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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Catch Up

I don’t know where the time is flying to lately, but I am running full out to try and catch up. It is almost 2 weeks now since I met up with fellow blogger and friend, Salpal of What I’m Up To Today blog. It was wonderful to meet her in person and I really enjoyed the time with her. She is exactly the same nice, caring, sincere person she is on her blog. Naturally we hit a yarn store. Such a treat for me, since I don’t have any near me. To be able to see and feel the yarn before purchasing was so nice. Salpal is such a nice person I found myself wishing we lived nearer one another. I really had a wonderful time.

When I came through the door carrying the yarn in a bag, Yarn Rascal raced over to me and I thought I was going to receive a nice big cuddly welcome home. But no. Yarn Rascal ran towards me and actually dove into the bag and came up with the yarn I had bought. With yarn in mouth, he proceeded to dance around the living room like a horse performing dressage. He didn’t let the yarn get out of his sight all night long. In fact, he slept with it in his bed.

Lately, Yarn Rascal has been in an archeological mode. He’s been taking out long forgotten wips and draping them along the floor in the hallway where I can’t help but see them. All my wips are in their own canvas bags which he also leaves in the hallway. Honestly, I didn’t know I had that many canvas bags nor that many wips.

The picture below shows one of the wips Yarn Rascal dug out finally finished.

scarf knit

I started this scarf 6 years ago when my mother and father were in separate ICUs in separate hospitals. The pattern is by Anne Hanson and is called Rivolo. I remember selecting the pattern because it looked like the rain that incessantly ran down the windows of each ICU. The yarn I used was Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the Navy Pier colorway.

It was hard to believe we had moved on to 6 years. The trauma still seems near.

Right now I am knitting socks. It’s very obsessive compulsive knitting. I finished one pair and immediately began on a second pair. I am working from patterns of my own making. Pictures are on their way. Like I said, everything seems to be moving faster than me and I am playing catch up.

 

 

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The sock yarn that didn’t want to be socks is finally a pair of socks.

knit socks dream in color yarn

The actual color is not as yellow as the picture. It’s more a creamy butter color. The yarn is Dream In Color Smooshy in the Butter Peeps colorway. The pattern is http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mary-mary-8″>Mary Mary</a>. I don’t know why the http address is not coming out right, but a lot of things have been screw ball crazy on WordPress for me lately.

The modifications I made on the sock are small. I worked both a short-row toe and heel, changed the cable on the sides to a broken garter stitch and did a sewn bind off without a cuff. I knit them on a 9 inch (23) centimeters long US 1 (2.25 mm) circular needle. Despite the fact that the circular needle was 9 inches (23) centimeters I was able to comfortably use it to work my 7.5 inch (19) cm circumference.

I immediately started another pair of socks–anything to delay working on the Shetland Shawl project. I keep telling myself that I just need a little more of a break from intricate lace work.

On the home front, The Skipper has decided to replace all the windows on the second story of the house. I don’t normally get excited over window replacement unless the windows that are being replaced are in the two rooms where my over-flowing stash and wips and all things knitting and crocheting are housed. So let’s say I am really, really excited.

I went into just one of the rooms to contemplate the mess situation. I had a full on panic attack at the thought of having to bring some kind of order to it. The Skipper, trying to help, suggested I sort what I was going to keep from what I was going to get rid of. Get rid of???? Nay, kind sir, there is not a scrap of yarn, nor any other knitting or crocheting accoutrements I can part with. Yarn Rascal sat on his small mountain of yarn and watched as the blood drained from my face and I almost fell into a faint at the thought that I might have to part with any of it. I mean I have plans for all this yarn.

The Skipper said if I lived to be 100 I would never use it all. That, of course, is not the point. Like a connoisseur of fine wine or fine art, all of the yarn—except the bags of yarn from my mother’s weaving stash–so almost all of the yarn, was acquired at a great price and with considerable thought, especially if it was on sale. It takes almost a full three seconds to look at, contemplate, then hit the buy button if I know what I am looking for. If I am unsure, it could be a full 10 or 15 minutes of looking and contemplating. Just acquiring yarn is an art unto itself.

I pointed out that some of the yarn is the only one left of its type because it was discontinued. While I may not immediately have a project in mind for it right now, I am waiting and thinking about what sort of project will perfectly fit it. I mean some of my stash is museum quality. I could see that Yarn Rascal understood but The Skipper did not.

