Starting Over

This weekend I cast on for a shawl. I know what you’re saying: “Wait a minute! She’s finally going to write about knitting in a knitting blog?”

This shawl is worth writing about because I’m actually re-knitting it. Not making a second one from the same pattern; re-knitting the same shawl with the same yarn. A few years ago, I cast on for this shawl. (Should I look up the exact date? You really want me to look up the exact date? Really? FINE. I will go to Ravelry and be right back.)

On April 6, 2012 I cast on for this shawl. (Are you happy now?) I had wanted to knit this pattern, Traveling Woman, for some time and I had just the yarn to make it with, an Araucania fingering weight wool in tonal teal. It’s not an overly complicated pattern really — it goes from fiddly to tedious to Pay Attention To Me — but I was working other projects at the time, and from my project notes on Ravelry I can see that I made my fair share of mistakes. Because of the pattern repeats in the lace sections, though, I could usually tell when I’d goofed up somewhere, and I could un-knit those stitches, give my knitting a little more attention, and re-knit the section.

This worked until I was (if I recall correctly) about two rows from The End, Completely Done, Finito!, and Off The Needles. Somewhere in that row I made a fatal mistake. (I was probably tired and knitting with my eyes closed. This doesn’t work very well, as you can imagine, and it’s a particularly bad technique to use with lace.) It was probably a simple mistake because I don’t have enough technique to make complex mistakes. What made it fatal is that I couldn’t determine how I’d made the mistake. That meant that every time I tried to undo it, I was actually making things much, much worse.

At last I realized the truth — I couldn’t go forward because I couldn’t fix the mistake, and I couldn’t go backward because I couldn’t fix the fix to the mistake. So I did what any good intermediate knitter would do. Somewhere around the end of August I sent the whole project to time out. And because I was so frustrated with it (really, with myself) I actually sent it to that special farm Up Nort where old dogs go to romp forever in sun-bathed grassy fields. I told it that it wasn’t its fault (I lied) and that my friend Brandy would take very good care of it and maybe fix it (I lied), and I sent it packing.

On January 1, 2013, I sent a text and asked Brandy to take this project off the needles, pull it apart completely, and wind the yarn back up into a ball. She texted back: “Are you sure?” (Actually, there may have been a 24-hour waiting period imposed. Brandy really wanted to make sure this wasn’t an impulse decision.)

I was sure. A few months later it came back in a box as a humungous ball of yarn.

I wanted to do things differently this time. I wanted to give the shawl more time and attention. I wanted to be monogamous with it. (Knitters, you may laugh heartily now.)

So this weekend I cast on for a Traveling Woman shawl. It’s the only thing I’m working on right now. It’s coming along just fine, so far.

And it’s actually part of a very, very small knitalong. Brandy is making one, too.

This particular shawl is knitted starting from the center back.

This particular shawl is knitted starting from the center back.

 

My, how it's grown! This is after 38 rows. I start the lace charts after 68 rows of...this.

My, how it’s grown! This is after 38 rows. I start the lace charts after 68 rows of…this.

 

Published in: on October 20, 2014 at 11:13 pm  Comments (2)  

Week Forty-Four: Knitting a drunken octopus

A few months ago, a little knitting magazine came out. Now, I buy only one knitting magazine, and I try to always get the current issue (though I think I’m an issue behind right now), look through it carefully, and then file it on the appropriate shelf with its kin. And when I think about it, I don’t believe I have ever actually knitted up a single pattern from the pages of this title, even though I must have four or five years’ worth of issues. Someday I shall, and on that fine day all the patterns will be ready for me.

This magazine was a different title — one I don’t usually look at. But someone in our knitting group had gotten it, and they passed it around (as knitters are wont to do), and… there was this sweater.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed it. At one point, about four of us were talking about ordering special yarn and casting on together. But in the end, just Bonnie and I took the plunge. I got a quick head start, but (as I had anticipated) she soon caught up and passed me. What can I say? She’s a much more experienced knitter, and she’s quick. And it ended up being much to my benefit, as she discovered several errors and confusions in the pattern and was able to straighten each one out for me by the time I got to the next checkpoint.

