Archive for January, 2008

Knit-Anon

I don’t know if there is such a group, but I’m wondering if maybe there ought to be one?  I mean, a support group for people who have a knitting nut in their life.   This occurred to me when I  reported to hubby that I’m meeting folks (both online and in person) who are probably even more insane about knitting than I am.  He said, “That can’t be possible.”  Oh, if only he knew … !

My poor hubby has already listened to his share of my “discoveries” as I learn more and more about this excellent hobby (it’s not a habit and it’s certainly not an addiction; I can quit any time I want!).  But I was thinking that family, friends and acquaintances who don’t knit could perhaps benefit from a vocabulary guide.  It could come in handy if I actually go all the way around the bend and start babbling entirely in knitterly language!  (That could happen, possibly the first time I go to a Fiber Arts convention or something …)  With that in mind, I put a new page on my header called “Knitting Lingo” and posted some entries based on my own beginner learning over the last year.  There’s lots more where that came from, I’ll be adding to that page as opportunity permits!  Knitters: got some good definitions?  Please share!  Non-knitters: if there’s a fiber addict an enthusiastic knitter in your life who is confusing you with knit-speak, feel free to inquire here.  I’ll do the research and update the Lingo page!

On knitting in general, I’m now doing the cuffs for the Cabletini socks and yesterday I had to take a break.  I don’t care if I won’t finish by February 1, enough with the cables already!!  (I guess it doesn’t help that I finished the Plait Cable scarf, mittens and hat fairly recently, hah!)  I stood in front of my (really very modest, no really) stash:

Stash

… and decided to mess around with the little leftover balls of yarn (in vases on top) to make some kind of holder for a hanging plant.   (Please note the tidy storage of  the more expensive yarn in plastic … skeerd of moths, prolly don’t have to be?)  Knitting with two different-colored strands at once and changing one strand out for another a couple of times, I made this:

Hanger/Crown

The stitch pattern is a very basic lace called “Razor Shell” (YO K1 YO combined with an S1-K2TOG-PSSO and a few extra Ks in between).  I had never tried it, so what the heck!  Anyway, I think all it needs now is some I-cord or other strandy-stuff attached to the top and I can hang Mr. Philodendron-in-original-cheesy-plastic-pot in style!  If that doesn’t work out, the piece has a spontaneously-discovered alternative function as “Knitting Queen Crown” … it served in that capacity at the Paoli Knit-n-Crochet group gathering last night!

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Linkin’ and Tinkin’

 My collection of “Knitting Resource” links continues to grow!  I’ve added a pointer to Knit Map; give it a zip code and it will find yarn shops for ya.  Great for traveling, no?  No more need to waste money on non-yarn souvenirs!!  I’ve also added Visiknit, a neat program that will create a cable chart from text.

 I’m having a lot of fun with the Cabletini Toe-up Socks project!  I have little experience with socks in general but I think the Thrifty Knitters Sock Club over at Ravelry will put an end to that … if I can keep up with everyone, then I oughtta have a nice little sock drawer going by the end of ’08.

One of the many helpful tips I’ve taken from the more experienced knitters is to knit both socks at the same time. This drastically reduces the chance of contracting a case of second-sock syndrome!  By the time I finish the first sock of this pair, the other sock will only need the cuff done … hey, that’s the home stretch!  A corollary to this tip is: have lots of sock needles in the same size. I’ve been switching the sock that’s going dormant to stitch holders in order to free up the needles for the other sock.  It would save some time if I could just start knitting away.  Eventually, I’ll learn to knit with two circular needles, I guess, but I like using dpns.  It’s challenging, and it feels rebellious and anachronistic.  Still, if I wanted to knit socks on a deadline (like, in time for a birthday) then it makes sense to streamline the process as much as possible.

Another interesting effect of knitting both socks at once is that after I learn a new technique on one sock, I get to try it again on the other sock while my experience is still fresh.  As so many of us were advised in school, repetition of new learning helps it settle into the long-term part of the brain.  And if the socks were knitted serially, then the second one would look distinctly better than the first one.  But to minimize the number of switch-offs, I knit each sock until it’s caught up and then stay with that sock for a “new” stretch. So, each sock gets its share of wobbly first-time knitting and steadier second-time efforts.  I have no problem with leaving traces of my learning history in these socks … I mean, it’s just shaky technique!  Oh, there are a couple of smaller errors but only the kind that a sharp-eyed knitter would detect; anything worse gets tinked and redone.  And let’s face it, when these socks are in action (being worn) nobody will notice that I experimented with different ways to deal with a slight bit of laddering near the toe of one sock!! 

