Friday, January 28, 2011

How many WIPs?

Every so often the same topic is brought up among knitters - how many WIPs do you have? For those who are not knitters a WIP is a Work In Progress.

There are those who plan a project - start a project - knit a project and yes - finish a project. They are rare. Most knitters have multiple projects going. Some knitters have "billions" of projects going. I like have a variety available. A simple project that can handle having a conversation while knitting; a complex one to challenge my skills; something I'm currently designing; a long term project, etc.

At my last knitting night I was working on an afghan I started a year or two ago and one of the ladies joked about me starting projects all the time and I shocked her with the fact that I don't have that many projects going right now. Turns out the past couple months I've gotten into finishing projects. I decided to do a reality check on how many projects I really have going right now.

1. Lace project - I'm about 80% done with a Pi Shawl. The Camping shawl designed in honor of Elizabeth Zimmermann's 100th birth anniversary.

2. Sit and chat project - I'm using up leftover worsted weight on a 10 stitch afghan. It all garter stitch and you only have to pay attention on the mitered corners.

3. Traveling Sock - I always have a sock project going since it's easy to throw in the purse in case I get stuck somewhere. Current sock is a lace mock cable.

4. I really need mittens - I'm making some black mittens because I'm in big need of something warm for my hands that will look ok with my coat. These should be done in the next couple days so they're really just a blip on the project list.

5. Garter Stitch sweater - It's in a bit of a time out because I ripped a sweater I had started about 5-6 years ago when I couldn't find the pattern. I started a new top down sweater, designing as I went and didn't notice till too late that the rest of the yarn is packed away somewhere and I haven't had time to go searching.

6. Long term project - I'm making a sock yarn project that I keep saying will not be the Sock Yarn afghan.
Current plan is this will be a shawl but, who knows, when I get to the shawl size I may just keep going. It only gets pulled out when I have no urge to knit other things and I don't plan on it being completed for a very long time.

7. Knit Market Bag - I designed a crochet market bag a few years back and it became very popular. As a matter of fact it's number 42 most popular bag on Ravelry. That got my knitting friends asking for a knit version. I've got a knit version about half done and it's just sitting there waiting for me to finish and write it up. one day...

I've got a few projects that I've more or less "forgotten" and may pull them out some day and may not. I rarely rip because I eventually get back to them. A couple years ago I finished a Christmas sock that I started in the 1980s. I never give up on a project!  These get back to them some year projects include a Mystery shawl 3 I started 2-3 years ago; my mitered summer top; and a bunch of diagonal squares that may end up as an afghan some year.

For a knitter who usually has about 20-30 projects going to only have 10 projects is very unusual. I think I need to start something new - right now!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Big Boy!

March 25, 2002 

January 25, 2002 my big boy was born. Little did I know at the time I would totally fall in love 3 months later and be wrapped around his little "finger".

I went to pick him up at 3 months of age and stopped by my parents house before going home. On the trip home my nameless little bundle crawled into my coat and fell asleep on my chest (18 lbs later he still does this!) When I brought him into my folk's he went right to Dad and played with him then went over to Mom and fell asleep on her lap. This little boy really knew how to get people to love him quick.

All my cats have been named after family members so, while we were trying to come up with a name Dad said the kitty had total control of the family just like "The Chief" did. And - a name was found. Grandpa was a Chief Petty Officer who was always in command of where ever he was. The name was turned out to be perfect because this little boy has always been the chief.

He's always demanded to be close and cuddle so when I needed to spend time on the computer I had to come up with a way to cuddle but keep working. I found my old arm sling and it worked perfect - we were both happy.

Time passed and he grew into a very handsome Big Boy. 18 pounds of love and good manners. So - Happy Birthday Big Boy. Thanks for picking me when I came to visit your birth home!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

When is final really final?

This week I received a recorded phone call announcing to me that it was the final courtesy call about my credit card and the possible lower rates I could get. This wouldn't be so unique except for the fact that I have received at least a dozen of the same phone call and its not even for any card I currently own. So it makes me wonder, if it was the final opportunity 12 phone calls ago what have the last 11 calls been?

