Friday, October 30, 2009


I need to finish something. If there is anything the 4 hats/0 sweater fiasco showed me, it's that it has been too long since the Bubbly Curtain and even that doesn't really count because I have to frog about a third of it and then make a companion (the only way I've come up with to cover the bathroom window without the curtain puddling on the floor).

I have options. Several sweaters started. Several more planned out enough that I have the yarn for them. Two afghans for neighbors in need (by my definition, not theirs). Giving up on getting the technical aspects of the Autumn blanket right and just knitting it up and sending it off for the a4A Cure Hospital campaign (in the nature of penance for not finishing the sweater).

I ran this by Clare at the dinner table a couple of nights ago, wondering how much I could get done by Christmas. She was, how shall I put this, wary. Not exactly skeptical, but clearly looking for a way to check my sanity without setting me off on an impossible path just from pure cussedness.

After a night's sleep or two, I'm ready to concede the need for further thought. Maybe those are all too big. Maybe I should redeem one of last year's incomplete Christmas gifts instead.

That way, I could spend some time with Ann and Kay. Besides, now that I've taken a class in intarsia, I have this great idea on how to personalize these. The recipient is in Rome; I could use that -- or, more accurately, her return -- as an added incentive. Deadlines are my friend.

Then I read the note in the book about using gloves with a" bonded fabric lining" "[t]o guard against tearing." Tearing? As in, I could get the cuffs attached and then they could de-attach? The source for such luxe rubber gloves was Williams-Sonoma. Note that "was." As in, past tense. They don't seem to carry them anymore, at least not on their website. I am now frozen over the pink gloves with scissors in hand, fearful of actually cutting into them. I'm wondering if using the knitting to attach glove liners at the same time would work. Would I need to buy larger size gloves to accommodate them? I think maybe yes.

I can't help thinking that ideas have a way of getting away from me. Maybe I better pick up a couple extra pairs of rubber gloves, too. Just in case.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not a Sweater

Four hats sent out to afghans for Afghans on Monday. Four very cute hats. All knit from the Basic Rolled Brim Hat from Knitting for Peace, the top-knot variation. All knit from stash yarn. All knit as reward for perseverance.

Left to right (bottom to top?). Tahki Shannon in 19/Denim. Inca Alpaca in Peony and Blue Sky Alpaca Melange in Relish (my favorite). Dale of Norway Freestyle in 5444/Violet Blue, 4417/Fuchsia, 2106/Yellow, and a mystery green, maybe 9133/ Spring Green. Malabrigo worsted in 86/Verdeazul. All knit on 16 inch US size 7/4.5mm Addi turbo's until the decreases made me change to Crystal Palace dpn's.

Four hats, but no sweater. I am unreasonably disappointed in myself over this.

There it is, though, missing a sleeve, needing assembly, lacking the bottom ribbing and in want of neck finishing. No amount of reward knitting is getting this to San Francisco by tomorrow.

A smart woman would finish the sweater now. That way it would be ready for the next campaign (surely there will be another campaign next year?). Right now I'm leaving it on the dining room table while I try to convince myself that that smart woman is me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I didn't keep any notes on the purple a4A sweater. I have a hot pink notice from Marco's school with numbers scribbled back and front that was tucked in at the pattern page, but that's it. I know I made adjustments. I changed the size; I remember worrying about all those 10 to 12 year olds who weren't big enough to wear an adult small. I used bulky yarn. I referred repeatedly to Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns.

I remember that I hoped the yarn would take care of most of the resizing issues, but I knew there were places where I had to change the numbers anyway. You know, those parts where they tell you exactly how many stitches worth of something. Twenty stitches at worsted weight are a lot different than twenty stitches at bulky weight, especially if the bulky is Malabrigo bulky.

I investigated the sweater itself. I had 34 stitches left on the sleeve. I had 41 stitches (not 42?) left on short-cable circulars awaiting my decision to 3-needle bind-off or Kitchener. Near as I could tell, I had 136 stitches total before I began decreasing for the sleeve (thank God I had marked off the sleeve with coil-less safety pins and been too lazy to take them out.) 136 was a good number. There was an actual note on the pattern page that involved 136. It was the sum of 52+58+26 which were the numbers from the pattern for the stitches picked up from the front, the stitches picked up from the back and the stitches cast on for the neck.

I went back to the sweater. I only had 16 stitches for the neck. I could maybe fudge it to 18 if I counted the bound off rows from the front and the back, but there was no way I was going to get anywhere close to 26. The pattern called for about 84 rows for the front, 96 rows for the back. I have 74 and 86. I began writing all this down.

I lost those notes.

I gave up and started knitting something else from the book - the basic rolled brim hat. My theory was that if I stopped panicking and finished something, anything, for the Youth Campaign, I'd get my knitting chops back. I finished the hat this morning.

I went back to the purple sweater. No matter how many different ways I tried to count, I came up with 57 stitches picked up from the front and 63 from the back. The numbers bear no resemblance to anything in the pattern or on the hot pink piece of paper. For lack of anything better to do, I subtracted them from 136, the total number of stitches I was sure I had (because I'd counted them six ways from Sunday) before I started the sleeve decreases. The difference is 16.

Wait. Wait. Isn't that the number I thought I had cast on for the neck?

