Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Late Knit With David Letterman


Okay, I'm not really watching Letterman, but it's a catchy title, no? But it is late and I am knitting.  Um...well, at this particular moment I'm not knitting, but I was, until I decided to take to the keyboard, and I will return to my knitting momentarily.  

Everyone is in bed, including all six smelly dogs, but with my Christmas deadline looming large and with November being only a day away, I figured I'd better hit the sticks with a vengeance tonight.  It helps that I've had more than my share of caffeine today, assuring that I will remain conscious until at least 1 or 2 o'clock.  Provided I can keep my nose out of the refrigerator, I should make some nice progress before I pass out.

My current project is a lovely top-down sweater I'm enjoying very much (so much so, that I wish I was knitting it for myself) and I hope to get the yoke completed and the stitches divided for the sleeves yet tonight.  I'm knitting with one of my favorite yarns so far: Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK.  This is my third project with this yarn and it is wonderful.  Merino is wonderful anyway, and this stuff produces beautiful stitch definition, and blocks extremely well.  

A few weeks ago, I also invested in my first quality set of needles.  I chose the Addi Turbo Click set and I absolutely love them.  I've always preferred metal needles - I like the speed I get with metal.  I've tried bamboo (hate them) and rosewood is passable, but metal makes me happy.  I thought the cheaper set I started with was good but once I got the Addi set, my old set began to feel like a 1976 Chevy Chevette.  The Addi cables are awesome - they don't get stuck in the position they are packaged in - and the connectors are SO much better than the ones that screw into the needles.  No more dropped stitches!  Ah, the things that make knitters giddy.

Well, back to my knitting.  I've blazed through an episode of "Columbo" and have been playing an episode of "Murder, She Wrote" while typing this.  Funny, the picture for everything else I've watched tonight has been great, but this particular episode of MSW is filled with people whose faces are pink.  No, not fleshy pink...seriously P.I.N.K.  It is disturbing on so many levels.  Yet, I can't quit watching now.  J. B. Fletcher is about to solve the case...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Creepshow


A few weeks ago, The Husband found a knitting program on our local PBS station called Knitting Daily.  You’ve probably heard of it if you knit much.  It is hosted by Eunny Jang and has tips on knitting, crocheting, and there’s always a segment with a “yarn expert” about some type of yarn.  The show is very informative, although my PBS station can’t seem to get straight which episode it is airing when.  I was super excited to see the episode I recorded this last week was about intarsia knitting, which I have a huge interest in but haven’t had the guts to try yet.  Unfortunately, when I played the episode, it was not about intarsia at all, but about short rows (which is okay – I need help with those too).  I was somewhat disappointed, but I do enjoy the show.  I only have one issue with it:  the beginning of the program is creepy. 

Why, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you…

When the show starts, Eunny Jang lets the viewers know what will be on the program for that day, followed by an incredibly long list of sponsors of the program – mostly yarn companies.  Then comes the creepy part.  With some snappy music playing, a collage of scenes from the show scrolls by and there, kind of in the middle, is this scene showing the resident crocheting expert, Kristin Omdahl.  That might not sound creepy, but here’s the thing:  She’s busily crocheting something yet looking straight at the camera, never looking down at her work, and is talking with some sort of Stepford-esque, scary expression on her face.  O_O  I’m serious, it’s just creepy.  I even showed it to my daughter to see if it was just me, but she thought it was creepy too. 

You can see the intro here -->  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVx-GLAquaA  The creepiness starts at about 0:26 in the video.

Now, I don’t know Kristin Omdahl and she sure does know her stuff and I’m also sure she’s probably an incredibly nice person.  I am SO not trying to be mean.  But if I were her, I would definitely tell the producers of that show that the creepy segment must go. It's really not the most complimentary look for her.  I'm just sayin'...

The only other thing that annoys me about that scene is that she can actually have a conversation with the camera while crocheting and never look down at her work.  I can only aspire to reach that level of confidence.  I’ll freely admit, I’m totally envious of her mad skills.  If I tried that, there would be a serious knitting disaster that may even result in bodily injury.  Not kidding…

Oh well.  In the meantime, if anyone has ideas for a simple Christmas blanket knitted in Christmas red and cream, let me know.  I have an empty space next to a name on my Christmas list (yeah, I know – I’m insane for looking for another project with a Christmas deadline).  I’m amazed at how difficult it’s been to find anything simple enough to fit in. 

