Posted in Current Projects

Current Projects and Projects Calling Me

Before I got sidetracked with all the commissioned knitting, I was moving right along with the mystery knitting.

I finished through clue 2 on Pattern B of the Woolly Wormhead Mystery KAL. I started working on clue 3 this past week, but I’ve only done a row or two here and there when I’m sitting at my computer at home since I have it sitting on my desk.

Pattern B
Woolly Wormhead, Pattern B

I started working clue 2 on Pattern A of the Woolly Wormhead Mystery KAL, but then decided my yarn was too variegated for the cabled pattern, so it has been frogged. I’m sure I’ll try it again at a later date. The finished hat is really pretty! You can see the finished version on Ravelry here.

Pattern A
Woolly Wormhead, Pattern A

I got quite a way on my Opposites Attract Mystery Sock, too. I managed to finish through clue 3 on the second sock and just start clue 3 on the first sock. Love the yarn and pattern! I’ve seen the finished socks from a few folks and I can’t wait to get mine done so I can wear them.

OA Mystery KAL (Clue 3)
OA Mystery Sock

OA Mystery KAL (Clue 3)
OA Mystery Sock – Side

Featherweight has been set aside for the moment, but I plan on getting back to it and finishing it before I start another sweater. The Sock Knitters Anonymous Mystery KAL hasn’t been touched since finishing clue 1. There’s something about the yarn I just feel eh about. It’s not colorful or exciting and I just can’t seem to bring myself to knit it. I do want to finish it since I like the finished socks, but I probably won’t get back to them until I finish the OA Mystery socks. As usual, my queue keeps building up and there’s not enough time in the day to knit it all! There’s a number of projects that I want to make that are really calling me.

Projects Calling to Me
Left to right: Volna, Zaubertote, and Boteh Scarf

The only one I don’t have yarn at the ready for is Volna, but one of the local yarn shops carry the Noro Kirameki, so when I’m ready to start, I’ll go pick some up. I have yarn and patterns for Zaubertote and Boteh Scarf sitting on my desk waiting for me to start! Just trying to clear a few things off the needles (and finish the baby sweater) before starting any of them. Are there any projects that are calling to you lately?

Tomorrow, here in the US, it’s Thanksgiving. We’ll be having meals with Matt’s family early in the day and my family late in the day. Now I must go bake pies in preparation for tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving everyone 🙂

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Posted in Completed Projects

Commission Knitting and Two FO’s

Where has November gone? I swear this month was just starting last week! I can’t say this month has been particularly busy, but I haven’t been taking pictures nearly enough to make regular posts now that it’s dark when I leave for work and dark by the time I arrive home. Definitely need a better light set up for the winter months.

A few days after I posted last, I was asked to knit some baby things for someone I work with. Booties, a hat, and a sweater. This put all my current knitting on hold since I found out shortly after starting that there was a sort-of deadline of ASAP because the recipient would likely be home for Thanksgiving to receive these items. (Turns out they won’t be and likely won’t be gifted until late December.) Patterns were decided on, yarn was purchased that weekend, and off I went.

Warning… I go off a bit on a rant here about commission knitting.

Normally I don’t do commissions. The biggest reason is that people really don’t understand the work, time, effort and skill that goes into knitting and greatly devalue it. The thinking is generally that “it can’t possibly take that much time or be worth that much.” I know every knitter/crocheter/crafter out there understands and gets this! Sadly, those that don’t make things by hand don’t always understand this. I’m not really sure I ever will take on a commission again, but I’ve at least learned a few things from it.

I thought that the person who asked for these items appreciated the work that went into them since we’d had discussions at length about how long knit items take, how much work goes into them, and the real cost of labor and yarn. I didn’t set a price up front because I wasn’t sure how long any of it would take considering the last time I made a pair of booties and a baby hat was over 6 years ago when I first learned to knit and the last time I knit a baby sweater was…. never. I wasn’t sure on yarn cost, either. Big mistake. It was a comment about how much she owed me for the hat and booties that made me realize that what I thought she understood about the time and work and cost that truly goes into a knit item wasn’t understood at all.

The comment was something about $6 for the booties, which was said while I was saying that we’d discuss price when I finish the sweater. Needless to say my jaw dropped at that, but I kept my cool and didn’t say anything about it. The yarn alone cost $8, plus another $5.99 for the pattern I had to purchase. At least the hat and sweater pattern are free, but she insisted on this particular bootie pattern. I didn’t use all of the yarn and could still use leftovers for some other project (no idea what since I don’t knit baby things often), but that doesn’t even begin to cover the time spent making them or the supplies. Took me a week of after work knitting time to finish the two booties (6-8 hours) and a day and a half of weekend knitting time to do the hat (4-5 hours). That doesn’t even count the time I spent making a bootie that ended up the wrong size and helped me figure out a way to not knit it flat and have that ugly seem in the back. Even if I estimate the lowest amount of time since I didn’t time myself, 6 hours at minimum wage (in Ohio that’s currently $7.30), that’s $43.80 and that’s JUST for the booties, not even counting supplies. I wouldn’t feel comfortable charging her that “real” amount at minimum wage. Alternately, you can figure it by yardage used – somewhere between $0.15 and $0.30 per yard, depending on difficulty of the pattern. Based on that, it would be $21 for the booties since I used approximately 140 yards. Not sure what will happen at this point or what I’ll charge.