If you want a hot stock tip, invest in the Rubbermaid company. From the looks of things, I am going to buy loads of their containers.

 

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I never thought it would happen, but I’ve finally come across sock yarn that doesn’t want to be a sock. The culprit is Smooshy by Dream In Color in the Butter Peeps colorway. Smooshy, along with MadelineTosh Sock, are my go to yarns for socks and I’ve never had them fight me the way this yarn is doing.

knit socks

I’ve had Butter Peeps in my stash for a long, long time. Yarn Rascal unearthed it when I was trying out the Mary Mary sock pattern on Ravelry. (I’d put the link in to the pattern but WordPress is acting strange lately and won’t let me).

The Mary Mary pattern is the perfect pattern for this colorway. So no matter how hard the yarn fights me I am determined to make it into this sock. After all, masochistic knitting is not new to me.

Since I knit socks from the toe up the first place the yarn gave me trouble was making the short-row toe look right. It did not want to make a nice neat short-row. So each toe of each sock was *worked, ripped, and worked again* repeat from * to * four times. I never have this much trouble with short-row toes.

The second problem is why I don’t “usually” buy sock patterns, though you would never know it what with all the sock books and loose patterns I have in the sock making area of my stash. I could knit socks forever and never complete all the sock patterns I have stashed. Yes, in addition to stashing yarn I stash patterns.

Back to the second problem: I can never get gauge. The gauge will say 9 stitches per inch on size US 1 needles (2.25 mm) and I can only average about 7. I would need to drop down 2 needle sizes to even begin to reach 9 stitches. I can hear the snapping of dpns as I write this. No, 2.25 mm is the tiniest I can go and stay sane. I use the word “sane” loosely.

Because I can’t get gauge and my sock size is 7.5 inches (19 cm) in circumference I need to adapt whatever sock pattern I am working from. This means studying the pattern, deciding how I can adapt it so it looks close to what it was. Sometimes that is easier in theory than in practice. Though, with this particular sock all I needed to do was drop the cable at both sides of the instep and replace it with broken garter stitch. For me, the look is still close enough to the original to be pleasing.

Since I was experiencing all sorts of idiosyncracies working on dpns—holes where there shouldn’t be holes, wonky stockinette stitches, and a strange puckering of fabric every so often— I decided to knit it on a 9 inch (23 cm) small circular needle. It helped tame the yarn somewhat, though the yarn still does not want to play nice with p2tog.

I have about 30 more rows to go before I have to work the short-row heel. I have zero expectation that it will work out well on the first go round. The last heel took three tries before it looked right.

Finally, I thought I’d share this picture of Yarn Rascal with you. Notice the gleam in the eyes, he is planning his evening activities in the yarn vault.

yarn rascal

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Searching

I’ve been looking for the Rowan Glace I know is lurking somewhere in one of my stashes. Having come up empty handed I thought I’d turn the task over to the master of the stashes, Yarn Rascal. After all, he spends his entire nights not sleeping but unearthing things from the yarn vault.

Lately he’s been in archeological mode. Finding and uncovering wips that I have long since forgotten about. He carefully drags them from the closet and displays them on the floor in the hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom where I can’t help but see them. Two of them have caught my interest and if I can find the yarns, beads, and patterns I was using I would love to finish them. Yarn Rascal can’t help me find the beads because he will eat them. Nor can he help me locate the patterns because he will shred them as he does yarn ball bands. Anything that’s paper, including money, must be ripped into small fragments.

So last night I begged him to put his archeology hat away and find the Glace. Along with some archeological finds he unearthed a significant amount of yarn. Alas, none of it the Glace. While putting the yarns -sans ball bands- back into their respective places I realized that all the yarns Yarn Rascal had taken out were either Shetland, merino, or some other pure wool yarn. Not one was a combo of wool and silk or wool and cotton. None were cotton or linen yarns. The dog has his preferences and if it is not pure wool he ignores it. Until now I hadn’t recognized how particular he is in his choices.

Unfortunately for me, Glace is a pure cotton yarn and therefore not on Yarn Rascal’s radar. That means it’s up to me to find it. I’ll give it one more week of searching and then I’ll buy a skein. All I want it for is to swatch a baby dress idea that’s been kicking around my head and because it is a spring/summer sort of thing I’d like to use cotton yarn. Why is nothing every easy?

