365 and Counting

Hello Kneeps*

Well, today is my last post for the Knitting and Crochet Blog Weeeeeeeeeek (seeing as it’s taken me a lot longer than a week to write, I thought that is was only fair that I made it a very long “week” :P ).  The final challenge is to blog about where I would like to be this time next year in terms of my crafting.  It’s taken me a long time to figure out how to write this.  Not because I don’t know where I want to be but because my own self doubt got in the way of writing something positive.  So I am taking the plunge (while I’m feeling good about it all) and baring my knitting hopes and dreams with you all and I hope that you will keep me accountable to this.

For a while know I’ve been keeping a sketch book close by to jot down/ sketch any original pattern ideas I have, these vary from kids through to adults; socks through to jumpers.  I’ve even gone so far as to chart out some of the different designs, and I’ve cast on 1 or 2, only to rip it out again a few rows later.  I’m kind of scared, firstly because I really don’t know what I’m doing and I struggle with the concept of making “mistakes” and not making something perfect the first time.  Secondly, I’m scared that I’ll knit something up and be really proud of it only to find out later that everyone else thinks is ugly.  Thirdly, I really really don’t know what I’m doing (beyond the knitting bit) and that freaks me out a fair bit.  Maths was never my strong point at school and despite the fact that I know how to use a calculator and have one handy, I still avoid anything to do with maths as a general rule (says the mum with school aged children who bring maths homework home :? )

My goal for the next year is that I actually get over myself and turn my sketches into tangible items with real patterns available for those that want them.  Realistically, I know that not everyone is going to like my particular style and you know what?  That’s fine.  But I also know that there must be people out there that will like what I design.  All I need to do is start – or more knittingly, cast on :P

My 2nd goal for the next year is to start dying yarn.  I’m really keen to give it a go.  Once again, colour aesthetics differ from person to person, just like design.  There are some indie dyers out there whose work is good, but not my style.  I’m sure that there will be people that love my colourways and some that don’t but until I give it a go I’m never going to know what I can accomplish.  And if I bomb out, well, someone’s going to be getting a very ugly multi-coloured Beekeepers Quilt for Christmas :P .

So, that’s it.  Putting it out there is a good thing for me (despite the terror I feel at baring my knitterly soul to you all), it means that if I don’t do it, everyone will know.  Really, I don’t want to come to this time next year and find myself having to make excuses as to why I didn’t give it a good shot, it’s certainly not an example that I want to be setting for my kids.

I hope you have enjoyed the last 7 posts, some of them have certainly been very different to what I normally write.  I’ve enjoyed the challenge and having to think outside of my usual box and I’m certainly looking forward to doing it all over again next year.

*Kneeps = knitting people :P (“Creeps” – crafting people – just didn’t seem right ;) )

A Pocket Full of Bling

Hello peeps!

I have a confession to make.

I have an addiction.

I’m addicted to stitch markers.

Big ones, small ones, felted ones, round ones, beaded ones, triangular ones, rubber ones, metal ones, plastic ones, attachable ones, fixed ones………

I think I might need an intervention.  Seriously, no single person needs that many stitch markers (shhhh….. don’t tell Mr HK ;) )

In defence of my addiction, I have used all of them and I have a variety of sizes for every project on my needles (I’m not sure if that latter one is really a good defence though :? ).  I have some very cute ones, like the Teapot and Teacups from Steph Cuddles.

Or the little felted balls with embroidered sheep from Jelby.


I love them, but not all of them are very practical.  I find with the dangly ones that I have to move the bead/ dangly bit out of the way otherwise the stitch marker gets caught up in the stitch or the yarn gets tangled on the dangly bit.  It doesn’t matter how big or small the bead/ dangle is, inevitably I have to flick the marker out of the way which takes time and is a little bit annoying after a while.

My favourite stitch markers, the ones that I find most practical (and rather pretty too) are the ring-o’s.

