Friday, January 31, 2014

Favorite or Library?

So, since I'm in this phase where I want to cast on but can't find anything I want to start and all I seem to be able to do is look at pattern after pattern on Ravelry*, it has raised a question in my mind regarding how we all use Ravelry. That question is (drum roll please...):

Favorites vs Library?

When I began using Ravelry, I queued everything I liked at first which, as you can imagine, led me very quickly to a very unmanageable queue. When it finally dawned on me that there had to be a better way, I decided to save those patterns I wasn't likely to get to any time soon in my library. I soon also figured out I could create "sets" within my library in which to categorize everything. This has served me well. Last May, however, while I was at the Magnolia State Fiber Festival in Vicksburg, MS, I recall a conversation in which I casually mentioned how many patterns I had in my Ravelry library and by the reaction of those I was speaking to, was apparently a lot (for example, currently it might be said that I have well over 1,000 patterns in my library--it might be said but I'm not saying it). That kinda planted a seed in my subconsciousness that maybe I wasn't using Ravelry the way most folks do.  I ignored the seed.  Until recently.

I often start my Ravelry pattern browsing by looking at the "Hot Right Now" box on the Ravelry pattern page. I noticed it listed the number of "favorites" of the patterns so I figured this must be a key to what is considered "hot". I started to play around with favoriting (is that an actual word?) patterns where eventually (I'm not real fast on the uptake) I realized it might be useful to tag them so I can easily search them later.  I use the general item class, for example, "sweater" and the yarn weight, for example, "DK".  This seems okay and yet...

I still can't seem to get away from my library. I like my little "folders" that put everything in a category.  Ravelry doesn't seem to mind, plus, how ever-loving long would it take me to transfer every pattern (that may or may not be over 1,000) in my library to a favorite?? Too. Stinking. Long.

My solution? I don't have one. Currently I'm justifying adding any new patterns I find that I like to both my favorites and my library.

Is this weird? I think it might be.

So tell me, how do you use Ravelry? Do you "favorite"? Do you "library"? Do tell...


*I'm only providing the link once, people.  I freely admit I'm too lazy to attach a link to every place I use the word "Ravelry" in this post.  <-- Including this one.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day

Yet another "snow day" today, in a region where we have no business having any sort of snow, let alone a snow day. Not that I'm upset that I didn't have to venture out on the ice-covered roads today, but I'm getting a little tired of the cold and being exiled in the house. What good is a snow day if you end up stuck inside wondering how horrendous your next heating bill is going to be? And it has become obvious that I need to knit more sweaters for me. I'm just sayin'...

Speaking of the house, here are some pics of said new home:

I know, that's not many, but we seem to have taken loads of the house under construction, but not so many since it was completed and we moved in. We do have a lake* behind our home and we've seen some lovely birds all over the place, including the one pictured below. Egret? Heron? Crane? I dunno, do you?

ã Paul McCleese
The best part of the house, though, is this:

ã Paul McCleese

We have beautiful sunsets like that nearly every night right out our back door.

Anyway, as I said, we are stuck up inside the house, which on any other day would be a great thing. Unfortunately, even though the sleet and freezing rain and snow have stopped, it has not really warmed up much at all. Last I checked, it was still below freezing which rules out a walk around the lake or sitting on the back deck. The Husband did make a fire in the fireplace (as he did yesterday) and that is a definite plus, but I find myself bored. I have a project I'm working on that I have made good progress on these last two days and another that I haven't started but will need a lot of attention when I begin. I continue to ignore my daughter's Christmas sweater that's a disaster. Also see above statement about needing more sweaters for me.  I certainly have things to work on. Still the boredom. I think I'm feeling the "I-need-to-cast-on-something-new-but-not-something-I-should-cast-on" itch. After all, I normally have at least three projects going at once. Trouble is, I just can't seem to commit to choosing something.

I have plenty of yarn left in my stash, I've been all over Ravelry and have literally hundreds of things in my library/favorites/queue, but all I can seem to do today is add more things to that list. Nothing is inspiring me. Perhaps my brain is frozen.

