Friday, March 31, 2006


I'm done with the socks! Pictures later. I'm also finished with Aunt Chris's pillow and I'll be finished with the fingerless gloves tonight. Pictures, pictures, pictures--this weekend, I promise. I still have to sew everything together. Here's my Saturday plan: sew and stuff pillow, sew and stuff cat, and begin new project.

I need something exciting and challenging and fun. I am going to scour my knitting books and other patterns; I am going to spread out all my stash yarn; and I am going to pick something perfect. I'm sure it can be done. Besides, how fun will it be to spread everything out?

I was thinking I'd adapt a pattern from the lasted IK to replicate this sweater:

But my gauge swatch shows that I'll have to use a finer gauge yarn. The gauge was the same as the IK sweater, but the side ribbing didn't quite work.

Perhaps I'll make the IK sweater with the 30 balls of yarn I purchased for this project. We'll see after I spread it all out.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Knitting in the Sun

Soon I'll be in Florida, knitting in the sunshine on the beach. After swimming in the ocean. Ah. Sounds so good.

First, though, an update. Last Saturday I was here with the socks:
Now I have only about two inches before the short-row toe and completion. Perfect plane knitting, I think. Once they are done, I'll sew together the cat pieces (the number one reason I stopped knitting toys).
I'm taking Aunt Chris's pillow back with me, too. I have another four inches of that. I'm forcing myself to finish it; I figure taking a limited number of projects to Florida will encourage knitting on the pillow back. I'm also taking some yummy Louisa Harding yarn for some fingerless gloves. Those are for a present for one of Dan's friends. I am planning a post about why I want to knit for new acquaintances. I've got to get to the airport now, so pontification will come in a few days. See you Wednesday!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Saying Thank You

The Final Page of My Knitting Log
Handmade Paper, Letterpressed, Hand Bound Book
By Aimee Lee
I was going to title the post "Saying Goodbye," but it really isn't goodbye. It's thank you. Thank you to my knitting log. Thank you for all the safekeeping, recording, and nostalgia. Thank you for making me an organized, detailed record keeper (of my knitting anyway). It also isn't goodbye because there are still a few unfinished projects. I'll have to add the ending date when they are finally finished (like the Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts). The cat I'm making for Joseph will complete the final page.

Thank You.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Still Racing

Perhaps knitting fast ties into my competitive nature. I am usually most competitive with myself. As a kid, I was in a number of bowling leagues. The most significant of which was a parent-child league. My dad would continuously give tips on how to improve after each frame. You’d think I would have been irritated by this, and sometimes I was, but I internalized it, too. Each time I would approach the line, I would go over what I was supposed to do, what I was supposed to change, and then I would think, “Aim for the second arrow; look just to the right of the center pin." After the throw, I would analyze each motion I made. Dad would tell me what I did wrong in a kind way, like “your wrist didn’t stay straight. Next time try . . .” I would then try that. I still do this when I bowl. I also do this when I knit--I criticize my own knitting. (BTW, I would never criticize someone else's knitting.)

Often, I’ll leave a small mistake in my knitting. Maybe I do this as a way to show that I have flaws. As a teenager I read a couple of fashion magazines, including Sassy and Seventeen. I was also pretty self-conscious and fairly easy to embarrass (I didn't learn to feel good about myself until college). I remember reading a tip in one of the magazines about how to avoid being embarrassed. The advice was to point out your own flaw before someone else could do it. I internalized this like no other advice I've read since. If I've given you something I've knit, you'll notice that I point out all my mistakes, even the ones I know can't be seen by non-knitters.

I don't have any pictures this post, but I'll update you nonetheless. I am still working on Jen's second sock, I have all the parts for a cat for Joseph, and I'm toting around the back to Aunt Chris's pillow. I hit a wall with Jen's sock, but I'm having fun with it again. Only 4 more inches of ribbing to go. I like seaming, but toys have so many little pieces to seam up. I dread the thought of sewing it all together. And Aunt Chris's pillow. All I have to do is stockinette for another 6 inches or so, but I can't seem to convince myself to work on it. I'll just have to set a goal of an inch everytime I sit down to knit.

