(Is there a limit to the number of chances I get?)
So, I was about to put a cry for help: my knitting mojo was lost.
I didn’t really want to knit anything I had on hand (i.e. easily accessible). I didn’t really like anything I was working on (too simple, too small (a project), too tiny needles, too big (a project), too boring, …)
And then I remembered that it really was just my self-imposed rules (pick it up from the top of the pile, knit it, deal with it, move on) that was causing the problem.
And since these rules were/are self-imposed, I get to change them. (Funny how being the Boss of Me works, huh?)
Last year, when Schoolhouse Press published Knit One Knit All I was so charmed by the previously unpublished EZ garter stitch patterns, that I decided to knit them all. (It was during the Time of Chaos and Doubt). And then I bought a lot of yarn.
This particular pattern Brimmed Hat – Panache (Rav link) stumped me. Two problems:
1) the yarn (Unspun Icelandic Wool worked 2 ply) is sticky and fragile – meaning it broke often. (Especially when Nickie was felting it in the wheel.)
2) I can’t count. The pattern is simple enough short rows – but not in a straight-forward sequence. Well it has a pattern, but if I put it down mid-row, I’d forget where I was. Nevermind that I was not using a row counter or notes – I simply expected to keep track of where I was (during the Time of Chaos and Doubt. Yeah, that was a bad idea – I ripped and put it to the side …)
So I found a little scrap of paper and a pen, and even I can conquer the Brimmed Hat – Panache.
I know ya’ll are off watching the Superbowl (I missed a Betty White commercial?!?)
And I’ve had these done for weeks, so it’s not all that exciting (unless, maybe, you’re the recipient. And it is actually winter where you live.)
Also, we have crocus:
(The weather is too weird to be excited – I am excited about getting some yardwork done before May. Someone had their windows open today. I didn’t think it was quite that warm.)
We took The Robot and a bunch of high school kids to the local Halloween Costume Contest and Parade. We made them decorate the robot and get all dressed up and give away candy (oh the hardship!)
And Dude was busy getting pix of ginormous bees and wee stegosauruses (stegosauri?) and I run over to interrupt him: Did you get those hats??
Dude: What hats?
Me: The matching black and yellow hats – there were three: mom, dad and a baby. Did you get it?
Dude: /blank face
They were all from Cascade 220, given away at one of the Stitches events, after the Steeler win. (Mr Google tells me that this would be October 2009, Stitches was in Hartford CT so that would be Stitches East.)
p.s. Also – the 15 year old who painted that sign? Free hand. With a three inch brush.
1. This cowl:
It’s done now.
The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca Techno in the Fame colorway. The site says “baby alpaca is blown into a mesh tube of silk for really fast knitting with literally no splitting”. I don’t have a macro lens or I’d try to get a picture. It feels like knitting with an unspun yarn – but “no splitting”. And when I pull it apart and hold it up to the light, I can see the silk tube encasing the baby alpaca. It was kind of amazing in a new and different way and I enjoyed knitting with it.
One skein, 120 yds/109 m, easily completed the pattern as written. I added a few rows of stockinette after the last round of increases to be sure to use up the yarn.
2. This hat.
It’s done now.
The yarn is Harrisville New England Highland in an unidentified colorway. I’ve got the ball band, it’s just not telling me anything. I’m sure it was from the discontinued bin. 100% sheepy lanolin filled wool, 200 yds, 100 g.
The pattern is one I’ve used before (and will use again. I hear my brother-in-law shrunk his hat.) It is versatile, well written and fits a variety of heads.
3. This scarf:
But I have managed to gather a provisional cast on thread, a crotchet hook, the proper needles (I didn’t believe him when he said size 9/5.5 mm. I had to find others. He was right.) all at the same time. Fortunately, as much as I’ve decided that I love the yarn, the color is not me. And besides, it was destined for the Red Scarf Project.
The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Longjohns colorway.
4. This bookcase needed cleaning out
It is mostly knitting books and mags. This bodes well for the Knitter’s Review Retreat.
5. Taking pictures again.
But, apparently, I can’t take pictures of finished objects. I’ll work on that.
Backstory: I’m at my sister’s a few weeks ago. She’s just had surgery and she’s o.k. but bored. She sends me off in search of reading material, ice packs, and something else.
And, yarn. Because it is there. (Well, actually, nothing is there. But if I’m going to drive around looking for reading material, ice packs, and something else; I will – for sure – at some point – be closer to the yarn than I was when I started.)
