Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Julia123 - Dangerous Knitter Interview

Julia123 (AKA Jamie Chamberlain)

When did you start knitting?
I started about a week after Thanksgiving 2008, so I've been knitting for a little over a year.

What other crafty things do you do?
Maybe this isn't considered a typically crafty area, but I love to garden.  To me it's another way of using your hands, a tool (seeds, etc.), and color to create beauty.  I feel the same way about cooking and even writing.  I've tried my hand at sewing, embroidering, drawing, and painting.  I don't have a lot of talent there, but I still like to play around with it, just for fun!

Why knitting?
Knitting has always seemed old-fashioned and romantic to me.  I love the thought of creating beauty or at least functionality with my hands.  I especially love the idea of gift knitting.  For me to think about a certain person and their style and personality, and then be able to knit something that I think they'll like, really brings me a lot of joy.

Have you ever injured yourself while knitting?
After a marathon knitting session, I've had pain and stiffness in my right hand/thumb.  It's because I tension my yarn with my pointer finger and thumb instead of the recommended ways.  I plan on changing my method soon!

Tell me something unexpected you discovered while knitting.
Several things.  I was surprised to discover that knitting made me more patient, even though at times I feel impatient to finish a certain project.  When I've felt tense and stressed about something, just taking up yarn and needles and beginning that soothing, repetitive motion calms me down.  Or, with a more challenging project, it can take my mind off my worries.  Something that might sound a little silly...I've found that knitting has actually taught me some lessons about life.  Sometimes I can feel overwhelmed at the prospect of a coming event or situation.  When I was knitting one day, I realized, "Some projects I've taken on and felt like I could never master and complete them.  But I always try to take it just one stitch at a time and that's manageable.  When I come across a stitch I don't know, I research it and usually puzzle it out.  I need to look at these "real world situations" the same way...one "stitch" at a time."  It's really been helpful.

Have you gotten any strange comments about your knitting or while knitting in public?
I've gotten really positive comments the few times I've brought my knitting out in public.  People seemed surprised that I'm actually knitting and always mention wanting to learn, but it seeming too hard to them.  I always encourage people to just give it a try.  Ravelry is an invaluable resource.  If someone as impatient and clumsy as me can learn...anyone can!

What projects are you really proud of?
My "Woodsy Owl", my take on Kate Davies' "Owls" sweater.  It was my first adult sweater (just completed!).  When I first started knitting, I never imagined I'd be able to knit one.  It's for my sister and I just know she'll like it!

Ysolda Teague's "Rose Red" hat.  This was my first real 'lace' project and it was a bit difficult for me...lots of frogging.  But I love the red color and the fit of it, and it was perfect for my stylish New York sister-in-law.  I ended up making another one for myself!

My Octopus Ipod cover.  This is one of the first times I've deviated from a set pattern and struck out on my own.  I found the perfect yarn and just "had a vision" for it.  It went to my good friend Heather for Christmas. 

Finally, my version of Leyburn socks.  I fell in love with making socks almost immediately, but I have had issues with sizing.  After a few failed attempts, I felt a little bit better about more complicated patterns.  The Leyburns are my latest pair and, I think, fourth pair total.  Love the yarn, love the pattern.  I had a lot of fun making them! 

What projects were total failures?
Two projects for my husband turned out to be disappointments.  First was a Star Wars R2D2 fair isle hat.  I measured his head at 24 inches and cast on.  However, it turned out to be...too big. I tried felting but it just didn't fit.  Back to the drawing board!  I had also wanted to make him a pair of "squirrel" fair isle socks for Christmas.  I took some shortcuts on the foot and ruined the first sock.  I ended up making it a Christmas stocking, but it was still a disappointment.    Oh, and I had to put away my attempts at "Nightsongs (Gail)" shawl.  I wasn't getting it.  Starting over with an easier lace project first!

What do you consider challenging?
I'm such a perfectionist...knitting is teaching me to accept "unperfect" work and look at it as a necessary step toward getting better.  There's always the temptation to toss my project across the floor and say, "This is not good enough!"  Instead, I'm learning to just...keep...trying. Oh, and getting gauge (sigh...).

Best piece of knitting advice you've ever heard is...
Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Don't knit without getting gauge.  And I love the advice I got about laddering with 4 DPNs, about rotating the stitches around on the needles (i.e. knitting the first two or three stitches on the next needle).  That saved my sanity!

Knitting goals for 2010?
Lace.  More charts.  Knitting socks from the toe up.  More sweaters!

Thanks Jamie! Knit on!!!

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