Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nothing to Brag About

My first week back to school with the kids was a major horror. Apparently the boss, spent her summer figuring out a way to reduce the teacher's lunch times down to only a very few minutes. As a result, I have nothing to show for my lunch time knitting after 5 whole days. Last year I managed to knit up an entire Pi Shawl during lunch so I am entirely pissed off. These ugly blue things in the photo are my first attempt at lace on the Magic Loop and they are being knit up in my morning 10 minutes of sit down time while I gulp some coffee and catch up on the traffic news before heading out the door at 7 am to fight the Beltway. I am using the Heartland Lace pattern from the Folk Shawls book and at the moment they look pretty bad. I am hoping this yarn blocks out well because if not I am not only wasting my time but some lovely vintage Schaffhauser Sock Wolle.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Big Red

There is nothing like having to try on a giant red wool sweater about a million times in late August. I have spent the past two days working very hard to get this thing DONE and setting in the sleeves is the last critical step. I hate sewing together my knitted pieces. Most knitters do. People who like to knit are usually not people who like to sew but unless your goal is to create a big pile of sweater parts, sewing eventually becomes necessary. So does trying on the garment. You can work months, even years on a project only to find that the damn thing doesn't fit or worse-looks awful on you. Lucky me. Big Red fits right down to those crazy over-sized sleeve cuffs. I am not totally loving the collar though. It looks a bit like Count Dracula's. I can either reknit it or hide it with a big scarf. I'm going with the scarf.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Heigh Ho

It's back to work I go on Monday. I am really feeling sorry for myself as it was an unusually long summer break this year so I totally disengaged from the job. To make my back to school adjustment a bit easier I treated myself to some new knitting bags in order to carry my WIPs back and forth. I usually manage to get some knitting time squeezed into my 30 minute lunch if I swallow my half of a sandwich as I walk the class to the cafeteria. With such small amount of time available it is critical to have everything where I need it so when I saw these adorable matching black and white tote bags ON THE CLEARANCE RACK at Marshall's I had to have them. We are talking pockets galore. The zipper pulls are scissors. They are both just too cute.
The blue bag has been my favorite summer carry along. It is a velour drawstring bag from Ikea that I found in the toy department for $1.99. I bought them in all the colors they had and they are perfect for socks. They even have a loop for attaching it to your belt loop for hands-free-walk-about knitting. I always took one for my power walk every morning. The neighbors must think I am crazy but I managed to knock out 3 pairs of socks in 6 weeks while losing a few pounds. Woo hoo.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Onto the Podium!

I made it to the Ravelympic finish line after all. I held my own private closing ceremony by plunking these guys down in a soapy bath and rubbing and scrubbing them until all my creative angst ran out. They are not the best mittens I have ever made, in fact they are downright hideous, but they are done. I learned a great deal from the experience but first and foremost: Knitting is not and should not be a competitive event. All my usual fiber mojo went right out the window as soon as I gave myself such high expectations and a deadline for completion. One unexpected result is that this unpleasant experience makes all my other projects seem simple by comparison. Now back to work.

It's Over

I frogged those awful mittens AGAIN. I could not bear another second of trying to figure out this tangled mess. I was only several rows from the edge but I knew it was time to stop. I would have struggled through to the bitter end if I would have gotten a decent pair of mittens out of all my trouble but the things were lumpy and hopelessly misshapen. My weave-as-you-go is not the right choice for an in-the-round project as things really need to be pulled up and tightened after all is said and done. I cast on another single mitten on my double points and had the entire thing done by the time our men's gymnastic team had won the bronze. My rings of glory have turned into a giant Olympic sized disappointment. I was not looking for a gold but it would have been nice to have made it to the finish line with something that was worth taking a picture of. The frog pile is way more interesting looking than the stupid looking new mitten. What a waste of perfectly good Lopi!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympic Mitten Madness

What the hell was I thinking? These mittens have been a giant pain in the a**. I wanted a challenge and I got one. They have been ripped back, knit back, frogged and tinked. I did manage to learn how to put the stitches back onto these stiff a** circs using a doublepoint and by some miracle the count came out almost right. I have goofed the pattern, knitted them together and skipped rows. In my defense I am TIRED. I was up until 1 am watching the opening ceremony and then got up early to see if anything was happening this morning. I knitted on these things on and off all day while watching the events and my concentration is off. These are not mindless knitting. They are not complicated but managing all that yarn has been a nightmare. Only 2 more rings to go. The finish line is near. Good thing I went two at a time or I can assure you that there would have been no mate to the first one. The best part so far has been making all the little yarn ball bobbins. I love them.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let the Games Begin!

I am so psyched for this knitting Olympic thing. It's the perfect way to end a too-long summer vacation. I have 9 days of knitting challenges ahead before I pack it all up for another year. I spent this morning working on challenge number one: learning how to wind a center pull ball so I can manage working with all those colors times two. My fat little yarn balls are far from Olympic gold contenders but for now they will do. I used a toilet paper tube with a notch cut in it to hold the oh-so-important center strand so I can find it later. Tonight at 8:08 I will be joining the world to watch the opening ceremony with my project on my lap and tears in my eyes. I am a total sap when it comes to Olympic ceremonies. And as for those photo montages they create to the Olympic theme-pass me the Kleenex. The big box, please.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Loose Ends

I have exactly 2 weeks of vacation left. The end of summer rush to complete my projects is on. The really scary tangle of colorful yarn ends in the photo is the inside of my Palette cardi which has hundreds of ends that are going to have to be dealt with in the near future. For years I have known about the method of weaving in your loose ends as you knit along so that finishing is simply snipping off the ends once the item is complete. From habit I usually just knit happily along with all those lovely strands never thinking about the future drudgery to come in spite of the fact that I learned this fabulous finish-as-you-go technique from reading Glorious Knits by Kaffe Fassett many, many years ago. Before self patterning and self striping sock yarns were available the inside of any pretty sock would look like the inside of my Palette cardi. Scary. Very scary. I took a refresher course on this simple weaving technique using You Tube and I am now using it on the fair isle socks I am spindling. It is a wonderful feeling to know that these multi colored socks knitted from many separate spindlings of merino roving will not be any harder to finish than a pair of single ball socks.