Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Last Day of February

Some people are "process" knitters--they knit for the love of knitting and care very little about whether or not anything actually gets finished. Others are "product" knitters--they're in it for the sweater. I am a much lesser-known breed of knitter. I'm an "obsessed-with-the-little-tally-on-the-right-of-her-blog" sort of knitter. So, in a shameless push to have a big yardage total for February, there was no post yesterday while I worked onThe ribbing looks a bit long right now, but this is about the length of ribbing I normally use for a sweater, so I'm sure it will be fine. I used the same K1, P2 ribbing that I used for the bottom of the sweater. It's nice--the extra purl stitch really makes the knit rib stand out. And that one last skein brings me to 3498 yards for the year so far. Still less than where I would like to be, but not bad.

Also in a desperate grab for yardage--and to at least get Andy's Valentine's PJs done during the same MONTH as Valentine's Day....Bottoms AND tops this time. And another 5 1/2 yards of fabric used up for the year. I'm pleased, but I don't thing the cats are that impressed...
but they are a tough audience.

The fate of the lace scarf has yet to be decided. This is what the pattern is supposed to look like:and this is what the scarf looks likeI think it might be beyond the hope of blocking, but I am going to think about it for another day or two. In the meantimeI've been using up a lot of the things in the "gift bin" in the back room, so I decided to start a scarf for a nice, easy, portable project. I almost cast on that marvelous sock yarn, but I really couldn't even pretend that I'd be tempted to put the socks into the gift bin, so a scarf it is!

I'm not really a selfish knitter....just with fabulous discontinued sock yarns.......

Thursday, February 26, 2009

So.......

While I haven't actually cast on the fabulous sock yarnI haven't actually put it away, either. And there was some browsing of sock patterns on Ravelry....

BUT, today the January Aran (from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac, though if she actually knit the whole thing in one month I would be shocked/impressed/jealous because she was obviously able to knit in her sleep).

Sometimes our simplest decisions turn out to be real doozies, and mine was to decide that I didn't like the neckline of EZ's patterns, so I decided to give mine more of a scooped neck. A smarter person might have rethought that decision when she realized that, the center not being at the beginning of a round but a full stitch pattern in, one of the "fishtrap" pattern rows would henceforth need to be knitted from the PURL side once the center stitches were cast off and the knitting switched to back & forth from circular knitting. Of course NOW I also realize what EZ was talking about when she talked about creating a "Kangaroo pouch" neck. It didn't make any sense to me at the time--and I read the pattern several times--but NOW it does. She suggested slipping the center stitches onto a holder, then continuing to knit in the round and just skip over those rows--creating a "pouch" that would later be fixed by steeking. INSTEAD, I learned to do a twisted stitch pattern from the purl side....which took an incredible amount of time, swearing, and explains the chocolate martini by my side. Still, I am almost done with the body. This will indeed be my very first steek experiment, and if it weren't for the fact that I have no use for a great big knitted tube, I might be tempted to put it off. Luckily, I think tube tops are atrocious anyway, and a big itchy wool one even more so, so.....when the sleeves are done the scissors will have to come out. Yikes!

Possibly to remind myself that knitting isn't actually the slowest hobby in the world, I spent more time on the baby blanket this weekI keep jumping around thinking it will look like I've done more than I have, but that doesn't seem to help any. The best part about cross stitch is that it makes even the slowest lace seem quick, so the latest lace scarfhas gotten a bit more attention and an actual picture. I've been unsure if I was going to like this pattern/yarn/needle combo, and the scarf was finally long enough to actually steam block. The pattern doesn't stand out as much as I hoped it would--probably needing a bit smaller needle--and it's a fussy lace with a pattern stitch on both the knit & purl rows, so it might be headed for the frog pond. What do you think?

My trusty sidekick continues to make more progress every day--and continues with his "I need a beer" poses.
I will have to remember that sitting certain ways makes even the best of us look pudgy. He has graduated to having free roaming of the house 24 hours a day, and we have allowed him outside supervised but without the leash. He gets frightened very easily now, and I'm more concerned about him getting into trouble while frightened than anything else, but he climbed the fence without much effort and apparently no pain, so that's a good sign of his continued recovery. All his swimming excursions gave him a bit of a dry, itchy skin problem, so I've rubbed him with vegetable oil a few times. It works on the itching, but his fur looks dreadful. The indignities this poor cat suffers!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Gave Yarn Away!!!!!

