Somewhere I can let out my inner crafter without being labeled as even more insane.

How many WIPs do you have?

The number of on-going projects seems to be one of the most varied things I can tell about crafters, although that might just be because there’s always someone saying how they need to reduce the number of projects they have on the go, or how they’re having a real crack down and plan on finishing a few.

I’ve been on both sides of it- there have been times I’ve had one project on the go, and at other times I’ve had 5 or 6. Which isn’t as wild as some poeople I’ve talked with on fb-  I think I remember reading a fb from someone who had 20. I think I’d’ve lost track of them all by that many! Although I suppose that ravelry is a great help for knitting/crochet projects.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems, as with anything really!

Having just one project on the go makes it easy to pick up and work on it whenever you get a chance- no need to spend ages debating which project you’re going to do. While you can get around that by having some sort of rota, it’s still possible (and I tend to do this) to become so overwhelmed that you loose track of the rota, or decide that you don’t want to work on whichever one you should, and be unable to decide which one to work on.

Additionally, having just one project makes it much easier to see progress! Working on one project rather than many naturally means that you’ll spend more time on it, and therefore see it grow more in front of you. This can be mitigated somewhat by either not stressing about how much progress you see (variable success rate for me), or by keeping track of the fact that you’re seeing progress in more projects (photos and a blog help for this, as does recording how long you spend on each project).

On the other hand, working on just one big project ends up feeling like a drag (at least in my experience). Having several on-going projects means that you have a variety, and therefore can have something small to finish quickly at the same time as something big for when you can’t deal with progress (or maybe that’s jsut me. Does anyone else get times when they don’t want to see progress on what they’re making???).

Another advantage with having several projects on the go is that you can have somsething for every occasion. Get in and need to do something really technical to distract yourself from the real world? You can have a project for that. Be braindead and just want to do something really basic that you don’t need to think about? You can have a project for that (I recomend socks).

I try to combine the best of both worlds with these. Currently I have 4 on-going projects. I have a pair of socks, which are my travel knitting (they get left in my back pack most of the time, and I work on them when I need a break from work/in my lunch hour). Then I have my scrappy blanket, which gets worked on when I’m tired/busy with something else and just need something for my hands to do! Although it does sometimes get turned into travel knitting, if I want a break from the socks, or they’re at an awkward stage. The third project is the Rohan scarf. This is my concentration project. I work on this while listening to music/watching something on the iplayer without any other distractions. My final project is the cross stitch stockings. These are essentially treated as a SAL (stitch along), and I do one each month. Whilst working on these, I ignore the Rohan scarf, since cross stitch is currently a concentration project with me, and I can’t really see that changing.

So, over to you all! How many WIPs do you have? Are you happy with that number, or does it stress you out? Any advantages on either side that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear what you all think about this.

imgp0649Finished!!! Well, it was actually finished a while ago, but I was too busy to blog about it 🙂 According to my stopwatch app, this took me 4 hours 25 mins. Plus an extra 10 mins I forgot to turn the stop watch on for! D’oh!

This was an interesting stitch. I was very eager to get started on it, but then it started dragging. I find it harder to pick up cross stitch to work on than knitting, so I’d make excuses to work on my knitting, rather than set this up. This might just be what I’m like, or it might just be because I had it kept out of the way all across the room… So I moved things around tidied up a bit and put everything I needed for it on my bed side table. Much better 🙂

In future, when I get a proper flat for myself, rather than a room in a shared house, I hope to have everything I need for cross stitch in a bag/folder by my evening chair, so it’s easier to work on. After all, if I have to get up to go get something, guess what? I’m not going to work on it.

How do you store WIPs? I’d love to read about it all

Yes, as you may have guessed from the title, I am back and working on the Rohan scarf. The cross stitch was actually finished last Wednesday, but then I was crazy busy and so didn’t post about finishing it on Friday (or the post I had planned for the weekend about having multiple projects on the go…lets try again this weekend!) I think that I need to make this longer than it’s ‘supposed’ to be, so it’s going to be more than 40 hours…I’m planning on just extending the celtic knotwork thing in the middle as long as I need to, so it should be relatively easy to do 🙂 Now, if I could only decide which side I prefer…

imgp0644rohan4a

I have also been working on the socks. These are fairly slow going, and I must admit that I sorta want them finished…I’m not having that much fun with them- it’s interspersed moss stitch and k2togs and SSK and even SK2tog, PSSO. And with a loosely spun single, making sure you get the whole stitch can be challenging :/ But, I have gone past the heel on the first sock now, so yay for that 🙂 (Note for future self: put in the yarn for the heel after the 6th section of moss stitch)

