Wednesday, February 23, 2005

On perfectionism and living with mistakes too long

OK...I think I may have done something stupid, and I need some advice.

I am working on Sitcom Chic from knitty in Orangeade. A couple of nights ago, I got to a point in one ball (I have multiple dyelots since the yarn was on clearance, so I'm working from two at once) where the yarn was very stiff and weirdly twisty. Like it was spun too tightly, or that it was coated in something. I decided, since I'd been reading about spinning earlier, that this must be something that would be ok if it were washed.

I really don't know why I convinced myself of that. And now that I'm knitting on, I can't stand the way it looks.

Do you think washing will help? Duplicate stitching? Or should I just suck it up and pull out a whole 14 rows or so to fix this?

I wasn't concerned about it, but I'd forgotten that the sweater is one piece to the armpits. So when I thought this weird row was on the back, I was fine, but since it's on the front, it's bugging me more.

I seem to be going on a frogging streak lately. Maybe I've become a perfectionist. I partially ripped out the first afghan square at least a dozen times, and I ripped and re-knit an experimental scarf a couple of times this weekend. What's wrong with me????

For those who aren't my sister, a link to the first afghan square.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Can I just say that my Secret Pal apparently knows me well?

Today I received this:

Inside that cute little pouch is even more chocolate and a Burt's Bees lip balm. How did she know of my love for dark chocolate and Burt's? The world may never know.

Thanks dear Secret Pal!

And, as a secondary note, a photo of the Carlotta yarn so far:

One ball of the green and the ball of off-white kidsilk haze on the left are for another gift project I'm planning. But I'm only awaiting a few more balls of yarn now for the sweater.

Sitcom Chic was is about 3.5" long now, after our stitch n' bitch meeting, and some brief knitting at Mac's afterward. Photos of that later. "Orangeade" was the name of the color, but I'm quickly thinking of it as something closer to "Safety Orange." Oh well. I'll be seen in it. Photos of progress at a later date!

I was able to finish my knitty.com submission Monday night, complete with photo shoot, and multiple sizes. Whew. As of Sunday, I really didn't think I was going to get it done. Now comes the hardest part...waiting to hear whether they'll take it or not!

For me, the hardest part of getting patterns ready to submit is drawing the sketch/schematic. I scanned a handdrawn one this time, because I don't have Illustrator on my computer at home, and drawing garment shapes in my sadly outddated version of PhotoShop (5.0!) is nearly impossible. I think it would be good, especially as I start designing more patterns, to get some design software that would help me out with that.

Last night, since I had one more FO, I started Sitcom Chic in Cotton Ease in Orangeade. I'm a bit concerned it's going to look like a hunter's orange cardigan, but the yarn was on clearance when I bought it, so the whole thing is going to cost me $10, so it's not that big a deal. I did have to buy multiple dyelots though, so I'm doing the alternating row thing to take care of that.

I also received a package from Colorful Stitches last night. For once, UPS actually left a package so I didn't have to run out to the west side to pick it up. I have 80% of the yarn for Carlotta now. It's scary how small that yarn is. Now I need to pick up some circs in size 2 (!) and about 1200 beads and some ribbon, then I can start that one. I also got some extra kidsilk haze for a gift for someone, and I'm coveting that. It's so incredibly soft. Yarn porn. Once the second package comes with the remainder of the yarn, I'll post my "before" photo. It still doesn't look like enough yarn to me, because it is so fine (fingering weight/2-ply) but I bought enough to do a size large, so I should be ok. In fact, I might have enough Yorkshire Tweed left over to do the hat on the cover of that Rowan mag too!

The legwarmers are still coming along. I have one almost done, and have been taking it with me and working on it during lunch, my how to buy a house class, etc. They shouldn't be too much longer, so hopefully I'll get them done with time to wear them this year!

Other UFOs: my sister's wedding gift has not progressed, which officially puts me behind, but I'll work on that at Stitch n' Bitch this evening probably. Zeeby's bag (will it ever be done??), toe up socks (virtually abandoned), lace shawl (ditto, probably will be frogged for a slightly less challenging pattern).

I also need to start on some birthday gifts, including one I should finish by Friday, though it's a fairly simple one and shouldn't be that bad.

Monday, February 14, 2005

I just won a yarn gift certificate! I submitted a photo of the sweater I finished in January to an online yarn store (yarnmarket.com) that prints photos of customer projects in their newsletters and they just emailed to let me know I'll be in the February issue. So now I have $30 of free yarn.

I wish I'd known this before I ordered the remainder of my Carlotta yarn this morning, but oh well.

Now I get more yarn. I'm thinking of more bamboo or soy silk since they just started carrying both. Yum.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Argh. Knitting Disappointments

I broke down and ordered the yarn for Carlotta from Colorful Stitches since they were having their awesome sale. Unfortunately, they just called, and they are out of stock on three colors. They could order them, but they wouldn't be at the sale price. Since two of them were Kidsilk Haze, which is way pricy, I just told them to send me what they did have, and I would search for the rest, which they understood, realizing I'm making a ridiculously expensive sweater. So now I still need to find:

1 ball Kidsilk Haze in Blushes
1 ball Kidsilk Haze in Liqueur
1 ball Yorkshire Tweed 4 Ply in Mulled Wine
1 ball 4 Ply Soft in Military

Then, I called the Michaels out on Brice Road because I'd gotten a tip they were looking for a knitting instructor. I just missed the boat. Someone called yesterday and they filled the position. They do need a crochet instructor if anyone is interested.

