i sewed a Something

Another one of the aims I set myself for 2013 was: sew something. Very ambitious, I know. But with one major craft obsession (knitting) and another craft crush (crochet) already on the plate, I wanted to go easy on myself. Goals like “learn to sew” seemed both too vague and too huge to accomplish. But “sew something, at least one thing” was much more achievable and motivating.

Luckily, I have a few friends who know about the craft, and have the tools for it as well. Last Sunday a few of us impulsively decided to have a crafting afternoon, and suddenly I found myself accomplishing my goal without any planning or preparation! Lookie!

I. Sewed. A. Something. It is very simple, and not perfect, but I did it, I did it, and by gosh the edges are kinda straight and nothing is falling off . It is even functional!

That’s one project bag that will be shown off with immense pride come my next Stitch’n’Bitch meeting!

So, first impressions? It was fun! I improvised the pattern, just by imagining how things would have to work, and doing a little sketching. It is definitely an exercise in three-dimensional visualising and logical sequencing. I’m not terribly good at the former, so it’s a nice challenge, and I dare say that I have a slight suspicion it will make me a better knitter as well.

In terms of the process, I found myself laughing at some point, as I thought to myself: “Well, I’m not patient enough for this!” All that measuring, drawing, cutting, sketching, trying out on paper, ironing, pinning… The actual sewing is like 10% of the time! At the same time, I remembered that the sentence I hear so often from people, after I tell them I knit, is: “Oh, I wouldn’t have the patience for that…” A knitter’s perspective is interesting… :)

And what’s next? Well, with this goal accomplished so early on, I think I may as well plan to sew Another Something. I really like this. Do you have any other recommendations for patterns/tutorials? I’d love to hear them!

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testing in progress

Thank you for the wonderful response to my call for pattern testers! Several lovely ladies are currently playing around with my pattern draft and I am super curious to see what they come up with! In the meantime, to appease my impatience, I thought I’d join in with the testing.

This little thing is such a quick knit, it really takes no time at all, so it wasn’t difficult to decide to cast on this second version.

So far the most difficult thing about pattern writing has been knowing where to stop! I am constantly getting new ideas… Oh the cast on could be done like this. And I could include another version for the bind off. Maye I should note that the colourwork can be moved to another section. Wouldn’t it be fun to include an alternative chart to give people more options. Shouldn’t I do several sizing options like one commentator suggested. And so on, and so on. If I don’t stop myself, before you know it this little Kindle cozy pattern is going to be 5 pages long! I guess I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that I can write other patterns as well! No need to cram all my ideas into this one… :)

test knitters wanted – Kindle cozy

Even though I haven’t done any kind of 2012 wrap-up or 2013 launch post, I have set myself some goals for this shiny new year. I think I’ll share them gradually, as I make some progress on them. For now, I can tell you that one of the goals is to write a knitting pattern. I find this to be no easy task. So I decided to start slowly and on a small scale.

Initially, this wasn’t supposed to be a pattern at all. I just wanted to make my colleague a Kindle cozy, which I had promised her a while ago. But when I searched on Ravelry, none of the existing patterns (and there are many!) were quite what I was looking for. So I improvised one. And here is the result.

The idea is to make it a free pattern. But I want to approach it as seriously as if it were for sale. In short, I am using this as a learning opportunity, and as a first step to more serious pattern writing. I have already learned that even such a tiny thing requires a lot of work: spelling out every step clearly, but without using too many words; weighing yarn amounts; measuring gauge; photographing… and more. The biggest lesson is that you have to think of every detail. When knitting, you can usually fudge some things, get away with not checking gauge, approximate whether you’ll have enough yarn or not. But when you are writing the pattern, you are expected to know (and provide) all that information. And phew, it’s a lot of work! But it’s also fun.

The pattern is very quick to make. It is knit in the round, in worsted weight yarn, with a tiny little bit of colourwork (only 9 rounds).

I used Cascade 220 Heathers for the MC and Brooklyn Tweed Shelter for the CC. The result is wonderfully rustic, just like I wanted it to be. But I would love to see what variations other people come up with!

So, want to help me? I’d love to have a few test-knitters who could tell me what didn’t work, what wasn’t clear, what could be done better. I promise to listen to you very very carefully. :)

detective work

Today, I have a lesson for you, my friends. It’s very simple: enter your yarn data into Ravelry. Your full yarn data. Including the colourway (and yes, even dye lot, as useless as it often feels). Why, you may ask? Well, because you may find yourself in the following situation:

It’s been a year since you purchased the yarn. You’ve made a few projects with it but they were mostly improvised so you didn’t bother noting the colourways down. Who cared anyway? You had so much of this stuff that you didn’t know what to do with it. And then, because you had so much of it, you might decide to start a blanket with it. And then (do you see it yet?), you will most certainly (and completely unexpectedly), run out of it. The shop where you had bought it originally will not carry the same colour anymore (because it’s a small shop and they order things haphazardly, and even if you asked them they probably wouldn’t know what those two shades of gray were that they happened to have last winter). The yarn company in question will offer 9 (nine!) different shades of gray all of which will be very similar to the one you (don’t) have (anymore). This will make it impossible to tell from the photos alone which one you need. Especially when you take into account the fact that the same yarn looks different in different photos (see for example the colour 8400 here and here). And displayed on different computer screens. And then all you will be left with will be detective work and guessing.

After a while, you will place your order, from two different yarn shops in two different European countries (both different from the one you currently live in), cross your fingers, and hope for the best.

So there you go, my friends. Enter your yarn data into Ravelry.

p.s. Special thanks go to Cascade’s website for their great overview of yarns and colourways, and Laine et Tricot for their useful note on the shades of Cascade grays (also, they sell the yarn much cheaper than any of the other European shops I found, too bad they did not have the colours I needed!).

p.p.s. I’ll keep you posted when they arrive…

a good read

I’m just dropping by quickly to let you know about this beautiful new online knitting magazine, coming all the way from Japan: amirisu! I happened to discover it via Gudrun’s blog, and have really enjoyed reading the new issue.

All the contents are both in Japanese and English, and everything is simple and beautifully designed. What a great way to connect two very strong knitting traditions. I think you might enjoy it. :)

assembly

Remember way back when I kinda got into crochet? Well, that got off to a good start and in less than a month I already had more than 61 pieces to assemble. And then I just dropped it. I don’t remember how or why, but this blanket simply went out of sight. A few days ago, it came back. In order to sort out how big exactly I want it to be and how much more yarn I will need, I decided to first proceed with assembling what I have so far. And so the assembly has begun.

This is a cool pattern which combines crocheting the last round of the granny square with connecting the pieces at the same time. It’s easy and fun, and I’m enjoying it very much.

Have I mentioned how much I love the colours on this thing?

It is utterly possible that I will want to marry this blanket when it’s done.

In other news, there have been other types of assembly also happening in my little nest this weekend. A fruitful trip to IKEA turned me into an enthusiastic Bob the Builder for one Saturday evening and I now have a lovely new yarn cupboard. And to reward myself for all that hard work, some baking was included too…

These pumpkin cinnamon rolls were relatively easy to make and delicccious. The recipe is here, if you’re interested in doing some assembly yourselves…

Have a great week, everyone!