Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cowl in the Afternoon

It could be said that my knitting tends toward the staid and conservative.  Which may be why the Eldest Niece gifted me (well, actually all of us Stitches types) with this for our party bags last August. 

That's another story, except for the part where it inspired me to try something different.

See this?  

This is Mountain Colors Moguls.  It has been sitting in my stash for longer than I care to remember.  It arrived with my second abortive attempt at an Ab-Fab blanket. It was supposed to fill the slot held by the Colinette Zanziba.  I'm actually attempting another one and was convinced that the Moguls would be perfect.  I was wrong.  While the yarn looked anything but maroon in the skein, context is everything.  Sandwiched between layers of Colinette mohair in Tapis, it presented as red. Not what I thought it would do.

So here I am, stuck with this incredibly active yarn and no place to put it.  It's years and years old and, even if I could convince my over-active conscience to return it, I have no idea where it came from anymore.

What to do? What to do?  It's only 65 yards per skein. And it's busy.  

I went looking at and for cowls. Cowls must be boring to knit, because pretty much everyone introduces some type of stitch pattern or design element.  With everything that's going on with this yarn -- Mountain Colors describes it as lumpy and bumpy; I would like to add that it's also curly, thick and thin and variegated -- the last thing it needs is a cable. Or Kitchener stitch.

I gave up and invented my own.  The most basic, unimaginative, ordinary knitting I could think of.  Ribbing for the top and bottom borders and stockinette for the body.  Anything more and my knitting would cross the border into Art and I hate knitting that is Art.

I have two more skeins of this in Pheasant (very similar colorway, minus the orange and yellow).  Lest its very simplicity renders it un-rememberable, I'm recording what I'm pretty sure I did.

Recipe for a Cowl in the Afternoon:

2 skeins Mountain Colors Moguls ( this is Sunburst).

Needles Addi Turbo 24" circulars. US 15 (a.k.a. big honking needles).

Cast on 56 stitches (or whatever multiple of 4 will get you the diameter you want).

K2P2 for 1 round.

Join to knit in the round and place a marker to mark the beginning of the round. (Careful not to twist, which is much easier when you've done a row of knitting (thank you to Graphica of Inspira Cowl fame.).) (Can one nest parentheses like that?  Must check my Chicago Manual of Style someday.)

K2P2 for 2 more rounds.

Knit (and knit and knit and knit) to the end of the skein

Count your rounds so you'll know when to stop knitting the second skein and start K2P2 ribbing (I think I had 26, counting the 3 rounds of ribbing).

Spit splice skein 2 (unless you really want to weave in those two extra ends).

Knit (and knit and knit and knit).

Count rounds until you have the same number as the first skein, less the three for the ribbing.

K2P2 for 3 rounds

Bind off (I used Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off).

Weave in the two ends (start and finish).

Here's the kicker. Turn it inside out, which emphasizes the funky element, but avoids Art.

Call it done.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

You Say It's Your Birthday

It was. And it was just delightful.  For one thing - it went on for days. The Lord Protector came home for the weekend so we celebrated Saturday and Sunday. Homemade cake courtesy of the Princess (vanilla cake with strawberry frosting, although we told the Pirate it was only pink,: it seems Pirates don't believe in strawberry anything) and presents on Sunday evening.  Very cool stuff, but for the purposes of a knitting blog, just this.

Hand Painted Knitting Yarns Rome Bias Shawl  kit in the red/black colorway (birthdays are a tried and true excuse reason to not have to augment the stash).  I can never get red to come out right.  You'll have to take my word that there are actually two shades there - one a deeper red, shading toward burgundy and the other a brighter, more stop-sign red.

Then, as if that wasn't enough, 

exquisite tiny little cupcakes from Sugar Bliss on the Day itself.  There were more. They just didn't last long enough to get in the picture.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Manque

Which is why I didn't have a green sweater to wear on March 17.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Hot. Cool. Yours.

