Sunday, March 25, 2007

Is someone spying on me?

This blog is one week old. I created it on a bit of a whim last weekend while asking P (my husband) about how hard or easy it would be to create and maintain a blog. It was so easy that, while poking around on the internet to research options, I ended up creating this blog. Since then I have been digesting the idea that I am putting myself out there for people to read (and perhaps judge) my words. I have not yet told anyone that this blog exists. I think I needed a little time to let the fact that I am creating an on-line presence steep in my mind.

Being that I haven't told anyone that this exists, it was actually quite a shock and surprise when, on the very same day I had created this blog, I received a comment. To be honest, I was somewhat unnerved (and excited) by it. The person who left the comment was January One (Cara), someone whose blog I read. It was baffling to me that in this big ole internet world I had been found and read in my "newborn" state and that I had been found by someone whom I "knew".

I am not someone who comments on other people's blogs. I belong to a few on-line knitting communities but those communities are tied to real life events like knitting groups and yarn stores. I have been reading blogs as entertainment, inspiration and information. I haven't really felt like I been using blogs as a conscious community building activity but I guess that in retrospect I was gaining a sense of community from them. I have just been that person in the community who has been quietly sitting and taking in her surroundings without giving much back.

I have been trying to figure out why receiving a comment was unsettling. I have only been able to conclude that by writing in this forum, I am becoming vulnerable to judgement from others while also relinquishing control as to who has access to my thoughts. It also weirds me out a wee bit that I may come into contact with people who know things about me (that I have posted) but I don't know that they know those things. For some reason, that messes with my head a little. I'll get over it though.

So, in the end, it wasn't really about the comment. It was about the confirmation that the words I had whispered into the internet world had been heard by someone.

Even more strange was visiting the January One blog and finding that Cara had posted about the importance or lack of importance of receiving comments on your blog.
Her post referred to a larger discussion happening on another knitter's blog
I see this discussion as rooted in the same question that I have been asking myself: Does it matter if people read (and respond to) what I write?

I think so. I like the idea of sharing with others (my mom taught me well!). It makes me excited to see what other people might have to say in response to my posts.

I would like to thank Cara for welcoming me to the community. I am glad to be here and I'll try to speak out more since I now know that comments do matter.

On a practical note and in preparation for the gobs of comments I am bound to get (ha!), can anyone inform me as to the best way to respond to comments on blogger?

Weaving in Ends and Casting On

I took advantage of the company of my knitting group to help ease the pain of weaving in all of those ends this week. It is a part of the knitting process that I don't much enjoy. It helps to have fantastic company, conversation and chocolate mint brownies to distract from the tedious task.

What I do enjoy is the moment that happens right after I've clipped the tail on that last end. The moment where I can say "Done!" while holding it up and admiring it. I look forward to having a photo collection on this blog to serve as a preservation of that "Done!" moment. And, in fact, by having this place to post those things my moment of conclusion will likely shift to the moment I hit the "publish" key on my blog.

There have been so many projects that I have made and admired and then sent out into the world. I can't remember them all. Many of my recipients live elsewhere in the country which means that I have little occassion to see them wearing or using something I have made for them.

I once bought one of those knitting journals in which extremely organized and, dare I say, anal retentive knitters can document their projects. It seemed like a great idea but my motivation to detail and record each project just wasn't great enough and I didn't much like the fill-in-the-blank formula. In truth, the only use I ever got out of the journal was by shoving yarn labels into the back pocket of it. Hardly worth the $20.

So, finishing all of my projects left me with only one project left on the needles. That project is my first fair isle project - a pair of mittens from the Fall 2003 issue of Interweave Knits. The pattern is very literally titled "Colorwork Hat and Mittens". As this is my first fair isle project I am not able to work on it unless I am in a undistracted setting. That eliminates my usual knitting contexts which include knitting groups or while watching crime TV shows. I have accepted that this will be a very slow-going project both in terms of the actual knitting pace and the sporadic attention being devoted to it.

What this all leads to is an important question: What next? As I accumulate more resources, more techniques and more yarn this question becomes more and more difficult to answer. I spent a good chunk of time last night trying to figure out the answers to that all important question. Should I make a hat? How about some mittens? What could I do with this beautiful skein of silk yarn? I think I want to make a scarf out of this yarn, but what do I want it to look like? And, will I ever be brave enough to try another sweater?

