Sunday morning walk

Yesterday morning I took a beautiful walk. There was plenty to see, including yarn!

I live in Valladolid, Spain, which, although a small city, is a place to take beautiful walks. As a matter of fact, I might just write a blog entry about my favorite walks to take in this city in the future. There are so many routes to take with lots of scenery to enjoy.

My Sunday morning walk, although leisurely, was also partially a mission: my friends from the Quedada Puce-lana, on Saturday, had participated in the World Wide Knit in Public Day by yarn bombing a museum. The museum, called the Museo Patio Herreriano, naturally agreed to having its patio decorated.

If you can read Spanish, check out the news story that appeared in the local paper. Also, feel free to read about my friends’ experience at our club’s blog.

I couldn’t go to this celebration of knitting because I had to work that day. This is the second year in a row that I have to miss our group’s yarn bombing fun. I’m hoping that next year I’ll be able to participate. I said that last year. I won’t give up on being hopeful!

As you can see from the photographs I took on Sunday of this colorful handiwork, our club does a fair share of both knitting and crochet. 


Organizing the Pattern Collection!

The yarn stash can get out of control. So it goes too for the pattern collection. I’ve been gathering all sorts of pamphlets, books, and magazines for more than twenty years, ever since high school. For at least a decade I’ve also been accumulating digital patterns. Since I got my first iPad I’ve also purchased books and magazines for the iBooks, News Stand, Kindle, and Nook apps.

My blog readers may have a similar, hybrid collection of patterns. How do we keep track of them all?

On Ravelry, the “Library” section in the “My Notebook” part of one’s user account can be helpful for storing information about print and digital patterns. I’ve started entering the information about my collection there and I’m by no means finished. The only problem I’ve come across is the fact that Ravelry does not have all of the items in my collection in their database. Nevertheless, I encourage anyone who owns lots of patterns to try out the “Library” option of the Ravelry web site. It’s a very useful way to combine information from both digital and print sources.

I have no idea when I’ll finish entering all that stuff into my Ravelry “Library.” Until then, I do have other tricks up my sleeve.

Firstly, I keep my individual, digital pattern files organized in folders on my computer:

As can be seen in the photo of my folders, I like to organize my knitting patterns by type of garment and also, if necessary, by designer. That “Charts_CookA” folder is actually a group of files I downloaded that accompany a digital book of sock patterns that the designer Cookie A wrote. I keep a “Lace” folder because sometimes I just like the stitches in a pattern, not necessarily the finished item for which the instructions are written. I have a “General” folder which actually should be called “Generic” because it just has a bunch of patterns I haven’t decided about (Do like them? Do I not like them?). I figure some day when I feel like it I can peruse that folder and make up my mind. The “Inspiration” folder is for patterns that inspire me in some way. It could be the shape of the garment, the stitches used, etc. The “knitting and crochet books” folder is for items I’ve downloaded from the Antique Pattern Library. Some day I’ll probably change its name to “Vintage” or something like that.
By the way, do we ever plan on making projects from all of our patterns in our collections? I certainly don’t. This is probably why I don’t see preparing a database as particularly urgent. When I read a book or magazine on my iPad I just take a screenshot of it and send it to the Evernote or Circus Ponies Notebook app. To take a screen shot on an iPad press the “Home” button and the power button on the top right-hand corner of the device.

I prefer to use the Circus Ponies Notebook app (Mac only) because it works a lot like a paper notebook. As can be seen in the photo above there are options for sticky notes, etc.

Also notice how I have a section in my notebook called “Unknown Future.” This, more than anything, makes my system valuable to me. I just can’t remember things if I don’t keep them written down somewhere. In this case, I saw some charts I really liked and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them, so I just put it in that “unknown” category and annotated what I might like to do with them in the future.

Basically, I keep track of my patterns based on what I like and expect to use for now!

A bocadillo, some knitting, and an iPad

It’s almost time for me to hit the streets to kill some two hours’ time. Gotta wait for a bus, ride it for 30 minutes, and wait another hour and a half in another town.

