I’m not the type of crocheter (or knitter) who feels the need to complete every project I start. Sometimes I start a project for stress relief, other times I make a bad yarn choice, and then there are times when the project just isn’t really something I want to work on anymore.
Today, I’m celebrating all those creations that actually made it as far as into my Ravelry projects but were later unraveled. While I actually unraveled 12 projects in 2012 (freaky, huh?), I’m just going to talk about the three most significant ones today.
I started these during the Ravellenic Games, hoping that would be the push I needed to actually get excited about making knitted socks. I love looking at other people’s knit socks and I love wearing hand-knit socks, but something about actually knitting socks never seemed all that appealing to me.
I think I’ll stick with crochet socks. I’m not all that comfortable knitting with small needles or with lightweight yarn and I just don’t feel committed to spending the amount of time needed to knit a single pair of socks.
Let’s just say that the combination of not so great quality acrylic yarn, watching a movie while crocheting, and slip stitches is not a good one. I decided to unravel this, along with a Christmas stocking I made last year (in red wool)…
…and give slip stitch crochet another try in wool in 2013.
I think the addition of this hook I found at a shop near my job, which looks like a pjoning hook, will also help to make the stitches more even.
Several students in my crochet class were working on it, and I decided to start one, too. I don’t usually work on projects with my students (besides a little swatch I make in class), and this experience hasn’t encouraged me to make it a habit.
I inherited this yarn from my grandmother and I eventually want to make it into something special for my mom. So far, the perfect project for this yarn hasn’t revealed itself.
Do you unravel projects, do you always finish what you start, or do you abandon projects that aren’t working out?
I’m using two strands of Moda Dea Tweedle Dee, a discontinued, self-striping, bulky yarn, and size 15 circular needles. This will be sort of a companion to this ribbed beanie I finished a few weeks ago. I have two male cousins (brothers), and I’m sort of sure who is getting what, but not 100% decided yet.
I’ve found that the metal needles in the small size are bothering my hands. I’m going to try and get a wood or bamboo set today after work and see if that helps me move a little faster.
I’m still reading How To Love Your Job Or Find A New Oneby Joanna Penn. So far, I’m finding it really helpful. If I can drag myself away from the Ravellenics for a little more time this week, I will probably be able to finish it and share a review.
I special ordered a whole bunch of it from my LYS, Knitty City. I know that the top of the bedspread will be in this color and with this pattern, but I’m still deciding on whether the side drops will be in the same color and pattern. I’m going to wait until the 42 squares I need are finished and joined before even thinking about borders :).
And now we interrupt this blog post with a customer service rant. You may remember that Knitty City is my favorite NYC yarn shop. I have five stories from this week to demonstrate why! My week started out on a high note – I was able to easily put in my special yarn order to Knitty City via email, and I received all responses via email in a timely fashion. This shows that the folks at Knitty City are not only responsive but also that they understand that if you send an email, you would likely prefer an email (not phone) response.
I spent most of the week in training for the Ravellenic Games, and I wanted to get a set of size 1 40″ circular needles in case I wasn’t able to get gauge with the needles I had at home. I had four bad customer service experiences at four different Manhattan yarn shops while trying to get a set of needles!
I stopped at a new-to-me LYS after work on Tuesday. I arrived in the store to see three women knitting away feverishly in complete, perhaps tension-filled, silence. One looked up and said to let her know if I needed any help. The shelves were a mess and only partially full, and with all three women sitting on the same side of the table, it wasn’t easy to get access to the patterns located behind them. (I wasn’t looking for patterns, but you get my point.) There were very few notions in stock, but I decided to pick up some needle point protectors anyway. (Side note: I come from a family of entrepreneurs and run a small business myself, so I really try to support small businesses when possible.) It was only at this point that I realized that all three women actually worked there. When I mentioned I was looking for a specific needle size, no one offered to order it for me.
After work on Wednesday, I decided to stop by a different LYS that usually has a broad selection of needle sizes. I didn’t see any 40″ circulars in the display, so I asked if they had size 1 in stock. After being asked about what type of needle I wanted (wood, metal, etc.), they realized they didn’t have any size 1 needles anyway. Again, no one asked if I would like them to order it for me and by now I was getting really down.
I called a third LYS in another neighborhood and they told me they did have size 1 needles in stock. Unfortunately, due to commuting times, I wasn’t able to get there before closing. I decided to stop by the next day (Thursday), and went by about 25 minutes before their listed closing time. The shop was closed with the gate pulled down. And, of course, there was no sign indicating they had closed early.
On Thursday morning, I had also emailed a fourth shop to see if they had size 1 needles in stock. After receiving no response by Friday morning, I stopped by this shop after running errands. The clerk asked, “Didn’t you call yesterday?” to which I responded that I had sent an email. Even though she knew someone was looking for this particular size, the woman didn’t know if the needles were in stock. So I waited while she looked through several disorganized piles of needles before determining there weren’t any in stock. Again, no one asked if I would like to order this size. And, about two hours after I got home, they left a voice mail in response to my email saying the needles weren’t in stock.
After all of this, I figured size 1 needles must be extremely rare. With only the slightest of hope, I dropped by Knitty City on the way home. Not only was I treated warmly, but there were FOUR different brands of size 1 40″ needles for me to choose from. I guess the moral of the story is just go to Knitty City every time and don’t even bother with the other places!
