Having completed the 30 Day Knitting Challenge, I thought it might be handy to have all the questions in one place and link them to my answers. As a tech writer, back in the day one of my favorite things to do was create an index for a document – this definitely hits that button. All in all, this was fun to do; I got to reflect on all things knitting-related and I’ve written every day since starting the challenge on September 5. I hope it’s been fun to read, too. I plan to continue writing and posting regularly, I even have some tentative themes set up. If you, dear readers, have something you’d like me to write about or have found another interesting blog challenge, please let me know!
Day 1: What was your first finished project? Day 2: What is currently on your needles? Day 3: Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)? Day 4: How did you learn how to knit? Day 5: How long did it take from the time your learned how to knit, to finish your first project? Day 6: What is your favorite piece that you’ve knit? Day 7: Your least favorite? Day 8: What’s your most challenging project? Day 9: What fiber or yarn do you love working with? Day 10: Do you have a favorite pattern or designer? Day 11: Do you have a “Knitter Hero” or someone that is just way too awesome for their own good? Do share! Day 12: Where do you keep your stash? Post pictures! Day 13: Do you have yarn that you love but can’t find a project for? Day 14: What’s the worst yarn/fiber that you’ve worked with and why? Day 15: What was your least favorite pattern and why? Day 16: Have you ever had a knitting related injury? Day 17: Have you ever had a project that you loved become ruined? What’s the story behind it? Day 18: Do you knit English or Continental? Day 19: Do you watch movies and/or listen to podcasts while knitting? What are your favorite things to knit to? Day 20: Do you knit in public? Was anyone offended/incredibly happy/curious that you were doing so? Day 21: Do you knit gifts for friends and family for the holidays or birthdays? Day 22: Have you ever stricken someone off your to-knit-for list because they didn’t appreciate/take care of your last knitted gift to them? Day 23: If you had the supplies (and patience) for it, what project would you start today? Day 24: Have you ever made your own pattern or dyed your own yarn? How did it turn out? Day 25: Do you have a knitting book or a place where you keep patterns, ideas, size measurements? Post a picture of it! Day 26: Have you ever been a part, or wanted to be a part of a knit-a-long? What was it? If not, why? Day 27: How do you acquire most of yarn? Online retailers, local yarn shops, swaps, or large chain craft stores? What’s your favorite? Day 28: Do you do any other crafts besides knitting? What are they, and did learning to knit come before or after learning these other crafts? Day 29: Do you have any tips, or things that you’ve learned from knitting? Day 30: What’s your name on Ravelry? If you don’t have a Ravelry account, why?
Surprise! I’m madgeface on Ravelry but my designs are under my real name because I couldn’t figure out how to do it any other way. Before Ravelry, I was active in the Knitter’s Review forums and I remember feeling like joining Ravelry was a betrayal. But I found my knitting group and all of the forums and had a ball. I’m not as active in the forums as I used to be; a lot of my friends who were active have had circumstances change and they no longer have the time to keep up their previous posting pace. I also feel like I’m still searching for the right group; some of them are really prickly and I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing, but the vast majority just don’t hold any interest for me – I’d rather knit or put my energy into this blog or Instagram or Twitter or any number of other things.
Ravelry definitely changed what and how I knit. Before Ravelry, I picked patterns out of books and Interweave Knits or Vogue Knitting and occasionally online. Now, Ravelry’s pattern and yarn databases are invaluable for finding projects. I almost always research a pattern and look at other people’s project on Ravelry before I start knitting. Or I start with the yarn and see what other people have made with it. In turn, I try to include helpful information in my pattern notes.
Wow. The last day of the 30 Day Knitting Challenge! I’m going to publish a page later with all of the questions linked to my answers so it’s easier for me (and you, but mostly me) to look back on them all. If you made it through all 30, kudos to you! And if not, here’s an easy achievement for your Friday:
I have lots and lots of tips, but most of them pertain to specific situations or problems. For example, to cable without a cable needle, it helps to hold your knitting below the live row so you’re not pulling out stitches while you’re manipulating the needles. I have a whole board on Pinterest for knitting tips. But then I do have some other general proclamations …
Have patience with yourself and what your hands will do. Knitting is mostly muscle memory and it takes time to train your muscles to do different things.
