Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MIA: Crochet Gauge

I think today is day 10 of the yarncraft hiatus. I don't really know, though. I'm coping with a lot of iced coffee, which I never used to drink.

Speaking of coffee, I had this idea around Christmas of 2009 of how to crochet a better coffee cozy. I never made it, but I threw down a few preliminary sketches. While begging for sympathy re: my hand on Ravelry, someone from the PMPTWs group suggested I take this time to design. Time + already had an idea = genius! Right?

Wrong! I guess I didn't realize this until just now, but try to find a hook suggestion, let alone a crochet gauge on a yarn label. Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker says that you can use a hook that corresponds to the suggested needle size in millimeters. Thankfully all that info is readily available online, if not on your needle itself.

Now, obviously you are going to find a suggested hook size on some yarns. I just pulled a few random skeins out of one of my bins and here's what I found. Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton: needle size only. Patons Divine: suggested hook size as well. I wanted to use Cascade 220 in this coffee cozy design, but there's no suggested hook size or gauge. I could just -- gasp -- crochet a swatch, but I'm on a hiatus, remember?

Thankfully The Happy Hooker has a yarn weight system chart with suggested gauges. I would have found this out if I'd turned one page past the hook-millimeter page, but I didn't and you can also find it online. Go to Craft Yarn Council's and click on the downloadable guidelines PDF file.

I used to make fun of knitting books that had a bunch of patterns and then shoved a ton of "how to knit" stuff in the back, because it seemed like a bunch of filler and I had like 6 books with the same info in them. Of course, while trying to find crochet gauges I couldn't find a single knitting book with a yarn weight chart in it, so I don't know if they tend to put the crochet info in as well.

All that work for a little crochet information? Phew, that was exhausting. Crochet is definitely the red-headed stepchild to many yarn companies, apparently. Is it so difficult to imagine someone might want to crochet with your yarn? I will now end this blog post with a short letter.

Dear yarn companies:

Don't discriminate.

Love, Jen

Sunday, June 26, 2011

IWTMT: A Better Bucket

Once upon a time, I had a green bucket hat. I loved my bucket hat and wore it many places, including a middle school trip to Washington DC. My mother hated it. I think she still hates it, because it may be kicking around somewhere still.

Have I mentioned all the green yarn I have? As soon as my 4-week hiatus is up, I am so knitting a green hat for myself. Seriously. I'll knit 7.

I'll knit this Better Bucket hat, which is Ravelry-only but that's okay because I can SEW A BIG BUTTON ON IT. (I may have put that in all caps because I had iced coffee and soda today and there's a major crash coming in the next five minutes. Shh.) Buttons. Ooh.

Can't see the Rav page? Here. This person made a green one and it is awesome.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

FO: Gaenor

Gaenor is off the blocking board, folks. The beauty of this shawl is going to have to last me 23 more days, because I believe today is day 5 of the yarncraft hiatus.

First off, Gaenor was an IWTMT back in October, so go me for actually making something from a pattern I bought.

Pattern: Gaenor (duh) or on Ravelry
Yarn: That random skein of Peace of Fleece Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn Semi-Solids in the Iolite colorway that I picked up at Mystic River Yarns in Mystic CT. I can't seem to find any info online on the dyer. It is supposed to be 100 grams, but mine was only 98. Of the 98 grams, my shawl used 94, or approximately 399.5 yards.
Needles: US size 6 on my Boye interchangeable set
Timeline: 5.28.11-6.15.11


Opinions: This pattern was 100% worth the purchase for many reasons. It's very easily adaptable to any yarn, as long as you are able to measure your skein. You start and end with 2 stitches. The lace pattern is very simple for beginners but very pretty. It really does work well with variegated yarn. And it has both written and charted instructions, which is awesome for a chart-hater like me. I really enjoyed this project and would like to make the shawl again in a different yarn.

My shawl grew from approximately 42" x 17.5 to 51" x 22". Not bad.



Random Thoughts: Lifelines. Always use them. Even on the last repeat. Because I debated not putting the last one in, and I ended up needing it.
I still have no idea if my shawl is blue, purple or indigo. I don't really understand what indigo is. I'm leaning towards blue.
If it is blue, I'm still wearing it to the wedding even though my dress is purple and my shoes are turquoise.
I do not look good in the bib style.


Nor do I look good in the babushka style. Live and learn.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FO: Loom Hat

I may have cheated on my hiatus with a loom, but it turns out you can finish a project on a loom in a matter of hours, which is why I have a FO on a hiatus. The light sucks today and I hate the flash, so bear with the awful picture.


