dusktreader knits

January 6, 2012

Bitten by the Design Bug Again

Filed under: Designing, Projects — Tags: , , , , , , — dusktreader @ 7:33 pm

Maybe you remember that when I started this blog, I was excited about designing my own knitting patterns. That was about two years ago, and I spent a few months reading about designing, sketching out ideas, playing with stitch combinations, and learning as much as I could. Then summer came and I let my designs-in-progress lapse. Last year at this time, I started having ideas again, but the urge wasn’t as strong, and then my knitting life got taken over by a mammoth project which I can now reveal was an afghan for my mom’s wedding present. Since I couldn’t blog about it (secrets!), and I was enthralled with the project (I have always wanted to make afghans), I stopped blogging and let my design ideas stew for awhile in the back of my head.

I finished the project in December, and  it was followed by a wave of enthusiasm for smaller projects. I finished the mittens I’d been working on for three years (on and off), made a hat in two days, and started a scarf. And then the ideas started flooding in again.

I have all sorts of ideas, and my main problem last time was picking one and focusing on it. Most of them don’t make it to the detailed sketch phase, where I plan every section. Sometimes I’d get stuck on one detail that wasn’t working right, or sometimes I’d try to swatch and find I’d made things too complicated for myself. I’d have multiple ideas for different things I could do within a project, and be unable to settle on one. This time, I am picking the most straightforward and developed idea that I have, and seeing it through from start (idea, sketch, swatch) to finish (pattern write-up, getting test-knitters, publication). I am going to tweak it until it is just the way I want it, I am going to make sure that other people can understand the pattern I’ve written, and then I am going to publish it as a free download.

And last night, after a few sketches, I managed to make a swatch that I’m pretty happy with:

A swatch of knitted fabric showing a cabled arrow pointing upwards.

It’s a cabled arrow pattern that I want to use as the main design element for a pair of wristwarmers. Fairly straightforward to do, but I searched the Ravelry pattern database and didn’t see anything like it. There’s still a few tweaks I’d like to make. For instance, at the points where three columns of knit stitches converge, I’d like to use a centred double decrease instead of the k3tog that I used here, so it looks more polished. I think I will make the shaft of the arrow a little bit longer by adding more rows. But it’s enough to get me started on knitting the first wristwarmer, which I was up late last night doing. I forced myself to stop so that I could try to get some sleep, but I was too buzzed to fall asleep right away. (What was that I said about knitting before bed again?) I was so happy that it came out the way I wanted I pictured it in my head. This feels like something that I can actually finish.
And when I finish, I have another idea all lined up that I’ve worked up a detailed sketch for. I am excited for that one too, but it’s a little more complicated.

December 2, 2010

You can tell I’m excited about knitting again when

Filed under: Projects — Tags: , — dusktreader @ 5:25 pm
  1. I let myself get way too hungry because I keep thinking “just one more row” before I get up to eat.
  2. Ditto with not getting enough sleep.
  3. I start a new, complicated, time-consuming project even though I’ve  got so many others to finish.
  4. My wrists ache.

Since my last entry I’ve made a pair of leg warmers for roller derby. They’re alright. They serve their purpose, which is to keep my ankles warm while I’m on my way to derby practice in the cold weather. But that’s not what I’m excited about. I’m excited about this. A lace advent scarf. It started on December 1st, and there’s a new section revealed every day until Christmas.

There are many reasons why I should not be knitting this scarf. Aside from those outlined above, I have a very busy couple of weeks coming up. I haven’t finished making my (non-knitted) Christmas presents for my family yet. I don’t have enough yarn for the full pattern, so I’m cutting it in half doing math every day to make the number of stitches make sense with the stitch pattern repeat. I don’t need another scarf.

But. But. I get to use this fabulous Fleece Artist Sea Wool that I love. I’ve had it for 2 years now and it needs to be used. And it will make such a pretty scarf. And I love knitting along with people from all over the world. Plus! December 1st was a Wednesday this year, and Wednesday is the night I have my knitting group. It was meant to be.

