Monday, January 13, 2014

Knitting Progress

Ive mentioned in the previous post about becoming involved in a scarf exchange on Ravelry.  Since joining, Ive been looking through various scarf patterns to knit for my exchange partner.  There are so many wonderful looking scarf patterns, and that makes it difficult to choose just one.

Yesterday I had the flu so I couldnt do anything, though I had hoped to start the scarf then.  Today, I feel a lot better. I wont say Im 100% better, but the fact that Im not aching and I have no fever makes me feel a lot better.  Today my cough seems to be what Im dealing with more than anything, and there are times when I cough so much that its hard to catch my breath.  I had an opportunity to go shopping in Dawson Creek today (I had hoped we could check out a yarn shop there, see if its open, and maybe get some yarn to use in my pals scarf), but I decided to stay home to get better for work tomorrow.

I looked through some of the yarn I have here, which isnt much, and looked for something that might fit the categories – colour(s) she said she liked, types of yarn she likes, etc.  I decided on a skein (I wont go into details of what colours, the brand/type, or pattern just in case my pal reads my blog. I dont want to ruin the surprise for her), and searched the internet for a pattern.

Of course, me being me, I am second guessing my choice of yarn, colour, etc.  If I were doing this scarf for charity, I wouldnt worry so much because there would be someone out there who would like it.  I just want my pal to like the finished product, and not feel disappointed in what Ive chosen.

Since this is an alphabet swap and we need to choose things to include that start with the first five letters of the alphabet, Im trying to keep this in mind with the things Im choosing.  I have something for A and B, and have an idea for C.  Still deciding on D and E – though things could change between now and when I get the package sent out!  I just really hope my pal is happy and satisfied with what I send her.

Yesterday, at some point when I was feeling a little better, I ordered some yarn from The Loopy Ewe. I havent ordered anything from them in a long time, and found out I had a credit of nearly $20!  Anyway, since my birthday is coming up in a week from tomorrow, I decided to order some yarn for myself as a birthday present to myself.  I probably wont get it in time for my birthday, but that doesnt matter since Im busy knitting my scarf exchange pals scarf.

I have also ordered some yarn and a couple of patterns from Knit Picks a couple of weeks ago.  The patterns were ones to download, so I already have them.  They are for argyle hats (it includes a few different patterns) and the matching mittens (again, it includes a few different patterns).  Im looking forward to knitting those up – they looked so cool.  The hats and mittens I make from these patterns will more than likely go to charity.

Ill post pictures of my scarf exchange pals scarf once she gets it so that I dont ruin the surprise.  Ill also post pictures of the yarn and the patterns, Ive ordered for myself, when I get them in the mail.

Id love to hear what youve been working on lately.  Feel free to drop a comment and let me know!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Ravelry, a Swap, and Yarn

On the weekend, I was surfing around Ravelry, checking out patterns and the forum.  I remembered taking part in a few swaps and secret pals, and thought Id look to see if there were any currently going on.  From what I could see, there was no secret pal (it almost sounded like there had been a lot of people not following through on obligations, so they turned it into various swaps), but there were several different swaps going on.

One of the swaps I took part in a few years ago was the International Scarf Exchange. Unfortunately, I ended up losing that scarf (I think one day when I was doing some supply teaching. I either lost it, or it was taken out of my bag – which could have happened at the particular school I was at.  However, it doesnt look like that one is going on, though there are some starting up in that group – they are just under different names.
Anyway, I joined one that is called the Alphabet Swap.  In the package, we have to send 3-5 items (have to double check if that includes the scarf we knit, or if that is in addition to the scarf), and the items must all start with the first five letters of the alphabet.  So, for example, you might send a skein of Alpaca yarn,  the scarf might be shades of blue, there might be some chocolate, a pattern for an item that starts with a d (the name of the pattern that is), etc.

The lady Ive been partnered with in the swap lives in Wisconsin. Since this isnt a secret pal type of exchange, we are allowed to contact the other person and ask questions.  We can also stalk their profile, questionnaires and posts with regards to things they are interested in to possibly include in the package we send.

Im looking for different patterns as options to knit for her, but havent settled on anything just yet (we only just got our partner names last evening) and Im waiting for her to contact me before I make any final decisions.  Also, I want to know if there is a specific colour she would like me to use.  Then I need to get the yarn – which might mean I need to order it online and that could take awhile to get to me (at least two weeks).  We have to have our packages mailed out by February 14th, so Id like to get started on this ASAP.

About a week ago, I visited the Knit Picks website because they were offering free shipping to Canada on orders over a certain amount.  Well, I surfed their site to look for some yarn, patterns, kits or whatever caught my interest.  I havent bought any yarn online for eons (Ive bought a bit of yarn in the last few years, but its been from Michaels or Wal-Mart), and I thought I would treat myself – sort of a Christmas present to myself.

I ended up ordering a couple of patterns (argyle hat and mittens).  I will post a link to them in the next post and also Ill take a picture of the yarn I ordered for the patterns as well.  I should be getting that package in the next week, so Im kind of excited for that.  And, since my birthday is coming up in less than two weeks, I think I might just ordered some more yarn as a birthday present for myself.  This time, I think Im going to order from the Loopy Ewe, which I also havent ordered from in a long while.

