Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Historical Post #3

I'll double-check, but I do believe this is the last of the old news posts that never made it to the Blog proper, although the title implies I had more to say, so maybe not

Originally Titled "Gobsmacked All Over Again, part 1."

August 20, 2011

The Princess and I stole away to Knitapalooza (known to the rest of the world as Stitches Midwest). We've done this for the last 4 or 5 years. My mother, sister and nieces meet us there.  We rent hotel rooms. We have a knitting/girls' escape with classes and yarn and good food and room service for breakfast.

I truly love Stitches Weekend.  I love shedding all my responsibilities. I love the Market.  I love that we take the weekend (although now my ambition is to get there on the Thursday, when it opens). I love that I  learn something new every time.  I love room service (No, really, I love room service - someone else cooks your food, brings it to your room and then comes back and takes the mess away.  It is my firm belief that there is room service in heaven.).

I still haven't gotten up the nerve to sneak a camera in, though, so we'll just have to make do with my after the fact photos.

Class this year was Kathy Zimmerman's Ruffle, Frill and Scalloped Edgings

I'm afraid I'm no longer sure which was which. The Princess took the class, too.  It was humbling to receive proof positive that she is a much faster and better knitter than I.  You'll have to take my word for it.

In a true miracle of self-restraint, the only yarn I bought this year is for gifts, which, as we all acknowledge, doesn't count toward stash accumulation.  It also means I can't show it to you.

Actually, now that I think about it, I might have bought some yarn for charity,

but that doesn't count as stash, either.

Okay okay, okay.  So I might have made one measly personal yarn purchase, a mere single skein.

Silk Merino worsted from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm in Norwich VT, 1375 yards.

Yeesh.  Some people and their expectations of full disclosure.

Nothing like getting the past out of the way before the New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Tis the Season

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God's love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, I hope it's filled with joy (and knitting).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Coming on Christmas

I was so smart. I scheduled the cleaning people to come in this week.  Too bad my house is nowhere near ready to be cleaned.   I have Christmas decoration boxes on the dining room table, wrapping paper and presents on the bed, cards strewn across the kitchen table (I know I had two boxes, I know I did, but can only find one and so am frantically scrambling to find the extras from previous years). Ah well, at least the bathrooms will be clean and the floors washed.

At the moment, I've been ousted from the Kitchen, so thought I'd update the four pitiful pieces I manged to finish in time for the Christmas Market. I never did finish either the pink thing or the red thing.

Apple Green Cowl.
Pattern: Cowl'd and Frosty Morning (free!).  Just followed the directions after adjusting my needle size and took what came out.
Yarn: Dream in Color Groovy (bulky weight) in Happy Forest, one skein.
Needles: Addi Turbo's. US 11/8 mm.

Infinity Scarf
Pattern: Purl Ridge Scarf by WestKnits (Ravelry Link) (also free!) with modifications for bulky weight yarn.  Basically, I guessed. Figured what I thought my gauge might be and cast on accordingly (124 stitches?), hoping to get at least close to the dimensions recommended by the pattern.  Did only three repeats and bound off, which left me with about 2 yards of yarn.
Yarn: Tess Designer Yarns Superwash Merino Bulky, in Cobalt, almost exactly 2 skeins.
Needles: Addi Turbo's US 11/8mm.

The Grey Cowl
Pattern: I kind of made it up as I went along.  I know it's 2 x 2 ribbing, and the third rib is twisted every other row, but I can't remember what I cast on for, somewhere between 40 and 50 stitches.  Then knit until I ran out of the alpaca.
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Charcoal and Blue Sky Alpaca Melange in Licorice, double stranded.
Needles: Addi Turbos, US 10/6mm.

The Cedar Leaf Shawlette (yes, that one!)
Pattern: The Cedar Leaf Shawlette.
Yarn: Handmaiden Lady Godiva in Woodland.
Needles: I forget. I would bet US 8/5mm, but maybe US 7/4.5mm.

I'm sorry to report I haven't a clue what my gauge was on any of these projects, so take the needle sizes with a lot of salt.  I knit American style; my knitting is tight.

Two of these, the Cedar Leaf Shawlette and the Green Thing, I brought along to the Market thinking they would maybe help other knits to sell, but figured I'd be taking them home once the Market was over. The Green Thing because it was, well, eye-searing, and the Cedar Leaf Shawlette because no one would pay the price I put on it. They were the first to go.  Good thing I'm not in retail anymore.

All of which is well and good, but doesn't answer the burning question of the season - will I get a red sweater knit by Saturday? Or should I give up and scout the early sales?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Single Shot

I need the reassurance.  I'm not a total slacker.  I do have some things to offer the Christmas Market.  Just not as much as I had hoped.

Here's a picture.

If the Internet ever decides to let me in for a prolonged period of time (say, more than 20 minutes or so). I'll post details.

