Wordless Wednesday

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Process vs. Product

Find a group of knitters anywhere and ask them whether they consider themselves a process or product knitter and I’m sure most of them will have an opinion one way or the other.  It can sometimes appear to be a clear-cut answer, and for some knitters, perhaps it is.  But I also think that it can often be more of a spectrum and that knitters can move back and forth between the two extremes over the course of their knitting “career.”  And even for those knitters that identify themselves as product knitters, they have to have a bit of a process knitter inside, because to be honest, if all you cared about was the product, you’d just go buy a pair of socks or a sweater.  You wouldn’t spend countless hours making stitch after stitch yourself to arrive at the finished object.

Let’s take a moment and examine each type of knitter.

yarnsterYou might be a process knitter if…

…you have bags upon bags upon bags of WIPs strewn throughout your living space.  These WIPs are likely in various stages of completion from just started to all but finished.

…you understand the term “startitis” and do not feel guilty when this affliction hits.

…once a project reaches the boring stage or you get tired of staring at the same yarn and stitch pattern for days on end, you have no qualms about shoving it in a project bag and placing it on a shelf for an obscene amount of time.

…you spend a lot of your life knitting, but don’t actually have any handknit items to wear.

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On the other hand, you might be a product knitter if…

…project monogamy is your preferred MO.  You begin a project and devote yourself tirelessly to it until you’re finished.

…once you’re finished with the knitting portion of a project, you actually follow through on the finishing (i.e. sewing buttons, seaming, blocking) and begin wearing the finished object.

…you have a closest full of lovely finished handknits to wear.

I’ve always known that I was more of a process knitter and at my core, I probably always will be.  It’s more about the planning the project – perusing patterns for hours on Ravelry and then picking out the perfect yarn to go with it, and then the joy of casting on those first few stitches and getting started.  I also really enjoy when a project is at the point where I can just pick it up and knit when the moment is right.  Spending long stretches of time on the sofa watching TV or movies and knitting away stitch after stitch.  Of course, the finished item is a goal for me and is something that I want to have eventually, but I’m more apt to get distracted by other new shiny projects before getting to that point.  I always have numerous project on the go at the same time so that I can switch it up when I get bored with one.  I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that there are projects I started years ago that I have yet to finish.  Also, in the same vein, there is a stack of projects where I’ve finished the knitting, but still need to do the finishing work, which means I can’t actually use the knits.  And this is what I’m getting tired of.

I think I’m slowly leaning more towards the product knitter end of the spectrum, because as my skills have increased and the amount of knitting I’m doing has increased, I want to be able to show off my knitting to others.  I want to wear it and display it.  I want to finish projects for other people and gift them with love so they can enjoy them.  Right now, my pile of WIPs is out of control and I think I need to put some limits on myself to actually get things finished before casting on new items.  It feels so good to finish something, so I’m not sure why I avoid it as much as I do.

Tomorrow I’ll share a great big post rounding up all of my WIPs to take stock of what all is on the needles.

How about you – are you more about the journey or the end destination?  Share your thoughts below in the comments.

Monday Musings

The day is growing short, but I don’t want to fall down on Day 3 of NaBloPoMo and my commitment to post every day in November, so here are some random thoughts running through my head this evening.

— Why was Christmas music playing on my radio on October 30?  I’m as big a fan of Christmas as the next person, but I really don’t see the need for two solid months of Christmas music 24/7.

— Am I a process or product knitter?  This dichotomy is discussed often in the knitting world, and I’ve always quickly answered that I’m a process knitter, but that might be changing these days.  More detailed thoughts on this to come…

— Sometimes you have to let go of something, even if it feels like quitting and giving up, in order to open up space in your life for new and more exciting things!

— Planning out props for a radio show play this December is lots of fun.  Trying to figure out how to make sounds using objects that have nothing to do with the sound really stretches the brain muscles.

— The human body and brain is amazingly adaptive.  I was amazed at how quickly I was able to adjust to using my left hand for eating, brushing my teeth, and even using my computer mouse while my right hand was healing from my burn.  But I’m really grateful that it’s healed and I have full use of both hands again, because it was pretty exhausting getting my brain to work in that completely opposite way.

