Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Story of EZ's Knitter's Almanac

Does anyone remember that group from the '90s called Sublime? They had a hit song "What I Got." I had a copy of their self-titled album. I los it somehow, or it was stolen. More importantly, everyone I knew at one point who had that album were having a hard time putting their hands on their copy of it. It was the one album that everyone but no one had.

I feel like the Knitter's Almanac is just like it. I was looking for a copy earlier this year. I thought i'd had a copy, and my Ravelry Library, which I keep pretty up to date, was also telling me I had a copy. I'd just moved here a few months ago at that point and I remembered seeing the small 5.5 x 8", paperback, green covered book when setting up my book case. But I couldn't find it. A friend of mine mentioned that she couldn't find her copy either.

EZ Books
Can you find my paperback copy of The Knitter's Almanac?

Sometime this summer, I think I had a credit somehow or a gift card to use on Amazon. I knew there was a newer edition of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac
out, so even though I was so sure I had a copy, even though I couldn't find it, I decided to get the updated edition.

The new edition is 7 x 10", hardcover, and red. I have reason to believe that this change in format and color mean that I will not lose it on my shelf!

Last week, I went on vacation to Disney World. I did a travel knitting assessment (check out my posts on knitting and travelling here), and decided to bring some lovely Briar Rose Angelface with me to create a Pi Shawl from The Knitter's Almanac. Now, I looked at my shelf and really didn't feel like taking this large hardcover book that was sure to be heavy with me. Didn't I have a much smaller copy in paperback somewhere? I noticed some extra space between two books and I did what any normal person would do: I stuck my finger between them.

Lo! And behold! My paperback edition of The Knitter's Almanac! At last!

I started flipping through it, and realized that this might make a good reading book in addition to a good pattern book. So I decided to read it as well. However, my purse is already quite heavy with the iPad I carry around with me everywhere. So I didn't want to carry another paper item around with me everywhere. I bought the ebook on iBooks and am pretty confident that I can't lose that edition, since it's in the cloud.

And that's how I ended up with 3 editions of the Knitter's Almanac.

Oh! This is a knitting post too, so here's my progress on the Pi Shawl. I'm using size 0 needles with Briar Rose Angel Face and just a simple eyelet ring pattern. this is one I think will be picked up and put down a lot so I wanted to keep it relatively simple. I'm a little worried that the eyelets will actually get lost, but I think it will still be pretty.

Pi Shawl Detail

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ravellenic Games 2012

My hardcore training will start soon.

The swatches.

The project is ambitious this year.

A virtual sort of cheering squad may be necessary.

Many times I have tried and many times I have failed at medaling in the Sweater competition.

This year I'm determined: I shant fail again.

Ravellenic 2012 Sweater Triathalon.

The Wrapped Pullover from atelier alpha will look glorious under a gold medal.

Pocket on the side for a medal is a plus.

Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky in a color way called Forestry will provide maximum delight for knitter and spectators alike.

A dash of negative ease.

A dose of a road trips. One driven, one drive.

Challenge: event on the last weekend of the Olympics.

Madelinetosh Chunky

PassionKNITly, indeed.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Book Review: My Grandmother's Knitting

I just finished reading this book by Larissa Brown. As someone who re-started family tree research recently, the combination of ancestry and knitting is quite interesting to me. The book ism ore than a pattern book, although there are many patterns in it. 17 contemporary designers are profiled with emphasis on family members that inspired them to be creative and knit.

Some stories stick out to me more than others. I loved the idea of Ysolda Teague going to pre-school thinking that all sweaters were knit by grandfathers instead of grandmothers. Jared Flood's father's art was always rooted in a utilitarian mindset - something Jared came back to after exploring "art for arts sake." The most inspiring story, to me, was actually the Family Trunk Project that Emily Johnson has undertaken. Not only did she research her family tree but she decided to design a garment for each member in her tree.

There are also some patterns in this bok that have gotten stuck in my head that I'd like to knit. The Concetta Cardigan by Cirilla Rose feels both vintage and classic at the same time. I think we all know I'm a sucker for sequins and the sequins in this pattern are just the right amount of sparkle to glam it up without getting kitschy.

Cosette Cornelius-Bates designed an Ice Skating Cape that can double as a skirt. I love the concentric circles of purls and how the simplicity of the cape/skirt is dressed up with buttons and a ribbon at the top.

