Friday, February 24, 2017

Production Knitting

Trying to build inventory for future craft shows has found me knitting the same pattern over and over.

Knitting - A Pleasure or a Chore?

If someone offered you the chance to knit the same simple pattern (easily knit while you watched television) that took you a couple of hours to knit and they provided you with the yarn, would you be willing to get paid $4 per completed item?  Would you be willing to do production knitting for any amount of money?  Would knitting for pay take away the joy of knitting for you?

When I price items for my craft shows, I recognize that it's not likely that I will ever make a proper wage for the time it takes me to knit an item.  I have to constantly balance my enjoyment of the time that I knit, and the fact that I can do knit whilst doing other things.  I also have to balance the fact that my knitting time could be going toward knitting gifts, or a sweater for me or Thaddeus.

I'm starting to strike a balance between knitting items for sale, and knitting things I do for myself or others.  Honestly, I enjoy doing both.

Current Knitting

I've knitted a few more Starbucks cup cozies (yes, they could be used on a lot of cups, but I figure if someone is willing to spend $7 or $8 on a latte, they'll be willing to spend money to buys a cup sleeve for themselves or as a gift).

Any thoughts on how much you think I should sell these for?  I'm thinking about doing cardboard cutout inserts as packaging.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Time to Just Get Over It

Face Reality

Someone on Facebook asked her readership,
"There are still trump supporters out there.... how? How is that even possible?"
One of the commenters left the following response,
"There are many of us around who support President Trump, but choose to not discuss politics in a social media setting. I will not discuss my views here, but will say we do not have Stockholm Syndrome, are not delusional, stupid, ignorant or unintelligent. We also do not feel we have made a mistake or are ashamed. We are not sheeple. We have differing opinions. I am silent because it is better to have rational discussions about topics with people who do not hate and do not call me names rather than have an argument or debate with adults who feel name calling and disrespect is socially acceptable. I would rather keep good friends, regardless of what our opinions are, and agree we do not see eye-to-eye than call them horrible things and think that is okay. We are many. My husband and I raise our children to have a mind of their own and to know it is okay to not always agree, but to be respectful and kind. The hatred throughout the political spectrum is not going to do anything but continue to put distance between Americans. It is a sad situation for our country. If you are a "friend" of mine, you are of course more than welcome to unfriend, unfollow, block or ban. Honestly, it makes no difference to me in the grand scheme of life. I am on Facebook as a decent human being and enjoy my social media friends regardless of their political positions, because that is not all that makes us who we are."
 Those of you who know me, know that I hate this president (yes, I know "hate" is a strong word...I hate him).  There is not one aspect of him that I can even say I admire...not one.  When I say we need to "get over it" I don't mean to say that we should in any way stop working against all that he's trying to do to my country and I will fight him at every opportunity.

What I do think we have to "get over" is that there are people who think very differently in this country than we do...enough of them in key States that they elected someone I find utterly detestable.  But the fact that these people exist, is something I need to recognize.  People who were terrified of the thought of Hillary running our country, and found great comfort in the alternative that was presented to them...people that weren't as afraid of radical change to the status quo...or even more so, yearned for it.

I don't agree with these people, but I do recognize they do exist and they have as much right to their opinion as I do mine.  I will work as hard as I can to win over their hearts and minds and find alternatives that they find better suited to their ideals than the man who currently inhabits the White House.

Current Knitting

I have been a bit obsessed lately with a pattern for a coffee cup sleeve I found recently on Pinterest called "I'd Love Some Coffee" by Thaddeus Nelson.

So I've made a few of them in this fantastic yarn I got at the Rocky Mountain Men's Knitting Retreat a while ago...they look fantastic and they knit up rather quickly (once you get past the fiddliness of some of the stitch transfers.  I think I'll be making a lot of these cup cozies.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Workshop Scheduling

Each year, participants of the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat volunteer to lead workshops at the retreat.

