Rules for Feeding the Stash

Friday, May 29, 2015

WIP: Orange Tee

Well, it's been a while since I shared the progress on this. It's coming along nicely, and I can't wait for it to be done and on my body :)

I cast on for the back last weekend-I knew there was going to be some driving and sitting around, and I needed something plain. The front piece is almost done-I'm ready to start working on the neck, which I didn't want to mess around with last weekend. I've really been enjoying this-I thought the back was going to be a slog, but I ended up deciding to carry the twisted ribbing up the sides, so that helps break up the endless stockinette.

I also have to brush up on my mattress stitch soon-I haven't had to seam anything in ages! Most of what I knit is seamless, and it's been at least a couple of years since I last made anything in pieces. It's all good though-so far everything is going exactly as I'd hoped, and with any luck and determination I'll have a new bright orange tee in the near future!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It Doesn't Translate

I'm swatching right now. I have real stuff that I've been knitting, too, but I'm still swatching.

You see, I have this yarn, and I have an idea. An idea that I really like, and I'm really excited about it, and I can't wait to share it with you once it's ready.

But there's a thing with ideas: they live inside your brain. Which is pretty cool, that something amazing and beautiful and fun can live in something that looks like old hamburger. But it makes it difficult to share the idea with other people, since they don't share your neurons and can't carpool in your neural pathways and we're humans, not vulcans, so mind melds aren't a viable option.

It's funny how something can work so perfectly in your mind, and look so promising when hastily scribbled out on a post-it, but turns to poop when you try to knit it. So for now I'm swatching, and hopefully I'll have a physical manifestation of the idea to share with you soon.

Monday, May 25, 2015

FO: Holden

Holden was one of the first patterns I fell in love with. Sometime during my first year knitting, I stumbled across this little shawlette, and I fell hard. But as hard as I fell, I never got around to knitting it up. Even when I bought this yarn, for the express purpose of knitting a Holden, I continued to push it back in the queue.

It was sometime in January, when I was hitting a bit of a knitting slump, that I finally started this. I needed something easy, with no expectations whatsoever. I didn't know how long it would take to knit, I didn't know what I was going to do with it once it was done (still don't), but I needed to knit it.

I love how this yarn knit up-I knew as soon as I saw it in the store that it wanted to be this shawl, and look how right I was! It was so nice to work on something with no strings attached-I abandoned it on my bookshelf for over a month, I knit on it sporadically, and I didn't end up finishing it until I had those rough couple of weeks the end of March and needed to take some time to slow down and refocus. And since I had no plan for it, I didn't mind leaving the blocking for a while. But now it's a good little shawl, and I'm really glad I finally got around to it.

Ravelry Page: Holden
Pattern: Holden by Mindy Wilkes
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock, "863 Zarzamora"

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Good Weekend, and Cabot

Wow, okay, first off, that you so much to everyone for the incredible and positive response to my post from Wednesday. That was a difficult post to write, in several ways, and I am so proud and grateful to be a part of this diverse and supportive community.

I hope you all have a good weekend planned. My sister is graduating tomorrow, so I get to spend the weekend celebrating with her as well as visiting with all our friends and family that are coming out to celebrate as well. On the knitting front, the socks are still doing well, and I've gotten some quality time in with my orange tee as well. I (finally) have the patterns for the yellow and green shawls written up, so once they're all edited I'll be able to share those with you as well.

Finally, since this is a knitting blog and I like to show off my FOs, I got my Cabot hat done in time for summer! This is the last time it'll be on my head for a long while. I love it so much, though, and I'm so excited for winter (who am I kidding, I'm always excited for winter).

I love this little hat, and I'm convinced it's pretty much perfect. It's drapey and slouchy and there's plenty of room, even with the brim folded up. I love the triangles, and I'm even more in love with this yarn. All in all, I don't think I could be more pleased with it.

Ravelry Page: Cabot
Pattern: Cabot by Andi Satterlund
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, "6291"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

On Bodies

Fair warning, this is a longer post, and it gets a little personal. But I wanted to talk about bodies today. I touched a tiny bit on this earlier, when I first mentioned adding more sizes to my Epidemic pattern, and now that it's live again I thought it was as good a time as any to talk more about it.

