Tag Archives: Ravelry

Sisterhood of The Stashdown Scarf – Part 3.

Carolyn ended her report on the Travelling Scarf in November when it continued it’s journey from New York to Washington. There waited Meghan, who added a truly wonderful colourwork section and introduced green to the scarf.

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Then there was some re-organizing, as the next recipient in line, Suzie, was in another continent. So the scarf left America and come to Europe at last. It was one long journey, but it finally arrived to travelled to Sweden. where Ida added some recycled delicate bouclé mohair yarn and a drop stitch pattern.

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And the scarf finally arrived to Brussels, which makes me stop No.7.

I collected some nice lace patterns, but when I saw that piece of art in person, I had to realise that none of them fits the scarf. Or me. If lace doesn’t fit, then let’s keep it simple, I thought. So, I decided to use the simplest knitting pattern of all, a good addendum to all those wonderful different sections and something that represents the depths of my personality. So, garter it is.

I searched my stash for some green yarn that would fit the red in the last section and would give some Christmas-y colour sheme, but, of course, no green yarn was found. I found some white instead, and some blue, but mostly browns and beiges. So the best I was able to do to chose the white and two blues and to make some stripes.

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I made only one twist. The scarf already grew very long ad there are 13 ladies waiting to work on it, so I decided to make it wider instead of knitting it longer. I like the result, but I’m also afraid that it dominates the scarf too much.

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So, this is it. It’ll spend Christmas in an envelope, somewhere between Belgium and England.

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Ladies with sticks: Raveler Meeting 2012, Bxl

Most of the time I didn’t want to go, only I hated the idea of not coming. I decided in the last minute, I only signed up the previous day.

I also had serious doubts. What if everybody talks French that I understand most of the time, but can’t really answer. What if the talk Flemish that I don’t understand at all, unless it’s written down. What if they talk to me too fast? What if they don’t talk to me at all?

Anyway, what should I wear? If I wear handknit, it would look like self-advertising. If I wear store-bought cardigan, it would be cheap. If I don’t wear a cardigan, I’ll get cold.

And what should I knit? I just can’t go there with the scarf I should currently be working on: it’s technically finished, but it thas 68 ends to weave in (yes, I counted), it would be uncool to sit there with a darning needle while everybody knits. And I hate those ends, each one of them, I don’t need audience for my suffering. I can’t bring something complex, partly because I don’t work on anything complex, but also because I can’t knit and talk in foreign languages in the same time. I don’t want to bring anything easy, because I would love to impress everybody. Also, I can’t bring anything I only casted on recently, I don’t remember, why, but I had a reason there too. I don’t have anything to knit, how could that happen?

Plus, I’m terribly bad at socializing. I shouldn’t go.

So I went. I dressed up as usual, wore the cowl I received from Maura on the BoTB swap (to get some support), brought the only project I am working on currently (a Wingspan that look better and better every time I work on it) and off I went.

And of course I had a great time, with some great ladies, discussed yarn and Japanese patterns (public transportation and elections in Amerika) and had a nice time seeing all those different lovely yarns and knitting techniques, had a lait russe, checked the nearby designer shop, so overall had a wonderful time.

And now I want to learn to crochet just because I saw my neighbour making a miracle with a cronice chet hook and a 20mm (!) size knitting needle. And  just try to gather the courage to try what another knitter did: made a beautiful and complex Fair Isle pullover, then cut it (yes, cut, with scissors) and made a cardigan out of it.

There’s just so much to learn.

Sisterhood of the Stashdown Scarf – Part 1

As you know if you have been on the Bus Full of Yarn before, many of us have a commitment to using up some of the yarn in our stash.  We chat a lot about yarn, our stash, what we are working on…  We chat a lot.  One day, the chatter went back to our swap and how much fun that was.  First – a little history on the swap.

Twelve of us signed up in May of 2012 for a secret swap within our Ravelry group.  Patty was in charge of drawing names for us and sharing addresses.  Then pandemonium ensued.  We started a thread where we asked and answered random and not-so-random questions about the wants, needs and allergies of the group.  Then packages were posted and flew around the world and photos started coming in of the packages that people were receiving.

A collage of some swap gifts from the Super Secret 2012 Swap

As we were discussing the thought of having another swap next year, several of us expressed our disappointment in waiting until 2013 to do the swap again.  We came up with 2 ideas of how to get through until the next swap.

