Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So Its Been Awhile...what would you save?

  Yes, so it has been almost a year since my last post.  There is a good reason for that.  First I thought pregnancy made me too tired to knit.  Then the baby arrived*....lets just say the last 12 weeks have been somewhat of a blur.

  The good news is my baby is healthy and happy (most of the time, don't come 'round about 6pm, your ears won't be able to take it).  Now that she's almost 3 months old she is napping as well (!!), and I finally have time to knit AND blog again.

   Except, did I mention?  We are selling our place and moving across the country.  Which brings me to the real subject of this post.  I have been encouraged to place my huge stash** into storage.  We need to make the house look like the buyers live here, and the likelihood of another fiber obsessed baby mama finding our home is pretty slim.     

  So I was forced to whittle down my stash to the bare essentials for the next two months.  With a little one, that means 5 skeins of sock yarn, some #1 needles, and a copy of Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up.  It would have been Knit Sock Love, but fancy charts and babies don't really mix.  That's it folks, 2 months of knitting.

  I need to go, the baby just woke up.  At this rate five skeins of sock yarn will last a lot longer than two months...and that's ok :)

* Evelyn.  Born Christmas Eve after a quick and easy 5 hour labor.  7 lbs 5 ounces.  Perfect in every way.  Except colic, colic has been a challenge.

** "Huge stash" is my husband's term, not mine.  I have tried to convince him that one extra large ziplock container and one box of books & accessories does not a huge stash make, and that some people have actual rooms in their houses devoted only to yarn.  No dice.  It had to go.                                          

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gauge Wars

Its been awhile, but I've been slightly sock obsessed lately.  After joining the Knit Sock Love KAL on ravelry, I've had little time for anything else.  Gauge has been a bit of an issue with her patterns so far though.  First were the 'medium' size Thelonious socks...
For the record, those are my husbands hairy size 13 feet, not mine.  He does make a darn good foot model though.
To add insult to injury this month we're making Rhombus, another beautiful pattern, but one that knits up very small.
The 2.00mm needles knit a flat swatch that was perfect, however I continue to forget that knitting in the round is always tighter than knitting flat.  The actual sock would only a table leg.  I was about to frog it when tragedy struck.
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That broken needle? My 22 pound cat decided to crawl on my lap right before I frogged the sock.  Otis the gargantuan broke my dpn. 
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That's right, you better hide under the chair.  I have room for only one enemy.. and thy name is gauge.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Baby Sweater Bank

  Today I found out that some good friends of mine are expecting their first child.  This is great news.  In fact, a number of people I know are sharing the same great news.  As of this writing

3 co-workers
2 good friends
2 cousins
And 1 member of my knitting group

  Are expecting children.  There may be more, lately women have taken to waiting a few months before making announcements. If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that someone is leaching clomid into the water supply.

  Under normal circumstances I, like any other inveterate knitter, would panic at the thought of all these growing bellies.  Not this time, I’ve built up a defense.  My friends, meet the baby sweater bank.  5 baby sweaters all knit up an ready to go.  Its easy for a new arrival to sneak up on you.  Sure, most little ones take 9 months to bake, but most people don't share the news until the first trimester is over, and next thing you know the baby is 6 years old and has no interest in the doll size sweater you expect him to fit into.  

  Right now the bank holds 5 sweaters; 2 for boys (sizes newborn and 1 year), 2 for girls (newborn and 3 months), and one unisex.  That should cover me for the triple baby shower coming in May.  I'll have until September to knit at least 3 more, but there is plenty of time for that.  Who knows?  Perhaps by that time there will be something in the works for me:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Boris and Natasha are up to & a Few Finished Objects

My husband, in a fit of either humor or jealousy, has named my needles Boris and Natasha.  Lately they've been into making socks.

Some book swap socks (tinyhugs offered me her copy of Cookie A's Sock Innovation book in exchange for the Sam socks, I couldn't refuse)

And a pair for my father in law.  Upon seeing me frantically trying to finish some thick pair for my father over Christmas, he said in a small wistful voice "I like thick socks..."  So here they are, and let me tell you, his feet are huge.

A couple things I've finished lately....

The Footies for Sarah.  I gave them to her Mom Tina yesterday, she was very excited.

And the Hallett's Ledge Cardigan, which I love and have worn every day since.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Treatise on Seams

            Seams have been a topic of some debate in my knitting circles as of late, and I feel compelled to defend them.  I love seaming a garment, this is why.

