Saturday, April 15, 2017

Life Lessons Learned From Knitting

I have learned so many life lessons from knitting.  Perhaps one day I will compile them all into an amazingly insightful post.  For now, here are some lessons I learned this week.

How Not to Turn a Small Problem into a Big Problem...

I purchased this kind of pricey but gorgeous self-striping yarn on etsy that I absolutely love.  When I started to knit with it, a small tangle started to develop.  I was so enthralled with watching the stripe sequence unfold, that I didn't want to stop to try to sort out the tangle.  Instead, I just kept pulling yarn from the center of the skein and tugging it through the center of the tangle, making the mess bigger and more tangley with every pull.  Eventually, I had yanked so much of the center out that it was now three large interconnected tangles and it was impossible to pull any more through the original knot.

I wish I had taken a photo at this point so you can see what it looked like.  But, I was too frustrated to document my mistake.  Here is the only photo I took - when I was nearly finished with the great untangling.

Back to the story: So, when I couldn't knit any further, I was finally forced to address my mistake.  I had a huge knot that had to be sorted out and I couldn't use any scissors to snip out the really crazy parts because that would interrupt the stripe sequence.  I also had my knitting attached to one end that I also couldn't cut off while I worked.  I simply had to start at the very end and start rolling a ball, un-twisting and un-tangling as I went.  No joke: I spent over 5 hours untangling my yarn.  I probably could have finished the entire first sock in that time.

The thing is, if I had just stopped as soon as the tangle appeared it probably would have taken me 10 minutes to sort it out.  I took a small problem and, through my unwillingness to address it right away, I created a massive disaster.

So, here is your basic life lesson, folks:

The best time to troubleshoot a problem is the moment you see it. The longer you carry on without fixing a problem, the more difficult it to going to be to fix later.  And, there will come a time when you can't ignore it any longer.  Problms won't go away just because you decide to ignore them.  More likely, they are probably just going to get bigger the longer they go unaddressed.

.... and a bonus lesson:

If you don't learn from your mistakes, you are doomed to repeat them.

I hate to admit this, but I have done this exact same thing before.  It was with a yarn that had an almost identical make up.  When it happened the first time, I didn't pay much attention to what had caused the mistake.  When it happened this second time, I put a lot more thought into why this happened and how I could prevent it from happening again.

I realized that this a loosely twisted yarn and it has a bit of a "halo" around it made up of fibers that didn't get caught up in the twist.  When you put it in a center pull ball, every time you pull the yarn out, it rubs against itself and those loose fibers pull off and form into little balls that attach two parts of the yarn together.  Thus, every time I forced more yarn through the center of all those little tangles, it caused more friction and just created more of these areas where yarn is getting fused together.

And here is a lesson that's actually about knitting:

When you are working with loosely twisted yarn, do not wind it into a center pull ball!!  If I had just pulled my yarn from the outside instead of the center, it wouldn't have created any friction that caused the little fiber balls that caused the tangles.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


So, I'm the girl who loves her job so much, that she knit a hat in the brand colors...  Actually, to make things worse, I knit it for my boss, but I don't think it will fit him, so I'm keeping it for myself.  :)

yarn details
Cascade 220 Superwash in Black
100% superwash wool
worsted weight
dye lot 1805001
100 grams/220 yds @ $8.40  (purchased 1/2017 online from WEBS)

Red Heart Soft in Turquoise and Tangerine

Cascade Sateen in Fuschia

project details
pattern: "Flying Ace Aviator Hat" by Cheryl Andrews (purchase on Ravelry for $5)
size: adult (large, I believe)
needles: size 6
yarn used: 160 yards black (73% of the ball); tiny amounts of the accent colors
duration: January 28 - February 8, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

FO: Meandering Rib Scarf

I knit this project to practice my continental knitting.  Same pattern as my wave rib scarf.  I think I did a little better with it this time around, still not so sure about continental though....

yarn details
Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Black
dye lot 75579
worsted weight
100% Superwash Merino Wool

machine wash gentle cold, dry flat
110 yards / 50 grams @ $4.69 each

project details
pattern:  Meandering Rib Scarf by Lion Brand Yarn available for free here
needles: size 6 (circs)
yarn used: 3.8 skeins (418 yards)
finished size: 82'' x 5.5'' (unblocked)
duration: November 1, 2015 - January 23, 2016

  • Knit continental style.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

FO: Blue Skies Head Hugger

Sadly, I lost my  beloved Head Hugger.  It was probably the most-used item I have ever knit and I was so sad to realize I lost it.  Luckily, it was fairly easy to replace... just knit a new one!

