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Today I have been sitting inside and not going out. This is part of the reason why:
There is a windchill warning, and I just don’t feel like it (it is -27 centigrade and feels like -40 — I don’t need to look up what that is in Fahrenheit as that is almost where they are the same). I am not sure that anywhere in the city is better than right here:
I made myself a nice pot of soup for lunch and continued working on a project with an upcoming deadline, which is the other reason I am not going out. I am still working on it for several reasons, among them that I started these:
They are Mari Muinonen’s Yellow Harvest Mittens from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008, except of course that mine are red (Hmm, I just noticed there are errata, I wonder if they will affect me yet).
I can’t wait to really get on them when I am done the sweater this weekend.
I really should make myself finish two projects for every one I finish for a while. The number of unfinished projects is getting a little out of hand. I don’t propose to be someone who only knits one thing at a time — for me attempting that would just be silly, but maybe five current projects would be feasible. Now I will just say that I really don’t know how many I am “working on”.
I just read an excerpt from The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber in the winter issue of Twist Collective (The Softness Myth by Clara Parkes). I think this article is full of good observations — yarn should not just be as soft as possible. I have had the conversation on many occasions about a particular yarn I happen to like and been told it is not soft enough, but I ask you: how soft does yarn need to be?
I confess here that I am quite accepting of scratchy wool and will quite willingly wear a hat that makes me scratch and scratch when I take it off — which of course means a red forehead, but I don’t mind (I generally make sure that any yarn I suggest others use in my yarn suggestions is not too scratchy as I know not everyone shares my particular preferences). All the same, if you live somewhere really cold — please never underestimate the value of good forehead coverage, it really is important — I gave myself frostbite (or something very close to it) walking to work one day when it was too cold for the car to start and will never forget that particular lesson (other lessons, yes, that one, no).
But all the same yarn should not only be judged on being as soft as possible — there really are all sorts of measures of a yarn, and I am happy to see more discussion on the subject.
I have immediately requested said book from the library to check out what else Clara has to say.
While on the road I spent a fair amount of time knitting in bed (there never seems to be a good place to sit in hotel rooms):
And I finished my socks, but I think I need to do more socks to get the grafting at the end of the toes right. It just didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to — it has nubby bits on each side of the grafting:
I can graft quite well when the two sides can butt up against each other flat, but having to do it when the sides were laid on top if each other stymied me a bit. I will wash them — that first wash takes our all sorts of knitting ills.
Oh well, if I were got at everything when I first tried it life would probably be less rewarding, and I would be less modest, which would most likely do me no good at all.
I would like to try it out for a month or so though.
I am almost finished my second sock. The sock knitting is proceeding at an acceptable speed, but I am having a few hitches. After completing the knitting on one of the socks and knitting to the end of the heel flap, I realized that I had completely misread the stitch pattern and had to rip out and reknit the first sock back to the heel shaping.
This is not good, because I did a similar thing on the last project I did from someone else’s pattern and had to rip that out too. I think I may be getting over-confident and need to regain some humility — humility is not really my strong suit, especially where knitting is concerned. I just figure I will figure it out and you can always rip it out and start again anyway (just don’t try this attitude with mohair).
That is really just a minor upset and a potential outcome of knitting ahead without reading through the whole pattern first — I run into the same problem with cooking and am used to dealing with it. If I minded it that much, I would change.
The real problem was that I wanted to carry my smaller purse and threw my socks and needles in my pocket. This was fine on the trip out, and I had a lovely time knitting in the coffee shop, but there was more of a problem coming back because I mustn’t have been careful enough putting on my seat belt and three needles broke in my pocket, so I haven’t been able to knit for the rest of the weekend.
I don’t think I will buy any fine needles in wood again. I have been knitting with bamboo for years and never had one break or split, and my first set of wood needles broke on my first pair of socks. The breakage was, I will admit, my fault, but one of them splintered a bit on the side before that, and that I don’t think I deserved.
On second thought I have two new family members: my uncle has recently had a baby and my sister recently got married. It’s good to have more family. Strictly speaking my brother-in-law is the newer family member, but I am not breaking my no hand knitted presents rule for him (as happy as I am to have him), no it is my baby cousin who makes the grade.
I realize that babies are almost fictional beings to me — I have no idea of how big they are, what they do, or what they like. The main thing that I remember from my babysitting training is that they don’t like being stuck with diaper pins, even if it is by accident, and it is always better to put the baby down than shake it. So you see, though those points, I am sure, are quite valid, my knowledge is somewhat limited.
