Spring and Autumn are mischevious collaborators. At least in my part of the world. In Spring we have days of “It’s Spring!!….wait, no it’s not.” Back and forth for weeks before it actually makes its true appearance. Autumn loves to play her sister’s game and do the same. It’s taken a while for me to get wise to their ways, but I’m finally catching on.
So on days when the weather is somewhat temperate, I’ve been dashing outside to do some spring cleanup in preparation for getting the garden up and running and some projects that have been brewing during the cold months as I sit and knit.
But there is a peeping sound in one corner of the laundry room that warms my heart in anticipation while I wait. When the weather finally warms in earnest, there will be 6 new chicks that will be added to my existing flock when they are old enough. Bringing me to a grand total of 16 chickens. I’m happy with a small operation that gives me eggs for me and my crew, some to share and a few to sell. Some Spring I will be able to resist the temptation of new chicks showing up in the farm store, but not just yet.
My husband and I discuss our plans to revamp the henhouse and pasture with the same interest of a date we are looking forward to. Well, that may be more me than him, but still….
Moving on. As you recall from Training Wheels I have been working on some new skills in my knitting.
Specifically, I have been learning how to “flick” and how to do stranded colorwork. In order to motivate myself to reach my goals of knitting sweaters and colorwork I chose a sweater project, Save the Baby Whales, that required the learning of both skills. It is a top-down sweater worked flat. Once I reached the colorwork section about halfway between the arms and bottom of the sweater and I had to pause and work on getting the colorwork down.
After working on a long swatch I finally became comfortable working both knit and purls with fairly equal tension on each side.
This brought me to working with two colors, one on each hand, and maintaining a reasonable tension between colors and right and left hands.
This was just a long swatch of randomly changing colors back and forth and working on “catching floats” on the back. The beginning sections were quite “puckery” at first as I worked at keeping that even tension, especially on the right hand. Eventually, things began to smooth out.
Then I worked a swatch using extra skeins of the two colors I am using for the sweater.
Once again, I changed colors randomly simply to work on those skills.
Finally, I decided to do a small, flat colorwork project and work from a chart. I settled on an Ampersand design and once finished I will be turning into a small throw pillow. Here is what I have so far:
As you can probably see, it is not flawless, but I’m happy with how it is turning out considering it is a first actual project (not just a swatch) using this technique. I’m becoming a fan of keeping older, less-than-perfect projects just to be able to look back and see the progress I’ve made as I continue developing this skill.
Now that I’m getting the hang of this, I’m getting pretty excited at the idea of future projects. What do I do when I get excited about things? Well, I buy a book of course! It is a perpetually self-feeding habit I have.
So appropriately, I picked a copy of AlterKnits Stitch Dictionary and have been paging through it as I ponder the possibilities.
Actually, I’m becoming a pretty big fan of stitch dictionaries. Once I find favorite approaches and techniques for making socks or scarves or (in the not too distant future) sweaters, I really like to just use my favorite recipe for such a project and simply incorporate the stitch I want whether texture, cable or colorwork.
Just as when I was Learning to Cook, I’ve moved from following a pattern (or recipe) precisely to looking at it as more of a guide, adjusting and tweaking as I go. In fact, sometimes when reading a certain step in a pattern, I will think, “I’m not doing it that way, I’m going to do it this way. Knowing I can make those choices really makes me happy.
To be honest, sometimes I have learned a technique just to avoid some other technique that I found more daunting. However, learning is learning and the more confidence I gain as I add new skills the less daunted I feel about those “scary” techniques that I used to avoid.
So, new chicks, new book, new techniques. It’s been a good week.