Sunday, 25 September 2011

The wrong project

Over the last 2 weeks I have continued to cast on like some sort of demented lunatic.  I developed some weird system which involved different projects for different situations: projects for commuting, projects to do over breakfast and projects that need actual time and concentration and have to be put aside until some unknown point in the future when I have the opportunity to turn the heel/change the yarn/put the damn thing together.  The problem is that all the projects inevitably turned into Need Time projects eventually, causing me to start casting on even!more!projects just for something to do.

Naturally, the whole thing was destined to fall down at some point, because I am just too disorganised to properly concentrate on more than one thing at once.  Two things happened: 1, I reached my final week of study before a Scary Scary Technology Exam; and 2: I broke all my projects.  Yep.  They all went wrong - all at the same time!  I dropped stitches; I knitted toes where there should have been heels; I misread charts; I ran out of yarn.  In retrospect this was probably because all my brain power was on Scary Scary Exam, but it led to me going to work 4 days in a row WITHOUT ANY KNITTING.  The horror - the horror!  I felt naked when on the tube without any needles in my hands, like I'd done something disgraceful and appalling.  I was sure all the commuters around me were secretly judging my lack of productive hobby.  I felt shame.

On a happy note, I passed the exam.  My reward was an entire day of crafts in my house with my BFF.  I was SO looking forward to it - until we finished quilting and sat down to knit, and I realised I didn't have anything ongoing that didn't need fixing.  Where to start?  The thing that needed all the green ripping out?  The thing that made no sense and required me to look up techniques on the internet?  The thing made of a hairy yarn so dark green that although I knew it'd gone wrong, I couldn't even see what had happened?  Or the thing which required changing colour and then the most boring set of decreases known to man?  HOW TO DECIDE WHICH ONE TO WORK ON?!  The urge to cast on something new was, let me tell you, overwhelming!  Luckily, BFF pulled me out of my Yarn Frenzy and I managed to fix not one, not two, but ALL of those blasted projects - and finish* 2 of them.  Oh yes, I am an actual genius.  So now I am back on the straight and narrow, working on 3 (I think) projects and well on track to finish them and start new ones this week.

Did I mention Super Scary Exam is in 4 weeks?

* Where 'finish' = 'finish all the knitting'.  I refused to spend my first day of knitting freedom with seaming and stuffing.  REFUSED.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Yarn-related fails

I finished the first sock with about 40cm of yarn left in ball 1.  OMFG, the last 10 rows were terrifying.  I kept banging on about how badly things were going until my other half found himself on Yarn Watch, staring at the teeny tiny pile of yarn getting teenier and tinier with every stitch I made.  I finished it and am now on sock 2, and it suddenly occurred to me that if I happened to make the adult sock I used most of this ball for every so slightly bigger than the adult sock I used with the first ball, then I may run out of yarn earlier this time.  So now I'm on Yarn Watch, round 2, even though I'm on 25 rows in. This is not a fun way to knit, I can tell you.

I also started my heavily improvised Christmas Projects, which involve taking a worsted-weight, knitted-flat, felted project, and making it a DK-held-double, in-the-round, ribbed project with my own variation of the chart.  This is, naturally, a recipe for disaster and I've already started having nightmares about it even though I am literally on the second row.  I've also realised that I made a tactical error at the weekend when I 'accidentally' went to the LYS and bought some Big Softie to make a hat; I need more of the yarn for the Christmas projects, and it's the only shop I know of in London that stocks the stuff.  I am 6 rows away from needing it in a colour I don't have, the shop opens and closes whilst I'm on my way to or on the way home from work, and I therefore have to wait until the weekend to go back.  So now I'm annoyed at myself about this too.  Buying yarn, apparently, is an art.

On a happier note, the Knitting And Stitching Show tickets have now gone on sale.  I AM SO EXCITED, I MAY VOMIT.  I am going to go with a shopping list for Christmas stuff.  I am only going to buy the stuff I need.  I am not going to go mental at the Brown Sheep Company and accidentally buy a bag of baby cashmere because it was cheap.  I promise.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

During a mad startitis binge last weekend, I spontaneously decided to make a list of all the Christmas projects I'd been vaguely planning in my head for this year, thinking I could put together a shopping list and have everything ready to start making stuff in November.  I was horrified to find that my list contained no less than 15 items, and there are only 15 weeks until Christmas day.  I'm a slow, English-style knitter, so most small-ish projects take me a week.  This news has therefore thrown me into some sort of knitting inferno where I'm trying to buy materials and knit five things at once - all whilst studying for an exam I'm taking in two weeks!  PANIC PANIC PANIC.

In my haste I have, naturally, made a mistake already.  The kiddy socks I oh-so-cleverly planned to make with some leftover yarn turned out to be rather larger than I had anticipated, and of COURSE I didn't have enough yarn.  Or anything else of the right weight.  So yesterday I found myself breaking my self-imposed yarn shopping ban to try and track down some solid coloured Regia Stretch - which of course has turned out to be like gold dust.  WTF?  The woman in Liberty's tells me they stopped selling it because nobody every bought it, which I find odd because I love the stuff!  WOE IS ME.  I ended up buying some cotton 4-ply instead which seems to do the job just fine, but still, I was already frogging the whole sock in my head, which is not a fun way to spend a lunch time yarn shopping spree, I can tell you.

It looks like I still don't have enough yarn anyway; the idea was to use the extra stuff for the heels and toe, but I am unconvinced that the leftovers will be enough to do the feet as well as the cuffs.  I really suck at this sort of thing.  Does anyone know a foolproof way of weighing yarn and deducing how much yardage you've got left, if you know all of its vital statistics?  This would really stop me from repeatedly getting into this situation ;-)

So anyway, the point is that I thought I was being all organised and avoiding having another one of those Decembers where I find myself stumbling home drunk at 1 in the morning, downing a pint of water and knitting until the sun comes up, then going to work, downing coffee, going back to the pub and repeating the cycle until I collapse; instead I find myself panic-buying yarn and trying to work out if it's humanly possible to knit whilst in the shower.  Oh well, perhaps I'll suddenly become a speed knitter as a result of all the haste, and everything will be finished by Bonfire Night!