Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2013 (4KCBWDay2): The Beekeeper and the Bumblebee

beekeeper ornament

Image Details: ‘beekeeper ornament’ by mrwalter, via Flickr.

Day Two (Tuesday April 23rd): A Mascot Project.
Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house.

I would really like to say that, when choosing a project, I go through a structured and logical estimation process, whereby I decide on the optimal item and yarn to go with it, taking into account all essential and hopefully some desirable criteria too. Ok, ok, you can stop snorting now! I do none of the above. My Ravelry queue is, quite frankly, a joke to be ignored. My stash isn’t all stashed, so I end up having to go diving to see what is in there. I queue and favourite patterns on a whim, only to return and remove them from the queue a couple of months down the line.

I never do this fabled thing, where I organize patterns and yarn into a little bag ready to be knit. I have heard of it happening, but never in my house I am afraid. That is because I see stash as more of a living being. It exudes forces which can shape and change the way you think about your craft and indeed its own destiny. Something that might have even been bought for one project has the ability to subvert your will to whatever it wants to be, in the end. I liken it to some of the fundamental laws of physics and firmly believe that if you try and organize your stash too much, it will fight back and disorganise itself. So, I just let it mingle around in a couple of plastic lidded tubs to do its own thing and cook up whatever mischief it likes. It’s the safest way all round.

Yellow yarn

Image Details: ‘Yellow Yarn’ by PhotoGraham, via Flickr.

The reason for this rather longwinded intro, is that I find the brief for today hard. I would never go and pick a project then pick the yarn and plan it all out. It is just not the way that one rolls, so to speak. The two processes are entirely separate: I buy yarn I really like without a project necessarily in mind, and I queue patterns I like knowing that I probably don’t have the yarn I would need in my stash. I take a somewhat fatalistic approach to how these methods manifest themselves in my resultant output. Usually it works out to my liking, luckily. I shall add at this point too, that throwing in the random chaos force that is either gin or red wine can add previously unexpected dimensions to the pattern and yarn pairing process, with occasional disastrous results.

So, I thought the best way for me to work out today’s brief would be to do a pattern pick, like I do on the podcast, for the search term “bee” on Ravelry. However, if you include knitting and crochet patterns, there are a staggering 28 pages of patterns. Now I am all for dredging through a few pages to find those comedy gems, but not 28 pages I am afraid. So I have decided to choose one stand out pattern that I would quite like to make, and one that I know now I never will.


Image Details: ‘IMG_5473’ by WoofBC, via Flickr.

Let’s start with the ‘never will thee cross my needles’ pattern. I will be bold and jump straight in there with The Beekeeper Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits. I don’t ‘get’ this project. I didn’t ‘get’ it last year when everyone else was raving about it. I reckon you will need a crane to lift the thing by the time you are done knitting hexipuffs and don’t get me started on the sewing up and seaming that would need to be done. No, no, no. I can see the merits of finding a project to use up scraps of sock yarn, after all, those scraps are still expensive, considering the cost per gram, and you could probably churn out these hexipuffs like a sweatshop, but I think I would find it just a bit – yes I am going to say it, I don’t care – boring. But then I am a Bee. Being perpetually distracted is my raison d’etre. I can appreciate the cleverness of the design, along with all of the great colour work patterns that people have designed for individual puffs, but this is really not a project for me.

Humlesokkene modelled

Image Details: ‘Humlesokkene modelled’ by osloann, via Flickr. Reproduced here by kind permission of osloann (Pinneguri on Ravelry) All Rights Reserved.

So for my ‘maybe I would make this project, actually, if I started right now, but tomorrow, wow, that’s a whole other story, think of what could come along before then!’ project, I have chosen The Bumblebee Socks by The Needle Lady. Something about this project just jumped out, I think it is very clever. It is probably the colours, but also the excellent project pictures the designer has chosen to advertise the pattern on the Ravelry page, which ‘Pinneguri’ has very kindly allowed me to use in this post – thank you! The fact it has been done in a variety of shades also appeals to my bee-like tendancies, as I almost never do the projects in the yarn the project calls for, and if I do, it very often won’t be the shade on the pictures. I wish I could say the reasons for me choosing the project ran deeper than, “I just liked the look of it, really,” but they don’t. This really is how I choose what to make. No wonder my output is so chaotic!

How do you choose your projects? Did you find it matched up with the personality traits of your chosen house?

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29 comments on “Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2013 (4KCBWDay2): The Beekeeper and the Bumblebee

  1. Kate's Twirl says:

    Great blog Jo. Very amusing.
    I now have to go write mine – there’s no way I can compete!! X

    *runs to fridge for Blue Nun*

    1. Shinybees says:

      Aw thank hun. You will do a great post today! Plus, it’s always Blue Nun o’ clock somewhere in the world, right?

  2. pigtails says:

    Oh dear I am guilty – I am one of those who have a single bag containing my yarns and idea/pattern and I don’t stash or work on multiple wips. This however is mostly due to living in Penang for a few years where the society is a saving one and rubbed off on me – prior to living there I was a huge consumer. In Penang no one stashes anything – people buy what they need and otherwise recycle, up cycle, save or repair. That said, I have once or twice bought yarn I couldn’t resist but then it was used for a project within the next month and my bag was empty again – awaiting a new WIP. I am having a great time reading all the posts by the bees – there is just no stopping them, they are truely buzzing with activity. Cheers

    1. Shinybees says:

      I can see how you have come to your crafting style, I do feel guilty in a country where a lot of people have so little having so much ‘stuff’. I would like to be more disciplined in the acquisition and use, have you any big tips (other than don’t buy it?!!)

