The Knitting Developer

A knitting, development, and general geekery blog.

The Knitting Developer - A knitting, development, and general geekery blog.

Craft Night: A Tad Bit of Ennui

It’s when I don’t have time to craft, that I realize how much I miss it. I often think about it in the moments I’m waiting for a video to load, or waiting for code to compile. When I’m driving, I think about the two new arms I need to grow so I can complete the projects I want to complete. I love to craft, but lately my days have seemed long and I don’t feel I’ve had the time I want to just sit down and work on the things I love.

I’m also entirely too distracted in my crafting. While working on my Rainbow socks, I can’t help but think about the miniatures I want to paint and the next knitting project I want to work on. I’ve done more focused knitting in the past few weeks while working on this blog/vlog than I have in almost a year. I missed the creative outlet, and now I just want more and more time to do it all.

Maybe if I woke up earlier, took the bus to work. That’d get me a good solid 3 hours a day to work on knitting, write on the blog, listen to podcasts, and work on personal programming projects. But why would I want to extend my commute by 300%? I don’t know, writing it down seems crazy, but my brain still thinks this might be a solid idea.

What I really ought to do is take a few hours and go to knit night. I’ve not been to that in…at least a year (if not longer, oh no!). I need to be around fellow crafters. Feed of their energy and passion for the craft. Crafting is both personal and communal. And the communal part of crafting for me has been lacking. It has always been such a personal, spiritual tool for when I was depressed, that I forgot to nurture the communal portion.

The only question is when do I do this. I suppose, for now, it’s just one step at a time. Get Ravelry up to date, get back into the forums, reintegrate with the local yarn shop, and honestly just have fun. In the end, that’s what matter’s the most, right?

Craft Night: My Goals

My goals when I started knitting were humble. Well, as humble as a knee length red dress knit in 2×2 ribbing can be. I wanted to learn how to knit, and just be able to use some of my leisure time as productive time. The dress that originally inspired me to knit was very quickly forgotten as I actually got into knitting.

As I advanced in abilities, my goals became loftier. I wanted to learn everything that knitting had to offer. I did intricate lace, and cables. Learned how to make sweaters, mittens, socks and hats. I even looked into doing the Masters program with The Knitting Guild Association.

Soon, it wasn’t good enough to just be good at knitting. I wanted to learn how to crochet and spin. I chased after those dreams with the same fervor as knitting. I bought hand spindles, crochet hook sets, piles of books and eventually a spinning wheel.

The only parts of yarn crafting I haven’t tried in some capacity are dying and shearing. Honestly, the only reason I never picked up dying yarn is because I don’t think I have enough open space in the apartment to dye without poisoning myself.

I still have a long way to mastery, but currently my main focus is not in my yarn crafting. The energy I used to put into knitting is now spent on my career and development as a software developer. With that said, I still have plenty of goals I’d like to accomplish as a crafter and I’m going to put them here for now:

Short Term (1-6 months)

  • Make a Plan to Finish or Frog all current
  • Get Ravelry Up to Date
  • Knit a weeks worth of socks for myself (working on 2 out of seven)

Medium Term (6-12 months)

  • Spin and Knit a shawl
  • Knit a fair isle hat
  • Knit Andy a sweater
  • Finish Webs Knit-a-long

Long Term (1 year or greater)

  • Become a certified Knitting Master
  • Spin and knit a sweater
  • Buy wool from a wool auction
  • Work through the Principles of Knitting Book

Craft Night Tuesday: The One Where I Fail At Knitting

I failed at knitting and crochet for 3 years. And when I say I failed, I mean the “BURN THAT PROJECT LIKE IT NEVER OCCURRED” type failed. (Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but I still can’t look at projects from that time frame without seriously questioning my ability to follow directions.)

9 years ago, I had just gone off to college and I wanted to make something nice for the boy I fancied. See, I grew up in a crafting family. We make things for the ones we love. It’s just our way. My mother tried to teach me crochet, but I just couldn’t get it. Even when I made the starting chain correctly, how you turned the fabric didn’t make any sense. My squares looked more like rectangles, my rectangles more like…triangles? No, I guess trapezoid would be a better fit.

All that to say, I thought I might have a better fit with knitting. None of my family knew how to knit, so I took to books and YouTube to find my answers. I saw a cute Lion Brand blanket I wanted to make, made with their Homespun yarn, a soft, warm, beautiful, finger cramp inducing, unable to really find your stitches, or manage to make any sense of what the hell you’re doing, yarn. My mother took me to get the supplies, and I began the attempt at making this blanket. Spoiler alert, it never was finished and despite multiple attempts all fabric made was donated to pets for snuggles.