I am now the proud owner of 2 sets of snagless/ ring o stitch markers (in 2 different sizes, just in case you were wondering).  I love these!  They are pretty, they are practical, and there is no need to flick anything out of the way.  The added bonus is that they can come in multicoloured sets, perfect if you specifically need different coloured/ lettered markers (although if it was me, I’d note down which colour correlated with which marker on the pattern).  I bought the set above from Knits by Jo, they are the XS size and fit a needle up to size 2.75mm – perfect for all my socks!  Jo is also an Aussie (and local to me too) so it wasn’t a hard decision to buy these very pretty stitch markers (I like to think I reduced my carbon footprint by buying local rather than from overseas).  I must admit that I’m really glad that I bought the XS ones from Knits by Jo, it’s nice to have something small specifically for my sock projects (and it’s so good to have an excuse to show them to you, I bought them a little while a go and haven’t had a chance up until now).

The above set was my first set of snagless stitch markers and have been my go to stitch marker for all of my projects up to a size 4mm needle and I love the Fripperies & Bibelots store, there is such a great range of coloured rings and beads and they come with that cute little tin.  They also make a great gift for the knitter who has (almost) everything.  I really really love the snagless variety of stitch markers and would highly recommend them to any one looking for pretty but practical stitch markers.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the dangly ones and I have used them regularly

Millrace

… but I prefer the snagless/ ring o variety and will eventually add larger sizes to my collection.

PS.  Except for the picture of Millrace, I’ve copied all the pictures from the various etsy stores so you could see how awesome the markers look, without being distracted by my projects or fingers.

Pretty in Pink?

My favourite colour is pink.

Funnily enough I don’t knit in pink very often.  Millrace (which I need to block) and the Hopsalots slippers (which I need to finish) are the only things that I’ve knitted for me in pink, that I can think of off the top of my head – and both of them are still in unwearable forms.

The 4th blogging challenge is about colour, what colours do I like, what colours I like to knit with, what colours do I actually knit with (all without cheating and looking at my projects page on ravelry :P ).  I like to think I knit in a rainbow of colours, but I think in actuality I knit in a lot of green and blue with the occasional other colour thrown in for good measure, at least when I’m knitting for me.  When it comes to the rest of the family I try to choose colours that I know they love.  Miss 9 loves yellow, Miss 7 loves pinks and purples, the boys like blues and greens, and Mr HK likes grey.

I’m going to be honest and say that this challenge is hard for me.  I love colour, I love knitting in rainbows of colour, but pinning down what colours I actually use is tough.  I guess my house mascot, the Monkey, likes things that are interesting, and I’ve always tried to keep my colour choices interesting, I don’t tend to only ever buy one type of colour, I try to buy from the entire rainbow.

The best way to describe the way I feel about colour choice is that patterns tend to tell me what colour they want to be knitted in.  For instance, from the very first moment I saw the Kai-Mei socks I knew that I had to knit them in a light blue.  The same thing happened with Om Shanti, I knew that the socks needed to be knit in a gradient of some form.  Sometimes it’s a case of matching a pattern with the best colour I have in my stash, sometimes I find a pattern and then go yarn hunting for a particular colour.  Sometimes, I choose colour dependant on my mood.

Pink

In a nutshell, colour evokes an emotional response from me.  On Saturday I balled up a skein of yarn from Spacefrog for the Blomster socks.  It’s a variegated blue, pink and purple and it’s pretty busy and very bright.  I needed a pick me up and that pattern coupled with bright yarn sung happiness to me.  They have been a joy to work ever since.  I love watching the little “flowers” fling extra pops of colour across the brightly coloured backdrop of stocking stitch.  These are my happy socks and I have a feeling I will always have a pair of these ready to cast on, whenever I need a bright little pick me.

blomster

The Shanti Willow

I’m beginning this with an apology.  I realised after I posted my last blog that I never explained why I was going on about Monkey’s and Houses and all of that.  So this week, if you haven’t gathered, is the Knitting and Crochet Blog week.  The aim is to blog everyday and Eskimimi has set out challenges for those participating.  The first challenge was to choose a house (and if you want to read about the other houses then check out the Eskimimi blog) and I chose the House of Monkey.  I obviously haven’t been blogging everyday, but thankfully Eskimimi is pretty flexible about that, and I hope you will be too.

Day 2’s challenge is to find a project that embodies the house that I’ve chosen.  Well, I most certainly won’t be knitting any Monkeys any time soon so that’s out of the question (although I have knitted Cookie A’s Monkeys and you can see them here).  Rather I’m going to talk about 2 projects that I’m really keen to cast on and why that fits into my house of choice.  In fact I would have cast on one of these projects already but I don’t have the right sized needle.

