Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Posting Delayed is Posting Denied

I have a miserable cold.  For some reason this makes me need to post to the blog. I'm going to call it a sign from the knitting gods that I have been denying myself the fun of writing about knitting for too long.  Who cares that I have deadlines? Not me (not today, at any rate) (although that may be the antihistamines).

I meant to have written about this for St. Patrick's Day.  When that failed, I figured the First Day of Spring would work. When I didn't pull that one off, I thought I could get it together for the First Full Day of Spring. Then I didn't. I'm sensing a trend. Here I am instead, on a day of no particular significance whatsoever.

Back then, in late March or early April, we had a bout of unseasonably warm weather (we topped the previous high temp record of 77 degrees F by 10 degrees), and then settled into a dank, foggy, damp, only 20 degrees above the average instead of 40.  All those beautiful days of warmth and sun and not a single picture or post.  They had their influence, though.  I went with the green.

I'm still working from Knitting Plain and Simple's Neck-down Cardigan using the v-neck variation, which is where the red sweater started. It's a little trickier this time with this yarn.  While it was all purchased at the same time and from the same source, Sweet Georgia yarns don't have a dye lot and there's significant variation among the skeins.  Since I don't want the Sudden Switch Effect, where the line between skeins is as clearly demarcated as, say, the boundary between parkway and sidewalk, or land from water, or Illinois from Iowa (that would be the Mississippi) I need to be a little creative. I'm doing the Island Embrace technique, knitting from three separate skeins, trading one skein for another at the end of every row.

It works a treat to get the fabric I want, but I suspect it will come back to haunt me when I'm ready to pick up for the button and collar band. Switching the yarn every row means leaving a skein behind on every row which means carrying a strand of yarn up the side for every row.  Counting my stitches is going to involve either A) really paying attention or B) picking up from a row in rather than from the edge stitches. I'm pretty sure I'll be going with B). B) sounds easier to me, and I figure all I need to do to make up for the lost row is knit the bands a little wider. That 's a ways off though, so I'll worry about it later (Why do I hear echoes of Scarlett O'Hara -- one of my least favorite literary characters, I even prefer Ophelia and Lady Macbeth --doing her "Tomorrow, at Tara" bit?).

More pressing is the sleeves. Or, more accurately, the whole what do I do when it's time to set those stitches aside and knit only the body stitches? I'm getting close to that point and I don't want the Sudden Switch Effect here either, so I have to think about this.  The sleeves are knit in the round, I think carrying three skeins of yarn for each sleeve could get ugly, especially since knitting in the round means I can change yarns every row without doing the whole slide your stitches back along your circular to pick up the new skein thing.  Then there's my fear that if I just start knitting with 2 new skeins I'll still get sleeves of entirely different colors.  I'm wondering if, rather than starting new skeins for each sleeve and continuing on down the body with the three skeins I currently have going,  I could ease the new skeins in by using one each of the three current skeins to transition for each sleeve and the body, adding one new skein alternately for each sleeve and two for the body so I can continue with the three skein approach there.  The hope being that alternating even only two skeins for the sleeves will continue to control the over all color. Two skeins per sleeve will be easier to juggle, while knitting in the round will mean I can easily switch skeins every round.  Continuing on with three skeins for the body will at least make the edge consistently difficult, instead of difficult in two completely different ways.

All right, that was all  pretty convoluted, but I think it all makes sense in my head now and we're going to trust my head to keep it there. I foresee another entry into my knitting journal though. Let's hope that between that and the blog, I can figure out what I meant to do when the time comes.

The question being, will it still make sense when I'm over my cold?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Not Meant To Be

Sometimes, no matter how badly you think you want something, you just can't have it. Case in point.

This was an infinity scarf. It made it's first appearance here.  It's the one that's still on the needles.  The one that never got a post with details. Maybe I didn't actually love it as much as I thought I did, and it didn't get a post because it didn't get finished in time for the craft market, and so was set aside for other, more intriguing projects. 

I note that it was one of those projects I started while blogging was falling apart.  When I picked it up again in the Spring, I no longer had any idea what the pattern was. I remembered knitting from a sheet of printer paper, which argued it might have been a PDF stored on my computer somewhere.  It wasn't.  It might then have been something stored in my Ravelry Library.  It wasn't.  A prolonged and protracted search on Ravelry revealed it as a free pattern. I printed it off (again).

When I brought it out to work on this Spring, I took it along as my down-time knitting during a seminar/retreat day with 7 and 8 year olds.  One of the children noticed me knitting during the lunch break, and pretty much didn't leave my side.  She wanted to know how to do it. It was the only knitting I had with me.  What was I going to say?

All I did was show her the knit stitch, trying to remember the rhyme that everyone in the world except me was taught to knit with. Something about in, around back and somebody named Jack jumping off.  She knit on my project for the remainder of the lunch period and during free moments for the rest of the afternoon.  More, she inspired that herd instinct so strong in second and third graders, emboldening two or three other children to ask to try their hands.

By the time I got the thing home, it was pretty much unsalvageable.  Stitches had been dropped down several repeats.  Yarn overs had been lost.  At one point the yarn was cut and then tied on and then cut again.  I pulled it off the needles and unraveled it down to the second or third pattern repeat and put it aside while I did some deep breathing.  I put it aside (and here's the crux of the matter), I put it aside without the needles or the printed copy of the pattern.  We all know where this is going, don't we.

I picked it up again yesterday. Now, not only do I not know what pattern it is, I have no idea what needles to use.

Sometimes, all you can do is say good-bye and start fresh somewhere else doing something else.  Sometimes, things have to end, even if you thought you loved them.

Unless I put it in my Ravelry queue?