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IMG_0945

This beautiful mini-shawl had several problems.  
First, it was misplaced.  Second, the circular needles it started on were too short now that the shawl was near its halfway point.  Third, now that there were so many stitches on the needle, I was tired of counting them.  Fourth, I was spending a lot of time flipping back and forth between the written pattern, the chart, and the stitch count chart (since the number of stitches changed on every single row).  

As you can see, these four problems interfered with my basic goal of finishing the item.

What Are You Working On is a community diary series for all things crafty and artsy, in a variety of mediums and techniques.


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Basic problem solving steps:
1.  Identify and define the problem.
2.  Brainstorm several possible solutions.
3.  Evaluate the solutions and choose one.
4.  Ensure the problem is solved and check for new problems.  

Repeat as necessary.  You may need other perspectives, such as friends or other hobbyists.  

I know that my quilting projects frequently changed from WIP's to UFO's when I could not solve a problem I had.  Work-in-Progress, UnFinished Object.  

It's always good to prevent problems, of course, when one can.  Swatching a new yarn or stitch pattern.  Making a sample block before cutting out the whole quilt.  Testing any new materials or techniques on a practice piece.  

IMG_0943

Now, what happened to that golden shawl?
1.  I found it!
2.  Since I had interchangeable needles, I put it on a longer cord.  You can see in the above photo that I need to put the other needles tip onto the new cord.  And now there is plenty of room.  
3.  I put in stitch markers every twenty stitches.  20 is about as high as I can stand to count when I am counting over and over.  
4.  Since I am just a few rows from the halfway point on this shawl, I am going to suffer through the rest.  However, at the halfway point, I am going to make a couple little charts and/or spreadsheets, print them, and tape them to an index card.  

Here is one example of this chart for an upcoming project:
IMG_0952

You are always welcome to share your problems here - solutions too if you have them, otherwise we can help, or find someone who can.  

What Are You Working On ?

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Comment Preferences

  •  scrap bag w/gratuitious pootie pic (24+ / 0-)

    since the kids have been gone for 2 weeks, pecos cannot leave knitting things alone.  not yarn, not needles.  in fact, i suspect him of relocating a small double-point needles.  

    IMG_0949
    he just plops right down in the middle of it all.  

  •  also, i could really use a guest-host or sub (13+ / 0-)

    next week.  i'll be on the road somewhere with my kids.  

  •  My intention was to take a day... (14+ / 0-)

    ...or several...off.

    But I did work on a graphic:


    Art Glass 24
  •  Motoring through (10+ / 0-)

    Christmas gifts. My niece's Haruni shawl is finished (not blocked, going to try to do that tomorrow morning so I can shut it in the bedroom and the cats can't get to it.) I've also finished the test knit pair of felted clog slippers (though they haven't been felted yet) and have started on a second pair. I'm trying to get at least two pairs done (besides the test pair, which I had planned to felt before starting another, but oh well...) before I go see my sister next week as if I'm able to do that, I can take all the Christmas gifts with me and wrap them and leave them there and avoid shipping anything this year.

    Knit, purl, or get out of the way!
    Economic: -8.25 Social: -7.44

    by mcronan on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 04:37:58 PM PDT

    •  super knitter! (8+ / 0-)

      i shipped the purple scarf, made good progress on the cascade 220 handwarmers, fixed up the golden shawl, and found the needles for the tiniest project in my wip group.  

      also had my sewing machine cleaned, and she's back home now, hooray.  

      i am not really thinking a lot about handmade stuff for christmas, i will probably make, or have the kids help me make, small gifts such as bookmarks for their godparents go to with the donation to lutheran world hunger.  

  •  Somewhere in this house are a sizeable (10+ / 0-)

    collection of monochromatic beads in black and grey and white, intended for a necklace for clubwear.  I would like to make the necklace.

    Can I FIND said beads? Nooooo.....
    (sigh)

    It is what it is. It will be what I make it.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 04:41:33 PM PDT

  •  I hate having to swap (10+ / 0-)

    between charts, and trying to coordinate what row I'm on each chart.

    When I end up with that situation, I'll chart through all the repeats with the charts side-by-side.  I use an Excel sheet with legal sized, landscaped sheets -- you can get a nice, wide, readable chart that way.

    I've also become quite fond of this knitting symbols font -- it's a free download.

    I finished the garden shawl -- no pictures yet.  It's pretty but didn't block out as large as I would have liked.  I think that's because it's a fairly "solid" design, not as open as most of the stuff I've done.  I'd also like it better as a faroese or triangle, rather than square, shawl.

    I'm now working on the Panama Tuch from Monika Eckert.  It's a challenge, which is great -- it means I'm learning something.

