Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Racing Myself

Sometimes, I can focus on a single project. I can knit with dedication, determination and purpose. This is not one of those sometimes.

Sometimes bribery works (see past four posts). This is also not one of those sometimes. When one has already in effect bribed oneself (note photo here with observation that I purchased enough yarn for 2 sweaters), the whole motivation thing is gone and one must admit that all one is doing is accumulating stash. More yarn is no longer a bribe, it's just pressure.

Sometimes time is incentive enough. A deadline can work wonders. I may have ended up with an afghan that I hate, but the time pressure of the Knitting Olympics assured that I ended up with an afghan. It's just not enough incentive this time.

The sad and sorry truth is that the fun part of the Puntas Sweater is done. It's straight stockinette in the round from here on until it's time to split for the sleeves and yoke, at which point it will be largely straight stockinette back and forth. So I've decided to set up a little competition. A race with myself, if you will. The knitterly version of playing checkers, right hand against left. I'm knitting this, too.

This is Rosemary's Little Sweater. Like the Puntas Sweater, it's a Green Mountain Spinnery pattern (That yarn for 2 sweaters? It's all Green Mountain Spinnery yarn, remember?). At this point it is also straight stockinette in the round, but I have little cables to look forward to.

a4A wants sweaters for youth. They want them in hand by May 14. That gives me 17 days until the sweaters have to be in San Francisco. That's the same number of days as the original Knitting Olympics. I owe them for completely blowing the last campaign.

It's an all or nothing challenge. I'm risking not finishing either sweater in time. The victory, however, will be on multiple fronts. I will be knitting against a deadline. I have to allow time for shipping, but I have already started, so I'm still looking pretty much at 17 days. It will be a victory over undue stash accumulation. The yarn will have been here less than a month. I don't think it will count as stash at all. And in some sort of twisted sideways way, it will atone for knitting a hideous afghan for the original Knitting Olympics when I could have been knitting sweaters for kids.

That, and sometimes project monogamy is just not what it takes to actually, you know, finish a project.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


" 'Sisyphus, Sisyphus,' hissed the snake,
'Sibilant, syllabub,
Scylla and Charybdis
Sumac, asphodel,
How do you spell Success?
With an S-S-S!' " *

Details, details.

Pattern: Orphans fro Orphans Sweater from Knitting for Peace.

Yarn: Malabrigo Bulky in Velvet grapes, I don't remember how many skeins but suspect it was at least six. Bulky because I wanted a sweater that would fit an older child/14 year old. For some reason I convinced myself that lots of people would, as I had with the original Orphans for Orphans sweater, knit for the 8 to 10 year old group, leaving the 12 to 14 year olds in the lurch.

Needles: Addi Turbo's, US 11/5mm.

Adjustments to handle heavier (much heavier) yarn: Numerous, but I did a very bad job of keeping them straight. Some of them are scattered throughout the blog. Mostly they involved math to adjust stitch and row count to accommodate a gauge that had nothing to do with the original pattern. Also to place decreases, which were fewer because the row count was significantly lower.

Bottom line, though? I win.

* Excerpted from the poem "Cheers" by Eve Merriam (because April is National Poetry Month).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Part the Third

Sometimes you just have to get your hands on new yarn.

Or a new pattern or a new technique. Or all of the foregoing.

Then you can feel rejuvenated enough to finally finish off the last bits of an old project which seems to consist entirely and debilitatingly of old yarn, old pattern, old technique.

Now, will someone please explain where all those ends came from? I think perhaps some more bribery is called for.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Part the Second

String Theory doesn't just carry wool/mohair blends from Peace Fleece. They carry Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair.

I used up my credit. In fact, I more than used up my credit. It's the Lord Protector's fault. He couldn't tell me which color combination worked best, so I had to get enough for two sweaters.

By Friday evening I had Kitchener-ed the remaining side of the Knitting for Peace Sweater and picked up the stitches and knit the waistband ribbing.

But only on the strength of the bribe promise that now that that part is done, I can wind the yarn for a Punta Sweater.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bribery - A Tale in Three Parts - Part the First

Look familiar?

It should. Progress on the Orphans for Afghans sweater? That would be none. Zero. Zip. Zilch. It would seem my distaste for this sweater had reached irrational proportions. Even the promise and planning of the Punta sweater couldn't persuade me to move forward. After I posted here a week ago Friday, I admitted that serious bribery was called for.

I decided I didn't want to wait for an order of Mountain Mohair from Green Mountain Spinnery. Peace Fleece, I thought. Peace Fleeces is a wool/mohair blend. String Theory carries Peace Fleece. And I still had most of the Sidewalk Sale credit to spend.

String Theory is Far Away. It almost can't be called a local yarn store. I can't get there and back in time for The Pirate's school bus unless I plan very, very efficiently.

Both The Pirate and the Lord Protector were off from school that Friday.

Guess where we went.

I did say serious bribery was called for.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Duty Calls

I bet you're wondering if any knitting is happening here, or if I'm just doing my best to replace all the yarn I donated a few months ago. As it happens, I am. It's purple. It involves large needles. It's almost a sweater.

It's been flopping around here for way too long. The repertoire of feeble excuses I have devised for not working on it is truly underwhelming (the latest was I had to wind up a new skein and spit-splice it on to finish the second sleeve). The time has come. I need to undo and re-do the Kitchener stitch up the left side, and then Kitchener the right (the yarn is so bulky; I don't want that thick seam). Once I've done that I need to pick up the stitches along the bottom and knit the waistband ribbing. I need to mattress-stitch the sleeves. Then I need to crab-stitch the neck edge. Most importantly, I need to get it out of my house. The current a4A campaign (items due in early May) is again (still) asking for sweaters.

I can't help but notice how many times the word "need" arises when writing about this sweater. If I said I was enjoying the knitting, I'd be lying. I need a bribe. One of my acquisitions at Stitches this past fall was the Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book. I think I may be falling in love with the Punta Sweater. It's the pink one.

Surprisingly, no one on Ravelry has knit it up yet. At least, I can't find it. It's not even listed on the Green Mountain Spinnery designer's page (although the cute little matching hat is).

I completely blew the last a4A Youth Campaign (yet another thing to hold against the Not-So-Absolutely-Fabulous Afghan). I'm not going to let this one stumble down the same road. At the very least, maybe I'll finally get Kitchener stitch down.