Learning from Failure

DSC_0004 (1)-1 In an earlier blog post, I had written about working on an idea for a tank top. The project wasn’t working and I decided to unravel it. I wanted to make a tank top without a pattern. I heavily based it on this pattern. I did several swatches to try and decide what motif to use. I decided on a motif and made a bunch of squares. Then I decided on a shape. I put the squares I had made together and measured it. I realized that it would have 6-7 inches negative ease on me and would never fit. I also I wasn’t enjoying making the squares that much. I found the stitch pattern hard to follow. I really had to pay attention to make sure I avoided mistakes and didn’t like the finished square enough to make effort worthwhile to me. I got to a point where I realized I was really struggling with this project and was having to force myself to work on it.

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One night, I realized how frustrated I was with this project and was suddenly so over it so I unraveled all the squares I did. I was upset about it but relieved. I was depressed that it didn’t work but I also learned a lot. I realized too late that I should have decided on the shape of the tank top first then swatched. I also should have measured and washed the swatch I decided to use. I also learned that I need to swatch using multiple hooks sizes. Looking back, I think that I designing a tank top was a little beyond my abilities. I am thinking I want to make tank tops and other garments designed by other people to see how they did it.

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My Eclipse Memories

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Unless you live in a cave, you heard that Monday was a solar eclipse. During the days leading up to the eclipse, I had wanted to do something to mark the eclipse but wasn’t sure what to do. I procrastinated on looking for eclipse glasses. They were sold out by the time I thought about looking for some. I wasn’t sure what to do but then I found this cute eclipse coaster pattern and was very excited. I had originally thought I would made a set of 4 but I made 1 but haven’t made the other 3. I am thinking of just keeping one and hanging it on my wall. I figured I at least had this crochet piece as a souvenir.

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I went to the library one day and they had a station where someone could make a pinhole camera. I made a simple one while I was at the library. Later that day I was hanging out with my parents and told my dad about the pinhole projector I made. He ended up doing a some research and made pinhole projector from a box. He had a box lying around and I gave him the other supplies needed. The day of the eclipse I hung out with my parents and brother and watched the eclipse from the projector. and it worked pretty well. Where I live, the eclipse was at 90 percent totality. It wasn’t nearly as dark I thought it would be but I am glad I got to see it.

Fall Knitting and Crochet

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Lately, I have been thinking about what I have been making this summer and what I want to make this fall. As I wrote earlier, it is summer here and the weather has been hot and dry. However in a month and a half it will be fall. Lately I have been inspired to make more garments. I am really enjoying working on the Green Gable. I have realized that for my next project, I need to take into account how long it takes me to make a sweater. I had initially wanted to make a couple of summer tops but I didn’t get as much done as I thought I would. I am thinking I should finish the Green Gable in early fall. I have already been thinking about my next sweater project. Because of time constraints my next sweater will be a fall/ winter weight project. 

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 I saw a post on Instagram where someone made a sweater out of  scrap yarn. It made me realize that I have almost enough skeins of Patons Classic Wool in maroon, grey and beige to make a sweater. I have had this sweater in my Ravelry queue for a while and it recommends the same yarn. For once I have the yarn the pattern recommends. I want to make this sweater with stripes. I may add another color but I haven’t decided yet. I am also thinking about making this cardigan. These two projects will get me to the end of the year at the rate I knit. How about you? are you thinking about fall projects yet? Let me know in the comments. 

Is It Fall Yet?

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It is late summer here and it is my least favorite time of year. Around this time I start longing for fall. I am in Washington State and we are in the middle of a heat wave. The temperature has been 95-100 F (35-37 C) for several days. To add to that, there are wildfires in Canada in British Columbia, Montana and other areas of Washington State. The smoke in the air from the fires is sapping my energy, irritating my sinuses and giving me a headache.

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I know things could be a lot worse but I am not happy with this state of affairs. Any temperature above 85 F (29 C) is too hot for me. Fall is my favorite season. I love the leaves changing colors, the cooler temperatures, football season, and wearing wool sweaters. So This is my self indulgent post where I am posting pictures I made during past fall seasons to look longingly at while it is so hot here right now.

Some Thoughts on Online Clutter

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Lately, I have been decluttering. I have sent boxes to goodwill and have donated some books to the local library. As I go through stuff, I also thought about online clutter. I realized that I had a Ravelry queue that went on for 10 pages and a “to read” list on Goodreads that is almost as long. I realized that I was feeling weighed down by all the stuff listed that I wasn’t doing. I wanted to create more room for what I really want to read and make right now.

On Ravelry, I had queued a bunch of patterns I had thought were pretty at one time but didn’t make that many of them. I had over 260 patterns in my queue and would end up looking up new patterns when I was looking for a pattern to make. I went on to Ravelry and looked at some friend’s queues and some of them were much more streamlined. They only had a small number of patterns listed. and it was clearly stuff they planned to make in the immediate future.