Let's get this out of the way first. The problem with the FYA shawl was that I miscounted/added an extra stitch/forgot a stitch/whatever in the first few stitches on the first row of Clue 3. The way the pattern is written, you start the chart over at each stitch marker, and I managed to read it/knit it/whatever it correctly the next two times. Which is how it was wrong in one place and right in another.  Since, however, I messed up within the first few stitches of the very first row, I had to frog all the way back to the beginning of the clue. I was not happy about this. In fact, I ragged on it so long and so hard to The Princess that, once I had made the correction, I managed to knit back on the wrong side row instead of purl back. We will draw a curtain here, now that I've successfully knit Clue 3. 

One could argue that, until Clue 5 is actually released, I am now on schedule. I have a chance to finish Clue 4 before Clue 5 (the final clue) is released on Monday.

I have other plans.

I'm not joining the Ravellenics. Technically. I'm not on any team. I haven't tagged any project. I missed the cast-on moment by hours and hours. However. The Lord Protector is still waiting for his college blanket. We have gone back and forth on patterns for a while. I was going to try to knit intarsia cables on a Knitspot pattern until I counted the number of bobbins of yarn I would have to juggle to achieve the width he wanted. Thirteen. I pondered knitting it in panels, and then remembered how good I am about assembling blankets that are knit in pieces. Over break, we found another pattern: the Walt Painted Chevron Baby Blanket. Okay, so it's written as a baby blanket and there was MATH, but it was pretty straightforward MATH and I did it.

Then we looked at the yarn and compared it with THE MATH and concluded it wasn't going to make it.  The yarn we'd planned is from the stash.  Very old Sweet Georgia Yarns Superwash in Nightshade and Silver. Sweet Georgia Yarns is not always consistent within dye-lots (it is hand-dyed after all).  At this late date we figured there was no way we could match what I already had.  We are clever and creative people, however, and when scanning Ravelry projects, we noted that the blankets, by and large, use three colors. I tried, really I did, to persuade the Lord Protector to add some color to this blanket.  A nice, deep, wine, red perhaps.  Maybe an old, antique gold.  Or a profound forest green. He chose another, darker gray.

Those who live in most of the Lower 48, have you looked out the window?  Do you know what is heading our way?  Do you realize what it will be like to knit navy, gray and darker gray in February in Chicago? I'll tell you what it will be like.  It will be like knitting a perpetual winter twilight, that's what it will be like.

I call that a challenge of truly Olympic proportions.

I have, therefore, built in a respite.  Sort of like those moments between events when the commentators drone on and on and the only purpose for them is to break up the main action.  In a flattering turn of events, someone admired my Color Affection Shawl so much, she asked, if she bought the yarn, if I would make her one, "just like mine."  I knit mine in Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply.  Miss Babs has been out of stock on the Flaxen and the Navy for a while, but since mine included a one-of-a-kind colorway, I wouldn't be able to duplicate it anyway. Besides, that would be boring. I think this will get close enough.

It's Shalimar Yarns Breathless in Oyster, Cephalopod Yarns Bugga in Frog Legged Leaf Beetle and Fleece Artist Merino 2/6  in Polar Sea.  I do believe that when the dim and dark of the Lord Protector's blanket begins to overwhelm, this project should restore me.


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Oh, Just Arrgh!

And I'm not talking like a pirate; I'm frustrated.  I'm a better knitter than this. I really am.  I just can't seem to keep my mind on this Follow Your Arrow thing. 

Case in point.See this?

It's supposed to look like this.

This is the third time I've done something that has to be ripped out.  Admittedly, the first two weren't documented, but I didn't know then that they were part of a trend.  For the record, the first mistake was at the garter stitch band near the top.  I knit it in stockinette instead and didn't notice until I was ready to start the garter stitch/lace section. I was not happy, but it was early in the project and not a lot of stitches were involved.  I debated calling it a design element, but decided against it.  Riiiiiip.

