Monthly Archives: November 2004

64 days isn’t that long.

ynbaluarie_1.jpg What would life be like if I bought no yarn, no patterns, no knitting books until February 1? Is there a hobby where you don’t spend your time overloading acquiring things for the hobby? If so, let me know, and the hobby better not be “the practice of Zen”.

It’s not like I would lack for things to read, or knit. I have four five six projects on the needles (the Cabled Rib cardigan, the Age of Aquarius hat, the Cherry Tree Hill socks…the Lush sweater and the multidirectional scarf. That’s kind of embarrassing. Without the distractions of new acquisitions, I might actually finish something. At least the multidirectional scarf has gotten significantly longer.

I’ve acquired a stack of knitting books recently, but I should go back and re-read my very first two: Knitting Without Tears, and The “I Hate to Finish Sweaters” Guide to Finishing Sweaters. That might help as I confront the fact that despite my best efforts, I’m actually making progress on the Cabled Rib Cardigan.

I am still struggling, however with the heel for Michelle’s Basic Socks. After deciding simply to forge ahead and do a “regular” short row heel, I was unsatisfied with the results. Sloppy wraps to the left in that photo, and a big lump at the base of the heel to the right. I could ignore it and continue with what I’m coming to suspect is a substandard sock, but no. First, the YNBA is a reflective thing, a period in which can consider my techniques and improve upon them with current projects, rather than starting something new to get away from a problem with something old. Two, and most important, I can already buy socks that don’t fit properly at any store on the planet except for AutoZone. I make socks that fit.

I returned to Simple Socks Plain and Fancy, and have re-read the short-row heel instructions. They are sinking in. I am prepared to have a growth experience with my knitting. I am prepared to learn and grow as a knitter rather than rush headlong into something unsatisfying. Either that, or I’ll do an afterthought heel.

Peak experiences (and I’m not talking about the sock pattern).

It seems to be a pattern – I buy just a little more yarn, then I review my existing stash and feel the need to have a lie-down because, as the world’s slowest knitter, I easily have more than a year’s worth of projects waiting. Maybe two years’ worth. Then I buy a little more yarn. Usually sock yarn, because it’s cheaper, and after all, how long can socks take? Well, for my birthday last May, my mom took me to the yarn store and I bought some Mountain Colors and some Meilenweit Cotton Fun…both still stashed, seven months later. I lamely proposed a rule to my husband that I should not re-shop at a yarn store I’ve visited until I knit up something that I purchased there. [note: Technically, I’ve already broken this rule by returning to my LYS to purchase Magic Looping stuff and yarn for swatching, even as the felted tote I so wanted to make languishes]. Thank goodness for KnitFest.

Joke not about Toledo – when it is the site of knitting classes and knitting vendors you would ordinarily not see in your neck of the woods, it’s a beautiful place. Things worth sharing:

1. I sat two feet from Nancy Bush for three hours. I watched her cut a steek, which is as cool as it sounds. She was smart and funny, and I managed to keep up with the class without having to admit I have never finished a knitted garment. She signed my book. She just finished a new sock book too, so keep your eyes peeled.

2. Marilyn from Blackwater Abbey Yarns is the nicest person ever – by the time I finish the Cabled Rib Cardigan, we will have tracked down the perfect wooden buttons for it. What’s more, I spotted a new pattern for a cabled cardigan with a healthy dose of bobbles and XOX ribbing by Beth Brown-Reinsel, one of a series of pretty stunning samples knitted up and featured in the Blackwater Abbey booth…and named after Marilyn herself. Very cool, so that came home with me [no picture yet here or at the BWA site – it’s that new!].

3. My first two-color knitting project will be a Christmas stocking kit from Arnhild Hillesland that thankfully, doesn’t have to be ready until next Christmas. She has a lifetime’s worth of beautiful Norwegian patterns, at least for someone who knits as slowly as I do. As I left, she said “You know where to find us!” Oh, I’ll be back, don’t worry.

