Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ended Up Making Wrong Kind of Stitches Last Night

So...remember how I said I'd have more to post when I managed to get better and start getting a life?  Well, last night was supposed to be the start of that.  Every year, my husband and I participate in our town's "Amazing Race" that is put on by the park district.  It's a lot of fun.  We team up with friends and spend a couple hours driving to different locations in town where challenges have been set up for us to do.  Some are physical, some are mental, most are a combination of both.  It might be shoving our arms up to the elbows in bucket of baked beans to pull out colored beads, milking a wooden cow, changing a bicycle tire, or finding random items on a shopping list at the independent grocery store.  This is the 6th year the park district has organized the race, and we've participated every year.  It really is one of the highlights of fall for my husband and I.

So when I was sick this summer, I wasn't feeling too sorry for myself for missing out on current fun.  I kept telling myself, "This is a bummer now, but I'm going to be better in time for the Amazing Race.  And that is always the MOST fun."

I had warned my husband that we weren't in it to win this year.  I knew I had to take it easy since I'm still not in my usual physical shape.  But once we got that first clue and he took off running for the car, the adrenaline and my competitive spirit got the best of me.  I ran after him as fast as I could.  And after about 20 seconds, my body said, "Ok, you're done running now."  I was just out of energy to the point where I couldn't even stop myself from running.  And my reflexes were so slow that I couldn't get my hands out to catch myself.  So one second I was sprinting, and the next second I was slamming into the sidewalk with my neck extended so the brunt of the force was taken by my knees, pubic bone and chin.

I bounced back up pretty quickly thinking, "Ok, that hurt, but I can probably shake this off."  I knew I was bleeding, but I figured it we could just keep going, they probably have first aid kits at some of the stops.  After my teammates saw my chin, there was a unanimous decision that I needed stitches.

So we spent the rest of the evening in the ER.  Even when it's not busy, it takes 3 hours to get stitches.  We did make it back to the final meeting place for the race before the organizers and the last couple teams had left.  So we did get to see all the clues and hear about all the challenges we missed.  Oh well, there's always next year.

So the bright side here is that my slow reflexes mean that my hands are fine.  I barely scraped the palms of my hands and this morning they look perfectly normal.  So I'll still be able to knit while I heal from this accident.  I've been working on a lace sweater.  I'm not 100% sure how I want the sleeves to look, so right now I'm working on side as if it has a set-in sleeve, and the other side has a drop-shoulder sleeve.  Once I see which one I like better, I'll re-knit the top of the sweater and both sleeves and finish it off.

Besides that, not much is going on in my knitting world....Christmas knitting is going to start happening  soon, but everyone that I love enough to knit for also reads the blog, so it might be a while before I can really talk about that stuff.  I do have a baby gift that I'll be mailing soon, so you'll get to hear about that before too long!

Monday, October 14, 2013


So this weekend, I started my twisted pink sweater not one or two, but THREE more times (that's four times total for those of you who are keeping track.)  Each time, I cast on an obscene amount of stitches, knit between 8 and 18 rows and only THEN did I see the truth: that my knitting was twisted.  BOTH times, I looked at those stitches, manipulated them, checked them, and convinced myself that "No, these stitches are not twisted," before i joined them.  After one row I'd check again, then after a few more rows...each time deciding that THIS time I had done it right!  Then once I was an inch or two into it, I'd realize that my stitches had LIED to me again.

So remember that "knit it flat, join it later" thing that I said I didn't want to do?  Well, I'm doing it.  I'll re-start a project four times, but I am not going to restart it a fifth time!  I got through the ribbing this weekend and am looking forward to getting into the honeycomb stitch pattern today.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pro Tip:

After you cast 300+ stitches onto your circular needle to begin your bottom-up sweater, really check to make sure that your stitches aren't twisted before you join your work in the round.

I mean, really make sure they're all facing the same way.  Fiddle with them and fiddle with them some more, really checking that nothing is twisted.

Spend a good 10 minutes on it, because you know how deceiving that cast-on row can be (and yes, I know the trick about working a few rows flat before you join just to make it easier to see, but I am lazy and seaming up that little spot just seems like way more work than it's worth!)

Once you've checked and re-checked, muttered a mild threat along the lines of "You'd better not be twisted", and are completely convinced that the knitting is being joined straight, go ahead and join.

On those first few rows, keep re-checking yourself to make sure that you really don't have a twist, because, as you know, sometimes you can be completely convinced that you joined your knitting without any twists, only to find out 4 rows later that there was indeed an evil little twist hiding in there somewhere.

It happens to the best of us.  It took me a good 10 rows to realize I had twisted this little so-and-so, but I was already kind of experimenting, so I continued my experiment a little longer since I knew there was a good chance I'd want to pull it out and start over anyway.  So all in all, not a huge deal, but I had REALLY checked and rechecked this thing before I joined it!  What gives??

