Posted in KnitCroBloWeek

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Location, Location, Location

Today’s topic:

Location, Location, Location: Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

The answer for me is simple: EVERYWHERE. Anyone who knows me knows that I always have knitting with me anywhere I go. I sneak minutes of knitting standing in line, in short car trips, when I go out to dinner at a restaurant… any spare moment I have that I can grab, I’ll be knitting. It took me a while to get over the fear of knitting in public, but once I did, it felt like I had more time to knit and projects were going faster because I could pull them out to work on them wherever I was.

Most of my knitting time is spent on the living room sofa, watching TV.

33/365: You Spin Me Right Round
My spot on the living room sofa where I knit, spin, and watch TV.

Once a week I join my knit group at Habits Cafe (restaurant/bar) and knit for a few hours. I usually knit at lunch during the work week. Sometimes I’ll sit in front of my computer at home and knit while I read Ravelry, blogs, or watch something online. I don’t think finding a place to knit will ever be a problem for me! I definitely think of myself as an “obsessed knitter” and spend a lot of time knitting. When I can’t knit, I spend a lot of time thinking about knitting. It’s always on my mind. Heck, if it wouldn’t triple my commute time, I’d ride the bus to work so that I could get more knitting time into my day! 🙂

Be sure to check out the other entries for today’s topic!

In yesterday’s post, Dana suggested in the comments I try my hand at designing. I have! When I was searching for a mitt pattern and didn’t find anything that was exactly what I wanted, I designed and published Funky Chunky Mitts. (I’ve added it to the sidebar because I didn’t realize it wasn’t there!) I’ve also done a bit of test knitting and helping write up patterns for others, so I feel pretty confident in my ability to design and publish a pattern. I’m currently working on designing a colorwork sock pattern, but I’m stuck for what to do at the heel, so it’s been on hold for a while. I tried to design a different sock, but lost interest a few inches into the leg of the sock and decided I wanted to re-work it. I think I’m less of a “designer” and more “make it up as I go” or “mash a few different patterns together to get what I really want.” I did recently get Knitwear Design Workshop, but haven’t had much time to read it yet. I think that if I had more time to devote to designing, I would and eventually I will likely put out another pattern, but I can’t say it’s something that’s super high on my priority list right now. It is always in the back of my mind, though! Thanks for mentioning it, Dana – I hadn’t even really considered it yesterday when I wrote my post. 🙂

Posted in KnitCroBloWeek

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: A New Skill

Today’s topic:

A New Skill: Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? Maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

Hmmm. This is a bit of a tough one. I can knit backwards, but prefer not to. I have tried continental, but find it’s not as natural to me (and what’s wrong with being an English knitter? It’s all what appeals and works for you, I think!). I’ve done cables, lace, and colorwork. I don’t think that there’s any skill related to knitting that I have a burning desire to learn. I thought about a crochet related skill, but I know quite a bit about crochet and feel comfortable picking up a crochet pattern and being able to do it.

In trying to pick a skill I want to learn for this prompt, it made me wonder: Have I learned every skill related to knitting? If so, where do I go from here? I feel like I learned a lot of knitting skills early on. If I saw something new that I wanted to try, I did it. I feel confident that I could knit any any pattern put in front of me. I don’t think I’ve learned everything ever about knitting, but I do feel that I have learned all the skills I want to that are related to knitting. I can’t even think of something I haven’t tried yet aside from steeking and I don’t think that that would be considered a “skill.”

So, where do I go from here if I feel I’ve learned every skill I have wanted to learn? I can’t say I know for certain. I do know that I love knitting and I will keep on knitting and taking on larger, more challenging projects. Maybe even do some Epic Lace and steeking sometime. Learning all the skills I have wanted to has only increased my love for the craft! I don’t know that there will be a time when I don’t feel challenged in some way by knitting. I feel like there’s more to learn about knitting itself rather then just learning the skills. About fiber, yarns, patterns, techniques… there’s always *something* you pick up here and there about knitting that isn’t specifically a skill and all of that is valuable, too!

Be sure to check out the other entries for today’s topic!

