Thursday, 24 February 2011

Hard decisions

My recent post about pattern thrift has been prompting me to go through my Ravelry library - taking a cold hard look at the patterns I have bought or downloaded and what prompted me to do so. I discovered another nifty Ravelry feature - to think I have spent so much time on the site but yet can still find 'new' things. In the library feature you can look at downloads you have actually used - so you can look at a particular book you own for example and see what patterns you have made from it. My 'top purchases' are:
Last Minute Knitted Gifts - 5 patterns
Favorite Socks - 5 patterns
Whimsical Little Knits - 4 patterns (admittedly 1 pattern used 3 times for the wonderful Hap blanket)

Whilst I can't remember the exact price I paid for these books I am guessing it was in the order of £10-15 each, which approximates to £2-3 per pattern used.

This compares against my stack of Yarn Forward magazines which I have an annual subscription for (estimated annual cost of £45) and I have getting for 3 years worth. Of these I have knitted a grand total of....ta da.... 1 pattern ... and that one ended up being frogged.

Whilst I love getting a magazine through the post every month and I do love the articles - do I love them enough to justify the exepnditure. On balance - probably not. It makes far more sense to buy an independently published pattern book knowing that I will knit at least a couple of patterns from it.

The wonderful new Ysolda book is calling to me - and £45 will give me enough to buy the book and enough yarn to make one of the projects if I shop wisely.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

D is for Diagonal cross-rib socks

Diagonal cross-rib socks
Originally uploaded by l.tilbrook

I am really pleased with my sock knitting progress so far on the A-Z challenge. I am really enjoying the challenge and the deadline is helping to keep me on track and prevent too much distraction.

If I concentrate fully on the sock I can finish it well before the next letter is due to start and then this gives me a few days to pull out another ongoing project and work on that.

I really must get back to the Abotanicity sweater but I'm at the stage where I need to put all the stitches onto waste yarn and check the fit before starting the lace skirt. For some reason the thought of putting over 350 stitches onto waste yarn and then putting them all back on the needles is putting me off slightly - can't think why (lol).

Monday, 14 February 2011

Pattern thrift

Inspired by a recent podcast by Hoxton Handmade I have been busy browsing my saved patterns and library on Ravelry. Her insightful and though provoking podcast centered on the issue of paying for patterns and value for money. I am the first to admit that I often spend a few pounds on a pdf download (almost without thinking) but then the file sits there in my library, neglected and unused. A quick look at my pdf store shows that I have 56 pdf patterns, a grand total of 0 of the are queued or in progress and a paltry 9 have been converted into actual finished items.

In my defence I would say that some of them were free downloads and some of them I have paid for but knit more than once - Ishbel and Damson both spring to mind - but even so I have to question why I have so many files downloaded that I haven't knit.

I already have a lot on the needles at the minute but am browsing patterns for a friend who is expecting her first baby. In the same way that I intend to 'shop the stash' for suitable yarn, I will try to do the same with my pattern stash and come up with something to knit, rather than buying or downloading yet another pattern.

The Ravelry search function comes into its own again with the 'in my library' option which allows you to filter your search to give you all the patterns you already own - a darn good idea and one I intend to put into practice very soon.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

C is for Cusp socks

Cusp socks
Originally uploaded by l.tilbrook

Continuing with the 2011 A-Z sock challenge, the C socks are officially finished. They would have been done a few days ago if I could have put the Abotanicity sweater down long enough.

In truth I wasn't that happy with the lace pattern on these socks and I'm not sure how comfortable they will be. Having said that they did even out a lot during blocking and they look much better now, so we shall see.

Now to decide on a suitable candidate for D.

So far I have Devon - yet another Cookie A and Django, or I could go for the Diagonal Cross-Rib. This is a favourite of my mother-in -laws due to it's super stretching properties, and it is her birthday coming up.

Time to go for some daughter-in-law 'brownie points' I think.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Too ill to knit

Yes, it's true. On Sunday I was officially 'too ill too knit'. I had picked up a stomach bug from one of the boys and for the first time since having children (nearly six years ago) I was literally too ill to get out of bed. My OH hoped that if he left me to my own devices I would be able to pull myself together and join them downstairs - he even tried to tempt me by bringing up my knitting bag and leaving it at the side of the bed. But by midday it was clear that he was on his own parenting-wise.

When I shakily emerged after tea-time the house looked like a bombsite. It wasn't that DH hadn't been hard at work cleaning, feeding, entertaining etc it was just that 'stuff' was everywhere. It made me realise how much I (and all the mum's I know) pick up and tidy as we go. We really do multi-task without even thinking about it. I never leave a room without something in my hand destined to go in another room - I guess the Flylady mantra's have stuck with me more than I thought.

Anyway, my horrible tum meant a day off work on Monday and of course, plenty of knitting to make up lost time. I finally divided for the sleeves on Abotanicity - sadly it still isn't very photogenic. And I finally managed to begin a Ripple crochet blanket after lusting after those on the Ravelry group for ages. It isn't perfect but I am enjoying the soothing rythmn of the hills and valleys.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Originally uploaded by l.tilbrook

Officially still in love with this project. The colours are wonderful and it is a very relaxing knit but my - the rows are getting very long now. I think I need to end up with about 450 stitches before dividing for the arms and each row takes well over 15 minutes. However, I am trying not to think about rows and time spent and just enjoy the zen of it. Over on the Phoenix Knitting Forum we recently worked out our 'stitch per minute' (SPM) rate for fun. I think that I came out about average at about 30 SPM - I'm probably much slower in rib.

I did think about working out how much longer it would take to finish the yoke of this sweater but then I decided against it. There is the possibility that it would prove to be way too depressing - sort of like looking at Scarfell Pike (in the Lake District) from the bottom and knowing that you have to climb all the way up it and back down before you get your log fire and glass of merlot!

Embrace the peace and quiet of 2x1 rib and a glass (or two) of merlot and forget about stitch counts. That's my philosophy anyway, and I'm trying hard not to notice that the sweater looks much the same when I put it down after four hours of solid knitting.