1000 yards of lace weight yarn.
A moment to purchase.
After meeting my former coworker’s handsome baby, I started knitting this hat. You see, he came in wearing the hat I originally made him and it was far too big. So I decided to throw together a simple little thing from some stash yarn. The yarn is Berroco Comfort DK in Tea Party. I’m not crazy about the weird zebra-stripe way the color patterned out. However, the yarn is nice and soft and it will keep the little gent’s head warm for winter. The pattern is just some free, basic baby hat I found online and apparently didn’t save.
Being a knitter makes you think things like: do I have a small, medium, or large head?
Same for hands.
I had to measure my head with a measuring tape tonight.
The start to my hat was far too small.
Spent the evening knitting about two inches of hat so I could rip it all out and decide to try again tomorrow.
I am not the sort to rip myself from my warm bed the morning after Thanksgiving at some ungodly hour to go shop. However, I will purchase yarn online for my portion of the Black Friday savings. Not that I need an excuse to purchase yarn, but the discounts don’t hurt.
Here’s what I picked up.
A new set of the Caspian double pointed needles from Knit Picks. They’re so pretty! I don’t think they were on sale but I don’t have many of the smaller size DPNs and I wanted to hit the minimum for free shipping.
Three skeins of Diadem DK Special Reserve from Knit Picks in Gold. This yarn is so soft that when it came it, I slid it out of the box and then cussed at its softness. I intend to knit it into the gorgeous French Cancan Shawl.
Three skeins of Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb in the color Aslan (like the lion I assume?). This came from Eat.Sleep.Knit. If you’re doing the Yarnathon like I am, this yarn is a 100% power boost right now, so the yardage counts for double. I think this might become the Clapotis shawl/scarf thing.
Two skeins each of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Grasshopper and Smokestack. Also from Eat.Sleep.Knit. It is intended for the Brick Road Cowl. I saw the sample at MadTosh done in pink and grey and loved it. I wanted to go for colors that were totally not my normal choice. The green of Grasshopper isn’t quite the electric color I thought it might be when I was making “bold” choices, but I like the colors well enough.
As an added bonus, all my shopping bumped me up in the Yarnathon so I earned $20 in store credit and I am really close to the next level – which would earn me a shirt. Plus, when the order came in I won a free mitten kit from the little scratch off cards they throw in. So I am excited to see what that will be.
Now I just need to actually get to knitting… and updating my Ravelry stash…
Writing is the most terrifying of hobbies, for me. I always find myself with these ideas for stories floating around in my head and I want, so badly, to write them. Then, I sit down to write and think “I have no idea what I’m doing. I shouldn’t be trying.” I end up walking away.
The thing about writing is, its damn near impossible to know if you’re any good at it. You could compare it to knitting. With knitting, it is easy enough to know whether you’re doing it correctly. You can look at other people’s knits and know whether you can reproduce them. You take the pattern and either you understand the stitches or you don’t, you either struggle with following the pattern or you don’t, either the finished the product looks like the examples or it doesn’t. Writing isn’t like that. You can write and write and write, never knowing whether its readable. All words on paper look about the same but, as we al know, some are far more enjoyable to read than others. The only way to know whether what you’re writing is to give it to others, which is a challenge in itself.
Several years ago, I rediscovered my love of writing. In a very short time, I wrote about 35 pages of a story idea. I was pleased as punch about my ideas and what I had gotten on paper, but I really wanted to know whether it was any good. I passed it along to a coworker and my significant other. My coworker was pretty adamant about how much she liked it. My significant other was less enthusiastic (he wasn’t a person that was particularly prone to outbursts of emotion) but said he thought it was worth continuing. The problem is, people who care about you will almost always give you positive praise. So how are you to know the truth? How do you find an unbiased opinion?
In college, I never once took an English class. I did a dual high school/college enrollment when I was a senior and got all of the credits I needed, plus three extra hours from the AP test for English. So I have had all of no writing training or critique. My only basis for thinking I might have some sort of talent comes from childhood. I was frequently praised for being one of the best writers in class and I even won the UIL competition for Persuasive Writing two years in a row. Of course, that isn’t creative writing, but I’m proud of teen-me all the same. I had thought recently that it would be a good idea to take some creative writing classes. I’ve spent hours looking through online MA and MFA Creative Writing Programs, continuing education schedules,, a community college catalogs. I decided to try my had at an online Creative Writing class through my county’s community college. Sadly, I went online tonight to register and the class was already full. None of the continuing education classes seemed like what I really want. I would consider getting a Masters in writing but I would be nervous to start a program with no prior writing experience. The thought of sending out a writing portfolio to be evaluated by a real professor makes me want to break out in hives.
I feel at a loss for understanding how to overcome this anxiety that keeps me from writing. I cannot seem to turn off that inner voice that tells me to not bother, tells me I’ll never write anything that anyone would enjoy. Yet I also cannot find a way to assuage that voice or prove it wrong. With knitting, I took a class and taught myself at home until I could recreate the patterns I saw. Even now, I hit stitches I’m not familiar with and have to seek out videos to learn from. It is so simple to know I’ve done it correctly when I see the stitches unfurl into something recognizable. I cannot seem to find a way to do that with writing. I am a person that is cripplingly afraid of failure, so putting myself out there with something so so unsubstantiated does not seem to be something I can make myself do.
