Product vs Process Knitting

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The cardigan I just finished got me thinking about product vs process knitting. Product knitting is when you knit because you want to use the finished object. A process knitter likes the process and isn’t necessarily knitting to use the finished project. I have realized that up until now, I have been more of a process knitter. Until recently, I would pick projects based on how much fun they would be or what skill I wanted to learn. Often it would be a thought process of, “I just finished a piece and now what do I want to do?” Or I would pick a project so I could learn a specific skill. When I started to read Karen Templers blog more and the handmade wardrobe hashtag, I started to want to be more deliberate about what I chose to make. I was inspired to make pieces I could use in my wardrobe. At the time I was so inspired by the pictures of people wearing the pretty garments that they made and being thoughtful about what they wanted to add to their wardrobe and I wanted the same thing.

I saw another side to all this when I recently finished making The Belcarra Cardigan. The piece was frustrating and it was a struggle to keep doing it. It took a lot longer than I thought to make it and I had to unravel and redo it several times before I got a good start. I almost put this sweater on hold because it was taking so long and spring was coming . It was frustrating to be still working on this sweater I had hoped to wear this past winter. I ended up pushing through and finishing it. I knew it would bother me to have an unfinished project hanging around until next fall. I also persevered because I wanted that sweater in my wardrobe.

During the process of making this sweater, I lost some enthusiasm for making garments on a regular basis. Not too long before, I had been so inspired by making more garments but my frustrations with this project dampened my enthusiasm. I read somewhere that the pieces that end up being wardrobe staples are often very boring to make. I can definitely see how that can happen. I realized that it can be draining to plug through a frustrating process because you want the finished object.

I had been moving towards being more of a product knitter but I realized I also needed to make sure I was working on projects that are fun. I realized that the pieces I do because “wouldn’t hat be cool!” keep things fun and alive. I made a log cabin scarf because I really wanted to do a log cabin project. At the time, I certainly didn’t need another scarf or another project. I want to make a lace scarf out of light green yarn because I like doing lace knitting. Moving forward, I still want to make useful garments but I am realizing that I need to make sure that I leave room to be spontaneous and have fun with my projects. I am also thinking that the next time I am frustrated with a project, I will give myself permission to frog it and put it on hold.

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My Belcarra Cardigan

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I recently finished the Belcarra Cardigan by Robyn Chachula. I am very happy with how it turned out but I found it to be a frustrating project. The main thing that frustrated me was that it took a lot longer than I thought to finish it. I started making this in late November. I finished the sweater in mid May. and I had hoped to be wearing it this past winter. I had to unravel the same section several times before I could get a good start on it. I finally got a good start then I got distracted by Christmas knitting and a log cabin project.

 I thought about putting it on hold or unraveling it a few times. The main reason I kept going was that I had bought the yarn to make the project and I wanted this sweater in my wardrobe.  I did end up up putting it on hold for a while. I finally started working on it again and had to restart a couple of sections several times. Near the end this was all I worked on because I wanted to finish it before it was too hot to wear it. I did finally finish it but it was a struggle.

 Now that it is done, I am glad to have it. It is the nicest sweater I have. Before this project, I didn’t have a nice coat cardigan. This is a much needed addition to my wardrobe. When I was making it, there were times that I wasn’t sure how much I liked it. I didn’t like the sleeves before I added the cuffs. Once I added the cuffs, it came together and looked good but before that, I was pretty discouraged and thought the sleeves looked funny. Now that I am done, I am very happy to have with how this sweater looks. 

Projects I Finished

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During the time when I was wasn’t posting regularly, I finished a few projects and wanted to give you an update. To be honest, I hesitated to write this post. Part of me was concerned about posting a, “What I have been working on” post after I wrote a long post saying that I want to write about more than that. However, I feel funny not posting what I have been doing. Plus I enjoy reading other people’s blog posts about their projects and the thoughts behind it. So, here is a what I have finished lately.

 Grey Cable Scarf

I started this project back in December. I had looked at my scarves and hats and decided that I could use a grey scarf with a textured stitch pattern. I fnally finished it on March 20. I like cables and saw a lot of cable scarf patterns on Ravelry that I loved. I also wanted to knit a cable scarf because I had tried to make a cable scarf the previous year and it didn’t work out and I wanted to try again. I enjoyed working on this scarf but it took me longer than I thought it would to finish it. Since it is now spring, I now have a scarf for next winter.