When I return, I bring in eleventy-nine magazines, two books, ribbon embroidery, ice packs and something else. (I’m starting to think it was Chinese food, but maybe not.)
She asks about the yarn.
I, embarrassed by my yarn purchases, mumble something about I wasn’t sure if she was interested.
Of course she is interested. So I get the bag and she starts pulling it out and I catalog its purpose as she goes:
And these 3 (or 4) red ones (Shelter) are for a scarf for Norma. And those 3 are for hats for VT (and probably enough for stripes on a fourth hat). And this one is the same stuff I made her a cowl out of last year, and I liked it so much; I bought some for me. (And there’s more, but I don’t remember off the top of my head and I will catalog it later. Let me just say that I saw and touched and knit the new Shelter Lace weight. But it wasn’t ready for purchase.)
She pulls out the Malabrigo (Auarella, Maldonado colorway, 3.5 ounces, 62 yds, 2 skeins) and I say something about that is because it was on fabulous sale as a close out.
She asks what it will make. And I say “a hat”.
She asks if she can have it.
I think she only wanted to see my yarn so she could call first dibs.
Of course, she’s still waiting for me to block it and mail it.
So I commented on her blog – squee’ing – and saying that I was going to copy cat even though I was terrible at color knitting. (Not terrible – just challenged. It needs more brain cells than I (apparently) possess.)
Then she wrote me back and offered to knit it for me (!) as an exchange sort of thing. (Me = ???)
I’ve never done this before.
Purlewe is an amazing knitter.
What is a proper exchange for this?
I was intimidated.
Then she suggested I knit her socks.
“Socks,”methinks, “I can do socks.”
Yarn is Cherry Tree Hill, DK weight sock yarn in the Earth colorway. (Looks purple-brown to me.)
This does not appear to be self-striping yarn (although Rav says there is some wide-minimal-color shift striping going on).
I’m thinking of something heavily ribbed – because that snugs up to all foot types and the recipient foot is not available for testing.
I’m thinking of modifying Bowerbird Knits Francie Socks, actually. (The pattern is for fingering weight, this is DK weight.)
I made them in 2009 and they are one of my favorite socks (I love the fit). (I’m not sure I can find the pattern. (ugh)
But I can find the socks as a model and it needs modifying, anyway.) (Famous last words.)
(Note to self: keep better notes)
Cast on: A sunny Sunday morning in December (2010) when I suddenly realized that I had “nothing to knit”. (I also had no warm hats – just a lovely light-weight silk lacy thing.)
Base color (brown) is Shepherd, 12 Ply 100% Lambswool Felted, 50 g, 74 m, Shade 109 - 2 skeins.
(Final weight of hat is 135 g. I do not see the 3rd skein (or leftovers) around the house. It is possible Ned took it.)
Stripe is Random Other Yarn from a friend’s wool destashing efforts.
size 9 needles,
Pattern Recipe: top down, 8 increase per round, every round till “big enough”, add stripe when “long enough”, continue until out of yarn, cast off.
Felted (A note on felting: I started to felt this by hand. Which started well – I plopped it in the water and it rapidly absorbed and rested. (Which was in startling contrast to the Red Scarf or the Red Gloves – which took forevvvvvver to absorb water and soak. Also – there was a lot of little debris with Studio Donegal Yarn, and none with this Shepherd yarn. Also, no dye running.) After adding boiling water and a few minutes of agitation, it was obvious that this was not going to felt easily.
So I raveled it. Common wisdom says this Shepherd yarn is slow to felt.
So I tossed it in the washer. With a regular load of laundry. In cold water.
Perfect. And windproof. Except I forgot the before photo. (But I’m over it.)
There’s a few minor creases (because I forgot to promptly take the wash out of the washer.)
Next up: need for Long Meeting Knitting on Friday:
Two skeins of Quince & Co chickadee in Carrie’s Yellow (125), 50 g 181 yards. Inspired by Nutmeg Owl, alas, I do not have enough for this (and charts don’t work for Meeting Knitting anyway.) I’m thinking of this.
*oh hush. ‘Finished on Friday”, posted on Sunday. So?
Exhibit A: On Request
Yarn: various leftovers, black and white are Nature Spun, grey is unidentified
Exhibit B: Red Finger-First Gloves
Things I did wrong: one of the thumb gussets is not evenly decreased (see that line of stitches on the right glove?) I didn’t understand what I was doing – or realize for how long. I’m not fixing it. I don’t mind it and it reminds me of how this works.
