Work in Progress Wednesday: My Sister’s Cowl or Scarf

My sister just recently had knee surgery and will be at home for the next few weeks.  She’s staying at a place without Internet access.  She told me that she was feeling a bit stir-crazy so I volunteered to teach her how to knit.  She was happy & immediately asked if she could make a “circle scarf”, similar to the one that I had made for her for Christmas one year.  At first, I told her that might not be good for a beginner but then I found a pattern that suggested how I could make the project either a scarf or a cowl at the end.  I figured a project that would be close to what she wants to do would be a project that she would finish.  Finishing a project, no matter how large or small, is so critical when you’re first learning how to knit.

I visited with her the next day and showed her how to knit & purl.  I selected this project because I thought it would be beginner friendly.  It has enough changes to keep a beginner interested, while enforcing knitting foundations: repetitions of the knit & purl stitch.

I’ve found that beginners really just want to get going without much in the way of discouragement, and I remembered how hard it was for me to get past a cast-on and the first initial rows of knitting when I was first learning how to knit. I also figured that someone in a ton of pain from surgery might not want to spend much time fiddling with a cast-on, which is something she would end up forgetting anyway.  She’d have to learn it again for her next project. & there’s plenty of time for that.

To this end, I decided to knit the first repeat of the pattern for her so that she would have something to begin with right away, and so that she could get an idea of what things might end up looking like.  Here it is:

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This made me start thinking more about the therapeutic power that knitting has – I’m sure, if she ends up enjoying knitting, that it will prove to be a fine, productive distraction for her as she recovers from her surgery.

Get the pattern here: Beginner Friendly Cowl or Scarf

Work in Progress Wednesday: Of Feathers & Fans, part 2

With my completion of the Project Peace 2016 Cowl, I was able to return to my second blanket for a large hospice organization, the Feather & Fan Afghan:

This project is swimming along! I think I’ll do about 2-3 more color repeats and then measure it at least to see how the length is looking for a lap afghan.

The feather & fan pattern is always a lovely one. It’s a 4-row pattern and the row of lace is just enough to keep you a bit more interested to move on to the next repeat. Great project for anyone just starting out with lace knitting. Once you’ve caught on, it makes for excellent TV watching.

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Here is the pattern if you’re interested in grabbing it: Sweet Stitchin’ Betties Group Feather and Fan

 

Monday Musings: Where the Heck I’ve Been

The month of January didn’t have much for me in the way of knitting.  I was far too busy getting used to a new schedule, starting a new part-time job, and overcoming a trepidation with highways that it didn’t leave much time or inclination for knitting.  February wasn’t looking much better for me. However, I was able to finally finish the cowl last week and was so pleased with myself for doing so.  In the past, I wouldn’t have maintained nearly as much discipline with sticking to one project to completion.

It’s certainly a change from how I used to knit before – come to think of it, I was more of a “competitive” knitter due to my role as a knitting group organizer on Meetup.com.  I felt the need to keep progressing and challenging myself with knitting since I was in a position to teach and promote knitting to other people.  It’s so much more different now that I’m no longer organizing the group.  Now knitting’s more of a joy & a hobby that I can enjoy for the sake of itself.  I didn’t really realize it until after I stopped organizing for the group but it was honestly more of a “job” for me back then.

Finished Object Friday: Project Peace Cowl 2016

It’s with a sigh of relief that I can blog about FINALLY finishing this cowl! It started out as what I thought would be a quick knit but alas, a combination of life & a bit of boredom with the knit, combined with the fact that I was working with a 318 stitch pattern with sock yarn made it take a little while.

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All things aside, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  It will replace a cowl that I had the misfortune of misplacing before the end of 2016. Pretty happy with the stitch definition.  The pattern itself works well with variegated sock yarn, which is always a plus.

Get the pattern here: Project Peace 2016 Cowl

 

 

Work In Progress Wednesday: Project Peace Cowl 2016 Cowl, part 3

With parts 2 and 1, I started off with the confidence of this being a project that I’d definitely have finished by 2017 with all the knitting time that I was hoping to have over the course of my vacation.  However, this didn’t turn out to be the case.  I was far too busy with the holidays being what they were & between that and time spent dealing with some family matters over there, I found myself with little time to knit once I arrived to my destination.

Still, I got to get some knitting in while spending time on the porch with my grandmother:

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Love how these colors look.

I’m very happy with how this color-way is turning out with this project!

Finished Object Friday: Owl Mitts

I started working on these when I misplaced my other pair of fingerless gloves.  I got years of wear out of them so they did their job well!

Here’s the finished product:

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I’m pretty pleased with how these look. I think they’d also make a good gift as well. Great way to use up about 1/4 skein of any yarn.

 

See you in 2017.

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Work in Progress Wednesday: Owl Mitts

I recently misplaced my last pair of fingerless gloves.  I use them mainly at work so that I can keep my hands warm while I type.  I sit in a very cold area so having the mitts on helps me stay productive.  I decided that misplacing these gave me an opportunity to work out a quick project that I hadn’t worked on in a while: fingerless gloves.  I love these because with worsted weight yarn it’s very possible to finish this project quickly.