The first project is the Om Shanti Bed Socks (these are the ones I want to cast on right NOW) which I first saw when I bought Socktopus by Alice Yu just before Christmas last year.  It was one of the socks that I thought looked pretty but I also thought that it looked a little complicated and too short, besides who only uses knitted socks for bed?  Not me!  But as I continued to flick through the book (I do that with my pattern books, I sit and flick through them from time to time, either for something pretty to look at, for inspiration, or just for the heck of it) this sock started to speak to me.  I realised (and at this point I will completely blame baby brain and the distractions of being away for Christmas) that I could alter the sock.  It didn’t have to be ankle length, it didn’t have to be done in a luxury yarn (hey, all sock yarn is a luxury, not just because of the cost but because it’s just so darn pretty!), and it most certainly deserves to be shown off!  As I started knitting the V Junkie socks I began to realise that the Socktopus book was not just a book with pretty sock patterns within it’s covers, it’s a book with a wealth of new techniques that I had never ever thought of.

Om Shanti

The more I flicked through the book the more the Om Shanti sock began to speak to me, to woo me with it’s short row toe construction, the Kihnu Vits braid, and it’s interesting cuff construction.  Between the Socktopus book and the Sock Knitting Master Class book I think I’m just about ready to throw myself into the deep end with Estonian knitting, that stuff is amazing!  Anyway, up until now I’ve never come across a short row toe, actually I’d never come across a short row heel until I knitted the first V Junkie sock and I love that!  For me the Om Shanti sock is full of mysterious new techniques that are dying to throw themselves on my needles.  Ok ok, I’m dying to throw them on to my needles ;) .  New sock constructions are completely enchanting to me and I seriously can’t knit fast enough to get to them (I’m really feeling that pain right now, just discovered a mistake in my Jaywalker and I’m going to have to rip back several rows :( ).

The second project is Cat Bordhi’s Pussy Willow Stockings from the Sock Knitting Master Class book.  These socks just look intriguing.  There is no other word for it.  From the Moccasin Toe, to the instep expansion camouflaged in the patterning across the top of the foot and beyond, these socks are…. are…… are…… leaving me speechless.  I know that they’re going to be a challenge, I’ve only knitted a total of 2 complete pairs of socks (almost 3) and 4 individuals.  It’s not like I have a huge amount of experience in sock knitting under my belt (hey, I’ve only just learned that I should be using a stretchy cast on for my top downs……. didn’t know that for the first 5 or 6 individual socks) and I have only knit 1 toe up sock – yes just 1, not a pair, just 1 individual sock.  BUT they’re Cat Bordhi socks, and if you’ve ever watched her videos on youtube then you know that she’s an amazing and entertaining teacher.  I’m really looking forward to knitting those and the wealth of information that I’m going to learn from the experience……  I might knit another pair of toe ups first just to be on the safe side of toe up experience though.

Between Socktopus and the Sock Knitting Master Class, I have a lot of new things to learn and try for a while to come.  Hmmmm…… value for money  for this little sock knitting Monkee ;)

It’s funny, as with almost all knitting, just when I think there can’t be any other trick to it – because in all naive honesty, I thought the most exotic you could get with socks was an afterthought heel – I’m proved wrong yet again and honestly I don’t claim to know it all.  I don’t know why I think knitting is so limited, maybe because my ability to think outside the square is limited.  Which is a shame really.  I know that I’m getting better at it, thinking outside the box that is.  I guess for me everything has always been pretty black and white, creativity wasn’t something that was necessarily encouraged in my childhood.  Following the law right down to the very last comma was enforced and that’s the way that I’ve been with everything, from cooking right through to my knitting, never deviating from the recipe or the pattern (in my mind there’s always been an underlying disclaimer that if I change what is I’m going to make a massive mistake!).  Although my creativity is getting better in the kitchen and I’m becoming more comfortable with cooking things without a recipe, or using a base recipe as a diving board into something else entirely different.  Happily, my knitting is slowly moving in the same direction.  It just takes a bit of effort to trust in my own judgement, to believe in myself and my own ability, to not cling so tightly to the ideas of others.

I think as time goes by I’m becoming more and more of a process knitter and it’s slowly breaking down those creativity stifling barriers I’ve had up for my entire life.

Are you a stickler for rules and patterns, or are you happy making it up as you go along?