Monthly Archives: March 2004

Cast on, knit, rip.

All I’ve done over the last five days is cast on, knit a little and rip out what I’ve knitted. Either the cast-on row is too tight, or too loose, or I once again accidentally short-row my work (I knitted the wrong way around on the second Broadripple sock this time). So, no knitting pictures today, unless you count my newest knitting partner: This is our new puppy, Duffle – an unexpected addition to the family who seems to be fitting in well and shows an appropriate, appreciative level of interest in my knitting.

The other cast-knit-rip project has been the first sleeve for the Lush turtleneck – I thought I might try knitting the sleeve in the round to avoid endless seaming, so I was thankful for these instructions on knitting with two circulars. I got started, then realized that my circs were too short. Now I’m thinking I might knit flat simply to avoid any change in gauge between knitting flat and in the round. Oy, I should just stop thinking and knit – this is definitely beginner’s mind at work.

I liked knitting my first sock, and I found a stash-busting Koigu Sock pattern and a pattern I may not be able to resist: “They Don’t Suck” Socks. And another late entry: a sock in which you decrease for the heel just as you would the toe.

Two finds courtesy of the Knitting Beyond the Hebrides list: a beginner’s guide to lace knitting (and reading charts); I don’t see myself as much of a lace knitter, but I know good instructions when I see them. And, Shilasdair hand dyed yarn from the Isle of Skye; I think the harder it is to get a yarn, the more attractive I find it. Call it yarn yearning, but aren’t those beautiful colors? Finally, Haven’t you always wanted to know what different yarns look like under the microscope? Pictures next time, I promise!

Double-pointed boot camp

I vowed to myself that I would not post again until this sock was complete, and here I am – whee! The sock fits nicely, in part because I shortened the cuff from seven inches to five, shortened the heel flap to fifteen rows, and made the foot just five inches long before starting the toe. Yes, I have tiny feet. The fit is the best part, other than the successful grafting of the toe, and the relentless use of DPNs.

For the last six weeks, I’ve knitted only on DPNs in progressively smaller sizes, first with the hat and mittens, and then with these socks. You know what? It gets easier, and after awhile, I was all “La la la, double points, how boring.” But the finished product is not boring at all. One further note: I knitted this on Brittany Birch size 3s, which I believe are the size called for in the pattern. Oh so long ago, I knitted a Fixation test swatch and I knew I liked the fabric, but I noticed as I knit that I seemed to be running low on yarn – had I knit the sock to the size called for in the pattern, I would have run out(!) of yarn. The (slightly) loose knitter strikes again!

Some more links: the Poncho Page, for those (not me) experiencing the poncho craze. Continuing the sock theme, a diary of sock yarns, by Teresa Lau. If you’re in London this week, go to knitting night, Friday, March 26 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for me. Because I was curious, here’s the copyright FAQ for knitters, and a review of Barbara Walker’s stitch treasuries (they’re all good, #2 may be the best).

Best foot forward

I worked so furiously on my Broadripple sock that I neglected to take a heel flap or gusset pickup picture, but if you need an illustrated gusset pickup tutorial, that’s the one I used. Here is the sock now, into the foot and mere inches from the toe. Inches, I tell you. This is a multi-state sock, having traveled with me to Baltimore and Washington D.C. for work – I KIPed, but less than I thought I might, so I made up for it as soon as I returned home.

So here is my knitter’s dilemma, which I’ve now encountered at some point with every project: by the time you reach the end, you know what you would do differently and have to resist frogging to make improvements and remove mistakes. My lace pattern is not perfect. I decreased too many stitches when gusseting (I have no idea how, but I think it has something to do with trying to count and carry on a conversation), and even though I picked up extra stitches, there are tiny holes in the corners of my heel.

To fix it all, I’d be frogging back to the cuff.

Thankfully, Fixation is a forgiving yarn. I’ve also mastered the invisible increase, which allowed me to add back in the stitches I over-decreased out. I’m knitting faster, which is good – I’m “steady” up from “slow”. But I have no idea how knitters avoid working endlessly on the same projects, driving them to perfection…without becoming the kind of knitters who make ill-fitting items sans gauge swatches that fit no one but their imaginary friends. I exaggerate, but it’s a serious question. As I learn more, I’m looking for a happy medium between obsessive and sloppy.

btn_120x60_knitathon1.gifLinks this week are all about the Critter Knitters Knitathon 2004. I have a boxful of acrylic yarn I’ve been thinking of donating to charity (it’s royal blue and gold – eep!); why not knit some of it up first? The Critter Knitters Pattern Library should help wth that, and I love Liz’s Super Duper Simple 18″ Square Knitted Critter Blanket – surely I can get one of those done before the end of July?

“Just how much yarn did you buy?”

Yesterday was an excellent day for knitting in my house: I’m halfway through the heel flap on my first Broadripple sock (for the life of me, I cannot remember whether I’ve done seven or eight repeats of the heel pattern – c’est la vie). Though the yarn will give me a thicker sock than I generally wear, I can’t say enough about how nice these are to knit and how much I like the yarn.

I’ve been good about sticking to my yarn diet, except for a tiny Regia sock yarn purchase (that’s color 5272, by the way), so I was incredibly excited when my husband called me at work and said “Just how much yarn did you buy?”

I knew the answer – none! It was the Slip Stitch box from the Great Stash Redistribution Project organized by the lovely Amy. It was chock full of good stuff and weird stuff, yarn and needles and even sachets to make your yarn smell pretty. The box was brimming over with…creativity – does that sound too sentimental? In any case, I helped myself to a few skeins of Cashmerino Aran, some sock yarn and…wait for it – the Woolcraft This Morning book that has the patten for Alice Starmore’s Marina cardigan. Though this book occasionally pops up in remainder bins, it’s basically out of print, and the only other source for the pattern is another out-of-print book, The Scottish Collection. So, I jumped on it, though Marina is currently out of my league – a knitter’s reach must always exceed her grasp.

I left behind just over 1000 yards of navy Anny Blatt wool and 150 more yards of Anny Blatt Chicago (a navy yarn with multicolored slubs), and navy mohair. It’s beautiful stuff and was a destashing gift from my mom, but I just don’t wear a lot of navy anymore, and I don’t have a project in mind for it. I know someone will, so enjoy! Even though having a large stash makes me strangely anxious (perhaps because I think I should be knitting faster), letting go of this yarn made me a little sad – what if I miss out on making something great? Then I remembered: I’ve heard there could be plans afoot to make more yarn. This knitting thing seems to be taking off.

In other news yesterday, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns arrived via interlibrary loan; a second look convinces me that it would be an extremely handy addition to my library. Something else to acquire: what some people claim is the best knitting equipment bag, ever and it comes from BassPro. And a virtual visit to the Red Cross Knitting Museum, complete with vintage patterns. Finally, what else to do with your finished sweater but take pictures of your friends wearing it: the sweater project.