Here is my crappy photographical representation of what I came up with to not be bored while killing time:

I call this still life crapsterpiece “A bocadillo, some knitting, and an iPad.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll take a photography class when I have the money and the time. Until then, enjoy this peek into a part of my work space decorated with items to be placed in a bag and carried around Castile and Leon.

Since the ball of yarn and the iPad are identifiable, the third item must be the bocadillo, right? That’s Spanish for “sandwich made with French-like bread.” I’m setting out in about an hour from now, which means my killing time moment will occur during what we here in Spain call the “merienda” or snack time (if I were British I might call it “tea time”).

Notice how my needles aren’t my favorite KnitPro Symfonies? That’s because I love them. They can stay at home. Knitting for travel and street enjoyment rule: take along needles you don’t care about and leave the “precious” at home.

Another knitting for travel rule: take something along that’s small and already begun.

Ahhhhh…. life in Spain. A snack can be a sub. No one will judge me for gorging on a huge submarine sandwich in public. My sub has salami, provolone cheese, black olives, pickles, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and olive oil. In New England, where I grew up, we call that an Italian sub. Well, not really, because the Italian sub also has mortadella, but I didn’t have any mortadella on hand, so it’s an almost Italian sub.

Here’s how I plan to kill time on a park bench: 1) knit 30 minutes; 2) take an ergonomically friendly break and eat the bocadillo; 3) knit 30 minutes; 4) read a knitting magazine on the iPad.

By the time I complete steps 1 through 4 I think I’ll be just in time for the meeting I have to attend.

Do I care that my bocadillo is not really what Spaniards eat? Nope. So many Spanish bocadillos are just not exciting. Some are, and I love them, for example: 1) sardines, tuna, and roasted red peppers; 2) tomatoes, Serrano ham, and olive oil; 3) chorizo. Many others are just one ingredient slapped between two slabs of bread. I know, so is the chorizo one, but chorizo has so much flavor that it deserves to stand alone on bread.

I think I’m going to have a wonderful afternoon enjoying the gorgeous, summery Castilian landscape  killing time before my meeting.

Summer is for knitting!

At least for me, Summer seems to be my best, most productive knitting season. I think know it’s because I have vacation time.

I’m going to start the summer off by finishing a pair of knee-high sock-like leg warmers I’m designing. The first one came out great (don’t worry, I’ll hang up photos when I provide the pattern for them). The second one is more than halfway done. I came up with these for a friend who likes to wear leg warmers under her clothing. It’s taking me forever to finish them since I’ve had a lot of work to do at my day job. I’m very grateful that she is an extremely friendly, patient person. I hope when she gets them later this month that they will be worth the wait for her. I kind of think they will be. Who doesn’t want some luxurious merino wool leg warmers that are warm and light all at once?

These lovely leg warmers are going to do triple duty. They’re going to get me to write up a pattern for them, they’re going to make a friend happy (I hope!), and they’re going to count as a pair of socks for the Sock 24 group on Ravelry. I’m just going to say they’re footless knee-high socks. So there! 🙂

The leg warmers are, of course, my priority. Then, I plan to finish up some projects that have been sitting in the dark recesses of my knitting basket patiently waiting for me to finish teaching English for the year. I’m pretty sure there’s a pair of mittens in there that needs to be finished, as well as a pair of striped socks I’m making for the Sock 24 KAL. I’m also going to finish a special surprise for someone I’ll reveal later on the blog. I can’t let the cat out of the bag now or it will ruin the surprise! If you want to play a guessing game with me, I’ll give you a hint: it’s a big circle.

And then, finally, I can get going on something I’ve been wanting to make for myself, the Arguyle sweater that came out in Knitty First Fall 2013. It’s not very common to find gansey patterns in mainstream knitting magazines and the gansey happens to be my absolute favorite kind of sweater to make. I picked the wool out for this sweater a year ago. It’s sitting in an airtight plastic box waiting for me to roll it up into balls.