Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Knitting Rules!

When one sees oneself in a book one is reading, one either laughs or cries. While reading Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot), I laughted a lot, even when it hurt a little. I am still not quite comfortable with my obsessive-compulsive knitting, and I am in denial about my stash. It is telling that the first scrap of paper I grabbed to use as a bookmark was a yarn ball band. And according to this book, I am an "organic" knitter, although in lieu of sheep, I have an angora lop rabbit.

That said, this book is fun to read if you have some experience knitting. And the project-specific chapters are helpful if you have some experience knitting those types of projects. For example, I have knit several hats, so the chapter on hats provided additional information and insight. But I have never knit a sock, so the sock chapter went right over my head. But don't skip the glossary at the end, as it is the funniest.

The best two pieces of advice this book offers are: There are no knitting police, and It is only knitting. In other words, don't be like me and follow patterns slavishly, and don't be afraid to even start. Yarn is very forgiving. It can be knit and frogged and knit again another day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Another Bauhaus

Just like the previous ones, this Bauhaus-inspired design is crocheted in Lion Brand cotton. This dishcloth was a good in-flight project, but I think I hate crocheting cotton yarn. It has no give and the corners would not square up the way I wanted and the result was rather stiff. My daughter agreed to take it off my hands ("Hey, it's a dishcloth.")

BTW, the pattern is available free on the Lion Brand website.

And, for those who want to learn more about the Bauhaus movement, I recommend Women's Work : Textile Art from the Bauhaus by Sigrid Weltge-Wortmann.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wanted: This Sweater

This photo of Jamie Lerner (prez & CEO of Cittio) appeared in Information Week (photo credit goes to Gabriela Hasbun), and I fell in love with the sweater. It looks like it has a belted hood. Wouldn't this be a cool gift for that manly guy in your life? If I could see it in real life, maybe I could figure out a pattern for it. (Dream on!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Swallowtail Shawl Blocked

It's about time, right? Here is the final, ready-to-be-shipped version of the swallowtail shawl I whined about ad nauseum. (For the rest of the story, look here.)

The spare bed came in handy for a blocking surface.

I could not find any straight pins labeled "rust-proof" so I used brass plated safety pins, which actually worked well. I contacted Rowan about the best way to block their silk wool DK, and they suggested pinning, then spritzing, which also worked well. So I pinned, spritzed, then after the yarn relaxed, I repinned.

Even Fern liked the shawl.

I wore the shawl to work yesterday, primarily to show off. It kept my shoulders warm.

Today it goes into the mail, as it is a gift for my stepmother.

When I was about a third of the way through this shawl, I swore I would never do another. Finishing it gave me a great sense of accomplishment, so I might do another one someday. But the biggest payoff has been that my other knitting projects seem so easy now. I feel like I can knit just about anything.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sean's Go Go Garter Scarf

Another SnB "pattern" - garter stitch in super chunky yarn - using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick®. I needed something quick and I wanted to make something from super chunky yarn, just to see what it was like, so here we are. I still don't like using those giant plastic needles, but the end result is just fine.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Olivia's Keyhole

My daughter did not like the armwarmers I knit her, so I frogged them and knit the SnB Windy City scarf, but much longer and in stripes. I also reinforced the keyhole as it seemed rather flimsy.

This is in Lion Brand cashmere blend, which is becoming one of my favorite yarns. It's very soft and springy.

Jason's Kittyville

The Boyfriend liked my daughter's SnB Kittyville hat so much, he wanted one of his own, sans ears. I used Plymouth Yarn Encore worsted, and since his head is kinda small, I dropped down a needle size. The charcoal gray looks almost felted in real life. Très élégant!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This One Is For Me

I love the SnB Coney Island Fireworks scarf so much, I am keeping it for myself. It's a great accessory when I dress in black - light and airy and colorful and playful. It looks better in real life than in photos, but here are a couple anyway.

I did not enjoy knitting it, though, because I don't care for knitting on big plastic needles and I don't like knitting yarns with no give, like fun fur and eyelash. Fortunately, it went quickly and produced lovely results.

For the record, I used Trendsetter Yarns Shadow just like the pattern recommends, but chose Berroco Ultra Alpaca for the other yarn, partly because I wanted something warmer than fleece, but primarily because it was available where I was (at the Yarn Basket), and the fleece was not.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Knitting Vacation

I spent several days with me da and stepmum last week. We did all those exciting things oldsters like to do: daily grocery shopping (part of my dad's exercise routine), TV watching (they refer to "Wheel of Fortune" as "Spin the Wheel"), TV tray dining (good spaghetti and meatballs takeout), etc. My dad didn't want to "go anywhere or do anything" during my visit, so I went armed with yarn. They were happy to have me there and I was happy to sit 'n knit.

