Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stop Dithering -and- Knit Something!

That's gonna be my motto in 2010. "Stop Dithering and Knit Something". I already wrote it on one of my mini-whiteboards (in place of the to-do list that had been languishing for four weeks; the other mini-whiteboard has a list of my projects on it, including "Anna's GloveMitts", "Rachel's Cardigan", and "Finn's HK mask thingy" - the one where I'm trying to reproduce this kitty hat for my dear friend's kitty... haven't forgotten it, I just got sidetracked by a lack of skills on this particular one. As much as it pains me to admit it, I imagine it would actually work better in crochet... the needlecraft that eludes me).


You know those "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters? (As seen to your left, so if you didn't know... now you do.) And how there seems to be a million variations on that theme available for purchase on places around the internets? (Such as the prints turned up from a search for "keep calm", here - that's going to bring up every recently listed item tagged in such a manner, so the content is dynamic, and I hold no responsibility for lewd variations on the theme that might pop up. Disclaimer out!) (Also: Keep Calm Shop on Etsy.)

Well, I want one - in a more muted tone, perhaps, that reads "STOP DITHERING and KNIT SOMETHING". My problem, mostly, is dithering. If I come to a fork in the road on a project - some place where I don't quite understand the instructions, or the next stop seems difficult or intimdating (say, the point at which one might start creating fingers in a pair of cut-off-finger gloves), I dither. I will work on the item for ten minutes, then find something else to do, like faff about on the internet for an hour, or play a computer game, or watch "Weatherscan" for half an hour. It's not productive. It's a waste of my focus. But it allows me to escape the problem I'm having. And I need to not only face the problems head-on, but have more faith in my ability to work through those problems! Though I often self-deprecate to the point of being annoying, I know at the core of it that I'm not a stupid woman. I am a self-taught knitter. I decided that I finally wanted to learn, after all those years, and I somehow got up the gumption to do something about it. Here I am, three years later, knitting away and building my skills and even getting paid to produce items (self-promotion holla!), and I still, when blocked by a problem, dither. I need to learn to forge ahead. Of all of the problems I've ever faced, learning how to knit glove-fingers is really the least of it.

In the meantime, I'll look to this variation on the Keep Calm poster: Get Excited and Make Things. As long as you don't intend to sell it, this image is generously offered free for personal use!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'd love to stop dithering about on my blog, but I have some sleeping to do. ;)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry late Christmas!

Making this an especially late post for Christmas is the picture I'm about to upload of my brother-in-law's fingerless gloves:
...well, "glove". It's coming along now that I'm actively trying to rid myself of the phobia of knitting fingers. I've already frogged the middle finger twice, but I think I've got it down, now. I just want to make sure I'm not going around cutting off circulation with these things.

The original pattern is "Cigar" from the Summer '05 issue of Knitty, but since this glove was only half-finished (hadn't started on the fingers yet) I managed a fitting and a consultation with my brother-in-law... he likes the yarn, doesn't quite like the construction, so we're going to try for fingerless-at-the-knuckles, with a mitten shell. When he suggested he wanted a pull-back mitten top I was like, "What's WITH you kids and the mitten shells?" which point he was a little taken aback. Sorry! That's just the pressure of a deadline talkin' there.

In other news, I was pointed towards an amazing knitted Viking hat/beard combo from an especially metal-leaning friend of mine. (Gals: if you like dudes on bikes who wear leather jackets and rock big ol' mustaches, but also likes puppies and kittens, please allow me to hook you up with this guy!) The original post is at Splendor, and I managed to tease out instructions for the bearded toque here. AMAZING!

Well, back to the glove... hopefully by sometime tomorrow I may be able to amend that to gloves, plural!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Workspace

It's a little blue-ish, but this is a picture I took to celebrate having a temporary work space! I have had a desk for a while, but it's sort of languishing in our spare bedroom... then when my husband received a desk for his birthday, we were too tired to rearrange the livingroom (we planned on keeping it down here so he would have a place to study), so it was pushed in front of the front window. So far we haven't been able to get the room rearranged, but we're sharing the desk for the time being. It's nice to have a place to keep a few books out and be able to sit and have a pattern laid out flat in front of you! I already feel like it's helped me to be more productive :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

My First (Dog) Sweater

This week I finally finished a small sweater project I've had in the works for a couple of months now: a dog sweater for Bailey, the precious pooch of my friend Eva. Eva and Bailey come into my workplace every week and have tea and sit and read for a bit (well, Bailey doesn't drink tea, but if you know of a dog that does... leave a comment, that's pretty remarkable!). And I thought Bailey would look darling in a sweater! So we took measurements, and we found the perfect yarn, and I swatched away. I didn't follow an exact pattern, but I did use Kristi Porter's "Knitting For Dogs" as a reference.

I had to put the pieces up against Bailey and make notes where to place the front leg-holes, but other than that the construction was super-easy. The top piece (the back of the sweater) is slightly longer and wider, and the bottom piece (the "front") is skinner and not as long ( have to make sure the pup in question can't piddle on her/his sweater!). To straighten out the edges I used garter stitch. The difficult part for me was seaming - I'm sort of a novice at mattress stitch, though I've practiced and hope to get better - I suppose I could have left more selvage on parts of it, but overall I'm happy with how it turned out. It was also a perfect fit, and Bailey wasn't bothered at all by wearing it! Here's some pics of her in her brand new sweater, and some pictures of the yarn up close & personal. (It's kind of nubbly - it's easy to get your needles caught in the "bits", but it knits up beautifully and feels gorgeously soft.)

Click to enlarge the pics :)