Lesson learned, courtesy of this experience and wise words from Leslie: always decide on a cost before purchasing yarn or starting anything and if it’s something large, it’s a good idea to get a 50% deposit up front.

Anyhow… the booties and hat are done, which means I have two FO’s to share!

Moc-a-Soc (Front
Baby Moc-a-Soc

Pattern: Baby Moc-a-Soc (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: November 14, 2010
Completed: November 20, 2010
Yarn: Plymouth Dreambaby DK in brown, approx. 92 yards, and Plymouth Dreambaby 4ply in off white, approx. 48 yards
Needles: US 1.5 (2.50 mm) for the brown bootie part and US 1 (2.25 mm) for the off white sock part
Notes: I made changes to the pattern because I didn’t like the seam in the back or the fact that where they split in the front, there was knits on one side and purls on the other. Shoe: Starting flat, I knit the garter stitch portion as written through row 15. On row 16, I joined in the round and knit one round (instead of purling). On odd rows 17, 19, 21 and 23, knit as written. On even rows 18, 20, 22, and 24, knit (instead of purling since you are working in the round). Cuff: Starting where you joined (where the seam would be): k1, “p2, k2” repeat from ” to 1 stitch before the end of the round, k1. Repeat for 2 more rounds. This is where you split the center. K1, “p2, k2” repeat from ” 4 times more, k1. 20 stitches have been worked. Turn. Keep in ribbing pattern for 5 more rows. Knit 3 rows. BO all 40 stitches. Seam the bottom of the shoe. Since the sock is worked after seaming, I did not change that portion.

Moc-a-Soc (Heel)
Baby Moc-a-Soc – No seam on the back!

Baby Hat
Baby Hat

Pattern: DROPS Hat in “Extra Fine Merino” (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: November 20, 2010
Completed: November 21, 2010
Yarn: Plymouth Dreambaby DK in light blue, approx. 74 yards
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) for the brim and US 4 (3.5 mm) for the hat
Notes: Heavily modified version of the hat. Used smaller weight yarn and needles. Left out the purl row after finishing the brim. Used the 18.5″ size to get a 16″ hat with the gauge difference. DROPS patterns aren’t my favorite since they don’t always seem very organized or specific (doesn’t tell you what kind of decrease to use, says things like “decrease evenly” etc), but for free patterns, they aren’t too bad to follow if you know what you’re doing.

Baby Hat (Top)
Baby Hat – Top

I started the sweater yesterday, but I don’t have any progress photos of it yet. Most of my other projects have been put on hold for these projects and some have even been frogged. I’ll update on those next time! 🙂

Posted in Current Projects

Mystery KAL’s Aplenty This Month

This month, I decided to join in on some mystery knit-a-longs. I usually start these, then drop out, but so far I’ve been able to stick with it. I’m doing the Sock Knitter’s Anonymous November Mystery KAL, Barking Dog Yarns Opposites Attract Mystery KAL, and the Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat KAL (two patterns A and B). I figured that since I didn’t have much on the needles and not a lot was really calling me, why not give some mystery patterns a go? So far I’m through clue one on all patterns, have clue 2 for the Opposites Attract and SKA socks, and clue 2 will be out for the two hats will be out today.

I’m not sure how I feel about the SKA Mystery Sock. I think it’s the yarn that’s making me re-consider it. The yarn is a bit on the bright, eye searing side. I’m using Yarntini merino/nylon sock in Strawberry Frenzy, which was part of the Semi-Solid Sock Club from last year. It’s not very “semi” to me, but a very solid bright red. It’s even just a bit brighter then the picture shows. Definitely going to finish them. They may end up as a gift, though.

November MOCK
SKA November Mystery Sock KAL

The Barking Dog Yarns Opposites Attract Mystery KAL is going well. The clues are coming out faster, so I started on clue 2 on Saturday. The yarn is a fun concept. Two skeins that go together, but are different. You’ll see what I mean when I start the second sock. I took pictures just after finishing clue 1. Definitely want to get more of this yarn!

