Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone had a FANTASTIC 2014 and is looking forward to a new year in 2015! There are going to be a few changes around the blog and within Stitch Please as a company, so I thought I would get the boring house keeping things out of the way first!

StitchPleaseTagline

First and foremost, I am not going to be blogging everyday anymore. I am hoping to write some patterns this year and in order to get out the best pattern I possibly can, I need to take the time to field test them. I am going to continue with the Technical Tuesday, Wednesday (regular knitting blogging) and Thursday (off topic blogging). I am going to do reviews when I have things to review. I am going to aim for every other week, but it isn’t a hard and fast rule I am trying to keep.

Secondly! At Stitch Please I am going to be adding in some more colours!! Yaaaay! The first of which is going to be Atomic Red, and several others that I will release in good time. I’ve had several requests for gray, black, rainbow and baby colours. I will do my best to accommodate all requests! I am always open to more suggestions for colours and colour combinations!

We are looking into what shows to attend this year. Last year we managed to get to the Kitchener/Waterloo Knitters Fair, which was great! I will be posting more definite lists in the upcoming events sidebar as soon as we have concrete plans. If there is an event in your area, let us know! We are always looking for different fiber festivals to attend and it may be the case that we just don’t know about the one nearest you.

Mini Skeins

In 2015 we are also going to start selling mini skeins in our Etsy store. For those times when you don’t have quite enough yardage to finish a project, but don’t need enough for another full skein. We have all underestimated the amount of yarn we would need for a project and had to go in search of another ball. This will be perfect for those times.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine was talking about knitting her husband a pair of socks. She was complaining about the size of his feet and the fact that she always has to buy more than one skein of yarn. He likes a long cuff on his socks so not only does she need to knit forever, but get another ball of yarn for the extra yardage she needs. The mini skeins would be great for that as well! I am sure there are a variety of other uses, but these are the ones that have come to mind most recently!

I thought I would get this update up and out today so you’re not too jarred by the change of schedule. I will still be telling you all about my mishaps, but it will be on Wednesday instead! Functional Friday will be next week as well!

I’m so glad to have everyone here as readers and hope you are enjoying the blog! I really enjoy writing it and look forward to all the new things to come in the new year! HAPPY 2015!!!!

Monday Mishaps: … or not

All right guys, I will be honest. There really haven’t been all that many mishaps this week! It has been a week of finishing things and getting ready for Christmas. I have recently picked up a couple things that I had been working on and set down. I noticed one piece where I had mixed up the SSK and the K2TOG. During my Japanese Lace class at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2014 the teacher gave us a little tip that has saved me a lot of time.
When you are following a chart the symbol for SSK or K2TOG looks something like this.

Left

The box with a diagonal line through it can be a little confusing, which way is SSK and which way is K2TOG.

SSK K2TOG

The key is to point the needle in the direction the line within the box is slanted.

T2TOG

K2TOG

SSK

SSK

I know this was a little more of a Technical Tuesday than a Monday Mishaps, but I haven’t really messed anything up too badly this week. I’ll try my best for next week.

Monday Mishaps: Mitten Block

Working on Sara’s mittens has been cake for the most part. I’ve done this pattern before so I am familiar with it. There are no little surprises or ‘at the same time’ clauses to look out for. Yet what I failed to realize is how different the Cascade 220 is from Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label yarn.

Fiddlehead Mittens Colourwork

TFA Yellow label completely relaxes when you block it. It becomes super soft and almost melts into the shape you want it to be. Cascade 220 does not. Right away when I started knitting the mittens, they felt very dense; this is a good thing, it means they will wear longer and be warmer. The less open spaces between the stitches means the less cold air will get in.
My plan was to knit both the outside mittens and block them together, then pick up the stitches to knit the lining. I was not going to block the lining because when I did that with my own mittens, the lining expanded and it was slightly too big to fit inside the mitten shell. As a result there is a wrinkle on the inside of the mitten in the lining. In order to accommodate this my plan of blocking the shell and not the lining emerged.

