Knit Meter

Monday, December 31, 2018

On The Sixth Day of Christmas

It’s time for the year end round up and the second post of the day.

I am going to start by saying thank you to my husband for another wonderful year. It has been a difficult year and as usual we have come through it mostly due to his incredible kindness.

I have been sewing more clothes this year, thanks to a lovely granddaughter. I had been good about only buying fabric as I was going to use it but there was some purchased in November which I just have not had the time to turn into dresses. I still have not quilted the quilt top I showed in October. I need a chunk of time to get started but once I get going I will be able to work on it in short periods. I’m really looking forward to it being finished but I also don’t want to mess it up.

I have produced fewer knitted/crocheted items this year than last year, mostly because I have made fewer hats and no baby clothes. Although I have made some big items, the total meterage used was lower too. I started again with Knit Meter and I have knitted 7983 metres this year and crocheted 474 meters; although this does not take into account the amount of yarn used in my mitred squares.

Total yarn used (excluding squares) just exceeds the amount of yarn added to my stash. This is what I would like each year and didn’t think I would achieve this year, especially with yarn purchases made in November and Christmas gifts.

What I am pleased with, is completing or frogging old projects. I only have two projects still on the needles that were in progress at the beginning of the year. I plan to frog one today and the other is this close to being finished. This year I started 21 projects, and frogged four of them, made three mitred square blocks and have another one on the go. I went through my stash and sold or gave away yarn I could not imagine using for a number of years and after purchasing single skeins on the LA Yarn Crawl, became much more thoughtful about what went in my stash. Even the souvenir yarn purchased at Stitches SoCal had a partner for a plan.

On The Fifth Day of Christmas

There wasn't a blog post.

Remember at the beginning I wrote that I didn't know if I would have time or subject to write for 12 days. I did have something to write but I did not have the time as I was busy doing all the things I can't do when looking after little children. So now you will get two posts today.

Having written about podcasts in my last two posts, I am going to continue with that theme.

I have (briefly) thought about podcasting but won't. The main reason is that I know I will not want to do the editing part so I would end up with lots of recordings that were not published. Too many knitting and crochet WIPs is bad enough but podcast WIPs. No thank you.

After my last two posts I thought I should write down what I do like about podcasts. As I said I was late to the game in listening but I like that I can just listen/watch through my computer. When I listened to books I would have to move them from car to home which became hard when I had a car with a CD player but my laptop did not have a disc drive. (Now it is the other way around and I have to load books onto an old IPod to be able to listen to them in the car.) Through habit, audio books are my listening choice when driving and podcasts when at home.

When I first started listening to podcasts I thought I liked the two presenter format, because I listened to The Yarniacs (two women), Books on the Nightstand (man and a woman) and watched a husband and wife team. But this isn't the case as the only two person podcast I have stuck with is The Yarniacs. Also all the podcasts I watch are hosted by British women. Do I find the accent more pleasing/understandable? I do not know especially as they all have different accents.

Apart from a person's voice, and that can be hard to define why I would like one and not another, although a flat tone with no inflection is not interesting, what don't I like about podcasts? Excessive laughter. Where everything that is said is followed by a laugh. Which leads into hosts that think they are funny. They laugh before they say something, during and after. You're not that funny. Children. If you can edit your podcast to remove the postman knocking, why can't you edit it to remove children interrupting? I'm also not keen on podcasts which heavily feature children. Interviews. Have a plan. And know how to start and end an interview. Podcasters that really don't like opinions that disagree with their own. It's OK for someone to not like yarn you love and vice versa. And on this note - fans who elevate podcasters to celebrity status. Podcasters that show a yarn that they were given to be used as a give away and then the yarn is never seen again. I do not need to hear you babbling on because you usually have a 60 minute show and today you can only get to 45 minutes so you're just talking to fill time.

What do I like about podcasts? I think that is harder to define. Voice. Why are some voices more pleasing on the ears? But definitely a monotone does not work. Preparation. They know what they are going to talk about. (Also interviews, see above.) Length. I've noticed that the ones I watch/listen to regularly are less than an hour. Relevance. Does it, mostly, stay on topic?

What it comes down to, there is an indefinable something that will make me return to a podcast.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

On The Fourth Day of Christmas

My Podcast is Better Than Your Podcast

Yes, I am sad to say I really experienced something along those lines earlier this year. This did not happen in one of the podcasts I mentioned yesterday and is very unlikely to happen in one of those as one thing I have noticed in the podcasts I listen/watch, they mention other podcasters in a positive way.

When I was watching a particular podcast, they said that some of their viewers had expressed that they did not like podcasts where they showed all their purchases, had knit alongs where you had to use a certain yarn, or there was a finish date deadline on a KAL. Apparently some watchers had said that it had put them off knitting all together.

