Friday, November 22, 2013

Coupon Code!

Pattern Design in Progress

I've got a new sock design in progress.  This time, I've given myself the challenge of creating a design that can be knit in two sizes and worked either from the toe up or top down.  And just because that seemed entirely too simple, each foot is a mirrored pattern (left/right specific).  Essentially this design will be four patterns in one.  I'm working with techniques to make the patterns in such a manner that you can knit one sock toe up, the other top down, and have them appear as a proper match.  It's a fun challenge.

Do you have a directional preference when knitting socks?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Knitting to Go

I'm always knitting. Okay, almost always. I can't very well knit while typing, but as soon as I master holding the needles between my toes, I'll try.  I knit in the car (as a passenger, not driver), in restaurants waiting for food, in waiting rooms, while watching movies, and generally whenever I have an idle moment.  So, when a trip away from home occurs, I have to plan accordingly.  

In a week's time I work on multiple projects, 30, 45, 60 minutes at a time.  Weekends often afford me two or three hour stints.  A trip across country by plane is a totally different animal.  I'm looking at a potential five to eight hours of confined knitting opportunity.  There is no running into the studio to change up projects or grab a missed tool.  Planning is required.

One of my favorite movies is "Best in Show".  It is a mockumentary about dog show people, and covers not only the dogs' show performances, but the trials of preparing for and traveling to the show as humans.  When I think of packing knitting for a trip, I'm reminded of one of the couples followed in the movie as they argue over how many kimonos one man is packing for the four day trip to Philadelphia (incidentally it's around seven if I remember correctly.)  In my mind, a six day trip with about 16 hours of flight time will require about 22 projects.  I'm trying to calculate how much space one less pair of socks will take in my luggage if I promise to complete a pair on the flight out.  I could get away with two fewer pair if I knit one pair on the flight out, buy yarn at my destination and knit another pair during the first four days of the visit so I can wear the second pair I knit on the flight home.  Then again, if I knit a pair on the flight out, and complete the 1/2 done sweater in the first four days, I could wear the socks and sweater home and have more room for yarn purchases in my return luggage, otherwise, I'll need to accidentally leave something behind for a relative to mail to me or knit myself another piece of luggage.  See the madness?  Then again, if you are a knitting addict like myself, you may only see the logic.  Is there therapy for this (and does it include fiber retail)?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

You know when...

You know that moment when you realize that you should have been listening to that little voice that has been nagging you for the past, oh, let's just say, 8 hours of the knitting project you are working on? Yeah, "that moment". I was just there.  It's kind of funny to look at what follows that moment, because everything that follows that moment is what you probably should have done immediately before you started knitting, with the exception, reasonably, of the swearing, crying, and tearing out.  But first, I digress...

I've got a lot going on right now; you know, stress.  We all have it.  Sometimes it's just deeper and more of an obstacle than others.  Like any knitter, I decided an easy, frivolous, mindless project was in order to soothe my soul and fill what little down time I have so that I wouldn't obsess over the things I don't have control of.  And so, I selected a pattern, pulled the perfect combination of yarns from my stash and set upon said "mindless" knitting (insert wild laughter here.)

At this juncture, I'd like to make a suggestion:  If you find yourself looking for a "mindless, soul soothing knit project" with the intent of de-stressing your life, pick a project you've done before, successfully, and loved. Do not do what I did.

The pattern I selected came in two languages.  This should have been warning flag #1.  If the pattern comes in two languages, you might be wise to determine which of the languages is native to the designer, and if that language differs from your native language.  Now, before you throw things, I will say, there are some wonderful designers out there who are either very fluent in multiple languages, or who have reliable, accurate translators.  For this particular pattern, this is not the case.  It is merely by the grace of the gods that the original pattern and native language of the designer in this case is German, and I have a good friend, whose native language is also German, and who happens to be an expert knitter. I know we'll sort it out (if and when I release the project from the pile of shame).

Warning flag #2 should have been when it "just didn't look right".  I'm going to state the obvious here: If it doesn't look right, it isn't.  I ripped back 3 or 4 times because it didn't look right.  I managed to make changes to make it look "better" but didn't take the time to match "better" against the completed project photos.  That too, would have been smart.  Ravelry provides such a luxury of resources to us, including millions of photos of completed projects.

Warning flag #3 is, of course, "Little Voice".  Why, oh why, don't we listen to Little Voice?  Little Voice is reason, responsibility, reflection and your rudder to smoother sailing.  It's your knitting GPS... nagging you to make a u-turn at your next opportunity rather than 8 hours into what is clearly the wrong path.

Someday I'm going to find a way to amplify "Little Voice" for all knitters.  That is my million dollar idea, because I am yet to meet a knitter who hasn't said at least once to me that they "should have listened to that tiny voice telling them" to check the pattern, gauge, errata, picture... AND I'm yet to learn to listen to it myself.

So, what happened in "that moment"?  Well, there was a long, silent pause.  Then there was a flurry of activity and research, including a lot of squinting at pictures, re-reading English pattern instructions, copying German text into an online translator, laughing in amusement, squinting at pictures, reading other knitters notes in vain, re-reading English pattern instructions, re-reading pattern instructions translated by a computer from German, laughing bitterly, ripping back MILES of yarn, re-knitting a section, squinting at pictures, ripping through the house to find reading glasses, more effective squinting, re-reading English pattern instructions, stuffing it all in a bag, and leaving a message for my German speaking friend and tossing said bag onto the pile of shame, secretly wishing the whole damn pile would catch fire. Did I mention that the knitting was in one room, the computer in another and the pattern in yet a third room, and that only at the very end, whilst wondering why my reading glasses were in the bathroom, when I packed it all up did it occur to me that the entire knit-fit I had just thrown would have been far less stressful and exhausting had I moved all components to one location?  Yeah.  Little Voice one, Me zero.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What makes you happy?

Today is a GREAT day!

I received my shipment of yarn - 4630 yards of dye-able woolly joy, I had brunch with a dear friend, dinner is in the crock pot and already smells wonderful, I scored an incredible deal (50+% OFF!) on a couple very cool items for my wardrobe, the 36th person has signed up for my Mystery Sock KAL, and in just a little while, I'm headed out to my LYS to visit with friends and teach a Yarn Dyeing class. An all round fabulous day.

What makes you happy?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mystery Sock KAL - General Info / Links

I'm very excited to announce that I will be hosting a Mystery Sock KAL beginning November 15th.  Those wishing to participate are encouraged to visit my Ravelry group for information and to sign up for early notification.

Early Sign-Ups Thread
Pre-Event Information (dates, materials, general info)