Archive for December, 2007

‘Tween-time

It’s that period between Christmas day and New Year’s day when it’s still kind of a holiday, but not really.  Lots of people are taking vacation, but not everyone.  I imagine that plenty are doing the annual gift-return dance.  Those who received hand-knits are stuck with their gifts, though I guess they could ask another knitter to unravel and make something different for them!  Helpful social tip: wear your hand-knit at least once in front of the person who knit it first!!

We traveled to see family in Florida and I got in a round of golf and to try kayaking for the first time:

kayak2x.jpg

I can claim that I saw manatees too, but it’s a stretch.  Strictly speaking, we saw manatee nostrils.  The rest of the bodies were underwater and if we inadvertently approached they went deeper!

On the knitting front, I took along the fixin’s for the Plait Cable Hat and it’s now an FO!  This hat is intended to match the mittens and scarf already documented on my Free Patterns page, and so it does.  I don’t like a close-fitting cap, so I was experimenting with alternatives.  My first test (with spare yarn from the scarf) was a hideous attempt at a ruffled brim.  It was so not-good, I backed off to the tried and true: a roll-brim hat:

 hat1.jpghat3.jpg

hat2.jpg

 I apologize for the pictures, the hat doesn’t fit all that well on the bowl … there was some heavy ad-libbing going on at decrease time and it shows.  After I clean that part up a bit, I’ll give this hat a big smiley-face and write up the pattern!

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A Knittlehorn Fanfare

Blrt-ta-blrt!  Ta-blrtle-ta-blrrrrt!!  (A knittlehorn is usually stuffed with stash overflow and often sounds a bit muffled.)

Christmas Scarf #5, officially referred to as the Fleurette Lace Scarf, is off the blocking pins and ready for shipment!!

Fleurette Lace Scarf

This lace scrunches and curls a lot while in progress.  I slaved and slaved trying to reach the 36″ mark, which was my minimum length for all the decorative scarves I was making.  I realized that it would gain another 4 inches or so, that was true of the other scarves … but 10 inches??  Sheez, I could have quit knitting two days ago … well, it looks nice in any case!

Best wishes to everyone still rubbing the sticks together for Christmas … may they ignite with beautiful knitting …

With Pets Like These, Who Needs … ?

Hey, I’m tryin’ to get that last scarf done, but who can work under these circumstances??  I caught Bagheera and Baloo lurking around the computer, clearly attempting to peek at my Ravelry projects to see if there were any presents for them … and when it was obvious that they were nabbed red-handed, Baloo tried to destroy the evidence!

Bad Cats

All I can say is: the scarf I’m working on is my last knitted Christmas present and it’s not for either one of them …

Fleurette Lace Scarf (update)

Just shy of the halfway point!

Due to various social activities, gonna have to step up the rate of knitting on this one, lol!

Time for some Boggling

I amazed a non-knitter this weekend by noting that over 15,000 stitches would go into the small, decorative scarf I was making.  I think he gained a new appreciation for what it means to receive a hand-knit gift, ha ha!  He was similarly impressed that the small ball of yarn I was using was 440 yards in length.  If it were stretched out, it would be over four football fields long!  He was a tad skeptical, but I happened to have another hank of the same yarn with me and the tag was still attached.  There it was: “440 yards”.  (It’s especially effective if you do this with lace-weight yarn!)

And then I got to thinking about the numbers myself.  I finished documenting my stash in my Ravelry notebook, exported it to a spreadsheet (how cool is that???!?) and calculated the total yardage. Drumroll … 7639 yards!  Or about 4 1/3 miles.  I’ve only been buying yarn for about a year so I know my stash is comparatively small, but wow!

So, what’s a “healthy” amount of yarn to have in the stash?  No more miles of yarn than you could walk in one day?  A week?  A month?  Just wondering!

Once again, I don’t have an appropriate knitting picture to illustrate today’s post, so here’s a nice dramatic vacation photo (this is from Lecce in southern Italy):

Lecce Gargoyles

A Classy Stash

Like many other knitters here, I’m sure I will be immersed in the Ravelry web site for a while … transferring information to my notebook, surfing lovely examples of other people’s work, exploring patterns and yarns, and meeting people! Maybe posting here will suffer a bit while I get myself settled?