The sweater is mostly plain knitting, separated by occasional rows of almost incomprehensible instructions. But the most interesting thing about it? It’s knitted sideways, from the cuff of one sleeve to the cuff of the other. This was something new for both of us.

So, you start with the cuff of the left sleeve.

HPIM7106

Then you work the increases for the arm. And you work and you work and you work….

Then, one day, you add dozens of stitches to each side, and BAM! You’re knitting the front, shoulder, and back sections of a cardigan. For seven inches. Across 207 stitches. I wouldn’t personally describe this section as tedious… it’s more like cleaning a cliff face with an old toothbrush as you ascend.

HPIM7108

Then you put the “back” stitches on a holder (or another needle, or a piece of scrap yarn) and you knit up the front panel of the cardigan. Oooh, eyelets again!

Then you put the “front” stitches on a holder (or another needle, or a piece of scrap yarn) and you knit and knit and knit across the back. No eyelets here. Just 104 stitches across, all stockinette. Not tedious at all.

It’s somewhere in this section that absolutely nobody can tell what you’re knitting by looking at it, even (especially!) if you lay it out on the floor in the way that you’ve made it. Even a generous cable needle isn’t long enough to stretch out the work in progress, so the ends tend to curl up. The big flat sections are hard to keep flat without pinning them down, and at this point we’re nowhere close to the pinning-down stage. So what you have is a lopsided wooly mass with possibly two working needles in it at different sections.

It might look...something like this.

It might look…something like this.

So THEN you do something crazy…. you pick up a crochet hook and a totally different yarn, and you chain up at least 87 stitches so you can create a provisional cast-on. Basically that means that you are creating an edge you can knit from later in the opposite direction, after you pull the new yarn out of your stitches as if you’re pulling the magic string from the top of a big bag of dog food. But for now, you’re knitting the right-hand front panel of the cardigan, so you get to your thrilling eyelet rows rather quickly.

HPIM7135

HPIM7136

And THEN you do something even crazier. One fine day, after you’ve done your careful increases and gotten up to 103 stitches on the little front panel, you purl across them and then pick up the back of the sweater and start purling across those stitches too! You’re back up to 207 stitches, so guess what? You have just seven inches of plain knitting to go before you cast off dozens of stitches on each side and descend slowly to the right cuff.

HPIM7140

Easy peasy.

Oh yeah, I do have to pick up those front stitches and knit the button bands and create the buttonholes and sew on the buttons and knit ribbing on the bottom and sew up the side seams. Pshaw. In my mind, I almost have a sweater.

Published in: on October 31, 2013 at 9:00 am  Comments (3)  

Week Thirty: Slogalong

I’m still cranking away on the mystery giftknit project, which I’m starting to believe is really a black hole for yarn. Projects made with bulky yarn and big needles are supposed to go quickly… aren’t they? This one is sucking up time and yarn as if it doesn’t care what combination of dye lots it’s made from. It it’s not careful, it is going to have STRIPES.

This image was swiped from the Yarn Harlot's blog from a post made in June 2005. I hope Stephanie doesn't mind.

This image was swiped from the Yarn Harlot’s blog from a post made in June 2005. I hope Stephanie doesn’t mind.

I have done lots of knitting projects that turned into slogs. There’s the KAL — the knitalong — and then there’s the slogalong, a group event hosted for people to support each other as they struggle to finish Those Projects Which Do Not Want To Be Completed. They may come about over such decisions as choosing to knit a lace bedspread, or to make one dishcloth a day over the course of the year. Whatever circumstances fostered the poor judgment that brought you to this state, at some point you just have to get your needles out and finish the cussed things. (Or rip them out completely and just make something else. But with this much time already invested, do you really want to rip it all out? I didn’t think so. You’re not a quitter. You can do this. You can DO this!)

(Ahem.)

