Crochet Frustrations

I gave up the other night on learning a new stitch and it was not for lack of trying. Here is the story……

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I originally had a blanket started for my grandson Gabriel, but because of time and wanting him to have something from Nanna sooner I went in search of a new pattern, hoping that it would go quicker and all. I love the ripple pattern but every time I tried to do it, it came out uneven. After numerous, I would usually just give up and try something I knew would go quick.

Years later and I found another simple pattern and thought I would give it another go, I watched the video and it seemed pretty simple, so here we go again. Following the pattern and all I honestly thought that I had it. Boy, was I wrong and after a few hours of frustration and ripping out rows I have once given in to the thorn of not being able to conquer it. So, once again last night I changed patterns hoping that time is on my side and I can get something special in the post to him soon.

I find myself looking for hours for new patterns and I love what I see but them when I find out how easy or difficult it is depends on if I give it a go. I made a challenge to myself this year to try new things, new stitches and patterns and all. So far with the crocheting it’s not going very well.

Sitting in my chair ripping out row after row, my thoughts went back to my Dad who was an amazing crocheter. He was really big on detail and if he found a mistake you went back and fixed it no matter how many rows needed to come out. He would sit there and work the ripped rows back before going to bed. I sat in my chair doing the same thing but I think the frustration won the battle for now. So, it is on to a new pattern and hoping that time is on my side. Its a simple pattern and should work up pretty quick.  I will get a picture of the original blanket and the new one so you can see what I struggled with.

Try not to get too discouraged or frustrated when learning new patterns. I am not going to let this get me down, just putting it on hold for a bit.

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Photographing Projects in the Works

I like taking pictures of projects along the way for many reasons.

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The about pictures is from a current project I found on the website called http://verypink.com/2012/06/27/learn-to-knit-a-spiral-scarf/

I had no clue what a short row was or how to do one, so this is the best pattern I have found to learn. Staci is amazing and takes you through each step slowly, you can pause the video and rewind as much as you need to get the hang of things. I will show you once I have it done. Notice in the picture I also made sure to get the brand of wool used.

 

At the beginning to see that the chosen colors work well together. What might look good to the naked eye can be completely different in a photograph. I take pictures along the way as I work to help me document the progression of the work. Especially if it’s a gift, a one of a kind. I don’t think that I have ever created the same project. I love that what I do is a one of a kind gift. Whether it’s for a wedding gift or the arrival of a new baby. It also helps to build a portfolio as such, to show those friends and family who might be looking for that something special to give. I had friends who wanted to give a gift and couldn’t knit or crochet to save themselves. By having my little portfolio I could show off to them what I could do, give them the idea that if they wanted to buy the wool for the gift, I would give them mates rates at the construction of the gift and the photographs as a keep sake for the gift.

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As you can see in the picture to the left, I have three different textures of wool for a scarf I am planning. The Carnival on top is a plain pale blue,looking to match it with the other wool in the photo, which  the blue on the left is heavier which should knit or crochet up fine on its own. The wool on the right is more light weight and needs an anchor for it to knit up, I read somewhere that at times if using wool on the right is not as sturdy in knitting or crocheting, where using a regular color could give it the stability it needs.

 

 

My parents were always working together on projects and loving the process. I can remember Dad always taking pics as the gifts were opened and the excitement but also how people would understand that how much love went into creating the gift. That a part of my Mum or Dad or both of them was woven into the gift.

I do that today with what I create. I take the photos to keep as a record but also to help myself stay on track to meet the deadline.

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This is a scarf I am knitting for myself out of some Scottish wool a mate of mine picked up for me. http://verypink.com/2012/12/05/saroyan-scarf/ is the pattern I am using. It is a simple lace pattern, good for beginners like me. It took a little bit of just watching the video before I gave it a try. Its working well and keeping in my challenge of learning new stitches during this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be afraid to create a keepsake of  what you are giving. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, a record for reference but it’s also a piece of you that you are leaving behind. Creating a memory that will last.

Bev’s Baby Ribs Hat

Baby Caps

These work up fairly quick, I can normally do one in less than a day. I don’t have good luck with booties so this is normally the way I go. It’s a simple pattern using size 3 needles. The pattern calls for 1 oz of sport or baby yarn. The bottom 2 caps are done with Baby yarn and the top two are both done with 8 ply but still on the size three needles.

 

60 stitches for a preemie baby and 70 for a newborn. knit 2, purl 2 to the end of the row. Continue this for 40 rows for a preemie and 44 rows for a newborn. Once rows are finished decrease in the next row by knitting 2, then knit 2 together to the end of the row. Purl the next row. Your next row is knit 1, knit two together across to the end of the row. Keep repeating this until you have 11 stitches left on your needle. Cut your yarn leaving roughly a 14 inch tail. Run your needle through the remaining stitches, pull to draw it shut and do a running stitch down the side. You can add a pompom if you want.

Life and Knitting

BSU Rug  I am a mad knitter. Always got more projects going then I should but I somehow in the end manage to get things done. I am always having projects in various stages and trying to make sure that each gift is unique and special. Life and knitting kind of go hand in hand in some ways. From choosing the right wool (yarn) and knitting needles, to the stitch you want to use, to the pattern. Let me try to explain a little.

When starting to knit something you need to look at if it’s a gift or a just because. I call a just because gift cause that’s what it is, I do it because I want to. You could use that thought process in making decisions about something. Is it for me or will it have an effect on those around it. It’s the positive/negative flip. Will the gift or decision turn the negative to a positive? OK  you have chosen the gift. Now you need to choose the wool.