Despite never finishing the blanket, I had figured out how to knit. I moved on to washcloths with images in them, and hats and fingerless gloves. For 3 years, I was a knitting machine. Even learned how to crochet along the way (only because I had acquired less than savory yarn I wanted to use up quickly, but that’s besides the point).

One day, after I was putting together the knit sweater for the new boy in my life (he became my husband, so no boyfriend sweater curse here!) I realized something didn’t look quite right. First I thought it was the yarn, so I searched revelry for that yarn used in similar projects. Every project I looked at seemed fine. Then I thought maybe I was just sewing the pieces together strangely, so I undid the sleeve I’d just set and repined the pieces together. Finally, as I was looking at the ribbed edging, I realized that every knit stitch was twisted.

I had a panic attack. I scavenged through all the finished projects I had in the apartment. Twisted stitches in every one of them! The projects began spiraling around me, all singing “Twisted stiches” as they danced. For 3 years, I had been twisting my stitches and I had NO CLUE. Of course, my mother at one point said something, but I thought she was crazy. It looked fine, I would say. Now I knew better. I had finally advanced from beginner to intermediate with the sound of a thud.

That sweater sits in the corner of shame, a reminder of how far I’ve come as a crafter. It’s the reason I will always try to teach a new knitter continental (picking) style knitting. Also, why I try to teach on yarn that will make clean and clear fabric. None of that boucle-“but it’s so soft”-bull.

A Little About Me

Knitting and Software Development. You might would think these two are about as distant from each other as we are from Titan, but I’m here to tell you that this is mistaken. Thanks to social media sites like Ravelry and crafting supply shops such as KnitPicks and WEBS, knitting has become as much a technical revolution as a social one.

I’ve been knitting for over 5 years and crafting all my life. Right alongside my history of crafting is my love of computers and gaming. I started as a video gamer with my SNES and MS-DOS games, spent my hormonal years through MMOs, and now spend most of my gaming time on board, card, war, and roleplaying games with friends.

I try to incorporate knitting into all parts of my life, even the gaming parts.

Knitting became a huge part of my life shortly after I left for college. It all started with a girl knitting on the bus between classes. My short conversation with her was all I needed to become interested in the craft. Not too long after I got off the bus I went to my nearest Hobby Lobby and bought “Knitting for Dummies” and some yarn. I had no clue what I was doing.

After I got tired of banging my head against the proverbial brick wall with knitting needles in hand I decided to call my mother. My mother had never knit before, but she was sure that between the two of us we could figure it out. Figure it out we did, and ever since it has been the corner-stone of my sanity (or whatever is left of it). Knitting is my meditation and sanctuary from a busy lifestyle. Between going to school, working, relationships, and black swan events life can get overwhelming. When they do, I can sit down with my knitting and meditate on what my next action steps will be. Whenever I think I have it figured out, I put my crafty friend down to pick up another day.

My greatest accomplishment thus far as a knitter. The Evenstar Shawl, knit as a wedding gift.

Programming came much later in my development as an adult. I’ve always been around computers and loved working with them, but I hadn’t been exposed to much software development growing up. It took me a while to come around to it, but once I got into the development community I was hooked. I love the ability to solve problems and attempting to make a task simpler or more convenient. I am enthralled with the idea of meshing my crafting life with creating applications that can be used by myself and other crafters.

This December I expect to be graduating with my B.S. in Computer Science. My degree has been hard-earned, and I will accept it with pride come the end of this semester. My hope is to take the most interesting parts of my education and experiences and provide them to you. This will be everything ranging from tips I’ve picked up while doing assignments, inspirational and thought-provoking topics through classes and study, and just progress reports on personal projects I may be working on.

This blog won’t just be all work though. In the midst of knitting/crafting updates and programming developments you can expect articles on all things I find interesting in the geek-verse. Gaming updates, television shows, and much more can be expected on Saturday morning.

The dream is to make this blog into an interesting and reliable read that crosses the boundary of modern and past hobbies. Feel free to join me on this adventure by either subscribing through email or RSS, following me on twitter @knittingdev, or any other form of social media as I get them set up.

Thank you, and now back to our regularly scheduled programming.