Monthly Archives: September 2003

Basic knitting skills required.

From Nanette:

10. If a project is bugging you, take a break or abandon it. It is wrong to force yourself to knit something you aren’t enjoying. You should ALWAYS enjoy the process of knitting.

Okay, I’ll say it: My felted bag is no fun. At all. I’ll eventually get it done, but I spent two and a half hours working on it with my favorite knitting tutor on Saturday, and even she – a woman who’s been knitting since she was ten – said “This isn’t easy. It’s not you.”

You know, the pattern says “basic knitting skills required,” but I would have appreciated something more along the lines of a warning label: “This pattern requires extensive use of double-pointed needles with small numbers of stitches, and you’ll probably want to know more than one kind of increase – if this is your first project with DPNs, adjust your frustration levels accordingly.” Ugh. Okay, moving on.

meeses.jpg On the bright side: two lovely mousies off to Wendy for the mouseathon. These looked so much nicer after they were stuffed and finished, I impressed myself.

I’ve also started swatching for the Knitting Pure and Simple sweater in Patons Ballybrae Black Forest Tweed, a worsted wool in deep navy with tweedy flecks – I found *one skein* in a local store, and they said it had been discontinued – two years ago. Thanks to a request to the knitswap list, not 24 hours later, I’d located someone willing to sell more than enough for my sweater. Now I guess I’ll have to stop haunting the EBay Wool listings and get knitting.

Tomorrow, I sock.

sockprep.jpg I can’t believe I’ve waited this long, but with two mice for Wendy under my belt, I’m ready for a sock – yay! I was fortunate enough to discover the Cascade Fixation grab bag at One Fine Yarn, and even though I couldn’t make up my mind, I think Rita did right by me – lime green, turquoise and lemon yellow – it’s like a little slice of Miami in September. Plus, I now have two sizes of Brittany Birch DPNs, and I love how delicate they are – they’ll keep me from clutching the needles with a death grip.

I can’t say crocheting a chain to start off has been easy (mine keeps twisting), but it’s getting faster, and once I have 26 stitches, it’s time for a toe-up sock. And I can’t forget Wendy’s lesson on tip top toes at Knitty.

Speaking of Knitty – did you see that Latifa scarf? I did, and I am so making it – after all that knitting-front-and-back increasing for the nose up mouse I just did, that ruffling will be a breeze. I also have the bpt cabled pullover in mind, because there’s an LYS only an hour away that stocks Schaefer yarn. I saw that there was a question on the knitlist today concerning whether the bpt pattern might have a discrepancy in the number of stitches to cast on in medium, so I’ll look into that before I start.

Socks away – I’m so ready, I may even add stripes my first time out.

Eff-Oh, version 1.

scarffinished.jpgLoads of good news all around: I’m delighted to report that I have an FO: I finished the Bernat knit-and-purl scarf with a minimum of fuss – it turned out nicely, no? My finishing technique is improving, even if it’s just a few stray ends, and the tension was pretty consistent throughout. If I had it to do over again, I might knit it in the round, a la the Harry Potter Scarf becaue I am so over looking at the wrong side of a garment (though the reverse of the Bernat scarf looks just fine, really).

To my shock, I also found out that I won a Knitting Beyond the Hebrides Virtual Conference door prize for naming five yarns that could be used as substitutes for Alice Starmore’s dear, departed Aran-weight Bainin:

Rowan Magpie
Annabel Fox 3 ply
Bovidae Farm fisherman weight wool
Cascade 220

It’s some delicious Donegal Tweed. Though I still rank as a novice knitter by KBTH standards, I cannot tell you how interesting the list and the Virtual Conference are to me – my knitting is improving by osmosis, and techniques that seemed mysterious are making loads more sense thanks to the lively KBTH discussion.

Finally, my knitting mentor called me back – she’s offering classes locally – and they start tonight! The first session is really for beginners, but she specifically mentioned that people with stalled projects were welcome – that means the felted tote and I have a date! I’ve actually managed to get it started (I know – it actually worked!), but I could still use a little DPN driver’s ed. Onward and upward!

Life is too short to knit with ugly yarn.

I’m already contemplating what to start once the knit and purl scarf is complete. I wanted to use the sweater I have in mind from Pure and Simple Knits to discover a new yarn at a real bargain. My knitting theory? I’m convinced that there’s a great, flowing current of knitting materials and yarns for sale if you’re willing to look – after all, people de-stash and yarns get discontinued all the time – don’t they have to go somewhere?

But as I sifted through hundreds of listings and hopped from website to website looking for bargains, I realized that I could easily get stuck with a yarn I didn’t love just because I was anxious to get something on sale. Am I really going to love that orange color day after day? I’d be tired of my sweater before I ever put it on.

But the colors that make me go “oooh!” are ones like Volgassippi Blue or Latvian Lavender from Peace Fleece – those knit up at four stitches to the inch and the Pure and Simple pattern I have calls for five. I could switch patterns, to something like The Incredible, Custom-fit Raglan Sweater, but I have a pattern already that I like just fine. Or at least I thought I did. I know the knitting world seems to be divided on the use of bobbles, but isn’t this a great sweater? And these colors make me go “ooh!” Between their great prices and excellent selection of Peace Fleece and Mission Falls yarns and kits, Camilla Valley Farm appears to be quite a resource.

Anyway, back to our 5 stitches to the inch problem. Several Knitlisters recommended Brown Sheep NatureSpun, one recommended Cascade 220, and another pointed out that PeaceFleece comes in a DK weight. Still another person recommended Lorna’s Laces; how beautiful. After even more looking, I may go with Berroco Sensuwool – there’s quite a deal here.

As proof that I’m a color hound as well as a bargain hunter, I think my next book purchase will be Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified; conveniently, it qualifies for free shipping if I buy The Purl Stitch. Twist my arm! Look at all the money I’m saving!

One ball of yarn down.

Work on the scarf is progressing, thanks to the long weekend (click the photo for a closer view), and I used up my very first ball of yarn. One ball of yarn down, three million to go. Christine Lavin says that you should cover knitting mistakes with sequins, and while this scarf needs some sequins, it’s a respectable first effort. I’m also a little tired of it, and ready to make sweaters and socks, truly useful everyday clothing. My friend Beverly taught herself to knit by making several of the sweaters from Knitting Pure and Simple, including this v-neck tunic – I’d make it a little more cropped (so I guess it would no longer be a tunic), but I’m all over that v-neck. How fun would that be?

In other news, I made a new design for Knit One, Purl Too using the Firda-matic page maker from Firda Beka – kind of a bring your own graphics and colors, take away a new layout kind of thing. Cool, huh? (See the three-column version here.) Only about 14 inches to go on that scarf – and that’s not counting the fringe.