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 Basketweave Hat

I had made an identical hat years go. This winter, I lost it when I went to run errands. I upset me when I lost the hat. I decided to make another one because I liked the hat. I had also made a matching scarf that didn’t go with many of my other hats. I almost didn’t make the hat because it felt like an obligation, as in I should make this because I lost the other one. However, once I started making it I enjoyed working on it and really like this pattern. I recommend it if you are looking for a hat to knit.

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 Log Cabin Scarf

I did this as part of the Log Cabin knit a long that Mason Dixon Knitting and Karen Templer hosted. When I heard about this knit a long, I wasn’t looking to start another project. At the time, I was already working on a scarf and two sweaters. But I had recently watched a tutorial of log cabin knitting and really wanted to try it. I found out about this knit a long right after I watched the tutorial and I decided to go for it. I used yarn leftover from a blanket I made plus some other odd yarns in my stash that fit the color scheme. I enjoyed working on it. It is a habit forming technique and a great way to use up scrap yarn in a creative way. This scarf came out a lot longer than I thought but that should be good for days when the temperature is freezing. When fall comes closer, I may try making a log cabin type hat to match.

Me Made May

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One of the big reasons I have become interested in handmade wardrobe and slow fashion is Me Made May. I found about it from Andi Sattterlund. She is a knit designer who also sews. She has consistently posted outfit photos for Me Made May for a few years. From her posts, I started following the Me Made May hashtag and the handmade wardrobe hashtag on Instagram. I found the posts of people wearing clothes they made inspiring and made me want to focus on making more garments for myself.

 Me Made May is a popular online challenge that starts every year on May 1 and lasts all month. The idea of Me Made May is to challenge participants to wear handmade items every day. It was started by Zoe of  the So Zo blog. Here is an FAQ about Me Made May. Many people who participate will wear an outfit every day  that contains something they made and photograph it. I am not planing to actively participate this year but I will be checking out the hashtag. I encourage you to check it you have any interest in making your own clothes by knitting, crochet, or sewing.

Why I Stopped my 100 Day Project

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I ended up only lasting about two weeks on the 100 Day project. I had set a goal to write or proofread a post every day for a at least a few minutes. I ended up burning out and stopping. I was hesitant to write this post but I decided to risk being honest and admit that I didn’t finish. I wanted to write about what I learned from this. Another reason that I wanted to post an update was that I had told everyone I was doing the 100 day project and I wanted to let people know what was going on.

At first, I was excited about this project. I have wanted to get in the habit of writing on a regular basis for a while and this project seemed like a good way to create a regular writing habit. The 100 Day Project is a big project with a lot of participants. I figured that since a lot of people do this project, that I would get some support from other participants. I was also picturing doing all the writing projects that I think about doing but don’t do and gaining  new content for my blog.The first week or so went well. I got a lot of writing done and was feeling good about writing every day. Since I was writing more, I started reading the book Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott.

 Then I started to burn out and struggle with this project.During the week I did OK. On the weekends it was hard to get myself to write. Plus, I got sick around that time and didn’t feel well at all. It was hard to get myself to write when I felt sick. There are so many posts on the hashtag that it is easy to get lost and I struggled to read any of them. I felt like it was hard to get interaction with others who are doing this project. I got bored with reading Bird by Bird and didn’t want to finish reading it. I was also uneasy with looking like I did this to promote my blog. I felt uncomfortable writing a post then constantly sending people to my blog because I didn’t do this to promote my blog. I mainly wanted to write more often.

 I also struggled with posting updates on Instagram. I keep thinking that who cares what I post? Who cares if I write every day? I felt out of place with the sea of people posting pretty pictures of their visual art. I was worried my posts were boring and I struggled with what to say on the posts. A post saying, “Hi I proofread a post” is not necessarily Instagram worthy or that interesting. Also, “Hi I wrote today isn’t Instagram worthy either. Some of the writing I was doing is not anything I want to publish and I feel funny saying that in an update. Will people want to see what I wrote? Will it seem rude to say I am writing but I don’t want to show you? I am not comfortable with that part of social media where you are supposed to share everything that you are doing. I wasn’t comfortable doing daily updates at all. I also felt like I was posting 100 day project posts in the place of my knitting posts on Instagram. The knitting and crochet community on Instagram is so supportive and I missed interacting with them.

