Thursday, April 28, 2011

Backwards is the New Forwards!

While glancing through yesterday's Knitting Daily blog post on bobbles (truly just glancing; I despise bobbles), I was startled to read that somewhere in the midst of Eunny Jang's bobble tutorial video, there were instructions for knitting backwards.  Not tinking (i.e. unknitting), but actually knitting (or in my case, purling) from left to right.  This effectively means that you don't have to turn the work to do the wrong side rows.

Well, I couldn't be convinced to watch a tutorial on bobbles just to see this miracle, but I figured it couldn't be that hard to figure out.  It's just the logical reversal of what I already do.  And here's what happened:

It was exactly like learning to french braid my own hair.  By the time I was eight or nine, I was a whiz at three-strand plaits - my fingers flew through them.  By eleven or so I had mastered the slightly more complicated technique of french braiding - but only on my friends' heads.  One summer, while staying at my grammom's place at the shore, I decided that I was going to french braid my own hair, with no help from anyone. 

It was unbelievably awkward.  My elbows and wrists twisted around behind me, not being able to see what I was doing... I was taking a set of motions that had become muscle memory, and forcing myself to do them inside-out.  Ever try to tie your shoes a different way than you're used to?  The results were a mess - it was severely lopsided and there were bits sticking up and out all over.  In its own beachy, summery way, I suppose it could have been passed it off as cutely mussed.  In fact, I probably did just that.  But it took years of practice before my hands felt really comfortable with the motions, and my braids started to look as neat and straight as when my mom did them.  Now I do it all the time, sometimes to work, sometimes to just casually and quickly pull my hair back.

Thankfully, thinking through what exactly I'd need to do to purl a stitch on the wrong side - from the right side - and then getting my fingers to do it without dropping the needles, only took about ten minutes and a dozen stitches.  But despite the difference in scale, the process felt exactly the same.  For a few minutes, knitting managed to feel alien to me all over again.

It was pretty fun.

And let me tell you how not having to turn my work every eight stitches on this entrelac scarf is a HUGE time saver!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stash and Stock

Motivated by the upcoming street fair at my local high school, I've decided to make a serious effort to knit and crochet for shop stock.  Up to now, I have crafted exclusively for myself, for gifts, or on commission from family and friends.  I'd like to be able to have a stock of small, quickly sellable items on hand both to populate my Etsy shop and to fill up a table should I want to buy a spot in a street or craft fair.  I won't be able to participate in the one I mentioned - it's only two and a half weeks away and I'd never make enough in time.  But it's never too early to prepare for the next one, whenever that may be! And in the meantime, perhaps I can actually get some Etsy traffic.

I've always been timid to undertake the crafting of items with no certain destination.  What if I spend a ton of money on the supplies and the finished objects just gather dust?  Lately, however, I've been giving so much thought to my future yarn shop (and I'm leaning towards Yarn Kiss as the shop name), that I feel more prepared to make judgment calls about what sorts of FO's I can profit from.  For example, I'm not going to be able to sell warm winter scarves and hats at a street fair in July.  But it would be simple enough to whip up a whole bushel of baby booties and hats in lighter weight, brightly colored yarns, and I have a feeling those would be popular!

While the weather is certainly getting warmer, I've gotten so many effusive compliments on my first entrelac scarf that I've decided to whip up three more of them and put them on Etsy as quick as I can.  They may not sell until fall, but hey, I can keep them tidily packed away until then if need be.  I bought six skeins of Lion Brand Amazing in three different colorways, a dark (Arcadia), a light (Strawberry Fields), and a bright (Regatta).  I'm about 20% in to the Arcadia Scarf:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Note on Obsession

This is a little off topic, but hey, no one really reads this anyway, right?

There have always been people in my life who love something special and to them, sacred, whether it's a certain band, a hobby, a game, a movie, a sport, a religion.  They love this thing with a single-minded, aggressive passion.  It consumes their spare time and motivates them to preach endlessly of its virtues to the nonbelievers.  They wear the merch.  They write the fanfic.  They sometimes even get tattoos.  And when it is suggested to them that they might, perhaps, broaden their interests, they become defensive, angry, or even mocking of the suggester's apparent lack of taste.

Don't get me wrong, I have my favorites.  I love EVERY Joss Whedon show, and I tend to get a bit miffed when people don't think he's brilliant.  But I've never been to a Buffy con, and frankly, I'm a little bit frightened of the people who write the fanfic.

The only other thing in my life that can match my Whedon love is knitting.  I knit every single day.  I encourage other people to learn how.  I spend almost as much time on Ravelry as I do on Facebook.  I plan to open my own knit shop in the very near future.  I go to the expos when they're in the area.  I've read the Friday Night Knitting Club, and am halfway through its sequel, Knit Two.  I squee'd along with all the other Harry Potter loving fiber fiends when Dumbledore bashfully admitted to a fondness for knitting pattern magazines.

But do I never talk about anything else? Of course not.  Is it the only thing in my life, the reason I get up in the morning? Sorry, but no.

I love my husband. I love my movies and TV shows - yes, they are mostly fantasy/sci-fi, but not entirely.  I love cooking and shopping and reading and drawing and teaching and decorating.  And yes, I'll admit it, I'm a bit addicted Facebook games.

So, to my dear friends, if you stumble across this post, and you are one of the obsessed (you know who you are) - consider this a one-woman intervention.  Let someone get you in to something new!  Something that doesn't relate to your current obsession.  Give your poor brain room to breathe.  It'll be good for you, I promise. 

And, just because I realize this all sounds a bit smug and preachy, I will confess that I actually am considering getting a knitting-themed tattoo.  Mock away.