My personal philosophy is that there is no such thing as a bad body. Full stop, no exceptions. All bodies are perfect and all bodies are beautiful, based solely on the fact that they are our bodies. Our bodies are miracles of genetic adaptation-they keep us safe, they keep us alive, they keep our brains provided with nutrients and oxygen so that we can exist as humans, and do all sorts of human-y things, like thinking deep thoughts and making good art and loving each other.

I did not always love my body. I struggled for years with self-esteem and body image. I hated myself; I couldn't stand to look at my reflection or pictures of me. I had self-deprecation down to an art, and I knew how to dress so I would stay hidden from the world, and I knew what to tell myself so that I wouldn't make the mistake of thinking I could actually be a worthwhile person. 

It took a lot of time for me to be able to love my body exactly as it is. Changing your thinking like that is hard work-it took years of me constantly telling myself things I didn't necessarily believe for me to get where I am now. I love the proportions of my face. I love the shape of my eyes. I love how strong my legs are, and I love that my belly jiggles a little bit when I walk. I love that I'm short, and flexible, so I can curl up into the corner of the sofa easily. I love my scars and my moles and my messed-up toenail and my uneven jaw. My body does great things for me, and it is a good body.

On the other hand, there are days when I hate my body. I'm diabetic, which means my body kind of stinks at taking care of itself. I've gotten really good at helping it out though, and we make a pretty good team, but I get bad days when I'm sick and exhausted and I yell and swear at my body and I feel broken and useless. There are bad days when I wonder what the point is of a body that can't take care of itself, and I get filled with fear and frustration and anger that my body isn't "good enough." Those days are rough. But my body is really great at letting me know when it needs me to step in and help it out, and it's pretty cool that my body can do that.

And the thing is, even though every body is different, they're all really similar. All our bodies let us know when it's time to eat, or sleep, or cry. Heck, our bodies can even make us crave certain foods when we're missing a certain vitamin-how awesome is that? Every body does fantastic, marvelous things, and they are all so amazing just by virtue of being a living body, and that makes them perfect and beautiful.

I can't stress this enough: every body is perfect by virtue of its existence. It doesn't matter what size or shape it is, how healthy or ill it is, if it's lumpy or pointy or strong or weak. None of that matters. All bodies do incredible things. All bodies are good bodies.

And so all of this comes down to me feeling very strongly that since all bodies are perfect and amazing and beautiful, everyone deserves clothes that fit them and that they feel comfortable in. And comfort is hugely subjective, but it's also the singular most important aspect of style there is. And you know what isn't comfortable? Not being able to find clothes or patterns that will fit or accommodate your perfect, kick-ass body.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Half a Pair

Yup, that was my Sunday. It only ended up making it to the low 70s, plus a nice breeze and a shady porch, so we ended up with a great afternoon. I also had community theatre auditions yesterday evening, which meant plenty of standing around waiting, which meant plenty of sock knitting time. Sock number one is done now, and I'm pretty well into the leg of the second now. I'm absolutely loving these, and they're turning out just how I wanted.

I also finally have my revamped Epidemic vest pattern ready to go, so that will be going live this week. It took a little longer than I'd hoped to get it all set and ready to go, but I'm really pleased with this end result, and I'm excited to get it back out into the wild.

Friday, May 15, 2015

In Which Our Hero Changes Her Mind, and Is Okay With It

I've been working on the Medallion Lace Socks all month. I want this yarn to be a pair of socks by the end of this month, and I thought that this pattern and yarn were meant to be. I love this pattern. It looks so charming, the finished projects are delightful, and it looks fine in a variegated yarn. But I really had trouble knitting it. Sometimes it can take me a year or longer to finish a pair of socks. But if I'm actively trying to knit one, and get it done, it shouldn't take me more than two weeks to get one sock done. Heck, in college, I could get a finished pair in two weeks or less.