And please, feel free to comment on this blog.  It makes me feel as if I’m not just writing [talking] to myself.  Which I actually do on occasion, but it’s not much fun…

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So, share a comment about something creepy, or about your favorite knitting/crocheting expert.  Or, about a creepy knitting/crocheting expert…


Friday, October 26, 2012

The Honeymoon is Over


I finally completed the sweater I’ve been working on for Christmas, having received some invaluable assistance from Lady L this past Tuesday evening at knit night at my LYS (pictures will be posted after Christmas).  I was telling the ladies there that I’ve moved out of the honeymoon stage of knitting.  Yes, out of the innocence and naïveté that graced each skein of yarn and every square or rectangular pattern purchase.  Away from the early thrill I felt at producing a simple scarf or wrap.  Gone are the days when I worked steadily on one project at a time, purchasing just what I needed for that specific object. 

I have officially moved over into complete obsession.

As I look back, I can now recall what I believe was the beginning of the transition between the “this is a fun hobby” attitude to the “if I don’t knit, I’ll die” way of life.  It started even before I found my LYS.  On that day, I was standing in a Michael’s store, having selected some “nothing-special” acrylic yarn for some project or other that was next on my list when I caught a glimpse of a brightly colored sign attached to a bin of yarn.  I attempted to ignore it – to just walk right past – but it was as if there was some sort of cosmic force pulling me off-course.  I looked around nervously, to see if anyone else was being summoned, but the aisle was deserted.  As I moved closer, the sign came into focus, and there I saw it – the most beautiful four-letter word in the universe:  

Somewhere inside my brain a light switched on and this glorious thought took up residence:  I should buy this yarn.  It’s soft and beautiful and it’s on SALE!  But then logic kicked in.  This won’t work with the project you’re going to start.  It’s too bulky and the wrong color.  There’s no reason to buy this yarn now.  The light dimmed a little as I stared at the yarn, but then this:  Well, just look a little more closely.  It can’t hurt to look, right?  So I picked up a skein and examined the yardage and the weight.  Logic spoke again:  See?  It’s just not right for anything on your list.  Just turn and walk away.  So I did.  But rather than heading toward the front of the store with the yarn I’d already selected and checking out, I found myself wandering down the next yarn aisle.  It was sad somehow, turning my back on this lovely sale yarn, but how could I argue with logic? 

Before I knew what was happening, I was standing in front of the sale bin once again, staring.  Then I walked away for another trip down the next yarn aisle.  Then I was back at the bin, searching my mind and begging the light in my brain for a reason – any logical reason – to buy this yarn.  A few more trips around the yarn department later and it finally hit me:  You could buy this now and find a project for it later!  Whaaat??  Could I do that? The light burned brighter.  I COULD do that!!  It made perfect sense!

I bought the yarn.

Thus was the beginning of the end of the honeymoon.  I crossed a line that day – buying yarn for some future mystery project - and  I have crossed that line many times since.  That was the day I started building my stash.  That was the day that I exchanged a little of my knitting innocence for a truth all serious knitters embrace:  you should never walk away from a good deal on yarn, even if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it.  Eventually, you’ll come up with the right project for it and you’ll be glad you got it when you did.  I ended up using the yarn from that day for a shawl that lays on my sofa in the living room.  That shawl has been used over and over and over again, making it totally worth the buy.

The journey from honeymoon to obsession – I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. 

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Where are you in your knitting journey?  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Knitflix


Well, the final presidential debate was on TV last night which basically meant I couldn’t watch any of my regular shows.  I don't mean to sound so apathetic.  I really am engaged in the process.  I've done my homework, know the issues, and I have listened to each candidate's positions (along with a whole lot of unnecessary and annoying political pundits on both sides adding to the drama).  So unless one of the candidates had decided to do something crazy like vow to outlaw coffee and chocolate, my vote wasn’t going to be affected by these two guys bloviating and spewing political arrows at each other.  But this isn't a blog about politics (thankfully).  It is a blog about knitting.  And what goes great with knitting?  TV, of course.  Which brings me to discuss one of the greatest accessories to knitting that I’ve found to date…


