Working down my Queue

I am a very impulsive crafter, I adore the process of making, and nothing thrills me more than learning a new technique or skill.
Noting those key things about me you’d not be surprised to find I don’t often make doubles of anything. Once a skill is mastered, a technique learned, or a unique item created I no longer feel the need to make it again.

But this year I am crafting with purpose, as I mentioned in an older post I am trying to finish all the half forgotten projects and make room for all the ideas in my head.

I’ve done quite well with this plan and now I need to look at that pesky queue I have on Ravelry.

It seems there were things on there that took my fancy ages ago but because I am so mercurial in my patterns (when I don’t plan) my tastes and skills have changed dramatically from the time I put the patterns on the list.

So I had to do a quick clean up of what I knew I’d never work on, and then go through my collection of patterns and choose some things I actually do wish to work on.

I also assigned deadlines to each project so that I can not allow myself to be distracted by the new and shiny patterns or techniques I see. So I will be accountable and that in itself will make sure I stay on track.

Plus it will give me an excuse to use up the project planning stickers I have.


Slowly but surly I will master the appearance of being a capable and accomplished crafter, and as my best friend always used to say ‘Fake it till you make it.”

Planning my crafting

Everyone is talking about cast on mania, and I am here looking at my current works in progress and wishing I had the needles spare for some casting on.

Wishing I also was able to create as fast as I think. (Making a pullover for a plus sized body in sock weight yarn is NOT a speedy knit.)

So to tide myself over I have made a very strict queue of what I am allowed to cast on and when.

See, I wasn’t kidding about the amount of WIPs I have on the go. I have 4 crocheted blankets on the go, two jumpers (sweaters to you North Americans), two pair of sock, several shawls or scarves, one hat, a quilt, and three embroidery hoops on the go.
This is not including the test knits, and machine knitting projects that are languishing in various corners of the place.

To get through these I have set myself days of the week to work on projects of a similar theme.

Mondays: Crochet Projects (CAL’s that were abandoned being first.)

Tuesdays: Quilting, I have many many hexagons to sew together. Not as many as our Anja and her Insanity Quilt, or our dear friend doing the NIBig Sock, but I have a quilt’s worth.

Wednesday: Well this is easy, we get together on Wednesdays so I bring my favourite project to hang out and chill with my gals.

Thursday: This is usually my admin day, so I don’t have much time off the computer, but during running the children to piano to drama I can do a round or 7 on a sock.

Friday: I fire up the knitting machine and continue on the charity blankets we make for the SOS Bus, of if I am finally low on charity stash, then I will pick up some hand knitting and keep going.

Saturday: Simple and fun, Saturdays are either family days of board games and movies, or I hang out with the ladies for a cheeky Saturday so I want a simple and fun project to keep me going.

Sunday: Embroidery, I’ll break out the hoop and an audiobook and pretend I’m a Regency style heroine doing some work while my paramour reads out loud to me (when in fact he is usually blowing up zombies or aliens or something in the man cave,).

So that is my week of crafting timetable, and seeing as it is Monday now, I should have my hook in hand instead of typing this.

Off I dash!

Planning and Knitting

We all do it,  it is one of the reasons Ravelry exists. We have a list of things we wish to make; be it for ourselves or our loved ones and that list is long.

If you are like me it is also quite complex because I NEVER knit to gauge, for anything. This means I need to adjust almost every single pattern I use.

So I am going to show you the tools I use while knitting that isn’t needles and string.

Firstly I start with what is usually considered a big profanity in our little group a gauge swatch   little square of TEST knitting.
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I cast on 10 more stitches than the gauge pattern suggests should take up 10 cm or 4 inches. I then knit in garter stitch for 5 rows, then switch to a stocking stitch with a 5 stitch garter stitch border.

I will knit as many rows as I cast on stitches, then I will switch back to garter stitch for a further 5 rows, (give or take, depends on where I’m knitting and what’s on the telly.)

Now I take me gauge swatch test knitting and count using the handy little gadget pictured above, it highlights the stitches and rows so I get a fairly accurate count.

Next comes the fun part, the math. Using what I get from the little square I take the pattern and convert it to what I need.

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My chicken scratch for all to see.

I read the pattern, channelling my inner Dumbledore, and figure out where measurements are needed. (It is usually very easy because a typical pattern will give multiple numbers for all the sizes the pattern accommodates.) I then substitute my own numbers in and transcribe them in to my knitting journal.
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My knitting journal is a simple moleskine with a grid inside, and in it I put any changes to patterns that I make, charts I need, what row I am on, and all the information a busy knitter needs to know when they pick up a pattern again after putting it down three months ago.

Grab one at Amazon*

Now, I don’t transcribe the ENTIRE pattern into my book, just my adjustments. So I usually have a printed copy of the pattern washi taped into the book. The pages get a bit beaten up and usually get thrown out when the pattern is complete. but I keep all my important stuff in the book itself.

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Now all of this can be done on Ravelry, but I make changes on the go and I like the feel of paper and pencil so this works best for me.

But this isn’t all I do.
I also use my trusty Filofax* and the inserts from the Make Your Shining Year Planner, *(or for those of you not interested in product placement, my daily diary).
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Inside this fantastic little book is where my life gets sorted, and in it I log when I start a project. I use the sweetest little planner stickers from SymposiPress, an Etsy store that does sweet watercolour stickers for your planner.

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The stickers are so fully of whimsy and so gentle I can’t help but love them. They also come with a CAST ON sticker, then an image of the object and a blank space so you can track how far you are on your project. Then an adorable little FINISHED! sticker.

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I don’t know if it something for those of us who got stickers at school to signify a job well done but the level of satisfaction when placing a FINISHED sticker in my planner is close to the satisfaction of finding that perfect rainbow. (Which I am still hunting for.)

So how do you track your knitting progress? What about changes you make to the patterns?

Do you know a great planner sticker store? Let me know.

*these links are affiliate links.

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