I’ve knitted, um, more than one Doctor Who scarf. I’ve knitted more than one blanket. And I have made some scarves that look simple on the outside, but actually took years to finish because of how long I had to set them aside between steps. Sometimes the pattern directions are misleading (I’m looking at YOU, “198 Yards of Heaven”). Sometimes the stitches are complicated, and require your full attention at a time when you can’t give anything your full attention. Sometimes you just don’t have good mojo, or flow, or karmic balance. Sometimes Mercury is in retrograde and gets blamed for everything. And sometimes all you can do is slip the darned thing off the needles and calmly say, “I guess the yarn didn’t want to be a sweater.” (Knitters really say these things. Back me up, O People of the Yarn.)

Scroll slowly for maximum effect. It’s 13 feet long.

Projects that aren’t inherently monumental can turn into slogs because you’re bored or something’s terribly, terribly wrong and you just haven’t seen it yet. If you’re bored, you might think, “Gee, I’ll just set this aside for a minute and work on something quick and easy to get back into the right frame of mind.” Sixteen more enjoyable projects later, whether you finished them or not, you still have to go back to that original project and decide what you’re going to do about it. They don’t knit themselves. You have to make a decision and take responsibility for it (and that’s probably what we’re trying to avoid).

On the other hand, if it’s taking forever and you’re not bored, something might indeed be terribly, terribly wrong. Find a trusted friend, get out the measuring tape, and uncork the wine. There might be tears tonight, and the sooner you cry them and start over, the better. A cardigan with two left sides really won’t block out. I’m sorry. So very, very sorry.

I will knit on, hoping this mystery project never feels like a slog to me. It’s being made for the best of reasons and with all good intentions. Every stitch is filled with love. All 600,000 of them.

There’s still time to cast your vote as to how you feel I should celebrate/commemorate my 400th blog post. Just go to last week’s post and click on something in the poll. If you have detailed suggestions as to what you think I should do (AHEM! You know what I meant. Keep it CLEAN, people) then feel free to leave a comment. Or tell me how you’ve celebrated a milestone of your own.

Published in: on July 25, 2013 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Week Seven: Renewal

After much agonizing, I have decided to renew a library book which I detest. Two weeks ago, there I was at the library, minding my own business, having dropped by to pick up a series of graphic novel-style mathematics books for my 6-year-old son. On my way to check out the books, I happened to notice a new arrival — a book on Euclid and his amazing book, Elements. I thought it would make a good introduction to book and author before I sat down and tackled Elements for myself.

Wrong, wrong, couldn’t have been more wrong. I started hating this book on Page Three.

Don’t even point.

Wait — now that I look back at it, I realize that I started hating this book waaaaaay before Page Three. Because I hate that the quote from Blaise Pascal that appears before the preface is in untranslated French.

I also hate the preface, which gave me my first sense of the author’s writing style.

It got worse from there.

I soon decided that the only proper course of action for me was to write a scathing review of this book so that I could warn off any of its potential readers. Time is precious these days. If I could establish that this book is a waste of both time and space, we could all move happily on to the next item in the queue. However, I didn’t think it would be fair to be nasty about a freshly published book that I didn’t actually finish reading. (Think back to high school. Can you imagine your Literature teacher’s reaction if you had attempted to turn in a book report on a novel you didn’t finish?) So, I struggled forward, trying to keep my temper. It wasn’t my book, so I couldn’t throw it with great force. I did toss it aside often, though. Then I would think, “It’s not that long. I can really get through this” and pick it up again. Then I would yell “I HATE THIS BOOK!” and put it down again. So my progress in the reading of it was not that swift or consistent over the last two weeks.

Yesterday I got an e-mail from the library… the book is due this Friday. I had 48 hours left to read the book, and 96 hours’ worth of more pleasant and useful things to do within that 48 hours.

So I’m going to try to renew it tomorrow. Between chapters, or segments, or paragraphs perhaps, I shall be sharpening my pen and charging up my electrons. I have two more weeks…. unless someone else, perhaps the author’s mother, is on a waiting list for it.

Slop season. Not spring.

