I think the reason why I've cast my net so wide is my shortish attention span and my gung-ho attitude : I can probably do that! and I don't really care if it's a bit crap.
Anyway. My sewing machine is a bit dodgy at the moment so although I have plans for some skirt-making, I've put them to one side and picked up my knitting again, which was neglected during the hot summer months. Ages ago, I'd flicked through my own Bible of Beginner Crafting (aka the Meet Me At Mikes book) and liked the look of the Chevron Clutch by Kylie of Kgirlknits. The specifications called for 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden Yarn, but because I am gung-ho and all about instant gratification (if I want to start a project I want to start it now, right now) I just wandered into Lincraft, couldn't find any Noro yarn and without further ado picked up a skein of purplish variegated yarn that said it was silk. Then I put it in the knitting bag and forgot about it over summer.
But, as I said: dodgy sewing machine, cooler weather = knitting. So now I will tell you about the things I have learned since commencing work on the Chevron Clutch.
- If you buy yarn in a skein you should wind it into a ball BEFORE you start knitting with it. Otherwise there will be tangles.
- To wind your skein into a ball you should use the back of a chair, (or your offspring's hands but I doubt modern children would put up with this the way both Fixit's parents tell me they were forced to) or better still get a methodical friend to do it for you.
(Nell with another skein of wool found in an op-shop by Pea Soup and kindly given to me because of my known colour preferences. Basil is helping her.)
On no account should you attempt this in the car while waiting to pick the kids up from school. This will result in tangles. (It is also not advisable to let your kitty get involved with your yarn but if you are still in the he's so new and so cute love stage you'll probably ignore this advice.) If you, like me, are gung-ho, and completely ignorant of knitting lore, then pray you have a nice Mother-in-Law who will sit patiently with you on Mother's Day and help you detangle, despite her arthritic fingers.
- Don't make uninformed guesses about wool substitution. Just don't. The yarn I started with was too thick, and too stiff, knotty and bobbly. This meant that knitting in front and back was a nightmare, and a row of purl (110 stitches) took me 35 minutes and made me late for pick-up, plus gave me severe cramps in my hand. I ended up pulling the whole thing out. The yarn itself is now in about 5 small balls of wool due to it's breaking during skein detanglement, oh, and the bit the kitty bit off. If I ever get over my hatred of it (and let's face it, it wasn't the wool's fault that I used the wrong needles and pattern on it) I might make a scarf, but only after I get proper knitting advice on what needles to use. Which might be tricky seeing as I threw out the cardboard label telling me the specifications.
- The bit I really really hate about knitting is stitch counting. And because I am a crap knitter I have to go back and count my stitches a lot. Especially if I am knitting and watching telly. And I quite often have little knitty accidents like pulling too hard to get a stitch off and losing the next one or just stitches sliding merrily off the needle when I take a sip of wine and then I have to go back and count again, and man that's annoying.
Also, when I look at the picture in the pattern, I seem to have way more chevrons than the clutch so I'm a bit worried about that.Not enough to stop, mind and research it. But I seem to have 10 dip-down bits and clutch looks like it has 5. Does anyone else think that? *Edited to add, I went back to check the pattern, you fold it in half and sew it together at the side, thus the need for twice as many. Make that 5 things I've learned doing this project: 5. Reading the whole pattern before you start is a good idea.
Anyway, it's good to learn stuff, even if, like me, you do it the hard way!