Whatever, Whatever I Do What I Want.

Monday Musings

Since today is Monday, I thought I’d do a little post about some of the updates here on the blog and where I’d like to go with this in the future. I have a hard time setting firm dates since my working situation and personal inspiration tend to ebb and flow.

One of the first updates is a revamping of the title pictures. Initially they were hand-drawn. I had a very hard time photographing them without shadows. So I’m taking close-ups of some of my beautiful stash and putting the words I need on them using the Paint program. I’m not perfect, but I’m learning :)

Second update is the “Blogs I Read” page that I added to the Menu bar. I have noticed that some of my readers find me from other blogs, namely from comments I leave or that blog’s “blogs I read” little menu. I had a menu of some wordpress hosted blogs that were in my right sidebar, but that wasn’t nearly all the blogs I follow on Bloglovin. Plus, I wanted to return the favor of those who put my blog in their section. I went through my Bloglovin roll and posted links and little blurbs I found from the blogs about pages.

I know it looks like a lot and it is, but remember that not all blogs post everyday. Some only post weekly so it doesn’t completely overwhelm me. Also, some of the designers only post sporadically when they release a design or appear at events. I like to follow them because I get those updates when they happen. If you have a blog and would like to be added to the page, you can leave a comment on this post or on the “Blogs I Read” page in that comments section.

I also added an FO page. I will start adding to this page this week. I thought about doing a WIP page, but that takes a lot to update regularly. If you’d like to check up on my WIPs, you can head to my Ravelry projects page.

Next update involves really being inspired to design something. I’ve been waffling back and forth in my brain about actually starting a design. Here are my hang-ups:
1. I just started really seriously getting in to more complicated knitting about a year ago. My experience with really paying attention to patterns is still new. I keep reading blog and forum posts about keeping the language in the patterns universal and clear so that any knitter can read and understand it. I’m not sure if I’ve knit enough patterns to have this come across in my writing!
2. I hate swatching. And to really see how the yarn will behave for my design, I should swatch. I love to just cast on for a project and go. This does backfire occasionally when I’m a few inches into a project and totally hate the fabric or how it’s knitting up. Then I realize I could have avoided this by simply swatching beforehand.
3. I am just not quite sure where to start. As I type this, I’m realizing I should start with a swatch. So that reason is officially not valid. :)

I think putting some aspects of a design on this blog may help to build my confidence and keep me motivated. In fact, reading all the blogs on knitting and life has been what inspired me to think about designing something myself. I’m thinking a shawl or cowl using these yarns:

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It’s Madeline Tosh Tosh DK in Briar (purple), Saffron (copper), and Parchment (creamy grayish). I know that’s a lot of colors and yummy-ness and yards. But they have been haunting my thoughts!

Speaking of thought-haunting, I’ve been thinking about knitting ALL THE TIME! I know I keep saying this, but it really is the season. And my yarn cabinet is definitely an enabler. Not to mention I did just hop on the podcast bus. So its all I can think about.

Anyway, I’ll give a better update of my projects on WIP Wednesday.

What about you? Have any inspiration updates??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughful Thursday

I don’t know if its the time of year or the place I am in my life, but I’ve been feeling pretty thoughtful lately. Mostly about my own personal situation, but there has been a good deal of thinking about knitting. In fact, Angela over at KnitLuck started her own video blog last week and ran Episode 2 this week. If you’ve got about 20 minutes (or even if you don’t) I would drop in over there and watch her video. It’s a great opportunity to “visit” with a fellow knitter and do a little mindless knitting in the process. I found it incredibly honest and endearing. But, it also got me thinking about my own knitting identity.

