My Seven for 2011

Peaseblossom

Peaseblossom Tunic

It’s that time again when we look back over the year that was and make plans for the year to come. At the start of 2011 I posted about Going for Seven in 2011 and even came up with a programme for the year. Time to look at how it all panned out, eh?

1. Present a pattern for publishing – DONE! I presented a pattern for a cardigan for my daughter to Knitty. It took an arduous two months of early 2011 but I did it, including all the maths for grading it to fit all sizes from toddler to teenager. Unfortunately, it was rejected and languishes still. I’m unsure of my plans for it. I still believe it’s worthy of publishing. I think I’ll get a few of the sizes test-knit – perhaps make one of the teenager sizes for one of my neices –  and take it from there.

Swirl Shawl

2. Bust my stash – NOT DONE! The year started well with the stash busting. I made my Peaseblossom Top in Fyberstpates Lace, the yarn with the highest yardage in my stash (1010m used out of 1796m). I also used Jojoland Melody Superwash in Teal Whirl, a shawl I made for Viola (744m used out of 1006m). In addition, I de-stashed ALL my cotton from Lidl  – a whopping 1.914 kilometers of  it – by making up Tunisian Crochet dishcloth kits for sale at HandmAid Craft Day in September. However, I have yet to finish my Petal Wrap using Alpaca Lace from Dublin Dye Company and I didn’t touch any other high-yardage yarn in my stash.

Picture

Stash Accumulation from Freckledpast

3. No more USA – NOT DONE! I was very strong this year. Stronger than I have been for many years. So many times this year I inhaled yarn fumes but resisted consuming. Having a steady flow of yarn from the Janel Laidman sock club seems to have helped and though there was some Stash Accumulation it was all (that I can recall) for planned projects. I’m going to stick with this strategy next year: only buy for a known project that I plan cast-on within the month. I was somewhat undone by some of my knitting friends towards the end of the year, however! BionicLaura de-stashed some gorgeous Possum Touch and two skeins of Artesano Alpaca 4ply. As part of Knitmas, Freckledpast de-stashed 4 skeins of chenille, 1 skein of Rosários 4 Loopy and a ball of Donegal Yarns Aran Tweed. Then Averil de-stashed a skein of Regia Galaxy in the Saturn colourway. They are allvery bold! but I love what they de-stashed in my direction. It’s only fair, I have de-stashed in other people’s directions too (see point 2. above!).

4. Spin more – DONE! The Skein-a-month Spin-a-long was quasi-successful. While we didn’t manage to do an actual skein a month, it certainly increased my spinning efforts and out-put. My most productive month was July, during the Tour de France. A complete lull in activity followed in August when I brought the wheel with us camping in France and didn’t take it out one night! Anyway, more importantly, I spun for a specific project and knit it up too – a small hoodie for BionicLaura’s baby girl. I learned a lot from the experience – how fractal spinning helps crazy colourways; check gauge and resize to suit; even when you don’t expect to have yarn left over, you will!

BionicLaura's Funky Bear

5. Quilting – DONE! Thanks to Elana I was hooked up with quilter-extraordinaire Mary Heseltine who lives down the road from Elana. We had an introductory session in March which led to Clarabel & I doing a five month quilting course over the Winter. I am loving it though I’m a little concerned for the new stash of fabric I am accumulating now.

6. Gifts – DONE! and NOT DONE! On the one hand, most of my knitting time in the past year seems to have been gift-knitting. On the other hand, I don’t think I managed a single gift included in my original plan! The gifts I planned for the early part of the year were scuppered by how long it took me to write the pattern (see point 1. above). Then, later in the year, planned gifts were superceded by a completely unforeseen (by me) baby-boom amongst my crafting friends. The baby-knits were fun to do thought they led to some stash accumulation. I’ve decided it’s probably a good idea to keep some baby-suitable yarn always handy in my stash in future.

7. Darn Socks – DONE! I surprised myself and actually darned some socks during the year! This coincided nicely with the Sock Exchange initiative by @futuremenders to get people back to “Make Do & Mend” mentality as part of the Absolut Fringe festival in Dublin. Unfortunately, I still have more socks to mend, however. And soooo much more sock yarn to use!

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WIP-Id-a-Dee-do

I’ve sacked my Super-Ego.

Some years ago, I did an evening course which covered a lot of Freud: the Id, the Ego and the Super-Ego; and it tickles me to see things in terms of this structure.

As you’re no doubt aware, the Id is our primeval self – our cravings and desires.

the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation

Sound familiar, knitters? Every time we succumb to Startitis it’s really our Id has taken control.

The only reason we don’t spend every waking minute knitting-up a storm is because of our Ego and our Super-Ego, says Freud.

The ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfish can hurt us in the long run. It’s the ego’s job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation.

So the Ego makes sure we put our needles and hooks down once in a while and interact with those around us, to ensure they don’t cast us out entirely. We hold down a job so that we can pay for our yarn.

Where does the Super-ego come in?

Many equate the superego with the conscience as it dictates our belief of right and wrong.

In knitting/ crocheting terms, it’s what makes us stick with a project through thick and thin and see it through to the (sometimes) bitter end.

But sometimes you’ve got to let it go: to give in and admit defeat is the triumph of the Ego, whose function is centred in reality.

When you’ve ripped back a hairy yarn repeatedly, just to rectify a mistake others might never see; when you know in your heart-of-hearts the project is not going to be fit for the purpose you envisioned; when you realise that sticking with it will prevent you from completing another project in time… then it’s time to let your Ego take back the reigns and give in to the Id.

All this is a fancy way of saying:

  • I made the mistake of timing myself doing one repeat of the edging on Petals and realised I have 20 hours worth of work on the edging alone.
  • Considering I only average one hour per day, I was never going to get Petals *and* Peaseblossom Tunic completed in time for the Wedding/Communion deadlines.
  • In the meantime, I have bought a dress that I could wear to one of the event but it doesn’t go with Petals.
  • I also have a skirt that I think *will* go with Peaseblossom.

So yes, I have abandoned Petals and started Peaseblossom.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

How to cheat at Crochet


First off, I feel the need to apologise for my last post – kudos to anyone who tried to struggle through it. It’s hard enough to decipher the problems someone else might be having with a pattern, but I was additionally hampered in explaining things by a lack of formatting: Our PC at home has died – and work wouldn’t let me access – so I couldn’t view the post in anything other than my iPhone.

Particular thanks to those who offered help. In fact, my post was my way of establishing that the only logical approach was to accept that there’s an error in the instructions.

I’ve flagged this to the designer and she referred me to errata for the pattern. Unfortunately, they don’t amend the instructions I had the problem with – which means if the designer tried to read my last post she struggled to make sense of it too.

Anyway, the pieces are now joined and the edging is advancing. It’s slow going but mainly because I keep stopping to admire my work!

Do you remember a while back I was wondering about whether to rip back to fix an error on a pineapple on the back? Here’s a handy reminder:
WrongRight
More recently I mentioned that I had solved it without ripping and promised to let you know how.


I’m pretty confident you can’t tell which one of these two pineapples is the fixed one. At a push you’d probably guess the one on the right, and you’d be right! As it turned out, this pineapple is positioned in the centre of the lower-back of the wrap so will be even more hidden.


Want to know how? On the wrong side, I joined a separate length of yarn with a few slip-stitches along an existing chain (thicker chain 4th down from top of picture). Then I made some chain stitches and joined them at appropriate intervals to the relevant horizontal chain.

I did all this on the wrong-side and it’s not at obvious from the right-side. Well, for a man on a galloping-horse, anyway.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

It loves me, it loves me not

Ah, my Petals Wrap! It’s like a Bad Romance, as the ga-ga Lady says. I advance, notice it has rebuked me; I retreat by ripping back; iron-out the disagreement and quickly advance again. I must have advanced more than I ripped back, because I actually made sone progress. But it sure doesn’t feel like it.
So I’ve got to the stage where I can join the back to the fronts. And there’s (yet another) problem: the instructions don’t make sense.
Recently I was contacted by two different crochetiers who had hit a wall at this point.
Since I hadn’t got that far on the pattern at the time I tried reading ahead on the pattern, to see if I could make any sense of it. Here’s what I said:

All on the same round of the Back, I think you:

1. catch the centre of Right Front 1st, to start the bottom of the right armhole;
2. then work the Back along the Right Sleeve-edge, across the neckline and down the Left Sleeve-edge;
3. then catch the Left Front with one (1) stitch at the centre  (a starting row);
4. then you’re working the Left Front and the Back alternately to form a join between these two pieces;
5. then work across the bottom of the Back;
6. then work the Back and the Right Front alternately until you’re back up to the centre of the Right Front i.e. the bottom of the Right Armhole.

This was the only thing I could visualise from my reading of the pattern.

Now that I’m at that point myself I realise

  1. I made a mistake in my explanation and
  2. now the joining round instructions don’t make sense at all!

The mistake I made is that I omitted the bit where the top of the Left Front is joined during item 2 above. The problem with this realisation is that there doesn’t appear to be any instruction for joining the top of the Right Front.

And that’s not all. But to explain further I need to bring you through it step-by-step:

First, let’s name the connection positions and number the points on the hexagon.  The photo below shows the right-side of the work and you progress in an anti-clockwise direction.