Slop season. Not spring.

One might also look out one’s window here in Wisconsin and imagine that spring is coming and this is a time of renewal. Think again, bucko, it’s only mid-February. Just because you can see patches of grass amongst the snow, slush, and mud doesn’t mean the crocuses are coming any time soon, nor should they dare. And you should probably stay inside yourself if you know what’s good for you. Flu, whooping cough, and black ice are laying for you.

So. Until Spring is really here and there are better things to read that don’t have such a tight deadline and bizarre moral imperative, there is knitting to do. The dropped-stitch lace scarf is complete and has been entered on the Finished Projects page. I have cast on for a Wingspan scarf/shawl and gotten a couple of sections done. It has kind of an unusual construction, but the knitting itself is quite easy. So far, there are three of us in my local knitting group who are making them.

Wingspan in progress

(I don’t know why I can’t get the photo to show up. Sorry, just click the link.)

During the past week I have also gotten my oldest child signed up for his freshman year of high school. He is almost 14. He is almost as tall as I am (he checks this every morning). However, he is nowhere close to understanding just how ambitious his desired schedule actually is: Honors English, Eastern Cultures, Science 9, Geometry, P.E., German 1, and Intro to Engineering. I can’t wait until we get started on this in the fall and pour hormones into the mixture, add heat, and see what happens! He is a bright boy — he will just have to work harder at this than he realizes.

And now, a special announcement:

UNWIND 2013

I’m happy to announce that we are in the planning stages for the 6th “Unwind” social event, to be held Saturday, September 7, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

This event is NOT an official Sheep & Wool event, nor is it an official Ravelry event. It is a private party that you are invited to! The price of admission (which is cheaper, the earlier you register) covers dinner, a goody bag, a chance at a door prize, and the chance to hang out with some seriously fun knitters, crocheters, spinners, and others! And yes, you can and totally should bring your needles, hooks, wheel, spindle, and what-have-you. All the cool people are doing it.

On your registration form you can also choose to purchase a T-shirt. When you arrive at the Festival on Friday or Saturday and check in at our table in the main building, which should be just in front of the fence around the Silent Auction items, you will pick up your goody bag and T-shirt.

We have a cap of 150 attendees, so if you want to come, please sign up early. We can take walk-ins at check-in time at the Festival grounds, but NOT at the event itself.

Updates, discussions, and Q&A should take place in the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival group on Ravelry.

If you would like to help sponsor the event or donate a door prize, please email me or PM me on Ravelry.

I hope to see you there — I’ll be the one wearing the Doctor Who Scarf!

Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm  Comments (1)  

Week Six: Degrees of separation

I’m enjoying a more contemplative day today as the snow gently falls on the pines and the pastures. Having ignored the urgings of the weather service to heed instructions for French Toast Alert Level Orange, I’ve done my driving for the day without adding to my stores of milk, bread, or eggs. Quiet music plays from the TV’s music channel. Knitting is being accomplished; reading, contemplated.

Not taken from my house, but it might as well be.

As I was driving back from “town” this morning I was thinking about how people keep saying that the internet has allowed people to opt out of personal interactions, that we are not learning how to effectively interact with people face to face. I wonder about that. If you know me, you probably know I spend a lot of time on Facebook. I check in several times a day, sometimes for hours at a time. I post, comment, share, like, friend, and play a popular game using letter tiles.

Through Facebook I have been able to connect with interesting people, stay in touch with relatives, and reconnect with more distant souls. My Facebook friends range from my first friend (born two days before me to the family two houses down the street) to people on the other side of the planet, sometimes cyberfriends of cyberfriends. I can peek over the shoulders of my twin third-cousins as they work their way through medical school. I can look at the first photos of the first grandchild born to someone in my high school graduating class. I can witness the silly exchanges between two best friends, or between partners. I can see a list of the songs my sister-in-law is listening to on Internet radio, and with a click of the mouse I can hear them, too. These are the kinds of events I wouldn’t ordinarily witness. They are a view into ordinary life that a class reunion, a family reunion, or even a phone call or a letter doesn’t have a way to truly include.

