Category Archives: Ravelry

Spring Term Ending

I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m a member of the Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup (HPKCHP) on Ravelry. It’s a friendly community who complete projects based on prompts from each of the classes mentioned in the Harry Potter universe. Today is the last day of the spring term and I’m racing to finish one last project to turn in. Fingers crossed for a Ravenclaw win this term!

I’m also getting down to the wire to finish my things for my current swap I’m participating in. I’ve knitted two items for my recipient and I still have a few things I want to make her. (Not naming what it is on the off chance she’s reading this post!) Swaps are so much fun and I love getting to know other people in a more personal way. (I promise to write a whole post on what I get when I get my package!)

So I’m going to keep knitting like the wind and do my best to finish the Ashwyn Beret tonight to turn it in and then wrap it up to go in my swap package. My wurm is slowly inching along. The sweater is currently languishing in the corner until I get some stuff caught up, and the baby blanket is getting a row here and there when I need something to do with my hands. How are your projects coming along? If you’re knitting a wurm, feel free to link to your project page so I can ooh and ahh over it, as it deserves! 🙂

Let’s Do The Wurm!

Today I dug out the yarn I’m using which is Baby Boom by Fiesta yarns in the colorway Pansies (a GORGEOUS purple that I got from The Loopy Ewe), printed out my pattern, grabbed an empty project bag from the bin, and wound my yarn.

Using my nifty swift is always fun

I got everything ready to go. I even took a picture of everything all together for my project page.

Artistic, no?
Artistic, no?

I was ready to settle down and cast on. But then I heard my weekend project. It was calling to me. Telling me how sad it was to be unfinished.

Knit me!
Knit me!

How can you say no, when a project looks at you like this? YOU CAN’T! So tomorrow will be the official casting on of my Wurm. If you are Wurming along with me it should be obvious that this is a very unstructured KAL. Feel free to talk about your progress, post pics, ask questions, or cheer me (and anyone else) on.

In the meantime, I’m going to spend some more quality time with this cutie:

Aww, it's so cute!
Aww, it’s so cute!

Yarn Dieting (AKA Cold Sheeping)

There comes a point where you have to go on a yarn diet. Maybe it’s due to space restrictions. It could be due to guilt. Perhaps you’ve managed to blow your yarn budget for the year on one big purchase. It happens. But going cold sheep is not for the faint of heart.

There are entire Ravelry groups and threads devoted to this. (I should know, I just joined one!) And for the dedicated crafter or general yarn enthusiast it can be every bit as difficult as losing weight. There are also so many excuses to cheat “just a little bit” that will totally do you in. I refer you to the commonly known “sock yarn doesn’t count” clause as seen in the comic below. (Which is from one of my favorite ever yarn-based web comics Worsted for Wear who had a great 3 year run.)

 

I personally decided that I was going cold sheep on Tuesday, July 15th. I snagged some of the last Cephalopod Yarn (which is truly a miracle) from the wonderful Eat.Sleep.Knit (who I’ll blog about another day) and decided that with that, I needed to knit some before I add to the stash. Also, I’m pretty sure my husband would notice if I bought a new Rubbermaid container. Currently all 4 of mine are full. As is the 3 drawer plastic cabinet. And the extra drawer on top.

I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM, OK? I CAN STOP ANY TIME I WANT!

Anyhow, I made a solemn vow to my husband and my stash that this is it for awhile. At least 6 months. I’ve built the following provisos into my yarn diet, though. I know me. This is to help ensure I stay on said yarn diet. So, my lovely knittens, here is my formal cold sheep vow, that I share with all of you:
I, Kristi, solemnly swear that I will buy no more yarn for the next 6 months barring the following exceptions. A gift certificate for yarn, buying yarn for a present for a fellow knitter, or if the CY update on Saturday has lace in blue, gray, or purple. If that last exception is met, I will only purchase 1 skein.

Have any of you gone cold sheep? Are you currently cold sheeping? How did it go/are you doing? Feel free to share your struggle with me in the comments!

The One That Got Away

I was browsing through hat patterns on Ravelry last night before bed, looking for my next hat. The first picture it shows me is the one that got away and like Ahab I must chase this particular white whale…luckily I’m not likely to die knitting a hat. This is a good omen to begin with! ^_~

I first tried knitting Wurm a few months after learning to knit. In retrospect this was a terrible idea as I hadn’t learned the skills needed to knit this hat, and the pattern doesn’t lend itself to easily learning things like picking up and knitting stitches. Of course, attempting it in acrylic was my second mistake. One that I won’t make again!

One of the things I love most on Rav is the “Stash” function. I have every yarn I own, along with pictures and number of skeins, listed which makes it super easy when I’m looking at patterns to find out if I have yarn to make the pattern that I want, or if it’s an excuse to buy yarn.

