Archive for March, 2015

The sock is scheduled for completion tonight.

schoeller and stahl fortissima colori sock yarn

I worked only the short-row toe and short-row heel on the dpns this time. After which I moved the sock to a very small US 1 (2.25 mm) circular needle in a 9″ (23) cm length. It took some getting used to working on such tiny needles, but I felt it was a matter of safety for Yarn Rascal. I feared that he was going to poke his eyes out every time he jumped in my lap with the dpns in my hands. The small circular needle is much safer, though harder for me to knit with.

My second new item this week is a snap and go notions case that fits in the palm of my hand and holds everything I need for my knitting yet is impervious to Yarn Rascal.

snap and go notions case in pink

snap and go notions case from exchanging fire etsy

No more locking stitch markers in Yarn Rascal’s mouth or stomach. I am even going to get a small, half sized crochet hook to keep in the case for when I need to repair a mistake. The snap and go notions case was purchased at Exchangingfire on Etsy.

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I was cruising the internet after removing ice and snow from selective areas of the yard where crocus and daffodils tend to appear and found some interesting knitting pictures I wanted to share.

These hand knit wool socks are from Armenia. They can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum. From what I have seen in the form of pictures from the museum, it is a place I would love to visit.

Armenia knitted wool socks at Victoria and Albert museum

I found these mitts on Ravelry. No pattern is available. However, a basic fingerless mitt pattern, a good stash of fingering weight yarn in many colors and something similar can be attained.

mosaic mitts

Finally, if weaving in lots of yarn ends is not your idea of fun, make it into a fashion statement instead.

don't weave in ends Source Crux and Crow Vintage.

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I’ve successfully gotten the ice floe in the backyard, or Little Antarctica as I call it, down to a manageable size with my new best friend, a sledge-hammer. Hammering the 5″ (13) cm thick ice over the last 7 days or so has been a real workout. I worried about the mastectomy side of me, but the lymphedema never showed. I did intensive yoga stretches for chest and arms before and after each hammering session and they may have helped.

So it was with renewed vigor that I popped out of bed this morning, pulled up the shades only to see it was snowing. A lot. It was snowing a lot. In fact it is still snowing a lot. Is it only me, or has anyone else noticed that s-n-o-w is really just a four letter word?

The socks are progressing. I used a provisional cast on where I knit on the RS and purl on the WS for a few rows with waste yarn, then change to the sock yarn on a knit row. I find it a little more fiddley to pick up stitches from it than from the crocheted provisional cast on I usually do.

While I was messing around with new techniques I also changed the way I picked up wraps and stitches on purl rows. Normally I just purl them together, which forms a right leaning decrease. But I altered it to a half-way SSP left leaning decrease. Rather than slipping two stitches knitwise, I slipped only one. Then I purled the wraps and the stitch through the back loops. It kept the three stitch bulk on the private side of the sock and kept the public side looking smooth. Now I just need to remember to work the second sock the same way. Easier said than done. I am not completely sold on the slip, p3tog technique. So the search continues for a better way of handling purling together wraps and stitches.

Enjoy the weekend.

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Let Me Start Again

Things are going well, knitting wise. I know admitting this out loud is a major no-no, sure to bring down the wrath of the knitting gods upon me…wait…yes, let me emend that, the dog just threw up.

Let me start again.

Things were going well, I thought, knitting wise, but obviously I was being delusional. I wanted to share a picture of the progress I made on the sock. The heel was finished and I was just beginning the leg. Following a brief search that made Columbus discovering the new world look easy, the camera was located and I put on the sock to photograph it. The sock that was just humming off my needles, the sock that looked good with all its neat little knitting stitches lined up and even, that sock was way too big for my foot. That’s impossible, I thought. What chicanery is this? I swatched. I measured the amount of little stitches per inch. Of course! Relaxing sigh. It’s an optical illusion. I took off the sock, slapped it around a bit, put it back on. Darn if it still didn’t fit the same way. It was too large.

So let me start again.

Things were going south faster than a bird flies when winter is barreling in and I wasn’t aware of it. The sock I was happily knitting was never going to fit, but I was so entertained by the changing patterns in the yarn that I never realized this until I tried it on. So I frogged the little imp instead of photographing it. The yarn in all its frogged kinkiness looks like the nest of a small deranged animal. Speaking of which, the lace edging on the shawl continues to go forward. I knit a little on it each night. I don’t want to push it, I’m just beginning to feel the rhythm of the 12 stitch rows. It flows the way the car moved when I first learned to drive a stick shift. A quick jolt forward, followed by a sudden stop that snapped the head back, then another surge ahead and a stall.

So let me start again.

I am knitting.

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Snow, Socks, Shawl

The snow was vanishing. Patches of ground, like knife slashes on cold white canvas, erupted here and there. All undone now. Twenty-four hours of snow. A new canvas upon which to work.