Today I gave a friend 2 balls of yarn. It wasn't even the cheap "What-was-I-thinking?" sort of acrylic yarn that lurks at the bottom of every stash! Nope, this was nice alpaca yarn, and I just thought she might like it for a scarf.

I SHARED YARN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm having a VERY big week on knitter maturity.....though I'm not so certain I could share laceweight just yet..........

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So There I Was....

....sock yarn in hand
and was just about to cast on for a new pair of socks, when my small, rational self--who never usually speaks up in regards to knitting--said, "Hold on a minute....isn't this sort of behavior how we became the WIP Legend in the online knitting community???"

She's not a talkative part of my personality, but she has a really annoying habit of usually having a point & being right and all of that, so.....

To show I really have grown as a knitter, I dug out the Kimono Shawl
which had been busily tangling itself up with all the other projects in the WIP bin (cobweb yarn always being a bit of a troublemaker). So far it's only gotten about 6 rows, but those are 6 rows I didn't have, so that was something.

Then, because I still really wanted to make those socks but was desperately trying to prove that I have SOME willpower, I finished another block for the Warm Up America afghan
which actually brings me to 4, but one has already been turned over to the organizer. If you're noticing a preponderance of garter stitch blocks, let's just say that while I support this charity project completely, I support it a lot more if the knitting is fast & mindless.

The complicated knitting was saved for my January Aran
which is actually going to be more of a May or June cardigan at this rate. I have 5 more inches to go on the body before working the neck, then the sleeves and the....gasp...steeks. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, steeks are where you ON PURPOSE cut your knitting to add armholes and/or front openings for cardigans. This technique allows you to knit a sweater entirely in the round instead of back & forth, and makes you among the bravest of the knitting community. I fear it might drive this knitter to drink, but we'll jump off that bridge when we get to it........

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sometimes Every Relationship Needs a Time-Out

I love this yarn.I love how the finished sweaters on Ravelry look. I love how my colors are working this time
but now, inventive little project that it is, we have a new problem. It turns out that a K1, P1 ribbing is only nonrolling when it's in a solid color. Using one color for the knit stitches and one for the purls has given me a dense fabric that rolls almost as badly as plain old stockinette. I thought longingly of just pretending it wasn't happening and relying on blocking to force it into ribbingness, but years ago I tried to block stockinette into flatness, and without the aid of starch or glue, I don't think it's possible. So......I will be starting over AGAIN.

But just not right now.....I'm off to visit my sock yarn bin.......

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kauni Cardigan

So, it has taken some discussion and perhaps a little begging, but my right hand and I have come to an understanding and it has agreed to participate in knitting. So, I was able to get here:before admitting that I think maroon & lime green aren't my favorite color combination. I think it looks like high school mascot colors that were picked with little to no thought. So....the hardest knitting I've done in a long time was sent to the frog pond.

Browsing through the 200+ Kauni cardigans on Ravelry, I noticed that I liked some sweaters better than others, and the only real difference in most of the sweaters is how the different colors line up. I spent at least an hour deciding which ones I liked best, and decided to go with the more gradual changes, so I'm lining the changes up (if the knitting gods are willing) just offset by one color, and am hoping for the best. So far, it's looking very "When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple,"
which is a bit depressing as I'm not even 40, but I enjoy the way it's looking.

My blanket square is done
and have decided it needs a little alteration to use as a scarf, as it did start to curl a bit when I cast off. I have a simple garter stitch one on the needles now--interesting pattern giving way to sheer speed. I don't know who is lined up to sew the 49 blocks per blanket together, but I won't be volunteering. We all have our limits...:)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Good News Is, I'm Learning A New Technique

So last night I decided there's self restraint and then there's torture, so I dug out the new yarn and gleefully cast on the new Kauni yarn for the Kauni cardigan. 24 hours later, I have
One and a half rows. I wouldn't even have that if I hadn't altered the pattern. To get a nice "framing" effect, I decided to do one round of the ribbing in a solid color before adding the second color for every-other stitch for the striped ribbing. Thank heavens--I can't even imagine trying to keep the cast on stitches from twisting while I'm trying to change yarn with every stitch.