In this second episode, she talks about being an Obsessed Knitter. Angela describes her signs that she (or someone else) is an Obsessed Knitter. Here is what I gathered:
1. Finding social comfort in being around other knitters, even more so than being around other people
2. While watching TV or movies, taking notes on the knitted garments and searching for them online
3. Always knitting
4. Planning your life around knitting, like housekeeping, storage, and shops to visit while on trips or vacation
5. Seeking people out in public who are wearing knit garments and talking with them
6. Feeling naked if you don’t have knitting with you
7. Writing about knitting

These are her criteria beyond just having lots of yarn, needles, projects, and books about knitting or fiber. As I listened to her and knitted, I was compelled to also stop and write down notes and my thoughts on her theory of being an obsessed knitter.

1. Since moving to 2 different cities in the last 2 years, the first people I have sought out socially have been knitting groups through Ravelry and Meetup.com.
2. I don’t necessarily take notes on TV knits, but when I am out shopping or just looking, I am usually drawn to knit items. I have taken photos of scarves and sweaters in stores to determine their construction. I might have even counted the stitches of the “cast-on” edge. I won’t buy knits in the stores if I determine that I can make it.
3. I am always knitting. I don’t just sit and not knit.
4. I do plan my life (somewhat) around knitting. I have a knitting group I meet with on Thursday nights and therefore will not make any other plans for that night. I do have designated storage in my home for my hobby. I create the Knit Nest whenever I settle to really work in my home. I also do look up shops before trips to determine if they will be open and how close they are to where I am going so I can pop in for a visit. And this year, I am taking a trip to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago. A trip just for knitting.
5. I will stop people in public if it looks like they are wearing something hand knit and ask them about it.
6. There is always some project traveling with me in my purse. If that’s not enough, I do stow my Never Ending 1st Project in my car for red-lights, trains, and the occasional draw bridge (when I lived in Louisiana).
7. I do write about knitting. I have a whole blog devoted to it. I even use a fair amount of my journal to write about knitting.

This brings me to an understanding about myself, that yes, I am an Obsessed Knitter, but what is my knitting identity beyond being Obsessed?

I think part of my knitting identity is about creating things from scratch. Pia at Noget Uldent just wrote a guest post over at Not Your Average Zoe called Ad fontes. This literally means “back to the fountain” or “back to the source.” Pia talks about being someone who finds value in creating things from scratch and in her post, invites the reader to think about their next step back to the source in all their endeavors. Creating from scratch is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. Taking simple ingredients and turning them into something delicious is so enticing to me. I think this is also the pull of knitting. Taking simple string and sticks and creating garments. Soft, warm, beautiful garments.

So I’m an Obsessed Knitter who enjoys creating things from scratch.

I will continue to stew on this in my brain to determine the other factors of my personal knitting identity, but I think this scratch thing is significant.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. Happy Thursday :)

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Every day is a winding road…

I know lately all we’ve been seeing here are Confessions, WIPs, and Stash Dives. I realize I haven’t posted a Technique Tuesday in a good while. Partially because I haven’t had any cool techniques I’ve wanted to talk about or that I felt I could demonstrate.

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So for today, as I am running out of wound yarn for my Twist Vest, I thought I would show you how I wind more yarn using an umbrella swift & ball winder.

Step 1: Remove adorable Sis from your work space.

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Even if she protests.

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But for real, you need to gather a few items first like your yarn, ball winder, swift, and some scissors. Be sure you have a table that is not too thick so you can easily clamp the pieces onto it.

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Step 2: Clamp your swift and ball winder to the table.

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I usually have the swift around the corner from the ball winder. I like to have about 2 feet in between the swift & winder.

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I like the keep the winder about 18 inches from the corner of the table to give me enough room between the swift when it is opened up and the leading arm into the ball winder.

Step 3: Prepare your yarn.

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I like to open up the hank and make sure there aren’t any weird surprises like lots of little ties with tricky knots. Also, I like to keep the ties in place until I have the loop on the swift. This helps keep it all together until you are ready to wind and prevents any stray loops from getting wrapped up in the base of the swift or from getting tangled up with other loops.

Step 4: Place your yarn on the swift & open it.

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I like to have the swift slightly opened when I drape the loop of yarn over it. I keep a decent amount of tension on the loop so it doesn’t slip down too low. Try to keep your loop near the center of the swift where the sticks cross over each other.

