Monday, October 30, 2006

Goings On

On Sunday I decided to finish up some unfinished projects. I spent the afternoon unraveling the baby blanket. I used my birthday swift to wind the yarn up into hanks by securing the swift on the back of a chair. The swift was parallel to the ground rather than perpendicular, so I was able to spin it easily. Then I soaked the yarn--it looked like ramen in the sink-- and hung it to dry. It still has a little bit of kink, but at least it's not in that lopsided blanket anymore. The yarn smells really good. I didn't use any soap when I was soaking it because I didn't want to lose the smell. I don't know what those Brooks Farm people use, but I like it.

I also picked up Clapotis. A friend at work had been talking about it, and while I was working on it, I was talking to Lynn, who was working on one of her own. It's been sitting in my unfinished basket since April. I'm not exactly sure why I was excited to work on it, but now I've made some progress, so I may as well finish. I was at the beginning of the third section and now I'm over half way through. Only many more rows to go. Actually, I think I'm going to stop the third section after this repeat, which is the 7th. I can't handle much more of this project, and it is pretty long. Maybe I can talk myself into the 8th repeat, but I don't need 12. It's really heavy right now because of the Blue Heron yarn I'm using. I think all 12 repeats of the straight section will make it even heavier, possibly to the point where it would be unwearable. Is that justification enough? I'm simply bored again. I'm ready for the next section.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Waste of Time

Do you ever spend a few days knitting something and then, when you're all bound off and ready to weave in the ends, are simply unhappy with the project? This stocking is like that. I just finished knitting the Aran Stocking from Handknit Holidays. Some people have made a beautiful stocking. Like Sknitty, I want to adapt the contrast color cable--okay, so I'm not quite finished--but I don't know if I like the stocking at all. The foot is too short and the top is too wide. It was a pain to knit the crazy cables. Here's an example of the written directions for just one part of one cable:

"Slip 2 stis to cn, hold to front, M1p, k2, k1 from cn, slip rem st from cn to left-hand needle, k2tog-tbl."

TBL!!!! Oh, why? Wouldn't a regular k2tog look just as nice? The size 13 needle is quite difficult to shove through for a k2tog-tbl that isn't just a k2tog-tbl, but part of a cable, too. Even the simple cables couldn't be simple. Why didn't Teva Durham do a 4-cross cable? Instead, it was 3 stitches crossing over 2. Again, somewhat difficult on the big needles and double-stranded Lopi.

As for the edge, I tried the pattern, I tried a simple 4 cross cable, and I tried to do an attached I-cord. I may end up with the I-cord, if this project doesn't end up in the Never-to-be-Finished basket. By the way, I bought enough yarn for two stockings.

Enough complaining. I'm going to get back to knitting that second Badcaul sock. That pattern is easy and working.

I have a new plan. I am going to think about it for a couple of days, then I'm going to finish the stocking because there is no reason to let it sit. Maybe the contrast color is all it needs. If I really don't like it, then I am going to explore using a regular old sock pattern and the Lopi yarn on the recommended needles to make plain, maybe striped, stockings. Or maybe I'll try the other stocking pattern in the book.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Beginnings

I've just spent five days in Milwaukee at the American Folklore Society's annual meeting. It's always so good to be around colleagues, peers, mentors, and those awe-inspiring, accomplished, respected folklorists I can only dream of knowing. I was lucky enough to meet a few more people (some who fall into the latter category above) and to spend time with others that I've known since I joined this field. Folklore, like knitting, makes me feel like me. I learn so much at these meetings.

An outcome of this meeting was inspiration to start on a project I've been thinking of for over a year now. I started this blog as a means to understand the knitting blogger community, and as the beginning of this research. It was my first step on this project, and now I need to move onto the second step. I don't have all the details formulated yet, but I plan to have a good research plan and interview questions within the week. At this point, I plan on using all of my research for a paper for the next AFS annual meeting (if I get to go to Qu├ębec City, that is). I now need some folks to interview.

If you have a knitting blog and are willing to answer some emailed questions, please leave a comment so I can contact you. I am also planning on asking some knitting bloggers that I read. If you have suggestions, or know someone who would be willling to answer some questions via email, let me know.

Now on to knitting.

I'm done with the first sock! I used a Turkish cast on. I love it and will try to use it whenever I can. The pattern was easy to memorize and execute. It was also fun enough to keep me interested. It was the only project I took with me to Milwaukee, even. I followed an Anna Bell pattern, but I've been working too tightly, as I mentioned in the last post. Notice how stretched it is on my foot. I promise the person these are going to that I will wash and block them.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lurking

Is there a sock knitter lurking beneath these nimble fingers? I cast on for these toe-up socks by Anna Bell on Friday night. Look how far I am just 72 hours later. Plus, I painted my bedroom all day on Saturday. Very little knitting. I am enjoying these so much I may even knit the second sock! I think I'll have to, because there is no way this sock is going to fit my friend who doesn't wear matching socks. Good thing I'm enjoying the sock.