Emily Johnson's 'Olina Socks do remind me of my trip to Hawaii, and I will probably end up knitting them sometime. The Wan Jai socks by Cookie A. are also spectacular with the meandering line of stockinette that represents her family's journey.

But the one pattern that I'm completely enamored with and inexplicably can't get out of my head is Wendy Bernard's Helen's Slippers and Wendy's Slippers. They just look so cosy and warm. I also feel like they look familiar, as though someone in my own family members might have worn slippers like these, maybe even I did! It's entirely possible that I might knit a LOT of these as Christmas gifts.

As you can tell, I was quite inspired by this book. It's been reminding me of the role my own grandmother has played as my crafting muse. Be on the lookout for an essay on that sometime soon!

*psst! Those pattern links are Ravelry links!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

There's An App For That

I got my first iPad in the summer of 2010. You may or may not know that I work in the publishing industry. I told myself it was research for my job because we'd be selling more ebooks and I wanted to know what the environment was like. That made for an awesome excuse. Now, I'm on the iPad 3 and I really just love it. I read on it almost every day I read a few magazines on it (Martha Stewart Living is actually one of my favorites!), play some games and knit with it. Yup. That's right. I knit with it. Since I knit with it so often, I thought I might let you in on the apps I've used and which ones I like best for knitting. All of these apps are available for iOS devices, but if you have an Android device, I think some of them are available for those as well. I know Dropbox is at least.

ibooks - Free! - I almost exclusively read books on my iPad now. I'll only really ever get a physical book if there is no ebook available. That means that often, my knitting books are pbooks instead of ebooks. I've found this is a great way to hide my book stash from my boyfriend. However, I've also found that when reading pbooks, I tend to try to highlight words I don't know to define them. That functionality really doesn't work as well in a pbook, by the way.
I actually haven't been using iBooks for pdfs of patterns at all. I will use it for pdf ebooks like Ysolda's Little Red in the City. I can highlight and add notes to things I find important and keep bookmarks of things, but for patterns, I find there are other apps that have better tools to help knitters.

Goodreader - 4.99 - You can get a free version of this app, but trust me, the $5 you spend on this app are WELL worth it! It's best for pdf files, I have had some trouble with using word files. Why is it awesome though? Do you knit shawls? You do? BAM! make a line and drag the line up the chart. You know exactly what row you're on and what to do on it. Add a note to let yourself know how many times you've done that repeat of the pattern. I'll bet that sweater you're working on has multiple sizes right? Highlight the instructions for the one size you want to knit. You can add arrows to point towards directions in written patterns to let you know where you left off. It's pretty sweet. You can transfer patterns onto Goodreader from your computer if your device is connected, or over wifi. You can synch Goodreader with your Ravelry queue (via the instructions here). Or you can import the files from a cloud service.

Dropbox - Free! - Dropbox is definitely my cloud service of choice. They start you off with a certain amount of space, but every time you refer a friend to their website and that friend joins up, you both get more space. I put music, photos, patterns and all sorts of stuff on there. If I want to share anything, I can send a link to someone so they can access just that one file. You can also use it to review patterns and things like that, but it doesn't have all that functionality of Goodreader, so it's good for reference, but not so great at keeping track of where you are in a pattern.

Knit-N-Count - $2.99 - I've used a few different counters. For a while, I was using the StitchMinder app to count rows. But when I started using two counters of the four counters StitchMinder provides to you for one project, I thought that might not work for the long haul. In Knit-N-Count, I can name projects, keep notes on them if I want (I've actually copied in a whole pattern for a simple sock before and used that instead of goodreader), all in addition to the counter. This counter is actually quite sophisticated for a counter. You can set alarm rows, repeat rows, pattern repeats and it'll keep track of your total row count as you're doing all of that. Make a mistake or accidentally press the row button one too many times? No problem, hit the frog button and the counter goes back a row AND makes a "ribbit" noise!

Those are the key apps I use to knit with on my iPad. I also read Vogue Knitting on my ipad (from the Newsstand) and if I want to grab an Interweave magazine, I'll nab it off their website so I can import it to Goodreader if there's a pattern I want to use. You can get IK from the Zinio Magazine app, but it's not a pdf, and oftentimes they're slow in adding things to Zinio.

