Archive for December, 2007

“I Had to Buy Yarn; The Laws of Karma Demanded It”

(I’m just practicing for what I’ll have to tell Melissa.)

The knitting theme of this weekend has been—surprise!—Malabrigo. I confess I am unfairly using patterns from Crystal Palace to knit up my Malabrigo, so I will have to buy generous amounts of Crystal Palace soon to balance out my knitting karma, but I shouldn’t find that difficult!

I’m knitting the Cameo Shell Stitch Shawl in Bergamota malabrigo, a vivid, pinky-coral. Every row or two, I have to stop to fondle the work in progress. The garter and shell stitch patterns are wonderfully thick and cozy. This shawl will be nice and warm—much more than a decorative something to toss over my shoulders. My one regret is that I have just four skeins of this malabrigo, which should be enough, but which is threatening to run out on me a few rows early. I’m hoping I can make it through the last of the shell stitches, then I can can cast off in a contrast color, but I may run out before that in which case I will be tinking and grumbling and working on a Plan B.

I’ve also started the Cabled Capelet in Col China malabrigo. This is a fun knit: enough variation in each row to prevent tedium (which is important with 300+ stitches per row), but a clear overall logic, so one never has to knit against one’s instincts. The color variation of this yarn works well with the pattern, giving it lots of depth, but not obscuring it.

When I started knitting, I took great pride in only working up my own designs, but I’m discovering that working from patterns has real benefits, as well. Following a pattern takes enough pressure off that I can dream things up while I’m knitting, wondering how I might rewrite a stitch to make it bigger or smaller, what other kinds of garments it could serve well for, and the like. I am still toying with possibilities for the mock cable used in Rosebud. Now the Cameo Shawl had me cooking up alternate versions of the shell stitch that would lend themselves to staggered placement and knitting in the round. It’s also teaching me how to add stitches gradually to build up to another lace repeat—a task that had me feeling a bit too intimidated to try Michelle Ciccariello’s lovely Aran Weight Victorian Lace Poncho, which is waiting its turn in my Ravelry queue.

If it weren’t for this thing called “work” that keeps getting in the way—who are these eighteen-year-olds and why do they keep asking me about their papers?—I could lose myself in an absolute frenzy of creativity.

*****

Chris had two good additions to my list of pet theories…

1. It’s ok to sometimes buy ‘less expensive’ yarn from mass marketers. It allows us to have enough money to afford the nicer yarns too. And to NOT feel guilty about it.

2. Knitter to non-knitter translation. “Let me do just one more row” really means “I’d rather stay home and eat cereal for dinner and watch movies (so I can knit).”

I would add a corollary to #2: any film in the theaters is bound to be out on DVD in a few months, so why pay money sit in a room where I’ll have to worry about crabby non-knitters and the possibility of dropping stitches in the dark?

*****

P.S. If you are in the mood to yield to temptation, check out Aurora Alpacas‘ new Dragonfly Shawl pattern.

*****

P.P.S. The Golden Fleece has a new shipment of Kauni in. (I can tell you all about it now that I’ve got mine *ewg.*)

December 10 2007 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

My Pet Theories

1. No number of shawls is too many. (Corollary: even if they’re almost all in similar colors.)

2. If a pattern looks great in the specified yarn, that’s no reason to avoid switching to a completely different yarn in an alternate weight and texture. (For corollary see #4 below.)

3. Even if there isn’t enough time to knit, surely there is time to go to Ravelry and lengthen one’s Queue. (Corollary: After all, how much time can it take to just look at knits?)

4. Every knit will fit someone. (Corollary: don’t go nuts about gauge.)

5. It’s never a mistake to buy Malabrigo. (For corollary see #2 above.)

6. Keep your eyes on your knitting and you’ll never notice the state of your floors. (Corollary: consider meeting friends at a coffee house, rather than inviting them over.)