This is so much prettier than the picture
I've been on a hat kick, having knit two of them in the last couple of weeks. The first, Upper East Side by Joji Locatelli, for my sister-in-law in Ohio and the other, Grace Lace Beret by Elizabeth Eisenstein, for a co-worker (sorry, the pictures are lousy - the Upper East Side is actually done in the beautiful Big Sky colorway in Plucky Sweater--the second hat is done in Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK). In the midst of socks and sweaters, I'd forgotten how instantly gratifying it is to do a quick knit like a hat. I haven't worn hats much in the past - was always worried about my hair. The one thing about aging is that I find myself caring less and less about presentation and a whole lot more about comfort, if you know what I mean. It doesn't hurt that the current trend is to wear a hat both outdoors and indoors, so I can hide my "hat head". But even the hats on my list aren't calling me.

Maybe I need to go dump my entire stash out on the floor and sit in the middle of it until something gets my attention. I do actually have a "knitting/writing" room in the new house. I'd show you a picture of it but it is the one room that has been left neglected since we moved in. I have some books I need to get rid of and some wall hangings I need to make a decision on before I can put the room in any kind of order and those things have taken a back seat to other stuffs. Eventually you'll see it.

Wow, this was kind of a rambling, go-nowhere kind of post. My apologies. It is never a good thing when I am bored. I hope your Wednesday is fabulous.


*For my friends in the north, our "lake" is actually a pond.  But it's a pretty pond.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Used to Be A Blogger

Creepy, right?

Once upon a time, there was a knitting blogger who had so many irons in the fire, she choked from smoke inhalation and fell out on the floor, incapable of anything other than staring off into space for weeks...


Okay, so I still spend way too much time staring off into space, but I'm back. Sort of. We are moved into our new home (LOVE it), we got through Christmas (LOVED seeing family), and then the month of January passed in a week's time. Today, I am determined to get a blog post done. This effort is helped by the fact that I didn't have to work today. The doctor's office I work for closed for the day and for half a day Wednesday due to impending winter weather. With my northern friends facing temps below zero and wind chills verging on ridiculous, I hate to complain about the 29 degrees we're having right now with a 90% chance of sleet/freezing rain/snow--but I'm gonna complain anyway. This is SOUTH MISSISSIPPI, folks. They don't know how to deal with winter weather down here (and in my opinion, they should never have to). On the up side, while it will be in the teens overnight tomorrow, by Saturday and Sunday, our highs will be near 70. That's as it should be. I say again: SOUTH. MISSISSIPPI.

When I last posted, I was preparing to move and working on Christmas knitting. As I said above, I got the moving done. Ahem... Christmas knitting? Not so much.

I did manage to complete socks for my daughter-in-law and socks for my mom (pattern yet unpublished), plus the scarf I had knitted over the summer for my son and one sock of a pair I was making for him.

I have since finished the second sock

I still owe my DIL something for her birthday, which I have planned but have been unable to locate the yarn I need for it and I haven't had time to run to my LYS to see if they have any.

I had also modified the pattern Tesserae, by Vicki Square, for my mom. I had just four skeins of Classic Elite Yarns Premiere that Mom had picked out of a sale bin at a yarn shop in Indianapolis last summer. She liked the color. It is incredibly soft and nice to knit with, but with only 4 skeins of a discontinued yarn, and Mom wanting at the very least a vest out of it, adjustments had to be made. I thought the pattern in Tesserae was interesting so I used it for just one panel set into large stripes using the Premiere and some Sirdar Baby Bamboo I had in my stash (how the two fibers work together long-term is yet to be seen but they blocked quite well). This was nearly completely knit well before my son, DIL, and mom arrived for Christmas. I didn't get it seamed until after the holiday and it turned out just okay. The shoulder seams are a little...uh, weird. I really need a Craftsy class on seaming. Or a friend who loves to seam. Or both...

The biggest disappointment of the Christmas knitting season was a beautiful sweater I had planned for my daughter. The pattern is a lovely Amy Herzog design, Aislinn, and I chose to knit it with Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool. I was more meticulous with this project than any I've ever done and it knitted up beautifully. Unfortunately, my daughter's measurements aren't exactly average and I didn't modify when I should have (Amy Herzog would be ashamed of me since she specializes in knits that fit). The top of the sweater across the bust fits perfectly. The sleeves and waist are an entirely different story (about 2 sizes too big).

So, it languishes, still partially un-seamed, while I decide what to do with it. Part of me wants to frog the whole thing and start over with modifications. The other part of me would rather stick some knitting needles in my eyes. Decisions, decisions...

Finally, let me close by offering a cute picture of The Husband's dog, Hildy, in front of our new fireplace. She absolutely loves sitting close to it. Sometimes too close.

Hot Dog!
More pictures of the house in a (hopefully) near-future post.