I used to make a copy of a pattern from a book so I wouldn't have to lug the whole book around with me. I'd put it in a sheet protector, and when I was done with it, I'd stick it in a binder. Now, I scan the document into my computer, pull all the pdfs into one document and load it up into Goodreader. There are some books that doesn't quite work for. I bought Cookie A's Knit Sock Love and the size of the book made it quite difficult to scan the pattern in from my home scanner (with legal sized glass) as well as work's scanner (more like a tabloid sized glass). I ended up typing the pattern up in word and bringing it into Goodreader like that (which is how I know you can't really edit any word documents in Goodreader). I'm not sure what I would do if I needed to do something similar for any of her other patterns that are more complicated or included a chart. I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Monday, June 25, 2012

BEA 2012

There were significantly less printed catalogs this year at Book Expo America, however, the whole show was much more upbeat than I've seen in quite a few years. Digital strategies were abundant and it seemed that despite the impending DoJ lawsuit against key publishers on handling ebook pricing, I dare say, I sensed hope.

The print books on the horizon for knitters were fewer in number than past years, but it seems as though the quality of them might have gone up a bit.

RANDOM HOUSE - Potter Craft

Boyfriend Sweaters: 19 Designs for Him That You'll Want to Wear
$21.99 | December 2012 | Hardcover and Ebook
Bruce Weinstein with photos by Jared Flood

On the catalog page for this book is a hounds-tooth sweater that I've fall in love with. So, the title, at least, is accurate! The description even says that the patterns in the book explain how to modify the sweaters for a more feminine shape. Honestly, the book is probably worth getting for those tips alone!


Comfort Knitting & Crochet: Babies & Toddlers
$19.95 | October 2012 | Paperback
Norah Gaughan & The Berroco Design Team

I don't need to tell you I have a long-term knit crush on Norah Gaughan. I might need to tell you that I've reached that point in life where just as many of my friends are getting married as are having children right now. This has lead me to need to knit more baby stuff than ever before. I can already count 2-3 babies in my life that don't have hand-knits from me (the same!). All the patterns in this book, as you can imagine are knitted with Berroco's yarns. I find their yarns both affordable and of decent quality. There are pastel patterns in here to be sure, but there are also some bright colors, which is much more my baby knitting speed. Already I can see a bib with an octagonal shape that I'm just going to need to knit, and a blanket with half circles that looks to be a blast! With 50 patterns in the book, there's bound to be something for every baby.

Knitting From the Center Out
$27.50 | November 2012 | Hardcover
Daniel Yuhas

While I've never heard of this designer, his bio says that he's been published in Interweave, Knitty, Knitcircus and a few books. All of the patterns in this book are knit, as the title suggests, from the center out. That, however, doesn't mean all the patterns are shawls. There are some, to be sure, but there are also socks, pullovers, hoodies, hats and blankets. The hoodie on the catalog page is imminently knitable, with stunning seams. Of all the books I've seen, this is the one I'm most excited about. Too bad I'll have to wait until November to pick it up!

ABRAMS - V & A Publishing

Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft
$60.00 | October 2012 | Hardcover
Sandy Black

When KnitKnit: Profiles + Projects from Knitting's New Wave came out several years ago, I was interested in it, but it seemed to chronicle more knitters qua artists than knitters qua crafters. I'm somewhat interested in knitting as an art, but I can relate more to knitting as a craft. Knitting explores more of the craft and industry side of knitting through spectacular photographs. From its beginning as a hand-craft, to its progression as a computer controlled process and including everything from everyday wear to haute couture, this book documents it all. The $60 price point makes this one a book I probably won't buy for myself, but I would for a friend as a gift. To close friends and family reading this: hint hint!

$55.00 | October 2012 | Hardcover
Sonia Ashmore

Some of us might think of Muslin as that cheap fabric we use as a test for how a garment might turn out. In-fact, "muslin" is used as a noun not only for that fabric, but also for the test garment made out of that fabric. The fabric, however, has even been used to clothe royalty. I'm super fascinated about the role this fabric has had in developing contemporary fashion and can't wait for its release!

Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming In Color
$40.00 | September 2012 | Hardcover
Kaffe Fassett

While I'm not interested in knitting many of his knitting patterns, I completely appreciate Kaffe Fassett for his adoration and use of color. This autobiography seems a little different than most other autobiographies I've seen in that it includes vivid photographs and unprecedented color. I am incredibly fascinated in Kaffe Fasset's life and what drove him to use so much color.


