Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Of Socks and Shawls

Life gets interesting sometimes. What was supposed to be a lovely day of shopping and girl stuff for my mom and I turned into a knitting marathon at Urgent Care on Saturday. I got quite a bit of my sock done, while mom wished the doctor would just hurry up and tell her she had the stomach flu so she could go home and sleep. It wasn't the flu, but half a sock, and X-ray, a CT, and other tests, we did have a diagnosis. I'll have more knitting time on the 22nd, because there's yet another test scheduled for then and I'm the designated driver. If the socks in the photo look familiar, it's because they're the second pair of socks made using the same yarn. First pair was a bit loose, and too long. So I tossed the pattern figuratively out the window, frogged both socks, dropped down a needle size, skipped a half-repeat at the toe, and reinvented the toe pattern to make the leaves line up. Plus, since I was at Urgent Care and away from my trusty scissors during heel time, I worked a short row heel rather than a flap. Um, I changed the cast-on too, so that it matches the description rather than the directions. I kept the lace pattern the same though, honest I did.

Stacy's lace shawl is unfortunately not growing very fast. In fact, it's gone nowhere since Friday, when I finished off the one ball of yarn I did have. More should be arriving soon. I quiz my husband, a trained postal professional, each time he comes home from the post office. Should he forget to bring it home after work, he has keys and can go right back to get it. I do know that I ordered enough yarn. One ball of Palette, with me knitting on size 8 needles, yields almost one complete pattern repeat plus a bottom edge. The pattern has 5 1/2 repeats, so six balls of yarn will do it. I did take a picture for Beth (Hi, Beth!).
The bottom of the shawl is at the top of the photo, and my live stitches at the bottom. What you see is one full (give or take 3 rows out of 90-odd) repeat ... imagine 5 1/2 of them, and you'll have a 24x70 rectangular stole.

School continues, much to the chagrin of my children who would rather read and clean their rooms than work math problems or parse Latin anythings. The end is almost in sight. Our summer vacation will be in June, and it's Tradition to finish up the school year before vacation. (It's also Tradition to continue with some form of math, as well as vocabulary review, during summer break.) The editing for the Homer supplemental books is drawing to a close, or at the very least, seriously winding down while proof copies are being printed.

Still on my list of things to do today: renew my TKGA membership. I joined last year for the sole purpose of working on the Master Knitter classes (which were dangled before my eyes by the same Beth mentioned previously). Even though I've got the last level submitted, my husband tells me I should renew anyways. He also thinks there should be annual recertification required for Master Knitters.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The box goes out

Tomorrow morning, The Box will travel to the post office.

On Sunday, The Baby Surprise Jacket will be in the same building as the Baby.

On March 7th, the Sweet Pea Scarf Cowl (free pattern from KnitPicks) will be bequested to the wearer.

One of these days, the washcloth will get finished

Saturday will see a Design Party for a scarf, and a yarn ordering party with KnitPicks is scheduled shortly thereafter.

Until then, I will be working on the Faux Russian Stole from A Gathering of Lace. I didn't exactly do a gauge swatch, but I did do the entire bottom border and 6-8 rows of the main rectangle. I discovered an error in the border, and frogged the whole thing that I might start afresh. I suppose I could have saved the first 2 repeats of the border ..
but it would have taken more time than simply reknitting them. There's an odd sort of satisfaction in setting a ball of yarn atop a yarn swift and spinning the swift around while something unravels.

I have discovered - thanks to a homeschooling friend - LibriVox. I can download audiobooks onto my computer and listen while knitting! My daughter and I have enjoyed Sara Crewe, my husband and I are enjoying Mark Twain's 'The Awful German Language' and I'm nibbling at a book of Chesterton's from
ChristianAudio's free book of the month.