Posted in KnitCroBloWeek

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: One Great Knitter

Today’s topic:

One Great Knitter: Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

I’ve been pondering this one since I read over all the topics on Monday. I’m finding it impossible to write about just ONE great knitter (or even crocheter as I’m guessing this prompt applies to both). Judging from the entries I’ve read for this topic today, some people knew right away who they wanted to write about, but many others had a really hard time with this one. I enjoy so many knitters and crocheters work and find many of them to be inspiring, so instead of picking just one to write about, I’ll write about all of (or as many as I can think of) the great knitters and crocheters I enjoy.

One of the first blogs I started reading back when I discovered knitting and knitting blogs was Grumperina. I found her photos and intricate work to be very inspiring as a relatively new knitter and still do now. Since that time, I’ve found a number of other great blogs that inspire me. Wendy D. Johnson, Jared Flood, Mariann, The Boring Knitter, Laura, Attic 24… and so many others I know I’m forgetting!

Since Ravelry started, I’ve found many great knitters there, too. So many people designing their own knit or crochet items, making variations on patterns, and sharing ideas. It opened a whole other world of knitting and crochet enjoyment for me! If it weren’t for Ravelry, I may not have ever heard about my current knitting group or met such a wonderful group of both enjoyable and inspiring knitters. My knitting group has all levels of experience and everyone is really encouraging and helpful no matter what your current skill level is. I’m thankful to know and be part of such a great group. 🙂

I couldn’t possibly limit myself to just one person for this entry! Both online and offline, I’ve found many great knitters that I enjoy being around, sharing knitting and crochet knowledge with, and seeing their projects. I’m glad to have found such a fantastic community to be a part of.

Be sure to check out the other entries for today’s topic!

Posted in KnitCroBloWeek

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: An Inspirational Pattern

Today’s topic:

An Inspirational Pattern: Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

As soon as I read this, I knew immediately what project I wanted to write about. In March of 2006 I came across this pattern: Wedding Ring Shawl by Sharon Miller. The pattern is from Heirloom Knitting, but the website is currently offline. Here’s the information on it from the cashed page:

For knitters wanting the challenge and satisfaction of a high-end project, HK has created the Wedding Ring Shawl – a true reflection of Shetland Lace’s heritage. This project for the ultra-skilled knitter requires time, concentration and patience but in the end, all efforts will be rewarded by the finished shawl – a delicate webby patterning of geometric lace motifs, large and small. The pattern comes with a Yarn Samples Card giving a selection of working lengths of possible yarns. Knitters are strongly advised not to purchase any yarn for this project until they have thoroughly swatched and evaluated the effects that using these different (or alternatively chosen) yarns may produce.

Wedding Ring Shawl
Wedding Ring Shawl

I knew that one day I wanted to be “good enough” to knit this shawl. I had been knitting for 2 years, but hadn’t ventured into lace yet. There were 500 signed limited edition patterns to be sold, which included cobweb yarn to swatch with. Given that it was limited edition, I knew I had to get my hands on this pattern or I may never have the chance to. (Their Ravelry page says that it is supposed to be available again this year and from the posts on Ravelry, it was available earlier this month. Not sure if there will be more copies since their website is currently offline.) I bought it immediately and it wasn’t cheap by any means with the Euro to US Dollar conversion. I think it was around $45 for the pattern. Now, back when I was a new knitter, that was a LOT of money for a pattern since I had been knitting mostly from free patterns, acrylic yarn, and very cheap wool. When I got it, though, I didn’t regret the money I’d spent. It’s a very detailed pattern and even then (when I knew less as a knitter and what went in to such a pattern) was worth the cost.

Since it arrived back then, I have kept it in the original package it arrived to me in. I have taken it out of the plastic it came in twice in the 5 or so years I’ve had it. Every time I look at this shawl, I am in awe of it, even now after I’ve been knitting for 6 years and lace no longer frightens me. Not that it ever really did, but lace of this size? Yeah, it scares me just a bit!

