Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Knitter's anxiety

My only "active" project right now is the Bog Jacket. It's too bulky to haul around, which is causing a certain amount of semi-conscious angst on my part because, life being what it is, what if I had a sudden need for some portable knitting? So I cast on ANOTHER Baby Surprise Jacket, this one in blues. Then I plan to do one in pink and purple (it's not as hideous as it sounds). And then? Maybe I should move on. The problem is the BSJ is like self-striping yarn - it's difficult to stop because you want to see what happens next. (We knitters are so easily entertained.)

There is one more pair of xmas socks to knit, but I want to try knitting them on two circular needles and, impossible as it seems, I don't have the right size needles. Or I do, but they are currently occupied. There are a couple of barely started shawls that turned out to be tooooo haaaaard, and they are holding some Addis hostage.

And then there is that bright cheery PolarKnit that says quick and easy, but again, since I rarely knit bulky yarns, I don't have the right needles. In a few days I will sojourn into the northern reaches of my LYS territory where I hope to resolve these needle issues.

Otherwise, I am feeling a lot of knitting bleh. There is quite a bit of lovely yarn in my knitting stash, so lovely I hate to use it to cast on just any old thing. And there are some lovely patterns in my knitting queue, but for some reason, I just am not in the mood.

So I was thinking maybe this would be a good time to take a knitting break. And just as I thought that thought, I discovered that not only is one of the local yarn stores planning to offer SPINNING lessons, someone gave me a lead on a local alpaca farm that has fleece they don't know what to do with and want to get rid of. That seems hard to believe, but I am going to check it out, maybe even today.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nate's xmas socks

I think this is the year of the too-long socks. The pairs for both my son-in-law and son appear to be a bit lengthy. Tonight we shall see just how well they fit.

Pattern: Generic sock pattern with afterthought heel
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 6-ply
Needles: US2 9-inch circs

The jury is still out on the afterthought heel. I guess if you were out and about and knitting on a sock and reached the heel but was uncertain how to execute a heel flap, heel turn, and gusset without instructions, you could just knit on and add the afterthought heel. In Sensational Knitted Socks, there is a pattern that includes a forethought heel, i.e. an afterthought heel knitted when one reaches the heel instead of when done with the toe. I may try that with the next pair.

The next pair - HA! I'm taking a little break from socks, even though I am short one xmas gift. The recipient, my SO, is not worried, although I don't know why he shouldn't be - there are several projects in the queue for him that have yet to materialize.

Re the Bog Jacket: I rescued it from the time-out chair (because people will need to sit there tonight), ripped back past the shoulder shaping because said shaping did not fit my shoulders, and started knitting again, sans any shoulder shaping.

Re the pink BSJ: I posted a photo of it on FB and a couple of friends have offered to BUY it from me. For the record, I don't sell my hand knits, but it is rewarding when people like what I knit well enough to offer me money for it.

Happy holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hedgerow Redux

It was a year ago when I first finished these socks. My daughter liked them, but they were so loose, they actually flew off her feet when she walked. The socks took a long time-out in the WIP basket before I completely frogged them and started over. And now they are done, thank god.

This is one of my favorite patterns (and may be found here at Knitter's Review). It's great for semi-solid colorways.

I like the Yarn Daze yarn, too. I don't know how it happened, though, that my daughter has all three pairs of the socks I knit with it. I must learn to be more selfish!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Procrastination, thy name is BSJ

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket
Yarn: Lion Brand Babysoft
Needles: US5 circ
Modifications: Added a lace collar with a picot bind off

Monday, December 21, 2009

Broken vow

Well, that did not take long. I stopped by Sarah Jane's on Saturday, and while they did not have the PROJECT-SPECIFIC Karabella Aurora I was looking for, they did have some of this:

When I first read about Polarknit in the SJ newsletter, I decided I would have to try it. But I do have projects in mind: the red will probably become a neck warmer, while the orange and pink will each become ear bands. At least, that is the plan.

