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

Posts tagged ‘musings’

The thing about sleeves…a cautionary tale in three parts.

The thing about sleeves is that they’re expected to be identical (or symetrical, depending on the pattern, but that’s not the important part of this lesson). They should be the same length, width, and (if they are patterned) finish at the same point on the pattern. I have, in three of the five jumpers/cardigans I have knitted, flubbed all three of those expectations.

Exhibit 1.

The first cardigan I made was Vermillion Cliffs (ravelry link).

Now, this cardigan…it took me over a year to make it, so I guess it isn’t that surprising that my gauge changed quite significantly, and luckily in the end it did block out. (I still need to make a second one- slightly longer in body and sleeves). So noharm donw in the long run. Still a bit strange, bit there we go.

Exhibit 2.

My incredibly tacky rainbow cardigan (ravelry link).

Now, having half learnt my lesson from last time, I did wait months between sleeves on this thing. I did, however, knit them one at a time. *cough mistake #2 cough*. I’m not sure what went wrong (at the time I blamed gauge, but I guess I could have spaced my increases differently, but I really do think I followed the pattern the same for both sleeves). What happened was that on the first sleeve, the increases were spaced far enough apart that they finished right before I had to start decreasing for the shoulder. So when the second sleeve came around I happily finished the increases and then started decreasing immediately. Leading to one sleeve being quite a bit shorter than the other. *facepalm*. So I frogged back to the start of the shoulder shaping (this yarn is NOT designed to be frogged), and knitted straight until it looked the same length as the first sleeve and then I did the shoulder shaping. Much better (but guess what I found when I sewed it all together after blocking? Yep, the second sleeve was then slgihtly longer than the first. It showed a bit until I sewed the buttons on, and that really does a good jop of straightening it all out and hiding the fact).

Exhibit 3.

I have no idea at all how this mistake came into being. The cardigan I am currently working on for my friend (ravelry link).

(You can’t really see it in the pic, and I figure it won’t be really noticeable, but one sleeve has two more rows of the pattern than the other)

So, I learnt my lesson (and mentioned it to you guys on here when I started) and knitted most of the sleeves TAAT on a circular needle. Then , when it came to split for the shoulder shaping, I did them one at a time, figuring that there weren’t that many rows, and I wasn’t measuring, so they should end up the same, right? #no.

Somehow, I added an extra 2 rows to one of the sleeves. ?????? How, I have no idea, but clearly I can’t be trusted to do sleeves at all. The only reason I didn’t do both sleeves shoulder shaping at the same time was because I didn’t have them set up nicely on the needles to do it. Lesson learnt, next time move stitches around so you don’t have to do anything one at a time!

So, when knitting sleeves: always do them TAAT. Even when shoulder shaping. Move stitches around, and don’t trust yourself to pattern match about 20 rows.


Honestly, it’s a wonder how I can get matching socks!


I’m alive!

Ok, so somewhere along the line I’ve lost a blog post. Oops! It was a funny little thing about the stress of choosing a suitable project to take to the Hay book festival, but that’s now completely over and I’ve (finally!) recovered from it all, including the con-crud I was hit by after the event when I got home again (this is normal for me).

I somehow thought that completing my PhD would give me MORE free time to make things??? But I have (finally) managed to find the time to come back online and see all your pretties AND work on some of my own things! Knock me down with a feather!

One of the projects I have been working on is a scrappy entrelac blanket in Special DK. Easy to pick up and put down (miles and miles of knitting and purlng garter stitch!) and the only decision is what colour to use next. Very nice and easy when I’m exhausted from doing so many things during the day!

Today we get to craft all day!!!!! I’m so excited!!!!! I have no idea what to make, so I’ll probably just pick the embroidery planned for my aunt’s birthday present.

Also, not exactly craft related, but useful: my mum had finally had enough of me laying my socks out on the outside table to dry in the sunshine, and ordered me this:

It’s a drying rack to lay over the bath (or wherever you want it really, if you’re drying something heavy then you might want a towel underneath for any drips), so air can circulate all the way around and everything dries really quickly. It’s amazing, and I love it loads. She also ordered me a three-tiered one to hang on the washing line, and that can hold 9 pairs of socks!!! Each rack is large enough for a (small) jumper! I’ve used it to dry one of my summer tops, but no picture of that at the moment.

Well, that’s all from me for now. Here’s hoping that I manage to get back on here again sooner rather than later!

Freedom at last…

…how strange the taste.

(This is a rambling post without many pictures. Scroll to the end to get my current sock WIP)

Yesterday I submitted my PhD thesis. It was rather anti-climatic in the end, just pay however much money to get it printed at the University, then the printers will give it to the SAB where it will be registered as submitted. So that’s it. I’m done.

This morning I woke up (early, but there we go, no chance for a lie in really…) not really knowing what to do. I picked up my sock to knit a bit on that, and that felt good. But what do I do when I’m not frantically writing, or making lists for my writing, or trying to remember who that referene is that I want to use here, or what is that command I want in LaTeX, or why is that error message popping up there of all places??? (LaTeX does try, but sometimes it tries too hard and so throws the error message quite a long time after the actual error).

I glance to my right. Two bookcases, stuffed with books. Looking over them, I see two I haven’t read, three I want to reread because I didn’t pick everything up the first time, and 14 I want to reread because they’re nice books and I haven’t read them in a while.

