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!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Knitting for Weight Loss?

  So I'm in my weight watchers meeting, knitting away, and a member pipes up with the following statement;

"I knit at night to keep from eating, it helps my weight loss".

  I was perplexed.  Now reader, I am for anything and anybody that advances the craft, but knitting for weight loss?  Turning out socks and mittens has never stopped me from stuffing my gullet.  Granted my hands are occupied, but it turns out that masticating while knitting is not all that hard to do.  Combine this with the fact that most knitting get-togethers include some combination of caffeine, baked goods and alcohol, the weight loss defense is hard to back up.

  Does it count as activity?  Sadly at 32 calories and hour (there is a handy calculator here) I cannot earn weight watchers points by knitting.  Spending these hours sitting flat on my backside doesn't help much either.   Stephanie Purl McPhee advocates knitting while exercising, but sweaty hands and merino do not mix well.  Moving around while distracted leads to crashing into things, injury, and more time spent flat on your backside.  Its a viscous circle.

  Unfortunately it does not look like knitting will be a key part of my weight loss journey.  I did recently here though that it lowers blood pressure, and is therefore heart healthy.

  Lets call it a draw.