In the Immortal Words of The Knitmore Girls: “When Knitting Attacks!”

Well, here is the tale of my recent major knitting fail.  I talked a while back about signing up for my first two KALs (Knit-A-Longs).  One of them went wonderfully.  I have a beautiful color affection shawl that I enjoy.  The other . . . not so much.

The Holla Back Tank was supposed to be my first foray into garments (as opposed to accessories and the like).  It is a pretty straightforward pattern and it seemed like a good way to go to increase my knitting skills.  But sometimes things just go wrong.

Sigh.

The Knitmore Girls run a fantastic podcast that I listen to regularly.  On said podcast, they have a segment they call “When Knitting Attacks!”  Well, the Holla Back Tank is my own tale of knitting woe.

I would like to say, as a credit to the Holla Back Knits folks who were hosting this KAL, I do think the pattern is well-written and totally manageable.  But for some reason, it just wasn’t working for me.  The techniques that did me in are techniques that I have done before without trouble, so it is a bit of a mystery, really.  I think that maybe other knitters can attest to this, though, that sometimes, when you start to have a bit of trouble with a project, it can mess with your head in such a way that you just have to put the needles down and walk away.

I have done this.

The front of the tank is done – after a few mishaps, but the back was just problematic.  I made small errors, that were too visible for my liking.  Each time I frogged, my enthusiasm for the project waned a bit and my frustration level increased, which, as any knitter knows, creates a situation that is increasingly likely to result in one of the following scenarios:

a)      The WIP (work in progress) being shoved into the deep recesses of a closet or drawer somewhere to be rediscovered with less frustration at a later date;

b)      Knitting needles being thrown across the room; or

c)      Massive amounts of cursing and berating of the yarn that is betraying you.

I may be guilty of all three.

The fact of the matter is that I couldn’t invest more time and energy in this project right now, with holiday knitting time wasting away.  I do think I’ll return to this project another day – some magical day when I dig through the storage space inside of my ottoman and discover this long lost project with renewed determination and excitement.

Until then, holiday knitting has commenced!

Hooray for A Finished Project! : Color Affection Shawl

Well I can now count myself amongst the thousands of knitters who have completed a color affection shawl.  I actually finished this project about a week ago and I am happy to say that I feel quite pleased with it.  Plus, it just feels REALLY good to have a finished object to report and show!

As I’ve mentioned previously, I was working on this project as part of the KAL hosted by iMake over on Ravelry.  I feel like this pattern can bring out some strong opinions in people.  I’ve heard many lamenting about how tedious the long rows of garter stitch can become and I’ve heard others raving about what a perfect item it is to knit up while engaged in other activities (chatting, watching television, traveling on a bus).

As for me, I loved it.  I’m not about to say that the garter stitch doesn’t become a bit tedious (sure it does), but it also is a fantastic item for building up a little knitting confidence.  I had taken a bit of a break from knitting due to various reasons (frustration over a difficult project, wrist pain – I have chronic tendonitis -, and just so much pulling me in various directions), so I really did need something to feel like an accomplished knitter again.  This did the trick.

It wasn’t too time-consuming and, despite the long rows, I could visually see progress and momentum in front of me as the stripes built and the stitches bunched up wider and wider on my needles.  I’m pleased with the yarn I used, too.  After blocking, it feels warm and cozy, but still fluid and soft.  I wore it around my always a bit chilly office this week and loved it!

 

P.S.  This post will go live on Sunday, right about the time that I will be running my first half-marathon.  Eek!  Hopefully the next post you will see from me will be filled with tales of my triumph!!

Knitting Progress and A Countdown to the Big Race Day

Knitting is a funny thing.  Projects can fly by or drag on.  They can make you feel like a creative genius (“I KNEW those colors would work together!) or a failure as an technician (“Why can’t I get that stitch to work?!). I’ve had a bit of both over the last week.

I’ve been working along on my two KALs (knit-a-longs), which I have mentioned before and I have progress to report.

First up: the Color Affection KAL with the iMake group over on Ravelry.  This KAL is going swimmingly.  Yes, the rows are getting very long and that can make progress feel slow, but I’ve been very much enjoying knitting this project.  My days are very busy and so taking 30-60 minutes at the end of long, full, hectic day to rest on my couch, with a cat on my legs (she loves to sleep on legs that are stretched out onto the ottoman), a mildly entertaining and mostly mindless program on the television, and this project in my hands has been fantastic.  It’s a perfect project for cruising along and getting lost in the garter stitch.

I’ve got 3 short-row repeats left before settling in to finish the final section.  Here’s a look:

(Those paws belong to the aforementioned cat. Her name is Eliza and she may look innocent, but she is a menace around yarn!)

