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?

Friday, 16 May 2008

I'm not quite that fast

Since a few people seemed to be under the impression that I knit everything in my last post over night, I thought I’d point out that several of those things were done long before last weekend. I just hadn’t posted pictures of them yet. I’ve actually done relatively little knitting in the last week or so. Case in point, I managed to finish a toe and cast on the second of the Tulip socks last night and that was it. Usually I would have finished the toe, cast on and knit several inches of the new sock. I have become slow of late.

I might have gotten a bit more done, but I wasted time trying to get pictures of the finished Tulip sock. They turned out so bad that I deleted all of them. This is a project that requires natural light to be photographed, so it will just have to wait until this weekend sometime, if it stops raining that is.

OK, I might also have gotten more done if I hadn’t been watching Jane Eyre. In my defence, it was the part whole will they won’t they and what’s behind the door thing. How can you knit when that’s going on? You can’t. It’s just not possible.

It’s also summer which means I’m now getting up to walk the dogs before work. This means a 5 am alarm until a week from now when it becomes 4:45. Can you hear the groaning? Still, it’s better than walking them after work when it’s still warm. The point being I need to be in bed by 10:30, so knitting time is very limited.

Oh yes, and I would have knit even more had my dog not decided that he’d try tea for a change and stolen a box of 50 tea bags from the counter while I was at work. 50 tea bags all over the floor. Apparently he decided that raw tea is not a good thing, which if fortunate because none of the bags had holes in them *insert prayer of thanks here*, but they were still scattered everywhere and it took some time to clean up his mess.

Looking back on all of this, I have determined that the knitting gods are conspiring against me. They must be because think of all of the knitting I would have gotten done had all of these things not been an issue.

Finally, I forgot to post a pic of my new stitch markers:

Thanks Tarita!

Thursday, 15 May 2008


Summary of last week of my life:
Yep. That’s about all we did. OK, I did clean on Friday and ran errands on Sat. but after that I caught the cold of doom and became one with my couch / hammock until yesterday. The dogs got their exercise and that was it. As you can see, they were happy with the situation anyway you look at it. Especially as the weather was nice, even by my standards, and we spent a lot of time on the balcony vegging.

But looky what I got! I have such nice friends! Friends who know me well, no less. I drink a lot of tea, so these were appropriate. They’ve also already been in use. Thanks again Thepinksheep!

Due to the cold of doom, I’ve done very little knitting in the past few days. I did finish a couple of blanket squares, worked on the Tulip socks and CO a new pair of phone socks, but that's it. This time there are pictures:

The blanket squares:

The Tulip Socks:

ZZ Scarf and hat commissioned by my aunt:

Last but not least, the Vanilla Cream Phone Socks:

Thursday, 8 May 2008

No Pictures

As simple as Ravelry is, and as easy at it makes things to document your knitting, it’s really quite a lot of work when you think about it. Granted, it’s voluntary, but I’m just Hermione enough to feel compelled to do everything correctly. If I don’t, I get upset with myself. I do need to let the inner Ron out more. Oh wait. I’m doing that. The state of my apartment will corroborate. Ron takes care of the housework. That tells you how much you really want to visit me, or not.

Must take pictures this weekend. Must. I have a couple of FOs and some wool I need to photograph. The ZZ Scarf and hat are done and I need to photograph those and send it on. The scarf rolls in on itself, but I think it looks good that way. Plus, it’s meant as a spring/fall (in California) scarf, so it doesn’t need to be able to keep blizzards out.

Plus, I’ve finished *insert drum roll here* the phone socks that I’ve been working on. I cast those on in February. It’s May. Over 2 months for a pair of socks. Ouch. I’ve just CO another pair of phone socks since they are just a must for those half-concentrated knitting sessions, but I must get them done a little quicker this time.

