It’s hard to believe that a year ago I submitted my first blog post. This would never have happened if it were not for my brother Gordy. Let me tell you a little bit about my brother. Gordy always had a mischievous grin on his face and you knew just by looking at him that he was up to something. Whatever that something was, he never let his fear (if he had any) stop him. And his laughter was infectious. You couldn’t help but laugh along with him. Gordy lived in the moment. He was so very different from me. I am more of a planner and always thinking of the “what if’s”. I have gone through life playing it safe and never taking chances. That is up until last year.
After losing Gordy to cancer, I realized how short life really is and not to get caught up in all the what if’s. I am definitely not the same person I was a year ago.
Thank You Gordy!
Like most knitters, I love yarn. And like most, I have a yarn stash. I never really thought my stash was getting out of control. Any yarn I purchased had an intended project associated with it. But lately, I have been feeling a little overwhelmed when I walk into my yarn room. I also have been having a little trouble remembering exactly what all those projects were. So today I decided I had better organize my room. As I was pulling out all the boxes of yarn that was starting to pile up, I realized I may have a problem.
There was a box full of my favorite yarn from last year’s Black Friday Sale. I found all the beautiful balls of wool perfect for those Fair Isle hats I am going to make. More and more treasures were being discovered in drawers and closets. I even found the yarn for the blanket I was supposed to make for my daughter when she moved into her first apartment (that was at least 3 years ago and she has since moved).
To those of you who are not a yarn enthusiast, you may say I do indeed have a problem with yarn. But after closer inspection of my collection, I realize there is always room for more. 🙂
I would like to be able to show you my before and after pictures at this time. Unfortunately there is still much more work to be done. I have, however, included the progress I have made so far. I do think I’m off to a good start!
Boxes and 1 closet of yarn that was on sale
The yarn for daughters blanket and other things
Drawer full of left over yarn
2nd drawer of left over yarn
My Progress so far:
Both of my children’s birthdays are in July; my daughter just celebrated her 28th birthday this past Saturday. She asked me what time of the day she was born. I knew it was early Saturday morning but I wasn’t sure if it was 3 am or 4 am. I started pulling out all the baby items I saved looking for her little hospital bracelet. And then I came across the blanket I crocheted for my son (who just turned 31). Looking at the blanket brought back so many memories. I was only 22 years old when I crocheted this blanket. I was a child myself. All the hopes and the fears came flooding back–would I be a good mother, would my child be happy, would he be a boy or a girl. And I remembered all the love I felt while making this blanket for my little someone. I look at my two wonderful children now and I think I did alright. I am truly blessed.
I love listening to VeryPink Knits podcast. The two ladies keep me smiling. Episode 2 they talked about Process vs. Project Knitters. A process knitter they said was a person who just loved the act of knitting. If they make a mistake they have no problems ripping back. A project knitter, on the other hand, is more interested in getting the project done so they can enjoy the finished item. If they make a mistake, they tend to just keep on knitting (unless of course it is a big mistake and affects how the project will look).
I keep thinking about what type of knitter I am. Sometimes I think I am a project knitter because I want to hurry up and get the item done. I usually have another project that I want to start working on. To me that sounds like a project knitter. But I also am a perfectionist and end up ripping back when I make a mistake (no matter how small the mistake is). Today I think I finally figured out which type of knitter I am. You can be the judge. I currently have 3 blankets going on at once (2 baby blankets and 1 pet blanket). The reason behind why I have 3 blankets going on will explain why I think I am a process knitter. I first started working on a baby blanket using cotton yarn. The blanket is made up of mitered squares. After I completed 3 rows, I decided I should probably block it. While the blanket was blocking, I wanted to knit. Of course the logical solution was to start knitting a pet blanket using up scrap yarn. What could be better! I needed to get rid of my left over yarn. Then a few weeks ago, I ran out of the white cotton yarn and had to stop the baby blanket in order to wait for my yarn to come in. At the same time the pet blanket was on my blocking table. Oh no! I didn’t want to wait until the blanket was finished blocking. I wanted to knit. Good thing I have a big enough yarn stash. 🙂
So would you agree that I am a process knitter?
The very first thing I crocheted back when I was a mere teenager was a ripple afghan. It was easy for a beginner and I really enjoyed making them. Now as an adult knitter I really wanted to whip up a baby blanket for my niece (since her shower is in August). Instantly I thought of the ripple blanket. Perfect! I had seen a knitted version on Facebook. I could have that blanket done in no time, right? Oh how wrong I was.
Back in the day, I could easily watch TV or talk to a friend while crocheting this blanket. It was easy to count the stitches and see exactly where you needed to crochet 3 stitches in the chain to make the mountains and valleys that made the ripple. However, knitting is an entirely different story. With knitting, you keep those 120 stitches on your needle and even though there are only two rows that you repeat throughout, they are entirely different. Also until you have actually completed several rows, it’s hard to see what stitches make up the mountains and valleys (and to be totally honest, I still have trouble telling). And if you make one mistake (knit 8 stitches instead of 10) the whole design is off. Of course you don’t realize this until you reach the end of the row! So after countless hours of tinking back and only having completed 6 rows in 2 weeks, why didn’t I just give up and crochet the blanket instead? I did think about it (quite a lot). But I was going to conquer knitting this blanket even if said baby was now going off to college. 🙂 I also thought about adding stitch markers to remind me when the pattern changed. I could say again it was to conquer the pattern without any help but, to be honest, I was just too lazy to get up and search for that many markers. In the end and after countless hours of tinking back, I found enough stitch markers. I even went online and ordered more.