 

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I assure you, knitting is taking place. I am working on the Cameron Shetland Shawl by Susan Miller.

the-cameron-shawl

I am working from the center out, which means I only need navigate 125 stitches at a time. The stitch repeat is only 10 or 12 stitches. Oh the numerous ways a 10 to 12 stitch repeat can go wrong. Let’s count them, shall we?

1) Knit the wrong row entirely. Repeat this periodically throughout the 242 row process.
2) Knit while someone is talking to you.
3) Knit while watching television.
4) Dog steals knitting and dismantles it to his liking. Dismantle what dog has dismantled and try to pick up stitches from life line.
5) Realize you can’t see life line because it is a very pale lavender and fades away completely against the white frothy-ness of the Shetland yarn. Starting from the beginning is the only answer. Do not cry. It is too early in the process for crying.
6) Toss stash for a darker life line yarn. Come up empty. Have an argument with yourself over whether to shelve the knitting until you go to the store and get a darker yarn or to continue with the very pale lavender because you’re afraid a darker cotton yarn might unintentionally stain the white Shetland yarn. When the migraine appears, knitting is done for the night effectively ending the debate. Take two headache pills. Go to bed.
7) Memorize the repeat of a row, only memorize it wrong. When you get to the end of the row notice the stitch count is off. Rip back to the very pale lavender life line and try to pick up the tiny white stitches. Make a cup of Chamomile tea, drink it slowly while repeating the words “It’s okay. Everything will be fine.” Put the knitting away for the night.
8) Memorize repeat of row, memorize it correctly. At end of row stitch count is off. Carefully review row. Repeat the review at least 3 more times. Fail to see where the mistake is. Rip back to the very pale lavender life line. Crying is now allowed.

Of the 242 rows I managed to knit 60 rows successfully.

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The State of Knitting

Perhaps it is just where I live but the state of knitting seems to be on the wane. The large Barnes and Noble store near me no longer carries any knitting magazines. Vogue Knits, Interweave Knits, Verena, Debbie Bliss, Knitting Universe are all gone from the shelves. None of the workers I asked had a clue, but one said that knitting magazines “just don’t sell”.

I went to the local Joann’s Fabric store to see if they had any knitting magazines and they too had none. When I asked about it, I got the same answer that they don’t sell.

I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. My own automatic magazine buying stopped a long time ago. I did like to flip through the knitting magazines, occasionally buying one if there was a technique in it that particularly interested me.

I suppose the internet has made it hard for the print magazines to exist. But I do miss flipping through the issues looking at the projects and the advertisements. Not having the magazines out there is just one more way in which knitting loses its visibility.

 

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Where I’ve Been

Just before Christmas I lost my computer to a broken hard drive. I didn’t know hard drives could break. It’s not like I use the computer in an Indy 500 kind of way. But break it did.

Try to get a computer fixed over the holidays. It doesn’t happen, my friends. I had to get the original operating system from the maker. I can say with a high level of certainty that I will never buy this particular brand of computer again.

At Christmas we lost my mother-in-law. No one was feeling festive.

Next up my Barnes and Noble nook died. I’ve had it for years–their original version. Because I read voraciously, the nook prevents books from collecting all over the house. My mother-in-law was also a voracious reader and we often talked about authors and shared good reads.

Then the year old car had a number of indecipherable icons light up, most with exclamation marks besides them so it conveyed a sense of urgency to understand what the hieroglyphs meant and get them fixed.

At this point, I was feeling the fates just were not with me. Though I was knitting it wasn’t the relaxing kind of work. I was making fingerless gloves to go with the cowl I knit. For the life of me, I couldn’t seem to reverse instructions when it came to the right hand glove. I ripped out twice. Then I knit a full glove only to find it too wasn’t a right hand glove. Yarn Rascal was craving the particular yarn I was working with. Rather than rip yet again Salpal suggested I gift the glove to Yarn Rascal, who had sat in my lap diligently holding the end of the glove in his mouth while I knit it. He is now the recipient of a fingerless glove and sends his love and thanks to Aunt Salpal. He says he owes you one.

Pictures of all will be coming as soon as I repurchase the photo editing software and install it.

Right now Yarn Rascal is sitting in the doorway with a pen in his mouth. It means he’s gotten into the desk drawer again, a place he shouldn’t be in. His tail is wagging madly because he knows he shouldn’t have the pen but he just can’t help himself.

Ah, me.

 

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