I have no idea how far I will get on the shawl this week, especially as I only have one ball of that color at the moment, but the week promises to be busy enough that I will not be found knitless. For one, there's the answers to Homer Book B to finish off. Diagramming things like "Petruchio still kept growling and scolding at the servants so that Kate might see how unbeautiful thing an ill-temper was" is fun. I wonder what my collaborators would think if I used knitting needles as diagramming lines? With yarn (self-striping, of course) for participles?

I *am* going to get through Week 6&7 of Elementary Greek this week too. Third declension nouns in Greek have an uncanny similarity to 3rd declension nouns in Latin. Both are pesky, behave in a different fashion from their older siblings, and pop up with distressing frequency all over the place. I'm sure I am smarter than a noun, though, so with perseverance, they will be made to mind. I just keep repeating... "- os i a es wn si as" and all will be well. There are fewer cases than Estonian, thank goodness.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

And it's done.

It's done. Tra la, tra la, tra la.

Whatever shall I do next?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Neck

It's here. The time when I need to decide exactly what I am going to do with the neck of my sweater. Unless I put it off by weaving in all the ends first? That's a good idea.

Although I like the idea of a simple ribbed neck, I just can't see it on this. The neck is going to be too visible, given where it hits on the wearer. I'm leaning heavily towards a mitred hemmed neck. For pattern? How about a simple row - with 3 rows of black on either side - of the white band with black crosses? That seems understated enough not to clash with the rest of it.

I've got a new Olympic Knitting Goal: get The Box to the post office before closing ceremonies. Before next Wednesday, actually.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Can it be? Can it truly be that I am *done* with lice on my sweater? That I have only four inches left on the second sleeve? The sleeve that I thought would be a good Knitting Olympics challenge?
After counting four times, I will affirm that this is the case. The sweater is drawing to completion. I have four inches to knit, one sleeve to attatch, one neck to design, knit, and tack down, a small plethora of ends to artfully weave and tuck, and some patterns to proof and polish. Wow. I *am* going to get this things done by the end of February.

A friend's blog led me to a knitting poll entitled "What kind of Knitting Needle Are You?" Being a sucker for knitting polls, I discovered that I am bamboo needles. I rather thought I might be a turbo, but I'm not displeased with the results. Bamboo needles do have their uses (apart from dog toothpicks) and turbos are not high on my list right now since they do not come in sizes to match my US needles.

In fact, why don't I do an informal survey right now.
Let's call it "What kind of needles are you using?" (Okay you knitters reading this ... here's fodder for your next blog entry.)
  • Norwegian sweater: Inox size 2. Also will be using Crystal Palace bamboo dpns size 2, Susan Bates size 2, and Addi Turbo size 1 (I-cord bind-off can get needle-intensive) and something in a size 1 for the neck, I think. If I own it, and it's between 2.0 and 3.0 mm, there's a good chance I'll be using it. I used the Boye Needlemaster 2 for the body.
  • Dishcloth: Boye metal single point size 8
  • Scarf Cowl: Susan Bates metal single point size 5
  • EZ Baby Surprise Jacket: Boye Needlemaster size 8
The Baby Surprise Jacket is a, well, surprise. I started it last night, and hope to finish it by this weekend. It's for a good cause ... stash reduction cum baby's birthday present. Since the sleeve is going so swimmingly -- and I still cannot believe I am working at the rate of one sleeve every four days, not counting attatching it -- I decided I could stick in another project this week.

I love knitting.

To the right you'll see a photo of a) my fingers, and b) a kitchner'd seam. Knitting and purling are very different animals when kitchnering, and it's not the easiest thing to switch from one to the other, especially upside down.

In a future post, I'll have to share some Steek Slicing Pictures. This one has enough photos, though, and a Baby Jacket is calling my name.

Bamboo, hmmm.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Angst of Knitting

The sleeve is progressing. Not, however, without some backtracking. Yesterday evening was particularly bad.