The round starts at the green marker and the first part of the instruction brings you to point #1

  • The round starts at the green marker (see “start” above) and the first part of the instruction brings you to point #1. Then you’re told to join this point to centre of the Right Front (A). This would be the bottom of the right armhole.
  • The next part of the instruction brings you to point #2. This should be the top of the Right Armhole and I expect to be asked to connect to point (B) on the Right Front. Instead, I’m directed to connect to point (D) on the Left Front.

Either point #1 should be connected to (B) and not (A)

*or*

(D) should be connected to point #3 and not #2.

In order to be able to move on, I have to decide which one of these is wrong. To do this, I have to work through the rest of the instructions for this round. Bear with me…

  • The next step brings you to the next point on the back, point #3. Here we’re told to join to (E) at the centre of the Left Front, forming the bottom of the Left Armhole.
  • Next we alternate between the Left Front and the Back to form the side seam between (#3/E) and (#4/F).
  • Then it’s a straight-run across the bottom of the back to point #5 where we’re directed to join to (C) on the bottom of the Right Front.
  • We then alternate between the Back and Right Front to form the side seam from (#5/C) and (#6/A).
  • The instructions here describe connecting to (A) before bringing us to the join with the start of the round. From this I gather that the error in the pattern is that point #1 was meant to be joined to (B) and not (A).

At least, that’s how I’m going to tackle it – since it’s now the only thing I can visualise from my reading of the pattern.

While I was figuring all this out, I looked at the schematic to see if that would help only to realise the left and right fronts have been labelled incorrectly. I even tried out a parallel universe where the schematic was right but in that case the sleeves would have to be coming out of the bottom of the back!

And now, onto the joining round – may it not rebuke me!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

March Round-up 2011

Yet again the last day of the month falls on a blog-post day. Uncanny how that keeps happening.

The opportunity that this serendipity affords cannot be avoided: it’s time for… The Reckoning…

FOs

For the first time this year I have something to report in the FOs section – two things in fact!

  • One of them I can’t show you – I’m such a tease – but I know you’ll still be delighted. I finished the Cardigan / Jacket that I had long-promised for my DD. More than that, I wrote the actual pattern AND sent it off to Knitty. I know, I’m gob-smacked too! This is the reason why you can’t get even so much as a peeksies. I will, of course, let you know whether I get the thumbs-up from the powers / Gods at Knittydotcom.

  • The other FO was the super-fast and satisfying Whimsie golf-club cover in fantabulous Malabrigo. I just love how the striping emerged in the finished item. This was a great knit and very well received by my golfing-mad Mum. It only took a few days and is very portable. I may make more for her.

WIPs

GlenvArgh! is still untouched and is likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile Petals Wrap has been languishing while I was focussed on the pattern-writing. I managed to resolve the mistake I has made without ripping. A neat trick I un-vented that is worthy of a guided-tour blog-post in the future.

I haven’t started the Peaseblossom Tunic by Kirstin Omdahl in Fyberspates Lace yet. I’m was planning on bringing it with me as my in-flight crafting entertainment when I fly to Berlin tomorrow. Though @CathyQTpi made a very good point in my last post so I’ve decided to stick with Petals and resist the shiny-shiny. After all, Petals *is* crochet too so is also acceptable when flying.

However…

Since Petals is not good “chatting-crafting” I’m also casting-on a swatch at knit-night this evening so that I have a go-to project when my attention will be divided. I *may* be setting myself up to further distract myself from my knitting-plan. //insert nonchalant whistling here//

Yarn In

Only a month later than intended, I finally finished my February skein for our skein-a-month spin-along. I’ve only measured the length (purely for the purposes of this post) so it hasn’t been washed, thwacked or measured for WPI yet. It certainly hasn’t been photographed in all it’s daylight glory. So you’ll have to be patient for a future blog-post to see the finished skein.

I didn’t enjoy the yarn as I was spinning it – though I enjoyed spinning the yarn… if you follow me. Let me explain: I enjoyed the process of spinning but I was disappointed with the product. The corriadale seemed rough and hairy.

I was pleasantly surprised by how squishy it all turned out after I plied it. There are several mistakes, breaks and knotted joins throughout this skein. It will be “fun” again when I knit it up. It’s like I’m giving a present to my future self!

One bobbin finished sooner than the other as I was spinning so I toyed with the idea of learning to Navajo-ply it. And I will… but for now I’m adopting BionicLaura’s approach of storing the remaining single on a toilet-roll insert. She is my spinning guru, afterall so who am I to venture off into the unknown.

