Sunday, November 16, 2014

On process or project

I've suspected for awhile that I am a process knitter, rather than a project knitter. I think this is why I stick to small projects: because I want to be able to do a wide variety of techniques, which is what I find interesting in knitting. Having a finished object at the end is a bonus.

I've been working on a project for two years. It's a project I started because I loved the way the finished object will look. But the process itself is monotonous: mitered squares, over and over and over and over. Like 50 or so mitered squares. Feels like 500. Then there are all those tail ends to weave in before I can felt the object. The mitered squares average 4 colors each. That's 8 tail ends per square. I should have been doing them all along, but I haven't. I think I'm on Square 33. That's a boatload of weaving in that's waiting for me.

If I loved something else about the project -- the yarn or the needles -- it would probably be ok. But the yarn is shetland (rough and scraggly) and the size 5 needles I have are plastic -- excellent needles for the yarn, but no tactile or visual pleasure in them at all.

I would scrap the project, but I spent too much money on the yarn to feel good about doing that. I want the project to be a gift for somebody special. I think that's the only thing that actually keeps me plugging away at it.

Loving the color combinations and the look of the finished object is not enough to keep me wanting to work on a project. I knew when I bought the yarn that I didn't like the feel of it in my hands; I should have paid attention to that.

Lesson learned.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Catching up

The idea of this blog was that it was going to be a DAILY record of my knitting, no matter how mundane. I have actually knit since October 26, but I haven't journaled it. Have been really busy with family and PTSA commitments. Oh, well. Haven't got much done anyway. A few projects:

Swatch #1 for Basics, Basics, Basics is almost done. I misplaced the bag for awhile. Today I pulled it out to bind off and saw this:

A mistake, in garter stitch. What?!? I have no idea what I was doing when that happened. Obviously I purled one stitch. Anyway, I tinked back to that column of stitches (didn't want to add another row, so didn't want to knit over to it) and fixed it. It was a good exercise.

If you try to do it the easy (knit) way with a crochet hook all from one side, you end up with stockinette, not garter. So you have to continually turn the work. I did it all purl-wise (crochet hook into back of loose stitch so it's mounted correctly, bar you're picking up in front), but I realized afterwards that I could just as well have done it all knitwise. But you do have to take the hook out and put it back in the correct way each time no matter what -- otherwise you would twist stitches. I suppose you might be able to do it all from one side without turning the work if you alternated knitwise/purlwise?

I think I had to do eight stitches in the column. Here's how it looks now:

I'm going to knit a second example of this swatch, on metal needles. I think the tension here is nothing like my normal tension. I think I was nervous about Arenda seeing my work. That's silly; the whole point of this class is to get an evaluation of my ACTUAL knitting, not knitting I do in somebody else's style.

Other things I'm working on:

Going to try steam-blocking my sister-in-law's long-neglected scarf today to see if I like the buttonholes better. If not, I'll figure something else out. I really don't want to do a regular button band with that yarn.

Altering my grandpa's Aran sweater that he brought back from Ireland. The arms are like gorilla arms. This is a project I've had going for about a year. I knit a sample of the cable pattern and cuff to practice on.  I have practiced the picking-up and did a trial run on my mockup sample. The plan is to remove the cuffs and reattach them higher, removing yarn in the process to use to do the splicing. Really want to get this done. I had my mom stitch zig-zag on her sewing machine above where the cuff is going to be cut off as a safeguard. Right now one sleeve is all ready on two long circulars, ready for the snip-snip.

Got to get started on my Christmas knitting, pronto!