Tag Archives: KnitPicks

The Eternal Yarn Project – More Like Purgatory, Less Like Heaven

7 Feb

I’m not big on waiting, never have been. I’m a child of my generation and waiting sucks. I’m much better than I used to be, more patient, understanding in the value of a slow process. Knitting has helped me understand that I can be useful in waiting. What gets me is when I’m waiting on my waiting, I mean, knitting.

Hundreds of yarn tucking and one more panel to make!

You see, I have this beautiful blanket that I’m trying to finish for over a year now. Meet the technicolor Sweet Dreams Throw pattern I found from KnitPicks’ Design Team (not knocking this perfectly lovely pattern, please continue reading for the full effect of my ramblings). I could not WAIT to get my suri dreams yarn. Plus, I decided I wanted a thicker, warmer blanket and bought skeins of Debbie Stoller’s Full O’ Sheep yarn to match for two stranded knitting! What I didn’t expect to curb my enthusiasm, and make my blanket take longer than the waiting list time for the latest Hermes bag, is the endless repetition of such a large project. This pattern is easy, so easy it’s sad I’m not done. I thought with a project being simple I would be done in no time. What I wasn’t expecting was all the “hidden” work. You know those threads or “Irish Pennents” that come with changing colors? Yeah, I have about 100 of those and last night it took me over an hour to nicely hide most them from one panel… I think I just threw up a little at that memory.

Try something smaller, Stacy, duh. Ok, let’s try a sweater! (That moan you heard was from the experienced yarn crafters.)

One sleeve down... Does a sweater really need two sleeves?

This story does get a little better, I’ve only been knitting this project for three months – using every spare moment trying to get it done before winter’s over. Once again, I’m using a simple pattern, this time by Lion Brand Yarn called the Sketchbook Cardigan using a wonderful Superwash Merino in Wild Berry. It’s great practice in making a sweater – except it’s knit on chopsticks (size six needles) for most of it (size five for the edging and a little technical hardship variety) and SS 14 inches, just for the body! I’m starting to get that crazy, wild-eyed look typing out my descriptions and thinking with a little panicked internal voice.

It’s so sad that even in my knitting/crochet I can be this instant, self-gratifying yarn crafter. I even find binding off on some projects annoying and unusual punishment. When I’m done with a pattern I tend to just want to be DONE. Spending about 40 hours on a blanket and it’s only 75% done, 30 hours on a sweater and about the same amount finished… I just wanna cuddle and wear my stuffs!!!!!

Now that I’ve rambled about my torturous yarn projects, what’s a girl to do? Well, here are some suggestions I’ve been given and some things I’ve discovered for my impatient self. Hope these help you too in your quest for large yarn project finishes:

1) Reward yourself with knitting/crocheting: A girl from my knitting/crochet group told me she rewards herself with knitting projects in between house work. She will clean counters, do the dishes, vacuum a room, etc., and in between allows herself to knit a set amount of rows. This way she not only gets her work done faster, but the repetitive knitting is a reward not an obligation.

No threads to be had and I'm still trucking!

2) Finish as you go along. This goes with the teaching my mother drilled into me when I started cooking and loved/just happened to make a big mess and when I was done cooking I still had to clean! She would tell me to clean as I went along and put things away and when I was done, there was hardly anything to do. I’m currently making a baby blanket, the Moderne Baby Blanket, (I know – you still have one unfinished blanket, what are you doing?! Relax, I’ve got it handled) and I’m tucking in ends before and after I finish a panel. Right now, I’m sitting on no lose threads and I’m pretty excited to keep the blanket going! Granted, it’s only been a week; but usually after this amount of time, I’m annoyed. Progress comes in small doses.

3) It’s ok to make a smaller project when your larger one is still a WIP (work in progress). There is a blog post here on not having too many WIPs. There is something to be said of WIPs still on needles from the ’70′s (I know of someone who really does have this going on) – they’re just dead, let’s stop pretending. BUT go ahead and make those gloves, make that hat – when you come back to the eternal project, it’s like a fresh start. Just be sure you properly note where where you left off on the pattern.

Tell me how you complete your big projects, how you keep the spark going. I know I can add to this post and maybe help others who want to live with half a sweater.

Trying to stave off carpal tunnel,

-Stacy C.

Keep Your Headband on, it’s CROCHET!

6 Feb

That’s right, folks, I finally have a crochet post for my yarn peeps! (Don’t get too noisy with your cheers, Susann Marie doesn’t know, yet – and I don’t want her to ruin the party!) This started out as a knitting blog, but I’ve always wanted to be more inclusive of all yarn crafts – the biggest being crochet (stop boo-ing, Susan Marie!!! :-p).

Flower headband

For several years I’ve wanted to make more flowers from my yarn. I’m a girl, I like flowers, why not make more in my knitting? Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, there are a LOT more flower patterns with crochet than with knitting. Who knew flowers were needle biased?!

Anyway, I wanted to start exploring more classy yarn jewelry patterns after my successful knit-braided necklace and decided I had to branch into crochet if I was going to be a yarn crafter of chic creation proportions. I found Headband with Flower by Creativeyarn and I thought, “simple and sleek.” I made this pattern with Knitpicks’ Wool of the Andes in Cranberry.

The headband is pretty simple, it’s just three chains connected at the ends. You simply single crochet at the beginning and end of chain two and three to connect them so it’s easy to tie it at the back of the head. Perfect project for the new (or relearning) crocheter. I barely knew what I was doing and was able to figure it out. For those yarn crafters who can chain until the day is long, now you know what you can make!

NOTE: For the absolute beginner, I highly recommend this video and her subsequent beginner crochet instructional videos. Watch these before you continue on with this project.

The instructions for the flower were a little difficult to understand (she’s Italian and there is something lost between translation of language and European crochet shorthand). Here’s what worked best for me when someone helped me get it:

The slip stitch is a little weird if you’ve never done it, check out this video. For those who need to know where you are on this crochet map, at this point, you have done “hole” for the flower.

Crochet Flower

Round 1, chain three, then you double chain another 15 by using the hole as your row to dc (double crochet) into. At the end of round 1, you’ve completed the inner circle and should have 16 stitches. (Congratulations, you’ve made it passed the inner circle! :-p)

Round 2, double chain in the same “space” you just slip stitched, then you double crochet 2xs in the same “space” between each dc you previously made before you move to the next one. You should end with 32 stitches. At the end of round 2, you’ve completed the second circle.

Round 3 is pretty self explanatory. At the end of round 3, you’ve completed the “links” between the second and third circles.

Round 4, you are making the petals. When you single crochet (sc) into the previous sc, you’re giving the petals their concave shape.

Well, reader, I’m feeling pretty good right now about not only finishing a super cute, functional crochet project, but also able to go back and explain what I did. This was as much for me to go back and remember as it was to help you. Hope you enjoyed it and are able to make plenty of flower heads for people to wear. More crochet entries to come!

Now, back to work on my darn, endless blanket! (A blog post for next time)

-Stacy C.

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