Pattern: The hat instructions that come with the Knifty Knitter round loom set. I don't know if there's an actual webpage or PDF for it, but it's on Ravelry here.
Yarn: Some amount of Caron Simply Soft held double. No, I didn't measure it. I will. (7.1.11 edit: The hat weighs 54 grams, which is approximately 100.8 yards.)
Loom: The red (child-sized) Knifty Knitter round loom.
Timeline: 6.19.11-6.20.11

Opinions: The Knifty Knitter is meant to be used with larger-weight yarns, which I didn't realize when I purchased it. Two strands of Simply Soft held together doesn't seem thick enough, and I hope the hat doesn't stretch as much on the child as it did on the foam head, because that is not going to be a warm hat. Otherwise, it was exceptionally easy and I can't wait to make more once my hand heals.

Random Thoughts: Poor Sally had an unintentional nose job. Please don't say anything about it, as she's very sensitive right now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Existential Crisis

Something I haven't really talked about on this blog is the existential crisis I've been having lately. I started the year with these great plans, and I've pretty much done a 180 and not wanted to deal with yarncrafting at all.

One of the blog posts I never made was about the term "knitter". Obviously I do more than knit, but the whole idea was that I didn't label myself as a knitter, I was someone who knits. I'm pretty sure if you asked anybody who knows me outside the knitting world, they'd call me a knitter. But I don't self-label as one.

It's kind of funny to keep a knitting blog and not call yourself a knitter, by the way.

This year has been pretty crappy on the medical front, which has sucked a lot energy out of me. My latest issue is this hand deal, and I am Not Supposed To Do Yarncraft for 4 weeks or else my hand will fall off or something.

You'd think, with this existential yarncraft crisis, that I would be totally fine with that. After all, I've finished like 3 projects in six months. This would be no problem if a doctor told me not to, because Doctors Know More Than I Do. Besides, it's not like I've been enjoying knitting lately anyway.

But I've felt like I'm floundering without the yarny identity. Like, I can't knit, so what else do I do? Nothing. Nada. Zip. This would be a great time to pick up a new hobby, so I went to the store and bought a set of knitting looms.

Oops. I cheated on my own hiatus with yarncraft.

I thought I could loom without using my left hand, but it turns out that doesn't work so well either. So while I'm depressed about the no-yarncrafting, I guess I'm starting to think of myself as a "knitter". Well, and a "crocheter", and a "loomer". I didn't know how much I identified with it all until I couldn't do it anymore.

But seriously, I have gotta stop touching yarn. I'm considering wearing a big red mitten on my left hand and shouting "no!" at myself when I reach for the loom. Because that's totally normal. Yep.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

IWTMT: Vermont Shawl

A lot of the time I make fun of the fact that I live in Vermont. I mean, I'm from fancy-Connecticut (it's a subsection; check it out on a map). I stick my pinky out when I drink water. I pronounce my t-s. I get confused when cars stop to let me cross the street and when people I don't know smile and say hi. And I don't like the Red Sox.

Now that everyone in New England who reads this blog has violently unsubscribed, I do like Vermont well enough. It's very pretty. I went to college in Vermont. I got married in Vermont. I got my license in Vermont (June 9th!). Go nature.

Plus, I don't think Connecticut has any shawls named after it, and I want to make the Vermont Shawl, so I guess I have to be nice to the state. Since it's a Rav-only download, here's a blog post about it from the designer herself. That version is pink; the version on Rav is (obviously) green. The only color you're allowed to knit in Vermont, donchaknow.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Knitting Injured -- Don't Do It!

I would like to preface this post by saying that I'm not a doctor. (Shocker, right?) Please don't listen to my medical advice or do what I do. Always go see your doctor when experiencing pain like I am about to describe, unless you're me, in which case you're (I'm) just going to self-diagnose with WebMD and Google because you're (I'm) uninsured.

Thus ends the disclaimer, by the way. Jen = not a doctor, if you're part of the TL;DR camp.

You may remember back in May when I went to WEBS and didn't buy anything? I also hurt my hand, which I attributed to knitting with cotton and driving, so I took a hiatus from knitting. Except I'm not really sure how much of a hiatus I actually took, since that post is dated May 3rd and my Ravelry project page says I finished the hat on May 27th. And then I started my Gaenor shawl on May 28th.

To recap, I am still having difficulty putting weight on my left hand, so obviously I didn't take enough of a hiatus (and starting a shawl probably wasn't a great idea either). I never realized how often I put weight on my hands. It is now difficult to do such things as:

-push myself out of my chair
-push myself up in bed
-close the trash can lid properly
-push-ups (are you noticing a trend with the word "push" here?)
-get down from the windowsill at work by leaning on equipment (maybe don't tell my boss I do that)

I looked up my symptoms (DON'T DO THAT! Go to a doctor. Okay, I think I've legally covered my butt here. Carry on.) and a lot of sites suggest carpal tunnel syndrome. I don't think I have that because there's no pain or tingling, just an inability to put weight on the hand.

