Knitting

Your Gauge Can Change

IMG_7351

I’ve been knitting for almost 15 years. And for the last 4 years or so I’ve been working with someone I met in my very first knitting class, Melissa Leapman, to knit things for the books she’s written, for magazines she’s been published in and I also knit up one thing this summer for one of her classes at Stitches Midwest. That was a little tough working on a double knitted THICK scarf in the middle of the summer with tweed yarn. Lovely, but tough. Whew…

I hope it doesn’t sound like I am bragging by referring to Melissa in my blog post, that’s really not my intent though the reason I bring her up will become important shortly. And before I talk about the gauge issue I want to state that I’m so very flattered that she finds my knitting good enough to be used in her work and publications. She’s fussy, let me tell you, so if she appreciates my work then I must be doing okay. <insert me blushing>

So, back to the title of this post. Your Gauge Can Change.

Truth there.

The first half of the year my right bicep was bothering me. Sometimes when knitting, sometimes when reaching, sometimes when swiping (like wiping off a table) or lifting. It was a very sharp pain, like a long blade pressing in along the bicep vertically. In addition, my right shoulder was stiffening up. Then my back near the shoulder blades was tensing up. Well, I went to the chiropractor and began treatment in September.

Around that same time Melissa needed two pieces knit up. We’ll call them A and B.

I knit up piece A and it was pretty darn close to the specs she provided in the schematic. And I had used my usual needle size with this particular project (we’d been working on this for some time, same kind of yarn, similar pieces). Even so, I had knit up a gauge swatch before I started and it was fine.

Then I started on piece B with the same needles and yarn. It was at least 3 weeks into my chiropractic treatment by then.

I finished and blocked it and remember thinking maybe her math was wrong while knowing that was an impossibility – I KNOW her, it wouldn’t be wrong. Then why did it seem larger? Well, there’s a certain technique we used so maybe my dimensions are fine because I don’t include that part when I measure. After all,  I had checked my stitches per inch throughout and was satisfied I was still on gauge. I sent A & B to her thinking they’re both fine. But in the back of my head for the first time I was doubting my skills.

While pieces A & B were en route to her I decided to knit piece B a second time and we’ll call that C. I still had enough of the yarn so I started knitting C with a needle one size smaller. Dang if that didn’t still come out a little bigger, too! Yet I was still checking stitches per inch every so often while I knit. Maybe that one will suffice and she’ll like that one. Nope, still too much off.

What’s going on?

At this point I was about 4 1/2 weeks into treatment. A little light had gone off in my head when I sent C to her and I told her in the note I included that maybe having less pain and discomfort has changed my gauge. At the same time though, I thought nah, that’s kind of silly.

Turns out not so silly. I’ve since done some Googling and reading up on the fact that when pain is reduced, you relax (of course) so therefore, in my logic minded brain I thought, why wouldn’t gauge change?

You do see where this is going, right? Yes, I’m going to knit B a third time which I’ll call D once I get the yarn. But I’m going to knit up two swatches to check gauge. One at the time of day I try to sneak in some knitting – on the bus, the train, and over lunch. And one in the evening after work when I’m sitting down for the night. And I am going to be darn sure that I am SPOT on with gauge – and know when it’s better for me to knit to get more precise gauge – before I begin working up D.  Because I really don’t want to knit it E!

I’m now into week 6 1/2 for my treatment and I’m about to phase from two appointments a week to one. And I have special exercises I do that are helping immensely. My pain level when I started treatment was about a 7.5 out of 10, 10 being the worst (sometimes I was an 8, that included spasms in my arm). Now? Maybe 2 if I’ve pushed it too hard for a day. That’s a huge accomplishment.

So my advice is pay attention not only to your gauge but to how you feel when you’re knitting. Are you stressing because you’ve had a rough day? Knit something where gauge doesn’t matter. Are you totally in the mood for knitting and it will be soothing to you? Probably a great time to knit something where gauge is important and you’re able to pay attention to detail.

Knitting up swatches, not being in pain or stressed out, knitting at the right time of day, all of these things I’m finding will make a huge positive impact on my knitting. Maybe it will on yours, too?