I’ve also CO the Twisted Tulips socks (another thing I need to photograph) and have a whole inch done! That’s more than it sounds like because it takes a while to get anywhere with them. Theses are not beginners socks. At All. Not that they are impossible, or really even seriously difficult, just complicated and you have to pay attention. The paying attention part is the real challenge for me since I possess all the powers of concentration of a 6 month old Cocker Spaniel with Attention Deficit Disorder. Still, I’m stubborn and that tend to make up for it a lot.

I do, however, deserve a medal for particular bravery, courage and perseverance – The Purple Ball of Wool, so to speak. I actually went into the LYS *insert another drum roll, this time bigger and louder here* and came out with nothing more than I went in to buy! *dramatic gesturing* It was difficult – the bamboo sock yarn was veritably screaming my name with the aid of a bull horn, but I did it. I put it down, purchased the Tulip yarn and left. I then went home and lay down for several hours until the dizziness passed. The recuperation time was enormous, but I am proud of myself. The question is, will it get easier or more difficult next time? I don’t aim to find out soon. I have enough yarn in my stash. I have enough yarn in my stash. I have enough yarn in my stash…

This is especially important to remember since I have a four day weekend coming up and would have time for the LYS. I am, however, planning on letting my Inner Hermione beat up on my Inner Ron a bit whilst trying to get a few things in the apartment cleaned and sorted.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Nylabones for Scarf Knitting :0)

Yesterday was Labour Day and I had the day off. Not everyone here gets it, but a lot of them do. It’s like an unofficial holiday and it’s up to your company whether they give you the day off or not. The only thing they have to do is give you the afternoon off if you want to go to the demonstrations, but if you do take it, you must go to the demonstrations and not home/shopping/bike riding etc. However, I got the whole day off and it was bliss.

I finally found a lace project that I can do without going gaga! That’s because it’s simple :0) I need to stick to simple. It’s the Zig Zag Lace scarf that I’ve been commissioned to do for my aunt – the trade off is the shipping on four NylaBones for the dogs (Um, yes, obviously for the dogs since I'm not in the habit of chewing on NylaBones), which came on Wed., but I won’t be able to get until today. Anyway, just another few inches to go and I’ll be done. I’m knitting 5.5 feet this time since, as we all know, it will get longer when washed. Right? It will get longer. Now watch it not get longer just to mess with me.

I really like this scarf. It’s simple and quick to knit. Plus the yarn I got is perfect. It’s the first time that it’s not taking me oodles of yarn to knit a scarf. By the time I’m done, I’ll only have used 200m or 125g. The last one I did for my aunt was the Leaves Scarf and that took 800m or 500g. Same yardage and weight per ball, but one seems to be going much further than the other. Still, it is a lighter weight. Somehow I have to wonder if the label on the new yarn is wrong.

After the scarf is done, I have to figure out how to make a hat out of the same pattern since I was silly and volunteered to do a matching hat. How very silly of me indeed. I’ll think of something.

I’ve also got to get my keester going on the blanket squares. Must do that. Must.

Then I need to get started on the Cat’s Paw Shawl I’m doing for my cousin. I’ll be winging the pattern, so be prepared for much gnashing of teeth. I’d like to do scalloped edges, but I may be getting myself out of my depth with that. We’ll see.

I’ve also got at least two more pair of socks planned. Cool ones. Want to start those too. So much knitting, so little time.

Randomly, Audiobooks are love. Love them. Muchly. Even if I don’t always listen to them while I knit, I do listen to them when outside with the dogs, which is a real boon. That way both the dogs and I are entertained. Must start listening to the Austen books for our RAL. Maybe this weekend. I’ve got The Reavers in at the moment (it’s funny, especially if you like history) and Making Money (Pratchett), although the file was damaged and I’m waiting for Audible to fix it. I’m also re-reading The Fifth Elephant right now which is another really fun book, especially since I know about the Stone of Scone this time.

I suppose blog entries will become few and far between now. The season has started and there’s more than enough work to do at the moment. Well, there is if it’s not the day after a holiday when the whole of Switzerland is off work anyway. The point being, by the time I get home, I’m not in any shape to blog coherently, so it’s best just to leave it.