Monday, April 28, 2008

Poor Baby!

I had so much fun knitting this monstrosity all weekend. I took it with me everywhere I went. It was social knitting at its best- knitting and chatting about babies to be. However, there seems, for me at least, to be a direct correlation between how fun something is to knit and how successful the item turns out to be when finished. Poor ugly misshapen thing. I have sewn and re-sewn the side seams and all I get is a lumpy sausage roll arm. The sharp, stair step decreases under the arms left a very wavy seam to try to weave together. No imaginary grandbaby of mine should ever have to wear something so horrible. I used the mattress stitch and then I tried invisible seaming of all sorts. I suppose the one good thing about this project is I did learn a great deal about finishing techniques but most of all I learned to avoid having to use them at all costs! I think this poor thing may have to go to the frog pond even though it will break my heart. I have seen better patterns for a baby kimono that have a more square arm shaping or even arms that are knit in the round and after a proper period of mourning I may try again. Poor little thing.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ta Da!

Here it is. My $30 washrag. It is ugly but I had to have it. I had to make one not because I had the need for a pricey luxury cleaning item but because other people made them and I wanted to make one too. It was my first real scary knitting obsession fueled by Ravelry. I made comments on them, then messaged back and forth about them and then found myself completely obsessed over buying the $30 book that published the pattern. I then had to spend another $10 on the many balls of the neon bright cotton yarn to make mine the most beautiful one of all. I knitted away each night really enjoying the feeling of being a part of something special. I was sharing a spiritual connection to a world of dishrag knitters who have piles of these ugly suckers ready for whatever pot, pan or backside that needs a good scrubbing. Of course mine will never see the likes of a pot, pan or dirty backside. No way.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh Baby!

I was so relieved to discover this week that I am not insane or I should say alone in my insanity. Thanks to all you good people on Ravelry who posted message to me confessing that you too are knitting baby items for babies who do not exist, I am feeling less weird about the whole baby thing. We certainly are not going to deny ourselves the pleasure of knitting these tiny little scraps of cute just because we have no grandchildren at the moment. My mother was 16 when I was born so she lived long enough to see plenty of new little lives come and sadly go in our family. I was 30 when my daughter was born so it's not the ticking of my biological clock I am worried about but the knocking on the door of the grim reaper. At my age I should be babysitting on the weekends for my worn out kids who have survived another week of parenthood. However, my children have artfully avoided any type of personal entanglements- at least for the time being. I have hopes, however, of living to see the offspring of my offspring. This is the beginnings of my first handspun baby kimono. I plan to make three. For three certain 30ish individuals who better get busy while I am still young enough to hold my needles.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cracker Soup

This has been the week of giant screw ups. Lots of knitting boo boos-and now this. A pot full of matzo balls that disintegrated as soon as they hit the boiling broth. I am the queen of matzo balls but today my skill failed me completely and I removed the lid to find..oh my god... cracker soup. Tasty, but unappealing in it's clotted mess. Matzo balls should be like pasta, al dente, firm to the teeth, not something that melts in your mouth. It all had to be tossed overboard, off the deck into the woods for the foxes to feast on. The second try is pictured above and this time I remembered to count the eggs in the matzo meal before adding the seltzer. I was too lazy to do a proper chop job on the veggies however, so I've invented chunky matzo stew.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The P Word

Pucker. Puck it all. I have definitely angered the knitting gods this week. I just started my 3rd row of real fair isle knitting on the Palette Cardigan and I see the beginnings of a pulling and a twisting in the stitches below that are very worrisome. Good grief. I forgot to adjust my "hand" to be more diligent about spreading everything out instead of just charging on from stitch to stitch. Fair isle knitting is like painting and every stroke has to be in the right place. Why did I forget that. I have also just made my first error in the color pattern so I will be spending the afternoon tinking back about 300 stitches to that spot. That's what I get for trying to knit and play with Ravelry at the same time. Puck. Puck. Puck.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It Felt Like The End of the World