I have done colorwork in the past, but as none of it has ever surfaced on the blog, it obviously isn't my favorite. I'm a bit of a lazy knitter, and the best way I know of to not have 3 trillion ends to weave in on a sweater is to stay away from colorwork. But every now and then the sheer beauty of it wins out. So, here I am. Halfway through the second row.

I thought it would be a neat trick to learn to knit with a color in each hand ala Elizabeth Zimmermann. After struggling on & off with this for 24 hours, I have come to the conclusion that while I might be right handed in regards to most things, my primary hand might be a bit...um...slow about some things. It just can't seem to understand that throwing the yarn incorrectly means a dropped stitch. A baseball? Sure--that it can throw. Yarn, which would be mighty helpful right about now? Not if the entire New York Yankees team were cheering it on. Admittedly, I was telling myself yesterday that I might want to savor this new project as it's my first new-yarn project in over a year. Don't think speed is going to be my problem.......

On another note, my little sidekick gets a bit bored with the life of an indoor kitty, so tonight we played one of his favorite games:
Being the sewing fan that he is, my tape measures are his favorite toy of all time. We bought him a few toys during his convalescence, but we needn't have bothered. Cats do not believe in commercialism.

P.S. And to answer a few questions, I really wish the yarn did come all prewound like that (why exactly doesn't yarn come like that, incidentally?), but mine arrived in these massive ballsthat take forever to wind--which is why you only saw 2 of the 4.

And the pattern for the moss scarf:
Using size 5 needles and a moderate laceweight yarn (440 yards per 50 grams), cast on an ODD number of stitches. Work a moss stitch bottom border for 6-8 rows. Keeping a 4 stitch moss stitch border as you work, on your first pattern row, K1 (YO, K2tog) across until the last 4 stitches, work pattern border. Work row 2 and all subsequent rows until you’ve reached the desired length. Work 6-8 rows of moss stitch across the top for a border and bind off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!

The "reward" yarn I ordered for myself on January 1 arrived yesterday and....I haven't yet cast on.

I know--I am shocked as well. I thought I'd probably have the first loop on the needles before the UPS truck even pulled away! I don't know what has gotten into me! Instead, I worked on the January aran
blocked the moss scarf,
which I am actually pleased with--and I think this is my favorite stitch pattern variation so far
but I am not sure everyone would love a variegated yarn scarf.

Then I spent some time working on a block for my friend's Warm Up America projectonly to discover my gauge goes to hell when I'm bored. The blocks are supposed to be 7 by 9 inches. This one is 8 by 9, so to the frog pond it goes. That will teach me--I did a seed stitch block at the correct gauge, so I didn't bother to recheck with garter. I dared smugness and was smote by the knitting gods! And over a garter stitch block of all things!

My new block is my own variation. Since I like knitting better than purling but wanted something besides garter stitch, I decided to knit one row, then do a K1, P1 rib on the back side. I love the result. This is the frontwhich Blogger insists on turning sideways, and this is the backIt's like an easy double knitting trick! I must make a scarf from this when the blocks are done.

Theo had a bit of a setback yesterday when we were out on the leash. He got spooked by Andy coming around the corner of the house, got loose, sprinted across the yard and scaled the 6-foot fence. Luckily, I got to him before he went down the other side, but he still limped the rest of the night. Today he's fine. we had an uneventful backyard outing, and now he's checking out the Valentine's Day pillows.I think he's recovered from the stress.......

Monday, February 16, 2009

Theo's Last Therapy Session

Today I went down to take some pictures of the first part of his therapy session. What a good sport he is!

First he walked on the treadmill,then went up and down the stairs and ramp,then into the water tank!He won't walk on the treadmill in the water tank any more, so they just keep picking him up and setting him down in the far side of the tank and have him walk to the door.
I think it would be a stretch to say he actually enjoys thisbut he's such a good sport--he does it anyway.

He has more exercises to do, but after this it will be just a matter of rebuilding strength in the leg and finally getting all his hair back. And learning to forgive Andy and I for our part in all of this......

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The True Motivation????

