Monthly Archives: June 2007

My no-fail quick weight loss program.

I am good at a lot of things (word scramble puzzles, the SSK decrease, meal planning, writing thank you notes), but I am not really a good swimmer. I do it anyway, because it’s the best exercise I’ve found, but I will never set any records, compete in the Olympics or cut a graceful line through the water.

Surprisingly, for something at which I am so mediocre, it makes me very happy. I look forward to the first lap, gliding through the water quietly before I take my first breath. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment that each week, I swim a little farther – when I started, I swam just 120 yards before pooping out, and I thought I would die if I went further. Now, I swim a third of a mile – 600 yards – each time – and a half mile seems within reach.

As I was catching up on vintage episodes of Cast On, Brenda mentioned a women’s shelter in Philadelphia that was looking for knitting supplies and needles – I checked out their knitting blog, and the projects on display seemed to me to be full of the same kind of joy I experience when swimming: occasionally rough around the edges, always worthwhile, beautiful in their own way. So I filled a box with bits and bobs, needles and skeins and sent it on its way to the city of knitterly love.

That, my friends, is my no-fail quick stash weight loss program. Much of the yarn that went in the box was odds and ends that had not been added to my stash inventory, but seven (seven!) things came off that list. Ravelry tells me I have about 20,000 yards of yarn in my stash; now that I’ve divested myself of much of the yarn I didn’t bother to inventory, I think that number’s pretty accurate. I blame Jenny and Nicole of Stash and Burn for my sudden need to know how much I had; frankly, I expected it to be much, much more, but ten metaphorical sweaters’ worth is not peanuts (not Salt Peanuts, though, since I destashed her last year – ha!).

Turtleneck Shrug On Of course, the other way to destash is to knit up all that yarn; in that spirit I have finished Teva Durham’s Turtleneck Shrug from Scarf Style. It’s a wacky little project, but I loved the shrug for its cleverness. Details: 7.3 skeins (1.3 more than I expected) of Classic Elite Waterlily in Goldfish, a pumpkin so pretty it makes me want to knit with wool in June. Mods, none, other than binding off the turtleneck a little early. Firsts: I have now cast on with the backwards loop – why I waited so long, I have no idea. It was exceedingly hard to get a good FO photo of the Turtleneck Shrug – I tried 43 times. Most attempts showed too much me, not enough shrug, and at one point, I felt fairly certain I was flashing a gang sign. I feel those who make the TS are honor-bound to wear it, to a. show off its greatness, and b. keep it from looking like a pair of knitted chaps. If I can get a better photo, you’ll be the first to see it.

Some bonus links: I feel fairly certain this is not breaking news, but here are project slideshows (look in the sidebar on the right for more knitting pron) for two new books in Interweave’s Style series, Folk Style and Bag Style. I like the projects in Folk Style, because Mags Kandis’ sense of color and detail is exquisite, but I want to knit that bag on the cover of Bag Style so much, it’s as though my life depended on it. Seriously, November can’t come soon enough, and not just because it will be sweater weather. Hurry, up, Interweave!

P.S. I have 70 yards or so of the Waterlily left – ask nicely, and it’s yours.

[P.P.S. For those of you hoping this entry contained actual weight loss tips for humans, I can’t recommend the No S Diet enough. So simple, even I can do it. – ed.]

The guy next to the guy in the daisy hat.

I’m Knitting Five for Dulaan Red Ribbed Dulaan Hat #4 This was the easy hat – after knitting three of these babies, the fourth was like falling off a log. Poof! Before I knew it, I was casting off.

It was the fifth hat that took a few days. I think this may be the first time I’ve ever knit a pattern more than once. The fifth hat was a little like that moment when you’re swimming, and your body is protesting that it’s too hard, it’s too far – and then your muscles realize you are not going to stop swimming just because they’re complaining – and they stop complaining quite as much so you can keep going in relative peace. I knit the fifth hat even though I would have preferred to put the size 15 needles down, because someone like this guy (in the daisy hat) is waiting. The guy next to him needs one, so I made one more. A Fifth Dulaan Hat The hidden fun factor in these is the opportunity to knit once more with scraps of yarn from favorite projects – the grey hat here contains a little DZined worsted weight hemp yarn from my Multidirectional Scarf and some Pastaza from the bucket hat that wasn’t so bucket-y after all.

The project that served as a temporary distraction for me between hats 4 and 5 was a garter stitch square for the Rebuilding Greensburg Block by Block afghan project. Laura is receiving squares by the boatload now (seriously, 54 squares? That’s some crazy amount of knitting; I’m impressed!) And I’m adding my one square, from a lone skein of Silk Garden and some Cascade 220 that might look familiar Rebuilding Greensburg Afghan Block There was serious appreciation for Silk Garden in my house while this square was in production, so I’m glad Lizzy is in the queue. I’ve had an opportunity to think carefully about what I plan to knit as I build my project queue at Ravelry; for those of you still waiting for an invite, it’s worth it. I like the look and features of Ravelry very much; it doesn’t replace good old-fashioned noodling around on the Internet for me, but it has a lot of potential, simply because good visuals play a large part in how the site displays information. Thank you to all of the knitters who’ve taken such nice photos of your work! After all, isn’t a project so much more enticing to you when you see someone’s pretty FO photo? Perhaps that’s why I have more than 50 projects in my queue [I’m knitonepurltoo there, so feel free to peek in and friend me — ed.].

I read an article not too long ago that suggested bands become more popular as people figure out they’re popular already: in other words, people like what’s liked. I worry that Ravelry’s social network will encourage popular patterns to grow even more so, and it will require (more) work to unearth the new and unusual – but it takes work to discover new and different things now, so I think I should wait and see what happens instead of knitting myself a Chicken Little hat. Although I could totally add that hat to my queue….

The quick, on the head.

Or, Dulaan-a-than, Midwest-style, in 17 easy steps.

1. Cast on at 7 a.m., June 3, following the excellent Ken’s Dulaan Hat pattern. Use size 15 needles for first time in forever, and three strands of worsted yarn. Red Dulaan Hat
2. Knit.
3. De-tangle balls of yarn.
4. Knit.
5. De-tangle balls of yarn.
6. Repeat until first hat is done. Total time: 2 1/2 hours, or thereabouts (de-tangling created drag on knitting process).
7. Eat breakfast; send husband out to grocery shop and retrieve “40-Year-Old Virgin” from video store.
8. Admit first hat is small; hope there is someone small on the other end waiting for a hat. Second hat sized up to 44 stitch cast on.
9. Knit.
10. De-tangle balls of yarn.
11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 until second hat is complete.
Brown and Blue Dulaan Hat 12. Second hat is freaking work of art, combining partial balls from several favorite projects as well as a lovely skein of Silk Garden that has stymied me (too dark for original plans). Feel pang of sadness that hat will spend its life where I cannot admire it.
13. Eat lunch.
14. Cast on third hat, 42 stitches for variety. An understated study in tweed avec seed stitch border (rather than 2×2 ribbing, because apparently I cannot divide by 4). Grey Tweed Dulaan Hat
15. Consider writing letter to Stephanie: “This hat is not really a good destashing project; these balls of yarn are not really getting any smaller.” Consider writing Plymouth Yarn Co.: “Thought you might want to know of misprint on ball band. Am almost positive yardage is 2000 instead of 200.”
16. Realize huge needles are causing hand cramps; break to swim for 45 minutes.
17. Pop in “40-Year Old Virgin” DVD. Repeat steps 9 and 10 until hat is finished. Cast off about 6 p.m.

And just like that, I knitted three things in one day. I know, no one else in my house can believe it either, including me.