Accessories


So, I decided to put down the sweater for a few days, because my knitting mojo is so gone right now. I’m going to take out the seaming I’ve done, block what I have in the next few days and then try the seaming again. I’m hoping that I will be happier with the result and be able to pick up for the neck and body by this weekend.

I have finished my two charity scarves, so I really have a dearth of things on the needle. I need to cast on a pair of socks, but I don’t have any yarn balled up, and I didn’t have any real time over the weekend. But I was going to Disneyland for a few hours on Sunday morning, and then to see a friend’s band play, and I needed something to knit. I was not waiting in line and then sitting at a bar for hours with no knitting. So I picked up my Fay Fay, which had been in hibernation for a few weeks.

Fay Fay is a really airy pretty lace scarf-type thing. I’m making it out of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which is a mohair/silk blend. It looks complicated, but it’s really not. The purse stitch lace pattern is really easy. The open cross-stitch (which is what is making those really big holes) is a little fiddly, but it’s pretty easy to execute. When I first put it down, I was maybe a quarter done with it, and I hadn’t really had any problems with it. The pattern was memorized, it was a fairly easy knit, and I had been knitting it out and about (at work and backstage at Julius Caesar) with no problems. I really didn’t think it would be too difficult for out and about knitting. I started knitting it again in the car on the way to Disney. I knit through a whole pattern repeat.

As we were walking around, I knit some more and I got to the open cross-stitch part, and I was two stitches short. Two stitches. And I counted and I recounted, and then I saw, way down at the beginning of the pattern repeat, on a row that was plain knitting across, I had dropped two stitches. I hadn’t noticed because the pattern is a repeat of two. But the open cross-stitch is worked over a multiple of six, so all of a sudden, twelve rows later, those two stitches mattered.

The lace pattern is lace on both sides (there is no plain purl back or knit back row), and I find it really difficult to pick up dropped or lost stitches in that kind of pattern. Also, due to the nature of the pattern, dropping a stitch actually throws it off a lot and it’s usually way too fiddly to pick up. So we sat down to watch Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, and I ripped back the whole pattern repeat–all 12 or so rows of it.

If you’ve never worked with mohair before, I have to tell you something about it. The really pretty fuzzy halo around it makes the yarn stick to itself. Badly. And since the yarn is so thin, it very easily breaks if you aren’t careful pulling the stuck bits apart. So ripping it out is really, really a pain in the butt. But I got it all ripped back without breaking the yarn, and the stitches were all picked up and over the course of the rest of the day managed to finish a whole pattern repeat.

So then I was knitting Monday at work during my lunch break. And I worked a few rows of the purse stitch repeat, and then I saw it. Another dropped stitch. I tried valiently to figure out how to pick it up, but I just couldn’t salvege it. So I ripped back to where I was at the beginning of lunch. My whole lunch break was spent knitting, and I made zero progress.

Then at rehearsal that night, they were adjusting lights, so I had some downtime. I thought it would be the perfect time to catch up on this thing and make some progress. So I started working on it and about five rows in, I looked to see yet another dropped stitch. And again, picking it up just wasn’t working. So I ripped back yet again.

I don’t know if this project is just mad at me because I set it down for so long, or what. Because when I knit the first quarter of it, I had zero problems. But after this little knitting hiatus it was on, it’s the worst project ever and I can’t seem to get it done at all. I’ve been slowly and carefully knitting on it, and have completed a whole two pattern repeats since Monday. By comparison, the first bit of it that I had knit (maybe four or five pattern repeats) took like two days. I want to put it in the corner and make it think about its behavior.

But just so this isn’t all bitching, I still love how this scarf looks. I’m going to wear the hell out of it once it’s done.

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I am so inspired by being here at the Craftcation Conference. I woke up early this morning and left at 6am so I could beat the traffic. When I arrived in Ventura, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my hotel was literally on the beach. I get to do yoga on the beach every morning that picture on the right is the view from my window. Pretty gorgeous. I registered and receive the great goodybag (shown below), just packed full of awesome things from the conference sponsors including gluten-free cereal, Bust magazine, scissors, pro-biotic chocolate, a monkey plush, T-shirts, glue, postcards, and a water bottle.

My goody bag

I am indeed a crafty-ass bitch

I went to four great workshops today. Two were with the Urban Craft Center and involved making actual crafts. One was on making a personalized apron. I got some good advice and practice on using iron-ons (and how to create my own with my printer), freezer-paper stencils, and fabric paints with stamps. The other craft workshop UCC ran was on embroidery. I learned three stitches, which I already sort of knew how to do–running stitch, stem stitch, and backstitch. We worked on this great kitschy fabric with old-style clocks printed on it. I kind of love that little square of fabric. And there was a also really cute little “take and make” hosted by Super Buzzy at the welcome dinner tonight where I got to make a little flower pin.

My apron

Kitschy embroidery

Flower pin

The other two workshops were on the business side. One was a panel with three great women (the founder of the Urban Craft Center and the two founders of the conference) about how to grow your business “beyond the kitchen table”, that is hiring help, getting a brick and mortar space (if you decide that’s the way you want to go), and a little bit on what to outsource (i.e. should you hire a payroll service or a marketing service). This is obviously not something immediately relevant to me right now, as I do not have a business, but if I ever do, these women provided me with some invaluable information. The other workshop I attended was hosted by Etsy and it was all about making your Etsy shop the best you could–picking the best keywords for you items, your niche, etc. I do want to open an Etsy shop sooner rather than later, so this was really valuable information.

After the workshops, there was a welcome barbeque and keynote speaker. It was held at the WAV, a really cool working/living space for artists. The food was delicious, there was music, adorable hand-made decorations, a photobooth, and a great keynote speaker–Evan Kleiman of Good Food. She spoke so well about craft and what it means in the world. And when she said that she hoped that the resurgence of the DIY movement would cause American to be a producer again, and cause us to make things, people clapped and cheered.

And that is why being here is so inspiring. It’s great to learn new techniques and ways to improve my craft, but more important is the community. Everyone is really supportive of each other. They are genuine in their good wishes, advice, and complements. There is an emphasis on trade of materials and skills, which is really heartening, because a lot of people are growing their businesses, and the ability to trade for services is so helpful when money is tight in a new business. And there is a general undercurrent of a desire to change the way things work. We don’t have to buy things from corporations who exploit the people of the developing world. We can make our own successes with our own hands.

I can’t wait for tomorrow.