Monday, December 3, 2012

What's Next

With the amount of time that it took, I did the unthinkable. I have finally completed my first project and I am ready to move forward with my next. I accepted a challenge to create a Gingerbread Icing Scarf, a free pattern I found on Ravelry and can be downloaded at the following site. This scarf will incorporate cable knitting and alternation between two colors, which I know will give me a run for my money. But there is no other way to maximize your learning experience than to attempt a project that seems beyond your league.

For this project, I do not want to deviate from the instructions of the pattern, just to be on the safe side. The pattern calls for four skeins (balls) of yarn, two skeins for each color that I haven't fully decided on yet. I already have my size US 8 (5mm) needles, my crochet hook, which is beneficial when mistakes occur while working, and scissors for absolute emergencies. As soon as the storm of final exams is over, I will be headed to the craft store to select my yarn and start my second project. However, in the few minutes I can spare, I will be practicing the cable knit with yarn that I bought a few months ago to familiarize myself with the technique.

By the way, I have a small favor to ask of you all. If there is a pattern that you have seen and would like to try, I say go for it. We are all learning and growing so, if you do decide to go out on a limb with me, I would love to hear your experiences and the pattern you have chosen. Stay encouraged and try the unimaginable!

[Knit to your heart's content!]

Is this Goodbye?

Image A
I have dedicated a great part of this semester focusing on learning the craft of knitting and it is now coming to an end. Indeed this journey has been a learning experience! I have learned to cast on, knit, purl, bind off, and I've carried these techniques over to completing my first project that I am proud to present. Where do I go from here? To knit or not to knit? After some careful thought and consideration, I am afraid to inform you all that I.....will continue babbling about my newfound hobby.

Image B
I cannot throw in my needles so soon, I have only just begun. There are many projects and patterns needed to be tackled and I am ready for the battle. Not only did I enjoy this knitting adventure, I am getting the hang of blogging. Strangely, it has been the best way for me to follow through with knitting, help other beginners, and receive assistance from the knitting community. 

Image C

I would like to thank you all for your feedback, comments, suggestions, and support. You all have assisted in fueling my desire to continue knitting and I am appreciative and grateful for the encouragement. To show you all my current progress, I have included several photos that track my knitting from the beginning, in Image A, down to completion of my first project in the last three photos. Please keep your replies flowing because there is more to come. Stay tuned!

[More to Come. Keep Knitting]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


As you can imagine my life is a neverending whirlwind of events. Sorry for the long hiatus everyone but I did not come empty handed, I have great news. Drum roll please. I have completed my first project! Although it has been a prolonged project, I am very pleased with the outcome.

I actually finished my beginner's reversible scarf a week ago but I had a little problem binding off. Using Knitting Help's video of binding off in pattern, I was able to close my stitches but towards the end I could not properly secure the bind off. I am still working on stopping the yarn from unloosing.

The problem with my binding off, I think, stems from how much yarn I had left to work with. I decided to use my entire skein of yarn, which was Red Heart Shaded Dusk Ombré worsted weight that measured 244 yards. I did not understand what the gauge was or how I should use it in my projects but it allows a knitter to determine the correct measurement for the project. Using a gauge would have probably helped.

After I initially binded off, I washed my scarf to make it less stiff and it is able to stretch. When I started knitting, a fellow knitter informed me that washing a project will even out the stitches. It is actually ready to use and I am waiting for the perfect time to wear it.

[Accomplished Knitter]

Macho Knitters?

Can you imagine a 6-foot-tall, tattoo clad, bald truck driver walking up to you with knitting needles in hand and a blanket. Would you run or just stand there in amazement? Believe it or not, in Walcott, Iowa, truck drivers are taking up not only knitting but quilting as well. This idle pastime that they have adapted makes me look at knitting and men, who are seen as the rough guys on the road, in a whole new light.

The article, Idle Pastime: In Off Hours, Truckers Pick Up Stitching, written by Jennifer Levitz, brings the lives of three truck drivers who began knitting to pass the time in between their deliveries. As the amount of hauls for truck drivers declined the time between their deliveries ranged from just a few hours to a few days. With all the downtime that they had, these truckers found a craft that would constructively help fill the time.

An ex-Air Force mechanic, Dave White started quilting and actually loves it so much that it consumes his thoughts. White even creatively names his pieces; one of his pieces is called "Meet Me In Paris". Kevin Abraham-Banks knits to during the stalls between his deliveries and seems to be an accomplished knitter having completed a scarf, socks and a sweater. A grandfather and husband, Thomas McConnaughy, picked up quilting from his wife and has placed a sewing machine in his sleeper cabin. The excitement with which these men have found in the crafts is amazing and I commend them for it. Not all truckers feel the same way as these men but the fact that it is even possible shows progression.