Through Facebook I’ve been allowed to participate in more joy, anxiety, humor, pain, happiness, and sorrow than I thought my heart would have room for. Babies are born and celebrated, and babies die and are grieved. Kids say the darnedest things. Students study, party, win, lose, and goof around. Pets get sick. Friends make plans, issue invitations, meet up, and share the photos afterwards. Grandparents fall down. People have surgery. Prayers, positive thoughts, and (((hugs))) fly back and forth like electromagnetic waves. Funny jokes and silly pictures are circulated. People are poked. A classmate waits in vigil for her comatose sister to open her eyes and rejoin the world, and her classmates wait invisibly with her.

This is more connection, not less. These are the kinds of shared events that used to only happen within a family. Because of Facebook, our families have grown if we have allowed them to. And not only have I discovered things about my friends and my family — I’ve discovered more about myself. I could compare my accomplishments with those of others and be depressed, yes; I can also encounter unsolicited viewpoints that make me stop, think, reconsider, reaffirm, adapt, change, and grow.

I’m not indulging in these musings just to distract you from the paucity of my knitterly and academic accomplishments in the last week. While the variable weather and the resultant slick (and sometimes invisible) roadways have kept me from getting to campus to work on my math, I am 29 rows (1,218 stitches) away from finishing the dropped-stitch scarf. I have a shawl project all set to go that a real-life, in-person kind of friend is making at the same time. I’ve also initiated a Valentine’s Day cyberspace knit-along event involving a whole batch of friends I’ve never met in person. And I’m making bits of progress on my longer-term knitting projects as well.

This was not a stated goal, but I’ve gotten all caught up with both “Downton Abbey” and “Castle,” and I’m starting on “Top Chef.” Ten more episodes to go on that one. If I have a marathon I might be able to finish in time for the live finale, but I’m not sure. I also have a stack of interesting books I’m trying to make time for. I miss reading.

Knitting to Alcatraz

Here I am… between room overhaulings and giving the kids their 30-minute computer time slots for each thank-you note they’ve finished writing, I have about five minutes to write this post.

Resolution updates:

  1. I am publishing this post on Saturday as I promised. Check.
  2. There is no more progress on the DNA Scarf today than there was on Wednesday. I have done 2 or 3 more blanket squares for a very long-term WIP.
  3. This week I took a day and cleared out the area in front of my closet. It’s the part of my house that really makes me look like a hoarder, because I know what happens when I put things like quilting/sewing, scrapbooking, and knitting supplies out in the free-range areas of the house. They (and the things around them) get ruined. This particular project I would have spread over three days, but I didn’t have three days. Did it in one. I still have some items that don’t yet have a proper place, but I’m working on it ad I can actually use my closet, which makes me feel better and calmer. (Today, the dining room. The Pinewood Derby is next Saturday, weigh-in is next Friday, and Jack and I still have “cars” that are blocks in the box.)
  4. School starts on Tuesday, so my g.p.a. is still intact. 😉
  5. I did get in a Wii “run” and the scale said I lost 1.1 pounds since Wednesday. Or Thursday. Or whenever it was. I think this puts me right back to where I was last Wednesday, but the important thing now it that I have a downward trend upon which I should capitalize.

Since January 1
Saturday blog posts: 2 of 2 (plus a bonus post on Wednesday)
WIPs completed: 1
Needles liberated: 1
Clutter reduced: filled a garbage bag with adult-size clothes for the thrift store, plus three pairs of shoes.
Grades: school hasn’t started yet
Pounds lost: I’ll get back to you later

OH WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT!!!! I can’t forget this. If you are in the U.S., please plan to watch the Fox premiere of the series “Alcatraz” on Monday night. Air time is 8pm Eastern, 7 Central, everyone else you can work it out. I was not originally planning to watch this show even though it has a possible time-portal concept, but now I’m definitely watching the pilot because one of my sister-in-law’s songs will be played on the show. Her name is Lydia Loveless, the album is Indestructible Machine, and the song is “How Many Women.” I’ll tell you now that most of her songs aren’t, ahem, eligible for air time such as this. Pesky FCC. Lydia has been described as a “pissed-off Patsy Cline,” if that gives you an idea. She’s on tour right now and this could be a huge break for her (and therefore also my brother, who plays bass in her band) if people watch the show and start buying the song and the album. So please, help spread the word and give it a watch and a listen.