The second one was minor.  On the last right side row of the weird asymmetrical part, I apparently slept and skipped the last two yo increases. I didn't find the mistake until I knit the first row of Clue 3A.  By then I had over 200 stitches on my needle, but still, that was pretty quick and while the yarn had re-arranged itself so I couldn't fake the yarn overs by just pulling up the bar between the stitches, it wasn't all that much.  Riiiiiip.

This one, though.  This one really anoys me.  I had hopes of being at least close to on track before Clue 4 came out. Note that I have a flexible notion of what it means to be on track.  Halfway through the previous week's clue would have counted. Now it's Wednesday of Clue 4 Week and I'm back at the end of Clue 2.  Now? 

Well, now?  Oh, just arrrgh!

Friday, January 31, 2014

More Mystery

I've made some progress on the shawl and I'm not so mad at Blogger anymore, so let me write a bit more about this whole mystery knit-along thing. It's a little tricky and perhaps annoying, since there are a lot of references to the knit-along which might seem to require spending significant time on the group spoiler threads. Tough. Sorry. 

First, some technical elements, lest I forget. The yarn is Fiberphile Super Squish Sock, a merino fingering yarn, in Rose Gold. (It breaks my heart a little bit that Fiberphile is no longer in existence. I got this during their brief stay at Eat.Sleep.Knit. and was waiting, wishing and hoping for a restock in worsted weight).

The needles are Addi Turbos in Us6/4 mm.

The MKAL is Ysolda Teague's Follow Your Arrow Mystery Shawl Knit-along.

I chose the B version of Clue one.

I have some serious catching up to do.  Clue Three was released on Monday.  Clue Four is due out in four days.  I haven't even finished 1B.

Keeping in mind the confession in yesterday's post about cheating on mazes and mystery novels, I'm sure it's not a surprise that I've been haunting the spoiler threads on Ravelry. I can't afford to make a wrong choice here. 

I was all set to go right into 2A, which is fairly conventional lace construction, except I don't like the way the two patterns meet - it's disharmonious. Which leaves me with the odd, asymmetric, unconventional garter-stitch wedge option. I think I'm feeling odd and asymmetrical. Also, with yet another Winter Storm Watch in effect, possibly a little cranky, cabin-fevered and judgement-impaired. 

In 2B there's a little stockinette detailing. Maybe I'll get really bold and daring and, even though my intent was to knit a solid color shawl, throw in a little contrast yarn. I still have some Miss Babs Deep Sea Jellyfish left over from the Color Affection Shawl.

Let's see what happens.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

I had such a nice post written.  

It had self-revelation (I don't like surprises. I have control issues).

It had humor (I read the end of the mystery half-way through, and sometimes sooner. I work the mazes in the Sunday papers from the inside out). (That's humor in support of the aforesaid self-revelation)

It had personal growth (I signed up for a mystery knit-along anyway). 

It had rationalization (The knit-along let's you choose your clues, so not all the shawls will be the same; the designer is Ysolda Teague; one of the bloggers I read had already started one).

It had pictures (here's one).

Hmm. I don't remember it looking quite that harsh a red when I took the picture.  Too much Photoshop?

And then I typed the last two words of a really clever closing aphorism, which I can no longer remember but was probably tied to all the preceding clever prose, and Blogger ate it all except for the last word and a half.

Definitely not as easy as Abel Baker Charlie.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Didja Miss Me?

Well. Here I am, back from my self-imposed exile.  You see, there was this article.  Technically it was due mid-October.  I told myself I could finish it and then feed The Blog as a reward.  I just sent the final draft off to the editors last night.  Can I even begin to tell you how much I did not want to write that article? But it's done and gone.  At last reading it sounded to me like I didn't want to write it, but the Princess looked it over and assured me that, as long as it's read by an audience that has never met me, they'll never be able to tell. Not, let me state, the way I wanted to start the New Year.