I decided to go through my queue and delete any dead links and stuff I didn’t want to make anymore. I want to leave only the patterns I really like and plan to make. So far, I have deleted over 60 patterns (only 193 left). I realized that I go through phases with what I like to make. I will get excited by a particular type or project or technique and then queue a bunch of the same type of pattern. After a while, I lose interest in that particular technique. For example,I went through a period where wanted to make crocheted doilys. I had queued several doily patterns and have only made 1 doily. If I am going to be honest with myself, I would admit that I am not much into doilys anymore and those patterns can be deleted from my queue.

 I ran into the same thing with my Goodreads account only with books. I had a huge list of books to read and didn’t read much from that list. I have deleted a bunch of books on topics that I am not into or don’t want to read anymore. I still want to prune both lists further. So far, I feel better about the lists. It feels more streamlined How about you? Do you make lists of stuff to read and make and then realize you have to edit it? or do you like having a lot of stuff listed and don’t worry about it? Let me know in the comments.

Knitting in History

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I like history and I had bookmarked some interesting articles on knitting history. I thought I would share them in this post.

 This is a fascinating article about how during  war time, spies would use knitting as an espionage tool

During World War I, knitting for soldiers was seen as a patriotic duty

 A picture of a shawl that Queen Victoria gave to Harriet Tubman.

 The Suffrage in Stitches project celebrates women’s suffrage history through crochet.

 The Salish Tribe in the Pacific Northwest raised dogs for their fiber

The De-Stress Sweater

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” I knit so I don’t kill people.” This is a common humorous saying among knitters. This week, this saying could be revised to say, “I knit so I don’t completely stress out.” I have have been working on the Green Gable Pullover and it has really helped my stress levels. It is a top down sweater. The pattern has a simple lace panel at the top.Once you get past the lace panel , it is row after row of knit stitch. It has been a long week and I am finding working on knit stitch very soothing.

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 I am enjoying seeing the top take shape. I love seeing a ball of string and some sticks turn into an item.  The picture on the top show my  progress so far. Lately, I have been working on this sweater to the exclusion of other projects. I am thinking it may not take as long as I thought to finish it. I am already thinking about what sweater I want to make next. What about you? What is your favorite pattern to knit to relax or de-stress? Do you prefer simple patterns or more complicated patterns?

My Beadwork Projects

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I wrote about my bead crochet projects last week so this week I will be writing about beading projects. Recently I finished this spiral bracelet. This blue and green bracelet is the first beadwork piece I have finished in years. I had a couple of projects that I had started years ago and had let sit for years. Right after I finished my most recent bead crochet rope, I looked at my old beading projects and decided to work on a bracelet pictured above. I looked at it and realized it was long enough for a bangle bracelet and I just needed to join it together. So I went ahead and joined it together.

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 I also have a this pink piece that I haven’t worked on in years that I want to finish. It uses a technique called peyote stitch. I am doing it free-form, I didn’t have a set pattern or plan for this piece when I started it. When I started the project, I wanted to see how it would look to use different sizes of beads together in one piece. I decided to use pastel colors.

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 As I was looking at these pieces I ended up starting a new beadwork project. I had been thinking about a technique called spiral rope. I ended up starting a spiral rope project around the time I finished my latest bead crochet project. I am using a lime green and beige color scheme. 

Summer Knitting and Crochet

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Do you knit or crochet during the summer? Here in the northern hemisphere it is summer and I thought I would share some thoughts and tips on summer knitting and crochet. I have heard that a lot of people stop knitting during the summer and then take it up again in the fall. Even thought summers where I live can be pretty hot, my knitting and crocheting doesn’t stop during the summer months. For fun I did a survey on Twitter asking if people knitted or crocheted in the summer. I only got 4 responses and all of them knit in the summer. That is a very small sampling but it tells me that at least some people knit and crochet in the summer.

I found this article with advice on summer knitting useful. During summer, I usually end up knitting inside under air conditioning in front of a fan at my desk. Summer is a good time to knit smaller, portable projects. I see people I follow on Instagram take a portable projects to the beach. One summer I made cotton sun hats that I wear when I work in the yard. It is also a good time to use lighter yarns such as cotton and linen. One thing I have found is that my local craft store will often put yarn on clearance in the summer. That is something to keep in mind when you are at the craft store. I have gotten some good deals that way.  Do you knit or crochet in the summer? Let me know in the comments.

My Adventures in Bead Crochet

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I recently finished a bead crochet rope and started a new one. I also started some new beading projects. I was going to write about my progress in one post. However,  I have 5 different projects to write about and I felt like it was a lot to write in one post . I decided divide the information into 2 parts. In this post,  I will be writing about my bead crochet ropes. Next week, I will write about my non crochet beading projects.

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I just finished the pastel rope pictured above and I tried a new technique to join it together. I thought that the tutorial I used was confusing and the technique was harder than I thought. I hope that on the next rope, it will make more sense. I also started a new bead crochet rope using a red black and white color scheme. I was going to use a red white and gold color scheme but I ran out of gold beads and had to figure out something else. From doing these bead crochet ropes, I have realized that I am not nearly as confident about choosing color schemes as I used to be. It takes me a long time to decide what colors to use. I may have to brush up on color theory.  Except for those concerns, I am having fun working on the ropes. I find it relaxing and it is easy to pick up and do a few rows when I need to relax.