What I’ve Not Been Up To

I have no exciting knitting to share. I’ve been very busy not-knitting, actually. I seem to have gotten into a bit of a knitting funk. I just have no motivation to pick up my needles. Savannah’s Harry Potter sweater is very close to completion and I just have not done it. I’m not sure what to blame this on. The pattern is very not exciting, for starters. It’s all stockinette. Once I finished the not-really-intarsia letter H there was nothing to keep it interesting. Is my attention span so short? Yes, apparently it is. And somehow, while I’ve been busy not-knitting it, it got to be May! At this point, I’m thinking there’s already no way possible that all my big projects will be completed for Christmas. And I’m thinking that’s okay. I’ll have to decide, once I’m feeling knitty again, which projects take precedence. I also think, however, that I kind of burned myself out with the number of projects I ended up making for last Christmas. Moderation: it’s good for all things. Anyone have any tips for getting out of my knitting funk? I really would like to start knitting again, but night after night, I just don’t. Hm.

While I’ve been not-knitting, we’ve also been not-sailing, which is a bit of a bummer. We spend Mother’s Day down at the boat trying to finish up the maintenance necessary before putting it back in the water. It’s very close now and it’s scheduled to go back in Memorial Day weekend. Of course, this would be easier if Alan – who is not a runner – hadn’t signed up for a 50k race on June 1. Why would he do such a thing? So… getting the boat ready and finishing up training will both be packed into the next two weeks. This should get interesting.

So what have I been doing whilst busy not-knitting and not-sailing? There have been softball practices and games and church activities. There was a First Holy Communion and a party. And there has been reading, which is a plus. It is hard to find the time for both knitting and reading (and I found out the hard way not to try to mix the two). I was inspired by the release of the movie (which I haven’t seen) to re-read The Hobbit, which I just finished. I intend to go on and read The Lord of the Rings books and The Silmarillion, but we’ll see.

So what have you not been doing that you should be or would like to be doing?

Intarsia, or lack thereof

Intarsia, or lack thereof

I finally got to the point of inserting the initial in Savannah’s Harry Potter sweater. I had been working under the assumption that this process would involve intarsia color blocking techniques. Then I got there and read the directions again. They actually tell you not to use separate bobbins, but to strand the yarn behind like you do for fair isle and weave it in every few stitches. I actually did read the directions when I first got them, but at that point I had no clue about multi-color techniques so it didn’t mean anything to me until I read it again after some research about intarsia. I’m a little disappointed. I was looking forward to trying it. Looks like that experience may wait until I get to making this firetruck sweater, specifically requested by Sammy when I was browsing Ravelry one day.

Anyway, here’s my H starting to appear:

IMG_4648It doesn’t show up in the picture, but there’s a little bit of puckering in some of the places where I weave in the stranded yarn on the other side. I find I have to be super careful about tension in doing that. I don’t want to leave it too loose, but too tight and I get a little pucker.

And the back:

IMG_4649I’m not sure why they would want you to do it this way. It seems like it would make for a neater finish if it was done as intarsia, but what do I know? I’m happy to see it coming together though, and glad for something interesting to do. Nothing but stockinette was getting boring, which becomes a factor in how quickly I get things done. Hopefully the rest of it will fly by and I’ll be putting it together soon – with nice, neat seams.

Well so much for that…

Multitasking, that is. Despite my efforts at making the most of my free time by knitting and reading simultaneously, I have merely succeeded in confirming that multitasking is inefficient and leads to errors. I measured my work; I was just about at the point to start adding the letter H to my first Harry Potter sweater when a mistake caught my eye. I’d managed to pick up an extra stitch on one end. After counting my stitches it turns out that I had in fact managed to pick up two extra stitches. Enter a brief mental struggle over whether to fudge it by knitting a couple sets of stitches together and be bothered by the error every time I looked at the thing, or rip a couple inches and do it right. I ripped it. It was painful. Lesson learned. I suppose I’ll finish this sweater eventually; it seems to be taking forever. It’s probably a mark of my generation that I so greatly prefer projects done with bulkier yarn and bigger needles. If not instant, gratification that comes at least a bit faster is so nice.