Is there a patron saint of computers?  I may need an intercession. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Test Patterns

No, I haven't abandoned the blog again.  My Internet has gone all wonky and will hardly let me in. This will, of necessity, be brief.

Spending one's days with Tech Support eats in to one's charity knitting time.  Knitting like the wind isn't really a possibility for The World's Slowest Knitter.  She needs to find some knit-in-one-night patterns.

Hope these will work.  I'll let you know.  More later.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Found It, a.k.a. Semi-Historical Post #2

Ha!  I knew I had written something about the Super-Secret Knitting Present before.  I wrote it mostly to show off my row-counter, but also to remind myself why I couldn't cast on for a red sweater yet.  Since I feel, if anything, more miserable this morning than I have for the past two days -- they were apparently only the opening salvo-- you'll have to content yourself with this snippet.

Originally Titled, "No, It's Not Kokopelli"

Dated 11/19/2011

Perhaps the real impediment to my red cardigan is the super secret Christmas gift I'm supposed to be knitting, symbolized here by my handy-dandy row-and-repeat counter.

Note that "supposed." I'm finding this four-row sixteen-stitch repeat fairly tricky.  I think it's a combination of the difference of only three stitches per row, and every row (including the wrong-side rows) being different by three stitches.  I need to Pay Attention, which slows down productivity considerably.  There have been evenings where I've knit 12 or 16 rows only to get a single repeat knit correctly. Which explains why I need the additional visual the counter provides to prove that I do, indeed, progress.

I'm pretty sure I'll persuade myself to go ahead with a red sweater soon, if only to give myself the break of some mindless knitting. I just need to get a little further along.  Sadly, as the above shows (and this is as much of a hint as you're going to get until after Christmas), I've only knit 21 repeats out of the remaining 50 I need to knit before I can knit the last 36 rows.

I love my row-and-repeat counter, which explains why you needed to read a post about lack of progress on a project that you already know I finished.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Score

I ignored my own very excellent advice and decided to push forward on the Monteagle bag yesterday.   This morning I forged ahead on the bind-off - and found that I've lost two stitches.  An examination of yesterday's knitting revealed some really wonky stuff, and I realize I have no recollection of what I thought I was doing or how this extremely odd section of knitting happened.

I should listen to myself.

Encouraged by what I thought was my success in pushing the Monteagle bag toward completion, I worked on the Super-Secret-Present Knitting Project.  That went a little better. 

Then again, it was later in the day and I suspect the antihistamine was wearing off.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


I have mine set for today.

First, I should probably tell you that I have some Super-Secret-Present Knitting that I need to finish.  I know. This is the first you've heard of it.  It involves charts.

It's close.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

Second, I need to finish the Monteagle bag.  DianeH,  in the comments, assures me that it grows.  I still feel the need to add to it; my veil stitches are pretty much already stretched out.  I'm pretty sure this will involve the addition of a section of right-and left-crosses.  The alternative is to invent some open stitches of my own and we all know how possible that is.

The only impediment to these goals?  I have a massive head-cold.  Knitting convoluted stitches and from charts may be fraught with more perils than I am in a position to cope with.  Kind of like that sentence, which looks wrong to me, but I can't figure out where.  I suspect it has something to do with the preposition at the end.

In No Fond Return of Love, Barbara Pym observes that "Life's problems are often eased by hot milky drinks." It could be that a more attainable goal would involve cups of tea and old Castle episodes.

Monday, December 05, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

This chews rope, and at the moment that's the kindest thing I can think of to say about this pattern.  I started with verve and enthusiasm.  By 2 PM Friday afternoon it looked like this.

This is what happens when you start thinking the pattern isn't so bad, and that however dreadful the right crosses are, they're a piece of cake compared to the knitting through the back loop, double yarn over, knitting two together through the back loop with a double yarn over that the left crosses require (not necessarily in that order), so you blink once and look at your knitting to find that three (or maybe two) ( or maybe four) (it's hard to tell with all those double wraps) stitches have fallen off your needle and you have no idea how to read the knitting and pick them up.

Things are better this morning, although we had a similar scene on Saturday when I finished the second set of horizontal stitches and only had 83 instead of 84.  I never did figure that one out, just gave up and skipped the last psso, figuring the join looked wonky anyway, and this would just look wonky in a little different way. 

Turns out, it's wonky in a little worse way, but now that I'm past the veil stitches, there's no way I'm going back to try to fix it.

My current dilemma?  It's small.  At least, I think it's small. All those loose stitches make it hard to know for sure, but I am somewhat concerned that I've finished the veil stitches (yes, I know I have 4 rows instead of 2, that's because I made them half as long as the pattern called for) and I still have 70 grams out of a 100 gram skein.  I can't imagine the last four rows (something called a bind-off stitch and again involving double yarn-overs) and the garter stitch handle (even if it is supposed to stretch out to 20 inches) are going to need more than twice the amount of yarn than the body of the bag.

