Monday Mishaps: Slacking

I know a lot of people don’t update their Ravelry too often; when they start new projects or buy new yarn we are blinded with the need to cast on right away and leave Ravelry for later. A while ago I decided this was a horrible idea.
I still haven’t updated my stash, I will have to go through everything at some point and add it all in, but I do keep my projects up to date. Lately I haven’t been on the ball and really keeping it together. I haven’t been adding some projects or making note of the blog posts attached to said projects.

Projects Page

It started simply enough, I realized I hadn’t added Sara’s Wedding Mittens to Ravelry! I decided to correct this immediately, I kept all the yarn labels and have taken note as to which needles I am using etc. I entered all the info into the project page, tagged Sara as the recipient and put up the progress photos. I felt a nagging suspicion that I was missing something. BLOG POSTS! Ravelry has this neat little function where you can tag your projects to the blog posts that you write.

Wedding Mittens

I went through and tagged the mittens and discovered that I had written about knitting the Teeny Tiny Mochimochi! I hadn’t even added them to my project page! I went through and added Gnomeo and Garf and scrolled back through the blog posts to tag them in all the posts they were mentioned in.

Gnomeo

Of course, as I am scrolling back, there is not one project tagged for a couple months, and I write blog posts every weekday. Needless to say, there were quite a few things that needed to be added and properly tagged.
I always forget to start a project page for my car socks. I had finished two pairs and there wasn’t a project page for either of them. I had to guestimate the start dates, but I managed to get them in with photos etc.
One of the most beneficial things about the blog, is the fact that I HAVE to take photos… constantly. If I want to have a post with pictures I need to have them in order to post. I’ve gotten into the habit of taking them as I go so by the time I am ready to write a post, I have several to choose from. This really goes hand-in-hand with updating Ravelry because most people’s chief concern is not putting up pictures when they put up their projects.

Garf

That bothers me as well, so you’re not alone. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a finished object photo though. You can take progress photos as you go and that could potentially be helpful to someone else in the future! I know that not everyone has several enthusiastic photographers on-hand either. I usually call on my friends to take finished object photos every couple months. Until then, I have to make due with the photos I can get on my own. It is lovely to get finished object photos with you in the garment, but (unless you have a tripod) it is near impossible to capture the garment with a selfie. That’s why I usually post detail shots first. Close-ups of stitches or cables.
The moral of today’s story is, don’t leave your updates to the last second. It’s much easier to update little by little than do a huge overhaul.

Functional Friday: Teeny Tiny Mochimochi

Onto the other Anna Hrachovec book I managed to get my hands on! As I mentioned in the review of Super Scary Mochimochi, I was really looking forward to that book and I let Paul pick out one as well since he was so enthralled with Gnomeo. He looked through a few of the books she had out and picked this one.

TTMM

I think the thing that drew him to these books was the sheer variety of toys in the book. There are seven sections of the book entitled Tiny Animals, Tiny Edibles, Tiny Humanoids, Tiny Inanimates, Tiny Naturals, Tiny Holidays and Tiny Possibilities. Animals and edibles are fairly self-explanatory; animals and food if you were still trying to guess. Humanoids are things like babies, mermaids and robots. When I was talking with Anna at VKL she said the kit patterns she sells aren’t in any of the books, so to get the pattern for something in a kit you would have to buy the kit. The exception to this rule is the gnome and he is found in the Tiny Humanoid section.

TTMM Gnomes

Tiny Inanimates are things like computers, sail boats and record players; small things of everyday life. The Tiny Naturals are things found in nature such as plants, volcanoes and planets. Tiny Holidays include things special for a specific time of year. What I want to see in the next book is a teeny tiny turkey! I think that would be totally amazing, maybe I should try to work on that and send Anna the pattern, or just a random turkey… I don’t think there are many places random turkey is turned away.

TTMM Chickens

The Tiny Possibilities section is all about different way to display your tiny knitting. Whether you’re wearing, carrying, displaying or giving these tiny little knitted treasures there is a way to show them off with pride.
Like the Super Scary Mochimochi book, all the instructions are extremely well written and there are short tutorials in the beginning of the book. The photography is amazingly funny as well. It makes me want to knit toys until you can’t even see the floor of my house, but I am keeping it in check quite well.

TTMM Elephant

Again, I would recommend this book to knitters of every level, especially if you are into toy knitting. If you’re not totally sure about toy knitting, I would really suggest getting one of the small kits. All the materials are included, which means you don’t have to hunt down yarn that would work or find stuffing etc. It really takes the more difficult parts out of it. Right now the only thing stopping me from going totally off the reservation with toy knitting is a lack of time and really REALLY excellent yarn scraps.

