Friday, April 21, 2017

It doesn't take much to amuze me some days!

Frogging 4000 stitches does mean that the FO Friday post I planned for today...well..it "ain't gonna happen".  Especially as, after picking up all the stitches that needed to be picked back up (without a lifeline I might add) and it worked out perfectly, each and every stitch was in its proper spot and accounted for, knitting those ten rows I frogged again in a slightly different manner.....I did the "I never do this" again and changed my mind. So another 4000 stitches are scheduled to be frogged.

Heh, it is only knitting, right?  (Yeah folks, this is what I do for fun!)

But in other news, because honestly unless you want to see me rip back 4000 stitches again and laugh at my follies., I have nothing to show you..this post on Ravelry this evening just cracked me up!

"Hello crochet lovers!
We are looking for crocheters to work with us knitting our line of shawls and ponchos. We are based in Los Angeles and would prefer to hire local knitters but we are open to other cities within the US as well."

While there are people who crochet and knit, and vise versa.....asking specifically for crocheters to knit your line of shawls sounds a little off, don't you think?

(Hopefully my next batch of frogging and picking up stitches will go as well as the last batch.)

Wish me luck!

~M

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Not the Usual Post

Ever have one of those days where you felt like you were, well, the 75 watt bulb in the 100 watt pack?  Just not quite bright enough?  Just a little overwhelmed?

That was me yesterday.

Yesterday I decided that the edging on my Colourmart Spring Contest Shawl just wasn't....well...singing to me the way it should. I decided the only thing to do was to re-chart it (because that edging that looked sweet in miniature only looked saccharine full sized) and rip it out.

Of course, I was ten rows into the edging when I decided that.

Ten rows of over 400 stitches into that.

4000 stitches to be ripped out, with many little tiny beads too boot.

Oh and...no lifeline!

When I posted on Instagram about it, one of the comments I got was "You're insane..."  Which may be true, but....I did manage to rip those ten rows, pick up all remaining 403 stitches and move on to bigger and better frustrations! 

Vector Graphics that kept cutting off at the bottoms!

Submission photos that were too large to email and drop box not working for me...

At the time the list seemed endless.

I literally ended up looking myself in the eye in the bathroom mirror and asking "What would I tell a coaching client?  What questions can I ask myself that will reduce the frustration, get everything done and not drive me crazy?"

Some things got pushed aside, others I found ways to do differently so the day ended up with me going to bed satisfied that not only had I done my best to fulfill my "to do" list, there were no lingering fires so that this morning I could.....

Go be the assistant at a sheering day on an alpaca farm!
 
Added bonus, I drove home with my trunk filled with alpaca and llama fleeces!  Anyone have a drum carder they want to loan me?


Not many pictures of my day, I was busy!  My knees and hips are going to let me know all about it in the morning I am sure.

How was your day?

~M

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Eggs - Not Really

Applying edits to a pattern

MockUp of Set for Photos

Starts of a Project

Middles of a Project

Testing the mock up

Nap after a hard day of catching sunbeams.
The kids and I have this little game we like to play after watching Dr Who.  Do you remember the episode where one of the versions of Clara had to answer questions with a single word?  We come up with one-work spoilers for the episode.  This time mine was Invitation.  But, if you haven't watched the episode it won't make sense and if you have...tell me, was that not a good spoiler?

Other things to look for..did you see Susan? (The very first companion, how sweet!) A mug full of sonics?  Beethoven? Shakespear? The blackboard from Class? The nod to Clara? I am sure there were more little things in there I missed.

Happy Easter!  Those are the only easter eggs I have for you!

~M

Friday, April 14, 2017

#WeHaveFeathers

It seems so long since I have posted a Finished Object Friday!  The last one was back in March with my version of Nancy Bellamy's Whispering Softly Cowl.  Not that I haven't been knitting and finishing things, or not finishing things as the case may be, but so much of what is on my needles is either a secret or a big project.

But, Sunday, right on my "adjusted" time table I knit the very last stitch of my Quill Cardigan, wove in the last end and sat back to admire her.  I tried her on pre-washing, stuffed my hands in the pockets and nearly, oh so very nearly, just decided to keep her on and forgo the usual finishing!

Don't worry, I was good and gave her  a bath and laid her out flat with a little prodding here and there to straighten out the hem and left her to dry.

Spring in Ohio was waiting for me to finish a nice worsted weight cardigan before arriving, so the day we could do photo's it was much too warm to keep her on for long!  (Which as I am someone who is always cold is a rare event!*)  But, anyway...

