Looking for sanity...

Okay so this is my first time back on here in a while (well over a year I believe), but I've been knitting strong all the time. I'll actually need to take some photos of some of the work I've done. I've come on really well as a knitter and I've recently started crocheting. So, why am I back? Well, one word; sanity!

Not 10 minutes ago, I realised that the aran afghan I had cast on (for the third time...307 stitches!) was wrong again, and so in my fit of rage, I immediately slipped off the needles and started manically pulling the yarn out. Now, I'm sure we all know that when this happens, we end up with a giant lump of tangled yarn that's an absolute nightmare to pull apart and wind back up. This time was no different. What I didn't know however, was that by some freak coincidence, was that my yarn had somehow managed to weave itself through the loop on the zip of my open pencil case, so after about 10 minutes of gently prying the knots out, I lose my patience and start thrashing the yarn around in a rage. Of course, my pencil case goes flying, launching scissors and pens and rulers and shit everywhere. Basically, I need to sort my act out and become better organised with my knitting. I've got quite a few WIPs that I need to get finished, and I need to decide properly what I'm going to do next, rather than just playing around with the yarn and needles til I find something I like.

So, things I have on the needles (or waiting to be stitched up)...

1. Mellow from Rowan Drift (which can be seen here; http://www.knitrowan.com/designs-and-patterns/patterns/mellow-0 ) I've really enjoyed knitting this, I will ALWAYS love using chunky yarn. I literally only have the collar left to knit, and the only reason I cant do that right now is because it requires 8mm circ needles, which I cant get at any of the stores near me.

2. A girls dress. This, is almost complete, I just need to pick up stitches to do the armband seam, then attach the loops for the ribbon belt. Then it'll be technically "complete", however, because it's for my niece, I'm going to crochet on some little flowers and maybe put some other decorations on it.

3. The Aran Laptop Cover from Men Who Knit. This was a good knit, I bought some really lovely yarn (Rowan, Cocoon) to do this. I've knitted the entire thing up, I just need to sew up the sides, and then attach the buckles. Originally I wanted to put on some nice big buttons, but I couldn't find any I liked.

4. A mohair scarf (black and white), which I've only done a few rows of. This one almost sent me into a pit of depression and insanity as well; 200-some stitches, and I found it really difficult to knit at first, but now that the tension has evened out, its knitting up a great deal easier.

5. (this one is a bit out of place) I've got a whole set of patches cut ready to make a baby quilt. Quilting has become quite a favourite of mine, but it moves slowly cos I cant afford a sewing machine and have to use my mums. (don't even talk to me about sewing it by hand!)

Anyway, I have a couple of questions about various things; firstly, are some patterns just...well...wrong? I got a pattern for a fairly simple Shawl Collar Sweater, I knit up the entire thing once and it was massive. I mean...MASSIVE! So I knew I must've done something wrong...I checked my yarn and it was the right weight. I knit up a swatch and it was the right tension, so I made a couple of adjustments to the length and knit it in the small instead of the medium...and it was still HUGE! I mean, not as huge as it was previously, but still well beyond what anyone would ever wear. So, are some patterns just plain...not right?

Secondly, when I put my laptop together, I'd like to line it with some material to make it seem a bit more luxurious. I was thinking maybe silk. However, are there any fabrics I shouldn't use, considering there's going to be a laptop stored in there?

And finally, a variety of people have told me that I should start selling stuff on etsy. I always kinda laugh it off, but it is something I'd be interested in doing. Do any of you have any experience with this? Sometimes I don't really understand how I could make it viable...take my Rowan jumper for example; the yarn for that cost roughly £100, so in order to make it worth the time and money, I'd have to sell it for upwards of £200. Surely people aren't going to pay that for a jumper?! :-S

If you've read this far...thank you so much! I no longer feel like I'm on a rampage!


scottly's picture

Oh, my so much to address. First off, I'm happy for you that writing it all down has been calming. So, yes, patterns are frequently wrong but I suspect that the problem with the sweater has more to do with your guage then anything else. If your off just a tiny bit off something like a sweater it will compound and become an exponential problem where as on a scarf you might not notice so much. So my suggestion is when guage is essential which it is for most fitted type garments, do a large swatch, wash it and block it. That will give the most acurate guage then adjust the pattern to fit the guage of your swatch. I don't have much luck adjusting my guage to fit the pattern, others may disagree.

Line your lap top case with anything you like just consider things like durability, friction and how easy it will be to work with. I've lined many a purse and a nice sturdy cotton always works well.

I ocassionally sell stuff at craft fairs and the stuff that sells really well is what I can sell for under $30 US, about £20 (I think). Hats, scarves, mittens, socks, mitts, head bands, people don't seem to mind paying premium prices for these items but past the $30 mark and they'd rather be shopping at Neiman's or Saks or in your case, Harrods. I cannot move a $120. merino lace shawl (and that's a good price) that I have - lots of touching and trying on but no takers. I've sold on line before as well - OMG what a pain in the a**.

I have a question for you, do you keep a stash? That's how I usually decide what to do next - the stash - it speaks to me.

a_strange_boy's picture

See, I assumed it was my gauge, so I knit the swatch (didn't wash or block it though), and it was almost dead on. And some of the other jumpers I've knit have been a perfect fit. Now, at the moment, I never ever ever want to see the pattern for that jumper again, but perhaps at some point in the future that'll change (it does look really nice), and when it does, I'll knit the bigger swatch.

I imagine if I was going to sell stuff, I'd knit and sell loads of small items first...I imagine they'd be fairly easy to make money from!? But the thought of ever knitting something bigger, like a sweater or an afghan seems like it would be too much work for something that wouldn't sell at what it's worth.

And to answer your question; I do keep a stash. It's quite a large one actually. (Oddly enough, much of the yarn in there is from when I first started knitting and I used to just buy yarn that I liked, foolishly thinking you could knit anything from any type of yarn.) Generally speaking, my stash only speaks to me when it comes to smaller projects, which is fine. I always need at least one small project. But when it comes to bigger ones, that's what I need to plan out.

Although, in my stash I do have 10 skeins of Rowan, Drift and 10 skiens of Rowan, Lima. I dunno if you guys get Rowan yarn (sorry if that's a dumb question), but it's lovely yarn, and I managed to get it seriously reduced (£3 down from £7). Initially I had a few ideas in mind when I bought them, but they kinda fizzled out for whatever reason, and I'm not prepared to use good yarn simply for the sake of using it up.

One stroke of inspiration that did come to me just tonight, was to crochet an Afghan. It's just going to be a basic double crochet patter, but I'm going to do it with black, white and red stripes...hopefully so that it looks very linear and modern? I'll need to be sparse with the red though.

in the unknown world
the man
threading together his need
and his needle
nods toward the smiling boy
this will keep us warm

Does your pattern give a 'finished size' or is it 'to fit chest size'? Some patterns are deliberately 'oversized', but you should be able to tell what the finished chest size will be from your gauge and number of cast on stitches.