Published in: on January 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm  Comments (1)  

Slowly out of the blocks

This week is my last week at home before school starts for me again next Tuesday. (I haven’t figured out why college has the day off but all the other schools are open, but hey! it gives me one last kid-free Monday morning knitting meeting before I never see my “morning friends” again.) I’m trying to finish up loose ends, make phone calls, start preparing for the new semester, and generally fix a lot of things this week.

In the past few days I have been wondering a few things.

1. I don’t stay wide awake while I’m reading textbooks like I used to 30 years ago. I wonder why that is?

2. I will be on campus from 7:45am to 3pm every day. (Add an hour a day of travel time.) I wonder when I will keep up with my social networking?

3. This also means I won’t be able to attend Monday and Thursday morning knitting sessions in the group I founded. I wonder how I’m make progress on my lofty knitting-related resolutions?

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm….

Anyway, I’ve been struggling forward with my DNA Scarf. It’s a pattern that takes a lot of concentration on my part and/or silence on the part of others. Or at least the “right” kind of noise. As of this post, I have finished 2.5 repeats. I know where all the errors are, and the scarf is well aware it is being created on borrowed time. If a fatal error does occur, I will NOT re-knit this yarn into this scarf, but into something completely different. A lace shawl, perhaps. Yes, a lovely Kelly Green alpaca lace shawl….. And then I will stuff it in a box and refuse to let it see the light of day. (If events escalate to this point, the yarn and the pattern will have deserved it. Trust me.)

DNA Scarf - 2.5 repeats

In the meantime, I’m approaching the project as a test of the strength of my own stubbornness. Do I really want to make this scarf? Do I really want to keep all my resolutions? Do I really want to follow my own rules? Do I really NOT want to have to announce on my blog that I screwed up so wretchedly that I decided to knit a massive lace rationalization?

In other struggles, I weighed in this morning on the Wii before I did a 30 minute free run. My weight is up a little from last time, but overall it’s still a loss from a week ago. If I keep at it on the dual fronts of Europe diet and Russia exercise, I will get all my numbers down and get healthier and stronger over time. Not-eating-doughnuts would probably help, too.

See you on Saturday for the regular blog post with all the Happy Happy Fun Time Number Crunching!

Published in: on January 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm  Comments (2)  

Progress on Aisle 2

The first week is going well…. I finished a WIP on January 4, then created a blog page for my finished works of 2012 so I could document it there.

I do realize that pages don’t exist for anything I completed in 2011, 2010, and actually the end of 2009…. but that’s not important right now. If I get the flu or break my leg or something and suddenly end up with lots of free time I may copy those words and pictures over from Ravelry. Then again, I might not.

The finished work in question is a hat of my own design. It was started on a circular needle, so even though it took me two sets of DPNs to finish it off, it actually only liberated a single needle. Humph.

Jamie's MIL's Freakin' Hat

Completing that project gave me psychic permission, if you will, to cast on for something else I’ve been wanting to do for a while — the DNA Scarf. As it happens, the Scientific Knitters group on Ravelry decided to have a knitalong for this pattern and all derivations of it. Other people have turned it into hats or socks, but I’m going to play it straight as much as possible.

I got off to a rocky start. I’m using some pseudo-vintage Blue Sky Alpaca yarn, three skeins from the orphan table at Knitch of Delafield. And you start out with 8 rows of seed stitch (The Bane Of My Existence) on size 2 needles. I got four rows in, realized I had committed an error I did not know how to fix, and had to take it off the needles, wind off the yarn, and start over again. The second time I finished the 8-row section of seed stitch, and am now “ready” to start knitting with larger needles and work the real pattern, which includes 5-stitch borders of seed stitch on each side, mirrored mini-cables on each side, and the 20-stitch, 38-row Double Helix pattern. No sweat.