Friday, October 4, 2013


I was looking over my Ravelry designer's page the other day and I realized that out of the last 10 patterns I've released, the sample project has been knitted in green, blue or a combination of the two colors for 7 of those patterns!  Last year, I leaned very heavily toward using pink and purple yarns for my samples. I didn't plan this either time, it just happened that way.  But now that I realize I've been knitting very heavily in the blue/green family, I'm ready for a little change of pace!  Enter: PINK

This yarn was a purchase I made when I was in the middle of my worst days back in August.  I had completely lost the desire to knit (or do anything other than lay around watching tv, really), and I thought maybe yarn for a  new project would be just what the doctor ordered.

Turns out, choosing stitch patterns, swatching, measuring gauge, thinking about construction, and writing out a rough draft of a pattern while you are really ill is overwhelming.  No matter how much you want to knit or how much you like the yarn.  So even though the Loopy Ewe has the yarn here in just a few days, it sat, untouched, for a few weeks before I could muster up the energy to pick up my stitch dictionaries and take a look through to see if I could find some stitch patterns that would work for the idea I had.

The good news was that I did, indeed, find a number of stitch pattern possibilities that I liked.  I apologize for the terrible-ness of this swatch photo...I know you can barely make out some of those patterns.  And a sidenote: I washed this swatch with another project that had dye that bled.  Does anyone have a suggestion for removing dye from the swatch yarn?  I'm going to either have to reuse this yarn (that swatch is an entire skein!) or I'll have to order an extra skein because I won't have enough to complete the project without it.

Anyway, I swatched 9 different patterns and decided what I wanted to use.  Now it's just a matter of figuring out exactly how this project is going to go and writing out the rough draft.  It gets a little easier every time I do it, but everything work-related is still a little bit overwhelming.  Last week I returned to getting up with my kids in the morning and driving them to school, and being able to help out a little around the house.  This week I've been able to do a few errands away from the house, take a couple 45-minute walks, and cook dinner a couple times.  So I'm heading in the right direction, but really, just trying to do the "regular stuff" seems like a lot right now.  And it's driving me kind of crazy because with all the couch time I am still having, I would LOVE to be knitting a great knitting project right now.  I guess I just need it to be one that I don't have to write myself.  But I just did two patterns by other writers in August, so it's really time for me to get back to "work" knitting!

What's on your needles these days?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Orchard Release!

And the Big Day is finally here!  The Orchard Sweater, conceived very early this year, has patiently waited its turn for release.  (Certainly, it has waited more patiently than I have!)  I have many test knitters to thank for working up this pattern.  As always, the final version of this pattern is far better than it was when you received it, and that is completely due to your willingness to question things that seemed odd or unclear.  I couldn't do this without you!  So thank you: peal, cornflowerknits, JudyeNaz, crystalvisions, REJ, ShelbyWoo, and Yarn-Dar.  You ladies are the best!

Speaking of the fabulous testers, I wanted to share some of their project pictures on this release post.  Because let's face it, it's relatively easy for a designer to knit their own design and make it look good in pictures.  The real test it whether other knitters can do the same!

JudyeNaz is the poster child for "if she can do this, so can you!"  I believe she said this was only her third adult sweater, and I think it was the first project she's taken on that required much in the way of cabling.  She told me it stretched her skills in a few different ways and she couldn't wait to make it again.  And can you believe how cute she looks in it?  She chose to make her pullover in the recommended yarn, Knit Picks City Tweed HW, and I think the color she chose is a great neutral.

Cornflowerknits was another tester who chose a great neutral, but on her project page, she mentioned not loving the yarn she used.  Apparently the Tahki Yarns Tara Tweed is a pretty rustic yarn and contains a lot of veg matter.  She ended up picking a lot of stuff out of the yarn as she knit,  so if that sort of thing bothers you, you might want to cross this yarn off your list.

Still, I think her finished sweater turned out great, and the cables "pop" nicely in this yarn.  So all that picking might have been worth it!

One of my favorite features of this sweater is the large collar.  It can be worn flat or it can be buttoned up and worn folded over as a cowl-y turtleneck.  Button holes are cleverly hidden in the cabled edging.

This close-up collar photo from crystalvisions was taken before the buttons were sewn on, so it gives you a clear view of what the cabled edging looks like before the buttons are added.

And finally, here's a photo from Yarn-Dar, who made this pretty heathered periwinkle pullover out of Ella Rae Classic worsted-weight wool.  I was a little nervous about her choice, wondering if she'd have to go with a too-loose fabric to get gauge, which might make the cables sag rather than stand out, but I think she ended up with a lovely result.  And the heathered effect was a fun variation from the other projects that were all done in either solid or tweedy yarns.

Ready to make your own?  Head on over to the Ravelry pattern page and download a copy of this new pattern.  Before you know it, the weather will be just right for wearing cozy pullovers again!