But. It's done and I'm back and I have been knitting.  Sometimes as an avoidance technique.  Sometimes as therapy. Sometimes in a grimly determined effort to reduce the stash.  The total was impressive.  5 Garter Squish Blankets (free on Ravelry) for Christmas gifts at roughly 12 skeins of worsted per blanket.  4 cowls of the Inspira variety (also free on Ravelry), also for Christmas gifts, at 4 skeins each.  20 little knitted Christmas trees for gifts and the Christmas Market (Not much help reducing the stash; three inch cones on US3 needles pretty much are only good for using up bits and bobs of yarn).  4 Minikins, also for the Christmas Market (Again, not much stash busting; see note on Christmas trees above).  [I mention here a blanket knit by The Princess, as an additional 12 skein stash-bust and because it was my idea (I think).]

Let it also be noted that I finished the original Garter Squish Blanket and the Original Color Affection Shawl.

Most of the pictures, however, are on The Princess' new camera and I am not going to attempt to retrieve them without her around. You'll just have to wait.

Instead, and to keep this post from being a rant, let's go back to that adjective modifying the Color Affection Shawl,  "Original"  implies more than one. If you go to this post, and scroll down, you'll find a photo of the yarn I planned for the Next Color Affection Shawl.  The yarns are Tosh Sock in Byzantine, Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere 4-ply in 68/Burnished Gold and Malabrigo Sock in 811/Eggplant.

Alas, plans were made to go awry.  That gold yarn?  The soft and silky cashmere blend by Jade Sapphire?  Too thin.  Very light fingering weight.  Too light to be compatible with the other yarns. I was sure I had the colors right, so went searching for a sock weight, true fingering yarn in the same greenish-gold family.  You'd be surprised how many golds there are out there that shade to orange. 

I thought I had found it in Dream in Color's Smooshy with Cashmere in Medieval until I wound it up and looked at it next to the Tosh Sock in Byzantine. 

Too close in value, I thought.  Not a problem; I could use the Malabrigo Sock in 800/Tizano Red that I intended to use for wristlets (a less successful past Christmas gift knitting plan, best left buried in oblivion).  Except now that I've finished the first, solid color section of the shawl and am looking at starting the first set of stripes, I'm having second thoughts.  

Red, gold and purplish grey.  Isn't that maybe too mundane a color combination?  What if I end up with an (*gasp*) ordinary shawl? 

I went looking for sock yarn in the stash.  I have more than I realized. Way more. 

Decisions, decisions.  I will keep you posted.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chance Favors the Prepared

Thirty degrees is a lot.

It's strange, but no matter how many times I hear it, no matter how much I look forward to it (at least when the drop starts from the mid-90's), no matter that except for that brief stint in California, I have spent my whole life in the Midwest, I am never prepared for just how big a temperature change thirty degrees is until it happens. Tuesday we were sweltering. Today I've thrown open my windows and am sitting here in a sweatshirt. It's Fall in Chicago.

You know what this means, don't you? This means I can confess. This means I can go public. This means I don't have to hide any more. No more pretending all I'm working on is easy warm weather knitting like cowls and fingering-weight shawls. This means I can announce that I am (wait for it) knitting another blanket!

I've written a couple times that the Princess and I are valiantly working our way through reducing the stash. When you work on cowls, mittens, socks, hats and children's sweaters, though (well, socks and mittens not me, but she does) the stash fades away gradually. I want some major disappearing here. I want my stash to fit in its baskets. I want Their Father to not walk from room to room and wonder if we're single-handedly supporting a sheep farm somewhere in Montana. Dang it, I want to buy more yarn with a clear conscience.

Which is why I am saying thank-you to Stephen West for the Garter Squish Blanket (it's free on Ravelry).

Worsted Weight. Double-stranded. Big needles. Full-size blanket. We're talking about ridding the Stash of 16 skeins in one fell swoop. And easy. It's garter stitch. Knit until the skeins run out and then start the next two. This thing eats yarn. Even better, I'm using up some of those lost, lone and left-over skeins. Those eight skeins of Rainier Heather Cascade 220 that I bought online when I thought they were blue and they turned out to be purple? They have found their project.