— I’m glad that I’ve perfected the art of reading while I’m knitting, because between the Henrico Theatre Company One Act competition, the CAT Theatre playreading committee, and coaching Reading Olympics at my son’s school, I have quite the list of required reading over the next couple of months.  The picture below is just a small sampling of what I have to read.

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So, those are just a few of the random thoughts that are running through my head at the moment.  What about you?  What are you pondering on this fall Monday evening?

November Goals

Yesterday I posted a recap of my October goals.  I’m kind of digging this monthly goals thing to help me focus on specific projects, particularly on finishing them.  So here goes month #2!

1. Weave in ends and block Hitchhiker, Color Affection, Divergence, and Gateway to Fall.  Hitchhiker is a recent FO,Finished divergence but I’m a little embarrassed about how long it’s been since I finished the other two.  They’ve just been sitting waiting for a good bath and blocking before wearing them.  So time to get ‘er done!  I just need to designate a weekend blocking day and get them all done at once.  Here’s a photo of Divergence pre-blocking.

2. Finish Eugenia’s mittens for Loopy Academy.  I was able to finish the first one in two night’s worth of knitting, so it shouldn’t be a stretch to get the second one done and have the completed set.  I’d really like to finish these before Thanksgiving so that I can wear them with my Yarnster hat over the holiday when my family meets up in Roanoke for our annual Thanksgiving celebration.

3. Cast on My Dolphin Cowl for Loopy Academy.  Once the mittens are done, the cowl assignment is my final project to complete this semester of Loopy Academy.  I definitely want to get it cast on this month so that I’m not rushing to finish it in December.

4. Start on knitted Christmas gifts for the kids.  After seeing my fair isle fingerless mitt from Fling and my one finished Eugenia’s mitten, Teague really liked them and seemed to want some of his own.  So I’m going to design a fingerless mitt pattern with the Imperial Cog from Star Wars on them for him.  For the girls, I want to make some knitted dolls with clothes they can use to dress them up.  I’ll likely use the Mary, Millie and Morgan pattern from Susan B. Anderson.  But I want to make one of the dolls like Anne from Anne of Green Gables as part of the Anne-along, so I’m going to be designing some specific clothing to make her look more like Anne. We’ll see how that goes, considering I’ve never designed any knitwear before.

5. Blog every day in November. As part of NaBloPoMo I want to really focus on making this blog a habit and want to work on figuring out my voice and what this blog will/should/could be.  So I’m committing to a blog post a day for this month.  Not all of them will be about knitting and not all of them will be very long, but I think the every day structure will force me to get creative and really focus on making this something that other people want to read.

I think 5 is a nice round number to focus on for the month of November.  What are your goals for the month?

October Goal Wrap-Up

Back at the beginning of October I posted some monthly knitting goals on this here blog to keep myself focused on finishing specific projects.  Now that it’s November 1, let’s take a moment for a short recap of how I did on accomplishing said goals, shall we.

1. Finish second fair isle fingerless mitt — FAILED.  So I didn’t even cast on the second mitt this month.  Oh well, it will get done eventually.

2. Finish Hitchhiker — DONE!  I cast off my Agawa Canyon Hitchhiker on October 3, so this goal was accomplished really quickly.  Such a great pattern that knits up fast.  I still need to weave in the ends and block it though.

3. Finish Yarnster hat for Loopy Academy — DONE!  I cast off the hat on October 11 while visiting my grawpid-img_20141011_215526.jpgndparents.  Really happy with the finished product.  This is definitely a pattern I’ll make again.  In fact, I probably have to make it again because once I asked my mom to model it for me, I wasn’t sure that I was going to get it back from her.

4. Re-start Biscotte & Cie socks — DONE!  I frogged the sock I had started while at Fling which was too large and cast on again.  Decided to change things up this time and am knitting them cuff down rather than my usual toe-up.  I’m about halfway through the foot on the first sock and it appears that these will fit much better.

