Friday, November 30, 2007

Going to the Crazy Place, aka Christmas Knitting


You know how the Yarn Harlot talks about going to the crazy place around this time each year? I fear I am going there too. Here's what I have to do before Christmas:
  1. Gigantic Garter Rib Socks: I just turned the heel last night. I have to knit the too-long foot to match the other one, and this project should be done by the end of the weekend.
  2. Clapotis: I'm on the 5th repeat on the straight section. Why am I knitting this again, again? The Sheep Shop yarn is really beautiful and lovely to work with, though.
  3. Fetching and Calorimetry: I bought the yarn yesterday at Natural Stitches. Have I mentioned I've been there three times since the shop opened less than two weeks ago?
  4. Thuja: Uh, I have the yarn.
  5. Gentlemen's Fancy Socks: Yep, I have the yarn.
  6. Child's Sweater Vest: Have I mentioned I have the yarn?

Anyone else at the Crazy Place yet?

Friday, November 23, 2007

My knitting is making me really happy

Knitting is always pleasurable for me, otherwise I wouldn't do it. But every once and awhile, all good forces in the Knitting Universe collide, thus making the experience truly wonderful.

This tree is what I see every morning when I wake up:

Now this is the sock I'm making:

Isn't that wonderful? I know the pictures don't do it justice, but the beautiful colorway of this sock yarn is the exact same color of the trees outside. The variation, the subtle shift in hue, it's all there. This gorgeous stuff is Dream in Color Smooshy in the Chinatown Apple colorway. The pattern is Embossed Leaves from Interweave's Favorite Socks. Both yarn and pattern are now my new favorites. I know I have no business knitting non-gift items at this time of year, but this project is truly a pleasure.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Knitting for Plimoth Plantation: Happy Thanksgiving!

Ever since all those "[insert historical period here] House" shows on PBS started coming out, my fantasy job has been to be one of those historical consultants that they use to do things like decorate the house, provide recipes and stock the kitchen, determine what the family will wear, etc. In fact, the spark of my dissertation came from my obsession with 1940s House and "Kitchen Front" recipes. My #2 fantasy job is to be one of those women who walk around Sturbridge Village knitting stockings and answering questions.

And now, just in time for Thanksgiving, a very small part of #2 has come true. I am going to be a volunteer knitter, making stockings for the historical re-enactors at Plimoth Plantation. Bill saw the call for volunteers linked into Ravelry and passed on the information to me. I'm going to be knitting plain stockings to start with, but the idea of knitting the fancy ones are intriguing. I'm such a geek, but I'm so, so pleased about this.

Speaking of stockings, I started my first foray into lace socks, casting on for Embossed Leaves. No, my Enormous Man Socks aren't done, but 1. I'm bored with them, and 2. I'm paranoid I'm not going to get the extra hank I haggled for on Ravelry. Here are some more sock skills I need to learn to complete these successfully:
  • How to keep track of where I am on the chart.
  • How to prevent huge, gaping ladders when the first stitch on each needle is a purl stitch.
  • How to recover my project and pick up tiny dropped stitches after stupidly leaving the sock project where the toddler can get at it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Could this sock be any bigger?

Crafts 013
Crafts 013,
originally uploaded by bookscatsyarn.

Seriously? I mean, I'm knitting for a man's size 11, and this is the sock that never ends. From what I'm learning on Ravelry, socks need to be knit at a really tight gauge, much tighter than what the label on the yarn suggests. I'm knitting these, made of a fairly thick fingering (KnitPicks Memories), on a size 1.5 DPN set. I'm not sure what my gauge is, but the stitches are very, very tiny, and I've had to beg for a third skein of this colorway on Ravelry. Combine that with a mindless but fiddly garter rib pattern and you have Sock Boredom kicking in pretty quickly. One down, one to go!

I'm having a really good time knitting with friends lately. Last week, Amy held an informal "Take Your Knitting Up a Notch" class and wrote a hat pattern for three friends who knew how to knit and purl but not much else. We went to Bloomin' Yarns, hereafter known as the Sock Crack Den, where I picked up two different colorways of Claudia Handpainted fingering for gifts. Then yesterday I met up with Lisa, Beth, and Michelle and ended up taking an impromptu fieldtrip to the newest LYS, Natural Stitches, where I bought yarn to do Backyard Leaves. The Cascade Wall is really fantastic, and the store has the best Malabrigo Worsted selection I've ever seen, so I will definitely be back with my husband to choose yarn for that sweater I've been promising him for years.

And also? When I worked at PKAB, I never had a stash. I never understood the concept of a stash. Sure, I worked on more than one project at a time, but I bought the yarn for projects as I went along. Today I am merrily entering my purchases into my Ravelry stash and it tells me "You are entering your 78th stashed yarn!" Where did all this yarn come from?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Posts that describe yesterday better than I could

Melissa and Amy summarize yesterday's "Knitting Bee."

All I can say is God bless Panera for not kicking us out for loudly discussing breast pumps, lactation consultants, Jenny McCarthy, controversial semi-famous in-laws and many other interesting subjects. ;)

Look! I can finish projects and blog about them, too!

Long time, no blog. I'm going to have to do an Amy-style list to catch up.

My new knitting rule is that for each project I want to start, I have to finish a WIP. My hope is that this will combat Startitis; if I have to slow down and make myself finish something before casting something else on, this should (ha ha) prevent me from starting projects on a whim.

So, SOCKS! Here's what I've learned:
  • Socks are so much fun to do, with the magical turning of the heel.
  • There's pretty much no finishing whatsover, which means that I can complete them and not have them stuffed in the bottom of my knitting bag for over a year like certain projects we will not mention.
  • One can purchase all the sock yarn one wants because sock yarn doesn't count in a yarn diet*.
  • Socks should be knitted on needles much smaller than you think because loose socks will wear out.
* In a fit of madness, I joined Blue Moon Fibers Socks that Rock 2008 and the Chewy Spaghetti Blue Plate Special Club. So that's $300+ worth of yarn that "doesn't count." Hmm.

I still think this pattern is the cutest thing going in knitting. But I have to say, I am disappointed with the yarn and have my doubts about how well this sizes up. I'd knit it again for a newborn, with something with a little bounce in it like Cotton-Ease, in a heartbeat.

Many thanks to Lisa for doing some of the finishing work for me, and anyone who wants to join our Finishing Club, in which we trade projects we're tired of looking at, is welcome!