Thursday, May 31, 2007

Knitting injuries

I'm almost finished my 4 current WIPs, two of them just need the sleeves and the making up, but unfortunately I seem to have sustained a knitting injury. I have a blister. I knit English style and use the middle finger of my right hand to catch the needle after looping the yarn around it. This has the unfortunate effect of causing a bit of rawness along the side of my finger from rubbing across wool for hours at a time. Because I've been knitting rather obsessively of late (that is to say, every single moment in which my hands aren't doing something else) it was really only a matter of time before I would get a blister. It only hurt a little last night, but it will most definitely get worse if I keep up this knitting pace (I've already ignored it for a day and now have a little bump where before it was just a little red and sore) and so I've decided to take a break from knitting.

Normally when I have a knitting injury that requires me to take a little break (yarn burn on the finger that holds the yarn taught, for example, or sore wrists) I switch to crochet or focus on reading a novel. But I couldn't find a crochet project I like - I usually only crochet baby blankets and no one I know is currently pregnant - and I'm not really enjoying my current novel, so I was in a bit of a pickle. Luckily, 3 of the WIP require some embroidery, so that is keeping me occupied on my trips to work on public transport.

One project is the argyle sweater that I'm knitting for my fiance. I'm doing the zig-zags in duplicate stitch, which I don't really like, to be honest, because I find the stitches don't act like try knit stitches (and why would they? They aren't true knit stitches). However, I made the choice to do it in duplicate stitch because there are 6 zig-zags and the one ball of that colour called for in the pattern only has 2 ends. I would have had to either buy 3 balls of yarn to have enough ends to keep all 6 zig-zags going right in the knitting, or cut the ball into thirds, which severely limits how I can use the remainder yarn when the sweater is done. I'm a bit fanatical about using yarn efficiently and making sure I have the best possible chance of using the leftover yarn for something later. So I stand by my choice.

The other two are a pare of blankets for my friend Allison's twins. They require chain stitch lines criss-crossing all over the blanket. It took a bit, but I eventually got used to embroidering on half-double crochet, which isn't nearly as nice and tight as knitting.

So I haven't knit a stitch all day. I was a little afraid that I might loose the momentum of my Finishitupitus, but I don't think that's likely. Already the little bump doesn't hurt anymore, so I'll just give it another day to go down and then dive back in.
Until next we knit!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Stashbusting knit alongs

On Monday I spent some time reacquainting myself with the blogsphere and checking out some of the new groups and KALs. I was saddened to discover that I've missed the deadline to sign up for Secret Pal 10. I'd been a part of Secret Pal 5 a number of years ago and had really enjoyed it, but haven't had the time to commit myself to it since. Now that I'm feeling much more centred I think I can handle the responsibility, so I will definitely sign up for Secret Pal 11.

I'm not all that interested in KALs where everyone just knits the same thing, but I found 2 KALs that were unified by a central theme and were right up my alley; they are both focused on a Knit-your-stash-instead-of-buying-new-yarn philosophy, which I can relate to since I have a pretty scary stash. The first one is Stashalong (there's a button on the sidebar) where you can see a picture of said scary stash (scary, but loved!). It works by letting the knitter choose between a time line of no-buying (at least 1 month), fully-disclosing the total size of the stash and then pledging to knit X amount of it before buying anything new, or working on X number of WIPs before buying anything new. To start, I've decided to work through my 4 WIPs (more on these later)

The other is Save Cash! Use Your Stash! (I'll have a button up soon) which operates on a system of calculating the money saved by knitting from your stash instead of buying new. Each member reports how much money the stash yarn cost when originally purchased and that amount is counted towards a running total for the group. She also keeps totals for individual members which are tallied at the end of each month. So between the 2 KALs I should have lots of motivation to knit up the stash.

Of course, like most knitters, I have some yarn that I just don't like. Yarn that was given to me as well-meaning gifts or that I bought in a haze at a yarn sale. I know deep down in my knitter's heart that I will never use this yarn and so I would rather it find a better home. To this end I will eventually join Destash to either sell or swap what I won't use. I say eventually because I can't quite bring myself to the Herculean task of sorting through my stash closet. :)

Until next we knit!


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yes, I'm still alive!

I am guilty of a shameful neglect of this blog with a list of excuses too long to even going into, but the main one has been my knitting hiatus. I knot that is a term that strikes fear into the heart of many a knitter - the concept that you might wake up some morning and just not feel like knitting. However, as a survivor of this very common ailment I can assure you all that it is temporary and non-fatal.

What brought me out of my knitting hiatus was the one thing that has the almost unfailing ability to drag countless knitters out of a knitting hiatus, or even encourage a non-knitter to pick up the needles; people around me started popping out babies. It started with an old friend of Nyron's who had a son last summer, so I crocheted this baby blanket for him.

I designed it using my Royal Needlework Academy design software because it's done in Afghan crochet which comes out in perfect squares (unlike knit stitches which are rectangular and need a rectangular chart for plotting designs). The mother and father are both professional musicians, so I thought the musical instrument motif would fit very well. It took a while to find that many instruments that could be easily crocheted into silhouettes, let me tell you!

Closely following that came the birth of my friend Valeria's daughter, Nadia. Valeria was my host sister when I lived in Ecuador as an exchange student almost 10 years ago and I'm still in touch with her family. I found this blanket as a kit from Mary Maxim at the Creative Needlework and Sewing Festival here in Toronto last fall.

It's not a very good picture, but you can get a sense of it.

Then, this past February, my very, very brave friend Allison gave birth to twins, one boy and one girl (which would be my choice, if I was ever given one). I am almost finished their blankets, which I crocheted from two patterns I found in Candy Blankies by Candi Jensen and modified by changing the yarn and the colours. I'll post pictures as soon as I'm done.

Hopefully This won't disintegrate into another case of blog neglect as I am very thoroughly enmeshed in my addiction once more (in fact, I think it's even contributing to my current insomnia!). Hopefully next post I'll have pictures of Nyron in a basket weave stitch sweater I knit him for Christmas and my current WIPs, another sweater for Nyron (surprise, surprise! That boy certainly doesn't suffer from my knitting habit!) and a cotton shirt for myself.