I just got back from teaching a friend to knit. To be fair, she was able to knit 30 years ago, so it was just a matter of remembering, so I don't really deserve much credit here. I did show her some of the sweaters I've made over the years to inspire her, even though we're actually working on squares for the Warm Up America project for her stepdaughter's Girl Scout project and 49 squares is going to take some time. But I wanted to open possibilities for her and inspire her to stick with knitting after the blanket is done.

Or I think I did.

The other possibility is that it would be easier to justify a room full of yarn if all of my friends ALSO had rooms full of yarn.....

Exactly when does "helping" end and "enabling" begin,,,,,,,?

Friday, February 13, 2009

A New Obsession?

This year I have high stash-burning goals. What am I working on?
which doesn't qualify as either yarn or fabric. I have become completely obsessed with the darn thing. I guess I was finding lace knitting just a bit too speedy or something. This is what it will look like when done
and that little green tag explains why I have more than one. Mark anything in the craft world 50% off and I'm a lost woman.

Theo is completely unimpressed by the new hobby
and Calisto is uncharacteristically lobbying for a new sewing project
and she's right, of course. This is Andy's Valentines gift. Luckily, the box he's making me for my knitting needles isn't finished either, so we will be spending Valentine's Day making gifts for each other. It sounds a bit like an O. Henry story, but I promise I have not sold all my knitting needles to buy flannel to make pajamas for Andy. I love him dearly and everything, but my rosewoods???????

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Colds Might Not Be All Bad

So the bad news is, the cold is still hanging on. The good news isthe February Project of the Month is DONE!!! I'd be gloating about getting it done in the first two weeks of the month if it hadn't actually been languishing in the craft bin for about 5 years. But, it's done, washed, and ironed. Now I just have to figure out where I put the other one. It's probably off somewhere with the pajama top having a terrific laugh about my organizational skills....

I even did a little work on the baby blanketI did say "little," didn't I? Actually, there's a little more done than it appears--the blue I've been working with tonight is almost the exact shade as the ink used for stamping. A little scrounging in the sewing room has revealed that for some inexplicable reason, I have 3 copies of this blanket kit. Three--of the exact same blanket. I vaguely remember buying this on clearance, so maybe it's not just yarn sales that make one take temporary leave of one's senses. If a fourth kit turns up anywhere, I'm permanently turning my visa over to Andy.

In other news, after a few initial disagreements with my sidekick about what we were doing with the towels on the floor,
the pink blanket is washed and blocking
and so far there hasn't been a general furring(I think it's still too wet). So far I have refrained from casting on anything new. If I can finish up the moss scarfbefore the new yarn arrives, then I won't feel too much guilt about casting on as soon as I can get the box open. Not that I wasn't going to cast on for the Kauni cardigan even if I don't get the scarf finished, but I'll feel less guilt this way. This scarf looks better in person than it does in the photo, but I think it will discourage me from buying variegated lace yarns in the future. No matter what I knit with them, they look better as a skein than anything I've ever knitted with them.

Now I just need to figure out a fashionable way to go out wearing a couple hanks of lace yarn tied around my neck.......

Monday, February 9, 2009

THE YARN IS COMING!!!! THE YARN IS COMING!!!!!

Those with good memories will remember that on January 1 I allowed myself to order yarn for one project for myself--along with a couple gifts, one of which the yarn is still out of stock so it might be ordered on January 1 of 2010--to make the Kauni cardigan (free pattern PDF here). The rainbow colorway has been on backorder, but I placed the order anyway.

I just received an email from WEBS today--the yarn is in and on it's way to me!!!! New yarn is coming!!!! New yarn is coming and it isn't for gift knitting!! In a few days there will be a box on our doorstep containing yarn and it will all be mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously, knitting only from stash doesn't always bring out the best sharing tendencies in a knitter.........

No More Pink!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't have a picture yet, but the pink blanket is done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can now work on SOMETHING ELSE!!!!

I spent yesterday in bed with a cold which gave me plenty of knitting time. You know you might be an obsessed knitter when you get sick and your first thought it, "Yippee!!! A day of rest and knitting!"

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Er...um...I Still Had Some Cash With Me......

This followed me home from the yarn store......
But in my defense, I didn't buy yarn, and I bought the magazine for this pattern
which will use yarn I already have.

And I learned one very important lesson yesterday:

Yarn diets are all fine and dandy, but it's easier to behave oneself in a yarn store if one only has $10.37 in one's pocket.