Tag: Knitting

The Emptiness.

The Emptiness.

As some of you will know, I did a stupid thing a month ago. I sat with my arms propped up on the chair while I knitted for two days straight, even though my thumbs went numb after the first day. Then I didn’t knit for about three days. …Then I picked up my blanket and knitted for six solid hours.

Yeah, since then I haven’t been able to knit at all. I haven’t even tried. Guys, don’t do this. Don’t put your elbows on arm rests while you knit. Learn from my stupidity.

At the moment I’m having MASSIVE knitting cravings, but there’s nothing I can do about it, not even with babies on the way in the family. I’ve considered replacing my hands with robot machines, but unfortunately my wage doesn’t quite cover becoming a superhero/villain, so I’ve had to make do with boredom.

In the meantime I’ve tried bookbinding, drawing, journaling, cross stitching, and spinning. The latter is really the only one I can do without discomfort, as long as I rest my hands every few minutes and stretch regularly. At the last mosque knitting group, I played with my Turkish spindle for the hour. I’m not very good at it yet, but that’s the point of practicing.

It helps that at the Knitter’s Frolic this year I bought 300g of cloud, AKA merino. I need to be good so I can spin that. (See the featured ima

There is an end in sight. I’m going to a massage therapist next week, and if that helps I’ll keep going. If it doesn’t, I’ll go to my doctor. I can’t be not knitting for this long! My identity will crumble! I will be a shell of my former self!

Or I’ll just be really damn bored.

Let me know if you’ve ever had something like this happen and how you got past it. Help me, friends!

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Sewing in the ends

Sewing in the ends

It’s the hardest thing to do. Not because it’s a complicated endeavour, but because if you put that finished project down for five damn seconds, it’s impossible to get around to picking it back up within a month.

No? Just me?

I do this all the time. A few months ago I decided to knit my partner a hoody since she wears them a lot and I don’t care about the sweater curse, we’re basically married anyway (we’ve been together nearly seven years, when did this happen, and if living on different continents for some of that time didn’t break us, the sweater curse hasn’t got a chance). I finished it just after Christmas, then decided I was done with it and would give it to her for Valentines, honest.

It’s May. This weekend, mid-concussion and still unable to knit because my tendons hate me, I picked up the hoody. I took ten minutes to sew in the ends, and suddenly I have a completed project on my hands.

She likes it. I’m giving it to her just in time for it to be too warm for her to wear, but no one ever said I was made of logic.Hoody for Nari - Knitter Nerd

It’s currently spread out behind me on my blocking mats, mocking me by taking roughly five bajillion years to dry. I also have to sew on the buttons but I won’t put that off once it’s dry – my partner now knows it exists, so I have to get around to it. Them’s the rules.

(That didn’t work when I made her the Avengers blanket, though… That took about eighteen months to give to her.)

This is clearly something I need to change. I sorted out my basket of random projects the other day and realised roughly 25% of them are about ten minutes from being finished. Do I just not like finishing things? Do I have commitment issues? Or do I just get too easily distracted?

Since my hands aren’t letting me knit at all these days, I may as well take some time to weave in some ends and finish up some older projects. After all, that will make me look super productive with minimal effort. Why yes, I did finish a sweater and a pair of socks and a shawl all in one weekend! (I started that shawl about 4 years ago, but that will go unsaid.)

It turns out knitters are a predictable lot, so I know I’m not the only one to do things like this. Has anyone got any tips for getting past it?

Official announcement

The event at the mosque is finalised. We’re meeting at the Islamic Centre of Oshawa on Lloyd Street at 6.30pm-7.30pm. If you’re anywhere near me, please come along!

It’s an open, friendly event. You can bring any kind of craft that isn’t going to damage their gorgeous carpets. You’ll need to take your shoes off so take the chance to show off some nice handknit socks if you have any. You don’t need to cover your hair.

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Knitting socks (which actually fit)

Knitting socks (which actually fit)

Yesterday I picked up my knitting and started a new sock. It’s for a friend from yarn they bought. I have their foot measurements already, so I did a gauge swatch (I know, shocking for me!) and figured out the maths of the whole thing. This is much, much more organised than I usually am in sock knitting, but there’s a reason for it: if I’ve worked it out right, they’ll actually fit my friend.

In the past I’ve been lax about this, bizarrely. I’m a bit of a lax person when it comes to fine details anyway, so it’s not a shock that it transferred over to my knitting. Relaxed, that’s what I am. That sounds a lot better than ‘absent-minded and all over the place’. Sometimes I’ve knitted socks that barely fit my foot and are too loose around the leg, but I don’t care. I kept them, I wear them. I’m stubborn that way, and I still love my creations.

However, it is possible to make socks that actually fit, and I learnt that last year.

I think I mentioned that my friend and I went to a class with Kate Atherley at The Purple Purl. We turned up late because Toronto traffic is evil but even in that time we learnt so much.

Kate Atherley has very strong feelings on socks. I respect that. She showed us how to measure our feet and what gauge to aim for and what yarn is best for socks. By the end of the night I was so inspired by the awesomeness that is knitting and maths that I went out and designed my own shawl – not sure how that is what my brain took out of it, but you can’t account for the little grey cells.