And now back to my YOP post :). I did end up needing the size 1 needles to get gauge. I finally chose the Graphic pattern from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. My thought process went this way: according to The Knitter’s Book of Socks, I should have at least 10% negative ease for the circumference of my sock. After convincing MC to measure our feet based on the chart in The Sock Knitter’s Handbook, this pattern seemed to be the right size. And, with my brand new needles, I was able to get the right gauge!
Unfortunately, my first several attempts at making this sock were disastrous. Let’s just say the combination of poor lighting in my apartment, the small needle size, and my lack of familiarity with knitting socks led to a few issues. Yesterday I restarted and things seem to be going much better now (perhaps because I have knit this very same section four times already?).
I’m not too confident that I’ll finish this pair before the end of the Ravellenic Games, but I really hope I do. Because I have the feeling that if I don’t, these will sit as a WIP until the 2014 Ravellenic Games.
I also forgot to declare how many motifs I wanted to make for the Games, so I couldn’t participate in the Modular Relay :(. Instead, I dug out stash wool that is over 1 year old, and decided to make more squares for the felted wool blanket I’m making for myself as part of the stashbusting event. I finishedthesethree yesterday.
My personal Herculean effort will be to knit my first pair of socks. I decided to use a pattern from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socksby Melissa Morgan-Oakes. I’m far more comfortable with circular needles than with DPNs. I think it is generally best to tackle one learning task at a time – this exercise should be about sock structures, shaping, and fit, not about learning to use a different type of needles. For the same reason, I decided to use a skein of medium weight yarn instead of sock yarn. When I was attempting to make a gauge swatch with sock yarn, I realized that my dexterity with thin yarn knitting is nearly non-existent. (Apparently, summer crocheting with thread is not a transferable skill!)
This is a lovely skein of Malabrigo Rios in Primavera, purchased at Knitty Citylast fall. This is one of those yarns that looks totally different wound. I actually love it, though I confess that if I saw it wound in the store, I probably wouldn’t have bought it since the colors are a bit out of my comfort zone. I chose this yarn for my socks two reasons. While deciding on my sock pattern, I was skimming throughThe Knitter’s Book of Socks. Clara Parkes‘s first “beginner friendly” pattern is made with Malabrigo Rios. Then I started poking around in Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socksand found a few patterns using a heavier weight yarn. Given my clumsiness with thin yarn knitting and the fact that I had a skein in my stash just waiting for a project, it seemed like a wise choice. I wasn’t sure if one skein would be enough for a pair, though, and I have a good amount of the Glazed Carrot left over from my hat. Since these are toe up socks, I could always end with orange cuffs if necessary, right?
It’s a bit hard to tell from these pictures, but there is a common orange color in both yarns.
Since this is such a big challenge, I’ve been making those real gauge swatches that are spoken about in books, not the fake ones I generally make :).
I’m still fiddling around with needle sizes, but I should have a solid idea of pattern and needle by Friday (I hope).
I also plan to declare a goal for the Modular Relay, but I’m not sure which of the three motif projects I’m currently working on (yikes!) would be the best candidate for this. I’ll have to decide first before saying how many motifs I plan to make.
This week, I auditioned six more motifs for my mom’s milestone birthday blanket. I made each sample with stash yarn, and I’m happy to report that I’m almost to the bottom of one of my plastic yarn tubs!
At this point, I was ready to make a decision. (Ok, I wasn’t actually ready to make the decision, but I was ready to stop making more samples!) But then, I got an email from my sister. You see, I had sent her the link to the Pinterest board of patterns I set up a few weeks ago, and she just got around to reading it this week. Naturally, she thought two patterns that I hadn’t even tried yet were the perfect choices for my mom’s bedspread, so I made samples of those, too!
This is the Lacy Square Motif by Crochet Atelier. (Side note: This is the first time I followed an entire pattern on my Kindle Fire. It wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be, and I saved some printer ink and recycled paper!) If I were to use this motif, I would adjust the center part of the pattern so that the circle and the petals were a bit smaller – I suspect that my chains are much larger than those of the designer.
My plan now is to send pictures of all the possible motifs to my sister for a final decision. Then I will purchase the yarn and get started.
And that brings me to my next set of decisions. You may recall that one of my YOP2 goals is to participate in the 2012 Ravellenic Games. The kick off is the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern time. There are a few things that I need to do before then:
Choose a sock pattern. My main goal is to complete my first pair of knit socks during the Ravellenic Games. I think I’ll be using the Austermann Step Sock yarn I received in the July Goodie Box Swap. These will be entered in the sock put event.
Make (at least one) gauge swatch. I want to make sure I have the right needles available before casting on Friday.
Decide if I’ll be entering the modular relay. If so, I’ll need to decide whether I’ll be competing with charity squares or motifs for my mom’s bedspread or motifs for a scrap blanket for me. (That’s right, I want to make even more blankets!) I will need to declare a number of motifs, which will naturally be based on the project I’m working on for this competition.
Choose a team (or teams). This has been the toughest part for me. Normally, I would enter a crochet-focused team, like Team Crochet, but that seems strange if my main project is knitting. (Although, apparently, I can enter more than one team.) If anyone reading is also participating in the Ravellenic Games, do you have any team suggestions for me?