Things I could do better: finger joins.
Nona’s gloves were based on sock-weigh yarn and used increases at the base of the i-cord fingers. I was using heavier yarn but that doesn’t allow for much increasing before getting too big. I want to be able to join 2 stitches of each i-cord finger to the next i-cord finger. Need to work on this.
Thing I didn’t like: OMG there’s 12 end to tuck in, per glove!
(Oh, wait. There’s 10 ends per glove when knit from the wrist up. … nevermind.)
Thing I loved: getting all those fiddly fingers out of the way first, then the glove just knits up fast. I don’t expect I’ll ever really tuck in the end at the tip of the finger (I’ll just call that little tail “extra warmth” and let it felt into place as I wear them.)
Exhibit C: a hat
When … somewhere this fall, I found some PolarKnit – the polyester fleece yarn. I wanted to try it. (I am well aware that:
a) I did not like the colors (but there are more colors now)
b) fleece gets static-y and is a fur magnet
c) fleece isn’t terribly durable with the canines and branches and my life
d) fleece is not wind-proof (and, thus, is not a great outside layer)
d) fleece is not environmentally sound and
e) it keeps one warm, even when wet and washes easily, dries really fast
Now, usually, I would not need a terribly warm hat in this climate.
(Ahem. Despite giving away 15 (?) hats in November, despite noting our flowers, in November; it has gotten reasonably chilly here (20 in the a.m. below freezing all day and I can Not find our hats. We’ve got one light-weight hat a piece.)
So I offered it up to my sister. Just to try.
Pattern is a top down version of the Marsan Watchcap, which I’ve knit before. I like knitting from the top because … well I started from the bottom but didn’t “swatch” – just guessed. When I realized it was too big, I measured gauge, ripped and re-started from the top.
Knitting was easy and reasonably pleasant (I really like my lanolin-rich Donegal Tweed) – it is stretchy yarn. It could be knit at a much tighter gauge – which might improve its wind permeability.
OK I had nothing to do with this. This (grey wool fuzz) bed has been hanging around the house for 1.5 years (maybe on this bench … maybe by the window … maybe here… maybe over there …) I was starting to think I should give it away due to lack of interest.
(Ned is, clearly, too big. But I was hoping that Nickie would like it – when she needs to get away from Ned. He can curl around and hug the outside without bothering her… oh, I should get a picture of that, huh?
My work is never done.)
I started with that (above). And gave up with this, below:
This last one is just me being stupid:
On the plus side: not once did I find dye on my hands while knitting.
I fear for the wearer’s head. Maybe someone wishing for red hair would do …
Somewhere along the way (actually, during the entire lengthy minimalist non-planning process) I got the idea that I should wear something handknit to my legal interlude. (That’s what we called it. The term wedding, seemed to me, to hold too many preconceived notions. ) (That’s me trying to politely Not have a Feminist Rant.)
About the handknits: I have this finishing issue: It’s not on time or I don’t like it or I am distracted by some new technique/yarn/better weather-suited project. (Mental note: It is a bad idea to use your own wedding as a carrot to convince yourself to be better disciplined.)
Then I read the entire Fit to Flatter series and decided that a bolero was not my style. (Excellent series; check it out.)
A dear friend found the yarn (and the ribbon).
She brought supplies into work.
I cast on.
I knit my 14 rows.
I purled a row.
I knit some more.
I went to turn up the hem and …
It was twisted. (Big Giganto Rookie Mistake.)
(I dissolved into tears – the only thing that did that to me: 6 days before the event.)
I couldn’t stand to look at it so I frogged the entire thing, tossed the yarn, and the ribbon, somewhere.
Dude, noting my distress, helpfully suggested that I knit a couple of small squares that we could carry in our pockets and later be incorporated into a blanket or a hat or something. (Excellent idea. Love that man.)
Fast forward a few weeks: for recent emergency travel, I was searching for emergency knitting.
(Not the sweater I have to show you, or the current socks on the needles, that one extra project just in case.)
(I have never, ever, touched my emergency knitting.)
I grabbed the used skein and the needles and even remembered the pattern and tossed it all in the bag.
And then, for a variety of reasons, I needed to knit the emergency project.
Now, I can’t find the rest of the yarn. (There are Reasons I called this blog what I did.)