I switched up the colors a bit from last time:

yarn details
Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Aqua Inlet and Cranberry Swirl
85% wool, 15% mohair
bulky weight
handwash cold and dry flat
113 grams/125 yds @ $8.40 each (purchased 1/2017 online from WEBS)

embroidery floss to sew on flowers

project details
pattern: "Head Huggers" by M.K. Carroll, from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, pg 59.
size: earwarmer, blocked out slightly longer to tie at back instead of chin
needles: size 8 DPNs and size 5 dpns (for leaves)
yarn used: 70 yards blue (0.56 skeins), 15 yards red (0.12 skeins)
duration: January 21 - 29, 2017

  • see my Ravelry project page for some notes on trying to make the decreases a little more attractive
  • Shhh... don't tell, but I actually embroidered the flowers to the wrong side of the headband!  You really can't tell, but I will always know that I made this error.  Now you will too.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

FO: Girl on Fire Socks

Found these socks while browsing Ravelry last Spring.  I think I may have been in the middle of watching the Hunger Games movies, so the name attracted me to stop and look at the pattern.  It took me a while to get it on the needles, but when I added this glittery red yarn to my stash, I knew it would be perfect.

Unfortunately, I was well into the leg of the sock when I realized that the cast on was a little snug on my calf (I'm the girl who has to buy those special wide boots...)  I decided to give these to my lovely friend Jill, who has normal sized calves.

Fun socks to knit and a fun gift for a friend.  Done, and done!

yarn details
Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in Pomegranate
Fingering Weight
Dye Lot 74780
70% Merino, 25% Nylon, 5% Metallic
machine wash, lay flat to dry
$5.89 per 231 yard / 50 gram ball (minus a Black Friday discount) (purchased in November 2016)

project details
pattern: "Girl on Fire" by Cookie A; available to purchase for $6.50 on Ravelry
needles: size 1.5 (2.5mm) wood dpns
yarn used: 1.36 skeins (314 yards)
size knit: medium (CO 63 st)
finished size: 9'' from top of cuff to bottom of heel flap; 9'' from back of heel to tip of toe; 7.5'' in circumference around leg.
duration: December 24, 2016 - February 4, 2017

  • I didn't like how square the toe ended up by following the directions in the pattern... so I unpicked my graft (a very not-fun process!!!) and modified toe as follows: follow directions until 38 stitches remain, then work round 2 until 22 stitches remain.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What's in a needle?

I am knitting some cool socks with a fairly complicated traveling twisted stitch cable pattern and I just wanted to share my observation that in knitting, sometimes your needle choice is everything.

I started knitting these on bamboo dpns and it was so difficult to work the cable pattern that I nearly gave up on the third row!  I switched to some nice and pointy nickle plated needles and it made all the difference.  The tips are pointy enough to move those stitches and the needles are slippery enough to cross them without using a cable needle.

I hate using metal dpns to knit socks because I think it creates more laddering than the lighter wood dpns, so I went with an extra long circular needle here and I'm doing magic loop.  The only problem?  The cable on the needle is basically the same color as the yarn!

Now that I've got the appropriate needles for this project, it is so much fun to knit.  Complex, but kind of addicting!

p.s. the pattern is called Nebula, by Cookie A.

Monday, February 6, 2017

New Look for the Blog!

I am playing around with a new look for this blog.  I'm so in love with my adorable new header!!

Right now it looks a bit blah, but I'll be cute-ifying it in time.  I was just anxious to get it all started.