It has been since I last bought yarn!

Friday, September 25, 2015

I Should Blog...

... I've been saying this to myself for about 8 days now, but especially since Tuesday.  I should blog, but inevitably, I don't.  There has been knitting goings on here lately, it just seems like everytime I have a bit of spare time I find a way to fill it up, that does not involve blogging, and it seems like lately, also doesn't involve much knitting.

Let's talk about last Tuesday first.  This last Tuesday was AWESOME in ways I can't even tell you.  When I heard the Yarn Harlot was doing her "Knitting for Speed and Efficiency" all day class on Tuesday, I didn't even wait to ask for a sitter, I SIGNED UP.  And then, I got MiL to sign up and THEN I called my parents and begged profusely.  (Thankfully hanging out with my kid is their favorite so begging looked more like "can you watch..." "YES WE'LL TAKE PARKER!  WHEN CAN WE GET HIM?  NOW!????"  I'm lucky.  I won't deny this.)

Just hanging out making creepy smiles at knitting royalty... as one does...

I can't really recap the entire Harlot lesson but I'll likely go on at length as it was insanely informative.  The whole point of the speech is to look at how productivity in knitting has changed over the years (decreased) from our hyper productive ancestors.  We also looked at things like proper hand position, sitting position etc, that, done incorrectly, can lead to problems which can mean LESS knitting.  The Harlot showed us several different techniques, (I learned how to throw, since I am a "continental" knitter or "picker") including lever knitting.

And here's where I can get really honest.  I've got some bad knitting habits.  Habits I've known are "weird" for a while now.  My 2 worst habits are:

 1) I tension my yarn wrong.  Instead of just knitting onto the needle like most knitters, I pull my yarn once I transfer the stitch.  It's a weird little quirk that I learned likely developed in my early knitting career as I was afraid of having stitches fall off my needles, so I gave them more room on the needle, but I needed to compensate for the gap I create when I knit.

2) My hands don't like holding all the things- so I usually hold my needle stationary on my stomach or my pants so that I can just knit the stitches off.  (Oddly enough this is essentially lever knitting, just not in it's more "perfect" form.)

The Harlot had us do a "Stitches per minute" test at the beginning of the class.  And I posted a respectable 26 stitches per minute!  That then felt woefully indadequate once we watched professional "speed knitters" knit 150 sts per minute, but in the moment I was proud of myself.  That was about the last time I felt smart in the class.  (This by the way is not the fault of a poor teacher or anything else, it's just REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to change your knitting style after you've gotten into a groove like I have.)

I then started to correct some of my knitting habits; better posture, more relaxed hand position, different techniques like continental for knit stitch and the "english" (or throwing) for purl stitch, and most imporantly STOP my bad habit of yanking the yarn for every stitch.  And, well, see for your self, things got ugly.


My tension changed DRAMATICALLY.  The Harlot told us not to be too hard on ourselves as it usually takes 30 days of practicing good habits to get back to where we were before, and I'm telling you right now, those will be a hard 30 days.  I'm also, being 100% honest here, I am not even going to try and get to the right style for a while.  I have an aggressive "knitting schedule" that I am already behind on, and changing my style for 30 days isn't really going to play nicely into that.  I would like to set aside some time and attempt to at least work out bad habit #1 from my arsenal, but that likely won't be until the new year.

I cannot say enough good things about the class.  It was highly informative and I learned a TONNE.  It's probably the most imformative class I've ever taken, along with Cookie A's sock class from ages ago.  If you have the opportunity take this class- even if you change nothing, you'll have a blast and LEARN SO MUCH.  Thank you x a million to Sharon at Pudding Yarn for hosting the event and to Stephanie who challenged me to think outside the knitting box and try something different.

Of course, spending 6 hours in a yarn shop you cannot help yourself but buy something.  I bought this.  It's incredibly soft and lovely and OH I want to knit with it now.  But I won't.  Perhaps these will be for husband as he'd appreciate a little cashmere in his life.

Hello Cashmere my old friend...

The class was obviously the highlight of my last few days but I have managed to squeak a few rows out here and there on the various other projects I'd like to finish eventually.

1) The Mitten is looking more like a mitten (although I'm having concerns that the thumb stitch allotment might be too big- but I solidier on in denial like a good knitter does).


