No Risk No Reward

I am not a risk taker.  Not one bit.  People who watch me quilt laugh at my obsessiveness with plotting it out before I start.  Sometimes this is helpful, but it also means that I have quilts that I’ve envisioned, have the fabric, have the sketch and haven’t started on for over a year.

And just now I was reading Daisy Jane and stumbled upon this phrase, “No risk, no reward,” in this post.

I’m a great big scaredycat.  I’m scared of wasting fabric.  I want it to be good.  I want it to be perfect.  I know I shouldn’t but I do.  The problem, I can’t get better without doing it.  Without putting in those 10,000 hours (or was it 20,000?).  Without “wasting” a little fabric.

The same goes for my clothes sewing.  I haven’t stitched a piece since my Sorbetto muslin fail.  A muslin stopped me.  Why didn’t I make a second one?  I don’t know.  Wait, that wasn’t the last clothing thing I sewed.  The last clothing I made was this cute skirt, I love this skirt.  It was put together out of leftovers from another long plotted skirt, and unfinished skirt.  Why are my failures more prominent in my memories than my successes?

February 7, 2012. Tags: . Problems, Sewing, Thoughts. 3 comments.

WIPW: the slippers I can’t quite finish

I actually forgot that these were a WIP (they are currently buried in the craft closet).  Back in November I decided to knit some house-slippers for travel house-shoes for myself.  I purchased the French Press Felted Slippers (Rav link) pattern despite my hesitation of all that seaming.  I cast on around thanksgiving and quickly got through most of the knitting, then I ran out of yarn while making the decorative straps.  Yarn I purchased back in January from a big box store.  Crap.  The whole point of these slippers is that strap and the button you attach to it.  So I bought more yarn, same color, but obviously not the same color-lot.  I crossed my fingers, hoped it wasn’t noticeable, and knit on, all 10 grams worth (1/10th of the skein, 1/10th of the skein that could have been hidden in the soles had I predicted this was going to happen). You know what is coming – the straps so do not match. The color mismatch screams at me from my feet in all but the darkest of lighting.

The slippers are wearable without the strap (I wore them over our christmas vacation, after a classic late-night felting foray mere hours before our plane took off, I packed the wet slippers in a ziplock and dried them next to my mom’s wood stove the following day) but really – that strap is why I bought the pattern. I bought buttons but I can’t quite bring myself to finish this project. It is in a state of flux. Do I add the strap and buttons? Which buttons (the $$ buttons or the $ buttons)? Do I come up with some new embellishment for the tops, maybe a bunch of flowers from Crochet Adorned (I bought some bright gold Full o’ Sheep yarn today for just this possibility)? I don’t know.


February 9, 2011. Tags: . Knitting, Problems. 3 comments.


I’m sad.  Last night Wednesday at knit night I had a few other people double check my gauge on my selbu modern, I’m some where between 30% and 40% done (based on my geeky analysis of stitch count row by row that I’m too lazy to recalculate).  We each got a different read (8 sts/inch, 8.5 sts/inch, 9.3 sts/inch) but they all said the same thing – too many stitches per inch (the pattern suggests 7.5 sts/inch) which means my hat is too small (also, as might be expected, L pointed out that my gauge changed as I got more comfortable with the fair isle skill set).  It would fit me, but it is snug and not at all how I want it to fit (as a slightly slouchy beret).


BTW, thank you all for your input on the sassymetrical length.  I simply don’t have enough yarn to do a longer, long sleeve version though many of those variations look very nice.  I decided to add 2-3″ to the bottom of the sassymetrical, which just about uses up my 4th skein, and will figure the sleeves out once I get there, but each gets no more than half of my 5th skein.  I find all that purling a bit tiresome and only knit on it here and there.  I did 1 1/2″ of stockinette and will do as much seed stitch as I can, ripping a couple rows strikes me as less troublesome than ripping out a cast-off and adding rows.

January 27, 2010. Tags: , , . Knitting, Problems. 2 comments.

too long or too short

I’ve been plugging away at the long swaths of stockinette on sassymetrical (actually they aren’t that bad, I’m just not cut out for vast amounts of anything it seems) by working on it while at knit night or watching tv.  I’m on my 4th ball of yarn so I think I’m in the home stretch (I’m either going to need 4 or 5 balls).  But now I’m at the dangerous point where I want to be done and am loosing perspective on what the right length should be in the body.  This happened to me with my February Lady Sweater, I even cast-off the sleeves, only to go back and add about an inch to each sleeve.  How did knitters get stereotyped as patient?  Surely, I’m not the only one who has this issue (I don’t have a sweater similar in style, weight and cut, otherwise I’d just measure it).


So, tell me what you think, how much longer should the body be?  I think it hits at the smallest part of my waist right now.  I’ve checked out the projects in Ravelry and some are quite cropped and others were knit to fall a few inches below the waist.  I think I do want this to be on the shorter side, but not ultra cropped.  The sleeve stitches are on holders too, but I’ll figure that out when I get to them (or come asking y’all again).

January 20, 2010. Tags: , . Knitting, Problems. 4 comments.

