Thursday, November 30, 2006

Into the Abyss

There has been a notable lack of solitude here lately. The insanity that is Thanksgiving was extended when both the boys got sick. I would suspect them of malingering, except no one fakes stomach flu just to get a couple more days off. Not even Marco and John.

I'm enjoying the silence. No Game-Boy blipping. No Scooby-Doo. No PBS Kids/WTTW Pledge Drive. No one racing for the bathroom. I keep stopping what I'm doing and wallow in being alone, listening to all that nothing. No wonder I found knitting.

Everybody's better. I am back to blogging by daylight. Well (as I glance out the window), winter light, anyway.

What am I doing with all this all-by-myself-ing? I'm going to knit a sweater.

It's official. I have cast on.

Should I feel the urge to run screaming from the edge of the precipice, I still have all those scarves....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And She's (Not Quite) Off

I was going to cast on for Clare's sweater today. Really, I was.

We had picked up her yarn at Nana's Knitting while she was in for Thanksgiving. I didn't expect her to chose a color as far away from brown as it was from the Rowan Felted Tweed I'd bought, but I think she might have. It's Cascade Heathers in 9449, dark blue with peacock and purple.

(Yarn Country has an even better picture.)

In preparation, I printed off, read and marked up the pattern. Not only did I circle the relevant numbers and design features, I lined out all the others. I have this vision of knitting one sleeve in XS, or trying to incorporate contradictory necklines.

I had my size 5 and 6 circulars all ready to cast on that 110 stitches when I felt the word "gauge" flitter across my mind. (Ah, nuts.) A sacrifice to the sweater god seemed called for. I decided I'd better make up one swatch. One.

The pattern calls for 20 stitches across 4 inches on size 6 needles.

Not 20 stitches across 3 1/2".

As they say, "Oops."

Rooted out a set of size 7's. Knitted another swatch. Yes, I know that makes two. And we're talking "Oops," again. Not to mention drat. 20 stitches across 3 3/4 inches.

By now, I'm feeling a little peeved. I don't really like to knit swatches. It feels like a waste of yarn. Besides, I start thinking about all those stitches that aren't going into the sweater, imagining I could be a couple rows into the project by now. I took out a pair of size 8's and debated whether I couldn't block to gauge. Liz apparently heard what I was thinking and pinned me to my chair until I knit the swatch, right down to the last bind-off stitch. Rotten cat.

Rotten, know-it-all, supercilious, smarter than I am cat. She was right. I got stitch gauge.

Also row, but how many swatch pictures do you want to look at?

I'd like to pretend I'm not tap-dancing right now. But I got gauge. When I die, I may have those swatches pinned into my coffin. They can bury me under a tombstone with the epitaph, "She got gauge."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Scarves 'R' Us

It occurred to me that the cure for my RS2 malaise might be a spell of tricky knitting, so I let Branching Out come out to play. I knew it was a bit risky with all the males home. Still, I whipped off 4 repeats, moving my lifelines along as I went. Even snarky Row 7 cooperated. Then I smoothed it all out and realized I'd done all my knitting on the wrong side. That would explain why I thought the stitch marker was in an odd place.

No pictures, too painful.

It has since been frogged and re-knit, with an additional repeat because otherwise I would probably never pick it up ever-ever again. Ever. As it is, I look at it and think I should only have six repeats left instead of ten and my teeth just clench.

The moral, obviously, is "Listen to your stitch markers."

That, however, is not the end of the scarf story. I still needed something as a break from the everlasting, eternal, world without end k2, kb, p. And all I came up with were negatives. I don't want to start a major project with Clare's sweater looming over me. At Thanksgiving, my sister had mentioned oven mitts, but then I realized, she's worked her way through the blog. She's a nice sister. Of course she's going to ask for oven mitts. I'm definitely off mitering while I debate adding more colors to that mix. The Island Embrace Variation 2 made sort of whimpering noises in the corner, but it's over 60 degrees here (in November?!?). A lapful of wool is not going to happen.