Knitting Expertise Shared

We have amazing spinners, weavers, knitters, crocheters and designers who show up to the retreat each year, willing to share what they know with the guys who attend.

Some of the more popular workshops have been Lace Blocking, Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom, Designing Knits that Fit, Sock Heel Architecture, Tunisian Crochet,  Choosing Colors That Work Together, Intro to Double-Knitting, Crochet Edging, etc.

It's amazing what the guys come up with each year...especially since each workshop is 3 hours long and we really don't have the facilities to delve into the messier workshops, like dyeing.

If you could attend, what workshops would you like to see?

Current Knitting and Spinning

I finished the Biased Garter Scarf using my hand-spun, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

I also finished the spinning the Mohair/Shetland singles from Mindy and started spinning some unknown wool that I will ply it with.

The unknown wool is being spun thicker than the mohair/shetland blend..I think it will create an interesting yarn when it's all finished.  I'll certainly have enough of it.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Regarding my afterthought heel, Leslie suggests, "For an afterthought heel, try doing the same thing as a toe, just decreasing to the final number rather than increasing. K2tog and SSK make a very nice heel, one stitch from the edge."

That's exactly what the pattern called for, and I might pull out my heel and re-do it that way.  We'll see how ambitious I am.

Thank you all for the well-wishes on my kidney stone saga...I'm feeling quite well now and will have my final visit with the Urologist (hopefully) next week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Garter Stitch - The Perfect Learning Tool

Having said for years that the most important characteristic to be a successful knitter is perseverance, I think garter stitch is the perfect tool to assess if someone will be a lifelong knitter or not.

Knitting Assessment

Garter stitch can also be incredibly boring and seemingly takes FOREVER to grow.  

Seems like it would be the perfect test of perseverance for a potential new knitter.  If I'm teaching someone to knit and they don't have endless persistence with it comes to knitting endless rows of garter stitch (and ripping out and starting again when they make mistakes), I typically think the learner won't ever become an earnest knitter.  I know there are exceptions to this generalization, but it seems to be a good indicator.

On a more positive side, garter stitch is simple enough to help a new knitter understand how to create rows of loops that eventually form a fabric.  Garter stitch doesn't roll or curl up.  Garter stitch fabric makes it easy to count rows.  Garter stitch has approximately the same row and stitch gauge, making it easy to pick up stitches and perform things like mitered or modular knitting.  Garter stitch creates furrows that can easily be used for illusion or shadow knitting.

Finally, when my life is a bit full, garter stitch can be an incredibly soothing and rhythmic way for me to continue knitting.

Current Knitting

A while ago, I was watching television and didn't have my knitting project(s) with me, so I picked up some handspun yarn and some needles and just started knitting a garter/biased scarf.

With all the medical tests and procedures lately, I've found this easy and rich-colored garter stitch project has been a joy to work on.   And even with this much length on the scarf, it seems to be an endless task.  I will, however, persevere.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

What Is The Plural of Lithotripsy?

Yes...during my latest encounter with a kidney stone, it turns out that the 6.5mm stone that was causing me issues had a mate in the other kidney that was even larger.

Is There a Two-Fer Discount?

The smaller, problematic stone had moved down my ureter, blocking the flow of fluid on my right side into the bladder.  It also caused quite a bit of pain.

The first lithotripsy completely pulverized the blocking stone (and I only had one stone on my right...unlike the graphic above).

Since I had met my annual deductible, and the doctor thought it was advisable, I scheduled a second lithotripsy on Friday and had the stone embedded in my left kidney pulverized as well.

So far, so pain or other ill effects from the second lithotripsy.

Current Knitting

With the discomfort and anxiety of another medical procedure, I decided to work only on the afterthought heel sock project...I figured if I messed it up it wouldn't require much to re-do it.

Suffice it to say, the first heel is now complete after three different attempts which I ripped out.  I finally landed on a standard short-row heel, using the wrap & turn short-row technique.  My first attempt was to use Japanese short-rows, which I hated for a heel.