Thursday, August 28, 2008

Interim Knitting - End of August

I don't know why, I can't seem to get into the project which cannot be named. I've chewed it around in my head until I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do. I've knit the first few inches. I like the yarn, the color has real depth. It simply isn't calling my name.

So I decided to knit something obnoxious -- PURPLE! Lion Brand Microspun -- to try to inspire me to want to work on anything different.

I am now about 2/3 of the way through the making of the Purple Pod Pouch for a friend who's a hard core nerd. It's actually for her iPhone, but Purple Pod Pouch is so alliterative and it's fun to pop those P's.

I followed Iron Needles' good advice and bought a set of Knit Picks double pointed needles to magic loop knit it with. Thank you Oh Queen of GrandBebe dress knitting, they work way better than the cheap-o needles.

Here it is photographed on my standard background chair.

And here's why I don't photograph things on the floor where they will often show up better.Extra very fine cat assistance.

Just for good measure, I'm knitting a little sack for a pair of reading glasses I got for a friend whose glasses "disappeared" while he was in the hospital. I think I have the magic loop methodology pretty well down, though I still spend more time than I would like moving the knitting around on the cable instead of knitting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Can't... Blog...

Oh, the anguish. I want to blog out the design process, but I can't because the person for whom I'm making my current project reads my blogs and it's a present. Crum.

Of course keeping a couple of folks in suspenders because they don't know if it's for them or not compensates to a certain extent. (hee-hee-hee) One must get one's jollies where one can.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Odds 'n' Ends, Bits 'n' Pieces

Remnants. What does one do with them?

I was raised by a mother who had internalized that Great Depression slogan: "Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without!" From the time I could reach a light switch, I knew that you turned it off as you left the room. Aluminum foil was washed and reused as were zip lock bags. What one child outgrew, the next one wore. That's just the way life was.

Things can get interesting when my Mom and the Engineer are in the same house. He walks through the rooms, turning on all of the lights as he goes, turning none of them off. She follows behind, turning them off. He grumbles about walking into walls in the dark, she mutters about waste. Dad and I try to pretend we don't notice what's going on. Sometimes it's hard not to snicker.

Now that I've been knitting a while, I'm starting to accumulate remnants -- half a skein here, a few yards there. Mostly the left overs aren't enough to actually do anything with, but, since I buy yarn I like for the most part, they're pretty.

I don't want to throw them out. There's a corollary to Murphy's Law that states: "The day after any item is disposed of, it is needed." Anyone who's paid any attention to the way the world works knows that Murphy rules. Defy Murphy and it will surely come back to bite you on the butt.

So here I have a couple of yards of worsted wool from the Manly Man Scarf, a length of cotton left from the Thank You Dishcloths, and several yards of 70% kashmir/30%silk from Ember's Gossamer Scarf. I can't see any of these bits being useful for anything, nor can they work together, they're too disparate. But I can't throw them away.

Maybe I'll have to make Art with them. Ooh, Art. (Note the capitalized first letter, that means it's important.)

The nice thing about Art is the artist is pretty much expected to await his/her muse to come calling before starting to do Art.

That gives me a pretty good excuse to save all my odds 'n' ends, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Knit Accompli

In my infinite folly, I decided to cover a few minor stitching boo-boos on Ember's Gossamer Scarf with clear glass seed beads. I knew the scarf wouldn't run where my stitches were lacking. Heck, I couldn't have frogged the thing if I'd tried what with all the little hairs of Moe happily mating with each other. But I love my Mother-in-law-in-law and wanted her scarf to be the best possible.

I spent three days sewing seed beads onto that scarf; probably about 400 in all. It looks damn fine, like dainty little drops of frozen water sitting on the soft green lace.

Will I ever do it again?

Hell No!

