Friday, November 18, 2011

Talking with some OWL Students

Hi Everyone! Sorry for the delay in looking at some of our OWL students answers to my mini interview. The last two weeks have been crazy, but here we go!
A quick reminder of the questions:
1. What have you learned so far in doing this OWL?
2. How is your progress coming? (Please remember I sent this out the end of October)
3. Any surprises, good or bad, so far?

1. I really needed to redraft my cable charts to include the wrong side when I was doing the flat knitting. I kept the hem flat so I didn’t have three layers of fabric after the steeking - this was a good idea (the fabric is quite thick enough) but I did a pot of ripping until I got the hang of reversing the twists.
2. Very slowly, I’m afraid. I still have not completed the body of the hoodie, with sleeves, buttonband and hood all still to go. But then, I’m knitting this because I wanted the FO, not because I had any realistic expectation of finishing by December.
3. The tree was easier to knit than I expected. The math at the beginning was hard, and I think the seed stitch panel should be longer, but that’s hindsight. It doesn’t look bad. I also had a nightmare moment when joining the hem - due to integrated increases the top of the hem was 4 stitches longer than the bottom, which I failed to take into account. In future I must read the pattern more carefully or not go off on these strange little diversions. I am rarely improving it.

1. I have learned that if I read slower and follow all the directions, the project will turn out well. I have learned to cable as well as most of the stitches were new to me. I used (de)mentors to help when I got stuck and utube to understand stitches when I didn’t.
2. I am right on track and excited about the fact that I will finish on time!
3. I am surprised I can do it! Cables are easier than I thought they would be. This is a Cruciatus Curse Project, so it is not surprising that many bad things have happened. I forgot a 6 inch section and had to figure out how and when to pick up the stitches and get it in there. I had to cast on/start over 3 times. I had to frog back several times. Crucio Crucio But perseverance will win out!

1.I’ve learned that scarves may seem really quick and easy to knock out but… they’re not. At least not for me.
2. I have 1 and a half scarf until my midpoint. :-( I’m still trying though! :-) The first scarf was really quick! 1 week and it was done this one has been going for 2 weeks now and it’s not that quick. I’m hoping that I can finish it between today and tomorrow’s football game. Then start on another one I hope will be quick.
3. How long this one is taking has been a surprise. It’s not a very difficult pattern but it’s taking me forever.

1. I learned that when you want to do an OWL, find a way to wind your skeins first, especially if it is 30 different ones! I don’t have a ball winder or swift, so I sit down and use 3 legs of a lawn chair to act as an immobile swift so I can wind by hand. I swear, it takes about half time time of actually knitting the mini sock!
2. October was much better for me than September. I got a little distracted with classes and quidditch and tried to knit more than I had time for, but I budgeted my time better this month and I think I’ll finish on schedule. 13 mini socks are done and #14 is on its way!
3. Hmmm. With having to wind all this yarn I have had a big knotted mess happen once or twice. Once even necessitated bringing in the big guns (hubby) to help untangle. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much smoother the knitting is now- I mostly have the pattern memorized and I’m eager to try adult sized socks again! (When my OWL is finished of course!)

1. Each of the four main Magical Creatures I’m “hunting” has taught me something different so far. My bundimun (Citron) specimen was all about stamina - seemingly endless row after row - but I learned that that’s the very best kind of project to be working on while watching your favorite show. (Doctor Who, anyone?) The graphorn (Grayhaven) was a little bit difficult because of gauge issues, but I love how it turned out in the end. I’m also nearly done the 3rd creature, the salamander (Tudor). The shaping of that cowl was a brand-new technique for me.
2. I’ve turned in my 50% post! I also nearly finished my salamander, but my OWL has been put on hold just a bit because I got a huge Etsy order. It should be shipped out by this weekend and progress will resume! I am a little nervous about my final creature. I think it will be the biggest challenge because I have to learn how to do a provisional cast on, which has always scared me… I know I’ll figure it out though!
3. I was surprised how quickly I finished the first 2.9 projects. It’s a good thing I did, though, because of all the other non-OWL knitting I’ve had to get done this month. November will be all about my OWL and Order mission (after one class, of course :).

1) I have learned that colorwork is significantly tighter than regular stockinette. I had frog most of one mitten of “Musica” and buy needles two sizes bigger after I realized that the mitten would never fit. The re-knit went extremely fast though.
I’ve also learned that acrylic needles, double-held acrylic yarn and k3tog’s don’t play nice. The nice thing about Arithmancy is that I could work on another set of mittens while I was waiting for my new needles. I got the replacement needles just as soon as I finished up another mitten.
2) I am currently working on my fifth mitten out of 10, so I’ll be good for 50% by the end of October, though I wanted to be there sooner.
3) See #1 for surprises.

1. I have learned that I can spin more yarn that I originally thought I could. I had not attempted such a big project before but I now know I can at least do it. I’m almost done with all the spinning and then I have to dye, which will be a little difficult because I’ll need a day where my hubby or someone can watch the baby. I also learned I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a yarn meter. That would help with the yardage counts!
2. I have managed to spin and ply up 1226 yards and only have about 274 left to spin singles for and ply up! I’m hoping to go a little over because I fear not having enough for the cardigan. :)
3.I haven’t had any major surprises other than maybe the fact that in the years I’ve been spinning, my spinning has magically begun to be more consistent. I still have some thicker and thinner parts but overall I’m more consistent than I have ever been.

I think that's everyone! Check back next week to see all the pretty that's been turned in for OWLs and NEWTs!!

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