Category Archives: Spinning

My Wall of Shame

She admits to inconstancy

OK, this article was just sitting here ready to go so I’m posting it now.  It was meant to be posted Nov 2007 but for some simple reasons, it never got posted.

It is no wonder that we knitting folk call ourselves knitting ‘ho’s, harlots and other less savoury names! We simply cannot stay true to one love project. The temptation of luscious yarns and interesting patterns has the effect of luring us away from one obsession to another.

Why am I going on like this? … Well, let me tell you. One day, while cleaning up my craft room, I realised that I had a few unfinished items laying around and for the heck of it decided to pull them all together. I was surprised to see this…

Wall of Shame

This is what I call my Wall of Shame. These are all the projects that I have not completed. Not just not completed but not touched in ages. Do I have good explanations why I haven’t finished them? Not really, it is just my temperament I guess. I get all excited about something else I see and have to start knitting it. Most of the time I do finish projects, but sometimes, to my shame, I just let them languish in a corner somewhere. They are always there in the back of my mind but somehow I never realized how many there were! Maybe they reproduced when I wasn’t looking. How else would you explain 4 different socks on the needles?

Pulling them together was a GOOD thing. Now they will not be so lonely. Now they have friends and neighbors to commune with. Now they have each other to complain bitterly to about the landlady’s lack of dependability.

Some of these items I do intend to finish, some I will frog and use the yarn for other more interesting projects.

To be quite honest these are not my only UFOs. These are only the ones in knitting and crocheting. I didn’t put on the pile my UFOs from painting, quilting, sewing, spinning, cross stitch or needle point in which I have at least one unfinished project. I will go now and hang my head in shame!

OK, enough of that! Let’s find creative ways to deal with this situation. I have been reading a lot about this on the web. Here are a few ideas I got from readings other people’s ways of dealing with this.

1. Work on a number of projects at once by giving yourself a set number of rows to do before you can move on to the next project.  This requires discipline.  You must do 15 rows of this lace shawl before you can move on to 22 rows of the easy scarf.

2. Try to keep to only one project but have an alternative if you get bored. Some projects such as lace, are so complicated that it is a relief to put them down for a short while and knit on a sock. Conversely working on mindless knitting may bore you so much that you really don’t want to finish.  Break up the monotony with something more complicated like colour work.

One member of a group I follow has this to say:

3. ” Joan Hamer has an excellent method for dealing with multiple projects at
the same time. Work on one the same night each week until finished,
then start a new one for that night. This allows for changing of needle
size, yarn material, knitting method (heck, you could put in a crochet
or x-st or beading night!) and keeps each project in work. You don’t
get bored, everything gets worked on and you get to feel virtuous. :)”

Even Sandi Wiseheart over at KnittingDaily has this problem. She took a poll and here are the results. Sandi really does a good job at exploring why we put down one project for another. If you haven’t read her article you should.

My projects will be divided into three piles; 1. to be frogged, 2. to be finished, 3. marinate a bit, I might finish later.

I do have one FO to show.

CreativeWhimsy's Dashing

This is Dashing by Cheryl Niamath

I’ve been very occupied with getting ready for the cold weather that is right around the corner and will probably continue to knit Hats and Mitts for awhile yet. Then this yarn-addict intends to finish off many of the projects on her wall of shame. Really, I will!

Today, don’t be ashamed, be creative!

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But Why?

Wherein she tries to explain the need to create.

It’s hard to explain to another person why one chooses to knit socks or sew your own skirt (they’re so readily available and cheap at the store!) or spin your own yarn (the stores are full of it!).

For me the drive to create has always been there. It’s not necessarily because I think my product is better. I do believe the hand made article will be unique and can exceed the store bought in quality, however, for me the thrill is going back to the beginning and creating something from scratch. Doing like my forebears did and making something from what appears to be nothing. I get a deep sense of satisfaction from this act of creation. The more practical and usable the better.

I have created many things over the years. I will spare you my poetry and the book that never did happen. As you know, I knit. I have long resisted the urge to spin, the call of the fibre. It just didn’t seem right that I should spend any creative time away from knitting to spin something so readily available. Of course, ultimately, I did give in…

Second attempt at spinning
This being my second attempt at spinning. Not too bad but quite thick. If I wanted to ply, it would create a heavy worsted weight yarn, so I’m using the singles to create gloves for DD. I did, however, wish to create a thinner yarn, something lace weight but I only had this Turkish spindle and it was too heavy for thinner weight yarns. So I searched the web and found a site that showed how to make your own. It’s an Akha. I thought this should do the trick.

Broken spindleI don’t know what I did but it wasn’t correct! The spindle kicked and wobbled. Maybe the yarn was too heavy for the Akha. Maybe I was trying to force the whorl up the spindle too far. Maybe I should buy a light weight spindle and get some experience!

Spinning Success I have success, a much thinner thread! When I ply it …

Skein of homemade yarn My first skein of 2 ply homespun. I think I need some practice plying! It doesn’t look all that impressive and it isn’t quite lace weight. According to many sources this 20 WPI yarn could be considered lace weight, according to others, it is a heavy sport weight or light DK weight.

20 WPI

At any rate, it is not yet lace weight in my books. I wish to create a soft lacy scarf for my mother for Christmas. I guess I will need more practice.

The question still remains, however, why do I spin? It’s a question I ask my self. If I truly enjoy something, then, it is worth doing. My painting teacher told a story of wanting to learn to play the violin. She loved the idea of playing beautiful concertos on a violin. She loved the sound. She did not, however love the process of playing the violin. The bowing and fingering were not for her. So the violin became merely a prop for still-lifes and interesting stories. So, do I love the process? I don’t think I do yet, I’m willing to give it a bit more chance. I will spin some Merino/Silk for Mom and then we will see… oh speaking of painting, class started last week.

warm up picture We warmed up by painting with our weaker, less dominant hand. This I painted with my left hand. I know it doesn’t look like much here but it looks much better in person. In fact it looks much better than the painting I did with my regular hand.

