Monday, September 12, 2011

Helping or hurting?

So, I've been excited about this new lightbox that I got to help me take better pictures of my handspun and items for the etsy shop. This lightbox that I got came as a set with lights, which was really cool. Except, they had short cords, so I needed to use extension cords to plug them in. No problem, I'd just dash into the basement and grab some extension cords so I could photograph the new handspun I'd just finished. My yarn would be completely safe inside the lightbox for the 5 seconds I left it unguarded to go get the cords. Or so I thought.

About that.

In the 5 seconds it took me to dash down the staircase, grab 2 extension cords, and dash back up into the dining area where I'd set up my little studio on the dining room table, Penny had made herself completely at home on my precious hand-spun yarn. It was really hard to get mad at her, she was purring. I can't fault her taste in yarn. I'm glad to know she thought it was soft enough to cushion her little cat nap. As it was, she made good photography practice. She did, however, eventually get tired of the paparazzi bulbs going off in her face constantly, and abandoned her yarny cat bed.

My handspun laceweight from Fiberoptic Yarns. I love, love, LOVE her fibers. The gradients, like this one, tend to sell like hotcakes online. What you see is 2 braids, 4 oz each, of the 80% merino, 20% silk gradients in the Indigo to Emerald colorway. I spun about 1200 yds of laceweight. In my head, it's destined to become a shawl, but more on that later.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hindsight Thoughts

It's funny, I realized I went about the knitting learning curve all backwards. I could NOT stand the boring repetition of stockinette stitch, or garter stitch, or ribbing, or any of the other very repetitive projects that are so frequently recommended for a new knitter. I made a large square and then asked my friend if I could knit branching out. That's right, my second knit project ever was a lace scarf. I think my third one was a tank top with a lace panel. I loved lace from the get go - the challenge and repetition was soothing and meditative to me.

Of course, I completely disregarded important things like gauge and swatching and size. All those things are taken care of in blocking with lace! Now, I'm eating humble pie and going back to making sure I understand the basics. Sure, I can wing it and adapt a lace pattern to make a cardigan. But I wouldn't be able to tell another person how in the hell I modified the rate of increases to deal with a top-down raglan while maintaining the stitch pattern. I find stockinette stitch soothing now, because I don't have to look at what I'm doing. Plain cardigans are my favorite thing to knit on the exercise bike.

I'm working on a plain cardigan now, called Hatty, to make myself learn those basics. Yup, I did a gauge swatch. I ripped out 4 inches of the back panel when the gauge in the seed stitch didn't match the stockinette. I changed needle size and pattern sizes to get something that I hope has a better fit. I think the biggest lesson I've learned is not to be afraid. Well, I am afraid. Afraid that I don't get the sleeve caps right. I'm afraid that I'm going to screw up the seams. I'm afraid the button bands won't line up. What I'm really learning is not to let that fear stop me from accomplishing new things. When I first started knitting, I would have never guessed that simple stitching would have so much to teach me.
Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.