I also knit three wash cloths of Sugar 'n Cream cotton as cabin gifts. They are practical, not pretty, and they certainly helped keep my hands and brain from trembling with seed bead overdose.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Well, we're off tomorrow morning before the sun rises. I've got my knitting bag packed. I want to make sure I have a little variety...
Back in a week.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Comparative Needleology

- or - Knitting Bitty Swatches

I went to a new yarn store yesterday, so new that its grand opening is not until September 6th. The owner tempted me with a pair of Addi Turbo lace circular needles. She let me take them out of the plastic and play with them. The cable was wonderfully flexible, especially when compared to the stiff black cable on my cheap-o circulars. So I bought a 40 incher in size 4 to knit the fingerless mitts with.

Geeze o' pete, that needle is slickery.

I had absolutely no control over the tension. My stitches were loose enough to drive a Mack truck through.

Some experimentation was in order. I have a bunch of bamboo dpn's from Amazon: sizes 1 to 15, 5 of each, $19. They're not as nice as Clovers, but the price was right and I don't mind that dpn's aren't smooth, smooth, smooth. I want 'em grippy so they don't slide out when I'm not looking. Plus, it gave me a wide selection of sizes to fiddle with at a low price.

On size 3 bamboo needles, I did a long-tail cast-on, knit a couple of short rows, then did four rows of stockinet, then four rows of ribbing. It's the yellow and green swatch. On size 4 bamboo needles, I did a cable cast-on and knit essentially the same swatch in blue and lime. On the size 4 Addie Turbos, I did a backward-loop cast-on and knit another twelve stitch swatch, the all green one. They are all from the same strand of yarn. I didn't break the yarn off between the swatches and just left them hanging on the needles to make sure I would know which was which.

Click on the picture to see it enlarged.

Of the three cast-ons, the cable cast on is certainly the most attractive. It takes the longest to do, but I think the appearance is worth the effort. And I know with practice I will get faster.

I don't know if this is typical, but the bitty swatch from the Addis seems to be more hard edged than the two from the bamboo needles; the stitches seem more sharply defined. The Addis were substantially more difficult to knit with because they were harder to hold on to and the yarn kept wanting to go in different directions than I wanted it to. My stitch tension did improve between my first and second attempt at Turbo knitting. It's true it's faster to knit on Addis, but I would like to feel more in control. I can see where the sharp, slippery points would be good for lace, though.

Decisions, decisions. Ah well, I can procrastinate until I get back from vacation in a week.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Knitting Little Tubes

New techniques. Gotta try 'em.

I've been knitting lots of little tubes like these guys. They don't look like tubes because I mashed them flat and scanned them instead of having them smile pretty for a photo. The colors are more accurate, but, somehow, that third dimension gets a little lost.

I have a friend who has rheumatoid arthritis. She makes wire and bead jewelry. I know that it hurts her hands, but she's driven. I've decided that what she needs for her birthday/Christmas present is a pair of fingerless mitts to keep her hands and wrists warm while leaving her fingers bare to do the bead work.

I've already bought the yarn. I am, however none too fond of double pointed needles. Just too many pokey-outs all over the place.

So I'm studying different ways of knitting tubes. In June I learned Cat Bordhi's two circular needle technique. Last week I learned Magic Loop. Last night I tried two tubes on one long circular needle. Supposedly it's easier to get two matching socks - or mitts in my case - and you don't end up finishing one and diddling around, never finishing the second.

With my Baby Bootie track record,
I figured this might be a very good thing... I need to get some needles with a more flexible cable before I start, though.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Sublime and the Ridiculous

That's what if feels like, anyway.

I decided that I need to knit something special for my Mother-in-law-in-law. She's my husband's identical twin brother's wife's mother. I love her dearly and want to stake some kind of a claim on her, thus the title.

Every summer the twins and their spouses, my Mother-in-law-in-law and sometimes other family members spend a week up at a 100 year old trapper's cabin in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho that she owns. She knows that she and the cabin are appreciated, but I want to do something a little more than a thank you note or box of chocolates. So I bought a skein of Rowan Kidsilk Haze to knit her a decadent and totally impractical scarf.

Wowzer, is that stuff hard to knit with! I think a whole lot of the problem is that my eyes are bad enough I can't see what I'm doing unless I take my glasses off and hold it right up to my nose as I knit.

To relax between sessions of knitting on it, I've been working on the ManlyMan scarf for my cousin. That's where the sublime and ridiculous comes in.