Tuesday, January 24, 2012

RROU #3 Dyeing Adventures


I almost forgot about this last update XD

I didn't do much dyeing last year... I did a skein or two earlier in the year, and for the holiday season, I had a grab bag for my local knitty group's holiday party, so I initially was going to dye just one skein.... turned into three :P


My dyeing supplies :P

Setting up to dye

I don't reveal my sekret dyeing application..... not yet anyway. Mayhap I will make a video of it someday.... Onwards....

In the dye bath


Hanging to dry...


Crappy picture of dried skein! :P

I dyed this for Petrina's birthday. She said it looks like Socks That Rock, and it kinda does. 

This is the skein I dyed for the grab bag

After the overwhelmingly positive reception of my yarn at the holiday party, I have been toying with the idea of becoming a dyer for profit. I think my shit is great... even non knitters have said they like my yarns.

Guess we'll see what happens this year.

Monday, January 23, 2012

YRSTS #4: Sidewinder Hat

This is the cable stitch pattern used in the pattern. Isn't it sweet? Ha ha ha XD

You know what? I will admit it... I was tempted to buy this pattern.

It's a nice pattern... and I loooove cabled hats. I have yet to make myself a hat with cables, would you believe it?!?? The only thing that initially stopped me was the $4.50 price tag, honestly.

Doing this series of YRSTS has taught me to look for alternative patterns before buying something that looks kinda simple, so I searched....and found out this is considered a "beginner cable" that is easy to execute.... and there are loads of free patterns that use this cable stitch pattern.

Fancy that.

Alternatives

...There were 11 hat patterns that featured the Honeycomb Cable. Out of these, only three of them were worthy of comparison:

  1. Honey Hat
  2. Ullstund Hat
  3. Honeycomb Hat
The only thing that makes the Sidewinder remarkable is the way the cables decrease into the crown. 

Doesn't make it worth the money though.

I suggest picking one of the three and messing with the decreases to get it to look similar. I remember reading in another pattern to dec the k sts that form the cables to slim them down while they snake into the top of the hat. 

You're welcome.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, January 20, 2012

YRSTS #3: Phoncible Hat

Corrugated ribbing is a staple in Stranded knitting... and a bit of a pain to work, but it looks awesome!
This pattern caught my eye as I was searching Ravelry for some colorwork hat patterns. But of course... it wasn't free.

Oh no.

5.5 smackeroos.

Read it and weep, colorwork amateurs.

Alternatives


It's so disappointing that such a simple hat should cost $5.50. All it is is corrugated ribbing and stripes.

Well, at first I was going to attempt to reverse engineer it (because its cool) but I haz the Lazies (the L from this point forward) and decided to search on Ravelry for something similar.

I found one... Portable Rainbow Hat - almost exactly the same... but free. Just reduce the length of the ribbing, do it all in stockinette, and make it slouchier than the pattern calls for. It even uses a bigger needle so you'll finish it faster! I plan on making one myself :)

Alternatively, if you want to play around and made something that looks like a more exact facsimile, Here's a good guide on corrugated ribbing for the uninitiated. Play around with needle sizes and # of stitches CO, work two rows of stripes per color,  and pick a nice crown decrease.

UPDATE 5/12: apparently it wasn't corrugated ribbing... on closer inspection, it's just alternating 2x2 stockinette with the two colorways. [This also more than ever makes it not worth paying for IMO]. But I think this hat would be fabulous with the addition of corrugated ribbing, so do either one.

You're welcome.

Happy Knitting!


(That is a picture of one of my WIPs btw)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

YRSTS #2: Mallory Cowl

This is 2x2 ribbing. This is all the pattern consists of.  Nothing more. So NOT worth $2.02 -__- 

This pattern puzzles me for a few reasons.

  1. The designer made a child sized version and offered it for free...which s EXACTLY THE SAME PATTERN [besides # of stitches cast on], but then charged for the adult size. 
  2. How long do you reckon it took this "designer" to make a pattern consisting of 2x2 rib?
  3. How can you "copyright" and label "for personal use only" a fucking 2x2 ribbed pattern??!??
  4. Four suckers actually bought the pattern (!)
*smh*

Alternatives


They made this one way too easy for me.... download the child's version and quadruple the amount of stitches at CO. As an added bonus, I suggest using a bulky yarn in lieu of doubling worsted like originally suggested. It'll probably be cheaper that way *eyeroll*

You're welcome.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

You're Really Selling This Shit? #1


(Ravelry link above and more ahead... if you don't have an account and you knit/crochet... you need one, like yesterday. Awesome site!! You'll see why in a bit...)

