If you know me at all, you know that I can knit most everything except sweaters. Over the last ten years, I’ve attempted and failed at several sweater patterns. Then I received bulky yarn as a Christmas gift this past Christmas. So, maybe I’d try a sweater AGAIN! Looked up a pattern on www.ravelry.com. The yarn was a super bulky Bernat yarn and I was given four balls. With a top-down sweater, I couldn’t lose, right? I even knit a swatch, for goodness sakes! I knit about four inches down and…..I hated the yarn! Really, really!
So, back to the drawing board. First, because of the sale, I stopped in at my local www.joanns.com. I found some fabulous Alpaca blend bulky in a beautiful dark rosy pink color.
Back to Ravelry, and to a new pattern. It’s the Fiona Sweater from Quince & Company. I swatched the yarn and voila! It’s a go!
So I started the sweater just before Knitting Goup on Tuesday and it’s now Saturday. My sweater has grown substantially. Points to me! Stay tuned to see if I finally finish it! Cross your fingers!
I’m channelling Scarlet O’Hara today! I’ve been teaching a class on knitting hats in the round and emphasizing to my students the importance of swatching….yes, me, the “I never swatch queen!”
Since I expect my students to do it, I’ve been swatching too. And guess what? It works!!! My hats fit the heads they are supposed to fit! What a revelation.
So I now have a new mantra…swatching is good….no swatching is great!!!
Although I have been teaching beginning knitting to family
and friends for years, I recently branched out to teaching a beginner’s knitting class at a local community college. But I have to admit, I was not as prepared as I should have been since I thought that no one would sign up. Was I wrong. I have 6 really special students and I am really enjoying teaching them the joys (and occasional frustrations) of knitting.
Now that I have a couple of “professional” sessions…..although why I think getting paid to teach makes me more professional than when I taught for free, I’ll never know. Another thought for another day.
- Name tags help a lot. Have name tags for each class until you feel that you know your class well.
- Handouts are a must. I didn’t have any handouts prepared (although I was working on them) until the 2nd week. Here are the handouts I’ve used so far…*Welcome with information on local yarn shops, local Sit-N-Knit meetings, my phone, email, Ravelry name, etc.
*Learning objectives and lesson plans (so your class knows what you will teach each time).
*Easy pattern to try. I basically wrote my own slipper pattern with two different types of toes so the class could work whichever style they likes.
- Be prepared to have one or more who will need extra help. If you have a friend who can assist you, you can tag-teach and she can help some of the others while you do one-on-one teaching.
- Enjoy yourself! I did not realize how much fun it would be until I let myself relax and enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship.
I love mysteries….mystery books, mystery movies, even mystery food! I just enjoy watching or reading (or tasting) to see how it ends.
That’s why I love Mystery KAL’s. A Mystery KAL (or knit-a-long) is one in which a part of a pattern (clue) is released on a regular basis. It could be released weekly, every-other-day, or even monthly, depending upon the designer’s whim. You really do not know how the final product looks until you finish the last stitch.
There are all kinds of Mystery KALs as well as Mystery Crochet-alongs. You can usually find them in the afghans, bags, shawls, socks, and dishcloth threads on Ravelry. You can even join Mystery swaps.
If you would like to join a Mystery KAL or CAL, there are a few tips that I have learned:
- Plan to use more yarn than the design calls for. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Some Mystery KAL or CAL patterns are free; others are for a small fee. Most designers, if they charge, often charge a bit less if you purchase the pattern before the KAL or CAL ends.
- Find a local buddy to follow the KAL with you. You and she/he can serve as inspiration and nearby help.
- Always knit/crochet a swatch before beginning the first clue to make sure that you have gauge.
- As each clue is revealed, wait a day or so until you begin knitting that part. While designers work very hard to to have error-free patterns, it does sometimes happen. You’ll save yourself a lot of frog-pond time if you wait.
- Check your KAL’s Ravelry thread often for pattern errors.
- If you get in trouble, go to the Ravelry thread and ask. You can email the designer, but most often someone else has had the same problem and can help. Likewise, be willing to answer if someone else asks and you can help.
- Keep in mind there is a chance that you will not fit/like/need/want the final product once you have knitted it. It IS a MYSTERY knit-along after all. If that’s the case, either give it away or frog it and use the yarn for something else.
- Most Mystery KAL’s have two threads in their Ravelry group. One is for pictures to be posted by those who have completed the clues (a spoiler thread) and one is for no pictures (no spoilers) but just questions, comments, etc. You can choose to either peek or not to see how the product is coming along.
Have I helped you clarify the mystery in Mystery KALs?
Posted in knitting, shawl, socks, sweater
Tagged advice, CAL, KAL, knit, knitting, mystery, Pattern, Ravelry, shawl, sock, socks, swap, yarn
Yes, dear friends, I am going to stop knitting my sweater for the Ravellenic Games Sweater Triathlon. My wrists are aching and I have a headache that will not quit. I will have to quit knitting on this project before I develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
It’s okay, though. I learned a long time ago that I am a PROCESS knitter not necessarily a PRODUCT knitter. It does not bother me to tear out two weeks worth of knitting. I think that I have learned quite a bit during those two weeks.