 I thought about quitting. Then I thought about how I already told everyone that I was doing this. I thought about how embarrassed I would be to suddenly stop posting updates. I got bored reading Bird by Bird. The main reason I finished Bird by Bird was because I already told everyone on Instagram that I was reading it. Then I think, is that a good reason to do this, to do anything?  In the end, I decided to shelve the project. I quietly stopped posting updates. I am not sure anyone noticed. Honestly, I was relieved when I stopped. I realized that I am not comfortable posting what I will do and would rather post an update after I finished. I also learned that I don’t want to get caught up in the fear of , “what will people think?” I don’t want to be afraid to change course because of that.  I like to write and want to build a regular writing practice but I also have realized I want to keep the daily process private and don’t want to write daily Instagram posts about it. 

My 100 Day Project

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I have decided to do the 100 day project. It is a free global art project that is open to anyone. It is run by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. What happens is that decide to do  a creative activity every day for 100 days. Once you decide on an action, you announce your project and post regular updates of your progress on Instagram. The idea is by working on a project or skill every day, you are building a creative habit and will learn a lot from the process. If you want to see what projects people are doing you can check out the hashtag for the project.

For my project, I will be doing 100 days of writing. I have realized from doing this blog that I like to write. For a while, it has been in the back of my mind that I want to get in the habit of writing every day or at least on a regular basis but I didn’t get around to doing it. I thought this project would be a good way to build a writing habit and while getting support from others. I have a lot of ideas that I have wanted to write but haven’t been doing. I will be posting periodic updates on this blog and on my Instagram. If you want to know more about the 100 day project, here is a link to the page. You can also check out Elle Luna’s and Lindsay Jean Thomson’s Instagram for details.

Burnout and Changes

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 I wanted to post an update so people would know what is going on with this blog right now. As you could tell, I fell out of posting again. I haven’t posted because I have been struggling with burnout . Not only did I fall out of posting on this blog but I had signed up for a blog class and a social media challenge and I ended up not doing either because I was burned out. I also had a minor crisis about what to do with this blog. This is at least the third time that I have fell out of posting. I decided to stop and do some soul searching on why I keep burning out on creating content for this blog. This time, I got tired of the cycle of, I post for a while, burn out, stop posting and then get back to it. I am tired of trying to decide how to do the, “Sorry I haven’t been posting lately” blog post.

Weeks before, had read this post written by Jasika Nicole and I could strongly relate. One the points she makes is that she sensed that her attitude towards sewing was changing and that she wanted to make room for other creative projects in her life. I can relate to that. I have also been realizing that my attitude towards this blog and what I want to write is changing. I have been re thinking how I want to do this blog. I have realized that I am just not that inspired by what I write. I have realized that if I changed what I write about a little, I would be a lot more inspired. I looked at my past blog posts and realized that most of them are lists of links or posts about my current projects and I want to write about more than that. I realized that I have been writing posts at the last minute and not really putting a lot of thought about what content really want to write. I also realized that there are things that are on my mind that I haven’t been writing.

I have also realized that I had started this blog as a something to do while I was looking for work and I wanted a creative outlet at the time. I feel like I need more of a reason than that to keep doing this.  I have started to realize that I need bigger blogging goals other than create content because it is something to do. I love yarn crafts but I am bored with only writing about knitting and crochet.  Through a Facebook group and Twitter chats, I met other bloggers and started to realize that if I wanted to have this blog go to the next level that I would need to change some things about this blog.