November Knits
$24.95 | October 2012 | Paperback
Kate Gagnon Osborne & Courtney Kelley

Interweave's catalog doesn't have as many images of the patterns in each book. The cover pattern is mostly all there is to go by. This book is divided into 3 parts: Farm Hands (described as "rustic, casual and durable garments"), Ivy League (described as "smart knitwear with bold colors and classic styling"), and Southern Comfort (described as "bringing warmth and comfort to slightly dressier garments"). Knowing Interweave, the 20 patterns in this book will be classically elegant. I'll have to see more about this book in order to determine if I really want to buy it, but it sounds like it would resonate quite well with my New England roots.

Finish-Free Knits
$24.95 | December 2012 | Paperback
Kristen TenDyke

Whose got two thumbs and hates seaming? THIS GIRL. Accordingly, I'm quite excited about this title. While I know quite a bit about altering patterns from knitting flat to knitting in the round, there are quite a few things about not finishing garments I don't know. While I might not be sure about the patterns, I'll probably pick this book up for the instruction alone.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Knitting On the Go: MacGyvering It

No matter what kind of trip, or what your destination, if you're knitting, you'll need more than just yarn and knitting needles. It's really easy to forget scissors, tape measurers and cable needles at home. It's even easier, sometimes, to drop a stitch marker. But don't stress! Dig in deep, pull out that mullet wig from your carry on bag and embrace your inner MacGyver.

Problem: You dropped that stitch marker under your seat and can't squirm enough to pick it up.
Solution: There are a number of items that can be used to mark where you are in a pattern or the beginning of a row. Twistie ties from some airplane snacks can be twisted at the ends to form a ring that can be used as a marker. A rubber band and another piece of yarn can also work. If you get into a really tight spot, try the tab rom a soda can. It's not ideal, since parts of the tab can be sharp and cut the yarn, but it'll work in a pinch.

Problem: I totally left that tape measurer at home and my pattern says to knit until piece measures 16" from cast on edge!
Solution: Pull out my card! No, really, standard business cards are 2 inches wide and 3.5 inches long. Crease the business card in half to find the center and then just keep flipping the card over itself to measure your piece. If you're knitting the instep of a sock and aren't sure if it's time to start the heel or toe, you should know that the length of your foot is the same as the distance between your elbow and your wrist.

Problem: I forgot a pair of scissors!
Solution: Try a pair of nail clippers, or ask for a can of soda and carefully try to use the mouth of the can to cut the yarn.

Problem: My cable needle is stuck in my checked luggage!
Solution: Unless you're doing a super complicated cable, I can cable without a cable needle! For a cable that crosses to the left (a front cable), insert your right needle through the back loops of the stitches you need to knit first. Then, slide all the stitches off the needle carefully, and place the stitches that will cross to the left or front onto the left needle. Slide the stitches from your right needle back to the left needle and knit according to the pattern. For a right crossing cable (a back cable), instead of sliding the right needle through the back loops of the stitches you need to knit first, slide the right needle through the front loop of the stitches you need to knit first and follow the same directions. A video for this technique can be found here.

Problem: I knit too far and my stitch holders are in my carry on in the overhead bin.
Solution: This is the perfect time to ask the hot dude next to you for some floss. If you find that too embarrassing, however, you can always use a bit of yarn. Ideally, you'd use a contrasting yarn, but if you're stuck in a window seat without any other yarn, sometimes you've just got to make do.

Problem: I forgot this was an intarsia pattern and now I need bobbins!
Solution: Well, you don't really need bobbins. Sometimes bobbins make things easier, but you can use the whole ball of yarn and just move them around each other. You could also use a twistie tie to wrap small hits of yarn around, or you could make mini 15 yard balls.

Problem: My traveling companion freaked out and threw out my darning needles when she saw them thinking they aren't allowed on our mode of transportation but I have to seam this sweater and weave in the end!
Solution: It took me a while to figure this one out. I think the only solution I could come up with was to use a twistie tie Fold it in half and twist the bottom part around itself leaving a hole at the halved side for an eye.