To my left (hidden by the cupboard doors), is a large volume of crafting stash. Two cardigans and a blanket are ear-marked, several cross stitch projects have been started, there’s a crate of form-a-line cards, and my spinning. I should also check my Christmas present plan, maybe make a start on those.

I also have two to-do lists… somewhere. I’m not sure how much of what’s on there I actually want to do, I just kept writing stuff on them so I could get it out of my head. And all the job applications I guess. There are quite a few of those, including one due tomorrow…

I feel sortof…floaty. Nothing really matters all that much (I guess the job applications do, or at least should…) I’ve been living with this thesis over my head for so long I’ve forgotten what I do when I have free time. While working on it, I joked about having the luxury of being bored… now it’s finished? I’d rather stilll be working on my thesis. *facepalm*. What’s the next big challenge I can find to do?

And here, as promised, have a random picture of my sock 🙂

Normal service should resume soon!

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.

What sort of crafter are you?

We all know the basic split- process or product crafter. Where process means that you make (predominantly) for the sake of crafting, and product means that you mainly want the finished product.

For a long time now, I’ve been firmly in a subset of product. Although I have many things on the go, and mostly don’t mind working on them on-and-off, my aim has always been to ‘use what I make’. So I won’t make the lacy beaded shawl that’ll just get dumped at the bottom of a drawer and ignored (although I do have one of those…). Instead, I’ll make the blanket I’ll use to keep warm, and socks that I wear every day (you can’t have too many pairs of socks. Fact.)

I suppose that another subset of product crafting is ‘that looks pretty, I want one’. I suppose that my lacy shawl falls firmly in this category. I saw the yarn, wanted to make something from it and Glitz at the Ritz was the first pattern I thought of. I made it, I was happy with making it, and then I very rarely wear it. It just isn’t ‘me’ enough to wear.

I can’t think of any other product crafting traits, anyone else want to weigh in???


Then there’s process crafting. Where you make something because you want to learn a new technique, or figure something out.

My dad’s scarf falls into ‘learning a new technique’. I gave him a choice of 4 scarves, 3 of which involved double knitting… Learning new techniques is always fun, and I am loving knitting this up, but (in my mind, at least) it can’t be a product knitting thing because it’s not going to be mine, so I can’t get attached to it.

Figuring something out in my mind is trying to reverse engineer something (I saw an amazing hand-knitted jacket last week and want to recreate it), or design a new pattern. Expecially if you don’t have a clear idea in your head. If you have a definite pattern, then I guess it might be more of a product thing…


I also keep thinking that there’s a third sort of crafting. Where you convert something to something else, but then plan on re-crafting with your finished object. Such as spinning fibre, if you’re then going to knit/crochet with it. Or dye fibre which you’re then going to spin. And it’s not really ‘finishing’, so I don’t want to call it process or product crafting. In my mind, it’s more ‘converting’, but I can’t think of a word which starts with p for it.

One thing I want to start doing, is weaving ribbon for the inside of button bands. I saw a post recently which suggested sewing ribbon onto button bands, so they won’t stretch so much. Which is a genius idea. And with my mind currently screaming ‘make all the things’, it made perfect sense to look up inkle weaving again, and how to weave ribbon so I wouldn’t have to find the right size ribbon. Yes, reigning my mind in sometimes can be hard. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t!

So, what do other people think about these crafting methods? I’d love to hear what you think, both about crafting methods and what you think about my thoughts on them. And later on, I’ll do another post about my kntting (I’m at 6 hours now!)

One week to Christmas

and everything is going swimmingly 🙂 The cat butt coasters will be blocked today, and then they’ll just need wrapping when they’re done. I had rather a lot of fun making these, and it all helps me learn to read my crochet, which is such a useful skill! It’s taking a while to get used to the idea that I have to go all the way around when I want to fix something, rather than just dropping a few stitches the way I do in knitting!

elaine2I realised the hard way that starting a new pattern in black yarn is not a good idea…next time I’ll start with the grey!

I was correct about my mum’s hat- it is too big, so that needs restarting. I’m going to take out a pattern repeat, rather than mess around with needle sizes. I’ll get around to starting that today. This really won’t take very long to knit (must remember that I need to finish it early enough to block before Christmas…)

How do you mark the new year as crafters? I felt that I needed to mark the ending of the year by finishing all the loose ends around, such as the socks(photoed at the end of this paragraph) and the current hexagon (that scrappy project was not about to get finished by Christmas!). The cats were also finished before I got on the train to Salisbury for Christmas with the parents (which I’ve labeled as the end of the year for me, I think!). I started a new project for over the holidays(and it’s a 6 hour train ride…). A garter stitch entrelec blanket in the scraps left over from the 2 attic24 blankets, with 4.5mm needles. It feels right to start Christmas/the new year with a project for me, especially a blanket after making so many for other people 🙂

socks2Unfortunately, the socks are considerably too large for me(they’d make a good pair of slipper socks, if I wanted some!). They may fit my mum though, I just keep forgetting to corner her to make her try them on!

Although I also have the needles for a sparkly cardigan if I can find the yarn and pattern for it, and decide to start it. I love the idea of working on what I feel like, rather than rushing to finish Christmas presents, and I definitely want to savour it 🙂 A bit like coming home and wrapping up in a blanket after rushing around shops all day (assuming the heating isn’t on too high for blanket wrapping!)

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