What have I learned? Well, that both patterns that I chose to help me overcome my lack-of-sweater-knitting skills were very good. Each of them gave me new skills that I will be able to use in my knitting.
I also tried two different types of yarn. Unfortunately, I did not swatch yarn #2 very much to realize how tightly it would knit on size 6 needles (which was gauge for that sweater). And yarn #1 just did not feel right for the pattern I originally chose. Maybe I will make a sweater with yarn #1 and pattern #2; but just not this week.
And that’s okay with me. I am going to finish watching those marvelous Olympians reaching their personal goals while finishing up a shawl and winding yarn for an upcoming Mystery Shawl knit-a-long. If you want to join me, check it out on Ravelry: Fantasia Mystery Shawl Group and find your yarn at Fiddle Knits Design.
Posted in knitting, shawl, sweater
Tagged advice, diy, knit, knitting, medals, Olympics, Pattern, Ravellenicgames, Ravelry, shawl, yarn
I am so very proud to announce that I have received my second Ravellenic Games Medal. It’s for the Toy Toss! I had to knit something that was a toy.
So I made a really cute and super fast Bunny Blanket Toy.
I have been enjoying the Olympic Games and knitting so far, but my hardest project is yet to come….I know, I know I should have started it first (and I actually did, but I put the first one aside and changed yarn/pattern/needles/etc.) Even if I don’t get it knit in time to be awarded a medal, I am determined to knit myself a cardigan.
I still have 2 more medals to come–both for the same project. I have finished the project and submitted it for the medals, but it takes time to get to the “podium.”
How about you? Do you like to knit and watch sports on TV? I have a friend who loves to knit and watch NASCAR. I still don’t care to knit complicated projects while watching sports, (especially if I have to count stitches or rows) but so far these projects I’ve done have been pretty easy. I’m more of a Masterpiece Theater knitter.
Well, back to the Games! Knit on!
Posted in knitting, toy
Tagged Baby, blankie, bunny, comfort, knit, knitting, Olympics, Pattern, quick, Ravelry, toy
Have you ever purchased a yarn just because it looked so pretty? That’s how I ended up with my pink/white/blue Zauberball.
But I had no clue as to what to do with it … until recently. I saw on Ravelry a Wingspan Shawl and shazam! There it was.
It’s a very easy short-row pattern that is all garter stitch so you can knit while watching TV.
The colorway I purchased was very feminine-looking, so I am calling my shawl “FairyWings.”
I can’t wait to finish it.
Posted in knitting, shawl
Tagged clothing, diy, easy short-row, fashion, knit, knitting, Pattern, Ravelry, shawl, WIP, yarn
Please pardon me, dear readers, for not blogging much the last few months. I was quite busy with Christmas knitting (will post pictures soon) and, of course, the “job that pays for the yarn that keeps Cindy knitting and sane!”
So, without further ado, here are my very own 2012 Knitting Resolutions:
- Before June 1, learn a new technique – knitting with beads.
- In the Summer, participate in the 2012 Ravelympics games.
- Knit from my stash yarn one project a month.
- Knit one item from my WIP, current kit projects (not listed on my Ravelry project page), or hibernating projects every other month.
- Teach someone else to knit and continue to encourage all knitters, new and experienced!
- Knit a pair of socks every other month.
- Knit 4 items (once a quarter) for charity projects (i.e. newborn caps, prayer shawls, etc.).
- Take pictures and put my yarn stash on Ravelry to help me keep organized.
So there are my 2012 resolutions. While I belong to several groups of “12 in 2012,” I don’t think that I want to plan to knit 12 of anything for this year. If it happens anyway, it will be a lucky coincidence!
So, dear reader, do you have any knitting resolutions? Feel free to share with me. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my progress throughout the year, as well.
Posted in knitting
Tagged 2012, ideas, knit, knitting, Olympics, resolutions, sock knitting, socks, stash, swap, WIP, yarn
Some Ideas for today (or tomorrow)
- Write a new yarn pattern
- Check out Ravelry, a special “Facebook” just for knitters and crocheters
- Go to a yarn festival or shop
- Organize a yarn bombing. (Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, or graffiti knitting is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk.)
- Teach someone to knit or crochet
- Do something for charity
- Wear a knitted or crocheted item
- Give a gift of yarn
- Take your yarn to work day
- Host a yarn-a-bration party
- Knit, crochet and craft in public
A while back, practically everyone I knew was raving about Noro Yarn. They loved the colors, loved how it knit, etc. So, I bought some. But I just didn’t like the “feel” of it. It seemed scratchy to me…and the colors were fine, but I’d seen other yarns with bright colors so that wasn’t quite the big deal to me. There it lay in my stash for a long time.
Until I came across the Revontuli-Huivi Northern Lights Pattern on Ravelry. The projects that others’ had knitted with this pattern simply blew me away. I HAD to knit it. So, I took out the Noro and began.
Wow! I was amazed. After blocking, the yarn was less scratchy. The colors worked out well and, I just gotta tell you…sometimes the Yarn fools ya! See the picture below (taken before the corn has been harvested!).