Knitters to the Rescue!

I know knitters are wonderful. I know they’re kind. I know they’re generous. I know they’re thoughtful. But I still get blown away sometimes when I experience those traits in action.

Consider this scenario—

I wanted a one-skein shawl to work on for meeting knitting. I chose Vlad and decided to knit it in some lovely Tosh Sock in the Georgia O’Keefe colorway. There’s enough yarn in a single skein that I was tempted to live dangerously and do an extra repeat of the body pattern before moving onto the edging.

“I’m a tight knitter,” I told myself, “Surely I can squeeze out a bit more.”

You know what comes next. I could not squeeze out a bit more. In fact, I was stuck with about ten rows to go, plus the bind-off, and I only hand about five rows worth of yarn.

After brooding, self-recriminations, and time spent trying to redraft the pattern without ruining the design, I turned to Ravelry and posted on two discussion forums asking if anyone had a bit of leftover yarn they’d be willing to sell.

I didn’t get any responses offering the yarn I needed, but I did get one exellent suggestion from another Raveler: “Go to the Tosh Sock page, click on ‘projects’ near top of page, then search for your color name. That’ll bring up all the projects that have used that yarn. You can then send PMs to some of those to see if they have leftovers they’re willing to part with.”

I did as she suggested, sent out my plea—and, wow!, did I ever get responses. MistySnow had a response in my in box before I’d even gotten off of Ravelry: “I have only 2.8 grams remaining but it is yours (no cost – I’ve been rescued several times on other projects so I’m paying it forward).”

TheSpinningDaisy offered me another few grams. Lezzel and TelaCat did, too—again without asking for payment, just saying they’d had knitters be generous when they needed it and asking that I do the same someday when the chance offers itself.

I also hear from bflaible, who offered to send me 60 grams for ten dollars (over half a skein and a great price, given what Mad Tosh usually runs), so I said “yes” to her too.

Here’s what I wound up with—
Knitters to the rescue
Look at all that wonderful, wooly generosity!

MistySnow, SpinningDaisy, Lezzel, Telacat, bflaible—thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to the aid of a fellow knitter. I’ll promise you I’ll do the same.

Of course, now I’m thinking about tinking back to the body section and working another few repeats before the edging…

A (Belated) Tuesday Mewsday Cat Aria: Ti Odio Verso, Perfino i Capelli tra le Dita dei Piedi

[Note: I can claim no credit for the contents of this post. I am merely taking advantage of the brilliance of my wife and the cats that came along with her as part of “the package deal.”]

Since Bob is an outdoor cat, he engages in the occasional contretemps. Last week involved a particularly operatic one. Damian was good enough to provide a translation for Bob’s parts of the lyrics (we can only imagine what his partner in song was offering in reply), and Melissa was quick to write them down.

The title, of course, is from the Italian and roughly translates as “I Hate You Down to the Very Hair Between My Toes.” Enjoy!

Ti Odio Verso, Perfino i Capelli tra le Dita dei Piedi (as performed by H. Bob-Jacques Endlessseafoodbuffet Pelerin and translated by Damian Vaslav M. Presario Pantalones de Queso ¡y Qué!)

Oh, you miserable creature
You horror who dare to call yourself a cat
You are baser than a dog
You are no better than a dog
And a chihuahua at that.

I am not afraid of you
You are no more terrifying than a squirrel
Who sits chattering in the tree
And vainly throwing nuts at my head.
I laugh at your threats:
Ha ha ha ha ha!

You miscreant
You wretch
You weaker than a kitten
I spit in your eye
I pee in your bed
I kick excrement into your food bowl
But only after eating what’s left.

I dare you to try anything
Look! I am puff!
My tail is greater than all of you put together.
Get out.
Get out of my yard.
Get out of my yard now!

Growing and Shrinking the Queue on Ravelry

1. Choose one type of knitted object (socks, cardigans, dishcloths—whatever suits your fancy), then select “free.” Odds are, you’ll wind up with 20-60 pages of patterns that can all be added to your queue without bringing its total price up at all. (Do not, however, add all 20-60 pages worth; this would demonstrate a lack of discernment.)

2. Look at the “Designers Show Us Your Stuff” topic threads that appear on many of the Ravelry forums (shawl knitters, lace knitters, fingerless glove fanatics, etc).

3. Go to your “friends” page. Pick someone. Spy on her queue and her projects. Be a copy-cat.

4. Find the forum for fans of a particular yarn you have that you haven’t been able to figure out how to use. Start a “what would you do with ____ yards of____?” thread.

5. Look at the “finished objects” section in 12 Shawls in 2012. Favorite shawls seem to come and go in waves, and you’ll see the same pattern worked in multiple colors (and probably weights).