Finally, there was Debi from Dzined; I had been stalking her since summer, hoping to feel and purchase some of her yarns in person, and I liked them so much I shopped there twice…in a two hour period (Please. What if someone bought the sock yarn I wanted while I was in class? You would have done the same thing). In addition to two completely different skeins of sock yarn, I got some worsted varigated in lovely deep fall hues to make a Multidirectional scarf because it’s officially cold here in Ohio now. I was so excited that I cast on Saturday and knitted (here’s a closeup) on the way to a wedding in Columbus. Was I working on charity mittens? That are due today? No, I was enjoying the yarn that, for me, was worth waiting for. As I said to Stephanie yesterday, the variation in color is not tacky and bad (like some yarns which shall go unnamed and keep us from enjoying variegated lace to its fullest), but subtle and good. I would buy Debi’s yarn sight unseen now ["Hi, it's Donna - here's the VISA, send more yarn, whatever's good."], and not just because we clearly like the same colors. It may be the one yarn I’d take to a desert island with me, and I’ve touched angora.

Now, about those charity mittens – do you think I can finish the mate (not started) by dinnertime? Clearly someone who puts her own needs before those of children who need mittens is a bad person. At least the scarf and I will look stylish in hell.

Anticipation.

I’m not at all confident that I can go any significant amount of time without acquiring some knitting-related item. Last month, I bought sock yarn at the Fifth Stitch, and when Crafter’s Choice had just what I wanted, I joined and bought a stack of knitting books, including Knitting in the Old Way, Simple Socks Plain and Fancy, the Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, the Big Book of Knitting and The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques.

Even though I haven’t had time to digest all of that again (careful readers will remember that I’ve seen them all because I looked at them first through Interlibrary Loan), I just bought a copy of Knitting on the Road (it was on sale!)…and I recently got a copy of Vogue Knitting as a gift.

What can I say? I read a lot before I started knitting, and I’m still a big reader. I just have to be careful that reading about knitting doesn’t cut into my actual knitting time too much. Apparently, I’m still managing to make some progress: here is the first half of my first short-row heel using the Magic Loop and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ technique from Priscilla’s Dream Socks (IK, summer 2000) plus some well-timed help from Michelle (thank you!). Also? The Cabled Rib sweater first sighted in the last entry is several twists longer. I’m sorry for the poor photo quality – we’re having technical difficulty here at Knit One, Purl Too, caused in part by Daylight Savings Time (I cannot be the only person who considers “fall back” day my personal holiday – I get to sleep an extra hour!).

As far as acquiring things, can I just say right now that I’m a little afraid of the KnitFest marketplace? It looks like it’s going to be a bigger deal than I thought; more vendors, more stuff. I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to resist something really cool and I’ll become one of those knitters who has to sneak things into the house. I’m looking around every day for things I can sell to fund potential purchases. Who knows what I’ll find? I have to be prepared!

I’m also tempted to take my copy of Knitting on the Road to ask Nancy Bush to autograph it after my steeking class Friday morning. Yes, I’m getting up before dawn so I can take a class with Nancy Bush – and I’m prepared to behave like a groupie too. (I love your work, Nancy! Call me!). Friday is going to be ten kinds of fun.

Twistin’ the night away.

Better late than never, here is my MAN-ALONG update: I now know that there are twenty cable twists evey four rows in this pattern. Twenty ways to say “I love you” (every fourth row). It’s not as much of a PITA as it sounds, but the idea that I’ll do 600 of these twists before the shoulder shaping is a little daunting.

I’m making progress because I’ve promised myself that this is the first project I’ll work on each day – and I’m interested enough that this is often the only project I work on.

Today, however, was the exception – the Knit One, Purl Too staff (my husband and I) was up at the crack of dawn (before, really) to go and do our civic duty by voting. caninesforkerrysm.jpg I took along the Peacock socks, recently converted to Magic Looping, and looped away in line for an hour or so while waiting I know that knitting before breakfast means I’ve crossed some kind of line).

For the record, Magic Looping is much easier than it seems, and though I didn’t mind wrangling size 0 DPNs, this seems less fiddly (a knitter at my LYS said she had done a time study and found that, knitting speed aside, Magic Looping was 1.5 times as fast as DPNs). Next stop? Short row heel country (a special thank you to the editors of Interweave Knits for including an article on short rows in the latest issue by the estimable Veronik Avery)!

Bonus link: Reversible mittens knit with sock yarn – so cool (and another excuse for self-patterning yarn)!