Saturday, April 04, 2015

Knitting Dilemma

I’m stuck in a knitting conundrum of sorts. First, a little history.

Like most knitters, I awkwardly started my knitting journey with clunky straights and squeaky acrylic. I slowly gained momentum knitting with yarn held in my right hand* by going in through the front door {pause}, run around the back {pause}, peek through the window {pause}, and off jumped jack! This was fine for a while, but being a crocheter prior to learning to knit, I soon was able to knit more efficiently with the yarn held in my left hand. I got faster and faster and the knitting possibilities were endless.

Everything was good for a while, a long while I would say. I could knit without looking, some knitters marveled at how fast I was, but I think I even knew then that something was off. I’m what you call a tight knitter. My tension was ALWAYS tight. It was to the point that I would automatically swatch in a needle two sizes higher than the size recommended to get gauge. I could only knit for a couple hours at a time before my left hand would start cramping and my shoulders would get all tense. Also, I always rowed out and my fabric was never even. I usually blocked the mess out of my knits to combat this but it still never turned out as even as I’d seen others knit. I have to admit that although I loved making things, I just didn’t love the process. I fancied myself a product knitter and knitted until the pain in my hands told me something had to give.

I went back to my roots, so to say, and trained myself to knit with the yarn held in my right hand. I figured the best way to train my hands was to knit a project so I dove right into the Tofino top from Knitting in the Sun.
It took longer than usual to finish but alas my fabric was even and my tension was looser. My upper body didn’t feel as tense but it still felt awkward to knit this way. So, I soon slipped back to my default left handed knitting until it became unbearable.

I don’t exactly remember how, actually I think I was reading The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt and came across the term “lever knitting”. I researched lever knitting, watched the youtube video of the YarnHarlot countless times, joined the rav group and practiced, practiced, practiced. Like I said before, the best practice is to knit a whole project so I knit a couple of project on long straight needles with the right one tucked snuggly in my armpit.

I’m not going to lie, it took a couple of months for it to feel less unfamiliar, but you know what? My hands didn’t hurt, and my shoulders were not one bit tense. I couldn't believe how even my tension was and I was falling in love with the process. I like the way my hands flowed, right hand swooping around the needle as it formed each stitch. I was becoming a process knitter.
Then I noticed that although I fell back in love with knitting, I couldn't figure out how to knit quicker. I recently realized this when I lever knit a sock and it took me about a month, where it would usually take me about a week or two in my left handed knitting days. I really wanted to finish the socks so I went back to my default to knit the other one, which took me about two weeks. You can really see the difference between my knitting styles in this photo.
So here’s the question I keep asking myself; am I a process knitter or a product knitter? I like lever knitting, it makes me happy. In the words of KonMari, it sparks joy. On the other hand, I don’t want it to take forever to knit something. I just started a sweater but I’m taking a crack at my default knitting form, being mindful to keep my fingers loose and not tense up. It seems to be working but I’m not enjoying the process as much. I keep on second guessing if I should have done this project knitting the way that makes me happy. Of course I can’t change in the middle of a project, so I’m stuck knitting in my default for a while.

I guess the question will remained unanswered for a while. I’ll knit on hoping that I can soon learn to increase my speed lever knitting and all will be right with the world again.


Peace and Blessing

*I prefer to avoid using the terms "English" and "Continental" to describe knitting styles. I would much rather use the terms left handed and right handed knitting. Yeah, I'm weird like that.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Listen

Do you ever feel like the universe is talking to you? Leaving little clues, that if you're perceptive enough to pick up on, can be decoded into one blaring message thats been right before your eyes for the longest time. I don't mean to get all hippy dippy, but I feel like I'm always searching for answers- answers to everything and maybe all I need to do is listen to the universe. I don't have the slightest idea why this thought just popped into my head and why I feel the need to document it in this blog, but I do so I am.

Since I'm here, might as well talk about crafty stuff. My needles have been click clackin' like crazy. I've been repeating the mantra "knit faster, winter is coming" as I knit warm woolies for the family. I started with hats for the twins,
 then moved on to a hat for hubby
 and recently finished a hat for my older son
I had to compromise on his hat because he wanted a yellow hat with black zig zags on it to simulate the hair of his favorite Dragon Ball Z character. I let him have the yellow, but I picked the pattern I liked and omitted the black. I also finished cowls for them too. I made the structured cowl for hubby

 and the ribby cowl for boy wonder.
Next on the needles are mittens and gloves and then I'll have time for some selfish knitting.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Memory Lane

I found myself taking an unprompted trip down memory lane. Just taking a peek at some of my blog posts from a couple of years ago and I have to admit that I got a bit nostalgic. I didn't tear up or anything but it was a special moment that made me feel some kind of way. I guess I needed that. I needed that moment to remind me of "why", the reason that I do this.

When I started this blog eight years ago ( Wow, can't believe it's been that long), my motives were kinda selfish. Well, not kinda, they were. My goals were to improve my writing which doesn't come easy to me and to show off my creative side which I didn't get a chance to do that often (back then).

By my account, my writing did improve. But then I started slacking. Postings were scarce and my writing suffered. Reading those old posts put a battery in my back so hopefully I can keep this new found motivation going just like the Energizer Bunny.

