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.

Craft Night (Day After) Tuesday – Spinning Myself Dizzy

Hello Folks! As you can tell from the unscheduled hiatus, school is in full swing here at Chez KnittingDev. From now until December, expect the posts to be a bit shorter and a little more photo heavy than the currently are. I expect the crafting section to be light in regards to my actual progress on work, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be staring longingly at all the amazing new patterns and yarn coming out this fall. Now on to our regularly scheduled content:

Back in May, I picked up a spinning wheel. I had been drop spindling on and off for about a year, but found the speed of a drop spindle to be a little slow for my taste. When I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool with my mother, I was not prepared for the temptation that awaited me. I ended up with a spinning wheel and enough fiber to (hopefully) last me the year.

Getting my spinning wheel from Maryland to Houston was a nerve-wracking process. It didn’t fit in any overhead compartment, I had thrown out the box it came in (bad me!), and all I had was a soft case I bought and a secondary soft case that my mother made for me while I was there (my mother’s soft case also doubles as a dust cover/cat deterrent while the wheel is not in use). The spinning wheel (luckily) lived the trip with only a few bumps and bruises that I was capable of fixing.

Since then spinning has become my “I have 5 seconds and don’t want to waste time setting up” craft. Within seconds of sitting down at my wheel, I can turn soft fluffy fiber into something that almost resembles yarn. I have a long way to go, but I’m enjoying the process of learning.

Craft Night Tuesday: Washcloth Doldrums

Welcome to Craft Night everyone! I hope you are all doing well this evening. Lately, I’ve been finding it hard to get the appropriate amount of knitting time in. Knitting time is like caffeine, food or sleep for me. When too little, my I go a little stir crazy, when too much, I become over-indulgent and lazy.

With school starting back up, I’ve now planned more “in between time” projects such as washcloths, vanilla socks, vanilla hats, etc. To be honest, the past few months have been washcloths.

Knitting and working at Te House of Tea

Lots and LOTS of washcloths.

Washcloth attack!

Since I don’t tend to keep most of my knitting, I’ll have to find someone who’ll appreciate these (not that I don’t appreciate them, I just won’t use them as much as they deserve). My washcloth pattern of choice has been Anne Mancine’s Spa Day Facecloth. It’s a perfect 4 row pattern edged with seed stitch. Mindless knitting but not boring.

With school, personal programming projects, networking events, training sessions at the gym, my job, and managing my personal relationships I find it hard to really fit in the meditative knitting projects I love so much. I started Joyce Fassbender’s Omelet shawl over a month ago and it’s been sitting at row 5 since the day I cast on.

Now that I’ve started getting into the rhythm of my new school/work schedule for the fall, it has become possible for me to finally get in some much needed knitting time. My tips for fitting in knitting around a super busy schedule:

1. Always have at least one mindless/simple knitting project in a small to-go bag. This will allow you to fit in knitting time in your everyday life. I always keep a small project in a bag I bought from Bling Your String (I love her bags because they are simple and always come with the cutest stitch markers). This bag comes with me EVERYWHERE. I can knit in line, knit while I dine, knit in class, knit on the bus while I sit on my….*cough*. You get the point.

2. At least once a week, schedule yourself a morning knitting time.  I try to make this saturday morning for myself. I get up well before the rest of the house and try to knit for at least 2-3 hours either in the quiet or with my podcasts. This meditative time once a week is something I look forward to, and a way to reward myself for the good work I’ve done all week.

3. Every evening, get in 15-30 minutes of crafting time. Before I go to bed every evening, I attempt to get in at least 15-30 minutes of crafting time. This is not specific to knitting for me. Most days this involves spinning because I feel that it is easier to pick up and put down in a short amount of time. This short unwind time is a great way to get yourself ready for bed because it gives you a chance to tame all those thoughts that would normally keep you up at night.

4. And finally, live vicariously through knitting podcasts. When all else fails, I can always fit in a few minutes of knitting podcasts while I’m commuting. This is by far not the best option, but it staves off my crazy “gotta knit” desires for a small while. For the length of my commute I can imagine knitting all the beautiful things that my favorite podcasters talk about. On the subject of podcasters, I’ll be discussing some of my favorites at a later date.

What do you do that helps you fit crafting into your lives? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.