Knit One, Two, Thr-…Rip Rip Rip

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve always wanted to knit. Since I was little, fashion and crafting has always intrigued me. I already know how to sew and kinda quilt (I definitely need to improve my skills), so knitting seemed like the perfect next step. I debated learning to crochet instead or first so I spent a lot of time looking up projects, but my obsession with sweaters made me realize knitting would produce what I wanted. I’ve tried to teach myself several times over the years, but I feared being a lefty I wouldn’t understand it (the pictures didn’t help me at all) so I decided to do it the “right way” and take an intro class at Michaels. I even convinced my mom and aunt to take it as well–I figured with three of us learning, we’d be able to help each other or more likely, share our frustrations.

The required materials list was pretty small: a skein of yarn and size 8 or 9 knitting needles, but with three of us it didn’t stay small for long. The worst (and best) part was picking out yarn. I already hoard fabric so why not yarn? I did really try to just stick to one skein, buuuuut we all decided to buy “better yarn” for our first real project and before I knew it, I had enough of my own yarn to fill a few grocery bags, most of which was to make future projects I was nowhere near able to make yet (ie: sweaters and socks).

The class size was small, but due to some very dangerous wind chills and snow, our instructor combined the Saturday beginner knitting and crochet classes. We lucked out: our total class size was six, three knitters and four crocheters, but things got off to a bumpy start.

Everyone ended up rolling their skeins into balls, a process that took a good 10 minutes to do and left your arms feeling too tired to learn how to knit. I was also thankful my mom, aunt and I had watched a few YouTube videos the week before class to learn how to cast on and make the basic stitch or we wouldn’t have made any progress at all. Unfortunately, while we were there, none of us made it far enough to make many of the most common mistakes so we didn’t get a real opportunity to learn how to fix them. She didn’t have enough time to teach us how to purl and had I not asked, no one in the class would have learned how to bind off and weave the tails in. While she was very nice and answered most of my questions, and I realize it was only one session, but I was disappointed I’d learned more about the basics of knitting on my own than in the class.

I chose to do a scarf for my first project, but I decided to make it for Nova. It would be big enough to help me practice, but not so large it would take me forever and if I made many mistakes I’d be less frustrated starting over a few times. And by “a few times,” I mean a minimum of five and it was equally if not more frustrating each time. Nova really enjoyed watching me knit, often climbing on to my lap to have a better look-because learning how to knit wasn’t hard enough without her face in the way.

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Nova’s infinity scarf turned out pretty well. I was amazed I didn’t make as many mistakes as I thought (I cleverly hid the major flaws in the twisted bit) and it was still in one piece after she wore it for a few hours.

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Thrilled with my success, we ended back at Joann to only buy some more needles and various notions. That plan lasted about two minutes, if that. I found some awesome Red Heart reflective yarn and knew I had to have some so I could make myself a hat and scarf to wear while walking/jogging with Nova during those days we were out when it was dark. It dawned on me about a week later I should have bought enough to make something for Nova so back we went and I was lucky enough to grab the last two skeins and they actually matched my dye lot! The yarn was harder to use–I was catching the thin silver reflective strip in the middle of the yarn, shredding the yarn and untwisting the reflective strip. I decided to put the project on hold and go back to learning the basics. My next goals: figure out how to keep my tension consistent, figure out what the heck gauge is/how it works and learn to purl.

Sewing Update

Well, after being sick in bed for two days, I finally finished my pajama bottoms!! They are super cute and suuuuuuuper cozy. Bad news on the the top I was making, though–it’s waaaaaay too big. And of course, it turned out beautifully. All the seams are great, I even got the seams for the sleeves to match up perfectly for the side seam. It was supposed to be a medium, but it’s more like a large/extra large. Kinda feels like I did all that work for nothing, but it turns out my mom can wear it so it’s not going to be unused. Still fairly disgruntled about it though. I’m debating making it allllllllll over again in the small, but I’m not sure that one would even fit me. Might have to scrap that top pattern and hunt for a new one. Unfortunately time is running out and I need to move on and start the island cover, which will be a trick since there’s no pattern to follow. Maybe I’ll buy all the stuff, cut it out then do it when I get back home.

To check out my finished bottoms, go here: http://flickr.com/gp/66702990@N06/Q1tq15/. If you’re wondering why I have a brand new Flickr account (if you even noticed since I’ve only posted one other link to the site), it’s because the other one froze me out and won’t let me back in so I decided it’d be easier to just start from scratch. I just hope this one won’t die on me. I’m running out of creative email and screen names!

I really did enjoy making the pajamas, and now I can’t wait to do the island cover. I’d sorta forgotten how fun, exciting and relaxing sewing could be. Except when it comes to hems. Or necklines for knits. That’s nerve wracking, tedious stuff.

So Many Patterns, Sew Little Time…

So I’m going back to Nebraska at the end of the month (as in like, 11 days from now), and I suddenly want to be a super crafty bunny and decide I can totally start three new projects and for extra fun finish one I started eons ago.

What can I say, when the craft bug hits you, it hits you hard! There is some reason for the sudden urge to craft, though. After lots of pondering, I finally decided I should bring my sewing machines back with me. It also helped that the friend who is driving me back home encouraged my choice and reminded me it was much smarter to have them there and ready to go than to leave them here.

Why I didn’t agree with this plan sooner so I could go dig out the pieces sooner, I don’t know. Earlier in the week, I’ve done a lot of digging to get to the machines and even more digging trying to find all the notions that I’ll need to take with me. I must admit our craft room got turned into an extra closet, making digging for what I need quite a challenge, but I think I found everything I needed.

And since I have the machines out, why not use them???? The only project I was planning to make was a cover for my lovely (and very expensive) kitchen island, but for those of you who love a fabric/craft store, you know what it’s like in there: your one project snowballs and turns into “Oh, that’d make the coolest _____!!”

Case in point: I found the world’s cutest flannel fabric, some old school Strawberry Shortcake and knew I had to do something with it.

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My mom decided I should make pajamas, which is brilliant since I love a cozy pair of pajamas. Then I realized I didn’t have a top that would match, nor did I think the pj pattern I had was in decent enough shape to use again so it was off to find a new pattern, fabric for a top and all the notions. I even managed to find fabric for the island cover!

I did run into a huge complication yesterday which ultimately delayed my whole project. My mom was helping me lay out the pieces for the top; we went to place the front piece and I was short a good six inches. We refigured, repinned, remeasured, but no luck. Off to the fabric store we went, grumbling the whole way. When the lady cut the new piece she mentioned she noticed with all the new patterns, it seems you need to always buy extra yardage or you end up short. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but excellent advice for the future. By the time we got back and the new piece had been washed, I was too tired to do much else. But, I got almost all of the unfun stuff done (laying out, pinning, cutting, marking) so I can really start sewing today.

However, while I was digging around in the craft room, I found a lovely shirt I started two years ago. It’s so cute and doesn’t need much to finish it up, but I wasn’t sure I could find the remaining pieces or if it’d even fit me. Surprisingly, I found the remaining pieces AND all the notions/instructions easily. Even more surprising, the shirt still fits (yaaaaaaaaaay!!), so now I have to finish it.

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I have no idea if I can finish two tops, a pair of pajama pants and an island cover (which I’m making free hand since no pattern for such a thing exists) before I need to have everything packed up, but I’m sure gonna try, and I’ll post updates as I go.