P.S. I would like to add that I’ve learned so much from Melissa; she’s challenged me over the years with different projects and complicated stitches and for that I’m incredibly grateful to her. I wouldn’t be knitting the things I am these days and challenging myself if it weren’t for her having faith in me that I can produce what she needs. And I wouldn’t have found such a delightful friend.

Fun, Photography

Waterlogue Phone App

SWAP SPOILER ALERT – If you’re in a swap with me now you may not want to see this post.

I love photography. I love getting just the right shot for something. I don’t care if it takes 25 photos to get THAT ONE PHOTO. I’ll do it. And thanks to digital photography I’m not wasting any money developing 24 photos I don’t want!

I’ve been experimenting with a phone app called Waterlogue. Here are a few of the results. Enjoy!

There are 5 photos in total for this post.

  • The first two are of a crocheted angel on our fireplace mantel; the photo as is and the photo modified.
  • The second set of two are of sari silk fiber; the photo as is and the photo modified.
  • The last photo, modified, is a stack of books by one of my favorite knitting authors, Melissa Leapman.

IMG_7273

IMG_7353

IMG_7349

IMG_7350

IMG_7351

Thank you for stopping by!

Crafts, Fun, Knitting, Miscellaneous

Goody Giveaway!

Where did the last 11 months go? Sheesh. I feel like June was so much more recent than reality. But you know what makes all of that worth it? Knitting. Because for me it’s not only therapeutic but every project feels like a new journey. Maybe that’s why I like starting projects; it’s a new journey and time to play!

cropped-img_2073.jpg

Today I was reviewing some of my own posts and out of the blue I came across a blogger who had ‘liked’ a post I put out some time ago. And I remembered I meant to check out her blog after that, all’s fair, right?. Well, I finally went there today and lo and behold she just happens to be hosting a giveaway.

I’ve entered every way I could, with the exception of Tumblr, but I may still get an account today to have an entry with that because she’s giving away some really cool stuff. And I’ve love to win me some goodies.

Maybe you want to try as well! Below is the link – give it a whirl!

Click here to go to the giveaway: Agujus – Giveaway

Fun, Honeymoon, Love, Us

Cali-moon: Part 1 – Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Yes, I just made up a new hyphenated word combining California and honeymoon, Cali-moon. Pretty clever, don’t you think? Ok, ok, I can take a hint, on with the post.

Speaking of which, it’s taken me forever to get this started for two big reasons. One, when we got home from our honeymoon I realized I had over 1,800 pictures to go through. Second, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I should format the blog post. I put a lot of effort into these and I didn’t want people to fall asleep reading it because it’s so long (as you might be now, so go get more coffee, it will wait), yet there’s a lot that I’d like to share. So how do I do it?

But thanks to a friend of mine I think I’ve found a happy medium, multiple posts with each one talking about a part of our honeymoon. So simple, yet so brilliant. Thank you, Chandra, you were a life saver. 🙂

PLANES: The fun began at the airport almost immediately. After we got through the pat down, I mean security, we stopped at a Caribou to grab a bite of breakfast and coffee, and then headed to our terminal and gate to wait for our flight. We no sooner sat down at what turned out to be a really nice gate area when Sugar noticed our terminal and gate had changed. All the way to the opposite end of the airport. You can’t help but laugh, right? So we laughed and began walking.

As we waited to board our flight I started knitting the scarf I had brought along with me. Once on the plane after I had settled in and we were in the air, I reached down to my backpack for it to continue. Not there. Checked the back pocket in front of me. Not there. I was so disappointed. Not only had I left my knitting back at the MSP airport, that meant I’d also left one of my very expensive, new circular knitting needles. I was nearly in tears. Then for some reason I decided to reach down and slightly behind me…there was the ziploc baggie with my knitting AND the needles. It must have fallen out of my backpack as I was settling in. Whew…now the trip could continue without being upset. More importantly, I had knitting with me. Yay!

We arrived in the early afternoon and when we went to pick up our luggage, we saw this awesome luggage ‘sculpture’! How cool is that?

IMG_0615

Our hotel for the first two nights was in Fairfield, right near a grocery store, a handful of restaurants and the freeway. It had an outdoor pool and outdoor hot tub and was a really nice place. We essentially spent the afternoon grabbing a bite to eat (at an In-N-Out Burger, won’t eat there again), getting groceries, ordering tickets for the train and BART for the following Sunday to San Francisco, and generally relaxing. The weather was incredible and we spent a bit of time outside at the hot tub, swishing our feet around in the water and enjoying an adult beverage.

