Fruit of the twine

Archive for the ‘works in progress’ Category

More Knitting In Public Day

Posted by yarnberry on June 11, 2007

I celebrated “official” Knitting in Public day by spending twenty minutes knitting in the patio furniture section of Rona while my husband shopped for network cable. There was a great little cedar swing and people mostly ignored me, except for a couple who apparently thought I was there to take advantage of the air conditioning. I’ve been working on a little project with some beautiful handspun (left). The colour is gorgeous, although no one has been able to figure out what the fibre is.

On Sunday I went out with a few people in my knitting group to have a belated Knitting in Public Day. Here is Gailene doing a little Tunisian crochet.



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More Sock knitting vs. Thesis

Posted by yarnberry on June 8, 2007

I deposited my thesis Monday morning, in preparation for my defense on the 18th. Tuesday night I discovered that I had messed up my sock knitting. I had managed to knit a pointy-heeled sock. Observe (you may want to compare to some lovely round-heeled socks knit by someone who read the pattern correctly):

This is not a reassuring thing to discover the day after handing in your thesis. If I could get all that way down the foot without realizing my heel was completely wrong, might I have done the same thing with my Conclusions section, for example? (I hope not!) Let’s hope the lesson is Don’t try to knit something complicated when your mind is on Fisher’s Exact Test. (And please, cross your fingers that my thesis doesn’t contain any inappropriately pointy heels.) I’ve resigned myself to ripping back the sock and starting again.

So, to cheer myself up, I spent Wednesday weaving

and then hand-felting a project I’ve been planning for a while.

Sink felting was much easier than I expected. I put on some rubber gloves and kneaded the fabric in very hot water and dish-washing liquid for about 20 minutes. This project is going to be a small purse with some ribbon embroidery in matching colours. Now I need to get some purse handles and do the assembly… maybe having a great purse to carry to my thesis defense would inspire more confidence.

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Sock knitting vs. Thesis

Posted by yarnberry on May 27, 2007

I am eight days away from depositing my Master’s thesis in preparation for my defense on June 18th.

I am also knitting my first sock, after several false starts. (Please don’t ask me about the Patons Canadiana sock debacle.)

Knitting a sock is a relatively straightforward process. Its shape is pre-defined, its demands are clear. When I begin, there is a pattern to follow. I know that I have 80 stitches per row, and if I wanted to I could probably calculate how many stitches I must knit in total, and how long it takes me to knit a stitch on average, and from there approximately how many hours it will take to finish this sock.

My thesis won’t be done until it’s done. At every stage, it has been very difficult to predict how long each step will take. Some large tasks have whipped by very quickly. Other (seemingly) small tasks have taken (seemingly) forever to finish. There is a rough guideline, but in fact, it only now, when I’m almost done, that the overall pattern of my thesis is coming clear. Each section and paragraph is slowly slotting into place. At the very end, maybe I could draw you a schematic.

It is so rewarding to see the sock spool out of my needles, stitch by stitch, row by row. After 20 minutes of knitting, I can hold the finished result in my hand and admire it.

There will be no finished product of my thesis until the very, very end, and that product will just be a stack of paper destined for the basement of the library. As I near the finish line, I am finally starting to feel like my research is Vaguely Interesting and possibly even Slightly Useful. But the sock — ah, I think a well-made, hand-knitted sock is something that can be loved.

The sock is so much more forgiving. Certainly, it was a little frustrating at first. But once I’ve finished knitting a section, I don’t need to go back and edit it 167 times. I don’t need to send the sock out to other people to read and comment. When it’s done, I won’t need to stand up in front of a bunch of people and defend any errors, inconsistencies, or confusing aspects of my sock. Unless it’s a true disaster or it doesn’t fit, any mistakes in my sock can be accepted as part of the “handmade charm.”

Through the endless months of this process, crafting has been my antidote to my thesis. Its tangible, row-by-row progress is soothing after hours of chipping away at my writing, trying to make my intangible ideas make sense to someone else. So, after I’ve been up until 2am on a Saturday night, writing and re-writing — I will knit for a while, and finally relax.

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Abandoned projects

Posted by yarnberry on May 15, 2007

I came across a blog post the other day about knowing when to abandon a project. Unfortunately, the location of that post has vanished from my mind (and Google won’t pony up the goods). I’ve been thinking about this, however.

There is real virtue in knowing when to give up on a project, frog or re-purpose it, and move on. Our creative energy can get tied up in the obligation of unfinished projects. How many of us are holding off from starting that exciting pattern because we really, really ought to finish the half-completed one that is sitting in the closet — the one we realized halfway through that we don’t actually like, we just haven’t admitted it yet?

I’m happiest about abandoning a project when I can turn it into something else that I like better. I’ve partly solved that problem by making a scraps box, where I keep all of my gauge swatches, false starts, mistakes, and leftover bits of yarn. Today, I started crocheting those pieces together into rectangles for a crazy quilt. It’s amazing how the most scraggly mistake can look quite put-together once you tack it into shape with some single crochet. And there is a relief in letting go of a project that just wasn’t right for me, in whatever way.