  1. Unlike most top down in the round sweaters (TDITRS), seamed sweaters have a little structure to them and stand just slightly away from the body.  Now, if you have the willowy figure of most knitting magazine models, the clinging nature of a TDITRS is of no consequence.  I however have a body shape that can best described as lumpy oompah loompah (short legs, long torso, poofy hair, just add some bronzer and children would follow me around looking for the chocolate river).  For those of you like me, a sweater that skims over the surface of your body is a godsend. 
  1. For a shameless product knitter, seams are like magic.  Compared to the relative slowness of knitting a garment, it is thrilling to take pile of random pieces and turn them into a sweater over the course of an hour or two.  The very thought sends lovely chills down my spine. 
  1. For those of you who are process knitters, seaming provides just slightly more time to spend with the project and yarn you love.  Ever find the end of a project to be a little sad?  Seaming gives you an opportunity to admire your work and spend a little extra time with the yarn. 
  1. It is dead easy.  Mattress stitch is perfect for your social knitting occasions.  There is also the added bonus of having fellow knitters right there to admire your work once it is complete (see #2, seaming is like magic). 
  1. For the perfectionist knitter, seams provide a handy ridge in which to weave in your ends.  No longer will you have the unfortunate experience of having the end poke through to the front of your garment after the first wash, it will be tucked inside the seam. 
  1. Along those lines, it is much cleaner to add a new ball of yarn at the end of a row when working flat.  Those TBITRS don’t usually let you work flat, do they??? 
  1. Set in sleeves fit better, especially on the well endowed (see #1). 
  1. For the obsessed knitter who can’t put down a project until its done (who me??): Working a project in pieces allows for logical stopping points within the project, thereby allowing you to go to work, clean the house, pay attention to your loved ones, and get some sleep. 
  1. For the frugal knitter who buys just enough yarn to finish the project.  You do not need the same yarn to seam your project as you do to knit it up.  In fact, sometimes an alternate yarn is preferable.  I recently seamed the sleeves to Hallett’s Ledge with a small amount of grey Palette, instead of the Portland Tweed I knit the project with.  Worked great! 
  1. Seaming does not involve live stitches!!!   I will concede that the Kitchener stitch, the three needle bind off, and the various other forms of grafting have their place.  I have been known to both use and enjoy them on occasion.  A seam however, will never leave you with the blood, sweat, tears, wailing and gnashing of teeth associated with dropping or twisting your Kitchener.  Promise J

Thursday, February 10, 2011

If your knitting group thinks you're crazy...

  Over the years my knitting and I have gotten our fair share of funny looks.  Recently, there was the disbelief of a coworker when told that I knit every day.  Who could forget the incredulity of a new boyfriend when I took out sticks and string at a minor league baseball game (he married me anyway).  Nothing though can match the stunned silence of the sip & knit group once they saw my journal.

  There we were, innocently discussing how we kept track of the details/errata/mistakes that inevitably come up with knitting a garment.  Some jot down notes on a pattern, some scribble them on scrap paper and tuck them into a book.  Not I, each night I write down the day’s progress in a leather bound journal, coded in different colored inks to correspond to each project.  (Do you hear that?  It’s scrape of chairs backing away from the table).

  At its heart, this stems from a work related duty to write everything down.  Documentation is one of the hallmarks of fine nursing, we write down everything and anything that happens over the course of a day.  What did your patient’s skin/hair/mouth look like?  What medication did they take? When? How much? What route?  Nurse’s are told from day one that “If it is not written down, it didn’t happen”. 

  Until recently I believed that this extended to only my professional life.  Knitting was something carefree, relaxed, free-flowing.  Then in late December my husband’s Aunt Julie called to thank me for the wonderful hand-knit gloves we gave her for Christmas.  The green was beautiful, the cables so intricate, and I had absolutely no memory of knitting them.  None.

  I racked my brain for days.  What was this project?  When did it happen?  5 days later my husband reminded me that his family uses the terms gloves and mittens interchangeably.  (This has become a learn to love quality.  I grew up in northern New England, residents of balmy Ohio play fast and loose labeling their winter gear)  I ran to the finished object pile, sure enough the green mittens made last September were not there.  Puzzle solved, but I was now convinced:

  If not written down, how do you know the knitting ever happened?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

On My Needles 2

Hooray for snow!  The many storms this week have given me an ample amount of time to knit.

First, an update on Hallett's Ledge, the arms are about halfway done.

I've also started a pair of footies for a little girl named Sarah.  Sarah sells me girl scout cookies, I knit her socks, its a fair trade.  Sarah's mom Tina is also one of the most industrious and helpful co-workers you could ask for.  As Tina chooses not to collect the stickers our employer would have us give each other out of gratitude, I've been left without any way to properly thank her.  Until she asked me to knit her daughter socks...

This is the Ribbed Ribbon's pattern from Wendy Johnsons book Socks from the Toe Up.  One down, hopefully the second will be done sometime this week.

Finally, a finished object!  (Well, two actually).  The Pointelle socks are done!