Turning a Page

I am going to push back the one-month post wedding post because our photographer is still putting the finishing touches on all our photos. I am really excited to see them, but the anticipation is killing me. I also feel like the wedding isn’t really over until we have gotten the photos so I am kind of glad we haven’t gotten them yet, in a strange way. I digress; today’s post will be about what I have been reading!!

Outlander TV

I am back onto audio books now and I’ve picked up Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series again. A friend recommended them to me, and I absolutely devoured the first one. I ripped through that audio book so fast I don’t think I ever stopped listening to it. It is a particularly long book as well so this was no small feat.

Outlander

The first book in the series is actually a TV show that has just started (and is excellent as well). I get this strange feeling while I am watching the TV show that I am reading the book, I just expect it to keep going and I am always jarred when the episode ends. I may or may not get slightly upset about having to wait another week for the next episode. I think right now it is on hiatus, which I am ever so patiently waiting for it to be over.
I started the second book of the Outlander series right after I finished the first; the second book is called Dragonfly in Amber. I was really distraught that the second book takes place 20 YEARS AFTER THE FIRST!! There was a lot of cursing, and a fit might have been thrown; I don’t really want to talk about it.

Dragonfly in Amber

It did eventually pick up where the last book left off and it ended up not being a complete and total deal breaker for me. I just felt like people should have sufficient warning so they don’t loose their minds… like I did. Now that everyone is sufficiently forewarned, I will also mention that it gets a little slow if you’re not really into the politics of the time period. I am not much for history, but this book is peppered with historical figures and intrigue. Around the middle, the history gets a bit thicker and the romantic plot doesn’t progress a whole lot, so I found myself losing interest.
A week ago when I decided I needed something to listen to, I realized I had it on my phone and still had not managed to finish the book. I started listening and luckily I was almost at the end of the political intrigue and back to the meat of the book, or what passes for the meat with me.
The third book, entitled Voyager picks up immediately where the second one ended so there are no surprises there. I was slightly concerned it was going to pull another, XX amount of years later, with me. As I pressed play, I raised an eyebrow at my phone as if daring it to pull such a stunt. My phone was sufficient terrified by my death glare to make sure the story cooperated with my whim. So far I am enjoying Voyager but I am not half way through the book.

Voyager

These books are very long and when I looked them up, I realized the first three came out in quick succession, only one year apart. The next five books took three to five years in between, the most recent one came out this June. This makes me a little bit nervous about the wait time till the next novel, but I am sure it will take me a few months to get through the remaining books as they get progressively larger as they go on.

The Second of Four

Since I haven’t managed to do a noteworthy amount of knitting, I am going to talk about my second spinning class! This week I managed to be late again, but I claim no fault in this as it was snowing like no tomorrow. There was a point where all the traffic had completely stopped, I think people must have been frightened to continue because of the blowing snow.

Ply-ed

This week we learned plying. Our homework from last week was to continue making singles so we actually had something to ply this week. For those who don’t know, plying is when you take two single strands you have spun and twist them together. The very first class, our teacher stressed that how you twist your singles is important because it affects how you ply those singles together. If you are spinning your singles to the left, you need to ply them to the right. If you spin them to the right and ply them to the right as well, you will just untwist all the work you’ve just done.

Lazy Kate

Plying didn’t actually take too long to learn, then we were taught how to use a niddy-knotty to skein it, then moved onto the drum carder. The drum carder is how you make roving. We started with merino wool and alpaca; if you are working with a blend you are supposed to weigh out the amounts of each you put into it and work it though the drum carder in order to mix it up properly.

Drum Carder 2

We just eye-balled the amounts and worked the fiber through the drum carder to learn how to use it. It looks somewhat like a medieval torturous music box, so it can be a little intimidating to get started. Once you’re onto it though, it is easy as pie.
We sent enough fiber through the drum carder to get us through the next week at least. Next time, we are going to learn how to card manually, with the combs.

Drum Carder

I wonder if it would have been better to learn combing first, so we would really appreciate the drum carder once we got to it, but the teacher is very knowledgeable and I am sure she has this down to a science.
We are also going to learn to use drop spindles next week, which I am looking forward to, partly because I won’t have to pack up the spinning wheel and lug it all the way to Kitchener!
I’ll save the knitting I’ve done this week, for next weeks post… that way it will seem like I am getting a lot more done than I am. I am hoping that my week won’t be crazy busy and I’ll actually be able to relax and knit a bit!