I don't wanna stir the pot too much, so I used this pic of tea and cookies in lieu of the pattern's FO. Mmm.

I saw this pattern as an ad in my Ravelry Notebook. I though, oh it looks cute, I'm gonna check it out. Looks cute.... WTF $2??? O__o 

No no no.

It is simply reverse stockinette (purl all rows in the round or RS p, WS k flat) stripes with 2x2 ribbing at the wrist and top. Nothing remotely difficult, or out of the ordinary about this pattern that warrants the $2 price tag. 

Want a comparable pattern? It took me all of one minute using Ravelry's advanced search function to find 47 free striped fingerless mitt patterns using DK or worsted yarn (really! You're welcome). This pattern looks the most similar...but really, you can choose any one and just do reverse st st and change colors every two rows and add ribbing to the cuff, top, and the thumbs.

Voila! I just saved you $2.

Happy Knitting :)

*pops some popcorn and waits for angry "designers" to flood her comments*

RANT: Y U Charge For This Pattern??!?? -__-

Time and time again, I come across a nice little pattern for something simple as fuck... and the designer wants to charge for it.

I'm sick and tired of this shit.

Don't get me wrong, as someone who makes up their own shit, I know a lot of work can go into making a pattern. BUT there is some shit I see on Ravelry and online and I scratch my head and say really? You're really charging for this shit?

So! I decided to make this a regular topic here at Pancraftuality. Why not? I want people to be aware of these offending patterns and avoid them like the plague. I will only post things that I feel can be reverse engineered by any n00b with a hook/needles just by looking at it, or have sufficient know-how about the main techniques used. I know I can't speak for everyone in the Ravelry world, but what I love about our community is:

  • the willingness of people to help complete strangers
  • the depth and breadth of available FREE information and resources
  • the free flow of said information and resources
  • the support and empathy of the community at large

Charging for a pattern to make a fucking 2x2 ribbed hat destroys all of this for me.

Why? Why be so fucking greedy? If you make a 2x2 ribbed hat with snaking cables and bobbles and all sorts of madness? Fine---you worked hard on it, and I wouldn't give a second glance to your selling the pattern (although I will bitch about you charging $10 for the pattern, but I digress. That is another topic for another day...).

I will say this before I start: I understand I am gonna piss a lot of people off with this. My aim in doing this is to let y'all know that there are people who will not stand for being charged for something that can be easily reverse engineered. I am not saying designers shouldn't be compensated for their hard work. Quite the contrary, actually. There are many designs (i.e sweaters, lace, and colorwork) that have to be extensively tested, charted, etc.-----I don't mind paying for these things. As a matter of fact, I am proud to support these amazing designers and am happy they decided to share these things with us at reasonable cost. However, the designers who

  • make a  blah blah blah that someone can make in their first attempt at knitting/crochet EVER
  • take a stitch from a book or website and make it into something without any modifications whatsoever
  • blatantly rip off a FREELY AVAILABLE PATTERN and make one (if any) changes
should be ashamed of themselves. I will call you out on your shit. Fuck that noise! XD 

There are so many designers who put in real time and effort on shit way more advanced, intricate, and gorgeous...and they offer their patterns FOR FREE. So who are you to charge me for a pattern of striped reverse stockinette mittens??!?? -____-

Not only will I post offending patterns; if I can, I will either attempt to reverse engineer it myself, find a corresponding free pattern, or tell you how it is most likely done. I'll do the pattern that set me off today in a separate post.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Knitolutions 2012

My friend Petrina coined the word, I think XD

We belong to a local knitting group that meets up every third Saturday. Miss Trina (our founder) is uuber organized, and keeps us whelps in line. She sends out email reminders, facilitates extra activities (Rhinebeck!!!), and occasionally sends out miscellaneous knitty-related information and such.

This week, she sent us an email asking what our knitting ambitions were for the year.

Umm, so full of WIN!!

I decided to share them as a blog post because... why the fuck not? XD

My knitolutions are as follows:
  • Knit at least one lace shawl
  • Knit a project with beads I bought the beads and tiny ass crochet hook already. Even have a pattern picked out
  • Learn how to read lace knitting charts I can read Colorwork charts, but they're different
  • Do more advanced Colorwork working on this now
  • Make at least one sweater this year have the yarn and pattern
  • Make at least 6 pairs of socks started a pair already lol
  • Use up my worsted/chunky yarn stash making room for more sock yarn! hehe
  • Finish at least two projects a month, or 24 total for the year
  • Replace inferior accouterments With better ones purchased a set of Knitter's Pride Dreamz needles so far [will do a review of these soon!!]. Need to get the chunky set to complete it. I need a new swift and winder, and a full set of DPNs
  • Crochet more I only really use crochet for making toys and I haven't been doing it as much as I used to
  • Make an Afghan or blanket with all the crappy red heart I still guiltily hoard. Too damned selfish to give it away, and I wouldn't suffer anyone I know to make them anything from it XD
I plan on tagging related projects with "Knitolution2012" both here and on Ravelry so y'all can track my progress :D

Friday, January 6, 2012

RANT: Yarn Weight Classification System

I was all gung-ho to write another RROU, but...I need to vent.