I wanted to share this information because I know for some people it is hard to believe that male knitters exist and I am also fascinated with the subject myself. These gentlemen, who are married and have families, has found an unlikely hobby for their occupation and sex, in general. I can only imagine the amount of time they spend away from home and they have found something that makes them relax while on the road. The most surprising detail from this article is that an Iowa-based trucking corporation started a club for sewers and allows truckers to present their work.

[Making Headway In Knitting]

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Facing the Worst Part...

It Kept Going...
I came head to head with the worst problem yet, fixable, but one I NEVER want to encounter again. As I was continuing my project, I reached a point where my skein of yarn became tangled. It literally took me several hours to untangle the mess. Once I was able to straighten out one section another part became even more tangled, no matter how much I tried to create some type of organization.  A cycle I thought would never end.

...And Going...

I had to try different ways to stop the straightened yarn from tangling and I tried EVERYTHING! Wrapping the yarn around my forearm (my elbow and the palm of my hand), between the handles of an armoire, and across the entire floor of my bedroom. There were no successes with these ideas until I found a video that allowed me to roll the yarn into a ball. My frustration was skyrocket high at this point but with an ounce of patience, I was able to carefully take out the knots and tangles.

...And Going.
Although this was a setback in my progress, I think it is a necessary issue for any beginner to come across. For future projects, it is best to be aware of possible tangling issues when yarn begins to come out in clumps or becomes stuck while pulling from the skein. My fellow ravelers provided some tips to prevent yarn tangling:
  1. Wind the yarn into a cake or ball before starting a project.
  2. Pull the yarn from the middle of the skein.
  3. Keeping the yarn in a vase for a rowdy skein
  4. Put slippery skeins into a ziplock bag with a hole in the corner
My tip, if you do face yarn tangling, is to stay calm, be patient, and be careful. I am glad to share this woe with my fellow beginners. Learn from my mistakes!
[Stay calm, cool, and collected. Keep knitting!]

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Coming Along!

My first knitting project is still underway guys. I am extremely excited to see my own progress and the end is in my sights. I have received a lot of positive feedback and ideas for other projects that I am becoming a little impatient with this project. Anxious to advance in my knitting, I am ready to start making sweaters, vests, and hats, any pattern I can get my hands on. I do think that the prolonged amount of time I am spending may be the cause for these feelings.


Don't get me wrong I am learning tremendously from this project and I know I have to take baby steps before I can run. I have realized that I do have a ways to go before I can  jump the gun into sweaters. Like an addiction, this first project is just the gateway. I hope to be finished and on to the next project by next week so, stay tuned!
[Keep the projects coming!]

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Apologies

Societal "norms" is downright UNFAIR! Based on society's view of what normal is and the behaviors that must encompass males and females, we have destroyed individual creativity. I have to extend an apology to male knitters because they have been the butt of constant jokes about their sexual orientation for their interest in knitting. I thought I should raise this issue because I have yet to see a male knitter in person and before I began knitting, I never thought men knit; it's a female thing. Little did I know my perception of knitting and who should knit were based on contemporary society's normalities.
Historically speaking, knitting was actually popular in Europe as a guild that was dominated by men. According to Knit Be Nimble the guild ended, unfortunately, with the invention of machinery and men moving over to the sector of industry. In America, however, knitting has always been a woman's craft. I recently read Anne L. Macdonald's No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting, which enlightened me on how knitting became so important in American history but also outlined why women took over the craft. To briefly summarize, the mood of knitting being associated mainly with women in America stemmed from the European settlers  and the roles they had established for men and women. Women were the housewives that cared for her family and the upkeep of the house while men were the breadwinners. Schooling became separated into the boys engaging in academics and the girls learning the crafts. Knitting gradually became a woman's pastime.
From this history, I believe lies the problem of gender specificity in the knitting world. However, I do not feel it has to continue to be this way. Men should be able to enjoy the soothing powers of knitting without society's boundaries of activities that are considered manly or wimpy. The men who are knitters and open about their love for knitting, hats off to you because you're expressing yourselves despite the labels society has put on you. Again, I apologize for society's close-mindedness. I encourage more male knitters to not be afraid to knit your WIPs in public; it is not something you should be ashamed of!

[To my knitting men: Knit to your heart's content]