  1. A traveling project for everyone to work on
  2. A traveling finished object for everyone to take a picture with and pass on

Of course, we decided to do both.  The first to happen will be the Stashdown Scarf.  I had about 4 inches of a scarf that I started, but I don’t know what the pattern is and I have no intention of finishing it.

Stashdown Scarf

The beginning of something wonderfully hideous

Off it went this morning, this little bit of knitted softness.  It will travel the world for the next several months, visiting many friendly hands in various countries all over the world.  Its journey will be recorded here with photos as it goes.  I wish it safe travels and much fun along the way!

 

Suprisingly, my sheep aren’t that cold

I thought this “going cold sheep” thing would be a lot harder than it is.  Do you know how much yarn I have?  (Well, yes you do – I posted a photo of my Ravelry stash count in Kelly’s Confessional.)  I am not going to experience a shortage of things to knit.

Unexpected bonus: “Hello creativity, my name is Kelly”.  I have been thinking differently, more broadly about what I might knit and which yarn I might choose.  I like it and I don’t feel compelled to buy more yarn.  I do know that I plan on purchasing a rich, heathery chocolate-brown for a cowl and legwarmers (yes, legwarmers – back off) as a gift to myself in early December.  But, I don’t feel rushed to do it now.

I had the notion to go into 2013 with the purpose of using reclaimed yarn.  I posted this thought in one of our (humorously failing) stashdown threads at the Back of the Bus and was surprised by the response.  Most of the gals said it would be too hard.  I don’t know if this comes from a place where they truly think I won’t be able to do it or an unfounded fear that I might ask them to join in.  I won’t.

I am in love with the idea of creating beauty from an unloved item.  We live in an age of toss-away consumerism that makes me sad and sick.  I love beautiful yarn as much as the next fiber-crazed addict and I don’ t plan to stop buying the pretty.  But, I do plan to take that thrift shop sweater and make it into the most amazing cabled hat you’ve ever seen.  My son will have some wicked cool sweaters knit up out of Goodwill dogs.

Just you wait and see.

Kind regards,

Kelly

Does This Test Require a #2 Pencil?

On Ravelry, there is a group called Free Pattern Testers.  The description tied to Free Pattern Testers is “This group is for helping budding designers and willing testers to come together and help each other in an open barter system.  Testers get the benefit of getting free patterns and designers get the benefit of free testing. ”  Isn’t that nice?  Shall we all join hands now and sing a few rounds of Kumbayah?

Leaf Peeper Cowl

Maura’s most recent test knit

The reality is that this group is run by very, very strict rules.  These rules govern the designers and the testers and heaven help you if you don’t follow these rules.  There is a system of strikes and if you get 3 strikes, you get banned from the group.  The demi-gods of FPT patrol all of the many current tests and verify that each detail is following the stated protocol.  I can imagine that this is stressful for the designers as much as it is for the testers.

Kelly Says:

Generally, I quite enjoy being a pattern tester, assuming it is something I would knit anyway.

  • I don’t (generally) have an excess of WIPS so I can usually focus on the test knit and come in ahead of the deadline.
  • I write training documentation for a living, so I can catch words/phrases/formatting which isn’t as usable as one might hope.
  • I usually take “okay” photos so the designer will have a FO (finished object) attached to their pattern which looks relatively nice, out of quality yarn at launch.  This is big in the world of Ravelry; people don’t knit patterns that haven’t been knit.

However, I fled FPT and I will not be lured back.  There is a vast difference between “running a tight ship” and “a ship run by control freak whackjobs”.  Okay, I (wildly) exaggerate.  But seriously… I once used bullet points and got a nastygram.  I once emailed back-and-forth with a designer about a pattern outside of the forum which resulted in a nastygram.  I forgot to link to a tester’s Ravelry profile (say it with me folks!) and I got a nastygram.

Quite frankly, too much nasty – not enough nice.

I will likely lose out on the opportunity to test some really swank designs, but let’s face it – my queue is huge already.  I don’t really need more to choose from.  And, I already have a full complement of control freak whack jobs in my life, I don’t really need more.

Maura Says:

I have not had any problems in the FPT group.  However, I am fairly careful about what I test.  I have done 2 tests for the same person because I like how she writes patterns and what the objects are.  I usually test only small objects, like hats or cowls.  Because I always have at least 5 projects on the needles (ouch!), one more doesn’t concern me.  Now, if I were to take on testing of a large project, I would probably fail miserably.  I can’t work on any one thing monogamously for any length of time.  I would definitely be kicked out of the group!