Some other projects I’ve abandoned in the last few months:

  • The crocheted fisherman-style sweater I was planning to make for my husband. Crocheted cables really should not have to be that thick and ugly. I thought about just altering the pattern to make the cables and bobbles more attractive, but then decided to keep looking for something I really loved. (This knitted sweater from Vogue Knitting Winter ’07 is also a contender, but I haven’t found a suitable yarn yet.)
  • The abstract afghan I started last fall. I still like the idea of this afghan, but I’m not enjoying the method any more. I want something a little more sophisticated. As I type this, I’ve just realized that I should add the squares I’ve completed so far to the scraps afghan, and just start from scratch on the abstract one.

What project have you abandoned recently? Is there a project you should give up on, but you haven’t yet?

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WIP and FO Report

Posted by yarnberry on May 13, 2007

Current works in progress

  • Oddments sweater: Still haven’t shortened those sleeves.
  • Textured stripe baby afghan: In progress
  • Various patterns I’m designing: At the planning stage.
  • Knitted baby kimono: Just have to finish that last bit of sleeve. Then I get to write up the pattern. *sigh*
  • Lys sweater from Berroco: Looks like a great stash buster. I have all the yarn collected but not started.

Finished objects

  • Numerous hats, scarves, neckwarmers and washcloths: Done and given away for Christmas without taking photos. Sorry.
  • Baby hat: Done.
  • University colours scarf for my dad: Done, and unfortunately somewhat wonky.
  • Lacey ruffle scarf: Completed and pattern is posted.
  • Zen scarf: Donated to by Stitch n’ bitch white elephant exchange, where it was turned into an excellent purse.
  • “Work Your Way Up” string bag for beginner crocheters: Done and being used in my class.

Moved to the backburner

  • Modern art afghan
  • Turkish vest
  • Bags made from scraps and gauge swatches.

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A while of quiet

Posted by yarnberry on October 21, 2006

I haven’t posted for a while, as I have a variety of projects on the go that are close to fruition but not quite there yet. Instead, a photo of my cactus that has started blooming:

As for the various projects I’ve been working on:

  • Sweet CAL sweater (almost done, I need to finish a sleeve and tighten up the neckline)
  • Scarf for my dad’s birthday (done!)
  • Sari silk handbag (almost done, I need to finish the strap and lining and then write up the pattern. I think this will be my first “for sale” pattern.)
  • Handbag made from gauge swatches / stitch experiments / mistakes (One side is finished.)
  • My first table at a Bazaar (done, and a useful learning experience.)
  • Opening an Etsy store (I’ve figured out pricing for what I have, I need to get some stock photographed and get started.)
  • And of course, the rest of my WIP stash that I’ve been ignoring for while…

And a little teaser of the Sari-silk bag and the Swatches bag:

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Current Project: Abstract Afghan

Posted by yarnberry on October 8, 2006

An update on a project I’ve got in progress. I need to get working on it again, as Christmas approaching!

The plan is to make an afghan to complement this room:

Here is the design I came up with:

And finally, here are the squares I’ve finished so far.

The pattern itself is cobbled together from a couple of places, including an old 1970s afghan pattern, some square patterns I’ve found online, and some that I’ve made up as I’ve gone along. The basic background square is from Nellie’s Easy Square Lapghan The yarns are a mix of Patons Canadiana, Classic Wool, and Decor.

I’m making great progress on the Sweet Sweater. More on that later…

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Crochet-along photos! Sweet!

Posted by yarnberry on October 1, 2006

Photos for the Sweet Sweater crochet-along. My stitch and bitch group met today, and I was able to get someone to photograph me in what I’ve got so far. I’m using Julie’s v-neck adjustments to the pattern, and Watercolours by Estelle mohair yarn. There’s great lustre to it that doesn’t really come across in the photos.

The neckline is definitely a bit wonky. I think I may have used too wide of a neck measurement, but I like the Queen Anne neckline effect. I decided to use a v-stitch for the sweater (which has required a certain amount of fudging the numbers with the increasing). I really like the look of this stitch with the raglan seams. I’ve got a shawl pattern idea percolating based on that concept, with maybe some interesting detailing along the seams.

I’m debating about whether I want to continue the sweater as pull-over, or convert it to a cardigan style. I do wear cardigans more often, but it would be one more layer of changes to the pattern…

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Posted by yarnberry on September 22, 2006

Or more accurately, mitten!

Fall must be coming, because suddenly I’ve been inspired to make mittens. I’ve been working up a pattern as I go along, using Bernat Cottontots, which is absolutely yummy to work with. I’ve worked a bit of the Paton’s Divine mohair yarn into it for decoration. The wrist band is a bit wonky, so I may take it off and try again with seed stitch.

Yummy mitten:

And a yarn closeup:

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