This week was a cold one here in Minnesota. Friday was a very happy day for knitters. Going to work found me in a handknit sweater - handknit socks, handknit mittens and hat, and for good measure a handknit lap afghan to keep my legs warm in the car. Knitting is a great way to survive the challenges of a northern winter. Those of you who live in the north east regions of the US - get ready. It's coming - it's cold and it's time to dig out every handknit item you own!

I really don't have much else to say but I'm trying to get back into the practise of posting a couple times a week and maybe this will encourage me to take some pictures of my knitting and the boys to share. I've gotten lazy about that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

 Once upon a time I heard about this crazy thing people were doing called blogging. I found some about knitters and read them. I got caught up in the excitement and remembered the good ole days when I had a web site for my machine knitting business. I missed the Internet so took the plunge. Writing about the Boys, knitting and my folks I found a very small group of readers. For a few years I averaged 2-15 people a day. Not many but then, I wasn't the Yarn Harlot so what could I expect.

Then I started to think about the good ole days (that tends to get me in trouble) when I wrote patterns and wrote for a few machine knitting magazines and decided to give writing some of my basic patterns for people a try. One pattern that was put up on the blog was "Rust Goes Green". A simple rectangular crocheted market bag that caught on. People started downloading it - a lot. I decided to put it on Ravelry so I could keep track of how many downloads and to date there's been over 2,000 downloads.

I've put a few other patterns on Ravelry as free downloads and each one has had their own success. Somewhere along the way I was playing with reversible cables and came up with a fairly simple scarf that was totally reversible cables. I like the scarf but never got around to finishing it so for fun I posted it with basic how to's instead of a full pattern. Well, that's when things got weird.

You've probably seen the websites that list patterns by category. My Which Way is Up Cable scarf has been listed by several of these sites. One even listed it as one of the top 5 scarves. This has amused me because, really, it's not even a real pattern. It's kind of a - this is what I did, here's what I'd do next time, go try your own thing - kind of pattern. People like it. Maybe I should really write it up but then I think - why bother. People are doing just fine the way it is.

Statcounter is something you can put on your blog to see how many people stop by, where they're from, what page they land on, etc. That's how I know I used to get 2-15 people. Here's a shot of the last couple weeks. Do you see that tall column? That's saying almost 1,000 people came to visit the blog that day. The other days are 100-over 300. This has been going on for a few months and they are almost all landing on the scarf post.

If this type of community was around 15-20 years ago when I had my knitting/sewing shop maybe I would have been able to stay in business.

Whatever is going on right now, I'm happy people seem to like the patterns I've been putting out there. I have several other designs in process and hope to have them available soon. I've been working on several accessories using different techniques. There a lace scarf and fingerless gloves in Malabrigo; garter stitch hat and mittens, and some other accessory sets. I've also come up with a technique for cable mittens that I haven't seen anywhere before. The testers say it works for them so I'll be writing that up as so as I come up with a hat to go with it.

Speaking of knitting - a while back I bought a ball of Flying Saucer yarn is fun bold colors. I finished the socks but never got around to posting a picture. So - a little late but here's the socks from this yarn.

The yarn is dyed with 2 strands together so the socks will come out fairly close to matching. The socks in the picture look different only because you're seeing the 2 different sides. If I had them both facing the same direction they'd look similar. The pattern is just a basic one I did to give a bit of texture without losing the color. It's 10 rows of k-p texture and 10 rows plain. Next time I'd probably just do plain.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good Hair Hat - a lesson in brioche stitch

This summer I designed a simple brioche stitch hat and posted on my blog. Since I had several friends talking about wanting to learn the brioche stitch. I finally decided it was time to write up the instructions for knitting this stitch. I've put the pattern and instructions up on Ravelry and it is now available for everyone to give this simple, airy stitch a try.

Good Hair Hat pattern