Another FO this week

I just finished #knitting the cardigan. She said she wanted short sleeves so she could layer. My 6 year old has more fashion sense than I do.

This kid has me wrapped around her finger, she sat (not so patiently) next to me as I worked on the sleeves, asking every 5 minutes if I were done yet.  She then proceeded to ask me every 2 minutes if I were done while I was weaving in the ends.  She said she wanted the sleeves short because she wanted to wear a long sleeved T shirt underneath it.

The front is shorter than the bag. But it is really difficult to picture.

When I was done, I told her it needed to be blocked first to straighten it out, and she said please do it quickly.  So I steam blocked it quickly and she wore it until bedtime.  She wanted to wear it to bed too.  If that isn’t the best compliment a knitter can get, I don’t know what is.  Eventually, she took it off and carefully folded it and put it in her closet so she could wear it tomorrow.  She then asked for another cardigan.

I told you she had me wrapped around her fingers.

Hitofude Cardigan {Friday’s FO}

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I should have taken a picture with the big girl camera, but I took this a couple of days ago and I still haven’t woven in the ends yet.  I am so pleased with this pattern.  It is written beautifully.  It was a fantastic and extremely enjoyable knit.  I have already purchased yarn for a second one for my sister.  I knit this using Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in the Basalt Heather color way.  I love Knit Picks yarn, it is very affordable and is always robust and wears really well.

A thumbs up from me for both the pattern and the yarn.

 

Can’t wait to cast on the second one.

Knitting for other people {Wednesday’s WIP}

Striped Cardigan

Knitting is a solitary sport, it is a doorway to the place in your mind where you can have some very interesting conversations with yourself.  But then again we knit for others and that changes the game a little.  When you knit for someone else, you want to appeal to their taste, their choice of color, their fashion sense and how they want the world to see them.  The person I knit for the most other than myself is my daughter, since she is 6, it is quite easy to pick for her.  Yet, when I ask her what she wants, she usually has clear preferences.  She asked for a long sleeve cardigan this time, not a dress.  When I told her I was going to mix the gray with another color, she picked blue even though I gave her a choice of purple, pink and a brightly colored striped sock yarn.  Interestingly, I also decided to knit my sister a hitofude.  I have finished mine, but forgot to post the finished object.  I gave her a choice of colors and she said that given a choice of pink in the mix she could not choose anything else.  I chose the pattern, the yarn and she just chose the yarn.

Knitting for someone else is special, it is a gift of time and effort.  The average sweater takes at least 35 hours of knitting in my case.  Or at least it does when you have an obsession for fingering weight yarn.  I just love the drape and fabric produced when knit with a finer yarn.  I have yet to knit a lace weight sweater, but I am sure it is just a question of time.  Speaking about time, it is perhaps the best gift you can give anyone.  When I knit something for someone, especially newborn babies it is my way of saying, you are loved, you are special, you deserve my time and my effort.  I am giving you something irreplaceable.   The blanket I knit or crocheted for you can never be replicated again, because while I can buy the same yarn and make an exact replica of it, the real cost of it was time.  Time that can not be lived again.  Whenever I look at something I made, I can remember how I felt while I worked on it, what else was going on in my life and how I made a conscious decision to invest in it.

It is a true labor of love. 

Quick update {Wednesday’s wip}

I cast on a hitofude cardigan. It is a genius pattern. It is knit in one piece usinh a single strand of yarn. Meaning you start knitting and keep on without any seaming or even adding new yarn. The lace is so much fun. It is simple enough to be easily memorized but interesting enough to keep you engaged. I am using Knitpicks stroll fingering. It is not a fancy yarn but it is robust and great value for money. I dream of the day I can buy a sweater quantity amount of luxury yarn but until then I am happy with knitpicks. I thought about the color for quite a while. I finally settled on grey because I figured I would get more wear out of it. I am already considering making another one in a bright color.

 

I am also working on my daughter's halloween costume. She wants to be Wanda of where is Waldo? So I am knitting striped leg warmers and I have already finished her hat. I also have some striped red and white fabric to make a shirt for her. I really wanted to find t shirt fabric but all I could find was a heavier weight cotton. So I am still thinking I should make it into a dress or a tunic.

