I Love Winter (Most Of The Time)

It’s getting cold here.

No, I’m not particularly surprised. I’m in Ontario, what did I expect? However despite having lived through one winter in 2011/12, it’s been a while. The bitter wind is a shock to the system.

For a few days we had lovely powdery snow that melted just enough to freeze into trecherous ice and disgusting grey sludge. For a couple of days I got to run through it with my dog, laughing as he barreled through the field with his muzzle in the snow and his mouth open, chomp-chomp-chomping. Then the ice made the journey far less fun.

Thankfully it has melted again for now. I am not bothered by the rain, being a native Brit; I’m used to it. It’s in my genes. Still the recent weather is only a prelude into what’s coming.

I don’t mind. I chose to come here to this gorgeous country. I’m happy here and, most importantly, I have a really warm coat.IMG_20141116_084236

That said, I’m noticing a problem: I’m a process knitter. I don’t care much about the result beyond being pleased with myself and admiring the prettiness. Thanks to that, along with a tendency to express my affection with knitwear, most of what I make is given away.

You know what? I don’t even own any handknit socks. My girlfriend, however, owns quite a few pairs by now and I’m most of the way through another pair for her.

I need to work on that but due to a bunch of projects that are way more important, it won’t be happening any time soon.

In the meantime I’ll just have to snuggle up to these guys instead.

Learning to Read Your Knitting

When I started this blog it was with the intention of tracking my progress in becoming a better knitter – or, back at that time, a knitter at all. I found the biggest hurdle in the early stages is learning to read your knitting.

What do I mean by that?

Back when I started knitting and crocheting I had real problems if I made a mistake. I would stare down at the scrap of fabric and have no idea what I’d done or why there weren’t the right amount of stitches in place.

It was infuriating. For a long time I didn’t like knitting at all, preferring instead to stick to my hooks. A big part of that is the fact it was much easier to see the difference in the stitches with crochet, at least for me.

Now when I make a mistake in my knitting I can see where I went wrong by reading the stitches along the row. I don’t think there’s a trick to it – it’s something that comes with making a whole bunch of mistakes! I have seen plenty of images on Pinterest showing different types of stitches and what they look like but unless you’re checking them throughout the process, they’re not as useful as experience. I don’t know about you but I struggle to remember what I saw in an image some time a few months ago!

I guess what I’m saying here is that it’s heartening after all this time to realise how far I’ve come. I don’t look at my lace knitting and burst into tears (most days). I don’t want to throw my crochet out of the moving bus (usually). It’s satisfying to realise that I can read the stitches on my needle or hook.

Can you read your knitting? How did you get to that point? Sheer luck like me or did you study hard to get all that knowledge together?

Another NaNoWriMo Success!

Getting the last 1,500 words of the NaNoWriMo target out of me yesterday took the best part of three hours. Of course just before the final real milestone of 50,000 words I found myself at an intricate and difficult plot point that involved the introduction of many new characters, all of whom had a point.

All that meant I could not for the life of me hurry the hell up.

My usual typing speed can get me 1,000 words in 15 minutes without pushing myself so far, but sometimes the plot just takes over and it becomes impossible. During November that doesn’t happen very often – except this year I know what I’m writing and, at least in the vaguest sense, I know where it’s going.

Usually NaNoWriMo is one long word war for me. For those who don’t know, warring/sprinting is when you take a time and write as much as you can in those minutes. It’s drastically increased my typing speed over time and, more importantly, it’s a good way to get past the fear of Getting It Right and instead focus on Getting It Done. After all, you can’t edit a blank page.

I still have a way to go. I think this story might end up being around 80-90 thousand words in its roughest form.

How are you guys doing? I loved hearing about your progress before.

More Good Knitting Ideas From Pinterest

Though I really shouldn’t be browsing Pinterest while I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo
, I can’t help it. Thankfully I’m learning a lot of neat tricks in the meantime.

Securing DPN Projects288x410xSecuring-Double-Pointed-Needle-Projects1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.PT4xXq18jm

Personally I lose the sock needles in the bottom of my bag all the damn time. I could just use project bags but I’m rarely that organised when I’m shoving my latest project into my bag for work. I have some fiddly contraptions that work great for sock knitting but most of the time all of those are occupied – I’m a woman of many WIPs.

So this idea from WEBS is really up my street.

It doesn’t involve thinking for more than thirty seconds ahead (good for people like me) and it might mean I lose slightly fewer needles.

Preventing Those Runs on Your DPN Knitting

The Purl Bee comes up with some great stuff constantly. It’s great.

I found this idea on how to prevent the little ladder in your socks/mittens/etc when you’re knitting with DPNs. I don’t suffer from this quite so much any more but occasionally I notice I’m still seeing runs up the side and it makes me do a sadface.

Though I haven’t tried this yet (my current main project is knitting on circulars), I can see the sense in the idea and will be trying it out next time I pick up one of the many pairs of socks I have on the go.

Okay, Pinterest can be a total time-suck… but it’s also really useful.

How is Your Nanowrimo Going?

We’re more than a week into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) so for those of you who are involved, how are you doing with it?

As it stands my stats look like this:nanostats

So I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

My aim this time hasn’t been to reach 50,000. This is my eleventh year writing and I’ve only lost once: I know I can do the wordcount thing. My aim is to finish the story.

So often I get to 50,000 words and stop, abandoning it forever. Like knitting an intricate laceweight sweater and never bothering to finish the sleeves, this makes no sense at all. This year I want to change that.

For the first time, I think I might.

The story I’m writing is one I’ve written before. Twice, in fact. I wrote it in 2012 and continued to write it through most of 2013. In November 2013, I rewrote it. And then I forgot about it. It’s a story about dryads and humans completely failing to share a city and a forest. I love the two main characters. I really need to finish it.

Tell me what you do at the end of November! Do you close the file? Keep going? Set fire to your laptop and run away screaming?

The Season of Knitters

It’s getting cold outside.

IMG_20141102_091258Winter is not only coming; it is here. Walking the dog involves more and more layers each day. On Saturday morning we watched in alarm as the rain slowly turned to snow, the first fall of the season.

I should not be surprised. I’m in Canada now, it’s kind of known for being cold. I’ve had problems in the past trying to convince people that it gets super hot during the summer months thanks to its reputation. Yet still I am grumbling as I hunt down my hats and raccoon-shaped gloves and shivering as I brave the morning weather.

IMG_20141102_091759

There’s no option to stay indoors. I have a dog and he is a bundle of energy. Van is a Golden Retriever less than two years old and he needs – and deserves – a lot of exercise. I do not get to avoid the cold. That’s probably a good thing. Avoiding the cold means you don’t get to see the stark beauty of the season. You don’t get to wrap up in as many layers as you can fit beneath your jacket.

You don’t get to enjoy various knitted goods to the best of their function.

IMG_20141102_093948That’s the cowl I received as part of the Buffy swap a good few months ago. It’s beautiful. The yarn is so soft and it’s super warm. In this shot I’d been walking for about an hour already so I was warming up at last, hence it being draped around my neck instead of wrapped tighter. When it’s wound twice around my throat it is the perfect height to keep my chin and nose warm.

Plus it has spiders on it.

There’s something comforting about being out in the cold when you have knitwear to keep it out. I love the feel of wool against my skin at this time of year. It makes the coldness worth it.

IMG_20141031_134825Though I have to say… this looks even more inviting.

 


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A nerd with needles. // New posts Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

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