Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sheep, Sheep Everywhere

But not a yarn to knit. Lots of yarns being spun here in Elko, Nevada, where I'm hanging out for the week. I'm working as a folklorist at the 23rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, so don't expect to hear from me until next week. I'll be listening to Cowboy Poetry, herding kids, and interviewing folks at the Sheep Camp. I've been helping in the gallery, which has some great videos and a working jukebox full of cowboy songs. I'm a little tired of cleaning glass and plexi, but the cases are going to shine tomorrow when the gallery is open. Things get into full swing on Tuesday, I think. I can't wait. I've seen more cowboy hats than I ever imagined I would. I can't imagine how many I'll see by the time the week is over. I may even splurge on some fitted-for-me cowboy boots, if I can find the time.

I'm working on the something for Jen, and a Dream Swatch in some bamboo that I bought for the trip. I hope something will be finished by the time I'm back in the city. Until then, please visit the Western Folklife Center's website and virtually join me at the Gathering (there are even a few blogs you can visit).

Monday, January 22, 2007

The ends are now woven in. These will be sent to my sister tomorrow. I hope she likes them. I don't know that I like making fingers. Too many things going on at once, too many gaps to close up, and way too many ends to weave in.

Now? I think I'll swatch for the something for Jen. Until I get the materials for the thrummed mittens anyway.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I just ordered the Knit Picks Options set. I had been resisting because I've been trying to save money instead of spend it. Here's my justification: they are a bargain. I just spent $15 on a size 7, 16" addi Turbo circular needle. Options doesn't come in 16" lengths, which is too bad, or the set could replace all my circular needle needs (I suppose I should hold judgment until I see them, but knitters I trust really like them). The Options set is $59.99, and shipping was free. I was going to make slippers from One Skein last night, but I only have one 24" size 8 circular needle (it's Bryspun. I used to have two lengths, but the 16" broke when I made the slippers for my Babci). I use the two-circular-needle method almost exclusively for small diameter circular knitting, which means that I'm going to have to purchase a set of tips for all the common sizes. I decided that making these slippers is important, and that I have to do them this week. So I thought about running to the LYS and grabbing two pairs. I thought about buying another 16" Bryspun, but as much as I love them in a straight needle, I don't love them for circular knitting. They break. The price of the Options kit is equivalent to four addi Turbo needles. So I ordered the Options. I'd better go back and order another set of size 8 tips.

I also created a simple spreadsheet to determine what needles I need. Though I have at least half the sizes in 24", I don't have needles with cord lengths longer than that. The problem is, the needles won't come for a week or two. I hope the mail is faster. As long as I get them before I leave for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, I should be fine.

This all leads to something I've been thinking about. I have this tendency to create lists of projects I must work on. Right now, my list is 15 projects long, and 10 of them are things I feel like I have to knit. Many of them have deadlines, both actual and self-imposed.

I do this thing where I make these lists and then I find other things that are more pressing, or I don't have the yarn (or needles) to make what I want from the list, so I make something "quick" instead. Now, this wouldn't really be a problem except that I purchase what I need for all the projects on the list and then I don't knit them.

Remember the Bea Ellis kit? That's in the waiting pile. So is the yarn for the other colorwork hat, We Call them Pirates. I'm working on the fingerless gloves for my sister and a sweater for Joseph (it is on hold until I get the 16" needles--the two Bryspun circulars for such a large diameter was not fun). I've purchased yarn for a special something for Jen. I also started a bag for her, out of some Summer Tweed by Rowan, but I may try to starch it into a bowl. I didn't like the way it was turning out. And I just made that hat for me, which wasn't on the list.

So I have all these projects planned and what do I do? I buy more yarn (and fleece) for some thrummed mittens. I try to start on some slippers. This is just like me. I haven't even swatched for Jen's something. I have one glove down but haven't started the other. Will I ever get to the other things on the list? Will I ever get to the list I made in June? Will I ever make something just to try (the thrummed mittens will satisfy that)? I don't know how I'll ever get a sweater finished again. I get so distracted (I have had a sweater minus one sleeve in the waiting basket since October).

Here's my current list, with due dates listed. I'll bold the items for which I have specifically purchased yarn, and star the items for which I'll use stash yarn. If it's not bold or starred, I will purchase the yarn at some point.
  1. Fingerless Gloves, due before it gets warm in southern Utah.
  2. Bag for Jen*, no due date, but I've wanted to make one since June
  3. Sweater for Joseph*, due the next time I visit them
  4. Dress for Renée, due along with Joseph's sweater
  5. Pirate hat, due before the cold weather ends
  6. Bea Ellis hat
  7. Socks for Stefan, due next visit to Michigan
  8. Something for Jen, due next visit
  9. Something for coworker*, due in July
  10. Thank you gift (haven't decided what) for a gift I received in November*, due soon
  11. Wristlet*, due soon (I'm keeping all my essentials in my coat pocket right now)
  12. Thrummed hunter's mittens, due February 23 or so
  13. Thank you hat* for recent visit to CO, due before cold weather ends
  14. Curtain for kitchen*
  15. Jacket (this is just something I've wanted to make. Like the Bea Ellis hat and curtain, it probably will be a while before I even think about it).
I'm going to work on the fingerless gloves this week. Well, until I get the yarn and fleece for the thrummed mittens. I'm very excited about those (for now). Maybe I should buy the yarn for the dress and the jacket and then join the Knit from Your Stash knitalong. Is that cheating? I should just make rules for myself. No new projects added to the list until the list is 75% complete, no 50%. It won't stick.