I truly despised the right- and left-cross stitches, but find I am contemplating doing one and a half sets (one right, one left, one right) before I go into the final stretch.

It really does look that small to me, but then again, maybe I'm still not thinking straight. 

Friday, December 02, 2011

Another Confession

I kind of inadvertently poached a bag this summer.  A very cool and not replaceable because it came from an event kind of bag.  Had I said, "This isn't mine," instead of  "Is this for me?" I wouldn't be in this fix.  Had the owner of said bag given me a lecture on avarice or offered it in such a way that I could have back-tracked, I wouldn't be in this fix.  She was so warm and gracious about it, though, that I felt I would be even more badly behaved if I refused to take it. As things stand, I've been feeling wildly guilty a little uneasy ever since.  She's coming into town next week and I think I have finally come up with the salve my conscience needs. 

I could knit her a bag.  It, like the original, would not be replaceable. It would be cool. It would offer back what I probably really shouldn't have appropriated in the first place.

I decided, for lots of reasons, on the Monteagle Bag from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. It looked cool (see above requirement).  It was Anne and Kay.  I haven't knit a Mason-Dixon pattern in a while (and no, I am still not willing to talk about the state of the mitered square blanket, so don't ask). Besides, I actually have a stash of Euroflax Sport that I need to start knitting up.

I scanned the Ravelry projects for tips.  Provisional cast-on to do a three-needle bind-off instead of sewing up at the end?  Sounds good to me; three-needle bind-offs are fun.  That, and I don't really trust my whipstitch to hold up under pressure. Then I got to all these, well, I can only call them grim prognostications. Warnings.  Caveats about the "trippy" stitches.

No way, I thought.  This is Anne and Kay.  This will be a great knit.  I did my cast on and knit the first four rows last night.  Then I got to the 5th row.  The 6th row is no better.  Neither is the 7th.  Need I go on?  Go ahead.  Take a look. There's a link to a free copy of the pattern here (scroll down to below the picture).  I'll wait.

Now all those warnings about dropped stitches and video tutorials make sense, don't they.  This is going to be an even better conscience-salver than I realized.  It might even cross the line over into penance. 

The subtitle of the books reads "Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Tricky Bits, Whole New Worlds, and Familiar Ones, Too."  (Italics mine.)  Indeed.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Real Wool-peddler's Shawl

Here's the part where I cast about for someone else to blame.  I choose the Scarlet Knitter and her red Tehri shawl.  I thought I liked the subdued Tehri-variations on Cheryl Oberle's Wool-peddler's Shawl, a la Kay Gardiner. Months ago though, when I saw the Scarlet Knitter's version, I lost my heart.  I wanted a red shawl, except I really didn't want to knit another Tehri version.  The green shawl was languishing while I tried to steel myself to frog it.  To cast on, even for a red version, seemed foolhardy.

In Folk Shawls, Cheryl Oberle notes that what made a Wool-peddler recognizable in the crowded market was the color of her shawl.  It was red.  As far as I was concerned, that meant I could cast on any shawl and as long as it was red it would still be a wool-peddler's shawl.

So I cast on for Mara from Madelintosh, a most aggravating pattern.  It's free, and sometimes you get what you pay for. Poorly written to begin with, the new versions that purported to address errors in earlier versions did not. Even more annoying, the directions were (and still are, at least on Version 4) for a variation of the shawl pictured on the pattern. Not pleasant, not pleasant at all.  Thank heavens for the Raveller's who figured out the the pattern and posted enough information for the rest of us to actually knit it.  Much as I love the yarn, I will think twice, or possibly ten times, before I knit another Madelintosh pattern.

With all that said, behold the Mara shawl

Proof positive that while I've been trying to get back to the blog, I've been knitting. Miracles do happen. 

Not blocked.  No ends sewn in.  So I can't give final dimensions nor properly call it a finished object, yet.

Pattern: Mara by Madelintosh (go look at the projects on Ravelry first, as in do some extensive research).
Yarn: Madelintosh, Tosh Vintage in Tart, 4 skeins and the start of a fifth for the bind-off because I was too lazy to rip back and reclaim the yarn and had an extra skein, anyway.
Needles:  Addi Turbo circulars, 40" by the end, US 9/5.5 mm. 

Changes:  I've decided I don't like holes in my solid fabric shawls anymore, so I did mirror imaged M1 increases, lifting the bar from the front for the two increases before the center stitch and from behind for the two after the center stitch.  Once I finished the K1P1 section, I only increased stitches at the edges, not up the center.The ribbing along the edges is not 2 by 2 as specified in the pattern, its P2,K2,P1,K1 up until the center spine, then mirror-imaged. 

Isn't it beautiful?  Now you know the source of my desire for a red sweater.