Monday, October 27, 2014

Look! It's Spiderman!

My 4 (nearly 5) year old Elijah is 100% boy.  He's into Legos, superheroes, ninja turtles, dirt, and playing hard.  He's such a fun kid to have around, and he always makes me smile.  When I saw the pattern for a Spiderman blanket, I knew he would love it. 

It has a clever construction, started small in the middle and then increasing, with decreases and increases making points radiating out from the center like a web.  However, shortly after this picture was taken, I realized the instructions were insufficient and flawed, so I had to rewrite the instructions completely.  It was a major pain and I wasn't too pleased.  But I carried on and I'm glad I did.

After completion, the "spokes" of the web are crocheted in through the knitting.

I had the worst time getting the edges to keep from curling, and ended up making a 2-round double crochet border to help.  It still curls some, but Elijah will never know.  He saw me laying it out for photos and said "Oh my goodness!  It's AWESOME!".

It is now proudly spread on his bed, ready for bedtime cuddling tonight.  This is why I make stuff.  To make someone smile.  Cuddling is a big bonus too!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Speed Knitting? Or not...

I'd like to think that I am a pretty quick knitter.  But I really don't know.  I don't TRY to knit as fast as humanly possible, I take my time and relax.  I'm usually watching TV or reading a book on my phone (if it's an easy pattern) while I'm knitting.  Kids constantly interrupt me, and they further impair my progress by clicking my row counter, stealing my tape measures, or chasing my dogs - who in turn jump onto my lap and send my yarn balls flying.

In addition, my style of knitting is not typical.  I am a "thrower".  Here I am knitting:

In the last knitting class I attended, some 4 years ago, I was quickly told that I knitted "wrong".  They put that working yarn in my left hand, and told me to force myself to learn that way.  "You'll be so much faster of a knitter that way, and your tension will be much more even".  I gave it the ol' college effort, but went right back to my old way when the teacher turned her back.  (I'm convinced there's NO WRONG WAY to knit.)

Regardless of barriers, I knit every day.  Knitting calms me, distracts me, and focuses random energy into something productive.  It occupies the creative section of my brain and challenges me.  It really doesn't feel like work.  More like therapy.

So today, curiosity led me to time myself.  I'm working on a shawl, which right now is in garter stitch.  Easy peasy.  On the needles are 329 stitches of fingerling weight yarn.  I started my stopwatch, and away I knit the whole row.

Here's what I got.

...which translates to approximately 578 seconds.  That's 1.75 seconds per stitch, or just over 0.5 stitches per second.  Now that I have this information....I'm not sure what to do with it!  HA!  Maybe I'll come back to this post in 3 years and time myself again.  I hope I'm faster!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Striped Mittens

I have been in designing mode for the last several weeks, and in preparation for beginning work on the new designs, I finished up a pair of quick mittens.  I love making mittens.  It's therapeutic.  Well, I guess that's a silly thing to say - all knitting is therapeutic for me.  But I love how mittens come together quickly and surprisingly simply.  There's no fuss of finger knitting.

These are knitted in 100% acrylic yarn.  The benefit there is they are washable and will wear well and retain their shape.  I love the gray and maroon colors.  Doesn't look like maroon?  Oh, well that's because evidently I'm a poor photographer.  Nothing I did make the color come out true.  But trust me, they're maroon.  The colors are sporty, and reminded me of something I'd wear to a fall football game, sporting school colors.  

I worked these entirely in the round with double pointed needles.  It's nice to be able to try them on as I go!

They made my hands sweat while I was photographing them, so I know they'll be warm.

Hooray for fall and mitten weather!  My favorite time of the year!