And here is my xmas gift for shopping SJ:

Having visited one LYS, I felt bound to visit the other. I came away with stocking stuffers for my hand knit recipients:

Also, a couple of balls of pink Kidsilk Haze which really and truly is destined for a project, Mason-Dixon's "Belinda".

And I brought it all home in this:

After xmas, I will trek on up to Knitting Today, as they usually have an end-of-year inventory sale. Merry xmas to me!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The truth will out

Still cranking away on the xmas socks, and I'm getting a little tired of knitting on US1 and US2 needles. Too bad, because I took some time to create a yarn inventory (with the help of Ravelry) and discovered that fingering is the prevalent weight of yarn in my stash. When you are a stranger in a strange yarn store and feel compelled to contribute to the local economy, a skein of sock yarn trumps a sweater's worth of something mysterious and unknown.

Also mysterious and unknown are the reasons I purchased some of the non-fingering yarn. Certain colorways were obviously inviting, but what was I thinking when I glommed onto 12 (TWELVE!) skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky? Felted boxes ala Mason-Dixon? And now that I have lost the jones for those felted boxes, what do I do with all that yarn? I'll think of something someday.

The stash is not so bad that a yarn diet is called for. However, this I vow: any new purchases must be project-specific and said project must be immediate in nature. Wool festivals exempt. Heh.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Not by socks alone

I was on a business trip last week. The most pressing question as I packed for it was, Which knitting should I take? The two pairs of xmas socks were a no-brainer, but I knew I would get tired of all socks, all the time. The Bog Jacket was too bulky, so I did what any knitter would do: cast on anew.

Yes, I started another Baby Surprise Jacket. And I am loving the pink.

The yarn is Lion Brand Babysoft, a halfway decent acrylic, left over from other projects.

The placement of the stripes is a bit of a mystery to me, but I'm guessing just about any arrangement will be just fine.

Meanwhile, the xmas socks march on. I am done with the tops of the afterthought heel socks for my son, ready for the long trek to the toe.

Having them on 9-inch circs worked well for travelling because I could stash them in my purse and pull one out when things got dull.

And I am almost done with the gussets for the Hedgerow socks.

These socks are from the WIP pile, and this is my FINAL attempt to get them right. Previously, I tried to make them larger, to fit me, but ran out of yarn (this pattern seems to consume a lot of yardage). Then they were too big around for my daughter AND too short. Hopefully, now they will be just right.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Time out

The Bog Jacket is taking a time out while I figure out what to do next. The shoulders between the shoulder shapings seems too wide, but I'm reluctant to frog back half the sweater to repair it. The BJ is based on a "K" number, derived from measuring around one's hips, but if you are a bit overweight like I am, everything else cannot be determined simply by applying simple arithmetic to that one number. And from looking at the models of the BJ in the book, I'm guessing those K proportions were fudged a bit by EZ and MS themselves. For example, my BJ currently has kimono sleeves, but the sleeves on the samples in the book do not. So if I do end up ripping back the sleeves and yoke, I am definitely going to reduce the sleeveage.

Another reason to take a break from the BJ is xmas knitting. I am not one of those nuts who decides December 1 that everyone on my shopping list needs a handknit sweater or afghan or even a six-foot-long scarf. However, I am trying to knit four pairs of socks. One pair is done, another pair is half done (thanks to some excruciatingly long meetings this week), a third is started (barely - see craptastic photo below), and the fourth is still sitting in the stash. Pair #2 is on US1 DPNs, and pair #3 is on US2 9-inch circs. That is, one circ per sock. Knitting on 9-inch circs is a bit hand-cramping, but the first sock is tooting along at a reasonably brisk pace. It is surprising just how much knitting time is consumed by fiddling with DPNs. I'm not too enthralled with toe-up socks, but I am definitely going to give socks-on-two-circs a try because I think I will like that technique.

Football season is up to week 13 of a 17-week regular schedule. Remember my plan to work through WIPs during Sunday games? Well, I have made some progress, even if that progress involved abandoning certain projects I truly did not want to finish, but I will need the whole post-season to reach my goal of no WIPs. The reward spinning has not been happening, but I will try to rectify that after xmas and before spring planting. Really I will.