Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Project Juggling

Typically, I'm what you might call "project monogamous." I like to focus all my energy on one particular thing until it's DONE. I don't really like cleaning up after this burst of finishing energy, but that is neither here nor there. In fact, I'm usually most motivated to clean up and organize when I'm ready to start the next project, which leads to sort of consistently messy project space. Which is why I need my own space to lock away my mess. :)

So about a month ago, my shop started slowing down as people get tired of buying warm weather knits after the holidays and set their sights on spring. Can't blame em, I'm right there with you! I seized this opportunity to start making things for myself! I whipped out a cowl, and then I started on a pair of fancy convertible gloves for easy phone access. And....well, it was sort of a fail. I usually knit small items in the round on double pointed needles, which look a lot more impressive than they are. However, I also usually knit on thicker yarn than the fingering weight this pattern calls for.


And I ended up with what they call "laddering," which is basically loose spots between where you switch from one needle to the next. Grrrr.

See the stretched out bits between the ribbing? Unacceptable.

I googled for solutions, and while a lot of them suggest which stitches to pull tighter, and alternating where your needles join, those weren't working for me. I saw several message board posts that point to using either 2 circular needles or one super long one in a magic loop configuration as a potential solution. I opted to try 2 circular needles for a few reasons. I've heard that magic loop can be tricky if your cable isn't flexible enough, and I didn't want to deal with experimenting with a bunch of different brands. I also thought that if I got circulars in a few lengths, I'd be able to tell which needle was #1 or #2, so I'd know which was the end of the round. I also thought that I'd have a better shot of having the right length needle for all the sweaters I have queued up in my mind. So I ordered a bunch of needles from Knitpicks, because that was the most cost effective way of getting the quantity I wanted.

In the meantime, I worked on a few other things, which I might someday get around to posting about in more detail. For now, a few photos.

When my needles finally arrived, I cast on my gloves for the 3rd time, and it went much better!

I nearly finished the ribbing....and then I discovered something horrible and wonderful. You can buy other people's unwanted yarn on Ravelry for sometimes very, very cheap. And then I started dreaming about wearing nothing but hand knit socks because this winter has been oh so very cold, and so have my feet. I may or may not have had packages of sock yarn....and enough for a few sweaters....arriving at my house every day for about a week and a half. And now I am grounded from Paypal, so says my bank account. In order to make good use of this accidental stash enhancing, I started my odyssey to hand knit socks with some yarn a friend from knitting group de-stashed to me months ago. It's a sport weight, so it's slightly heavier and easier to learn on than true sock yarn. I've done a version of socks before from the top down, but I sort of feel like those don't count because the yarn and needles are so huge! For my first pair of "real" socks, I decided to switch things up and go toe up, so that they could be as tall as possible. I have 2 skeins, so one per sock. I figured that by starting from the toe, I could just knit till I run out of yarn. It's going very well so far!

As you can see, I got nearly done with one sock before I got distracted..... I was cleaning out some things, and I came across a pattern I saved YEARS ago. I've always wanted to knit this little dress, but never knew if I'd have the right recipient. It just so happens that I DO have a little lady in mind....and the sizing for this dress only goes up to 24 months! Which means I'm running out of time! I decided to work it up in cotton yarn because that would make a more sensible summer dress. It also gives me 2-5 months to finish, whenever summer decides to arrive. :) In this case, having a few projects going is a good thing, because I'm just noticing what everyone says - cotton is a little hard on the hands. The yarn doesn't have as much give as wool or acrylic, so the loops on the needles sort of dig into my hand. The fabric itself feels nice though, so I just need to work on it in shorter bursts.

I love how it's starting out though!

In the OTHER meantime though....I got an order for a few pairs of mittens, presumably for someone planning ahead for next year, so those jumped right to the top of the list!!

Ah, if only I had all the time in the world. :) We'll see if this project juggling is something I keep doing, or if I go back to my monogamous ways. I could see a logical doubling up of projects coming from trying to have a personal project going alongside Etsy orders. I think I've been a little too shop focused lately, and it's been nice to have some personal gain happening, both for me and little gifts for people. It will be nice to have some finished projects sticking with me instead of heading off to new homes!

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