Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Sweater That Never Was

In the back of my mind, I've got five or six sweaters queued up- yarn sitting tidily in the closet of the sewing room, patterns at least vaguely imagined. So this week, I cast on for what I'd decided the next project would be.

But I had barely cast on before I started having doubts. I'd pictured something with a stiff-ish feel- this was more drapey. I could have gone down a couple of needle sizes, but then it occurred to me that I am marginal on having enough yarn for this project. I'd sort of thought about going with three-quarter length sleeves if I was running short of yarn...or- I checked and found- the yarn is readily available. I could have picked up an extra skein or two easily enough if I needed to. But I am trying to use what I have, not buy more. So I cast on for a pullover instead of a cardigan, because I didn't think my original design would look right with three-quarter length sleeves. But if I was going to do that, then I might want to rethink the pattern I'd planned for the body....

It was about there that I realized I was hitting decision paralysis. Some design changes happen organically- the colorwork sweater got a placket neck because the neck was a little tight. But when the sweater's been redesigned multiple times before I even get out of the ribbing? That's a sign of a project that is at risk of becoming a WIP. After thinking some more, I realized that I already have a sweater in this color family and I tend not to wear acrylic as much (the three inch spark I got today touching a door handle just about made my fingernails smoke, and wool is better for not building up such a charge). So. Farewell, unknit sweater. I'm glad I didn't have to frog more of you.
the sweater that never was

But that left me with ten skeins of this yarn and no plan. I like having plans for my yarn. After not very much thought at all, I realized that a) I rarely have enough of any one color to make 'sets' of anything, but with this, I could make some hat/mitten/scarf sets in different sizes. And likewise b) I haven't knit that much for the charity bag yet this year. And c) I'm always complaining about not having enough dark/bright colors for mittens and hats. (Picture trying to find a white mitten in a snowbank for a moment...very difficult. Also light colors tend to attract dirt approximately 2.3 seconds after being given to a juvenile recipient.) And finally d) I've got some light colors in the stash that would go well with red, thus finding a use for them.

So. I have cast on for yet another scarf. (I'm beginning to think 2011 may be a 'scarf' year. I have plans/yarn to knit several more this year.) Biscuit approves.
Biscuit helps knit the scarf

He's been showing rather a lot of enthusiasm for 'helping knit' lately. Since his idea of help involves sitting on the ball of yarn and chewing on the strand going to the knitting, I can foresee some knitting challenges ahead.

And here's the yarn one movie on DVD later. (We've been watching episodes of Columbo. They're very engaging.)
Scarf in progress

I'll do a hat and mittens to go along with this. And my sweater plan has been re-assigned to a different lot of yarn. Which may or may not work- I'll have to start swatching and see if the texture is more what I was thinking.

I do like it when a plan comes together, but sometimes it's satisfying to be flexible, too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Path of True Love

green Aran cardigan
It is possible that I have been in denial about how much this cold has been slowing me down. Because if at any point this week you asked me how much I love this sweater, my answer would have been 'utterly and completely!'. And if you'd asked how much I wanted it to be done so I could wear it I would have said, 'lots and lots!'.

And yet, even though I officially knit the last stitch on it a week ago, it has taken me all week to weave in the ends (to be fair, there were quite a few). And sew on buttons. But now that I have?
back of green Aran cardigan

True love. (Yes, this really is the green Aran that I started over a year ago. The poor thing has been repeatedly bumped off the list- and I don't think at any point it has ever been at the top of the to-knit list. But it finally got done nevertheless.)

But. Was it really love that finally got me to finish?

Or....was it that I just couldn't wait to start a new project?

I'm not sayin'. I don't want to hurt the green Aran's feelings.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PSA: On Caffeine and Cold Medication

You know those non-drowsy decongestants? Drinking coffee while taking them is possibly not the greatest idea. Unless what you're looking for is a state of extreme hyper-alertness that lasts well into the night. On the plus side- it's a good time to read otherwise stupefyingly boring work documentation.

I'm off the cold medication today, but still feeling remarkably perky considering the amount of sleep I didn't get.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today I got home and found a package waiting for me. And to my delight, it contained:

A new knitting bag, from Toni, inspiration and originator of last year's 100 project challenge. (This year, she's doing 111. I chickened out of that one.) I love the little embroidered balls of yarn.

It also had huckleberry coffee (which I haven't tried yet) and some lovely toffee. (Biscuit was fascinated with this--it was quite hard to get pictures of anything other than blurry cat heads. I finally had to lure him off the table so I could finish.)

The toffee is a Boise Idaho product and quite delicious. Jonathan thinks so too. It probably makes me a better person to share the toffee rather than hide it and eat it all myself, right? It is Valentine's Day after all.

And last but not least, an embroidered towel!

I'm a little unsure what to make of 'complex and fruity' but then we've already agreed that my sanity is a little questionable. Certainly it will look very stylish in my kitchen! (The color even matches my tile.)

Thanks, Toni, for a lovely surprise!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I've been lusting for a set of KnitPicks Options interchangeable needles for a couple of years now. It's actually a good deal- if you tried to buy each size of circular needle in several lengths of cable you'd very quickly exceed the cost of the set. But of course you don't actually ever need a set all at the same time, so I kept picking up inexpensive bamboo circulars as I needed them, generally in the longest cable length I could find for maximum flexibility. But with the set, I don't have to put up with that. I can just use a shorter cable. So I finally bit the bullet, unlimbered my credit card and placed the order. They arrived this week, just in time for me to try them out on the cowl:
Cowl and new KnitPicks Options needles

I originally cast this on the wooden circulars, but found both that the long cable was unwieldy and the wood has more friction with the yarn than I like. I tried switching them for DPNs, which solved the cable problems, but my long DPNs are all wood as well, and the yarn is really quite sticky. But on the new needles with a shorter cable, it worked perfectly. I was quite tempted by the wooden Options needles- they're awfully pretty- but on consideration I went for the metal tips. I have a decided preference for metal, the smoother and slipperier the better. And these worked very well. The cable joins are very smooth and don't catch the yarn at all (one of my biggest complaints with circulars). And I bought extra tips to fill in the large sizes I don't own in any type of needle, which will give me more options (no pun intended) when working in bulky weight yarns. They did (as I'd read in reviews) eventually start to come unscrewed with use, but not so often it was a problem.

I finished up the cowl yesterday, and this afternoon my sister called to say she was in the neighborhood. So there was no delay at all in getting her new cowl to her.

She was hoping to finally meet Biscuit, now that he's a little calmer, but he still isn't calm about potentially cat-eating strangers- he disappeared under the bed as soon as he heard her at the door. Still, he's hanging out in the living room and relaxing more now that he's settled in. (Sorry, Kate- maybe someday you'll actually get to meet him as opposed to just peering at him under the bed. Until pix!)
Biscuit relaxing

Fortunately, Cookie was there to meet and greet. Also sniff her possessions thoroughly- Kate has three cats and a dog, so there was a lot to sniff.

So this isn't all I've been knitting, but I'll save talking about the other project until I have some idea how it's going. (If it turns out that I end up stomping up and down on it shouting swear words, I'm probably going to spare you some of the gory details.)