Monday, February 23, 2009

Letting Go

There are times to be the one in charge of the knitting. And there are times when you just have to sit back and let it happen. I have this kind of uneasy relationship with self-patterning yarn. On the one hand, I love how fast it knits up, and it fascinates me how the slightest change in tension makes the pattern change. I watch the stitches fall off the needles enthralled by the serendipity of it all.
self-patterning socks on feet

On the other hand, it makes me twitchy that the patterns change from one color repeat to the next, even when I'm using the same number of stitches on the same size needles. That's probably why I took some pains to try and at least get the stripes to match.
self-patterning socks not on feet

I thought the shades of blue in these were perfect to go with jeans- so it makes sense to give them to my husband, since he rarely wears anything else. When I gave them to him, he looked at them, looked at me, and asked, "So, did you do something to make them come out looking the same?"

He knows me so well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Slight Change of Plans

Remember the baby blanket I was making?
baby cardigan neck detail

Yeah, doesn't look much like a blanket, does it? Well, forget the baby blanket. I got about 3/4 inch into the blanket when I had two Devastating Realizations. Realization No. 1: I was bored. Did you know knitter boredom is a phenomenon that accounts for over ten million WIPs annually? (Actually, I made that up. I don't know how many WIPs it causes, but judging by the number some knitters seem to have, it must be a lot. I did consider linking to blogumentary evidence of this, then I decided that would be too mean. You know who you are.) Anyway, boredom in the last quarter, say, of a blanket is understandable. You've already spent a number of hours on the project, you know the pattern, you're struggling to come to terms with the rectangularity of it all.

That's where your determination, your stubbornness, the fact that you don't have another pair of needles in this size, and the knowledge that a ten-year old is not going to be impressed by a 40" square blanket, all come to your aid in summoning up the willpower to finish. (Or possibly fails you and results in the whole project being buried under the Christmas decorations until you need a gift for the originally planned recipient's fourth sibling...but I digress.)

So- bored. Bored at the very beginning of a project means that This Is Not Really What I Want to Knit. Now, there are times to do projects that you don't want to do, and tying yourself to the tracks in front of an approaching deadline is one strategy. But at this stage of the project, I had very little invested, and no good reason not to do something different. And that brings me to Realization No. 2- I was totally going to run out of yarn. Yep. I have no idea why, when I've used ~1500 yards for the last two blankets I've done, I thought that 1000 would do it this time, but clearly I should have bought all the yarn available in this color when it was on sale.

But, given that this project was not filling me with glee, I started thinking about what I *really* wanted to knit. And what popped into my head was this cute little raglan pattern from Carole Barenys, which I saw highly recommended a couple of weeks ago by Suburbancorrespondent. At this point, it seems pretty obvious that this is what I want to knit.
baby cardigan

I made some changes, of course. Based on sibling data, I figured this child was probably going to be a little larger than your garden variety newborn, so I sized it up some. After my experience with the top-down raglan for my dad, I knew that could be done fairly easily. So I cast on extra stitches at the neck, and then used online size charts to get the proportions right. It's a zippy little pattern- I'm blown away all over again with how fast stockinette-based patterns knit up. And a child has a lot less surface area than an adult too, so even the sport weight yarn didn't slow this down much. So that will take care of the February baby.

Now to come up with something for the January baby whose deadline got away from me!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Today I finished the Fudge Brownie Sundae socks.
brownie fudge sundae socks

My parents came up for lunch and we had a nice visit. And I confessed to my mom that these socks had originally been intended for her. See, she told me before Christmas that she'd like to try knitting some of her own, so she got sock yarn for Christmas instead. She didn't seem offended by this and from certain subtle clues (like saying, 'boy, those look like they'd fit me') I gathered that she wouldn't mind getting them now. So they're off to a good home.

I also got to show off my latest sock yarn find- Joann's has just started carrying several varieties. I picked up these:
sock yarn

Not that I actually needed more sock yarn right now, but I do feel that carrying reasonably priced sock yarn should be encouraged. This is 50% wool, 25% bamboo, 25% nylon- it's self-patterning, so I'll likely do plain stockinette socks with it.

We went for a walk to enjoy the lovely weather (50 degrees and sunny is balmy for New Hampshire in February), and came home to find Woats having a nap in the sun to recover from all the socializing.
Woats snoozing in library

Pretty much a perfect Sunday.