In fact, I did my first repeat of the pattern last night at Late Night Knitting at The Sow’s Ear. The seed stitch border turns out the be the easy part. There was much raising of blood pressure during the first few rows, but eventually it got easier. One thing I did discover is that I no longer know how to do left twist mock cables. But for this project I will settle on doing the same technique consistently, because I am NOT going to start this over and redo it. If I muck this up so badly that I have to frog it, I swear that the yarn will become Something Else. (And, oh, Note To Self: put in a lifeline now.)

DNA Scarf - 1 repeat

If I run into problems while I’m working on this new project, my evolving Rules of Play state that I may work on the next WIP or any long-term project I have on the needles. Considering that I have two Doctor Who scarves on the needles and another one planned, I think it’s safe to say I’ll always have something to make steady progress on. BUT, I cannot cast on for a new project until the current “new” project becomes a “finished” project.

In other news, we discovered this:

Dark Fudge Chocolate Chip Kettle Corn

Oh, my goodness gracious. This does not bode well for trying to lose 30 pounds, but it’s not the kind of thing one eats every day.

Anyway. I haven’t weighed in again yet, so I don’t have progress to report there. UPDATE: I did a 20 minute free run on the Wii Fit Plus for 4.233 miles, and at weigh-in (before the run) I had lost 1.5 pounds since Wednesday.

Since January 1
Saturday blog posts: 1 of 1
WIPs completed: 1
Needles liberated: 1
Clutter reduced: took 1 bag of books, and 2 bags of clothes, to the thrift store. Filled one cubic-yard box of sheets and blankets to take to the thrift store next week.
Grades: school hasn’t started yet
Pounds lost: 1.5

Published in: on January 7, 2012 at 7:20 am  Comments (3)  

Behind schedule

So, based on those poll results, people are more interested in what I’m working on (and putting off) than the projects I actually complete?

Well….. okay. That’s going to work out quite well, actually.

Here’s the WIP list to the best of my recollection. I’ll put in pictures later.

1. Doctor Who Scarf, Season 18, Lion Brand Thick & Quick Chenille. This is well underway, and the only difficulty is that the yarn has been discontinued and the Terracotta and Burgundy colors, which I need several skeins of, each, are tough to find. I have a buttload of Purple in stash.

2. Doctor Who Scarf, Season 12, Caron Simply Soft. I’m making this for a friend and have every color except Brown and Yellow. I just finished the first two stripes. The next two stripes are Brown and Yellow. Time out!

3. Lenten Scarf KAL. This is an interesting project comprised of seven 12-inch squares in a row, making a 7-foot-long scarf. I am halfway through the last square, then need to weave in the ends, block it, and add tassels.

4. Baby blanket. This is the Baby Prayer Blanket pattern, done for a cousin’s baby, due in August. It’s maybe 20 percent done but that may be a generous estimate.

5. Cabled socks. This is the Brigid pattern, and I started this as a January stash knit-down project. Or February. Who’s counting? I am actually at the foot, but suspended work to take on the Lenten KAL with full force. The pattern says to switch to ribbing on the foot instead of continuing the Celtic knot, but I would rather continue the cabling if I could concentrate on the darn thing. Working both socks in parallel.

6. Tilting TARDIS scarf, based on the cowl pattern. This was a KAL timed with the end of the last season of Doctor Who, and we’ve started the new season already. You can imagine the urgency I bring to the project.

7. Cotton blanket: I have knitted 93 of the requisite 225 squares. I have no idea how I’m going to crochet them together. ‘Nuff said?

8. Greenish blue scarf, One-Row Handspun Scarf pattern. Begun on St. Patrick’s day 2010, or maybe 2009. I don’t remember, haven’t touched it in months.