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While maintaining tension on your loop of yarn, “open” up the umbrella by pushing up. I like to push up on the bottom part of the umbrella and then raise up the little piece that keeps it open to the right width. I don’t open it too much so that the yarn is super stretched out. I leave just a touch of slack in the loop so that the umbrella will spin freely.

Step 4: Find the ties and eliminate (!) them.

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I like to find the knots in the ties and pull them out. Usually, ones like this with 4 strands leading into it will contain your ends of the loop. I have seen hanks that only have ties with 2 ends leading in that contain the ends.

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I usually try to untie the knots. These were pretty tight so I simply snipped them off. I pulled out the little tie part and found the ends.

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I continued around the loop and found another tie. It only had 2 strands leading in. I snipped this one and removed it. I try to make sure that my loop is lying flat and the strand as it unwinds will not have to go inside and outside the loop. I work my way around the loop ensuring there are no twists and the strand is coming from the outside of the loop.

Step 5: Thread through the leading arm of the ball winder and secure on the bobbin.

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I usually rest my elbow on the table and put a light amount of tension on the strand as it is coming off the swift and onto the ball winder.

Step 6: Wind!!

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I always turn the handle away from me. I’m not sure why. When I worked at McNeedles a few summers ago, I was taught that way and have never had any troubles when I turn the handle away from my body. Throughout the process, I keep light tension on the yarn and turn the handle at a steady rate.

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If you turn the handle at an unsteady rate, you can get loops that form waaaaaay below the bottom of the ball and that will give you weird-o loops when you remove it from the winder. Those can get tangled with your working yarn when you are knitting. If I notice these when I’m winding, I usually pull back to where they were formed and rewind the yarn.

I tried to shoot a video of this. It’s not awesome but it can show you how I try to keep a steady pace when turning the handle and tension on the yarn between the swift and winder. Just follow this link. (The noise from the leaf blower outside and the ball winder are a little loud :D)

Yarn Winding Video

Here is the Twist Vest so far that I needed to wind more yarn for. I’m loving the way the Inca Gold is knitting up. It’s sooooo springy!!!!

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Hope this was helpful!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

The Knit Nest

I’m not sure how the rest of you guys operate out there, but when I have some quality time to knit, I tend to create a Knit Nest. The perfect place to nestle in and just get those needles clicking.

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I spread out. I’ve got projects everywhere. My laptop is within reach. My husband’s iPad is within reach. The remote is within reach…everything you could really need for a night of knitting.

I know there has been some blog silence this past week. This is mostly due to all the knitting I’ve been doing. I am trying to spend more time knitting than online. When I find that I have limited time to do either one or the other, I try to actually knit :)

Since today is Sunday, I also wanted to share a little stash dive.

Let’s check out this awesome braid I got a Rainbow Fibres in Germantown, Tennessee a few years ago. It is by Hand Painted Knitting Yarns (or HPKY) and is their Rome yarn. It’s Alpaca, Nylon & Merino. So it’s not technically a braid in the spinning sense, but it is 5 skeins looped together looking like a braid.

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It is super soft and has a nice little halo from the Alpaca. I was feeling so inspired, I sad down and wound the 5 skeins by hand. It. Was. Awesome!! It turned into these nice little yarn balls.

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Naturally since I wound it, I found the pattern that it came with and cast on :) It’s the HPKY Bias Shawl. I’m excited to have something so beautiful and warm for the upcoming winter. It’s an easy garter stitch knit. Perfect for football and baseball watching.

I’m loving the little fuzzy halo. The stitches are not incredibly defined, but it should be a cozy winter knit. I’m hoping it will be long enough to wrap around my shoulders.

Still holding onto my “knit-all-the-things” feeling, especially with the cool weather returning today.

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

My Stash is No Good

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Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.