Okay, so this is me and I had to change it. That would be because two of those lost lone skeins are a really awful orange-and-green-heather-makes-for-one-muddy-brown.

I worried about knitting a large block with it. Even double-stranded with the Rainier Heather (purple) it looks brown. Keeping in mind that if you only choose pretty colors for a project you'll end up with a pretty boring project, I took the advice of Lady Macbeth and "screwed [my] courage to the sticking place" (that and I may have knit with one eye closed at the start). Somehow, though, juxtaposed in narrower bands between navy/purple and charcoal heather/purple, I like it. I'm curious to see what it looks like between the charcoal heather/purple and the more bluish/greenish-grey of the Smoke Heather/purple combination.

I find the knit-as-you-go I-cord edging particularly fetching. I may do this for all my garter stitch blankets from now on.

Not to mention that now that it's getting chilly here, instead of shivering in this robust northeasterly breeze, I get to sit with a lapful of wool.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Stitches 2013

This is partly about Inspira Cowls, but mostly about what they drove me to learn at Stitches.

If you page through the over 1700 Inspira Cowls on Ravelry, you may notice that every now and then one pops out with a flared top edge.  This does not appear to bother the knitters.  When Mesa Rock I turned out that way, it bothered me.  Graphica says to "BO just loose enough in rib." "Just loose enough." Right. I bound off with a larger needle. Flared. I bound off using the lace bind-off. Flared.  I bound off using Judy's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. Flared. 

I was not happy. I ripped out the bind off, put the whole thing back on the needles and proceeded to ignore it. 

Then I got my email reminder about homework for my Stitches classes.  Yes, I signed up for more than one. No, I don't know what I was thinking. Yes there was homework for one of them. No I don't know how I missed that one of them was for 8 AM Saturday morning. Yes, it was the one I had to knit seven swatches for.  It was worth it.  The class was a bind-off class with Sarah Peasley

Any class with Sarah Peasley is worth it.  This one was exactly what I needed. In the course of the morning, I mastered seven different bind-offs. 

Okay, six out of seven. That one on the bottom was supposed to be the bind-off based on Kitchener stitch (I think), but the field marshal and I had a disagreement and I ripped it out and put the swatch back on the needles. I will prevail over that one, just - later. Anyway. I also acquired the piece of wisdom that saved Mesa Rock and all future Inspira Cowls.  When you do stretchy bind-offs that involve yarn overs?  You don't need to yarn-over for every stitch.  Let me repeat that.

When you do stretchy bind-offs that involve yarn overs?  You don't need to yarn-over for every stitch.

Honestly, you would have thought I had discovered the wheel. 

Binding off with yarn-overs, as for the lace bind-off or Judy's Surprisingly Stretchy one, means you increase a stitch at the point before you close the stitch. That extra yarn is what makes the bind-off stretchy.  It's also what made my bind-off flare out. By spacing out the yarn-overs, you can control the amount of stretch in the bind-off.  I reduced my yarn-overs by half, doing one for every pair of stitches. And it worked.

Stretch without the flare.  If I didn't tell you that the edge on the top is the bottom and the edge below is the top of the cowl, would you know?

Good thing, given that I have all that new self-striping yarn, no?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Late to the Party, Again

Believe it or not, I am knitting something other than corrugated ribbing. But you have to get the story before you get the pictures.

It's not that I go looking for excuses to cheat on my resolution to knit from stash.  It's that there are always extenuating circumstances. The Market at Stitches Midwest has always qualified as the ultimate extenuating circumstance. As if all the yarn I bought there for Inspira Cowls had never happened (which technically, I can argue didn't, because yarn bought to make gifts doesn't count, right?), I went searching for my Stitches yarn.