These fucking yarn companies need to get it together.

I am soooooo sick and tired of buying yarn and having to guesstimate what fucking weight they are.

So you're thinking, "but--but---they have labels from the Yarn Council that say what they are!", and you're right, they do for the most part. I will get to that in a moment.

This is the widely accepted weight guide (for yarns >__>) from The Craft Yarn Council:

(click on it to see it better. OKTHX) Although... where the hell is super bulky on here?? O__o
OK, Great. 

So this is from a credited source. If you have ever bought (or seen, for the non-yarnies...) a label on commercially available yarn, you will have seen one of the above icons on a yarn label. 

The main problem is this: these guidelines are not strictly enforced by the manufacturers.

You may or may not know this, but I have a large stash of sock/fingering weight yarns (~70+ individual skeins :P). From brand to brand (hell, even from THE SAME GODDAMNED MANUFACTURER) the width (let's call it density) of the yarn strand is different... sometimes a negligible difference, but most often enough to make you wonder how they could even be in the same category. When I made my nummy Clockwork, I used Knit Picks bare merino, and Crazy Zauberball... both listed as fingering. However, CZ's strands are less dense than KPs... and I had to tighten my CZ sections as a result. 

Some patterns will even acknowledge differences in fingering yarns' density and tell you to use yarns with the same SPI (stitches per inch). Even that good piece of advice doesn't help.I have yarns that are listed to have the same SPI and still there was a difference in density, which of course is ZOMGWTF inducing. 

I am waiting for someone to say "well, Deena, you could use a different needle size to get the same SPI for those yarns!" Think about this following statement: It is impossible for two yarns of different densities to both get the same SPI when worked on the same sized needles. I don't give a shit what anyone says to the contrary. 

This discrepancy is across the board for yarn weights. 

The worst offenders, however, are yarns listed as DK-Aran weight. 

What makes (say) Cascade 220 a worsted?? It gets the same SPI as a DK. Matter of fact, the strands of Malabrigo Silky (listed as DK) are comparable to 220. It's usually just referred to as a worsted....but I have seen it called a "light worsted"....where do you see "light worsted on the goddamned chart??? UNDER DK. Don't call it light worsted; it's confusing as fuck. 

What makes Malabrigo worsted an Aran weight yarn? And if it *is* Aran weight (or "heavy worsted"... dizzy yet??) why the fuck is it named worsted?? In the above chart, they lump worsted and Aran together, which I do not agree with. Aran wt yarns are the perfect medium between worsted and chunky, IMHO. Malabrigo isn't a Aran to me... not dense enough. It is the epitome of worsted weight: it knits up nicely on the listed needle sizes and #7-#8 needles are usually used with them in most patterns with few issues. 

I can go on and on and on... about how my Madelinetosh lace has the same strand width of my Malabrigo sock yarn, but is lighter in terms of overall skein weight...I test knit both on #1 1/2 needles ... got the same SPI for both. Or! What about the time I bought yarn from an indie dyer who got an attitude when I expressed extreme disappointment in getting (what I thought at the time was) DK instead of worsted yarn... she was all like "it is a worsted similar to 220!" It wasn't. It was more of a sport weight, I now know. Matter of fact, it gets the same SPI as Socks that Rocks Mediumweight, knit on #3's.

Adding insult to injury..... to avoid angry bitches like me from assigning blame to them, the Yarn Council has the following disclaimer:

* GUIDELINES ONLY: The above reflect the most commonly used gauges and needle or hook sizes for specific yarn categories.

Seriously??!?? ARRRGGHHHHH >____<

This is madness and it needs to stop. It is so annoying and inconvenient. The Yarn council need to step their shit up and help fix these discrepancies, or else why the fuck are they a counsel, and why bother to publish the damned chart in the first place??. Stay tuned for a (professional and polished) letter to the council regarding this.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

RROU #2: Expanding My Knitting Repertoire

(if you hadn't guessed what the acronym in the title means....Really, Really Overdue Update, like my last post's title. You will see this again, I almost guarantee it :P)

So your girl branched out and tried new things last year.