Evenly spaced eyelets

The directions “space X yarnovers evenly between Y stitches” can be hair pulling.  There is at least one online calculator to help you with this.  But I really wanted to know the formula behind it.  The closest that I could get was something with 4 variables. Sigh.  The math behind knitting isn’t actually very scary – it is all addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as far as I can tell.  But sometimes your unknowns (variables in math-speak) aren’t where you might expect them to be.

So I’ve been scribbling numbers and little math equations for the past couple days, I’ve covered most of 3 notebook pages and played with a number of permutation on excel before the most obvious answer in the world occured to me.

See I have 34 eyelets to space evenly between 211 stitches to end with a total of 245 stitches.  The end number must be divisible by 7 so that I am ready to start the lace (a repeat of 7 stitches). [k6, yo] 35 times would work great – if I wanted 35 YOs and had 210 stitches to deal with – but I don’t.

[k6, yo] 34 times, k7 does work (6×34+34+7=245 and 6×34+7=211) – but where to place those 7 stitches so they are evenly distributed among my 34 groupings?  And so I determined that I needed 27 groups of [k6, yo] and 7 groups of [k7, yo].  And I started playing with excel.  And then I realized that I would end my row with a YO – this is a big no-no in knitting.  Of course I actually I have a border of 8 stitches on either side of my 211 stitches so that would contain it – but it would look funny to end with a YO right next to my border when on the other side of the buttonband it is 6 stitches away.  It occurs to me that if I switch the second half of groupings to a [yo, k6] that would be more symmetrical – but then I have a place in the middle back where two yarnovers meet and that is no good (they’d become one big yarnover and I’d be out off one stitch in the final count).  

So I start figuring out how I can get a nice number of stitches between the middle two yarnovers.  And I start playing with groups of 4, 5, 6 and 7 stitches between yarnovers.  And I played some more and some more.  1 1/2 hours later I have a eureka!

[k6, yo] 17xs, k7, [yo, k6] 17xs.  This gives me 34 yarnovers between 211 stitches and almost every single spacing between yarnovers is exactly the same count – except the back middle and that isn’t off by much.  OMG!  How did I managed to be so clueless for the last oh hour and half that I’ve been scribbling numbers and adding and dividing and multiplying.

Symmetry to the rescue.

I’m guessing most of what I wrote above is still hard to follow if you are scared of math in knitting.  Also, sometimes, as great as math can be – a visual representation sometimes works better.  On Ravelry I heard of someone using spare change to do this.  Pennies represented the stitches she had on the needles and dimes represented the stitches she needed to add.  She just placed them in a long line and started playing with them – aiming for whatever looked even visually.  For me I use excel boxes.  And then I copy them and try various permutations.  I also used the sum function to make sure my numbers were adding up correctly.

November 11, 2008. Tags: , . Knitting, Problems, Solutions. Leave a comment.

I can’t stand cord clutter

I tend to be very good at keeping cord clutter at bay.  One key element to that is to make sure that cords don't twist with other cords.  Having a laptop for your desktop machine also helps :)  Typically I store all my gadget cords in this cute metal lunchbox.

However with the new office and desk set-up the lunchbox cannot be stored right above the desk on pretty shelves.  So when I get out the cell phone cord it lays around all messy (and sometimes disappears under other piles of stuff), same for the palm cord and the camera cord and… Within the last month I saw a fabulous "hide all your gadget charging tools" idea in Blueprint (or was it Martha Stewart Living or Real Simple?).  They took two fabric covered document boxes, storing the power strip and plug-ins in the bottom box and feeding the cords through the grommet and storing the chargeable (cell phone, palm, ipod, etc) in the top box (imagine the boxes on their sides, stacked on top of each other, the grommets facing the wall).  I looked around town for similar boxes but didn't see anything that caught my eye.  Then I decided that I could convert the bottom tray of my tray stack for this purpose.  Due to bulking plugins I only fit three items on my powerstrip, but they are the three I need to charge the most.

I tied the powerstrip to the back of the tray with some spare clear elastic (meant for beading) that I already owned (can you see the clear elastic strips?).

I did need a second set of hands to help with this since the weight of the powerstrip cord kept trying to pull the powerstrip out of the tray and the tray was sliding all over my desk (scratching the top).  See the little white dots, I added felt to the bottom of the tray to keep more scratches from happening.

I plugged everything in (using twist ties to keep the length of cord not needed from tangling) leaving just enough cord to peek out of the tray and stacked the other trays back on top of the first.  I used velco cord bundling straps to keep the power strips cord bundled and off the floor (this took two strips since they weren't long enough to go around the desk leg and extra 6 ft of cord length.

Now when I look under my desk I don't see any cords collecting dust bunnies on the floor, just one plugged into the outlet and going towards the desk leg.

My desk "inbox" trays now look like this when I need to charge something and I still have an extra outlet for the less used chargers (like the camera):

Now I just need to tackle this cordkeeping dilemma (sorry honey, I know you worked at keeping the cords neat, now we just need to figure out how to keep them off the floor)

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October 1, 2006. Tags: , . former Vox Blog, Organization, Problems. 2 comments.