The Knitting Developer

A knitting, development, and general geekery blog.

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

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 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.