Here in Australia we have 4 different plies of wool to consider. 4 if you include baby yarn. We have 5 ply for the light weight things like baby Afghans and scarfs. 5 ply decisions are the easy things. They don’t hold much weight, and the outcome might not be noticed but it gets the job done but it works up easy and quick. Simple stitches are better in 5 ply. Then there is 8 ply, standard the 8 ply in America is heavier then the 8 ply here in Australia. It has taken a little getting use to the difference.  Those are the decisions that take a little more consideration and look at the possible outcomes. This is where I tend to look at color and seeing if the gift I’m making needs specific color. Is it going in the lounge room or is it team colors  This is where the positive/negative comes in to play again when applying to life. What’s the good and bad things about the decision that need made? How would the possible outcome change things? Make things better or worse? If I don’t choose the right combination of colors  why did I spend all that time on the project anyway? Then there is 12 ply, the heavy-duty wool. Good for jumpers (sweaters) and what I call blankets,(here its rugs) or afghan. Things become a little more difficult. You need to take a little more time in making the choice, make sure you have all the bases covered. Have you considered all the little things in make the choice you need to?

Once I choose the wool, I look at the size of needle I need. I stick close to the pattern when doing a sweater. You have to or you have one sleeve longer than the other, or you can’t get your head through the neck line. This is where the tool you have gathered over life comes in. Can you make a good informed decision? Have you really looked at it from all angles and can you truly deal with the outcome? Are you prepared for what may happen that it could turn out totally different from expected? If knitting with 12 ply wool with size 5 needles it’s going to be a struggle. It will take twice as long as if you use say a size 9 needle. Might take a little longer but you can see the results a little quicker.

Then there is the stitch pattern. Do you want it simple or a design? I normally determine that by how much time I have to complete the gift. Is it something that needs done in a short amount of time. So I tend to choose the garter or seed stitch. I can do it without much thought but the job is done. Quick decisions that don’t hurt too much and need made pretty quick. If I have time then I tend to go for the hard stitch like a cable but that can be simple or complex. Simple cable stitch, a simple decision but a pretty firm outcome. Complex cable slowed down decision’s that need time to make. You might not see the outcome of the decision for a while but as you keep knitting you see the pattern or answers start to appear.

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You get to see your work in progress as you go which can be encouraging BUT it’s the dread mistakes you have to be care to avoid. You rush into it and you’re ripping it out to fix things. Make the decision too quick and have you left yourself room to fix minor hiccups or is it too little too late. Finally you get to start binding off that rug, the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re so close to finishing you stay up all night to finish. You see the decision you made finally pay off. By taking the time and considering all the issue, you make an informed decision and you get the outcome you hope for. The knitting project you have spent so much time and love on has turned out the way you wanted. You’re proud that what you have taken the time to do, consider all the options, use all the correct tools you had at your disposal — produced something you are proud to share.

Here’s the question — How’s your life knitting going?

Hand Made Gifts from One Generation to Another

2012-10-15 16.15.54Growing up I can remember my Mom and Dad doing needle work. Mom was an avid knitter and Dad crocheted. YES, you read that right , My Dad crocheted. He did beautiful work he was really good at it and was very picky about it. It had to be just perfect or he would rip it out back to the mistake and do it again til it was right. Mom was the same. Dads specialty was what we Yanks call Afghans, to the Aussie its rugs. I can remember him getting calls from a local yarn shop to do repairs on rugs. By the time Dad was finished you couldn’t even tell it had been damaged. Mom’s specialty was house slippers and sweaters. Took her a day to do one house slipper. I learned from both of them and to this day still crochet and knit.

What was so special about the handmade gifts from Mom and Dad was I knew they were made with love. They took the time to create something special just for me. I learned from them both to create things. I am also a self-taught quilter, I can make my own clothes and a self-taught cross stitcher.

The learning process was tough, all the times I cried when Mom or Dad made me rip out something that wasn’t right. I understand that now it was a learning process. I had to fix the mistake so it was right, looked how its suppose to be. Makes me wonder something……IF we would go back and rip out parts of our life and fix the mistakes would life be any better or have we really learned from them and moved on?

One year for Christmas, Mom and Dad gave my first husband and me a big box. The card read “Happy AnniversaryWe got married on December 7th, 1985 (no longer married) Mom made the comment that she had been waiting for me to ask Dad for what was in the box. It was a beautiful afghan that Dad still needed to finish. We had some great wall space and asked him to turn it into a wall hanging for us which he did. Mom knitted rugs and house slippers for me. When My girls came along they each made something special for them. I had sure that when the girls got older and able to appreciate the work that had gone into them that I gave what mom and dad had made. It was their link to them. Something tangible that they could look at and would hold good memory’s. Pass on to their kids.

I have made the girls things from me so when I am away from them, they still have a little piece of me there. Guess I kind of  do that when I make anything I give as a gift. Give a little piece of me. Each thing Mom and Dad made had that quality that only handmade gift carry. When I hear that friends are having babies I always make sure the new addition has something hand-made. Guess its my way of leaving my mark on the world of that person. I think we all hope that we do that, with those who are important to us. We hope in some small way that for however long we are in their life that we can leave a mark. My parents left their mark in my life and in their grand-daughters lives by the hand-made gifts they left for them. Phil always fuses at me for not taking the time to do something for me. Make something that stays at home. I have an ongoing rug that I am knitting in my favorite colors  I can put it down and work on other things when I need to or keep working on it. Guess you could call it MY mark on MY life.

My parents generation gift to me was hand-made items and the knowledge of how to create my own handmade work. The love and the effort it took to create the piece and in taking the time to teach me how to do it. My generation gift to my girls is the handmade item I have made and the knowledge how to create their own pieces.

Heres the question — Whats  your handmade generation gift your leaving behind?