We dream faster than we knit

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I have been dealing with a strong case of cast-on-itis, I have so far resisted casting on more projects, trying to respect my new 3-WIP rule, but I finally caved in and cast on everything on my mind!. It was so satisfying getting all my yarn and needles ready and reading each pattern to decide the size, measuring all swatches, I really did enjoy the entire process.

I knew from the moment I decided to just cast on everything that it would become hard to advance all those projects and I foresaw some frogging. That was two weeks ago and I still have all of them on the needles, but something curious has happened. I find myself wanting to cast on even more things and I daydream about all the other projects I want to do. I lost all focus and I’m not making significant progress on any of the projects.

To remedy this situation I started writing down all that’s on my daydreaming mind, with all the details I can come up with. Also I packed in a small project bag only one of the projects, with the goal of making some progress on it this week. I started that on Tuesday and so far it has helped me control the situation, although I still want to do it all.

We knitters dream faster than we knit.

A Stash Problem – Part 2

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My basket of pretty yarn. This selection is like a sampler of my stash and reflects all the things that I would like to cast on soon.

I did my homework from part 1 and took everything out. The shock and overwhelm took over for a few hours. Then I started sorting.

I assigned one cubbyhole to all my precious sweater yarn. This is the yarn that I want to use soon. Then assigned another space to all the pretty yarn destined for hats, shawls, socks or accessories of some kind. Both of those are full to burst. Everything else got stuck in a bigger bin in a closet and some of it is marked for de-stash soon. I also selected some of the yarn to be cast on next, meaning the yarn that is most tempting for me right now, and put it in a pretty basket that I’ve been moving around the house as a nice way to enjoy them without being on the needles.

My other task was to make a list of projects for the rest of the year. My initial list had a lot of items and was not realistic. A quick look on ravelry told me that I actually average 4 sweaters a year, with a bunch of hats (about 6) and 1 or 2 pairs of socks. This year I have started and finished 2 hats, 1 pair of socks, 1 shawl and 1 sweater. I also finished 2 other sweaters that were cast on at the end of last year. If the statistics are correct I might still cast on and finish 1 more sweater this year after finishing my current cardigan, and then is hat knitting season for the holidays. Which means that the actual list of things to knit this year is a lot shorter than what I dreamed.

Here is the list of things still to be knit this year:

  • One more sweater for me (it will be hard to pick just one), with yarn from stash.
  • Test knit for Becky with brand new yarn (So excited!).
  • Gift hat for Tamara (the girl that will allow me to stay with her in Berlin for the Berlin Knits festival), with yarn from stash.
  • Gift hats in general with yarn from stash. I haven’t assigned yet who will get a hat this year for Christmas.
  • Mittens for me, from stash.

Also I will really like to finish all my WIP’s soon, because during December I usually go crazy casting on new things and that is much more enjoyable if the number of existing WIP’s is limited. Right now I have 3 WIP’s on the needles (still keeping my rule) but I have a couple of hibernating projects that I would like to finish.

It looks like next year will be the year to really work from my stash. If I do it right I might be able reduce it to a manageable size in a year. I still would like to allow myself an occasional small yarn purchase, but otherwise I think it can be done.

 

 

 

The Sleeve Code

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I really don’t like knitting sleeves, so anything that might help me to get that part over quicker is always welcome. To that effect I’ve had a “Sleeve code” for while now. It consist of reading all instructions for the sleeve and set aside a number of markers that represent every increase and decrease I do on the sleeve.

In the example of the sleeve for the Tinder cardigan I’m doing now it meant 7 increases every 10 rows (this sleeves are knit flat from the bottom up) and 1 increase every 8 row. After that the cap shaping begins with 3 increases every 4 rows and then decrease every RS row (no marker for those). So I assign big markers to the increases and same colors for the same amount of rows in between, and small markers for decreases.

The entire thing just means looking at the pattern a lot less, I only have to check the length after I’m done with a section. This trick works for every type of sleeve, worked in the round or flat.

Two Fronts At A Time

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Poor picture of my two fronts in the sofa

I decided to make my worsted weight sweater go even faster by knitting the two fronts simultaneously. It seemed like a wonderful idea at the time, I now see that maybe it was not.

Although it will of course means that I get to finish both pieces at the same time and that they will be the same length, it also means that I’m taking away (a little) the versatility of a sweater knitted in pieces, which is the small detachable pieces. Right now I need to have a special setup in my sofa to handle the two balls of yarn while I knit because I hate tangled yarn, so I’m not knitting it on the train anymore and that cuts the knitting time.

I’ve been thinking of separating the twin fronts at some point but I haven’t decided. Part of me really wants to be done with the two fronts at the same time and part of me just wants to knit one fast.

Also knitting two flat pieces on the same needle can get confusing. You might end up knitting on a single piece a few rows without seeing that you forgot to get to the next piece, which is now a few rows shorter. That scenario is a bit of a disaster and requires attention and ripping. I haven’t found any brilliant trick to avoid this, I just put a marker on the right side of my pieces and I try to look down after I finish each to see which is next.

Virginia

A Stash Problem

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A pretty and reorganized bookshelf

When I was a new knitter and had no measure on yarn yet, I collected a bad stash. A bad stash is one of those full of odd balls, crazy colors and textures, a couple of good ones but in unhelpful quantities, and in summary…  an unusable stash. When I finally realized this about 2 years ago I took action and gave it all away, some to friends, some to charity. I promised to myself I would never built an unusable stash again!

2 years forward and I find myself with a stash problem yet again. This time is not that it is unusable, but that it is too much.

I have a beautiful Ikea Kallax unit of 4 cube spaces and I bought it with the intention of storing all my crafty stuff in there. That was thought to include my yarn, fabric, tools and works in progress, one in each cube division. It is now completely full of yarn. And my fabric, which is also getting a bit out of control, is taking an entire shelf in a closet.

The desperation that ensued after realizing just how much yarn and fabric I have was overwhelming. It all started with me not finding a particular skein of yarn, one that I thought could be my next project. So I had to take cube after cube out to find it and came face to face with the reality that I probably have enough yarn to knit for the next three years.

The shock is wearing out and I started planning ways to improve. The starting point of my plan of action was to read all of the Stash-less posts by Felicia at The Craft Sessions blog. I have now a rough idea of what to do. Here is my initial game plan list:

  1. Inventory. A realistic, all yarn out in the open inventory.
  2. Re-organize yarn, tools, books and fabric.
  3. Write all the projects I still would like to do this year including gifts.
  4. Match as many yarns from stash as I can to that list of projects
  5. Stick to the 3-WIP rule and start knitting

The problem not addressed yet is how to control the part of me that buys the pretty yarn. That one requires more thought, but for now the shock has been enough to keep me away from yarn updates.

Virginia

A worsted weight sweater at last!

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My beloved fringe bag and the completed back of my cardigan
Awesome texture!

After months of knitting only fingering or sport (fingering-in-disguise) weight sweaters I’ve had enough of the tiny needles and slow progress.

Two weeks ago I started the Tinder cardigan from Jared Flood a beautiful worsted weight cardigan, knit on size 5 mm needles, huge! compared to all the 3 and 3.25 mm I’ve been using.

I started on Wednesday 12 of July, according to my ravelry project page, and since then I have knit on it only in little bits of time in the morning train. Two weeks later and the back is already done, all 70 cm of it. I might actually finish this one faster than my 3-month average, it is very exciting.

I hope to cast on the left front tomorrow, after I wind the next skein of yarn and have it done by next week 😉

Virginia