Not even close

From time to time, I’ll post a picture on instagram or on the blog, and someone will say some variation of ‘oh my goodness, your knitting is so perfect, mine never looks like that.’  And this is very very sweet…but absolutely not true.  My knitting is somewhere around middling to fair.

Now, I am pretty good at blocking, and blocking is a huge part of making your finished knitting look great (that’s why I’ve done so many posts about how to block stuff…I really really really want you to be blocking your projects).  And I do have a slightly fancy camera, and that helps everything look all spiffy.  But the knitting?  The stuff hanging off my needles at any given moment?  Yeah that’s not all that special.  And it is totally not perfect.

Want proof?

See that? That’s a rogue purl stitch way back on row 3 or so of the now finished hat.  I didn’t notice it because it’s on the inside when you’re knitting (meaning it only shows when you turn the brim up at the end).  And the way that stitch pattern works, laddering down to fix a stitch isn’t really practical.  So I’m just going to leave it.  I’ll make sure that’s in the back for the pattern photos, and no one will ever notice when it’s on my head.  If I really really really cared, I could duplicate stitch over it.  But I totally don’t.

And here’s another one.  I actually didn’t notice this until I was checking the ravelry listing for Constellate to show someone a picture, but one of the stitch groups in the very first row is off center.  It even shows in the pattern photo.  Now, lots of folks have bought and made that pattern. And no one has yet written in to say that one little group of stitches is off by one stitch and this totally ruined their whole project/life/day.  No one has stopped me on the street to tell me it’s wrong (to tell me it’s cute, sure, but not to tell me it’s wrong).  So my suspicion is that it’s really not that big a deal.

So I’m going to encourage you to maybe give yourself a break.  Your knitting is probably better than your give yourself credit for (and my knitting is for sure less perfect than you think).  Everyone makes the occasional mistake, and I promise it’s ok.  Your work is still awesome, and you should still feel good about it.  Take the time you were going to spend fretting and spend it blocking instead.  I promise it will make more of a difference!

That’ll do nicely

Well then, that’s satisfying.

I’m mostly just going to show you pretty pictures.

Then get it all blocked and go marching out to the yard to find somewhere to take pretty pictures.  Have I mentioned how much I  like having a woodpile and rocks and tree stumps and more rocks in the yard?  It’s awfully convenient…

Everything is on track for this one to come out Tuesday May 1.  If you want to grab yarn, I used a skein of Satchel by Mrs Crosby.  And if you want to hear when it comes out, that handy link at the bottom of the post will let you make that happen.

 

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Unreasonably satisfying

I should probably feign a becoming modestly.  I know it’s the right thing go do.  But I confess that I am helpless in the face of this stitch.  I think it’s gorgeous and I can’t hide it.

It’s a byproduct of all the swatching experimentation that happened back here, the experimentation that led to Ecliptic (see, swatching is totally not a waste of time or yarn, it’s where ideas come from).  And it’s rather captivating.

Everything is on track for it to come out as a pattern fairly soon (read May or June if all goes according to plan.  Because I suspect I’m not alone in my fondness for this one…

 

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Growing

As expected, the hours put in on the ribbing were absolutely worth it.  The hat proper is so lovely (and so much fun to do).  And having put in all that ribbing means I’ll actually wear the hat (skimpy brim is the quickest way to make sure a hat languishes at the bottom of the hat bin, no matter how pretty it is).

The yarn is Mrs Crosby’s Satchel in Graystone.  And the stitch is totally one of those things where I find myself wanting to work just a few more rows…just to get to the end of the repeat so I can watch the next row of diamonds form up.

I don’t know what it says about my amusement threshold, but that always feels like it makes for faster knitting.  I’m not alone in that, right?  Right?  The same thing happens with neat colors (like the Keepsies hat…I just kept wanting to knit enough to get through the rainbow one more time).  And I’ve heard rumor you colorwork folks have the same thing.

Payoff

 Someone linked to this on pinterest, and lots of folks are coming over (hi, welcome!). The is out now, it’s called Ephemeris, and you can get it on ravelry. If you want an email when other patterns are released, you can make that happen right here.

All that ribbing…that ribbing diligently done, despite my natural laziness…well it’s paid off.

Now I get to do the pretty bits.

And while yes, there is still a ribbed background behind the pretty bits, somehow it’s not nearly as interminable now that I’ve got some fancy bits going on every few rows to distract myself.  This one is going to be grand.

 

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Gray…so much gray

Step 1, yarn.

Step 2, cast on.

Step 3, knit and knit and knit.

Step 4, no really, keep knitting.