5. Cast on My Dolphin Cowl for Loopy Academy — FAILED.  I decided to finish the mitten assignment before starting the cowl instead.  So I’ve finished one of the mittens so far.  Will save the cowl until after I’m finished with the mittens.wpid-img_20141019_113955.jpg

6. Begin organizing the stash – FAILED.  Just didn’t get to it, everything is still where it was at the beginning of the month.

Final verdict – 3/6 goals accomplished.  Not too bad considering I finished two projects and basically changed my mind about one of the goals and started a different project instead. Also not bad since I was not able to knit for the past week and a half because of my hand injury.  Hand is healing up nicely by the way, I was able to knit a little bit yesterday for the first time since burning it.

Stay tuned tomorrow for November’s goals.

And to end a fun picture of the kids in their Halloween costumes, just because they’re cute!  We had a great time trick or treating last night and hosted a Halloween party for friends and family this afternoon.

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So that happened…

This is a cautionary tale, particularly for knitters and other creative types who require the use of both hands for their craft.

wpid-img_20141022_184547.jpgThis past Wednesday night started out like any other weekday evening in our house. I came home from work and relaxed for a little bit working on my vanilla sock and watching some Gilmore Girls.  My husband was working late so when he texted me that he was on his way home, I started making dinner.  I put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta and put spaghetti sauce and meatballs in a second pot on the stove.  While I waited for the water to boil, I cut up some veggies and made us each a salad.  Soon the water was boiling away, so I dumped in the pasta and proceeded to kill time checking out Facebook and Instagram on my phone.  The pasta was just about ready so I decided to check and see if the meatballs were warm enough.  I gave the sauce a stir and gingerly reached in to touch one of the meatballs to test the temperature, which is when I discovered that after 20 minutes of cooking they were still cold.  So I checked to make sure I had turned on the correct eye, because I have been known to make that mistake in the past.  It was.  So I removed the pot from the eye and hovered my hand over it to see if it was giving off heat.  It wasn’t.  I slowly and tentatively touched a corner of the eye with a fingertip and sure enough – no heat, ice cold.  So I’m thinking, well crap, this eye is broken.  Literally one second later, my husband walks in the door and I decide to be clever. So I say to him, “I think one of the eyes on our stove is broken, because this one has been on for about 20 minutes and look” — and here is the pivotal moment, the one where I should have thought for a split second longer before doing what I did next — and I slammed my entire hand palm down onto the stove eye that I thought was ice cold but which was now, um, not.

So yeah, I ended up with second degree burns on my palm and fingers.  We went to Patient First for them to check it out and they sent me home looking like this with pain meds and a tetanus shot to ward off infection.  I’ve spent the past four days with my hand wwpid-img_20141023_094107.jpgrapped up, basically unusable.  Going back for a follow-up appointment tomorrow morning where hopefully they’ll tell me it’s ok to start using it again and I don’t have to keep it wrapped up all the time.

I have to say other than the general annoyance of having to do everything one-handed, and with my non-dominant hand no less, the most difficult part has been not being able to knit.  I took Thursday and Friday off work since I was on pain killers and not allowed to drive.  So I had two uninterrupted days of being at home, and I couldn’t knit even a single stitch.  Very frustrating! Instead I consoled myself with watching Outlander on Starz.  So good!  If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should.  Great story, and some really gorgeous knitwear for eye candy – not to mention the hunky Scottish men in kilts eye candy 🙂

Having only one hand for a few days has made me very grateful that I normally have the use of both hands.  Also, I need to take a moment and give a special thank you to my amazing husband who has done a wonderful job of taking care of me.  He’s prepared food for me, helped me get dressed, helped bandage my hand up, helped me not feel like an idiot for doing something so careless, and even gone so far as to put my hair in a ponytail when I couldn’t do it.  He’s the best!

Really hoping that the blisters heal fast and that I can get back to regular life and knitting.  Those Christmas presents aren’t going to knit themselves!!

 

“Tomorrow is always fresh …

… with no mistakes in it.”

This quote is from one of my all-time favorite movie series – Anne of Green Gables.  For some reason, there has been a lot of Anne in  my life recently, so I thought a blog post about it was timely.