Seriously, I've developed a whole new appreciation for my Netflix subscription.  I can find something to watch any time.  And bonus:  no commercials!  Even when I DVR stuff at home to watch later, I have to stop my knitting and fast forward through the commercials (because enduring the commercials if I don’t have to is certainly not an option).  This is not only irritating but has occasionally caused me to have to frog a row (or several) because I lost track of where I was – which never would have happened to me in my 20s but, seeing as how I just celebrated my 30th birthday for the 17th time…

I find myself enjoying the old TV series even more than the movies.  It’s great!  For shows that have episodes that end with “To be continued…” I can “continue” it right then and there.  No waiting for next week to find out what happens!  I’m currently plowing through every episode of The X-Files.  I don’t normally watch too many creepy shows but have always liked Mulder and Scully.  I’m pretty keen on British TV series too, and older American shows that I watched growing up.  Funny though, when I watch the shows I watched as a kid, I find myself amazed at how poor the acting is in many of them.  Especially the ones from the 70s.  And the music…ha!  Groovy, man. 

Netflix also works nicely when The Husband decides to watch one of his favorite highly entertaining shows that I don’t really care to watch.  Shows like “American Hoggers”, “Hardcore Pawn”, or “Lizard Lick Towing.”  Hard to imagine I don’t care to watch these shining examples of American television excellence, I know.  Thankfully, I can just plug my headphones into my tablet and continue my Netflix journey through “The X-Files” to see how Mulder and Scully handle the homicidal monster made from mud that was animated with magical words uttered by a Hassidic Jew whose fiancé was brutally murdered by some thugs who deserved to get it in the end anyway. 

Now THAT’S quality TV…

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What do you do while knitting?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Breaking Yarn and Other Quaint Traditions

Well, the one nightmarish sleeve turned into two fairly well-constructed sleeves and now the two sleeves have married a torso and have begun to look something like an actual sweater.  Yay!  I must say I'm not a huge fan of bottom-up knitting, since the first two sweaters I knit were top down and seemed so much less stressful, but I'm looking forward to a better-than-awful finished object.  I'd post pictures, but it will have to wait until after Christmas since I can't take the chance that my family might happen upon it, thus spoiling the surprise.  So you'll just have to take my word for it for now.

Anyhow, I've spent most of the day knitting, with a lovely break this evening when The Husband took me out for sushi.  Well, I pretty much told him he was taking me out and that I wanted sushi, but he didn't complain any.  After inhaling an entire Samurai roll and half a Hawaiian, we came home and I was reading ahead in the pattern for the aforementioned sweater when I encountered a term I had never seen before:  "Break yarn."  

Break yarn??  

What does that mean?  Break yarn.  The only phrase I'm familiar with that starts with "break" doesn't have anything to do with yarn and isn't very polite.  

Whenever I'm faced with a knitting-related question, I have two options as I see it.  Either Google it, or ask the lovely ladies at my LYS.  I chose the latter.  And the answer is:  tradition!

Turns out, the phrase came from the time when wool yarn was pure wool.  To "break" the yarn was to pull it apart, leaving a tapered, fuzzy end that would blend easily when woven in.  It was also very easy to pull pure wool strands apart.  Nowadays, the way yarns are blended and tightly woven, it's easier to cut the yarn.  But apparently, you'll still find the term in some patterns, like the one I'm currently doing.  Tradition (picture scene from Fiddler on the Roof here).

Speaking of tradition, we asked our waiter at the sushi place tonight why they always bring us hot towels when we sit down.  He didn't really know, but thought it was tradition.  I guess it is part of sushi etiquette, so it would follow that we are heathens because we never use them.  They smell funny.  Seriously.  Meh...

I think I'll go find the other half of that Hawaiian.

***  ***  ***

Any traditions you know of?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My LYS


I don’t know if I would have fully discovered the joy of knitting had I not found a wonderful Local Yarn Shop (LYS)  - The Stitch Niche - just 20 minutes from me.  I learned about its existence by chance through a random encounter with another knitter at a sushi restaurant (thanks, Stacy!).  I’m sure I looked like a complete idiot when I first visited the place.  I mean, how intelligent can you look with your mouth hanging wide open as you realize you’ve somehow been transported to yarn heaven? 