Step 5, DO NOT FALL PREY TO THE TEMPTATION TO QUIT, this is NOT five and a half inches of ribbing, and you will be sad if you stop now.

But it is almost five and a half inches, so in a little bit you can stop that and do something more amusing any moment now. And then you’ll be glad you kept going.  But now it’s totally appropriate to mutter under your breath and wonder about the chance of getting your ears shortened a bit to allow for shallower hat brims…

I didn’t forget

Remember the other day when we talked about the…ah…let’s go with ‘generous‘ amount of swatching that comes before a project?  And I showed you all the swatches that happened before the blue hat leapt into being?  And remember that gray swatch at the top that a bunch of you liked?

Well turns out I liked it too.  But the yarn it was in was just a tiny bit darker than what I wanted (there’s sort of this thing where a bunch of those hats may all end up hanging out together in a bigger project, which all of a sudden meant all the yarns have to look good with each other, which significantly complicates things).  So I did the reasonable thing and got more yarn.

That’s Mrs Crosby’s Satchel in Greystone (I am a child of the 80s and consistently type Greyskull instead of Greystone, just so you know…).  And it’s absolutely lovely with the other hats.

But of course just because I’d swatched with the earlier yarn doesn’t mean I don’t need to swatch with this one.  For one thing I needed to check the gauge/fabric (to figure out which needles give me the fabric I like and what size I’m going to make)

And I also needed to see if I liked the background fabric better ribbed or plain (ribbed, for sure).

All of which is my long way of saying that if you missed the other swatch, that stitch pattern isn’t done with me yet (plus your weekly dose of ‘yes, swatching really is important, you really should be doing it’ as a bonus).

 

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I love this part

So as I mentioned, Curls 2 is off at the printer (yay) and will be out this summer (double yay).  And that means it’s totally time for me to diving in to the next book.  One of the first steps is always getting yarn.  I flashed some of the other pretty yarns for the new one a few days ago, but the mail fairy has brought me more in the meantime!

DSC_6123That’s Mrs. Crosby Hat Box in Roasted Chestnut.

DSC_6127And that’s Lorna’s Laces Solemate in Manzanita.

Both awfully yummy, and a good illustration of something I’m considering for this book.  The Solemate is your classic skinny minny sock yarn, you’ll generally want something like 8.5 or even 9 stitches per inch with it to give you nice sturdy sock fabric.  The Hat Box is more of a sport weight, you’ll want something more like 7 or 7.5 stitches to get a good fabric with it.

There’s a lot of yarn like this these daysyarn with a good fiber mix and a good construction for socks, but a little bit thicker than classic sock weight.  I love them and they’re totally what I reach for when I want to make socks, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.  But then again, I know plenty of people who love a good skinny sock yarn and will reach for it every time.

So for this next book, I’m considering offering sizing information that says something like ‘If you’re using a fingering-weight yarn and getting a gauge of 8.5spi, the sock will fit a foot or leg of w [x, y, z] inches.  If you’re using a sport or dk-weight and getting a gauge of 7spi, the sock will fit a foot or leg of a [b, c, d] inches.’  Of course I’d tell you which the sock in the pictures was knit in (and I’d explain in the intro what was going on with the sizing and emphasize that you need to match your gauge to your yarn).  But I really think a lot of folks don’t realize they can adjust the size by adjusting their yarn and therefore their gauge, and this could be a good reminder.

So what do you think?  Helpful? Overkill?  I do it with a lot of my individual patterns and get good feedback, so I suspect it could work, but I’ve not done it in a book yet.  But it’s not that much extra work to include it, and if it will help folks, I think it could be nifty.

Playing Favorites

I’m in the middle of the best part of book making.  The part where I’ve chatted with some of my very favorite people in the yarn industry, they’ve graciously agreed to let me experiment with their beautiful yarns, they’ve mailed them to me, and I get to play with them.  This tray of yarn is sitting on my desk right now.

sock yarnsThese will be the socks for the book after next, and I love each and every one of them.  Starting at the top left, there’s Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Buckingham Fountain, and right under it is Mrs. Crosby Train Case in Boston Fern.  At the top right is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Mermaid Tears (the winner of today’s round of best yarn name of the day).   On the bottom, working left to right, there’s Bare Naked Wools Ghillie Sport DK in Cream, The Uncommon Thread Lush Twist in Tea Smoked, Quince & Co Finch in Iceland, and Shibui Staccato in Caffeine.

You can see I’ve already broken in to many of them to get started swatching (um, I may possibly have three of the sock patterns for these written already), and I’m having a delightful time.  This book is going to be ridiculously fun.