A reasonable reaction to this would be to tell viewers to watch podcasts they enjoy and not watch ones that make them feel bad. But, no, they then went on to say how their podcast is not like that. Which was interesting as their podcast was started to sell patterns. But what was more bizarre was that the hosts went on to talk about their acquisitions and their KAL which they declared was OK because everyone taking part should be able to finish in the timeline.

Yes here is where I insert multiple exclamation marks. They'd started the episode with a talk on what people did not like about other podcasts and then without any trace of irony or chagrin they went ahead and did exactly the same thing on their podcast. It really came across as we're better than them. And that made me sad.

Friday, December 28, 2018

On The Third Day of Christmas

Let’s talk about podcasts.

I came late to the podcast game. Husband had been listening for a while to different podcasts on various subjects but when I wanted to listen to the spoken word, I listened to books.

I don’t know what prompted me to think about listening to podcasts but around 5-years ago I started to look for knitting podcasts. At the time I was only interested in aural podcasts although now I watch some occasionally. Although the world of podcasting is changing and improving, the terminology is not and podcast can refer to aural or video broadcasts.

Through Ravelry I tried a number of podcasts and found one I have stuck with – The Yarniacs Podcast. A fortnightly podcast by two women who live in Santa Cruz, California. In each episode they talk about what they are working on, what they have finished, patterns that they are interested in and a different knitting/yarn related topic. They have a dedicated group on Ravelry which is very chatty and where KALs are hosted. My main criticism of this podcast is that the podcasters are no longer very active on Ravelry. I have observed that where the podcaster is not active in the Ravelry group then the activity in the group dies down but I do not think that will happen in this group as it was well established before their participation dropped and there is another moderator who is very active. And before any one starts getting on their high horse about my comment, I know people have lives, owe their listeners nothing etc. but I am allowed to voice my opinion.

This is the only podcast I listen to. I used to listen to Books on the Nightstand but, sadly though not surprisingly, they stopped broadcasting.

Most new yarn related podcasts are video related. Which makes sense as yarn crafts are visual and it is relatively easy to upload to YouTube. One such podcast is Yarn Ambassador. It might seem strange mentioning her here as she hasn’t posted since July but her vlogs are relevant as she is showcasing British dyers, also through her I found Stranded podcast.

I watch Podcasts on YouTube on weekend mornings as I am up early and not awake enough for much else. If I am up to date with the Stranded podcast I will watch Love Sock Wool podcast and Knitting Expat podcast. The aural podcasts are great for when I am sewing.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

On The Second Day Of Christmas

There's a mitred square.

I have a couple of shawls that have not appeared on the blog because I was hoping to get some nice photos. Maybe I should plan to do that this weekend, otherwise I'll just post the basic ones I took after completion.

But I do have a mitred square to show you. They don't really need any fancy staging.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

On The First Day of Christmas

I was debating whether to do this as I didn't know if I had 12 things to write about but here goes. The bigger problem is not so much what to write about but do I have time to write a little each day? The day after Christmas and I am back into all day childcare.

The day after Christmas and it seems appropriate to write about my Advent cast ons as that is how I started my blog this month. Almost a total fail. I have managed to keep up with the project I designated as an Advent to Epiphany project. I started it on the 1st and have worked the clues on the same time frame as the original mystery. (They were more frequent than weekly at first.) Now I am on a weekly time frame and each section starts on a Saturday which gives me plenty of time over the weekend to complete a section.

I gave up on the laceweight Advent mystery knit along half way through the second day. I quickly realised that I wouldn't be able to keep up even if it was the only project I worked on. I haven't frogged it as I worked out that if I complete two rows each day in 2019, I will have a shawl to wear for Advent.

The third project is the one three of us were making. Although I would have liked to finish it by Christmas, my other cast on took priority. I am not sure if I will finish it by year end but I hope to be close. None of the three of us finished by Christmas. Oh well.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Some Stash Enhancement

With all the excitement of working on WIPs, I completely forgot to post about a recent shopping expedition at the beginning of November.
Stitches Events organized one in Southern California. We had known about this for a while and was the reason why I didn’t mind missing San Diego Yarn Crawl and Vista Fiber Fiesta. After buying pretty things on the LA Yarn Crawl I went to this event with more of a plan.
The event was held in the Pasadena Convention Center and was advertised as an event to include sewing and quilting as well as the fiber arts. In this respect the sewing arts were barely represented and I would have been disappointed if that had been my main reason for attending. The market place filled one hall and was easy to cover in one day. People who have attended Stitches West since inception say that is how that started and that has grown to be a very big event. We shall see if they grow this one. Stitches West is held in Santa Clara in February and the organizers might not want to have two big events in the same state; on the other hand, they may be growing their events as now that is the focus of their business. (Although they still publish books, they no longer publish magazines.)