9. A brown hat I’m knitting on the fly for a friend who is also Tommy’s bus driver. Every time she sees me she asks where it is. I last worked on it in December, and now it’s finally spring. Again, urgency.

10. I’m almost ashamed to say I never finished that little Adipose I was making in the summer of 2008? Really? 2008? Good Lord, Tennant was still the Doctor and everything.

There’s probably something else waiting for me to finish it. Are you happy now?

Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Moral Imperatives

Last weekend I was talking with a friend about the progress of some of my current knitting projects.

“How’s that February Lady Sweater coming?” she asked.

“Well,” I said, “I had to finish up Logan’s Blanket, then I had to set aside everything else so I could work on this prayer shawl.”

“Ah,” she said sagely. “Sidelined by moral imperatives.”

I think that for the last six months that kind of sums it up. Every January I sit down and sketch out the projects I want to knit in the upcoming year. I love lists and plans, and it would be great to just be able to sit down and work the plan. But that’s never the way it goes.

Last fall I had started soliciting knitting patterns for a booklet I wanted to do. No sooner had I done that, than the whole Connor Caps project sprang up as something that had to be done. In the middle of it, of course, was Christmas knitting. (Not that anyone actually asked for me to knit them something for Christmas, mind you. We can only speculate how much more knitting I would have been doing had anyone actually requested a knitted item.)

This year was going to be different, yadda yadda yadda. I took up the mantle of a Christmas present that didn’t get done in time for last Christmas, and finished it (and a fraternal twin) for this Christmas. But then I started Logan’s Blanket and was still helping coordinate the other projects for Connor’s family.

Whew! I cast on a cool project for myself and finished it in time to wear it while the weather was still cold. But by then I was organizing a local knit/crochet group, which will have its first meeting tomorrow night. (You are coming to Yarn-a-Latte, aren’t you?)

The most recent moral imperative has been to knit a prayer shawl. My husband’s grandfather passed away at the age of 92 at the end of March, and his grandmother came into possession of a prayer shawl made by someone she didn’t even know. While she is very crafty indeed, knitting is not her “thing,” so she was extra impressed by the thought of someone creating such a comforting item for a stranger. Technically it’s a very simple project, but it meant so much to her that I decided to pay it forward by making a prayer shawl in her favorite colors, blue and white.

Then, last week, my former father-in-law had two heart attacks and died suddenly. And then I knew who I was making the prayer shawl for. I went stash diving, cast on, frogged what I had, re-thought the project, wrote out a pattern, cast on again, harvested the top-down sweater for the rest of the yarn, and have neglected the rest of my projects since last Tuesday. It’s a simple project, true, but the simplicity allows for a lot of meditation as the hands make the stitches. This shawl is full of prayers and happy memories and good thoughts. And though the rest of life does go on and need its own kind of attention, the other projects can wait a bit until the prayer shawl is done.

Then it’s time for starting another Doctor Who Scarf, and knitting a Christmas stocking in summer so I can publish a pattern in the fall. So it doesn’t get any more sane.

Un-knitwise, the kids all took turns getting sick over the course of a week and a half, but they’re mostly better. It doesn’t look like swine flu — cross your fingers. Tom turns out to be farsighted and will need glasses, which explains a lot. I’ve been getting some physical therapy for my hip, which has been locking up. I’m also waiting to hear about TV show renewals for Castle and Chuck. Usually I just watch the show and get mad when they cancel it, so my degree of involvement with “save my show” campaigns this time is a surprise to me. They’re both a lot of fun to watch, and I’ll miss them when they’re gone, whenever that may be.

And, of course, Yarn-a-Latte kicks off tomorrow night at Tan-a-Latte in Jefferson at 6pm tomorrow night. There will be a drawing! name tags! and coffee! (It has already been suggested that maybe I should not be having so much of the coffee.) Knitters I haven’t even met in person yet have been helping me distribute flyers across the county and a little bit beyond. All are welcome, even if you just like to sit and watch other people crochet. Nothing wrong with that!

I might even take my camera and remember to take pictures. And blog about it.

Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 8:47 am  Comments (8)