The first section of the 2010 advent scarf

The first section. I'm using smal needles, so I'll have to block it before the yarnovers become noticeable. The little triangles will look like Christmas trees.

My Ravelry project page. For anyone who’s interested in the math or seeing my progress day by day.

June 23, 2010

April 2, 2010

A little bit of Knistory*

Sorry about the bad play on words, but I’m a feminist, and if there’s one thing feminists like, it’s portmanteaus made from the word history.**  My seafoam scarf.

Lately I’ve been working on my Deep in the Forest mittens. I finished the first one and am about halfway through the second one. It’s slow-going, on small needles, constantly consulting the chart and mixing up which row I’m on. It’s great that I’m working toward one of my 2010 goals–at this rate I’ll be able to wear them in the fall!–but it does not make for compelling knit-blogging.

So I’m going to tell you a little bit of my own personal knitting history. To the left is a picture of one of my favorite knitted objects: my seafoam scarf. It’s made using seafoam stitch in a blue hemp yarn. I’ve worn it for years and it still looks good. But it’s my favorite because it took me so long to figure out the stitch pattern.

From the minute I first saw the seafoam stitch, my first year of knitting, I knew I wanted to make a blue scarf using it. I’d just moved to Vancouver and fallen in love with living by the ocean, and I loved the dropped stitch effect. I bought some navy blue 100% wool and tried to learn the pattern. But I was new, and I didn’t understand the yarn over. For some reason I thought that making a yarn over included making a knit stitch right after. So every time I saw yo k1 in a pattern, I would move the yarn forward, knit a stitch, and then knit another stitch. It didn’t work out so well, and I was getting frustrated, so I put it aside and worked on something else for a few months. When I finally figured out the mechanics of a yarn over (the knit stitch is not included! Only make a knit stitch after a yarn over when the pattern instructs you to) I decided to try again. But I hadn’t figured out how to make multiple yarn overs in a row. I had to put it aside again. I eventually used the yarn to make a fishtail scarf which is actually still in process several years later. (Every now and then I knit a few rows on it when I’m not feeling inspired by anything else, but I’m not very excited about the scarf itself.)

I didn’t buy the hemp yarn intending to make the seafoam scarf with it: I bought it because hemp yarn was fairly new back then and I wanted to try it out. (I love it, by the way: it’s very light, and it’s smoothness is good for making lacy projects look fancy and elegant. I have a skinny black scarf made from hemp that I used to wear with a black dress if I was going out somewhere nice. And it wears well, getting softer as it gets used.) I forget when exactly I figured out that you can make multiple yarnovers by wrapping the yarn around the needle instead of just bringing the yarn to the front of the work before knitting the next stitch. But almost as soon as I did, I knew that I could finally make my scarf. And I knew that I could figure out anything in knitting if I had enough patience and time. I’ve said it before, but one thing I really like about knitting is that there’s always something new to learn when you’re ready.


*Note the difference between kn-(h)istory, and knit-story; the former is a play on history, the latter on story. This post has nothing to do with the Knitstory link I posted a few weeks ago.

**We also like gender equity.

March 26, 2010


Filed under: Projects — Tags: , , — dusktreader @ 9:33 pm

I think I am going to work on one of my 2010 knitting goals this weekend. I am going to unravel the doomed tank top.

I start a new job in April. It’s my first permanent job (I’ve been working on contracts for awhile now) and it marks the beginning of a new phase in my life. An organized phase. A phase where I am an adult who takes care of business. So I’m getting my life in order before I start. Putting in place and/or solidifying good habits. Regular haircuts. A budget that I will actually stick to. UNRAVELLING KNITTING PROJECTS THAT AREN’T WORKING INSTEAD OF PRETENDING THEY DON’T EXIST.