I when I hit Loopy Groupie status at The Loopy Ewe a few years ago, I got a skein of beautiful purple yarn. In a fabulous coincidence it’s the exact weight I need to knit this, and I might even have enough for a pair of mitts or boot toppers to go with it! 😀

Isn't it GORGEOUS?!
Isn’t it GORGEOUS?!

This is my carrot for me. Once I finish this gorgeous shawl (which is very nearly done at this point. Only 11 rows, bind off, and blocking to go) I will give myself permission to cast on this hat for me. I’m confident that round 2 will go MUCH better.

Procrastination

It's like a motto or something around here
It’s like a motto or something around here

I find myself once again procrastinating. It’s not that I don’t WANT to knit. It’s not that I don’t like what I’m knitting. There’s really no reason to not knit on my current project. Yet I find myself once again puttering around on Facebook and Ravelry instead of actually, y’know, knitting. (Although, in knitting’s defense, I’m also procrastinating on the laundry. Because laundry.)

I think there’s a part of me that’s afraid of screwing up this shawl. Which is ridiculous as I’ve already screwed it up multiple times. (See life lines post. I’ve used them. Repeatedly) And it’s coming out GORGEOUS. In fact, I’m kinda jealous of the friend I’m giving it to. It’s that pretty.

So as soon as this is posted I’m going to knit. I’m hoping to do the last 4 rows of this chart and start the fourth (and final!) chart tomorrow. In the meantime, what do you find yourself doing when you procrastinate? Answer in the comments and give me other procrastinating options! LOL

 

Getting There

It took most of the night last night, but I’m nearly back on track with this shawl. I know it sounds odd to some people to be stressing over a deadline for a game that’s for fun, but I know me. If I don’t use this deadline to get this shawl finished it will go the way of the baby blanket that I’m working on. That I started in January. And is not even halfway done.

Honestly, though, I’m really loving this pattern. Normally if I’d had this much trouble with a pattern I’d just say “To hell with it!” and stuff it in a bag in the closet and declare it to be in time out. This, though, just makes me want to roll up my sleeves and figure out where I screwed up so I don’t do it again. Maybe lace knitting is my thing? This is only my second ever lace project, and I didn’t even know the first was lace until I’d finished it!

The first was a scarf I knit for a friend in Indianapolis. It was one of my first few projects and all I knew about lace was that it was hard. This, though, was just a pattern with a bunch of YOs and K2Tog and such. Yeah. This is how I end up doing things that are supposed to be difficult. I just jump in not knowing that it’s supposed to be difficult until I’m done with it. (If you want to see the Ravelry page for my first lace project, just click the link!)

For now, I think I have a plan to get back on track. I even remembered to account for sleeping this time! 😀 My weekend will be spent with a shawl, but I hope y’all have more exciting things in store! Fingers crossed that Monday I will have a completed shawl to show you! 🙂 Here’s where we are as of this morning:

Never fear, it’s bigger still as of this posting!

Playing with Stash

I took some time today to update my Ravelry stash page. Generally I stay on top of adding in new yarns and taking their pictures as I get them. Over the weekend, though, I was gifted some new yarn and when I went to add it this morning I found 2 OTHER skeins that were hiding on my desk! (Which means it’s time for another desk cleaning, ugh)

I also went through and moved all my mostly used up yarns to the “Used” section of my stash page. I didn’t know until recently that even if you mark a project as having used an entire skein of yarn, it will still show up in your stash list as having “0 remaining”, lol.

I currently have 120 yarns stashed. That’s a lot of yarn. 30.80 miles according my Ravelry generated Excel spreadsheet. (Well, it’s 54, 213 yds, which I then converted to miles. BUT CLOSE ENOUGH, RIGHT?!) Wow. That’s a lot of yarn. And I have so many plans for lots of it. And the skeins that I don’t have plans for right now just haven’t told me what they want to be yet, is all.

The only bummer is that I have 2 skeins of yarn that I have NO IDEA what colorway they are. I know they are from a Walking Dead inspired yarn club dyed by Bohemia Fibers, but that’s all I’ve got. Pretty sure it’s DK weight yarn, but it could be worsted (they are close, after all)  and one I MIGHT have figured out by poking around Ravelry.

I think this is “The Rocker is a Walker”, but I might be wrong.  

This one, however, I am stumped on.

The top one wants to be a hat or a cowl. Not sure which yet. The bottom one is keeping mum for now. However, if anyone knows WHAT colorways these are, PLEASE tell me. I’d be ever so grateful! 🙂

The Fit Is The Thing

I love knitting for other people. Over half of the things I’ve knit since I started were gifts for others. There’s one major drawback to knitting for others though, and that is fit. It’s especially difficult if it’s a surprise gift. My current project is for a friend and it’s a surprise. I was totally at a loss as I KNEW that it needed to be bigger than last time I knit this same project, but I wasn’t sure HOW much bigger.

In this case I got lucky. I’m friends with the recipient’s spouse, so I was able to ask them to measure for me and report back. Once I got the measurements it was just a matter of looking at others’ projects and using that knowledge to adapt to my measurements. How do you do that? Keep reading for the tutorial!