If there’s something that’s bothering you about your knitting and you’re not sure whether or not to tink back or rip it out, go ahead and tink or rip – if it bothers you now, it’ll still bother you when the piece is finished.
Buy the best yarn and supplies that you can afford.
Learning how to do magic loop with circular needles will save you from having to buy circulars in multiple sizes – just get the longest set you can.
Connect with other knitters in person or online; you’ll learn new things and get to see what other people are working on, which can be really inspiring.
And probably more – I’m always open to questions and helping other people, even if it’s tracking down an answer from someone else or commiserating.
30 Day Knitting Challenge Day 28: Do you do any other crafts besides knitting? What are they, and did learning to knit come before or after learning these other crafts?
I crochet, spin, and weave, though not all that regularly. I’ve also fooled around with felting and fulling, beading, embroidery, sewing (but my sewing machine and I have a hate-hate relationship), and other things, like upcycling Altoid tins. I have an album on flickr with some of those projects, aptly named The Others.
30 Day Knitting Challenge Day 27: How do you acquire most of yarn? Online retailers, local yarn shops, swaps, or large chain craft stores? What’s your favorite?
Yes, I buy yarn (and fiber) all of those ways and more – I buy it at festivals (mainly MDS&W and SVFF), I occasionally buy on Ravelry from destash pages, and I sometimes buy or trade with my knitting & spinning friends, both online and in person. All of these different shopping experiences have different purposes for me. I’ll buy at big box craft stores if I have a specific project in mind, usually a baby blanket or if need something machine washable. I like browsing and supporting my local yarn shops and going to festivals for the same reasons, but usually find yarn I like first and then pick out a project later, or wait for the yarn to tell me what it wants to be.
I buy online when I’ve got big projects in mind – sweaters or afghans – and am looking for the most economical yarn choice or the best bang for my buck. I set up an Excel spreadsheet so that I can compare different yarns from different online stores. I plug in the cost per skein, put up (weight & yardage in each skein), the number of skeins I’d need for a project, and the total final cost of the yarn. You might be surprised to discover that the cost per yard of what many think of as cheap or economical yarn is actually on par with other brands with higher quality fiber content (Red Heart and Knit Picks, I’m looking at you). And there are great deals to be had on closeout and discontinued colors and yarns – Webs is my favorite for hunting deals like that – you just have to make sure you buy enough for your project or you may be sitting high and dry with an unmatchable dye lot.
So yes, I like buying yarn and I sometimes get really geeky about it. 🙂
Also, to make this more interesting, here’s a picture of Jeff and Eevee. When I left the room, they were snoozing separately. A minute later they were here, looking kind of guilty? Surprised? Both? (And Jeff just looks sleepy.) They weren’t doing anything, nothing at all …
30 Day Knitting Challenge Day 26: Have you ever been a part, or wanted to be a part of a knit-a-long? What was it? If not, why?
My very first KAL was with my knitting group and was also the first time I knit socks; we did Cookie A’s Monkey Socks. After that, we did Ravelympics (in 2010 before the Olympic Committee forced Ravelry to change the name to the Ravellenic Games) and I knit Lucy Sweetland’s Lillian along with a few others. I’ve done several KALs and events like the Ravellenic Games since then, mostly organized through my knitting group and/or Ravelry. I even coordinated 2 groups projects for blankets for expectant mothers in my knitting group; those were really interesting to do as well.
I’ve also done Tour de Fleece 2010-2015 (I skipped this year), which is a spin-a-long and lots of fun. The idea is to spin every day of the Tour de France, taking rest days when the riders do, and challenge days when the riders have challenge days. It’s a lot of fun to be on a team (or teams) and, like KALs, there’s a lot of competition and camaraderie.
30 Day Knitting Challenge Day 25: Do you have a knitting book or a place where you keep patterns, ideas, size measurements? Post a picture of it!
Like a lot of knitters, I use Ravelry to keep track of patterns using the pattern library, ideas using favorites, and measurements in pattern notes. I don’t keep a physical book/journal specifically for knitting, but when I started using a Bullet Journal in February I added a few spreads to keep track of ideas for The Yarn Office and patterns.
I also have two mostly dedicated shelves for my knitting books, most of which are in my Ravelry library as well.