So instead of writing, I find myself knitting for comfort and safety. I also find myself browsing online classes again and again wishing I was brave enough to take that leap. To decide that, even though I already have a Masters and don’t need one, I deserve to give myself the opportunity to try for MA/MFA in writing. Of course, I might be more willing to make the leap Masters programs didn’t cost about $30,000.
Eventually, I will need to reconcile myself to the thought that I’ll never write and these characters will forever fester in my mind, or I will need take a chance.
Although I forgot to blog about it, a month or so ago I decided to try out Knit Crate. They had the option to sample their subscription one time and I got the Baby and Intermediate/Advanced sets. I was really pleased so I decided to subscribe. I will possibly go back and blog those that I got but, for now, I’m moving on to my November subscription.
First of all, I may have subscribed to every yarn subscription service available (with the exception of those put out by a specific brand). Knit Crate is my favorite so far. It is costly, but great. Now, I went a little crazy with the subscribing. First I decided to subscribe to the mini set on a bi-monthly basis so I could get mini skeins for the Beekeeper quilt (which I have now abandoned so I may get rid of this subscription after the first month). Then I signed up for the bi-monthly Intermediate/Advanced crate. It was after I had done both of those things that I learned Knit Crate had planned extra special crates for November and December and I really wanted them. Due to the payment and shipping set up, the bi-monthly crates take 2 months to ship your first order. Which means I wouldn’t get a crate until January and would miss the special ones. I then went back and got a 3rd subscription for the Indie crate.
So now I am flush with Knit Crate subscriptions, two of which will most likely get cancelled after a month or two. But I accomplished my goal of getting the special crates. November is the anniversary of Knit Crate opening so they amped up the crate. With my indie subscription, I got two GORGEOUS hanks of Northumbria DK from Miss Babs in Jack Frost. The color is so great. It isn’t something I would’ve picked up for myself since I rarely do blues or grays but it is so lovely. Plus, it was inspired by the creator’s dog, so it is even more awesome. I haven’t chosen a pattern yet, but I’m excited to use it.
The crate also included a Knit Kit, which is one of the handiest all-in-one tools a knitter can have. There was also an adorable tea infuser from Tea Forte (please excuse my lack of accent mark here, my keyboard is not cooperating), as well as coupon codes for several free or discounted knitting patterns. This was probably my favorite yarn subscription shipment I’ve received yet and I can’t wait for next month!
Awhile back I posted about the Beekeeper Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits being the blanket everyone is making. The pattern still seems to be oddly popular. Back then, I was very dubious about the pattern. It seemed like it would take an eternity to make. The result would be very heavy. I don’t knit socks and don’t have scraps laying around. However, I saw the kit over at Knitcrate and decided to give it a try. My Koigu mini-skeins, needles, pattern, and fiberfill arrived, and I was ready to try it out. For the first two puffs, I had really decided to knit this monster. Even though I knew that it would take around 600 puffs to make a decent sized blanket. However, I sat there looking at the little pile of mini-skeins and realized that I had not overcome my desire for things to match.
Now, I am the daughter of a quilter. In fact, my mom opened her own quilt shop when I was 10. Although I do not quilt myself (I’ve dabbled once or twice with no real prolificacy), I have gathered up bits and pieces of quilting knowledge through osmosis. Mostly because I used to spend my afternoons when school let out at my mom’s store, waiting to go home at closing time. When I started considering how I could turn the Beekeeper’s Quilt into something I would actually like, I decided to look to the quilting world for inspiration.
There is a vintage quilt pattern known as Grandmother’s Flower Garden. It is small hexagons (1 or 2 inches) pieced to look like flowers with little white “paths” between them, or green “vines”. I decided this could be the perfect motif for the Beekeeper Quilt. All I would have to do is get skeins of sock yarn in colors I liked and arranged the final product like the quilt pattern.
I wanted to do the colors in something I wouldn’t normally pick. Since the quilt pattern is from the 1930′s, those colors seemed perfect. I went on Eat.Sleep.Knit and started hunting. I ended up with three skeins which, while they aren’t totally the 30′s style, will work.
From left to right I got Manos del Uruguay Fino in Crystal Goblet, Dream Smooshy in Rosalita, and Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Straw. I bought all of these based purely on color and cost so it was a gamble, but I am incredibly pleased with all of the yarns. Also, once they arrived, I realized that I hadn’t ended up with such random colors. In fact, they match the new colors in my living room. You can see the yellow throw pillow in the back there.
I started talking to my mom about my idea and it started to change. I originally called to ask if she had a pattern at her shop that would show how to lay out the flower colors. I began to describe the Beekeeper Quilt to her and she started poking holes in my plan. Firstly, why do they need to be puffs? We live in Texas where its warm so you don’t need a lined blanket. If they were just knit flat, it would use half the yarn, take half the time, and be lighter. Plus, the hexipuffs are connected by tying the corners with scrap yarn. That makes the back ugly because of all the strings hanging down. After my discussion with her, I had totally changed my idea.
Instead, I found the Six’es pattern on Ravelry. It is still hexagons, still done with sock yarn, but it is a single layer that is more neatly seamed together.
I guess I am still bucking the trend. Also, I’m excited about my quilt/knit hybrid, it brings together my mom’s world and mine.