True confessions time.  I have, in the past, bought some truly delicious yarn at Stitches.  There are the two hanks of Brooks Farm Mas Acero in a cornflower/porcelain kind of blue.  A couple years ago I succumbed to the lure of Silk/Merino Worsted from Ellen's Half-pint Farm and bought yarn that makes me think of poppies thinly scattered in wheat fields. Then there was the year I bought vast quantities of Jojoland Melody Superwash. I have never found the right pattern for any of these yarns, and so they languish. 

This time, I determined, would be different. This time I would restrain myself.  This time I went with a pattern in mind.  This time, when I returned from Stitches, it would be with something I wanted to make immediately.  I chose my pattern and downloaded my knitting folder onto my Nook, to make sure I had all the information I needed to make Carina Spencer's Catkin Shawl, and made a beeline for the Miss Babs booth.

I did not come away with yarn for the Catkin Shawl. Instead I was seduced by Color Affection.

I should mention that I had never been excited by CA.  I admit I looked at it pretty closely when the Yarn Harlot extolled it. Despite one of my favorite knit blogger's praise, despite the inspiration of nearly 10,000 knitters on Ravelry alone, I was unmoved. Just couldn't see the appeal.  

Back to the present. Miss Bab's has put together color sets called Trios designed specifically for Color Affection (or other three color objects).  She had a sample knit up in colors that, for me, recalled nothing so much as the Wicked Witch of the West - black, green, and purple. So not my colors, and yet I was completely won over. I liked the way the colors moved through the pattern.  I was intrigued by the cleverness of the construction.  And then there's that part of me that is something of a sucker for a curving shawl. 

As it turned out, none of the color sets called my name, but that didn't stop me. By the time Stitches was over, I had a Trio of my  own - Denim, Deep Sea Jellyfish, and Wheaten.

I am loving this shawl.

I've already started sneaking onto the Miss Babs website looking for new combinations. Although, now that I think about it, I do have some pretty amazing fingering yarn that hasn't been set aside for anything yet.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

There's Always Room for More

When one is most determinedly not yarn-buying, one needs to get one's fix somehow.  Ravelry helps.  One can locate patterns to knit some of that beautiful yarn one has accummulated almost obsessively over the years (which is why one is not yarn-buying, after all).  Marketing emails from semi-local yarn stores are even better, although more insidious. I know whereof I speak.  One of my favorite shops knocked me right off the wagon.

String Theory sent an email about perfect July 4 knitting.  She described it as "portable, mindless and impressive since I'll be knitting in public." Yes!  Exactly. The project she chose was the Inspira Cowl.  I bought the pattern last August, almost a year ago.  What I don't have is a huge stash of self-striping worsted weight yarn. You do see where this is going?

Knitting Inspira in the Classic Elite Liberty Print at the Fourth on 53rd Picnic fulfilled all my expectations about knitting in public.  It does indeed look impressive in progress:  yarn in both hands, stranding, colors emerging as if by magic from single skeins.  The reactions of the nieces attendant were particularly gratifying. They want one. All of them.  So does the Princess.  In fact, the Youngest Niece Present was all set to lay claim to the cowl in progress, based on the barely one-third I had knitted. (Sorry, YNP, the Princess tried it on when I resolved my bind-off issues - another post - and I don't think she's planning on releasing it.)

Except, poor me, I have very little love for self-striping yarns and so have very little in my stash.  I bought the Liberty Print especially to make the Mesa Rock Inspira.  Those two skeins or Noro Kureyon I'm using in the second, numerically-challenged cowl, which, unless claimed by one of said nieces, is intended for the local Christmas Bazaar, represented over half of my remaining self-striping yarn.  

That was then.  This is now.

In my defense, the Princess wanted a cowl big enough to pull over her head and still come down to her shoulders in the back.  That calls for extra yarn.

She chose Stained Glass for her main color with Cascade 220 Heather "Summer Sky" for her contrast.