Inside knitting continues. I cast on a sock. I am never really comfortable without a sock on my dpns.

schoeller and stahl fortissima colori sock yarn

This is a new yarn, for me. Schoeller and Stahl Fortissima Colori in Mexiko (their spelling, not mine). I need some regular, hard working socks where the yarn forms a pattern and I can just knit away in stockinette stitch. My basic construction of short-row toe and heel with a sewn bind-off at the cuff.

The progress on the Rock Island Shawl.

rock island shawl brooklyn tweed 2

madelinetosh prairie yarn lace

My lifestyle finds it impossible to let me knit 16 rows without moving the life line. So I move it every 8 rows. I can live with it.

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A new project is on my needles. Rock Island Shawl by Brooklyn Tweed.

rock island shawl brooklyn tweed

I’ve admired it for a long time. My knitting skills are getting a real workout and I am not even beyond the 12 stitch edging. I found Madelinetosh Prairie Yarn in the Medieval colorway and decided to go for it. The shawl is a long-term project. Very long-term.

I cast on about three days ago and I’ve managed to complete only 10 of the 71 repeats of the 8 row pattern. That means I have 488 more rows of edging to knit. One would think 12 stitches per row wouldn’t be difficult to whip off the needles. In fact, when I first looked at the edging chart I thought no problem. Lace making takes place on both sides just remember to reverse the decreases, yadda, yadda, yadda. I forgot the knitting gods don’t like hubris. They really, really, really don’t like it.

To make my arrogance complete, I decided I wouldn’t work with a life line. I mean a life line for 12 stitches? I completely blew past the reality that this was complicated lace making. Thus, dear fellow knitters and crafters, I paid and paid well. How badly did I mess this up? Let’s count the ways.

Forgotten yarn overs.

Forgotten decreases.

Knitting the first stitch of a RS row as if it were a WS row.

Knitting the first stitch of a WS row as if it were a RS row.

Knitting the wrong row.

Knitting the wrong row.

Knitting the wrong row.

Mixing up the decreases. Using k2tog when it called for ssk.

Mixing up the decreases. Using ssk when it called for k2tog.

Talking while knitting a row. The result wasn’t even close to the pattern.

Moving my attention from knitting to Yarn Rascal. A disaster all around.

Suddenly putting down the knitting in the middle of a row for any crises imaginable, picking it back up hours later and knitting the wrong row ending.

Thinking it was possible to tink back a row and get it right working in lace weight yarn.

I could go on, but why torture myself? Suffice it to say, I am now working with a life line. It hasn’t stopped the ripping back, but it has contained it from going all the way back to the start every time I make a mistake. I no longer speak while knitting. I no longer respond to crises. Nothing interrupts me until I get to the end of a row and check that sucker off my little counting sheet. This is why I knit ladies and gentlemen: it’s so darn relaxing.

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It’s been awhile since Yarn Rascal has earned the Golden Paw Award for Best Deviant Behavior with Yarn or Other Knitting Tools, but he racked up a humdinger this weekend. I foolishly led myself into believing such conduct had fallen by the wayside. Not so. The Bluefaced Leicester yarn, the completed front of the new baby sweater, and the locking stitch marker attached to the knitting were casualties.

In hindsight, I see that Yarn Rascal was winding himself up for this big moment. I was quite sick the last two weeks due to an awful reaction to medication. Two late night trips to the emergency room for rehydration while we waited for the medication to clear my system upset everyone. Yarn Rascal has never seen me sick and I could tell by his behavior that he was scared. He clung to me like a spandex outfit. Sick and rather scared myself any comfort I tried to give him fell hort of what he needed; which was for me to be up and about.

Finally, this weekend I returned to normal. Our household routines went back to being the same old same old. I picked up my knitting again, Yarn Rascal rejoiced. He got to slap the buttons on the calculator providing wrong answers for my computations. He got to sit on my lap, thereby sitting on my knitting too. He got to steal my pen. He was in his glory.

About the time we went to bed a wind storm came up. Strong winds buffeting the house make Yarn Rascal crazy. He gets very hyperactive. Combine his normal nocturnal tendencies with a keyed-up state and we have the makings of a disaster.

I, on the other hand, was tired and fell asleep. Yes, I heard the thump, thump, thump of his tail in the hallway just outside the bedroom door; a sound that can only mean trouble. I called his name and fell back to sleep. The rhythm of little feet running up and down the stairs bodes nothing good. Crying and tail wagging in the bedroom doorway is akin to disaster. These were some of the ways Yarn Rascal used to try to tell me that he’d gone over the edge and could no longer help himself. He was asking for help. I knew this and yet I just couldn’t break through to full conscientiousness. Then he came up on the bed and jumped up and down on me like a chimpanzee on cocaine. That got me awake.

I was too late. He destroyed and ingested part of the plastic locking stitch marker. I was horrified, sure this meant a trip to the emergency vet. The last thing I wanted was another late night trip to a hospital.

Needless to say we both survived. The Bluefaced Leicester yarn held up surprisingly well under assault. Only a small portion of the finished front needs to be repaired. Since Yarn Rascal ate the last locking stitch marker I had, I ordered more.

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