Maybe not! While trying out the stash feature in my Ravelry notebook, I had some thoughts on the topic. The word “stash” has some connotations, doesn’t it? It brings to mind something treasured that’s hidden away. One stashes a valued object for protection: from theft, from damage, from prying eyes. I remember waaay back in the late 70s, “stash” didn’t refer to yarn, at least in college! So, to me there is a tang of the illicit in the flavor of the word.

So what about the yarn stash? A year ago, when I first started buying yarn, I didn’t have a sense that it was something to be treasured. I mean, you go to the Big Box Craft Store and buy enough to make something, then you make it. How simple is that? I could see the final product as a valued object … after all, hours of hand-labor have been devoted to it … but the yarn? Easy come, easy go!

The first yarn I bought was Lion’s Wool-Ease, an inexpensive blend. That yarn served well for beginner experimenting. I happily tried stitch patterns, frogged, got knotted up and so forth and didn’t worry about ruining an expensive investment. I also struggled with splitting and the yarn felt “squeaky”.  Sure, a good part of that was due to inexperience but, looking back, I think the yarn played a role as well. Even so, I found this odd sense of protectiveness forming around my two balls of Wool-Ease. A year later, I have the last few feet of that yarn carefully tucked into my leftovers bag at the bottom of my stash …

For my next yarn purchase, I went to a local yarn shop. The shopkeeper recommended 100% wool in a basic worsted weight and suggested I choose a color that made me feel good … it would add to my enjoyment. I tend to go for woodsy colors (my Wool-Ease colorway choices were Natural Heather and Forest Green Heather) but my hand darted out and pulled back a cheery pink. When I got home, I was stunned at how much more pleasant this yarn was to work with!  It felt kind of springy and soft and my needle slipped happily under the loops with a lot less splitting.  And the pink made me feel as if I were playing with taffy.  Was I falling in love with a yarn??

OK, next experiment was purchasing a yarn on the Internet.  I was looking for bamboo needles in a particular size that wasn’t available locally and, to make the shipping cost worthwhile, I decided to buy some yarn too.  A temporary insanity must have come over me, because I ordered 4 hanks of Artyarns Regal Silk:

I’m just now realizing: if I was infatuated with the local guy (the pink wool), then why not go for the movie star!  The hot pink silk?!?!  But secretly, I’m thinking that such a yarn is too good for the likes of me.  At least, this yarn sits in my stash waiting for my skills to improve and just exactly the right pattern. Now and then, I take it out just to admire it and hold it … like a miser fondling the gold piece he normally keeps in the toe of a knotted sock under the floorboards.  Will I ever “spend” it?  If I do, then it will be gone … better get some more yarn that I can spend!

That’s the urge, anyway.  I have another competing urge not to consume for the sake of consumption … so far, that has kept my stash at a reasonable size.   At least, I hope that’s the case!  We’ll see after it’s all tallied in my Ravelry notebook.  Frankly, I think Ravelry will help me “spend” my yarn rather than keep it stashed away.  I’m guessing I’ll be inspired by seeing examples of completed projects in yarns like mine … not to mention pointers to the patterns themselves …

Ravel-revved

I’m in!!!  I’m amazed that the KEFKnits moniker was already taken, so I will be YOKathyYO.  I like it better, actually.  There’s the obvious knitting reference, there’s the yo-yo dimension (voluntary loopiness, I mean), and there’s the Philadelphia connection (Yo!).

On the knitting front, the Fleurette Lace scarf is coming along but will face some serious schedule challenges this weekend.  We’ll have houseguests … yes, one of them is not only a knitter but an Instigating Knitter (got me started).  But we’ll have to amuse the guys for a good part of the weekend.  And there are times when lace knitting just isn’t going to happen (like, if dinner included two glasses of wine).  So, I have a basic knit-purl swatch going:

Rib and Welt Diagonals


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