The event was held over four days; Thursday to Sunday. With classes everyday and the marketplace open from Friday. (Open on Thursday evening for class attendees.) I was impressed that vendors had travelled from all parts of the country to take part. Having said that sewing arts were barely represented, that was in the market place, there were a number of sewing and quilting classes in addition to the yarn classes. I guess that was why I was surprised there weren’t more sewing vendors. There were about 85 different classes that were offered over the four days. One of my Tuesday night knitting friends took a couple and was very happy with them.

It is less than a 2-hour drive from where I live to Pasadena. When we were originally talking about going we had considered staying one night but decided not to when no one wanted to take a class. In the end it was just myself and P who went; E had a commitment that she couldn’t get out of. The drive to Pasadena was a breeze but coming home wasn’t so fun as it was foggy – marine layer. I had read that some people took the train from the San Diego area and I would definitely want some info on how that worked for them.

Now for the shopping. I did not want to be so excited by all the pretty yarn that I came home with a pile of stuff that I then had no idea what I would do with and eventually it would be sold or given away. I have purchased a number of skeins like that this year on the LA Yarn Crawl and as fund raisers for the Tits Out Collective. So the fun for me was a day out with a yarny friend looking at all the lovely yarns.
I did not get everything on my list, and I have already changed my mind about the pattern I will use with one of my purchases and there was a souvenir purchase. But I did come back with plenty of ideas for next year. For example there was one booth selling fiber of all different breeds and colours. I did not buy any as I have only just started spinning a braid but definitely a future consideration. Another booth had their yarns in kit with a pattern and stitch markers. I didn’t buy one as I though it unlikely that I would make it within a year but, again, a consideration for the future.

So what did I buy? Four skeins of yarn, some stitch markers and I won a needle.

I won the needle as a door prize. I was allowed to pick up to a certain value from a booth (which I can’t remember the name). There was a limited selection so I chose a size I use a lot in a length I thought would be a good opportunity to try. It is a Kollage square circular needle, 2.25mm, 9-inch length.

This is the photo of my purchases.

From left to right:
A gradient yarn from Alexanders Crafts. Gradient lace weight was on my list as, at the time, I really wanted to knit the gradient shawl that I had frogged earlier this year. I know this isn’t lace weight but decided it would work. Since getting home I have changed my mind and it is set for another pattern. I have now decided that I am not so desperate to make the original pattern unless the perfect yarn comes along.

The middle two skeins are from Destination Yarn, a dyer from Ohio. I was keen to see her booth as she had posted some photos on Ravelry and she had some colours especially inspired by Southern California for this event. One of them she named Palm Springs and as we love to go to the Nine Cities area, husband and I said it was suitable souvenir yarn. But to make future knitting choices easier, I bought a solid to go with it and I already have a good idea of the pattern I am going to use.

The last skein is from Stunning String Studio out of Illinois. I have a skein of highly variegated yarn from Candy Skein that needed a plain colour to go with it so I was on the look out for a dark grey. The stitch markers were purchased from the same booth.

All-in-all, it was an enjoyable day and I would definitely go again.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

It’s December 1st And I’m Crazy

Last year I participated in an Advent Knitalong with a friend. The pattern was not a mystery but was divided into 24 parts. Many people (my friend included) purchased mystery yarn sets where you opened a package each day.

I used stash yarn and was really pleased with my finished shawl. Three of us had talked about knitting a pattern for advent this year. We were not wowed by this year’s pattern by the same designer and that stymied our yarn buying efforts. For example, my plan had been to buy minis at Stitches SoCal (there will be a post about that event soon) and the others had been considering mystery yarn sets. All efforts to come up with a pattern to work on for the 24 days felt like knitting for the sake of knitting. Eventually I chose a mystery knitalong with some laceweight yarn lurking in my stash. I also chose a pattern that had been a mystery in August last year that I could use yarn I purchased at Stitches SoCal and make it an Advent and Epiphany project. That’s only two projects for December why not make it three?

In her determination to get all three of us knitting the same pattern, P chose one that could be divided into days. E needed some yarn buying therapy and immediately bought yarn (and then still chose some from stash!) I declined; I already had my plans. Until I opened up my stash box. Earlier this year I had purchased two skeins of yarn, from different dyers, to support the Tits Out Collective. (I could have purchased many, many skeins but limited myself to just two.) I had my stash out as P had given me some laceweight yarn to go with one of them as I had expressed interest in a pattern using two different weights of yarn. And that’s when the a-ha moment hit. The two skeins went very well together and if I just found another that went with them I could join my friends in their KAL. The third skein is by Candy Skein. I am very excited to use all three of these yarns as they were all purchased just because with no idea what I would use them for.

So that’s it folks. Three cast ons on 1 December.