Monthly Archives: October 2005

What are my options?

I was no longer truly in love with the Retro Rib sock – I loved the yarn, I loved the pattern – I even sort of loved them together. But this project had languished in my basket for far too long – and absence lack of progress did not make the heart grow fonder. I think the moment of truth came last week while I was fixing fudging the heel flap in the middle of an opera master class (yes, not only have I knitted with Chrisitine Lavin, I have now technically knitted with opera star Marilyn Horne, who is very, very funny). I was lamenting (for the millionth time) my use of lovely yarn that is nonetheless dark and obscures stitches, a huge obstacle to the production of the high-quality socks we hope for here at Knit One, Purl Too.

My moment was just like the instant you see a ding in your new car, and though you love it in spite of the ding, you love it a little less now that you know it’s no longer perfect. Your mind wanders for just a tiny moment to contemplate the next new car, because the car with the ding is now “old”. I began thinking about new socks. Should I

a. Throw over the old, bad socks for new, good socks – nothing fascinates like a new pattern, and I have been waiting to do Danny Ouelette’s Crossing Cables socks for months.

How long has this languished? Months and months. b. Spend an entire Saturday on the couch nursing a beagle who ate something which did not agree with him (thus he was not allowed anywhere he might unexpectedly deposit…something…on carpet or bedding), with the only knitting in reach being one Retro Rib sock.

I’ll take B. for $500, Alex. I feel almost virtuous saying that: “I’ll stick with it.” Because you don’t know it’s going to turn out better until it does.

In other knitting landmarks, the very first ball of yarn I ever wound from a skein (wound by hand because I was a Luddite without a winder art the time), some navy Cascade 220, recently became the last bit of the body of the ToteAround. That’s Kureyon 40 (the blues) and Kureyon 102 (the orange/yellow/pink/blue); I tried several different options for the 102 including knitting from the predominantly pink end of this ball (I never thought I would say this, but it was too pink) and knitting with earth-toned scraps of Kureyon 81(surprisingly, too earth-toned), but the third try is juuuust right. Knit One Purl Too’s Aesthetic Consultant (aka my husband) compared it to a sunset over a lake – you can’t beat that with a stick! Like a sunset over a lake, all right

Now I am occupied with the miles and miles of i-cord for the top edging of the bag – the 45 inches for the strap is just the beginning. Then you knit on enough i-cord to circle the top of the bag and the strap three times; for the record, I have 1 1/2 trips around the horn to go. While I love the knitted-on i-cord technique, I know the i-cord will make things sturdy and I love the bag, I may have to set it aside. A tiny voice inside my head is saying “You have 34 days until the Festivus stocking should be done.” I can’t ignore it for much longer; even though 825 hours, 8 minutes and 31 seconds sounds longer, I know it’s not.

I’m not at Rhinebeck either.

All done, with huge thanks to Laurie for the lovely yarnI am at a weird place, knitting-wise. I’m doing a good job of finishing old projects to get them off the needles and moving newer projects along. However, this requires a little “one step back, two steps forward” knitting manipulation that’s unsettling in that…it’s so “business as usual”. There are no tears, there is no gnashing of teeth, there is no trauma – there is just fixing. To wit: before you can finish the summer socks and free up these needles for the Christmas stocking, you need to rip out the too-short sock toe. Toe doesn’t want to rip? Then cut blithely away with your trusty scissors, rip, put the sock back on the needles and knit on. Having trouble picking up stitches for your Retro Rib sock gusset? Suspect a too-short heel flap is giving you headaches? Rip and reknit, my friend. That’s the kind of thing I’m doing. And progress is my reward. A finished pair of socks (I am officially over any fear of grafting – doesn’t that toe look nice?), a finished sleeve for the Lush sweater (pictures to come; I am still apprehensive about the actual sweater assembly, but we will knit that stitch when we come to it), a heel flap, and…a circle.

If this isn't from the very bottom of my stash, I don't know what isNot just any circle – this is the bottom of the felted bag that gave me fits when I first started knitting in earnest two years ago. It’s the Tote Around from Janet Scanlon – I figured out last week how to start it myself! Forget the deadly combination of huge needles and small hands, Magic Loop to the rescue, dude. If anything, I am in a Magic Loop rut – when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Marshalling my forces for the Festivus Stocking, this morning I was making sure I have the right needles – I actually found myself looking at a 16″ needle this morning, thinking “Is that long enough?” But the Loop of Magic is working for me, so that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Just like the looping, I’m also all over the ToteAround – it’s the potato chips of knitting. I can’t seem to put it down, even though I know there are other projects calling to me. If it could talk, the Lush sweater would be particularly bitter at being thrown over for something new, but I had to take a small break so I could forget the angora fuzz flying everywhere during each session on Sleeve Island. But the words “first finished sweater” are worth pulling out the lint brush for, so I’ll be on to Sleeve Two soon enough.

Through all of this fixing, I’m thinking about the kind of knitter I am, an the kind of knitter I’m becoming. When I first started knitting, I considered myself lucky to complete a project, let alone a finished object I could be proud of – “Can I do this?” was a real question in my mind as I struggled with wee cabled mice and felted bags. More often now, the question is “How am I going to do this for the best result?” I wouldn’t mind knitting faster, but quality is emerging as more important than quantity (thanks in part to knitters like Melinda, who is fearless in her pursuit of fine finished objects – the sweater she’s currently finishing is a perfect example of knitting as craft and art). What kind of knitter am I? I hope I will be a knitter who is always learning as I knit, even if I am looking forward to finishing something and moving on. What kind of knitter are you?