OA Mystery Sock
BDY Opposites Attract Mystery KAL

OA Mystery Sock
BDY Opposites Attract Mystery KAL

I was a little hesitant to join the Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat KAL since I don’t wear a lot of hats. I looked through my stash and found that I had yarn for both hats on hand, so I figured I’d give it a go. If I don’t care for the hats, I’m sure someone I know would love and wear them. For Pattern A, I’m using Wollmeise 80/20 Twin in Lowenzahn. For Pattern B, I’m using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a lovely orange color (color 81). I finished clue 1 for Pattern B the same day the clue came out. Not the case for Pattern A, though! I was working Pattern A on US 1.5, 40″ circular and something about it was hurting my hands. Probably the twisted stitches, which I’ve found is a different motion then knits or purls. That combined with fiddling with the big cable likely wasn’t helping much. I did do the brim shorter then the clue said to for a few reasons. It was difficult to work on without pain in my hands and wrists after a short time, I’m not a fan of 3″ brims on hats (2″ is about my maximum), and I am just a tad worried I might not have enough yarn (I’m using about half of a leftover skein of Wollmeise). The picture below doesn’t show it, but I am finished with clue 1 on Pattern A and the brim is 2″.

Pattern A
Pattern A

Pattern B
Pattern B

Do you do mystery knit-a-longs? Why/why not? I’m always curious what other people think about knit-a-longs where you don’t know what the pattern will be like other then what the finished item itself will be (ie a sock or a hat).

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

Climbing Vines Pullover (FO), New LYS, and Featherweight

I’ve been putting off blogging a bit because I haven’t been too great about taking pictures of things I’ve been working on. With the daylight going away earlier and the weather just not being so great, I find it harder to get pictures I’m happy with indoors. I was also waiting to get some finished pictures of my latest finished knit. Took a while for me to wash it because it was so cold in our house that I knew it would take forever to dry, but we caved and turned on the heat recently, so I finally got around to washing my finished sweater last week.

Climbing Vines Pullover
Climbing Vines Pullover

Pattern: Climbing Vines Pullover (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: October 11, 2010
Completed: October 27, 2010
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers, color 9489, approximately 4.5 skeins
Needles: US 6 and 7 bamboo circular needles
Notes: I knit the 42″ bust size and it fits well. I did add an inch in length to the body and I’m glad I did. It would have been just a bit too short on me otherwise. I do wish I would have shortened the length of the sleeves to be 3/4 length. As written they aren’t quite long enough to be long sleeves and not quite short enough to be 3/4 length. If I were to knit this again, I may pick up less stitches around the collar, or go down to a US 5 needle to make it a little bit more snug. The way that the pattern is written for the arm/shoulder shaping on the front was a bit of a pain to follow and get right because of the vine pattern, so it took a lot of tweaking and re-knitting. This also makes it so that the left side of the sweater falls open and off my shoulder just a bit so I feel like I have to adjust that side a lot. I think knitting with less collar stitches or at a tighter gauge would fix the issue and I may go back and re-knit it at some point. I think I’d knit the armholes to a shorter length for a better fit. For me, they’re just a bit too deep. The other sort of complaint I have about the pattern is the tightness of the sleeves. They don’t seem to be designed to wear something under it – they’re pretty snug. I suppose that’s fine in the end for me since I likely won’t wear much other then a cami under it, but that could be an issue for others or if I decide to wear a short or long sleeve top under it in the future. Happy with the overall sweater, though, and I think I’ll definitely get some wear out of it this fall and winter.

Climbing Vines Pullover - Side
Climbing Vines Pullover – Side

Climbing Vines Pullover - Back
Climbing Vines Pullover – Back

I wore this on Saturday when I went to the new LYS that just opened. The sweater was pretty comfortable, though just a bit on the itchy side for me since my skin is fairly sensitive to wool (and alpaca). I was wearing a cami underneath, so my upper back and arms were against the sweater. Not nearly as bad as some yarns have been for me, but it is making me think about getting something different to wear underneath it.

About that new LYS! Yarns & Fabrications in West Chester closed in October. I was quite sad to see the shop go since it’s the closest one to me, but was happy to find out that the store was purchased, however it was to move and change names. The new shop is Main Street Yarns and is located in Mason. They have a Ravelry group here. The shop is a bit further from me then Yarns & Fabrications was, but not by too much. Most of the staff is still the same and they are a lovely group of people. The shop is cozy, with seating area and a table in the front of the shop. My understanding is they’re still waiting on a lot of their yarns to come in, but they already have a nice selection in stock. I look forward to visiting again soon!

I’ve been working on my Featherweight out of handspun. I’m up to where the arms have been split off, which is making the rows much easier to knit. They were taking so long for a while there! It’s been set to the side just a bit since I’ve been working on some other projects this month, but it makes for great TV and social knitting, so I’ve been trying to work on it when I can’t pay attention to something more difficult.

Handspun Featherweight
Handspun Featherweight

It’s the time of year when a lot of folks are working on Christmas/Giftmas knitting. I still haven’t decided if I’ll knit anything for people this year, but I have a small group of people that I gift to, so there’s still time if I decide I want to. Are you knitting for people in your life for the holidays? If so, what are you working on?