As a child, I loved Anne of Green Gables. The obsession started with the mini-series when I was probably 8 years old. My grandparents gave me Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea on VHS for Christmas one year, and I still have those old tapes to this day, even though I don’t have a VCR on which to play them. Don’t worry, I have all of the films on DVD as well, so I can still watch whenever I want.  During the summers when I was in middle school, I stayed home by myself while my parents were at work and Anne was my constant companion. Each day during lunch I would pop the movie into the VCR and watch a bit. This would continue for several days (it’s a long mini-series) until I got to the end of Anne of Avonlea. Then I’d rewind the tapes and start all over again. Who knows how many times I watched them that summer?  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve returned to them again and again when I need a bit of comfort, like returning home to old friends each time.  It has been a while, so I’m thinking it’s about time to pull them out and watch again soon.

As I said above, Anne has been showing up in my life recently.  First, and the item that started it all, is that Little Skein in the Big Wool is offering Anne yarn and pattern kits in absolutely beautiful and luscious yarn.  Check out all the kit options here.   There are four Anne inspired colorways dyed by Leading Men Fiber Arts: Green Gables, Anne with an E, Orchard Slope, and The Haunted Wood.  I’m personally partial to Anne with an E which is a vibrant rich orange.  Green Gables is my second favorite, which is, of course, a beautiful tonal green.  There is also a sock yarn in an merino/cashmere/nylon blend in a colorway called Anne’s Story which combines the four colors from the other skeins.  In addition to the yarns, Little Skein is offering project bags (which are simply lovely!  I really like the zippered one.), stitch markers, a shawl pin, a hardcover copy of the book, and the pattern Balsam Hollow, designed by Paula Emons-Fuessle.  You can order any of these items separately or there are kit options available as well.  I am trying desperately to be good and not purchase one of the Luxe kits with the Anne with an E colorway!  After the money I spent at Fling, I’m being frugal with yarn spending for the rest of the year, and this is just not in the budget.  But oh, how I want one!!!  (Perhaps some kind soul will purchase it as a Christmas gift for me…Hey, I made it easy for you – the link’s right there.  I can only wish.)

To go along with the kits, Little Skein in the Big Wool is hosting an “annealong” on Instagram.  It’s a pretty broad KAL and anything Anne related qualifies.  You can knit a pattern that reminds you of the series, watch the mini-series, read the books, etc.  Anything that makes you think of Anne and Green Gables.  Take a photo and post to Instagram with #annealong.  The contest lasts until December 21.  Along the way, Anne from Little Skein will be giving out small prizes, and at the end the grand prize winner will win the next Little Skein kit which will be released in January with a pattern from Susan B. Anderson and yarn from The Plucky Knitter!  This morning I found out that I was lucky enough to win a set of the Anne stitch markers from the giveaway on Susan’s blog.  Excited to get them in a couple of weeks!

So far, I’ve made one contribution to the #annealong.  This past weekend, I went out of town to visit my family in Abingdon, Virginia.  My grandmother generously got us tickets to see the Barter Players production of Anne of Green Gables at Barter Theatre Stage II.  Talk about timely!!  The Barter Players are the children’s theatre arm of Barter Theatre and this was the first of their productions that I’ve seen.  It was very well done.  The script was adapted from the original book by Catherine Bush, Barter’s resident playwright.  It was a children’s play, so it was shortened from the original story, but the most important elements were there.  The actress playing Anne was delightful, perfectly capturing the wonderment and dramatic nature of Anne Shirley.  The rest of the cast were also great, particularly Matthew and Marilla.  I may have been sniffling and sobbing at the end when Matthew dies, but it can’t be confirmed.

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One of the best parts about going to see the play was getting to share my love of Anne with my husband and children.  The girls are 8 and 5 and neither have seen the movies or read the books yet, so this was their first exposure to the story.  I’m so thankful it was a good one.  Now we need to find some good quality time to sit down with the movies.  It’s imperative that I pass along my beloved Green Gables to the next generation.

I have some other plans for participating in the #annealong, including a really exciting one that I thought of today, but I’m going to save them as a surprise for later posts.  Also, coming up, I have two finished objects to share with you.  They just need a bath and their glamour shots and then I’ll post all the details.

What are you going to do to participate in the #annealong?