Okay, I decided to record myself. This is only six minutes long, but it is my first attempt at what may some day be called a podcast.
I’ve recently been introduced to knitting podcasts. I never knew there were people out there that took an hour of their time and talked about knitting. I have an i-pod and decided to download some of these. The first few I chose were mostly disappointing. The Knitpicks episode I listened to was informative but slow. I had to stop listening if only for the fact that they were talking about weaving and I cannot afford another hobby. Yes, I was feeling that itch of I want a loom!!! The angel on my shoulder said, “No Tracy, you have enough crafty hobbies. You don’t have time or money for another.” Then the devil on my other shoulder said, “Hehe, I want one. Credit cards are proof God loves you.” Then my boss came in, the i-pod went off and a stack of work was pushed my way.
A second podcast was quite disappointing. The girls were advanced knitters who were complaining about all the people who post patterns on Ravelry using different terms. Then they continued complaining more, interjecting apologies every once in a while in case they offend anyone. I may be biased, but isn’t it a good thing that people can learn and share on this vast resource known as the internet?
A third podcast was filled with talk of expensive yarns that even the devil on that shoulder just shook her head and said no. Sigh.
Finally, I found two thanks to good advice from new knitting/spinning buddy. Stitch It is from the same person with the website The Art of Megan. I learned to spin on my first spindle from her. Of course, she doesn’t know this. I liked listening to her talk about her garden and her house. The second was the The Knit Wits. They were hilarious! They are a married couple who moved to Oregon. I love how they communicate and the fact that the husband interjects his opinion with the crafty, knitting, spinning wife. I relate to both of these two more than the others I’ve listened to so far. I look forward to downloading lots more episodes.
Knitting and Yoga
Knitting and Yoga go naturally together. Both have meditative qualities. There are a couple of things that I reach out to when I am ultra stressed. Knitting is the normal every day stress reliever. Then of course, there is tea. I have tea to wake me up and tea to calm me down. There is the glass of wine or a really good beer. But there are times, almost phases, when I reach out to yoga. I am not a guru or even the least bit good at it. I am a dabbler. I like yoga when the mood fits. I like certain poses but am still not fit enough to keep up with the dvds. This is something I want to work on and then life gets in the way.
I stumbled upon a pose the other night when I couldn’t sleep due to neurotic worrying over school, money, work, life and the nature of good and evil. http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/2767
This is a modification of Matsyasana (Fish Pose). If you work in an office, use a computer often enough, spend hours studying or are hunched over knitting needles you may have pain in your neck and shoulders. I do all of these. In From the Neck Down, by Roger Cole, it states “But when pain and tingling spread beyond the hands and wrists to the arms, shoulders, or neck, the cause may be another, less commonly known condition—thoracic outlet syndrome. TOS is caused by compressing or overstretching nerves or blood vessels far from the hands, near the top of the rib cage. It can develop from repetitive stress and unhealthy movement patterns, like playing a musical instrument for long hours or typing with your head pushed forward and out of alignment with the rest of your spine, or from an injury such as whiplash.”
Think of your knitting. Does this sound familiar? I did it with just the one block and I felt the release (spasms) immediately. In the days afterward, the result was not so obvious but I believe that over time, this will benefit me. I also am trying to straighten my posture. I try.
2011-02 Baby Headband with Pom-Pom
This is really just a larger version of the other baby headband that I posted with a pom-pom on top instead of flowers. This is worked with Caron Simply Soft Acrylic Yarn on size 5 needles.
Gauge: 5 stitches = 1 inch 12 rows = 1 inch
Cast on 10 stitches
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K1 P8 K1
Row 4: P1 K8 P1
Continue this pattern for about 12 inches (Newborn) 13 inches (0-6 months) 14 inches (6-12 months) 15 inches for (12-18 months), and 16 inches (18-24 months). Bind off. Seam together.
Take 2 different colors yarn and create a pom pom.
Pom Pom instructions:
Cut two circles from cardboard. Hold together. Wrap yarn around (inside and outside of ring). Then cut inbetween the two pieces of cardboard. Tie around center, securing the small pieces of yarn together. Attach to headband.
I usually wouldn’t advise anyone to take on more than one project at a time. In my experience, neither project winds up being finished and both are frogged or left in the pile of things to rip out years later. However, I’ve decided to keep a traveling project – a pair of to-be-felted slippers and a home project – the entrelac baby blanket. One is easy and the other will take this side of forever to complete. I accept this with open arms.
I decided to learn entrelac around 12 am of last Sunday night/Monday morning after finding myself wide awake. It had nothing to do with the double cappuccino drink I had at six that evening, I swear. It was just a fluke. First I searched Intralac and nothing came up. I did another search and stumbled upon a page that had the technique spelled just as wrong as I did. I kept looking around and finally snuck into my bedroom to pull out some yarn and needles without waking up the husband. Eventually I gave up in hopes of sleeping, which was fitful at best.