Presenting: Denim Quill
Pattern: Quill by Evie Scott Designs
Yarn Ella Rae Amity Heathers.
Total used: 629 grams or 1260 yards  
Size:  Medium

Needles:  US 5 [3.75mm] and US 7 [4.5mm]
Start Date:  February 18th, 2017
Finish Date:  April 9th, 2017 (before you ask why it took me so long, I only worked on it Saturday afternoons and Sundays!)
Mods:  I made the collar an inch wider than the pattern called for in my size to get a full "double breasted" look at the front.
General Notes: Knit as part of the KAL that was hosted in Evie's Group- what fun!  A group of very talented, ever so nice, knitters were knitting along with me.  The knit along continues until May 20th, so there is still time to join, and includes some wonderful prizes at the end. (A sweaters quantity of Cascade yarn for one!)
Pattern Notes: The pattern is well laid out, easy to read and includes several "landmarks" for knitters to follow.  Evie even includes how far away from well placed stitch markers and how far away from your last wrap and turn stitches you perform the next wrap and turn, in her short row instructions! 

Ok, ready to take a peak?


Back view :


You can see the turn down of the shawl collar at the top and the feather details running up the back














Front views:



 Open and wrapped shut, a shawl pin would hold the fronts in place very nicely, but I was too lazy to grab one for the photo shoot!




 Notice the pockets!  Can I say how in love with the pockets I am?  I adore pockets in things, I don't carry a purse so having pockets to slip my id/wallet/phone/keys/hands into is a great feature and these are the perfect size.  The three needle bind off on the front edge joining the pocket lining to the body of the cardigan gives them some stability so I won't be worrying about them stretching out of shape when I use them.


But the crowning achievement in the design of this one is certainly the feathers!




What would I change if I knit it again?  Having seen some fantastic pictures of how the sleeves look without picking up the wraps of the short rows, I think I would not pick them up and have that extra little detail along the tops of the sleeves.

I wonder what will turn up next on my needles?  What about you?  What are you working on?

~M

*I mean I am seriously, always cold and not just that I feel cold to myself, I exude cold the way a child exudes a fever and heats their surroundings.  I could serve as our own air-conditioning unit some days.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What's Your Style?

Knitting style, I mean.

Not do you "throw" or "pick".  Not do you like lace weight or bulky.  But, how are your stitches mounted on your needles?

Still not sure what I mean?

First, we need to define some terminology.  For front and back loop.

Oh the conversations I have had with people over this one and it is so easy. The front loop is the side of the stitch that is closest to your body while knitting.



The Back Loop is the one furthest away from your body. (Click the pictures to embiggen them!)


Which brings us to our next terminology which is leading leg.

If you look at the pictures above you can see that the front loop is just barely closer to the needle tip than the back loop, that portion is leading the way.  (Kind of like a cowboy sitting on a horse, your stitch has one leg on each side of the needle.)

In Western Mount the leading leg is also the front loop...to knit that stitch without twisting it you would insert your right hand needle through that front loop from left to right, wrap your yarn around your needle and so on and so forth until you had completed the stitch.

Like this :

But there is another way of mounting your stitches so that the leading leg is actually the back loop.  (People who knit both Combined and Eastern Crossed Uncrossed styles mount their stitches this way.)

To knit that stitch without twisting it you would need to insert your right hand needle through the back loop from right to left, wrap your yarn around the needle and so on and so forth to complete making the stitch.

Why does it matter you ask?  Well, for many things in the knitting world, so long as you know which way to approach your knit and purl stitches to not twist them, it doesn't make any difference at all.  There are places where the mount of your stitches does make a difference : decreases, gathered stitches and in my opinion nupps.  Today, let's just look at one...gathered stitches.

I love gathered stitches from the Estonian tradition of knitting. (The link goes to a book with a few patterns in it that show what I mean. )  I actually have some lace knitting books in Estonian, so I can't read a word of what they say, but I can follow the charts! But, sometimes making the gathered stitches can be hard with a Western Mount stitch...my answer is easy...I knit Eastern Crossed Uncrossed which means that my stitches are mounted with the leading leg at the back of the needle. Working into the same group of stitches multiple times is much easier when you don't have to drag your right hand needle all the way across the front of the grouping to knit them. (It's all in the purl folks!  So when I work in the round my knit stitches sit Western Mount...people who use this method get very good at reading which is the leading and which is the lagging leg so that we don't get twisted stitches when we move from flat knitting and in the round knitting.)

Want to see what I mean?  (For you non-Eastern Crossed Uncrossed knitters start by :  slipping three stitches as if to knit, individually and then slip your left hand needle into the front of those same three stitches so that we can knit through what is now the leading leg, but the back loop.  ECU knitters just insert your right hand needle into the leading legs of the next three stitches like you normally would.)