    A little tender courage at that rare right instant, and things might well have turned out differently -- Ken Kesey

    by Frankenoid on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 04:42:10 PM PDT

  •  asdf (8+ / 0-)

    I've been showing the young ones (7 and 5) how to knit. They're taking turns on the same project, because now that I seem to know what I'm doing, I've decided my second set of size 13 plastic needles are absolute garbage and shouldn't have been bought with whatever learn-to-knit kit they came in.

    "In through the front door,
    Once around the back,
    Peek through the window
    And off jumps Jack!"

    I'd do the rabbit rhyme but ours died last week. There won't be any more bunny fur to spin. I've got 2 gallon Ziploc bags to work with, sometime after I've mastered the art. I'd hate to ruin it since the source had such meaning for the kids.

    "Down through the bunny hole,
    Around the big tree,
    Up pops the bunny,
    And off goes she."

    I took a little break from any of my own projects while the washing machine has been broken. I've been washing the family's laundry by hand in a bucket in the back yard. Ugh. At least my grandmothers had wringers. The repairman comes tomorrow. I'll have more time for fluff when it's fixed.

    Fire Rick Snyder Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

    by jennifree2bme on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 05:40:22 PM PDT

  •  Iwas... (8+ / 0-)

    ...working on 3 paintings at once, but I've now finished the one for the NN auction.  Now it's only 2 at once.  ;-)

    Oh, there you are, Perry. -Phineas -SLB-

    by boran2 on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 05:49:16 PM PDT

  •  Regarding charts (6+ / 0-)

    I love charts.  However, only recently did I learn a method to keep my place, which is to use a magnetic board and bar, whilst putting the bar above the row I am knitting rather than below it (which I used to do).  Then you can see how the current row relates to what has been knit before.

    I am finishing an Aran sweater for my Nihon Vogue class, the gansey is in process, and I have to design a stranded yoke sweater next.

    At Sock Summit, I bought lovely merino/angora yarn in shades of white, pearl, light grey, medium grey, dark grey and chocolate.

    I took a class from Cookie A, sock maven, about how to match your ribs to your patterns.  very useful for me.

  •  Semi-beginner crochet (5+ / 0-)

    Since I am unable to work due to my illness, and can't do housework or projects, I felt like I needed something to do with my hands.

    So I picked up some cotton yarn and have been valiantly laboring away at dishcloths. I'm pretty slow, and my focus isn't great so I make a lot of mistakes.
    A few decades ago I did some crocheting (I think my grandmother taught me) and my hands remember how to do it very nicely. The problem is, my head doesn't understand the directions so things turn out wacky and I have to pull it out and try again. I feel like a dummy!

    The best thing I've done so far was really the easiest, and that is a piece of Tunisian crochet, following this pattern (there's a nice photo there) The idea is to work two ombre yarns at the same time, and the result is stunning. And it's EASY to do. I still haven't put a border on mine yet. I'm making it a bit larger so it's sort of a table mat, with matching coasters. I hope I can get some of these done by Xmas, because as I said, I'm pretty slow.

    Question: How did you do that lovely chart in the diary? Is it software? I'm wondering if there's something like that for crochet.

    ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~

    by sillia on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 07:55:35 PM PDT

  •  Charts (6+ / 0-)

    Me too -- I love them, especially for all the lace knitting I do.  I use large-size sticky notes, placed below the row of the chart I'm working on.  If I need to see how this row relates to the one below (crud! is this stitch in the right spot??!!), I simply peel back the note to check.  When they have been used for so many rows the stickum is weak, I just break out a new one and carry on.

    I'm almost finished with yet another of Monika Eckert's designs, a fairly recent design called "Bertha" which I've knit in a very skinny Noro yarn named Kirameki.  Size 2 needles.  Gorgeous colors.  Have to do the binding off still, which I dislike doing because it rarely comes out loose enough to allow the shawl to be properly stretched.

    Any suggestions??

    •  You might try (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frankenoid, kirbybruno, Temmoku

      switching to larger size needles for the binding off.

      "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

      by vgranucci on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 10:26:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You could try the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Temmoku

      Estonian bind off, which is supposed to be stretchier: set it up by slipping the first stitch, knitting the second stitch, then knitting the two stitches together like you do a slip, slip knit 2 together.  Continue by knitting the next stitch, knit the two stitches on the right needle together, etc.

      Or you could do an i-cord bind off.

      A little tender courage at that rare right instant, and things might well have turned out differently -- Ken Kesey

      by Frankenoid on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:02:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  mini shawl is beautiful and worth the trouble (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frankenoid, kirbybruno, sillia, Temmoku

    it's so pretty -- that alone should help you finish it!