Technical Tuesday: Life Lines

In lace knitting, there are few things worse than ripping out lace. The worse part is trying to read your knitting as you put it all back on the needles. Lifelines are a way to keep your knitting straight as you are putting it back together.

It is usually a good idea to put lifelines in every couple inches just in case something goes awry. Sometimes it is hard to remember to put in a lifeline, but if you have ever had to rip out lace, you’ll know it is well worth it.

I’ve been working on a lace cowl for a few months… or maybe years. Every time I work on it, I manage to mess it up and have to start over again completely. I think I must have restarted it six or seven times. The pattern isn’t even particularity difficult. Next time I am going to attempt to save myself the trouble and put in lifelines.

There are a few different ways to put in lifelines, but these videos are the clearest and most comprehensive! I would highly suggest you use lifelines whenever you get a chance!

Monday Mishaps: Harder than you Think

When Paul and I were in Chicago I got an email with an offer to sign up for a spinning class in Kitchener/Waterloo area. This is an hour drive from me, but I am free on Tuesday nights and I have been dying to try my hand at spinning. Spinning isn’t something that you jump right into though. I wasn’t about to run out and buy a spinning wheel to give it a go. This class allows you to grasp the basics of spinning while borrowing a wheel from the guild. This means they can assign you homework and you have no excuses.

Spinning 1

Last week was my first week of a six week class. It did not start on an auspicious note. I left slightly late, for me, and while on my way there was waylaid by construction. More accurately I was delayed by bits of road that were blocked off for construction but not actually being worked on. If my compulsion for being perfect is not evident enough in my knitting, you won’t be surprised to find out that I HATE to be late. It is a huge pet peeve of mine and normally I leave enough of a buffer that I am chronically early. Needless to say that this time I failed to deliver.

Spinning 2

I was already five minutes late when I showed up to the building, so I was trying frantically to find my class in a hurry, but not appear like the frenzied crazy person I am. The address I was emailed was to a daycare that used to be a school. The front gate was childproof, so I was outside, in the dark, messing around with a gate. Next, the door was locked; there were lights on inside, but the door was definitely locked.

Spinning 3

Naturally, I knocked. No answer. I knocked again with the same result. Seeing as I was already late, I lost all patience and simply pounded on the door until a janitor peeked around the corner with a look that said ‘What the..?’ I let him know that I was supposed to be taking a class with the K/W Knitters Guild and he directed me to the last door on the right. It looks like there were another set of doors right beside the class room, but they were not the obvious ones, so I didn’t manage to see them at all.

Spinning 4

The class was really interesting, but much harder than I anticipated. Usually I catch onto things very fast, but this took some practice. I’ve been practicing this week, so hopefully my next class will go much easier!

Functional Friday: Entrelac 2 by Rosemary Drysdale

I bought Rosemary Drysdale’s first book, Entralac, a long time ago. Not too long after I first started knitting. It was a decision I went back and forth on for a long while. I would see the book, flip through it and admire the patterns, but not get it. At that point, I couldn’t afford to buy it, it was right after I was out of school and didn’t have a job yet. I never forgot about the book and did eventually buy it, but it was a huge case of delayed gratification.

Entrelac 2 two

I was really excited when I realized the free book I was getting from Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2014! I was also going to be taking the advanced version of Rosemary Drysdale’s class. I ended up getting my book signed just before class and there weren’t very many people in the class so there was a lot of one on one attention. The class was based around the second Entrelac book because that is where the more advanced techniques lay. The first Entrelac book was more about the basics and how to knit Entrelac in the first place. It looks very intimidating so a lot of people are apprehensive, but it really isn’t too bad.

Entrelac 2

This book focuses on Entrelac in a more abstract form. Asymmetrical patterns, knitting Entrelac on it’s side or in a pentagon shape instead of a square. There are a lot of really interesting options for these different shapes and Rosemary incorporates them into the patterns in the back of the book.

Entrelac 2 Three

There is still the ordinary how-to instructions in the front of the book, but everything else incorporates lace, beading, strategically placed yarn overs or bobbles. It is an excellent place to get really great pattern ideas.
As with the first Entrelac book, everything is written very well and there are explanatory photos, but I would not recommend this book for a beginner. The techniques needed are easily explained, but I think the average knitter would benefit from doing these books in order.