The next day I woke up, studied a bit, ignored the messy house that is calling for me to clean it and focused on what was really important – learning entrelac! With the assistance of the entire internet, I believe I have it down. If you’ve seen Eunny Jang on youtube then you’ve tried this to. I love her, but she really needs to slow down. I was looking for Entrelac for dummies tutorial. The about.com version was good for starting but didn’t help me in learning the side triangles. The most comprehensive website that I found was wolf and turtle.net. Please see link below. I’ve been doing some of the increases and decreases a little differently but this website gives the greatest understanding of what is involved in Entrelac. Basically you are knitting squares in two different directions and it gives this great texture but is also annoying because you only knit one block at a time going back and forth and back and forth until you want to scream. It’s a likeable torture!
Isobel Skirt, Socks, Slippers and Spinning Wheel Bag
While I have not been updating my blog nearly enough, I do assure you that I have been busy. In the last few weeks, while juggling school, housework, intense summer classes and the usual drama, I have been knitting and spinning in the few and far between spare moments.
1- Finished the Isobel skirt. While this is not as pretty as I hoped, it is comfortable and a bit bigger than I would like. I sewed in elastic around the waistband so it would stay up and cinched it in by putting the buttons further from the edge than the directions called for. The good news is, if I gain another thirty pounds, this baby will still fit. I may try again with wool later on.
2- I knit this pair of small socks for Grandma with a worsted weight sock yarn that is no longer sold. I believe it was made by Paton a few years ago and discontinued. These are tight on my enormous feet but knit up in a few days. I used the toe up technique used in Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits. This is a great tool that should be in every sock knitters’ library.
3- As I mentioned before, I had asked my grandmother what she wanted for Christmas with the stipulation that I was handmaking her gift as usual. She said, “Those slippers that you made me before, you know, before. . .” One day my mother decided to teach me to crochet. I could not sit still or even pretend to listen to her. She went away for the weekend and when she returned, I had created slippers. The funny part was my mother’s dumbfounded reaction. “But you didn’t even listen to me.” Have I mentioned that my mother is the type that needs specific instructions to do anything and I’m more of the color outside of the lines- I’ll figure it out on my own type. Ha- sorry Mom! Basically, I made slippers for everyone I knew over the next few months and soon forgot how to do it. This is my attempt at making them years and years and years later. They aren’t the prettiest things but they are done.
4- Finally, the spinning wheel bag. I was tempted to make this a pattern, but it is too simple. Basically, I cast on 51 stitches of Caron Simply Soft. I then alternated between the knit stitch and knit 1 purl 1 rows. I used about 10 rows of purple, then 14 rows of pinks, and ten more rows of purple. Once finished, I folded the panel in half, right sides together, and sewed both sides. I flipped it out so the finished side was outward and used regular string to attach it to my spinning wheel. Now I can leave my oil and other knick knacks where they won’t be lost.
Best Knitting Blogs
I was surfing the net, trying to get an idea about what to write about and found a list already created of the 50 Best Knitting Blogs. Now, I know everyone who reads this would be stunned to find out that Knitwerks was no where on the list. I’m sure I’ll get at least a dozen comments on this. Interweave knits puts out this list and I recognized a few. I fully expect that everyone will continue to read my blog (please) but here are 50 others you may want to take a peak at in between updates.
Craigslist, not just for elicit activities
I have decided to become more creative in finding fibers to spin. While I may not have a lot of time to devote to my crafts, I still want to work on learning more. One way to do this is to post an ad on Craigslist (without personal information!!!!) asking for fiber. My post in the free category, requesting Wool/Alpaca/Misc Fibers to Spin has already gotten many responses despite the fact that I live in Southern Florida where sheep don’t thrive. So far I’ve received an offer for Llama fibers. I did some research and found that it is very similar to alpaca. There are not the same natural oils as in Sheep’s wool, which makes it cleaner to spin but not necessarily easier. I haven’t tried it yet so I will have to let you know. I also received an offer for trade. I would provide spinning lessons for Alpaca fibers. This I am especially excited about. It will be nice to work with someone although in the interest of full disclosure I did let her know that I was still inexperienced. Craigslist is a great way to get in touch with people from your area for supplies and lessons. However, remember to be careful in who you give your information to. I just wish I lived somewhere colder where there were more sources of fibers!
Another Day, Another Project
Along with working full time, going to school and juggling the ever present drama of my life, I am working on my newest project. I’m currently over half way through with the Isobel Skirt found in the Winter 2010 edition of Interweave Knits. I know, isn’t it odd that I’m working on a winter skirt during Florida’s spring, otherwise known as the Summer part I. Instead of using the Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend as recommended in the pattern, I decided to try it out with Berrocco Comfort, which is a Nylon/Acrylic blend. I had this around for another project that was never started. The problem with making clothing is that different materials lay differently. There is a proper term for this, but I cannot remember it for the life of me. I think this pattern would work better with natural fibers than with man-made nylon/acrylic yarns. The other recommendation would be to avoid increasing next to the knit rows. It only throws off the lines in the pattern slightly, but my eyes are drawn to those small deviations.