The first room you walk into is the needlepoint section, which is overwhelming, even for someone who doesn’t needlepoint.  Beautiful canvases are hung over every inch of the walls and in the middle of this room sit two large tables, replete with every sort of “stitchy” notion piled in the center along with a large, bottomless bowl of candy that provides emergency chocolate when needed (and yes, it is often needed).  This is where all of the laboring and fawning (and occasional cursing and lamenting) over emerging masterpieces takes place.

But then…then…turning to the left and stepping through a doorway you find THE YARN!  Scads and scads of yarn!  Egyptian cotton, Merino wool, silk, lush angoras and cashmeres – sock yarn, baby yarn, fat yarn, skinny yarn…two rooms full of beautiful, glorious YARN!  It’s like Disney World for yarnies!!  A Magic Yarn Kingdom
Yeah, I get a little excited…

Thing is though, any store can have yarn.  I went to a store in New Orleans that had some nice yarn, but the place had a whole different vibe about it.  It was kind of “froo-froo”, if you know what I mean and about as big as a walk-in closet.  But my LYS - it was apparent immediately that this place was very special.  They offer help and instruction any time you need it – no appointment necessary.  How cool is that??  Plus, they are fluent in “knitspeak”.  They speak my language!  If you knit, you know what I’m talking about.  There’s that look that non-knitters get on their faces when you’re talking about your craft.  I think it’s probably close to the same look I get when The Husband comes home and talks about the networking issues that came up that day at work (although unlike those discussions, most people you talk to about knitting don’t beg you to quit before their head explodes).
The Rowdy Table on Knit Night
Tuesday nights are “knit nights”.  The name really doesn’t describe accurately everything that goes on.  Sure, there is plenty of knitting, but there is also crocheting, needlepointing (is that a word?), eating, drooling over yarn and the latest patterns, laughing, joking, harassing, and general revelry.  This is why I like it so much.  Who doesn’t enjoy general revelry?  All skill levels are represented, from the complete novice all the way up to the formerly introduced knitting goddess level of Lady L.  Most Tuesdays, every age level is represented as well, proving the fact that you do not have to be of grandmotherly age to love knitting.  I’m sure men are welcome to attend, but there haven’t been any since I started going.  The only exception has been when an occasional timid husband ventures in to drop off, pick up, or seek help with something of his wife’s at her behest, which is actually kind of amusing to watch (they’re so nervous!).  And then there is Sir David, Lady L’s husband who comes each Tuesday night to pick up and deliver our dinner orders, a weekly task which I personally believe qualifies him for sainthood.

The Masterful Lady L, aka Leona


My LYS is just a fabulous place to hang out, no matter what’s going on.  I am grateful for the new friendships I have formed there and for the invaluable encouragement and advice I’ve received.  It’s like a little piece of heaven on earth all wrapped up in a fuzzy, hand-knit blanket.  Ahh…
  

Tell me about your LYS!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Holiday Knitting

There's nothing quite as fun as knitting something for someone else, especially if you knit for people you know will appreciate it.  Since I learned to knit last year at Christmastime, this is the first year that I am able to actually do "holiday knitting".  It was so exciting to carefully select each pattern and just the right yarn for everyone on my list.  Well, except for The Husband.  Nothing I could knit would reach the financial investment required for an acceptable gift for The Husband, unless I made it out of Rumpelstiltskin's spun gold...

It was the very beginning of September when I amassed my patterns and yarn with a sparkle in my eyes and visions not of sugarplums, but of completed, professional-looking garments that would thrill and amaze my family and friends.

Ho, Ho, Holy crap!  What was I thinking????

So here we are in the middle of October and I've only managed to complete one (1) of the gifts on my Jolly Christmas List.  I do have two other items that are about 60% completed.  And then there are the, let's see...SEVEN (7) other projects that need to be done by December 25th.  That's right, not-so-lucky number seven.  I've got the patterns, I've got the yarn (well, mostly), but here are the things I didn't count on when I figured out my time management schedule:  sleeping, taking showers, cooking, eating, conversing with The Husband - you know, things that generally have to be done on a regular basis.