My second KAL, the Holla Back Tank, with the great folks over at Holla Back Knits, led me to a mild knitting breakdown last week.  The lace back isn’t a very complicated lace pattern, but for some reason, I could not get the set-up row to work.  I knitted and frogged, knitted and frogged, knitted and frogged, and on and on until I thought I was going to throw the whole thing off my balcony.  I decided that I needed different needles and made two rushed trips to my local yarn stores, only to discover that both were out of what I needed.  Frustrated and with the other shops closing for the day, I was not feeling too good about this project at that moment.  Fortunately, Mr. Move Eat Create ran out to a third LYS and found my needles for me (Thank you, Twisted for having them in stock) the next day while I was at work.

It still took me a couple of attempts, even with the new needles, but these (Addi Lace Turbos) are working MUCH better.  After setting the project down for a couple of days, I am a bit behind the rest of the group, but am glad to say that I have conquered the set up row and am making progress.  It is knitting up quite well now that we’ve made it through those trying times!  No picture of this one, this week, but I’ll try to post once the lace is further along.

Finally, it has occurred to me that it is now LESS THAN 3 weeks from my first half-marathon.  So close.  I’m both excited and nervous, but I’m very thankful for a couple of reassuring moments in the last week.  I ran 12.1 miles this past Saturday at a nice pace and felt good during the run, so that was a fantastic boost to my confidence.  I also downloaded and listed to an old episode of the ‘No Meat Athlete’ podcast that was all about training for and succeeding at your first half marathon.  I was reassured to hear many tips offered that I have, in fact, been already doing, and I picked up a few more.  No Meat Athlete runs a great, helpful blog and (newly re-started) podcast for anyone who may want to check them out, by the way.

So, in less then three weeks, I expect to have finished my first half-marathon and two completed projects off my needles!  So much to look forward to!

KAL Updates

I’ve been knitting and I am very pleased to say that I believe my KALs have gotten me out of my knitting funk that I mentioned I was in a while back.

I told you all before that I had joined my first KAL – the Holla’ Back Tank by Holla’ Knits.  After a nerve-racking start because my yarn arrived late (and if there’s one thing I hate – it’s being late), I have managed to catch up to the rest of the group!  This week’s goal is to finish the front half of the tank and things are going along quite well so far.  It has been loads of stockinette stitch – so nothing terribly exciting, but shaping has kept it interesting enough and being that this is my first garment (i.e. not accessory), that in and of itself is pretty exciting.  Here’s my progress so far:

So . . . then there’s this thing where I actually joined another KAL, too!  Apparently the one wasn’t enough.  You see, I absolutely adore Martine and her blog and podcast (iMake) and when I learned that she was going to be leading a KAL for the ever-popular Color Affection wrap, I had to get in on it.  I mean, this wrap has been absolutely on everyone’s needles this summer but mine.  So I jumped on the chance to knit it up with a group of other Color Affection late-comers.  I couldn’t find the right yarn in my budget from my LYS, unfortunately, so I ordered my yarn from WEBS and it arrived quite quickly.  After casting on at the start of the weekend, I am through the first block of the main color and will be adding in my first contrasting color the next time I pick up my needles.

I know that some people get bored with all the garter stitch – but this is the perfect project for me right now.  I have chronic, severe tendonitis in my wrist, hand, and arm and knitting can really aggravate it sometimes – especially, for whatever reason, purling.  So having a garter stitch only project with striping for interest is really ideal.  My wrist is pleased.  (It still hurts, of course, but it is pleased, nonetheless.)

Anyone else knitting furiously right now?  What’s on your needles?

My First KAL (Knit-A-Long)!

I haven’t been mentioning knitting because I’ve been in a knitting funk.  After have some difficult weeks involving repeated trouble starting a new project, my darling cat attacking my current project, and general life busyness that got a bit overwhelming, I needed some time off.  I’ve been looking at yarn longingly and sighing when I see beautiful patterns, but I just needed the right thing to get back my knitting mojo.

Enter: my first KAL. 

While KALs are quite popular, I’ve never participated in one.  There’s always been an issue.  The yarn was too expensive, the pattern too intimidating, the timing was bad, and so on.  But, I have finally found the one.

I’ll be starting the Holla’ Knits first KAL today.  Well, hopefully.  My yarn hasn’t arrived yet, so I may get off to a delayed start, which makes me more than a bit nervous.  I tried to be responsible and waited until I had the money to order the yarn, rather than just order it immediately, and now look where that’s gotten me!  I do expect, though, that my yarn should arrive today or tomorrow – so hopefully I can catch up and my KAL mates won’t be too disappointed in my tardiness.

The pattern is the Holla Back Tank.  It will be my first attempt at knitting a sweater of any kind and I think it will be a great place to start – no sleeves!  Plus, having the support and guidance from other knitters in the KAL will surely be helpful.

There were two recommended yarns for the KAL.  I opted for the more affordable option, as budget is a concern right now.  Besides, I’ve always had good luck with Knit Picks yarn, so I think it will work nicely.  I’ve ordered the Stroll Sock Yarn in Midnight Heather, which I think will be quite fetching.

Pictures and updates to come as the KAL progresses.  I really hope this helps get me back in the knitting groove!

And, please cross your fingers that my yarn is waiting for me when I get home today.  I haven’t even swatched yet!  Eek!

Photos From Holla Knits.