Yes, you read that right, my stash is no good. It is totally random. It has no rhyme or reason to it. When I started adding skeins to my stash, I would buy one, maybe two skeins of something beautiful. Mostly, I would buy when I traveled to new cities while coaching volleyball, and I would try to buy something unique that I hadn’t seen before or couldn’t get in Louisiana or Memphis. You know, a good yarn souvenir :) This resulted in some beautiful things, but just one skein of beautiful.

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Up until May, when I started my blog, this was ideal for my knitting plan: knit accessories. Usually those only require 1 or 2 skeins, perfect for small projects.

Here is the real confession:

Initially, when I started knitting I had no desire to knit garments. Sweaters? nope. Tops? nope. Jackets? nope. Sleeveless tank? nope.

I believe every knitter has a different journey into the knitting world. Everyone has their own taste. I wanted scarves and hats. I wanted mitts and socks. Maybe a headband. I started with small things. Manageable things. Things to cast on and finish that wouldn’t take that long. Truthfully, the thought of sitting down to knit a sweater was insane to me. Sweater knitting involved lots of yarn, costing lots of money and taking lots of time. I could go to the mall and buy one that I liked, would fit, and it would be instant. No waiting. No extra work. I just wanted to make scarves and cowls that you couldn’t find in the stores.

I was not even tempted to knit anything to fit me until I started reading blogs and blogging myself.

Now, I dream of cardigans. I yearn to cast on a pullover. I desire to snuggle up in a hoodie. All of these that I keep seeing on other blogs. My only problem is that my stash is full of 1 and 2 skeins. Not enough for a garment. And I’m on a yarn diet. Until Chicago. Which leads me to my plan.

On this upcoming trip, I want to acquire stash with a plan. Maybe pick out some projects ahead of time and go into the Marketplace to find yarn for that project.

Until then, I’ll bide my time, working on my Whispers top and maybe that Twist vest along with the other 10 things I have cast on already.

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What about you? What does your stash look like? Is is all about big projects, little projects or just pretty skeins?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Brandy for my Knitting Confession.

Can’t. Fight. It…

The feeling of wanting to KNIT ALL THE THINGS!! Every time I walk past my yarn cabinet, I want to pull something out. What’s worse? I’ve had my ball winder & swift set up at my table since Thursday when I wound my yarn for a teachable KAL at Knitorious (it is the Catkin shawl in some gorgeous Madeline Tosh Merino Lite!!).

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So I’m giving up the fight. I’m going to go into my cabinet and tell you about a pretty…

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It’s Berroco’s Inca Gold. In this deep brown-ish color.

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I want it to become the Malabrigo Twist Vest. I have the booklet and I want to knit all the things in it.

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I did knit the Rasta Cowl, but I lost it.

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After lots of wine at a winery with friends. I called the winery after and they didn’t have it. I even called the cab driver with no luck. I can only hope that whoever found the lovely has enjoyed my Smoldering Cowl as much as I did.

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I even have another skein of this exact Rasta I picked up at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago last year so I could knit another one. It’s on my list or at least in my queue :)

There are several things I would like to knit from this book like the OXO Cable Pullover & the Scalloped Shawl.

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Also, on the news front, I am going back on a yarn diet until the end of October. I would try to last longer, but my mom and I booked train tickets, 3 classes, and a room to attend the Vogue Knitting Live Show in Chicago this year! I’m very excited and just knowing how much yarn I bought last year when I was there, I think holding off for 6 weeks would be smart so I can maximize my stash enhancement opportunity at the show this year.

Back to the stash dive. I think I will cast this project on in the next day or so. I’ve got one maybe two projects that are close to being finished and I can justify starting something else.

I can’t be the only one fighting the urge to knit absolutely everything! What is calling to you?? Anyone else going to any fun knitting shows this fall?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

TGIF

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Yes, that’s a little throw back to my childhood. We would sit down as a family and watch the TGIF Line up on TV as a family. Cheesy, but fun :)

This week in St. Louis, the temperatures have felt like fall. For instance, we opened all our windows yesterday and the thermostat in our house read 65 last night before I went to bed. I’m wearing a cozy sweatshirt and PJ pants, not to mention my awesome Christmas socks!