Inside out Fiddle Head Mitts

Everything went good for the blocking itself. I wetted the mittens down and they didn’t relax near as much as the TFA yarn ones did, but they relaxed a little bit nonetheless. One mitten was perfect on it’s own, I didn’t need to pin it at all. The other one was not quite the same size. I needed to pin it down in order for the wool to get the memory of being the same size as the first mitten.
I got a blanket and a towel, because I usually pin things like that, and went to go find my pins. This turned out to be easier said then done. My pins are usually upstairs in the smallest of our three bedrooms, that is my room where I stores tones of yarn fabric etc. We had been putting all the wedding things in it from immediately post-wedding and just nipping in to grab something quick when we needed it. There was literally no room to walk within the space. After about 45 minutes of fruitless searching I messaged my neighbour who has just gotten into quilting. I know that requires copious amounts of pinning etc. As it turns out, the pin-gremlins had visited her house too, they were missing. I went back up into the craft room and tried to find something that I could substitute for pins. I found some of the needles I had from VKL Chicago 2013, they look like really long pins. However they were for needle felting and were not substantial enough to hold the mitten in place.
While standing in the middle of the room and looking around in a vague sense, I spied a handful of the pins on my shelf. I scooped them up and went to pin this mitten!

Fiddlehead Mitts Shell

As it turns out, the mitten was too thick to pin, I bent three pins attempting it and the other ones just slid out as soon as I was finished. I just sat and looked at the mitten helplessly for a few minutes, then attempted to get my mind together and think of a solution. I had sock blockers, but the bend for the ankle would make the mittens dry funny and I was having none of that. I was also not willing to bend the sock blockers out of shape. They were just made of wire though, so I could probably make my own if I could find some wire that would work. While my neighbour couldn’t find her pins, she definitely had a wire coat hanger.
I managed to bend it into the right shape and slide the mitten over top. It worked out perfectly! It only took me two hours to get it right. I really should have known better and not spend that amount of time on finding the actual pins and just thought of another idea. Everything worked out and now I have a wire hanger bit to block mittens on!

Monday Mishaps: Slippery Slippers

When most people find out I knit, their first response is to ask me to make them something. Normally this isn’t too bad, but one thing a lot of people ask for, that is harder than it looks, is slippers. When I was still a beginner, I had so many requests for slippers it was actually comical; they usually try to think of something that would not be too difficult. I think people picture a sweater in their mind with a label saying ‘difficult’ under it and then try to imagine what the opposite of a sweater is.; somehow this lands at slippers.

Slippers One

A scarf would be considered easy, a hat or a cowl would also be considered quite easy, but slippers are not. Depending on your pattern, slippers can be very difficult or simply intimidating. I think one reason I have never fallen in love with slippers is I have never found a pattern that I really like. Most of them require you to seam them up the top, and if you don’t do that correctly there is a visible seam or you get an elf toe effect because the decrease was too fast. There are a lot of different construction techniques out there that look better than this, but I have not found one that resonates with me yet.

Slippers Two

My mishap has to do with a pair of slippers I attempted as a Christmas gift when I first started knitting. My mom had hinted that she would really like a pair of slippers and I eventually decided to make her some. I knew I had not found a really good slipper pattern yet, so I trolled through Ravelry trying to find one I liked. I eventually settled on a pattern that is worked flat and seamed up the top of the foot. Next I had to find the yarn, I went all over the place looking for something rather specific. I wanted something relatively thick so I could knit it up really fast, but I also wanted it to look good. Eventually I found a thick red/black yarn that was perfect. I promptly purchased it and went home to cast on. I knit up the first slipper with no issues then started working on the second one. This being my first year as a knitter, I didn’t realize how much time I would need in order to finish it! I ended up working on it during the drive to my parents place for Christmas. We were headed up on Christmas Eve and we left before dark, but it started getting dark about an hour into the drive. I really wanted to finish these mittens, so I kept knitting on them in the dark. I was counting my rows and decreases, so everything would end up the same.

This was the same pattern, just slightly closer to the same size

This was the same pattern, just slightly closer to the same size

This was probably a collision of bad things looking for a place to happen because when I had finished the second slipper, it was not the same at all. It was approximately two inches shorter than the first one. If the first slipper was supposed to fit a size 8 foot, this one was for a size 5. I am usually not too bad with things like this, I check and double check or I will at least notice that slipper B does not look the same as slipper B. Not this night.
There was obviously some form of Grinch Witchcraft involved, because it obviously could not have been the fact that I was knitting rushed and in the dark. Not at all… This is where my Christmas Knitting Rule stemmed from. I rarely knit things for people as Christmas Gifts. It is very VERY rare that I do this because generally I don’t enjoy it as much. As a result, I will knit things year round for people or just because the colour made me think of them. Not for Christmas though.

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.

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!