I love this skirt and I have to have it, even with my imperfections. As of right now, it remains a mini-skirt but I’m working along fast enough. The seven hours I spent on the airplane helped. This is a great simple pattern that will be fun to wear and show off, even in Florida’s summer weather, I hope.
2011-01 Baby Headband with Flowers
I made this headband to go along with the baby dress I made for a baby. The dress is supposed to fit a 6-12 month baby and given that I have absolutely no idea how big a baby’s head is, I decided to improvise. With some prodding from coworkers and advice about making it able to tie (her baby girl had a big head) I created this.
The baby head band below is worked with Lyndon Hill yarn by Bristol Yarn Gallery on size 1 needles. You can adjust the gauge for the size desired. The flowers are created using the technique described on The Art of Crochet by Teresa’s blog http://crochet-mania.blogspot.com/2009/07/slinky-crochet-flower.html
Gauge: 8 stitches = 1 inch 10 rows = 1 inch
Cast on 16 stitches
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K2 P12 K2
Row 4: P2 K12 P2
Continue this pattern for about 10 inches. Bind off. Take three pieces of yarn approximately 10 inches in length. Tie them to the corner of headband. Braid until about 5-6 inches long. Each side should have two braided edges. Tie off and weave in ends.
Create crocheted flowers as described in http://crochet-mania.blogspot.com/2009/07/slinky-crochet-flower.html. Sew them to the top of headband.
Put on adorable baby girl!
After a month and a half’s work, that include a complete frogging because I didn’t know how to purl correctly, the baby dress is complete. I believe this is one of the best things I have ever made. This pattern is named Baby Dress by Jo Lynne Murchland and I used Lyndon Hill yarn from Bristol Yarn Gallery. It took a little over 2 skeins to complete. The yarn is 85% cotton and 15% silk leaving the dress soft and perfect for hot summer days. It’s a great project for prospective mothers, aunts, grandmothers or just friend. I just wish that the few holes I made would disappear. I never seem to be able to finish a project without leaving at least one mistake visible. I guess it is part of learning. Happy Knitting.
Baby Dress In Progress
Sorry for the long period of inactivity but I am really busy with school and work. I hardly have time to myself any more. I’m still working on the baby dress, although it is taking longer than it normally would. Since I found out that I’ve been purling incorrectly my entire life, I’ve restarted the baby dress and I’m now about 80% finished. I look forward to finishing it and sending it out. Too bad I can’t shrink myself and wear it. It is going to come out fabulous. I love knitting baby things. It’s like they were created just for knitting. Or is it the other way around. Unfortunately with my lack on time, it is being worked on during lunch breaks and in the few minutes I spend each night in bed before sleep hits (or in my case before I decide to put my head on the pillow and wish for sleep.) I can’t wait to show pictures.
I consider myself an experienced knitter. I have been doing it for over ten years now. I like cabling, know various stitch patterns and have done limited lace work. So I was surprised to find out that I’ve been purling incorrectly this whole time. I think this comes from teaching myself to knit in the pre-youtube age. I thought purling was just pulling the yarn through the back of the knit stitch. Apparently not. That is how you twist the stitches. Purling is a little more complicated than that. You actually have to wind the yarn around the needle and then pull it through the loop.
But I know none of you out there have this problem. We all have the internet and we all know youtube is a knitter’s best friend.
So I’ve been on a foot related knitting spree lately. For Christmas, I made my Grandmother a pair of slippers, followed by a pair of socks for myself and now I finished a pair of socks for my husband just in time for his birthday, which is today. They’ll be ready for him when he finally gets home. These are made out of a yarn my friend bought me when she visited Sweden and are soft and comfortable. I’d love to tell you what they are made of but the label is not in English. These socks took forever with my tiny size 1 knitting needles but they are finally ready for wear. Oh and hubby, if you are reading this, do NOT throw these in the washing machine.
For most of you in the Northern areas of the country, sweater season has arrived in full force. My family and friends in New York are repeatedly getting walloped by the unrelenting weather. Even here in Southwestern Florida, I am getting the sweater itch. By itch, I mean the want to knit not the want to wear itchy old-fashioned sweaters your grandmother used to give you for your birthday.
I am probably the last person who should give advice on knitting sweaters. I have made a total of one bolero and one shirt. My lovely shirt came out wide and short and I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it. When they say that gauge is important, GAUGE is Important. Think of spending your hard-earned money on this wonderful skeins of yarns, putting hours and hours of time into it and then standing in the mirror horror-struck (and in tears like me.) But don’t let that stop you. We all learn in different ways and the only way we get better is from learning from our mistakes.
I flip through patterns constantly and my latest favorite is Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. The author also writes a blog http://www.knitandtonic.net/
I love her book because it doesn’t just give you patterns, but explains the way sweaters are knit, how they look, the way they are designed and how you can create what looks best on you. I want to try everything immediately. I highly recommend any knitter who is interested in making sweaters, shells, or any other clothing item to read this book! It can only help in later projects.