Work and Whimsy

I know I promised to start an exciting new sweater last week, but I totally haven’t. I’ve been slogging through some technical knitting I need to get done. I’ve also updated a few things on Ravelry. I was looking at my Ravelry project page with all my finished projects on it and thought that it really didn’t do me justice. I felt like I’ve been knitting the whole year round, just not produced any finished objects. At that point I realized I haven’t been recording all the things I’ve knit for KNITmuch. They still count as knitting and need to be recognized! I updated my Ravelry projects page and the 2015 Finished Objects link here on the blog.

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I will admit that this took me much longer than expected so the photos on the blog aren’t linked yet, but I will be getting to that when I am back home from vacation! That’s right, I’m leaving!
Only temporarily, never fear. A friend of mine and I are going to take a road trip to Chicago! It’s one of my favourite places to go! I really REALLY like food, and trust me, Chicago is a food city.
One thing different, this time we’re driving; so when I am not taking my turn at the wheel, I will have a good deal of time to knit. I’ll definitely bring easy things that aren’t easily messed up. If I manage to start a sweater before we leave I could get some great progress on the body. Although that would mean dropping everything immediately and swatching to within an inch of my life. I’ve had one too many a sweater turn out wrong to avoid swatching.

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I was thinking about stopping into some LYS’s while I’m there. It isn’t often I get the opportunity to just go gallivanting around a city like Chicago. I have been to Knitche, in Downers Grove, and loved it! This was the store I bought all my Shibui Silk Cloud from. They were so so SO helpful and balled it all for me into three separate balls per skein. This was before I had a scale and I was totally confounded as to how we were supposed to achieve this. When I expressed my doubts to the ladies at this store they offered to ball it all for me if I picked it up the next day.

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I would like to pop back if given an opportunity. There are a lot of yarn stores in Chicago though and I wouldn’t mind seeing at least one other. We’re staying near Wicker Park so perhaps there might be one in that area!

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I just realized I am leaving on Friday and haven’t been OBESSING over which knitting to pack and take with me. I have a couple simple things on the go, but really, where is the fun if you can’t take a whole suitcase full of yarn?

Summer Pattern Love

I know there are some seasonal knitters out there who slow down or even stop in the summer, but I’m obviously not one of them! There are so many things outside of our control in life that we definitely need something we can hang onto. I am going to share some links to a few summer patterns I’ve been looking at!

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 7.37.32 AMThe Summer Carnival Pattern by Georgie Hallam

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 7.39.56 AMSummer Wind by Irishgirlieknits

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Gemini by Jane Richmond

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Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart

How do you manage to keep knitting in the summer? Is it the patterns that inspire you?

 

Technical Tuesday: Ravelry

I know I have talked about Ravelry on and off through out the years, but it still surprises me when I tell people to add me on Ravelry and they don’t realize they can do that. Ravelry is an amazing tool for knitters that can really take your knitting to the next level. Today I am going to link you to a few videos about basics on Ravelry.

Adding a project! When you knit something you can link to the pattern, yarn, needle size you used. You can also add notes to a project. If you had a problem with a pattern or the yarn changed drastically after you blocked it, you can make a note and the next person to use that yarn/pattern won’t be surprised! It’s an infinitely helpful tool and it also helps you keep track of your own projects. If you forgot what size needles you used for a certain garment, you can go back and take a look at your Ravelry project page.

There thousands of patterns on Ravelry and you can narrow down the results by using the advanced search! If you’re looking for socks, and you just search ‘socks’ you are going to get thousands of hits. If you’re looking for a certain weight of yarn or brand of yarn, you can activate these advanced search options.

The Library! If you buy a pattern, it automatically goes into the pattern library, but you can also add books and magazines you have. This is great for keeping track of your physical library and what patterns are in those magazines and books.
A few other useful tools to check out on your own are your queue, stash and the best part; going into your friends profiles to see what they have been working on. I always find out about the best patterns by looking at what people have queued! Find a couple friends with similar taste and see what they’ve been working on!

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: Stripes Gone Crazy by Atelier Alfa

I told you the story about finding this pattern on Wednesday, and I have actually knit quite a bit of it. So far I have only had to frog it once, and I’ll let you know about that on a Monday Mishaps post. This pattern comes in a set of three, so I grabbed all of them.

Stripes Gone Crazy One

The one I really wanted to knit was the cardigan with the asymmetrical stripes. Usually asymmetry doesn’t work well with my brain, but I was looking for something different, what could be more different than a cardigan worked from the top down with stripes that slowly widen on only one side?

 

I didn’t know this when I started but the stripes are made larger and smaller by doing short rows. Now my short rows are a little rusty, but I managed to make it work. Once I remembered how to do a short row invisibly.
There are a few tutorials on the pages about how to do short rows and a couple tips that would make it easier. I really liked that Atelier added in all these small boxes with legends and diagrams to help keep you on track. When you are widening the one side of the sweater, there is a small photo that shows you what it should be looking like; it even has the stitch markers you place visible. She also puts the break down of stitches in the pattern. I could not have asked for a more useful tool.

Stripes Gone Crazy Three

I am not really sure what happened, I much have been doing my increases on the wrong side of the markers, but at some point I got off track. I was able to count how many stitches should have been in the first front piece, sleeve, back, sleeve and second front. I was EXTREMELY lucky in the face that I didn’t mess up the total amount of stitches but just managed to move them around a little bit.
One thing I didn’t like about this sweater are the short rows for the increases for shoulders. To me, this feels a bit excessive and I would have preferred to do a raglan increase or something, but I do believe I am biased on this point. This is the place where I messed up my stitch count and had to shift the stitches; and my stitches could be more even in these places. I didn’t do the best job I could have so I am mad at that part of the pattern.
The pattern is very well organized and colour coded. There were a couple bumpy spots which I am going to email about, but I really found it great that there was a clear divide between the size instructions. There were parts where the instructions were together and there had to be slashes between the different amounts of stitches. I did really like that the patterns for XS, S and M were together on one pattern and L, XL and XXL were on a completely different pattern. I feel that if they were in the same sheet, it would have been excessively long. When you buy the pattern you get all the sizes, but they are in two separate files. The math for each size is different so each size needs its own dedicated section.

Stripes Gone Crazy Two

Otherwise, I think Atelier must be a math genius because everything works out just so. This is one of the few patterns I do not dare to change… at all. There was a section that said ‘to add some length or shorten, add or remove more rows’ so I definitely added rows. Most cardigans are a little short for my liking and I always add in a bit, I am not sure about this one though, I may have needed more. I will have to wait till I am done in order to see.
I don’t want to post a whole lot of photos about it because I want to post a good finished object photo! So everyone can get the full effect all at once!