Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Heated Knitting

Mariknits was saying in her last post that her knitting has slowed down. Frankly, I don’t wonder at this as the last thing I want to do when it is 100+°F outside is knit. Now you might be one of those people who think, “Oh! It’s 103°F out! I think I’ll pull out that sweater, put it in my lap and knit a while so I can feel just how heavy and warm it is and imagine the joy the recipient will get out of this when it’s -30°F.” I, however, am not and quite honestly feel that anyone who belongs in the above category is in acute and immediate need of psychiatric aid. In those temperatures, knitting itself is actually questionable and knitting with anything other than cotton is pure, unadulterated insanity, especially if it’s a large project. Summer, to my chagrin, is here and it’s time to break out those cotton socks, lace hats, and small Christmas ornaments which don’t cover you in a layer of wool. Should it be absolutely necessary that you knit with wool in summer, I recommend purchasing a large block of ice and sitting on it while you knit. That would at least make it bearable.

Even though we aren’t experiencing 100+ temps – it has mercifully, until today, remained in the upper 70s here – my knitting has slowed down too. This probably has less to do with the weather and more to do with my current obsession of loading all of my CD (20 years worth) onto my computer so I can toss the cases and save space. I swear, this action has nothing at all to do with needing more space for stash. Nothing whatsoever. My stash is contained. Honestly. - No, really, it is. Besides, the space being opened up is on a dog/cat accessible, open bookcase in my living room and is thus not a good place for yarn storage; that is unless you like knitting with tangled and slobbery yarn. Loading CD takes time and patience and is not conducive to knitting at a good pace or difficult projects, so progress has been slow. I have finished another blanket square (yellow with a tulip in the middle), the Twisted Tulips and made progress on my phone sock, but the lace shawl has suffered.

Which funnily enough brings me to, you guessed it, the lace Cat’s Paw Shawl. I found this scarf one day and have now nicked the cat’s paw pattern and started making it into a shawl. I made the huge mistake of not wanting it to look contrived, so I staggered the cat’s paw rows to make it look more like a lot of cats walking over the shawl instead of just rows of paw prints – this was only partially successful, but that’s not the point. The point is that having done this, and having made the shawl triangular, there are no pattern repeats so the chart grew to ginormous proportions. It’s was 4 pages wide by the time I got done. I managed to squash it down to three by making the squares smaller, but still, it was too difficult to work from. Ergo I spent yesterday writing the whole thing out. I still had to do it in abbreviated form in order to keep it all on one page and still have it legible, but at least it’s now contained to two consecutive pages. I’m also rather happy with the initial look of the thing (the knitted shawl and not the written out pattern!), so that makes it all worth it. Besides, work is slow and it gave me something to do.

This brings me to my chart holder. I keep meaning to mention how much I love it. It’s brilliant. It’s made life so much easier, especially with the improvements I made on it since the initial design -not that these are anything in themselves to boast about, but they are handy. I had ordered a few magnets from a place for an entirely different reason and they sent me a few samples of tiny magnets. At first I didn’t know what to do with them, but now I’ve got them lined up on the board and they hold my darning needles, Options keys, stitch markers and any other metal thing I might be using. I’ve also got a slightly larger magnet on there to hold my scissors. No more routing around for knitting paraphernalia! It’s great. If I need a needle, it’s on the board. A key? On the board. Scissors? Board. Since the board is also nearly always necessary for a chart or instructions, I never have to look for anything and nothing ever falls off onto the floor, between the couch cushions, or into the Black Hole of Random Knitting Items that opened up in my living room as soon as I started knitting. The Black Hole is like Sockmort (the evil Voldemort of the Sock World that comes to claim single socks as his evil helpers when knitters get Second Sock Syndrome – don’t ask. It’s best not to go there.), only on a much grander scale and with a wider scope. My magnetic board has, however, deprived the Hole of nourishment and it’s now wasting away. - I just hope it doesn’t get too hungry and decide to just suck me up as recompense for its losses. Should I not blog for more than 2 weeks, you can pretty much assume that that is what happened. - Finally, the board prevents 90% of all knitting accidents. Anyone here ever sat on the scissors or needles that fell off onto the couch? I rest my case. As for flinging circular needles into your eyes, glasses are still your best bet. The board won’t help unless you can hold it up in front of your eyes and knit at the same time. Should you be able to do this, please comment here and send a picture, or better yet, a video. That’s something I’d really like to see.

I’ll leave you today with a quote from my Stupid Quote of the Day Calendar:

On Ewe Lose

Weakest Link host Anne Robinson:
Andy, which letter of the alphabet sounds exactly the same as a term for a female sheep?

Contestant: Baaaah?


  1. Just how big IS that board? Don't the dogs mess with it? Or maybe that's the kind of thing cats do. I'm with you on knitting in the heat. One summer I had to make a huge woolen object. I knitted outside with the project on top of the table so it didn't touch my legs. Not my favorite knitting position, but the only way I could handle it. This morning we are having a lovely may morning of 44 degrees F. I wore a wool sweater on my walk last night.

  2. yikes, that shawl pattern sounds like its becoming it's own territory. I've been trying to knit a cotton shrug that has a lace pattern but- que lastima- it's not going anywhere soon. Oh, and I am still WAITING for spring here- everything is green but its in the forties here. and raining. bah. Scoot over, I'm moving in with you!