Problem: I need to use the rest room but I'm afraid my stitches will fall off the tips of the needles.
Solution: You can either use a rubber band or hair elastic to keep the stitches off the tips or, you can stick your needle through a piece of in-eaten gum (you should really only do this with an un-sticky kind of gum - Orbit would work ok, but Trident Layers might not be preffered)

Problem: My dog got anxious in the back seat and ate my row counter.
Solution: Count the "v" shapes on top of each orther to figure out what row you're on. There at some pretty great smartphone and iPad apps out there that hopefully will be less likely to munched by your pooch. You can use Any note taking app, even an email or text message to keep track of your rows once you've figured out where you are in the pattern. Also, while I've almost completely scorned pen and paper, that dynamic duo can also help you in this instance

When possible, it's probably less stressful to prepare for these kinds of situations in advance. I have a Knit Kit a friend gave me as a gift. I found a spot in my purse to keep it and always carry it with me. It's got a yarn cutter, a crochet hook, a counter, stitch markers, a tape measures and a set of scissors that are TSA compliant. I call it a Swiss army knit for knitters.

I've got a few trips coming up in the next couple of months, and writing thesse posts has actually been rather helpful for my own planning. I hope they've been helpful to you as well.

Safe travels wherever the summer might take you and knit well!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knitting on the Go: Transportation and Destination

Knitting by the pool
The type of trip and transportation can make quite a difference in what project(s) you take with you on a trip. The destination itself is also something to consider.

One of the things I think about is how much time I'll actually have to devote to knitting. If I drive to visit my family for a weekend, I'll probably have a lot of time to knit once I get there, unless I'm going to a wedding or other similar event. If I'm on a cross country work trip, I will probably have a lot of time to knit on the plane and in the hotel room after dinner. Of course, things can pop up to provide you with more or less time than you'd originally thought. I usually bring what I think I can knit in the time I think I'll have, and then an extra project. You know, for luck!

Don't forget to tailor your knitting project for the quality of knitting time you'll have. Heading to the in-laws? Maybe pack an intricate sweater so you can tell them you need to count rows and concentrate on the project instead of hearing the story of your significant other's first trip to the amusement park for the umpteenth time. Time for a vacation? Why not bring a stockinette project that will allow you to drink up that tropical sunset (and that Tequila Sunrise!) without needing to wonder what row you're on. Cross country travel almost requires a patterned shawl to help with long boring flights and jet lag; there's no way you could finish that cobweb latvian stole in one flight! Knowing whether your brain (or fingers) need to rest or be kept active will be key in the travel planning process.

Even more pivotal, however, could be the type of transportation you'll be taking. Clearly, if you're driving, you won't be knitting. Doing so is extremely dangerous. Driving, in and of itself, should consume so much attention that listening to the radio and having a conversation might put you over the edge before knitting even peeks its head into the picture (NOTE: I am not suggesting you an knit and drive while driving if the radio is turned off and you're not having a conversation with someone. It's dangerous no matter what!). If someone else is driving, however, (and you don't get motion sick - or you have happy pills to prevent that), by golly, have at it.

If you're travelling by train, while you might have less room to spread out, you should be able to knit quite a bit. PRO TIP: before you sit down in a set on the train, make sure the reading light works above the seat you're looking to sit in by testing it. Oftentimes the lights go off on AMTRAK trains, so make sure you can knit on something that doesn't require a lot of looking at if you're travelling at night (ditto for busses!). Currently, security on AMTRAK trains isn't too stringent, so if you think yo'll need scissors, feel free to bring them on with you.

The same cannot be said for travelling by plane. While most knitting paraphernalia should not hold you up at security in the US (you remembered to put that swiss army knife in your checked luggage, right?), be sure to check the TSA's list of prohibited items to make sure there haven't been any changes in policy (international travelers should check with the airport they're flying out of, and also with the airline). Also (and this is KEY!), be sure to check with your airlines to make sure they're knitting friendly. If an airlines has tighter rules than the airport, the airline will probably win. When in doubt, keep your knitting on the needles and thread a lifeline through the row you're on. That way, if security does need to take your needles, your knitting isn't lost with them. If you're really that hard up to knit on the flight, stop by the food court for some chopsticks, and the convenience store for some floss.

Last year I went on a wonderful cruise of the Caribbean. There were multiple knitting threats to me: no current project on the needles, no swatch for a new project. in-laws were going to be there, and there would be alcohol and pools to compete with knitting time. I decided to bring a shawl with me. The pattern was one I knew I'd done before, so I knew about how much time it took to knit and I was good. Problem was, I hadn't quite figured out the gauge for this shawl. Into my bag went my Addi Turbo Interchangeable set and off to security I went. They stopped me at the x-ray machine. After about 10 minutes, and 2 security personnel later, the needles were given back to me without an issue. The project was a hot mess, but that story's for a different time...