Sometimes I get attacked by an idea. Caught up, as it were, in delusions of creativity. This particular fit left me with an Island Embrace Scarf, pictured in its second incarnation. I started making it just like the blanket, switching yarn every row, but was afraid it looked too muddy. This one is three rows of each color (has to be an odd number or it won't work), since that's about as far as I'm willing to carry the yarn.

I'm having second thoughts about the colors. though. Maybe grey and gold with the red, rather than green and blue? Maybe double-stranding so it goes faster?

While I ponder that, I've started this.

It's from Vogue's "On the Go" series; Scarves 2, the "Woven Pattern Scarf." It's supposed to be knit with a bulky weight, but I don't like thick scarves, so I'm using worsted and knitting more . This is the Fonty Yarns Soft Tweed I picked up at The Fold. I cast on 42 instead of 26 and figure I'm looking at 144 repeats. It's a 4 row repeat, each row a little different from the others. 12 down, 132 to go. But it's fun, so I refuse to take the math any further.

I now have a double safety net for when I fall off the RS2 wagon (is it better to mix one's metaphors than extend them?). The Island Embrace scarf is easy. Well. It will be once I settle on a color combination. And the Woven Pattern Scarf is entertaining.

Not only that. Proving that "a change is as good as a rest," I realized I only have to knit 22 more inches on RS2. The extra yarn? That's why God invented fringe.

Monday, November 27, 2006

It Just Keeps Going and Going and Going

I find myself disheartened. Red Scarf 2 is not nearly as far along as I had hoped it would be. This is how far one skein of Mountain Colors 4/8 gets me.

On the one hand, I could argue that I have less than 24 inches to go, since the minimum length is 60 inches. On the other, what am I going to do with whatever bit of yarn is left if I stop there? On the third hand, do I want to be carried off drooling to the Knitter's Rest Home this close to Christmas? Something I can envision happening if I force myself to knit that additional 12 to 14 inches.

Part of the problem is, the pattern is not quite mindless enough. I can knit this and listen to music, but not sing along. Or hold a conversation. Or watch an interesting movie. And you know, there's only so many times you can watch "Scooby Doo Where's My Mummy" or "Bionicle, Mask of Light" no matter how much your sons love them. Soon I'll be reduced to "Sheena She Alone Can Save Paradise." Or "Bubba Ho-Tep."

To keep myself from stabbing myself with my needles, I decided to attempt a new procedure: spit splicing. After all, Interweave Knits recommended it. I dutifully unravelled the ends I wanted to join.

Since the yarn proved to be 4-ply, I trimmed 2 plies each, overlapped the ends, spit on my fingers and rolled them together. Over-looking the gross-out factor (which is really unjust of me. Are my children's faces less sacred than my Mountain Colors? Am I even going to pretend they have never had a spit bath?), I'm quite impressed. It didn't come apart, even when I yanked.

It's hard to see, which I suppose is good, but the join looks fuzzy to me. A little felted, rather than twisted or plied. Then again, it really only shows up on one stitch out of how many thousands.

It's those thousands more that I still have to knit that are getting to me. I'm convinced soon I'll forget how to do anything but *knit 2, knit into the back, purl 1* repeat ad nauseum. It will invade my dreams, my driving, or worse, any other knitting I attempt for the rest of my life.

Can you spell INTERVENTION?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Positively the Last of the Doctor's Bag

At least, the last time it will be the featured project. The closure post had to wait. When my niece saw photos of the Doctor's Bag on the blog, she told me she had the perfect button for it. She brought it with her on Thanksgiving.

I think she may have been on to something.


Pattern - "The Doctor's Bag" from Knit 2 Together by Mel Clark and Tracy Ullmann.
Yarn - Fleece Artist/Handmaiden Stretto in Mineral (I think. It looks a lot like Ebony, too).
Needles - Size 11 Addi Turbos.
Button by Rama, via Cate (Thanks, Sweetie.)
Handles from Knitche.