If you want to learn about this magic and set your knitting brain aflame, you should check out Kate Atherley’s book Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet. No, this is not a sponsored post; I do not yet even own this book, though it’s on my wishlist and one day I shall have it, it shall be mine, my precioussss. However, I’ve had enough looks at it to know that it’s incredibly useful.

Even better, it’s logical thinking that’s tricked my illogical mind into actually planning ahead when knitting something. Sometimes. Okay, occasionally at best, but it’s a start.

Do you use unmodified patterns for socks or do you do your own thing to make it fit perfectly?

Exciting plans afoot

There’s something exciting happening.

I’ve been wanting to talk about this on the blog for a while but didn’t want to speak too soon and see it not happen. It looks as though we’re all set up for the event, so now I can let you guys know what I’ve got planned.

At the end of this month, I have helped set up a craft and social group with the local Islamic Centre/mosque. It’s going to be an informal thing here in Oshawa where we sit and chat and knit/craft while breaking down social barriers.

I had the idea after I went to a vigil for the Quebec mosque shooting early this year. The imam spoke of islamophobia and how they face it every day, and I could see how it was going to get so much worse and a lot of the ignorance comes from these lines we put up in society that say you should only interact with certain people. At a distance, anyone can seem scary because you only rely on stereotypes and rumours. Sitting down with other people and getting to know them is the only way to overcome this. It’s a form of education that’s incredibly easy and fun, so I thought: I should try to do that.

Of course, my mind went to craft because I love it, and because I think it’s a really good way to bring people together. After all, it’s how I found a place in Ontario when I moved here from England, and I think it’s a great way to meet and understand new people/cultures. Though England isn’t that different from Canada I still suffered from an insane amount of culture shock at the beginning but through going every week to my knitting group I understand everything a lot better now, and I have some wonderful friends to show for it.

With that in mind I sent a clumsy, awkward email to the mosque asking if they would be interested in something like that, and after a back-and-forth for a couple of weeks I met up with a lovely woman at the mosque. We chatted for a while and talked over what we could do. We’re going to run the group at the end of March, though we don’t have a set date just yet, and I’m really excited about it.

Ever since Trump was elected I realised that I can’t just think about doing things any more: I have to get past my fear of getting outside my comfort zone and act. Fortunately, I’m in a place emotionally/physically where I can do that now, so I have forced myself past the discomfort and it feels awesome. It’s such a small thing but it’s something.

If you’re thinking of doing something like this, I really think it’s worthwhile. And if I can help you in any way, please let me know. Even if you just wanna talk about it. I’m determined to make small changes in the world because I truly believe that grassroots movements are the only way for lasting change, so I’d be happy to speak with others who feel the same way.

Maybe I’m just an idealist, but at least I’m not the only one.

Forgotten Knits

On Sunday it hit -17 degrees Celcius with windchill, so I rooted around in the closet for my snow pants in preparation for a dog walk. I could have worn tights under jeans as I usually would (I save the snowpants for -25 and below), but that would have meant taking off my pyjama bottoms. Snowpants hide them. My laziness is impressive sometimes.

I found the snowpants after some searching, but more importantly I found a box full of all my knitted items I’d stashed away when winter ended last year. There are two cowls and a shawl tucked away in there, all of which I’d completely forgotten, as well as the fancy orange shawl/cowl/thing that is still the prettiest thing I’ve ever knit.

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At first I wondered how I could forget such pretty things, but then I remembered that Ontario is humid and awful in the summer to the point where for sanity’s sake it’s best to pretend clothes as a whole don’t exist, let alone natural fibre things designed to increase your body heat.

I’ll be taking them all out and washing/blocking them for use soon.

Have you ever forgotten a bunch of your knitted items? Just me?

Of course I forget to take a picture.

Yesterday was our Secret Santa exchange at work. In a group of about 40, you would think this would be less fun that it is, but since we’re a close-knit group we all know each other well enough to get a decent present. Everyone seemed chuffed with theirs, and I was super excited to give mine.

You see, three days before the Secret Santa was due I decided to completely lose my mind and knit a pair of mittens for my recipient’s gift. He’s a big sports fan so I knitted him a pair of Toronto Maple Leaf-inspired mittens, and somehow I managed to get them finished less than an hour before my shift started that day. I wanted to swiss-darn a pattern on the mittens but ended up crocheting a maple leaf for them instead, but it turned out okay and I was pleased with them.

Of course that coworker turned up in a Toronto Maple Leafs Christmas sweater that day, so I spent all day excited about him opening his gift (which included a couple of other items along the same theme). It seemed to take forever to get to him but he opened them and gave me a hug and I was pleased.

This is why knitting for decent people is fun; they get a kick out of it, and you get a hug.

Still, I’m only about 40% of the way through a large gift that I need to finish by Christmas Eve, so I probably should have reconsidered the whole idea before it took hold.

No regrets.

Are you guys doing Christmas knitting this year? How is it going?

Time to get cosy?

