Peaks Island, Take Two (Three? Two & A Half?)

It may be that I’ll have to swallow a few “I told you so”s tomorrow. When I was choosing yarn for Ysolda Teague’s Peaks Island Hood which I’m making for my Ma, I had settled on Heirloom Easy Care 12 ply. When he saw what I’d chosen, he seemed to trying to be dissuading me without coming right out and saying not to buy it.

“Oh, really? I find that yarn a bit weird… it shows up mistakes really obviously.”

He’s a lovely and well-meaning guy, so I pondered for a second, and said “Well, that might actually be perfect, since I’m not a super confident knitter, if I can see my mistake then I’ll know I’m making them and I can be aware of it. It’ll be a good exercise.”

He tried again to divert me to another yarn; any yarn but that. I laughed. “You just don’t like this yarn, do you?”.

“Well… no.”

But, in spite of his best efforts, I ploughed ahead. I’ve ripped out parts at least twice and started again with the same yarn once.  And today, I stand before you, with my work frogged and two new balls of yarn ready to start again. To be honest, I love this color a lot more; especially for my Ma. And I’ve used Estate 8 ply before and it’s very nice. So, I think this will be great.

Morris Estate 14 ply

But, even after all that ripping out and starting again; I won’t say a bad word against the Heirloom. It -does- show mistakes very apparently, and I’ve definitely learned a lot about my knitting from using it. I’ll probably use it in a crochet project a bit later, because I think it would look super nice crocheted. Perhaps an amigurumi.

As for now, I’m keen to get started on the hood yet again with the Estate. And after my second or third time working the beginnings of it, I’m still not sick of it. I’m such an Ysolda fan-boy now.

Koalas Are The Gatekeepers Of Hell – or – Project Rut

Eugh! I’ve been in a such a rut with my knitting and crochet projects. But I’ve resolved myself to change that! First, here’s a quick update on my WIPs.

  • My green Ranco Arucania sock
    My sock is still cracking along, so all is not too bad. It’s my public transport project, so I keep it in my backpack and I’ve cracked it out on the tram a few times, which is nice. I’m not yet to the heel, but I will be soooooon!
  • Amigurumi Koala
    I feel a little bad about this one. It’s a sample for work, and I ought to have finished it by now, but I’m just not feeling it at all.
Koala Face - WIP

Now, look, I don’t know how familiar y’all are with koalas, but I’m fully convinced that they’re Satan’s fuzzy minions. You might think they look cute from tourism ads or cartoons or whatever, but in person they have sharp little claws and beady, dead eyes. And they make this noise like they’re coughing up the bones of their last victim. Clearly, I don’t care for them terribly, and I think that’s what’s made this project somewhat of a chore. I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the week, partly because I feel bad that it’s taken me so long and partly to just get it off my plate. I really don’t like making amigurumis from pattern, and I don’t want to be glorifying koalas (Lucifer’s right hand critter)  but since it’s a store sample, I just have to suck it up. I’ve gotten the face done, and that’s given me a bit of motivation to keep at it, because I think it turned out alright.

My manager didn’t want me to use the buttons like on the pattern; we both thought they looked pretty creepy. I used my standard safety eyes instead and I think it was the right choice. Besides, koalas *do* have nasty, beady, little eyes, so it was entirely appropriate. Horrid little things, they are.

Creepy button eyes! It's eating your soul just by looking at you!

Once I get this koala done, I feel like my project rut will be rectified. I feel like I can’t start anything new until I’ve finished this, and then I procrastinate like crazy-town. But, it’s time to bite the bullet! I’ve lined up some shows (apparently, I’ve committed a major offense by not having seen Big Bang Theory or knowing what “bazinga” is), and I’ma spend tomorrow planted on the couch and get this sucker licked. Wish me luck!

Confessions Of A Twisted Knitter. Also, Valentine’s.

Alright now, listen up, because in real life I will never, ever admit to what I’m about to tell you. If you read it here and then see me in real life and mention it, I will flat out deny it until I’m blue in the face. Just letting you know.

I’ve been knitting wrong. This whole time I’ve been knitting my sock, I’ve been twisting my stitches. Which, is not entirely “wrong” in the sense that my knitting is broken, but rather in the sense that it just wasn’t what I was intending to do. Before I began crocheting, I knitted with the English method, and the whole time I found it awkward and ungainly, and had a large part to do with why I was never so crash hot on knitting. But, that’s how my Ma knits, and there was no-one to show me any different. When I went back to knitting after realizing crochet was like breathing for me (like, I NEED to do it), I had heard of this mysterious “Continental Method”, so, I tried that, and all of a sudden, knitting made sense to me and wasn’t awkward and ungainly.

BUT, I was picking my yarn with my needle the same as I would with crochet, and this results in a twisted stitch. I didn’t think anything of it, because actually… it seemed that my stitches were miraculously neater and tighter than when I knit in the English method, and I thought that was awesome. I’d also shown my sock to a bunch of more experienced knitters than I, and not one said a word about it. It wasn’t until I was on the train today that a thought popped into my head out of nowhere. “I think you’re twisting your stitches”. So, I googled it on my phone and I discovered that I was in fact twisting my stitches. “Fuck it!” I thought, “I’m going to have frog four inches of sock!”. But then I read something that made my day. One knitter explained that they use twisted stitches when they’re doing ribbing because it gives a tighter, denser structure to their ribbing, and they also used whenever they just wanted their fabric to be that little bit denser.

This information was like a personal gift to me, because know if anyone says “Oh, you’re twisting your stitches,” I can look them in the eye and say “Yup, I know. I like to use twisted stitches because I think it gives me a tighter, denser structure to my fabric. I tend to knit a little looser otherwise,” and they’ll think “Oh, how interesting! I’ll have to remember that for next time I want a tighter, denser structure to my fabric.”

And if you say to me that I’m twisting my stitches by accident, because I went from crochet to Continental method knitting, I’ll instantly deny it and tell you’re crazy.

Yarn Heart for the WIN!

Meanwhile, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and this is in our shop window, and it makes me so happy I could burst. I couldn’t care a bit about Valentine’s Day, but a giant yarn heart is joy on a stick. My manager Judith is perhaps the coolest person I’ve ever met. For realz, y’all

Le Window du Valentine (That's French for "Valentine Window"