As I started to get the hang of things, another one of my goals was to improve my photography skills. That's one of the main reasons I read a lot of blogs are for the beautiful pictures. I even took a class at one point! Of course that fell by the wayside too. The lighting is so poor in my tiny Harlem apartment so it takes a lot of effort to shoot something that fits my standards. Most of the time I'm fiddling with the pictures for hours in Photoscape trying to get it just right. I've been taking it easy on myself regarding the picture quality for my last couple of posts. My new mantra is, they don't have to be perfect, as long as I'm posting then I'm happy.

I don't know where this post came from. Babies just woke up for their 3am feeding so I guess that's my cue to go. I dint know when my next post will be, but I can guarantee knitting content. Toodaloo!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Not quite right

Remember the teal and gray baby sweater from my last post? In case you don't, here's a pic.
Nice, right? Let's take a closer look shall we....
Notice anything? I'm not talking about the difference in color between the blue's. I'm talking about the shoulder.

Guess who forgot to sew the shoulder seam before picking up stitches for the hood? Yup, this chick right here.

I just haven't had the energy to rip it out and fix it. Luckily I have a few more months before the boys will be able to fit them. I started the second one, but as usual, I ran out of yarn. I ended up starting a new project in the meantime, in between time.

I have a bunch of pre fold diapers, I mean a BUNCH! I failed to realize before putting a gaggle of them on my registry, that you need a wool cover to go over them. You also have to lanolize the cover which is a whole 'nother story which I won't go into just yet.

The great part about knitting soakers is that you don't need much yardage so I can use up some of the handspun stash. Only downside is most of my handspun is in feminine colors so it was really hard finding appropriate yarn.

I finally settled on yarn I spun from my previous Spunky Club subscription ( which I miss dearly). I'm almost done, just have to add the ribbing to the legholes.

Even though I'm getting some knitting done, I'm still pining for my other crafts. I can't wait to break out the wheel and sewing machine. Hopefully they'll make an appearance soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hiatus

I seem to be a pro at disappearing for long stretches of time, and yet for some reason I always seem to return. A lot has happened since my last post. The most notable is that I had a couple of kids and at the same time even! I just had twin boys two months ago and I guess the monotony of daily life has me wanting to mix it up a bit, hence this post. I probably won't be posting any pics of my little one's faces just because I'm one of those paranoid moms. Since this is a craft blog, I'll oblige with a little craft update.

Since having the boys, I've wanted to knit a whole lot more than my free time allows. I'm one of those knitters that likes to work on one project at a time. I'm currently working on hoodies for the boys. I finished one and working on the second. I'm making both in contrasting colors using a pattern called Hooded Baby Sweater by Halliday Nelson which can be found for free on Ravelry.

I like the simplicity of the pattern which makes it easier to customize. I'm actually following the pattern to a tee but I made it my own by changing the sleeve and band colors.

I'm also using this project to practice my lever knitting. Lever knitting is a way to knit with the right needle tucked under your arm. The Yarn Harlot knits this way and it is known to be a more efficient way to knit. It also produces a more even fabric. In my case, I knit tightly and it has relieved some of the tension I use to feel in my wrist and I noticed that I don't "row out" as much too. Here's a video of Stephanie lever knitting.

The boys are starting to stir so I'll catch this blog on the flip side. Craft on.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The May to December Post

Happy (almost) New Year. I've been trying to write this post for a couple of months now. Had to get it out before the year ended so that I could cross it off my 2012 list.

I've been all over the place this year craftwise. My obsessions have ranged from lever knitting to navajo plying. My creative pursuits have been greatly influenced by what I see on The Rav and what my lovely enablers friends are doing. I somehow signed up for Joji's Mystery Shawl and I don't even like shawls, go figure. I'm using stash yarn so if the color combo looks crazy, blame it on the stash.

Mystery shawl - Clue 1

I've been pretty good about not adding too much to my already enormous yarn stash. My principle for acquisitions has been quality over quantity since my stash is acrylic heavy. I only bought one skein of yarn at Rhinebeck this year and I got two skeins of yarn from my visit to Chicago on Thanksgiving that I couldn't resist (it was on sale).

I do slip every now and again but it has to be a good reason. Its hard to make sweaters when I'm buying a skein here and a skein there so I bought yarn at this years Smileys Manhattan sale with a sweater in mind. It has been a while since I've bought yarn like that.

When talking about my wool stash for spinning, that's a whole 'nother story. I'm not even going to confess the damage done at Rhinebeck....at least not yet.

Happy crafting and I hope you all have a spectacular New Year!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Happy accident

I went to look for an app on my phone and I must have mistakenly tapped the blogger app icon. I didn't even know my phone could do that!

Maybe I'll post more if its as easy as snapping a pic and pressing a button.

Might as well talk about knitting while I'm here. I just finished a bunch of stuff like a beautiful baby dress, a hobo bag and a summer top. Each item has a story behind it so I'll have to blog about those separately.

I don't like to blog without pictures so here's what I'm currently working on. It's a half granny square shawl made out of zauberball(sock yarn). Its a super fast knit a making it very addictive.

Well this post was quick and painless. Maybe I'll do it again someone soon =)