I wish I had pictures to end this long post, but I only have a floppy bowl/bag and one glove finished.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


This weekend I visited Colorado as part of a documentary I'm working on. Follow the progress of the subject here. On the three-hour flight there I knit a washcloth, which I intended to give to our hosts as a thank you gift. But look at it. It's all wonky. I don't know if the white's gauge is different than the blue's, or if the decrease edges are bigger than the increase edges. This pattern is so fast and pretty. Too bad it looks wrong. I'll be thanking them with a thank you note, I think.

The Rockies are such a pretty place, especially with all the snow they've had recently. It was downright cold, though. I didn't spend too much time outside, which meant that I got some knitting in. I've started fingerless gloves for my sister. I tried out a more complicated pattern, but I think she'll like something more functional, so I switched to a simple ribbing. I was also going to use a dark purple for the hand, since my sis will be using these while working with animals (she works at Best Friends Animal Society--donate to them, they do good work). Again, though, I figured she'd like it more simple, so I'm sticking with the lavender (called Monet by RYC). I love this yarn. I think I may use the dark purple for some socks. It's so soft, springy, and washable. My three favorite yarn criteria.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I just found out that the Winter Delights Stitching Salon that I'm teaching is full. 15 people! Yikes. I love teaching knitting, but this seems so BIG! Am I really an "expert?" I guess so. Well, we'll see if 15 people can learn to knit a hat using two circular needles.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Lucky Number 13

Thanks to Carrie over at My Middle Name is Patience, I now have 13 knitters who blog answering my research questions. Of course, I'd still like to bother more people. If I want to present a paper at the American Folklife Society's annual meeting, I have to have an abstract submitted by March 31. I'd better get moving! The interviews are only the beginning. I still have to learn about how blogging communities function (any resource suggestions are welcome), and research relevant folklore topics.

I made a hat for myself. I used some Classic Elite Premiere from the stash. I decided to decrease for the crown in an obvious X pattern, so I did a double decrease each row. This meant the shaping happened fast. I had done the ribbing for 2 1/2 inches, so it would fold up over my ears. I look great in hats, save for three styles: cowboy, baseball, and anything that fits closely. Folding up is necessary in a hat for me. After my decreases were done, the hat fit, but I couldn't fold up the brim. Shoot. So I tried unraveling the brim, but you can't unravel ribbing from the bottom very easily. Finally, I took the scissors to the knitting. I cut off the ribbing, picked up the stitches, and knit it down. This time I knit 3 1/2 inches and used all the brown yarn (one stash ball down, hurrah). I bound off using the same bind off as I used on DG's socks.

I got an email from DG yesterday. Like any good knitted-gift recipient, he wore them immediately. He even wore them out. He says they fit perfectly and that he can't feel the bump from the bad short row heel. So far, I've knitted four and half pairs of socks. I know two of those pairs fit perfectly, and one pair fits well after it's on the foot. One pair didn't work so well, and the half-pair was sent, but I haven't gotten a verdict. I think it's time to cast on for another pair.

Friday, January 05, 2007

To the Frog Pond We Will Go

I don't have pictures. I don't have any finished objects. I've started a plain, top-down raglan sweater for my pal Joseph, which shouldn't take too long. I got past the arm holes after just a couple hours of knitting yesterday. I'm using some Rowan All Seasons Cotton from the stash. I also frogged and reknit (twice) the Bea Ellis hat. I'm not happy with the color choice. Both the brown and the blue are rather muted and just blend together in the pattern. It also makes it hard to see, so I've been making mistakes. I thought I'd switch which color was the main color, but it doesn't help. Here's a tip: don't try to watch a subtitled movie and knit your first real Fair Isle project. It just doesn't work. So I frogged it a second time and am contemplating buying two contrasting yarns. I could get two hats out of this problem, so it works out, right? I've also gotten a lot of tension practice, too. For some reason I'm resisting using my left hand to hold the yarn, and I think I've got a comfortable handle on using my right hand for both colors without dropping the yarn each color change. I still need to pay attention to keeping the tension loose, but I think it's due to the sticky wool rather than my bad tension. We'll see. If I ever get back to it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Year of Adventure

Everyone seems to be talking about their knitting resolutions. I don't really have any at this time. I can't afford to buy yarn this month, but next month may be a whole different story (and there's no stopping me if I think I need yarn, which I will for the next three projects I'd like to make). There aren't any techniques or projects that I want to attempt but haven't for some reason. There are many things I want to try, but nothing that requires a resolution.

I finished the socks. The second socks took about three days. I could have finished in two, but I had to rip back because I'd added a stitch and I didn't like the way the color was pooling. I cut and rejoined the yarn at the point I started the ribbing, which is where I ripped back to.

These socks were done without a pattern (go me!). I used a Turkish cast on for the toes, stockinette for the foot, short rows for the heel, and a 3x1 rib for the leg, and a bind off described by Grumperina. I made the leg a little longer than I normally would because I just don't know how long men's socks should be. Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns suggested an even longer leg than I made, but I was worried they'd look like knee highs. The bind off was a little loose. I went up two needle sizes to a 4, but probably should have only gone up to a 3.

I tried misocrafty's technique for picking up the short row stitches, which I did wrong on the first sock and correctly on the second. You can see the difference below. The second is so pretty. The yarn is 100% wool Wool in the Woods Cherub, which I got from my birthday swap pal. It was pretty wooly, and left me with a very indented forefinger at the end of the night, but it's not so scratchy I couldn't work with it. I think it will feel nice on DG's feet, since he can tolerate wool just fine. I'm not showing a picture of the whole sock, because something needs to be a surprise. Oh, and the color is way more pastel-y than in the pictures.