6. Do a pattern search using “free” and specifying a particular amount of yarn. This is good when you want to be guaranteed a project that can be done quickly—just limit your search to patterns calling for, say, 100-120 yards. Limit by yarn weight as well, if you want.

1. Search your existing queue using tags. (You do tag patterns as you queue them, don’t you?) For example, pull out just “cardigans” or just “fingering” or just “mom” or just “colorwork.” Pair like patterns with like, then delete semi-duplicates until only the best of each kind remain.

2. Go to “Patterns,” click on “in my queue” and then on a particular yarn weight. Again, prune semi-duplicates. Or ask yourself, “Given the other lovely things here on this one page, how likely am I really to knit _____?”

3. This isn’t really a shrinking thing, but if you’ve queued a pattern because you like a single design element, add the tag “no,” then in the notes section remind yourself what one bit of the piece you like.

4. Not really sure you’ll ever use a pattern—but it’s free and you can’t resist? Add it to your library, but not to your queue. Every so often compare your library and queue and see if patterns need to be moved between both.

5. Click the “love” button, when you suspect it’s a particular project, and not the pattern itself, that’s caught your eye. Like your library, your favorites can be browsed occasionally without eating up queue space.

6. Be honest. If you’re like me, you can only bear so much stockinette. Do a brutal purge of everything that’s more than 75% stockinette (or lace or mosaic stitch or whatever it is that can look pretty, but that you really don’t enjoy).

I can testify to using these techniques myself, and I’ve kept my queue to a perfectly reasonable, mere, not-too-insane 543 items and 19 pages.

Tuesday Mewsday: Moving on Up

You may remember the Bobhus, the rather quirky house Melissa assembled for Bob after he rejected the more sensible design she started out with—
Farewell, Bobhus
The Bobhus has served Bob well, but new times call for new huses (so to speak).

Bob has been in a fair bit of trouble lately because he has decided it is his personal responsibility to chase Miss Timmy whenever she’s allowed out for a bit of rec time. And Miss Timmy does not appreciate being chased.

Bob came, oh, so close to being evicted. But we’re trying another strategy now. We’ve assembled a new Bobhus—

We sanded.
A whole lotta sanding going on
(I cannot believe how old I look in this picture. In my head I am still twelve years old and 65 pounds or so.)

We labored. (Actually Melissa did most of the laboring.) Bob supervised—
Bob supervises
—which is utterly exhausting work.

Once we’d finished, we “encouraged” Bob to check it out.
Bob is encouraged to check it out

Bob explores

A few sniffs, some trial naps, and it appeared Bob was giving his approval.

Bob says not too shabby

What the discerning viewer may note, but what we haven’t yet informed Bob of, is that this Bobhus has doors. And doors can be shut.

So the next time Miss Timmy wants to sun herself on the deck (which doesn’t happen all that often), Bob’s going to get a little “private time” in his hus. With enough treats we think he’ll go for it.

P.S. for all you Harry Potter fans out there: we have christened the new Bobhus “Azkabob.”

Not Feeling It—and Feeling It

In terms of my knitting lately, I have not been feeling it. And I’ve been feeling that not-feelingness, if you know what I mean. Every project feels a little bit off, sort of like that great shirt with the itchy tag or the comfy shoes that unaccountably rub the knuckle of one toe. And I am feeling cranky and tired and thoroughly sick of projects that are nice, but that do not make my heart sing.


• Green and purple cape I’ve been trying to decode from the Japanese knitting book—you are history. I am done with your mind-boggling charts.

Swing Cardigan in the delicious alpaca yarn in just the right shade of yellow green that was given to me by my college friend Christina—I am unraveling you and saving as much as I can of your yarn. I will no longer tell myself that if I slouch the right way no-one will notice the one-inch difference in the length of your sleeves. I will not pretend that I didn’t go crazily off-gauge at some point and then have to awkwardly rework the cable charts in hopes of winding up with a garment that fits.

Creature Comforts Cardigan that is not a cardigan, damn it, but a pocketed shrug that looks like a potato sack when worn—I am turning the lovely oak leaf panel up your back into a throw pillow and tossing the rest of your without regrets.

Anemie Shawl that I just started knitting two days ago—I am quitting you. Your pattern is lovely, your yarn is lovely, but combining them diminishes them both.

Giant cabled entrelac stole—who was I kidding? Yes, if I work on you for hours a day, every day, I might finish you by the end of June, but, frankly, I do not love you that much. I am walking away.

I had dreams for all of you, but those dreams will never be. And let me tell you this, my little wooly friends: it’s not me; it’s you.