nikita4

And the blanket is of course being worked upon 🙂 I’m up to 7 hexagons for the month so far, so yay me(the stripy one with the speckled centre was #1) 🙂 I would also quite like this finished…I have plans for my next scrappy thing, which I really want to get started on, but I need this one finished, and my 2mm needles, unless I decide to use a larger size…hmm, that would be an idea really. I’m about 7/10 of the way through this strip, so getting there 🙂 I think I might need to choose one of the blanket/socks and just crack on. I just can’t decide which one it should be!!!

scrappy6

WIP Wednesday

So, why does Christmas only have 25 letters???

stocking2

Becuse there’s no l!!!!!

Yeah, I know, I’m hilarious 😀 The stocking is coming along slowly- I keep finding excuses to not work on it, which is hardly ideal, but on Sunday I had a tidy up and reorganisation and then immediately picked it up to work on while I watched Les Miz. Excellent musical 🙂 This is 3hr 20mins of work, so I’m hoping that I can finish it this evening…wish me speedy fingers!

 

The sock is also continuing along apace 🙂 I measured it against the recipients foot on Friday, (which is the cause of this somehow amusing photo), and then it was 4.5 inches shorter than the foot, so I needed to do 2.5 inches more before doing something clever for the heel (I’m trying an afterthought heel this time, so that if it wears through rather than felting, it’s relatively easy to replace). The sock at that time was 4.5 inches, which makes it easier to keep track of (although I will measure again when I think I’m far along enough).

nikita3

I now only need one more inch, so coming along well 🙂 The pattern is from socks a la carte 2, since I might as well use the patterns I’ve bought… I’ll hopefully be at the measuring stage again on Sunday, when I have a movie evening planned with the recipient!

And of course the scrap blanket is getting worked on 🙂 I’ve done 4 hexagons this week, so yay for that! And this last stripe is more than half done, so yay for that too! Nearly finished this blanket!!!!

scrappy5

Next up: either garter stitch entrelac or mitred squares…hmm…decisions decisions decisions…ahh well, I still have a while before I need to decide, I guess!

Product crafting

So, after my previous post about process crafting, it’s clearly time to do one about product crafting (the difference between one-project people and those who like having many on the go will be next week :). After that, I’m open to suggestions?)

We’ve all been there. You see something amazing, maybe in your lcs, maybe online, and decide you simply MUST make it. So you buy the materials for it, maybe in a different colour scheme, get it home, eagerly open the package, read the instructions, and…damn. Miles of stocking stitch. Acres of fractional stitches. Metallic thread. Bobbles. (I despise bobbles. Nothing worse). So what do you do? Hide it at the back of your closet, and swear to never think about it again? Or grit your teeth, settle in with a TV marathon, and get to work?

Many of the things I make I make because I want the finished object to do something with. I make socks because I like wearing hand-knit socks. I made the three blankets because I wanted to make things for the people I gave them for (well, the Dick Bruna one I was nominated to make, but it’s the same idea).

When I’m product making something to be used as a gift, I usually think about the giftee while I make it. I tend to not be supersticious, but I think that it adds a bit of love to whatever it is I’m making. It also motivates me to fix mistakes, because whoever it’s for is worth it. (Usually I don’t think they’d really mind, but I like knowing that I took the time to make something as good as I possible could.)

A big subset of product crafting is ‘use what you make’, which I’ve been trying to live with since I first heard it. (Although when I first heard it, my mind immediately turned it around to make what you use…). I mainly make things that will be used. I don’t wear scarves(too bulky under my jacket), so I had to wait for an excuse to start making the Rohan scarf. Presents are an excellent way to get around this, although I try to be a bit careful to give things that people will actually use!

I think that product crafting is one reason why people put projects into time-out, rather than just fixing whatever mistake has just been noticed. (I’m not sure how well I’m going to verbalise this, but let’s see…). Fixing mistakes is time not taken in making things. Additionally, you have to pay more attention to your work when fixing mistakes, rather than being in a meditative state where you just keep going forwards. And so the project gets put in time-out, until it get’s uncovered ages later, and gets fixed really quickly! Usually only a small amount from the end too!

