People who lived through a certain obsession of mine will get a kick out of knowing I have found a pattern for Moulin Rouge mittens. Yes! Mittens with cancan dancers and a big red windmill! My life is complete! Maybe I should knit mittens based all my film obsessions. Any suggestions for Trainspotting, Velvet Goldmine or Hedwig & the Angry Inch mitts? Of course I already own Hedwig-themed yarn thanks to Ms Old Maiden Aunt. And no, I'm not asking about Star Wars patterns because there are plenty of those around.. I saw this little Ten Ways To Ruin Your Sewing tutorial over at Colette Patterns and thought it applied really well to knitting too. Here are the best bits but with a knitting slant added by yours truly:
- Stupid self-imposed deadlines. I have been prone to thinking "I need to get this pullover done so I can wear it to XYZ." End result: I never finish the pullover because I work on it 24/7 and end up hating it. Or it ends up looking a shoddy mess and I won't ever wear it. Besides, no-one but myself cares if I wear a new pullover to XYZ.
- The wrong fabric yarn. So you like that indie-dyed cashmere? And you're going to use it for a baby cardigan? Really?! You might want to talk to someone about that. Yarn recommendations are there for a reason. Substitute the recommended bulky-weight merino yarn with a 4ply cotton yarn at your own peril. If you are allergic to a fibre or the recommended yarn is out of your price range/you don't like the colour range, get clever about your yarn substitution. Also, using alpaca for a summer top = no-no.
- Inaccurate cutting. Okay, there might not be an equivalent knitting faux-pas .. except if you ignore the given tension. I've tried that. I tried to knit Mr Greenjeans without checking my tension. I ended up with something which was four sizes too big. I do these things so you don't have to.
- Winging it on a new technique. "Aha! So this project calls for a provisional cast-on? I don't know what that is, so I'll just use my normal cast-on. Oh, I need to unravel the cast-on and pick up new stitches? Where are my scissors?" Okay, so I have never done that, but that is because I love learning new techniques. But you get what I mean.
- Expecting every pattern to fit “out of the box.” "It’s a rare person that most patterns will fit without adjustment of some kind. Sewing knitting patterns (and ready to wear) are made for a statistically average body, and chances are high that that body is not yours. I know it’s not mine. Learning to make the adjustments you need is just a fact of sewing crafting life." (quoting this for truth)
- Being dishonest about your measurements. This is the big one for me, personally. I have a weird, distorted view of my body shape so unless I'm careful (and honest with myself) I end up knitting things that just do not fit.
Another great post is courtesy of the new Twist Collective: Shop Talk, by Sunday Holm, hits so many of the marks for me. "Requesting that the shop photocopy a particular pattern to avoid paying the full purchase price of a book." is a huge pet peeve of mine (can you tell I used to work in publishing?) as is Getting a less than warm welcome which I remember vividly from a certain defunct yarn shop here in Glasgow. Sunday's article is well worth a read and even a re-read.
Finally, Jess and Casey of Ravelry-fame and -foundery are coming to Glasgow. Join us all for a knitting picnic in Glasgow's Botanic Gardens - more information on Ravelry in the various Scottish/Glasgow groups - and a big thank you to Vonnie of The Life Craft for alerting me to this! See you there?