Friday, October 16, 2009

'Tis the Season

Just a little reassurance before I go into the main post. Yes, I found the knitting needles. They were in one of the knitting-that-has-fallen-out-of-favor bags. I can't imagine how they got there, although I suspect a 10-Second Tidy may have been involved (that's your link for Foolery on Friday). Also, I've given up on the 5 hour baby sweater plan. I have no idea what I'll knit instead, so let's focus on other things. How a bout a public service announcement post?

First, let me --appallingly, belatedly -- jump on the a4A bandwagon. You probably (I hope) already know that the Campaign for Youth is top priority. They have a container and it's leaving. Soon. Hats, knitted socks, sweaters, vests, and blankets for older kids - 7 to 14. Items need to be received by late October. Details here. How fortunate that I didn't frog the sweater I didn't finish for last year's campaign.

Almost prescient of me.

I'm so deeply into blanket mode at this point, though, that I may not be able to stop myself from trying to get one done for the Youth Campaign.

Some of this is even stash yarn.

Once you've finished your Youth Campaign knitting you can go back to knitting for CURE Hospital in Kabul. Details for that a4A campaign here.

Now you may have noticed that a4A doesn't take scarves. There's Red Scarf, of course, but maybe this year you could donate funds (there's a link at the sidebar on the Red Scarf Project blog). Then, when you need a break from all that blanket knitting, consider instead my current favorite in the "Think globally, act locally" category.

In her newsletter last month Janet at String Theory in Glen Ellyn came up with this great idea. It seems people start to wander into the shop around the end of November asking for hand-knits for Christmas gifts. All we need to do is knit (or crochet) a "gorgeous hand made scarf" and drop it off at the shop by November 27 (it's a great excuse to stop in). If you're out of the area, mail it. String Theory will sell the handmade scarves; the proceeds will benefit the PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) branch in DuPage County, right here in Illinois. Details and a bit of the story on String theory's blog.

In case you're unfamiliar with PADS, I did a little web-searching for you. I couldn't find a single, over-arching PADS link (which is why I don't include one). Based on the several sites I've checked, though, the PADS network operates outside the city of Chicago (not that Chicago doesn't have people in need, we just don't have PADS). As near as I can tell, PADS originated in Aurora and then spread across Illinois. What I really like about the program is that it doesn't stop at temporary shelter of the overnight housing variety. It provides services -- like advocacy and job training -- seeking permanent solutions for homelessness on an individual basis. It's one of those give a man fish versus teach him to fish things.

All that, and (as you will have noticed if you clicked the link to their blog) String Theory will provide prizes.

It's time to rev up the needles.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I Know I Had Them

It's not that it's been a bad week. Neither was the one before, for that matter. It was just one (two) of those "Where did it go and how did it get to be now so fast" weeks. Cross country practice every day after school means a pick-up every day after school. A meeting or two means time prepping. A volunteer obligation - especially one where you've been given a new space -- means, well, moving. Add in that all my new knitting is conspiring against me and I have to admit to a certain reluctance to sit at the computer and chronicle it all.

There's a downside to that, though. The blog is the best way I have ever found to keep track of what I'm doing. So when, for example, I am consumed with the need to knit a baby sweater because someone has joined the ranks of that rarefied and erudite group known as parents of children with Down Syndrome, and when I am convinced said sweater must be complete by Sunday and yet can't find the one essential piece of equipment I want (now that I have finally located a pattern I may be able to knit in about 5 hours) there's no point in turning to the blog to help me figure out where and what I've been knitting, because I haven't written about it. Herewith, then, in an attempt to go backward through my remembering and thus locate my stuff, is an inventory of what I think I have on the needles.

The fourth (or fifth) (or sixth?) attempt at an afghan for my neighbor.

No, I don't like this version either and am now sliding over into the idea of reverting to a striped blanket a la Cat Bordi's Island Embrace, except with with a moss or garter stitch border and stockinette body.

The back of Marc's idea of the ideal men's navy blue cardigan.

My. Look at that. That piece is really close to done, isn't it? I may have to figure out exactly where to place the cables on the front soon.


This is my reward knitting, Sadly, very little of my knitting merits a reward these days.

Not a Wool Peddler's Shawl because it's not red.

This is my frustration knitting. I would have thought I'd made more progress here.

Finally, the current cause of my aforesaid frustration.

The I Need It Done Yesterday baby sweater, languishing for lack of my new US 10/6 mm Kollage square needles - the "it" that I know I had, and not that long ago, either. I really need them. The size 9/5.5 mm are giving me 4 spi and I want 3.75. The 10's are not hiding in any of the projects on which I'm working, yet I know I own a pair; I have the empty package.

In the interests of full disclosure, I suppose I have to admit that the I Can't Bear To Send this to Afghans for Afghans If I Can't Get The Knitting Straight blanket is still active, too, if only in the sense that I haven't frogged it yet. No, I really don't care that I find the colors absolutely dreadful, it's the technical aspects that have me in a snit. Enough said. No picture required, right?

So there you have it. I figure if Diane was concerned enough to fabricate a need to stop for coffee the day before yesterday, maybe some of you would like to know why I seem to have decided tearing my hair out while running around like a lemming looking for a cliff was preferable to posting.

I feel like Captain Queeg and the strawberries; I know those needles are here somewhere.