I think that I have the skills needed as a knitter to knit this. I even think that if I started it, I could finish it and it would be lovely. This Wedding Ring Shawl is my Everest as a knitter. It’s the huge, time consuming project that I want to be able to say I have done and be able to show off some day. This is the project I aspire to knit some day because of the massive undertaking I feel that it is. I’ve never knit with cobweb lace or a lace shawl of this size. The combination of the two is a bit frightening, but someday, I’d really love to complete this.

Now that I’ve written about this pattern, I find myself looking at cobweb yarn wondering if perhaps THIS is the year I begin this project…

Be sure to check out the other entries for today’s topic!

Posted in KnitCroBloWeek

Knit and Crochet Blog Week: Starting Out

Karen pointed out to me that this week is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week (I’d been living under a rock for a few days while at the Spring Fling, which I promise I will post about as soon as I get some pictures uploaded – it was a blast!), so I’ve decided to join in! It’s a week of bloging on topics related to knitting and crochet. Here’s some more detail on what it’s all about.

The first topic is:

Starting Out: How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

Years ago, when I was 15 or 16 and was staying with my grandparents for the summer, I asked my grandmother to teach me to crochet. For as long as I could remember, she had crocheted things, mostly afghans and golf club cozies, and I wanted to learn. She handed me a book on learning to crochet (which she told me was the same book she learned from), a few skeins of acrylic yarn, and a crochet hook. I set to work learning to crochet. I learned the basic stitches, but my gauge was all over the place (at the time I didn’t realize that was the problem) and my squares looked all out of whack. Over the next few years I tried again and again to do something with what I had learned. I kept putting it aside in favor of other crafty things, reading, or writing. My senior year of high school I did manage to make an afghan in single crochet with a large hook and double stranded Red Heart yarn. It was a little wonky, which I “fixed” by doing a single crochet around the whole thing. After that, I didn’t pick it up again until 2003 (about 3 years later) to try and crochet another afghan out of squares. I never did finish that project and it’s disappeared between all the moves I’ve made since then.

In March 2004 I went to AC Moore to find something to crochet for a baby for a co-worker who was pregnant. While I was there, I found a “Learn to Knit Kit” from Lion Brand for a baby hat and booties. It included instructions, knitting needles, and yarn. I don’t have any pictures of this project, but I knew after I finished it that I wanted to knit more. I didn’t know any knitters at that time and didn’t know anyone who had ever knit anything. After that hat and bootie set, I knit a double stranded baby blanket out of Red Heart Pound of Love. It was intended for the same co-worker, but by the time I finished it, she had moved away from the area and we weren’t in contact any longer. Next came some Santa hats made with chenille and fun fur. After that, I just couldn’t put down the needles!

I learned from that kit, the first Stitch ‘n Bitch book, and various online sources. I’m completely self-taught and because I didn’t know any knitters when I first started, I really didn’t have any fear or concept of projects that might be beyond my capabilities. That worked out okay sometimes and terrible others, but it’s been a great learning experience.

I learned about Local Yarn Shops from the Yarn Harlot and the first Stitch ‘n Bitch book and eventually I made my first trip to the yarn store. I found that there was more yarn then the big box craft stores had and soon after that first LYS trip (which was 45 mintues away), I found Knit Picks and other online yarn shops. Stitch ‘n Bitch inspired me to start the first knitting group I attended and I spread the word through my old LiveJournal. People heard about it and showed up to that first meeting. It was fantastic to share my love of knitting with others and learn from them, too. Now with Ravelry, Plurk, Twitter, and all the other great knitting and crochet blogs out there I’ve been able to share that love with a lot of great people who also love the craft.

In writing this blog post, I looked up when that first project was and I realized that last month marked 6 years of knitting. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long! I thought I was close to 5 years now, but thanks to Ravelry and the fact that I documented those early projects through my old blog (which no longer exists), I can easily look back on the dates of those early projects. It’s been fantastic to find a hobby I’m so passionate about and I have a feeling I won’t be putting down these needles any time soon! 🙂

26/365: In Need of Some Wine
Here’s to many more years of knitting!

Be sure to check out the other entries for today’s topic!