I'm using two size 1 Addis and some Koigu KPPPM that I had from the Chevron Scarf I recently frogged. I just didn't like the two colors I was using. I do like them separately, though. I also think this yarn is great for socks. I'm getting a different gauge than the pattern, which is why the sock is so small. I can squeeze it onto my foot, but it is snug. Maybe it (they) will go to my sister. Maybe to Aimee. Maybe I'll never knit that second sock.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Process, Take Two

There are some knitters out there who knit to learn new techniques and to discover how the stitches all work together (along with pure enjoyment, and for other reasons, too). Not me. I like understanding what happens. I like discovering how one stitch fits into the others, but I'd rather have AHA! moments than set out to learn something.

Obviously, if I'm interested in learning a technique, I have to learn that technique by following the directions and playing around with that technique. I don't want to knit endless swatches, though. I want a finished, giftable project when I'm done. I have enough faith in my knitting abilities to tackle a project and learn the technique on the fly. I learned to cable by making a scarf (cashmere no less), I made that entrelac washcloth, and I learned to decrease by making a sweater (well, a tank top).

Enter lace. Lace has kicked my butt. For every row I knit, I have to take out two--the knitted row and the straight purling row to get the correct number of stitches back onto the needle. I can't watch TV while knitting lace (or lace knitting for that matter), I can't hold a conversation, I can't even stop to take a drink of water. I must concentrate. I've put lace into other patterns, with some tinking and frogging, but I've done it. I made a lovely top for a friend that has a lace bottom, a pair of mittens with lace cuffs, and, wait. Those are my only successful lace projects so far. I swatched for a Rebecca sweater, but I misread the pattern and then couldn't get the second swatch right no matter how I tried. I thought it was just my impatience with the projects. I hadn't dared knit with lace-weight yarn.

Then a friend of mine decided to get married. I thought a lace shawl would be a nice wedding gift. It would. But it isn't coming from me. I've been working on this darned shawl for months now (since I wound those 1200 yards into a ball), and the wedding is in a few weeks. It is not going to be done. I don't even think I can work on it any more.

It seems to me that a process knitter would have swatched it, learned the pattern, then decided whether or not to make the shawl. Process knitters don't mind frogging back rows upon rows to get it right. No way. I don't want to undo my work. If there is an egregious error, or if I catch something soon enough, I'll tink back, or frog a couple rows. If there's a twisted stitch that should be straight, or a cable is miscrossed, screw it. It's my humility flaw. Unfortunately for me, I can't fudge on this lace project. It's for a wedding! In lace, you have to have the right number of stitches to make the pattern work. Somehow I keep ending up with more or less than I should. That last repeat would look terrible if I kept going. So I'm done. No more lace for me. Maybe a cuff or a panel, but no shawls. No yarn that can break if I sneeze. No more.

I guess I'm just not a lace knitter.

Monday, October 09, 2006

It Works!

I can upload (up? down?) pictures from home!

Here are the washcloths I knit on the trip. The blue one I made ahead of time as a safety. The red was knit during Illinois and Iowa; the white and blue was knit during Nebraska and Colorado; the white during Colorado, finished shortly after crossing the Continental Divide; the orange, red, and yellow stripes knit during Arizona and Nevada; and the orange during Nevada.

DG has been using them in the shower, for dishes, and as pot holders. It's always so nice to know that your knitting is being used, isn't it?

I'm working on a hat for a friend with a new baby. I'm also finishing a sweater I started a while ago, now that DG sent back the needles I lent him for the trip. You should see the hat he's made for his niece (he's at work on a second, for his other niece). Like a pro. I guess he's right that being in a car for nine days with your knitting teacher pays off. It did in his case. Anyone else want to take me on a road trip to learn to knit, just ask.

Now that I can post pictures, I will write more. I was in a bit of a funk after the trip, but I've broken that. It's also hard to work up the motivation when I can't show what I want to write about. Don't worry. You'll soon know why I'm not a process knitter, too. I'll post a picture of the (lack of) progress on my lace piece.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

I don't have any knitting to show. But I can post pictures if I use the PC at work. So there are pictures from the trip in the posts below. I made 5 washcloths along the way. The white one in the picture was one of two that were knit in one state. It's also DG's favorite. The other three were knit across two states. I had to drive some, of course, so I didn't have time to knit in every state. I also didn't knit one for California, because I drove during most of it.

The trip was marvelous. As you know, I was knitting these washcloths for DG as a housewarming gift. He never asked who they were for, but we did discuss the patterns and color choices. He'd been eyeing the orange cotton, so I made sure to make one in orange (Nevada). When I gave them to him on Saturday, he was so surprised and happy. He had no idea of my plan. He even used Arizona/Utah in the shower. Said it was very soft and absorbant. Success!

Check out this website. It's a project that DG and some other Hiram alumni have been working on for a while, and it should be enjoyed.

Finally!


Lake Wapella, IA


Pike's Peak


Knitting Across the Continental Divide


Sunset at Mesa Verde
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Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde


Colorado River


Part of the Grand Canyon


Knitting in the Car
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Junk

I'm home in Chicago, but it looks like I'm going to have to move my blog. I still can't post pictures, and I'm sure you all want to see the Grand Canyon from my camera's eye. I'm a bit too frustrated to post right now, so please bear with me a little longer. Everything but the photo upload seems to be working. I might try creating a Flickr account and posting pictures that way, but I'm too frustrated to deal with it now. Maybe tomorrow.