Quibbles, Inspirations, Ideas and Suggestions:

The pattern specifies straight needles. I did the whole thing on circulars and I'm glad I didn't buy the 2 sets of straights called for.

The instructions say to do the 3-needle bind-off with "WS facing" when joining the front and back to the bottom, but with "RS facing" when joining the sides. Think "WS facing each other" and "RS facing out." Better still, just remember the bound-off seam should be on the outside.

I stained the wooden rods before inserting them, so they would blend in with the dark yarn.

I had construction issues. The instructions tell you to line the bag before you add the doo-dads and details. Also, to sew the flaps around the wooden rods with the rods in place and then sew the flaps to the lining. Thinking about it, sewing on the button and attaching the handle and button chains would be a real pain with the lining already in place. If I were a thinking knitter, I would have foreseen the awkwardness before I put the lining in or attempted to sew the flaps down while juggling to keep the wooden rods in place. I un-sewed the lining and decided thinking was probably a good thing.

I used the rods to measure the depth of the rod pocket, removed the rods, stuck in a few pins to hold the flaps in place, and sewed the flaps to the inside of the knitted fabric. Then inserted the rods and sewed the ends shut.

With the rods in place, I crocheted the chains to attach the handles. The pattern called for 4 chains (2 per handle). I used 8, (4 per handle), so the ends of each handle are secured with two crochet chains. I used the crochet hook to pull the yarn through and then tied the chains into place around the rods.

With the handles in place, I attached the button chain. I didn't like the noose-like version. Instead, I made a loop and tied it into a knot to take up the slack.

As an added bonus, by reversing the procedure (adding the finishing touches and then sewing in the lining), all 20 ends (from the handle chains, button chain and button) were easy to hide.

I still love the surprise of the monkeys on the lining fabric.

And the bag is certainly capacious.

The perfect bag to hold Clare's Perfect Sweater.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Determination and Creativity - A Tale of Two Scarves

I went for leaded with the pumpkin pie instead of unleaded. As long as I'm waiting for the caffeine to wear off, I figured I could pay a little attention to the blog. Between having Clare home and Thanksgiving, it's been sadly neglected.

Wednesday, after ridding the house of 6 bags of recycling, cleaning the refrigerator, disassembling the worst domestic eye-sores, making pumpkin and apple pies, finding my living room and dining room under the layers of toys and knitting, figuring out what to do with the hundred or so CDs my husband has brought home now that Tower Records is going out of business and he can make up for 20 years of refusing to buy CDs because they were too expensive, sorting, shifting and washing (I am so glad I have children), we decided to watch Pixar's Cars while said children shredded the bread for the stuffing.

I am past the half way point on Red Scarf #2 and decided to use the time to wind the second skein of Mountain Colors 4/8 (their worsted weight.) Imagine my chagrin when I found the pegs for the swift had disappeared.

This is the determination part.

I certainly wasn't going to get my hands on a dowel any time soon. After much muttering, digging through drawers, and an annoyingly repetitive session of trial and error, I found four mini-markers from one art set or other. All they needed was a little masking tape. Who says duct tape holds the world together?

Besides, it worked.

While working through RS #2, I've been trying to plan out #3. I went back to the scarf Clare had made John for his birthday. When I asked her where she found the pattern, she told me she had made it up, adding garter ridges and changing colors when she got bored. The garter ridges I knew about. The changing colors?

How did I miss this? In among the Lorna's Laces Camouflage, she used Cascade 220 Heathers in Pumpkin Spice. I think I may have wronged her when I suggested she had absconded with my Cascade without permission.

Not only did she change colors, she did stranded color work.

In case you were in doubt, this is the creativity part.

Hope your Thanksgiving was happy.

Funny how I don't find blogging sleep-inducing. Maybe a beer?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Road Trip!