I can knit just fine. I can carry the vacuum in my left hand. I can do a lot of things I'd rather not be able to do, actually, like take the trash out and scrub the toilet. How inconvenient, this injury.

Anyway, my best guess is that it's some kind of Repetitive Stress Injury and I was a naughty girl and didn't rest my hand enough and now I'm paying for it. (Except not with money, because I don't have insurance.) Paying with my BODY.

I knit English, by the way, which is why I'm a little confused that it's my LEFT hand that hurts. But who knows?

I'm 25, and that's too young to have a hobby put on the sidelines because I was too stupid and "worked through" the problem, so now I have to take a serious, real hiatus from knitting. This is so serious I'm debating making a ticker for it because I might have difficulty counting to July 15th.

But really. At least four weeks of no:


That was kind of a small list, actually. I plan on weaving in the ends on my Gaenor and blocking it, which ought to be interesting because I tend to lean on my hand while blocking. Note to self: don't do that. Because collapsing on a bunch of t-pins will probably hurt.

And you don't have insurance.

And WebMD probably can't help you with that.

But I bet Google can.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

IWTMT: Chapstick/Lip Balm Holder

I am not really one of those people who has a million things on their key chain because, well, I've never needed to. (It's all shoved into the messenger bag that doubles as my purse.) I am one of those people that has a million lip balms, because a) I need them and b) I lose things a lot.

Somebody invented a lip balm holder that you can put on your key chain. I love it, and I fully intend to make at least seven, because I'm pretty sure that's how many lip balms I have floating around. Maybe more.

Ravelry page (free download -- Ravelry only): Chapstick/Lip Balm Holder
Not on Rav but you need a visual? Check out this post on Growing Free.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FO: Sneaky Snakes

I have been hiding a horrific secret from all of you, and for that I am sorry.

You may have noticed that I don't tend to post full-on face shots unless I am wearing a hat, and the reason for that is two-fold. One, I look pretty good in hats. Two, I look like Benjamin Franklin when I don't wear hats.

Hey, look, laugh if you want but it's true. I'm not going to post pictures here so you can laugh at me and put it on Facebook, because I'm totally going to do that later and I don't want you to steal my idea.

I finally finished my sister's birthday hat and sent it out on my birthday (hmmm ...). I was able to take one shot where I don't look completely horrific, and that's only because I turned my head away from the camera. Hey, at least I remembered to take a picture this time.


Also, I apparently have a mole on that side of my neck. You learn something new every day.

Pattern: Sneaky Snakes
Yarn: Approximately 133.2 yards of Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton in the Khaki colorway. This is assuming I measured correctly, which is a pretty risky assumption these days.
Needles: US size 3 and US size I forgot to write it down
Timeline: 3.2.11-5.27.11

Opinions: The pattern itself was great, once I figured out how to do what it wanted (I think I got confused on the yarnovers, but I used this page to help me.) It's very open-ended as to how slouchy you want to make it, which I suppose can either be a blessing or a curse, depending on how much yarn you have. The Eco Cotton, by the way? Splitty as all heck. Nice yarn that lost its twist if I so much as looked at it funny.

Random Thoughts: I have really patient family members.
I injured my hand working on this project (cotton is so unforgiving).
The ribbing was too big and I had to put elastic thread in it.
Buy smaller diameter elastic thread than you think you need, because the thick thread is not stretchy and is very visible.
Don't get superglue all over your hands when attempting to glue the elastic thread knot.
What am I going to do with a skein and a half of leftovers?
I apparently still look like Benjamin Franklin in slouchy hats. Good to know.
My sister doesn't. Brat.


(At least one of us is not sporting our natural hair color. So there.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011


As usual, I've put off making this post because I've been distracted by things like massages, X-Men movies, and Farmville. Not gonna lie to you. This is never high on my list of priorities. But I still love ya.

This week's IWTMT is actually inspired by one of the above things. Can you guess which one? I'm gonna give you a hint, it's not the massage.

Hubs and I saw X-Men: First Class today and rather enjoyed it. Let's not talk about continuity though, 'kay? Anyway, there's a scene where one of the characters is wearing a blue hat and I want to make it. I tried to find a picture, but basically no luck. It's either a seed stitch or moss stitch with a short ribbed bottom. (Fun fact: what's the difference between seed stitch and moss stitch? Seriously, I'm too lazy to look it up.) The reason I'm not linking any of the patterns that I found is because they don't match the top decreases.

So I figure maybe I'll branch out a little and figure out my own pattern. Except with green yarn, because damnit. Next post should be my sister's green hat, and she's not allowed to have a green hat if I don't. Mom says.