    I have a number of unfinished projects, but only one has a problem that needs to be solved (I lost a skein of yarn I need for it and it's too expensive to replace -- I suspect the younger dog).
    All the rest are either:
    boring or
    take too much concentration
    Then I have 3 knitting projects I'm actively working on, one close to completion, one halfway there, and 1 I've just started (but it's just a hat, with nice soft yarn, and it's going quickly).

    What I really want to do is build a scarf loom that fits into a carry-on bag.  I wanted to take weaving with me on vacation, and I have 2 folding, portable looms, but neither fit into my carry-on (and my carry-on is max size for what's allowed), so I ended up just bringing knitting. And I yearned to weave the whole time we were in Minnesota.
    But I've been planning this scarf loom in my head and it has several requirements:

    It has to be no bigger than about 18"x10".  
    It has to hold 2+ yards of warp
    It as to be relatively flat (not perfectly so, but flat enough to pack easily)
    It would be nice if I could weave a width of at least 8 inches
    It has to be simple!
    I have to be able to make it with hand saws, a drill, and the sweat of my brow.  (I've made a number of simple purse looms, and lots of weaving tools, but this is a notch up from that).

    Better people than me (and they have power tools) have built portable looms, and I've bought them.  But they all are so damn complicated to pack up.  You have to loosen this, move that, fold this, tighten that and still, the warp gets messed up, I find I have to tie things in several places to get it to stay together, and I forget something when I open it so the warp gets even more messed up.
    I'm dreaming up this plain, straightforward loom that when I want to pack it up, I simply make sure everything's nice and tight, roll it in a length of cloth, and stick it into my suitcase.  
    Right now I'm overwhelmed with work for my job, but I've ordered bits and pieces of wood, stretcher bars, dowels, to build my loom, and when I start it, I'll take photos and post them.

    If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

    by Tamar on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 12:22:52 AM PDT

  •  When I was in Mexico (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tamar, Temmoku

    as a student, 100 years ago, I learned some traditional Mayan weaving, I forget what it's called. The loom has no sides. There is a wooden frame at each end, an inch or two wide in which the threads are attached. The key is tension--in this case, you hook the top end to a tree and at the bottom end there is a strap that you put around your lower back. You lean away, and the threads are pulled tight while you weave. The whole thing can be rolled up into a bundle.

    On a miniature scale, I wonder if you could achieve this effect by stretching the two ends between two pieces of furniture or such, using bungie cords or hooks with cord loops to attach them. The advantage would be that it would roll up easily and pack without disassembly and without tangling the threads.

    I'm sure there was some sophistication to the technology of this that I have forgotten, but it was pretty nifty.

    ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~

    by sillia on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 06:48:27 AM PDT

    •  Backstrap loom. When we were in Guatemala (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sillia

      we heard concerns about weaving fading out since only half of the women were now weaving!
      I took a backstrap band weaving class from a Peruvian woman who has been working to save traditional weaving in the Peruvian highlands. It was wonderful but takes a great deal of skill and also requires sitting pretty still. So I didn't continue doing it.  And setting up the warp and hand-tied heddles (string loops attached to a pole that hold up specific threads) is pretty complex.
      You have interesting ideas about how to modify the process but I think it would still require some uncomfortable positions for the weaving and more knowledge than I have to warp it properly. (though I have used a setup like yours for something called card weaving).
       The Guatemalan & Peruvian women who do this are far more talented, skilled and experienced than I will ever be. Permanent novices like me require a more structured loom.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 11:28:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  P.s. Like so many things, it looks simple when (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sillia

      done by experts :)

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 11:30:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It didn't seem that hard (0+ / 0-)

        to learn to do the motions and learn to weave adequately on the backstrap loom, with careful instruction, hand-holding and plenty of practice, but as you say the real skill is in setting it up correctly and that is an entirely different matter.

        That's wonderful that you got to experience learning this from a Peruvian expert! That's quite something.

        ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~

        by sillia on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 02:01:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  actually, the weaving is quite hard, if you're (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sillia

          talking about Guatemala -- they're using a rather fine cotton (sort of like thickish thread) and they do a lot of intricate things.  But even in the plain part of the weave, weaving evenly and keeping the edges straight is hard on any loom, but on a back strap, you really have to know what you're doing.

          If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

          by Tamar on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 03:10:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great job, you are giving me (0+ / 0-)

    encouragement to finish th baby afghan I'm working on for the new grandchild! ;-)

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 12:29:34 PM PDT

  •  I should post in these more often. (0+ / 0-)

    You all may remember the flutes I was building last time I posted. Continuing with the musical instrument theme, I'm now building cigar-box guitars. They're turning out a lot better than the flutes did. I'm hoping to get an apprenticeship with a luthier so I can build some real guitars, but for now I'm honing my skills on cigar boxes. At least until I can find a luthier in central Texas who is seeking an apprentice to help out…

    Anyway, the only part on these that was intended for use on musical instruments was the tuning pegs.

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