Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

Phoenix Knitting

Posted by mmmshado on September 25, 2006

It’s a well known fact among the people who know me that I don’t have much “sticktoitiveness.” I tried sewing and then a week later sold my sewing machine. I changed my major at least 20 times (and the way it looks possibly 20 times more). I went to the gym every day for a week and now haven’t been in months. But when it comes to knitting, I just keep on plugging away. 2 weeks ago I came up with nothing short but a disaster of a sock. Huge gaping holes in the short row heel. Now I find myself with a perfectly unholy heel but huge gaps in the join from heel to instep for the foot.

 Well, as always, misocrafty comes to the rescue. She gave me an idea for that which I will promptly be fixing. Surprisingly enough, I’m sticking with something and planning on putting as much effort needed into getting one (at least) complete and wearable sock. I feel that each failure I make with these socks is making me a better knitter. I’m arising from my mistakes and making positives out of them.

 So now as I sit here waiting for system updates at work, all I can think is “Yeah, that’s right, I’m updating and don’t care what anyone thinks” Why such a strange attitude? It’s this perfection kick I always want to have. Sometimes I want every word in a post (or every stitch in a sock) to be absolutely perfect but then of course I realize there’s nothing to learn in a situation like that.  Here’s an example of imperfection of mine:


The world of dishcloth knitting has really sucked me in. I’m in a KAL and everything. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling in the mood to work major overtime or go to the Boston Knit Out so I decided to catch up on watching my Netflix (a budget knitter’s best friend) DVD of Jewel In The Crown and come up with this contraption. I’ve never done cables before and that had to stop. I flipped to the cables section of my Harmony stitch guide and picked out an easy enough looking cable. I did the math and figured out that I could fit 3 cables over the amount of stitches I had. I thought how wonderful- I’ll do a different slanting one in the middle to give it some visual interest. Instead, I have accidental ruffles, texture that resembles more like alien skin than a dishcloth and only what seems a shadow of good cabling. Clearly much needs to be done.

The system’s back up again- time to take a small break from the knitting world.


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SO toe up…

Posted by mmmshado on August 8, 2006

Look- it's a Toe!

Well, all my Turkish Cast on obsessing has finally come to fruition- I have my first sock toe ever. As of last night though, it is now gone to frog land. Even in the beginning I started making mistakes and ended up with a reverse stockinette toe- not supposed to happen. I know what all my mistakes were and was happy to rip it and start over again.

My biggest mistake? I think it was when I knit the wrong side of the magic loop stitches- that’s what set in the reverse stockinette toe with stockinette foot.

Then I realized I was using the absolute wrong needles. With magic loop, it really is necessary to break in the cord so that it loses its’ memory otherwise it’s going to be a pain to work with. I learned that in the not so fun way. But the yarn is so wonderful that I would be willing to make the needles work if they were all I had. Instead, I’m looking into the Classic Circulars from KnitPicks- I’ve heard that they’re pretty sharp and effective. I’ll just be sure to hold the cord over some steam and take out all the kinks in it.

I find this whole process interesting. I was able to separate myself from my knitting for once. Just because I had to frog a project doesn’t mean that my knitting is terrible or that I as a knitter don’t belong. EVERYONE frogs at one point or another. I looked at the project and wasn’t terribly happy with where it was going so I made a conscious adult decision to let it go. Surprisingly, it felt more cathartic than sad.

Do all knitters feel a sense of retrospect when working on projects? I know that this weekend when I start the sock again, I’ll be entering it with less doubt than I did the first time. The memory is there of how awkward the whole process felt and what I had to adjust along the way but this time I can concentrate on the joy that sock knitting can give instead of the terror that I had that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Each project that we do no matter what the result sets a tone for our future projects.

If a tone is set, it would seem that as a group, we really should focus on what was good about a certain project, what we learned from it, and how it shaped us in positive ways. I’m thinking of my friends who are experiencing the world for the first time now and learning what it really means to have a job and work in an office from 9-5. It’s not easy and your first job will almost always be your worst- it’s a process. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t find joy and happiness in that time of life. It all translates back to knitting and knitting translates back to life. I appreciate what the sock toe gave me this weekend- confidence that I really do understand Turkish Cast On and that the yarn I’m using is incredible (Regia Bamboo).

Until then, I find myself without a project that I’m aching to work on. But that too is ok.

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Yes I did it. I Fair Isle’d

Posted by mmmshado on August 4, 2006

Last night I became initiated to a new knitting technique (new to me that is)- the wonderful world of Fair Isle or I guess more accurately Stranded color knitting. Granted it was for a simple pattern and only about 5 repeats but there I was with my right hand twisting away. In some weird moment, I felt like I had done Fair Isle before because it came so quickly and my fingers already knew what to do despite it being clunky and awkward at first.

Is there such a thing as intuitive knitting? I think so.

I remember reading about people who taught themselves and followed the “if it looks right, it must be right” school of knitting very successfully. I felt that last night- I just knew that the way the yarn was acting would look beautiful once the colors were added. I have Grumperina’s latest post to thank. She picked up a book of Estonian knitting patterns and I really did feel like I was putting off my Fair Isle instruction. When intuition doesn’t always come natural for me, I feel anxiety. Major anxiety actually. To the point where I told myself that I really wasn’t interested at all in color knitting but I knew that was a lie- I’m a color addict! Yes those colors might be tweedy and dark but they are colors nonetheless.