Resetting

Since I don’t have a wedding to plan anymore I’ve been catching up on a lot of the blogs I usually read. I’ve been seriously slacking for the past few months and have been trying to catch up. In order to show the proper respect to those blogs I’ve been neglecting, I thought I would share a few of my favourites!
The first one I am going to list is Iowa Girl Eats. I know! It isn’t a knitting blog! I read a really wide variety of blogs and quite a few of them are food blogs. This is one of the ones someone randomly recommended to me and I started reading right away. I loved this blog right from the beginning and have made quite a few of her recipes. Everything single one of them has been absolutely amazing. Here are a couple links to my favourites!

Cheesesteaks

This photo is from the Iowa Girl Eats website. Click photo to follow link through.

 

Potato Jack Cheese

I enjoy reading the anecdotes she posts and all the recipes are always amazing!

Another blog I ended up finding is called This Runners Trials and I found this blog a bit later. I was specifically searching for running blogs because I deeply wish I could be addicted to running… or jogging… or exercise of any nature.

This blog is written by Jen, and I find her passion for running to be so inspiring. She writes about training for marathons, balancing her training with the responsibilities of having small children and everything that leading an active life can throw at you.
Whenever I read this blog, it makes me want to go outside and run 10K… like right now. Never mind the fact that I would probably have some kind of cardiac episode, get lost and freeze to death… all in the same run. I would definitely need to start out small and work my way up.
The last blog I will mention IS a knitting blog and one that most knitters know; the Yarn Harlot. If you have not read Stephanie’s blog, just do yourself a favour and read. Even if you’re not a knitter, she is hysterically funny and I can’t get enough.
That is all for this week, I was really hoping the wedding photos would be done in time for the blog post today, but it was not meant to be. I am planning to do a one month after-wedding-update next week, so it might have been best to get them a bit later.

Kittens and Mittens

The knitting for this week has been really diverse! I knit up one of the Mochimochi cat kits and I’ve been steadily working on Sara’s mittens. I feel like those are two things on the opposite ends of the spectrum. They’re both really great projects to get back into the grove with though. After the wedding and coming back from the honeymoon it’s kind of hard to remember what you were doing before you got so crazy busy. It really feels like you are picking up threads from some kind of dream.
The cat kit I got from VKL Chicago 2014, includes the yarn for two cats; a grey one and an orange one. I started with the orange one because we’ve got far too many grey cats running around our house already.

Gnomeo and Garf

While I was knitting the cat, Chloe was sitting on the floor and staring at me knitting this tiny little cat. It’s not like she wanted to kill it or anything, she was just watching. I actually think she was a little jealous; somewhere deep inside, she knew it was another cat.

Lurker

Don’t worry, she eventually got over it and they are good friends now. By ‘good friends’ I mean they kind of ignore each other. Orange cat, or ‘Garf’ as we have affectionately named him, isn’t very vocal to begin with and after the initial jealousy on Chloe’s part, she thinks he was giving her the silent treatment. I am not too concerned though, they will work through it.

Chloe and Garf

Sara’s mittens! I am making these mittens for Sara for her wedding. I am really excited for them because A) this pattern looks amazing no matter what you knit them out of and B) THEY’RE WEDDING MITTENS!! I am really honoured that she would trust me to knit these up for her and I am going to make them PERFECT. Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows about my mania for perfection; lets just multiply that by three and be done with it.
I’ve been taking lots of photos of the mittens so I have something of a picture story about the creation of these! I’ll post my updated pictures every Wednesday, but at the rate I am going I think there won’t be too much left to do next week.

Mitten Photo Story

Technical Tuesday: Tulip Button Hole

The one thing that will always make or break a garment is the finishing. If your knitting is perfect, but the seaming and castoffs are subpar, it shows. One thing I was struggling with was the buttonholes. In every pattern I followed, it was always the same buttonhole, bind off X amount of stitches and cast them on again on the other side. I felt like there had to be a neater and more structurally sound way to do button holes and that is when I heard about the tulip buttonhole.

As stated in the video, this button band has a lot more structure and looks neater. Structure is something you desperately want in a button band, it is an area that gets the most wear and tear from the whole garment. If your button band isn’t as strong as it needs to be, the holes will warp over time and end up making the garment look saggy.

I know all three of these videos have a different name for the buttonholes, but they are all very similar and quite strong. In case you are new to the blog, I usually try to post multiple videos in case one just isn’t cutting it. Everyone has a different knitting technique and it can take time to figure out what works best in your case. Luckily I was about to find tutorials with both ‘left’ and ‘right’ handed knitting, so you can adjust for your liking.