Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Slimy Little Secrets

I haven't been knitting long, but since I learned how to perl and opened the door to the wonderful world of two needles and yarn, I've been surfing the web gathering bits and pieces of information.

Noro Yarn, knitting socks and felting your knitting are very in. Some patterns are written in cryptic text abreviations and some are drawn in even more cryptic symbols on graphs. Frog means to unravel knitting, as inspired by, "Rip it, rip it," and to tink is not to tinker, it's to unknit or knit backwards. Boy, have I been doing a whole lot of both of those.

Knitting is a way cool site. They have videos of how to do things -- in both English/American and Continental. It was good to find out I'm not the only person who holds the yarn in her left hand and to see how others do it.

One of the coolest/weirdest things I've learned about is "spit splicing."

If you're using the right yarn, it's got to be wool or other animal fiber and it cannot be treated to make it washable, you can work magic with a little spit and elbow grease.

First you untwist a couple inches of the yarn plies and take half of them away. My terribly sophisticated technique is to rub one blade of my scissors back and forth over the place I want to cut until it breaks away all raggedy -- you want and need that fuzzy stuff.

Then you wrap the two unraveled ends over each other and spit on 'em good.
Put the soggy yarn in the palm of one hand and rub the other hand back and forth over it like you were trying to give it (what the kids in my neighborhood called) an Indian Burn. It gets real hot.

Bingo! One strand of yarn where once there were two! And it's tough, it doesn't easily pull apart. The texture is not as soft as the un-spat-upon yarn, but when it's knit, who can tell... Here it is knit into the red scarf. It's not easy to find. It's way neater than weaving in the ends.

You can do it with just plain water too, but that just doesn't tickle my perversity. I get an evil little jolly out of knowing somebody's wearing my spit.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cats As Knitting Helpers

Cats have an intrinsic interest in yarn. They know it's something they can shred. Humans make it even more irresistible when they knit by animating it. What cat worth her tuna could resist those little jerky motions that indicate the prey is at her untender mercies?

Fortunately, even before I took up knitting in February, the girls had learned the phrase,"Not yours, MINE."

They don't like it. They intermittently check to see if I've changed my mind. But if I say it firmly, particularly if I removed the questing paw at the same time, they believe me. It can be very cozy to knit with snoozing cats on lap and legs.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Red Yarn Scarf

Shot off my big mouth about making a scarf from the red yarn. Kinda backed myself into having to do it.

The yarn is the perfect color for my niece, who is small and lovely. Lace would be nice.

First I tried to do three cables with lace in between. Looked okay from the front.

And really horrid from behind. So I frogged that and decided to try a simple lace pattern called "Rabbit Tracks."I like it. I'm anticipating great things when it's blocked.

It wouldn't win any beauty contests from the back, but it's sure better than those cables. One thing I am learning from this is count and count again. If I screw up on one row, it kicks my derrière on the next. It's going to take a whole lot more practice before I can go backwards to fix my boo-boos on lace with any ease.

P.S. The photos look weird because they're not photos. I scanned the knitting on my Epson flatbed scanner. Interesting thing is that the red is a whole lot closer than I could get it using my camera.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Red Yarn

I bought some nice red yarn. I will knit a scarf from it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Knitting Other People's Stuff

A friend of mine told me her cousin has cancer and her hair has fallen out from the chemotherapy.

I sympathized and said that my Mom was knitting chemo caps. What, she asked, were chemo caps. I told her and sent her this URL:

She decided she needed to knit her cousin a cap and asked me where to get the yarn. I suggested The Wool Cabin, and off she went. They sold her four skeins of Berrocco Chinchilla yarn in dark red and white, an Addi Turbo circular needle, double pointed needles and point protectors. It came to almost $60.

Then I got the call. "How do I cast on?"

So I went over to her house, cast on the appropriate number of stitches and knit the first round. I loaned her my copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, gave her a ring to mark the beginning of the round and a plastic crochet hook in case of trouble.

Three weeks later she called again. She was having a little bit of a problem, could I look at it for her.

I ended up frogging the whole inch she had knitted and reknitting it, plus four more inches. I left an inch of the straight knitting for her to do (my fingers are crossed that it survives.) Once she's done that, she's going to bring it and the dpn's back so I can finish it up for her. This way I'm just helping her with the cap that she's knitting for her cousin.

I think the cousin is very lucky to have my friend whose heart and enthusiasm are as big as all outdoors. She's a good person, my friend.
Feels really weird to be someone's knitting guru when I've been at it myself for all of two months.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Big Juicy Frog Kiss

Don't yah think?

This is the brother hat with the liner stitched in.

I hope he doesn't look at it from this angle or he may never put it on his head.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Baby Bootie Blues

I knit the first baby bootie a couple of weeks ago then paused in that endeavour to knit the hat for my brother.

Now I can't seem to match the tension on the first bootie.

I tried once, it was too big.

The yarn is really fuzzy, so it tangles with itself when knitted and is almost impossible to unravel, so I had to frog the slipper and start over.

I tried again, it was too small. But I caught that one after only a half-dozen rows.

Frogged it again.

I hope, like Goldylocks, I finally find one that's just right. Because this is really old yarn and it isn't being made any more.

As an aside: Frogging, to frog, I frogged that sucker. I have interpreted that to mean scragged with venom in knitting parlance. I suspect it stands in for stronger words.

I do it frequently. I like having a colorful word for it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Why Does This Remind Me of My Husband?

I don't normally like the "Piranha Club", but this one struck too close to home to ignore.

Click on the cartoon to see the whole thing.Yup, it strikes right close to home.

New To Knitting

I've known how to knit since I was in grade school -- kinda. I could cast a bunch of half-hitches on to one needle and stick the other needle in, wrap the yarn between them and pop off a stitch. I had no idea of how to perl, increase, decrease or cast off, however.

I knit one scarf in college. It was about 12 feet long, Dr. Who would have been jealous. Since I didn't know how to cast off, I pulled out my trusty crochet hook and crocheted it off.

I could crochet like a demon if I felt like it. Crocheting was totally free form and I could go pretty much anywhere my imagination took me.

I finally learned how to perl in February. I borrowed Knitting for Dummies from the library and went at it.

It simply did not make any sense until I switched from English/American style with the yarn in the right hand to Continental style with the yarn in the left hand. Even though I can perl as fast as I can knit (not very) Continental, I still can't do it by throwing the yarn right-handed. Perhaps this is yet another proof that my brain is in sideways.

I must be pretty tickled with finally learning how to knit and perl, though, since I've started a new blog to celebrate. Here are the pages in my other blog about knitting just in case anyone's interested:
The Continuing Story of Knitting Misadventures
Keeping His Ears Warm
Oh Happy Day!
Interim Knitting
Oh Baby!
I Is For Idiot
Stitchin' & Bitchin'
The Möbius Scarf - Chapter 3
The Scarf Stage 2
The Continuing Saga of Wunx~'s Knitting
Learning to Perl