I should add that I do have one good knitting thing going on--my spring knitty submission is close to done, and I may even have it done tomorrow. If I weren't going to see Low/Pedro the Lion tonight, it would be tonight. I worked on it a bit before last night's fabu Jolie Holland show, and got down to the second to last decrease row this morning, so I am flying now, with half the original stitches on the needles.

I wish I could post a photo, but I can't until I have the final yes/no from knitty.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I'm back from Kripalu!

Friday-Sunday was spent at Kripalu at The Yoga of Knitting, as taught by Karen Allen. It was a fantastic workshop, and there were around 50 (!) knitters in attendance.

Thursday night, I came across the latest Vogue Knitting and noticed Karen is mentioned on the cover and there's a two page feature on her inside, so if you have the mag, go read that really quickly and gaze upon the lovely photos. All of the sweaters in the article were with her at the workshop, and they are absolutely amazing.

None of us really knew precisely what we would be working on during the workshop, but it turned out to be colorwork. Crazy, complicated colorwork. However, KA is a big fan of Kaffe Fassett's approach to color, and in breaking rules, so she taught us her way of doing color changes. I shall never look at intarsia or fair isle (or for that matter, joining a second ball of yarn in a solid color) the same way ever again. She basically taught us to tie knots (the horror!) when starting a new color, then weave the ends in as you go. Then you don't have 18 billion little ends to weave in at the end. It works pretty well (though I will say that with her preference for fingering weight yarns looks better than the worsted & DK I was using). She also taught us to steam iron(!) our knitting. I wasn't as keen on that as I felt some of my yarns lost their stitch definition like that, but it did make a difference in how the color looks.

KA herself is actually working on machines a lot at the moment, as she is trying to produce sweaters for sale at a halfway reasonable price, but the general ideas really made sense for either one. I kind of almost want to try machine knitting now after some of the conversations though, and I never ever thought I'd say that.

We were working on sampler scarves (though mine may be more of a sampler wall hanging) as a way to experiment with patterns and colors. And at the end of the workshop, we laid some of the pieces out as a quilt to show what we'd done:

Fantastic stuff, huh? We had a lot of really talented people there. And you'd be shocked at how many of the people described themselves as beginners--there's no way you'd be able to tell.

Here is my piece:

I started following a chart at the bottom, but didn't do my math right, and then needed to try to keep my tension and learn the technique and read the chart and it fell apart, so I started freeforming it. I said it looked like a "Cosby sweater." Then I actually got it down and did the chart, then I freeformed some geometric shapes, then I started charting out some more graphic type things, which is where the flower, leaves (no that's not a dinosaur) and half-finished sun come in (I ran out of yarn on the plane and it was in my checked bag). Ultimately, I'd like to do a sweater or bag or something with some of those bolder graphic shapes done in a random pattern, so I'm working toward that sort of thing.

I also think this is going to be a big help if I get around to Rowan's Carlotta. Incidentally, I may have solved the issue of substituting the yarn on that one, because we visited the LYS in Lenox, MA, Colorful Stitches and they are having a fantastic sale until February 14, including 20% off Rowan. I got some 50% off Noro Shimano while we were there, but didn't have my list of Carlotta colors with me, so I didn't grab those. However, the sale is valid on their website too. And since Wolfe is officially closed now, having been bought out by another shop, I may take the plunge on these, especially since I have a new technique to use!

Also, on the plane, I worked on the first square of my sister's wedding gift (Amanda, if you're in here, don't click that link if you don't want to spoil the surprise!

I freaked people out in the airport with my chart reading and cable needle, and stitch markers and circular needle--I got more questions on this than any other project I've worked on in a public place, I think because of the sheer number of props I was using to keep my place.

Here's the photo.

More photos from my trip (including the fabulous Berkshire views!) are here if you are interested.

I'm hoping to have more workshop photos soon too from someone else who took more than I did.

Also, Karen said she'd be teaching this workshop again in November at Kripalu, and she is probably doing a five day workshop sometime in 2006! I am so there!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

a bittersweet period of mourning

Wolfe Fiber Arts, my favorite yarn shop in Columbus, is closing their doors, as the owner is retiring.

On the extreme short term, this screwed up my plans for today, as they are closed today and tomorrow to prepare for the liquidation which starts this weekend. I had planned to go there tonight to get some odds and ends for my Kripalu workshop. Instead, I will have to rush out of work to get across town to a shop I like much less and which is open only until 6 pm to pick up some things.

On the long term, this is really sad. I loved that shop, and it was a mere five minute drive from my house. It had most of my favorite yarns, and was someplace I liked visiting.

On the short term again, I may be able to score the Rowan yarns for the sweater I've been hemming and hawwing over substituting for several weeks now. And I may be able to score them at 40% off, provided they aren't totally cleaned out this weekend while I'm gone. Perhaps I can leave a credit card and a list with a friend?

On the long term a second time, I am seriously looking into what all it would take to open a yarn cafe--a combo yarn shop/coffee shop, where knitters, crocheters, and their friends could congregate for a good cup of coffee or tea and some serious yarn porn. I have a friend who is also into the idea. Money will be the big deciding factor of course, but research is something we are both good at, so we'll do our homework and make a decision. I think the Columbus market could definitely support another shop when Wolfe closes, especially since the remaining two are in suburbs on the same side of the city. And I think adding a coffee shop to it will help motivate people to linger, and motivate non fiber-crafters to spend a few minutes/dollars as well.

Cross your fingers!