Lastly, keep in mind the climate of your destination. Try not to bring warm fibers with you to Hawaii. I learned the hard way that alpaca might even be too much there (FYI: there is one yarn shop on Maui, but I wasn't in that part of town when it was open). Likewise, if you're headed to New Hampshire or Canada for a nice long snowy weekend, bringing an in progress blanket of wool or a cashmere scarf WIP might help with some chilly afternoons. If you're travelling somewhere exotic, try to remember to bring ball bands with you of the yarn you're knitting with. Maybe someone who has never seen it before will be interested in it and want to know what it is.

I know I said this last week, but knowing what the LYS landscape of your destination will help you should security take your knitting needles or scissors and in the event an emergency yarn need. Plus, yarn makes a great souvenir of the places you've traveled and the best gift for fellow knitters that couldn't join you. Sometimes, a key destination that you return to often might be a good spot to store some stash in case of a knitting emergency. My rule of thumb for this is if I keep a toothbrush and feminine products there, it's probably a spot worthy of stashing an emergency project. To that end, there may, or may not be yarn at my parents' to knit a scarf with. I can neither confirm, nor deny these rumors.

I can, however, say that I am heading to my parents' this weekend. Projects are ready to go!I'm driving up, so while I'll be in a car for an inordinate amount of time, I won't have time to knit (friends don't let friends knit and drive!). It's my mom's birthday, so there's a lot of celebrating this weekend. I know I'll have less knitting time than I'm used to, so all I'm bringing with me is a tank top I started on Tuesday, and a pair of socks that I'm not even 1/4 through with yet. We'll see if the silver bag o' hexipuffs makes it, it probably won't since a sock is perfect for travelling.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Knitting On the Go

Maude's mini sock in action.
I travel a lot. My family lives 4 hours away and I visit them frequently. I used to have a job where I traveled quite a bit for work on planes. My boyfriend and I try to take a vacation once a year. It's great to have time off from work and I actually really enjoy business trips due to the amount of knitting I tend to get done.

I've got packing clothes down to a science, but what about keeping myself occupied? I've got some practice planning travelling knitting projects too.

I have a few posts drafted to include tips on how to plan, pick and pack your knitting for maximum travel fun and minimum knitting tragedy. I'll focus on what to think about before you start travelling, how your destination and type of trip could impact your knitting, and some handy knitting gadgets that come in handy on the go and everyday items that can be used in a pinch in case you're in a spot where you can't find something to help you. These posts will be bolstered by some helpful resources to help you in your planning as well.

Personally, for trips where I know I'm going to have a lot of time to knit (and relaxing ones that I'm super excited to go on!) I start thinking about what project I'm going to take with me about a week before I go. I'm the kind of person who literally packs clothing the day before I need to leave (sometimes only HOURS before she needs to leave!), so the fact that I think about knitting this far in advance, and make it part of my excitement for a trip is telling, I think. Here are some ideas for preparing that go from extreme, to throw-all-the-yarn-i-own-that-can-fit-in-the-bag-in-the-bag. Just some thoughts I came up with, I'll let you in on my own process later...
  • Figure out your rate of knitting. Start about a month before you depart. Knit something small and simple like the leg of a sock or a handwarmer, maybe even a sleeve. Time yourself to see how long it takes you to knit and figure out your time per stitch ratio (Take the # of stitches in a round or a row and multiply that by the number of rows you knit for the total number of stitches you knit and then take the time in minutes it took you to knit all those stitches and divide it by the total number of stitches). Now you can take the amount of time you'll spend travelling and multiply it by your rate of knitting to find out how many stitches you'll be able to knit in transit. Ideally, if you're not intending to knit at your destination, this should be higher than the number of stitches you need to complete a WIP if you choose to bring one. This calculation gives you a realistic picture of how much you can accomplish, which can be rather helpful. Who wants to over-pack knitting that they won't get to? If I actually ever did this calculation, it would probably decrease the anxiety I have over whether I need to bring that 5th project with me or not...
  • Map out the nearest yarn stores. Every time I travel somewhere new, and sometimes even when I travel to visit my parents, I hop onto and search for yarn stores near my destination. Write them down! Yes! Even the Holly Hobby or the Michaels! You'll never know when you might have an emergency! I've definitely stopped at a Holly Hobby in Bentonville, AR because I needed a darning needle to finish a sock. What if a dastardly TSA employee hates knitters and takes your needles? What if you didn't calculate your rate of knitting and ran out of projects before it's time to go home!? Know before you go! This can also be helpful to recalculate yourself after a whole day with either your family,or an in-law's family or a business meeting that just didn't go the way you wanted it to.
  • Jot down some yardages/weights of yarn for projects you are interested in. In today's smartphone world, sometimes we think that cell service is omnipresent. Sometimes we think our own service provider is everywhere. I was recently up in New Hampshire and it seems as though my carrier did not get along with the mountains as well as I did. Sure, I could have asked the shopkeep to check out my Ravelry page and let me know how much yardage I'd need of something, but when you're just browsing and aren't sure, you might not want to talk to the salesperson right away. This is also a helpful strategy in the event that your significant non-knitting other is only allowing you so much time in the Sheep Shrine or when you'd feel awkward making them wait (which is more my case). Jotting down yardages can be an efficient and quick way to get the souvenir yarn you want while saving the relationship with the one you love. :)
  • At the very least, take a sock or shawl. Those kinds of projects are easily transportable, compact, and take a sufficient amount of time to knit so that if you start them on the plane, depending on where you're going, you should at least be able to tide you over until you can get to a yarn store at your destination.