Now sometimes, changing the size of something is as simple as going up or down a few needle sizes or changing the weight of the yarn you’re using. If the pattern calls for bulky and is a men’s sweater, change the yarn to DK and you will automatically have a smaller sweater. Similarly, if you’re knitting a pair of mitts and just need them to be larger, casting on a few more stitches and going up a needle size or two will result in a larger mitt. For more in depth changes, however, math is involved. This is not the post that explains how to do that.

This conversion gets even easier if you’re using Ravelry! When you look at the pattern page for any pattern listed on the site, there is a tab with a number and then the word projects. It will look like what is in the red circle:

Clicking that tab will show you every project for that pattern that’s been entered on Ravelry, along with their pictures and pattern notes. From there you can go to advanced search and look for projects made with the yarn weight or needle size you’re thinking of. 
Click advanced search to get this:
I’ve highlighted yarn weights in red in this pic. 
Granted, not everyone puts their project notes on their project pages. However, it can be a great jumping off point in your own experiments to get the perfect size for you or your recipient! 

On Knitting Hats

A friend of mine on Facebook was talking about being in a knitting slump despite having multiple projects going. I can relate, because while I keep my WIPs (Works In Progress) to a minimum, I sometimes find myself at a loss for what to knit next.

Many people suggested various things or empathized, but the post that stood out the most in my mind said simply “Knit a hat. It’s the palate cleanser of the knitting world.”

Granted, it probably stood out because I love knitting hats. A quick check of my Ravelry project page shows that 22 of my 82 projects are hats. That’s not counting headbands/wraps. Just hats.

The hats so far…………..

So why are hats such a great thing to knit? Well, for starters there’s only one of them. Unless you’re doing two at a time (which is something I plan on trying this year) when you finish a sock, you have to knit another. Ditto for gloves/mitts/wristers. If you’re knitting a sweater you need to knit a gauge swatch. And let’s be honest here, nobody LIKES knitting a gauge swatch. (At least, I’ve never met anyone who did.) Granted, with blankets there’s no real need to check gauge, but they can take FOREVER. As can shawls. (We’ll talk about what I lovingly refer to as my Shawl of DOoooooom another day.)

It’s a great way to learn to knit in the round. Eventually everyone has to learn to knit a tube. (Mostly because seaming up everything you knit is annoying.) Hats are great because, unlike sleeves or other small tubes, you get lots of time to practice your technique.

And hats don’t use a lot of yarn! Have a single skein of something? You can make a hat out of it. Every knitter has a few of those skeins that were bought because “OMG PRETTY!” but you only bought one. Hats, man. It’s like the gods of hat fate were looking out for you.

They’re also a project that can be as easy or complicated as you like. There’s also the portability factor, as generally you need your needles (be they circulars or DPNs), your yarn, and your pattern if it’s not just straight stitch. I love knitting hats in the car for this very reason.

Best of all, hats are pretty one size fits all. You don’t have to worry about offending someone because you under- or overestimated their size. It’s nice to knit a pile of hats and know that if you need a last minute gift for someone, you can grab a hat from your stack, wrap it up, and it will fit them.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a hat to knit. 🙂


Goals and Time Limits

I like to set goals for my knitting. (Well, for other things as well, but let’s stick to knitting.) I choose a technique to learn or a type of pattern or item to try and go for it. Some are short term, some mid-range, and others are long term. For example, my short term goal is to knit some hats for myself to wear on the days I don’t feel like messing with my hair. Mid-range goals are to knit a sweater and work on my knitting down my stash. Long term is to learn continental in addition to the English style that I already do.

To help me meet these goals, I often impose deadlines on myself. Some of these I choose externally (I want to turn this hat in for points in the Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup, I want to finish this HUGE shawl in time for the annual Christmas party) and some are just random dates. Then I will mentally chop these deadlines into smaller deadlines. Like yesterday’s deadline, which mentally went “I can do 2 inches of 3×3 rib on US 1 needles with fingering weight yarn EASY! This hat will be done by Wed.”

Ok, now stop laughing. I managed an inch, which is great. However, when setting deadlines or goals I tend to forget that I can’t just sit and knit for the next 12 hours or so. I have to do laundry, and eat, and pay attention to my family, and feed the cats (not that the feline overlords would let me forget) and the list goes on. So set goals and deadlines for yourself by all means if it will help you! I know that if I don’t the project just kind of hangs out for months at a time with a row here and a row there while I work on shinier things. Just make sure they’re realistic or else you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

I finished the mitts for my husband’s office buddy this weekend and gave them to him. I’m happy to report he was BEYOND thrilled with them! Before I sent them off I remembered to take a picture, so, without further delay, I give you the Green Manly Mitts!

And the aforementioned hat? Would be the Bristol Hat! I’m super excited about this pattern and this hat! And bonus! I’m using up some of my stash with it, too! YAY FOR WORKING ON GOALS!