I wasn’t sure about the owl pattern at first. I thought they weren’t really for me but for a younger version of me.   However, I’d always wanted to make these when I was younger and just starting out with knitting. The girl who wrote the pattern was a bit of a knitting idol for me at the time.  She worked at my LYS & was a knitting fiend.  So I picked this pattern out, thinking I could try it & give myself a new pair of gloves.  It would also be a good way for me to see if it would make a good gift for someone else. Either way, I wanted a pattern that would keep it interesting.

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So far, I like how they’re turning out!  I also love that I got the opportunity to dig out the Punta Yarns Merisoft Solid, a skein that’s been sitting in my stash for years.  100% merino? Yes, please.  Knitting up nicely.  So delicious. Looking forward to wearing them.

Get the pattern here: Owl Mitts by Sandy Ruppert

Work in Progress Wednesday: Project Peace 2016 Cowl, take 2

In our first installment, I’d just started on this cowl. I’m about a day or two behind where I’m supposed to be in the knit-a-long but have made plenty of progress since that time.

The pattern was a good choice for the yarn. It’s always a toss up with the variegated types of yarn but over time, I’ve gotten much better at figuring out if a pattern is a good choice for that type of yarn.

Waiting for my train to take me home. The cowl has grown quite a bit!

I had to tink back a row. It was painful. I did not want to rip back 318 stitches of fingering weight yarn but it had to be done. In case you’re curious: I didn’t rip the row back while drinking. I’ve learned that drinking and correcting knitting mistakes are best left alone for me. I can do one or the other but not both unless I don’t care about what the results look like later.

I LOVE how this colorway is turning out with the waffle stitch pattern!

The stitch definition looks great. I’m very satisfied with it.

Looking forward to finishing it later this month. There’s a good chance I’ll be finishing this on a plane.

Work in Progress Wednesday: Project Peace 2016 Cowl

Here’s my current work-in-progress for the Project Peace knit-a-long cowl with a waffle stitch pattern:

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The yarn I’m working with is a skein that I received from a yarn swap: Nina Hand Dyed Yarns Tweed Sock in the Fire colorway.  It’s been a part of my stash for several years.  I love variegated yarns but my experience has been mixed with them. I try to be careful with the pattern I pick for them.  However, I’m happy with this skein as it seems to work with the pattern well. I’m in love with how the reds, oranges, and browns look with the yarn.

Monday Musings: Knitting Mistakes Inject Peace Into My Life

Last week, I joined The Healthy Knitter‘s knit-a-long, called Project Peace:

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Project Peace is a knit-a-long (or in this case, a peace-a-long) with a waffle stitch-esque pattern cowl… for the purposes of thinking of peace.  From the Ravelry page:

What’s a peace-along? There will be a daily tip on how to infuse more peace into your life. These tips will be available on my blog each day from December 1-21. They’ll be simple things, some from me and others from a few guests.

With little time to knit lately & with my commitment to knitting blankets for hospice patients, I thought that a knit-a-long where I’m expect to knit 1 4-row round a day was perfect.  I’ve got a hectic line to the finish of 2016 with my academic career coming to an end after December 16, work ramping up, & a trip to the Philippines planned on December 21st.  I’ll be gone for over 2 weeks.

I found the idea of using a knitting project to remind myself to “inject more peace into my life” very intriguing because I’m a bit type-A-ish in my life.  I often want to do too many things at once & I strive for perfection. However, one of things that knitting does for me is remind me to do what I can with the time that I have and that making a mistake in my project (or in my life) isn’t the end of the world.

This cowl is a great example.  When I started the cowl, I mis-read the pattern.  I realized that the first round was going to be wrong, as I had miscalculated the number of rounds that I would need for it. 1 round was going to be wrong. “Fuck,” I thought.

In the past, a mistake like that (even after casting on 318 stitches) would have meant me patiently ticking back every single stitch cast on using fingering weight yarn and re-working the round. I’ve had friends, two of them being yarn shop owners who are expert knitters, tell me that I was nuts for doing this on something like a cowl’s beginning round.  Why? It’s a place that no one would notice except for me. Yet I’d do it. Every time.

Until now, that is.

This time, I looked at it and remembered that I’m supposed to be putting more peace into my life & and thinking about concepts of peace within the world. I thought about how much of a bummer it would be to tick back all of those stitches.  I also considered how thankful I am that I don’t live in a wartime zone. Peace has an entirely different meaning in these parts of the world: a meaning that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend as someone with the ability and privilege to be able to participate in a knit-a-long with a peace theme.

Then I gave the cowl an honest look:

“Yeah,” I thought to myself.  “It’s fine. Make a note of what you did & if you want, just make your last round mirror the first one, so that the cowl looks like same.”

I moved on to the next round & continued to watch episodes of The West Wing & I didn’t think about it again. (Unless you count this blog post.)

Because if there’s anything that knitting has taught me, it’s this:

Life isn’t about the mistakes you make but how you handle them. It’s about moving on to the next round as gracefully as you can to get the job done.