For those of us in Southern Ontario, winter is rearing its icy head. For the last two days I have wished for a decent pair of gloves the moment I’ve left the house, but I can’t find any of my fingerless ones and it’s not quite cold enough for lined mittens.

Confession: I am in a slump with knitting. I haven’t picked up the needles in at least a week, more like ten days. This is a really long time for me, but since all my inspiration for everything is currently running dry, I’m not concerned. I know why it is happening and I know it will pass, but for now I’m living a knit-free life.

In the meantime I’ve been considering patterns to knit when I can get up the energy to do so. That’s where you come in.

Which of these patterns should I try next?

Tipsy by Andre Sue
Tipsy by Andre Sue. Photo Credit.

Tipsy by Andre Sue

Simple, elegant, not all that visually interesting. These would be convenient for this kind of weather where I can still get my fingers out sometimes. However, I do like to tuck my fingertips in when it gets super chilly, so I’m not sure about these.

They would be a quick and satisfying knit though!

Get the pattern for free here on Ravelry.

 

Don't Skid, Honey by Justyna Lorkowska.
Don’t Skid, Honey by Justyna Lorkowska. Photo Credit.

Don’t Skid, Honey by Justyna Lorkowska

I like the zig-zags on these. The yarn I have in mind is mildly variegated – almost tonal, but a bit more dramatic – so I’m considering these because the pattern would make it stand out.

That said, same problem as above: I can’t tuck my fingers in and can’t figure out if that’s a deal-breaker.

Get the pattern for free here on Ravelry.

 

Long Flap Fingerless Gloves by Lisa Dove
Long Flap Fingerless Gloves by Lisa Dove. Photo Credit.

Long Flap Fingerless Gloves by Lisa Dove

Um, you know how I’m worried about cold fingertips? This would cure that problem, wouldn’t it?

However, it’s a super simple pattern and I don’t know if it would hold my interest. I have this problem where if it’s not challenging I go off and do my own thing which results in never getting anything finished.

Get the pattern for free here on Ravelry.

What do you think about the options?

Have you got any better ideas?

I’m looking for something functional more than decorative or I’d have a whole different list on here.

Help me, fellow knitting nerds! You’re my only hope (to regain my knitsperation)!

Getting fit, knitter style

Recently I realised I’d put on weight. Now, I’m not the body-shaming type, and this in itself would not be a problem. However, if you’ve been a long-time reader of my blog you might recall back in 2011 when I fell very sick with IIH and had to postpone going to Canada by three months while I recovered.

IIH (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension) is when the cerebro-spinal fluid in my skull stops draining properly, and though they don’t know for sure what causes it, they’re pretty certain it has to do with weight. I can confirm that I lost a lot of weight at the time and kept it off for a long time, and I have suffered no further symptoms since. Realising that I’d gained so much weight without noticing startled me, because I really don’t want to have those huge blind spots in my vision again, and I really, really could do without ever having a lumbar puncture ever again.

Don’t click on that last link if you’re squeamish about spines and/or giant needles like I am.

As a result, I’m back at the gym. I bought myself a fitbit with my birthday money last month and have been more careful about what I eat, since I was starting to binge on chocolate again (god, I love chocolate). I’m not super strict about it but I really don’t want to get sick again so this is the best course of action.

What does any of this do with knitting, I hear you ask?

There’s a certain patience to being a knitter that I find translates well into working out. When I’m knitting I don’t always love what I’m doing, but I keep going. I continue stitch by stitch by stitch until I get to my goal (a finished object, most of the time!). With working out, I feel I engage the same part of my brain; I don’t want to be working out, exactly, but I keep going minute by minute by minute because I know the end goal will be worth it.

Have you ever felt anything like this? Do you engage similar parts of your personality – determination, stubbornness, creativity – to things outside of craft?

The Cardigan Continues

If you saw my last post, you’ll know I’m in the middle of a binge of sweater knitting. A cardigan is on its way into my life, piece by piece.

Yep, piece by piece – I’m not knitting it in one piece. I hate sewing things up, but I’m sure it will be worth it because this cardigan is going to be glued to me for the whole of autumn and probably a large portion of the winter.

So far I’ve made only two mistakes, though they were big ones.

  1. I made the back about two inches too small. I don’t know how I managed that. I’m going back in a few days to rip out the top bit and add a couple of inches. Not ideal, but I will pull through.
  2. When decreasing the right front of the cardigan I started doing both the neck and the shoulder on the same side of the section, which apparently is not how human bodies work.

Both of these problems could have been solved by printing off the pattern and actually reading it as I go along instead of skimming it in the morning and making it up, because you know, that’s a sensible way to do it. (Though this time I’m not just making it up completely as I would on a less important project; I do write down some small notes. Just… not enough.)

After work today I decided to go to the library to print off the pattern but alas, they’d changed how the system worked and I messed it up and then there were no computers so I was outta luck, buddy. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow. Or maybe not.

Maybe I’ll just keep making it up and see what happens.

(By the way the pattern is Cushing Isle by Amy Herzog, though I’m using the Custom Fit generator for it. More on that stroke of genius when the sweater is done!)