It was a horrible morning. The pile of yarn in between the needles is what is left of a week's worth of lace knitting on my Dainty Bess scarf. One miscount equaled many rows to be "unknit" one painful stitch at a time. The worse part is that I discovered the error just as I needed to leave for work so I spent the entire commute and the entire day agonizing over the evening correction that had to be made. I have made this scarf three times before so I was feeling pretty confidant with the pattern-too confident apparently and I was taught a good lesson about counting and recounting your stitch count. I also learned that when tinking back, stitch markers have an evil tendency to migrate around yarnovers so I probably tinked back more than I had to in order to locate a "clean" row to start up on again. All is well at the moment with Dainty Bess. I made myself knit up to the the place I discovered my original error and than added 2 more rows as punishment!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Traveling Pi Shawl

Traveling is always quality knitting time. Lots of waiting around, especially on car trips. I used my time wisely to get an inch or so of edging on my beloved pi shawl project. I am so happy I decided to stick to EZ's original gull stitch edging as it is an easy pattern to knit while semi-distracted. I am using a piece of pink cotton to help me keep track of the stitch count. I had several mistakes with missed yarnovers and it was NO FUN tinking back so to reduce my chances of error I decided to (gulp) count each and every 7 stitch repeat in the 500 plus stitch round. I have no idea why but it feels like a quick knit. It's hard to believe I am already on the border. What is 500 stitches times 48 rows? 24,000? Can that be right? And that is the count only for the final band of stitches. Where are earth did I find the time to do that much knitting?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Doing the Twist

I hate circular needles. I obsess over that critical join that will create a knitting disaster if every stitch is not in its place. Last night I cast on 330 stitched on a 32 inch, number 3 needle and then checked, rechecked, rechecked and rechecked to make sure that there was no twist before joining. I knit my first K2P2 row only to discover I had picked up and knit the wrong way. The anxiety producing join was never made. I had to go through the entire agonizing process again with black yarn no less. Tonight I have a good inch knit up. No twist.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Lonely Hills

The lonely little house that resides to the right represents my state of mind when knitting. I found it about 6 years ago on a website that sells real estate in Scotland. It is only big enough for me, my spinning wheel and my stash. On the hills behind the house are sheep who are my only company while I click away with my needles by the big peat fire that warms my kettle for evening tea. In the far distance I can hear the barking of someone's sheep dog bringing the herds in for the night. Sigh. My dream of owning a home like this began many years ago after reading the wonderful series of books written in the 50's by Lillian Beckwith of her life in the Hebrides. Her solitary life in a cottage by the sea is fascinating in its simplicity. Whenever I am at my rope's end I pick up one of her books and join her for a walk on the moors.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

How DO you finish a pi shawl?

I am at the end of knitting a billion and a half stitches on this big brown bag and now it is time to finish it off with an edging. I have TOO many choices. Gull stitch? Garter stitch border? Crocheted chain edging? Any of the hundreds of beautiful lace borders you can find in any lace pattern book? I have spent more time researching the border than I have knitting the body of the shawl. I wanted an authentic EZ pi shawl but after looking at all the beautiful adaptations I am not so sure anymore. This may be my one chance and I want to get it right. I made the plain version thinking I would end with a spectacular run of gull stitch but I am terrified of trying to keep track of ALL THOSE STITCHES. I am also fearful of the dreaded math calculations that will have to take place if I choose another knitted on border. I can't even imagine tinking 576 stitches when I get to the final round marker and discover I have made the inevitable miscalculation.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I Love Blogs

I knew this would happen.
I knew that as soon as I was issued my invitation to join Ravelry that I would end up with a blog of my own. Lately I have taken to referring to the authors of my favorite blogs as "friends". I talk about you in casual conversation as if I know you. I think that is strange and so does my family. I realize that I have attached my life to a world of strangers and I thank you. Only you were there when I couldn't decide what lace edging to use on my pi shawl. Only you were there at 2 am when I wanted to finally figure out how to use that drop spindle that I bought at least 6 years ago. I never get bored with your postings even if it was the one about how long it took to clean your bathroom. I have a bathroom and it always needs cleaning too. I enjoy your company as I scrub away. Is this the grown up version of having an imaginary friend?