Some People Will Knit Anything

I am SOOOO going to drive out to Pasadena to see this. WOW. WOW. TRIPLE WOW.,-JUST-KEEP-SWIMMING


Vogue Knitting LIVE LA

I am so excited I have to share that I’m signed up and registered to attend Vogue Knitting LIVE LA! This is a huge deal for me, as it will be the first opportunity I’ve ever had to meet and learn from the big names in the knitting and fiber arts industry. I’m a little intimidated, also for that same reason. I have no doubt any of the teachers at this event could just blow my knitting and experience away in five minutes. But all the more reason to go and see what I can learn, right?

The hardest part of signing up for this event was figuring out which classes and lectures to take and to make them all fit into my schedule. I don’t know what to expect, but I can tell you that when I was looking down the class and lecture lists, I had a strong urge to sign up for every last one. I can’t, unfortunately, be in 100 classrooms at once, and my husband would probably divorce me if I spent that much money, but the thought did cross my mind. 🙂

KAL and Knitting in Reverse

I am back and happy to be home in LA after my trip back east. In case anyone is wondering, I did NOT get my knitting confiscated, I DID knit while I was gone but I still hate the TSA. They don’t make me feel safer, they just make me feel like a criminal when I travel.

But, on to what I was knitting and what I learned while I was gone. My knitting friends and I decided a few months ago to do a knit-along (KAL) and chose a lace sweater pattern by Snowden Becker called the Shirley. Since I’ve only been knitting for about a year and a half, I will be the first to admit that I’m still learning basic things that more experienced knitters take for granted, and so did not expect this project to be easy. Unfortunately, it has become a complete headache for all of us, not just myself. The only good thing is I know it’s not just me and my inexperience. My friends are much more experienced and they are struggling with it also. Given the nightmare this project has become, perhaps I should have handed it over to the TSA.

The first problem is that it’s a very poorly written pattern, the stitch and row counts are off, and the increasing and decreasing are not done in a logical way either. Luckily, my friend knitted ahead and figured out the proper math and was able to coach the rest of us. She also contacted the designer to see about getting an updated and corrected pattern, and the designer has basically given us a runaround and not been helpful at all. So, first lesson is, do not EVER buy a pattern from Snowden Becker unless you want to buy a piece of crap that you will have to fumble through and rewrite yourself.

The second issue I will not fault the designer for, as the unfortunate fact is that most knitting patterns take a number of things for granted and assume that the knitter knows them. (It took me a night of staying up till the wee hours to figure out how to join in the round, and I will tell you that story in a separate blog post one of these days.) But thanks to this project, I now know another pitfall when it comes to knitting in the round. If you have a pattern that has you knitting and purling and then eventually joins, you MUST, MUST make sure you join on a knit row! Patterns take for granted that if you are purling all wrongside rows, that you will do the purl row before joining.  If you join on a purl row, then you WILL be purling the entire rest of the thing. I discovered this after I joined and purled a few rows. In lace weight yarn. I was going to just suck it up and purl the rest of the sweater, but since there is lace at the bottom, I realized if I was purling and not knitting, it could get even more problematic once I reached the lace portion. So yes, I knitted in reverse…aka, had to rip back. A day of backtracking and a migraine headache later, I was ready to move forward again.

So there is my hard-learned lesson and I hope my blog will save someone learning this lesson the hard way. And please wish me luck in finishing! The sad part is that I chose Madelinetosh yarn, and that yarn is just too special to not enjoy the project!

Ding, Dong the Witch Is Dead…Errr, the Train Is Done!

There is a deceptive project I have been working on since before Christmas. I started around December 15 with the intention of giving it to my son for Christmas. It is the train from the Knitpicks Land and Sea Play Set (no longer available, but look on Ravelry for photos!). My son loves trains, and there is a very cute train as part of the set. I was smart enough to realize I didn’t have a chance of finishing the entire set for the holidays, but I was hoping to give him the train for Christmas and the rest of the toys throughout the year. Ha! Valentine’s Day came and went, and I might have had the engine partway done. Easter came, and I was working on the windows. After disciplining myself to work on it EVERY DAY from the start of May until his birthday on the 31, I have finally managed to finish it!

This was not a particularly fun project, but sometimes, when you learn as much as I did, it is worth suffering through. I have red marks all over my stomach from stabbing myself with the teeny, tiny metal DPNs, but I now know how to do intarsia and I-cord, not to mention the very valuable lesson of not being deceived by a project that has a small result. There must be as many stitches in the train as in a small shrug! Anyway, I would just like to share with other knitters who, like myself, are still learning: first off, when working with size 1 or 2 DPNs, buy wood ones, not metal. The metal stabs you if you hold the knitting too close to your body plus it’s hard on your hands when you’re knitting. Second, don’t let intarsia scare you! It really is not nearly as hard as people make it sound. To be honest, it’s just more fiddly because the yarns get a little twisted after you knit a few rows. But as long as you are always bringing the new color yarn from underneath, you are doing intarsia! I-cord is also not difficult so don’t let anyone scare you off.

And if you were wondering, my son does love it. The look on his face when he opened his present was worth it, and it didn’t seem to bother him at all that it came on his birthday instead of Christmas. Now I just need to get some wood DPNs and finish the other 3 toys in the set!

Doing It Myself

Not that I am ever bored, but every now and again, I feel the need to reinvent myself. I look at everything in my closet and FEEL bored, and wonder if I can really claim to have a good personal style if I basically throw on the same 5 outfits every week and don’t put more effort into being creative with how I present myself. The truth is that for awhile, I spent myself into a hole constantly trying to update my look and to feel stylish. (And let’s be honest, fashion and style for women is really more about emotions than it is about the “capsule” idea of having certain pieces in your closet that always work. Women want to FEEL the image their clothes are presenting.) Long story short, I had to sacrifice alot to get out of debt, and going back in is not an option. Plus, it goes against my nature to be (and feel) so wasteful, and so being creative in my dress has become an exercise in creativity itself.

This is one of the many reasons I love, love LOVE it when fashion magazines have little features on “how to update your look with what is already in your closet.” Often, it is just a matter of pairing things together you never wore together before or making small tweaks to separates. It does not usually require Project Runway-sewing skills, or a fortune spent at a craft store (because then really, why not just buy the damn thing at Macy’s and save yourself the trouble?!). Anyone out there who knows EXACTLY what I’m saying should check out this site, which expands beautifully on this concept! And if you have ideas about this, please share!