Clare and I played hooky today. Two days before Thanksgiving with 22 people sitting down to dinner is not the time to run away. It's time to count chairs and place-settings (I'm short). Time to haul out all the wine glasses and dust the light fixtures. Make pie crust. Take down the kitchen curtains. Clean cabinets. Paint the house. Lay new floors.

Okay, okay. I tend to over-extend at holidays. All the things I live with day to day that don't bother me (much) suddenly become intolerable the closer I come to a celebration. Clare tells me that two days before Thanksgiving, any sentence that begins with "I'll just" is not allowed. She keeps telling me to breathe.

So at 9 this morning we set off for The Fold in Marengo, IL. This is a major expedition for city folks. The way is rife with danger. Lake Shore Drive in its current incarnation as Dan Ryan Expressway II. Downtown during the morning rush. The Kennedy - which is always hell, I don't care what time of day. And then the hazards of Open Road Tolling and it's attendant construction. We listened to almost all of Arlo Guthrie Live in Sydney. We're talking a long drive here. And then we almost missed the sign. Thank goodness the folks at The Fold post a map.

It really looks nothing at all like what I expected a fiber Mecca to look like.

Just like your uncle's or cousin's or college friend's. Unpretentious. Friendly. Welcoming. But not fiber related.

The Fold is well known for its spinning resources. And the entire first room is devoted to wheels, hand-spindles, roving, you name it. But, and I quote from their website here, "The Fold has added yarns to our inventory! Naturally, being spinners, we are picky about the quality of the yarns we carry. We think you'll agree these are worth looking at."

They were wonderful. Manos del Uruguay. Classic Elite. Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Merinos. Alpacas. Cashmere blends. Recycled Silk. I'd have a picture if I had bothered to check the batteries in my camera.

We had come for Mountain Colors in something other than Bearfoot. Well, I had. Clare subscribes to the "you can never have too much sock yarn" school of thought. Not being a sock-knitter I wanted Mountain Colors non-Bearfoot yarn. And we found it. They had 4/8, Handspun, Merino Ribbon, Twizzle, Weaver's Wool, Feathers, and Wool Crepe. And Bearfoot.

On the left is MC Weavers Wool in Wilderness. On the right is Fonty Yarns Soft Tweed, color 1105. Now I am between a rock and a hard place. I went in search of additional incentive to finish Red Scarf #2. One of these is destined for RS #3, but which?

Lovely as the yarns were, it would have been wrong to leave The Fold without something that spins.

We made it home in time for Marco's bus. Jiggedy-jig!

Monday, November 20, 2006

At Loose Ends

I don't know what to knit next. Pretty searing confession for a purported knitting blog.

It's not that I don't have things in progress. I do. In fact, they begin to accumulate rather alarmingly. There's Red Scarf #2. Not to mention #3 (it may still on paper, but I'm holding it out as a reward for finishing the now paralyzingly monotonous RS#2). I have Branching Out #1, which I have to get through because I have plans - the possible BrO#2 in that lovely Jaeger Siena cotton for pillowcases. The Kid Slique doesn't even have a project yet. And, of course, there's always Island Embrace Variation #2, aka, The Garter Stitch Afghan That Never Ends.

The difficulty is that none of them are particularly difficult. Well, admittedly Branching Out is pretty fiddly, and the 7th row and I have a decidedly hostile relationship. But I get it. Now it's a matter of discipline, not discovery. I want the sense of victory I got when I triumphed over the Doctor's Bag. The kind you only get when the project comes with "some assembly required."

My discomfort is caused, in part, because I thought I had such a project ready to go. Fueled by my sister's encouraging email and the way my daughter's face lit up when I mentioned the, at that point nebulous, plan, I expected to be working on a sweater for Clare. It's been simmering away in the back of my brain since
October. I've been doing my research. Adding to my library.

When I picked up the winter
Interweave Knits, I was sure I had found it.

Mostly stockinette, so I can concentrate on the shaping. Not too tight around the neck (a serious Clare consideration). And that pretty detailing at the shoulder, which would, I hoped, teach me something new. I thought I was cooking with gas.