Oops...my bad.

For those of you who have knitted for years, I'm sure you began laughing hysterically when you read "the very beginning of September", but my being new to this holiday knitting stuff, I was naively optimistic.  And so, panic has set in.  I mean, there is no Plan B.  I've already invested the money.  These objects MUST be completed in the time alotted.  I'd take a valium, but it would slow down my knitting...


Anyone else out there ever overestimate their ability to finish on a deadline?  Any tips for someone who's in deep?  Do tell!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Hate Sleeves

You guessed it.  I've been working most of the day on THE infamous sleeve.  I'm still not done.  All the increases are finished and I actually ended up with the correct number of stitches on the needles, which is always good.  But the thing is still too small around to fit on a single 16" circular so I continue to maneuver on two circulars, plus I have another 3" to go before I am finished with it.  And every time I think about being done with it and I get a bit giddy at the thought, a large, gray cloud pushes itself in front of the glorious ray of sunshine in my mind, thundering loudly, "You still have to do ANOTHER ONE!" (insert evil laugh here).

Of course the work would go a little faster if I was actually enjoying it.  Since I am not having a particularly good time, I keep setting it aside after a few rows and doing other important things, like staring into space.  This evening, I am able to stare at the TV, as my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes are playing at Indiana.  It has not been the best distraction however, since OSU is not playing particularly well, even though they are leading. Then I got the idea that I ought to write a blog post, which is just another blatant procrastination in the guise of doing something productive.  (Am I even allowed to use the word "procrastination" as a noun??)

Okay, so maybe I'll get back to the sleeve.  I may even finish it tonight.  But first, I think I'll just see what's in the fridge...

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Art of Pattern Writing


It’s been nearly a year since I learned how to knit and one thing I’ve learned in that time is that some people have a certain talent for writing a pattern for others to follow and others might get an “A” for effort but a “D” when it comes to clearly laying out what you’re supposed to do.  Now, I’m not a knitwear designer (yet), so I am speaking purely from the perspective of someone who has to follow another’s directions. 

The first panic attack I had when reading a pattern was when I was knitting something my daughter picked out for me to make for her (a colossal mistake, but that’s a whole other post).  Panic ensued when I got to a point in the pattern where I saw this ominous-sounding warning: *Read this entire section before you begin.  That was a red flag right there.  I mean, who expected any kind of warning in a knitting pattern?  So, I did what it said.  I read the entire section.  That didn’t help.  It might as well have been written in Russian.  I recognized the words all right, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I was actually supposed to DO. 

Instead of hiding the whole thing in the back of my closet and telling my daughter that a freak act of God had occurred in which both the pattern and the yarn had been consumed by a rogue swarm of moths, I took the pattern to my LYSThe Stitch Niche.  The manager of the place, Leona, is a bone fide knitting goddess, having great and unexplainable powers over all things knitting and shall hereafter be referred to as “Lady L.”  Just minutes later, Lady L. had translated the unrecognizable text into something I could actually understand and follow.  And there was much rejoicing…

I have come to appreciate that warning in the pattern because I’ve learned that not every pattern writer chooses to insert a warning when there clearly needs to be one.  One pattern that shall not be named and never knitted again included a section where I needed to do two things at once in the same row but there was no warning and on top of that, activity #1 did not align properly with activity #2 and I ended up with two extra rows of #2 (double entendre intended).  No matter how often I laid the thing out on paper, two extra rows.  I managed to create two extra rows of #1 and the thing came out okay, but I won’t be in any hurry to purchase another pattern from that particular designer.  If I’m paying you money for a pattern, I don’t want to have to make edits other than adjusting the size.

More recently, I’ve run into a questionably written part of the pattern for the now infamous sleeve from my previous two posts.  Everything was going along fine and I got to the increases on the sleeve where I was to increase every X row Y number of times, and so on and so on.  Twenty-five rows later the pattern writer tosses in a “do this with each of the increases…”  Really?  You couldn’t have mentioned that before the 25 rows?? 