Here I am, halfway through the month, and only just coming to the heel flap of the first sock. Guys, I have one pair of tricky socks on the needles right now, I don't need two. I hated that I had to consult the pattern so frequently, I hated working it on 5 needles instead of 4, and it was taking forever. I just wasn't loving the project as much as I thought I would. At least not right now. I'd like to knit this pattern someday, and be able to dedicate the attention to it that I need to, but right now I need something straightforward.

So I ripped out the whole leg and started over, and I already feel so much more relaxed knitting these. Mostly stockinette, with two purl columns down the sides for interest. Totally relaxing, and just enough to keep track of to not feel like a total black hole. This project is just what I need right now, and fighting with the other pattern might have contributed to feeling like I've been in a funk this month. These pictures are from my lunch break yesterday, but since then I've already knit the whole leg of the first sock and started the heel flap, so I know I made the right decision.

So three cheers for listening to myself, and being okay with changing something that didn't work. Life's too short to knit things you don't love knitting, or to end up with a finished object that's not quite what you hoped for.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FO: Come Along, Pond!

Okay, we've already gone over the fact that I'm a ginormous Doctor Who nerd, right? Good. Because I'm probably going to nerd out a little again. But seriously, I've worn this shawl twice already this week, and it's definitely on the short list of my favorite shawls ever.

I queued this pattern as soon as it came out. In the 5th season of the revised series, the Doctor's companion Amy wears this fantastic red-orange lace scarf. And I really considered knitting that scarf, except I don't love knitting scarves, and I don't really wear lightweight or skinny scarves very much.
But then THIS pattern came out, with the same lace pattern, but in a shawl, not a scarf. I WEAR SHAWLS, YO. So into the queue it went, until I found the right yarn.

I've had this yarn for a while, but I only matched it up with this pattern back in November. I had initially picked up this yarn to make Bigger on the Inside, but there wasn't enough yarn in the skein for that. I wanted something Dr. Who-inspired for it, though-this yarn is the perfect, brightest, TARDIS blue, and there's enough variegation to make it really interesting. So it was kind of an "Aha" moment when I paired the two together.

Funny story: I didn't realize this shawl was knit from the bottom-up until I was about 8 rows into it (I will never learn to read a pattern before starting a project, will I?). But the knitting went very smoothly, and I really enjoyed myself. And then I finished it and I was so proud of myself that I promptly threw it in the blocking box and ignored it for a month. C'est la vie.

Ravelry Page: Come Along, Pond!
Pattern: Come Along, Pond! by Teri B.
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug, "Lapis"

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Socks are Growing and the Roses are Blooming

Happy Monday, friends! I am feeling much more alive right now than I was last week, and hopefully it stays that way :) This weekend had a little bit of everything-some baking, some cleaning, some knitting, a lot of reading, and just enough work to make the whole couple of days feel really productive.

I got almost caught up on pictures this weekend-I got my new SD card on Saturday, and half an hour after opening it all up, I found my old one. C'est la vie. Hopefully I won't lose the both of them at once. But I've got a couple of finished projects to show you guys this week, plus I got some photos of my new rose bushes. I'm not really great at gardening, or growing much of anything, but I've always loved roses, and I can usually keep them alive. As you can see, the red one's showing off a little right now, and the other one will bloom yellow once I've given it a bit of a trim.

I cast on for Featherweight on impulse this weekend, and I got the first four rows knit before I realized that this needle is broken and should have been thrown out ages ago. I could order a new needle, but I'll probably try to wait until I finish Flower Market, and use that needle. I have been working steadily on the lace socks from last week, and I'd like to get them done this month. I'm almost at the heel flap for the first sock, and I've gotten to the point where I can knit a couple rows without looking at the chart, so hopefully they'll be smooth sailing from here on out. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Allergies or Plague, and Socks

Is it just me, or has this been a really rough week? I've felt crappy pretty much every way you can imagine feeling crappy-a different symptom every day! I think at lease some of it is allergies, but I don't remember them kicking my butt like this for the past few years, so it could be plague. It also doesn't help that I managed to lose my SD card for my camera (whoops). I've ordered a new one, and it should be here Saturday, so I'll hopefully manage to get caught up on picture-taking this weekend.