I dragged Diane out west to look for yarn in Clare's color of choice: brown. I don't much like brown, but it's a good color on Clare. And at least it wasn't gray. If I want to knit with dryer lint, I'll learn to spin.

No, I don't suffer from a peculiar visual disorder. Apparently every knitter in the Chicago area is knitting in brown this Fall and they all got there before me. We are also, it would seem, knitting sweaters, or possibly afghans, or other large projects, because it proved to be quite a challenge to get enough of anything. So I was happy to get something this pretty. It's Rowan Felted Tweed, SH152 "Watery"

So, there I was. Revved up. Ready. Anticipation personified. Sure all was in order for the next great step in my Knitterly Progress. Then I picked Clare up from college. She wants The Perfect Sweater, which, ironically, Anne and Kay posted right about the time I allowed the idea of knitting a sweater to bubble up in the first place.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Veni, Vidi . . .


I win.

Added 11/20/06.

I had to post this.

Conversation with my husband as he stood in the hall and looked at the Doctor's Bag.

"Who is this for?"
"That's a pretty impressive piece of work."

I almost dropped my teeth.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Object Lesson

It's good to know one's place in life. Mine is clearly to be the "there" in "there but for the grace of God go I."

Okay, we're back to the Doctor's Bag. Sorry. I know I said I was tired of obsessing over it. But it seemed the surest way to get over it was to finished the dratted thing.

I figured out (with the help of that when the authors' said "pick up and knit" they did, in fact, mean what I mean when I say "pick up a stitch." They like the process, I like the result. To-may-to, to-mah-to.

I picked up my stitches, but kept having too many left over at the end. I pulled them out, picked up again. Several times. I finally got the right number of stitches on my needle, did my three needle bind-off, and said "A-hah!"

See this bulge/dent thing?

Clearly, the instructions were wrong! Vindicated!

Except. Remember the part that's supposed to go over the wooden rods? One for the front and one for the back?

As the old Sesame Street song says, "Something's miss-ing." It is, of course, at the beginning.

I'm going to go join the other side. Then I'm going to figure out a way to undo three-needle-bind-off from the beginning, and then redo it. I think it's called frogging.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I Can See the Future

And finishing the Doctor's Bag isn't in it. At least, not today. This, despite the fact that all the prep work is done.

The base is cut.

The wooden dowel for the upper edges of the purse is divided (although I may yet decide to use the Ghee's hex-open frame.) It's times like these that I really love my Sharksaw pull saw and my sanding block.

The lining was already finished. Being a mediocre-at-best sewer, I need to pause here to give credit to Husqvarna-Viking.

I still don't like the math, but I think it all works.

Plus, I have some bribery. I saw this when I went to Knitche with my sister and didn't buy it. It's not really my style, and I haven't a clue what to do with it. That didn't stop me from going back for it a few days later. It's Kid Slique by Prism Yarns in Tumbleweed.

I'm falling into a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. It's certainly a more complicated yarn than I've tried to knit with before. So it would seem to call for garter or stockinette on big needles.

On the other hand, maybe this is the yarn that will seduce me into finishing a feather and fan scarf? The color would be great with my winter jacket.

With all this before me, and not forgetting I'm getting sick of obsessing over it, I would like to predict that the Doctor's Bag will be done today. Finally.

Except that boys have a half day and I promised Clare I'd go over her English Paper with her.

Monday, November 13, 2006

To Think I Thought I Loved a Challenge

Nothing like getting a dose of reality, just in case I had a single shred of an illusion that I wasn't in completely over my head with this knitting thing.

The instructions for the Doctor's Bag read "pick up and knit 60 sts along the long edge of the Base. Break yarn. Repeat along straight edge of the Front." Fine. Except there are 78 stitches and 76 rows, respectively, along those particular edges.