I am happy to report I am moving along nicely now; although, I still can’t chat with my daughter while working on this (yet). 🙂
Here is a progress update on the blanket. I am actually moving along nicely now that the markers are in place. Maybe I will have it done for the baby shower after all! 🙂
You know that old saying “practice makes perfect”? I always hated that saying. Why would I want to take time just practicing when I could be actually completing something?
This was my approach to knitting. Crocheting just came naturally to me. Tension was never the issue. But knitting was something entirely different. Everything I knitted just never looked good. I would admire other knitter’s work and wonder what I am doing wrong. Then I took a class with Adrenda Holladay and she let me in on the secret. My tension was not consistent. She mentioned in the class that continental knitters seem to have a harder time keeping their tension while purling. I knit Continental rather than English. I tried to switch to English knitting but I just couldn’t get the feel for it. I spent years trying different techniques but nothing worked. I would knit a few rows, look at my tension, notice the tension was off and went on to the next technique. Finally I just gave up. I decided that I was never going to be great at knitting.
Then 2 years ago, I decided to start knitting for charity on a more full-time basis (not on and off like I was doing). I made a point to knit everyday for at least 2-3 hours. And guess what; my tension improved. I realized after 6 months that I actually loved what I made. I no longer felt ashamed to show other knitter’s my work. I may not love that saying, but I do respect it.
My “Before” and “After” pictures:
Continue reading Practice makes Perfect
Creativity comes in all forms. Today creativity came in the form of a photo for my Happy Sheep Creations Facebook Group. It might not seem like much; but getting the perfect picture to capture the tone that I wanted to express took many hours and many photo takes. I think I captured the essence of Happy Sheep Creations– Providing Warmth Through Knitting.
Happy Sheep Creations FB Group is dedicated to providing warm and beautiful garments for those less fortunate in our community.
So you may be wondering what Creative Friday is exactly. I came up with this catchy phrase a few months ago. It is a day I devote entirely to being creative. This could include anything from learning a new skill to creating a blog post. I never know beforehand what I am going to do; I leave it entirely up to my mood and how I am feeling that day. Sometimes that feeling doesn’t express itself until the afternoon. Like today for instance. Up until now I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I spent most of the morning working on a baby blanket that I will be donating to the Willow Domestic Violence Center. And then all of a sudden I got the urge to write this blog.
I absolutely love Creative Friday’s; it’s a day that I look forward to all week. It’s a day to recharge my battery. To let my imagination go; I always feel so refreshed afterwards. The stress of our jobs and our day to day activities can leave us drained and uncreative. But giving yourself a day to express yourself anyway you choose is absolutely freeing.
So Happy Creative Friday! And Get your creativity on!
I’ve always been scared to take risks, to put myself out there. In regards to knitting, I have always played it safe. Stick to the easier patterns, stick to using one yarn. If I wanted to add color to my project, my choice of yarn has always been variegated. Yes I lose control of where the color was placed but the alternative was just too scary.
After the loss of my brother, knitting has not only brought me comfort but also has shown me how to be a fearless knitter. I have always loved the sweaters with the beautiful fair isle designs. Or the knitted mittens with the snowflake design in the middle of the mitt. My hands always itched to start creating a pair of my very own. But then that little voice would start. You know the one that says, “Oh that pattern is way too complicated. Only an experienced knitter can tackle that.” And that would be the end of that.
But when you lose someone close and at such an early age, you realize that its now or never. So with needles in hand, an assortment of beautiful left over yarn from previous projects (none of which are variegated) and the help of a wonderful tutorial, the jump into the world of fair isle knitting began.
Now of course this is not perfect. The perfectionist in me points to all the mistakes and the urge to rip out and fix them nags at me. But I am now a fearless knitter and onward I go. The joy of learning a new technique and seeing the design being created right in front of my eyes gives me great joy. And isn’t that why we knit in the first place?
If you are interested in learning fair isle knitting, I highly recommend visiting verypinks.com. The design I am working on is from the “Color My Cuffs” tutorial.
My brother died this past August. Suddenly. At the age of 55. He was only 3 years older than me. Cancer, Pancreatic to be exact. He called me to tell me he might be very sick; needed to have some tests done. Two weeks later he was gone. Sorry if I am depressing anyone. I have been living in a very bad dream this past month. The only thing that has helped get me through is my knitting. The steady click of the needles and seeing something take shape right before my eyes has been very comforting, meditative. Knitting has brought me comfort and healing.
I had this crazy idea that if knitting has been my saving grace, then through my knitting, maybe I can bring some comfort to others. So join me on my journey of sharing my love of knitting with others. And maybe, just maybe, bring some joy and comfort to someone else.