7. Any reasonable person can learn to enjoy a conversation about yarn and knitting. (Corollary: the definition of reasonable is up to the individual knitter.)

8. Urban legends to the contrary, no-one has ever bled to death while a knitter finished her row. (Corollary: in a real emergency, yarn = tourniquet.)

9. People who judge a woman by the cleanliness of her home make unimaginative and tedious companions. (For corollary see #6 above.)

10. Upcoming medical breakthroughs are bound to render the concept of SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) irrelevant. (Corollary: if it’s on sale, buy it; heck, buy a whole bag.)

December 07 2007 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Staying Sane

Knitting keeps me sane. And when there’s no time to actually knit, just thinking about knitting can usually save me from going over the edge.

It’s in that spirit of preventative mental-health maintenance that I picked up a copy of Cables, Diamonds, Herringbone: Secrets of Knitting Traditional Fishermen’s Sweaters by Sabine Domnick.
Cables, diamonds and herringbone
To be honest, I won’t be knitting anything out of this book soon—the projects are challenging and time-consuming—but I’m loving it just the same. This book includes history, a part-by-part discussion of knitting techniques (saddle shoulders, set-in sleeves, etc.), a stitch dictionary, and some gorgeous patterns: everything I need to keep my imagination humming. As long as I’m too busy to do anything but dream about knitting (ok, it’s not quite that bad—but close), I might as well dream big.

The Smooshy hat I’m working on for The Golden Fleece is almost done, but I’ve decided I started the decreases a bit late. This means I need to unknit a dozen or so rows, which isn’t all that difficult, but I’ve been getting home from work so bleary-eyed, that I’m afraid to slip the work off my needles for fear that I’ll do something horrible and irrevocable in my delirium. One way or another, I will have it finished by Saturday so that Melissa can photograph it and I can deliver it to the shop. Please note that I am still loving this yarn, even with the prospect of tinking.

December 06 2007 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Tuesday Mewsday: Do We Even Need a Headline?

Just go to the web site. Yes, I could say silly things… but that would be gilding the lilly, so to speak.
Blonde wig

Pink wig

Blue wig
If you have cats at home, you may want to keep an eye on the phone and computer so they don’t run up big bills placing orders or calling in wish lists to Santa. I just managed to stop Bea from ordering six in each color—she tried to excuse herself by saying they weren’t for her; she wanted to give them to Penny.

December 04 2007 | Cats and Tuesday Mewsday | 4 Comments »

Coffee, Yarn, Paper, and “The Blood of the Lamb”: A Perfect Sunday

Melissa has her ipod collection of revival songs playing on the computer, and we are having a luxurious Sunday at home. (Melissa notes that she is an agnostic, pagan Emersonian, but that doesn’t preclude a love of revival music.) We’re drinking Peet’s JR Reserve ($24.95 the half-pound), which Melissa got for free at work, since it’s past its date. Actually, it’s vacuum sealed and still plenty fresh, but you don’t want to risk annoying folks who are willing to pay fifty dollars a pound for coffee, so we reap the benefits of Peet’s legendary quality and customer service.

We’re feasting on banana-mango-cranberry fruit salad with lime zest and a bit of prosciutto on the side.

I have to knit today. It would be irresponsible not to knit, since I am working on my Smooshy hat for The Golden Fleece.

Smooshy yarn

I love Smooshy. If I were not already promised to Melissa, I would spend my nights under Smooshy’s window, singing serenades in honor of its 100% Australian merino goodness and begging it to marry me and make me the happiest knitter on earth.

So while I “toil” away at my hat and Melissa slices giant sheets of 100% cotton rag paper into the proper size for more prints, I leave you with a few more images from Animate Creation.
Animate Creation

Lemurs
Lemurs
… the best primates ever.

Tarsiers
Tarsiers
…not quite lemurs, but just as wonderful.

Bats
Bats
… the only mammals to know the joy of true flight.

December 02 2007 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

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