First, I had it in my mind that I was increasing until I got to 194 stitches. I did so, and began the first row of notes thinking to myself, "Wait a second - 194 isn't divisible by 12. 192 is!" And so I looked at my notes for the pattern, whereupon I discovered that 192 was indeed the magic number I was aiming for. I made the virtuous decision not to simply 'lose' two stitches in the current row, and frogged back four rows. That gave me the opportunity to see how the sleeve fit the sleeve opening - my silver lining - and it did indeed fit well. I got my stitches picked up on 000 needles, and began reknitting. Except somehow, I managed to put a fleck in a wrong spot. And after that, about 17 flecks went into a similar misalignment. Ick. Since I'd had enough of frogging, I decided to fix the stitches on the next round. I knit so quickly, though, that I was past them before I thought to look for them. And so it was the *next* round that saw me with wrinkled brow peering closely at my knitting. As the corrections went on, the brow became more wrinkled, especially when I realized that my first 8 fixed had a twisted stitch in the first corrected loop. Double ick. I still maintained my aversion to frogging, though, and fixed THOSE stitches with a crochet hook on the next round. After some simple rounds of black - during which I made no errors - I started in on the notes pattern. All went well, until I got to the second line of the second set of notes.

Double argh. I started the pattern one space over from where I'd started the white notes. No frogging, remember? I worked the whole second round slowly, swapping colors into the right places as I got to them. Let's see ... 192 stitches, or 32 note repeats. Two stitches to change per repitition. So I re-did 64 stitches ... that's still a large savings over tinking! Still, after that row, I put away my knitting for the night.

There's less than an hour of knitting until I can delicately cut open a steek, pick up 192 stitches around the opening (evenly spaced, of course) and put the sleeve on the sweater. Right side up, please. One sleeve, one neck, a scant two dozen ends, and the sweater will be MADE! Almost definitely before the Knitting Olympics are over. I'm starting to feel like the end to Master Knitting Level III is in sight. I have no delusions that all my swatches will pass, and I'm sure I'll miss a typo somewhere ... but still, once the box is out the door, I will be free until it comes back.

Free, that is, with respect to knitting projects that I have started and have yet to finish. Unfree, however, with respect to the list of things I am going to make/have promised to make/wish I could get the time to make. Still, those too shall pass, and they're a whole lot smaller than Level III *and* they have no paperwork.

Speaking of the Olympics, Torino would love to have the snow outside my window. I'd offer to send it to them, but that sort of thing doesn't work, and I rather like having a white view outside my window.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


The sweater is moving along nicely. I've got some pictures of the back, a close-up of the front, and my progress on sleeve #1.

I hope to finish the first sleeve this week and get started on the second. And while I am working away on this, projects are mounting up in my head. Lace is the foremost, but twined knitting is a close second. I did get Anne Maj-Ling's Two End Knitting book, and it looks to be full of information. It's not a nice coffee table book, like A Gathering of Lace, and is quite scanty on photographs. I will just have to work out the various patterns in there to see what the result is, and play from there. A twisty-knit dickey sounds lovely ... or socks, or just about anything.

I finished the cabled hat. The red line is where I kitchnered. I'm hoping it will show up well enough in an enlarged form to be helpful to someone. Some day when I'm not working on the sweater, I will replace the red with some cream yarn, and bequeath the hat somewhere.

My current travelling project is a scarf cowl. After that, I think it will be socks.

The rest of my life is busy. I'm reading Kristin Lavransdatter, listening to 1776, and creating an answer key to Homer SW B. Yesterday, Runkle's Geography arrived, so we started that this morning. My son was delighted to have a real live geography book at last.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's true I don't have camera batteries, but I do have a scanner! Here is a scan of the body of my sweater. The left edge is about 2" above the armhole steeks (visible in the photo as horizontal black and white lines ... sew twice on each white line, cut once on the middle black line), and runs up to the shoulders, which I haven't bound off yet. The neck steek is the short steek at the top right.

I decided not to worry about making my patterns be mirror images around the neck steek, or even balance. The big one balances perfectly, and that's what I was aiming for.

Sleeve 1 begins tomorrow!