I am not a frequent tester, nor do I want to be.  I have run into some really poorly written patterns which makes me really cranky.  I like my patterns to be very clear, without spelling or punctuation errors.  I think that is fairly uncommon, though.  I will keep testing, but I will probably not do any large projects.  I know myself too well.  And I don’t deal with nastygrams well.

There you have it, two perspectives on ‘Free Pattern Testing’ within Ravelry.  Have you survived this group?  Do you bear scars and have tales to tell?  If so, we want to hear.  If not, we want to hear that too!

Repost: Virtual Friends

Here is a post from my personal blog about the ladies on the Back of the Bus. I could have said so much more…

WinterZenspirations

It is a brave new world out there.  As with most of my posts, I am going to go back to my childhood to recall what it was like then.  I am not old but things really were so different then.  Every year or two, we would take a vacation that did not involve going to Arizona to visit my grandparents.  A lot of these vacations involved camping in nearby states.  Camping was loading up the tent, coolers full of food, a wash basin, a couple of 20 gallon jugs of water.  We would go deep into the mountains and camp in ‘rough’ sites.  Rough sites are those that have a port-a-potty set up.  And that’s it.  You may have a fire ring left by the previous campers, but that is all.  Sometimes, we would be camping near other families and campers are a friendly lot.  We would share dinner…

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Obsessing

Today, I am supposed to be putting together photos of my stash and my WIP’s that I took yesterday.  I should be declaring my devotion to finishing the projects on the needles and to not purchasing any new yarn until such a time as I have a) finished some of the ongoing projects and b) gotten some of this yarn out of my living room.  Well, that is just not happening.

A portion of the stash

Instead, I have chosen to go a little to the right… or left… or whatever… in true Back of the Bus style.  (I never could turn any homework in on time in high school either.)  What happened is this.  I was taking lunch in my living room away from my office in my kitchen and knitting the band of a hat.  I have several episodes of the podcast Cast-On in my iTunes library.  I am a recent convert to listening to Cast-On and have been doling them out like lemon drops – one over the course of a couple of days.  I am now caught up to 2006.  Today’s lunch listening was Episode 41 with a hilarious conversation between Brenda and her sister Pam.  But then there was the guest essay about when did knitting become an obsession.  I found myself nodding along with the essayist and thinking about my own fall into fiber obsession.

I like to blame Sue, my sister-in-law, as she is the person who taught me to knit.  However, my knitting bug has far surpassed hers.  What is different between her and me?  Why is knitting to her a hobby and to me a full out passion to Knit. All. Things?  I have a theory on that.  It is that knitting was waiting for me.  Stalking me.  Standing back patiently until the time was right.  I can remember being exposed to fiber craft as a child.  My mother made many, if not all, of my clothes when I was small and continued until I got married – making all of the bridesmaids’ dresses.  She did macrame when it was popular in the ’70’s and I knew a little bit.  I started young, sewing and embroidering, playing with string, yarn, beads.  In college, I drew and painted, getting my degree in Art.  In my 20’s, I taught myself to quilt.  It came to me as if I had been doing it my entire life.  In quilting, art and fabric combine in a very logical and mathematic way.  But I stopped when I had children.  Quilting with 3 small kids is not practical or easy.  So I stopped.  And I did nothing artistic for several years.

Kyle's Quilt

Kyle’s Quilt

Then along came Sue, with yarn and pointy sticks.  This knitting – it was fun, it was portable.  I could make gifts for people, hats, scarves, mitts.  And one project may take less than seven years!  Once I got on Ravelry, though, the game was changed.  I found people like me, smart, creative, funny people who had the same hobby.  Ravelry gave me friends with things in common from around the world.  People who knit things I had never thought of knitting.  They made me think … could I do that?  People who weave, who spin, who crochet.

I find myself looking at my stash laid out on my living room floor, posing for photos.  I do want to knit it all.  I want it all to be finished objects, but first I want the fun of choosing what it will be when it grows up.  Because before it can be a finished object, it has to pass through me.  And that, my friends, is where the fun is.  It is the middle part – not the yarn on my floor and not the gift given, but the part where it is on the needles, where I get to see it as it is something in between.  More than mere potential and yet less than useful.  It is, if anything, a dream – so real you can touch it, feel it.  But it is not yet reality.  And so, I find that my obsession is with that middle part.  And I give myself the freedom to have works in progress, to savor that middle part.  And obsess about what will go into that limbo next.  I am unrepentent.

Crest of the Wave Baktus

In the middle – more than potential, less than useful