In order to join the sides I'm supposed to "pick up and knit 28 sts along the shaped and straight cast on edge." It's 42 rows. Then I "pick up and knit 20 sts along the straight edge." Of the bottom, I think; the bottom is 48 stitches.

No, there are no errata posted for this book at the STC website. I had hopes. They were dashed.

I'm putting a lot of faith in the designers here. I'm trusting that the 3 needle bind-off will stretch the seams and that reducing the number of stitches will compensate for this. But why not a nice easy number? Or directions along the lines of "skip every 4th stitch"? I begin to understand the mindset behind "Dear Designer" letters.

After producing numerous visuals,

I did finally figure out that if I took the number of stitches/rows I had and divided them by the difference between what I have and what I'm supposed to end up with, I would get at least a rough idea of how to space out the stitches I'm supposed to pick up. The non-math-challenged may keep their snickers to themselves.

As a reward, I made the lining.

Well. A reward and to prove to myself that not all acts of creativity leave me betwixt, befuddled, between and bemused.

All quotes taken from Knit 2 Together; Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark, authors; Stewart, Tabori and Chang, publishers; copyright 2006.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

No - Knitting Content!


No sun – no moon!
No morn – no noon –
No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day –
No sky – no earthly view –
No distance looking blue –
No road – no street – no “t’other side the way” –
No end to any Row –
No indications where the Crescents go –
No top to any steeple –
No recognitions of familiar people –
No courtesies for showing ‘em –
No knowing ‘em! –
No travelling at all – no locomotion,
No inkling of the way – no notion –
“No go” – by land or ocean –
No mail – no post –
No news from any foreign coast –
No Park – No Ring – no afternoon gentility –
No company – no nobility –
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds –

Thomas Hood
1799 - 1845

Mr. Hood knew whereof he spoke.

Friday, November 10, 2006

K.I.P.2 or Einstein Was Right

I did it again. I knit in public. Real public, this time. Knitting while I waited for parent/teacher conferences was public, but. . . still a closed community? Someplace where my comfort level was high? It was knitting in public, sort of. Yesterday I knit at McDonald's.

I should explain that after 20 years with children, any fondness I might ever have had for McDonald's has long gone by the board. I struggle to remember the times when I was little and a trip to that new place where the hamburgers or cheeseburgers were ready to eat was an adventure. The novelty over-rode the fact that the hamburgers and cheeseburgers were all the same, and they all had onions.

When a new McDonald's was built here in Hyde Park, I tried to hide it from my children, taking detours down side-streets, devising new routes to anywhere that might have entailed a sighting. Admittedly, a delaying tactic at best. In fairness, as McDonald's go, this one is pretty nice. It's just that it's still McDonald's.

One of the benefits of report card pick-up (read: bribes for not melting down while I talk to the teachers) is the child whose report card got picked up gets to choose dinner. I promise to abide absolutely by their choice. On Wednesday, John wanted oven-baked chicken and rice. Yesterday, Marco picked McDonald's.

Dinner at McDonald's has always seemed endless to me. I groan inwardly when they want a refill on their Coke. Drum my fingers on the table if they need to use the bathroom (almost a given, considering all that pop.) By the time they're half-way through their french fries, I'm making suggestions:

"We can take that home, you know."
"Want me to put that in the bag for you?"
"Are you going to finish those fries?"

They are perfectly happy to sit and watch the lines from and reform. To listen to the servers shouting out the order numbers. The parade of humanity that passes through McDonald's is, for them, a source of never-ending interest. I, sad to say, am worse than a little kid on a car trip.

Which is why I am so amazed at how pleasant dinner was with my knitting to hand. I didn't try to hustle Marco through getting the drinks (it never works anyway). Didn't care that they didn't wolf their food. Didn't start foot tapping while they tore open their third ketchup packet. Didn't start muttering about using the drive-thru next time.

Even more amazing, I didn't think twice about pulling out my needles. No, that's not right. I didn't think about it at all. No self-consciousness. No trying to half-embarrassedly hide what I was doing. No inner debate about pulling out the current red scarf and adding a few rows.

