Stuff on a Monday

We actually got to watch the Super Bowl yesterday, despite the fact that we do not own a television. We even got to watch it in HD! AND it was a great game all the way to the end! NFL football is one of the only things I miss about not having a TV. Thanks for inviting us to watch it at your brother’s house, Meghan (if you happen to read this)! 🙂

I Once Again Attempt to Knit

So, after the one washcloth, I have never tried any more knitting. But I had more of the yarn I’d used for that, and thought I’d try to make another one, now that I work at a yarn/fabric shop.

This is some sad progress.

This is all I managed today. I’m trying not to be really crabby about how frustrating I found it. Main frustrating points:

1. Both yarn and needles are so tiny. Are people really able to grasp these things long enough to do a row without wanting to cry? I don’t see how.

2. And yet, incongrously, the needles seem GIGANTIC when I try to knit or purl. Slip the needle through the stitch, huh? This is like pulling teeth. There is not that much space there!

As you can tell, I am fighting with every step of this process and it is making me crazy, and making all my arthritic parts ache. Give me a sewing machine any day!

I managed to cast on 50 stitches and then attempted a few stitches in seed stitch before deciding to switch to just doing one stitch for practice because switching back and forth was too hard. No clue if I was attempting the knit or purl. Can’t remember which is which.

And I only made it about half a row.

And I may need a Celebrex tonight because of this.

Blech.

Choices, Choices

On the other hand, I have been having fun choosing and ordering the backing fabric for this sample quilt.

Project in the Works
And I’ve been playing with something completely new.

I have also been having tons of fun at my new job! So far I have mostly worked on Saturday, except when I subbed for someone who was sick. I’m working on Valentine’s Day if anyone wants to come by and say hello! And I’ll be working the 20th and 27th as well (both Saturdays). We’re having a big party the night of the 27th during Stitches West with some great yarn folks that will only be at our place and NOT at Stitches, so come by! Keep an eye on the Bobbin’s Nest Blog for information!

I honestly do not have a single thing to complain about yet about my new job. This is unprecedented. Everyone is really nice. Really. Seriously. Not just acting nice. I’m not sure what to do with all that sarcasm and cynicism I usually save up for work!

In the slow times there I am busy working on making this for a shop sample. I have been wanting to try one of these Oliver + S patterns for a long time, but had no reason to make children’s clothes. This should be fun. I’m making a rain jacket out of some of that vinyl-coated fabric everyone is putting out these days. But since I am only working one day a week on the weekends right now, and sometimes it’s really busy, it might take me a while to get it done. I do have all the pieces cut out, though!

Sewing Classes with Yours Truly!
A plug here for anyone interested in taking a sewing class or private sewing lesson with me. Just call the Bobbin’s Nest to schedule something. The shop has a February/March class schedule out. I am not teaching any of those classes (I was in Vietnam when that was being put together). However, you can still get a lesson with me just about any time, and if you and a friend or two or three have a class you’d like to take in mind that you would like me to teach, we can set that up as well (maybe with advice on making the Amy Butler Weekender Bag, or one of the projects I’ve posted about on my blog). Just call the shop and tell them what you are interested in. If I’m not there, someone will take down the info and get it to me, and I’ll call you back as soon as I can. It would be so great to see some of you there!

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8 comments to Stuff on a Monday

  • Ana

    Amy, don’t give up! Knitting can become your best friend, it can be SO soothing! I remember when I was learning and it felt like I had paws instead of hands and my dad looking at me quizzically and saying: “You really don’t look all that relaxed”.

    I would go for all knit and no purl, that should make it easier. And maybe less stitches? I guess you know this webpage, but just in case: http://www.knittinghelp.com. It really is helpful.

  • Linnea

    To be honest…I get a hell of a lot more satisfaction pulling out my knitting than I do actually knitting. My advice, if this is really about using up some yarn and making a dish cloth, learn to crochet. It’s simpler and faster and when it comes down to dish rags-the exact same finished product. If however, you are trying to improve your knitting skills, I suggest using a medium to large needle and paying extra close attention to how tightly you are casting on and knitting/purling thereafter. Once I got that under control it was smooth(er) sailing. Most of the time I have to intentionally loosen stitches…
    Good luck~

  • Linnea

    I don’t think I can effectively explain how to “loosen stitches” but I’ll explain a little further…ideally you want it to be a comfortable tension for you to work with. Things shouldn’t be so loose that you have a hard time keeping stitches under control but also shouldn’t be so tight as to make it hard to get your needle in for subsequent stitches. It took a little bit of time for me to get a rhythm going when making an adjustment after every stitch but eventually it just becomes habit and you figure out what works for you. I mostly use a combination of a quick hand jerk to loosen the stitch followed by a corrective tug on my yarn if I over loosen. Yikes…that was a whole lot of random blabber. I hope it helps somewhat.

  • I can’t believe you were knitting! Maybe someone in your shop can show you a few helpful hints? I can just hear the change in enthusiasm when you move on to fabric talk in your post! Love your newest quilt project. How fun with all those different solids and blocks. And even more fun that you like your job and get to work on a shop sample when customer traffic slows. Sounds like a cool place to be!

  • Leah

    my advice, finish what you are making. then if you have any holes, sew a button. Next project get some MAJOR needles…big ole needles and then just knit stitch! make a bunch of scarves and sew them together, it will look like a quilt!

  • Lee

    I would also suggest using metal needles, especially with cotton. They don’t feel as nice in your hands, but wood needles can be quite grippy. Cotton is pretty unforgiving, it will slide a little more easily on metal. Wool is altogether more pleasant to knit, though not exactly great for a washcloth!

  • Knitting is so relaxing after you get the muscle memory for it (usually takes about one scarf to pick it up), but especially with your rheumatoid arthritis, it might not be worth it. Maybe a different hobby is in order 🙂

  • I took a knitting class recently, and they also started us out with dishcloths in that same awful cotton. It’s so unpleasant to work with! My cloth was 50% smaller than anyone else’s, because I knit the stinking thing so tightly – so I relate. 🙂 I couldn’t get a good feel for the “right” tension, but it does come with practice.

    When I first started out, it seemed like unless I had everything all yanked down tightly, how could I possibly know if it was “right?” I gradually loosened up as I went along on the next project (a much more pleasant scarf project, in a wonderful, soft, stretchy giant wool.) It’s still not perfect, but I’m getting much better at leaving enough room for the needles to get through.

    Additionally, my left ring and pinky fingers don’t work correctly due to a tendon injury, so I found I had to wedge the left needle into the crook of my leg or my waistband to stabilize it. I do kind of a combination of picking and throwing (Continental and English, I guess,) that I just developed as the easiest way for my gimpy hand to work with the process.

    Don’t give up hope! I almost did, too, but I’m glad I stuck it out (thus far.) Try with yarns you are drawn to, both in color and texture. I’ve found the larger needles are more instant-gratification-oriented, and make the movements more obvious and easy. Plus, the projects knit up so quickly.

    I found metal needles unpleasant and too slippery – I love bamboo and hardwoods, because they stick a bit more to the yarn, which means fewer dropped stitches. 🙂

    Good luck!

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