My primary interest in knitting is the process, so I’m sure I’ll be giving away lots of socks when I’m more experienced.  But I’m actually getting a bit excited about the promise of a few pairs of pretty hand-knit socks in my dresser!

I’m just finishing up the first heel, but here’s a picture of my “alligator noses” just before that step:

Cabletini Socks in Progress

edit: OK, here’s a pic of the heel work (it fits! it fits!)

Cabletini Sock (heel)

The Latest in Vulcan Headwear (FO! Free Pattern! Yay!)

In answer to a call for some charity knitwear, I used some leftover Wool-Ease to make a hat:

Tricorder HatTricorder Hat (top)

I call it the Tricorder Hat.  Yes, the name is a play on words!  The hat looks as if it has cords in groups of three draping the head and ending in tassels.  It’s also a nod to Mr. Spock, who hid his ears under a woolen hat in a 1967 episode of Star Trek called “City on the Edge of Forever”.

Once you get the hang of doing the twisted stitches, this hat is a pretty easy knit.  The twist requires skipping a stitch and knitting one, knitting the skipped stitch and then slipping both off the needle. At first, it was tricky to get the needle under the first stitch in order to knit it. I ended up putting the needle though both stitches as if to K2TOG, then backing the needle out a bit and inserting it between the stitches.  After I figured this out, the project went quickly!

 I’ve posted the Tricorder Hat pattern on my Free Patterns page, hope you like it!

I felt really, really bad …

… and I’m laughing like crazy!  So, I thought I’d give felting a try since a) I was doing laundry, b) I have a couple of wool swatches sitting around and c) I saw a pretty FO I’d like to try knitting someday.  I selected two oldies with some nice texture:

Felting (before)

 And I put ’em in the washer with a couple of pairs of old jeans and some soap.  Then I set the washer to “extended wash” and “sanitize” (very, very hot water!).  Think I overdid it a bit?

Felting (after)

I can’t stop laughing!!!  OK, I guess I’ll go read some instructions or something … (as soon as I recover, oooh, sides aching)!

Oh wait, it’s ’08!

Argh!  I think it will be February before I get used to writing ’08 instead of ’07!!

In the meantime, knitting for the new year is off to a great start, much inspired by ravelry.com.  In ongoing newbie-knitter mode, I’ve joined the Thrifty Knitters Sock Club (a ravelry forum which uses free patterns and whatever yarn you have or would like to use) and am tackling the Cabletini Toe-Up Socks.  I’m almost overwhelmed by all the useful sock-knitting tips that have been shared so far; I think my learning curve just did a hockey stick (in the good direction)!  These socks will be my first toe-ups, and that lead to trying Judy’s Magic Cast-on.  Yessss, a little magic is always appreciated!  I thought a solid color would show off the pretty texture of the cables, so I went with a fern green yarn.  I don’t know, maybe there was also a subconscious longing for verdure at this wintery time of year?  Well, it turns out that the pattern and yarn have combined to produce …

Cabletini Toe-Up Socks

Alligator noses?  Ha ha ha ha!!  I think it’s fantastic!  It also occurred to me that these will be a blast to wear on March 17th.  (Sign seen in local Irish pub: “Who’s your Paddy?”)

Another inspiration is the Mindful Knitter’s forum … knitters interested in mindfulness and knitting (and combining them!) have been posting their intentions every month and I like the low-key but supportive atmosphere.  One knitter recently mentioned that she would like to do more knitting for others.  What a great intention!  In response to a request on the City of Knitterly Love forum for some charity knitting, I had decided to make a baby blanket and inspired by the Mosaic Knitters forum, it will be “Band 43” from BGW’s book:

Swatch for Mosaic Baby Blanket

I’m now thinking that I would like to have one project for charity on the needles at all times.  It will probably be this blanket for a good part of this year unless my knitting gets faster in the near future … Here’s the actual project:

Mosaic Baby Blanket

And they said that ravelry would kill the blogging habit … lol!


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