Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sweet Honey Beret goes Sour!

Yesterday I finished my faux dotty scarf. Yeah! Happiness! Applause!

There is a bit of history with this scarf. One of the main reasons that I wanted to learn to knit is that I loooove scarves. Sad I know for a girl from North Texas, but alas there it is.
Ever since I was a kid I have loved scarves, especially winter scarves, long and luscious and bursting with color.
So while trolling the wonderfulness that is Ravelry I happened upon this scarf pattern. The only thing is that it's not so much a scarf pattern, but a stitch pattern. And a kinda confusing one at that.
Only about 4 other knitters had done it at the time and the color choices that they had each come up with were spectacular. I HAD to make this scarf. So I followed the link the the first knitters post on Craftster, printed out the instructions, went to my LYS, bought the yarn, came home and cast on!
And that was when the first of many frustrations began. To look at it, it's a fairly simple pattern. But to knit it is to know the meaning of confusion. And not just for me. This began on a Thursday night, by Saturday I had knit, ripped out, started again, emailed the original knitter alon with the 3 other girls all with no help.
So by Saturday morning I was beyond through with this scarf and it's f'ed up pattern. I teach dance classes all day on Saturdays from 10:00am until 2:30pm, and all day during my classes the only thing that I could think about was that damned scarf. What made it really frustrating was that usually after classes I would go and sit and knit at my LYS where I could get help with any knitting problems that I might be having, *they were always so great about that Yarns Ewenique. You are so missed* however that Saturday I had scheduled a hair appointment, and you know for a black woman that is just as important and sometimes more important than your Well Woman exam. So, there I was with this knitting dilemma and no time to fix it, what was I going to do?
I'll tell you what I did. While my 8 year olds were changing shoes, luckily none of them need my help, I called my hairdresser, got my appointment pushed back 2 hours and after my last class of the day I flew out the door to my LYS.
There to the frustration of 4 other advanced knitters including one of the stores owners, none of us could figure out the pattern either. Finally, before I left it was suggested that I forget about that pattern and learn how to cable...which I did consider.
Fast forward to the next Saturday and I am back at LYS after classes and someone mentions "pattern from hell" as we are now affectionately calling it and I say that I haven't even looked at the yarn in a week. That was when Annemieke, the other store owner said let me see it, so I showed it to her and proceeded to talk with the other ladies and knit something less frustrating, I think it was a washcloth.
The next thing I know Annemieke says " I don't know what the problem is." And holds up a perfect swatch of the pattern. Copious gasps from around the table as we all gaze in wide eyed wonderment at what she has done. Then we all start to cuss and demand that she show us how she did it.
Turns out we were just thinking to hard. You see in the directions your supposed to drop a stitch four rows down, pick it up, transfer it to your other needle and continue to knit as usual???? I kid you not! I had 3 different directions for this pattern, one from the stitch dictionary where it came from, one from craftster and one from the knitter who did it originally. The previous Saturday we had tried all of them one at a time and in every combination of all three that we could think of and nothing.
So yes when Annemieke smiled down on us and just said we were thinking to hard and you just do this and I did....low and behold 10 months later I have a scarf.
10 MONTHS! Yes 10 months, not because it was hard but because Texas girl likes her scarves loooong, not quite Dr. Who long but long enough to wrap and hang and boy does this one.
Well after finishing my Faux Dotty Scarf, I was in a finishing mood. I have been working on this Sweet Honey Beret for a couple of weeks now and I was loving it. Emphasis on the was.
This one unlike the faux dotty wasn't a hard pattern to follow, just a tedious pattern to follow. Which means that I had to pay attention, no taking it to my knitting circle, or to my boyfriends house and I even had to be careful what I was watching on tv. It is constant counting and yarn overs, purl 2 tog, brioche purl, brioche purl2tog....made my head hurt. And as always it's not a Tapgurl knitted project unless you cast on at least twice and rip back and start again about 3 times. But hey, after that third time I was off and knitting. That is until I got to the decrease rounds and then I was just off!
For about a week now I have been making myself decrease this damn hat, as I started to think of it. I never said it outloud, but I thought it. I would do a decrease round, then knit something else or do the dishes or even call my mother. Anything to keep from finishing this hat, which was not so much looking like a honey come but a series of drunken knots. And I couldn't even drink while knitting it either. And that my friends is when after 2 decrease rounds I looked at it yesterday and said "F" it and ripped it out.

And you know what? All is at peace in my world.

Sweet Honey Beret - The Beginning

Sweet Honey Beret - The END

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Post- How original

Just finished watching Whitney Houston on Oprah while making centerpull yarn balls for my Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole.
I can't believe that she described how you smoke cocaine to Oprah.
What I love about knitting is learning new things. Sometimes it's stitch, or a new cast on, or the fact that I have now knit 6 pairs of socks..... how awesome is that!
As I said earlier I am working on the Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole from Scarf Style. With this project alone I have learned a new cast on (the backwards loop), how to knit entrelac (not so easy when the pattern leaves out 2 important turns) and how to make a center pull ball.
The backwards loop was kinda tricky. I went to the index and couldn't quite figure it out, but thanks to I was able to view a video tutorial and voila!
Then the whole entrelac knitting thing seemed pretty easy, knit a little, turn your work, knit back over what you just worked. Well halfway through the first tier I realized that something just wasn't looking right. If I followed the directions then I would be purling on the right side of my scarf and that just didn't look right to me. I consulted the pics in the book, ravelry and even checked for errata on the publishers website....nothing. But something told me that I needed to turn my work and purl on the wrong after ripping out and starting over for the third time I decided to go for it, not as a friend and knitting guru once told me " trust in the process" because trusting seemed like I was going to end up with a "fugly" stole. I went out on a limb and turned my knitting and damned if it wasn't the right thing to do.
That was the moment when I discovered that I was a good knitter. Sometimes part of the process is trusting yourself.
Days later when I was again perusing ravelry I finally found 1 person who posted that the pattern had left out 2 turns!!
One of my favorite knitting books on the planet is Stitch N Bitch: The Knitters Handbook. When I first started knitting I checked it out from the library over and over again until my boyfriend finally bought it for me. I'll tell that story later ( he is also responsible for finding Stitch N Bitch Nation for me as well).
So before I started the Lady Eleanor I wanted to wind the hanks of yarn prior to knitting it. I was planning on buying a ball winder, but funds are tight right now and I decided to just wind by hand. Not exactly the most exciting activity but when in a recession a girl needs to save her extra money for actual yarn. That was when I remembered reading somewhere about making your own center pull yarn balls? So off to my knitting bookshelf (shutup, so I'm yarn obsessed) I found my go to yarn bible and there in the first few chapters I found it. So I propped myself on the couch, wrapped the hank around my feet and proceeded to wind my yarn. And the coolest works!
I have been knitting from the first ball for about a week now and it has held up beautifully. I just keep pulling and knitting from the center and it hasn't collapsed. If you haven't done it you should try it.
Here's a picture of the four that I wound while watching Oprah.