Not only that, we were done in record time. They have never gotten their refills so fast. Never been so quick in the bathroom. Never gotten in, out and back home so (for me) painlessly. Never mind that the clock said we'd been gone close to an hour and a half.

Huh. Relativity works.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Map, Please

I'm in that semi-stunned state that follows finishing something, kind of like what I experienced with the red scarf. I don't know why it takes me by surprise. If one knits, one will eventually reach the end of a piece. It follows that if one then continues to the next piece, one will complete that one, too. And so on. So here I am, a bit bemused because all five pieces of the Doctor's Bag are done.

I'm in some difficulty now. I suspect the book is intended for more experienced knitters than I am. So, much as I like the projects, the instructions sometimes baffle and frustrate. "Bind off in pattern." This is apparently a piece of knitting lore everyone knows but me, since I can't find an explanation for it anywhere. The pattern calls for *k2, sl2wyif* for the right side, *p2, sl2wyib* for the wrong side. Should I have bound off in 2 passes? Knitting to bind off two stitches and slipping and then purling the slipped stitches to bind off 2 and slipping on the return trip? And what about that "wyif" and "wyib"? I worry about this now, because my bind-off stitches are decidedly wonky, even for me.

It's all well and good to blame the slubby yarn, and that may in fact be part of the problem, but maybe it's my failure to "bind off in pattern."

Then I have to "pick up and knit." I'm assuming they mean to pull loops through the edges and then knit a row. But what if their idea of "pick up" is of the thread the needle through without pulling up a loop variety?

There are instructions for the three-needle bind off I'm supposed to use to assemble the pieces. It's just not quite the way I learned three-needle bind-off. This makes me leery of making assumptions. Like the one I'm making about the "pick up and knit" part.

The word "blocking" does not seem to appear anywhere. Since I hope blocking will help resolve my bound off edge issues, I'm not taking this as an indication that I can skip that step. I'm going to try the pin and squirt method because, on the plus side, the pieces match up, even unblocked. The front and back have an extra repeat to allow for the wooden rods that give the bag part of it's structure. The side is supposed to be even with that little lower edge on the front, and it is.

That the edges of all five pieces line up encourages me. I must be developing consistency in my knitting. I had at times envisioned 5 pieces that bore absolutely no relationship to each other. In that case, I planned to call the bag "art."

Time for a deep breath. The knitting may be done. Now I have to put it together. With any luck, as long as I make the same mistakes, I mean, decisions, in all phases of the assembly, I'll be okay. One can hope.

Uncharted territory, here I come.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

K.I.P. - Really

I knit in public today. At Report Card Pickup. And the base to the Doctor's Bag behaved beautifully.

Of course, it might have been the monkeys.

I'll take my successes however I can get them.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Variety Maketh a Happy Knitter

Honestly, I must have the attention span of a gnat. While I wait for the assorted finishing items to work their magic on the Doctor's Bag, am I adding rows to latest Red Scarf? No. Knitting away at the Never Ending Garter Stitch Afghan while finishing the Civil War? No, again. I haven't even managed to decide which fabric to use for the lining (although I'm leaning toward the monkeys).

Nor can I say I've made any actual progress on Branching Out, because instead I am trying to adapt it. It's all in my head just now, but I'm sure I can make Branching out work for linens.

I bought the (for me) tiny needles. UPS delivered the yarn today. The book is Weekend Knitting. One of those books that just mysteriously leaped into my hands when I went in to browse the fiction section. I don't know how I ended up in front of the knitting books. Again. Much less in front of the cash register paying for one.

I may use one of the patterns given in the book, too. I quite like the one in the picture. But I have this image in my mind of the leaves growing as I knit. Kind of like the beanstalk.

I'm approaching real lace. Obliquely, perhaps. With my mind's eyes closed, almost certainly. But undeniably on my way. Can steeks be far behind?

Finally. Did you vote yet?

I did.