Pull the stitch you have just made onto your right hand needle but do not drop those three stitches yet!  

Yarn over and re-insert your right hand needle into the backs of those same three stitches and knit them one more time.

Now you can drop them from your left hand needle and proceed as you normally would.

Put in groups, even just a 3/3 gathered stitch can do some interesting things in a pattern.

The same would apply if you were doing a 5/5, 7/7 or even up to a 9/9 gathered stitch, although for the larger numbers it is easier if you use the cheaters method and employ a crochet hook.  I will share that trick another day.

What's on my needles today, other than a swatch?  My Colourmart Shawl is within 20 or so rows of being finished.  Lots of beads to come before the end, although I waved goodbye to the nupps just yesterday.  (A couple of secret design things are happening ) and Quill made it off the needles, into a bath and is ready for her photos.  You'll get to see her on Friday.

What's on your needles today?

~M













Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Week In Review; Best of Instagram

Learning New Software, Goal for April

The Eye Room at The Emergency Room

Leaving Collar Cove

Halfway through the layover at Pocket Point

Big Beads on Nupps

Little Beads on Nupps

Friday, April 7, 2017

It Ain't Over Til......

I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was not going to be a finished object for Friday this week.

It is not easy to get in enough knitting time to finish 207 row, top down triangle shawls, with beads and nupps, or beaded nupps.  Or doodling around with some ever so pretty blue yarn that will either be true love or "go down in flames", or miles of garter stitch collar on adult size sweaters that only get touched on the weekends.

Knowing this, I gave some thought about what I could post about today and came up with a plan.

And...in the words of Mary - muffed it!

So instead of a nice photo explanation of leading vs lagging stitches and front vs back loops, along with a nice question about What's your style of knitting, you will get to hear about my week! (Yeah, my kids rolled their eyes too!)

This week marked the first week of the second quarter of the year.  Which means, among other things, that it was time to take a look at the goals I set myself and tally up what were wins, what were opportunities, and which goals didn't even make any sense.  Anyone who has ever sat in on a goal setting workshop, or been coached knows that many people look at goals and ask are they SMART?  It is a fairly standard acronym, but I gave you a link just in case you hadn't heard it before.

At various points in my life the SMART goal has been modified to include SMART + 3 or SMART-ER goals which includes in each case some "scope of authority" and "evaluating progress".  I like the Evaluating Progress step so I always include it, along with streamlining like goals into each other once the task steps are completed, but the step that most frequently I see people missing is Tweaking the goals when they no longer make sense.

Looking back at the goals I set myself in January, I need to do some streamlining and tweaking.

One of the goals I am going to be adding is becoming proficient at using a program called Stitch Mastery.

Growing up, I was always made to feel that I was the 75 watt bulb in the package of 100 watt bulbs and not particularly adept at doing anything.  But, I will tell you, I can ROCK an Excel Spreadsheet for charting knitting patterns.  (Most of my designing starts with a blank spread sheet and turns into all kinds of beautiful things.) But, the one thing I could not get excel to do was produce accurate written, or line by line, instructions for complicated charts. I could get it to do easy stuff, but even that needed some serious editing in a word doc to be understandable.

Stitch Mastery will create the line by line from the chart  you enter....so when my earnings from pattern sales hit a certain point, and my tax refund came in, I decided that maybe it was time to switch how I did things and I bought the program. (Ok yes it wasn't that simple, I researched several different options, but as this one had the most favorable reviews from other designers and is the one used by several places I submit patterns to it made the most sense to purchase it and get used to it.)

First thing I tried charting...EPIC fail, straight back to Excel I went.  being able to merge and center cells when a two stitches were being used for a single action but still maintained their dual nature was so much easier in excel. (I still haven't quite figured it out in SM.) So I did what any 75 watt bulb in a 100 watt package would do, set it aside until today. 

Today I actually took an Excel chart and translated it into SM, several actually, and although I now have several open questions in the SM forum on Ravelry, I might be ready to start using it for some of my charting needs.

That said, I still think that I will start in Excel and then translate, because the only way to shut Minnie Mouse (the name now given to the muse of knitting designers) up is to go ahead and chart it quickly.

The rest of my goals?  Well, as I think I am more than hitting everything, it is time to up the ante.

It's funny how my life has a way of working out, upping the ante was literally delivered into my email box just a couple of days ago.  A new challenge, a learning curve....I can't wait to share it with you!

How did you do first quarter?  Did you have knitting goals?  Do you have designing goals?  Leave me a comment and let me know I am not alone here!

~M