I didn't set lofty goals last year (well, ok I kinda did). I wanted to do the following:
  • learn fair isle/stranded knitting
  • make a pair of knitted socks
  • do at least one project a month
I did all of the above and then some! I made two pairs of knitted socks, I learned stranded knitting, and I did over 20 projects last year! Woot! I am a fucking machine! As a bonus, I also learned double knitting. I have been busy as a beaver since October with my newly acquired skills ^___^ 

Petrina thought since I got a boyfriend my knitting frenzy would taper off... WRONG! I have been knitting pretty much every day (if not every other day) since getting into my current relationship. He likes the fact I'm so crafty (especially since he has and will continue to benefit from my obsession haha). 

Actually, I have him to thank for my learning both stranded knitting and DK. I started a scarf for him using the method (I have to finish it, so I won't be showing that off until it's done... sorry Adam XD), and I attempted a hat that came out wayyy too small, so I frogged it.

It came out great, though.

And thus another obsession was born...

As a person, I go through phrases of manic obsession with things, and then I jump like a flea in a kennel to other things, and other things... it's the reason I am so well rounded knit-wise I think. I never forget what I learn, since I'll spend weeks doing one skill set or set of things. 

Yayyyy me! :D

Of course, you had to know there would be pictures right? I am a show-offy hoar. There will be many pictures:
Jeck Socks # 1
Jeck #2
Just a simple ass hat knit with Noro Kureyon sock.... modeled by my bf. I'm just showing him off, really XD
My first stranded knitting attempt. Not too shabby, right? :P
Made this for Adam. Looks awesome right?? It came out too long for him though :(
I used one of the fair isle charts from the first failed attempt hat above to do this one. It came out so awesomely <3

And yes, I did all of these in the time since I last posted... with another 5 or 6 projects in between XD

I hope you appreciate all the pictures... Blogger's back end was being really cunty and I was frustrated trying to make them line up 2x2. Fuck it, I gave up.

I've done more projects than these... but these pertain to shit I wanted to get done this year, so I didn't wanna pic SPAM too much XD. If you're on Ravelry, you can check out my WIPs, FO, and my semi-massive stash! My username is (surprise) DeelishDiscordia :)

I have one more RROU  for you before we get back to our regularly scheduled blah blah blah :P

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Really, Really Overdue Update #1

Happy new year!

I'm a writing flake, I know. You know how it is... life gets in the way. OK, I'm lying... I've just been unmotivated and lazy XD

There has been so much going on knit wise for me... there will be several posts, a lot of them with pictures. I'll spread them all out over the next few days I reckon.

Let's see... I went to Rhinebeck back in October. I was sick as a dog, but I had already paid for my bus ride + ticket, so I braved the elements and went. I'm so glad I did. I had a blast! I haz pictures... thankfully none of me, as I was a hot mess that day, and it started to rain -__-

Anyway, PIX (all out of order and I am too lazy to organize them)!!!!

Llamas! <3
This is The Fold, Where it was mobbed with people lining up for Socks That Rock.

More llamas!!


Petrina and Suzy, looking fly <3

The Fold, again.
We were up at the asscrack of dawn to get to Rhinebeck. It was about a 2 1/2 hr drive out of the city. We started planning our attack when we were on the bus... I so desperately wanted to go to the Sanguine Gryphon, as I have heard great things about it from my friend Jackie and reviews from people online. It was allll the west bubbafuck way at the back of the grounds...and the yarn was amazing! Soft and squishy... it was only 9:30 (1/2 hr after opening...)P and the yarn was already picked over. Yeesh.OK, fine, I still found some awesome numminess, and so we went to go on the line.

Oh. My. Goddess.

The line was longer than the line to get into Rhinebeck.

My friends and I looked at each other.

We looked at the two or three skeins we had each.

Then we spot Jackie in the line. We couldn't even do backsies... people were eyeing us down, ready to kick our asses. Jackie literally ran to the barn with SG and was near the front of the line...waited for like almost an hour.... we decided to go to The Fold and get some Socks that Rock instead XD. I actually got some yarn from an indie dyer in the same barn as SG, so I suppose everything happens for a reason right? Best decision ever. That yarn is delicious and squishtastic <3

We got back to the city about 8, and I collapsed in a heap when I got home... but not before taking pictures of my haul!!

Yarn! And fiber!

Food and wine!
So yeah. I spent a lot of money that day... I am scurred to tell you how much I spent. Let's just say it was a week's worth of dealing with bitchy customers >__>. Was it all worth it? I'd say so. I would have had a better time if I wasn't sick. This year, I am planning to hit up The Maryland Sheep and Wool and Rhinebeck again...

I need more yarn like I need another hole in my head.

....in other words, really badly XD