So today my fledgling sleeve and I shall make the trek to the LYS to see Lady L. where we shall both receive much-needed encouragement and instruction.  And there will be much rejoicing…


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Waiting and Knitting


I'm at the car dealership today getting some maintenance done on my Ford.  There's a new service manager dude.  Why is it that every time I'm here, they look at me with what seems like a mixture of pity at what they perceive is my lack of knowledge in auto maintenance, and confusion that I dare challenge their cherished and deeply held notions of what a woman ought to know about cars? 

Oh wise and honored Mr. Service Manager, when I say there is a rattle under my floorboard while turning sharply, please believe me.  I am not just hearing my CD cases flop around in the center storage compartment.  I am really not that stupid.  I also know where the oil goes, where the radiator is, how to change a tire and where to properly connect the jumper cables.

Today it was a repeat of the last time I was here.  See, an entire year ago, my car ate my iPod.  Seriously.  My purse dumped over and my stuff fell out and the car ate the only thing that I actually gave a rat's behind about - my 16 GB special edition RED iPod, circa 2008.  Could not find it anywhere in the car.  It's not worth much, but it was unique and it was mine.  I figured out that the only place it could be is under the floorboard.  It's in there, I just know it.  I hear it bumping around on occasion.  I told them this the last time and they looked in random parts of my car and declared I was mistaken, there was no iPod there anywhere.  Even my husband said I might as well give up, I'd never see it again.  So today when I mentioned it again at my dealership to New Mr. Service Manager, I got the same, "There, there, dearie, you are just hearing your CDs bump around in your center compartment"-look.  Grrr...

No, I haven't forgotten that this is a knitting blog...

I brought my knitting with me, which is something I do quite often anymore when I know I'll have some time to just sit and wait.  So off I go to the terribly uncomfortable service waiting area, lugging my super-sized knitting bag.  It began its life as a beach bag.  I mentioned before that my husband and I got it in Cozumel when we took a cruise two years ago.  I don't think I could get it zipped up if I wanted to.  It always contains at least two of my current projects and every single piece of knitting equipment I have, including three complete sets of circular needles, with some random straights, circulars, and the dreaded dpns thrown in (in case I need to illustrate their evilness).  There are three paper knitting books I own (I prefer digital), several single patterns and all sorts of accessories I've picked up along the way.  It's a lot of junk to tote around, which I don't always use, but I hate not having what I need when I need it.

Like yesterday, I was at the hospital with a friend whose husband was having surgery.  I thought I was being smart because I put what I thought I'd use in a smaller, less conspicuous bag.  I was only working on the infamous sleeve from my last post, which incidentally has not yet made it to adolescence -- more like toddlerhood.  So I get to the end of the cuff and need to switch to a larger needle.  Um...needles. 

Yeah, I didn't put any extra needles in my less conspicuous bag...  O_o 

Too bad, as I was there for several hours.  The good news is, I made it through several levels in my favorite Mahjong game.  But today I brought the jumbo bag with everything in it.  I'm not taking any chances.  Last time I was here, it took over 2 hours. 

Hey, New Mr. Service Manager just came in.  And guess what he had in his hand?  My 16 GB special edition RED iPod!  And guess where it was.  UNDERNEATH THE FLOORBOARD.  This new guy gets a huge tip for actually listening to me in spite of the fact that he thought I was crazy.  It looks no worse for wear.  I can't wait to charge it back up and use it again!  Yay! 

Now, maybe I can get this sleeve into grade school while I'm here...maybe even middle school.  I have a feeling it might turn out to be a great day...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DPNs (or Devil Produced Needles)


It’s official.  If using double pointed needles (dpns) were the only way to knit a sleeve or a sock, nothing I ever made would have sleeves and I would never venture into sock-knitting.  Seriously, I am convinced they were invented by the devil himself (who also, incidentally, invented pantyhose and wallpaper).  They even look scary.  Have you ever seen someone knitting with dpns?  Look it up on YouTube.  Even when a knitting expert like Eunny Jang knits with dpns, I shudder.  I tried it, really I did.  But, well…it wasn’t pretty.  In fact, the one set of dpns I own would be in the trash already if I didn’t have an overactive guilt gene (four bucks is four bucks).  Whatever…

The good news is, some incredible genius found another way to knit things that are tubular and small in circumference: with two circular needles (and the angels sang).  And so, the sweater I am knitting a loved-one for Christmas shall have sleeves!  That’s right, a sweater that will actually cover and warm each entire arm (both of relatively the same length, I hope).  Please, hold your applause. 

