Confessions of an Amateur Knitter

The Case of the Missing Camera Cable

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged as I lost the cable for the camera/pc and I haven’t been able to upload any pics.  I know it’s not a necessity to have pics on my blog but it’s nice to actually see the projects that I’m talking about.  Anyway, after tearing apart the lounge room and dining room in search of this blasted cable I happened to be looking behind the pc for some odd reason on Mother’s Day and lo and behold, there it was, tangled up with the pc wires.  I can’t believe it took me that long to find it, I can’t believe that it was actually behind the pc especially considering that I’m pretty sure I’d already looked there.  Oh well, it’s been found and I can go back to uploading pics of my current projects.

Mother’s Day Socks AKA The Most Boring Sock Pattern in the World!

I knitted my MIL a pair of plain ribbed socks from Cleckheaton’s book “Hand Knits to Wrap and Adorn”.  It was a very easy pattern and I would

The Most Boring Sock Pattern in the World

Socks knitted for my Mother In Law

certainly recommend it as a beginners sock pattern, simply because it is easy, knitted in 8ply (DK) yarn on 3.75mm needles.  No fine yarn and fiddly thin needles to deal with.  The heel flap is short and straight forward.  There’s lots of room for playing with the pattern too – for example I changed the stockinette heel flap for a slip stitch one.  It would be easy to change the ribbing or add a simple cable without too much hassle.  I also modified the pattern for magic loop (my preferred method of sock knitting) and that worked out a treat too.  So why have I doomed these to being boring?  Simply because it was!  It was a completely brainless pattern, so simple I probably could have done it in my sleep if wanted :p and I had to force myself to work on them.  I prefer more of a challenge and certainly more texture and interest then just a plain rib, especially in socks.  But anyway, they were simple enough for a gift and I hope my MIL likes them.

A Confession

I’ve been knitting for just over a decade and recently I’ve prided myself on being a relatively advanced knitter.  I’ve tried my hand at socks; I’ve just started getting into lace; I’ve been blocking; working really hard on my seaming technique (instead of the constant avoidance or dodgy job); I can do kitchener stitch successfully without needing to sit in front of the pc; I’ve been good and worked at finishing my projects (rather than shoving them to the side and intentionally forgetting them); I’ve even started to listen to knitting podcasts (release the inner knitting maven!).  I figured that I was getting pretty good at it all and then it all fell down around my knees.  Not that I’m a bad knitter, I’m just not as good as I thought I was.  For starters I’ve never knitted a gauge swatch, I’ve never seen the point.  I’ve been that knitter that just jumps straight in, throwing caution – and her gauge – to the wind.  Even my closest knitting friend thinks it’s a waste of time to knit a swatch, but now I have come to see how blind we have been.  It’s arrogant to think I can achieve the correct gauge just by willing it to be right.  Or that the difference between my gauge and the pattern gauge means very little and will have very little impact on the overall finished object.  I have now seen the light AND – despite the desperate desire to jump straight into every project – I will take the time to swatch and wash before I start.

Yarn Love’s Elizabeth Bennet in Sweet Tangerine

Funnily enough I tried swatching for the Manolo socks that are next in my queue and I did a dodgy job of it.  I don’t like the idea of using yarn unnecessarily and so, determined to make sure I had 2 full skeins of yarn I cast on only enough stitches for the gauge swatch, knitted the right number of rows, then – keeping the swatch on the needles – tried measuring with my mother’s old sewers measuring tape (which I’m sure is incorrect considering how old it is and how much it’s been played with over the decades).  I came up an inch short, I was devastated!  An inch short, a whole inch.  Not just a little bit, not just a few millimetres but an entire inch!!!!  I took myself to my LYS and told the owner my dilemma, hoping for a solution, she looked at me completely horrified.  I walked out without a solution and a 3mm circ to knit socks on.  It felt WRONG and I felt anxious and disheartened!  Socks are meant to be knitted on thin needles and I was sure that 3mm needles were just too thick – there had to be another answer!  So I went searching for a better one, I posted pretty much the same question on rav twice, just worded differently.  All I can say is that those women were far more helpful and supportive then my LYS owner (who is a wonderful woman).  The 3 things that came out of those rav responses were

  1. You can teach yourself to knit looser or tighter
  2. Individual gauge is individual gauge and there is no right or wrong and everyone is different – it’s just a case of playing around and finding what suits you best.
  3. Swatch, Swatch, SWATCH and do it right!

After those conclusions I felt much better and more determined to make sure that I find out my gauge and making sure that it closely matches the pattern gauge – regardless of needle size.  I have been working very hard on knitting with a lighter hand as I’m sure I’m quite a tight knitter (just not as tight as I first thought I was) and making sure that I can move those needles fairly easily up and down my needles.  When I first taught myself to knit I used to break needles and I could barely move the stitches simply because my tension was so tight :/.  I have come a long way since those days and I know I am continuing to improve :D.

Current Projects

I currently have Citron on the needles.  I’m about half way through and loving it but it’s a little fiddly as the Malabrigo Lace keeps snagging on my calloused fingers (see what happens when you knit too tight or even too much for that matter :p?).  I’m just about to finish the second Sunday Swing sock (aka The Lots of Mistakes Socks :p), by the time I have posted this they should be done.  Next will be swatching for several different

Blocking Sunday Swing Socks

patterns and then away I will go again, this time with correct sizing, looser stitches, and a better understanding of the knitting process :D.  I’ve also cast on Manolo socks by Yarnissima, my first pair of toe ups and they’re looking pretty good in Yarn Love’s Elizabeth Bennet, Colourway – Sweet Tangerine.  I’m cabling without a needle for the most part, the centre part of the cabling is a little tight (I think that’s just the nature of the pattern and not my technique) and so I’m having to use the aid of my cable needle for that bit.  It’s been a bit exciting as I’ve had to change the pattern to accomodate my foot length (I don’t have a particularly long foot but it’s longer than what the pattern allows for), so my maths resistant mind was put to work and I figured out the formula (with some help from some lovely Ravellers).  My only concern is that I may not have enough yarn but I guess we’ll see and deal with it when I cross that bridge.

Wearing Trillian (and my very pregnant belly) up at the 3 Sisters in Katoomba

Finally, I got some photos of me wearing the Trillian Shawl, which I am loving!  I’m always getting complements on it when I’m out and about.  I’m really happy with it and I’m looking forward to knitting something else from the Hitchhiker ebook.

Don’t forget you can find me on Ravelry and see more of my crazy knitting adventures there 😀

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