Just think, at the end I’ll have liberated all that yarn that’s been imprisoned in an unfinished project all these long years. I’m a little nervous, so wish me luck!

February 20, 2010

Knitting goals 2010 check in

Filed under: Projects — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — dusktreader @ 11:55 am

So, um, yeah… when I set knitting goals for myself, I mostly treat them as a loose structure for my knitting year, not hard and fast rules. If I get excited about something that’s not on the list I will probably just make it. I find it’s best to just go with the flow rather resist: more knitting gets done in the end. The goals serve as something for me to return to when I don’t know what to knit or am feeling extra ambitious.

Naturally I’ve already tinkered with them. I want to knit a tam. I have avoided knitting them in the past because I just assumed they would look funny on me, but I see them a lot in Halifax and I changed my mind. They look good on all kinds of people, and they especially look good paired with the kind of long coat I have. Tams ahoy.

Also, I need to knit a case for my poor little ipod. When I got it OVER A YEAR AGO I named it “Knit Me A Case” to remind me to DO IT and so far I haven’t. And it would take me, I don’t know, maybe two hours tops, probably less. So I should JUST DO IT.*

The mitten: just need to knit a few more thumb rows.

The thumb in progress.

I have been working toward some of the goals though. Today I finished the hand on the first Deep in the Forest Mitten, and am now on the thumb. I have been working on another scarf in the scarf series, but I can’t say much about that because I am submitting it for publication (!) and it wouldn’t be eligible if I blogged about it (if it doesn’t get published I will of course share it with you). I have been working on the Crazy Cat Cave, and I just need to bind off and knit the i-cord which will be the case for the wire.

I’ve been feeling a little scattered lately. Too many projects on the go, too many that I’m itching to start. I have a bit more time on my hands in the next week or so, so I’m going to use it to get refocused, finish the projects that are just about done, and not start any new ones. It’s normal for this time of year. In January I get so excited to start new things after finishing all my Christmas gifts that I usually get fibre myopia and only knit for the whole month. In February it tapers off a bit. (The mittens above were started toward the end of last January when I was in a similiar transition between OMG KNITTING YAY and HEY MAYBE OTHER THINGS EXIST).


*No sports allusions intended. Stop thinking about sports!

February 9, 2010

February 4, 2010

2010 Knitting Goals: In With the New

Filed under: Projects — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — dusktreader @ 7:07 pm

Part 2 of my knitting goals for the year comes with exciting sub-categories:

I want one! I want one!

  • A cowl. I am a chilly person. We get some chilly weather  here in NS. Haven’t decided what pattern yet.
  • Another hat. I am tired of wearing the same hat every day. I have one on the needles almost done, but I suspect I will also tire of wearing one of 2 hats every day.
  • A smitten. Because I am a dork. And because if the boy forgets his gloves, he shoves his hand into one of my gloves and it stretches them out.
  • Mittens that make iphone browsing in cold weather a bit better. I’ve seen convertible gloves/mittens, and mittens with a little hole for your thumbs to pop out. Not sure which one yet.


  • It’s a secret
  • It’s a secret
  • It’s a secret
  • It’s a secret
  • It’s a secret

Designed by me

  • At least 3 more scarves in the scarf series. I have the ideas in my head, and I’m testing out one now.
  • The crazy cat cave. I’m half-way through test-knitting one. I want to write this one up as a pattern.
  • And a more general goal: keep designing. At this point I have all kinds of ideas floating around in my head. Some I’ll be able to accomplish as soon as I can get yarn to needle. Others will probably take more figuring, learning, sketching, charting, testing, frogging, giving up, going back to. And I’m not sure which designs fall into which category yet. So it’s hard to set a goal that I don’t know if I have the skills to do yet or not. But I’ve just got to keep going.

No…. problem!

February 2, 2010

2010 Knitting Goals: Out With the Old

Filed under: Projects — Tags: , , , , , , , — dusktreader @ 9:41 am

It’s February 2nd! Time to pull a hog out of the ground and ask it to make you some resolutions.