However, my stepmother did not understand why I would knit something that could be bought. I tried "I knit this scarf with love" and she countered "It can be bought with love." I explained that I practice stitch patterns while knitting dishcloths because when I'm done, I have something useful, and she told me how cheap dishcloths are at Walmart. But when I was halfway through the SnB Coney Island Fireworks scarf, she began to eye it and ask what I planned to do with it. So I guess you can question the value of knitting while still coveting the results.

I'm still recovering from the trip, but tonight I plan to weave ends and sew seams, so hopefully I will have some pix of finished projects soon.

Friday, December 08, 2006

On the Road

Out of town, visiting family, in Massachusetts. And, of course, had to check out the LYS, the Yarn Basket, and buy some yarn, natch. After the swallowtail shawl, I needed something easy to knit, and have been working on scarves from SnB. For the Coney Island Fireworks scarf, I needed Trendsetter Yarns "Shadow" and the Yarn Basket had it, on sale - lucky me! They did not have the Brown Sheep fleece yarn, though, and I was too impatient to look for it elsewhere, so I bought a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. The two are pairing up quite nicely. I also bought some Patons Shetland Chunky for the SnB Basic Garter Scarf (I'm in a hurry!) And, because I plan to learn to knit socks, I jumped the gun and picked out two colors of Austermann Step ("mit Aloe Vera und Jojoba Ol"). When the final total rang up on the cash register, my dad commented, "At least it's cheaper than golf!"

I also finished the Windy City keyhole scarf for my daughter, in Lion Brand cashmere blend, the very yarn I used to make the arm warmers she rejected. After working with cotton yarn for dish cloths, it was a real pleasure to handle something soft and springy.

More later!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How It Starts

Since I have started knitting again, I have been hearing about other knitters' stashes. My first thought was, Well, that will never happen to me. I don't buy yarn unless it is for a specific project, so my so-called stash consists of only leftover yarn and soon-to-be-used yarn. That doesn't count, does it?

And the sweaters I bought at Goodwill don't count, either, since I haven't frogged them yet. Right?

Nevermind that my daughter came over one day and brought The Boyfriend and pizza and we had to eat on the couch because every other ordinarily suitable surface was covered with yarn and yarn projects. (The couch stays relatively clear because 1) the coffee table holds a lot of yarn, and 2) my scoliosis makes sitting on the floor uncomfortable.)

And nevermind that Saturday afternoon I tidied up the living area by shelving knitting books and relocating knitting projects, in anticipation of my standing date with my SO, but by Sunday afternoon, said living area looked like a yarn explosion. (How does that happen, anyway?!?)

One of my recent no-brainer projects has been to knit dishcloths out of Lion Brand cotton yarn, experimenting with different stitch patterns. A favorite color combination has been "seaspray" and "maize", so I stopped at Joann's to buy some more. They had the seaspray but not the maize. But I really like red, so I added that to the seaspray in my basket. And they had some nice variegated shades. And I want to make myself another scarf, in black wool and eyelash yarn - STOP! I made it out of the store with just four balls of the cotton yarn. (I am so disciplined!)

Then I stopped at Hancock's because I knew they would have the maize. But they had some other colors and color combinations. I had neglected to pick up a basket, so eventually I had a ball of yarn stuck on each of the five digits on my left hand. This caused a cramp, so I stopped picking up yarn and headed for the cash register. (Pain helps enforce discipline.)

So now I have a bunch of cotton yarn that will be turned into dishcloths as time allows. Does that constitute a stash? Or the start of one?

Do I need an intervention?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Swallowtail Shawl Saga

Here is the whole story of the swallowtail shawl:






Ready to block

Swallowtail Shawl Done! (Almost)

I arrived at class on Saturday, ready for the bind off, except for a dropped stitch too many rows before. Fortunately, my instructor was able to pick it up somehow, so I was the only one in the class who actuall finished the knitting. (Pat on back.)

My MO is to rarely swatch and rarely block, but after viewing this shawl on the
Woodlandsprite blog site, I decided I must block. This is a gift for my stepmother, and I am flying in for a visit later this week, so I think I will take it along and block it there.

The second photo shows where I attached each ball of yarn. The first section did not use much, but by the time I got to nupping, the silk wool was running low. I was sweating the end, as I had already purchased the last ball in this color at my LYS, but I finished with a few yards to spare.

Whew! Now I can have my life back. As an antidote, I have been knitting dishcloths.