  3. It did cross my mind how you ever get anything finished at all when reading this but I am sure that you do. Those socks are amazing. I don’t think that I really have a process – it all just happens in one way or another!

    1. Shinybees says:

      Haha, I do, but it tends to be a lengthy process due to spreading myself amongst so many things. I am down to 4 gusting 5 wips on the knitting front just now, and you don’t even want to see the pile of 90%er sewing projects. As in 90% done but just waiting for one or two little fiddly jobs to be done!

      1. LOL!!! You should set yourself a target of one a week – I bet you would feel amazing afterwards!

  4. vicki says:

    Love your post, I’m exactly the same, constantly flitting from one to another. I had a go at the hexipuffs last year when everyone was raving about them, I made a few, they were pretty, but a whole blanket? No way would I ever manage to achieve that!

    1. Shinybees says:

      Thanks! Haha, yes. I don’t think I would even get as far as a doll blanket!

  5. Great post Jo. I sometimes bag up projects and then they get put into the stash box and wait there until I decide they might become something else. It is kind of cruel really, taking them away from thier yarny buddies, making them feel special and then just putting them back with a few months later.

    1. Shinybees says:

      Yes, such a fickle mistress, you are!

  6. caityrosey says:

    I had sort of wondered about the weight issue with the hexipuffs quilt too. I just assumed it would be a quilt used to hold down small children when you have to give them cough medicine, things like that.

    1. Shinybees says:

      Now that is a great idea!

  7. I totally agree with you re the beekeepers quilt, I love the look of them but the thought of knitting all those hexagons, stuffing them, sewing them all together… no thanks!

    Love those socks you’ve found, they look great!

    1. Shinybees says:

      I think the beekeeper’s quilt is a proper marmite project, that’s for sure. Aren’t the socks just brilliant?!

  8. I love your post, and I am totally with you on how organised I am with patterns etc….If I see a pattern, and I have yarn that I think I can make it…then hurray…

    I like the beekeeper’s quilt, and I tried to knit a hexipuff but I am just not a knitter….so I will just have to admire from behind my crochet projects.

    I love the socks you have picked, they are really lovely!

    1. Shinybees says:

      Thank you! I can appreciate the artistic merits of the quilt, it is a clever design, but I would be one of those people who spend a fortune on skeins to knit it to get the colours just right if I ever did do it! I am curprised there sin’t a croceht version. Maybe you could design one!

  9. Cyprienne says:

    I tried to do the project-bagging… the outcome: I always had to retrieve needles from a bag for another project! Those socks need to happen. 🙂

    1. Shinybees says:

      See! It’s the yarn fighting back. It doesn’t like it, I am convinced! I so wish I had yarn for those socks, I would have dropped everything and cast on already!

  10. Jessica says:

    This made me chuckle. 🙂 I have my projects in a bag (that is why I buy the reusable grocery bag although I swear I will take them with me next time I go grocery shopping – which I never do). I am using these zippered bags I got from my new curtains for my sock projects. 🙂 But never did I plan anything out. I am so horrible at that. My yarn eventually tells me what to make with it. If I don’t get past a few squares or the ribbing it usually sits there and eventually will get reused for something else.

    I have hexipuffs made. I live in Southern California so I don’t stuff mine. I however have no idea exactly if I will ever put them together. Its just there for the sock yarn that i don’t have enough to make a pair of socks. I cant mix the yarns together – its hurts my OCD.

    1. Shinybees says:

      The yarn does talk, I am convinced. I can hear it whispering when I walk past, can you? The OCD bit made me laugh. I don’t have yarn OCD but I have a massive time OCD thing. I have to have my watch running 7 mins fast, my alarm set time has to end in a 3 but I don’t like to start anything unless it’s a 5 or a 0. Strange!

  11. LOVE the socks, they are so, so cool! And I’m with you on the quilt… my friend and I have had many a bemused discussion about *why* people went mad for it. I have no idea!

  12. pinkhairgirl says:

    I read this whole post with your voice from the podcasts in my head 😉

    1. Shinybees says:

      That must have been quite strange! I guess this was one of those flowy posts where it just comes out, must be why you could hear it in my voice!

  13. The Gingerbread Bunny says:

    I blogged about the crocheted version of the beekeeper quilt to! I like the mathematical, geometricness (not a real word I know) of it. mine Will probably be finished in 10 years from now and Will go on my bed when done!

    1. Shinybees says:

      It does appeal to me also in that sense, I just don’t think I would get enjoyment from making one. I might buy one if it was especially beautiful!

  14. Renee Anne says:

    Yeah, I won’t lie….I tried to do the planning pattern and yarn in a bag thing and it worked like crap. I was awful at it. My Self-Imposed Year of Projects is my attempt to wrangle in my knitting a little bit. Sort of. I buy yarn on a whim, usually in pairs (except sock yarn and, on the rare occasion, lace yarn)…if nothing else, I can always make a hat or scarf with it 🙂

    1. Shinybees says:

      True! But then I got to thinking that if I stopped buying skeins in ones (usually due to cost) or threes (I dislike even numbers, it’s an OCD thing) then I might be able to buy yarn for a big project without it seeming that it was too expensive!

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