Sunday, February 9, 2014

The #30DaysOfMaking Challenge, and a scarf (updated)

I need a push to start finishing some of my many works-in-progress, and to get myself into the habit of spending time in my studio every day, so I've decided I'm going to set a challenge for myself that starts today (my birthday!).

I'm going to make something - or part of something - every day, and I'm going to post photos to keep myself accountable.

A daily blog post feels like it would take too much time away from the creative process, so instead I'll tweet about it, and do an occasional summary post. People already tweet (and Instagram, and Tumblr, and all that jazz) using #whatImade #whatImadetoday and #workinprogress, but I thought it would be more fun if I created a hashtag for anyone to use who'd like to try such a challenge for themselves. Hence #30DaysOfMaking. Join me! The only rule is that you post a photo daily  for 30 days with the hashtag of something you are making by hand.

(April 4th Update: I quickly realized that 30 consecutive days is too ambitious for most people, myself included. This challenge is about sharing the joy of making, not about guilt! I also made a sidebar button for anyone who wants to join in - you can get that and see the updated rules here.)

Here's what I'm making today:
The Doctor Who fan club scarf pattern from the early 80s, republished here by PBS and also discussed in minute enough detail to warm any geek's heart at

Well, obviously I'm not making *all* of it today, but I am starting it. My youngest has been talking for a couple of months about how he wants to be the Fourth Doctor for Hallowe'en, so over the holidays I went to my local yarn shop and picked out all my supplies:

Yarn for the Doctor's Scarf.
For the record, they are Cascade Yarns' Cascade 220 Peruvian Highland Wool in 8021 Beige, 9564 Golden (mustard yellow), 9497 Brown Bear (coppery brown), and 7807 Regal (eggplant purple), Rowan Cocoon wool/mohair blend in 804 Shale (dark grey), Rowan 712 Lima Colour alpaca/wool blend (pepper red), and Diamond Cashmere Donegal 10362 (green with flecks). I also got a beautiful pair of US size 9 birch needles. (It turns out my friend Sarah's mother was the staff member who helped me choose. Small world!)

Updates on the Doctor's scarf (other projects will get their own posts):

Day 1: casting on, very slowly. I need to find my task lamp! 

Day 2 (before unravelling and restarting)
Day 2: All 66 stitches were cast on (the width of the original scarf, although that was likely with a smaller needle size), and another few rows done, working in garter stitch. To remind myself of the techniques (because it has been decades since my previous - and first - knitting project), I used the great drawings in this blog post. My progress is beginner-slow, but the rhythm came back to me and I don't have to think too hard about it, as long as the light is good - but clearly I was doing something wrong, because at the end of row four the width had grown to 68 stitches. After consulting friends on Facebook and a quick phone tutorial,  we figured out that I'd double-knit the end stitches a couple of times; an easy fix I'll try that will also help keep the edges from rolling is to slip the first stitch knitwise on each row. Since I'm unravelling and starting over, I'm also going to make the scarf narrower, at 36 stitches wide, so it won't swallow the little boy who it's being made for - 66 stitches was almost as long as my 10-inch-long knitting needles.

At end of Day 2, after starting over. So far so good, but I need to work on my tension. I should probably also wind the rest of my skeins into balls before I do the first colour change, but the cake pan is a good fix for making sure nothing gets tangled.
For my own reference, I am finding the video tutorials from Wool and the Gang very helpful, and local-to-me knitting podcaster By The Fibreside suggested that this video would show me how I was making the accidental increases, and more importantly, how to avoid them. (I was totally doing the first thing.)

I forgot to take a photo on Day 3 (d'oh!), but I measured what was knitted so far and did some calculations on that day. 32 rows on US#5 needles is 4 inches in the Season 12 Acheson Hero pattern (PDF), and 16 rows is 2 inches when I knit on US#9 needles, so I could have continued with the pattern without further adjustments. However, I realized that, if the Season 12 scarf was 20 feet long, perhaps it should be half that for an 8 year old, in addition to being narrower. I could accomplish that by not knitting all the stripes, or by adjusting the number of rows in the pattern - I decided to do the latter, and all the numbers were divided by two.

End of Day 4. Starting to look suitably Whovian,
now that I've figured out how to change colours.
April 4th update: I've long since stopped counting days, but here are some more photos of the scarf in progress. I have also realized that when I adjust the number of rows per stripe, I need to always have an even number of rows so that there is a right side and wrong side of the scarf. Otherwise it has that funny extra row of the old colour at the beginning of the new stripe. I realized this when I was quite far in, and my son was horrified by the thought of me starting over, so I'm just leaving it - but will use even numbers henceforth, and thought I'd better note it here for future reference.

Feb 13th, artificial light, flash-lit. All colours now have been used at least once.
April 3rd, photographed in daylight. After a break to work on other projects. I need to start weaving in ends soon, so I'm not forced to do them all in an epic session at the end of the project.

No comments:

Post a Comment