I'm thinking of adapting a pattern in the most recent Interweave. I have a sweater that I love that is just too stained to wear out of the house. Believe it or not, I will be knitting it for myself. We'll see how well I can adapt a pattern. Dan also picked out some yarn for socks. I won't be doing 7 inches of ribbing on his socks, I can tell you that.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Need for Speed

This is my first post from my new computer! Thanks to Dan for hooking me (and it) up.

I have been thinking about a number of topics for a post. Having a blog is making me think more often of the philosophical, emotional, and personal aspects of knitting. Most of what I’ve been thinking about stems from either something I read on another blog or something I’ve witnessed or experienced while knitting.

The first thing that got me thinking about posting like this was something I read on this blog. It wasn’t in the post but in the comments. Grumperina was writing about resisting to learn to “throw” the yarn with her right hand. Someone in the comments said that she threw the yarn but has hit a speed wall so is learning the Continental method. This got me thinking about speed.

If you Google “speed knitting” you come up with about 31,7000 entries. Many of these are for tools that help you knit faster (like Addi Turbos), but some are for actual competitions for speed knitting. A Dutch competition (as shown in the first result Google gives me) set the record speed at 257 stitches in three minutes. That’s doing stockinette over 60 rows on 4mm needles (US 6). That is fast. One could whip out a million scarves in just a few hours. But does anyone want to? Isn’t that rather boring?

I myself wouldn’t mind knitting faster. Why? Because I feel that the faster I can knit, the more I could knit. Being a gift-knitter, I don’t think anyone else would mind if I knit faster, either. But I am not going to change the way I knit just to crank out more items. I enjoy knitting. I knit English style, and I have an almost exaggerated throw. I would like to learn the Continental method to make ribbing less tedious, but I find it very uncomfortable to hold my left finger up the entire time. It gets tired.

Dan took some video of me knitting.

I am not knitting at top speed because I am working with size 7 Bryspun circulars and a 100% wool yarn. There’s some drag on the needles and I find it more difficult to work on circulars than on straight needles. I continued to knit while I was watching the video and caught myself going at exactly the same speed. I really do knit this fast. So why do I want to knit faster? Is it even possible? Why am I making excuses about drag and circulars on a video showing me knitting so fast I was amazed?

I have some thoughts on this, but they stray a little from the topic, so I will write more about it later. I think much of it has to do with competition, whether of oneself or of others. I think it has to do with something a little more altruistic, too, but I have two unfinished Christmas gifts in my basket proving otherwise.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

So Much Knitting, So Little Time

First, let me apologize for being absent so long. I've had a lot going on. Andrew visited, I had a party, Jen and family visited, and I got a computer. This is the only computer I've ever owned, so I've been waiting to post until I could use it.

Second, I have a number of FOs, and a few pics to share. I finished Dan's hat:
When I work with 100% wool yarn, even merino from Italy, I get an indent in my finger.

I'm sensitive to animal fibers, but they make such beautiful knitted pieces. I'd be sad if I couldn't use wool and alpaca and angora (they don't skin the rabbits, right?) and all the others. They hold their shape so well and I hear they are very warm. It's another reason why I knit for others. If I only knit for myself, I wouldn't get to use beautiful yarns like Karabella Magritte and Magritte Bulky, anything by Blue Sky Alpacas whose cotton is great, anything by Misti Alpaca, and, oh, so many more.

I've also started and completed my first sock. I'll post pictures later. There are a couple of holes because I read the pattern too quickly. I think I'll be able to fix them before I give the socks to Jen. Dan saw how small the gauge is--9 stitches to an inch--and decided he'd let me knit socks for him, too. Great. Looks like I'm turning to a sock knitter whether I like it or not. We'll see how much I like it after another seven inches of 2 x 2 rib on size 1 addis.

I took a break from the sock to knit a striped hat with earflaps for Joseph while they were visiting. He looks great in the hat. I used some RYC Cashsoft Aran in blue and green from my stash. Joseph is 15 months and has a better vocabulary than some adults I know. He can't string together a sentence yet, but he knows the word for yarn. After looking under the bed for my cats, he went to my yarn basket and picked up some yarn. He handed it to me and said, "yarn." I'm so proud. He didn't like the yarn as much once it was in hat form. He sure looks adorable, though. Read about their visit here.