white blanket is finished. (The only allowance I'll make is that if I finish dad's sock when I take the knitting out, then I can start #2.)

So, with a heavy heart, I have picked up the white blanket and remain hopeful that I can power through it this week. (It's supposed to rain all week, so I can probably get a lot of work done on it. Hopefully that will go quickly... the second sock beckons me!!