Well, off to do some more searching on Ravelry for scarf patterns for my scarf swap partner!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Time For A Change

Since its been some time that I have posted on my knitting blog (other than my post of the other day), I figure its time for a change in my blog design.  While I do like the background and the colours of my current design, and because its a new year and Im hoping to get back into more knitting and blogging, I think I need to start off with a new blog design.

Im not sure what Ill go with – one of the myriad of free templates available, or if Ill actually break down and pay a little for a really nice looking template.  So far, all of my templates (on this blog and my other ones) have been the free ones offered either on Blogger or some other site that has free designs.

Knitting Update:

Ive done a little more work on my Diagonal Lace Scarf, but at some point in the pattern (not too far from the needles), Ive managed to lose a couple of stitches – more than likely it is a couple of yarn-overs.  So, I now need to rip back a few rows until I get the right amount of stitches.

HmmmI just went and looked at the pattern I had printed out for this scarf, and I noticed that there are only 24 stitches.  Now that I think about it, I did have 24 stitches on my needles! I didnt make a mistake! 

The only thing that I can think as to why I had thought Id made a mistake and left off a couple of yarn-overs, is because of having finished those other two scarves and I used 26 stitches for them. I must have been thinking (yes, it was late when this all happened) of that scarf and using 26 stitches for that.  Hmmm, now I need to make sure I rip back to a spot where I would start on a row 1.  And because of this confusion, I now remember the importance of using life lines in knitting – so that you dont have to rip back too far, and youll be at a spot in your knitting where you know you left off (such as at a row 1).
Lesson learned – and hopefully remembered for next time.


Since Ive been away from the land of knitting blogs for some time, Ive been going back to visit some of the blogs I used to visit often.  I hope to re-establish connections/friendships in the knitting sphere and not stay away so long next time.

Ive really missed some of these women, their knitting, their daily life stories, etc.  These women gave me motivation and encouragement (even if they didnt know they did) along the way – both in knitting and life.  I also hope to come across new blogs as well.  I look forward to seeing what patterns are being worked on, and maybe find some new ones that I can work on as well.

Yall Come Back Now:

I really hope youll keep coming back and encouraging me to continue knitting (to not loose motivation), with my other craft/art projects, and just in daily life in general – you know, when times get tough.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Welcome 2014!

I can't believe how long it's been since I've really made any postings here - particularly knitting related.  I just haven't had a lot of knitting motivation in such a long time, and to be honest, I just never thought of doing posts of any of my art journals (which I hope to get more into this year).

About three weeks ago at Bible study (one of the two that I attend), we were talking about spiritual gifts and taking a "test" to find out what ours were.  Well, I had mentioned about my knitting and how I had wanted to learn to make mittens (which blossomed into other items) for the mitten tree at the church I was attending back home (in case I haven't mentioned it here, in late August of 2011 I moved to northern BC as I accepted a teaching position at a Christian school).  I also mentioned that I was in a slump, or rather I felt stalled in my walk and hadn't been doing any knitting in so long.  After mentioning this, I was encouraged by the others to pick it up again and get working on it.  I mentioned that I'd like to start a mitten tree at the church (the new one I'm attending here in BC) since they don't have one, and they didn't know what a mitten tree was.  They said that if this was a gifting (craftsmanship), then I have to do something about it - I need to knit and start a mitten tree.

Since it's obviously too late now to start one for Christmas (as I had mentioned to them at the time as well), I would still like to have something set up where people can knit (or purchase items to donate) various items that can be donated to homeless or less fortunate people.  Here in the north, we will still have cold and snow for awhile and these people can definitely still use the items.  So, I need to figure out how to set something up, present it, and start collecting items to somehow (and somewhere) distribute them.  One of the members of the Bible Study group suggested the Salvation Army, which is a great idea, but I said that as far as I knew people have to buy the items they have.  I want these items I will make and collect to be given freely to those who need them - just like Jesus freely gave us the gift of salvation.

Two "2 Weeknights With Warrick" scarves
Needless to say, my motivation was re-sparked and I began working on some knitting projects within a day or two.

I chose to do an easy pattern, one that I could do without much thinking so that I wouldn't lose motivation before I got started.  I went with the 2 Weeknights With Warrick pattern, which I have done before a couple of times.  In the photo, the scarf on the left is the first one I did and finished not long after starting.  The one on the right was finished a few days ago (and it looks in the photo like I've got it backwards, LOL!  Well, at least you can see what each side looks like...).

Want to know a little secret? These aren't completely finished.  I can't find my darning needle to sew the ends in, so once I get that and can take care of the finishing touches, then they will be totally finished.

I've already started in on another scarf, though it might be one I keep for myself.  The pattern for this scarf is the Diagonal Lace Scarf, which I've also made a time or two in the past.  It's another fairly easy pattern - a 6 row repetition, and I like the way it looks.  The yarn I'm using for this pattern is Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in Petunia.  Since I've only been knitting this pattern for a few days, I don't have a whole lot completed. But, when I'm done I will post a photo of it.

Do you have anything specific that you are wanting to knit, or learn to knit, in 2014? Would love to hear about it in the comments, and feel free to post a link to what you're working on!