The Eldest Niece chose Caribbean Tide with Malabrigo Twist in Teal Feather. 

I didn't have any Teal Feather Twist in my stash, either, so I had to buy a skein of that.

Well, what would you have done?
Special thanks to Wool and Company in St. Charles for coming to Stitches Midwest this year.  And to FiberWild for putting the Liberty Wool Print on sale this week. 

Oh. That Noro and the Liberty Wool Print in Cupcake, Cloudy Day and Tropical Sea?  I'm still working on those excuses.

Monday, August 26, 2013


or, "Is it a mistake or is it a design element?"

Under the influence of String Theory's e-newsletter, over the fourth of July weekend I started and (almost) finished this.

This is the Inspira Cowl.  The pattern has three variations: Mesa Rock for aran weight yarns, Steampunk for sock or fingering weight and Afrique for bulky.  I used Classic Elite Liberty Prints -- a worsted to light worsted weight --  in Brick Road and Cloudy Day and obediently went with the Mesa Rock variation, but cast on 160 stitches to compensate for my slightly thinner yarn. It was fun. Fast. Easy but engaging.  Until I got to the bind-off, but that's another story.

I decided to  make another one.

This one is Noro Kureyon in a mystery color (I have had this forever, I don't remember for what and the ball-bands have gone the way of stitch markers, tape dispensers at wrapping time, my good scissors and single socks).  The cream yarn is Jaeger Matchmaker that I bought as a bag lot lo, these many ages ago, when Flying Colors closed and was clearing out their stock.

Since yarn for this one is DK I decided to try the Steampunk version. Except I decided I had to compensate for the fact the DK is heavier than fingering yarn. 

This is where I demonstrate that a little learning is the road to good intentions. 

The Mesa Rock version is 2 x 2 rib, so you need to cast on a multiple of 4.  The Steampunk cowl is supposed to be 3 x 3 rib (more gear-like in the designer's mind?), so between that and the thinner yarn, I cast on 180 stitches.  Except 180 is also divisible by 4 and that's when it all went sliding down the razor blade of Math.  I merrily knit my corrugated rib in 2 x 2, not 3 x 3. The Mesa Rock version has you work a progression of repeats. Three sets of 9, followed by three sets of 7 and then three sets of 5.  Steampunk repeats 3 times too, but repeats sets of 12,6, 3, that is, 12,6,3 - 12,6,3 - 12,6,3 - 12.  I left my instructions stashed in my knitting bag and mindlessly knit two sets of 12, then pulled out the pattern and, while maintaining my original delusion, misread it further and did a set of 6 and a set of 3.

Now I had choices. Do a second set of 6, 3 and then go back into pattern for the final 12,6,3,12? Go for a mirror image thing, and do another 3 rows making the pattern 12,12, 6, 3,3, 6, 12, 12? Except then I'm short 9 rounds, so maybe I need 12, 12, 6,6, 3,3, 6, 6, 12, 12?  Which would leave me three rows over the pattern total and while I want to use up all this yarn that might be calling it dangerously close?

The designer says, "The most valuable lesson by far is to make your Inspira all your own. Modify it to your heart's content, & you will be better for it, Gentle Knitter." Which, it cannot be denied, I had done. I just wish I had taken her advice on purpose instead of as a math failure.

Is it a surprise that before the Princess and I left for Stitches Midwest, I frogged back to the middle of the second set of 12 rows?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Turn Around, Turn Around

I remember watching Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color when I was a little girl.  Kodak ran a commercial -- and let's tip our hats to Madison Avenue -- that I remember better than any of the actual shows.  It featured the Malvina Reynolds/Harry Belafonte song about "Where are you going my little one, little one..."  The point, of course, was to make sure we used Kodak film and cameras to capture those Kodak moments.

Since yesterday I keep singing in my head, "turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four, turn around and your a young man going out of my door."

The Lord Protector left for college this morning. Wasn't he just hip-high yesterday?
And then I turned around.