IMG_0041

TRAINS: Before our trip I had never been on Amtrak but I had taken BART before on a couple of the trips I’d taken to Oakland with RT and to San Francisco and the surrounding areas. But I really had no idea what to expect on an Amtrak train.

IMG_0074

We wanted to spend the day after we arrived in San Francisco but Sugar didn’t want to drive  there and then try to park and deal with an unfamiliar place, plus, it was a holiday weekend so who knew how crazy and busy it could end up being. Oh, and the America’s Cup was happening right on the pier in SF and that could have really made things complicated. So he came up with the idea of taking Amtrak as far as we could to San Francisco and then grab BART. What a great idea that turned out to be – we only had to drive to the Amtrak station just a few short miles from our hotel and then, of course, reverse that on the way back. Easy peasy!

And you know what? I liked the train, I really did. It was comfortable, it was quiet and you can really see a wonderful part of the countryside that you might not be able to otherwise. (More about our day trip to San Francisco in a later post.)

IMG_9650

Another day on our honeymoon we took another train ride, but this time on a rather luxurious one. It was domed and all glass and we enjoyed a lovely lunch on it. We sat at a table with another couple who were also on their honeymoon, and also going to the Castello di Amarosa for a tour of the winery that yes, was in a CASTLE. But I digress.

The train ride was truly such a treat – amazing food, gorgeous countryside views – I really wished the ride to the winery would take longer but we eventually arrived at a stop where we got off to transfer to a bus that would take us to the winery. Now that, my friends, was the best tour I’d been on in years. Perhaps ever, and all because of our tour guide. Seriously, he made the tour so enjoyable that I wanted to sneak around and come back in to go through it with him again (I bet Sugar did, too). More on the castle in a later post (I know, I’m torturing you but you’ll survive the wait and it will be worth it) but here are a few pictures of the train ride to keep you happy for awhile longer.

mosaic0a4cd93884e12121ea50ba6a8536a4d981d4a00a

AUTOMOBILES: Not much to say about this category, it just made the blog post title sound better.

Watch for the second post later this week titled Cali-moon: Part 2 – San Francisco Treat.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fun, Knitting

Casting on Jacqueline

Well, I’m really knitting a swatch for a sweater jacket today, but swatching means I’m just thatmuchcloser to actually starting to knit it. But I want to be sure my gauge is right or it won’t fit. It’s really quite beautiful so go check it out for yourself here at Ravelry, it’s called Jacqueline by Melissa Leapman.

In the meantime, here’s the yarn I’ll be using. I just spent a half hour outside in our glorious weather shooting photos of it. Delicious colors, don’t you think? It’s from Lorna’s Laces, the Shepherd Worsted in the colorway called Roadside Gerry. It’s a merino wool that’s amazingly soft, so I’m really excited to start playing with it. Off I go!

Knitting

Blocking Is Fun

In my previous post about blocking the lace scarf I quietly lamented how long it took me to actually block it. I neglected to mention that I used at least 200 pins to do so. Yeah, that’s a LOT of pins.

I also spent some time last week blocking the first few swatches I knit up for a friend who needs them for a book she’s writing. Those were easy and fun and didn’t take 200 pins for each one. Speaking of swatches, I must be off, I have more knitting to do for her! 🙂

Knitting

Block Me, Baby

I finished knitting a lace scarf about 2 years ago. Well, it’s been at least that long ago though it’s likely been longer, I honestly can’t recall. But my best friend every once in awhile reminds me that I haven’t blocked it.

Until now.

Sugar and I were heading out the door to do a little Sunday meandering yesterday and I thought, “I’ll quick block this and then we can go.”

Note to self: there is no such thing as ‘quick blocking’. At least not with a 50″ long, 6″ wide lace scarf. 

So while we didn’t leave at the time we thought we would, and it took longer to block than I thought it would, truly it was time well spent. Would you agree?

The truest color of the scarf is the top left photo. And there’s a bonus photo after the collage; Stella couldn’t help but get involved.