Friday, January 18, 2013

Style or Substance

I've got a variety of stockinette based knitting going on right now, with plans for another one as soon as the yarn gets here. I suppose it was to be expected that I would break out in another direction entirely, and soon, just to maintain my balance.

I don't think it's working. The pattern, the Surprise Hat and Cowl from Cinzia Knits, is easy to memorize and fun to knit.  The yarn is Mirasol's Tufa, a 50% merino and 50% silk blend, so it's soft and shimmery.  The combination should have been a no-brainer, except I got, I don't know, lazy? hurried? fixated on instant gratification (and if that's what I wanted why didn't I just go shopping? What made me think any of those things were compatible with sticks and string?)?  I decided that since one of the options for the matching hat involved bulky yarn, I could double-strand my DK weight yarn for the cowl, and then it would knit up fast.  Seeing it typed up here makes it look really idiotish.  Did I really think I could do that and not end up with a piece that was so rigid it could stand (literally) against gale-force winds?  Maybe I should blog before I knit.

It looks pretty, I know, but it feels like - I don't know what.  Heavy. Stiff. Clunky. All the things merino and silk should not feel like. 

On the Princess' advice, I slipped the stitches off my needle and sent the project off to wet block.  She pointed out that sometimes wet-blocking a piece, especially a piece with lots of decreases and yarn-overs, transforms the knitting in unexpected ways.  Not this time. It looks exactly like I expected it, but doesn't feel any better than it did while still on the needles.  All right, so it's still damp and so it may be too soon to tell.  I've gone this far and will wait until the knitting has dried before I rip it all out, but I think the yarn and the pattern deserve better. Substance is not synonymous with substantial. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's Infinite Variety

Or, "Why I love the watch cap pattern from Knits Men Want."

In a stunning display of dramatic activity, the three hats for afghans for Afghans are finished and on their way, piggybacking on the 7 (yes, seven) hats The Princess knit up.  Good thing I'm not the competitive type of mother.  

I've needed something to kick start my knitting.  I spend ages on Ravelry looking at pattens and think, "Oh! Isn't that pretty," but I don't knit them.  I pick up skeins of yarn or look around at the Stash and think, "Wouldn't that work up into something wonderful," but I don't cast on.

When I do start something, the bloom fades off the rose with astonishing rapidity.  Three cowls never got finished for the Christmas Market.  I ran into dyelot issues with the green sweater and haven't had the gumption to frog and re-knit. An afghan for a friend currently living the life of Job gets pulled out only to be stuffed back into another random stash basket.

None of this does much for the Blog, either.

The plea for hats, mittens and knitted socks for the latest campaign for a4A couldn't have some at a more opportune time.  Apparently my hands have been itching to knit, they just needed a purpose (as opposed to a reason).

Three watch caps, then, all started at multiples of 4 to accommodate 2x2 ribbing in the round.  All easily adjusted at the transition row to a multiple of 6 or 7 to make for an easy pattern of successive decreases.  All in yarn that was such fun to knit up.

Green hat - Malabrigo chunky in Emerald and Cascade 128 in Sapphire
Needles - Addi Turbos, US 11/8 mm.

Red hat - Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Red Hot Passion (no, it does not actually fluoresce)
Needles - Addi Turbos, US 8/5 mm.

Multicolor hat - Malabrigo Rios in Indiecita
Needles - Addi Turbos, US 8/5 mm.

A rousing cheer then, for a4A.  Not only have I started the year with three finished objects, I finished one of the cowls (sort of, but that may be another post).

Except they really want mittens and socks.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Stanford won the Rose Bowl and Alabama defeated Notre Dame.

I blocked the Mara shawl and St. Nicholas brought me a new knitting bag.

Not necessarily in that order.

Life is good.

Friday, January 04, 2013


Or, "In with the new out with the old."

dianeH and I were chatting and blogging came up.  We noted with sadness how infrequently even some of our most favorite bloggers were posting, theorizing that we (or at least I) was less inclined to post, because other bloggers weren't out there to inspire me anymore.  We postulated that maybe we needed to find some new blogs, which is when she mentioned that some of the people I list in the sidebar haven't posted for years. 

Not only have some of the people not posted in years (and years and years), some of the websites are gone and some of the LYS and CyberYS are defunct. Add in my confession that I missed writing on a regular basis, and attending to This Blog suddenly became a priority.

I have hereby re-acquainted myself with Blogger's dashboard.  Removed from the list of Favorite People those that have clearly fallen by the wayside.  Added new LYS and CYS to the Instant Gratification and Delayed Gratification sections and chosen a new Motto.  

Back when I started this, I promised myself that I would post faithfully at least three times a week.   I also acknowledged to myself that I'm a lot more interested in the stories in the knitting than I am in the teaching or technical or how-to aspects.   What I screw up and discover is part of the story, diagrams and instruction are not. While the blog is still about what happens when you come to knitting late in life, I think the new motto, from (I think) Jef Mallett via the Frazz comic strip, pretty much sums up my knitting philosophy.  

Which, come to think of it, may be my attitude toward Life, the Universe and Everything.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Begin As You Mean To Go On

Despite my determination to knit for myself this year, I find it strangely satisfying that the last thing off my needles in 2012 was for someone else,

and so is the first thing on my needles for 2013.

Happy New Year.