Until the next post on Tailoring Your Knitting to Your Destination, check out these projects that I've knit while traveling with varying degrees of success.

FOs Knit while Traveling

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vine Yoke Cardigan

I started this as a knitalong with my Staten Island Knitting group. Then I kinda just knit on it to beat the band over MLK weekend and now it's soaking in the kitchen sink. I think one other knitalonger hasn't started, and the other I think might be on the first sleeve. Oops.

Vine Yoke Yoke Detail

I got some great wooden buttons for it at M&J Trimming.

2012 seems to be the year of knitalongs. I have a couple of projects languishing in the WIP piles. I have a sweater with a hole that needs to be darned and a sock in my purse. February's project is probably going to be a knitalong with blogless, facebookless Johanna. We're each going to knit a pair of Gioielli Gloves from Connie Chang Chinchio's Textured Knits. I'm going to knit it out of some Malabrigo Sock that I picked up in Chicago a couple of years ago. It'll probably match a hat I'm going to knit out of some Malabrigo Gruesa I got from the Staten Island knitting group's grab bag.

Malabrigo Gruesa

Sometime this spring, it looks like Claudine and I might do a Haruni knit along. I fell in love with Haruni when I saw a finished one at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival a couple of years ago.

What is this shawl pattern?

In the meantime, however, I still need to knit a Christmas Tree skirt (I picked a pattern from Handknit Holidays - officially the book I've knitted the most amount of patterns from). Maybe I'll start on that after I darn that sweater.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 Knits

Every year I post a list of the projects I completed the previous year. I'm a little late on this one, but I think it might still be relevant sometime. A goal of mine this year is to post a bit more. I haven't been writing much recently, and I'm thinking that's a skill that falls under that "use it or lose it" deal.

2011 Knits
  1. Day Glow Robot
  2. Baby Bobbi Bear for Colin
  3. Silver Ishbel for me to wear at my brother's wedding
  4. Lobster Pot Red Livias
  5. Star Tank
  6. Hurricane Irene V-Neck
  7. 2 minna key covers
  8. Mini Sock for Maude
  9. Whale Watch Hat
  10. Silver Beaded Ishbel for Aunt Pat

There was a rather large project I was working on that took up quite a bit of time. I just finished that, so it'll be on the 2012 list next January. The strange thing to me is that there's only one pair of socks here. I think that's largely due to the fact that I could knit bigger things on my commutes to work from Staten Island. I'm hoping that I can fix the sock situation this year. Some of my older ones are starting to get holes in them.

The big epic project this year is going to be a Christmas Tree Skirt for our Christmas tree this year. I'm hoping to knit a few Christmas Balls too. I just got 55 Christmas Balls to Knit and it looks like a fun time.

Also, I signed up for some classes this year already. A sewing basics course at The Sewing Studio in an effort to figure out how to do that kind of craft.

My grandmother gave me one of her old 8 shaft table looms for Christmas and a Warping Wheel. I'm insanely excited about weaving, and signed up for a class at the Textile Arts Center. My classes start in february!