Not that two circulars make sleeves a piece of cake for someone at my level of knitting skill.  I’m on my second cast-on of the same sleeve, but I’m blaming our dogs.  Yesterday, after I had my stitches cast on and a couple of rows knit, five of our six Dachshunds decided to jump up and run across the room, barking like a serial killer was trying to break into the house (I think it was only an acorn falling from the tree out back or maybe a blade of grass growing too loudly – stupid dogs).  Their outburst made me jump so violently that I actually pulled one of my circulars completely out of half of my sleeve stitches.  I might have been able to save the baby sleeve but for one rogue stitch that seemed to have developed its own path to nowhere.  After a brief period where I contemplated stabbing each of the aforementioned dogs with my unused dpns, I frogged it (ripped it out = rip it…rippit, rippit…like a frog).  It was at this point my poor husband came home from work to find me scowling and rubbing my temples and not caring in the least at that moment how his day had been.  He wisely decided to go mow the lawn, leaving me with face in hands, muttering to myself. 

Attempt number two has gone better, although I haven’t gotten very far.  And while I am very pleased with the tubular cast-on method I used (again, YouTube – what a great FREE resource for learning how to knit stuff), unfortunately, I’m still not really good at joining in the round.  Does anyone else have a gap problem at the join?  Other than that, the baby sleeve is looking pretty good.  I’m hoping to work it into at least adolescence tonight.  I think I’ll leave the dogs outside…

What are your thoughts on dpns?  Or share a funny or frustrating story.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Welcome


Knitting?  Who knits these days?  A year ago, when I thought about knitting, I pictured a wisp of a grandma sitting in her living room, busily working away at a tiny infant-sized hat that she’ll later donate to the local hospital for the newborns.  It was easy to picture this because the grandma in question is my husband’s and she has knit for like, EVER.  Her name is Eva and she is awesome, by the way.  But because of her longevity at the craft, and the fact that she’s in her 90s and I’m quite a ways from that (although not as far as I’d like to be), for over a decade I resisted my husband’s attempts to have Grandma teach me to knit.  I mean, I had other important stuff to do and I’m too young to sit and knit, right?  I tried crochet as a kid and never produced anything but a few ugly doilies that my mom set out to make me feel special.  And compared to the speed and skill with which Grandma produced lovely items, I was sure that my attempts would produce an epic fail.  No one in my family knit.  My own grandma was into needlepoint, which I tried but was never all that excited about.  Besides, who knits these days??

December 2011:  My son and daughter-in-law come for Christmas (they’re north, I’m south – long story, not relevant).  Lots of moms have issues with their daughters-in-law.  Mine rocks.  Seriously.  Anyway, shortly into their visit, I see Christine pull out…knitting.  She’s in her 20s.  Says she learned from some other women at her church.  Really?  Before you know it, we’re down at the local Michael’s looking at (read: buying) yarn and needles and accessories and…I’m learning to knit.

Little did I know then that I would become completely obsessed with knitting.  I have had at least one knitting project going at all times since last Christmas (the current count is four).  First it was scarves, then shawls and wraps.  In less than a year I've gotten into sweaters and little stuffed toys and…well, it really doesn't matter what, as long as I’m knitting.  I carry knitting with me in my purse.  Our beach bag we bought in Cozumel two years ago while on our cruise?  Yeah, it’s filled with knitting.  My closet in the bedroom used to be stuffed with shoes.  Now it’s stuffed with shoes and yarn.  I learned it’s called my “stash”.  I also found a fabulous LYS (that’s Local Yarn Shop – took me a while to figure that out).  It’s 20 minutes from home and they have a weekly “knit night” and offer free help and lessons all the time and oh, they also have gobs and gobs of YARN.  Really nice yarn made from fibers that actually come from nature and not a lab.  Yarn that, when you touch it, makes you all warm and fuzzy inside.  You shouldn't laugh unless you’ve tried it.  Go ahead.  I dare you.

They say you should blog about what you’re passionate for.  So, here I am.  Welcome.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to knitting… 

Let me know how you got started with knitting.  Or if you haven’t started yet, what’s kept you from jumping in?