Something like that?

I’m a little late on my knitting resolutions, but that’s allowed. I don’t believe in making them arbitrarily, and at the beginnng of January, I just wasn’t ready. But I’ve figured out what I want over the next year or so. And if I write them down and then publish them on the Internet*, and bury some yarn under a crossroads at the full moon, they come true right?

Something like that.

Part 1: Out With the Old

I have… rather a lot of projects currently on the go. Especially if by “on the go” we can interpret “in my closet, in a suitcase,” or “I’m not sure where it is but I know I’ve seen it since we moved.” I have so many that I am not even going to try to finish all of them in 2010. But I’ve carefully selected a few achievable goals that won’t put too much of a damper on my excitement to start new projects:

  • Finish the cardigan I’ve been working on for 2+ years. All I have left is the hood, side seams and zipper. And I had a revelation the other day while I was at the bus stop, staring at someone else’s hood and noting the construction. I don’t need a hood. I’ve never liked hoods, they interfere with my peripheral vision. (Boo!) I’ll just knit a few inches to make one of those collars that folds over, it’ll be fine. And with that resolution, I can face dragging it out again! Finished by fall.
  • Finish my Deep in the Forest mittens. They’re beautiful, and I’m looking forward to wearing them, but I can only work on them a little bit at a time. The stitch pattern doesn’t repeat, so it’s hard to get a rhythm going, and I have to constantly check my work against the chart instead of the row I just knit. But they will be beautiful and I will finish in time to wear them next winter.*
  • Remember that handmade items facebook meme? Where you post something promising to make handmade items for the first 5 people who comment on your post? I posted it last March. I will finish the items by this March.
  • Bind off and weave in the ends of the travelling scarf project I did. Because it was an awesome fun project (you knit a section of a scarf, send it to the next person in your group, they knit a section, etc. At the end you’ve knit 13 sections of 13 scarves and you have one of your very own, the one you started.
  • Okay, this is a big one and I think doing it will show my maturity as a knitter. Frog the cotton tank top that I started in 2004. Cotton was not the right yarn for the project, there are a few holes where I didn’t join the new ball in properly, and I am nowhere near the same size as I was back then. I could be using that yarn for something else. Or trading it for something good. FROG IT. FROG IT I SAY.

Part 2 coming soon!


*I read somewhere that you capitalize Internet not because it’s a novelty but because it’s a place. Makes sense to me.

**note the wishy-washy loophole I left there: I don’t have to finish ther by the beginning of next winter as long as I can still wear them at some point next winter. The last day of winter is March 20th. I have over a year.

January 28, 2010

Two beagles

Filed under: Projects — Tags: , , , , — dusktreader @ 1:35 pm

If you know me, you might have heard me talk about about getting beagles. Two beagles. Someday, when the boy and I are a bit more settled and live in a dog-friendly place, there will be two beagles, Cedric and Schindler.

And then there will be sweaters. Matching sweaters. Not just dog sweaters that match each other, dog sweaters that match each other and the people sweaters I will make for me and the boy.

Tacky, tacky sweaters. I think the colours orange and green will be used, but those will not be the only colours. I expect several fair-isle motifs will also be involved.

And then we will have a portrait taken and put it on our Christmas cards for that year and send them to everyone we’ve ever met.

The only thing stopping me from casting on right this instant is that beagles come in a range of sizes and I want to wait until we have them and can take accurate measuments. I will probably start the people sweaters sometime in the next year or so. It will take a lot of yarn, so I should probably wait until I come across some sort of deal on dog-appropriate (read: washable) yarn for the main colour.

This has been my dream for over a year now. It was my anchor, something to make plans around, during all the uncertainty that graduating brings up around where to live and where they’ll hire me and what my life will look like in 5 years.

Two beagles. Four matching sweaters. It’s happening.

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