2) The Sock, is also looking like it might, someday, when it grows up, become a sock.


But, I will admit it's not much.  I'm trying to squeeze in some knitting time these days, even though it seems harder to do... even 1 row of stitches count as progress and I'll take it.  Hang in there with me ok?  Progress should be picking back up again around here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Whittling Away

Keen eyes will notice that I've updated the blog to reflect my rather large "to do" list --->.  As things get completed I'll cross them off and we can keep track as to where I am with staying on track.

Of course, I've already got an update for you!  My second baby hat and bootie set is done and ready for the momma at Parker's preschool.  (I am so happy to report that Preschool, so far, has gone very well for us this year and my little guy seems to be settling in much easier.)



Pattern: Cabled Teddy Hat by Marinda Lariz
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash (discontinued)
Needle: US 6
Notes: I really love this hat pattern- it looks smashing and cute and knits up fast.  The ears are quite brilliant in the way they are knit and in general this is becoming my "go to" pattern for hat knitting for expecting mamas.


What I love about this hat is that is assembles quickly- and the ends aren't too cumbersome, even after adding in the ears.


Pattern: Cable Cuff Booties by Caroline Brook
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash (discontinued)
Needle: US 5
Notes: These booties are smashing and cleverly created.  My only "issue" with the pattern is that it creates a million ends to weave in at the end.  Not the end of the world, but a little frustrating when you just want to be done them!


The finished product IS worth the pain, but don't be fooled... it is a PAIN.  (grrr)

This little set will be packaged up shortly and delivered soon as mom was saying "7 more weeks" yesterday, and I hope for her sake it's a little earlier than that!

Next up in the que is two items.  I'm going to cast on the second mitten and also get the sock more started.  (I need my portable project to have more "starter rows" going in order to make it more portable.)  My goal is to have the mitten finished in early October.  Let's see if I can make that happen!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Let's Do This Fall!

There is a slight chill to the air and the kids are all headed back to school, (mine tomorrow), and all I can think of is starting and knitting 100 million projects to keep loved ones warm this winter!  I WANT TO KNIT ALL THE THINGS!  September is going to be BUSY.

But first, before I jump in on my INSANE "to do" list... the travelling sock came to completion on our summer holiday and you need to see 'em!


Pattern: Socks on a Plane by Laura Linneman
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in "Positively Pink" (discontinued)
Needles: US 1
Notes: I changed the pattern and knit these socks top down vs the written toe up.  (I've done toe up, I just don't like it.)  Also, I knit in an "eye of the partridge" heel, which man, I just love the look of that heel.  As always, I cute the yarn at the heel so that I could make the stripes line up nicely.  (I never regret that decision!)

Untitled Untitled

These socks went everywhere with me this year; Maui, Ottawa, Denmark, Kelowna and finished off in Osyoos.  I love the travel ease of a travelling sock.  It's all contained in one neat little Ziploc bag and I just grab it and dump it my carry on bag and I can knit on the go anywhere.

I guess that's why I've already got another traveller started...


Yup.  More self striping!  I"m going to knit these in "man size" and I'm going to use the "Globe Trotter" pattern.  (Well named for a sock that travels don't you think?)

We got home from vacation last night and I immediately, (once I had unpacked), jumped in on knitting the sweater because I thought about that sweater a LOT on vacation.  Remind me of this enthusiasm for this sweater when I envitably burn out on it and don't feel the love anymore ok?


So now that we have what I'm currently working on covered, we need to discuss what I want to knit this fall, and um, I've bitten off more than I can chew, I'm certain.

1) Baby Hat and Bootie Set (finish by end of Sept)

2) Second Pair of Mittens (finish by end of November)

3) Baby Hat and Bootie Set (finish by end of November)

4) Globe Trotter Socks (finish by Christmas)

5) Thick Pair of snuggly socks (knit in worsted or sport weight) (finish before New Years)

6) Surprise Large (mystery!) Knit for my sister (finish by Christmas)

All of these great ideas mean that the sweater is probably not going to get finished until we're in the New Year.  It does mean that this blog will be interesting for the cooler months as I work towards this little personal goal.  I'm excited, exhilarated and ready to DO THIS.  (Even if I might also be a touch crazy....)