Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Moving on.

It's been a while since I wrote anything here. When I'm knitting, I'm working on a lot of slow, simple things, and they're dragging on. Hopefully in the next week or so, I'll be done with some of them and have something to show. It's fall here, and I'm trying to resist the urge to cast on 3 new things. There are enough things in life that I do because I have to, not because I enjoy them. I don't want knitting to become onerous, so I'm not stressing finishing things, just trying to have the perspective that I would have more room and things would be tidier if I finished a few things first. Time has not been on my side.

Speaking of which, I'm grateful that it's now Wednesday. I'm ready to be done with this week. I have no plans for the weekend, but sitting on the couch with tea, knitting, and movies sounds about perfect.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Persisting despite it all.

You know how instructions for circular knitting always say "join, making sure to not twist?"

Yeah. I finally managed to get a twist in my knitting, and I've been persisting, regardless of the mistake. I'm knitting a self-fringing scarf, so it will be cut open at the end anyhow, and I figured, oh, what the heck.

It's a lot easier to knit when it's not twisted, but at this point, I'm Committed.

Speaking of which, I just jumped into another project, thanks to the ladies I met today for a KIP in the park. I may have found a group to hang out with. They're knitting mitered squares for a sock yarn blanket, and swapping yarns. Of course, this sounded like a fantastic idea to me because it's really pretty, on tiny needles, and is going to take up an insane amount of time. And we all know how quickly I knit things these days.

While sitting outside, I worked on my Charade sock. Pretty. See?

One slight problem:
It's too big. So, I'm going to have to think about what I want to do to make these work. The patterned section isn't as stretchy as the rest of the foot. Going down a needle size for the foot isn't going to work, because I don't want to compress this yarn any more. I might just use the gauge for the plain section, rip back to the heel, decrease faster for the gusset and knit the rest of the sock plain. Haven't decided yet.

I'm itching to start new things, but I really want to get some of the old projects to go away. I've now completed 12 pattern repeats of the Trellis scarf, out of a total of 23. Which means I'm now feeling motivated to try to knit one repeat a day, which would get me a pretty lace scarf, and a clear needle in 2 weeks. I have a second sock for my husband - finished decreases, so plain knitting to the toe. That's not more than a week of knitting (I dislike the yarn.) My Badia still needs seaming, as does the Cutaway cardigan. Tangled Yoke is still waiting for the arms to be joined to the body, and I only have a yoke to knit. I'm also about 50% and 75% done with 2 other laceweight scarves, because I'm nuts and seem to not knit with anything thicker than fingering weight right now. I'm craving sweaters and a new shawl, and I have an afghan that requires seaming (but we aren't talking about that today.)

I think it might be fall, finally.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Knit critics

I think the knit world needs more criticism. And by that, I mean more constructive criticism, not snark. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy a good snark, and I certainly think it has its place, however, it's not what I'm looking for. I like praise, as we all do, but I want it to be meaningful. Bells posted about viral knits recently, and it got me thinking. I agree with her that it's absurd to denigrate a knit because "everyone has made one." It's also silly to expect everyone to design their own knitwear, or to talk about how there are no good designers out there. I also can see the value in a cute, quick, 1 skein project that makes a thoughtful gift. What I wish we had more though, is serious discussion about what people liked about a pattern, what they wish was different, and suggestions from readers and bloggers, as to what they'd change next time.

I like socks a lot, and I'm really fascinated by what Cookie A designs. I don't love all her designs, nor do I want to knit some of them. A few I want to make because the construction is cool, or because I want to see how the charting fits the pattern. A few pairs I want to make because I want to wear them. Some, frankly, just don't do much for me. I think Monkey went viral because it was a very clever sock - a simple pattern, neither too big nor too small, that looked good with solids, semisolids, and wildly colored yarn. That was the sock that made me think about how diagonal lines are good for breaking up repeats in handpainted yarn, so that you get less striping. Yeah, it's not an earthshattering concept, but I hadn't quite internalized it until I knit the pattern.

Some designs are classic and universally flattering. I'm going to be a bit of a jerk and suggest that the most popular sweaters (as listed on Ravelry) don't fit that descriptor. Which makes me think that the reason they become popular is due to KALs - I assume people are still doing those. I also think a KAL can be very useful, if people are sharing information about how they are modifying a pattern or finding errors or ambiguous directions. I haven't participated in many of them, as I have commitment problems with my knitting. But the few I have tried, I haven't seen that kind of criticism taking place.

I suspect a lot of my attitude about this comes from my day job, and I know people sometimes interpret the critical eye as being overly negative. The truth is that all crafting isn't equal, yet we dole out praise as though it was. We should celebrate the act of creating something with sticks and strings, and encourage people who are just learning to keep trying. I wouldn't mind though, if could find a little more discussion of things like "Next time I'd consider angling the decreases in the opposite direction" or "Short rows in the bust would fix the pulling problem as the waist" or "I really like it - the only thing I might change would be to start the shaping 1/2 inch higher, but that's nitpicking." If I saw that more, I think I'd take the 5 star ratings on patterns and yarns more seriously, and perhaps the really good viral knits would get the respect they deserve.