Sunday, November 20, 2011

Secret Projects, Knitting, & Sewing Machine Issues

I apologize for the silence over the past month.  I've spent a lot of my crochet time, lately, either making or planning a handful of Christmas gifts.

Working on projects that are destined to be gifts is fun, but it leaves me with less to blog about at the moment.  I don't want to risk someone seeing something they shouldn't and spoiling their surprise, so I'm trying to keep those "secret projects" under wraps.  (I'm even doing that over on Ravelry, which is something of a pain, since I have to "lie" about what pattern I'm using, hold back photos, and censor my notes.  I hope that reassigning the projects to their actual patterns won't be too much trouble, after Christmas.)

So, what I've been doing that I can write about is essentially working on that v-stitch afghan I mentioned last time.  It's getting some length, now, but I still have lots of rows to add, since I want this to be a full-length couch blanket.  I'm enjoying crocheting it.  The pattern's so easily memorized, and it doesn't take long to zoom through one row and on to the next-- which is when you get to choose colors-- always fun! 

I just started a new knitting project, too-- the One Row Lace Scarf.  Don't let the word "lace" scare you off, my fellow knitting novices!  It's only one row-- and not a difficult one, at that-- over and over again.  Perfect for a beginner, I think.  All you need to know (or learn) is the knit stitch, how to yarn over, and how to k2tog (knit two together).  I'm making mine in chocolate brown.  :o)

I also have my eye on this pattern (which I believe was only recently added to Ravelry):  Nostalgia Neck Warmer.  Partly, I'm just a sucker for the word "nostalgia"... (I can't help it: project names matter to me!  At the very least, they catch my eye.)  Also, it's pretty and classic-looking... and I've never made a yarn project using buttons (that I can remember)... and it doesn't look like it requires a ton of yarn, which is always nice. 

But at the same time, I'm on the lookout for a good pattern for practicing the purl stitch.  I've yet to even try to purl, but I suspect I'll need some repetition to ingrain it into my mind.  And then, once I've learned to purl, maybe I'll try a hat.  I have a pattern in mind, already, but I'm a little intimidated...

On a non-yarny note, I tried sewing something this week.  (Another secret project, I'm afraid.)  It was actually going very well, I thought, and I was zooming through at a decent clip.  The sewing machine and I were getting along nicely, for a change-- and then-- *clunk*-- the needle stopped moving.

Ugh.

I'm going to see if Donald can (easily) tell what's wrong, but somehow I doubt this will be a quick fix.  I think the best case scenario will be that it needs a new belt of some kind, and unless I can find one of those very cheaply, I think it may be time to look for a new (or at least gently used, new-to-me) machine.

Double ugh.  (So that sewing project won't be finished by the time I'd hoped.  Oh well.)

I dread shopping for a new/used sewing machine.  Even apart from the expense, I just don't know what kind of machine I should look for.  I don't want to invest too much in a nicer machine if the kind of sewing I currently like to do (rag quilting with denim and flannel) will just ruin it... but on the other hand, I hate to buy another low-end machine when I could get a nicer one (with maybe a couple of the features I find interesting) for not that much more... I don't enjoy comparison shopping and weighing the pros and cons.  I'm the kind of person who can be paralyzed by indecision.  Too many choices!  Too many considerations!  Which is the Right Decision™?  Will I know it when I see it?  How can I live a meaningful life if I end up with the wrong one?  Argh!!  *flails about in the agony of too many options*  (See what I mean? (g) Ok, maybe that re-enactment was a slight exaggeration.)

In the end, if nothing else, I'll opt for another cheap machine and save the nicer one for "someday".  At this point, I don't do that much sewing, anyway.  Confession: I don't really like measuring and cutting fabric.  I find it tedious and too easily messed up.  The part where I'm actually sewing is ok, so long as the machine doesn't go into fits.

Making things from yarn is just so much easier!  More time-consuming, maybe, but easier.  The yarn never gets jammed, for one thing.  ;o)