The answer to that last question is important because, up to this point, I have not had the best luck with garments. My history of garments that are intended to cover my upper half have included a "one size fits all" ribbed tank top, a shawl neck sweater and a camisole. The one-size fits all tank was executed fine but appears to add about 20 pounds to my body when I wear it. It did "fit" but did not flatter. I guess it fat-ered! The shawl neck sweater was a disaster. I substituted a cotton yarn for a wool yarn. The gauge matched but the drape did not. I was not experienced enough to realize this until that moment where I tried on the finished sweater and hated it. The shawl neck was ill designed and waaaay too big both aesthetically and practically speaking. I let it sit in a time out for a year before I ripped the neck and tried to salvage the top of the sweater. I did a decent job creating a new neckline but that didn't change the drape problem. That brings us to the most recent garment that I knitted: a camisole. The camisole is wearable but the straps roll under and the perfectionist in me just can't feel proud of it.

So (you can stop holding your breath now), the answer is YES! I started a new sweater. It is a top-down raglan sweater made from the calculated pattern at The Knitting Fool

I actually made a full-out swatch before starting this project. I am a skimper when it comes to swatching. I usually make an itty bitty swatch and cross my fingers that it will be accurate enough. I am determined to make this sweater wearable and having it fit is a big factor. I have already come across a mistake in the pattern. The initial cast-on number for the neckband was 54 stitches which were supposed to be worked in the round as a k2, p2 rib. Unless I am totally deft in the math on this one the math and the first attempt at a neckband tell me that 54 stitches worked in a 2x2 rib results in the first 2 and the last 2 stitches being knitted. I believe that the span of knitted stitches would have been the front and center of the sweater neckband. Phew! I am glad that I didn't space out on that one....or else, I may sworn off sweaters for ever. My solution was to make it a seed stitched neckband. Now, if only I can remember to make the cuff and bottom edge in seed stitch.

So, before I publish this I need to show you some pictures to go along with these million words.

Felted (Fulled) Mittens - Nancy Lindberg pattern
Brown Sheep - Nature Spun Yarn
I have made this pattern before, but this time I plan to compare the pre and post-felting measurements.

Ball Band Dishcloth - Mason Dixon Knitting/Peaches and Cream pattern

Knit to Fit Ankle or Calf Socks - Nancy Lindberg pattern
Araucania Yarns - Atacama - Color 507
I modified this pattern by using ribbing on the arch of the foot. I also added reinforcing thread to the heel. The other feet in the picture above belong to my dog.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ach! Wedding!

There are many reasons why my husband and I chose to elope in February rather than having a wedding with guests. One of the reasons was that we didn't want to have our lives consumed by wedding planning for the year prior to our wedding. Did you know that the average planning time for weddings is a year?! And that isn't just a few hours on the weekends...that is a year of what equates to a part-time job (15 or more hours a week). I even know a woman who, by the time her wedding happens, will have planned it for 2 hardcore years! Craziness. That kind of investment in a single day of my life would most definitely throw me over the edge of sanity.

We thought by eloping that we had avoided having wedding planning consume much of our time. We were wrong. We are just ending up doing things in reverse order from most couples. Although, still to a much lesser extent than a traditional wedding would have required.

We couldn't get married and not tell people that we did. What does that mean? We needed to call and tell everyone we are really close to what we did and why we did it. Then we dealt with the reactions to the news. Some of which were fun and happy, some of which were angry and hurt.

We also needed to announce it to those that we didn't call. That involved deciding what kind of announcement, what it will look like, what it will say, and who it should be sent to. Then we had to follow through and do all those things. (This step is still in progress.)

Since we eloped, we also want to celebrate it in some manner with friends and family. This isn't always part of the eloping process but since our families haven't met before and we are going back to our hometown together, we need to have gatherings of various family members and a party with friends. That involves more deciding, planning, invitations, negotiations, discussions and finally, the follow-through.

My husband and I don't often bicker about things or get on each others nerves, but we sure are good at doing that lately. I blame it on the "wedding" planning. Luckily we had our time to have our moment before we faced the reality of what is necessitated by getting married.

What is crazy to think about was how truly easy and stress-free it was to actually get legally married and have our little ceremony independently from the legal ceremony. It was crazy simple and really nice. So, we don't regret doing it the way that we did. We just need to get over the shock of what we had to worry about as part of the aftermath.

After taking care of some wedding planning stuff for a majority of the day, I am devoting a big chunk of time for some much needed and much deserved knitting. I am finishing up the pair of socks I started as my wedding/honeymoon/travelling project.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I think it will be a delight.

I've been reading blogs for a while with increasing'm now a daily, if not twice daily, blog peruser. I recently started mentally writing my own blog entries about things in my life, thoughts I've had and, of course, my knitting. I took that as a sign that there is some internal blogger asking to be released. So I figured it is about time that I created my very own nitch in this here internet world. Thanks to blogger and the help of my husband, it wasn't as headache generating as I had expected it to be. So, I'd like to welcome you to Trinknitty's debriefing department.

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