The real picture My right hand sucks! I think I’ve got it all worked out. It is impatience. The painting with my left hand looks better because I had to slow down and watch what I was doing. With my right hand, I’m impatient and think I should be able to whip up a good painting in minutes. Nobody can, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking I should be able to. Do I enjoy the process? I don’t know. I certainly enjoy the outcome… at times.

All in all, it is the process that I love. The spinning, the knitting, the painting and writing. Nothing feels better than when things go right, smoothly and correctly, or when problems are surmounted, barriers leapt, I love it when I’ve done something quite clever!

Will I continue with the spinning and painting? I certainly will give it more of a chance, perhaps more focus and less rush. Then, we’ll see…

Keep creating, no matter what you do.

String of My Heart

Have you ever made a resolution and then couldn’t keep it? Well none of us are super human so I imagine the answer for most is a resounding ‘oh yeah’. But I’m not talking about the ‘I need to get healthy, lets try to love soy beans and tofu’ kind of resolution here. I’m talking resisting temptations. I have been trying to keep my yarn habit at bay for a long time now. I’ve determined that I have enough yarn to knit a different project ever month for a number of years and I simply do not need any more yarn. So why is it when I walk into a yarn shop (like this one), even for just a few minutes I start to get a warm fuzzy feeling that builds into a longing and then craving for (of all things) yarn.

Yarn is string, is it not? I never used to get excited about string. Okay maybe about the string that tied up the Sunday roast beef. You know, the one that was basted in the meat juices… mmm, me and my siblings would fight over that string and the exultant winner would chew it with his eyes shut and a look of ecstasy on his face…… but that is another story. String does not, in fact, excite me. Merino string, now that is another kettle of fish. Or how about Cashmere string or Noro string? Yeah, now we’re talking!

Of course my slip (and you knew this is where I was heading!) was not in this neighborhood. I was enticed by this…

Silk Love

Look at this luscious Merino/Silk goodness! It is not yarn! I already have a project on the spindle that needs to be spun and knit up before Christmas and yet I just want to sit and stroke this roving all night long! Okay, Fibre addiction is not that bad. We’re not talking about being seduced by the Dark side or anything but it is a near thing! It probably approximates the lure of chocolate. It is not wicked or evil but some times it feels like it should be. This is not instant gratification however. I will have to work to get the merino string that I love. I have to spin and twist and toil to get it! That’s not lust, that’s love! When you have work hard for it, it is going to be a long term love affair and that is always worthwhile!

Oh yes, and I accidentally bought some of this too…

Soy Love

Paton’s SWS. Imagine that, I could become a soy lover after all!

….Keep on creating!

Oops, I Did It Again!

As we all know, those of us who knit anyway, knitting is not an exact science. A pattern is not a recipe where you get all the ingredients, throw them together and put them in the oven and everyone who uses it will get a delicious, edible casserole. Knitting does not work exactly this way although you would think it should! Knitting does include science but also a part artistry, a good part skill and also a large part luck.

The science is mostly math. Numbers of stitches per inch to figure out how many needed to cast on for a piece. Geometry for the shapes we contort the knitted fabric into to get a shape pleasing to our figures, limbs or digits.

The artistry aspect comes in when we choose the yarn for colour and weight. Maybe a hand painted skein or two or more solid colours. We choose stitch, pattern, length of garment. We choose amount of ease and drape.

The skill aspect is, of course, the many techniques learned by the knitter. It can either add a touch of finesse, or leave a ragged join; depending on skill levels.

Luck seems to be all other aspects that are variable and inconsistent. When I do a swatch for a project, I tend to trust it. So when it lets me down, I can only believe that it is the luck aspect being brought into play. Case in point, I was knitting Fetching for Hubby’s DD. I was using my first hand spun attempt and had no idea how it would do. I did a swatch and was amazed at how good it looked. The knitting actually helped the look of the single even where it was spun too tight! The gauge with the proper needle came to what the recommended yarn was before the author changed needle and made the gauge tighter. So I did the same thing, went to a smaller needle and made my gauge smaller. The glove ended up too small.

One Fetching Glove
Too bad because it was a very good looking glove. I just couldn’t move my hand much! I have since cast on the other hand and added another repeat of the cables and it should fit!

More fetching
Wish me luck!!

So to me, luck, fate, destiny, Karma are a big factor when you knit. To those of us with lots of experience, you can diminish the luck aspect but for those that are just starting out or have little experience, luck seems to hold sway. As you gain experience, you will be able to know when there is less chance of a luck thing about to happen or you can see it happening earlier and head it off at the pass. As for me, I have been knitting off and on for years and I still have problems with the luck thing. Sometimes, it is good and sometimes, like now, it is not.
It is not all bad news however, I have managed to produce something I quite like. I made socks for my DD for Christmas.

Lace Socks

I think she will like them! These socks were created using a Sockbug pattern called Sheri’s Lace Socks. I started the sock and found the lace to be inelastic and baggy. So I altered the pattern by alternating rows of lace with sections of 3×1 ribbing. The ribbing really helps to keep the sock fitting snuggly to the leg.

Partridge Heel

Here is a photo of the partridge heel I did for the sock. No special reason, I just wanted to try it out. It is more cushiony than the plain or double heel but I find the look of it distracts from the overall image of delicacy.

I hope your creative day works out more in the good luck way than in the bad.

Have a creative day!