I requested a book from the library (The Expectant Knitter: 30 Designs for Baby and Your Growing Family by Marie Connolly) I went to the yarn store and asked about it. Apparently, you should never knit the newborn size and babies don’t like holey things because their fingers get caught in them — I can see that could be frustrating. Here is the beginning of the project I came up with:
It is the “cashmere romper” (Ravelry link), but I am knitting it in machine washable cotton. I don’t think the parents will want to hand wash cashmere and I think the baby will like cotton — I know I do.
I have to say that I am almost ready to knit myself a cotton romper and not care if it looks silly. I used to have one when I was a teenager and wore it all the time. I was remarkably odd, but I loved it. I wish I had kept it, then I could cut it apart and create a new one — but it is probably just as well I didn’t.
So much has happened since I last wrote. My sister is married, but not living with the man she is married to, and I am living with a man I am not married to — everything is as it should be more or less (my sister would be quite happy to live with the man she is married to, but I am happy to be living with the man I am not married to).
I got to a bride’s maid for the first time. Which of course means being primped:
You can’t tell, but I have a nice cup of coffee in my hands, so it is all good.
I have moved to the thriving metropolis of Regina. We are very happy with our new apartment and are still putting everything together. Due to not being in the province the week before we moved (see previous paragraph), we paid movers to pack for us. This led to us paying to move an empty Snapple bottle and other random objects of no continuing value.
Finally, I have decided to change — what better time for new years type resolutions than moving to another city. I am quite suspicious of trying to accomplish anything great that you start at the beginning of January — I prefer September and my birthday overall, but surely a new city gives you the potential for a whole new start. If it doesn’t make you feel too tired or exasperated at my lack of initiative (it really could go either way), here is a shortened list of new initiatives:
I have started running.
I have started outsourcing my knitting when I don’t have time to knit all my samples.
I have decided to keep the place cleaner (what else am I doing with my time anyway? — well aside from knitting, please see previous item).
I have decided to stop getting so worked up about work — it’s just a job after all.
I have started knitting a pair of socks (yes, socks — it’s a red letter change).
I have decided to many other things besides, some of which I can’t recall and some of which I don’t care to share.
I will leave you with a glipse of the brilliance that is my sock:
Surely only good things will come of this.
I feel like I have been knitting feather and fan all summer (which I kind of have been doing):
I am really enjoying exploring the possibilities of the pattern. I will give you more details about the projects later.
I am also over the moon because I have received my very first acceptence for a crochet pattern. In life I think it really doesn’t get much better than that.
I am knitting up a storm on projects I can’t share, so I thought I would share a few projects I have made over the years instead.
First example (Ravelry project link):
This was about the fourth sweater I ever knit. The pattern is by Adrienne Vittadini and was published in Vogue Knitting, Holiday 2003 (Ravelry link here).
The sample was knit in a lovely soft wool, alpaca, mohair blend, but I made mine in a cotton, linen blend, as I wanted a summer sweater. I think the lace pattern read better in the softer yarn, and I was a little overly ambitious. There is one glaring mistake in the lace, but overall I was and am happy with it.
One of the questions that often arises for me is how to make the best use of handspun, bulky, and novelty yarns
These yarns are often expensive, detailed, and bulky, and there is often not enough to make anything of any great size. I want to make something with these yarns, large enough to be useful, and that shows the artistry in their making.
I find that many crafters approach knitting from the perspective of a spinner or approach spinning from the perspective of a knitter. I think spinners who come to knitting often want ways to use their handspun yarns and want to knit something very simple, which makes sense when using many novelty yarns, but the detail of the yarns can get lost in the stitches.
Knitters who come to spinning often want simple yarns in fabulous colours and fibres to use for more knitting focussed projects.
I have tried both, and both have appeal, but I would like to propose a third way – there are techniques and styles and projects that can make use of beautiful handspun yarns of every description and show them to advantage, and here I must confess that many of my ideas in this area are heavily influenced by Debbie New.
I bought both these yarns from Milkyrobot’s Etsy Store —
Girls Throw Snow (40 yards / 36.5m):
And Earthworm (46 Yards / 42m):
When they arrived I was really unsure about what to do with them. I was worried that they were too intricate to show all their detail and too short to make much if knit by themselves. Every centimetre of these yarns is beautiful, and I would hate to hide whole sections of them behind cables or on the back side of something.
For the Girls Throw Snow yarn I mixed it with some grey fingering yarn I had lying around that matched one of the accent colours, and knit it in an irregular version of Debbie New’s squiggle lace using large needles (pattern):
For the Earthworm yarn I wanted to make things more interesting and combined several yarns:
In a long strip:
That I crocheted together into a scarf at the end using Debbie New’s labyrinth knitting technique (Ravelry link):
I especially like the way the mohair lace weight makes transparent sections.
These projects show these yarns as I wanted them to be shown and have enough knitterly interest to keep mine.
I could probably be induced to produce a pattern for the Earthworm scarf too, if enough of you leave comments on my blog here.