Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Throwing Caution to the Wind....

I'm not usually a 'make-it-up' as I go kind of knitter. Ha! I'm not really a 'make-it-up' as I go kinda girl period. I'm a total rule follower, direction follower and always a pattern follower... yeah. I'm a bit boring. A bit? Probably a lot!
Well... throwing all caution to the wind...
I'm knitting without a pattern!! Knitting without a net! I'm winging it!!  Wow huh?
Can you hear the angst? The jittery nerves? Yeah. Me too. Totally not something I normally do, but I'm doing it.
 ONLY because *you knew there was a disclaimer* I hated the pattern I had for the thing I'm making. H A T E D it. It was stupid with a capital S!
Okay, okay.. what the heck am I talking about. I started off going on a tangent about throwing caution to the wind, rapidly moved to hating a pattern....
 My oldest kid (Big Thing One aka BTO) now has a Little! Yes. I'm a grandma! Which totally means that I get to make stuff for the Little!! Yay! BTO & his Little live in Northern Michigan where it gets a little chilly in the winter. Which then means... logical conclusion here... hats! Hats are necessary to get little heads through a long cold winter! AND a hat is really easy to make and can be personalized in so many marvelous ways! Right?!  See where I'm going now? I hated the hat pattern I had, but wanted to make the hat. Little needs a hat. Can you say obtuse? Yeah...
BTO has always been fascinated by superheros and especially Batman so why not make Little a Batman-esque hat for Christmas?  I found a pattern online, more of a guideline rather and figured I could whip it up in no time! You basically cast on 31 stitches and knit in stockinette (that's knit a row, purl a row with flat stuff) for 4 rows. On row 5 (right side) you knit 8, cast off 6, knit 3, cast off another 6 and then knit the remaining. Now just knit in stockinette for 40cm. Once you're done you have a scarf-like thing with two holes that are supposed to look like eye slits (think Batman mask here okay?). Now sew up the side seams and WA-la. A Batman-esque hat.
Um... not so much. #1 problem... I hate sewing up side seams. It's dumb. Mostly because I don't do it very well, but in this case I made the hat in black. Black is hard to see. Problem #2, once said side seam was sewn up it left no 'give' for the hat to stretch around Little's head. Problem #3, I can't measure Little's head to get it just right... he's in Northern Michigan. Sigh. Dumb *$*#*&# pattern anyway.  Problem #4... nowhere online could I find a pattern that would work. Problem #5 I don't think outside the box with this stuff very often (sigh.. ever). Insert light bulb blinking brightly in my head! Why not make up my own pattern! A Batman hat would be oh so cute on Little! BTO would love it - even if it was knitted by me!! Off we go.... into the realm of making stuff up.  Eeeek!

This is the first attempt... not so bad, but I think I can do better... AND do it in the round so no seaming AND it will stretch a bit to fit Little's head.
This is my version!! Using #7's, 16-inch circulars (No seaming!!) and worsted weight black yarn (this is Wool-Ease) I cast on 100 stitches. Should fit my 9 year old okay so it will definitely fit a cute Little! Too big probably...
Another cool thing about knitting in the round means... no purling!! No seaming AND no purling! Winning!!
After casting on now, knit 4 or 5 rows, on 5th row (or 6th) just pick a spot where you want the eye mask part to be... I knit over from beginning of round to about the 25th stitch.. then I bound off 8 stitches (I wanted bigger eye slits), knit 5, bound off 8 more and then knit to the end. On next row I knit to the bound off stitches, cast on (onto right needle with backward loop) 8 stitches, knit the next 5, cast on 8 more and then knit to the end.
Now I'm just knitting around and around until I get about 40cm (I think) and then I am going to put all the live stitches onto straight needles and then probably do a 3 needle bind off.  The little ears may have to be tacked into place, but it should work. Keep your fingers crossed!
I don't have a completed pattern yet... it's a work in progress and I'm really going to geuss-timate how long it needs to be by measuring it on Boy's head and maybe the next door two year old! THEN I will post my final pattern and how to finish it all up!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Fix Your Knitting

What do you get get when you add one busy puppy, one long circular needle, an impatient mom, a home schooled (read bored 9 year old) and 2 balls of yarn. Sigh.  Sometimes not the socks you were trying to get but totally what I got a couple of days ago.....Yarn vomit.   One seriously twisted up pile of yarn, needles, stitch markers and patience.  It was definitely enough of a mess that I tossed it off my lap and onto the floor. Ugh.
How to fix it?  Walk away.  Put the needles down and walk away.
~ Like I've said before, sometimes the best fix for a knitting issue is to just walk away. Stay away & take a breather usually helps too! I managed to ignore it for two whole days, but finally I just couldn't stand it! I wanted to knit! I wanted to finish the socks! *yeah... me finish something? Ha! That's how bad the explosion/vomit was! It was so bad that it took two days for me to even want to touch it again. It was way too twisted for my impatient brain and there was no way my brain would allow my fingers to coax into any sort of useable mess.  Dang. I thought it was all over. One twisted up pile of crap to throw in the trash. Hey! Wait a minute... I bought that crap! I paid money for that! AND the best part of it was that I felt compelled to finish the socks!! All right... truth here... Big's birthday is Saturday and I haven't gotten him anything yet. I should finish these socks and wrap them up for him! Smart huh? So... I finally picked it up this morning hoping that the yarn would comply. Crossing my fingers that the kid and the dog would leave me alone.I'm on a deadline here.   Hm mm? Yeah. Let's just say that if I hadn't remembered another very important thing to have for knitting, this whole mess I made might truly have gone into the trash bin.
I can't believe I didn't utilize the best knitting tool EVER! It's actually the best tool in the knitting toolbox and although it's often one I frequently forget........ other than my patience, it's a real easy fix for just about any knitting or yarn emergency!!  Time to utilize the 'Phone a Friend tool'!! Talk about a lifeline!!
How come I don't use this tool more often? Especially when I have a bunch of friends I can call that are so close? Beats me. I'm a much happier person when I have someone to share yarn with, but maybe it's that whole thing... I wanna do it myself? I don't know, but friends make life so much better! Even if only it is to talk you through a knitting emergency over the phone! Thanks Aunt G!!
The only cure for my serious sock/yarn/vomit/mess was to call up my friend Miss Muno (names are always changed to protect the guilty innocent) and her cute children! Oh wait? How can cute children help with a yarn explosion? Why they can entertain the bored child and the busy puppy!! Whoop!!  After settling down on the couch with children and dog entertained, Miss M proceeded to knock out my mess.... .... in about five short minutes. Really. Guess I should have added some more patience? Nah.. it was way better just hanging out with my friend option!!
Thanks Miss M for saving my sanity and rescuing me from a pool of yarn vomit!