This gives me new hope for the project that I’ve been working on for a while- the Monkey backpack from Stitch ‘N Bitch. Last weekend I started back on the gusset after teaching myself how to pick up stitches. In a fit of anger of some sort or impatience, I ripped out the needle and told myself if I really wanted to work on it again, I’d find a way to get the stitches back on the needle. Well, I did and I learned how to do it without even twisting the stitches. Again my intuition was working overtime there and I’ve given the project some much needed attention and might be able to finish it in the coming weeks.

Finally, this new foray into stranded knitting sparks more ideas for my trips to Woolcott this weekend for their big 28th Anniversary Celebration. I’ll be sure to post my procurements of course.

So, here’s to intuitive knitting and major sales!

Posted in knitting, Techniques, yarn | 2 Comments »

Where you at…

Posted by mmmshado on July 25, 2006

How pretentious would it be to start an entry with a quote by Proust? Perhaps too pretentious thus no Proustian quotes today.. sorry. I thought “Where you at?” would be much more appropriate. Colloquialisms should be embraced and used for effect. Ok- this is not a language blog. Let’s get to the knitting.

 Ahh yes, the knitting! Last night as I was packing away my knitting for the evening, I was wondering where I’m at. I don’t have many FOs under my belt nor lots of UFOs floating around either. None of that. Someone could actually or vicariously walk in my room (although that’s a whole different set of challenges) and be under the impression that I’m not working on anything at all and that I might be a verbal knitter- where I talk about it but never actually put the needles in my hand.

So where you at?

 I’m in the experimental/ try it then frog it stage. In the past few weeks, I’ve taught myself Magic Loop, ssk (and looking forward to trying these: Left Slanting Decreases.)

And last night I had the best time doing this:

 Turkish Cast On via Magic Loop

I would keep on trying until it felt right- maybe about 2 or 3 tries until I had it working beautifully and I was creating something that resembled a toe. I figured I could keep on working increases and make some sort of beginning of a sock. But as the night weaned on and I set my alarm for 5:30am once again, I knew it wasn’t going anywhere so I just broke the yarn and admired at a mini-toe, something that only fit around one of my toes (I only cast on about 4 or 5 stitches). It was the first time doing the Turkish Cast on and M1R that I’ll need for a toe up sock pattern. I like the accomplishment and confidence that a new technique gives me.

In the past, I actually reached a point in my knitting where I was ready to just buy big needles and make projects that could be finished quickly and was resolved to work hundreds of scarves in simple seed stitch. That was maybe 2 months ago which considering I’ve only been knitting for 3 months says how quickly I’ve gone through stages that take some people years to get out of. Well what happened? I guess that’s for another entry. But something did happen.

I understand the race to FOs but as a beginning knitter and someone who aspires to writing his own patterns, I find it necessary to see the broad scope of technique rather than focusing on “sweater A” or “shawl B”. I still have FOs as a goal for the future. Heck, if I could do Knucks right now on magic loop, I would be throwing myself into it but I need more practice. If I had to summarize where my joie de vivre in knitting comes now, it would be in the process of shaping garments or even thinking of using techniques in non-traditional ways.

Now what?

I find myself on a path of sock knitting- not necessarily socks that I’m wanting to make at this point but I’m fascinated how they’re shaped and constructed. Watching socks being constructed to me is perhaps a close 2nd to seeing a seamless sweater take shape on a circular needle (again something that I’m trying to imagine on magic loop since I mainly work on small items.)

So that’s where I’m at. 3 months into this new world of knitting. Before I forget, I want to give a VERY big Thank You to the woman who taught me, none other than Alison of “the blue blog”, and instilled a confidence in me that I wish all beginning knitters had.

Hmm, where will I be in 6 months?

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Happy Saturdye!

Posted by mmmshado on July 24, 2006


Well, the weekend has ended and I’m back to being the responsible blue shirt and brown pants wearing Jeff that I shed in light of the freedom that Saturday and Sunday give me. It’s been a while since I’ve had some weekend time to pursue some projects I’m really interested in- and I was ready.

 So started the first ever Saturdye for me. KnitPicks.. check. Kool aid I started collecting months ago check. Casserole dish purchased. Plastic cups check. Microwave not stolen? Check. And combine everything, you get… thewholesetup.JPG

I didn’t think I was going to be so persnickety (read “anal retentive”) about setting up everything but my scientific mind kicked in as well as my color theory mind.. warmtocool.JPG

where I tried lining things up in a color wheel as well as warm to cool as you see above.

 The whole process with all the mini-skeins I did took about 4 hours. You can see the rest of the results in my Flickr account (just click on one of the photos above and it should take you there luckily.)

 Once the yarn was up to dry and all my work had been done, I took myself to my favorite movie theatre in the world, Coolidge Corner Theater, and saw Russian Dolls which I walked out of feeling surprisingly French and both satisfied and disappointed in the world at the same time. It made me want to be home and working on my knitting actually- to find completion through my projects.

 It’s a discombobulated first entry into the blogging world I’ll admit- I’m going to start looking for a good blog client to run on my computer at home to make this whole process work better for me. Right now, I’m shaky.

 Welcome Jeff to the world of blogging.

Posted in knitting, saturdye, yarn | 2 Comments »