The problem(??? Downside???) with product crafting is that (I think) you don’t get to try as many new techniques. Or maybe product crafters are those people who enjoy crafting within their comfort zone, and don’t want to challenge themselves so much. I feel as though this is sounding negative, which I really don’t want to sound. Having something we can come home to and not have to think about s a good thing!

I can’t really think of anything else to mention about product crafting. Anyone else have an opinion they want to expound about this? I’d love to read about it in the comments.

This will actually be the last WIP Wednesday posts that I make for a while which includes the double knit scarf! It’s going away for a while, since today is the first of February, and that means I start another cross stitch stocking! So, for the last time for a few weeks, here is the scarf:

 

rohan3 rohan3a

I think that I have finally decided that I prefer the look of white on brown, hmm, then again maybe not… This is now at 14.5 hours, for 149 rows (out of 430). 40 hours total is now looking slightly optimistic, but we’ll see… the top of the horse head is very fiddly!

The socks have been worked on some now!!! I have finally started taking my socks with me when I went on my lunch break, so they get worked on, and I get a little dose of knitting in the middle of my day 🙂 Win-win! (Side note: isn’t it amazing how knitting grows if you actually work on it! Mind bending!)

nikita2

And of course the scrappy blanket 🙂 This comes with me to KnitSoc, and also if I want to be knitting, but don’t have the mental capacity for the scarf. Which has happened a few times- mostly while watching Death in Pardise. Great show!

scrappy4I’m going to try and count how many I make each month, which I’ve never done before, so I could well forget! Feel free to remind me if you’re interested! Lots of yarn ends have been used up in this project, I’m looking forward to finishing it so I can work out how many ends I’ve used up 🙂

Process crafting

Wow, intersting comments on my last post about process/product crafting! It seems as though most people consider themselves to be firmly one or the other. Personally, I think I’m a bit of both, although more in the product camp. I certainly have, and will continue to craft things for the process. I also definitely agree with some people who said that they find they’re different depending on which craft they are doing. Here I’m talking a bit more about process knitting (product knitting will be next week!)

 

So, as I mentioned before, my double knit scarf falls firmly into process knitting. I didn’t know double knitting before starting the scarf (I had to cast on 3 times before I got the hang of it), and I don’t get to keep the scarf at the end, so I’m not motivated to finish it because I want the finished object.

I enjoy process knitting because I like learning new things (or do I like learning new things because I’m a process knitter???), and if I’m not fussed about the finished object, I don’t need to worry about it all going wrong on a deadline! After all, failing is an integral part of learning, and if we never failed at anything, no-one would appreciate learning as much.

A similar thing to learning new things, is learning new ways of doing things. There is no difference morally speaking between SSK and SKPSSO (SSK is neater, but that’s another blog post). There are several ways you can include beads in your work (crochet hook, pre threading, sew them on afterwards), depending on personal preference and other factors. If you only know how to cross stitch with paring threads, you’re going to struggle with small charts.

Anything I cross stitch has to be process. I learnt this the long way, as well as ways to best motivate myself to work on things. I’ve finally learnt that I need to stitch modular things. So the stockings I’m currently stitching get done one at a time, and I can’t start the next one until a set date. Every month I get the next stocking to stitch, no matter how fast I stitched the last one. This stops me from going gung-ho at a project an getting discouraged at how slowly it goes.

On the other hand, don’t choose a large project to learn a new process. I’m 10 hours into my dad’s scarf, and have about another 30 left, and now I really know the double knitting technique. The pattern is interesting, and calls for my full attention, which is definitely a good thing, otherwise I’d be bored of it by now!

Process crafting is the reason why I have a lacy beaded shawl rolled up hiding at the bottom of my winter weather clothes. I made it because it was interesting, and I hadn’t made anything before which called for including beads using the crochet hook method (I used needle and thread, as I didn’t have a small enough crochet hook). It was great fun to make (I think I finished it in about a week, not including the holiday I took in the middle where it got left at home). I’m never going to wear it, but I made it anyway…

Has anyone started a project for process knitting, and then it gradually morphed into product knitting, so by the end you were really excited to finish it, even if at the start you weren’t necessarily so excited? That seems like a great way to fall in love with a project, although it hasn’t ever happened to me.

I wonder if process crafters are more likely to gift hand-made goods? Certainly, I love giving hand-made, especially when it gives me the excuse to do something new (I’ve done this with lots of things). Or perhaps they’re more likely to choose something interesting to work on to gift to people. What do you all think?

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