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I’ve been reading all over blogs and Ravelry about knitting season. This change in the weather has definitely prompted a desire to knit everything, even more than I was feeling. Now instead of just knitting on my WIPs, I am scanning my yarn cabinet, Ravelry queue, and my physical library to pair up yarns from my cabinet to knit things. Any things. Just something to put around me and keep my warm. Forget knitting for other people, I’m feeling selfish and very, very motivated.

Plus it helps that I’ve finished a few things. Let me show you those!!

First up, the MariGOLD Slouch hat!! I even blocked the thing!

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I love the color. I love the cables. My only reservation is that it’s big. Like big! Lots of slouch. I know that’s the point, but I’m not quite convinced. It’s still drying, so when it’s done, I will take some live action photos of it on an actual head.

I also cast on and finished a Little Red Riding Hood cape for a dear friend’s little one. She contacted me when I was home visiting my new niece and helping my mom organize her stash. I found this darling pattern, Capuchon, hurried over to Michael’s to pick up some fun, hard-wearing, kid-friendly yarn in the Red Heart Shimmer, then went home to raid my mom’s needles and cast that bad boy on.

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The pattern is written to start at the neck with a provisional cast-on, then knit the cape down, come back pick up the neck stitches to work the hood. I decided I didn’t want to do that, so I cast-on from the bottom up, did a little math and away I went. It has this adorable raspberry stitch border along the bottom.

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It was easier to do than I thought. I held the yarn double and knit it on US 10s. I did a 3 needle bind off at the top of the hood. I used a bowl to steam block this thing on. I wanted to even out my stitches and help the borders lie flat.

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Overall, I love the thing. Super easy to knit. I used a satin ribbon that I threaded through the fabric around the neck. I didn’t want to do anything permanent.

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I’m mostly impressed that it fit :)

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It’s just too adorable. I made pretty thorough notes on my project page in case you want to knit one from the bottom up too…I only made the notes for the 12 months size. Should be a good starting point though if you want to do a bigger size.

You may have also noticed that I blocked these two items. Aren’t you impressed? Especially after my Knitting Confession a few Mondays ago about it. It really does make a difference. I have another awesome blocked object to show you. I guess we could count this as a FO as well on this lovely Friday.

It’s my Follow Your Arrow Shawl. I know I’ve posted about it a lot. I love it and blocking the lace made a huge, HUGE difference. Before:

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After:

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She is beautiful. I can’t wait to wear her.

Have you finished anything lately??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

I just love it. That’s all.

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Every time I pick up my needles, I just love it. I am still feeling the KNIT ALL THE THINGS bug! I just want to knit them all. Just is my favorite word today. It also helps that I love knitted items. I can’t keep my eyes off Ravelry and other blogs and I just want to cast on. Everything. 

I think that is not a bad thing. For one, it can help me support my local yarn shops I’ve been exploring here in St. Louis. I truly love the whole experience of going into a yarn shop; the stroking of the yarn, the ooooohing and aaaaaahing over the samples, and the general camaraderie of the people shopping and the people working. It’s like nothing else. If I could pull all the yarn off the shelves and pile it up and jump in like a pile of leaves and not get kicked out/banned for life, I would do it to every shop I ever walk into. So here is my one little pitch for LYS…

SHOP AT THEM!!!! DON’T JUST ORDER YOUR YARN ONLINE!! I know sometimes you can save money…but save the online ordering for an Etsy shop or if you are somewhere you can’t get yarn. If you can, GO INTO THE SHOPS! PET THE YARN! BASK IN THE RICH COLORS! SWAP STORIES WITH THE WORKERS & THE CUSTOMERS! ENJOY THE COMMUNITY! 

Alright! *steps off soapbox* 

On to the Works in Progress that are currently adorning my needles :)

First up: Whispers…This top is really coming along. I started the decreases for the waist shaping. I just adore the Rowan Fine Art I’m using. The color is just perfect. I should be knitting on this more so I can wear it. 