My first sweater

My first sweater

I finished my first sweater! (Hooray! Hooray!)

…It’s not one of the Harry Potter sweaters. (Boo! Boo!) I’m falling rather behind schedule on those.

I made a little orange shrug for myself.IMG_4533

IMG_4530Mostly, I’m quite happy with how it turned out. It’s perhaps a little wider than it should be for my size, but I moved the button over farther to compensate. I think the extra width came as a consequence of not really using the correct weight yarn for the pattern. The  kind lady at The Yarn Gallery worked out the conversion for me and really, it’s amazing to me that she could figure out the adjustments in needle size and stitch count to get it as close as it was.

The pattern is nearly seamless, as it just goes up and over at the shoulders, which was a very good thing. Seems I need to work on my seams. (haha.) I have no idea what the stitch I used for my first seam is called or where I found it. I thought I’d seen it on Pinterest, but if I did I must have neglected to repin it. Oy. I took the pictures of the seams without a flash because that actually made the seam more visible. Here is my first seam.

IMG_4570I wasn’t entirely happy with that one, so I tried a mattress stitch on the second side.

IMG_4568Look at that, it’s worse! The first seam, that I wan’t entirely happy with – the one that I have no idea what kind of stitch I used – is much less visible! Good grief. I could definitely recreate the first seam, but I wish I knew what it was… At any rate, in my internet searches trying to figure out what the heck kind of seam I used the first time, I found many good resources for how to make better seams – ones based specifically on what kinds of stitches you’re joining. I’m still learning that when doing something new it’s best to look for a variety of tutorials before beginning. Always nice to get a sampling of ideas, so you have a sense of where the best ones are. I’ll be better prepared for my next seams. For now, I’m comforted by the thought of just how difficult it would be for someone to simultaneously see both seams while I’m wearing the sweater. Maybe no one will notice that they’re different.

Big Projects Ahead

Big Projects Ahead

So I’m finishing up a couple little projects I started the year off with and planning and preparing to start the year’s Big Projects.

The first Big Project I am so excited about I can hardly contain myself. Who remembers these sweaters?

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I’m making them! Eep! This weekend a very, very exciting package arrived all the way from the New Lanark Yarn Shop in Scotland, containing the actual pattern and yarn used to make the sweaters for the film. I know, I know, I’m still geeking out about it.

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Three kits, one for each of my children. The pattern comes with the chart for a letter H. It’s so convenient that our last name begins with H. H’s all around! This will be a Christmas present. The only part of this that might give me a bit of grief is knitting in the initial. I spent some time this past weekend clicking around tutorials for intarsia or colorblock knitting and I think I’ve at least got the basics in my head. We’ll see about the execution, however.

The other Big Projects on my list will also be Christmas presents. How adorable are these?

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It’s Purl the Little Knit Girl! You make the doll, Purl, and then there are different outfits for her for each of the little things she goes in. For example, she wears the daisy hat and jumper and fits into the little felted flower pot, so she just looks like a flower in a pot. Then there is a coordinating daisy hat for the child! I thought they were adorable, so each of the girls (my daughters and nieces) will be getting one of these for Christmas.

I’m already worried about budgeting my time. I think I have to plan a month for each sweater and probably a month for each complete Purl set…. which makes a total of 10 months already and it’s the end of January, yikes! I hope I’m over-estimating the time required.

Now, obviously I have to also do something for the boys (my son and nephew). I don’t think they’d be into having a Purl, even if I made it a boy doll, so here’s my plan for them. A football hat and a scarf in Redskins colors to go with it. Not so much a Big Project, but I think it will go over well, and thank goodness, because I have enough of those for now, I think.