Inner dialogues

I had an epiphany this morning. The difference between a happy life and a miserable one is design. If you live a life of surrender to the status quo you can not be happy. Happy people actively seek and design lives they are comfortable with. They fill their homes with flowers and pretty things that make them happy. They find jobs that work for them and if they don’t they design an environment around them that are happy. They enjoy their meals and only eat food that nourishes their bodies and souls. They are proactive, assertive and positive. This doesn’t mean you need to change your life. You just need to design it in a way that makes you happy. If you watch a couple getting married (in the Middle East), they spend months organizing a wedding and decorating their apartment. Most of it is done for the benefit of others, to impress other people or to assert their social status. But then after that they stop the design process. They have kids because it is expected of them. They settle down to a life they might not want or yearn for because they stopped making it their own lives. They just go with the flow. I am not against going with the flow, but there is a huge difference between accepting and adapting to life’s blows and just being defeated. Almost every Egyptian home has a room usually called the Salon. It is a whole room that is dressed up to the nines and probably used twice in a lifetime. That doesn’t make sense, design wise. It is a waste of space and money. Space that could be better utilized for the family actually living in that home. That is exactly what happens when you design your life badly. You have wasted space. Valuable real estate in your life or time that should be used better. My mother’s grandmother used to say there is no poverty just lack of good opinion. ما فيش فقر في قلة رأي.
Whatever your resources are, proper management they can be more efficiently and effectively used.

Varriegated Sock yarn socks

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I have had this yarn for quite a while now, and I tried to use it before but just couldn’t find the perfect pattern for it, the colors are bright and saturated so any stitch pattern was usually drowned out by the loudness of the colors.

It is the perfect sock yarn in terms of yarn if you ask me, it is tightly twisted and doesn’t split but it is still soft and superwash, because who has the time to hand wash socks.

I think this stitch pattern is just perfect for it.

I had better run off and finish knitting, because these are my 6 year old daughter’s “Back to school” socks and she starts next Sunday.

Learning to beleive in yourself

Gradient hat

A few days ago I came across two blog posts; How to Believe in yourself and Stripy Suit. The first one gives you tips on how to believe in yourself and in the second one she talks about how far she has come in learning Sewing.  While they might seem like two very different topics they really aren’t.  For many crafters/knitters/crocheters/whatever you like doing the biggest hurdle is believing in yourself and believing yourself.  Second guessing your color choices, pattern choices, stitch count or whatever just hurts whatever you are doing.

Am I doing it right? Does it look good? Should I even be doing this?  This is ugly! Should I frog it? It looks wrong.  So many things that go through my mind while I am sitting in my favorite spot on the couch and knitting.  It robs me of the happiness and peacefulness of knitting.  Some days I just can’t seem to believe in myself, or trust myself to know what I am doing.  It is also hard when you know that you are knitting a garment or a piece that will be worn in public and will be judged by others.

One of the things I struggle with in life and not just in my crafting, is how will it be judged? Will people laugh at me because I am wearing a rainbow scarf?  I know that there are others out there with the self confidence to wear whatever they like and not care, I am not one of those people, even though I try to pretend I am.  I come from a family that have no problem saying things like “Oh my God, you have gained so much weight you look so bad” or “those stripes make you look wide and big”  I am not a super model, but having to hear things like that made me quite conscious of avoiding them. 

I am not saying that I always feel this way about the things I make, sometimes I can see something take shape in my mind before I even buy the yarn and I am 100% happy while making it and even happier when it becomes a finished object.  I have found that usually these are the things that I make because I really want to.

You have to remember why you craft, for me, I craft because it brings me peace.  Then I should do it anyway, not because of the FO.  I have also learned to frog as early as possible.  There is nothing wrong with starting something and realizing you dislike it.  Sometimes the yarn is wrong for the project or the colors just don’t work together as well as you thought they might.  You don’t have to finish every project you start, but instead of leaving them as half finished or on the needles, just go ahead frog it and reclaim the yarn.  It is always harder to frog the longer time you have invested in it.

Go ahead and try things you like, even if no one else will.  Yes even that striped cardigan you have been dying to knit.  The worst thing that you will hate it and you can then frog it and use the yarn for something else, which means more knitting time, which is what you actually like.

When people talk negatively about what you make, learn to filter out constructive criticism from plain old meanness.  Sometimes and experienced knitter or crocheter can point out a mistake that you could really learn from and that is ok.  Or even a non knitter might give you fashion pointers.  But if someone is mean, just say “thank you for your input, but I spent a lot of time and money making this and I love it”  or whatever it is that might make you feel more comfortable.  Learn to stand up for yourself and your crafts.  I never know if I should be offended or not when people tell me that something I made is just like a store brought one.  I usually want  to punch them and tell them, I spent all of my free time for weeks knitting this using hand painted yarn and you are comparing it to a cardigan made with acrylic yarn in a factory in China?  But then I realize they don’t get it, and that I do it for myself.

We all love getting acknowledged for the things we do, but crafting is a personal thing, many people just won’t get it. And that’s ok, but that should never make you doubt yourself.  Trust yourself for making the right decisions like knowing when to stop and when to keep going.  If you are a beginner, accept that it will take time to build your skill-set and the ability to intrinsically know what you should do.  It is ok, after all, you are amazing for being able to make something with your own hands.