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Next: Sunny Topper. I love the happy golden color and the cables are a cinch. I love that it’s on size 8s and just flying. I think I’ve got maybe 2 more cable repeats before the decreases start!

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And: Cat Tails. I caved and started something new. Well, it was really because I signed up for a class/KAL at Knitorious here in St. Louis. I picked out some gorgeous Madeline Tosh Merino Light to knit up the Catkin Shawl by Carina Spencer. 

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I think that about wraps up my active WIPs for now…who knows, maybe by next Wednesday, I’ll have something else I’m working on…

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,
Jenna

Linking up with Tami & Nicole.

I Must Confess

That my loneliness
Is killing me noooooowwww
Don’t you know I still believe
That you will be here
And give me a sign
Hit me baby one more time

Britney Spears is timeless, right? This brings me to my topic today, another Knitting Confession :)

knittingconfessions

Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.

Gauge swatch? What gauge swatch…That’s right. I don’t knit them. I’ve knit one gauge swatch in all my knitting adventures. It was the little guy for the Whispers top.

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I didn’t even block it. But I knit it. Since I was creating a project that was supposed to fit me.

Otherwise, I just cast on and go. It has bitten me in the buns a few times which had me ripping out and restarting my project a time or two. Most recently, that was the Midsummer Baby Blanket. I cast on and started that project 3 separate times with differing needles and a different number of cast on stitches until I finally found one I liked for the width and the stitch definition. Maybe I did a little extra knitting, but I truly didn’t mind.

I think the part of me that doesn’t knit gauge swatch is the forest type of person. You know what I mean? There are tree people and forest people, meaning people who live in the details and people who see the whole picture. I have a hard time seeing all the little details, but I can see how the big thing is going to turn out and fit together. The gauge swatch seems like such a tiny detail that is too minute for the big picture.

I will say that knitting the swatch for the sweater was valuable. I knit one swatch on size 7 needles and didn’t like the fabric. So I knit another on size 6 needles. I measured that and noted that I would need more stitches to get the measurements for the top, so I went up a size on the pattern.

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It is coming along…I’m about to start a little shaping :)

Do you knit gauge swatches or just wing it?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Brandy at Stitched Up in Toronto.

You know what I am?

A Slacker. That’s what I am…on the blogging front, but not on the knitting front! Since I haven’t been writing here, I have been knitting my little fingers to the bone. Along with traveling, and I even picked a book back up! I know, scandalous!

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In case you’ve noticed it is not Friday, but I have avoided the stash dive this week because I need to work on the projects I have and the stash dive gets my fingers itching to start something new :)

First, let me tell you a little about my trip. First I got to meet my niece! Payton Elizabeth. So. Stinkin’. Cute!!!

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And She looked so good in my blanket :)

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I got to hold her and love on her.

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And here is my brother the proud papa!

 

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They went to the doctor on Tuesday just before her 2 week old mark and she’s already surpassed her birth weight. She is a healthy little eater and did I mention she’s cute!!??!!

The visit wasn’t all baby holding, I did help my favorite knitting bud get her stash and projects onto Ravelry. My mom was pretty inspired that I keep my Ravelry page updated with my yarns and projects (speaking of, I have a few skeins to add) that she wanted my help to sort her projects and get them into an organized system. I almost convinced her to get her own yarn cabinet, but she doesn’t have any where to put it. yet.

I helped her take pictures of her projects. This should look familiar

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It’s the Momma Daughter KAL, but my Mom’s version. Here’s the link to her project.

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She is coming along. My mom also had some really cool projects started. 23 total that she considered WIPs even though there were like 5 or 6 that weren’t started but had the yarn and pattern paired together. I don’t know how she has resisted starting those, but she has. It was fun playing with her yarn! And I know she loves having it organized.

Here are a few more of her project pictures. If you’d like to see more of what my mom is working on, head on over to her rav project page here.

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Have you helped someone else get organized with their yarn before?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna