Saturday, October 23, 2010

You Say Potato

Red Scarf ? Zero.

Other Knitting? Well - more than zero.

Puntas Sweater from The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book, for afghans for Afghans Youth Campaign. That would be last year's campaign for youth. Last seen here.

Rosemary's Little Sweater, also for a4A, same source, same vintage. Last seen in the same place as the Puntas Sweater.

Eldest Nephew's Sweater.

Last seen here (the picture at the bottom of the post, not the top).

Some might say it's avoidance; I'll say it's a new twist on incentives and rewards.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deja Vu All Over Again*

Truth be told, I don't much like knitting scarves. I usually need a good reward system set up to get anywhere. Failing that, a really compelling incentive, like guilt, can work.

I'm trying to get a good head of steam up over my Red Scarf. With neither a reward or an incentive in place, the going is about as slow as the proverbial molasses in January. We're talking snail's pace here. Actually, no. Even that would be faster than my knitting. Maybe a dead snail.

I thought maybe if I could mark progress in something other than inches, that could be it's own reward. I started measuring by getting the first full stripe from the left side to the right (see the green markers). Once I'd done that, I thought, I could set the starting point for the next stripe and follow that up (that would be the orange marker).

It's not working well. I've only got two such stripes done so far. While gazing down at it in mild despair this morning, I noticed something else about it. It looked familiar. This -- given how infrequently I knit scarves -- made no sense. I knit scarves so infrequently that I can count them without taking my shoes off. I couldn't figure out where I had seen this before. For that matter, I couldn't figure out why it almost felt like I had knit this before.

The penny dropped when I looked at the wrong side.

I've knit a whole blanket like it. I just didn't recognize it until I turned the scarf over. Surely, then, I can pull off a scarf's worth.

Maybe, just maybe though, it's time to investigate rewards.

*Attributed to Yogi Berra.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Opportunities Abounding

It's been one of those weeks where my life decides to impose on my knitting. I hate when that happens. Still, some things are important, so here's a PSA (two, actually). My favorite (all right all right, my only) charity knitting groups are in need. It's time to hop back on the charity knitting bandwagon.

Red Scarf, 2010. Made famous by Now Norma Knits, it's taken on a life of its own. Details at OFA. The request is out for red (or other unisex color) scarves for Valentine's Day care packages for college students who grew up in the foster care system but were never adopted. That still astounds and amazes me. Never made part of a family, but they've gotten themselves together enough to tackle college. Scarves are being accepted now through December 5. The princess has started an Island Embrace scarf. I've gotten the ScWiNoNa going in Lorna's Laces Brick.

The Princess assures me it's not pink, it's orange. I may have used Red Scarf as an excuse to order something from Brooklyn Tweed. I'll be making it in Long Johns.

Afghans for Afghans Campaign for Youth. Details here. Knit-and-Crochet-along is here. Pretty much anything and everything to keep 7 through 16 year olds warm (except, I think, scarves). Due date is December 2010/January 2011. Time for me to finish those Green Mountain Spinnery sweaters.

And even if I don't? Once Her Highness gets her latest pair of a4A socks done, I'm getting rid of that purple sweater.

Charity knitting: the perfect opportunity to rid my knitting bags of those unsightly half-finished projects and my stash baskets of that pesky yarn.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Needles and pins. Pepper and Salt. Pen and Ink.

I wallowed in some heavy yarn therapy early this week. The first installment (yes, things were that bad) arrived yesterday. I want to use this yarn. I should mention that this is not the greatest picture. The yarn is darker, the colors richer, but I can't get my camera to cooperate. You'll have to trust me.

Briar Rose Abundance, 1500 yards of 100% corriedale wool in color 8232.

I've been casting about for an afghan for the front room for some time now. I think I've found it. I want to do Totally Autumn from Knitty's First Fall 2010 issue, but not in all those hot reds and oranges. Oh, I get the maple leaf analogy, but I think the lace pattern could pass for elm leaves, too.

I'm enamored of the dusky blue, the grayish green, the gold, and the rusty overtones of the brown in this yarn. They say "Autumn" much more eloquently to me than all those heated colors.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Warming a New Home

I Ab-Fabbed in secret for a friend. I finished months ago; the Absolutely Fabulous Afghan by Colinette does knit up quickly. My friend has been over for coffee a couple times since the knitting was finished but I had about a dozen ends to weave in and the Ab-Fab afghan really needed a good blocking before I could hand it over. I finally delivered it yesterday, so now I can post about it.

Not only did I Ab-Fab in secret, I Ab-Fabbed in purple (the things I'll do in friendship's name).


Absolutely Fabulous Afghan by Colinette in Amethyst, which originally contained:

Mohair - Heather
Mohair - Cinnamon
Mohair - Lilac
Wigwam (cotton tape) - Lilac
Fandango (chenille/eyelash) - Lilac (?) (might have been Heather)
Zanziba (thick and thin rayon) - Heather
Zanziba - Lilac
Skye - Damson (although despite its plum-like name, Damson is Not Purple. Which makes me wonder if it was a substitution on the seller's end).

Knit on US 11/8 mm Addi Turbos.

Substitutions (Of course I did, I couldn't help myself). I'm a little vague about the details. This really did all happen about 6 months ago and I don't seem to have kept the labels of anything. Something purple and curly by, I think, Louisa Harding for the much-too-pinkish Lilac Fandango. Malabrigo Twist (?) also in something purple (Velvet Grape?) for the very pink Lilac Wigwam.

I'll knit purple, but I draw the line at Barbie.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Closure Post

Just for the record. I did finish Their Father's sweater on Friday.

Yarn: Cascade 220 in Mallard/2448.
Needles: Addi Turbos US 7/4.5 mm.
Pattern: Based on the Set-In Sleeve Cardigan from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns.
Modified: According to Their Father's Specifications.
Buttons: Leather-covered 3/4" shank buttons from JoAnn Fabrics.

Things to remember.

With a little patience and planning, it is possible to grow 2x2 cables out of 1x1 rib. Witness the knitting on the left. I admit, I had to chart it out before I could see it, but it was as simple as moving the stockinette columns over by 1 row.

Cables make knitting go faster. I'm convinced I knit both the front pieces in half the time it took to knit the back.

Things to reconsider.

As mentioned in the previous post, use short-row shaping and three-needle bind-off for the shoulders, move the armhole decreases in another stitch (I still can't help wondering if this is why the seams look so wonky to me).

Pay closer attention to ending the cables. There's still a part of me that wonders if I didn't do something at the bind-off that unbalanced the two sides.

Rethink the whole set-in sleeve thing. After all, would the sky really have crashed or the heavens tumbled had I opted for the modified-drop sleeve instead?

All things considered, I begin to see the advantages to knitting in the round and steeking.

Was it worth it? The jury's still out. Their Father's initial reaction seemed, to me, to lack whelm. In fact, I would go so far as to say he seemed distinctly underwhelmed.

On the other hand, it was seen in the wild. He put it on last night to read the paper without any whingeing prompting from me.

Friday, October 01, 2010


I bet you've all been glued to your terminals waiting to hear if I finished the sweater in time.

Define "finished" and then define "in time."

Does finished mean all the knitting is done? Then it's finished. Does finished mean all the pieces are blocked and sewn up? Then it's finished.

Does finished mean the ends are woven in and the buttons sewn on? Does finished mean I'm happy with it? Then it's not.

I need to remember that a cardigan can be knit in almost one piece. I need to remember short row shaping for the shoulders so I can join the shoulder seams with a three-needle bind-off. Should I forget about short-row shaping again, as I surely will, I need to remember to slip the first stitch of the bind-offs. I need to remember to place my decreases farther in, maybe two stitches instead of only one.

Most of all, I need to remember that set in sleeves are just not worth it. I actually kind of enjoy sewing side seams. For that matter, I don't even mind the stitches to rows at the sleeve cap or the stitches to stitches under the arm. I think it's the whole setting the sleeves that gets me. All that pinning. all those transitions, from cap to sides, from the sides to the underarm. What with the pinning, stitching, ripping back, re-pinning, ripping out, I probably spent three times as long attaching the sleeves to the body as I did on all the other seams combined. The worst part? Even with all the checking of techniques from my various knitting books, even with and Berroco how-to videos on YouTube, even with all that evidence that I have sewn the sleeves in exactly how they should be, I'm not happy.They don't look as bad as they did before I steamed the seam allowances toward the sleeve,

but I'm still not thrilled.

It didn't help that the sweater still looked like an amoeba when Their Father got home. So, dinner and cake and pie and other presents and cards later, I picked up the sweater and finished the side and sleeve seams. Ends still hanging all over. No buttons. But at least it looked like a sweater. And it was before midnight, so I say it counts (my blog, my knitting, my rules).

Consider "enough." "Enough" means wanting for nothing, "I have enough." Enough can mean having too much, "I have had enough of this [fill in the blank]." Enough is adequate, sufficient, satisfactory, decent.

So, was it done? No. Not really. But it was done enough.