CategoryKnitting

Finally Finished – Knitted Cowl

Doesn’t it feel great to finish a project? I love checking something off my to-do list.

knittingcowl

Well, I’m checking off a really old knitting project that I started in 2013 when I did my monthly Creativity Challenge knitting class. This was the final project we started in that class, and it is one of the more challenging projects we did. It involves following a pattern and changing colors a lot.

After finishing this 82-row pattern, I can say that I feel pretty comfortable tackling something like this in the future.

In the beginning, I had to sit in a quiet room, alone, so that I could count stitches and concentrate. Now, I’m comfortable sitting in a room with the television on and my family! I’ve gotten much faster at completing a row, but it’s still fairly time consuming. I can use the previous row’s pattern to know when to change colors rather than counting all the time. While it felt tortuous at times, I’ve learned a ton and expanded my knitting comfort zone.

cowl-finished

Now, I’m going to admit how long it took me to finished this project: more than a year! How silly is that! I could only commit to doing one row a night sporadically (being a mother of two young children). I really hoped to finish it sooner, but nevertheless it is done! Now, what about those other unfinished projects from that class … or maybe I’ll rip them out and make socks. 🙂

close-up-cowl

My designer takeaway: Sometimes learning can be painful and painfully slow, but it is rewarding in the end! Keep going!

Entering the County Fair

Our local county fair was held recently. I’ve been trying to make sure I enter something because it means 1) I’m doing something creative at home and 2) I’m finishing projects. It’s fun to share them with the world every now and then. 🙂

cowl-fair-entry-2015

This year I didn’t have much to share in the knitting department. I haven’t finished much, but I have been knitting! I did have this cowl hanging around that was almost done. It just needed buttons. I found these great huge red buttons that were exactly what I was picturing in my mind for finishing it. The buttons are roughly the same size, but vary in design and shade of red. It really pops on the black wool cowl.

butterfly-fair-entry-2015

I also entered a photograph this year. The photography entries for the fair rarely place because there are so many entered, but I had this great photo and thought I’d give it a try. We were given the InsectLore butterfly habitat as a gift. You get caterpillars in the mail and watch them become butterflies. This photograph was from the day we released them. They were hanging out on my daisies in my flowerbed before they flew away. The whole experience was really amazing to watch. We’ll definitely do it again! And, I took a ton of photos!

This year, I also had my son enter in the Lego category. What a great option for kids, huh!

My designer takeaway: Get a little public recognition every now and then. It’s good for the soul. (And it can even be as small scale as the county fair.)

My One Tip for Burnout

My one tip is: Take a break!

Of course, it’s not always that simple, except when it is!

I’ve been a little quiet on the knitting front lately. Honestly, while I loved my challenging knitting classes in 2013, I got burned out. I’ve been taking it easy ever since. I gave myself permission to just enjoy outdoor activities in the summer. Now I’m slowly working my way back into it.

baby-blanket

I worked (forever) on this simple block baby blanket over the last year. It was just what I needed, a no-brainer knitting project, after all those challenging ones. No pattern to follow, and I could do it while enjoying a TV show or talking with others.

ruffle-scarf-2014

Then we decided to visit some old friends for the holidays, and I thought I’d like to take the three girls a scarf. I have one done. We’ll see if I can squeeze in two more.

I’m hoping for the new year to finish this two-color knitting project that I started in my Feed Your Creativity knitting class forever ago! Stay tuned. 🙂

My designer takeaway: When you get burned out, take a break!

County Fair

We have a small county fair in my town, but we love to go. Every year as we walk through the exhibit entries, I think of all the things I could have entered. Well, this year I actually did it! I entered three of my knitting projects.

Red knit socks entered in our county fair.

Red knit socks entered in our county fair.


– One is a pair of red socks I knitted a while ago. I intended to enter them last year, but it didn’t happen. They sat and waited for me to get it together, though. 🙂
Blue knit hat entered in our county fair.

Blue knit hat entered into our county fair.


– Another is a hat I started in my knitting class this past year. One of the few projects I’ve finished.
Knit toddler 24 month dress.

Knit toddler 24 month dress.


-The last item was a toddler dress that I started in class also. I’m very proud of this one (not because it’s good) because it’s my first time knitting cables, and I finished in time for my daughter to wear it (once because she hated wearing it … ha!)

After I entered, I had a deep fear that I wouldn’t get a ribbon at all. But, alas, I got a first and two second place ribbons. I’m encouraged to try again next year. (Rumor has it that the judges will only give second place ribbons to knitting projects without any fancy stitches, no matter how well done. At least it makes me feel better, even if it’s not true.)

My designer takeaway: Most of the time, we work behind the scenes, without our signature on our work. We should enter our work and be recognized for what we do (of course, I have a hard time paying to enter my design work in contests… gulp).

Expanding My Knitting Knowledge

I started knitting the winter after I graduated with my master’s degree, while my hubby was still working on his MS. I was used to being insanely busy, but suddenly I had too much time on my hands. I learned with a friend from a kind lady at a church in the next town. She taught a group of us for free, and even shared her needles and yarn with us. I got hooked because it’s an easy activity to start and stop. It’s easy to do in the car, and, depending on the pattern, I can even do it while watching TV (and feel like less of a bum). I’ve slowly been learning different aspects, potholders to scarves, hats and gloves, blankets to socks… But this year, I have really stepped it up. I’m taking a “Feed Your Creativity” class by Kollage Yarns at a local shop. It’s really pushing me. I’ve done cables for the first time (cake — I can’t believe it took me so long), I’m reading all sorts of patterns (including charts), and I’m making clothing (a big step for me).

I’m really glad that I’m being pushed, but I can’t say that I love all the projects or yarns that we’re using. In the end, I hope to be more confident when I want to make something on my own. I hope to look at a pattern and think “I can do that.”

My designer takeway: Sometimes it’s more about the learning process than the final product.

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