So all of this means that I want to try some new things with this blog. I want to put more of myself into this and say more than just “This is what I have been making.” I want to write about more than my current projects. In the future, I am going try some blog topics and see how it goes. I still want to wite about knitting crochet and handmade. I love to make things and I can’t imagine life without it. I also have made some great connections with other craft bloggers and I want to keep those connections. I also will continue to write posts about my current projects. I enjoy reading blogs posts about what people are working on and I like having an online journal of what I have been making and my thoughts a the time. I just want to shift what I write about and change the approach. I want to write about new things that aren’t necessarily about knitting and crochet. I want to think about how to make posts that will be more useful to my readers. I am hesitant to say exactly what topics I am going to be writing about because I am still figuring that out. However, I wanted to communicate that I am thinking about making changes. I  also wanted to write about why I am thinking about changing this blog. It is important to me that I am honest and transparent with my readers. 

Some Thoughts on Sweater Knitting and Finances

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Some of the Yarn I bought when it was on sale

 In the past I had hesitated to make sweater because of the cost of buying a sweaters worth of yarn at one time. However, I am realizing that you can make a sweater that you couldn’t buy for the price of the yarn. I showed my mom a sweater I made and she would tell me that you can’t buy a sweater like that. When you think about it, she is right, I don’t know where anyone would be able to buy a handmade sweater that is made to your measurements. I looked around and realized that a nice wool sweater can very, expensive and hard to find. For example, I looked at my dad’s LL Bean catalog and a wool sweater from LL Bean is anywhere from 70 dollars on up.

I recently went to the mall and I saw a sweater at a chain store. It was acrylic, made in China and it cost 60 dollars. For 60 dollars you can buy the yarn to make one that is much nicer and that is made with natural fibers. For 50 dollars I bought yarn for 2 sweaters from Knitpicks when they had a sale. I also looked at the sweaters I had bought and they are all cotton. I looked around the stores at the mall and I didn’t see any wool sweaters for sale. Mind you this is in the fall in a cold climate. All this made me realize that  a lot of stores don’t sell wool sweaters for a reasonable price.  

If you know where to look, wool to make sweaters doesn’t have to be expensive. The sweater I recently made was made from yarn I got on clearance at JoAnnes for about 3 dollars each. I used 5 skeins of yarn to make the sweater so the yarn cost me 15 dollars. On the other side of this,  I think that if you can reasonably afford it don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to make the sweater you want out o f the yarn you really want to use. If you live on a tight budget, you can also find yarn that is affordable and with some work end up with a sweater that is nicer than a lot of the sweaters you could find at the mall.

My Knitting and Crochet Goals for 2018

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I am a little late with this but I thought I would post some of my goals for my 2018 projects.

 1: Stash bust

I have a lot of odd bits of yarn I have collected over the years. Some of it is leftovver from other projects. Some of it is yarn I bought on impulse and some of it friends gave me. I would like to use up some of the odd bits of yarn I have. I did some stash busting projects in 2017 and want to continue this year.

 2: Keep making garments

I want to continue to make garments I can use in my wardrobe and be more thoughtful about what I decide to make. 

 3 Learn to make socks.

I  went through my wardrobe and could use some new socks at some point. I have realized that making socks could be a way for me to make things I can really use that may be fun. Before I started looking into handmade wardrobe stuff, I mainly thought of sock knitting as a knitting technique to learn instead of making socks to wear. I am not sure why I thought this. I have already bookmarked some sock patterns that people recommended that are supposed to be good for beginners.

 5: Get my crochet mojo back

I feel like I have been knitting more than I have been crocheting lately. I have been more inspired by knitting projects lately. I would like to get some of my crochet mojo back. I have been thinking about making another blanket. After that, I am not sure what crochet projects excite me. I need to read more about crochet and see what would be fun to learn and make.

Interesting Links

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Here is a roundup of some interesting thing that I saw on the Internet lately.

 I have really enjoyed the my first sweater hashtag that is going around Instagram.

This site will calculate what colors you used on your Instagram feed and give you a picture that you can post with those colors.

 The yarn company Quince and Company collaborated with author and avid knitter Chloe Benjamin to create a colorway that is based on the cover of her most recent book.

 This article goes over five Ways to support a yarn shop without spending money if you are on a tight budget and can’t afford to buy yarn there. 

 This article that was published in the New York Times was fascinating and depressing. It talks about how people will buy fake followers on Twitter and the company that sells people these fake followers. Before I read this article, I had no idea that many public figures bought followers

 Right after the New York Times published the article listed above,  Twitter followers  vanished on several high profile accounts.