My main project right now is this pair of lace socks, and I have a whole bunch of other WIPs hanging around as well. I feel like I'm getting into a bit of a rut-I have all these projects that are wonderful and engaging and all different, but I don't know what I feel like knitting. I don't know if I haven't settled on the right "background project" yet, or if I have too much going on at once, or if I just haven't been knitting enough this week to feel like I've been accomplishing anything. Apparently fighting allergies (or plague) means that all I want to do is nap and read comics.

But I really do like these socks, and they're excellent purse knitting for now. Hopefully I'll start feeling more like myself again soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WIP: Knitty Twist

Hey, remember these? I'll admit, I hoped that they would go really smoothly and I'd be done relatively soon, but I don't think that's the case. They're not really working for me so well. I totally see the appeal of this method, and I see how it can work well for some people, but it's not really my thing. There's a whole lot of needle cable there to keep track of, not to mention two separate balls of yarn, and so far I seem to be really good at getting everything twisted together.

But it's not terrible. I can definitely manage, but it's not like a regular comfort-knitting sock project. I have to focus on it, and pay attention to what all the strings and cables are doing. So my best bet probably is to take these slowly. I tried leaving them alone until I felt like knitting on them again, but that resulted in me ignoring them for a while until I picked them up again because of guilt.

So. Slow and steady. And no ignoring it. I'm determined to master this technique, even though I only plan to use it sporadically, so I'm not giving up on these. But I do think I'm going to try some strict scheduled knitting on these-two to five rounds per day, no exceptions. I'll keep them by my bed so I can't ignore them. So maybe before the end of summer my mum will have a finished pair of socks.

(I have a bunch of pretty new things to show you guys, too, but it's supposed to rain all week and it's too dark inside my house to take pictures, so bear with me. Also, this may be my hilarious Hades/Persephone obsession speaking, but this poem was one of my favorite things I read this week.)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Planning: Mottled Daydream

Gosh, I love this yarn. I picked it up at Athena Fibers a couple of years ago-they'd gotten a whole cube of this stuff in, and this skein just called to me. But it took a while for me to figure out what it wanted to be.

For a while I thought it might want to be a Featherweight Cardigan. There's enough yardage in this skein for one, and I thought it might be meant to be. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to question whether or not it really was meant to be-the colors in this are beautiful, but I questioned whether I'd wear something that variegated, or if it might pool in unattractive ways.

Fortunately, shawls are very forgiving. I had yardage trouble the first time I tried Mottled Daydream, and the second time I just made rookie errors, so I decided to take a break from it for a while. But that pattern is perfect for showing off a yarn like this-there's no detail to get lost in the variegation, and even if it pools, it'll be draped around my back or neck, not splayed unfortunately across my bosom.

So boom. I'm finally winding this bad boy up to start Mottled Daydream, Take 3. It will be a great basic pattern to keep on the back burner this summer-I have some other lace and cable projects lined up, and it will be nice to have something like this going as well.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Summer Knits

This week I've really been looking at summer knits on Ravelry-I always struggle with summer clothes. I tend to just wear the same outfits year round, and add or subtract tights and cardigans as appropriate. And as much as I love my cardigans, and always will, I definitely sometimes feel like I get into a style rut. Plus, I feel bad that I don't really wear any of my knits during the summer. Finishing my Ella cardigan last year really made me appreciate that knitting can be appropriate for warm weather-even for me! So I've been off in search of tanks and tees that can be knit from lightweight cotton or linen blends. Seems like working on Battleship might have started something :)

Speaking of summer knits, I also started on my next design project-a tee made from Knit Picks Shine Sport. I'm hoping it goes quickly-I'd really like to get some serious wear out of it this summer. I had hoped that this would be knit more in spring than the start of summer, but I really wanted the idea to finish solidifying before I started knitting. Part of my slowing down for April included not feeling rushed creatively, and giving myself time to allow the conceptualization process to happen as organically as possible. I'm really excited about the concept for this one though, and I hope to have some great progress photos soon!