My March skein… was a non-starter. Too much going on this month. Or, more precisely – one thing going on much more slowly and pain-stakingly than anticipated. Next month I plan to tackle it *and* my April skein which I think will be this deliciousness:

It’s a skein of Falkland, hand-dyed by Laura Hogan that was hand-picked for me by KneeHigh in This Is Knit. I had a little splurge for my big-number birthday – which I cunningly avoided mentioning in my February round-up.

The colourway is called “Joan” and I didn’t see it before it arrived – I trusted KneeHigh’s judgement entirely. And wasn’t I so right to do so? Great colourway that i might not have even noticed in the shop if I’d been left to my own devices.

It was such a treat to unwrap a surprise parcel I’d managed to buy myself!

Another bit of USA arrived unexpectedly from FourBoys, aka @Doogarry. Three skeins of T’ika by Mirasol in a beautiful Spring-y green. She sent it to me as a present for my (big number) birthday so I’m calling it “Spring Chicken” coz I ain’t!

Spring Chicken

The sentiment she wrote in the card was so lovely I keep it on my desk to cheer me up. It’s so nice when people let you know that they think fondly of you; and so important to remind yourself that there are people who do.

Finally Tally

So the up-shot of this month’s activity is…

  • FOs = 2 (whoot! whoot!)
  • WIPs = 2 (and holding…)
  • Frogged = 0
  • Skein-a-month = 1 (February = Northern Lights) 
  • Yarn in = 279(T’ika)+185(Northern Lights) = 464
  • Yarn out = 685(Knitty-unmentionable)+ 129(Malabrigo Golf club cover) = 879
  • Yarn balance c/f = -415m i.e. I used up more than I gained!
  • Darned Socks = 0


In a Quandry

I can get quite paralysed by indecision. So paralysed that I procrastinate myself into missing the boat entirely. I’m on the cusp of this again.

But first a bit of background…
At the end of May we have two major family events: brother’s wedding and then – two days later – my daughter’s First Holy Communion. Having two family event separated by two days means two completely new outfits for me. And you know how much I love shopping for clothes for me. Bleughch!

As part of my stash-down knitting-plan for the year, I identified Peaseblossom Tunic by Kirstin Omdahl…


…as a good pattern to use my Fyberspates Lace.


I thought this could be a starting point for one of these out-fits. This puts me on a dead-line to try and have it complete by early May so that I still have shopping-time to buy the outfit to go with it.
Ingenious plan, no? Eh… no. Highly risky plan that may well back-fire. Grab your time-machine and return in a month’s time to witness the debacle.

The thing is… ideally, I should also be advancing the Petals Wrap as the basis for a second (as yet also un-purchased) outfit.

My dilemma? Keep going on Petals or get Peaseblossom up and running?

Until I figure this out I’m quite likely to do neither. By which time the procrastination will determine the outcome. Go me!

Choose Between Right and Wrong

My WIP of choice this days is Petals – Kirstin Omdahl’s pattern for Crochet So Fine – that I’m making in sumptuous purple Alpaca Lace dyed by Dublin Dye Company. I hadn’t been making much headway on this at all over the past few months. For a while it was the WIP I brought with me to work because it’s so neat and portable but it meant I might only have a 15 – 30 mins to work on it at lunchtime.

The problem was I would spend almost all the time I had available figuring where I was in the pattern, and where the beginning of the row was. Only recently did I follow through on my brain-wave of putting a stitch-marker in the start of the round. This has made a world of difference to how quickly I can get moving again when I pick it up; and how much it can progress anytime I touch it. Round-on-round I keep surprising myself at how fast it’s growing now after stagnating for so long.

This evening, as I was halfway around the 2nd-last round of the back, my excitement was building at how it was getting easier to see the gorgeous pattern emerge. Easier to see… yes… then I *really* saw it…

Wrong From Right

Can You See It Too?

The green stitch-marker is holding the loop of my live stitch and I’m working anti-clockwise. The “pineapple”, in the section I have *just* made (i.e. to the right of the green stitch-marker), has a missed stitch about five rounds down. Compare it to the shape of the preceeding “pineapple” section – i.e. on it’s right.

Still can’t see it? How about some close-ups for comparison:
WrongRight

Petals Wrap on Cover

The *problem* with crochet is that – unlike knitting – there is no way (that I’m aware of) to tink down a few rows to sort out a mucked-up stitch. The choice is to rip aaaaaaall the way back to the mistake orrrrr decide you’re happy to live with it. When you look at the finished garment – as it’s shown on the front cover of the book – you’ll see the bottom-most segment of the hexagon gets quite gathered. It’s likely that if I organise to position the “wrong” segment here that no-one will ever notice.

However – and this is the crux of all matters of WIPping or Ripping – *I* will notice. And I think it’ll bother me. I think I’ll have to rip right back.

Just as well I had figured out a way to get it to progress more quickly, eh?